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Daily Update: Gargano/O'Reilly, UFC weigh-ins, MMA Awards

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WON NEWSLETTER: December 13, 2021 Observer Newsletter: Jeff Hardy released by WWE, death of Blackjack Lanza

In this week's issue: 

  • WWE fires Jeff Hardy
  • The career of Blackjack Lanza
  • Match and performer of the week
  • TripleMania Regia
  • NXT War Games and futures of O'Reilly & Gargano
  • Another WWE star contract expires and what is next
  • Why Reigns vs. Lesnar is on the WWE Day 1 show
  • Movement in ticket sales after Reigns vs. Lesnar was announced
  • WWE NIL program, who are the athletes, their background and what does the program actually entail
  • What WWE's new signees tell us about what they are looking for regarding men and women headliners 
  • More details on the top stars in WWE and salary structure
  • This past week's ratings
  • International TV ratings and how WWE & AEW viewership differs by age group in Canada
  • Live attendance, what have AEW & WWE done compared to each other since both went back to touring
  • Holiday time and format changes for WWE & AEW shows
  • Streaming numbers for WWE & AEW
  • Most in-demand tickets right now in pro wrestling
  • Ticket sales for every major upcoming pro wrestling event between now and Royal Rumble
  • The realities of wrestling TV viewing, plus DVR numbers for every major show
  • What young wrestler is getting a megapush due to rumors of them considering leaving
  • All Japan tag team tournament
  • NOAH's return to Budokan Hall
  • Major announcement at NJPW show Wednesday
  • Update on NJPW Junior heavyweight and tag team tournaments
  • Story behind a 1970s lawsuit that revealed promoter controlled title
  • UFC show, this week's show, plus business notes
  • UFC star voted into boxing Hall of Fame

Current subscribers click here to read.

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FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE

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Garrett Gonzalez and I will be doing a news show tonight, our first in several weeks. Bryan Alvarez and I will be back tomorrow night talking UFC, Raw, Smackdown and New Japan as well as the rest of the news.  

Both Johnny Gargano and Kyle O'Reilly WWE contracts expired today and they are officially now free agents, meaning they can accept the negotiated offers with other companies legally.  While the belief is that both are taking time off, they could legally wrestle tomorrow for another company.  Gargano has opened a Pro Wrestling Tees account and is expected to start a Twitch channel.  The latter does not mean he can't go to WWE but he could not have a Twitch channel on the main roster, but he could if he was in NXT.  

For the weekend, we are doing polls for tomorrow's UFC show and tomorrow's ROH show, thumbs up, down or middle, best and worst match from both shows to dave@wrestlingobserver.com

We are also looking for reports from Smackdown in Los Angeles tonight with any dark matches, as well as the house shows in Saginaw, MI and Grand Rapids, MI on Saturday and Sunday to dave@wrestlingobserver.com

Smackdown tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles has Charlotte Flair vs. Toni Storm in a non-title match, Sonya Deville vs. Naomi, Randy Orton & Riddle vs Usos vs. Kofi Kingston & King Woods in a non-title match plus Brock Lesnar and Xia Li will be appearing.  Obviously the Jeff Hardy vs. Happy Corbin match advertised is off with Hardy having been released  More than 9,400 tickets are out for the show.  It's the largest crowd WWE is expected to do until the Royal Rumble.

AEW Rampage tonight has Lucha Brothers vs. FTR for the tag tam titles, Adam Cole vs. Wheeler Yuta, Ruby Soho & Tay Conti & Anna Jay vs. Nyla Rose & Bunny & Penelope Ford, Hook debuts against Fuego del Sol and Sting &  Darby Allin do an interview pushing Sting returning on 12/22 to the Greensboro Coliseum  The tag title match was said to be as good as the match the two teams had  at Full Gear, which was pretty much great.

UFC 269 tomorrow:

6 p.m. Eastern on ESPN+:

  • Priscilla Cachoeira (129) vs. Gillian Robertson(125) - Cachoeira missed weight by three pounds and was fined 30 percent of her purse  
  • Randy Costa (134.5) vs. Tony Kelly (136)
  • Ryan Hall (145.5) vs.  Derrick Minner (146)
  • Erin Blanchfield (125.5) vs,. Miranda Maverick (125)
  • Eryk Anders (185.5) vs. Andre Muniz (185.5)

ESPN and ESPN+ at 8 p.m.

  • Bruno Silva (186) vs,. Jordan Wright (186)
  • Tai Tuivasa (264) vs. Augusto Sakai (263.5)
  • Dominick Cruz (135) vs. Pedro Munhoz (135.5)
  • Dan Ige (146) vs. Josh Emmett (145.5)

PPV at 10 p.m.

  • Sean O'Malley (135.5) vs. Raulian Paiva (135.5)
  • Cody Garbrandt (126) vs. Kai Kara-France (125)
  • Santiago Ponzinibbio (169.5) vs. Geoff Neal (170.5)
  • Amanda Nunes (134.5) vs. Julianna Pena (135) for the women's bantamweight title
  • Charles Oliveria (155) vs. Dustin Poirier (154.4) for the lightweight title

At the press conference today there was a name calling situation with O'Malley and Garbrant, who aren't fighting each other. O'Malley talked about how it's been years since Garbrandt has won a fight and Garbrandt said that O'Malley has never faced anyone of note.

The New Japan Best of the Super Juniors final round-robin show is at 3 a.m. Eastern tonight from Himeji, Japan:

  • Yuto Nakashima vs. Ryohei Oiwa
  • Ryusuke Taguchi (4-6) vs. Taiji Ishimori (6-4)
  • Master Wato (4-6) vs. Douki  (2-8)
  • Robbie Eagles (6-4) vs. Hiromu Takahashi (6-3-1)
  • Sho (6-4) vs. Yoh (6-4)
  • Bushi (4-6) vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (4-6)
  • Desperado (6-3-1) vs. El Phantasmo(5-5)

If either Takahashi or Desperado win tonight, they are in the finals. If one or both lose, it opens the door for Ishimori, Sho, Yoh or Eagles to make the finals.  But basically all of the above need a win tomorrow because if any of them lose, they are out.

The 13th annual MMA Awards show is tonight live on ESPN+ starting at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time from Las Vegas. Chael Sonnen is the host. Nominated for Male Fighter of the Year are Kamaru Usman, Brandon Moreno, Yaroslov Amasov, Charles Oliveira and Jan Blachowicz. For female fighters are McKenzie Dern, Kayla Harrison, Valentina Shevchenko, Rose Namajunas and Marion Fiorot. Fight of the year nominees are Paul Daley vs. Sabah Homasi, Edson Barboza vs. Shane Burgos, Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno, Jiri Prochazka vs Dominick Reyes and Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Miguel Baeza. There are a bunch of guys nominated for reporter of the year but Ariel Helwani will win.

Jerry Gray was hospitalized this week with a heart condition, then got appendicitis, and also is battling bone cancer and liver tumors as well as a pulmonary embolism. He's at stage four colon and liver cancer.

WWE

  • Becky Lynch will be appearing on FOX's TMZ's Merry Elfin Christmas special on 12/23 at 9 p.m. Eastern. 
  • A video interview with Austin Theory. 

AEW

  • Winter is Coming has now sold more tickets than the two prior shows they've run in Garland, TX, the second of which was a sellout. They have added new seating and as of this morning were 511 tickets shy of a sellout.

UFC

  • UFC and Timex have announced a global partnership with Timex as the official watch and timekeeper partner of the UFC.

OTHER NOTES

  • Renee Paquette started on a new talk show called Jack and Paq with Jackie Redmond on the NHL Network.   
  • Kevin Eck's weekly look at the ROH news going into Final Battle is at
  • Greg Oliver talks to Matt Taven and Mike Bennett going into the final ROH show for the time being at
  • 559 Fights on 12/17 in Visalia, CA at the Convention Center.  The show will have both MMA fights and grappling matches.
  • Eric Young will be taking some independent dates and autograph shows through Bill Behrens at showbis@aol.com.  Others who you can book through Behrens include Mike Posey, Griff Garrison, Brian Pillman Jr., Julia Hart, Christopher Daniels, Logan Creed, Luke Hawx, Slim J, Sal Rinauro, Josh Woods, Mark & Jay Briscoe, Moose, Lince Dorado, TJP, Adrian Jaoude, Brian Cage, Lance Archer, Matt Sydal, Jay Lethal, Famous CB, Jonathan Gresham, Delirious, Rhett Titus, Silas Young, Shane Taylor, Shannon Moore, Judais, Caprice Coleman, Mecha Wolf 450, JTG, Matt Striker, Kongo Kong, Tommy Dreamer, Al Snow, Glacier Ray Lloyd, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Eric Bischoff, Sabu, Gerald Brisco,Rick Steiner, Hernandez, Stevie Richards, Jim Mitchell, ODB, DDP,  Devon Dudley and Missy Hyatt.
  • There was a wrestling question on Tuesday night's Jeopardy show  on the drama show on Starz about pro wrestling featuring Stephan Amell. The answer is Heels.  None of the contestants got it right (thanks to Grant Zwarych)
  • Ethan Page returns to AIW on 12/18 in Cleveland at the Odeon Concert Club. Bill Alfonso will wrestle a woman on the show.
  • Max Caster headlines for AIW on 1/13 in Lakewood,OH at the Winchester Music Tavern.
  • IWF announced its 25th anniversary show for 4/23 in Nutley, NJ, with Tony Atlas, Nunzio, Bull James, Gary Cappetta and more.
  • Debbie Malenko will do her first match ever in California on 1/14 for West Coast Pro at the State Room in South San Francisco.
  • Defy Wrestling on 12/18 in Seattle at Washington Hall has Christopher Daniels vs. Brody King for the interim Defy title, Eddie Kingston vs. Schaff in a street fight, Midnight Heat vs Bollywood Boys for the tag titles, Nick Wayne vs. Blake Christian, Carlos Romo vs. Lio Rush, Viva Van vs. Riea Von Slasher fort he women's title and Ethan HD vs. Vinny Massaro vs. Titus Alexander.  You must be overt the age of 16 to attend and it's standing room only tickets available.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Terry Funk wins NWA World title

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