THE LATEST NEWS
- WWE Raw ratings bounce back big with football season over
- Sienna hospitalized during latest set of Impact TV tapings
- Dana White: Tony Ferguson-Khabib Nurmagomedov is a go for Brooklyn's UFC 223
- WWE SmackDown video highlights: Bobby Roode wins US title
- Trish Stratus announced for WWE Raw 25
- WWE 205 Live results: Goldust takes on The Zo Train
- New United States Champion crowned on WWE SmackDown
- WWE Mixed Match Challenge live results: The series premiere
- WWE SmackDown live results: US title tournament continues
THE LATEST AUDIO
- F4D: Smackdown, 2010 Royal Rumble, CHOPPIN BLOCK? 1/17
- JNPO: The History of UFC in Boston, part 1 1/17
- WOL: Mixed Match Challenge, Roode US Champion, Daniel Bryan, Jey Uso arrest, more! 1/17
- B&V&C: Retro Raw and Nitro from 19 years ago this week! 1/16
While it's hard to predict whether someone will or won't have success on the main roster, the class that's scheduled to report to the WWE Performance Center this week includes some potentially game-changing talent. Ricochet, Candice LeRae, War Machine (Ray Rowe & Hanson), Kavita Devi, Kacy Catanzaro, Rinku Singh, Shadia Bseiso, Nasser Alruwayeh, Nicolai Salchow, and Saurav Gurjar have been reported as the latest names to sign with WWE.
It’s a double issue week, packed with more major news than any issue in a long time, including notes on the top two matches at WrestleMania, the Hall of Fame main eventer, updates on several major contract issues and a lot of notes on what will be the two biggest stories of the year, the UFC and WWE television negotiations.
There is extensive coverage of New Japan's Tokyo Dome show including all the business notes, how New Japan World is doing and the cycle of subscribers, the value of Jericho vs. Omega to New Japan, attendance notes, what was unique on the show, Jericho going forward in New Japan, all the angles going forward, what's next for Kenny Omega, what's next for Kazuchika Okada, questions on the booking, who were the most popular people on the show, long and short-term angles coming off New Year's Dash, and a look at New Japan's big shows through August.
Look at the next eight live shows on New Japan World, plus full Tokyo Dome and New Year's Dash rundowns with match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results on the shows.
Updated plans for the Royal Rumble, including the makeup of the women's match, demand for tickets for Rumble and Mania week and a record to be set on the show.
Notes on WWE & UFC and how the changing landscape of television affects both companies as they go into their most important negotiations for many years, are in this issue.
There is a feature on John McCarthy stepping away from officiating, with a background of his start in UFC, his role in the growth and changes of the sport and his new role as an announcer.
Look at NJPW vs. WWE matches taking place in the U.K., as well as the story of the first and only time the WWF champion and IWGP champion wrestled each other at the Fukuoka Dome and the politics that allowed it to happen.
Read about WWE injuries, the Mixed Match Challenge, WWE Hall of Fame 2018, NXT Takeover notes, more on Miz's new TV show and the challenges it faces, Ronda Rousey and Bryan Danielson.
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 Dave Meltzer, or by using PayPal directing funds to Dave@WrestlingObserver.com.
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If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can choose one free classic issue, or two free classic issues with a 40-issue subscription.
For a year that, with the exception of the success of the WWF, was hardly a banner year for the business, there is actually no shortage of candidates for Wrestler of the Year. The Observer awards balloting results will be announced here in two weeks, but before hand, I wanted to run down a list of the top qualifiers with my own comments on them.
WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE
- Finn Balor & Sasha Banks defeated Shinsuke Nakamura & Natalya on last night’s premiere of Mixed Match Challenge. Their next match will be in week seven of the tournament. The Miz & Asuka vs. Big E & Carmella is set for next Tuesday, with the winning team advancing to face Balor & Banks.
- The first episode of Mixed Match Challenge currently has 1.2 million views on Facebook. It peaked at over 100,000 viewers for the live show.
- During last night’s tapings, there was a “KFC Colonel Rumble” match for the live crowd. AJ Styles won by eliminating Rusev with a Stone Cold Stunner, with Rusev doing a dramatic sell as he went over the top rope. Footage will likely appear in the next WWE KFC commercial.
- Matt Hardy told IGN that there will “100 percent” be a Final Deletion-style match in WWE. He asked fans to be patient about adding other characters to the “Woken Universe” and said his character has to be established for a bit first.
- The Mirror interviewed Shawn Michaels about Raw’s 25th anniversary and having wrestled on the first episode of the show.
- Stephanie McMahon spoke to AdWeek about Raw’s enduring success.
- WWE has a photoshoot of Ricochet, Candice LeRae, and War Machine from their first day at the Performance Center.
- Former WWE wrestler Eva Marie wrote an essay for InStyle about her alcoholism and currently being sober for five years.
- Rusev & Aiden English vs. The Ascension is scheduled for SmackDown next week.
- Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn appeared together on today’s episode of Talk is Jericho.
- Jim Johnston did his first post-WWE interview on Sean Mooney’s podcast.
- Kenny Omega has been added to NJPW’s four-show tour of Australia in February. Jay White and Henare have also been announced.
- After some other wrestlers asked fans to keep him in their thoughts, Fred “Tugboat” Ottman said that he’s feeling better but not out of the woods yet. Ottman said he’s dealing with an infection in his left leg.
- ESPN.com has a story about Cody and Brandi Rhodes finding success outside of WWE.
- The Charlotte Observer has an article about MLW podcast host Conrad Thompson getting engaged to Ric Flair’s daughter Megan.
- Impact Wrestling’s 24/7 Twitch channel is now up and running.
- CZW announced that Joey Ryan will be wrestling for them on April 7th during WrestleMania weekend in New Orleans.
- Daisuke Sekimoto & Munenori Sawa vs. WALTER & Timothy Thatcher is set for EVOLVE’s show in New Orleans on April 5th.
- Tom Lawlor vs. MVP, Matt Riddle vs. Jeff Cobb, Jimmy Havoc vs. MJF, and Shane Strickland vs. Brody King will be the first round matches for MLW’s World title tournament. They’ll take place in Orlando on February 8th.
- Here’s a note from Paul Fontaine on last weekend’s UFC ratings: “Saturday's UFC show on FS1, which was heavily promoted during the FOX NFL games, did the promotion's best ratings on FS1 since February 2016. The four fight main card averaged 1.285 million viewers while the prelims, which featured no big names, did an average of 1.079 million. Those numbers were up 18 percent and 25 percent over the show on the same weekend last year. This would likely be due to the star power of Paige VanZant, who was the only fighter on the card with a history of being a TV ratings draw. The last time she was in a co-main event position on a TV card was a FOX show in December 2016 that did 3.178 million viewers.”
- The UFC has uploaded the third episode of Embedded for Saturday’s PPV.
- MMA Fighting noted that a Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk rematch is being discussed for UFC 223 but hasn’t been finalized yet.
- Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje is being targeted by the UFC for either April or May.
- Ilir Latifi won’t be fighting Ovince Saint Preux at UFC on FOX 27 later this month due to suffering an injury.
- Chael Sonnen said that he got into a near-altercation with Chuck Liddell backstage at the Rich Eisen Show during the media tour for Bellator 192.
- Rory MacDonald said he was shocked and disappointed about Sonnen vs. Rampage Jackson being the main event of Bellator 192 instead of his welterweight title fight against Douglas Lima.
Today in Professional Wrestling History: Vader wins IWGP Heavyweight title
Here we go again! It's back to New Orleans for Wrestlemania 34 and a huge weekend of spectacular professional wrestling related fun and wackiness. EdinSanAntonio Productions along with the Wrestling Observer / Figure Four Empire~! is proud to present the annual Wrestlemania weekend trip details. This huge weekend includes a number of website "members only" events. Below are the two events currently scheduled. Click here for full event details.
WOR Podcast Taping:Purchase TICKETS for the Wrestling Observer Radio LIVE MAILBAG~!
- WHAT: Wrestling Observer Radio LIVE Podcast Recording with Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez
- WHEN: Friday, April 6th, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (Doors open at 8:45 a.m. for VIP ticket holders and at 9:15 a.m. for general admission)
- WHERE: The Bourbon Room, Royal St. Charles Hotel in downtown New Orleans; 135 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130
WO/F4W Brunch:Purchase TICKETS for the Wrestling Oberver BRUNCH~!
- WHAT: All you care to eat brunch buffet on the morning of Wrestlemania
- WHEN: Sunday, April 8th, 2018 - T11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
- WHERE: The Court of Two Sisters restaurant in downtown New Orleans; 613 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130
- Poll opinions: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Feedback: email@example.com
- Show results and news tips: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wrestling Observer Radio questions: email@example.com