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Daily Update: Impact Rebellion, UFC 261 fallout, Chris Weidman


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WON NEWSLETTER: April 26, 2021 Observer Newsletter: WWE financials, Ben Askren vs. Jake Paul

We have a loaded issue of the Wrestling Observer this week, with business and history features.

We update WWE financials, with comments from Nick Khan, Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Kristina Salen talking about the state of the company, the state of sports business, what media companies are looking at right now, AEW, plus a look at WWE revenue and profits.  We also look behind the numbers at what they mean, how every category is doing and what categories the company is no longer reporting on.  We also look at the decline of WWE ratings as compared to that of cable television  and network television.

Also in this issue:

The new attempt at a unique concept PPV with the Triller promotion and Ben Askren vs. Jake Paul, the show, the match, the blitzed announcers, Ric Flair, comparisons to other similar things and long-term sustainability.

Kenny Omega vs Rich Swann match,  followed by a story on famous title unification matches throughout pro wrestling history. We look at some of the biggest and most important matches of all-time that were two champions unifying a world title from 1920 to the present.

WrestleMania business numbers when it came to the two live shows, with real attendance, real gates and what it means.

New Smackdown announcing team, Pat McAfee talks his debut, Daniel Bryan talks his current situation and contract, thoughts on Daniel Bryan's future, new hires and departures at WWE, change in show distribution, former star talks coming out of retirement, how the WWE & AEW shows rank among sports programming, WWE star bio released, Damien Priest talks Bad Bunny, more on Kalisto being let go, Dr. Wagner Jr. talks WWE, political reason for a winning streak, and most-watched YouTube segments on his week's WWE programming.

A major feature on the career of Steve Austin and the A&E special, his background, how he got into wrestling, the WCW years, the Stone Cold name, life after wrestling, and what were key things not talked about on the documentary.

Mickie James garbage bag situation and the firing of Mark Carrano.

MLW's new television deal, who else was in talks about that deal, MLW returning to shows with fans and a spinoff planned.

Coverage of this past week's UFC show, business notes, where the top fighters are headed plus match-by-match coverage.

More detail on 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.

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Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Impact Rebellion and other wrestling news on Wrestling Observer Radio. We also have shows the past two nights, last night's show talking UFC, Lou Thesz and the latest wrestling news and a Friday show with Garrett Gonzalez.  

Dana White last night was asked about Jake Paul and didn't have bad things to say even though the UFC fan base seems to hate him. Well, most people do.  He said the guy has found a way to make money and wishes him luck on the ride, but White said that the kind of stuff he does is not what they do.  Last night's show is what they do.  White also said that the Triller show last week did nowhere near the numbers people are reporting.  It did really well, but from what I've heard, nothing at the level reporting.  It was one of those events that did well, but there was huge general public interest in but it wasn't a thing that they would pay $50 to watch, as compared to say a Conor McGregor fight.  It's Google trends were more than double last night's UFC 261, but the PPV numbers will almost sure not be anything like that.  I would actually think last night beats it but it could go the other way.

There was a confrontation last night with Jake Paul and Daniel Cormier which I'm sure both will give their sides of in the next few days at. It started last week after the Ben Askren fight where Paul challenged Cormier and called him fat.  Cormier said “I’m not gonna punch down and fight a guy that’s on YouTube. It’s stupid,” Cormier said. “I’ve fought for world titles my whole life. Why would you start to punch down at a guy that’s trying to, I don’t even know. This dude would never fight me. I would kill him. It’s like, why would I ever fight someone like that? But my immediate reaction was, ‘I can’t stand this kid.’ So it works.”  Paul then said, “I’ll beat the f*** out of your fat ass, too.” During the show last night, the crowd continually chanted "F*** Jake Paul, which he egged on. It was bad because they even did it when Chris Weidman was being carried out on a stretcher. Cormier said to Joe Rogan, on the air, about Paul, "Don’t play with me,’ because I’ll smack him in the face. He’s right there. I’ll slap him. I don’t play those games, Joe.”

Then this happened at the show during a break between fights.

Jake Paul then wrote today: “Dana you claimed you would bet $1M on me losing. Set up Askren to train with Freddie Roach… gave him full access to the UFCPI.. and he still got his ass handed to him. Seems like you are the reach douche… not Ariel. In my 3rd fight I made more money in total pay than any fighter in UFC history. Maybe it’s time to pay your fighters their fair share? No wonder they all want to get into boxing,” Jake Paul wrote. “Dana you say you make the fights fans want to see… so hurry up and make Jones vs. N’gannou. Pay them their fair share… $10M purse for each guy, plus PPV. Why are UFC fighters so underpaid vs. boxers? Why did I make more in my 3rd fight than all but two (Khabib & Conor) UFC fighters have in history? I know why.”

Chris Weidman had surgery on his leg that snapped earlier this morning.  His wife Marivi wrote:

Well that was horrible. Freak things happen in life and plans get crushed. It’s been a lonnnggg day but so happy to finally see this man of mine post surgery. Everything went well thank you Lord! Very thankful for the medical staff, UFC family @danawhite @reedharrisufc #allieraimondo, our management team @vaynersports @sarahzemonek and our family and friends here rallying to help with the kids,” Marivi Weidman wrote. “My heart breaks for my husband because I know the work and dedication that he puts into his training everyday and the great man that he is, so I only want the best for him. While this absolutely sucks in the moment and for some weeks to come, we are completely overwhelmed by the love and support we have far and wide and are very aware how blessed we are. All of that overpowers the awfulness of this situation. We are blown away by our friends and family offering to hop on flights to come help us without hesitation. We are so grateful and love you all!! It’s been a crazy year so far but us Weidmans are a force and covered in Grace and Mercy everyday! We were reminded this year how precious each day is and I am so thankful to be spending another day on earth next to my love even if it’s in a hospital room far from home.

Impact Rebellion PPV tonight at 8 p.m:

  • Kenny Omega vs. Rich Swann for the AEW, Impact and TNA world titles in a unification match
  • Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson for the Impact tag titles
  • Matt Cardona vs. Brian Myers
  • Ace Austin vs. TJP vs. Josh Alexander for the X title
  • Deonna Purrazzo vs. Tenille Dashwood for the Impact Knockouts title
  • Sami Callihan vs. Trey Miguel last man standing
  • Rhino & Cody Deaner & Joe Doering & ? vs. Eddie Edwards & James Storm & Wilie Mack & Chris Sabin
  • Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz vs. Jordynne Grace & Rachael Ellering for the Knockouts tag team titles

Based on advanced orders as of yesterday, this was ahead of any Impact PPV show in a long time.

We're looking for your thoughts on last night's UFC show as well as tonight's Impact Rebellion, you can leave a thumbs up, down or middle, best and worst match for each show to

If you have ESPN+, I would highly recommend watching the Liang Na vs. Ariane Carnelossi and Jeff Molina vs. Aoriqileng fights. They were the first two fights of the prelims.  The women's fight that opened was back-and-forth almost like it was a top tier old UWFI/RINGS era top flight fight.  Molina vs Aoriqileng was good enough to be fight of the year.  It won't win because the names aren't big, but they did get the $50,000 bonus each for fight of the night, and considering the opener and Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal, it's not like there wasn't stiff competition.

The show did 3.3 million searches on Google, which would be about what you would expect. Daniel Cormier was No. 4 so far today.  Yesterday, UFC 261 was first.  Chris Weidman has 500,000 due to his ghastly leg break which was No. 2 and Rose Namajunas was No. 3.  Valentine Shevchenko was No. 5 at 200,000   Anthony Smith was No. 16.  On Friday, Steve McMichael was No. 9.  On Thursday, Loga Paul was No. 10 and Jorge Masvidal was No. 16.  On Wednesday, Ronda Rousey was No. 13 due to her pregnancy announcement.

A few more notes on last night's show. Dana White said Kamaru Usman would face Colby Covington in his next welterweight title defense. Nick Diaz was at the show and Dana White said that Diaz, 37, wants to fight again.  There were stories going around about Diaz vs. Khazmat Chimaev.  In the Dwight Grant vs. Stefan Sekulic split decision that we discussed on last night's show, Derek Cleary gave Grant only the first round.  Chris Lee and Howard Reichbach gave Grant the first two rounds and a 29-28 win.  Media scores were 68% for Sekulic.  The first two rounds were close enough that they could have gone either way, but this fight was the perfect example of the flaws in ten point must, because the overall winner of the fight as  whole was clearly Sekulic, but because of the nature of ten point must, you could give two rounds to Grant.

Reports are the reason the Tyson Fury vs.  Anthony Joshua fight is being made is that Saudi Arabia is paying the promoters $150 million or more to get them to bring them the heavyweight boxing title unification match.

Gary Cassidy reported Bill Morrisey, the former Big Cass, would be debuting on tonight's Impact show.

Raw tomorrow night has Drew McIntyre & Braun Strowman vs. T-Bar & Mace and a Bobby Lashley interview announced.

A&E tonight has the Roddy Piper episode of Biography at 8 p.m. and then the Paul Levesque & Stephanie McMahon search for WWE Hidden Treasures at 10 p.m.

New Japan runs Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall tomorrow at 5:30 a.m. Eastern for a live New Japan World show:

  • Minoru Suzuki & Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Sho & Yoh & Tiger Mask
  • Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi & Douki vs. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Jado
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Master Wato & Ryusuke Taguchi & Toru Yano vs. Evil & Dick Togo & Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi & Gedo
  • Will Ospreay & Jeff Cobb vs. Shingo Takagi & Bushi
  • Aaron Henare vs. Sanada
  • Tetsuya Naito vs. Great O'Khan


  • John Cone is back in his former position in Talent Relations.  The company had taken him out of the position on Thursday and then changed its mind and put him back on Friday.


  • has put odds at -500 for Daniel Cormier and +350 for Jake Paul if they were to do a boxing match.
  • Israel Adesanya is a -250 favorite over Marvin Vettori for their 6/12 fight.  Kamaru Usman is -300 for a potential fight with Colby Covington. 


  • Daga has vacated the AAA Latin American title.  The new champion is expected to be decided on the 5/1  Rey de Reyes show.
  • Pro Wrestling Phoenix from Thursday night in Omaha:  Purple b Pat Powers, Duke Cornell b Xander McIntosh, Mack Riggs b JD Parker, Seto Kobara & Tim Boston DCOR Lars Metzger & Johnny Ruckus, Joey Daniels b Nino Hatchet, Moonshine Russell b Branden Juarez, Omar Pachecco & Brett Bishop b Pat Powers & Con Artiest.  Next event is the company's 16th anniversary show on 5/20 at the Waiting Room Lounge in Omaha.
  • The top results from yesterday's KSW show in Lodz, Poland:
  • Phil DeFries (20-6) b Tomasz Narkun (1q-4) via TKO at 3:37 of the second round to keep the heavyweight title
  • Marian Ziolkowski (23-8-1) b Maciej Kazleczko (7-2) via choke at 4:24 of round two for the light heavyweight title
  • Marek Samociuk (3-1) b Izu Ugonch (1-1) via punches in :27 of round one
  • Patryk Kaczmarczyk (7-0) b Michal Sobiech (4-1) via straight 29-28 scores
  • Tom Lawlor vs. Marshall Von Erich headlines Wednesday's MLW Tv show.
  • Qatar Pro Wrestling announced a February 28, 2022 show in Doha at the Lausail Sports Arena and has announced Eric Bischoff, Bret Hart, Booker T, Mark Henry, Ron Simmons, The Godfather, D-Lo Brown, Will Ospreay, Sammy Guevara, Brian Cage, Cinta de Oro (formerly the second Sin Cara in WWE), EC 3, Jon Moxley and Hiroshi Tanahashi.
  • Paradigm Pro Wrestling with a UWFI rules tag tam mach with Tom Lawlor & Dominic Garrini vs. Matt Justice & Bobby Beverly airing on IWTV at 10 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday night.
  • CBS Sunday Morning did a cameo piece showing Ricky Morton, Torrie Wilson, and others on Cameo (thanks to Mike Lano)

Daily Pro Wrestling History: WWF Backlash 1999