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Daily Update: NXT New Year's Evil, Hulk Hogan, OVW


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WON NEWSLETTER: January 4, 2021 Observer Newsletter: Rest in Peace Brodie Lee & Danny Hodge

A look at the death, unique lives and careers of Jon Huber and Danny Hodge is the focus of what is the best issue of the Observer in more than a decade.

Details surrounding the Huber health crisis and death, words from his wife, how he got started in wrestling, my own personal thoughts regarding my interaction with him, his leaving WWE for AEW, his WWE run with The Wyatt Family, what were the plans for the Bludgeon Brothers to imitate and how it fell through, the match that changes his WWE focus, the background of his big decision, what match was scheduled for him that fell through, how his AEW term played out with his biggest matches, why the death became such a huge news story, the story behind and coverage of the tribute show and more.

The iconic figure of Danny Hodge with what should be a movie script, covering growing up in a small town known for wrestling, his unique childhood, his developing his legendary grip strength, his unbelievable credentials as a wrestler, MMA, street fights, the auto accident that ended his career, his biggest pro wrestling matches, his boxing career and why people will talk about him as his records every year going forward.

Also in this issue:

Preview the Wrestle Kingdom shows this week, covering the matches and the stories behind the matches, as well as how the restrictions have changed things.

Update the Royal Rumble including a gimmick match being talked about, new WWE show, top 25 WWE matches of the year, U.K. and Canadian ratings as well as where pro wrestling ranks in sports ratings, market value of WWE as well as the most-watched shows on the WWE Network.

2020 Wrestling Observer Awards ballot.

Television stations that carried wrestling and MMA in 2020 and how they did, and how wrestling did in comparison with the station's usual programming.

Detailed look at the television business, looking at stats not available elsewhere to get the deepest read into how shows are doing, what categories are doing well and how shows compare with previous weeks and one year ago.  

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

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 or by going to directing funds to

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  • WWE is advertising that tomorrow’s New Year’s Evil episode of NXT will be presented with “fewer interruptions and more action.” Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly’s NXT Championship match on the show will have “non-stop, bell-to-bell action.” When O’Reilly vs. Dunne on NXT last month was advertised as having uninterrupted bell-to-bell action, it had commercial breaks where the match was shown in picture-in-picture.
  • During an interview with ESPN ahead of Raw Legends Night, Hulk Hogan was asked what the vibe is like when he returns to WWE and if he just becomes one of the boys again: “It's a mixed bag. Some people I get a really warm reception from. Some of the younger guys are really cold to me, like I'm coming to steal the main event. And I'm like, 'I can't do this anymore, guys! I'm not a threat!' Going back with all the legends will be a lot of fun. When I've gone back before by myself, there have been certain wrestlers, like Edge and Seth Rollins, that have told me to my face that the only reason they got into this business was because of me. The newer kids ... I don't think they know who I am all the way? The wake-up call that really got me was with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin. We weren't really close at all, but over the last few years have become good friends. It caught me off guard when he called me one day, and we're chatting about cars or something and all of a sudden he goes, 'Damn, Hogan. I was on the internet the other day and I can't believe all the stuff you did in your career!' When Stone Cold didn't realize that I did ‘The Love Boat’ and Johnny Carson, then I understood why the young people didn't know."
  • Three champions lost non-title matches on last night’s Raw. Lacey Evans & Peyton Royce defeated Women’s Tag Team Champions Asuka & Charlotte Flair, Riddle defeated United States Champion Bobby Lashley, and The Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado) defeated Raw Tag Team Champions The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander).
  • Cardi B reacted to being mentioned on Raw last night. Cardi B and Lacey Evans also went back and forth on Twitter today after Evans sent an in-character tweet to her.
  • After being confronted and shoved down by Goldberg on last night’s Raw, Drew McIntyre tweeted today: “Hope you enjoyed that @Goldberg, because it’s the only push you’re gonna get”
  • Bayley’s younger brother Jeremy Martinez was located safely immediately after Bayley posted on Instagram today that he was missing and last seen on Fort Lewis Military Base in Lakewood, Washington.
  • Triple H, Finn Balor, and Billie Kay have been announced as guests for tomorrow morning’s episode of WWE’s The Bump.
  • WWE has filed trademarks for The Witch, Diamond Mine, The Bridge, Nu Wu, Qi Yue, The Covenanter, Quan Tuo, Qiao Liang, and Ji Lu.
  • WWE uploaded an extra clip from the next episode of Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions. It features Bayley as the guest and will premiere on the WWE Network on Sunday, January 10.
  • Bleacher Report interviewed Keith Lee ahead of last night’s Raw.
  • WWE’s YouTube channel uploaded the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal from WrestleMania 35, The Undertaker vs. Vader from Royal Rumble 1997, and Asuka vs. Royce vs. Kay vs. Cross for the NXT Women’s Championship from TakeOver: San Antonio.

Other Wrestling

  • AEW uploaded Road to New Year’s Smash night one ahead of tomorrow’s Dynamite.
  • John Silver plans on framing his matching Brodie Lee ring gear and displaying it in his house: “A lot of people have asked me but I think I’m going to retire my matching Brodie gear. I’m gonna frame it and hang it in my house.”
  • Lee’s wife Amanda Huber posted a message on Instagram asking people to stop trying to create a divide in pro wrestling.
  • This week’s episode of Being the Elite featured a must-watch speech that Eddie Kingston gave to the AEW locker room at Dynamite’s Brodie Lee tribute show.
  • Cody Rhodes’ first Nightmare Factory student showcase is available to watch on YouTube.
  • In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Scott D’Amore was asked if it bothers him when people ask what AEW has to gain from partnering with Impact Wrestling: “Everyone is entitled to their position. Look, AEW built a great product in a very short period of time. Our hats are off to Tony Khan and his team. I’ve always believed that success in the wrestling business is like a rising tide in that it leads to more success for everyone. I’m very happy we get to do some crossover stuff with them. Often in wrestling, the question is ‘Why would we work with someone else?’ This has put eyeballs on both companies. We’re very appreciative, and we think it’s added a buzz for both shows. The collaboration on the talent level creates the potential for a lot of fresh matchups. We’ll see where it goes next, but it is a great time to be a wrestling fan and a great time to be in the wrestling business.”
  • A new ownership group has acquired a majority interest in Ohio Valley Wrestling: “OVW is happy to announce that Matt Jones (of Kentucky Sports Radio) and Craig Greenberg (of 21c Hotels) have purchased a majority interest in the company! They and their team will be joining with Al Snow to bring resources to OVW to take it to new heights!”
  • On Twitter over the weekend, referee Brian Hebner announced that he’s departing the NWA: “Want to thank @nwa and @Billy for a great few years of nothing but a great professional experience. I learned & grew so much as my job extended more than just refereeing. Want to REALLY thank @RealNickAldis who has never not believed in me and my abilities. Time to move on.”
  • CW Anderson is coming out of retirement: “My new years resolution was to be done with the worst mistake I made over the summer for a part of my life that was never worth it. Retiring. Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees and I was in a dark place in my life. Thank God those days are behind me. Door closed and locked, nailed shut, house burnt to the ground and those worthless ashes flushed down the toilet of the new house I currently reside in. In a few short days I'll be 50 and time to get back in the ring and wrestle. As long as I'm able to, I'm gonna wrestle. For everyone that messagd me over the summer, I can't thank you enough but there were so many that didn't want it to be true. Now I have the biggest supporter in my corner and she wants this as much as I. Time to show up!”
  • MLW uploaded the cold open for tomorrow’s Kings of Colosseum show.
  • The latest episode of Renee Paquette’s Oral Sessions podcast is a Q&A with Paquette.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 night two