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Daily Update: WWE & COVID, Raw, SB Kento

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WON NEWSLETTER: December 27, 2021 Observer Newsletter: COVID hits pro wrestling again, Corporal Kirchner passes away

In this week's issue: 

  • The first new wave COVID issues for pro wrestling
  • The life and times of Corporal Mike Kirchner and Super Leather
  • WWE's traditionally biggest house show run of the year and notes on how every show is doing
  • Updates on WWE Day 1, new matches, matches originally set, interest level in the show
  • WWE company value
  • Lots of news regarding prospective WWE new signees
  • Ticket sale updates for all major upcoming WWE & AEW events
  • How the AEW audience grew for Page vs. Danielson
  • Which pro wrestling show was the youngest skewing sports show of the past week
  • TV ratings for the major shows and the why
  • The ratings category WWE SmackDown led in that they almost never do
  • International TV ratings
  • Bret Hart honored in Canada
  • Wrestling Hall of Famer named to state sport Hall of Fame
  • A horrible in-ring incident and background
  • Stardom PPV notes
  • Full UFC coverage

Current subscribers click here to read.

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@wrestlingobserver.com or by going to www.paypal.com directing funds to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

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MONDAY NEWS UPDATE

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Garrett and I will be back tonight with Wrestling Observer Radio. We'll be talking all the COVID related WWE & AEW news, Raw, MSG attendance and a lot more. You can also send questions related to the news of and the WWE policy changes to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

Bryan and I will be back doing a show again on Wednesday night after AEW. He has been unable to fly home from his vacation due to flights being canceled.

The Fightful story regarding WWE no longer testing talent for COVID has been confirmed by a number of people to us although WWE has not publicly commented on it. There is a ton to talk about regarding the weekend. While not confirmed, it is believed the company is following CDC recommendations and shortening the quarantine time from ten to five days, so those who tested positive and missed shows would be available for Day 1 provided the positive test took place Saturday or earlier are likely to be available for Saturday's Day 1 show. One would need two negative tests on consecutive days with the first test allowed on day five, so basically six days in total.

Other new rules are that masks are mandatory backstage at all times and there will be fines imposed for not just WWE talent but anyone backstage. The company did recommend but not mandate everyone get a booster.  

This is a list of talent advertised that did not appear at the WWE shows last night. On Raw at MSG, missing were Big E, Seth Rollins (who confirmed COVID), Becky Lynch, Bianca Belair, Queen Zelina and Bobby Lashley.  On Smackdown in Tampa, those missing were Roman Reigns, Shinsuke Nakamura and King Woods.  WWE officials have noted that not all of those missing tested positive.  Some of them were pulled from the house shows this week because they are intent on not risking certain key people from this coming Saturday's Day 1 show.  One person noted that in particular they wanted to do everything possible to make sure Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman can do what is scheduled on Saturday because that leads in some form to WrestleMania.  We were also told they are considering it fortunate that Smackdown was taped on 12/17 and that there is no Smackdown show this Friday. It will be a best of show on FS 1.

Raw tonight is from Detroit and they had the biggest advance of the week for tonight's show.  Announced include Miz and Maryse renewing their wedding vows, A.J. Styles vs. Omos (they did a match last night and it was said to be quick and painful with a bad finish), Damien Priest vs. Dolph Ziggler for the U.S. title, Mysterios vs. Street Profits with the winning team getting a tag title match at Riddle & Randy Orton at a future date, Randy Orton vs. Otis and Austin Theory vs. Finn Balor.  Edge is on the show, likely to do something involving Miz.

The NFL game tonight is Miami vs. New Orleans, with both teams 7-7, so it won't be disastrous to Raw at the level some of the recent games have been.

While not wrestling related directly, the band Phish postponed shows on 12/29, 12/30, 12/31 and 1/1 in MSG and will make up the dates in April. They made the call last Thursday feeling that they may have been forced to do so anyway and with every show being sold out, it would be a nightmare if capacity was cut. (thanks to Jeffer Sheehan)

We are looking for reports from Detroit tonight for the stuff not televised, whether it be dark matches or Main Event matches before Raw, as well as from Orlando tonight where the Smackdown brand has a show to dave@wrestlingobserver.com

Regarding SB Kento from yesterday's Dragon Gate show, he is okay. He did have a knee injury that he came into the match with and was working limited, but he wasn't injured in the match itself.  

We've got a major story coming up later this week in the Observer regarding MSG and the crowd from last night's show which was among the lowest in the last 83 years.

For those attending the AEW show on 1/5 in Newark, NJ, you will have to have proof of vaccination to attend, the same as for WWE and AEW shows in New York of late.

Regarding ratings, the Smackdown number for Christmas Eve will come out tomorrow morning. We were told by someone with access to market by market that the numbers are way down. This is due to Christmas Eve and you can really throw the number out as far as it meaning anything.  Similarly, the Rampage number for Saturday, which will be out on Wednesday, you can throw out as far as meaning anything, due to the holiday and unfamiliar day and time.  Raw ratings will be out early Wednesday.  NXT numbers are scheduled to be out Wednesday and AEW numbers on Thursday.  Similarly, next week's numbers will also be delayed

Also wanted to send sympathies to the friends and family of Marcus Crane, who passed away yesterday. We were told he took a nap and never woke up.

Notes from last night's WWE show in Tampa: Kofi Kingston b Sami Zayn, Xia Li b Shotzi, Ridge Holland b Mansoor, Usos NC Drew McIntyre & Sheamus (Sheamus turned on McIntyre) to keep the tag titles, Ricochet & Cesaro won three-way over Viking Raiders and Los Lotharios, happy Corbin b Rick Boogs, McIntyre b Sheamus in a street fight

WWE

AEW

  • Dark Elevation tonight taped in Greensboro: Alex Reynolds & John Silver & 10 vs,. Brandon Scott& JR Miller & Fodder Anthony Ogogo vs. Duncan Mitchell Thunder Rosa vs. Dani Mo Santana & Ortiz vs. Alexander Moss &  Movie Myk Tay Conti & Anna Jay vs. Emi Sakura & Diamante Shawn Spears vs. Lee Moriarty Matt Hardy vs. Darius Lockhart Austin & Billy & Colten Gunn vs. Stu Grayson & Evil Uno & Alan Angels

OTHER NOTES

  • Very sad to hear the news that Beau James, a longtime Tennessee independent promoter and wrestler, is battling serious health issues and will be undergoing heart surgery next month. Jack Booth, his nephew and referee organized a benefit show last night for James' Southern States Wrestling event in Kingsport, TN: Wayne Moxie d Marty Clay, Nate Diamond b Eric Porter, Brian Logan b Bob Mitchell, Ray Idol b Stan Sierra-DQ, Ricky & Kerry Morton & Wayne Adkins b Eric Darkstorm & Jason Kincaid & Johnny Youngblood.  Tom Prichard, KC Thunder, Stan Lee, Joe Wheeler and Ricky Morton all gave speeches about their friendship and dealings with James, who is also a area wrestling historian and super knowledgeable about area history.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Kevin Nash ends Goldberg's streak at Starrcade 1998

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