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This Week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
The new issue of the Observer is up on the site with these stories:
- The return of Vince McMahon, the sales talks, and the departure of Stephanie McMahon
- Who is in charge of running the company right now
- What Vince McMahon’s role is today
- How Vince McMahon got back in power
- A look at different entities who have expressed interest in WWE
- Can Tony Khan get control of WWE
- What kind of numbers are we talking about for the deal
- What is the current market value of WWE
- The Saudi Arabia rumours
- How far did the rumors spread
- What the experience of the UFC sale in 2016 tells you about what is said publicly
- Notes from the meeting Stephanie McMahon, Frank Riddick and Nick Khan had with all the company employees
- If something happens with Saudi Arabia, what would be the likely repercussions based on previous sports world examples
- What companies did Nick Khan bring up to employees when talking about the sale
- Changes in WWE morale
- 2022 Business year in review for pro wrestling, MMA and boxing major events
- Biggest crowds of the year
- Main eventers on top for the biggest crowds
- PPV numbers for the year
- Who drew the most 15,000+ crowds
- UFC gate numbers
- List of $2 million gates
- Biggest pro wrestling drawing card every year since 1916
- Biggest drawing cards in history
- The changing of the media landscape and how this affects AEW and WWE
- Analysis of the losses incurred by FOX on Smackdown by Morgan Stanley
- The career of wrestler and promoter Johnny Powers, one of the biggest stars of the 60s and 70s
- The attempt to promote nationally and what happened
- How he got his first break with Bruno Sammartino
- Multiple world title matches around the world
- His runs with major promotions
- Being the star of the NWF
- How Powers figured into the early days of New Japan Pro Wrestling and his biggest matches there
- How Powers was promoted in Japan
- Powers and the Greatest 18 Club
- Full coverage of PWG Battle of Los Angeles with thoughts on the shows, where PWG stands, background of the appearance of Chris Jericho, who you should keep your eyes on and match-by-match coverage
- A look back at the career of Black Warrior
- The most detailed look at the ratings from all the shows this past week as well as segment-by-segment
- Mexican iconic character looking at retiring
- Sting’s last match in Japan
- Major change in New Japan’s US approach
- Update on Sasha Banks/Mercedes Mone in New Japan with more dates
- How Mercedes moved tickets for her first match
- A look at the major matches on the next new Japan tour
- Superstar Billy Graham health update
- TV announcer starts up promoting new group
- The death of the real Bobby Heenan, and how the pro wrestling legend found out about his brother and his family
- Adam Cole’s return
- Kyle O’Reilly gives health update
- Streaming numbers for AEW and WWE
- International TV numbers
- Attendance for upcoming shows
- California legislators critical of Dana White
- Dana White talks at press conference about his situation
- Bellator signs perhaps its top fighter
- Phil Baroni charged with homicide and facing a lifetime in jail
- PFL announces new tournaments
- WWE tries to get things removed from the discovery process in MLW lawsuit
- How slow the courts can be on these situations
- How much did Shane McMahon earn from WWE in 2022
- Former New Japan wrestler quietly started in WWE camp this week
This Week’s Retro Observer Newsletter:
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- Last night’s SmackDown averaged 2.182 million viewers in the fast national ratings, up from last week’s fast national average of 2.168 million. The rating in the 18-49 demo was a 0.5.
- For Monday’s Raw, WWE is advertising that Bobby Lashley “will follow up his glorious return with some scores to settle and some unfinished business.” We’ll also see what’s next for The Judgment Day now that they’re the number one contenders to The Usos’ Raw Tag Team titles.
- WWE has officially confirmed that Wes Lee will defend his NXT North American Championship against Dijak at NXT Vengeance Day on Saturday, February 4. The match was first announced in a post-show interview with Dijak after NXT New Year’s Evil this past Tuesday.
- In an interview with SHAK Wrestling, Kofi Kingston was asked about Stephanie McMahon resigning from WWE:
- I’ve been so lucky to have gotten to know Stephanie very well over the past 15 years, and her passion for the industry is just undeniable. I mean obviously it’s the family business, but just listening to her talk — I’m even getting goosebumps thinking about it right now, but going to different events and listening to her talk about the impacts that we’ve made as a company and just her experience going from a youth all the way to an adult. WWE is her life. So she means a lot. She does so much for the company, whether a lot of it gets seen or not. She is part of the lifeblood that allows the WWE to exist, so her presence will definitely be missed for sure. But I think she’s earned the right to retire and enjoy her family life, and I’m happy for her in that sense.
- So we’ll see kind of where things go, but like I said before, you don’t know what’s going to happen in WWE long-term, so our role as Superstars remains constant. We’re gonna go out and put on the best matches possible and tell stories in the ring and give people incredible memories and give them reason to come back and to invest in our product — that’s what we do, regardless of what’s going on around us, we go out there and we put on a great show. So I’m looking forward to being able to continue to go out and do that on the grandest stage of them all.
- Kingston addressed what morale in the WWE locker room is like with this week’s false rumors that WWE had been sold to Saudi Arabia:
- I think we kind of all have the same mentality: Whatever happens outside of the company is going to happen. We really have no idea what’s transpiring, but our role again remains the same — just go out there and put on great matches. That is the one thing, regardless of whoever’s in charge or whoever owns this or that, you know what I mean, that’s what we’re gonna do. That’s what we’re always gonna do. So that is the most important thing, I think. The mentality for us is just to kind of, like you said, man — laser vision, and keep putting on great matches. So that’s what we’re gonna do.
- The Dallas Morning News asked Gunther about the situation with the Saudi Arabia rumors: “I mean, rumors are rumors. And at the end of the day, I’m not the CEO. I’m a wrestler. So, I focus on what I do in the ring and leave the business to the people who do business.”
- Gunther discussed Stephanie McMahon’s departure from WWE: “To be fair, I only had very brief interactions with her. She’s always been very nice and very lovely. And yeah, I’m happy for her that she’s going to be able now to take time off and enjoy time with her family. And yeah, I think you should be happy for anyone who’s in a position to do that. All the best to her.”
- “Stone Cold” Steve Austin helped do the weather forecast on KRNV news in Reno, Nevada earlier this week. Austin was also spotted working at a Burger Me drive-thru in Nevada with a film crew present.
- A promo with Paul Heyman hyping up San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy as “The Next Big Thing” aired prior to today’s NFL playoff game on Fox.
- Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch appeared on the latest edition of Sheamus’ Celtic Warrior Workouts.
- LA Knight was the guest on WWE After the Bell this week. He addressed what fans can expect from his Mtn Dew Pitch Black match against Bray Wyatt at the Royal Rumble: “It’s something new in the making. Every indication I’ve been given is that this is going to be a kick ass street fight and be kind of in the dark. I don’t know what the lighting is going to be, how it’s going to work, what other kind of factors or elements are going to come into play. All I know is it’s going to be a fight at the Royal Rumble.”
- Riddle (37), Katana Chance (33), Cora Jade (22), and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan (69) are all celebrating birthdays today.
- Rey Mysterio, Raquel Rodriguez, and Imperium were interviewed on The SmackDown LowDown.