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F4W NEWSLETTER: WWE's draft missed opportunity Joseph Currier looks at how the draft failed to establish a unique identity for SmackDown on FOX.

With a chance to establish a unique identity on FOX, this year's draft was a missed opportunity for WWE.

The draft was an early indication of what WWE will look like on FOX. Following up on a loaded premiere episode, it gave SmackDown an opportunity to define itself as a FOX property. WWE had the full weight of the network behind them, complete with pre-taped appearances by FOX's biggest sports personalities. But instead of leaning in to that identity, WWE gave mixed messages.

Ever since WWE struck their deal with FOX, there's been some question about how SmackDown would fit into the network's portfolio. It's categorized as part of FOX Sports, with WWE Backstage even airing weekly on FS1. SmackDown gives FOX the benefit of having live programming on Fridays for 52 weeks out of the year, but it's really more of a hybrid between sports and a weekly television show. WWE is never going to be -- and shouldn't be -- a promotion that presents itself as a pure sport. The beauty of pro wrestling is that you can create the over-the-top spectacle that sports can only wish to achieve. With appearances by Cain Velasquez and Tyson Fury on the FOX premiere, it seemed like WWE was going to be taking SmackDown in that direction.

Current subscribers click here to continue reading.

WON NEWSLETTER: October 21, 2019 Observer Newsletter: Eric Bischoff fired, WWE draft disappoints

In a huge week of news,we've got all the details in the new issue. Our lead story looks at the firing of Eric Bischoff. We look at his hiring, why it was largely not expected to work out by those who had worked with him in recent years and why people from the past rarely work when brought back into wrestling.

This week's Observer also covers: 

Bruce Prichard and the problems with both Raw and Smackdown.

WWE draft, why the moves were made, how the draft shows were put together and have a depth chart of where all the talent looks to be positioned, who got broken up and who haven't had a brand chosen for them yet.

Signing of Tyson Fury and Cain Velasquez by WWE. We look at WWE's place in Riyadh season, the kind of money being thrown around, why Anthony Joshua is facing heat while WWE really isn't, the set up for Velasquez vs. Lesnar and questions about Velasquez and his WWE career going forward, the background of how Fury and Velasquez got to WWE, the challenges Velasquez faces in WWE and the Crown Jewel show.

WWE's plans for NXT Japan, what major star has been signed and others who have been talked with, DVR viewership of Smackdown, updated WWE PPV numbers, Hulu numbers, Mike Bennett on why he wants to leave, Maria Kanellis responds. Hardy family drama, WWE gets award nominations, Injury updates, Evolve shows, most-watched shows on the WWE Network, plus a look at every arena event from WWE & NXT over the past week.

Coverage of King of Pro Wrestling with the background, the destination, the Tokyo Dome plans, Power Struggle, plus match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.

Extensive coverage of Bushiroad's purchase of Stardom, how this happened, why Rossy Ogawa sold to Bushiroad and not WWE, what WWE was offering, Stardom's new TV deal, why this doesn't mean New Japan and Stardom are affiliated, Stardom coming to the U.S. in December and political implications of all this, as well a plans for the biggest Stardom show ever.

UFC in Tampa this past week with Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Michelle Waterson and Jedrzejczyk's quest for the strawweight title.

Full coverage of all the WWE television shows from the past week.

In-depth looks at the ratings of all the major shows, the key demos and quarters for AEW and WWE, what happened head-to-head and what can be learned from them.

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

Current subscribers can access the issue here.

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

Rates in the United States are $14.50 for 4 issues, $35.50 for 12, $70 for 24, $116 for 40 and $149.50 for 52.

In Canada and Mexico, the rates are $16 for 4, $27 for 8, $38.50 for 12, $76 for 24, $126 for 40 and $162.50 for 52.

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If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order to P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228, you can get $1 off in every price range.


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Pro Wrestling

  • Chris Jericho responded to the criticism Marko Stunt has received after wrestling on Dynamite this week: “Laughing at ppl complaining that @MarkoStunt is too small & a ‘disgrace to pro wrestling!’ Funny thing is I thought the same thing about @reymysterio the first time I met him in 93. I also saw @TheUltimoDragon get REAMED out by his boss when he first brought Rey to Japan in 95. #DeanMalenko got laughed out of #WCW locker room when he stood up for Rey before their first match in Aug 96. Both men were congratulated afterwards after ppl saw Rey work. Times have changed & Marko IS small. But most of the workers on the roster are smaller in 2019 then the 90s. Bottom line: Over is over & #Marko did a good job of getting over on Wed. Whether he ends up a World Champion like Rey did remains to be seen...but I’d rather watch him than a 6’8 musclehead who can’t move. I was once told I was ‘too small’ to be a wrestler too...& I did ok!”
  • Ring announcer Justin Roberts announced that he’s officially signed an AEW contract: “Breaking ‘news’: 5 years to the week when it ended and I thought my final announcement had been made, the Khantract has been signed and it’s officially time to begin, again. Thank you to every one of you who has supported me over the years and asked me to ‘come back’. And thank you to AEW for believing in me. Tony, Cody, Nick, Matt, Kenny, Brandi, Dana, Chris’ and Co. have created something so special and as a fan and as an announcer, I am beyond excited and HAPPY to be part of it. #ImWithAEW #butonpapernow #BeginAgain #AEW #AEWDynamite #FollowYourDreams and just as importantly #NEVERGIVEUPONYOURDREAMS”
  • AEW uploaded the post-show segment from this week’s Dynamite where Cody Rhodes let a kid dressed as Orange Cassidy pin him.
  • Rush & Dragon Lee and Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham are the first two teams announced for ROH’s Survival of the Fittest tournament. It will take place in Dallas on November 9 and San Antonio on November 10, with the winning team getting a future shot at the ROH Tag Team titles.
  • Impact Wrestling uploaded the opening video for tomorrow’s Bound for Glory PPV.
  • Impact also has a 20-minute documentary on Ken Shamrock’s return to the promotion. Shamrock will face Moose at Bound for Glory.
  • Eddie Edwards vs. Ace Austin is set for Impact’s TV tapings in Windsor, Ontario, Canada next Friday.


  • Dana White spoke about Khabib Nurmagomedov getting to help decide his next fight: “Khabib is the man now. Conor isn’t the man anymore, so Khabib gets to sit back and call the shots.”
  • McGregor tweeted in response to White’s comments: “Who’s not the man? Your man had that marquee event did he? More like an event in a marquee. A tent in the f*cking sand it was. Keep spoofing to your self horse. Jock strap sniffer championships.”
  • White said McGregor vs. Frankie Edgar isn’t going to happen: “That Frankie Edgar isn’t going to happen. Frankie is two weight classes below him. (Edgar) is in a position; he was supposed to fight Aljamain Sterling, and Aljamain fell out and got hurt. Frankie’s coming to the end of his career, and he could end up getting himself into a title position again. So to take the Conor fight makes no sense.”
  • After Colby Covington said he would slap White in the face if he tries to put the title around Covington’s waist if he defeats Kamaru Usman, White responded: “Good luck with that. He’s a big-mouth f*cking idiot.”
  • Greg Hardy’s win over Ben Sosoli from last night’s UFC show was changed to a no contest due to Hardy using an inhaler between the second and third rounds.
  • Luke Rockhold told ESPN that it’s very likely he won’t fight again.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: WWE No Mercy 2003