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Daily Update: Weekend shows, Day 1, Mike Rotunda


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WON NEWSLETTER: January 3, 2022 Observer Newsletter: WWE changes due to omicron, MSG near record low

In this week's issue: 

The effects of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of COVID-19 led to a number of major changes and precautions in WWE.

Among the names advertised who didn’t appear on shows this week were Roman Reigns, Big E, Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins, Bianca Belair, Bobby Lashley, Queen Zelina, Shinsuke Nakamura and King Woods.

Current subscribers click here to read.

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Bryan and I will be back tomorrow night covering the WWE Day 1 show, Stardom Dream Queendom and the rest of the news.

I'm more than halfway done on Hall of Fame ballot counting. There are four locks, five very close and a couple of others who probably won't make it this year but still have a shot.  

Our lead article in the new issue which goes through the COVID situation in WWE also looks at Madison Square Garden history, the ups and downs since wrestling returned to MSG in 1949. In particular, we look at history's lowest crowds in the modern era, as well as look at WWE vs. AEW in the last four months in the marketplace, and the last decade of the post-Christmas tradition in the building.

We're doing polls on three shows this week, Wednesday's Stardom show,the NOAH show at Budokan Hall that starts in a few hours and WWE's Day 1 show. We're looking for thumbs up, down or middle along with a best and worst match from each show to

Smackdown tonight is on FS 1 and it's a best of show. AEW Rampage tonight at 10 p.m. has Anthony Bowens vs. Jungle Boy, Penelope Ford & The Bunny vs. Tay Conti & Anna Jay in a street fight and Cody Rhodes vs. Ethan Page for the TNT title  People were raving about the last two matches, and particularly the women's match.

The NOAH show starts at 2 a.m. Eastern tonight at 11 p.m. Pacific and will stream on the Wrestle Universe service.  It's the company's return to Budokan Hall

  • Junta Miyawaki & Kinya Okada vs. Kai Fujimura & Yasutaka Yano
  • Akitoshi Saito & Mohammed Yone & King Tani vs. Manabu Soya & Nioh & Tadasuke
  • Aleja & Haoh vs. Seiki Yoshioka & Yuya Susumu
  • Ultimo Dragon & Hajime Ohara & Daisuke Harada & Atsushi Kotoge vs. Eita & Kotaro Suzuki & Nosawa Rongai & Yo-Hey
  • Masakatsu Funaki & Ikuto Hidaka vs. Kazuyuki Fujita & Kendo Kashin
  • Hayata vs. Yoshinari Ogawa for the GHC jr. title
  • Keiji Muto & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Masaaki Mochizuki & Masato Tanaka for the GHC tag title
  • KENTA & Kazushi Sakuraba & Takashi Sugiura vs,. Masa Kitamiya & Yoshiki Inamura & Daiki Inaba
  • Kenou vs.  Kaito Kiyomiya for the National title
  • Katsuhiko Nakajima vs, Go Shiozaki for the GHC title

For those who like hard hitting wrestling, the main event will be guaranteed to be great. For those who don't like hard hitting, pretty sure you won't be happy with the main event.

For Day 1, the tickets out passed 10,000 today.  As of this morning they had 10,131 out.  They've moved a ton of tickets in the last three weeks which is very unusual for modern wrestling to start out so slow and then suddenly move a ton of tickets, which likely has to do with Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar and the storyline in play being a ticket seller.

GCW has its New Year' Eve show from The Showboat in Atlantic City tonight starting at 8 p.m. Eastern on FITE:

  • Ninja Mack & Dante Leon vs. Blake Christian & Alex Zayne
  • Everett Connors vs,. Atticus Cogar
  • AKIRA vs. G-Raver
  • Colby Corino vs. Dark Sheik
  • Jordan Oliver & Charlie Tiger & Ellis Taylor vs. AJ Gray & Effy & Matthew Justice
  • Ho  Ho Lun vs. Jimmy Lloyd
  • Allie Katch vs. Charlie Evans

A video of the old TV show To Tell the Truth where Betty White was a regular and the panel had to identify which woman was the world champion pro wrestler, which also tells you how unknown Moolah was at the time to the average person. (thanks to Ken Raftery)

The Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame announced Mike Rotunda as an inductee. Rotunda was a collegiate heavyweight at Syracuse University who was good enough to go to the NCAA tournament and then had a long career under a number of names, including his own name IRS, and VK Wallstreet. Dick Bourne, a Mid Atlantic Wrestling historian who has written books will be getting the Jim Melby award. Jim Ross will be getting the Gordon Solie award.  Well, if there is anyone living who deserves the Gordon Solie award, it would be Jim Ross.


  • HBO Max will debut The Peacemaker with John Cena on 1/13.  They will put the first three episodes up.
  • A story on Bron Breakker and his family. (thanks to Mike Kuzmuk)


  • Michael Bisping on his YouTube channel said things were very bloody miserable this week because he and his entire family got COVID. He said since Monday he'[s been mostly laying in bed feeling bad, hurting all over,.
  • Irene Aldana vs. Aspen Ladd is earmarked for a 4/9 show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
  • Ryan Spann vs. Ion Cutelaba is set for a 2/26 show


  • Kevin Eck's weekly look at ROH.
  • Malakai Black will be the headliner for West Coast Pro on 3/11 in South San Francisco, CA at The State Room.
  • Bellator announced Benson Henderson (28-11) vs. Islam Mamedov (20-1-1 ) at lightweight for its 1/29 show in Phoenix. The show is headlined by the heavyweight title unification match between champion Ryan Bader (28-7, 1 no contest) and interim champion ValentinMoldavsky (11-1).
  • Aaron McKenzie (10-2-1) vs. Joshua Jones (11-5) in a lightweight fight will headline LFA on 1/14 at The Factory in Dallas on UFC Fight Pass.  They also run 1/21 at The Factory in St. Louis headlined by Charles Johnson (10-2) vs. Carlos Mota (6-0) in a flyweight main event.  
  • Lio Rush makes his debut with Prestige Wrestling on 3/13 in Sacramento, CA.
  • Kurt Angle has been added to the WrestleCon lineup for WrestleMania weekend.
  • Insane Wrestling Revolution from Wednesday night in Monroe, MI:  Sam Beale b Kenny Urban, Rod Lee b Ace Evans, Malcolm Monroe III b N8 Mattson, Hornswoggle & The DBA & Mysterious Movado b Aaron Orion & Jack Price & Ben Boone, Konnor b Tanner Nix & Chris Clontz & Clucky, Trey Miguel b Chris Sabin to win the U.S. title, Madman Fulton b Dread King Logan, Tommy Dreamer & Rhino b Nate Bock & Kyle Barrett, John E. Bravo b Tommy Dreamer.  The next show is 2/17 at the FOP Hall in Monroe, MI. (thanks to Leonard Brand)
  • UWFI Rules Contender series from Paradigm Pro Wrestling takes place on 1/5 at 10 p.m. and will air for seven straight Wednesday nights featuring Tom Lawlor, Gnaris Garvin and Tang Soo do competitor Alex Weir. Lawlor faces Jordan Blade in an intergender super fight in the main event on Wednesday.
  • PWA Black Label on 1/14 features Aussie Open  vs. The Velocities in a rematch of Australia's most talked about match of the year plus the return of Robbie Eagles. It will air live on FITE.
  • Harashima & Daichi Hashimoto & Kengo Mashimo beat Konosuke Takeshita & Yuji Okabayashi & Kuishinbo Kamen to win a New Year's Eve trios tournament at Korakuen Hall.  It has become an indie tradition to do a tag team tournament on New Year's Eve at Korakuen Hall. Takeshita was also announced as Japan's independent MVP.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Von Erichs win World Class Six-Man Tag Team titles