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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
02 February 2021

*EDGE VS ROMAN AT WRESTLEMANIA??*
-There have been talks of doing Roman Reigns vs. Edge for the Universal Championship in the main event of one of the nights of WrestleMania 37.

-One of the major reasons behind Edge challenging Reigns at WrestleMania is the fact that there aren’t any credible babyface challengers left for Reigns on SmackDown.

-Big E is currently involved in the Intercontinental Title picture and WWE doesn’t want to rush and push him into the main event World Title picture this early in his post-New Day singles run.

-Shinsuke Nakamura recently turned babyface, but he’s more of a mid-carder at this point and WWE will need to re-build him again if they want to turn him into a credible main event wrestler.

-Daniel Bryan’s name was also brought up during WrestleMania discussions for Roman Reigns, but Bryan is facing the same issue. He isn’t seen as a threat to Reigns when he lost matches to Jey Uso and Cesaro recently.


-WWE still plans to do Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan, but they will most likely do it at Elimination Chamber or FastLane PPVs (both of which are scheduled to take place before WrestleMania 37).

-The Wrestling Observer has now confirmed our report as Edge is scheduled to challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship after winning the Men’s Royal Rumble 2021 match:

“Not sure when this will be officially announced, but Roman Reigns vs. Edge is the planned main event at WrestleMania.”



*VINCE MISSES ROYAL RUMBLE PPV*
-WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon missed WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view but stayed in touch with officials who were left in charge of the show.

-Vince was absent from the Royal Rumble pay-per-view and while there’s no word on why he wasn’t there, we’ve noted how his brother Roderick recently passed away and he missed the following week of TV after Rod’s passing.

-Vince was said to be still “very involved” throughout the day, via telephone, according to Ringside News. Vince was also on the phone with key people in the Gorilla Position during the entirety of the pay-per-view. Rumble production was led by Kevin Dunn, while Bruce Prichard led the creative writing team, and Triple H actually ran the show.

-While Triple H, Dunn and Prichard were in charge of last night’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Ringside News reports that the 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match, won by Bianca Belair, was produced by Tyson Kidd, Adam Pearce, Chris Park and Pat Buck. The 30-Man Royal Rumble Match, won by WWE Hall of Famer Edge, was produced by Shane McMahon, Jason Jordan and Jamie Noble.



*TOP ROH WRESTLER RE-SIGNS WITH THE COMPANY*
-ROH just announced that Jonathan Gresham has re-signed with the company.

-Gresham is the current ROH Pure Champion, and currently holds the ROH World Tag Team Titles with Jay Lethal. He is also the head trainer at the ROH Dojo.

-Gresham signed with ROH in 2011 and made his debut in the 2011 Top Prospect Tournament.

-There’s no word yet on how long Gresham’s new contract is for, but we will keep you updated.



*KANE TO DONATE HIS WWE ROYAL RUMBLE PAY*
-Veteran WWE Superstar Kane is donating his Royal Rumble pay.

-Kane returned to the ring during Sunday’s 30-Man Royal Rumble Match, entering the match at #18. He was eliminated in the #11 spot by Damian Priest. Kane lasted 1:51 and eliminated Ricochet and SmackDown Tag Team Champion Dolph Ziggler.

-CBS-WVLT in Knoxville, Tennessee reports that Kane, who spends his days working as Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, announced today that he will donate his WWE Royal Rumble earnings to the Knox County Mayor’s Applied Technology Scholarship Fund for TCAT Knoxville (Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville).

-It was noted that Kane received a COVID-19 rapid test before leaving, upon arriving at Tropicana Field, and before returning to work after the trip to St. Petersburg, FL. The report also said Kane wore a CDC-recommended face covering and kept his distance from other people while he was not performing, according to the Mayor’s office.

-Mayor Jacobs donated $5,000 of his salary last month to help start the Applied Technology Scholarship Fund for TCAT Knoxville. The fund benefits a Knox County employee’s child, including adoptive, biological, legal or step, who is a student at the school.



*SMACKDOWN SUPERSTAR REPORTEDLY NOT CLEARED*
-Jey Uso is reportedly out of action right now.

-Uso was not in attendance for Sunday’s WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view and now Dave Meltzer of F4Wonline.com reports that the SmackDown Superstar is not medically cleared to compete.

-There’s no word yet on why Uso is not cleared to compete, or when he will be cleared to return to action.

-Uso has not appeared on SmackDown since the January 15 episode. His last match came on January 15, when he lost to Shinsuke Nakamura. At one point WWE had him announced for Sunday’s 30-Man Royal Rumble Match.



*SNOOP DOGG MAKES WWE VIDEO GAME DEBUT*
-Celebrity Wing WWE Hall of Famer Snoop Dogg is making his WWE video game debut.

-WWE announced today that the rapper is featured in the popular WWE Champions mobile game. Snoop is included in the game as a way to celebrate the 4th anniversary of WWE’s #1 most-downloaded mobile game.

-Players can add Snoop to their roster throughout the month of February, and receive upgrades with free Snoop’s Gift Boxes, Snoopadelic Loot, and other perks.

“The Doggfather is ready to get in the game,” said Snoop Dogg about his WWE video game debut. “Having the chance to be part of WWE Champions combines two things I love: gaming and WWE. Join me in the ring with some of my WWE favorites like Ric Flair, DX, and of course my cousin Sasha Banks. If you’re a WWE fan, you’ve got to catch me in WWE Champions.”



*SMACKDOWN VIEWERSHIP DOWN*
-Friday’s live Royal Rumble go-home edition of WWE SmackDown, featuring the final build for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, drew an average of 2.304 million viewers on FOX, according to Showbuzz Daily.

-This final number is up from the overnight viewership that was released on Saturday morning, which was an average of 2.228 million viewers. This number is down from last week’s final SmackDown viewership of 2.383 million viewers.

-Friday’s SmackDown drew a 0.62 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, a 0.78 rating in the 25-54 demo, and a 0.38 rating in the 18-34 demographic. Last week’s SmackDown drew a 0.63 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, a 0.78 rating in the 25-54 demo, and a 0.34 rating in the 18-34 demographic.

-SmackDown ranked #1 in ratings for the key 18-49 demographic on network TV. SmackDown also ranked #1 in the 18-34 demo this week. The show ranked #2 in the 25-54 demo, behind Shark Tank, which drew a 0.85. SmackDown came in at #8 for the night in viewership on network TV. Blue Bloods on CBS topped the night on network TV in viewership this week with 4.437 million viewers.
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
01 February 2021

*EDGE ON ROYAL RUMBLE WIN: “I NEED TO PINCH MYSELF, WAKE UP”*
-WWE Hall of Famer Edge won the 30-Man Royal Rumble match Sunday to secure his place in the main event of WrestleMania 37 in April.

-After his victory, Edge spoke to WWE Network for a backstage interview. Edge, who returned to action at last year’s Rumble after a nine-year retirement, said he was still processing the turn of the events.

“If you had told me four years ago that I’d be in the Royal Rumble, enter the match first, win it, and go onto WrestleMania…. I feel like I still need to pinch myself and feel like I’m going to wake up,” he said.

-Edge added that Christian’s comeback made his moment all the more memorable.

“It still doesn’t make sense. And for Christian to also be in there…if you wrote this as a script for a Hollywood movie, they’d say its impossible, it can’t never happen. Yet, here we are.”

-Edge said he plans to enjoy the road to WrestleMania rather than analyzing his miraculous recovery from a career-ending neck injury.

“I still don’t get it,” he admitted. “I think I’m going to stop trying to get it and just enjoy it. I’m going to stop analyzing why and how. F–k it, it’s happening and its awesome, and I feel great and I have my best friend back with me again. I couldn’t be happier.”

-Edge became only the fifth Superstar in history to enter either #1 or #2 and win the Royal Rumble match. The previous four were Shawn Michaels in 1995, Vince McMahon in 1999, Chris Benoit in 2004, and Rey Mysterio in 2006.



*CHRISTIAN TALKS FUTURE PLANS AFTER SHOCKING ROYAL RUMBLE RETURN*
-Former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Christian made an unexpected in-ring comeback during Sunday’s 30-Man Royal Rumble match, entering at the #24 position.

-The return was particularly shocking since Captain Charisma told many last year that there is “zero chance” of him returning to the ring for another match. Although Christian had a brief match on RAW against Randy Orton last June, this was his first real in-ring action since March 2014.

-After the 2021 Royal Rumble went off the air, Christian caught up WWE Network for a backstage interview.

“It was surreal [to be in the ring after 7 years] to be honest with you,” said Christian. “I didn’t know what to expect. You know its funny, everybody has a plan until you get hit. And that’s exactly what happened to me. I got hit once and I was like, ‘ok, its on.’ This is what I was born to do, so I felt like I was home.”

-Christian said he went to great lengths to keep his comeback a secret.

“I was playing coy all day in the locker room since nobody knew what was going on. It was a fun surprise.”

-When asked to react on his best friend and former tag team partner, Edge, winning the men’s Rumble match, Christian said, “If I couldn’t win it, I’m glad he did.”

-What’s next for Christian? “All I was ever promised was one more match. That could be it,” he said.



*KENNY OMEGA REACTS TO ROMAN USING A GOLF CART*
-AEW World Champion Kenny Omega was extremely active on Twitter Sunday night, interacting with fans about the WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

-It was the golf cart spot from the Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens Last Man Standing Match that caught Omega’s attention at first. Almost instantly, fans brought up the fact that Matt Hardy and Omega ran over Sammy Guevara with a golf cart in a street fight on AEW Dynamite last year. While reacting to the spot, Omega wrote, “Guys, I know. They did it well so props to all involved.”

-After a few interactions, Omega eventually said he would rather discuss videogames with fans instead of listening to their wrestling opinions, which he doesn’t care for.

-Omega wrote, “Word of advice to all you weird WWE stans. If you’re trying to piss me off, tweet something controversial about a video game I like. I don’t care much about wresting opinions. Those are yours. Have them.”



*JOE KOFF SAYS THE PANDEMIC MADE ROH'S PRODUCT BETTER*
-The Chief Operating Officer of Ring of Honor, Joe Koff recently spoke with Bill Apter in an “Apter Chat”, and he reflected on the current state of the company.

-In one highlight, Koff explained why he thinks the company’s forced hiatus and restart due to COVID-19 benefitted the television product.

“I really think that, I always loved our television product [but] our television product right know, I think is the best it’s ever been,” said Koff. “And it’s because of COVID, because we had a moment to reset.

“When you’re in the middle of something, trying to change things, when things are moving, is very, very difficult. But when you have the time to reset and think about okay, we’re coming back without crowds, how is that gonna have an impact? How are we gonna deal with that? And it just allowed us, and I’m really proud of our people, my creative people, our production people, we came back with the Pure Tournament, which was fabulous. It was a fabulous series of shows, the wrestling was amazing.

“We were able to almost reimagine [the company’s pure style] in a new look and a new way for television.”


*WWE LEGENDS MAKE APPEARANCES AT WOMENS ROYAL RUMBLE*
-The 2021 Women’s Royal Rumble match saw a number of female superstars from yesteryear make surprise appearances.

-Both Jillian Hall and former WWE Women’s Champion Victoria entered the match at the 8 and 10 spots, respectively, each resurfacing in WWE for the first time in over a decade.

-WWE Hall of Famer Torrie Wilson entered the match at number 17. This was Wilson’s second Royal Rumble bid, as she previously entered the match in 2018.

-Alicia Fox also competed in her second Royal Rumble match tonight, with her first appearance coming in 2019.



*SURPRISE ENTRANTS IN THE MEN'S ROYAL RUMBLE*
-The 2021 Men’s Royal Rumble saw a number of WWE legends make surprise appearances during the match.

-Carlito entered the match early on, making his first in-ring WWE appearance in over a decade. Fans will remember the former WWE Tag Team Champion was announced for the recent Legends Night edition of Monday Night RAW, but ultimately did not appear on that show.

-Legends like Kane and Hurricane popped up late into the match. This was Kane’s 20th appearance in a Royal Rumble, further extending his record. Former World Heavyweight Champion Christian made an unexpected entrance at the #24 position. While Christian technically had a brief match against Randy Orton on a June 2020 edition of RAW, this was Captain Charisma’s first real physical in-ring action since 2014. Christian’s return comes less than a year after he said there was “zero chance” that he would wrestle again.

-NXT’s Damian Priest was the lone entrant from the black and yellow brand. The Archer of Infamy has been rumored for a main roster call-up for a while now, so it will be interesting to see if he pops up on RAW or SmackDown this week. The former North American Champion was previously scheduled for a blue brand debut at the turn of the new year, but it never came to fruition.

-Making their returns to active competition were Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman, who entered the match and 29 and 30, respectively. Rollins had been off WWE TV since “sacrificing” himself during the men’s elimination match at Survivor Series, while Strowman had been inactive since being “indefinitely suspended” last November.



*CARLITO TALKS WWE RETURN*
-One of the highlights of the 2021 WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view was the return of Carlito, making his first in-ring appearance since 2010.

-Carlito entered the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match at #8 and was eliminated at #5 by Elias. He did not pick up any eliminations during the match. You can click here for the full orders of entrants & eliminations for the Men’s Rumble.

-Backstage Alyse Ashton asked Carlito about the reactions he received from the WWE ThunderDome crowd.

“Man, it’s crazy,” he said. “After more than 10 years of being away, I wasn’t expecting, you know… but on the receiving end, for them to remember me, it’s pretty humbling to receive that kind of response after all these years.”

-Ashton also asked what it was like being in the Rumble Match again.

“It was great,” Carlito said. “I’ll be honest, it’s not the same as having a live audience out there, but you know, it’s WWE, man. Being in that ring is like nothing else in the world, really.”

-Carlito was also asked what it was like being in the WWE locker room after all these years.

“It was great, man. Seeing a bunch of the boys from back in the day, seeing a lot of new faces, meeting a lot of new friends. It’s just a great experience for me, really,” he said.

-It’s been reported that Carlito will also be backstage for tonight’s RAW episode to receive a tryout as a producer with the company.



*BIANCA BELAIR RECEIVES BACKSTAGE OVATION AT ROYAL RUMBLE*
-2021 Women’s Royal Rumble Winner Bianca Belair received a standing ovation after she returned to the backstage area following her big win at Sunday’s WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

-WWE released footage of Belair hugging husband Montez Ford in the Gorilla Position as other people applauded her.

-WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E tweeted and noted that Belair also received a massive pop in the locker room.

“Massive locker room pop for Bianca. She’s beloved,” he wrote.

-Belair spoke to Alyse Ashton in the YouTube video seen below, and was asked if this tops beating Bayley as the new high of her career, which she said during last Friday’s SmackDown episode.

“Oh, beating Bayley was one thing, it was great,” Belair said. “But winning the Women’s Royal Rumble and lasting over an hour, what can top this? Other than now going to WrestleMania. This is a great moment, this is a moment that I can’t even describe. It’s just… the answer’s of feeling, it’s a feeling… how do I feel? It’s just a feeling that I can’t describe. I’m just so excited, I’m so ready to go to WrestleMania.”

-Belair was also asked if she’s put any thought into who she will challenge on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

“I’m just taking one step at a time,” she laughed. “You know, I beat Bayley and then I won the Women’s Royal Rumble Match, and right now I’m just living in the moment. I gotta go call my momma, I gotta go call my daddy, I gotta go celebrate with my husband Tez. I’m living in the moment and after tonight I’m just going to prepare for WrestleMania, and then I’ll focus on who I’m going to face. But all I got to say is – you can’t spell WrestleMania without EST. So, I’m going to show up and show out.”

-There’s no word yet on if Belair will challenge SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks or RAW Women’s Champion Asuka at WrestleMania 37, but she is currently a member of the blue brand.
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
31 January 2021

*D-VON SLAMS TODAYS YOUNG TALENTS*
-On an episode of Table Talk, Fred Rosser (fka WWE’s Darren Young) spoke with WWE Hall of Famer D-Von Dudley and others. After the interview, Dudley commented on how Rosser is one of the great guys in wrestling, which isn’t always the case with today’s younger wrestlers.

“You’ve got to understand nowadays in this business the young guys that are brought up in this business, they’re disrespectful, they’re rude,” Dudley said. “Generation X, which is my generation, the Attitude Era and all of that, yes, we had attitude, but there was one thing I will say about my generation is that we respect those who came before us. And that’s one of the problems that we have with a lot of young talent.

“Darren along with a host of other guys, I’m just going to name them, — Drew McIntyre, Rusev and even, Sheamus, they always had respect for the older talent that came in and always wanted to pick our brains. And it was great being in the locker room with those guys, it really was.”



*ODB CREDITS TRIPLE H FOR HIS HONESTY WHEN SHE FIRST GOT THE CALL FROM IMPACT*
-One of most impactful wrestlers to grace TNA’s Knockout Division is ODB and she joined up with a few familiar faces to recall her journey into IMPACT Wrestling.

-ODB aligned with Gail Kim, Christy Hemme, Velvet Sky, Taryn Terrell and Brooke Tessmacher to look back on the history of Knockouts in a Roundtable conversation. ODB recalled how she was in Ohio Valley Wrestling when she first got the call from Terry Taylor in 2006 to come down to Nashville.

“Actually Triple H was there that night watching everyone. I was so nervous. I was like, ‘I gotta go up to him. I gotta go up to him.’ And I went up to Triple H, ‘Hey, I just wanted to introduce #myself.’ He was like, ‘Oh, yeah. We love your character,’ and then I’m like, ‘Well, I got the call from TNA,’ he’s like, ‘Go there. It’s gonna be great for you. Go there.’ I’m like, ‘Well thank you for not being a douche and keeping me here,’ you know? So that was cool cause he was like, ‘We have nothing for you. They’re not interested,’ and I was like, ‘Awesome. Thanks for being honest, I like it.'”

-ODB remembers the frustration she had at that point as she was half a decade in “making towns.”

“I was about six, seven years in and it was kind of like that time when you’re in that place. You’re like, ‘You know what? Am I ever gonna get a freakin’ job? Be working the indies for the rest of my life for a hot dog and a handshake.'”



*ALEXA BLISS DEALS WITH FAN HARASSING HER*
-Alexa Bliss is dealing with an obsessed fan who has been harassing her and her fiancé, singer Ryan Cabrera on Twitter.

-The fan has been tweeting that Ryan Cabrera is “married” and that he is “just trying to protect Alexa.” The fan also went as far as to say that Alexa was being threatened into marriage.

-He wrote, “I’m being honest with you ok I’ve shown you pictures of his wife she has been looking for him he has been lying to you. OH yes and you forced her to marry you by threatening her and her family your the bad guy I’m the good guy who will do anything for Lexi cause I put her first you only put yourself first.”

-In another tweet, he ended it with, “I do love you.”

-The fan tweeted, “And I do know you better than you think like your allergic to strawberries you love to sing and dance you love video games you love coffee pastries your mom’s name is Angela Kaufman your dad’s name is Bob Kaufman I know these things cause I do love you.”

-Alexa has replied several times to the tweets with how he doesn’t know her and to stop making multiple accounts to harass her and Ryan.

-She wrote, “Sir, once again for the one millionth time. You do not know me. I do not know you. We have never spoken & we have never met. Stop making multiple accounts every time I block you, and stop harassing my fiancé. I really don’t know how many more times I can say this. Please MoveOn.”

-In one of his many replies to her, the obsessive fan wrote, “I’m not doing anything wrong ok I’m trying to protect from Ryan cause I know what he has done and as for everyone else that is following Lexi mind your own business I’m only protecting her from Ryan he is the bad not me and everything I have said is true about.”



*PAIGE DOESN’T FEEL GOLDBERG SHOULD BE IN WWE TITLE MATCH AT ROYAL RUMBLE*
-On last night's WWE Backstage special, Paige revealed her feelings about Goldberg being in the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble.

-Paige said she was a fan of Goldberg, but feels that there are people who have been in WWE for a long time who should be getting that opportunity instead. She also complimented WWE Champion Drew McIntyre on how well his career has been going.

“Honestly, like I’m a fan of Goldberg, right,” said Paige. “I just don’t feel like he should be in this kinda thing. I think Drew has been having this massive buildup over the last year. He’s been completely carrying as the babyface of the company. I think he’s been doing so freaking well.

“Then you’ve got people who have been there for a long time who want to have that opportunity and unfortunately, they’re not getting it. I just don’t feel like it’s needed and I don’t think he should be the one to, at least, win it.”



*NATALYA BECOMES FINAL ENTRANT IN WOMENS ROYAL RUMBLE*
-Natalya and Tamina Snuka faced off during WWE Backstage Royal Rumble Special, with the winner getting the most coveted spot in the Women’s Royal Rumble. In a hard-fought match, it was Natalya who came away with the win, and who will now be the 30th entrant in the Royal Rumble.

-With the victory, Natalya secures herself what is widely considered to be the best spot in the Royal Rumble event. Now, she’ll have the opportunity to come in last and likely have the best chance to come out on top, although nothing is guaranteed. Natalya is looking to secure another title opportunity, though, so locking in the 30th entrant spot is huge for her, and we’ll have to wait and see how things turn out when the Royal Rumble kicks off.



*FIRST TWO ENTRIES ANNOUNCED FOR 2021 MEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH*
-Revealed during special Royal Rumble episode of WWE Backstage, Edge and Randy Orton will be the first two men to enter the Royal Rumble when the match kicks off tomorrow night, pitting the former friends turned rivals against each other in a major way.

-After facing off in multiple matches over the last year, the two superstars will now enter the Royal Rumble and be forced to take each other on to start. Officially, Randy Orton will be the #1 entrant, and Edge will be #2, but the two superstars will be alone in the ring together regardless of number.



*JIM ROSS ON WHY TAZ LOST HIS PUSH IN WWE*
-Ross also about Taz in a recent episode of Grilling JR podcast, who came into the company by choking out Kurt Angle at the Royal Rumble 2000. One year later he was thrown out of the 2001 Royal Rumble match in 20 seconds. He said the reason for the issues with Taz always came back to his height and issues talent had working with him due to his MMA style of wrestling.

“I brought Taz in,” Ross said. “I thought he was an attraction kind of guy. I thought he would do us a good job if he was booked in the same basic mold he was in ECW. One thing about Paul Heyman is that he had the great ability to accentuate a talent’s positives and disguise their negatives. Paul made Taz so strong that you forgot he was 5’8. He was not what the business was getting a regular diet of. I was definitely in the minority [on Taz in WWE]. Vince trusted my judgement but then he got unconvinced. He fell out of favor and a lot of the people he could’ve drawn money working with believed them selling a guy who’s 5’8 didn’t make any sense and people would not believe it. Even though Taz could probably whoop their ass in a real shoot.”

“Nobody could’ve had a better debut in Madison Square Garden than Taz got and he beat Kurt Angle by submission. People thought his suplexes were dangerous, a lot of the talents got back to Vince and said I don’t really want to work with this guy. Enough of the top talents convinced McMahon that Taz was not a good hire, he was limited on what he could do, his suplexes were dangerous so he fell out of favor. If you want a message sent to somebody, have them have a 20 second [appearance] in the Royal Rumble.”



*NATALYA SPOILS SURPRISE??*
-It seems like WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus might be one of the participants in the 30-Woman Royal Rumble match this Sunday.

-A night before the big event, SmackDown star Natalya shared picture posing alongside Stratus on her Instagram story. Natalya wrote, “Can’t wait for this Sunday!” while tagging Stratus.

-Natalya was quick to delete the post after possibly spoiling Stratus’ surprise return.

-Stratus entered at #30 in the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble match back in 2018. She did not participate the previous two years. Stratus last wrestled at SummerSlam 2019, where she lost a singles bout to Charlotte Flair.



*DARBY ALLIN SAYS STING IS "GOOD TO GO"*
-AEW TNT Champion Darby Allin and pro wrestling legend Sting have formed an on-screen alliance in AEW and will be teaming up for a match at the AEW Revolution PPV on March 7. With Sting, 61, returning to the squared circle for the first time since his match against Seth Rollins back in September 2015, there is a lot of concern surrounding his health.

-In a recent chat with Alex McCarthy of talkSport, Allin tried to quell those concerns by narrating a recent incident which assured him that Sting is “good to go” even at age 61.

“We were walking around Jacksonville the other day,” began Allin. “There was this six-foot fence. I jumped the fence and I told Sting ‘I’m going to take some photos’ because we were looking at some weird stuff in Jacksonville.

“I was like ‘I’m going to take some photos for you of this weird building’ and he’s on the other side of the fence that’s locked up. And he’s like ‘what, you don’t think I’m going to jump this fence?’ He climbs up and he jumped the fence. So I’d say he’s good to go!”

-Allin spoke of the “responsibility” he feels to contribute to the last chapter of Sting’s illustrious career.

“That’s a huge thing for me to be in charge of telling his story at the tail-end of his career,” said Allin. “You’re writing history here and I really don’t want anybody to go back and say ‘Oh, you know, when he got with Darby Allin it was kind of like not good’ or whatever you would say.

“So to me, there’s a lot of responsibility and it’s amazing to have that put on me. I thrive in these situations.”

-When asked why Sting wanted to specifically work with him, Allin said it had a lot to do with The Icon’s appreciation for his vignettes and promos.

“He visualizes a lot of things. He likes characters and things like that so when he first saw my vignettes and my promos – whatever you call them – he was super hyped on them. He just thought they were so different and unique. So with the story we’ve been doing, I’ve been sending him all of these visual ideas and I’ve been talking in-depth to him.

“Like, ‘yo, this, this, this and this’ and he likes it. He really likes how my brain works with things. He’s very confident he’s in good hands.”

Sting and Allin will face Brian Cage and Ricky Starks of Team Taz in a Street Fight at AEW Revolution. There has been some speculation that AEW will produce a cinematic match.
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
30 January 2021

*MATCH ADDED TO WWE BACKSTAGE*
-When WWE Backstage returns tomorrow it will feature a wrestling match with major implications.

-In addition to revealing the No. 1 and 2 entrants in the Men’s Royal Rumble, the show will reveal the No. 30 entrant in the Women’s Royal Rumble. Vying for that spot is Tamina Snuka and Natalya. The two veterans will look to possibly win with the huge advantage.

.@NatbyNature will battle @TaminaSnuka in a high-stakes matchup TOMORROW NIGHT on #WWEBackstage! @FS1 #SmackDown #RoyalRumble pic.twitter.com/NqPQw3QrjP

— WWE (@WWE) January 30, 2021



*FIRST WWE NXT TAKEOVER MATCH SET FOR VALENTINE’S DAY*
-The first match has been revealed for the upcoming WWE NXT Takeover special on Valentine’s Day – Sunday, February 14.

-The Triple Threat will see NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai defend against Mercedes Martinez and Toni Storm.

-Storm and Shirai had been feuding for a few weeks until Martinez recently returned and attacked Shirai, taking her off TV for a few weeks. Shirai returned earlier this month, interfering to cost Storm and Martinez a first round Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic match against Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro. Last night’s NXT show featured Shirai interrupting Storm’s in-ring promo about how she was coming for the title. A brawl broke out and Shirai got the upperhand until Martinez attacked her from behind. This led to all three competitors brawling until the segment ended with Storm standing tall with Shirai’s title in the air.

-The Triple Threat at Takeover was first revealed by ComicBook.com, and confirmed by WWE. Storm spoke with the website and called this the biggest match of her life so far.

“Yeah. I mean, I can’t say I’m thrilled that Mercedes has managed to get herself in the way of my title opportunity, but I’m going in there with a game plan,” Storm said. “I’m not going to let her ruin this massive opportunity for me, the biggest match of my life so far. And yeah, she will not be standing in my way.”

-Storm also commented on her journey to this match, which has included a Mae Young Classic win, and a run as the second NXT UK Women’s Champion.

“Yeah, it’s been quite a journey. Obviously, I moved here not so long ago, and my intention from the very get-go was to get my hands on Io and take away the NXT Women’s Championship, but it’s been very challenging,” Storm said. “Obviously, I did all I could in the UK to the point where it was time for a new fresh start, but it was a huge adjustment for me, and it’s made me grow up a lot as a person. And now, I’m headed into, as I said, the biggest match of my life, and the pressure is on my shoulders a lot, because I know how big this is. But, at the same time, I’m confident and I’m definitely ready.”



*ROMAN REIGNS RESPONDS TO THE UNDERTAKER’S AND GOLDBERG'S “SOFT” COMMENTS*
-WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns just appeared on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast with Jimmy Traina, and responded to recent comments made by The Undertaker and WWE Hall of Famer Bill Goldberg.

-Taker recently appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience and commented on how the current WWE product is “soft” and filled with wrestlers “making sure they look pretty” backstage.

“I think the product is a little soft,” Taker told Rogan. “There are obviously guys here and there that have an edge to them, but there’s too much pretty [and] not enough substance I think right now.”

-Taker continued, “In that era of guys, too, those were men. You go into a dressing room nowadays, and it’s a lot different. I remember walking into my first real dressing room, and all I saw were some crusty f—— men. Half of them had guns and knives in their bags. S— got handled back then. Now you walk in, there’s guys playing video games and f—— making sure they look pretty. It’s evolution, guess. I don’t know what it is, but I just like those eras, man. I liked when men were men.”

-Goldberg appeared on WWE’s After The Bell podcast with host Corey Graves this week and backed up Taker’s claim.

“I don’t think things could go like they did back in the day in the current day,” said Goldberg on how the locker room has changed. He continued with a response on Taker’s recent criticism, “When you hear the comments about me coming back and doing one or two matches a year, how people are like, ‘He doesn’t deserve it, he never paid his dues, he was never on the road and these people are on the road…’ Hey, man, people forget very quickly what all of us did back in the day to earn the spot we are in the now – and I am one of the luckiest guys in the world.”

-Goldberg added, “But, yes, I believe, comparatively, the business is soft – but the business is in 2021, so things have to change and things have to be different.”

-Goldberg also asked younger talents to grow a thicker skin and accept criticism.

“Like I said, times are quite different than they were back then today but people are soft, people take offense to things way too quickly,” he said. “Get a little thicker skin, boys and girls, that’s all I can say.

“When legends came in when I was in the business, in the beginning, I was greatly appreciative of the eyes they brought to our product and one day those young kids are going to be just like me and I hope that karma comes back to bite them in the ass, that’s all I can say. Because at 54 years old, I don’t know one of them that could be doing what I do.”

-Reigns responded in the interview with Traina when asked what he thought about the older wrestlers’ trash talk.

“We do the same job,” Reigns said. “It’s not like the bumps got any worse or any better. You’re always hearing ‘a drop kick was a finish back in my time.’ A dropkick is like the second move you see in a wrestling match nowadays. We’re doing a lot more. And sometimes I think we’re a lot more physical. And because the audience has seen so much more, we have to do a little more in order to peak their interest, in order to show them something different.

“What we call a false finish, a pin that people believe will be the final move of a match, we go through those like Steamboat-Savage. You’ll see that on a SmackDown. You’ll see 15 false finishes on a SmackDown.”

-The Tribal Chief continued and said he feels like The Dead Man misspoke, because he’s really a good guy, but Goldberg is just Goldberg.

“It’s strange. I really feel like he misspoke,” Reigns said. “Because Mark is a really good guy. He’s very knowledgable. Obviously, he has a ton of respect for the business. Goldberg is just Goldberg. Who cares? But he’s talking about guns and knives in the locker room. Come on. You guys travel just like we did. Did you really get that stuff through security? TSA was just letting everything happen back then? I choose to play video games sometimes on my own time. I don’t do it at work. As you can see, some of my character is based around it. I’ve always been one that networked and politicked and tried to communicate and work while I’m at work. Some guys choose to stay in the locker room. And for guys like the New Day who are überly talented, they can get away with that.

“I hope the younger guys in the locker room don’t fall into that because we’re not all the same. I have to put my whole mind into work as I come to work on a Friday. Sometimes my wife has to tell me to shut it off. She’ll be like, ‘Stop, be at home, be present.’ Because I can’t turn it off sometimes and I think to be at the highest level of anything, you have to be borderline obsessive. So, yeah, I don’t always think there’s room for video games in the locker room, but when we’re running our regular touring system and it’s a live event and there’s nowhere to go, you got kicked out of the hotel because you couldn’t get the late check out, you already hit the gym, you already picked up your food and you’re sitting in the locker room, I’d rather my guys be playing video games than breaking into a bag of some sort.”

-Reigns also commented on how it’s a different time in pro wrestling, and the pro wrestlers are smarter now.

“It’s a different time and I think we’re smarter,” Reigns said. “I think you’re gonna see that from the financial side of it, from how we save our money, how we prepare for the future, having a life after the business when we can’t fall down anymore to our actual health.”

-Reigns ended his response to Taker and said The Dead Man was just trying to sound “gangster” in the interview with Rogan.

“I think it was just like a retired guy trying to sound gangster,” Reigns said.



*LANA REPORTEDLY NOT DEALING WITH LEGITIMATE INJURIES*
-Lana is reportedly not dealing with a legitimate injury.

-Lana took to Twitter this week and mentioned how she is still wearing a cast and an ankle brace. She noted that she can’t wait to come back to in-ring action from the injuries she suffered back in December on RAW.

-To clarify, the injuries announced to Lana were a part of the storylines, and she is not legitimately hurt, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

-It was noted that Lana may have a good shot at being a surprise entrant in Sunday’s 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match because when WWE originally wrote her out of the storylines in December, the idea was to keep her off TV for around 6 weeks with the worked injury.

-The December 14 RAW saw Lana defeat Nia Jax in singles action, but after the match WWE did an injury angle where Jax and Shayna Baszler took Lana out, focusing on her arm and leg until RAW Women’s Champion Asuka made the save. Lana was then pulled from the WWE TLC pay-per-view, where she was to team with Asuka to challenge Jax and Baszler for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. It was noted by WWE that Lana had suffered a MCL knee injury and a fracture on her elbow. Charlotte Flair ended up returning to WWE as Asuka’s partner, and they captured the titles. They are still champions going into Sunday’s pay-per-view, where they will defend against Baszler and Jax in their rematch.

-It was speculated that Lana could end up eliminating Jax or doing some kind of angle with her during Sunday’s Women’s Rumble Match, if she does return. Jax spent a few months beating Lana up and putting her through tables before the injury angle on December 14.



*RONDA ROUSEY AND BROCK LESNAR WWE ROYAL RUMBLE STATUS*
-Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey are reportedly not scheduled for Sunday’s WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

-There’s been a lot of speculation on potential surprise entrants for the 30-Man and 30-Woman Royal Rumble Matches, but the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that Lesnar and Rousey are not scheduled as of this week.

-Lesnar is not currently under contract to WWE. Rousey is still under contract through April 10, which is the first day of the two-night WrestleMania 37 event.

-Three potential Royal Rumble appearances are Seth Rollins, Damian Priest and Rhea Ripley.

-Rollins has been out of action since the Survivor Series pay-per-view in late November as he took some time off to be with fiancee Becky Lynch as she gave birth to their first child last month. Rollins was discussed for a return a few weeks back, but that never happened. Priest and Ripley have been planned for a main roster call-up from WWE NXT for several weeks now. There was a plan to bring Priest to SmackDown at one point, but at last word he was scheduled for a spot on the RAW roster.


*JON MOXLEY CONFRONTS KENTA ON NJPW STRONG*
-IWGP United States champion Jon Moxley appeared at the end of this week’s NJPW Strong to confront KENTA, who earned a shot at his title by winning the New Japan Cup USA tournament last August.

-Moxley appeared in the aftermath of the main event match between Lio Rush and El Phantasmo. After Rush picked up the win, Bullet Club members KENTA and Hikuleo attacked Rush, Fred Rosser, and TJP.  That’s when the lights went off and Moxley appeared with the IWGP U.S. title and laid out Hikuelo and ELP with his belt.

-KENTA and Moxley then traded blows, with KENTA attempting to hit the AEW star with the GTS. Moxley countered and hit his Death Rider DDT finishing move.

-The show ended with Moxley cutting a promo, in which he said KENTA’s dream of taking away his title just became a nightmare. Moxley then vowed to face KENTA in Tokyo “one of these days” without specifying a time or place.



*BACKSTAGE AEW CREATIVE NEWS ON JUNGLE BOY VS. DAX HARWOOD*
-This week’s AEW Dynamite match between Dax Harwood and Jungle Boy was reportedly put together by Harwood. 

-There were people within AEW who were really looking forward to seeing the match air on Dynamite. The match featured Cash Wheeler and Tully Blanchard at ringside handcuffed to Luchasaurus, to prevent outside interference. Marko Stunt was selling the recent attack by FTR with his arm taped up. Jungle Boy ended up winning Wednesday’s match, forcing Harwood to tap out to the Snare Trap.

-In an update, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that Harwood is who put together the angle and presented it to AEW President & General Manager Tony Khan. Harwood’s goal with the angle was to make Jungle Boy come out of the match as a superstar babyface.

-It was noted that everyone in AEW knows how Jungle Boy is a great athlete because of what he can do in the ring, but now the key is for him to take beatings and make comebacks in a fight-like situation. The idea here was that Jungle Boy didn’t just get a cradle win, but that he made Harwood, who had not lost a fall in AEW until this week, submit in the finish.

-The post-match angle saw the wrestlers lose the handcuffs as Blanchard and Wheeler attacked Luchasaurus. Wheeler then hit the ring and took out Jungle Boy before FTR held Luchasaurus for a spike piledriver with Blanchard coming off the top turnbuckle. Luchasaurus was then cuffed to the ropes so Harwood could cut the horns off his mask. They went to cut Jungle Boy’s hair but Stunt ran out and threw a steel chair at them as Top Flight and SCU also ran out to help.
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
29 January 2021

*SASHA BANKS REVEALS HER WWE MOUNT AND RUSHMORE*
-After having one of the most successful years of her career, WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks has cemented herself as one of the top wrestlers in the world today, and it sounds like she knows it.

-Speaking on The Complex Sports Podcast, Banks revealed her WWE Mount Rushmore, positioning herself in the top spot.

“Of course I’m #1,” Banks said. “Me, Bayley, Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle.”

-On the subject of Angle, Banks praised the Olympic Gold Medalist for his in-ring work.

“He is one of the greatest wrestlers and entertainers of all time,” Banks said. “His matches are so crisp. If you are a wrestler and trying to get into the game, if you are trying to learn the basics and then learn the top techniques, you need to be watching Kurt Angle.”

-Pro wrestling Mount Rushmores are always the subject of debate. While some top fours include a diverse group, most wrestling Rushmores include the same names. Responding to WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns’s Mount Rushmore, which included the Undertaker, The Rock, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and John Cena, The Boss says the Tribal Chief’s is too basic.

“That sounds like a company answer!” Banks said. “You put them over! That sounds like a political WWE answer, and that’s why he’s at where he’s at with Paul Heyman. It’s alright!”



*KURT ANGLE REVEALS CHRIS BENOIT ALMOST REPLACED HIM AT WRESTLEMANIA 19*
-WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle has revealed that he was nearly replaced by Chris Benoit in the WWE Championship match against Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania XIX.

-While speaking on the debut episode of his new podcast, The Kurt Angle Show, Angle revealed that his persistent neck issues nearly led to him dropping the WWE title to Lesnar on the SmackDown before WrestleMania.

“At first, when I came back from South Africa and I got the diagnosis from the doctor, I told Vince I’m going to have to have surgery and I’m going to have to skip WrestleMania,” recalled Angle “He said, ‘I’ll call you back. I have an idea. Let me talk to the writers.’

“He decided that we were going to have a match before WrestleMania on SmackDown and I was going to drop the title to Brock and I believe Brock was going to go to WrestleMania and face a new opponent for the main event. I think they were going to substitute Chris Benoit, I believe. He was basically going to take my place. It bothered me.”

-After a backup plan was in place for Mania, Angle had a run-in with a kid with Down’s Syndrome. According to Angle, the meeting motivated him to postpone surgery, overcome the odds and face Lesnar.

“The next day I went to my neighbor’s house and there’s a really good kid named Johnny. He has Down’s Syndrome. He said, ‘Kurt, I’m so sad you’re not going to be wrestling against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.’ I said, ‘Yea, it’s pretty upsetting Johnny.’ He said, ‘I wish you would.’

“It stuck with me so I thought I’m going to call Vince and choose to have surgery after WrestleMania. I called him and said, ‘Why don’t we have the match at WrestleMania and I will have the surgery, but I will wait and put it off. I know my arm is atrophying but another couple weeks isn’t going to hurt, so let’s have the match.’”

-Despite Angle’s eagerness to battle through injury, McMahon wasn’t willing to put one of his biggest stars at risk.

“Vince said, ‘You need to get it approved by your doctor. I’m sorry, Kurt, but we have a match that is advertised on TV this past week on SmackDown before WrestleMania where you’re wrestling Brock and Brock is beating you for the title.’ I said, ‘We are going to have to change that Vince.’”

-When McMahon insisted that Angle was dropping the title to Lesnar in an advertised match on SmackDown, Angle recalled saying, “What can we do so I can retain the title and move on to WrestleMania without it affecting the SmackDown match?’ He responded, ‘Let me call you back.’”

-Angle continued, “I waited a couple hours and he called me back. He said, ‘We have an idea. We’re going to use your brother Eric. He looks just like you. We’re going to dress him up just like you. Put the Team Angle hood on him and we’re going to pull a switcheroo on Brock on SmackDown the week before WrestleMania.”

-After Lesnar beat up Eric Angle and prepared to cover him, Kurt snuck in the ring and rolled The Beast for a quick pin fall victory.

“So I retained the title to go on to WrestleMania for the main event. It was a cool angle. It wasn’t the match that fans were hoping for. It was in my hometown of Pittsburgh. It got me to WrestleMania which was the most important thing. I believe the idea was either Vince’s or Brian Gewirtz. They were two of the ones who came up with the great ideas for the Kurt Angle character.”



*RICOCHET WANTS TO TEAM UP WITH JEFF HARDY*
-Ricochet took to social media to tell Jeff Hardy that they should go after “those tag titles.”

-He tweeted, “Hey @JEFFHARDYBRAND maybe WE should go after those Tag Titles!?”

-As noted, Jeff Hardy and Riddle have been teaming together for months now and are known as the “The Hardy Bros.”

-Ricochet and Hardy recently tagged together on this week’s WWE Main Event. They lost to Elias and Jaxson Ryker.

-He tweeted, “Say what you all want about #MainEvent but if I get to tag with @JEFFHARDYBRAND and do my own version of “Poetry In Motion” with him!? It’s cool with me!”



*ALEX SHELLEY REVEALS WHY HE MISSED IMPACT HARD TO KILL*
-Alex Shelley took to Twitter and revealed that his day job as a physical therapy clinician kept him from working the recent Impact Wrestling Hard To Kill pay-per-view.

-Shelley was scheduled to team with Chris Sabin and Impact World Champion Rich Swann in the Hard To Kill six-man main event, against the team that ended up winning – AEW World Champion Kenny Omega and Impact World Tag Team Champions The Good Brothers. Impact announced the day before the pay-per-view that Moose would be replacing Shelley, noting that Shelley informed them late the night before that he was unable to travel to Nashville for the pay-per-view due to unavoidable circumstances.

-Shelley revealed that he is unable to travel and wrestle until he receives the COVID-19 vaccine, and this is related to why he missed Hard To Kill.

“Most days out of the week, I look like this. I read theories about why I wasn’t at @IMPACTWRESTLING for Hard to Kill. They ranged from injury, to illness, to getting arrested, to harming my family members and attempting to cover it up; I am a physical therapy clinician,” Shelley wrote, attaching a photo of him in his work attire. “Physio is my livelihood and career. Wrestling is my livelihood and passion project. At my company, due to the volume of sick and injured patients we are in care of, we modify our COVID-19 mandates as needed. As numbers went up, so did restrictiveness.

“To circumvent the topic, I could not be at Hard To Kill due to my career. I respect the decisions made by our company surgeons and doctors: I look to them for advice and guidance. I am unable to travel and wrestle until I am vaccinated. I took every caution I could before…”

-There’s no word yet on when Shelley will be back in action. Impact taped a few more months worth of TV content coming out of the Hard To Kill pay-per-view earlier this month, and Shelley did not work those tapings as his partner Sabin teamed with a returning James Storm.



*AEW DYNAMITE SEES BIG DROP IN VIEWERSHIP THIS WEEK, WWE NXT VIEWERSHIP UP*
-Week 68 of the Wednesday Night War saw AEW Dynamite defeat WWE NXT in viewership and ratings.

-Wednesday’s Dynamite drew 734,000 viewers (-14% from last week) on TNT, topping the 720,000 viewers (+9.3%) garnered by the live NXT episode on the USA Network by 1.9%, according to Nielsen via Showbuzz Daily.

-AEW ranked #6 in the Cable Top 150 for the 18-49 demo, while NXT ranked #24. AEW ranked #64 in total viewership, while NXT ranked #67 in viewership.


*LUMBERJACK MATCH SET FOR AEW DYNAMITE BEACH BREAK*
-A Lumberjack Match has been announced for next Wednesday’s Beach Break edition of AEW Dynamite on TNT.

-AEW has announced that Lance Archer vs. Eddie Kingston will take place under Lumberjack rules next week. AEW boss Tony Khan made the match after Kingston defeated Archer with outside interference on this week’s Dynamite.



*CHARLOTTE FLAIR ON IF WWE'S “NEEDS” RONDA ROUSEY*
-While former RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey has been away from the squared circle for nearly two years, one top women’s star doesn’t seem to miss her.

-Women’s Tag Team Champion Charlotte recently spoke to Vicente Beltrán of ViBe & Wrestling and gave her thoughts on Rousey’s impact on the women’s roster. While the Queen does think Rousey is good addition, she dismissed the idea that WWE “needs” her.

‘Need’ is a very strong word. Do I think Ronda would add to the division? 100% but ‘need’? No,” Charlotte said. “We have an incredible roster of already established stars and some of them are on the rise so ‘need’ I think is a strong word, but do I think she brings a lot to the table? 100%.”

-Rousey’s WWE contract expires on April 10th. There’s no telling if Rousey will return to in-ring action, but she has emerged as one of the favorites to win this year’s Women’s Royal Rumble match.



*WWE ANNOUNCES NEW MULTI-YEAR DEAL WITH CRICKET WIRELESS*
-WWE and Cricket Wireless have announced a new multi-year sponsorship deal.

-The new agreement will see Cricket Wireless be the co-presenting sponsor of Sunday’s WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

-Cricket Wireless will also be a proud sponsor and exclusive wireless provider of upcoming WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and Royal Rumble events. They will also become the new presenting partner of WWE’s live Kickoff pre-shows.

-The Miz, Kofi Kingston, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Charlotte Flair and SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks will serve as brand ambassadors for Cricket under the new deal. The brand ambassador roles involve original custom content, community activations and marketing materials.

“WWE’s family friendly entertainment aligns perfectly with Cricket’s values and mission to create meaningful connections for their customers,” said WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon. “We are thrilled to take our partnership to the next level and provide significant exposure across our global platforms.”

-Cricket noted in a separate announcement today that Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view will feature a 30-second custom spot. The Rumble Kickoff pre-show will feature a promo where Cricket asks fans to submit their “getting ready for Royal Rumble” photos for a chance to be featured.
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL* 
*Daily News by Amo* 
28 January 2021

*TOP IMPACT STAR’S CONTRACT REPORTEDLY EXPIRING THIS SUMMER*
-Moose is set to become a free agent in June of this year as his Impact Wrestling contract will expire then, according to Fightful Select. There’s no word yet on if the self-proclaimed TNA World Heavyweight Champion will be re-signing with the company.

-There had been some speculation on Moose re-signing for two years already as Executive Vice President Don Callis noted during Hard To Kill that Moose was signed to a two-year contract, which was done to try and get Moose to take it easy on AEW World Champion Kenny Omega. Moose was previously announced as signing a two-year contract in 2019, which led people to believe that Callis’ lines at Hard To Kill were a reference to Moose re-signing for another two years. That is not the case as the contract he signed in 2019 is set to expire this summer.

-Moose is just one of several Impact wrestlers that will see their Impact contracts expire during the first half of this year.



*IMPACT WRESTLING DRAWS BEST VIEWERSHIP SINCE DECEMBER*
-Tuesday’s new edition of Impact Wrestling, featuring a big eight-man main event with Impact World Champion Rich Swann, Trey Miguel, Willie Mack and Tommy Dreamer defeating Ken Shamrock, Sami Callihan, Moose and Chris Bey, drew 186,000 viewers on AXS TV, according to Showbuzz Daily. The show drew a 0.05 rating in the key 18-49 demographic.

-This week’s Impact ranked #118 on the Cable Top 150 for the key demo, and #129 for the night on cable in viewership.

-These numbers are up from last week’s post-Hard To Kill episode, which drew 147,000 viewers with a 0.03 rating in the key demo. Last week’s episode ranked #145 on the Cable Top 150 and #133 for the night in viewership. This is the best Impact viewership since the December 8 episode, which drew 221,000 viewers with a 0.08 rating in the key demo.



*CODY RHODES RESPONDS TO SHAQ'S CHALLENGE ON AEW DYNAMITE*
-On this week's AEW Dynamite, Cody Rhodes responded to Shaq’s comments from last month during his sit-down with Brandi Rhodes and Tony Schiavone. Shaq and Brandi initially had a calm conversation, but Shaq then joked about his associate, Jade Cargill, giving Brandi some pointers in the ring. Brandi then threw a drink in his face, and called him an “overgrown assh***” on her way out of the room.

-Since then, Cargill has continued to taunt Cody whenever he appeared on TV. Brandi has announced her pregnancy, and it looked like Red Velvet could step in for her, as she did during Cody’s appearance on Britt Baker’s “The Waiting Room.” 

-During tonight’s AEW Awards, Shaq challenged Cody to a match in March (like on March 7 at Revolution, which was made official tonight). On tonight’s show, Cody wasn’t sure what he was going to do on the PPV, but Arn Anderson offered up a new tag partner for Cody, bringing out Red Velvet.

-Velvet told Jade that Cody would never put his hands on her, but she would hesitate to “stir your b**** ass up.” Tony Schiavone then said the ball was in Shaq and Jade’s court. The match wasn’t made official, but it looks like that’s the direction things are going.



*FIRST SEMI-FINAL MATCH OFFICIAL FOR WOMEN’S DUSTY CUP*
-The first semi-final match for the Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is officially set, with Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai notching a huge win on NXT to advance in the tournament.

-In a match against Aliyah & Jessi Kamea, Gonzalez and Kai dominated things late. In the end of the match, Gonzalez was able to land a huge boot to the head of Kamea, before hitting a big chokeslam to end things. Now, the duo will move on to face off against Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter in the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

-The other side of the women’s bracket will see Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell face off against the winner of Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart vs. Marina Shafir and Zoey Stark.



*2 TEAMS ADVANCE IN MEN'S DUSTY CUP*
-Two more matches for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic occurred during this week’s episode of NXT, with MSK and Grizzled Young Veterans both advancing to the semi-finals with respective wins against their opponents tonight.

-In a match against Drake Maverick and Killian Dain, MSK was able to come away with a big after Carter and Lee landed a huge Hart Attack Blockbuster onto Maverick for the win. Now, they’ll face off against the winner of Legado Del Fantasma vs. Lucha House Party in the semi-finals of the Dusty Cup.

-In the second match of the night, Grizzled Young Veterans came out on fire, taking down the upstart duo of Kushida and Leon Ruff. Things ended roughly for Ruff when the duo was able to land the Ticket to Mayhem on Ruff to end the match. With the victory, the Grizzled Young Veterans book their ticket to the semi-finals, and will face off against the winner of The Undisputed Era vs. Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher.



*AEW STAR SET TO RETURN SOON*
-The inaugural All Elite Wrestling Women’s Champion Riho will return soon to the promotion.

-The former champ hasn’t wrestled in All Elite Wrestling since March 18, 2020, and hasn’t been able to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during tonight’s AEW Dynamite, it was announced that Riho will face NWA Women’s Champion Serena Deeb in the AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament. This will give both Riho and Deeb a clear path towards a potential title shot against Hikaru Shida.



*AEW DYNAMITE AWARD WINNERS REVEALED*
-The first annual AEW Dynamite Awards took place yesterday. After 436,000 total votes from the fans, here are the winners of this year’s awards:

Best Moment on the Mic: Cody Rhodes The American Nightmare accepts a Dog Collar Match from The Exalted One, Mr. Brodie Lee

Biggest Surprise: Sting’s AEW Debut

Breakout Star – Male: AEW TNT Champion Darby Allin

Breakout Star - Female: AEW Women’s World Champion Hikaru Shida

Biggest Beatdown: The Inner Circle jumps Orange Cassidy

High Flyer Award: Rey Fenix of The Lucha Brothers

Hardest Moment to Clean Up After: The Parking Lot Brawl featuring Best Friends and Orange Cassidy v. Santana and Ortiz of The Inner Circle

Biggest WTF Moment: Kenny Omega wins AEW World Championship and walks out of AEW after defeating Jon Moxley

LOL Award: The Young Bucks super kick MJF into the pool on the Jericho Cruise

Best Twitter Follow: “The Native Beast” Nyla Rose

Bleacher Report PPV Moment of the Year: AEW DOUBLE OR NOTHING Stadium Stampede Match



*FORMER AEW EXTRA WORKS WWE NXT EPISODE*
-This week’s WWE NXT episode saw Malcolm Bivens lead Tyler Rust to a singles win over an enhancement talent, who was referred to as Rios on commentary.

-The enhancement talent was Northeast indie wrestler Daniel Garcia, and he was using the name Dante Rios.

-Garcia tweeted after tonight’s NXT debut and wrote, “I belong.”

-Garcia has worked for several indie promotions in the past, including EVOLVE, SMASH Wrestling, wXw and Beyond Wrestling, among others. He worked two AEW Dark matches back in September 2020, teaming with Kevin Blackwood for losses to The Butcher and The Blade, and then the team of Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss. Garcia also competed on WWE 205 Live back in July 2018, losing a squash match to Drew Gulak.
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
27 January 2021

*TONY KHAN RECALLS HIS FATHER NOT THINKING AEW WOULD WORK AT FIRST*
-During his interview on Oral Sessions with Renée Paquette, AEW President & CEO Tony Khan discussed how he would like to see the company add another weekly show to their already established programs. He did clarify that this show would be its own entity and would not be added content on Dynamite or Dark.

“I’m really excited about adding a third hour,” Tony Khan exclaimed. “That’s going to be the most important thing for us ’cause right now, we’ve accumulated so much talent on the roster that we want to showcase all of our great wrestlers. It will not be a third hour of Dynamite, and it will not be on Wednesday. But it will be a third hour with WarnerMedia, which will be great exposure for us.

“We’ve got Dark, which is a great platform for our wrestlers on YouTube. And I think there are other streaming options and other shows that we could do with YouTube or other streaming platforms. So, there’s going to be more opportunities and more real estate for our wrestlers without oversaturating.”

-Three years ago when The Elite and Tony were strategizing their plans to create AEW, Tony recalls how uninterested his father, Shahid Khan, was to take part financially in what he believed to be a pipedream.

“No, he did not support this at all,” he clarified right away. “I put the business plan together, and I was pretty much ready to commit to it. But again, he had cold feet. We had some very uncomfortable conversations where I told him that this was going to be great.

“He’s been so cool about it. He’s the smartest person I’ve ever known. He knew nothing about wrestling, and now, he’s learning a lot about wrestling and paying attention to it. AEW is his thing, but he’s never watched wrestling before.”

-Continuing on, Tony mentioned to Renee how surprised he was when his father came out to the public and noted that he was in the wrong to think AEW would never be as established as it is now.

“He’s a really nice person. He’s very supportive, and he’s a very loving man. He’s also a very hard man,” he admitted. “He’s not going to give it to you easy. He’s not going to tell you that you pulled something off or if you did a good job on something. I don’t hear it from him often, but in public, he admitted that he was very wrong about AEW. He went to multiple big publications and said in print that it was a good lesson [for him] in parenting to learn to trust your kids…Hearing him say good job on AEW each week is very nice.”



*WWE STAR CALLS CESARO "THE GREATEST PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER IN THE WORLD"*
-WWE SmackDown Superstar Natalya believes Cesaro is not only “the greatest professional wrestler in the world” but in a league of his own when compared to his contemporaries. The Queen of Harts shared her strong opinions on Cesaro during a recent chat with Riju Dasgupta of Sportskeeda.

“Cesaro is the greatest professional wrestler in the world,” said Natalya. “There is nobody that can touch him. There is no Superstar today; that is Cesaro. So, I can’t wait to watch Cesaro shine and hopefully get a chance to main event WrestleMania.”

-Natalya went onto pick fellow SmackDown stars Cesaro and Dolph Ziggler as her co-favorites to win the men’s Royal Rumble match this Sunday.

“I would say Dolph Ziggler is one of the people who I would expect to win the men’s Royal Rumble and Cesaro is the other one.”



*ROMAN REIGNS DOES NOT SEE A FUTURE WITHOUT PAUL HEYMAN*
-WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns recently spoke with Brent Brookhouse of CBS Sports to promote Sunday’s Last Man Standing match against Kevin Owens at the WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

-Reigns also discussed his relationship with Paul Heyman. Reigns talked about how Heyman is a pleasure to be around, and how Heyman really has been there for him.

“He’s just a pleasure to be around,” Reigns said of Heyman. “Not only that, to be able to work with him? A lot of people just look at him as this creative genius and someone who is masterful on the microphone. But, the attention to detail is in every area, from anything that I need. This man has gotten me towels from the hotel to make sure they’re big enough, to picking me up custom steaks from the butcher last week. This guy does not cut his corners, he really is all hands on deck.

“It’s not just what he does from a creative standpoint or on camera, and he’s the greatest of all time with what he does in promoting and selling his athletes and how much demand he puts on the matches he’s involved in. He really does anything under the sun to make sure that the talent he’s working with is completely comfortable and focused on what they’re doing. It’s been a pleasure to work with him.”

-It was noted that with Reigns and Heyman on TV, Heyman’s swagger is gone for the most part as he is usually seen desperately looking to please Reigns, while fearing his wrath. Their off-screen relationship is “wildly different” but Reigns said it’s quickly built to the point where he can’t see a place in the future where he does not have Heyman by his side, even if they’re not paired on TV.

“If something happens and we’re no longer on screen together, I don’t think I’ll ever want to work without him one way or another,” Reigns said. “Even if we’re not a pairing on television anymore, I will still want and need him at television to work with me. Even throughout the week. We’ll start texting throughout the week to get ideas and figure out the message we want to get across. It’s a weekly battle where we don’t always get our way, but we try our best to do that. It’s definitely a really neat scenario as far as brainstorming and creative spitballing in trying to push the envelope and create the most sophisticated narrative every week.

“We say it every week: attention to detail. Those details are what make the product and hook people. We don’t want to insult our audience and make them think we feel they’re stupid; we know they’re not. Especially our hardcore fanbase, they’ve been watching professional wrestling and sports entertainment for a long time, they’ve seen it all. So we constantly think about what we can do to be different. What we can do to be better. And what we can do to achieve greatness every single week.”



*REPORTED REASON FOR ‘LAST MINUTE’ PAIRING OF SAREENA SANDHU & CHARLOTTE FLAIR AT WWE SUPERSTAR SPECTACLE*
-Sareena Sandhu and Charlotte Flair were victorious at WWE Superstar Spectacle on Tuesday morning, but it turns out that “The Queen” was supposed to have another partner on the show.

-According to PWInsider.com, Kavita Devi was originally scheduled to team with Charlotte on the show. WWE played a video featuring Devi, the first-ever Indian-born female WWE Superstar, and said she had gone back to India to deal with a family emergency. As it turns out, the reason for her absence was legitimate and Sandhu was added into the tag match as her replacement.

-Sandhu ended up benefitting from the switch, as she scored the deciding pinfall on Natalya. The final moments of the match saw Natalya apply the Sharpshooter to Sandhu, but Flair broke it up with Natural Selection and Sandhu covered Natalya to pick up the win.



*FORMER X-DIVISON CONTENDER RETURNS TO IMPACT WRESTLING*
-Former Rascalz member Trey Miguel made his return back to Impact Wrestling as the mystery partner in the eight-man tag team main event this week.

-At the beginning of the show, the Impact World Champion Rich Swann, Willie Mack and Tommy Dreamer found themselves on the receiving end of an attack by Moose, Sami Callihan, Ken Shamrock and Chris Bey after an argument broke out on who would become Swann’s next challenger for the championship.

-Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore surprised Swann, Mack and Dreamer with who their partner was going to be. Miguel’s return was not revealed until the end of the show.

-Miguel originally left the company back in November with his Rascalz partners Zachary Wentz and Dezmond Xavier. Reports were circulating that Miguel would follow Wentz and Xavier to WWE NXT or possibly debut as a singles star in AEW. The NXT idea was shot down following Triple H’s comments on how he felt Miguel was “not all in” towards becoming a Superstar. Miguel fired back with a response saying that he thought it was more important to meet his nephew than go out and wrestle after it was mentioned that his nephew was born prematurely.

-It’s unclear if Miguel’s return is just a one-time thing or if he has signed back on with the company.



*TOMMY DREAMER GETS AN IMPACT TITLE SHOT FOR HIS 50th BIRTHDAY*
-Tonight’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling kicked off with a huge announcement, as Tommy Dreamer will be taking on Rich Swann for the IMPACT World Championship at IMPACT No Surrender later next month.

-The show kicked off with Rich Swann coming out to discuss his career, and how hard he has worked. He then invited out Tommy Dreamer, and noted that at No Surrender, it’ll also be Dreamer’s 50th birthday. Swann said that since Dreamer has helped out so many in the wrestling injury, he wants to defend his belt against him. Before anything could be said, though, Chris Bey made his way out to the ring, and said that his birthday was also on February 13, and that he should be going up against Swann again for another title shot. Swann could barely reply when Moose made his way out to the ring, joining the other three superstars in demanding a chance at the belt, which was promised to him by Swann. Swann noted that Moose’s time will come, but it isn’t yet, and it seems as if Dreamer was the lucky superstar to get the chance, as IMPACT Wrestling confirmed the match on their social media channels shortly after the segment.



*MATCHES ANNOUNCED FOR NEXT WEEK’S IMPACT WRESTLING*
-This week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling may be over, but next week is already looking to be a big night, as a handful of big matches will be taking place, along with some promises of big guests.

-Announced throughout tonight’s episode, next week will see Jordynne Grace take on Susan in a match between two superstars who clearly have no love for each other in the moment. Madman Fulton will also be on hand to take on Josh Alexander, and Tasha Steelz will be facing off against Havok. In other news, Matt Hardy and Private Party will also be in attendance, and with Private Party looking to move up in the ranks of the tag team world, they’ll undoubtedly be there to cause some chaos.
Jeremy
Dreamer got a title shot for being 50????
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
26 January 2021

*REASON FOR MATCH RESTART ON WWE RAW*
-There was a shoot count out finish during the six-woman tag team match on Monday’s WWE Royal Rumble go-home edition of RAW on the USA Network. The match saw Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke and WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Charlotte Flair go up against Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler and Lacey Evans. The six-woman match was made after Flair vs. Baszler in singles action ended in a DQ due to interference by Jax.

-The six-woman tag team match awkwardly ended in a count out as Flair was bringing Baszler back into the ring. PWInsider reports that the referee legitimately counted Baszler out. After the bell, the winners regrouped as Evans yelled at the referee for the count. RAW then went to a commercial break and came back to the six-woman match back underway.

-While the six-woman match restarted, WWE aired video that showed Adam Pearce coming out during the commercial break. WWE was forced to send Pearce out to improvise, and order the referee to restart the match after the heels complained. The match went on for several more minutes and ended with the heels getting the win after Jax pinned Brooke with a stiff chokeslam in the middle of the ring.



*FORMER PRO WRESTLING NOAH STAR SIGNING WITH WWE?*
-There’s now speculation on Japanese pro wrestler Hideki Suzuki possibly signing with WWE. Tokyo Sports reports that Suzuki was recently spotted at the international terminal of the Hadena Airport in Tokyo, Japan, with a one-way ticket to the United States.

-Suzuki worked as a guest coach for the WWE Performance Center in January/February 2020. It’s now rumored that Suzuki is headed back to work for WWE, this time for a permanent role.

-Suzuki made his pro wrestling debut back in 2008 and was trained by the legendary Billy Robinson, among others. He has worked for several Japanese promotions, including All Japan Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling NOAH, Wrestle-1, Big Japan, Inoki Genome Federation, and Pro Wrestling Zero1, among others. He was named the MVP Wrestler in the 2017 Japan Indie Wrestling Awards.



*WWE NETWORK GETS A NEW HOME*
-NBCUniversal’s Peacock network is the new home of the WWE Network in the United States. WWE announced that they have signed a multi-year agreement with Peacock, which will give the new platform exclusive streaming rights to the WWE Network in the United States.

-Peacock will launch the WWE Network on Thursday, March 18. This will kick off the roll-out of more than 17,000 hours of new, original and library programming on-demand, and the live channel. The WWE Fastlane event will be the first pay-per-view to stream on Peacock, on March 21. The new deal will also include one annual signature WWE Network documentary for Peacock, beginning in 2022.

-The new WWE Network premium price point will be $4.99 on Peacock, which is a savings of $5 per month. The ad-free version, Peacock Premium Plus, will cost $9.99 per month.

“We are thrilled to further the long-standing and trusted partnership WWE has with NBCUniversal,” said WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan in a press release. “Peacock is an innovative platform that will enable us to showcase our most significant events, including WrestleMania, and provide the extraordinary entertainment our fans have come to expect with the combination of premium WWE content, live sports, news, films, and television programs.”



*IMPACT WRESTLING ANNOUNCES ‘KNOCKOUTS ROUNDTABLE’ DISCUSSION*
-IMPACT Wrestling has announced a special Knockouts Roundtable discussion coming to the IMPACT Plus app, and it will also mark the return of several former champions.

-Gail Kim, Velvet Sky, Christy Hemme, ODB, Brooke Adams (Tessmacher) and Taryn Terrell will be part of the Roundtable discussion; it will premiere this week as part of Knockouts Month.

-Kim still works with IMPACT as an agent, but the other appearances are notable since many of the other women have not appeared for the company in many years. Both Christy Hemme and Velvet Sky left the company in April 2016 (Sky was written off of TV in a loser gets fired match) and Terrell has not been seen on the show since she left in October 2017.

-ODB recently confirmed she is returning to IMPACT Wrestling, telling Chris Van Vliet that the company called her about a return as a wrestler.

“I am actually getting back in the ring. So IMPACT obviously called me and that’s the cool thing about stuff, I’ve never burnt a bridge in wrestling. Yeah, we all have our bad moments and stuff and whatever you want to when you want to tell everyone to go F themselves. IMPACT was awesome, TNA was my home and they buzzed me and every time I’m like ‘Oh gosh. Oh boy, here we go’. But they were like ‘Hey, do you want to come back and see what happens? And possibly bring the food truck?’ So that’s my ultimate goal, to actually drive my ODB’s Meat and Greet into a stadium and kick some ass.”

-While she didn’t confirm when it would take place, ODB said she’s looking forward to going “home” and namedropped a few potential opponents she’s had her eye on.



*ALBERTO DEL RIO SEXUAL ASSAULT TRIAL PUSHED BACK*
-Alberto Del Rio’s sexual assault case was supposed to go to on trial but it has been delayed.

-Per PWInsider, the trial has been moved to May 3, 2021. No reason it was pushed back is known, and it was a late call by the court as Del Rio was ready for trial this morning. The former WWE Champion is facing charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual assault.

-The police report, obtained by TMZ, says that Del Rio, whose real name is Jose Rodriguez Chucuan, accused the woman of cheating on her. He then allegedly destroyed her cell phone and laptop and tried to burn her passport. The attack started around 10 p.m. on May 3 and continued until 2:30 p.m. the next day.

-Previously, the accuser had apologized to Del Rio “for the damages caused by my mistakes.” That Instagram post has now been deleted. While it seems that she wasn’t pursuing charges any further at the time, only the state of Texas can actually dismiss the charges and they are still going forward with the case.



*BAD BUNNY WILL PERFORM ‘BOOKER T’ AT WWE ROYAL RUMBLE*
-Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny will appear at the Royal Rumble this year. Fittingly, he’ll be performing his latest single “Booker T.” Bad Bunny is clearly a wrestling fan as he’s had Undertaker in a video recently and the former WCW star appears in the “Booker T” video.

“Performing at the Royal Rumble is a childhood dream come true,” said Bad Bunny of the performance. “I have been a lifelong fan of WWE and I am excited to take the stage and entertain fans around the world.”

-WWE announced that multi-platinum recording artist and international superstar Bad Bunny will perform his hit single “Booker T” off his new album “El Último Tour Del Mundo” live for the first time at Royal Rumble this Sunday, January 31 streaming live on WWE Network at 7 pm ET.

“Bad Bunny is at the top of the music industry, and a pop culture icon with strong ties to WWE and our fans around the world,” said Neil Lawi, Senior Vice President and General Manager, WWE Music Group. “We are thrilled to provide a global platform for his first-ever live performance of ‘Booker T’ as we kick off the road to WrestleMania®.”

-Bad Bunny has taken over the global music scene as one of the most respected and talented singer-songwriters and producers of this generation. Declared the #1 artist globally of 2020 by Spotify, he has won multiple Latin Grammy Awards, American Music Awards and Billboard Music Awards for Best Reggaeton Performance, Artist of the Year and Top Latin Album of the Year among others.

-Bad Bunny’s most recent and third album of 2020, “El Último Tour Del Mundo” debuted at #1 on the “Billboard 200” chart, the first all-Spanish-language album to reach #1 in the 64-year history of the all-genre chart, as well as #1 on Apple Music’s global “Top Albums” chart for all genres.



*WWE NXT STATUS CLARIFICATION FOLLOWING PEACOCK ANNOUNCEMENT*
-To clear up some speculation going around the internet today, the weekly WWE NXT show will remain on the USA Network’s Wednesday night line-up. WWE and NBCUniversal announced that Peacock will become the new exclusive home of the WWE Network in the United States, beginning Thursday, March 18. The press release included a line about WWE’s in-ring shows “like NXT, NXT UK and WWE 205 Live, as well as replays of RAW and SmackDown” airing on the WWE Network on Peacock.

-This line led to some speculating that the weekly first-run NXT show was moving from the USA Network to the WWE Network on Peacock, but that is not the case. The weekly NXT show will continue to premiere on Wednesday nights via the USA Network. Also, the same episode will continue to air on the WWE Network via replay the next day, as it has for some time now.

-It’s been speculated that NXT could be changing nights on the USA Network due to the NBC Sports Network shutting down and the need for a new home to the NHL’s Wednesday Night Hockey program, and the fact that NXT’s TV contract is set to expire this October. However, there will be no immediate change to the weekly NXT schedule due to the new Peacock deal.



*HANDCUFF STIPULATION ANNOUNCED FOR AEW DYNAMITE MATCH*
-AEW has announced a new stipulation for Wednesday’s Dynamite match between Jungle Boy and Dax Harwood. It was announced today that Cash Wheeler and Tully Blanchard will both be handcuffed to Luchasaurus at ringside during the match. This will prevent any outside interference from happening.
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
25 January 2021

*ERIC BISCHOFF EXPLAINS WHY COREY GRAVES AND MICHAEL COLE ARE A GOOD BROADCAST TEAM*
-Eric Bischoff is a legendary figure in the world of professional wrestling. His return to WWE as the executive director of WWE SmackDown in 2019 generated a lot of buzz. Though this run was somewhat short-lived, the experience still allowed him to learn about the current version of the company.

-In a recent episode of his 83 Weeks podcast, Bischoff looked back on the memorable debut of WWE SmackDown on FOX, and he explained why the duo of Corey Graves and Michael Cole was the right choice for the show.

“You know, Michael Cole, I don’t know,  I can’t say enough about him,” said Bischoff. “You know, to survive 23 years in that chair with those headsets on, in that environment, he has to be one of the toughest, mentally and emotionally toughest people that any of us know.

“Corey [Graves], very cool cat. Very different, has his own way about him. He’s got a vibe and an approach to the business that I really love, and I think it makes him unique. But think about that. Think about how much wrestling, how many stories, think about what Corey Graves in particular had to do every week. Unless you’ve done that job, even if you’ve done that job, it’s hard to imagine.

“Corey’s an amazingly talented guy. Corey is, I think, an exceptional talent, and so is Michael Cole. They’re two different approaches, which…to me, that makes it work, when you have contrasting personalities.”



*DREW MCINTYRE DOESN’T THINK THE WWE TITLE SHOULD BE DEFENDED IN ‘OUTLANDISH’ CINEMATIC MATCHES*
-WWE Champion Drew McIntyre recently spoke with Riju Dasgupta of SK Wrestling, and he reflected on his run with the title.

-As one of WWE’s top stars, some fans want to see McIntyre compete in cinematic matches. But he made it clear that as long as he has the title, he’d rather compete in traditional wrestling matches.

“I’m WWE Champion and I think, in fact I know, that the way I’ve been building the title, it’s about the honor and respect and about wrestling,” said McIntyre. “And there’s room on the show for everything, a little bit of something for everybody…. It’d be boring if everybody was the same.

“And The Fiend’s unique character is so incredible, so out there, but that’s not something I think I want to mix the WWE title with. That’s for that portion of the audience, and for me as a fan, to watch and be blown away by the spectacle. But it comes to the WWE Championship, I expect it to be in a wrestling match. You know, man on man, fighting over the title for respect and honor and that’s what I’m all about, that’s how I’ve tried represent the title, and that’s how I think it should be represented. Not in a comedic match, not in outlandish fashion, but a realistic wrestling environment.”

-McIntyre also named Sheamus and Jinder Mahal as two Superstars he’d like to face because he thinks his friendships with both men could create incredible stories.

“[Sheamus] has already been on top of the mountain multiple times and won everything there is to win,” said McIntyre. “But over the past few years, he’s [been] more of a tag wrestler and floating and not really doing anything at the top of the card. But someone like Sheamus, I think, is an interesting one because as long as he’s been around, it’s been a while since he’s been at the top of the mountain.

“Just the same as Jinder, we have that real relationship….The story, it would be incredible, and I think where I’m at right now would help pull him to where he belongs on the card.”



*3 MATCHES ANNOUNCED FOR RAW*
-WWE has announced that Bliss will challenge Asuka for the WWE RAW Women’s Championship on Monday night. In the main event of last week’s show, Bliss defeated Asuka by using her new Fiend-like powers. She transformed in the middle of the match, and she then pinned the champion with a Sister Abigail. It’s fair to wonder whether Asuka’s title reign is in jeopardy.

-Riddle will hope that business will be booming for “The Original Bro” this week on WWE RAW.

WWE has announced that Riddle will face the Hurt Business in a Gauntlet Match on the show. If Riddle wins, he’ll earn another shot at Bobby Lashley’s WWE United States Championship.

Riddle has been feuding with Lashley and his stablemates for a few weeks now. “The Original Bro” earned a shot at Lashley’s title earlier this year, but “The Almighty” decisively defeated him.

-Additionally, the company has added Charlotte Flair vs. Shayna Baszler to the card. Flair and Asuka won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship from Baszler and Nia Jax at WWE TLC. The former champions have been determined to reclaim the gold. For Baszler, a win for “The Queen” could help the red brand’s resident odd couple gain a shot at the titles.



*AEW REVOLUTION REPORTEDLY PUSHED BACK TO MARCH 7*
-AEW fans might have to wait a little longer for the company’s next pay-per-view.

-According to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, AEW Revolution has been pushed back to March 7. The event had been scheduled for February 27, but Meltzer stated that AEW settled on this new date to avoid scheduling conflicts with other popular pay-per-view events. (UFC’s next pay-per-view is on March 6 while Canelo Alvarez will return to pay-per-view with a fight on February 27.) This date would mark AEW’s first pay-per-view on a Sunday.

-Meltzer previously reported the move in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter. AEW has not officially announced the change yet.

-As of this writing, the only match that has been confirmed for the show is a Street Fight between the teams of Sting & AEW TNT Champion Darby Allin and Ricky Starks & Brian Cage.



*BIANCA BELAIR OPENS UP ABOUT HER BATTLE WITH BULIMIA & DEPRESSION GROWING UP*
-The newest episode of WWE Chronicle is now out and Bianca Belair is the featured star of the show. Belair was known to be a fast track star growing up in high school and often spent her nights at home alone in order to not get caught up in the wrong crowd.

-When coaches would discuss the possibility that maybe she maxed out on speed, Bianca would hear them bring up her weight. This caused her to begin throwing up all of her food while battling Bulimia. Bianca said, “I was always considered the bigger girl in track. I was always very muscular, just naturally muscular. I was running fast and then I just kind of plateaued. The next thing I could think of was, okay, all my coaches talk about my weight. Let me lose weight. I got so obsessed, so I started throwing my food up. No one knew. My parents didn’t even know. I hid it. I was throwing my food up all the time, every night, and I lost weight. I ran faster. I got hurt and actually not ended up being able to compete my senior year in high school, but I already had my scholarship, thank God.”

-Bianca said she transitioned into a phase where she got Binge Eating Disorder where she was obsessed with food and would eat all the time. Bianca said, “I went to try to go talk to somebody about it, to work through it all, and they put me on medication. I end up leaving that college and transferring to another college to try to start over again, instead of facing my issues and thinking, I’m just going to run away from it. I stopped the medication, and you can’t do that, you have to wean yourself off of it. So when I stopped, everything came crashing back down. I got very, very, very depressed and I didn’t know why. I didn’t know what was happening. I was like, I just don’t want to be here anymore. So I tried to not be here anymore. ”

-Belair reached one of her darkest points when she was admitted into a hospital. She detailed this by saying, “I ended up in a psychiatric hospital. I remember being in this room and it was a lady on the side of me that was screaming all night long. My parents are visiting me. They are just in complete shock because they had no idea what was going on. Now I feel bad because I feel like, oh God, they think I’m crazy. I feel like a failure and, so that was the moment when I was like, I need to go home. I can’t keep running from college to college, I have to face this. I was able to sit there and talk to my parents and know that I have their support.”



*BOOKER T GIVES HIS PICKS ON WHO WINS THE WWE & Universal CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES AT ROYAL RUMBLE*
-Two-time Hall of Famer Booker T joined the panel from WWE’s The Bump to discuss everything that has to do with the Royal Rumble. But before he spoke on which matches he’s looking forward to seeing a week from now, he revealed his favorite Rumble moment of his career.

“You know, of course, I never won the Royal Rumble,” Booker T chuckled. “I don’t look at that as a black mark or anything. You look at guys like Jake ‘The Snake’ [Roberts] who never won the World Championship. But my moment was when I returned in 2011 to the Royal Rumble. I left WWE, and I came back. It was totally unexpected. Me and my big homie Kevin Nash made our appearance at the same time.

“It was so rad, man. To come out of the curtain [it was] totally unexpected. The fans heard my music, and they reacted, and it was such a real moment. Wrestling has never been about winning or losing for me. It’s always been about going out and making the fans feel a certain way. I tell you, when I walked out, the fans made me feel a certain way because they just wanted to see me. They didn’t care if I won the Royal Rumble or anything like that. They were glad he was back. The pop was so loud that I turned around thinking The Rock was behind me.”

-With both the WWE and Universal Championships on the line, Booker T would like to see both champions retain their titles. His first comments went towards what he expects to see happen between Drew McIntyre and Goldberg for the WWE Championship.

“You know, Goldberg is pushing it, man,” he laughed. “Everybody loves the nostalgia, but this is a young man’s game. Drew McIntyre, he’s my guy. I said before that Drew McIntyre is going to be the champion in this business. I always pushed him over to the side and whispered in his ear, ‘Hey, man, do this. Change that. You’re on the right track.’

“And now, you go back to when he first came in to where and how he looks now. He’s a grown man now. He came in as a kid. Goldberg could be barking up the wrong tree. I’m not going for the old guy. Once you get past that number, bruh, you might want to rethink things. So, we’re gonna see how this plays out. But if I had money, I’d put my money on Drew McIntyre. It’s going to be quick.”

-Although he’s a big fan of “The Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns, Booker T can’t get over how great Kevin Owens’ looks and the physique he’s beginning to build.

“I tell ya, man, I’m a Roman Reigns guy,” he announced. “But look at that photo of Kevin Owens. That’s a different Kevin Owens right there. You picture him for a year-and-a-half, two years ago, and that guy has gotten into better shape. The thing is, it’s been gratuitous. Kevin Owens has always been that guy that can go to the ring and go all night. And now, putting himself in better shape, that’s going to be the match to look for. Guys, get ready because this is going to be an encore and a curtain call for these two guys.”



*ERIC BISCHOFF TALKS NOT AIRING DID VICIOUS’ GRAPHIC LEG BREAK ON WCW MONDAY NITRO*
-During a recent episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff covered the 2001 WCW Sin pay per view which featured Scott Steiner retaining his WCW Championship against Sid Vicious, Jeff Jarrett and Road Warrior Animal. During that match, Sid suffered a major injury where he fractured his leg. Bischoff talked about his decision to not show the injury replay on the following night’s Monday Nitro and why sometimes the realness of wrestling needs to be put on hold when a gruesome injury occurs.

“It was hard to watch,” Bischoff said. “Sid is a controversial talent in some respects, with wrestling fans. I’ve always enjoyed Sid, I got along with Sid from the first time I ever met him. He was an amazing specimen of a human being. This one was a tough one to watch for me.

“You want to be real. Whenever a wrestler gets busted open or hurt in the ring, there’s always a need to show the post injury surgery or the severity of the womb or show themselves get stitched up. I guess that’s an effort to prove what they do in the ring is physical and it is dangerous and real. I guess it’s a good thing and necessary thing just to remind people that we’re not out here pillow fighting, this is real stuff and real injuries do happen. There’s a certain point where you have to draw the line of good taste. With this, it was a tough call. It really was.”
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
24 January 2021

*DREW MCINTYRE RESPONDS TO UNDERTAKER CALLING WWE PRODUCT “SOFT”*
-As noted, The Undertaker made headlines during his recent appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience when he called the current WWE product “a little soft” and felt the current crop of wrestlers lack “an edge to them.”

-In a recent interview with Riju Dasgupta of Sportskeeda,  WWE Champion Drew McIntyre responded to Undertaker’s criticism and emphatically disagreed with The Deadman’s opinions.

“I don’t agree whatsoever. Especially from an in-ring perspective,” said McIntyre. “I’ve listened to part of it [the podcast], I’ve got to listen to the whole thing it’s pretty new.

“But I think he may have been referring to like the kind of storylines and characters etc. Like the co-host that was on the show was like a fan from the attitude era and I think they were perhaps referring to some of the outlandish storylines,” he added.

-McIntyre pointed to the fact that WWE’s current product is PG, which impedes the creative team from pushing the envelope.

“Back in the day, there were more sexual based, more like risque 18 plus. Our current product is PG, there’s only so far we can push it and we’re willing to push it,” admitted McIntyre. “There’s certain things from back in the day that was awesome and certain things that were not awesome that I wouldn’t wanna go back to.”

“So I’m not sure if it was more from like that perspective when it comes to the stories and not being as adult-based as it used to be but I think you know we’re walking a good line right now. But when it comes to the in-ring game, that’s just not true at all. It’s never been more physical.”



*SERENA DEEB REVEALS HER PRO WRESTLING MOUNT RUSHMORE*
-On a recent episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast, NWA Women’s World Champion Serena Deeb chatted with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone about her time in AEW so far. Deeb first talked about what it’s like to be NWA Champion.

“It’s an honor that goes without saying,” Deeb stated. “The NWA is, historically speaking, one of if not the most important promotion in wrestling, and it goes back so far. The people that have wrestled for the NWA over the years are the biggest names in wrestling and people that I just have so much respect for and people that I grew up idolizing.

“Even the list of women that have had held the Women’s Championship is just incredible, and it’s an honor the fact that this year has been just a whirlwind of I went from coaching to not knowing what was happening in my life for several months to getting back in the ring and now being NWA Champion is a big accolade in my life both personally and professionally.”

-Deeb was brought on to AEW in early September. She made her Dynamite debut against then NWA Champion Thunder Rosa, and Deeb revealed when she found out about the match.

“48 Hours beforehand,” Deeb revealed. “It was really really last minute.”

-Later that month, Deeb officially signed with AEW. She talked about coming in to AEW and said she knew she wanted to sign with the company when she arrived at the first taping she went to.

“The match with Thunder Rosa from Dynamite, like I said, that was brought to my attention about 48 hours beforehand,” Deeb recalled. “I think it was that Monday before the Wednesday taping, and it was just a simple ‘are you prepared for this? Is this something that you’re interested in?’ Of course the answer was yes so came in did the match and didn’t really have any expectations.

“I just wanted to have an awesome match, make her look incredible heading into the PPV against [Hikaru] Shida and it went really really well, very positive feedback from management from fans, all of the above. It was really cool to see the response to that especially after not having wrestled for so long and just from there I was asked to come back to the next set of tapings, and at the next set of tapings is when I was officially offered something.

“And it was less than a week later we made it final, and I knew from that first taping that I wanted to be a part of it. I just had such a positive experience. Just the way it all turned out, I couldn’t have asked for a better story.”

-Later in the podcast, Deeb answered questions from the fans. One fan asked Deeb who she has one her Mount Rushmore of professional wrestling.

“Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, Shawn Michaels [and] Eddie Guerrero,” Deeb named. “There’s some honorable mentions too. Dean Malenko’s on there as well.”



*PRIVATE PARTY UNHAPPY WITH AEW’s WRESTLER OF THE WEEK PICK*
-Private Party and Matt Hardy are unhappy with AEW’s Wrestler of the pick being Dark Order member Alex Reynolds.

-Matt Hardy wrote on social media about how Reynolds didn’t win 3 matches within 24 hours. As noted, Private Party was on Tuesday’s Impact Wrestling and defeated James Storm and Chris Sabin.

He tweeted, “This is an INJUSTICE, @AEWonTNT! @YTAlexReynolds didn’t win 3 matches spanning 2 different companies within 24 hours. The Hardy Party are the REAL Wrestlers of the Week. THE TRUTH IS THE TRUTH”

Marq Quen commented, “No! No! No! @MATTHARDYBRAND I don’t understand” and Isiah Kennedy shared a “crying GIF.”

-Private Party also defeated Aaron Solow & Lee Johnson on AEW Dark and  Top Flight on Dynamite.



*LANCE STORM TIRED OF THE ‘SUPERNATURAL UNREALISTIC’ IN WRESTLING*
-Lance Storm admits that he is rigid, yet passionate about how he likes his pro wrestling product. The veteran of the ring expressed his frustrations of having to suspend his disbelief a little too much as of recent when it comes to watching certain angles in WWE, AEW or IMPACT Wrestling.

-Storm was on Wrestling Observer Live this week and Lance mentioned that he couldn’t finish watching WWE Raw after seeing a certain segment with Randy Orton.

“I didn’t get through the show to be perfectly honest. I mentioned it before, I guess it when I was looking at the Abadon/Shida match that I said I don’t want any more zombies. I’m tired of the supernatural unrealistic, you have to suspend your disbelief to another dimension stuff and the Randy Orton promo with the mask being all burnt I thought was pushing my level of suspension of disbelief, but when it got to her sitting on the playground and stuff I’m like, ‘I can’t take this.’ And it’s, again, it’s not just WWE, it’s IMPACT did the ‘dark realm’ and the ‘murder mystery’ and AEW is doing the Abadon thing and WWE has done all kinds of theme-related things and again, maybe it’s working for some people that they’re having to branch in a new direction for the pandemic, but it’s just not something that I like in wrestling and I can’t get around…

“I think the thing for me, that really did it for the Alexa segment was at some level, I still on some level want this to be a wrestling show, or shit, even just a TV show based in reality, and I just can’t help but think that if I was the owner, the director, the guy in charge of the Monday night television show and this woman shot a fireball at a dude’s face and burned him up, I wouldn’t go to commercial break and send the people out to set up her playground set. It’s too much for me and it takes me out of the show completely and I struggle with it and again, if it’s pulling ratings more power to them.

-Storm, a former WWE producer in his own right, questioned how he would have handled this segment being presented to him backstage.

“As a producer when I was there, you generally get the show ahead of time and you’re to give feedback, critique it and so forth. If there’s something they miss speak up and give feedback so they can take all of that and make the show better.

“Again, I have a very rigid view of what I think works and what is good wrestling. So there was often segments that wouldn’t fit with my mentality and there was times where I would, rather than critique it because I didn’t just want to be too negative it’s like, I’d be like, ‘Well, what about this instead?’ And rewrite the entire segment. It’s like ‘Hey, just as alternative.’ And I wonder what I would do with these.



*WWE NXT POSSIBLY MOVING NIGHTS DUE TO NBCSN SHUTTING DOWN?*
-On the latest edition of >Wrestling Observer Radio, the news of NBC Sports Network shutting down was discussed. During that discussion, Dave Meltzer noted that NXT’s TV contract is set to expire this October.

-It was reported that larger properties like NHL, NASCAR, and EPL will move to USA Network. The Wednesday Night Hockey series could pose problems for NXT as it also airs on a Wednesday night.

-Meltzer also noted that NHL’s current TV deal is also set to expire at the end of the NHL season, and there is interest from ESPN to negotiate with the NHL to broadcast games. It is likely that the NHL could agree to deals with both NBC and ESPN similar to how other major sports have agreements with other broadcasters.

-Meltzer speculated if the NHL is kept under the NBC banner, it is likely that NXT is moved to either Tuesday or Thursday. He points out that this would change the whole dynamic between NXT and AEW as NXT on Wednesday nights is means for WWE and USA Network to keep AEW’s television numbers down.

-However, he also pointed out the NHL is of much larger importance to NBC than the Wednesday Night Wars. If NXT were to move nights, this would obviously mean AEW Dynamite would run unopposed and be able to reach higher numbers without any wrestling competition.



*CESARO REVEALS WHICH WWE CHAMPION HE’D FACE IF HE WON THE ROYAL RUMBLE*
-After gaining a successful win over Daniel Bryan a week ago on SmackDown, Cesaro is gunning for his chance to eliminate Brayn and his hopes of becoming the number one contender to either the WWE or Universal Championship next week at the Royal Rumble.

-In his interview with Kayla Braxton and Paul Heyman on Talking Smack, “The Swiss Superman” defended himself after Braxton mentioned that she believes Bryan may have more drive and hunger than he does in this upcoming match.

“Sure, you could argue that. That’s a great New Year’s resolution. I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions at all. Because I believe you should want to be better every single day,” Cesaro informed the panel. “That’s not a thing you make once a year. That’s a decision you make every day; every day, you want to do better. You can say his hunger is bigger. That’s your opinion.

“It irks me how much Daniel Bryan wants to win the Royal Rumble. So, of course, I want to win it even more. That’s one of the rivalries that you need. That’s the kind of attitude that you need here because you need to take anything you can as motivation to make yourself better, push yourself to that next level to where you want to be.”

-If Cesaro were to come out of the Royal Rumble victorious, he would like to face either Roman Reigns or Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship. He has a fascinating reason as to why he’s choosing this specific title.

“So, I said it last week on commentary, I would challenge Roman Reigns because of what he did to Shinsuke Nakamura,” he began. “I also know that Drew McIntyre mentioned me as an opponent that he’d love to step in the ring with. I would love to step in the ring with Drew McIntyre, as well. But I’m a man of my word.”



*SMACKDOWN VIEWERSHIP RISES FOR THIRD STRAIGHT WEEK IN JANUARY 2021*
-The latest batch of ratings are in for SmackDown, and WWE was able to maintain a base of more than two million viewers for the third straight week. According to ShowBuzz Daily, this week’s WWE SmackDown viewership came back with a 2.282 million average. This number is not only the third consecutive week they stayed above two million, but it’s also an increase from the 2.152 million they drew last week.

-As far as demographics go, the 18-49 demographic once again showed up for SmackDown. This week’s 0.6 rating was identical to the rating last week.



*DANIEL BRYAN EXPLAINS WHY “PLANET’S CHAMPION” IS HIS FAVORITE REIGN EVER*
-In November 2018, Daniel Bryan shocked the world when he defeated AJ Styles with a low blow to begin his fourth reign as WWE Champion. In the process, he turned heel for the first time since 2012 and introduced the WWE Universe to the “Planet’s Champion” and “The New” Daniel Bryan.

-During a recent chat with Miguel Uceda of SoloWrestling, Bryan admitted that his heel run in 2018-2019 was “by far” his favorite run as WWE Champion.

“Being the Planet Champion was by far my favorite,” said Bryan. “It’s interesting because in WWE my reigns have never been very good [laughs].

“I won the championship at WrestleMania XXX but had to vacate it some time later due to a neck injury, and I also won the World Heavyweight Championship in 2011 but lost it in 18 seconds at WrestleMania XXVIII. Those reigns didn’t feel as special as when I was Planet Champion and bad boy.”

-Bryan felt that dropping the “hemp championship” to Kofi Kingston at WrestleMania 35 was the perfect way to end his reign.

“I loved the way it started, and everyone who competes hates to lose a championship, but if we’re going to lose it, let it be in a great match at WrestleMania against someone who really deserves it, and that’s what happened when I lost that one against Kofi Kingston. I had a lot of fun with that reign and I loved the hemp championship.”
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
23 January 2021

*AJ STYLES ON IF HE WAS CLOSE TO LEAVING WWE FOR AEW*
-AJ Styles recently spoke with Graham Matthews of Bleacher Report and said he was not close to leaving WWE in 2019 to reunite The Bullet Club in AEW.

-There had been rumors on Styles’ first WWE contract expiring in 2019, along with current Impact World Tag Team Champions The Good Brothers. Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson ended up leaving in April 2020, and admitted that they made a mistake by not leaving earlier when they had the chance. There were rumors of Styles, Gallows and Anderson debuting together on the first episode of AEW Dynamite, but Styles says he wasn’t close to leaving WWE.

“Like I said, this is a business,” Styles said. “I’m going to go where business is best for AJ Styles. I like WWE. I like everything about it. And I know it. I’m used to it. I don’t want to leave. This is a business, though. This is what we do for a living. Was it close? I wouldn’t say it was close for me. Like I said, I want to be in WWE.

“The situation with Gallows and Anderson, you know, with everything that’s going on, they should have went ahead and went that route when their second contracts came around. But hindsight is 20/20. You’ve read the dirt sheets and whatnot, and you know how pissed I was about the whole situation. Not at them, but at the situation. I think they’re happier doing what they’re doing now. If that’s the case, then I’m happy for them and, like I said, everything happens for a reason.”

-The Bullet Club ended up reuniting on AEW Dynamite earlier this month, with Gallows, Anderson, AEW World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks, AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, but no Styles. AJ commented on how joining the stable after debuting in NJPW changed his career for the better and took him to the next level, and said he’s happy for his friends in other companies.

“It’s one of those things where it’s like, ‘How did this get over so well?’,” AJ said. “It’s because you had guys that genuinely wanted to hang out together. We weren’t just together when it came to wrestling. We were together outside of the wrestling ring, too.

“We were actually hanging out, and I think that’s why it worked so well for us at that time. We all hang out together, so seeing those guys, I’m happy for them. It’s cool they’re able to continue what they started, whenever it was.”

-The 43 year old Styles signed a new multi-year contract with WWE in 2019 and previously said this will be his final contract as a pro wrestler. There’s still no word on how many years the deal is for, but it could be for 3 years or 5, or somewhere in between, meaning AJ could potentially retire as early as 2022. AJ says he will retire whenever it feels right.

“It’s really whenever it feels right,” AJ said after asked when he will hang up the boots. “Some days, I feel like I can go five, six more years. And then some years I’m like, ‘Oh, man, I can be done this year.’ As you get older, it’s just changing. You have to listen to your body and figure out what it can do next.

“With my style, it’s a bit different, so I like to push it still to this day. I’m going to go as long as I can, as long as I can stay healthy and see what happens and where it takes us.”



*REPORTED UPDATE ON RIHO & HER AEW RETURN*
-Riho may be making her way back soon to AEW after a long hiatus from the company. The Joshi star has been in Japan not long after the COVID-19 pandemic started in March of last year and Dave Meltzer is reporting that her All Elite return could be on the horizon.

-According to Meltzer in his latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, AEW is working on getting her back into the company fold. Stardom, the promotion she primarily works for in Japan, has not been using her in the last few weeks and her release was revealed before the turn of the year. Meltzer notes that she could be back in AEW by early February after following both the United States and Japan’s COVID-19 protocol.

-Riho would be returning at the right time as just this past week on AEW Dynamite a Women’s World Title Eliminator Tournament was announced to determine the number one contender for the belt. Riho, being the company’s first ever Women’s Champion, would be an extremely appropriate contestant in the bracket. Her 133 day reign ended against Nyla Rose on the February 12 episode of Dynamite. We last saw her in AEW on March 18. Since then, Hikaru Shida has been on a lengthy run, making her the longest holder of the strap in the company’s short history.



*GERALD BRISCO SHARES TOUCHING STORY ABOUT “MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE*
-Former WWE producer and wrestling legend Gerald Brisco and son Wes Brisco recently joined VOC Nation to share stories about their respective careers.

-Wes Brisco has been wrestling for the better part of a decade, most notable for his time in Impact Wrestling as a member of the Aces and Eights stable. Years before Wes would even consider following in his father’s footsteps, Gerald Brisco revealed his young son once showcased his strength when he landed an infant strike to Hulk Hogan’s groin.

“One day we heard a bunch of motorcycles coming down our driveway. We looked out the window and there was Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake,” Gerald said. “We’re walking back toward the house and [Hulk] looked down at Wes and said, ‘Hey Wes, do you like wrestling?’ Wes said, ‘Oh yeah I like wrestling, I can throw a good punch too.’ So he reared back – Hogan’s [tall] and Wes is [short] – he reared back and he hits Hogan and hits him right smack dab in the crotch. He knocked the breath out of Terry.”

-Continuing the reminiscing, Gerald looked back on his friendship with the late ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Gerald mentioned how even in the brief time they knew each other, he could tell Randy had a strong connection with his son.

“Macho Man, God rest his soul, what a great guy he was,” Gerald said. “Him and Wes, from the time Wes was just a baby to whenever Macho Man left us, him and Wes were really tight and really good friends. I was really proud of that. Macho Man was a really strange cat as you know, he didn’t make a lot of friends. He really had something special for Wes. Anytime Wes was in school and Wes needed somebody there to come and talk, he’d ask me and I’d say okay let’s call Randy. Randy of course couldn’t turn it down, so here come Randy and Miss Elizabeth to Wes’ school. So Wes was over with all the guys and girls and especially the teachers.”

-Speaking on that bond, Wes gave his admiration for Macho Man’s hospitality.

“I think Macho Man really enjoyed talking at schools because when he retired, all he did was worked with special needs people,” Wes said. “He pretty much donated the rest of his life to helping out special needs kids and being there for them. I think he always had a heart for kids and always enjoyed the aspects of kids.”



*STING’S AEW IN-RING DEBUT TO BE A CINEMATIC MATCH?, POSSIBLE DATE CHANGE FOR AEW REVOLUTION*
-The AEW Revolution pay-per-view is reportedly being moved to a new date. Revolution is currently scheduled for Saturday, February 27 from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. However, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that Saturday, March 6 or Sunday, March 7 have been discussed as possible new dates.

-The event is reportedly being moved because February 27 has been talked about as the possible date for the next boxing pay-per-view with YouTube star Jake Paul in action. It was noted that the odds of the event happening seem to be decreasing as we get closer to the date without anything being signed and made official. The AEW Full Gear 2009 pay-per-view drew the lowest buys for the company, and went head-to-head with the boxing event that featured the second match between YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI.

-On a related note, the Observer reports that Sting’s AEW in-ring debut will likely be a cinematic match. AEW announced yesterday that the Street Fight at Revolution will see Sting team with TNT Champion Darby Allin against Ricky Starks and Brian Cage. A cinematic match would make it to where AEW can protect the 61 year old Sting, who has a bad neck with spinal stenosis.



*WWE PLANNING A MATCH BETWEEN TOP WOMEN’S CHAMPIONS?*
-It looks like WWE NXT UK Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray is looking for a match against NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai.

-As noted, this week’s NXT UK episode saw KLR’s historic title reign continue with a win over Jinny. She has now been champion for more than 508 days. The third NXT UK Women’s Champion in history, Ray won the title from Toni Storm at “Takeover: Cardiff” on August 31, 2019. She took to Twitter after the win and said she wants a match with the best now.

“Another win. Now give me the best in the world… #ForeverChampion #NXTUK @WWE @WWEUK @NXTUK @WWENXT,” Ray wrote.

-On a related note, WWE released the post-match video seen above, and KLR said she’s preparing to ask NXT UK General Manager Johnny Saint to give her the best in the world.

“This is something I’ve thought quite a lot about,” Ray said when asked what’s next for her. “And as far as I’m concerned, I have beaten everybody that has been put in front of me. So, I’m going to speak to Johnny Saint because I want the best in the world.”

-It’s believed that Ray is referring to Shirai when she says she wants “the best in the world” now. She responded to a tweet on Shirai from back in December and wrote, “She is the best and no one can convince me otherwise.”

-Shirai is currently feuding with Mercedes Martinez on the main NXT brand, but is likely defending against Raquel Gonzalez in the next few months as well. There’s no word on if WWE is considering a KLR vs. Shirai match.



*SEVERAL NEW WWE ROYAL RUMBLE PARTICIPANTS REVEALED*
-Several new participants for the WWE Royal Rumble Matches have been announced.

-Shinsuke Nakamura, SmackDown Tag Team Champion Dolph Ziggler, WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E, and Sami Zayn are now official for the Men’s Royal Rumble Match. There are now 17 open spots for the 30-Man Rumble. Nakamura, Ziggler, Big E and Zayn join Daniel Bryan, WWE United States Champion Bobby Lashley, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Otis, The Miz, Jey Uso, Cesaro, and Jeff Hardy as confirmed participants.

-Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, and Tamina Snuka are now official for the Women’s Royal Rumble Match. There are now 18 open spots for the 30-Woman Rumble. Morgan, Riott and Snuka join Nia Jax, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Bianca Belair, Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Peyton Royce, Alexa Bliss, and Shayna Baszler as confirmed entrants.



*NEW WWE NXT STAR PULLED FROM MATCH AGAINST AEW STAR*
-New WWE NXT Superstar Cora Jade has been pulled from her upcoming GCW match against AEW star Joey Janela.

-Jade, formerly known as Elayna Black, was scheduled to face Janela at Game Changer Wrestling’s “Fight Forever” event next Friday. However, she has been pulled from the match due to signing with WWE just this week. The match with Janela was just announced on Thursday of this week, and nixed shortly after.

-Jade took to Twitter and apologized for being pulled from the GCW event.

“So sorry to all the fans @GCWrestling_ & @JANELABABY for not being able to make the show. Some things kinda came up [grimacing face emoji] BUT it’s still gonna be a sick show so please watch and continue to donate if possible! #FightForever [black heart emoji],” she wrote.

-Janela responded to a deleted GCW tweet on the match being nixed and wished Jade well in WWE.

“NOT HAPPENING…. It was good to go, 5 min after we announced it, It wasn’t anymore lol I truly wish @CoraJadeWWE well, she has all the potential in the world and will be very rich! Just Unfortunately before she goes, she’s doesn’t get to wrestle the greatest wrestler in the [Earth emoji]”

-Jade made her WWE in-ring debut on this week’s 205 Live episode, teaming with Gigi Dolan, the former Priscilla Kelly, for a first-round Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic loss to Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell.
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
22 January 2021

*THE UNDERTAKER SAYS THE CURRENT WWE PRODUCT “IS A LITTLE SOFT”*
-As a guest on The Joe Rogan Experience exclusively on Spotify, The Undertaker talked about his career with the WWE and the current product. Taker mentioned the issues he has with the current product when Rogan asked him if he still follows wrestling nowadays. The Undertaker said it’s not something he enjoys to watch because of the way the product has changed over the years.

“I try, it’s tough right now for me,” Taker said. “The product has changed so much and it’s kind of off. I’ll probably piss a lot of people off but they need to hear it. It is what it is. To the young guys [who think] he’s a bitter old guy, I’m not bitter. I did my time, I walked away when I wanted to walk away. I just think the product is a little soft. There’s guys here and there that have an edge to them but there’s too much pretty and not enough substance I think right now.”

-The Undertaker spent over 30 years with the company, and recently worked his last match at WrestleMania 36 facing off against AJ Styles in a Boneyard Match. The Phenom mentioned that WWE is doing its best to present a product that appeals to everyone, but the younger talent wasn’t given the same training and process that the people he worked alongside did.

“One of the big things that happened was that the generation before, we all got old at the same time so there weren’t enough guys to work with the young guys,” The Undertaker said. “You can listen to [the fans on the internet] or you can listen to someone who’s been there and done it. There was just not enough of the merging of the young and new talent.

“When we had Stone Cold, Rock, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, we were all working together and then we all aged out. We aged out and it left all these young guys to learn with more young guys and the product changed.”

-Taker gave props to Triple H for running the Performance Centre and NXT for trying to build the new future of wrestling. He said Triple H is trying his best to turn back the clock and build guys with more of an edge.

“The Performance Centre is helping,” Taker said. “We got Triple H who’s trying to get some of the toothpaste back in the tube, take a step back to move forward to try and get the product more edge. I think that’s what it’s missing.”



*IMPACT WRESTLING VIEWERSHIP DOWN DESPITE PRIVATE PARTY & TONY KHAN APPEARANCES*
-IMPACT Wrestling viewership hit a new low for a year despite several All Elite Wrestling talents appearing on the Hard to Kill fallout show.

-Ranked by its performance in the 18-49 demographic, IMPACT Wrestling came in at No. 145 (down from No. 126) with a .03 demo rating. Per ShowBuzzDaily, 147,000 viewers watched the show on AXS TV, which is down from last week’s 161,000.

-Of course, the show also streamed live on Twitch, where thousands of additional people watched online rather than on television.



*AEW STARS SET FOR TITLE MATCH AT IMPACT NO SURRENDER*
-AEW stars Private Party have been announced for the upcoming Impact Wrestling No Surrender special.

-Impact has announced that Private Party will challenge Impact World Tag Team Champions The Good Brothers for the titles at No Surrender and it looks like Matt Hardy will be in their corner.

-This week’s Impact episode saw Private Party defeat Chris Sabin and James Storm to become the new #1 contenders to the titles. The show ended with Sabin and Storm attacking both teams after the match.

-Impact No Surrender 2021 will air live on Saturday, February 13 from Nashville. It will air exclusively on the Impact Plus platform.



*WWE BACKSTAGE RETURNING FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY*
-WWE and FOX Sports have announced a special edition of WWE Backstage on FS1.

-The special episode will air during Royal Rumble Weekend on Saturday, January 30 at 8pm ET on FS1. A replay will air later that night at midnight, and another replay will air at 5pm ET on Royal Rumble Sunday, as a lead-in to the Royal Rumble Kickoff pre-show.

-The special edition of WWE Backstage will be hosted by Renee Paquette (Renee Young), Paige, and WWE Hall of Famer Booker T.

-WWE Backstage aired from November 2019 through mid-March of this year after production was stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. FOX Sports then announced in June that the show was no longer airing. A special post-SmackDown edition of the show was scheduled to air back on October 23, but it was nixed at the last minute and replaced with an airing of Talking Smack.



*AEW DYNAMITE AND WWE NXT VIEWERSHIP UP THIS WEEK*
-This week's AEW Dynamite episode on TNT reportedly drew 854,000 viewers with a 0.36 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen via PWTorch. This would be up from last week’s New Year’s Smash Night 2 episode, which drew 762,000 viewers with a 0.30 rating in the key demo.

-Last night’s WWE NXT episode on the USA Network reportedly drew 659,000 viewers with a 0.15 rating in the key demographic. This is up from last week’s NXT episode, which drew 551,000 viewers with a 0.14 rating in the key demographic.

-This week’s AEW viewership was up 12% from last week, and the rating was up 20% in the key 18-49 demographic. AEW was down 2% from the same week in 2020. This week’s NXT viewership was up 20% from last week, and the key demo rating was up 7%. 



*SUPERSTAR SPECTACLE TO AIR ON THE WWE NETWORK NEXT WEEK*
-WWE Superstar Spectacle will air next Tuesday on the WWE Network. WWE confirmed that the two-hour special TV event for India will also air on the WWE Network next Tuesday morning at 9:30am ET.

-Superstar Spectacle will air in India at 8pm IST on Tuesday, on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3, and Sony MAX. The show will be taped from the WWE ThunderDome at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, with commentary done in English and Hindi.

-WWE still has not announced matches for Superstar Spectacle, but the following Superstars have been announced to appear:

 • WWE Champion Drew McIntyre
 • WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair
 • WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Charlotte Flair
 • SmackDown Tag Team Champion Dolph Ziggler
 • Rey Mysterio
 • AJ Styles
 • Bayley
 • Cesaro
 • Shinsuke Nakamura
 • King Baron Corbin
 • Natalya
 • Ricochet
 • The New Day (WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods)

-The following Indian Superstars have been announced to appear:

 • Jinder Mahal
 • The Bollywood Boyz
 • Indus Sher
 • Jeet Rama
 • Kavita Devi
 • Giant Zanjeer
 • Dilsher Shanky
 • Guru Raaj

-WWE’s official announcement noted that other stars will also be appearing.


*WWE HALL OF FAMER ALUNDRA BLAYZE ASKS WWE FOR A RETIREMENT MATCH*
-Alundra Blayze (aka Madusa) took to Twitter to ask WWE about having a retirement match in the near future.

-The WWE Hall of Famer tweeted, “Well you know what? One can only scream on top of the mountain for so long and so loud… When are you going to give one of your golden era Hall of Famer‘s a freaking retirement match? Just putting it out there. After this, I’m done. I mean really I’m not getting any younger.”

-Alundra asked the question after WWE posted about one Superstar fans would be happy to see at this year’s Royal Rumble.

-WWE tweeted, “Who’s the one Superstar you would love to see show up in one of this year’s #RoyalRumble matches?”

-Alundra Blayze was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015. She was a three-time WWF Women’s Champion. While she was in WCW as Madusa, she was the first woman to win the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship.



*GIGI DOLIN, CORA JADE SET TO DEBUT ON THE NEXT WWE 205 LIVE*
-WWE 205 Live will not only feature two matches from the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournaments but will also feature the debut of two major standouts from the independent scene.

-Gigi Dolin, the former Priscilla Kelly, and Cora Jade, the former Elayna Black will have their debut on the January 22nd episode of WWE’s purple brand. They will face Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell. Also, Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher will be a team 48 hours after they competed in the hellacious NXT Fight Pit.

-205 Live to host pair of Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Matches. History will be made on Friday’s edition of 205 Live, as Gigi Dolin and Cora Jade will combine forces against Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell in what will be the first-ever women’s match on the purple brand, while Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher team up against Tony Nese and Ariya Daivari two days after nearly tearing each other to shreds on NXT in the Fight Pit.

-LeRae and Hartwell will likely enter their Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Match as the favorites, having aligned after LeRae took the impressionable Hartwell under her wing to form The Way alongside Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory. They would be wise not to take their opponents lightly, however, as Gigi Dolin and Cora Jade step onto the purple brand with nothing to lose and a golden opportunity to turn some heads in the eight-team tournament.

-Speaking of new teams, Ciampa and Thatcher will form a seemingly tenuous alliance for their Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Match after a pair of savage bouts against one another, as Ciampa defeated Thatcher at NXT TakeOver: WarGames before “The Professor of Pain” got payback with a win in the Fight Pit. Ciampa and Thatcher have entered the tournament in place of Ashante Adonis and Desmond Troy, who were injured by Karrion Kross, and if they can’t get on the same page quickly, Nese and Daivari seem certain to capitalize, as they’ve never been a tandem to hesitate when it comes to using nefarious methods to claim wins.
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
21 January 2021

*CHAD GABLE: JASON JORDAN IS WORKING ON AN IN-RING RETURN*
-Chad Gable recently appeared on WWE’s The Bump, and he discussed his recent run on WWE SmackDown. But he also looked back on his successful team with Jason Jordan.

-As American Alpha, the duo quickly rose to the top of WWE’s tag team division. Jordan’s career has been derailed by injuries, but Gable said that his former partner is trying to return to the ring.

“It’s unfortunate what happened to him with his injury,” said Gable. “But you never say never. He’s working on it, he’s trying to get back and who knows? A reunion is always something that I would never be against.”

-Gable also described the chemistry that made American Alpha so remarkable. He also credited the team as one of the reasons he got a chance to shine on the main roster.

“Jason [Jordan] was such a big part of my journey to being successful in WWE,” said Gable. “Who’s to say if I would’ve even gotten a start in NXT or the main roster if it wasn’t for Jason?

“I just feel so fortunate that we meshed together so well. He’s another one of those guys like Otis that, our mentalities are just so similar, and we just resonate on the same levels when it comes to everything ,and I think it bled through in our tag team.”



*PAUL HEYMAN TEASES NEW ADDITION TO ROMAN REIGNS’ STABLE*
-Paul Heyman, the “Special Counsel” to “The Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns, has once again teased the possibility of Apollo Crews joining the stable run by the Universal Champion on Friday Night SmackDown.

-Last week, Crews was seen in a backstage segment with Reigns and Heyman where he seemed to receive advice from Reigns. The segment came a week after Heyman gave Crews a dressing down on Talking Smack, telling the young star that the only thing holding him back from greatness was his humility.

-Heyman later wrote on Instagram that his talk with Crews could prove to be “a pivotal moment in Apollo’s career” and that “he’s got so much to offer the Island of Relevancy.”

-Earlier this week, Heyman’s Instagram story included a fan art which depicts Crews kissing Reigns’ ring with Heyman and Jey Uso standing in the corner.



*WWE TO HAVE FANS AT WRESTLEMANIA 37*
-WWE is set to have actual fans in attendance at Raymond James Stadium for WrestleMania 37, which will take place across two nights on April 10 and April 11 in Tampa, FL.

-As seen in the video above, WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon spoke with TMZ Sports this week and said the current plan is to have fans in the crowd at WrestleMania 37.

“I’m thrilled and excited because, hopefully, this will be the first opportunity for us to have our fans back in attendance,” she said of WrestleMania 37. “You know, that’s the current plan. Of course ticket information is not available yet because we’re still trying to figure out all the different machinations.

“We’re really lucky though because the NFL Super Bowl is our lead-in this year, from Raymond James Stadium. So, we’re going to learn a lot from them, logistically, etc., and really best practices, what works, what doesn’t work. But man, we can’t wait to come in and for two nights, hopefully, really rock that pirate ship.”

-Stephanie later reiterated that the current plan is to have fans at Raymond James Stadium. She was asked how they determine if they go forward with that plan, and how the COVID-19 pandemic affects things.

“I mean, pretty much it really is working with the local organizing committee and all of the health professionals,” she said. “Health & safety is first and foremost, of course. You know, for our fans, for our performers, for the employees, for the staff working the building.

“There’s a lot of different logistics that need to be determined, but hopefully it’ll all work out and this will be the first WWE event where we actually bring the WWE Universe back together, in person, and I cannot wait.”

-Stephanie was later asked if WWE knows how many fans they want to try and bring to Raymond James Stadium for the big event. She said they do have a plan but she wouldn’t announce it yet.



*TONY SCHIAVONE ON WHETHER TONY KHAN WILL PURCHASE IMPACT WRESTLING*
-AEW announcer Tony Schiavone was asked on tonight’s AEW Dynamite Post-Show if AEW Chairman Tony Khan had plans to purchase Impact Wrestling at some stage in the future.

“No,” Schiavone said emphatically before joking that Khan “would use coupons” to purchase Impact. “He’ll possibly use those S&H Green Stamps that were so popular in the 60s.”

Schiavone added, “Actually, I think he’s going to invest in a 1957 Chevrolet Coupe, which will bring him more money [than buying Impact].”

-Over the past month, Schiavone and Khan have frequently appeared on Impact Wrestling broadcasts. Schiavone has often taken hilarious shots at Impact, especially during the  “paid advertisements” airing on Tuesday nights


*WHY WWE ANNOUNCED WRESTLEMANIA DETAILS IN ADVANCE*
-WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon recently spoke with Tony Maglio of The Wrap and said WWE announced details on the next three WrestleMania events at once because it helps everyone plan.

-WWE often announces WrestleMania details the year before the big event, but this past weekend they announced WrestleMania 37 for Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on April 10 and April 11 of this year, WrestleMania 38 for April 3, 2022 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and WrestleMania 39 for SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on April 2, 2023. McMahon commented on why they made the big announcement, and also said it gives everyone something to look forward to during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It just helps everybody,” she said. “It helps us for planning purposes, it helps our fans plan their trips, it helps in so many different capacities. And now we can really work with all of our partners across the board in all of these major cities and really blow everything out as big as we possibly can. Also, during this time, I think people need hope and I think you need something to look forward to.”



*WWE RAW VIEWERSHIP UP WITH ASUKA VS. ALEXA BLISS MAIN EVENT*
-Monday’s live WWE RAW episode, featuring Alexa Bliss vs. RAW Women’s & WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Asuka in the main event, drew an average of 1.855 million viewers on the USA Network, according to Showbuzz Daily.

This is up from last week’s 1.819 million viewers.

-For this week’s show, the first hour drew 1.991 million viewers (last week’s hour 1 – 2.024 million), the second hour drew 1.875 million viewers (last week’s hour 2 – 1.802 million) and the final hour drew 1.697 million viewers (last week’s hour 3 – 1.632 million).

-This is the first week where RAW had no football competition. Last Monday was dominated by the College Football Championship game, and the NFL regular season wrapped the week before that. It will be interesting to see if RAW viewership increases as it usually does now that there is no weekly football competition.

-RAW ranked #34 for the night in viewership on cable, up from last week’s #38 spot, and behind Rachel Maddow Show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Anderson Cooper 360, Last Word, The Five, Cuomo Prime Time, Situation Room at 5pm, Erin Burnett Outfront, Deadline: White House, Hannity, Reidout, CNN Tonight at 10pm, Situation Room at 6pm, 11th Hour, Beat, All In, Special Report, Lead with Jake Tapper, CNN Newsroom at 3pm, CNN Newsroom at 2pm, CNN Newsroom at 1pm, The Ingraham Angle, CNN Newsroom at 12pm, the Warriors vs. Lakers NBA game, CNN Newsroom at 11am, the Bucks vs. Nets NBA game, CNN Newsroom at 10am, CNN Tonight at 11pm, MTP Daily, MSNBC Live at 10am, FOX News Primetime, MSNBC Live at 2pm, and MSNBC Live at 3pm.



*ADAM PEARCE EXPLAINS WHY SOME WWE SUPERSTARS CAN DECLARE THEIR ROYAL RUMBLE SPOTS*
-There’s been a lot of online chatter this year about how random WWE Superstars have “declared” their spots for the WWE Royal Rumble Matches. Superstars like Randy Orton have announced their spots, while others like Drew Gulak and Ricochet have been denied when they tried to do the same.

-WWE official Adam Pearce took to Twitter this evening and addressed the Rumble Match declarations.

“It’s actually pretty simple: Those that have been granted the ability to simply declare entry into the Royal Rumble by management are free to do so. Those that haven’t must qualify. I don’t write the rules, I enforce them. [man shrugging emoji,” he wrote.

-As of this writing, 9 Superstars are official for the 30-Man Rumble Match, and 9 Superstars are official for the 30-Woman Rumble Match.



*TOP SMACKDOWN SUPERSTAR AT WWE NXT*
-WWE SmackDown Superstar Bayley is backstage for latest WWE NXT episode on the USA Network.

-Bayley took to Twitter and posted a selfie with the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic trophy. She tagged the photo with the “#DustyClassic” hashtag.

-Bayley’s post is interesting as it comes days after she asked Triple H to let her compete in the first-ever NXT Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament, which kicked off this week.

-It will be interesting to see if WWE uses main roster Superstars to help with the NXT ratings after last week’s show drew a near record-low audience.



*AEW WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT ANNOUNCED*
-AEW Women’s Tournament Announced The No. 1 contender for the All Elite Wrestling Women’s Championship will be crowned in an upcoming tournament. AEW announced the AEW Women’s World Championship Eliminator Tournament tonight. Details were limited, but the graphic shows a 16-woman tournament and has the United States and Japanese flags.

COMING SOON! AEW Women's World Championship Eliminator Tournament! Who will be the number one contender? pic.twitter.com/uaGHUIdZIl

— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) January 21, 2021
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*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL*
*Daily News by Amo*
*20 January 2021*

*CHARLY CARUSO ANNOUNCES NEW ESPN "FIRST TAKE, HER TAKE" PODCAST ROLE*
-WWE's Charly Caruso has been announced as a host for the new "First Take, Her Take" podcast from ESPN. The new podcast will feature Caruso with co-hosts Chiney Ogwumike and Kimberley Martin. The first episode drops tomorrow via Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

-Caruso took to Instagram to announce the new gig.

"[siren emoji] SOOOOO EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE!! [siren emoji] The @espn "First Take, Her Take" podcast is launching this week and it will feature none other than yours truly, along with my girls @chiney and @kimberleymartin! You already know we are going to bring the heat [fire emoji] with our crazy bold takes, insane stories dealing with our jobs in the world of sports, the latest and greatest in pop culture and we will definitely be spilling the tea [tea emoji] subscribe wherever you get your podcasts! Link in bio!! First episode drops TOMORROW [sparkle emojis] oh and go follow @firsttakehertake!"

-Caruso was hired by ESPN in October 2018. She noted then that WWE would always be her home, but she was taking on new work with the sports network. She started out giving SportsCenter and ESPN SnapChat updates, and started appearing on First Take in 2019.



*MERCEDES MARTINEZ REVEALS WHY SHE LEFT RETRIBUTION*
-WWE NXT Superstar Mercedes Martinez recently spoke with PWInsider and indicated that she left the RETRIBUTION group over creative differences.

-Martinez debuted in RETRIBUTION as Retaliation last summer, but she left the group in the fall after it was reported that she asked to be sent back to NXT. Martinez revealed that the opportunity just wasn't for her.

"I was given an opportunity, and I took the opportunity not knowing what the outcome would be," she said. "You got to make the best with anything you can, but I think when that opportunity came, it just wasn't for me. When you hit the pinnacle of your career, as I did, hitting 20 years, you want to make the most of your career, and make it part of a legacy.

"I just think being part of that group, it's not hidden fact that it was me, I don't hide the fact, I don't mention it, only because it was just a small part of what the bigger picture is."

-Martinez added that there are no hard feelings and she wishes the best to the other members of RETRIBUTION.

"It's kind of one of those things where it's, 'This is where Mercedes is, but maybe it doesn't fit the mold, doesn't fit her career.' It was no hard feelings," she said. "I just think we both had two different plans, I wanted one thing to go one way, and they had a different outlook. I wish them success, to all those part of the group, and I wish them the best."



*JON MOXLEY WRITING A NEW BOOK*
-AEW star Jon Moxley is currently writing a book.

-Moxley's wife Renee Paquette (Renee Young) interviewed AEW President & CEO Tony Khan on the latest episode of her "Oral Sessions" podcast and Khan revealed the news there.

"I've read some of the book he's writing," Khan said. "It is awesome, it's awesome. I love it."

-Renee noted that she's been pressuring Moxley to write a book for a long time because he can be a very eloquent speaker, and he has an amazing memory to draw from. Renee has seen the early work on the book and she believes it will be a "badass product" from the pro wrestling veteran.

-Khan added that reading the book is like reading a transcript of Moxley talking.

"I'm so excited about it," Khan added. "It's so cool, and the best part of reading it has been that you can so tell that he's writing it himself. It's literally like reading him talking. It's like a transcript of him talking. It's really interesting and I'm very excited about it."

-There's no word on when Moxley's book will be released, but we will keep you updated as details are announced.



*BRITT BAKER ON WHO INSPIRED HER HEEL CHARACTER, SAYS JIM ROSS "SCREWED" HER BABYFACE RUN*
-Dr. Britt Baker appeared on Sunday Night's Main Event with Jason Agnew to talk of her current heel run and its success despite 2020 being such an odd year.

-Baker, as everyone knows, is both a professional wrestler and a dentist. She was the first woman to sign with AEW and debuted on their pay-per-view, Double or Nothing, in May of 2019 by defeating Nyla Rose, Kylie Rae, and Awesome Kong. For a while, it had looked as though the AEW women's division would be built around Baker and her baby-face character. However, not long after AEW Dynamite finally aired on television, she was quickly receiving boos from the audience.

"I blame J.R. With full blown respect to J.R., [but] he really screwed me. Every single frickin' episode of Dynamite he mentioned I was a dentist a hundred times. [It got] to the point it wasn't cool anymore," Baker said.

-Thankfully, AEW had the insight to turn Baker heel, which happened on the Jericho Cruise in January of 2020. She would berate Tony Schiavone after her victory over Priscilla Kelly. When asked whose idea it was for her to turn heel, the dentist revealed that it was indeed Kenny Omega who first approached her. She mentioned that he came up to her during training one day with the pitch, saying there weren't many heels in AEW at the moment and thought it would work.

"At that point in my wrestling career, I had never been a heel once. So just like my whole experience with AEW, I think I was just kinda thrown into the fire. Let's go, let's see if this works. And it did," she said.

-Baker would go on to spend most of 2020 using what once was an angle of inspiration for a baby-face and twisting it to throw at the fans every chance given. Even though she suffered an injury and could not physically perform in-ring for most of the summer, Baker was still able to draw heat with her interviews with Tony Schiavone to great success. When asked who in the past had inspired her heel character the most, the dentist mentioned Chris Jericho's "conspiracy victim" and "role model" angles in WCW. Baker went on to show admiration for Jericho and his ability to continually evolve over the years.

"The way he's been able to change and elevate himself over and over after all these years is super inspiring," Baker said, "It's amazing, actually. He's a genius. He really is the G.O.A.T. and I'll always look to him for advice."



*ROMAN REIGNS SAYS IT JUST MAKES SENSE TO HAVE HIM WRESTLE THE ROCK AT WRESTLEMANIA 39 IN HOLLYWOOD*
-WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns says it just makes sense to book him in a match against The Rock for WrestleMania 39 from Hollywood. Reigns spoke with Ryan Satin of FOX Sports for an interview that will be released later this week. Reigns said it makes sense to have him face his cousin at The Grandest Stage of Them All in Hollywood.

"We'll go to Hollywood for WrestleMania 39, and I think it just makes sense," Reigns said of when a match with The Rock makes sense.

-He continued, "He's the biggest box office attraction for the big screen. So, to be able to take that and match it up with the biggest box office attraction in sports entertainment, I think some magic would be made."

-A Rock vs. Reigns match has been rumored for a few years now. Rock discussed the potential match on his YouTube channel last year. Paul Heyman recently said that The Rock brought up the idea for a match against The Tribal Chief, and not the other way around.

-WWE announced this past weekend that WrestleMania 37 will be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on April 10 and April 11 of this year, WrestleMania 38 will be held on April 3, 2022 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and WrestleMania 39 will be held at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on April 2, 2023.



*LIO RUSH TO DEBUT ON NJPW STRONG NEXT WEEK*
-Lio Rush will be making his NJPW Strong debut on January 29, according to NJPW1972.com.

-Rush is slated to be in the main event with TJP and Fred Rosser to face Bullet Club members El Phantasmo, Hikuleo, and KENTA.

-He was recently in the NJPW Super J-Cup Tournament, where he lost in the first round after El Phantasmo defeated him.



*TAYA VALKYRIE FINISHES UP WITH IMPACT WRESTLING*
-Former Knockouts Champion Taya Valkyrie has finished up with Impact Wrestling.

-This week's Impact on AXS episode featured an angle to write Valkyrie out of the company. PWInsider reports that Valkyrie’s two year deal rolled over for an additional year in late 2019, and that third year just expired.

-On this week's episode of Impact saw Valkyrie reveal that she was the one who previously shot John E. Bravo at the recent Bravo – Rosemary wedding. The storyline was that Valkyrie shot Bravo to protect her friend Rosemary from marrying him, not realizing that Rosemary was using Bravo to get his “virgin blood” to use as she is a demon. Tommy Dreamer had Valkyrie taken off to jail, and joked that if she’s lucky she will go to Jacksonville State Prison (AEW) but if she’s not lucky, and for what she did, he thinks she’ll end up at Stamford Correctional (WWE) for two years with an option for a third, which he joked will change a person’s soul forever. Acey Romero joked that he hopes she doesn’t end up in Baltimore (ROH).

-Valkyrie commented on the departure after tonight’s segments and wrote, “I’m not crying, you’re crying”

-There is no word yet on what the future holds for the 37 year old Valkyrie, but we will keep you updated. There have been rumors on Valkyrie joining her husband in WWE, but nothing has been confirmed.



*MATT CARDONA CAME TO IMPACT WRESTLING FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROVE HIMSELF RIGHT*
-After making an appearance at IMPACT Wrestling’s Hard to Kill, Matt Cardona returned to the brand during tonight’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling. In a brief message to the world of IMPACT Wrestling, Cardona said he showed up to prove himself right, and give himself an opportunity to continue proving everyone else wrong.

“For the past couple of days, I’ve been getting the same question over and over and over, ‘Why are you here in IMPACT Wrestling?’ The answer is really simple: an opportunity,” stated Cardona. “I’ve made a career out of making the most out of opportunities. 18 years of busting my ass making the most of opportunities. I’m still here and I’m always ready. Believe it or not I’m not here with a chip on my shoulder. I’m not here to prove all the doubters wrong. I’m here to prove my fans and, more importantly, myself right.”

-Later in the night, Cardona joined Josh Alexander in attacking both Ace Austin and Madman Fulton. In a segment backstage, Alexander confronted the duo during an interview, and nearly got attacked and assaulted after picking a fight. However, Cardona came in at the last minute to save Alexander, clearing up the brawl and sending Austin and Fulton running.
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