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WON NEWSLETTER: February 15, 2021 Observer Newsletter: Butch Reed bio, Bellator to Showtime

A look at the career of 80s star Hacksaw Butch Reed, who passed away this past week, is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

We look at all of his titles won, sports career before wrestling, what was and wasn't exaggerated about him, how he got started in wrestling, how fast it was that he was moved to star status, including main eventing at the key wrestling arenas in the country very early, the role Dory Funk Jr, made in his career, how he was booked, a super tag team with Skip Young that few outside of Florida ever saw, feuding with the biggest names on top, his matches with Ric Flair up and down the state of Florida, his sellout with Flair in St. Louis, runs in Georgia and his move to Mid South, his Mid South runs, the high point of his career, his feud with JYD, his Superdome main events, his face and heel turns, his biggest angles, his fight with John Nord and his departure from Mid South, his meeting with Slick, heading to WWF as The Natural Butch Reed, and his WCW run as part of the tag team of Doom with Ron Simmons, life after wrestling and his feelings on Will Hobbs.

Also in this issue:

Nick Khan's talk about things WWE is doing to try and get new fans, a look at the aging of the sports audience and how wrestling fits in, update on Braun Strowman, update on John Cena TV series, son of 90s star starting in WWE camp, WWE  star talks having a stroke, WWE star gets stalked, experience of being in the Thunderdome and what they look for, how WWE & AEW did compared to sports this past week, international rtings news, more on COVID's effect onWWE, big matches coming on upcoming shows, WWE market value and most-watched shows on the WWE Network this past week.

Bellator's new broadcast deals in the U.S. and the U.K., as well as main events for the first shows in April, and look at the light heavyweight tournament.

New Beginning in Hiroshima and the Castle Attack cards for New Japan.

Most-watched televised pro wrestling matches in history, including Hogan vs. Andre and Rikidozan vs. Destroyer.

Preview the next two WWE major shows.

Saturday's UFC event with the potential knockout of the year.

Gina Carano losing her job in "The Mandalorian" on the anniversary of her landmark fight with Julie Kedzie.

A feature looking at the best matches of top wrestlers of 2020.

Television ratings of the past week, including segment-by-segment numbers for the past two weeks on Wednesday, who was watching in different age groups, how different segments did on Raw & Smackdown and more.

ORDERING INFO: Order the print Wrestling Observer right now and get it delivered via mail, by sending your name, address, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to dave@wrestlingobserver.com or by going to www.paypal.com directing funds to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

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MONDAY NEWS UPDATE

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Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Raw and the rest of the current wrestling news. You can send questions to the show to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

If you didn't see last night's Takeover, I'd go out of your way to see it.  It was an outstanding show. Takeover didn't make the Google search list yesterday. It rarely does but No 20 was only 50,000 and it didn't crack that.

Lee Cole spoke about the death of his brother Tom to Boston Wrestling.

Jamie Hemmings of Slam Wrestling wrote this story on the death of Tom Cole. We will have a lot more about this in the next Observer, but I've also talked about it extensively on the show taped Saturday night and more on the show last night in far more detail than anyone in what is a very troubling and complicated story.

Pat Laprade, who was a good friend of Pat Patterson's responded today saying, "So sick to read so many people disrespecting Pat Patterson since the death of Tom Cole. I have all the sympathy in the world for Cole and his family. But Pat didn’t do anything. Or cover anything up. That’s not who Pat was. Those behind this have been fired and never came back.  Pat had a weird sense of humour, especially regarding his own sexuality, and it could be misinterpreted. That’s all. Cole felt Pat must have known, but based on what? Nothing. Just because he was gay like the other 2. Again, I feel for what happened to Cole, but Pat was clean."

Chris Jericho's wife Jessica Lockhart Irvnie posted on Instagram photos of herself with other women behind a banner that read "Women for Trump" that was taken on 1/6 in Washington, DC as part of the capitol break-in. She was not part of that but was there at the Trump rally.  Jericho also retweeted the photo.  

Raw tonight has a gauntlet match with the six men in the Elimination Chamber match on Sunday, Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton, A.J. Styles, Jeff Hardy, Sheamus and The Miz. That should take up a long portion of tonight's show.

Dwayne Johnson's new NBC-TV show "Young Rock," with stories about him as a ten year old kid as a wrestling fan, a 15-year-old in high school constantly getting into trouble, and a 20-year-old college football player, built around his father, Rocky Johnson, mother, Ata, grandmother Lia Maivia with characters playing Vince McMahon, Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, Iron Sheik, Afa, Sika and others, debuts at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow night.  The show will run the next 11 weeks.

Stefan Struve announced his retirement from fighting today at the age of 32. He said it was due to health concerns, an inner ear issue giving him vertigo that was made worse in his last fight.  He has been told after undergoing tests that his vertigo issues are likely permanent.  When he started fighting in 2009, given his size and skill level,it was believed in time he would be a world champion, as he was considered the next Semmy Schiltt, who was a dominant K-1 star. But he never learned to use his size in the stand-up to its best advantage. He did knock out Stipe Miocic once, but overall was never a top contender for the championship.

The first round of AEW's Japanese women's tournament is up right now on the AEW YouTube page. The first round matches are:

  • Yuka Sakazaki vs. Mei Suruga
  • Veny vs. Emi Sakura
  • Maki Itoh vs. Ryo Mizunami
  • Aja Kong vs. Rin Kadoukura

Longtime reader Ken Raftery wrote a story on Kong.

ESPN had been heavily criticized by ignoring the issue between Dana White of UFC, their content partner, and Ariel Helwani, their television face of MMA reporting. Today they did issue a statement to the New York Post saying “Ariel is a valued colleague and an exceptional MMA reporter. His record speaks for itself,” ESPN told the New York Post.

A quick note that with today as a holiday, television ratings will be delayed by one day, so Smackdown numbers will come out tomorrow and Raw numbers on Wednesday. We should have AEW and NXT numbers on Thursday but maybe not in complete detail until the following week's issue.

New Japan has another Korakuen Hall show tonight at 4 a.m. Eastern on New Japan World

  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Satoshi Kojima & Yota Tsuji vs. Will Ospreay & Jeff Cobb & Great O'Khan
  • Sanada & Hiromu Takahashi & Bushi vs. Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo & Yujiro Takahashi
  • Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano & Sho vs. Jay White & Chase Owens & Gedo
  • Kota Ibushi & Yuji Nagata vs. Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi
  • Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Evil

WWE

  • Amazing that here we are more than 23 years later and Undertaker explained that Vince McMahon had to get the belt off Bret Hart because Hart was going to take the belt and appear on Nitro when that's been debunked over and over. (thanks to Jay Dumont)
  • Hip hop star Bow Wow announced he was training under Rikishi in California after last week talking about how he wants to wrestle for WWE. He's trying to build a match with Bad Bunny.

UFC

  • Bruno Silva vs. JP Buys has been added to the 3/20 show. Buys' wife, Cheyanne Buys, will also be fighting on that show against Kay Hansen.
  • Raulian Paiva vs. David Dvorak has been added to the 5/22 show.  Dvorak comes into the fight with a 15 fight winning streak that dates back nine years.
  • Emily Whitmire has pulled out of her 2/27 fight with Samantha Hughes. No reason was given for her withdrawal.

AEW

  • Cody Rhodes was interviewed by the New York Post about Shaquille O'Neal and working with New Japan Pro Wrestling among a number of subjects.

OTHER NOTES

  • A Go Fund Me has been set up for funeral costs for Rusty Brooks.
  • KSW today announced that Marius Pudzianowski, its biggest drawing card and former world's strongest man, will face Bombardier (2-0) billed as a heavyweight champion of Senegal, in a fight on the 3/20 show in Lodz, Poland.  Bombardier, real name Seringe Ousmane, is a 44-year-old former champion who got into MMA in 2018.   This is the kind of monster fight that Pride sometimes did and that KSW has done a lot of.  There will likely be some awesome promotional videos over the next few weeks building this.
  • MLW's Filthy Island TV show, a takeoff on Fight Island with the idea Tom Lawlor is producer, will be on the Wednesday show. The matches announced are Dominic Garrini vs. Mauna Loa, Mil Muertes vs. Savio Vega in an Aztec Jungle Fight,  Rocky Romero vs. Gringo Loco  and Low Ki vs. King Mo in a no holds barred fight.  Plus Dan Lambert will appear on the show.
  • The X Division title match set up on Saturday night when Josh Alexander won the series of three-ways will take place on Tuesday's Impact show, as he faces TJP.
  • Masked Republic has announced Expo Lucha, the world's largest Lucha Libre fan convention as a virtual event on 3/20. They will stream free matches from companies all over the world including AAAA, CMLL, AEW, Impact and others, Psicosis original and Damian 666 will sign, Vampiro will do a panel discussion, Denise Salcedo will interview Cassandro and a lot more.
  • Lex Luger has been announced as a guest for this year's WrestleCon in Tampa.
  • The SHWA on 2/13 that was canceled due to the lockdown in Perth, Western Australia, has been rescheduled for 3/6.  The Death Match Downunder show on 2/13 in Melbourne was canceled before the city went into a five-day lockdown.
  • Mark Davis was announced as the new head trainer at the 3 Count Wrestling Academy in Brisbane, Australia.  Davis is part of the tag team Aussie Open that was on the verge of breaking through when he blew out his knee and then COVID hit.  This may indicate he's not looking at going back to the U.K., where he was based for years.
  • Warrior Wrestling from Saturday night in Whangarei, New Zealand:  TKD & Tee Hawke b Will Stone & Vinny Dunn, NIWA b Liam Erikson, Kingi b Chalky Murdoch, Reuben de Jong b Sam Black, Shane Sinclair & Roddy Gunn & Henry Merritt b Pat Schisk & Jordan Wright & Cam Khyber, Slade Mercer b Kai Solomon, Victoria Ryan b Frankie Quinn, NIWA b Reuben de Jong, Anthony Khan & Ringo Ryan b Jamie Tagataese  Rowan Signal, Slade Mercer b Kingi, NIWA b Slade Mercer (thanks to Kevin Chiat)
  • In yesterday's update the PWA Black Label results attributed to Kevin Chiat were not sent by him.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Eddie Guerrero wins WWE title at No Way Out 2004

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