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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 Raw, New Japan, what the NHL deal means as far as pro wrestling goes and much more. You can send questions for the show to

The second NHL contract looks like it will end up with Turner Broadcasting, a seven-year deal at $225 million per year. This has a ton of ramifications when it comes to both pro wrestling rights fees, as well as time slots. We'll talk a lot more about that tonight and there is an article already written in the Observer regarding what this means for wrestling and MMA. Fox & FS 1 were thought to be the frontrunners, while NBC/USA pulled out officially today. WWE President Nick Khan on Thursday said that he thought NBCU would not be getting the NHL deal.  When NBC dropped NBC Sports Network, part of the deal was to add sports programming, with the key being the NHL and NASCAR, to USA, but evidently they didn't want to bid as high as the numbers got for a partial package.

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

Daniel Cormier, on his show with Ariel Helwani, said that he wanted to smash Jake Paul on Saturday but he can't do that at work and would have gotten into trouble.  He challenged Paul to an MMA fight, saying he has no interest in boxing him but if he wants to fight him, fight in mixed rules.  He said he would cut to 205 and would come out of retirement for such a fight. That is not going to happen.

Raw tonight has Drew McIntyre & Braun Strowman vs. T-Bar & Mace, Miz & Elias & Jaxson Ryker vs. Damien Priest & Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods and Nia Jax & Shyana Baszler & Rhea Ripley vs Asuka & Lana & Naomi. Bobby Lashley is also scheduled for an interview.

Tickets for AEW's Blood and Guts went on sale this morning. We don't know how many tickets were put on sale. It was not 2,500 but they will open up to 2,500 if they have the demand. They put about 1,500 tickets on sale, or that could be off by 100 or so in either direction, and the last time I checked they were 353 tickets shy of a sellout.

Triller filed a lawsuit against 11 streaming companies and 100 individuals (not named) claiming piracy in both offering and selling their PPV. They claimed there were two million people at least who streamed it illegally and that cost them $100 million.

The company released a statement saying:

It's shocking to think a theft so grand can be done so blatantly and brazenly and with no remorse. There is zero difference between what they did and walking into a market stealing tons of a product and selling it at a discount in the parking lot. It’s neither civilly nor criminally any different, and we are prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law. There were more than two million illegal streams, akin to hundreds of millions of dollars. Sites, mostly using Google’s YouTube, such as FILMDAILY.COM, ACCESSTVPRO.CO, enONLINE2LIVESTREAM.US, CRACKSTREAMSLIVE.COM, SPORTS-TODAY.CLUB, MY-SPORTS.CLUB, BILASPORT.COM, TRENDY CLIPS, MIKE, YOUR EXTRA, ECLIPT GAMING, ITSLILBRANDON, and others are causing significant damage not just to Triller Fight Club but content creators overall. People put a lot of hard work, time and money into creating a product for the consumer, and having it stolen and resold is terribly damaging. The good news is they are not protected by VPN masking or other firewalls as their activities are criminal and grand theft, so we will ultimately find them and prevail not just for us but for content creators in general.

Ryan Kavanaugh, co-controlling shareholder, Triller

Vice announced that the trailer for the 5/6 two-hour Dark Side of the ring season premiere on Brian Pillman will be out tomorrow.


  • Next week's A&E biography will be about Randy Savage. The A&E Biography website has both the Steve Austin and Roddy Piper documentaries up.
  • Mickie James will be doing an interview on her Grown Ass Women podcast on YouTube on Wednesday at 5 p.m.talking about her being let go and the garbage bag story.


  • A sad story about two brothers who won the New Jersey state high school tournament and their grandmother dying right after is at (thanks to Barry Werner)
  • A story on the history of the ECWA Super 8 tournament.
  • A cute interview with Baron Von Raschke talking about Kane.
  • Memphis Wrestling from Saturday's TV show:  Bam Bam Malone NC Action Jackson, Diana Taylor b Paris Kelly, Da Russell Twins b Ryan Rembrandt & Precious, Norman Meklakov b Justin Cole, Chris Lexx b Carter Matthews, Austin Lane b Van Vicious.  They are building the 5/15 television show called the Grind City Rumble.  They are doing a taping with Jerry Jarrett as a guest.  The show airs at Noon every Saturday on CW 30 and on YouTube.  The Twitch review show with longtime Observer subscriber Brian Tramel and RynoJB is at 1 p.m. every Saturday called Rollin Into Mempho.
  • Combate Global announced an all women's show on Univision this coming Friday night called Combate Latina starting at 12:30 a.m. late Friday night.  The show takes place at the Univision studios in Miami.  It airs on Televisa In Mexico at 5 p.m. local time Saturday.  The main event has Criszaida Adames (4-0) vs. Karen Cedillo (4-1).  In the co-feature, Dulce Garcia (2-0) faces Claudia Diaz (0-2).  Dulce Garcia is much better known as pro wrestler Sexy Star of AAA and Lucha Underground fame.
  • El Hijo de L.A. Park vs. Bu Ku Dao was announced for MLW Fusion on Wednesday night.
  • AAW results from Saturday night in Villa Park, IL:  Ace Perry b Jake Lander, Skye Blue b Katie Arquette, Mat Fitchett b Thomas Shire, Schaff b Davey Vega, Myron Reed b Brayden Lee to keep the Heritage title, Hyan b Skye Blue 2/3 falls, Fred Yehi b Matt Justice.  Next show is 5/7 at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park, IL with Mance Warner vs. Fred Yehi for the AAW heavyweight title, Myron Reed vs. Mat Fitchett for the Heritage title, Davey Vega vs. ACH, Skye Blue vs. Allysin Kay plus Ace Austin, Mad Man Fulton, Lio Rush, Laredo Kid, Jake Something, Manders, Bryden Lee, Ace Perry, Matt Justice and more.
  • ONE will air after Dynamite at 10 p.m. Wednesday night on TNT with Aung L N Sang (26-11) vs. Reinier de Ridder (13-0) for the light heavyweight title, Eddie Alvarez (30-8) vs. Rae Yoon Ok (14-3) and Kirill Grishenko (3-0) vs. Oumar Kane (3-0).  Notable is that Shinya Aoki's fight with Eduard Folayang will be airing on B/R Live, and not on TNT.
  • The Brady Roberts podcast MINT CONDITION MUSCLE has a new interview with NXT's Franky Monet, talking about her background in fitness competitions, training under Lance Storm, being discovered by Shad Gaspard and marrying John Morrison.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Edge wins World title at Backlash 2009