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WON Preview (February 18, 2019): Death of Pedro Morales

February 18, 2019 Observer Newsletter: Death of Pedro Morales

I don’t expect more than a few more weeks of this format of Observers. My hope is the 3/4 issue, the one in two weeks, will be the first one back to usual but that’s taking the most optimistic viewpoint. Until then I’ll be continuing the nightly audio news shows.

WWE grossed $930,160,000 and turned a $98,719,000 profit in 2018, both company records. Last year the company set a revenue record of $800,959,000 and turned a $32,116,000 profit. The keys to the increase are larger TV rights, the deals for major shows in Saudi Arabia and Australia where local governments paid a premium, and the benefits of lower taxes due to the benefit the richest taxation law changes.

Pedro Morales, best known for his three-year run as WWWF champion from 1971-73, passed away on 2/12 at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, NJ, where he had been hospitalized for two weeks. He was 78 and had been battling Parkinson’s Disease for several years.

NJPW New Beginnings in Osaka - February 11 - Osaka Edion Arena - 5,570 sellout: As a legit shoot, while NJPW almost always sells out Edion Arena for big shows, they comped less and opened up more seats so this number was the highest since the 2015 show headlined by Hiroshi Tanhashi vs. A.J. Styles. While Tanahashi is on a roll as far as popularity goes, it does take two and even in the medium sized building it’s a feather in Jay White’s cap.

UFC 234 - February 9 - Melbourne, Australia - Rod Laver Arena - 15,238 sellout ($2,470,088 U.S.): Chaos erupted the day of UFC 234, the first UFC pay-per-view offering of 2019, at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, causing dramatic change unheard of when it comes to UFC pay-per-view events. The event sold out in eight minutes on the heels of native Australian and UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker being scheduled to defend against Kelvin Gastelum in the headliner. It joined such acts as the Rolling Stones, Madonna, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers as the fastest sell outs in the history of the arena.

Notes on the career of Les Thronton: Here's some Stampede trivia on him. An interesting and humorous anecdote followed him from the U.K. to here. Supposedly it was considered bad luck to ever refer to him by his real name, Henri Pierlot in the sense that your car would break down or you would become ill so jokingly he was often referred to by boys instead by his initials H.P.

It is now official that Kenny has signed with AEW. He says there was not much left for him to do in New Japan. He would have liked to win the Tokyo Sports MVP award, but he will always be back in Japan, not necessarily for wrestling but for his personal life. He wanted a new platform, a new stage, to reach new people, whether it was WWE or AEW. 

Tony Khan, age 36, is the President and CEO of All Elite Wrestling, who co-founded it with his father, Shahid Khan. Tony says he has always wanted to do something like this, he has thought about it for years to create a new wrestling company, a second major national promotion, with top stars and great production values. AEW has been very well received so far.

Mustafa Ali's eyeball got busted open and really messed up after a Garvin stomp by Randy Orton on SD Tuesday night. He was supposed to lay flat but sold a stomp and his head moved up when the next stomp came. His eye was completely swollen shut, like a broken orbital, but apparently it is not. He does not have a concussion either.

David was born in 1958. He was 25 when he died. At the time it happened, Dave was working for a newspaper, The newspaper editors had no clue of the magnitude of the story and took some days to realize it, but about three days in, it exploded with several days of front page coverage. The actual first-day death stories were a few short paragraphs. After that, every Von Erich death and major Texas wrestling star death was carried as a huge story.

Curt Hennig also died 16 years ago today at the age of 44. Curt was super talented, he had started as a job guy in WWF, but with guys like Ray Stevens or Buddy Rose that liked to sell, would make him look great. He went to Portland, where he was quickly a great worker and champion as a babyface. He went to the AWA and really came to his own, by 1985. He was one of the best guys in the business. Originally, he was in the AWA paired up with his father, and they would wrestle the Road Warriors, but he was mostly babyface in peril all the time, setting up Larry Hennig for the big tags.

Dwayne Johnson said he was the first choice to host the Oscars this year. But he said he couldn’t make it work due to the timing of shooting the Jumanji sequel.

Roman Reigns (Joe Anoa'i) will be making an appearance on a Nickelodeon series next month. Reigns will appear on an episode of Nickelodeon's "Cousins for Life" that is set to air at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, March 2. Reigns "plays Leaf’s neighbor Rodney who is angry that Leaf’s pet pig dug up his vegetable garden. However, Stuart, Ivy, and Leaf discover there’s more to the story and come up with a plan to save their pig."

Dragon Gate ran its last show at Hakata Star Lanes in Fukuoka, a building that has had wrestling for more than 40 years, on 12/10. The building will be demolished at the end of March.

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