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WON NEWSLETTER: April 26, 2021 Observer Newsletter: WWE financials, Ben Askren vs. Jake Paul

We have a loaded issue of the Wrestling Observer this week, with business and history features.

We update WWE financials, with comments from Nick Khan, Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Kristina Salen talking about the state of the company, the state of sports business, what media companies are looking at right now, AEW, plus a look at WWE revenue and profits.  We also look behind the numbers at what they mean, how every category is doing and what categories the company is no longer reporting on.  We also look at the decline of WWE ratings as compared to that of cable television  and network television.

Also in this issue:

The new attempt at a unique concept PPV with the Triller promotion and Ben Askren vs. Jake Paul, the show, the match, the blitzed announcers, Ric Flair, comparisons to other similar things and long-term sustainability.

Kenny Omega vs Rich Swann match,  followed by a story on famous title unification matches throughout pro wrestling history. We look at some of the biggest and most important matches of all-time that were two champions unifying a world title from 1920 to the present.

WrestleMania business numbers when it came to the two live shows, with real attendance, real gates and what it means.

New Smackdown announcing team, Pat McAfee talks his debut, Daniel Bryan talks his current situation and contract, thoughts on Daniel Bryan's future, new hires and departures at WWE, change in show distribution, former star talks coming out of retirement, how the WWE & AEW shows rank among sports programming, WWE star bio released, Damien Priest talks Bad Bunny, more on Kalisto being let go, Dr. Wagner Jr. talks WWE, political reason for a winning streak, and most-watched YouTube segments on his week's WWE programming.

A major feature on the career of Steve Austin and the A&E special, his background, how he got into wrestling, the WCW years, the Stone Cold name, life after wrestling, and what were key things not talked about on the documentary.

Mickie James garbage bag situation and the firing of Mark Carrano.

MLW's new television deal, who else was in talks about that deal, MLW returning to shows with fans and a spinoff planned.

Coverage of this past week's UFC show, business notes, where the top fighters are headed plus match-by-match coverage.

More detail on ratings than any other source, we have how every segment on NXT and AEW did as well as how it did with different age groups, genders and more, plus a look at all other wrestling shows of the past week.

Results of the major pro wrestling events of the past week.

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  • In an interview with Sports Illustrated, The Undertaker spoke about how it felt to not take part in WrestleMania 37: “I had to work through that. It’s a little difficult once WrestleMania starts. I started second-guessing myself. So much of my history revolves around WrestleMania. There was a bit of an emotional tug of the heartstrings watching this year, but it’s time for me to step aside and let this next generation have the reins and go where they’re going to go.”
  • The Undertaker also discussed his previous comments where he said the current WWE product is a little soft: “I wasn’t bashing our talent. Our talent is extraordinary. What they’re physically able to do, I couldn’t imagine doing that back in the day. I have a lot of respect for our roster, but I came from a different time period. My point was it was tough back then. I remember when Triple H first came in, and he was shocked that I had black electrical tape on my boots. It was just a different time. We didn’t even have trainers on the road. If you had torn gear, you either wore it torn or you tried to fix it yourself. I’m so proud to be part of the evolution of our business. The industry has come so far. It’s a sign of the success and how far we’ve come.”
  • While appearing on Ebro in the Morning, Snoop Dogg said WWE “felt some kind of way” about the appearance he made on AEW Dynamite this January: “They felt some kind of way too. Let me tell you this though. Snoop Dogg ain’t no wrestler. He’s bigger than that. You have to understand that. This is the dynamics of what happened. I had a show on TBS called Go-Big Show, during COVID where people can really watch, to be entertained on some circus type of sh*t. Cody Rhodes is one of the judges on the show, he’s actually one of the top dogs at the AEW wrestling network. As a promotional vehicle for the show they had me go on there so I could co-promote the show. Then I get word from them [WWE], saying ‘Ay, you fu*kin’ with them? We’re going to have to push pause on your ass for a minute.’ I said cool, they pushed pause for about two weeks, then said ‘Hey man, we got this video game, and we need you’. Once ya’ll told me to push pause, that will be double. I’ll be on the new wrestling game.” Snoop Dogg was added to the WWE Champions mobile game in February, but whether or not that’s the video game he was talking about isn’t known.
  • WWE Network News reported the following premiere dates for upcoming Peacock/WWE Network content: May 2 -- WWE Untold: Two Dudes with Attitudes (Shawn Michaels & Diesel) May 9 -- WWE Chronicle: Damian Priest May 11 -- The Best of WWE: WrestleMania Rematches May 16 --  WWE Icons: Rob Van Dam May 16 -- WWE WrestleMania Backlash airs live May 17 -- WWF Wrestling Challenge (classic content) May 18 – The Best of WWE: Rob Van Dam May 23 – The Best of WWE: Andre the Giant
  • Ric Flair posted a tweet responding to the interview where his friend Steve “Mongo” McMichael revealed his ALS diagnosis: “Mongo, You Were Our Hero Long Before You Came To Us In Wrestling. A Super Bowl Champion And A Natural Born Horseman. You More Than Lived Up To Your Reputation! The Pearly Gates Are Something A Lot Of Us Contemplate. Keep Up The Good Fight! We Love You!”
  • On the SI Media Podcast, Adnan Virk critiqued his performance since joining the Raw commentary team: “I get home and I talked to my wife and she goes ‘how did it go?’ I said ‘you know, I thought I did all right. I made some mistakes. There’s certainly some stuff I’d like to get back but Corey (Graves) and Byron (Saxton) were great. I think I’ll get better. I thought this was good.’ I’ll only really get better by watching it. So then I rewatched the whole show, I watched start to finish — I haven’t yet for the second one, but I will -- and said ‘okay, that was better than I thought, that was worse than I thought.’ I think whenever you make a mistake -- again, you’d like to make zero mistakes, you want to bat 1.000 -- but if you make a mistake don’t make the same mistake twice, just learn from it.”
  • Bleacher Report has an interview with John Cena.
  • This week’s edition of WWE’s After the Bell podcast was a Big E WrestleMania Audio Diary.
  • A&E released a sneak peek of tomorrow’s Roddy Piper Biography documentary.
  • WWE’s YouTube channel uploaded Shawn Michaels vs. The Great Khali from the May 7, 2007 episode of Raw, Randy Orton vs. Batista for the WWE Championship from Judgment Day 2009, and Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss from the March 19, 2018 episode of Raw.

Other Wrestling

  • Starz’s Heelz revealed the wrestling character CM Punk will be playing in the show. Punk is playing a wrestler who goes by the name Ricky Rabies. Bonnie Sommerville is playing his manager Vicky Rabies.
  • During an appearance on the Wrestling Perspective Podcast, Scott D’Amore addressed the possibility of a TNA show happening: "There have been conversations (about a TNA show). I still get hit up on Twitter from fans saying, 'are we ever going to get the TNA reunion show?' Even with the one-hour special, we saw the buzz created. It was three or four days later when someone from AXS called and said, 'How hard would it be, would it be possible for you to do this weekly?' 'It is...what are we talking about with the timeline?' 'Would you be able to do it next month?' 'No! We need to find a place to run shows in the next two weeks.' As we come out of this pandemic, certainly it's a possibility that the TNA brand could return. It's one of the things that maybe the pandemic has robbed us of. We have so many unbelievable Knockouts, maybe we'll end up continuing to grow the Knockouts division and give them their own separate platform.”
  • Rich Swann appeared on Talk is Jericho ahead of his title vs. title match against Kenny Omega at tomorrow’s Impact Wrestling Rebellion PPV.
  • Sports Illustrated spoke to Trey Miguel ahead of his Last Man Standing match against Sami Callihan at Rebellion.
  • On Chris Van Vliet’s Insight podcast, Chelsea Green spoke about needing a visa and green card to continue living in the United States: “When I was released, a lot of people were like ‘Hey you’re ok, you’re a good hustler.’ But I’m like, yeah but I’m Canadian. I have to get a visa and a green card. I have to figure out a way to live here. I was released on Thursday night, and on Friday morning, Matt is on his way to Wisconsin. I texted him saying, ‘We need to get married, so you need to think about when that’s happening.’”
  • Cassie McIntosh (formerly known as Peyton Royce in WWE) has filed a trademark for the name “Cassie Lee.”
  • Christain Cage was the guest on this week’s episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Hogan vs. Bockwinkel at AWA Super Sunday