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WON NEWSLETTER: June 28, 2021 Observer Newsletter: Hell in a Cell review, NJPW LA show announced

A look at the WWE's last PPV of the Thunderdome era and what did and didn't work on the Hell in a Cell show is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer.  We've got the booking, future direction for Money in the Bank, update on MITB tickets, star ratings, poll results and match and performer of the week.

Also in this issue:

A new lawsuit against UFC and why it is a potential game changer along with what would be almost a sure thing if it's successful regarding WWE, what the claims are, and if it's successful what it says about payment of money to athletes.

New Japan running shows in the United States, a look back at  the early shows in Southern California, who is and isn't on the cards and more.

Becky Lynch returning, SummerSlam ticket sales, WWE return to MSG, WWE ticket sales, FOX and NBCU suggestions for WWE programming, Montez Ford surgery, Karrion Kross and Bronson Reed tryouts, Shayna Baszler talks angle, International TV ratings, controversy over writer with no product knowledge continued and reaction internally, Rey Mysterio talks angle he doesn't want to do, Kushida talks Kyle O'Reilly, Titus O'Neil talks his award nomination, plus next week's TV shows, WWE's biggest YouTube videos from this past week and WWE company market value.

Saturday's UFC show with match-by-match coverage, future directions for the talent, business notes and more

Changes being worked on for the Nielsen ratings and who isn't happy about them and why, television vs. streaming in 2021 and a comparison using AEW programming.

Suwama's vacating the Triple Crown, how it will be decided, and then look back at how the three belts, the United National, PWF and International belts all formed, when, their rules, their history and the creation of the Triple Crown more than 30 years ago.

A feature on the death of former bodybuilding star turned pro wrestler Melissa Coates.

More into detail on the ratings than any other source, how many different viewers the shows had, breakdown of who watches the shows and how they watch, DVR numbers and how long the average fan watches.

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

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Garrett Gonzalez and I will be back tonight talking about the news of the week, WWE cuts, how news from 17 years ago relates to today, risks by promotions, and much more.

The biggest news of the day were the releases of 13 WWE performers, Fandango, Tyler Breeze, Tony Nese, Ariya Daivari, August Grey, Ever-Rise, Curt Stallion, the Bollywood Boyz (Sunil and Samir Singh), Arturo Ruas, Marina Shafir, and Killian Dain. Essentially the moves, like others, are ways to lower the budget and up the profit margin because of a number of things related to stock price and attractiveness to potential buyers. None of those cut fit majorly into the current plans, but you can also tell this wasn't thought out far in advance since just a week ago Fandango & Breeze got a TV win and did the beginnings of an angle with Imperium, and Ever-Rise has been featured as a comedy act. It was a numbers game. A lot of these people have real talent and will get chances elsewhere. Nese is a solid top-level worker inside the ring.  The Bollywood Boyz can make anything asked of them work.  Breeze & Fandango can wrestle and entertain but really had done about all they were going to do in WWE. Dain is a big agile guy who can work. Daivari is a strong worker. Shafir is a good athlete and the last time WWE cut a strong judoka she turned out to be Tay Conti in AEW, whether Shafir can follow in her footsteps probably isn't fair but with there being a premium right now on woman wrestlers someone who is a good athlete should get chances on the outside.

Smackdown tonight at 8 p.m. on FOX has a Roman Reigns victory celebration for his win last week over Rey Mysterio, Cesaro & Bianca Belair vs. Seth Rollins & Bayley, plus Apollo Crews vs. Big E in a Money in the Bank qualifying match. 205 Live has a pair of unofficial loser leaves town matches, although not billed as such, with August Gray vs. Grayson Weller and Ikeman Jiro vs. Ariya Daivari.  Daivari and Gray were both cut earlier today.

New Japan Strong at 10 p.m. tonight has Tom Lawlor vs. Karl Fredericks for the Strong title, Rocky Romero vs. Clark Connors and Fred Yehi & Wheeler Yuta vs. Kevin Knight & The DKC.

Bellator makes its debut in Moscow at the VTB Arena on 10/23 featuring Fedor Emelianenko in the main event.

Today (or tomorrow, depending on where you live)  is the 45th anniversary of the Antonio Inoki vs. Muhammad Ali match from Tokyo. It was the first national closed-circuit pro wrestling event in history with two boxer vs. wrestler main events, Ali vs. Inoki and Andre the Giant vs Chuck Wepner from Shea Stadium.  In most of the rest of the country, various wrestling promotions put on undercards from major arenas such as Shea Stadium, The Omni in Atlanta, the Sam Houston Coliseum, the Cow Palace in San Francisco, the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, the Amphitheater in Chicago and others. The show aired the night of June 25 in the U.S. and the morning of July 26 in Japan.  It is still among the highest-rated television shows in the history of TV-Asahi.  Ali was the biggest name in sports at the time while Inoki didn't have much of a name at all in the U.S., and overall the show did disappointing business outside of the Northeast where Bruno Sammartino had a grudge match with Stan Hansen that fans in that part of the country considered the real main event.  Sammartino literally came out of the hospital with a broken neck to do the match because Vince McMahon Sr. told him that they had invested so much into the show and it was feared it would bomb and could lead to the closing of the WWWF.  Sammartino was promised points from every arena where his match aired, and while he did get his points from Shea Stadium, he did not from the other arenas with McMahon claiming Bob Arum turned down the request.  A notable part of the story is that when Paul Levesque was negotiating with Sammartino to do the Hall of Fame, he asked for a dollar figure that he believed he was screwed out of to agree to do it and Vince McMahon Jr. did eventually agree to the figure.  As for Ali vs. Inoki, it was a 15 round fight and ruled a draw, although if you watched the fight with today's eyes Inoki probably won about 12 rounds and should have easily taken the decision, but people didn't get low kicks in 1976 or understand what they were.

There are several major Japan shows available this weekend. FITE has a show Saturday at 6 a.m. with Pro Wrestling NOAH featuring Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Masa Kitamiya, the tag team champions, facing each other in a hair vs. hair match, plus a Rumble match for the No. 1 contender for the junior title with Daisuke Harada, Junta Miyawaki, Seiki Yoshioka, Niaoh, Tadasuke, Haoh, Hajime Ohara, Ikuto Hidaka and Eita from Dragon Gate. Atsushi Kotoge defends against the winner on a Sunday at 6 a.m. show, also on FITE, plus Great Muta vs. Kenou and Naomichi Marfuji & Masato Tanaka vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Takashi Sugiura.

All Japan runs Saturday at Ota Ward Gym with the Triple Crown decision match with Kento Miyahara, Jake Lee and Yuma Aoyagi where it's a series of singles matches that continue until one man has beaten each of the other two.

Bellator tonight at 9 p.m. on Showtime:

  • Christian Edwards (206) vs. Simon Biyong (204.5)
  • Myles Jury (155) vs. Sidney Outlaw (156)
  • Daniel Weichel (145.5) vs. Keoni Diggs (146)
  • Liz Carmouche (125.5) vs. Kana Watanabe (125.25)
  • Valentin Moldavsky (234) vs. Timothy Johnson (260) for the interim heavyweight title

PFL tonight at 10 p.m.  on ESPN 2:

  • Denis Goltsov vs. Brandon Sayles
  • Lance Palmer vs. Movlid Khaybulaev
  • Antony Pettis vs. Raush Manfio
  • Kayla Harrison vs. Cindy Dandois

All matches are part of a qualifying tournament in their respective divisions, with Goltsov vs Sayles at heavyweight, Palmer vs. Khaybulaev at featherweight, Pettis vs. Manfio at lightweight and Harrison vs. Dandois at women's lightweight.

UFC tomorrow starting at 1 p.m. Eastern for an ESPN+ card:

  • Yancy Medeiros (155.5) vs. Damir Hadzovic (155.5)
  • Charles Rosa (146) vs. Justin Jaynes (145.5)
  • Julia Avila (135.5) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (135.5)
  • Marcin Prachnio  (206)  vs. Ike Villanueva (205)
  • Warlley Alves (171) vs. Jeremiah Wells (171)
  • Shavkat Rakhmonov (170.5) vs. Michel Prazeres (170)
  • Kennedy Nzechukwu (205.5) vs. Danilo Marques (205.5)
  • Renato Moicano (156) vs. Jai Herbert (155.5)
  • Tim Means (170.5) vs. Nicolas Dalby (170)
  • Andre Fili (145.5) vs. Daniel Pineda (145)
  • Raoni Barcelos (135) vs. Timur Valiev (136)
  • Tanner Boser (240) vs.  Ovince Saint Preux (230)
  • Cyril Gane (245) vs. Alexander Volkov (265)

Fast 9, with the debut of John Cena in the series, opens in North America this weekend.


  • Drew McIntyre will be appearing on the show "Shark Rumble" on Discovery + that comes out on 7/11.


  • AEW Road To on Kenny Omega vs. Jungle Boy for the AEW title tomorrow night.
  • An announcement about September in Chicago will be taking place in the next few days.  They will almost certainly be doing both Rampage on Friday night and the PPV on Sunday from the Sears Center.  Not sure where Dynamite that Wednesday will be from but that is likely to be announced as well.
  • Alex Marvez of AEW talking "The Complete List of Jericho" book that he helped put together as well as some other AEW and NFL news.


  • Gegard Mousasi defends the Bellator middleweight title against John Salter on 8/13 in Uncasville,CT.
  • Shingo Takagi's first English language interview since winning the IWGP title.
  • Kevin Eck's weekly ROH News column.
  • A story on friends remembering Adrian "Lion Heart" McCullum. (thanks to Lee Wall)
  • A story on independent wrestling promoter Tommy Fierro and his opening up a wrestling store in New Jersey is.
  • CWE on 7/9 in Red Deer, Alberta at the Quality Inn with Danny Duggan vs. Mentallo.  Former UFC fighter Mitch Clarke is also on the show.  They also run 7/7 in Medicine Hat, Alberta at the Cypress Centre Auditorium. and 7/8 in Calgary at the Royal Canadian Legion #1.
  • Dragon Lee will be doing a seminar in San Jose for the Pro Wrestling Revolution promotion on 7/23.  For more info you can send to
  • New England Fights on 8/21 in Milford, NH at the Hampshire Dome with MMA and kickboxing fights.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: WWF King of the Ring 2000