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Daily Update: Impact Homecoming, NWA pop-up notes, Woodley/Usman

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F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly: WWE's biggest news stories of 2018

2018 was an especially mixed year for WWE. It's been an incredible year for WWE financially -- even if that hasn't always been mirrored by traditional metrics. They agreed to two transformative TV deals that will shape the company for years to come. WWE also reached a lucrative 10-year deal with the Saudi General Sports Authority, with the first two shows in Saudi Arabia being among the most controversial in the history of the promotion.

WON NEWSLETTER (ONLINE ONLY): January 7, 2019 Observer Newsletter special: History of the Tokyo Dome - NO HARDCOPY AVAILABLE

When the Tokyo Dome opened on March 17, 1988, the idea of pro wrestling there wasn’t even an idea.

The Dome was built to be the new modern home of two baseball teams, the Yomiuri Giants of the Central League, the team of Shigeo Nagashima and Sadaharu Oh years earlier, the unofficial national team that had all its games on NTV, and sold out every game. The Dome held 48,316 fans for baseball, but for years, every single Giants game announced the attendance as 56,000. The other team, the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Pacific League, which played there through the 2003 season, were the ones that the average person could get tickets to see.

The idea was baseball and concerts, the Rolling Stones (who have 19 Tokyo Dome sellouts), Michael Jackson (who sold 405,000 tickets for nine dates in December 1988), U2, Madonna and Japanese artists. But while it has housed numerous sporting events, including NFL and Major League Baseball, with the exception of baseball and concerts, it’s probably best known for pro wrestling.

Pro wrestling was still huge on television back then. All Japan, headed by Giant Baba, was a fixture on Nippon TV, one of the major networks. New Japan, on TV-Asahi, had matches airing in prime time. 

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SUNDAY NEWS UPDATE

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(By Bryan Rose and Joseph Currier)

WWE

Pro Wrestling

  • Impact’s Homecoming event takes place tonight, returning to the Asylum in Nashville, Tennessee. Here is the card: Johnny Impact vs. Brian Cage for the Impact World title Tessa Blanchard vs. Taya Valkyrie for the Knockouts title LAX vs. Fenix and Pentagon for the Impact tag team titles Jake Crist vs. Ethan Page vs. Rich Swann vs. Trey for the X Division title Eddie Edwards vs. Moose in a falls count anywhere match Sami Callihan vs. Willie Mack Eli Drake vs. Abyss in a Monster’s Ball match Allie & Su Yung vs. Kiera Hogan & Jordynne Grace
  • NJPW’s post-Wrestle Kingdom press conference will stream on New Japan World for free at 10 p.m. Eastern time time tonight. It should include news for Fantastica Mania and New Beginning shows.
  • Lisa Marie Varon, better known as Victoria in WWE, announced on social media this afternoon that 2019 would be her last year wrestling, saying that a new adventure is to come.
  • TMZ Sports has footage of the David Arquette/Jocephus hair match from last night’s NWA pop-up event.
  • The War Kings (Crimson & Jax Dane) defeated Jay Bradley & Caleb Konley at the NW pop-up event to become the first team to qualify for the Crockett Cup, which is taking place in Concord, North Carolina on April 27.
  • Naomichi Marufuji will return to NOAH on their February 2 card. He has been out since November with a shoulder injury.

UFC/MMA

  • After Kamaru Usman said earlier this week that the fight between him and Tyron Woodley is a done deal for UFC 235, Ariel Helwani is now saying the same. Woodley in the past has said that he wants to face former interim champion Colby Covington.
  • Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is looking to challenge Anthony Pettis, who has recently expressed interest in moving up to welterweight.
  • A recent report from MMA Weekly says that Brock Lesnar has yet to pay a $250,000 fine from NSAC for a failed drug test back in 2016 in his fight against Mark Hunt.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Larry Hennig & Harley Race win AWA Tag Team titles

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