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Daily Update: Daniel Bryan, Road Dogg, Muto-Marufuji


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WON NEWSLETTER: April 26, 2021 Observer Newsletter: WWE financials, Ben Askren vs. Jake Paul

We have a loaded issue of the Wrestling Observer this week, with business and history features.

We update WWE financials, with comments from Nick Khan, Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Kristina Salen talking about the state of the company, the state of sports business, what media companies are looking at right now, AEW, plus a look at WWE revenue and profits.  We also look behind the numbers at what they mean, how every category is doing and what categories the company is no longer reporting on.  We also look at the decline of WWE ratings as compared to that of cable television  and network television.

Also in this issue:

The new attempt at a unique concept PPV with the Triller promotion and Ben Askren vs. Jake Paul, the show, the match, the blitzed announcers, Ric Flair, comparisons to other similar things and long-term sustainability.

Kenny Omega vs Rich Swann match,  followed by a story on famous title unification matches throughout pro wrestling history. We look at some of the biggest and most important matches of all-time that were two champions unifying a world title from 1920 to the present.

WrestleMania business numbers when it came to the two live shows, with real attendance, real gates and what it means.

New Smackdown announcing team, Pat McAfee talks his debut, Daniel Bryan talks his current situation and contract, thoughts on Daniel Bryan's future, new hires and departures at WWE, change in show distribution, former star talks coming out of retirement, how the WWE & AEW shows rank among sports programming, WWE star bio released, Damien Priest talks Bad Bunny, more on Kalisto being let go, Dr. Wagner Jr. talks WWE, political reason for a winning streak, and most-watched YouTube segments on his week's WWE programming.

A major feature on the career of Steve Austin and the A&E special, his background, how he got into wrestling, the WCW years, the Stone Cold name, life after wrestling, and what were key things not talked about on the documentary.

Mickie James garbage bag situation and the firing of Mark Carrano.

MLW's new television deal, who else was in talks about that deal, MLW returning to shows with fans and a spinoff planned.

Coverage of this past week's UFC show, business notes, where the top fighters are headed plus match-by-match coverage.

More detail on ratings than any other source, we have how every segment on NXT and AEW did as well as how it did with different age groups, genders and more, plus a look at all other wrestling shows of the past week.

Results of the major pro wrestling events of the past week.

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I brought it up to a lot of people. And I don’t think the Mexico thing [a hair vs. mask match] would happen. But I also think that now is -- more than ever -- is a time when people are open to new ideas. I think I have made some headway. Whether any of it actually happens, who knows? It’s just one of those things that - one of the things that I think would be great.

I don’t think people truly understand how great a lot of the WWE Superstars are because we don’t necessarily put on a pure wrestling product, we put on a sports entertainment product. If all of a sudden you saw Cesaro in New Japan, for example, people would be like, ‘Oh my God, this guy is the greatest!’ Multiple people - I think if you put Otis in New Japan, and people would be like, ‘Holy cow, this guy is amazing!’ like, Vader from the 90s type vibe. People think of him as the worm guy, but him being able to do and learn and work with some of those guys... It’s just a different presentation.

So I think that would be cool, and a very unique contribution to wrestling, as far as giving back... I also think it’d be good for say WWE and just wrestling in general for people who are in say the developmental system right now, for them to be able to go and learn in other places. I wouldn’t be the performer that I am today if I hadn’t wrestled in Japan - and not just Japan where it’s like sports stuff, but like Butlin’s in the UK where it’s all comedy, and I’m out there wavin’ an American flag, singing the national anthem, getting my pants pulled down, seeing how many times I can get hit in the groin in a match - that sort of thing. I think all of those things add to your depth as a performer, and then when it’s time to put you in a top position, then you can do a number of things.

  • PWInsider reported that Brian “Road Dogg” James was back working in person at this week’s NXT for the first time since suffering an apparent heart attack last month.
  • WWE released a first look preview of their Rob Van Dam episode of WWE Icons. The episode premieres on Peacock in the United States and the WWE Network everywhere else on Sunday, May 16.
  • A&E uploaded sneak peek clips of their Randy Savage Biography documentary and this week’s episode of WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures. Both will premiere this coming Sunday. The Most Wanted Treasures episode is focused on Jerry Lawler.
  • On El Brunch de WWE last week, MVP gave an update on his knee injury: “I’m returning to Houston. As a matter of fact, here, I’ve got exclusive news just for you and the WWE Espanol viewers. As many of you know, my knee has been bothering me for some time now. I injured it a few months ago in the ring and while it’s better, it hasn’t healed yet and we’ve been trying to avoid surgery so we’re gonna try one more procedure and if it still doesn’t work, then I might have to get some minor arthroscopic surgery for the knee but, not yet. We’re still gonna try another treatment first.”
  • MVP will be the guest on tomorrow’s episode of After the Bell with Corey Graves and Vic Joseph.
  • Two factions were given names on this week’s NXT UK episode. Mark Andrews, Flash Morgan Webster & Dani Luna are now known as Subculture, while Eddie Dennis, Primate & T-Bone are Symbiosis.
  • BT Group issued a statement commenting on reports that they’re in talks to sell a stake in BT Sport: “Further to media reports, BT can confirm that early discussions are being held with a number of select strategic partners, to explore ways to generate investment, strengthen our sports business, and help take it to the next stage in its growth. The discussions are confidential and may or may not lead to an outcome.” BT Sport is WWE’s television partner in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Telegraph reported that it's understood that BT is in talks with Amazon, Disney, DAZN, and an unnamed British broadcaster about the sale.
  • Jeff Jarrett appeared on the latest edition of Insight with Chris Van Vliet.
  • WWE’s YouTube channel uploaded Edge vs. Kurt Angle in a hair vs. hair match from Judgment Day 2002, Braun Strowman & Ricochet vs. Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin from the April 29, 2019 episode of Raw, and Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt in a House of Horrors match from Payback 2017.

Other Wrestling

  • Keiji Muto vs. Naomichi Marufuji for the GHC Heavyweight Championship is set for CyberFight Festival 2021 at the Saitama Super Arena on Sunday, June 6.
  • New GHC National Champion Takashi Sugiura will defend his title against Kazushi Sakuraba at Pro Wrestling Noah’s Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial Show at Ota Ward Gymnasium on Sunday, May 30.
  • MLW announced that Dragon Gate’s Toru Kido and Revolution Pro Wrestling’s Andy Quildan will be part of their championship committee. The championship committee will “put together big title fights from the top ranked wrestlers from around the world.”
  • MLW has also announced that Richard Holliday will be in action on next Wednesday’s episode of Fusion.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Inoki vs. Flair at Collision in Korea