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Daily Update: Paul Wight, Taya Valkyrie, Young Rock


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WON NEWSLETTER: February 22, 2021 Observer Newsletter: Death of Tom Cole, NXT TakeOver review

The death of Tom Cole this week takes us back to one of the most sordid pro wrestling stories of the last 50 years, which involved media heavyweights at the time like Phil Donahue, Larry King, Geraldo Rivera and Phil Mushnick. It's the lead story of a new double issue of the Observer.

We look at the story and its tragic end this past week and all the key characters involved. We look at Cole's death, what exactly happened to him, different media appearances at the time, the WWF first settling his case, the unique plans for the Phil Donahue show, at the time the leading daytime talk show in the U.S. with a gigantic audience and how Vince McMahon planned the show and why it never transpired the way it was planned. Cole's memories of what happened, and things that triggered his past including a first suicide attempt that few knew about.  This is a major piece of wrestling history that has been largely hidden except from those who were around at the time.

Also in this issue:

NXT Takeover show with match-by-match coverage, star ratings and poll results of what undoubtedly will be considered among the best shows of 2021.

WWE not offering raises and promotions and how that went down this past week, as well as a look at WWE performer salaries if they were paid the same percentage as sports stars or even UFC fighters, Lacey Evans' pregnancy, a pilot for a new WWE Network show filmed, the attempt to re-litigate the concussion case and its likely outcome, injury updates, details of a number of different people having signed new deals, who they are and their background, notes on how many saw Sasha Banks start the Daytona 500, Finn Balor talks staying in NXT, TV show with WWE stars as guests, WWE & AEW international TV ratings and how last week's shows did compared to other sports, another celebrity training to appear in WWE rings, upcoming TV matches, a what ever happened to, current company value and the most-watched shows of the past week on the WWE Network.

Gina Carano and her social media posts that cost her a television series was was to be built around her, her new affiliation, and the situation with Ariel Helwani, Dana White and ESPN as well as media criticism of ESPN for how they handled the situation.

UFC 258 with match-by-match coverage and all the business news.

How Keiji Muto became one of the oldest world champions in history, why NOAH made the move, a look at NOAH today after its biggest show in many years.

WWE social media regulations for its talent, what is and isn't allowed.

Debut episode of "Young Rock," its ratings, and what was real, nor real and in between about the stories with a look at early women wrestling promoters, Rocky Johnson, Peter Maivia, Lia Maivia and Dwayne Johnson growing up.

Second night of New Japan's New Beginning in Hiroshima..

Television ratings of the past week, including segment-by-segment numbers for the past two weeks on Wednesday, who was watching in different age groups, how different segments did on Raw & Smackdown and more.

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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  • Taya Valkyrie took to Instagram after news of her signing with WWE became official: “For those that have been on this decade long journey with me, you know how badly I have wanted this. I’ve sacrificed and dedicated my life to this. Moved across continents, learned languages, immersed myself in new styles, cultures and experiences with the over all goal of making it one day to the @wwe. I have worked my butt off and today my dream has come true. I promise to work harder than I ever have, to show the world who I am as a performer and human being. I love my life and take absolutely nothing for granted. I’m hungrier than I have ever been and now the work begins. Thank you to all those that have supported me, and to those that don’t like me...welp, too bad. I know my worth, my talent and I will always strive to be better. Now buckle up because this is going to get interesting. LETS GET TO WORK!!”
  • Valkyrie’s husband, John Morrison, congratulated her on Twitter.
  • This week’s episode of The Bump features Riddle, Big E, Ron Simmons, and Punky Brewster star Freddie Prinze Jr.
  • Young Rock last night on NBC brought in 3.48 million viewers, down from last week’s premiere of 5.03 million.
  • Cesaro will be a guest on this week’s After the Bell with Corey Graves.
  • Ric Flair spoke to WrestlingInc on his relationship with the McMahons and Shawn Michaels.
  • Big E has launched a Kickstarter for a new project, Our Heroes Rock!, which is described as “A 3D animated family series that explores the Heroes of Black History through Hip-Hop and Science Fiction.”
  • Today’s WWE YouTube additions include Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton from the February 24, 2020 edition of Raw, Kurt Angle vs. The Rock from No Way Out 2001, and Aleister Black vs. AJ Styles in a No Disqualification match from the 2020 Elimination Chamber show.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura turns 41 today.

Other Wrestling

  • Following news of his signing with AEW, Paul Wight responded on Twitter, writing “Incredibly excited !!!”
  • Mick Foley congratulated Wight, writing on Twitter: "Wishing the very best to my friend @PaulWight on his signing with [AEW] I’m guessing the big fella thought he had done all there was to do in @WWE - and that he still had some gas left in the tank."
  • Sean Ross Sapp wrote the following regarding Jimmy Rave: “One person I've contacted says they've heard from Jimmy Rave and said that he's okay.” Rave earlier wrote on Twitter “I can't take anymore hurt ... I'm sorry”.
  • Lance Archer spoke to Sports Illustrated on tonight’s match against Rey Fenix.
  • The second episode of AEW’s 2.Show will premiere tomorrow.
  • Miro has a full interview with The Butcher.
  • Matt Hardy uploaded an in-character promo calling Adam Page “a terrible human being”.
  • ROH Roundtable with Caprice Coleman is joined by Shane Taylor, World Famous CB, and Kenny King as they discuss Black excellence in wrestling, as well as the performers who inspired them.
  • The latest Aces High column looks at Tanahashi’s career following the 2005 G1 Climax tournament.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: WCW WrestleWar 1991