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Daily Update: Talking Smack, SmackDown notes, Chris Hero


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WON NEWSLETTER: November 30, 2020 Observer Newsletter: Undertaker retirement, Survivor Series, more

We've got a heavy-historical double-issue of the Wrestling Observer out this week.  Our lead story looks at the career and final appearance of The Undertaker.  We look at his famous matches, the WrestleMania streak, how long it's been since he actually worked a full schedule, the dream match that did happen and why, and the one that never happened and why.

Also in this issue:

Survivor Series with match-by-match coverage, star ratings, poll results and interest level of the show.

The $39 million settlement of a lawsuit against WWE, the largest settlement of a lawsuit in pro wrestling history, why it was settled, testimony key witnesses were going to make, who sued, what the judge in the case said, crazy facts about the case, and testimony on what  really happened in Saudi Arabia the day the WWE talent couldn't get out of the country.

A story on the life of Bob Ryder, the start of TNA, the business numbers behind the start and how it got so deep in debt, what saved the company in 2005 and 2015 and Impact releases a statement on his death.

How Dana White is expecting a packed house for a UFC show sooner than you think and how that ties into what has been booked.

Major front office changes in WWE, and background of the decisions and people who are in and out, Xavier Woods and WWE negotiate a mainstream deal, NXT Takeover lineup notes, Lana documentary, Undertaker talks most  famous matches and how Vince talked him into ending the streak, how WWE & AEW TV shows did this past week as compared to major sorts, U.K. Heritage Cup, former college football star has WWE interest, value of WWE stock right now and top ten most-watched shows on the WWE Network from last week.

Full coverage of UFC 255, details behind the show, match-by-match coverage and poll results.

The induction of Marc Ratner into the UFC Hall of Fame.  We look at his background in boxing,  his connection to pro wrestling, and his role in okaying an angle that literally changed the power structure of pro wrestling where Vince McMahon needed his approval.  We look at why two different proposed dream match involving WWE stars didn't happen as well as how Floyd Mayweather's unbeaten streak stayed in tact due to a decision by Ratner as well as his role in making UFC treated as a sport, and how UFC was able to get Ratner to join the promotion.

2019 Business Year in review, with the biggest attendances, biggest PPV numbers, who headlined the most major shows, UFC business, WWE business and what Becky Lynch did in 2019 that no woman in the history of pro wrestling had ever come close to.

An updated list of the biggest drawing cards in pro wrestling history, comparing Jim Londos with Hulk Hogan, who Sam Muchnick said were the biggest draws ever, where Hogan ranked with Austin and Rock, and every annual attendance record from 1931 to the present and what record is likely never to be beaten.

NOAH's Pro Wrestling Chronicle show and the Go Shiozaki ivs. Katsuhiko Nakajima main event.

A feature on the seven different Triple Crown award winners of the last 40 years, as well as those who came one step from doing so.

Stats for MVP, Most Outstanding, Best on interviews, Best Tag Team and others over the past 40 years as well as who seems to deserve more Hall of Fame consideration.

A feature on European villain Klaus Kauroff, who passed away this past week.

Television business, looking at stats not available elsewhere to get the deepest read into how shows are doing, what categories are doing well and how shows compare with previous weeks and one year ago.  

Results of all the major pro wrestling events around the world over the past week.

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  • On this week’s Talking Smack, Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens’ feud was furthered by a back and forth between Owens and Paul Heyman. Heyman said he has a lot of respect for Owens, knows how dangerous Owens is, and was a fan of Owens before he came to WWE. Heyman said Owens is at a crossroads in his career where he can either coast along at a semi-main event level or become a legend. Owens said him facing Reigns isn’t going to be good for Reigns or Heyman. Owens said he’s not a good guy or a bad guy -- he’s the guy who’s going to beat Reigns and take the Universal Championship.
  • Heyman also praised Bianca Belair on this week's Talking Smack and called her the future of the women’s division.
  • Reigns tweeted after Owens beat down Jey Uso at the end of last night’s SmackDown: “The Universal Championship should have been your only interest. You attack my blood, you bring violence and threaten our position. You have my attention. #Smackdown”
  • Owens then responded by writing that Reigns knows where to find him.
  • WWE posted storyline injury updates on Otis and Uso following last night's SmackDown: “Following Friday Night SmackDown, WWE Digital has learned the status of two blue brand Superstars. Otis was evaluated by WWE Medical following Jey Uso’s attack. The evaluation revealed multiple areas of contusions and tenderness of the muscles throughout the thoracic spine region. Examination of the bony regions of the thoracic spine and ribs did not reveal any abnormalities. Jey Uso was sent to the trainer’s room following his match with Kevin Owens and the ringside physician’s evaluation revealed bilateral upper extremity weakness as a result of stretching of the lower cervical nerve roots from the chair strikes. The belief is that this weakness is temporary and should resolve over the next few days. Stay locked in to WWE digital and social channels for the latest developments.”
  • After losing to Murphy on last night’s SmackDown, Baron Corbin got on the microphone and challenged Murphy to a rematch next week. The Mysterio family got involved in their match last night and Dominik pushed Corbin’s foot off the bottom rope as Murphy got the pin. In his promo challenging Murphy to a rematch, Corbin said he’ll be prepared this time.
  • Sami Zayn tweeted about facing Daniel Bryan on last night’s show: “As much as I run my mouth, it is always an absolute privilege to be able to get in the ring with Daniel Bryan. You never know if or when it might happen again. He is, in my opinion, the best in ring performer of our generation. Still it should be noted, I won the match.”
  • Natalya posted a picture of the resume that Billie Kay has been handing out on SmackDown.
  • Sasha Banks told Screen Rant about when she was first cast for The Mandalorian: “I feel like I should keep that a secret, don't you think? No, it's because my memory is so shot. I'm a professional wrestler; I work for the WWE. But I remember getting an Instagram DM from a testing director, maybe around the end of the summer -- or it could have been in September, I honestly cannot remember. Instantly, I said, ‘Okay, let me ask WWE,’ but my manager said, ‘No, don't even ask them. Let's just talk to them.’ Jon Favreau called me; he Facetimed me and told me that he wanted me to be part of the show. And I was just like, ‘Oh my God, yes.’ And then everything just happened. It was so fast, and it was so crazy.”
  • TalkSport has an interview with Leon Ruff.
  • The Godfather spoke to Sports Illustrated about being part of The Undertaker’s Final Farewell at Survivor Series.
  • WWE released two extra clips from Liv Morgan’s “Liv Forever” documentary that debuts on the WWE Network tomorrow. In the first clip, Morgan explains the origin of her blue tongue. In the second clip, The Riott Squad reunite after being split up in the 2019 Superstar Shake-up.
  • WWE’s YouTube channel uploaded Rey Mysterio vs. Batista in a street fight from the December 11, 2009 episode of SmackDown, Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens from the November 28, 2016 episode of Raw, and Big Show vs. Sheamus in a chairs match for the World Heavyweight Championship from TLC 2012. 

Other Wrestling

  • As part of a post on his WrestlingGenius subreddit, Chris Hero gave an update on his status: “Oh and, before anyone asks or infers, I am far from done wrestling. If I wanted to hang it up and coach/produce I could have a job tomorrow. I've turned down a number of companies in the last 6 months- not because they've been terrible offers or anything but because I'm just not ready. I will come back when the circumstances and situations are right. Trust me, it *kills* me to not be out there doing what I love. The time will come and when it does it will be spectacular. In the meantime, I appreciate all of your patience. Take care & stay safe!”
  • Mauro Ranallo is replacing Al Bernstein on commentary for tonight’s Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. boxing PPV.
  • In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Kenny Omega spoke about the differences between his rivalry with Jon Moxley in AEW and his rivalry with Kazuchika Okada from NJPW: “I’m never in competition with myself, and I’m never trying to compare someone who is very unique like Moxley to another competitor that is also very unique. I’m not going to compare building to building, I’m not going to compare fan base to fan base. I don’t think that’s fair. For me, the reason I’m in AEW right now is because I wanted a new challenge. What I wasn’t trying to do was create an environment or a situation where I was competing with the New Japan Kenny Omega. I’m not trying to structure things the way I would structure with Okada. I’m not trying to find a new Okada, Moxley has his own qualities that make him special. Stylistically, they are so different. When I went to the Okada match at the Tokyo Dome, for me, it was all or nothing. I didn’t think there would be an Okada-Omega II or III or IV. I thought that was my only chance on a stage like that. In AEW, I knew there, even during my Lights Out match against Moxley last year [at Full Gear], that there would be another match down the road. I would love for this story to lend itself to the other chapters in the series. Regardless of how this match goes, we’re committed to this project. There probably is going to be an Omega-Moxley III somewhere down the road.”
  • The Young Bucks appeared on the latest episode of Talk is Jericho.
  • Anna Jay is the guest on this week’s episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast.
  • On their Major Wrestling Figure Podcast, Matt Cardona and Brian Myers discussed how life has been for them after being released by WWE.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Starrcade 1985 - The Gathering