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Daily Update: Harley Race, Defiant, WWE cancels house shows


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F4W NEWSLETTER: Raw Reunion and WWE nostalgia

Joseph Currier looks at the successes and failures of WWE's latest nostalgia episode.

WWE went back to the nostalgia well for last week's Raw Reunion episode.

The show featured dozens of returns and was capped off by Steve Austin, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan all making appearances. Austin led a toast to Monday Night Raw to close the episode, with all of the returning wrestlers coming out and taking part in what was genuinely a sincere moment. Austin didn't give out stunners to anyone. There was no one to come crash the segment. He spoke about all of the returners being a family, and it was intended to be a real celebration for all of them.

Raw Reunion also included an increasingly rare appearance by John Cena, D-Generation X, Kevin Nash & Scott Hall saved Seth Rollins from AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Bray Wyatt attacked Mick Foley and put him in the Mandible Claw, and there were nine 24/7 title changes. R-Truth started and ended the night as 24/7 Champion, with Drake Maverick (twice), Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, Kelly Kelly, Candice Michelle, Madusa, and Ted DiBiase holding the title between Truth's reigns.

WON NEWSLETTER: August 5, 2019 Observer Newsletter: WWE financials breakdown, AEW TV taping details, more

The new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has details on WWE's second quarter financials. Financially, things look great. But product popularity continues to fall, slowly but steadily.

We cover how WWE was able to beat most projections and bring in higher profits in the second quarter, even with most key metrics showing declines. 

We discuss how the company's finances look going forward, as well as two big television deals on the horizon. 

We also have news on what could end up being the most important pro wrestling show of the year, AEW's TV debut. We break down the two key busiess aspects to the story, and discuss what those in the TV industry expect in terms of ratings for the show. 

We cover Jerry Lawler's lawsuit against Hardeman County, TN regarding the death of son Brian one year ago.

The new issue also covers C.M. Punk and the rumor mill that seems to follow him everywhere. We talk about the reaction to his discussion of AEW in a recent interview, as well as those who say they expect him to go back to WWE. 

We also have the latest on the SummerSlam card, and how the show is doing on the secondary ticket market. We also cover how the other WWE shows in Toronto that week are doing in terms of ticket sales. 

We have coverage of UFC 240 from this past weekend, and have business notes on nthe show, and also detailed television ratings for the prelims. 

There's also a run down of the ratings of all the major TV shows, along with detailed demo info for the WWE shows and results of all the major pro wrestling events around the world over 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 or by going to directing funds to

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If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order to P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228, you can get $1 off in every price range.

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Garrett Gonzalez and I will be doing a show tomorrow night on Harley Race. There is so much to say about him. The NWA did a nice video of Nick Aldis talking about him and I'm sure there will be many others.  Race epitomized blue collar pro wrestling, just a tough guy who did believable interviews and was a master performer inside the ring.  An ironic part about Race is some modern fans who hear old-timers complain about using too many finishers and them not being finishes, nobody did that move than Race.  It was always funny that he'd use every finishing of the 70s even in his TV squash matches, including piledrivers, and then job guy would kick out of all of them until he'd win with his delayed vertical suplex.  A few people grumbled about it then, but not many.  And in title matches, he did it even more.  He was exceptional at the art of beating someone while elevating them at the same time.  When he'd face the upcoming athletic young babyface as champion, he'd win at the end, but give them so much offense against the world champion that people left with the idea that in a few years that guy was going to be something.  When Don Muraco first came to Florida in 1974, I can recall he and Race having a classic where Muraco came within a hair of beating Race, who was not the world champion at the time, but as a former champion and perennial top contender, was protected in booking and it was matches with Race and Jack Brisco that made Muraco into a babyface people thought would be world champion some day.  You can now substitute Muraco with literally every top young wrestler of that era and the story was identical.

The Washington Post did a story on Race. (thanks to Christopher Cruise)

 No matter how it goes, the on-sale for the AEW show in Washington, DC tomorrow on 10/2, the first TNT live show, will be a major news story.  All Out will establish the path to the women's championship and the title will be decided on the first show.  It will be similar to how the men's title match was created coming out of Double or Nothing.

Donald Trump's sons are expected to be at ringside supporting Colby Covington in his fight with Robbie Lawler on Saturday in  Newark, NJ on ESPN.

The former What Culture promotion, later rebranded Defiant, announced today that it was folding. The promotion was unable to use the kind of talent it could in the past due to the independent star era drying up. 


  • WWE has canceled the entire Smackdown tour this coming weekend.  They had scheduled shows on  Saturday in Bowling Green,KY, Sunday in Danville, IL and Monday in Kalamazoo, MI.  Refunds are available at the point or purchase.  Can't say I thought I'd see a day where entire tours are canceled at the last minute.
  • Dave Heath aka Gangrel was among the guest teachers this week at the Performance Center.
  • Sami Zayn and Rene Young will be part of the Sam Jam Comedy House in Toronto on 8/9 at 8 p.m.  It will be a fund raiser for SamiForSyria, Zayn's charity that helps provide medical care for Syrian refugees.  You can also donate to  Tickets are $15 in advance at
  • Finn Balor was on FS 1 doing an interview during the MLS All-Star game in Orlando.  He noted that Orlando City manager and manager of one of the All-Star teams James O'Connor was his next door neighbor growing up in Ireland.  (thanks to Brian Henke) 


  • David Branch is off the 9/14 show  in Vancouver, BC.  Andrew Sanchez, who was Branch's scheduled opponent, will now face Marvin Vettori. 
  • Also added to the Vancouver show is Brad Katona vs. Hunter Azure and Michel Pereira vs Sergey Khandozhko. 


  • There is an incredible amount of media publicity in Mexico City right now for Cain Velasquez's pro wrestling debut on Saturday night's TripleMania show.
  • Crowbar Press is releasing what looks to be a major historical book in English called "The Rikidozan Years."Japanese historians Koji Miyamoto and Haruo Yamaguchi put this book together with Scott Teal, with more than 300 photos and coverage of 978 different live events.  Rikidozan was the single most important and influential pro wrestler of the 20th century, bar none,and that includes Santo (who was more beloved and a bigger cultural figure, but not as influential).  For more info go to
  • Dwayne Johnson's movie Hobbs & Shaw will debut tomorrow night.
  • Regarding the stuff on the blackboard in the background on yesterday's Road To show, the Harrington dress code was about Chris Harrington, the Vice President of Business Strategy and his wearing a hat with his suit at the live events.  Chad Glenn is the company's Director of Finance.  They were just inside jokes. 
  • Referee Bryce Remsberg has signed a contract with AEW to both referee and work in the office. 
  • Innovate Wrestling on 8/10 in Kingsport, TN at the Civic Auditorium.
  • New England Championship Wrestling on 8/10 in Randolph,MA the Intergenerational Community Center with Tony Atlas.
  • A correction from earlier this week, the 8/10 combined Smash, Shimmer, Rise and Femmes Fatales show in Toronto that we listed for a Noon start will actually be starting at 11 a.m.  There will also be a 9 a.m. meet and greet with Bull Nakano.
  • NPC on Saturday night at Center Stage in Atlanta for an MMA show.  There are less than 100 tickets left for the show.  NPC is going  for its tenth straight Center Stage sellout.
  • I Believe in Wrestling tomorrow night at Team Vision Dojo in Orlando.
  • Shine on 8/24 in Livonia, MI has Allysin Kay vs. Ivelisse vs Mercedes Martinez for the Shine title, plus Gabby Gilbert & Luscious Latasha vs. Ashley Vox & Delmi Exo and Nova champion Shotzi Blackheart vs. Natalia Markova.  It will be the first part of a doubleheader with Evolve.
  • Pro Wrestling Revolution brings in El Hijo del Santo for a 10/5 show in San Francisco.
  • Combate Americas will create its first lightweight champion on a 9/20 show in Mexicali, BC live on Univision with Rafa Garcia (10-0) vs. Erick Gonzalez (10-3).  Garcia is a protege of Cub Swanson.
  • There is a pro wrestling-related musical coming out called "Rockquiem for a Wrestler" which is about the life of Ivan Koloff.  It's expected to debut at the Triad Theater in the spring.  There will be a short documentary released on the Philip Paul Kelly You Tube page tomorrow at Noon Eastern time regarding this. (thanks to Mike Kuzmuk)
  •  MLW announced the signing of Douglas James. He is a pro wrestler with a background in Jiu Jitsu under Eddie Bravo and MMA and has been a regular in California for a few years.  He debuts on he 9/7 show in Dallas at the NYTEX Sports Center..
  • LFA on 8/30 in Riverside, CA on AXS from the Municipal Auditorium has a show headlined by Jared Vanderaa (9-3) vs. Renan Ferreira (5-2).
  • Championship Wrestling from Arkansas on 10/12 in Hot Springs, AR at the Convention Center headlined by Buff Bagwell vs. Matt Riviera and Elijah Burke vs. Barrett Brown.  Bob Orton Jr. will be appearing at the show as well.
  • Eric Arndt, the former Enzo Amore, said he will do his first match since being fired by WWE on 8/16 for Northeast Wrestling in Poughkeepsie, NY on the show headlined by Jon Moxley vs. Pentagon Jr.
  • Nikki Bella back in the news at (thanks to Barry Werner)
  • Alex Marvez talked to AEW's website about growing up as a pro wrestling fan, doing a newsletter, writing a wrestling column and covering the NFL
  • Dustin Rhodes on Challenge Mania talks about going into acting, AEW, the match with Cody, the impact Goldust had on wrestling and him as a performer, where wrestlers should be in the Screen Actors Guild, dream opponents in AEW and more.
  • A story on the new autobiography by Dylan Postl, the former Hornswoggle can be found here.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Harley Race wins NWA United National Title