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Daily Update: Japan, Steve McMichael, MMA weigh-ins

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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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FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE

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Garrett Gonzalez and I will be back tonight talking the news of the week and previewing this weekend's shows and we will also be doing shows Saturday night after UFC, Sunday after Impact and Monday after Raw.  You can send email questions to the show to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

Shows from now through 5/11 in Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto have been canceled due to the government declaring a state of emergency in those cities due to rising COVID rates. The NOAH show in Yokohama, a suburb of Tokyo, is still on for tomorrow.  All Japan will be running its scheduled shows on Sunday, next Thursday and 5/3 at Korakuen Hall but they will be empty arena shows.

 In a surprise, after the great showing by Robert Whittaker last Saturday, UFC seems to be leaning toward Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori to headline the 6/12 PPV show.

Smackdown tonight on FOX. They have announced that 205 Live tonight has Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari vs. The Singh Brothers and Ashante Adonis vs. August Gray.

New Japan Strong tonight has the finals of the tournament for the New Japan Strong title with Tom Lawlor vs. Brody King at 10 p.m. Eastern on New Japan World. Also on the show is Rocky Romero vs. Wheeler Yuta and TJP & Clark Connors vs. Chris Dickinson & JR Kratos.

ESPN 2 has the opening of the PFL season tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern.  It also airs in Spanish on ESPN Deportes. All matches are first round matches in the featherweight and lightweight tournament:

  • Lance Palmer (145.4) vs. Bubba Jenkins (146)
  • Movlid Khaybulaev (145.5) vs. Lazar Stojadinovic (145.8)
  • Natan Schulte (156) vs. Marcin Held (155.8)
  • Anthony Pettis (156) vs Clay Collard (154.6)

LFA live tonight on UFC Fight Pass from Shawnee, OK at 9 p.m. Eastern:

  • Zac Pauga (205.6) vs. Logan Nail (205.8)
  • Tabatha Ricci (116) vs. Shawns Ormsby (116)
  • Mark Martin (171) vs. Renato Valente (172.8) - Valente missed weight and had to pay a penalty to Martin
  • Bruce Souto (203.4) vs. Cristian Torres (207.6) - Torres had to pay a penalty to Souto for missing weight
  • Jake Childers (145.8) vs. Canaan Kawalhae (144)
  • Piera Rodriguez (114.8) vs. Svetlana Gotsyk (114.8) for the vacant strawweight title

A story on Bruno Sammartino being honored today by a park in Ross Township being named after him and his family being there for the changing of the name. (thanks to Mike Kuzmuk)

Very sad to read about the condition of Steve McMichael, the former Chicago Bears star who later announced and wrestled for WCW and is now battling ALS. It's such a horrible disease. Best wishes to him and his family because they've got a tough fight ahead of them. McMichael has maintained his sense of humor in these very adverse circumstances.

For this week we will be doing polls on tomorrow's UFC show and Sunday's Impact Rebellion PPV show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to dave@wrestlingobserver.com

UFC PPV tomorrow lineup and weights in one of the deepest shows in a long time. The top four matches in particular are all big:

ESPN+ at 5:30 p.m.

  • Liang Na (116) vs. Ariane Carnelossi (115)
  • Aori Qileng (126) vs. Jeffrey Molina (126)
  • Kazula Vargas (155) vs. Rong Zhu (156)
  • Danaa Batgerel (136) vs. Kevin Natividad (135.5)

ESPN at 8 p.m.

  • Pat Sabatini (146) vs. Tristan Connelly (146)
  • Karl Roberson (185) vs Brendan Allen (186)
  • Dwight Grant (170) vs. Stefan Sekulic (171)
  • Alex Oliveira (171) vs. Randy Brown (171)

ESPN+ PPV at 10 p.m.

  • Anthony Smith (206) vs. Jim Crute (205.5)
  • Uriah Hall (185) vs. Chris Weidman (186)
  • Valentina Shevchenko (124.5) vs. Jessica Andrade (124.5) for flyweight title
  • Zhang Weili (114.5) vs. Rose Namajunas (114.5) for strawweight ttle
  • Kamaru Usman (169.5) vs. Jorge Masvidal (170) for welterweight title

Bianca Belair vs. Bayley was officially announced for the 5/16 WrestleMania Backlash PPV with the Smackdown women's title at stake.

There will be a Hana Kimura Memorial show on 5/23 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The show will be available to watch live all over the world although the carrier was not announced. But it's an 11:30 a.m. start in Japan meaning it will start at 10:30 p.m. on 5/22 Eastern time.

WWE

  • Reader Chris Cassidy noted that even though the Drew McIntyre autobiography isn't scheduled to be out until 5/4, he saw a copy at his Barnes & Noble store in Burlington, MA so it's likely in many stores.

OTHER NOTES

  • Kevin Eck's weekly ROH news wrap-up .
  • A crazy story on former 80s star Misty Blue Simms. (thanks to Greg Beitel)
  • A story on Viktor of The Ascension tag team and what went wrong in WWE.
  • IWA from Saturday in Sydney, Australia:  Randal the Masked Kamikaze b Head Hunter Rig, Charli Evans b Jessica Troy in a submission match, Sam Osborne b Robbie Zucco, Mehmet the Turkish Delight b Sam Osborne, Jimmy Townsend & Dazza b Will Kiedis & Brad Alexander, Tree Hugger Luchi b Apollo the Alpha Male, Jackson Kelly b Chris Abbot to win the IWA title that Abbott had held for more than 900 days (thanks to Kirk Beattie)
  • Glory Pro Wrestling from Saturday in St. Louis:  Deacon Cash b Stephan Newton, Allie Kat b Hyan, Moses &  Raim de la Suede b Chris Hendriz & ATM, Manders b Xavier Walker, Arik Cannon b Warhorse, Paco Gonzalez b Mat Fitchett, Jake Something b Myron Reed (thanks to Patrick Brandmeyer)
  • The PFL announced deals with BILD in Germany and RMC Sport in France/Belgium, with both networks carrying all events this season starting with tonight's show.
  • KSW airs at 2 p.m. Eastern tomorrow on KSWTV.com. The main event has heavyweight champion Phil De Fries (264) vs. Tomasz Narkun (224), plus lightweight champion Marian Ziokowski (155) vs. Maciej Kazieczko (155).
  • MLW has put tickets on sale for its 7/10 show in Philadelphia at the 2300 Arena at www.MLW2300.com.  Announced for the show are Jacob Fatu, Ross & Marshall Von Erich, Alex Hammerstone, Mil Muertes, Tom Lawlor, Myron Reed, Josef Samael, Mads Krugger, Alicia Atout, Calvin Tankman, Richard Holliday, Ikuro Kwon, Myron Reed, Gino Medina and Konnan.
  • AAW tomorrow night at 6:05 p.m. Eastern time will be on Twitch live from Villa Park, IL,.  There are tickets available or the show. Matches announced are: Ace Perry vs. Jake Lander Matt Justice vs. Fred Yehi Schaff vs.  Davey Vega Mat Fitchett vs. Thomas Shire Hyan vs. Skye Blue 2/3 falls Myron Reed vs. Brayden Lee for the Heritage title

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Mr. Perfect wins WWF Intercontinental title

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