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Daily Update: UFC's deal with ESPN, WWE UK, Punk meet and greet


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F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly: All In sells out within 30 minutes

For all of the hype and expectations ahead of tickets going on sale, Sunday was going to be when the unknown became known for Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks. And with tickets for their Labor Day weekend All In show selling out in 29 minutes and 36 seconds, the Bullet Club's success could be a landmark moment for professional wrestling. What began as Cody taking a Dave Meltzer tweet as a bet, where Meltzer responded to someone last May and tweeted that he didn't think ROH could sell out a 10,000-plus seat building anytime soon, has now become the first show in the United States to do so in almost 20 years.

WON NEWSLETTER: May 21, 2018 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: USA potentially paying big money for Raw, more

A look at how the new WWE television contract situation will change the game once again is the lead story in the new issue of the Observer. Look at why the stock price is up, what analysts thought WWE would get with its deal, what kind of level we're talking about now, interest level, where Smackdown may end up, the value of an episode of Raw and how that relates to PPV and where the key events should take place, and the long-term value of both UFC and WWE.

This issue also has a big feature on the All In show and weekend, with notes on the business, what questions were answered and what weren't, who is on the show, ticket breakdown, secondary market numbers, how it compares with big WWE shows, as well as the largest crowds other non-WWE companies have done and other groups in the last 32 years to have drawn 10,000 for a live show. Also look at how unique this really is and the business of the Starrcast event.

Look at the new President of New Japan, Harold Meij, what his hiring means, what he brings to the table, one of his ideas that has already been used, just how much of a success he was in the toy business and his goals for New Japan's future.

Also, look at NXT business numbers for the first three months of the year and compare it with last year at the same time.

There is an update on Money in the Bank, matches announced, other directions and look at the Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax direction.

Read about the lawsuit against C.M. Punk that is coming to the wire, thoughts on the John Cena/Nikki Bella storyline, NXT Takeover Chicago news, WWE wrestler media appearances, a list of new WWE signees from the U.K. and details of the contracts.

This issue has more on Amy "Lita" Dumas breaking ranks on Greatest Royal rumble, update on movies with big WWE names, a unique world class athlete WWE has just signed, why Cass is in trouble, who hasn't won in 2018, and new matches and new injury updates.

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

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If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can choose one free classic issue or two free classic issues with a 40-issue subscription.


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  • Aleister Black teaming with Ricochet against EC3 & Velvetee Dream has been added to the lineup for WWE’s UK brand show at Royal Albert Hall on June 19th. That’s the second of two nights at the venue and will also feature Pete Dunne defending the WWE United Kingdom title against the person who wins the tournament on night one, along with NXT North American, Women’s, and Tag Team title defenses.
  • Trent Seven was interviewed by The Mirror and pushed that him and Tyler Bate want to win the NXT tag titles.
  • Nikki Bella appeared to deny’s report that her and John Cena are basically back together: “The lies... damn can make a girl want to hide... these articles are so incorrect. One day I would love to meet these ‘sources.’ N”
  • While this doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be returning on the show, PWInsider reported that Jason Jordan is scheduled to be backstage at Raw in Richmond, Virginia next week. Jordan has been out of action since undergoing “minimally invasive” neck surgery in February, but this won’t be the first time he’s been backstage recently.
  • Daniel Bryan spoke to UNILAD Sport during mental health awareness month and explained how important telling other people was for his own issues.
  • ESPN’s Brett Okamoto interviewed Mauro Ranallo ahead of Showtime’s documentary on Ranallo’s career and mental health battles premiering on Friday. Ranallo was also interviewed by Showtime and Yahoo about the documentary.
  • Indie wrestler Kevin Bennett was the person who lost to Andrade “Cien” Almas on SmackDown last night. Christopher Guy, which is former ROH Wrestler Ace Steel’s real name, was played by CHIKARA’s Juan Francisco de Coronado.
  • Carmella retaining her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch was last night’s pre-SmackDown dark match.Cesaro & Sheamus interfered right after a post-show dark match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura started, with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson making the save for Styles.
  • An online merchandise store for the XFL has been opened up.

Pro Wrestling


  • ESPN becoming the exclusive TV/media home of the UFC starting in January 2019 was officially announced in a press release today. Dana White and ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro both commented in it:
  • White: “Every year for the last 18 years, we have taken this sport and brand to another level. We find innovative ways to promote our athletes and build stars. Today is another monumental day for UFC, our athletes, and our fans. We are now part of the ESPN family, recognized around the world as the pinnacle in sports broadcasting. I am very excited for this next chapter for UFC.”
  • Pitaro: “ESPN’s unparalleled multimedia platform is the perfect home for the UFC and will deliver tremendous value to both parties.  UFC fans are passionate and loyal and we plan to bring the full power of ESPN’s live coverage, powerful storytelling and unmatched distribution to serve them in an unprecedented fashion. We can’t wait to get started.”
  • ESPN’s Brett Okamoto spoke with Dana White after the deal was confirmed, with White calling it one of the best days of his career, if not the best. White told him that the UFC will be maintaining control of the production for its events on ESPN.
  • White also claimed that being on ESPN and being promoted by them will benefit the UFC roster: "ESPN has shown its commitment to not only UFC, but MMA. The amount of promotion our athletes are going to get now, and what ESPN is doing with this new platform, it's going to be very big for the fighters."
  • White has a meeting with Conor McGregor scheduled in Liverpool this weekend to talk about McGregor’s future.
  • Georges St-Pierre isn’t interested in fighting Nate Diaz and wants to face Khabib Nurmagomedov or McGregor.
  • After his drug test failure, Fabricio Werdum issued a statement calling it a misunderstanding and saying that he’s working with the UFC and USADA to figure out what happened because he’s always supported MMA being a clean sport.
  • Roy Nelson, who was supposed to face Mirko Cro Cop in the main event before Cro Cop injured his knee. Is officially off the card for Bellator 200 on Friday.

Daily Professional Wrestling History: Misawa & Akiyama win AJPW tag titles

12th Annual F4W Empire Vegas Convention

Greetings friends and fans of the F4W / Wrestling Observer website. It's time to announce the details of the 12th annual F4W / Wrestling Observer Empire Las Vegas Convention~!

This year's event will be taking place in Las Vegas from August 16th to the 20th and will again be in conjunction with WWE's SummerSlam weekend a.k.a. Super China Buffet Day~! There will still be the usual events, but our big draw will be WWE's summer blockbuster PPV, SummerSlam. As per tradition, we will all gorge ourselves at a Las Vegas buffet, and then watch SummerSlam in a rented out movie theater. All information and ticketing prices are available now. Sign up ASAP as spots are limited for some events. 

This year will also feature a Future Stars Wrestling show which will include the first ever Gladys Gibson Doubles Match Classic! Already booked for the show are the teams Mia Yim & Leva Bates, Hudson Envy & Shotzi Blackheart, Samantha Heights & Brittany Blake, and Miranda Alize & Kylie Rae. Kris Wolf will also be appearing along with many more future stars. There may even be a classic star or two making an appearance. You won't want to miss this show! Check out the convention's Facebook page for all additional information.