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Daily Update: UFC weigh-ins, Australia, Mustafa Ali


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WON NEWSLETTER: June 15, 2020 Observer Newsletter: WWE creative shakeup, death of Mr. Wrestling II

We've got yet another double issue of the Observer out this week covering both the creative changes in WWE and a long bio on Johnny "Mr. Wrestling II" Walker, as well as a number of other features.

The move to Bruce Prichard as creative head of Raw and Smackdown and the steps leading to this process change.  We look at who appears to be safe and who isn't.  We look at what was tried on Raw and what wasn't working, and notable key recent moves.  We also look at the problems of comparing Raw with Smackdown.

We have a long look at the life and career of Mr. Wrestling II, Johnny Walker.  We look at his heyday, his connection with President Jimmy Carter, the birth of  cable and his role in popularizing pro wrestling on cable, how babyfaces changed in the 70s, his 1980 feud with Harley Race, his checkered past, his wrestling debut, his coming mainland, interactions with the toughest guys of his era, his first good run in Tennessee, how his life was notable in both pro wrestling and country music, his first masked gimmick and his planned retirement. Having the right gimmick in the right place at the right time made him one of the biggest stars in the country.  We look at the Georgia wrestling war and the creation of Mr. Wrestling II.  We look at the Mr. Wrestling vs. Mr. Wrestling II feud and all of II's biggest feuds over the next decade.  We look at II's meetings with the president's mother, his biggest matches at the Omni, his runs in Mid South, feud with Magnum T.A., his WWF tenure, and his life after wrestling in Hawaii.

We also cover:

New Japan Pro Wrestling returning to business this week, scouting out the New Japan Cup, directions for fans attending the Osaka shows and why the matches won't have traditional heat, and the complete schedule.

Economics of Conor McGregor, Jorge Masvidal, Jon Jones and Henry Cejudo and how the ESPN deal has removed fighter leverage. We look at comments by the fighters, response from Dana white and realities of he situation.

An enormous donation made by John Cena, Paul Levesque talks a signature match, WWE canceling over shows due to the pandemic, weekly sports ratings, Edge movie, DVR viewership, Canadian ratings, twitter feuds, Arn Anderson on Sami Zayn, funny story on the first time Adam Cole heard from WWE, what happened to Chris DeJoseph, plus upcoming TV bouts.

Fight Island and the next UFC PPV show

UFC 250, with business notes, popularity notes, poll results and match-by-match coverage.

NXT Takeover In Your House with a rundown, booking notes, match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.

Backlash and story behind Edge vs;  Randy Orton.

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. 

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.

For the rest of the world, rates are $18 for 4, $48.50 for 12, $93 for 24, $155 for 40 and $201.50 for 52.

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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Garrett Gonzalez and I will be doing a show tonight covering the creative changes with WWE and also talk with Andreas Hale. 

Thanks to everyone for their comments regarding the last three issues and the Mr. Wrestling II feature this week. We will have more on that next week, hopefully.  The new issue also runs down a lot on the WWE creative changes.    

New Japan starts up with its first show in months on Monday, which starts at 6 a.m. Monday morning Eastern time on New Japan World.

Weigh-ins for tomorrow's UFC show that will be airing on ESPN starting at 6 p.m. Eastern:

  • Christian Aguilera (170.5) vs. Anthony Ivy (171)
  • Tyson Nam (135.5) vs,. Zarrukh Adashev (138.5)
  • Julia Avila (135) vs. Gina Mazany (136)
  • Charles Rosa (155) vs. Kevin Aguilar (155.5)
  • Mariya Agapova (125.5) vs. Hannah Cifers (125)
  • Jordan Espinosa (135.5) vs. Mark De La Rosa (136)
  • Andre Fili (145.5) vs. Charles Joudain (145.5)
  • Merab Dvalishvili (139) vs. Gustavo Lopez (140)
  • Karl Roberson (190.5) vs. Marvin Vettori (186)
  • Jessica Eye (126.25) vs. Cynthia Calvillo (126)

A few notes. Eye missed weight by 0.25 pounds and she was very shaky leaving the scale, not looking at all healthy. Roberson missed weight by 4.5 pounds which is kind of ridiculous.  Because Lopez took the fight yesterday, both men agreed to fight at 140 so neither missed weight.  Adashev also missed eight.  Both Mazany and Eye have dabbled in some pro wrestling.  Derrick Minner, who was to face Jordan Griffin, pulled out today. He said he woke up and started violently throwing up. The doctors pretty much advised him not to fight.

Bryan Alvarez turned 45 today. Somehow he has remained younger than the median age of a viewer of every pro wrestling show during the pandemic.

Starting in July, Australia, which has barely been hit by COVID-19, really be easing restrictions on live shows. The limit of 100 people for indoor gatherings will change but there is a one person every four square meters rule in place on indoor shows and stadiums will be open to 25 percent of capacity (thanks to Kevin Chiat)   


  • These are the odds from for Backlash: Drew McIntyre -950 vs. Bobby Lashley +500 Asuka -600 vs. Nia Jax +350 Randy Orton -160 vs. Edge +120 Braun Strowman -1250 vs. Miz & John Morrison +550 Bayley & Sasha Banks -175 vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross +200 vs. The Iiconics +250 Apollo Crews -550 vs. Andrade +325 Jeff  Hardy -140 vs. Sheamus +100  
  • An ESPN story on the pain Mick Foley lives in. (thanks to Barry Werner)
  • People has a feature this week on Jake Atlas.
  • Smackdown tonight has the A.J. Styles vs. Daniel Bryan IC title match, Heavy Machinery & Braun Strowman vs. The Miz & John Morrison & Dolph Ziggler plus a Sheamus and Jeff Hardy contract signing for Sunday.  It's the go-home show for Backlash.
  • Sports Illustrated talked to Mustafa Ali on his experiences as a police officer and racism.
  • Shawn Michaels was part of a conference call to promote WWE Backlash and he was asked by Inside The Ropes about The Last Ride documentary and the Crown Jewel tag match. Here's what he had to say: 'The year after we had my last match (in 2010), we were sitting at baggage claim and we're waiting on our bags where I'm gonna get inducted into the Hall of Fame and he looked at me and said "you made the right choice. Perfect time to go out" Fast forward to the tag match, I had no idea that in his mind, had it gone well that he would have possibly been able to retire on that. I assumed that he was more looking towards that WrestleMania moment. I just looked at that match as another tag match. I looked at that just as a chance to go out there with my buddies and have some fun and not take anything too seriously. I didn't know that was a situation that had it gone better, it would've made it easier for him to walk away. I assumed in his mind it needed to be the same as me where it needed to be a WrestleMania moment.”


  • A fight between Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion  Cutelaba has been added to an 8/15 PPV show.
  • A fight with Karol Rosa vs. Vanessa Melo has been added to the 7/11 PPV show.   


  • Not so good news for Matt Striker who was eliminated from FOX's "Labor of Love," a reality show that is tanking badly.
  • MLW announced that Salina de la Renta has returned to the organization with a new deal. 
  • CWE runs tonight in Winnipeg at Rookie's Sports Bar.  The event is limited to just 100 tickets sold and wearing a mask is recommended.
  • Michael Facciani at is selling his collection of wrestling magazines that dates back to the 80s.
  • There will be a two-day seminar with Les Thatcher, Tom Prichard and Rudy Boy Gonzalez on 8/8 and 8/9 at the All-American Wrestling Academy in Knoxville, TN.  There are limited spaces available and you can email for more info.
  • We are sad to report the death of Jon Southerland, a longtime correspondent to the Observer who passed away on 6/10 from cancer.  He was still watching wrestling in the ICU unit this past week. Southerland used to regularly drive to this area from  Fresno for shows.
  • Esther Leon de Moreno, the mother of Esther, Alda, Cinthia and Rossy Moreno, passed away during surgery.  Esther and her husband built the Arena Azteca Budokan in Neza nearly 60 years ago. Esther Moreno was one of the stars during the early 90s glory days of All Japan Women's Wrestling.
  • Televisa will be airing the 2014 Juicio Final show tomorrow. The show features a Volador Jr. vs. La Sombra (Andrade) match.
  • Rick Bassman is teaming with Cameo and charities National Cares Mentoring Movement and Live FreeUSA to host an event called BeGood which will include Sting, Lou Ferrigno, Butterbean, Benny "The Jet Urquidez, Mike O'Hearn and Bas Rutten for a Facebook event on 6/20 at 5 p.m. to talk tolerance, unity and reconciliation.
  • Bill Apter talks his friend Mr. Wrestling II.
  • Jay White and Tanga Loa have released Black Lives Matter t-shirts together.
  • This is an Irish Times piece about Daniel Kinahan, the man who just brokered the Fury-Joshua fights. (thanks to Chris Gannon)
  • Slam Wrestling talks to Cody Deaner who returned to Impact Wrestling this week.
  • ROH has a feature on P.J. Black.
  • On The Turnbuckle has a Indigenous Australian roundtable podcast for how the Black Lives Matter movement has resonated in Australia, as well as covering the wrestling side (thanks to Kevin Chiat)

Daily Pro Wrestling History: ECW One Night Stand