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Daily Update: UFC press conference notes, Alberto El Patron, NJPW

THE ROUND-UP

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THE LATEST NEWS

THE LATEST AUDIO

We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE Raw show in Reading, PA to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com.

  • We're also taking polls this weekend on five different shows:
  • Today's Fantastics Mania
  • Sunday's Fantastica Mania
  • Monday's Fantastica Mania
  • Bellator on Saturday
  • UFC on Saturday

NEW JAPAN WORLD PRO WRESTLING ON AXS TV AT 8 P.M. EASTERN TIME

  • Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Seiya Sanada & Evil for IWGP tag tiles
  • Minoru Suzuki vs. Hirooki Goto hair vs. hair match for the Never Open weight title

LEGACY FIGHTING TONIGHT AT 9 P.M. ON AXS TV

CMLL TONIGHT AT 9:30 P.M. EASTERN FROM ARENA MEXICO

  • Mercurio & Pequeno Nitro vs. Fantasy & Ultimo Dragoncito
  • Lady Maravilla & Marcela & Princesa Sugehit vs. Amapola & Zeuxis & Tiffany
  • Esfinge & Rey Cometa & Triton vs. Raziel & Sagrado & Tiger
  • Kraneo vs. Hechicero
  • Stuka Jr. & Titan & Valiente vs. Euforia & Felino & Mr. Niebla
  • Caristico & Diamante Azul & Marco Corleone vs. Rey Bucanero & El Terrible & Vangellys

We're also looking for reports on a loaded Saturday from these shows:

  • WWE Raw in State College, PA
  • WWE Smackdown in Florence, SC
  • ROH TV tapings in Nashville (Dalton Castle vs. Punishment Martinez for ROH title, Young Bucks & Adam Page vs. Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky for trios titles, Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley vs. Baretta & Chuckie T for tag titles, Cody vs. Matt Taven, Shane Taylor vs. Marty Scurll, Jay Lethal vs. Flip Gordon, Madison Rayne vs. Mandy Leon, Brandi Rhodes vs. Karen Q)
  • WWE 205 Live in Lowell, MA (Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt)
  • WWE NXT in Sebring FL
  • Revolution Pro from York Hall in London (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven vs. Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. for British tag team titles, Seiya Sanada & Evil vs. Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher, Will Ospreay vs. Mark Andrews, Ryan Smile vs. Adam Brooks, Jinny vs. Millie McKenzie vs. Bea Priestley for women's title, Kurtis Chapman vs. Rob Lias and CCK vs. Josh Bodom & Zack Gibson)

UFC 220 FROM THE TD GARDEN IN BOSTON

Fight Pass at 7 p.m. Eastern

  • Islam Makhachev (156) vs. Gleison Tibau (155)
  • Enrique Barzola (145.5) vs. Matt Bessette (146)

FS1 at 8 p.m.

  • Julio Arce (146) vs. Dan Ige (145.5)
  • Dustin Ortiz (125.5) vs. Alexandre Pantoja (126)
  • Abdul Razak Alhassan (170) vs. Sabah Houmasi (171)
  • Kyle Bochniak (146) vs. Brandon Davis (146)

PPV at 10 p.m.

  • Thomas Almeida (135.5) vs. Rob Font (136)
  • Francimar Barroso (205) vs. Gian Villante (206)
  • Shane Burgos (146) vs. Calvin Kattar (145.2)
  • Daniel Cormier (205) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (205) for the light heavyweight title
  • Stipe Miocic (246) vs. Francis Ngannou (263) for the heavyweight title

BELLATOR MMA FROM THE FORUM IN LOS ANGELES ON PARAMOUNT NETWORK AND CMT AT 9 P.M. EASTERN

  • Henry Corrales (145.8) vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (145)
  • Shane Krutchen (146) vs. Aaron Pico (145.2)
  • Michael Chandler (156) vs. Goiti Yamauchi (155.9)
  • Douglas Lima (169.3) vs. Rory MacDonald (169) for Bellator welterweight title
  • Rampage Jackson (253) vs. Chael Sonnen (222) in heavyweight Grand Prix

NEW JAPAN FANTASTICA MANIA FROM TOKYO KORAKUEN HALL AT 4:30 A.M. EASTERN EARLY SUNDAY MORNING

  • Drone & Star Jr. vs. Puma & Disturbio
  • Soberano Jr. & Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Okumura & Sho & Yoh
  • Satoshi Kojima & Atlantis & Kushida & Hirai Kawato vs. Rush & Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi & Bushi
  • Angel de Oro & Niebla Roja vs. Ultimo Guerrero & Gran Guerrero in brothers tag team tournament
  • Mistico & Dragon Lee vs. Sanson & Cuatrero in brothers tag team tournament
  • Volador Jr. vs. Cavernario for NWA Historic welterweight title

We're looking for reports on Sunday from these shows:

  • WWE Raw in Binghamton, NY
  • WWE Smackdown in Greeneville, NC
  • WWE 205 Live in Poughkeepsie, NY (Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt)

NEW JAPAN FANTASTICA MANIA FROM TOKYO KORAKUEN HALL AT 4:30 A.M. EASTERN EARLY MONDAY MORNING

  • Ryusuke Taguchi & Fuego vs. Puma & Disturbio
  • Star Jr. & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask & Kushida vs. Okumura & Rocky Romero & Sho & Yoh
  • Third place match in brothers tag team tournament
  • Atlantis & Hirai Kawato vs. Cavernario & Gedo
  • Volador Jr. & Soberano Jr. & Drone vs. Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi & Bushi
  • Satoshi Kojima vs. Rush
  • Brothers tag team tournament championship match

Raw is Monday night from both the Barclays Center and the Manhattan Center for the 25th Raw with a giant list of former stars, Smackdown stars, and pretty much everyone being there with Roman Reigns vs. The Miz for the IC title as the main event.

Smackdown, Mixed Match Challenge and 205 Live will be taped in Washington, DC on Tuesday. Big E & Carmella vs. The Miz & Asuka is the mixed match challenge match.

​F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly 1//15/2018: Looking at WWE's latest Performance Center class

While it's hard to predict whether someone will or won't have success on the main roster, the class that's scheduled to report to the WWE Performance Center this week includes some potentially game-changing talent. Ricochet, Candice LeRae, War Machine (Ray Rowe & Hanson), Kavita Devi, Kacy Catanzaro, Rinku Singh, Shadia Bseiso, Nasser Alruwayeh, Nicolai Salchow, and Saurav Gurjar have been reported as the latest names to sign with WWE.

WON NEWSLETTER: January 22, 2018 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Paige's in-ring career with WWE over, Reigns steroid allegations, more

A look at the career of Paige and the injuries that appeared to end it is one of the lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer. Read about her career, the movie on her life that is forthcoming, how the movie affected the last few years, details of the injury, how this compares to Bryan Danielson, how the movie got started, her life before WWE and her role in the changes in the WWE women's division.

Look at the situation with Conor McGregor, as well as a huge show UFC is looking at doing in the fall.

Read comments on the Roman Reigns allegations and the WWE background on how different allegations have been handled.

There are changes in plans of the rumble show, an update on a lot of talent talking with WWE, many coming into WWE, history of why Bobby Lashley left WWE, former TNA star talks wanting to move to WWE, Jey Uso's DWI arrest, notes on a lot of new talent starting at the Performance Center, Cena projects on Nickelodeon, who is coming in for 25th Raw, who isn't coming to the 25th Raw and why, and a complete scheduled for Mixed Match Challenge.

Check out how house show plans changed with the Samoa Joe injury, WWE injury notes, WWE signs new giant, UFC star's name talked about for WWE, Cena and Rock move notes, WWE stock price value and most-watched shows for the week on the WWE Network. Look at the WWE and NXT arena events over the past week with results, highlights and business notes.

Look at the head-to-head battle with UFC and Bellator this week, the hoped for stardom of Francis Ngannou, Sonnen vs. Rampage, Cormier vs. Oezdemir and more.

Read about the UFC show in St. Louis and the most emotional moment in UFC television history. Plus, look at the unique nature of how the television audience changed and why the ratings were so high.

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 Dave@WrestlingObserver.com

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WON BACK ISSUE: January 1, 2001 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Candidates for Wrestler of the Year, Sakuraba defeats another Gracie, more

For a year that, with the exception of the success of the WWF, was hardly a banner year for the business, there is actually no shortage of candidates for Wrestler of the Year. The Observer awards balloting results will be announced here in two weeks, but before hand, I wanted to run down a list of the top qualifiers with my own comments on them.

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE

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At the UFC press conference this afternoon, with Dana White, Tony Ferguson, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar, it was weird. So White said that Ferguson and Nurmagomedov were fighting for the real title, not the interim title, but when White was asked, and he was over-and-over, if that meant Conor McGregor was being stripped, he danced around it to the point that when Ariel Helwani asked, he said "next question." 

He did officially announce Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the women's strawweight title on 4/7 in Brooklyn on the Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov show, confirming a report already in the current Observer.

The crowd hated Ferguson, particularly when he said that McGregor was offered the fight and wouldn't take it. White said that McGregor may be fighting in August or September against the winner, but said when you have that much money, who really knows.

Alberto El Patron said that he has apologized to HHH for issues in the past claiming that it was his ex-girlfriend and their family who made him believe he was the cause of problems. Whatever. He said he's not looking at going back full-time but would like to do something special there and a farewell match before retiring, maybe in 2019. 

While nothing has been announced, the 3/25 New Japan show in Long Beach on New Japan World is listed is airing like only outside the U.S. but will be available after the show is over on VOD. That sounds like AXS will be airing it live and has exclusive live rights to the show. New Japan will have English language announced for both ROH shows on 2/23 and 2/24 from Korakuen Hall, as well as for next weekend's two shows in Sapporo. Nothing from Australia is currently listed as on the service.

Rampage Jackson weighed in at 253 pounds for his fight with Chael Sonnen, who weighed 222. Keep in mind when these guys were cutting weight, they'd fight at 205 and 185 respectively.

WWE

  • For this weekend's WWE house shows, no John Cena, no Randy Orton and both Jason Jordan and Samoa Joe are out of action with injuries. Joe is out for a while. 
  • There was a great segment last night on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon with HHH & Stephanie and New Day doing a lip sync battle while plugging Raw.
  • Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson announced that they were going to make pro wrestling now exempt from the ban of combat sports in the city during 2018. WWE had canceled its February show. Iveson said it was because pro wrestling had predetermined outcomes.
  • A Randy Savage DVD will be released in May.
  • George Barrios will be on Mad Money with Jim Cramer tonight.
  • Barrios was at the Needham Conference yesterday and asked about independent contractor status and said WWE isn't looking at locking talent up and they are free to leave anytime they want in very short order. I guess two years is considered very short order given Daniel Bryan has been looking at getting out of his deal forever and Rey Mysterio had to wait forever to get out of his, and Neville is sitting and waiting. Actual contracts even include language of up to one-year non-competes in not only pro wrestling, but MMA as well.

UFC

  • For UFC 220, I believe the show is sold out, if not close to it. The PPV advance is also strong.
  • Dana White announced today a 4/14 FOX card with a main event of Justin Gaethje vs. Dustin Poirier, which matches up two fighters in multiple match of the year candidates each.
  • Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens was announced as the main event for the 2/24 FOX show in Orlando. That replaces he original Yoel Romero vs. David Branch main event that was changed when Romero was moved up two weeks to face Luke Rockhold for the interim middleweight title. 
  • Fox Sports in The Netherlands did a documentary on Bas Rutten. (thanks to Henk Mulder)
  • Josh Barnett said that he would be taking USADA to arbitration regarding his positive tests for Ostarine, which he said was found in a contaminated supplement he was using.
  • The original UFC championship belt fought for in 1995 by Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock is up for auction. Also up for bidding is Royce Gracie's contract for UFC 1, Royce Gracie's 1993 tax return and a letter from Federacao de Jiu Jitsu claiming Gracie was the world light heavyweight champion in Jiu Jitsu.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Candice LeRae had her final indie show last night at the Bar Wrestling show in Los Angels: Brian Cage b Scorpio Sky, Heather Monroe & Laura James & Brody King b Dan Barry & Bill Carr & Taya Valkyrie, Jeff Cobb b Luchasaurus, Delilah Doom & Eli Everfly b Joey Janela & Penelope, Billy Gunn b Hot Young Briley (Dolph Ziggler's brother), Peter Avalon & Ray Rosas won three-way over Willie Mack & B-Boy and Nick Iggy & Kerry Awful, Candice LeRae b Joey Ryan. (thanks to Jake Koch)
  • A Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega cartoon.
  • Limitless Wrestling tonight in Westbrook, ME.
  • Stardom is advertising that Kris Wolf will be part of the five vs. five main event on Sunday's Korakuen Hall show with Oedo Tai vs. Queen's Quest. It's not a Survivor Series match but a gauntlet series of singles matches with ten minute time limits (time limit eliminates both), and over the top rope eliminations as well as pins or submissions. Rachael Ellering face Mayu Iwatani plus Mary Apache vs. Kay Lee Ray for the High Speed title.
  • NFC on 1/27 at Center Stage in Atlanta with a 15 fight show.
  • Femmes Fatales on 2/24 in Ottawa has Tessa Blanchard vs. Nicole Savoy plus Mercedes Martinez, Jessicka Havok and Vanessa Kraven.
  • Border City Wrestling on 3/3 in Windsor, ONT with Alberto Del Rio, Austin Aries, Matt Sydal, Eli Drake, Sienna, Allie, Petey Williams, Kongo Kong, Trevor Lee, Moose and Braxton Sutter along with A-1, Phil Atlas, Cody Deaner and El Reverso.
  • Shine 48 will be an iPPV on FITE TV headlined by LuFisto vs. Rain plus Mercedes Martinez & Ivelisse defend the tag titles in an open challenge. 
  • Paul Lazenby appears as a bad guy on the latest episode of the TV show Riverdale.

Today in Professional Wrestling History: Ric Flair wins WWF title in 1992 Royal Rumble

WRESTLING OBSERVER / F4W - WRESTLEMANIA 34 in NEW ORLEANS

Here we go again! It's back to New Orleans for Wrestlemania 34 and a huge weekend of spectacular professional wrestling related fun and wackiness. EdinSanAntonio Productions along with the Wrestling Observer / Figure Four Empire~! is proud to present the annual Wrestlemania weekend trip details. This huge weekend includes a number of website "members only" events. Below are the two events currently scheduled. Click here for full event details.

WOR Podcast Taping:Purchase TICKETS for the Wrestling Observer Radio LIVE MAILBAG~!

  • WHAT: Wrestling Observer Radio LIVE Podcast Recording with Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez
  • WHEN: Friday, April 6th, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (Doors open at 8:45 a.m. for VIP ticket holders and at 9:15 a.m. for general admission)
  • WHERE: The Bourbon Room, Royal St. Charles Hotel in downtown New Orleans; 135 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130

WO/F4W Brunch:Purchase TICKETS for the Wrestling Oberver BRUNCH~!

  • WHAT: All you care to eat brunch buffet on the morning of Wrestlemania 
  • WHEN: Sunday, April 8th, 2018 - T11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: The Court of Two Sisters restaurant in downtown New Orleans; 613 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130

CONTACT INFORMATION

Support the Empire~! with F4W shirts. Grab yours today!