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Daily Update: Hall of Fame notes, Elimination Chamber in Saudi Arabia, NOAH and COVID

Notes on the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, Elimination Chamber being held in Saudi Arabia, wrestlers off NOAH show due to COVID protocols.

Daily Update

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This Week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter: January 17, 2022 Observer Newsletter: 2021 Observer Hall of Fame issue, MLW sues WWE

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FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE

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Garrett Gonzalez and I will be talking about the Observer Hall of Fame voting and the latest news for Wrestling Observer Radio later today. Bryan and I will be talking about UFC and the weekend wrestling shows tomorrow night.

The Hall of Fame issue of the Observer, one of the biggest of the year, is now out. We have a huge story on the balloting, including how many votes everyone got this year and last, all the first ballot Hall of Famers in history, the highest voting percentages in history, as well as how the candidates did with historians, reporters, wrestlers and retired wrestlers and industry professionals. We also have the most detailed look at the MLW lawsuit against WWE against WWE. We also look at the plans for WrestleMania and how they have changed, New Japan vs. NOAH, lots of AEW contract updates, the most four-star matches in 2021 and of all-time, a feature on Shozo "Strong" Kobayashi, one of the biggest stars in Japan of the 70s, Is there a WWE succession plan, injury updates and ticket sales.

The 2/19 PPV from Saudi Arabia will be the Elimination Chamber. They have been batting around ideas regarding changing the name. Elimination Chamber and Saudi Arabia kind of opens things up to potential ridicule and at one point today the plan was to call the match WrestleMania Chamber. At this point the name is "The Annual Elimination Chamber."

Pro Wrestling NOAH announced Kaito Kiyomiya, Yoshinari Ogawa, Junta Miyawaki, Yoshiki Inamura, Kinya Okada, Yasutaka Yano, Super Crazy, Tadasuke, Daiki Inaba and Masato Tanaka are off Sunday's show in Sendai. The reasons are either having tested positive or being in close contact with someone who did. Kiyomiya said that he tested positive. Tanaka didn't test positive but was feeling very sick. The Sunday show airs on Wrestle Universe at 1 a.m. Eastern headlined by Katsuhiko Nakajima defending the GHC title against Masa Kitamiya

Smackdown tonight is from Omaha. They have better ticket sales than most shows in recent weeks. Announced is Sami Zayn doing his own stunt show to prove he can do things better than Johnny Knoxville. There will be a Seth Rollins-Roman Reigns face-to-face. Aliyah returns to face Natalya. Lita also returns to television on tonight's show.

AEW Rampage tonight has Adam Cole vs. Trent Barreta, Andrew Everett vs . Shawn Spears, Leyla Hirsch & Red Velvet & Kris Statlander vs Penelope Ford & The Bunny & Nyla Rose, and Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy defend the tag titles against John Silver & Alex Reynolds. We were told this was great, better than anything on Dynamite.

The state of Yucatan in Mexico announced new restrictions including no massive public events until 2/15. Not sure what that means for the 1/30 tapings in Merida which was to feature FTR defending the AAA tag titles against somebody. It was originally Penta & Fenix but Fenix is injured. The local promoters has said they've been told they can still run the show saying the restrictions don't apply to pro sports events. Penta tabbed it as 99 percent that Fenix won't be able to wrestle by 1/30. All those in attendance have to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test. A KDNA promotion show in Monterrey tonight was canceled.(thanks to TheCubsFan)

We're looking for reports this weekend from tonight's Smackdown tapings in Omaha, tomorrow's show in Fargo, ND and Sunday in Sioux Falls,SD to dave@wrestlingobserver.com

Demonic Flamita in his social media indicated he tested positive for COVID.

WWE

  • WWE will open Raw on Monday with a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. set to John Legend's "Never Break."
  • Shayna Baszler returns home to Sioux Falls, SD for a WWE house show on Sunday. (thanks to Mike Kuzmuk)

UFC

  • Clay Guida vs. Claudio Puelles is earmarked for a 4/23 date.
  • Jack Della Maddalena vs. Pete Rodriguez has been added to the 1/22 show.
  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Jared Vanderaa is set for 2/12 in Houston

OTHER NOTES

  • Kevin Eck's weekly look at the ROH news.
  • The Houston Chronicle has a story on independent wrestler Ninja Mack.
  • A story on J Robinson, the famed University of Minnesota wrestling coach who had Brock Lesnar, Shelton Benjamin and others on his teams over the years. He was also a college roommate of future pro wrestling star Gerald Brisco.
  • ISPW tonight in Totowa, NJ at the Totowa PAL with Danny Morrison, managed by Maven, against Bull James, plus Jimmy Hart, Matt Sydal, Crowbar, LSG and Cheeseburger appear.
  • IWA from Saturday night at the Sawtell, Australia RSL Club: Donnie Mako b Kai Drake, Party Juan b Jude London, Kingsley b Jessica Troy, Tree Hugger Luchi & Sam Osborne & Will Kiedis b Larry Kelly & Matt Call way & Phil Woods in an elimination match (thanks to Kirk Beat tie)
  • NFC on Saturday at 7 p.m. at The District in Atlanta with Shamel Findley vs. Romondo Scott.
  • Biff Busick, the former Oney Lorcan, returns to Beyond Wrestling on 2/4 at Fete Music in Providence, RI.
  • Matt Cardona appears for AIW Wrestling on 2/11 at the Odeon Concert Club in Cleveland, OH.
  • West Coast Pro streams live tonight on IWTV at 10 p.m. Eastern from South San Francisco:
    • Homicide vs. Jacob Fatu
    • Nicole Savoy vs. Masha Slamovich
    • Mike Bailey vs. Aramis vs. Rey Horus
    • Davey Richards vs.;Kevin Blackwood
    • AJ Gray vs. Juicy Finau
    • Bryan Keith vs. Vinnie Massaro
    • Titus Alexander vs. Adrian Quest vs. Kenny King vs. TJP