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Daily Update: Rusev, NXT TakeOver, Emma off of WWE European tour


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The Latest from the F4W Staff



FIGURE FOUR WEEKLY: 5/8/2017: Thinking outside the long talking segment

While it wasn't entirely revolutionary, the two-part "Who is Roderick Strong?" series that aired on NXT television over the past couple of weeks again proved how effective WWE's video profiles can be in getting characters over. Similar videos have aired in the past (with a series that focused on Finn Balor in NXT standing out as a highlight), but the profiles on Strong may have been the best that WWE has ever done. They made him feel like a fully formed character in a way that he never really has before.

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WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER: May 8, 2017: WWE Payback review, WWE financials, plus tons of news

A brief look at the WWE financials for the first quarter, basically looking at why the profit margin was so far down this quarter, where the added spending came in, a look at the house show business in WWE and NXT, what categories are losing money in WWE, and what are increasing the most is the lead story in this week’s Observer.

Also, look at the major WWE storylines, the next few PPV shows, what WWE match result changed four times in 30 hours before the PPV, behind the House of Horrors segment, plus match-by-match coverage of Payback with star ratings and poll results.

Notes on the New Japan booking coming out of Dontaku and likely matches for Dominion, one of the company's biggest events of the year, plus Dontaku coverage, in this issue.

The biggest junior heavyweight tournament in probably a decade is coming up. Check out some of the big matches that will be part of it, with the announcement of the bracketing of this year's Super Junior tournament and the web site schedule.

There is an update on the ITV television project and why the tapings were postponed, plus the key thing going on behind-the-scenes.

News on Brock Lesnar going forward in WWE, his latest plans and title matches expected, more on Fate of the Furious and its box office, update on the Hardy broken gimmick in WWE, a new WWE movie with Michaels, Hogan talks Vince McMahon, indie champion gets WWE tryout his week, and the most watched WWE Network shows this past week, in this issue.

Read about the WWE & NXT shows this past week including both the Raw and SmackDown tour openers in Europe

Boxing fans, check out the highlights of the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight, the amazing U.K. business numbers, as well as whether heavyweight boxing is back big in the U.S. because of the fight or not.

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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 Dave Meltzer, or by using PayPal directing funds to

Rates in the United States are $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52. If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.)

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WON BACK ISSUE: April 17, 2000: Mike Awesome jumps ship to WCW, Russo/Bischoff era of Nitro begins, more

At press time, exactly what is going on between WCW and ECW regarding current ECW heavyweight champion Mike Awesome is apparently up in the air. In a strange series of circumstances, it appeared that Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo, in their attempt to re-create the debuting impact of Nitro in 1995 with Lex Luger's surprising walking on the set, combined with the incident where Madusa threw the WWF womens title belt in the garbage can, since they were unable to secure any WWF talent, made a huge pitch to garner ECW's heavyweight champion.

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  • SmackDown was taped earlier today at the O2 Arena in London. We have spoilers up on the front page. The lineup for the episode is: Becky Lynch vs. Natalya Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan A confrontation with Shinsuke Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler Randy Orton, AJ Styles & Sami Zayn vs. Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens & Baron Corbin
  • 205 Live has Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick and Mustafa Ali vs. Tony Nese. It was hyped that Cedric Alexander will be returning soon during the show.
  • Rusev posted a video where he said that he's coming to SmackDown next week to look for answers from Shane McMahon. An angle was set up on the show two weeks ago where he said that he would only join the brand in the roster shakeup if he got a WWE title shot at Money in the Bank. He's been out of action since having shoulder surgery in March.
  • Emma wrote that she's off of the remaining European tour dates and headed back to the United States to get tests on her injured shoulder. 
  • WWE officially announced that the NXT Women's Championship match at TakeOver: Chicago is now a triple threat with Asuka defending against Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross. Ember Moon was removed from the match due to what WWE claims is a grade one shoulder sprain.
  • Several standout independent wrestlers attended WWE's tryouts in the UK this week. WWE confirmed that Jurn Simmons, Flash Morgan Webster, Chris Brookes, Travis Banks, and TK Cooper were among the names there.
  • Vince McMahon tweeted to Dave Bautista about the 15th anniversary of Bautista's debut in WWE: "15 years ago today, @WWE unleashed The Animal @DaveBautista on the WWE Universe. Happy anniversary, 'Drax.'" Bautista responded by writing that he has a ton of unleashing left in him and thanked McMahon for showing him the world.
  • Triple H praised Aleister Black and Otis Dozovic in an interview with ESPN.
  • The Metro interviewed John Cena ahead of the release of his latest movie.
  • Kane will appear on this week's episode of the Edge & Christian podcast.

Pro Wrestling

  • The additional seats that NJPW released for the shows in Long Beach sold out immediately.
  • EVOLVE announced that the promotion will be holding shows in Charlotte, North Carolina and Marietta, Georgia in July. They'll be partnering with PWX for the show in Charlotte on July 8th and working with AWE for the show in Marietta on July 9th. Both of those promotions will be holding shows earlier in the day before EVOLVE runs at night.
  • Chris Dickinson & Jaka will defend their EVOLVE tag titles against Isaias Velazquez & Matt Knicks at EVOLVE 84 in the Chicago area on May 20th.
  • WWN announced that all ticket profits that the company makes off of the FIP show on May 26th and the Style Battle show on May 27th will go to Wayne VanDyke's (independent wrestler Richard Delicious) medical expenses. VanDyke suffered three heart attacks two weeks ago and has been in a coma since.
  • David Bixenspan has an article for Deadspin about Billy Corgan agreeing to buy the NWA brand.
  • The Palm Beach Post ran a story on a pro wrestling dinner theater in Florida.


  • After apparently sending out a press release before the news was official last week, Dana White confirmed that the UFC will be launching the women's flyweight division on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter 
  • Dave Meltzer wrote a piece on the UFC's middleweight division for MMA Fighting.
  • Ariel Helwani tweeted that Michael Johnson is a candidate to fight Justin Gaethje in Gaethje's UFC debut.
  • Daniel Cormier will be joining Joe Rogan and Jon Anik on the broadcast team for UFC 211.
  • The UFC posted episodes one and two of Embedded for UFC 211.
  • Eddie Alvarez wished Conor McGregor good luck after the birth of McGregor's son.
  • Jimmie Rivera vs. Thomas Almeida is set for UFC's show on July 22nd in Long Island.
  • MMA Junkie posted an article on the one condition that Mauro Ranallo had when agreeing to call last month's Rizin show.

Today in Professional Wrestling History (5/9): Jerry Lawler wins AWA title

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