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Daily Update: Paul Heyman, WWE taping notes, Rusev


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WON NEWSLETTER: June 15, 2020 Observer Newsletter: WWE creative shakeup, death of Mr. Wrestling II

We've got yet another double issue of the Observer out this week covering both the creative changes in WWE and a long bio on Johnny "Mr. Wrestling II" Walker, as well as a number of other features.

The move to Bruce Prichard as creative head of Raw and Smackdown and the steps leading to this process change.  We look at who appears to be safe and who isn't.  We look at what was tried on Raw and what wasn't working, and notable key recent moves.  We also look at the problems of comparing Raw with Smackdown.

We have a long look at the life and career of Mr. Wrestling II, Johnny Walker.  We look at his heyday, his connection with President Jimmy Carter, the birth of  cable and his role in popularizing pro wrestling on cable, how babyfaces changed in the 70s, his 1980 feud with Harley Race, his checkered past, his wrestling debut, his coming mainland, interactions with the toughest guys of his era, his first good run in Tennessee, how his life was notable in both pro wrestling and country music, his first masked gimmick and his planned retirement. Having the right gimmick in the right place at the right time made him one of the biggest stars in the country.  We look at the Georgia wrestling war and the creation of Mr. Wrestling II.  We look at the Mr. Wrestling vs. Mr. Wrestling II feud and all of II's biggest feuds over the next decade.  We look at II's meetings with the president's mother, his biggest matches at the Omni, his runs in Mid South, feud with Magnum T.A., his WWF tenure, and his life after wrestling in Hawaii.

We also cover:

New Japan Pro Wrestling returning to business this week, scouting out the New Japan Cup, directions for fans attending the Osaka shows and why the matches won't have traditional heat, and the complete schedule.

Economics of Conor McGregor, Jorge Masvidal, Jon Jones and Henry Cejudo and how the ESPN deal has removed fighter leverage. We look at comments by the fighters, response from Dana white and realities of he situation.

An enormous donation made by John Cena, Paul Levesque talks a signature match, WWE canceling over shows due to the pandemic, weekly sports ratings, Edge movie, DVR viewership, Canadian ratings, twitter feuds, Arn Anderson on Sami Zayn, funny story on the first time Adam Cole heard from WWE, what happened to Chris DeJoseph, plus upcoming TV bouts.

Fight Island and the next UFC PPV show

UFC 250, with business notes, popularity notes, poll results and match-by-match coverage.

NXT Takeover In Your House with a rundown, booking notes, match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.

Backlash and story behind Edge vs;  Randy Orton.

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. 

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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If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order to P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228, you can get $1 off in every price range.


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Bryan and I will be back tonight covering Raw and all the latest news with Wrestling Observer Radio. You can send questions for the show to  We're also looking for your thoughts on last night's Backlash show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to 

Paul Heyman is not at Raw tonight unless he's being hidden. Ric FLast night's Observer Radio show talks in depth the amended complaint and changes in the lawsuit regarding Saudi Arabia included a deposition from a WWE wrestler about what really happened in Saudi Arabia. Flair has an appearance on tonight's show talking about Randy Orton's win. Randy Orton is scheduled to open the show to discuss injuries both he and Edge received on the show. Drew McIntyre & R-Truth vs. Bobby Lashley & MVP has been announced, as has a rematch with Asuka vs. Nia Jax for the women's title. Dominick Mysterio will do a segment with Seth Rollins. With this being the first Raw under Bruce Prichard, expect some new directions and probably a few big angles.

Raw will be live to tape done in the afternoon. Smackdown is being taped for Friday tonight.  Raw & Smackdown for next week will be taped on Tuesday, while two weeks of NXT will be taped on Wednesday.

Yesterday's Backlash show was the eighth most searched Internet term with 200,000.  exactly the number expected, the same number as UFC did the day before.  So the interest level was similar to most non-major WWE PPV shows.

New Japan started up today and has shows on Tuesday and Wednesday live on New Japan World. Tomorrow's show at 6 a.m. Eastern has New Japan Cup bouts with Togi Makabe vs. Yota Tsuji, Tomohiro Ishii vs. Desperado, Toru Yano vs. Jado and Hiromu Takahashi vs. Tomoaki Honma. The Wednesday first round matches are Kazuchika Okada vs. Gedo, Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki, Yuya Uemura vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Gabriel Kidd vs. Taiji Ishimori.

On last night's show when talking about muscle tears, I noted that in the NFL, quad tears never happened until the steroid era and are generally considered in football as steroid injuries. One of our readers noted he's never taken steroids and has had decent quad tears playing soccer.  He said that the only sports where quad tears seem to happen not involving steroids are Australian Rules football and soccer, which he believes has to do with the body mechanics used for kicking, and said in Australia several doctors have told him that those injuries seem exclusive to those sports.


  • The 7-foot-3 masked giant in the Street Profits-Viking Raiders skit was Jordan Omobeghim, who has been in developmental for a while. He's from Lagos, Nigeria and played college basketball at Morgan State and the University of South Florida. Here are his NCAA stats.
  • The FS1 wrestling block tomorrow has the 1996 Survivor Series show from Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. which features Dwayne Johnson's first WWF main roster match as Rocky Maivia, plus a classic Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin match. Bret Hart and C.M. Punk will both be on WWE Backstage at 11 p.m.
  • Bayley (Pamela Martinez) turned 31 today.
  • A story on Flash Morgan Webster.


  • Anthony Agogo, a former pro boxer who was an Olympic medalist in the sport and is under a developmental deal to AEW, was on a webcam feed discussing Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury on Sky Sports News on Saturday.  He talked about his eye injury that led to the end of his boxing career. Pro wrestling wasn't brought up but he was wearing an AEW T-shirt (thanks to Tony Garvey)


  • Rusev talked about Impact's showing a Bulgarian flag in its Slammiversary commercial as a tease he's coming, not confirming or denying anything, saying: “As I said, any Bulgarian can go and debut. They may have another kid from Bulgaria. I keep saying that. Could be anybody. Look, I don't know why you think it's me. I understand why you think it's me, but I can't confirm or deny. Or I don't wanna confirm or deny. Maybe they wanna pay me a million dollars for one match. Who knows? Maybe I'll come in.” You can watch the clip here. (thanks to Himanshu D)
  • CWE announced the 2020 Lethal Lottery for 7/10 in Winnipeg at Rookie's Sports Bar with a 100 person capacity. Fans will draw the matches at random. The winners of the first round matches will go into a second drawing for the main event where teams will be drawn one pick after another seconds before the match starts, so rivals may team up and friends will; battle. So the entire show has to be called in the ring with no planning ahead of time since nobody will know their matches. 
  • IWTW announced a new partnership with Riptide Wrestling out of the U.K. and its library will be part of the service.
  • OVW will be doing a one-hour special on the career of Jessie Godderz on its national show on the YTA Network that airs at midnight Easter time on Friday night.  The show is called "From Pectacular to Prime Time."
  • An interview with Bret Hart and Harry Smith talking The Greatest Bret Hart Match Tournament.
  • Bill Apter talks Edge vs. Randy Orton.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: 1997 Great American Bash