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Daily Update: Drake Wuertz, Bronson Reed, Mauro Ranallo


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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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  • While at the WWE Performance Center and wearing a shirt with the NXT logo on it, NXT referee Drake Wuertz appeared via Zoom and spoke at last night’s Seminole County board of county commissioners meeting. Calling himself “a leader committed to fighting the evil of human trafficking and child exploitation,” Wuertz argued against the county’s mask mandate and -- without evidence -- claimed that continuing the mandate “only puts vulnerable children at risk of being preyed upon by traffickers and predators.” An emotional Wuertz also claimed that normalizing face coverings makes it easier for sex traffickers to target kids in their community because non-verbal cues are often the first sign in identifying distress in a potential victim of human trafficking. Post Wrestling transcribed a portion of Wuertz’s speech:

My name is Drake Wuertz, I’m a resident of Altamonte Springs. I’m a husband, I’m a father of three, I’m a volunteer in our community and I’m a leader committed to fighting evil of human trafficking and child exploitation. Thank you commissioner (Amy) Lockhart for bringing this issue to a vote, you have a backbone, you have common sense, and your courage will be rewarded. I’m proud to live in Seminole County, I’m proud of the values that our county stands on. However, the draconian measures, the micro-tyranny, and overall harm to our children that this commission has allowed by continuing this mask mandate is inexcusable. When the science has come out suggesting that masks are harmful and ineffective than originally thought you chose to continue forcing citizens to wear them. My family and many others, we simply do not comply. We recognize tyranny and we know when to push back against it. We know our rights do not come from the local government; our rights come from Almighty God. God gave we the people inalienable rights and we entrust you as our elected commissions and our elected officials to protect those rights. I’d also like to remind you all that all five of you’re are Republicans. Real Republicans defend liberty at all levels, you receive the vote to serve the people of Seminole County because you had an ‘R’ next to your name on the ballot. Make no mistake, if you don’t end this nonsense and start trusting your constituents to take personal responsibility by making their own informed decisions you will not get re-elected.

  • Fightful reported that Wuertz had his duties reduced in recent months and no longer has the title of head referee in NXT.
  • As a stipulation of Bronson Reed defeating Austin Theory on NXT last night, Reed will be getting another shot at Johnny Gargano’s North American Championship. WWE hasn’t announced when that match will be taking place. Reed unsuccessfully challenged for Gargano’s North American title at TakeOver: Stand & Deliver night two earlier this month. He got the title shot by winning a Gauntlet Eliminator match at TakeOver: Stand & Deliver night one.
  • Zayda Ramier (formerly known as AQA) got her first win in NXT last night. She defeated Toni Storm with a Shooting Star Press after Storm was distracted by Zoey Stark making her way out. Ramier was trained by Booker T at his Reality of Wrestling school and was a two-time Diamonds Division Champion for the Reality of Wrestling promotion.
  • On the latest episode of The Bellas Podcast, Carmella discussed Billie Kay and Peyton Royce being released by WWE: “I don't know what the right or wrong things to say is. All I can speak from is my experience and we were super excited for this story and I felt like, okay, I'm done with this whole sexy gimmick that they want me to do, which is fine. It's fun to be sexy, but I feel like I wanted to show my personality more. I wanted to show a little bit more of a fun side and I was looking forward to doing that with Billie. Like you said, our entrance alone, she was cracking me up. So I was really looking forward to seeing where that was going to go and unfortunately, we can't do that anymore. Even Peyton, those two were some of my closest friends since they got here. So it was the first time I was really rocked by a release.”
  • Charlotte Flair, AJ Styles & Omos, Franky Monet, and Natalya & Tamina appeared on this morning’s episode of WWE’s The Bump. 
  • WWE’s YouTube channel uploaded Finn Balor vs. Damian Priest from NXT TakeOver: In Your House, Braun Strowman vs. Elias in a Symphony of Destruction match from the March 5, 2018 episode of Raw, and Roman Reigns vs. The Miz from the April 28, 2016 episode of SmackDown.

Other Wrestling

Well, I just got home from a whirlwind trip to Music City, USA, Nashville where I made my return to professional wrestling commentary last night, making my debut for IMPACT Wrestling during the historic main event of the Rebellion pay-per-view. I’ve got to tell you; I had a blast working with D-Lo Brown and Matt Striker and what a match between AEW Champion Kenny Omega and Unified IMPACT belt holder Rich Swann in a title-for-title mega main event.

A big thank you to Scott D’Amore and all the people at IMPACT Wrestling for making me feel so welcome. It reminded me of, honestly, when I started my career at 16. Yeah, last night reignited my passion for professional wrestling. Very chill, relaxed atmosphere -- a lot of support, a lot of respect, and a lot of hungry and determined roster comprising some decorated vets and some very talented up-and-comers. Man, they had their working boots on last night. I thought everyone delivered and from what I understand, the pay-per-view is getting rave reviews, and even more importantly, the pay-per-view buyrate should be one of the best that IMPACT Wrestling has done in some time. Yeah, it was great to see so many familiar faces and I do hope to get to do it again.

  • Aubrey Edwards noted that Brodie Lee will be eligible to be drafted to rosters in AEW’s Elite GM mobile game: “Yes, Brodie Lee is someone you can draft to your roster in Elite GM. His art was already made before his passing. I asked Amanda Huber if we could keep him in the game and she was absolutely cool with leaving him in. Little Brodie wanted him to stay in as well.”
  • TSN has an interview with Shawn Spears.
  • AEW released this week’s roster rankings.
  • During an appearance on Insight with Chris Van Vliet, former WWE music producer Jim Johnston said he’s never been contacted by AEW: “No and it always amazed me from a business angle. If I was in that work room, I would say ‘Vince just fired Jim, this is a way we could really stick it to them. Find that guy and get him in here this afternoon.’ It doesn’t make sense to me.”
  • On the ROHStrong Podcast, Homicide spoke about his return to ROH: “I’m still to this day, I’m a little bit surprised of this great comeback because when I left Ring of Honor, I thought I was never gonna come back. Not because of a bad political or business wise, it was just one of those like -- I did everything. Now that I see that I’m older right now, I see myself doing more stuff for the company and making it bigger than what it is right now. So I’m just very blessed right now to be able to be part of this group and be part of a new chapter and a new era because back in the days, a lot of fans never saw my work in the old days of Ring of Honor and I raised some hell.
  • The Monster Factory’s Danny Cage posted a Twitter thread about his experiences working with the coaches and students at the ROH Dojo.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Owen Hart wins Intercontinental title