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Daily Update: New Japan Cup, WWE notes, UFC fallout


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WON NEWSLETTER: June 22, 2020 Observer Newsletter: #SpeakingOut and the David Starr allegations, more

Coverage of an incredibly newsworthy week is the focus of this week's double-issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

We look at what could be the end of the career of David Starr, his significance in wrestling, the charges made about him by an ex-girlfriend, his response, the response fro companies he was headlining for and a discussion of the bigger picture story and business history on the subject.

The new issue also has:

Most recent COVID-19 case in the WWE, how plans changed for WWE taping, the schedule going forward, the company's policies on the subject of testing and fans how WWE's reaction compares to other companies, the politicizing of the COVID story in Orange County and how things could change this week.  We also look at how every other company is handling the situation, Kevin Owens not wrestling at next week's taping, a UFC fighter who just tested positive and a training partner pulled from this week's who had problems at the Orlando Airport that all the wrestlers that don't live in the area have to fly into.

More on the departure of Paul Heyman as the head of Raw. We look at Heyman's goals, USA Network's reaction, the previous difference between Raw and Smackdown, how Raw has already changed, how the booking this year on Raw had changed, how NXT looked different, as well as a look at how all the wrestling shows have done over the past month and actual drops both from late last year and from early this year in the COVID era.

Talent that was being featured that wasn't this week and why.

A feature on New Japan Pro Wrestling opening up, talking about the first shows, plus New Japan Cup coverage with match-by-match and star ratings, and where the tournament goes this week.

One of the most significant issues in MMA, weight cutting,and how another sport handles the situation.

A feature on the stockholders lawsuit against WWE regarding Saudi Arabia including two secret witnesses and what they have said about the television negotiations and what really happened after the October show when talent couldn't get out of the country.

Full coverage of Backlash, noting the Randy Orton vs. Edge match, match-by-match coverage with star ratings as well as poll results on the show.

More on the XFL's demise, a huge story regarding TV rights and how it relates to WWE & AEW when their deals are up, Evolve not running new shows, WWE and new touring shows, new TV series based on the life of a wrestling star, Sports ratings for the past week, Canadian ratings for the past week, most-watched shows on WWE Network and WWE's current market value.

Mustafa Ali talking the behavior of the police, replacement feud on Smackdown and why, Drew McIntyre talks current scene, the stalker returns to Performance Center, Randy Orton talks Tommaso Ciampa, Wade Barrett talks booking idea he was given, plus next week's TV stuff.

Coverage of this past week's UFC show.

A back of the book feature on Johnny "Mr. Wrestling II" Walker.  We've got his unbelievably long career title history, a look back at Georgia Wrestling in the 70s and 80s, his early days as Johnny Walker, how far masked wrestlers went to keep their identities secret, Jim Cornette talks the one time he saw him without his mask and working with him in Mid South, Les Thatcher talks their friendship clothes, the kneelift, the birth of the gimmick and it taking off, his famous match with Junkyard Dog in New Orleans, and his period as the No. 2 babyface in the 60s in an opposition promotion in New York.  We also look at his criminal record updated.

In-depth looks at the ratings of all the major shows, the key demos and quarters for AEW and WWE, what happened head-to-head and what can be learned from them.

Results of all the major pro wrestling events around the world over the past week. 

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I did weekend shows with Garrett Gonzalez and Bryan yesterday, the Gonzalez show is an in-depth look at the current situation and the systematic problem that is hardly just a pro wrestling issue but one in society in general.

Only one thing related to combat sports trended over the past week, which was Curtis Blaydes, who won last night's UFC main event, at No. 13 with 50,000 searches. That's well down from all the UFC shows since the return. Joe Rogan was the No. 6 search yesterday with 200,000 but it wasn't UFC related. Nothing from pro wrestling broke through to have any significant mainstream interest.

The New Japan Cup returns with four first round matches tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. Eastern live on New Japan World:

  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Kota Ibushi
  • Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Sanada
  • Sho vs. Shingo Takagi

On paper this should be the best show of the first round. Tanahashi never has a bad singles match. I'm beginning to think it's simply impossible for him to do so. Ibushi vs. Sabre is always excellent. Sho vs. Takagi is also almost always excellent.

There was some good natured fun with Sasha Banks, hearing about the quarter hour ratings where she and Bayley's match had more viewers than Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara vs. Best Friends on Wednesday, made a note about beating Le Sex Gods 757,000 to 705,000. Jericho joked back about how in the key demo, 18-49, they actually smoked them 374,00 to 264,000, and that's the number that really counts in television. Jericho and Orange Cassidy will face off in some sort of angle on Wednesday night's show.

While not all names have come out, the deaths in Mexican wrestling listed in the current Observer may be just the tip of the iceberg. El Fantasma, the head of the Box y Lucha commission and legit father of the NXT star, said that he knows of 30 deaths since the start of May and he believes 90 percent of them are related to COVID-19, although in most cases no causes of death were released to the public


  • Ric Flair will be on Raw tomorrow to anoint Randy Orton as the greatest wrestler of all-time.
  • The ESPYs are tonight. Titus O'Neil of WWE is up for the Muhammad Ali award for community service. WWE has pushed this but I think within wrestling O'Neil's work in the Tampa area has not gotten the coverage it deserves. It would be cool if he wins, but whether he does or not, his contributions during some very difficult times should be appreciated by everyone.
  • Jeff Jarrett, Dana Brooke, Ron Killings (R-Truth), The Usos, Wesley Blake, Jeff Hardy and others will be doing a Round Table Discussion tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.Eastern during Raw with a live stream to benefit the leukemia and lymphoma society.  Fans will be encouraged to donate during the stream.
  • An interview with Charlotte Flair.


  • The Josh Emmett vs Shane Burgos fight on last night's UFC show, won by Emmett via unanimous decision, was one of the best fights of the year. We discussed it last night,but Emmett injured his knee early and Burgos attacked the knee most of the way.  Emmett was landing hard punches that the much-larger Burgos was able to stand up to. But in round three, Burgos was decked twice after they seemingly went into the third round even.



  • ONE did an empty arena show in Shanghai China yesterday.
  • A second-generation Atlantic Canada referee, Emily Parker, shares memories of her father, the late Frank Parker, who was a referee too, but never got to see her work.
  • A new interview with Ricky Morton.

Daily Pro Wrestling History:  NJPW Dominion 2014