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Daily Update: WWE Payback preview, Bob Armstrong, All Out


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WON NEWSLETTER: August 31, 2020 Observer Newsletter: Death of Bob Armstrong, WWE ThunderDome debut

A look at the life and wrestling career of Bob Armstrong is the lead in this week's double issue of the Observer. We go through what made him a star, his appeal in the Southeast, his role in the famed Atlanta promotion war, what his booking by Bill Watts in Florida inspired more than a decade later, the Roddy Piper feud, the numbers Georgia wrestling did on cable, his success in different territories and his authority roles later in his career.

Also in this issue:

Thunderdome, what hit, what missed, what audience came back for it, what has been learned so far, the sweetheart business deal, the Payback card and booking, plus match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.

Television situation changing for Bellator and what that means, including the unique nature of their ownership that explains why it was purchased in the first place.

Karrion Kross injury and Tuesday's NXT show to fill the title vacancy.

A look back at the first NXT Takeover and at the 30th show, with match-by-match coverage, star ratings and poll results.

New Japan's first major outdoor stadium show in 21 years, the last non-Tokyo Dome stadium show before this, what Jingu Stadium is most known for historically, an show preview and a look at this past week's Korakuen Hall show.

The economics of WWE, the Sonya Deville court hearing, return to action of the U.K. crew and plans, Renee Young talks her time in WWE, Big E/Miz talk, WWE new hires, Orton and Flair talk their angle, how wrestling did compared to other sports this past week, Canadian & U.K. ratings, rewriting of Raw this past week, most watched shows on WWE network this past week and company current market value.

Saturday's UFC show with business notes and match-by-match coverage.

Return of CMLL, its plans for this year's anniversary show and how the voting for specific matches is doing.

Television viewers per home for the biggest sports events of the past week and how wrestling fits in.

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. 

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Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Payback and taking questions. you can send to

The funeral of Joseph James aka Bob Armstrong will be this coming Saturday at the Cornerstone Christian Church at 14047 S. Albama St., Jay, FL  32565. There will be a viewing at 1 p.m. and the service is at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family would like people to send donations to the American Cancer Society and use the name Bob Armstrong.

WWE Payback is tonight at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time on the WWE Network. We've got polls for the weekend for both this show and for yesterday's NJPW show at Jingu Stadium, thumbs up, down or middle, best and worst match to  Odds listed  here are from Kambi or 5Dimes through 

  • Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan vs. Billie Kay & Peyton Royce - This is the preshow match.  Just there.  Nothing major to it.  Riott & Morgan are -350 favorites.
  • Big E vs. Sheamus - Big E pretty much has to win because this is the beginning of the Big E singles push.  Should be a good match as well.  E is a -500 favorite  
  • Matt Riddle vs. King Corbin - Similarly, this is more a test to see what kind of a match Riddle can get out of Corbin, but Riddle should win.  He's listed as a -275 favorite
  • Apollo Crews vs. Bobby Lashley for the U.S. title - Lashley is a -390 favorite here.  Lashley has been heavily protected since the loss to Drew McIntyre, so him getting pinned here would be a surprise unless it leads to a split with MVP on a screw-up finish.  And it's WAY too early to do that one.
  • Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins & Murphy - This should be a very good match and give all the lumps the Mysterios have been taking in the program, they are the favorites to win at -290
  • Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax for women's tag titles.  This is a weird match. Both teams have had teases of not getting along. Then again, almost every team in WWE is being booked that way. Baszler & Jax are -140 favorites which means the split would be coming sooner than later.
  • Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton - This is the most interesting match on the show, only because no match means more to anyone on the show than this match means to Lee.  Him losing this early makes no sense, especially after the lackluster debut. But Orton is being groomed for McIntyre, and he is the -140 favorite. Lee doesn't have to win to get over, but he does need to do a lot of impressive things, win or lose. I've laid out why I think Lee should win, and it makes sense, and WWE will sometimes book this way, but time will tell.
  • Bray Wyatt vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns no holds barred for Universal title - To me, the first match with Reigns with Paul Heyman and he needs to win.  Reigns is now the -200 favorite with Strowman +4,000 and Wyatt +100. I think either way, the big favorite is Strowman loses the fall.

Kambi has star ratings betting although the only numbers I've seen are Big E vs. Sheamus at over/under *** and the Riot Squad vs. Iiconics at over/under *3/4

Regarding Google searches for this past week, nothing from either boxing or wrestling cracked the top 20 all week. Yesterday's UFC show did 200,000 which is more than I expected.  The show itself did 100,000 while Robbie Lawler was the 18th most searched topic yesterday at 50,000 and Anthony Smith was No. 19, also at 50,000.

The new issue will have all the breakdowns in all the demos for the shows the past week. It was dominated in particular by the strong showing of Raw. AEW's best growth segments Thursday were Young Bucks vs. Best Friends, Best Friends vs. FTR and the Jon Moxley/MJF contract signing based on data we have. The minute-by-minute data is not in yet.

AEW tickets for Saturday's All Out sold out in five minutes, which is more a factor of only having just over 500 seats to sell.  It is now the highest get-in price on the secondary market of any pro wrestling show in history, but that's a function of only 12 secondary market tickets being available and isn't far to compare that with a normal show with 12,000 tickets and anywhere from 1,500 to (for big WWE shows like Mama) where you can have 30,000 or more tickets bought by scalpers.

However, at this point there were still 247 tickets left for Wednesday's tapings.,

Two fights scheduled for this coming Saturday's UFC show are off due to COVID related reasons. Nicco Montano vs. Julia Avila, first scheduled for 8/18 but moved to 9/5 because one of Montano's corner tested positive, is being moved again to 10/3 because Montano tested positive. Ricky Simon vs. Brian Kelleher is also off because one of Simon's corner tested positive. No makeup date has been announced.  


  • The WWE Network is adding the Spanish and German language commentary for a number of PPV shows from 1995 to 2015.
  • The Cambridge University paper has a piece on Drew McIntyre.


  • Mikey Gall is scheduled to face Miguel Baeza on the 9/19 show.
  • Dana White's Tuesday Night Contenders lineup at 8 p.m. Eastern on ESPN+: Dennis Buzukja vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan - featherweights Jimmy Flick vs. Nate Smith - flyweights Jose Johnson vs,. Ronnie Lawrence - bantamweights William Knight vs;  Cody Brundag - light heavyweights Tucker Lutz vs.; Chase Gibson - lightweights


  • Pentagon Jr. is now going as Penta Cero Miedo for marketing reasons.
  • As was written about a few weeks ago in the newsletter, but is now official, the All Out Countdown show will air at 5:30 p.m. on 9/5, one hour before the Buy Out match starts.


  • Warrior Wrestling will be doing shows on 9/5, 9/12 and 9/19 at the Marian Catholic High School football field. These shows are loaded with some of the best indie talent working in the U.S.
  • PWP from Thursday night in Omaha:  Con Artiest b Duke Cornell, Omar Pacheco b Xander McIntosh, Logan Ocean b K-Dos, Branden Juarez & Seto Kobara & Tim Boston b Brett Bishop & Paul Daniels & Joey Daniels, Lars Metzger b Ryan Monroe, Branden Juarez won gauntlet rumble, Pat Powers b Tony Cortez.  Next show is 9/18 at the Waiting Room Lounge in Omaha.
  • CW from last night in Adelaide, Australia:  Anti-Virus b Lil Onyxxx, Nick Armstrong & Tony Toro b Mike Boomer & Zak Sabbath, Redshaw b Tyler Daniels, Brandon Black & Cadie Tre b Dean Brady in a handicap match, Havok b Adam Brooks (Brooks first match in Australia since February), Izzy Shaw b Miki Fortune, Chris Basso & Matt Hayter b Eli Theseus & Gabriel Aeros in keep the tag titles, Rocky Menero b Jett Armstrong to keep RCW title (thanks to Kevin Chiat)
  • Bill Apter talks to QT Marshall.
  • KSW results from yesterday in Warsaw, Poland: Mateusz (17-0) retained the lightweight title over Marian Ziolkowski (21-8-1) on 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 scores Iza Ugonoh (1-0) b Quentin Domingos (5-2) via TKO due to injury at 2:22 of round one Michael Kita (20-11-1) b Michal Andryszak (21-9) via knockout at 2:59 of round one Maciej Kazieczko (7-1) b Karlo Caput (8-2) via ref stoppage from punches 4:30 of round three Pawel Polityio (5-2) b Bogdan Barbu (16-12) via straight 29-27 scores Lukasz Rajewski (10-6) b Bartlomiej Kopear (9-6 via split decision on scores of 29-28, 29-28 , 28-29 Sebastian Rajewski (9-5) b Armen Sepanyan (6-4)  via decision on scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 30-25

Daily Pro Wrestling History: WWF SummerSlam 1998