- Reigns-Pearce confrontation announced for WWE SmackDown
- Dark Order returns on 12-match AEW Dark
- WWE SmackDown overnight ratings back over two million viewers
- Sumie Sakai re-signs with Ring of Honor
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jey Uso set for next week's WWE SmackDown
- WWE announces 'Superstar Spectacle' India special
- Dusty Classic matches to take place on WWE 205 Live next week
- WWE SmackDown video highlights: Adam Pearce wins gauntlet match
- WOR: SmackDown, Vince countersuit, ratings
- F4D: Bryan Alvarez and Lance Storm talk AEW, NXT, RAW, retro shows, more!
- Left My Wallet: Vince Verhei NFL playoff preview, Observer fantasy football recap
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We’ve got a few more notes related to the illness and death of Jon Huber.
Tony Schiavone said that the AEW Unrestricted podcast with Jon Huber/Brodie Lee was taped one day before he got sick. It went up on 11/2 but was taped a few days before that.
Huber was first hospitalized in Tampa when his lungs stopped working for reasons that still aren’t clear. The fact he was tested more than a dozen times for COVID-19, shows that the doctors at the Mayo Clinic were looking for that to be the reason. But every test came up negative, including for antibodies which would show if he somehow previously had it and it slipped through the cracks. He was being tested by AEW every time he came to television, which would mean sometimes weekly, and other times every other week.
AEW, and in specific, Megha Parekh, the Senior Vice President and Chief Legal officer for both the Jacksonville Jaguars and AEW, as well as the Khan family’s General Counsel, were able to get him moved, via airlift, from the hospital in Tampa, where the family lived, to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville on 10/31. The treatment at the Mayo Clinic was top-notch but also very expensive so a lot of strings had to be pulled. The diagnosis by that time was bleak, and while the odds were always strongly against him, there was hope the Mayo Clinic could save him.
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SATURDAY NEWS UPDATE
- After returning the previous week, Sonya Deville started in a new role on SmackDown last night. Deville appears to be an on-screen authority figure working with Adam Pearce. Deville was also a guest on this week’s Talking Smack. She said 2021 is going to be the year of Sonya Deville, the year of SmackDown, and she’s excited about what’s to come for the show. Deville said she wants to make SmackDown a good place to be and for the women to get opportunities.
- Apollo Crews appeared on Talking Smack and said he’s demanding a rematch against Big E for the Intercontinental title next week. Big E retained the Intercontinental title against Crews on last night’s show after the match was restarted due to originally ending in a double pin when Crews hit a superplex. WWE hasn’t announced if Crews will be getting the rematch.
- Paul Heyman gave Crews a pep talk on Talking Smack last night.
- In an interview with ComicBook.com, Crews spoke about working on his promos:
"I feel like with the promos and stuff like that, that is something that I've been working on very hard. I want to be more entertaining. I don't want to just be this guy who comes in the ring with some nice pair of tights and does some cool moves. You know what I mean? I feel like that entertainment part is a huge part of this business and it's a huge part of having people, fans. Or, it helps with fans being able to relate to you. That's what people really gravitate towards, is when they see who you are as a character. So I feel like that's something that is very important for me to work on and for me to build a bigger fan base and for people to want to see me do better. That character work is so, so important, and that's something that I've been actually focusing on a lot. That's one thing that I'd love to be able to show more in 2021, is that side. That's one of the things that I realized later where at first it was like, 'Okay, I need to be disciplined in the ring. It's in the ring, in the ring, in the ring.' And then I realized, 'Okay, that is not something that I should worry about too much. I need to worry about this other part of it, the entertainment part and show people who I am as a character. So that to me is important this year, to be able to get out there."
- Adam Pearce tweeted about challenging for Roman Reigns’ Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble: “I enjoyed my two decade ride; I honestly loved it. And at the end, I was ready and happy to ride off into the sunset. The “Head of the Table” put the keys back in my hand and forced me to take the wheel. And so, we ride again…”
- After last night’s SmackDown, ring announcer Greg Hamilton responded to someone who asked if he was okay and claimed that he was shaking like crazy while announcing the gauntlet match: “My best friend, my wife has Covid. I’m broken. I am s so broken.” Hamilton then tweeted: “Tonight was tough. my ‘fiance’ has COVID....I am ‘proposing’ to her soon...but yes...I was not at my best tonight. I owe you all an apology. You Expect the best from me; and I should deliver. Tonight; I didn’t. I’m sorry; she is my everything. She is sick. And I’m not there.”
- WWE has filed trademarks for the names Dabba-Kato, Sha Samuels, Leon Ruff, Mansoor, and Omos and “MSK.”
- Fox Sports has an interview with Steve Austin.
- Liv Morgan wished Ruby Riott a happy 30th birthday: “HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my SISTER @RubyRiottWWE. Wrestling is my first love. Wrestling is my passion, wrestling is my life. Wrestling is my dream...but wrestling also gave me you Ruby Riott & I think that’s most important of all. I couldn’t have done this without you Rue. I love u”
- WWE’s YouTube channel uploaded Triple H vs. Big Show in a Last Man Standing match from the January 9, 2009 episode of SmackDown, The Usos vs. The Miz & Damien Mizdow for the WWE Tag Team titles from Royal Rumble 2015, and a 20-man battle royal from the December 26, 2012 episode of Main Event.
- Cody Rhodes appeared on the latest episode of Talk is Jericho. Cody spoke about how he’d grade AEW over the past year:
"Somebody asked me ‘grade it’ and of course, as part of the company, I’m not going to give it a bad grade but I said, ‘A’ and there’s room for an ‘A+.’ We know where we need to grow. AEW, if this had been its last year, thank gosh it wasn’t, it’s still been the greatest year of my life. I learned a lot of lessons and learned some hard lessons about the burdens of management. If you weren’t popular before, you’re definitely not going to be popular as you enter that space. I still think it’s surreal -- the numbers, that’s why I love the data, and you’re great about the data -- The Demo God. I love it when (Chris) Harrington shows me this spreadsheet and talks about our international deals, we’re having these calls, I was on the phone with Microsoft the other day, what am I doing? But, I know what I want, I know what we’re talking about, that blows me away, I told Tony (Khan), ‘do not give me this job unless you really want me to really do the job, which would probably include pissing you off from time to time,’ which he’s never been pissed at me, at least his version, maybe he has. That’s been the most exciting thing, the brain trust here amongst the talent, the EVPs, the management, the committee that exists that we don’t talk about, the committee of thought, which is The Bucks and Kenny (Omega), you (Jericho), and Tony is, more than ever has in his mind, how he wants the show to be as he is booking it, laying it out -- I love it. I know it sounds like a tumultuous thing, all those names on paper and those people, and Arn (Anderson) -- Arn is out there with me by the ring pretty much doing jack shit except holding this play card up but what Arn does back here, my gosh, I literally want to look at him -- where have you been?”
- Cody also discussed one thing AEW can improve on:
"To me, one of our biggest pros is also our biggest con, no pun intended. We have such freedom. So such freedom, sometimes, means that things are too similar on the same show. Well, this guy's asking me to join Team FTW. Well, this group, they're asking if he'll join in this. So that's one of those areas where that freedom is fun and pro, they're not worried about the traditional rules. It's punk rock, but also, you have to be disciplined so that it doesn't desensitize the show. Eight times out of ten, we've got the flow right, but on nights that we have and it's where our own freedom has been our biggest enemy, but I'd rather that than a sanitized C+ show. To me, the thing we need to work on the most is not taking the freedom for granted and maybe a little bit more of communication between the boys themselves. 'Hey, I'm doing this. It doesn't mean you can't, but what else can you do? You're super talented.' I think that would go a long way."
- The Tuesday, January 19 episode of ROH Week By Week will feature a gauntlet match between the ROH Dojo’s Joe Keys, Dante Caballero, Ken Dixon, and Eric Martin. The winner will get a shot at Jonathan Gresham’s ROH Pure Championship.
- TalkSport interviewed Don Callis.
- Texas Monthly published an article on Thunder Rosa’s Mission Pro Wrestling.
- The Mercury News has a story on AEW's Will Hobbs.
Daily Pro Wrestling History: WWE New Year's Revolution 2005
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