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Daily Update: Royal Rumble notes, GCW, Tito Ortiz


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WON NEWSLETTER: February 1, 2021 Observer Newsletter: WWE Network-NBCU Peacock deal

The most in-depth look at the WWE's new deal with the Peacock Network is the lead story in the new double-issue of the Observer.

We look at who the deal was put together, the finances behind it, is it a good deal for all parties, what goals there are for each side, how this affects the TV landscape and Smackdown in particular, how much money WWE was getting before and after from the Network, television vs. streaming when it comes to homes in the U.S., comparisons to UFC's deal with ESPN, quotes from the key parties, the financial viability of NBC purchasing WWE, the stock price, network subscriber numbers, money in modern PPVs, WWE projected profitability, why the method wrestlers are paid makes no sense in today's game, and notes fromall ke parties.

Also in this issue:

NBC shutting down NBC Sports Network affects both the USA Network and how it could impact WWE.

Amanda Huber's timeline of the death of Brodie Lee from her interview with Tony Schaivone and Aubrey Edwards this week, his symptoms, treatments, and what the doctors thought.

UFC 257, including an update on the business of the show and television viewership, plus full coverage of what could end up as the biggest show of the year, and was one of the biggest PPV events in history.

2021 Royal Rumble, people rumored to be in that won't be, others that could be, and thoughts on the build and the matches.

WrestleMania, Young Rock, Daniel Bryan talks his future, WWE talent listed among the most marketable in sports and losses in ad revenue to performs in social media accounts, Undertaker says current wrestles are soft and Bill Goldberg, Mick Foley and Drew McIntyre respond, Nick Khan talks future of rights fees, where AEW stands, NXT India, Teases of Japanese star signing, International TV ratings, most-watched  shows on the WWE Network and strongest athletes in WWE developmental.

New Japan's show at Ota Ward Gym this past week with its parody main event plus the big shows upcoming this week.

WWE's TV special for India and look at the talent from that country that the company wants to build a promotion around.

A huge story on Hank Aaron, Civil Rights, Bill Watts and how they all intersected in the early 90s.

Comparison piece on the greatest MMA fighters of all-time, looking at their wins, losses, bouts with major names and where they stand in relation to each other.

The death of El Hijo de Anibal and the legacy of the mask created by his father, one of the biggest stars of the 1970s, including the match that was the first big title match to give the UWA credibility.

 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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Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Royal Rumble as well as all the other major news. We also have a show from yesterday with Garrett Gonzalez where we preview the Rumble and talk about other news.

Lots of Royal Rumble notes. Don't forget we're doing polls on both the Royal Rumble and New Beginning in Nagoya from New Japan yesterday. Thumbs up, down or middle, best and worst match to  

  • Men's Rumble: Announced are Randy Orton vs. Edge to start the match. Others announced are Daniel Bryan, Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles, John Morrison, Mustafa Ali, Sheamus, Otis, The Miz, Cesaro, Jey Uso, Jeff Hardy, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, Shinsuke Nakamura, Big E, Rey Mysterio, Dominick Mysterio and Braun Strowman. Most figure with Orton and Edge starting that they'll be in for a long time, maybe even final four. Orton winning would be a surprise since most figure The Fiend screws him at the end. There has been talk all week of a unique finish.  Edge and Bryan are favorites. Damien Priest could debut since he's been ready to start on Raw or Smackdown for a few weeks. Last we heard was a Raw debut the day after the Rumble, but that stuff changes as he was first scheduled a few weeks back. This match will end the show and people have been saying how the ending will be designed to get people talking.
  • Women's Rumble: Announced are Natalya at No. 30, Charlotte Flair, Nia Jax, Bianca Belair, Bayley, Tamina, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Peyton Royce, Alexa Bliss and Shayna Baszler. Most expect Rhea Ripley, and Booker T actually all but said it in one of the pre-show programs. Belair and Bliss are the likely favorites if they don't go with a surprise. I'd actually go with Ripley to win if it was up to me, her or Belair, so I'd say there's a chance with her.
  • Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens Last man standing for WWE title. Nobody expects a title change, but WWE last man standing matches are usually really good, and this has been a great in-ring feud so far. Reigns was at last word a -1700 favorite, so literally nobody believes he's not winning.
  • Drew McIntyre vs. Bill Goldberg for the Universal title. This almost surely has to be fairly short and McIntyre should win clean. Whether he does is another story. McIntyre is a -400 favorite,
  • Sasha Banks vs. Carmella for the Smackdown women's title - Their first match was strong. I wouldn't be surprised to see a title change to keep the program going, if only because the two men's title matches don't look like title changes.
  • Charlotte Flair & Asuka vs. Shyna Baszler & Nia Jax for the women's tag title. This was moved to the pre-show so it should take place shortly after 6:30 p.m. since the five matches will fill the three hours. This could go either way. I don't expect a long reign for Flair & Asuka since Asuka has the singles belt. Flair vs. Asuka would always feel like a direction, but it does appear Flair as a face vs.  Lacey Evans is one of the most pushed TV programs.

For what it's worth,and it may not be worth much, Carlos Cabrera, the WWE Spanish language announcer, talked about an MMA star who may be in the women's Royal Rumble.

There's no word regarding if anyone else was pulled from today's show for being in contact with Mia Yim (Reckoning) who announced yesterday she had tested positive for COVID. 

The Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shingo Takagi match from yesterday's New Japan New Beginning in Nagoya is worth going out of your way to see. It's a classic match.

Regarding stuff in combat sports that trended on Google this week, the boxing match didn't trend last night and there was no UFC last night. Nothing from pro wrestling did although the Royal Rumble today should do about 1 million searches based on previous years and be among the biggest things of the day. The only thing that did trend was Ben Askren was the sixth most searched for topic on the Internet on Tuesday with 200,000, based  on his fight with Jake Paul being announced.

Game Changer Wrestling's 24 hour marathon on Fite TV raised $53,000 for wrestlers affected by COVID. Jordan Oliver faced Tony Deppen in what was supposed to be a 60 man Iron man match. But they were tied after 60 minutes. So they went another hour and Oliver ended up winning 7 falls to 6. There have been claims of this being the longest match in wrestling history and it was the longest in several years, but in the early days of wrestling many matches went longer.  For American pro wrestling, the most famous long match was July 4, 1916, Strangler Lewis vs. Joe Stecher, which went more than five hours and is still considered one of the biggest sporting events ever held in Omaha.  We actually had a feature on that with the actual play-by-play coverage from the Omaha World-Herald the night of the match a couple of years back.  Blake Christian lost a match where he would never wrestle in GCW again if he lost, which starts rumors of where he's headed next.

There will be a vote tomorrow by the Huntington Beach, CA City Council on removing Tito Ortiz as Mayor Pro Tem.

New Japan World has another show at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning Eastern time from Korakuen Hall. It's a four-match show:

  • Yota Tsuji vs. Gabriel Kidd
  • Koa Ibushi & Tomoaki Honma & Sho & Master Wato vs. Sanada & Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi & Bushi
  • Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Evil & Yujiro Takahashi & Dick Togo
  • Elimination match: Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. & Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Douki vs. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo & Jado

There will also be another Korakuen Hall show at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning and another on Wednesday.


  • They are working on several documentaries and the next year's video game this weekend. The roster is being scanned for the game today.


  • Jairzinho Rozestruk vs. Cyril Gane is  now the main event for a 2/27 show, over five rounds.  The fight was originally announced for 3/13.  The original main event was to be Dominick Reyes vs. Jiri Pochazka, but Reyes was injured and the match was postponed.
  • Alex Da Silva pulled out of this coming Saturday's UFC show with a knee injury.  They are looking for a new opponent for Devonte Smith.


  • Lio Rush on the Challenge Mania podcast talks how he wound up on a MTV Reality Competition Show after being let go by WWE in April. There is also a ton of eye-opening stuff about his last few months in WWE & how the Cruiserweight Title was used as a way to leverage him to stay without getting what he wanted financially. He talks about wanting to wrestle Kenny Omega and much more.
  • A story on the cause of death of a contestant on the John Cena-led show "Wipeout" that will be airing soon on TBS. (thanks to Mike Kuzmuk)
  • Bill Apter talks to ROH COO Joe Koff.
  • A feature on Jianna Bonomi, who helped write the lead story that was so well received in the Black Lives Matter issue of the Observer a few months ago. She also talks about hearing from Dwayne Johnson after something else she wrote and recovering from being hit by a drunk driver at 90 miles per hour that should have killed her and ended her competitive sports career.
  • Los Parks vs. TJP & Bu Ku Dao for the MLW world tag team title airs on Wednesday's edition of MLW on YouTube and Fubo Sports.
  • VIP Wrestling from Friday night in Haltom City, TX:  Kari Wright b Cam Cole, Heather Monroe b Killa Kate, O'Shay Edwards & Ron Hunt & Kaun b Xander Gold & Tino Valentino & Huseman, Will Allday b Lou Gotti, Alejandra the Lion b Rock-C in a no DQ match, Chandler Hopkins b Matt Cross, Trish Adora b Rache Chanel, Shane Taylor b Izzy James, Jonathan Gresham b JD Griffey, JTG b Hammerstone to keep the VIP title (thanks to Shannon Walsh and
  • In a huge upset, Daniel Torres (12-4) won the KSW featherweight title over Salahdine Parnaase (14-4-1) via knockout in 1:47  after a biceps strike on yesterday in Lodz, Poland. In the co-feature, Szymon Kolecki (9-1), a former Olympic gold medalist in weightlifting, beat Martin Zawada (29-16-1) via decision on scores of 30-26, 29-28 and 29-28. 

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Edge wins 2010 Royal Rumble