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Daily Update: Fastlane, Barry Orton, WWE Hall of Fame

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WON NEWSLETTER: March 22, 2021 Observer Newsletter: UFC running Florida with full crowds, WrestleMania tickets

A look at how WrestleMania tickets, the COVID situation, UFC running Jacksonville all tie together is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer.

We look at WWE's attendance goals, foreign attendance, ticket prices, Super Bowl COVID spreading, Spring break, the WrestleMania card updated, Dana White's decision to run a full house indoor show, his planned big card, why so many people UFC fighters have gotten COVID than wrestlers, as well as a look at the most recent COVID outbreak in NXT.

Also in this issue:

New Japan Cup with coverage of all the shows of this past week, with results, notes and star ratings for all the Cup matches.

WWE's move to Peacock and the functions, Eric Bischoff Hall of Fame story, Charlotte Flair movie starring role, Tyson Fury vs. Drew McIntyre, WWE Network gift cards, how WWE & AEW did against sports programming this past week, Canadian WWE ratings, Danny Burch injury, new WWE signees, A&E schedule for WWE programming, UFC star talks going to WWE, WWE market value, most-watched shows on WWE Network and Paul Weight talks how WWE nixed his business idea.

Saturday's UFC show, with the stories from the fight, future direction as well as match-by-match coverage.

A story that isn't there now, but based on things being worked on that will greatly change all combat sports as well as pro wrestling and look at what changes can and can't be done.

A major feature on Buddy Colt, one of the biggest pro wrestling stars of the 1970s, who passed away last week.  We look at his career, his similarities with an all-time legend and the plane crash that led to the end of his in-ring career.  We go into detail on the crash, the injuries he and the others had, his thoughts on the business, his interaction with Muhammad Ali, his breaking in Brian Blair and what he taught him, the first interracial match in Georgia, the death of Eddie Graham and the end of Championship Wrestling from Florida and much more.

More into detail on the 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.

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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SUNDAY NEWS UPDATE

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Bryan Alvarez and I will be back tonight talking about Fast Lane and the other weekend shows with Wrestling Observer Radio. You can also leave questions for the show to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

We have a show up already covering last night's various shows. A few notes. The Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi New Japan Cup final is being lauded everywhere as one of the best matches of the year. The angle after with Ospreay turning on Bea Priestley left the show on a weird note and I don't think was a good thing at that moment in time.  

I was really sad to hear about the death of Barry Orton on Friday night. Orton was a good wrestler who never really got the chance to show what he could do nationally, but did show it in Calgary in 1987 as the Zodiak. Mike Tenay credited him for putting his Wrestling Insiders radio show on the map in 1992. He had his demons but he was always very careful in speaking so people wouldn't take things out of context in a situation where people did anyway, such as Geraldo Rivera and I know he was very upset at them trying to convey a different story from the story is actually told when it came to his claims Terry Garvin came on to him, implying in 1992 that it was recent in WWF when he made it clear it was in 1979 in the Amarillo territory.

Fast Line starts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern tonight as the last PPV show before WrestleMania. On paper this looks like one hell of a show, or at the least the top two matches look to be big.

  • Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan for the Universal title - This is Bryan's first PPV main event in two years and he's talked about wanting to do a match of the year. And these two have the ability in a main event setting to do an incredible match. Reigns is a -600 favorite and him not retaining would be a change of plans.  There  are a lot of teases for a three-way with Reigns vs. Bryan vs. Edge coming out of tonight's show.
  • Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus in a no holds barred match - These two have had a great and  a very good television match. McIntyre is a -420 favorite. I could see this going either way.  Usual logic given McIntyre is in a title match at Mania has him winning, but they could go the other way to make Sheamus a contender if McIntyre wins the title
  • Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defend the women's tag titles against Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks - The story here is that they've teased both teams about the break up. Jax & Baszler are -400 favorites to retain.
  • Big E vs. Apollo Crews for the IC title - I like this match. Crews has a big opportunity here and really for both these guys it's a chance to show they can perform a big singles match on a big stage. E is a -210 favorite to retain.
  • Seth Rollins vs Shinsuke Nakamura - This is a match designed to set up Rollins vs. Cesaro.  On paper it should be good as well.  Rollins is a -350 favorite given he's the one being pushed right now.
  • Riddle vs. Ail for the U.S. title - Another match that on paper should be great if they are given time and not held back.  Riddle is a -400 favorite to retain the title
  • Alexa Bliss vs. Randy Orton - Obviously this will be an angle and not a match, and the idea is for this to be one of the most talked about things on the show. Bliss is listed as a -210 favorite so the idea seems to be people think The Fiend returns and costs Orton the match to set up WrestleMania.
  • Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon - Strowman is a -145 favorite. I'm not sure why this is on this show and not Mania but it may be here just to set something crazy for later.

We are doing polls this weekend for both nights of the New Japan Cup from Sendai, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match from each show to dave@wrestlingobserver.com as well as the same for Fast Lane tonight. We also have polls for the best of the New Japan Cup tournament and New Japan Cup MVP.

Kambi allows you to bet over/under on star ratings:

  • Rollins vs. Nakamura is listed at ***3/4
  • Riddle vs. Ali is listed at ***
  • Orton vs. Bliss is unlisted, as it should be

For WrestleMania, you can bet over/under

  • New Day vs. A.J. Styles & Omos ***1/2
  • Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair ***3/4
  • Roman Reigns vs. Edge  ****1/4
  • Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre **** (thanks to WWEleaks.org)

The only combat sports related subjects that made the top 20 any days this past week on searches were Kevin Holland was No. 15 yesterday with 100,000 and the earthquake in Japan, while not a combat sports story but it did interrupt New Japan's Saturday show in Sendai, as No. 17. Spencer Lee, who won the NCAA title in wrestling at 125 pounds was No. 3 this morning with 50,000. Fast Lane will almost surely crack the top 20 today.

The Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega featherweight title fight scheduled for this coming Saturday's UFC 260 show is off because Volkanovski tested positive for COVID on Friday.  He had arrived in Las Vegas on Wednesday and had two negative tests, one before leaving and one on arriving.  

Regarding the two weird Hall of Fame stories, WWE has not officially commented on either.  One is that Dave Bautista was removed from the listings for the Hall of Fame and his status as being in the Hall of Fame was also removed. The belief is that there was a date conflict. The only word we were told is "There were changes to this year's Hall of fame...Batista was one of them." The other regards Daniel Bryan's name listed as part of the ceremony on a Peacock Network listing. We're again waiting for an official word on that one. The word going around is that there is a mistake made.

The NWA has a PPV going on right now on FITE headlined by Nick Aldis vs. Aron Stevens for the NWA title, Thunder Rosa vs. Kamille, Trevor Murdoch vs  Chris Adonis (Masters) for the National title and Elijah Burke vs. Thom Latimer for the TV title.

WWE

  • Steve Austin will be taking part in the "We're Texas'' virtual charity benefit hosted by Matthew McConaughey through the Just Keep Livin Foundation, and the Texas Relief Fund. The event will try and raise money for those affected by the winter storm in Texa and takes place at 8 p.m. Eastern tonight.  It'll be on McConaughey's YouTube channel and also features Don Henley Gary Clark Jr., George Strait, Kelly Clarkson, Khalid, Lyle Lovett, Miranda Lambert, Willie Nelson, Clayton Kershaw, Dr. Phil, Dak Prescott, Jennifer Garner, Joe Rogan, the Jonas Brothers, Jordan Spieth, Michael Strahan, Renee Zellweger, Selena Gomez and Troy Aikman.

UFC

  • A fight with Jack Hermansson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan has been added to the 5/15 show in Houston.
  • Montana de la Rosa vs. Ariane Lipski has been added to the 6/5 show.

AEW

  • As of yesterday morning there were 171 tickets left for Wednesday's Dynamite taping headlined by Kenny Omega vs. Matt Sydal. It is selling ahead of the pace of the 3/10 show.  
  • Maki Itoh said that her Twitter was hacked and she apologized that the situation caused people to worry about her well being and said that she was fine.

OTHER NOTES

  • The tragic real-life story of Junkyard Dog. (thanks to Barry Werner)
  • An article on Australian death matches. (thanks to Lee Wall)
  • Mark Henry discusses SWE Fury tryouts.
  • Paradigm Pro Wrestling and IWTV debut the second season of UWFi Rules Contender series based on the old UWFi promotion in Japan starting on Wednesday night at 10 p.m. Eastern.  The first show has Dominic Garrini vs. Matt Justice and Tom Lawlor vs Lord Crewe.
  • Stardom results from today in Sendai:  Konami b Mina Shirakawa, AZM & Saya Kamitani b Himeka & Lady C, Tam Nakano & Sayaka Unagi b Bea Priestley & Saki Kasima, Utami Hayashishita & Momo Watanabe b Natsuko Tora & Ruaka-DQ, Giulia & Syuri & Maika b Mayu Iwatani & Starlight Kid &  Saya Iida. Priestley attacked Hayashishita to build their 4/4 World of Stardom title match.  This took place after the New Japan show.
  • Stardom results from yesterday in Yamagata: Starlight Kid b Lady C, Momo Watanabe & AZM b Mayu Iwatani & Saya Iida, Utami Hayashishita & Saya Kamitani d Syuri & Himike, Bea Priestley & Koami b Giulia & Maika, Tam Nakano & Mina Shirakawa & Sayaka Unagi b Natsuko Tora & Saki Kashima & Ruaka (thanks to Shannon Walsh)
  • AAW returns on 4/3 from the GALLI Studios in Villa Park, IL. Part of the show will be streamed live and part of the show will be taped for later streaming.  n the show is AAW champion Mance Varner, Heritage champion Hakim Zane (Rohit Raju), Ace Austin, Matt Justice, Davey Vega, Gringo Loco, Hyan,ACH, Manders, Travis Titan, Skye Blue, Ace Perry, Brayden Lee and Myron Reed.  They will also run on 4/24 at Villa Park and 5/7 from 115 Bourbon Street.
  • Today is the 85th birthday of former pro wrestler Beverly Shade.
  • Tokyo Joshi Pro from today in Tokyo: Mizuki b Moko Miyanmoto, Nao Kakuta & Pom Harajuku & Hauna Neko b Hikaru Noa & Mahiro Kiryu & Sena Shiori, Shoko Nakajima won three-way over Yuka Sakazaki & Suzume, Nodoka Tema & Yuki Aino & Ariusu Endo b Hyper Misao & Raku  Marikoa Kobashi, Rika Tatsumi b Miu Wantanabe & Mirai Maiumi (thanks to Shannon Walsh and Tomi Yamada)
  •  Pro Wrestling DIANA from today in Kanagawa:  Hope b Madeline, Haruka Umesaki & Miyuki Takase b Ami Miura & Nanami, Kyoko Inoue & Kaoru Ito b Jaguar Yokota & Ayako Sato
  • Thunder Rosa's Mission Pro Wrestling from last night in Buda TX: Thunder Rosa & Holidead b Jazmin Allure & Queen Aminata, Aleyah Mia Sweets b Raeven Marie, Phoebe & Myka b Danni Bee & Leila Grey, Leyla Hirsch NC Masha Slamovich, Jenna Cide b Rache Chanel, KiLynn King b Ray Lyn, Nyla Rose b Baby D, Rosa Negra b Raychell Rose to retain the MPW tile after using Brass Knux after Rose had used Brass Knux first (thanks to Shannon Walsh)
  • Gino Medina vs Zenshi has been added to Wednesday's MLW TV show.
  • Marius Pudzianowski scored a TKO win in 1:12 over Nikola Milanovich, a judo and sambo champion making his debut on no notice when Pudzianowski's opponent, the giant Bombardier suffered appendicitis just hours before the show. Sebastian Przybysz (8-2) beat Antun Racic (25-91) to win the bantamweight title while former Olympic hero Daman Janikowski (6-3) won via TKO over Jason Radcliffe (16-8)
  • SWE from last night saw Blood Hunter win a Battle Royal for the Texas title throwing out Gangrel.  Blood Hunter was managed by Salina de la Renta. Caz XL (Big Cass) debuted managed by Melina.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Flair vs. Fujinami at WCW/NJPW Supershow

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