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Daily Update: SmackDown ratings, Sasha Banks & Naomi, Ric Flair

WWE news and notes, Ric Flair discusses his final match, and more.

Daily Update

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This Week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Sasha Banks & Naomi walk out of Raw, Ric Flair returning to the ring

  • Performer and Match of the Week
  • Sasha Banks and Naomi walking out of the WWE taping on Monday. What were the plans, where were things going, how did it go down, what was the reaction, what is the not talked about story that was the key to all of this
  • Dwayne Johnson and the XFL get an ESPN deal, what it means, what is their competition and also a look at ratings
  • Ric Flair returning to wrestle, a look at the situation, the match, others of his age wrestling, why Ricky Steamboat turned down the match
  • Cain Velasquez denied bail again, the man he was accused of shooting speaks, his lawyer speaks
  • AEW Double or Nothing and WWE Hell in a Cell as well as business notes for the week
  • Ticket sales for the WWE Clash at the Castle in Cardiff
  • Full coverage of Capital Collision, the New Japan show from Washington, DC
  • Full coverage of Saturday's UFC show
  • This past week's ratings
  • Main event plans for the next four WWE PPV shows
  • More details on why Stephanie McMahon took a leave of absence
  • Update on Money in the Bank
  • Update on Young Rock
  • Streaming numbers
  • Freak accident ends a main event just three minutes in
  • Matt Jackson does video challenging for major world title
  • Five Star Grand Prix tournament
  • Update on Kota Ibushi
  • New Japan Strong tapings for the next month run down
  • Best of the Super Juniors update
  • Update on Tammy Sytch
  • Wrestler shot to death
  • Zachary Wentz talks about his Hitler photo
  • Former WWE stars announce new promotion featuring the wrestling debut of Alistair Overeem
  • Huge match between two of the top stars in the business set for Sunday
  • More on the Warner Discovery upfronts and what is going on at Warner Discovery
  • Tony Khan talks the creative process
  • Hikaru Shida gets upset
  • Toni Storm talks the original plan for the Charlotte Flair angle
  • AEW vs. WWE in New York and Chicago business update
  • International TV ratings
  • Sports franchise of the year
  • How much UFC CEO Ari Emanuel earned this past year
  • Ari Emanuel defends his ESPN PPV deal
  • Baseball legend on MMA promotion board of directors and a new investor

This Week's Retro Observer Newsletter: April 11, 2005 Observer Newsletter: Details on WWE's return to NBC Universal, WrestleMania 21 review

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Saturday News Update

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WWE

  • Last night’s SmackDown averaged 2.0 million viewers in the fast national ratings, up from the 1.80 million the show drew in the fast nationals last week. The rating in the 18-49 demo was a 0.4.
  • WWE announced a storyline injury update on Riddle and Randy Orton after they were attacked by The Bloodline on SmackDown last night: “As a result of a vicious attack by The Bloodline in the wake of SmackDown's Tag Team Title Unification Match, Riddle has suffered a bruised hip and lower back and both he and Randy Orton are undergoing a medical evaluation. Check back with WWE.com for more updates as they become available.”
  • Sasha Banks and Naomi were edited out of the intros for SmackDown and NXT Level Up last night. WWE has also taken down Banks and Naomi’s company-run Facebook pages.
  • AEW’s CM Punk posted a tweet today indirectly mentioning the Banks and Naomi situation: “Doesn’t matter if your opinion of your coworker is positive or negative. Stand with them. Because they’ll do the same thing to you and you’ll wish someone helped. Trust me. You’re expendable. Together you’re unstoppable.”
  • WWE has filed trademarks for the names “Giovanni Vinci” and “Gio Vinci.”
  • The Metro has an interview with Butch (Pete Dunne).
  • Shinsuke Nakamura, Gunther & Ludwig Kaiser, and The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland & Butch) were interviewed on Talking Smack this week. Nakamura vowed that he’s going to take Roman Reigns’ Undisputed WWE Universal Championship sooner or later.
  • Theory was the guest on this week’s episode of WWE After the Bell.
  • WWE’s YouTube channel uploaded Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero in a steel cage match from the September 9, 2005 episode of SmackDown, Natalya vs. Mandy Rose from the Hell in a Cell 2021 pre-show, and a Big E segment from the May 21, 2019 episode of SmackDown.

Other Wrestling

  • Ric Flair spoke to TMZ Sports about returning to the ring for his final match: “I don't have any aches or pains. I know I've had the health issues, but I asked 40 different doctors, and I decided I'm only gonna listen to one. Not necessarily the one that was gonna give me the right answer, but that I felt the most comfortable with.”
  • In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Ricky Starks detailed what his goals are in AEW: “I had this conversation with Cody. He asked me, ‘What are your goals?’ I’d always had broad goals, but Cody wanted me to focus on specific goals. My first goal is to become TNT champion, and I want to raise the level of the title. I want to represent as a biracial kid, showing people who look like me that they can reach their goals, too. I want to main event a pay-per-view, I want to be AEW champion. Similar to Britt Baker or MJF, I want to be that one at the top. That’s my ultimate goal.”
  • ABC News has an article on AEW normalizing conversations about masculinity and mental health.
  • The NJPW World Twitter account wished Kota Ibushi a happy 40th birthday.
  • In partnership with Kyoko Kimura, Pro Wrestling Tees is releasing a limited edition Hana Kimura Micro Brawler to honor Hana and raise money for suicide prevention.
  • Matt Cardona has been announced for GCW’s show in Atlantic City on Sunday, June 5.
  • On his Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, Matt Hardy spoke about the strange dynamic between Vince McMahon and Bray Wyatt that existed in WWE:
    • Windham (Bray Wyatt) has always had a very strange relationship with Vince, very strange, like, I almost felt like Vince looked at him like a son in some ways.
    • When he would do things that he liked, he would love him and he would really give him everything that he could possibly give him. He would bend over backwards to try and accommodate him. But then when he did something he didn’t like, he hated, like he was going to lock him away for good.
    • It was almost like a really weird, a really strange and different duality that Vince shared with Bray. When he liked him or loved him, he was all about him. But when he disliked him, oh my god, it was really bad and he would like punish him and insult him. To me, it was so strange. It was almost like a parent.