- This past Friday’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown drew a preliminary viewership of 2,303,000 viewers on FOX, according to SpoilerTV.
- During a recent episode of the WWE SmackDown LowDown show featured Drew McIntyre issuing a match challenge to Gunther for his Intercontinental Championship at this April’s WrestleMania 39 event. McIntyre stated “Five weeks until WrestleMania. I want GUNTHER, and I want the Intercontinental Championship.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
- Fightful Select reported that their sources stated that WWE officials originally had planned for Liv Morgan to be featured in a backstage segment for this past Friday’s SmackDown show in Evansville, Indiana. It was reported that WWE officials dropped their plan several hours before the start of the show for reasons that are currently not known.
- As noted before, WWE’s UpUpDownDown held a recent stream revealing the official in-game ratings for all of the playable wrestlers for the upcoming WWE 2K23 video game. During the stream, Roman Reigns was revealed to have an overall 99 rating making his in-game character both the highest in the game itself and in WWE 2K series history. The previous record was held by The Undertaker, who held an overall rating of 98 for his in-game character in WWE SmackDown Vs. Raw 2011.
- WWE recently released a new behind-the-scenes vlog featuring Sami Zayn’s experience during Elimination Chamber 2023 weekend earlier this month in Montreal, Canada.
- As part of her current feud with Natalya, Ronda Rousey recently posted a tweet mocking WWE’s Women’s Tag team division and the current Women’s Tag Team Champions Damage CTRL. Rousey and Shayna Baslzer are currently rumored to be competing for the WWE Women’s Tag Team belts at this April’s WrestleMania 39 event.
- WWE reportedly generated an attendance of 14,561 (14,000 paid) for their Feb. 21st Elimination Chamber 2023 event in Montreal, Canada, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. WWE had announced an official inflated number of 17,271 for this year’s event.
- WWE also reportedly generated an attendance of 14,029 (12,500 paid) for their Feb. 17th SmackDown show in Montreal, Canada and 7,920 (7,100 paid) for their Feb. 20th RAW show in Ottawa, Canada, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- WWE reportedly has sold around 7,249 tickets for their Feb. 26th RAW show in Grand Rapids, MI, 8,546 tickets for their March 3rd SmackDown show in Washington, DC, 5,244 tickets for their March 4th house show event in Toronto, Canada, 3,281 tickets for their March 4th house show event in Syracuse, NY, 5,476 tickets for their March 5th house show event in Trenton, NJ, 4,259 tickets for their March 5th house show event in Kitchener, Canada, 9,732 tickets for their March 6th RAW show in Boston, MA, 5,319 tickets for their March 10th SmackDown show in Pittsburgh, PA, 3,720 tickets for their March 11th house show event in Youngstown, OH, 8,117 tickets for their March 12th house show event at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY, 4,329 tickets for their March 13th RAW show in Providence, RI, 5,322 tickets for their March 17th SmackDown show in Kansas City, MO, 3,105 for their March 18th house show event in Milwaukee, WI, 4,496 tickets for their March 18th house show event in Fargo, ND, 2,523 for their March 19th house show event in Sioux Falls, SD, 2,153 tickets for their March 19th house show event in Springfield, IL, 7,695 tickets for their March 20th RAW show in St. Louis, MO, 8,802 tickets for their March 24th SmackDown show in Las Vegas, NV, 2,889 tickets for their March 25th house show event in Salt Lake City, UT, 6,052 tickets for their March 26th house show event in Denver, CO, 6,478 tickets for their March 27th RAW show in Phoenix, AZ, 53,546 tickets for their April 1st WrestleMania 39 Night 1 event in Inglewood, and 54,892 tickets for their April 2nd WrestleMania 39 Night 2 event in Inglewood, CA as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE’s Elimination Chamber 2023 is currently estimated to have generated around 11,500 pay-per-view buys based on current estimates and data. Meltzer reported that this was down compared to this past January’s Royal Rumble 2023 PPV buys of around 18,200 but up compared to last year’s Elimination Chamber event which generated around 8,200 PPV buys.
- As noted before, WWE is currently in the process of potentially selling the company to a new owner. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE Executive Chairman would be set to receive around $3.485 billion should WWE be sold at their current asking price of $9 billion.
- In regards to potential new owners for WWE, Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that one source close to the Saudis stated that they are currently interested in purchasing the company at WWE’s new asking price. Meltzer reported that this is part of the Saudi’s current business strategy of seeking properties that are either at top spot of their market or own a pro sports team in a Top 5 soccer league. Meltzer also reported that the Saudi’s main focus is not towards revenues nor profitability but instead to use their sports properties to boost the publicly and postie image of their country under the practice of sportswashing. In regards to WWE, Meltzer reported that those spoken to within WWE stated that they would prefer for the company to be sold to a media company instead of a government-owned Investment Fund for a potential sale.
- As noted before, BT Sport’s new parent company Warner Bros Discovery Europe recently announced that the network will be rebranded under the name of TNT Sports starting this July. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WBD’s ownership of BT Sport will not affect WWE’s current contract with the network, which still retains exclusive rights to be the only wrestling programming on the network.
- As noted before, this year’s Money in the Bank event is currently scheduled to take place this July at the O2 in London, England. MailSport’s Alex McCarthy reported that WWE officials had informed him that tickets for the pre-sale for this year’s Money in the Bank event reached sold out status one minute after being officially on sale. McCarthy reported that there were over 30,000 people in the queue for tickets at one point. McCarthy also reported that only premium and single tickets will be available for sale in the coming weeks.
- As noted before, WWE recently fired Senior Vice President Of Talent Operations & Strategy James Kimball due to a HR violation that was recently committed by him. Fightful Select reported that while the exact cause of Kimball’s firing is still unknown, his HR violation was stated by their sources to be a broad term given for his fireable incident and could meant a variety of things. It was reported that it is possible that no one else was directly affected by Kimball’s actions that led to his firing.
- PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that a new lawsuit was filed against WWE on January 12th in District Court of Tarrant County, Texas. This lawsuit reportedly was filed by Marvin Jackson over claims that he suffered hearing loss in his left ear while attending WWE’s WrestleMania 38 event last year in Arlington, Texas as an “invitee.” In the lawsuit, Jackson claimed that this injury was caused by a pyrotechnics blast that took place as part of WWE’s production for the event. This lawsuit is also claiming that WWE committed negligence over their failure to provide any safety warnings beforehand of the health dangers of the loud sounds from their pyro for those who were sitting close to the stage. The lawsuit stated “On or about April 3, 2022, Plaintiff attended WrestleMania 38 which was hosted by Defendant and located at AT&T Stadium, 1 AT&T Way, Arlington, Texas 76011. Plaintiff was an invitee on the premises. Defendant was the occupier of the premises. Plaintiff was seated next to the stage at the venue. When performance began, pyrotechnics went off. The blast from the pyrotechnics was so loud that it caused Plaintiff to lose almost all hearing in his left ear. No facts suggest that anything Plaintiff did or failed to do in any way caused or contributed to the incident or resulting damages. Defendant failed to notify anyone or place any warnings to warn of the existence of the dangers associated with pyrotechnics. As a result of the incident, Plaintiff suffered serious injuries.” Jackson reportedly is currently seeking to be awarded over $1 million, including damages of any kind, penalties, costs, expenses, prejudgment interest, and attorney’s fees.
- WWE filed trademarks for “Jailhouse Street Fight”, “WWE NXT ,”Royal Rumble”, “Money In The Bank”, “Elimination Chamber”, and “Fatal 4-Way” for wrestling and entertainment-related purposes on December 23, 2022 to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
- Davey Boy Smith Jr. made his return to WWE in July of 2021 only to be released a few months later. In a recent interview with Fightful Select, Smith Jr. stated that if he were to ever sign with WWE again “ it would only be for the paycheck” due to him not believing “that his heart would be into the content they produce.” Smith Jr. also revealed that WWE’s original plans for his return was to give him a new gimmick and ring name of “Stampede Stud” for their SmackDown brand that he said he had looked forward into performing prior to his release in late 2021.
AEW & ROH
- AEW’s upcoming AEW Fight Forever video game is currently rumored to be releasing on March 31st based on a recent product listing update on Best Buy’s official website.
- This past Friday’s AEW Rampage show in Phoenix, Arizona featured the returns of Lance Archer and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Prior to his return, Roberts had been away from AEW for a very lengthy period of time due to health-related issues. In a recent interview with the New York Post, Roberts gave his thoughts about the health issues he had been dealing with. Roberts stated “This last year my lungs got in pretty rough shape. I had to go on oxygen. I went on oxygen for nearly a year and a half. Now I’m off of it. The only time I use it is at night whenever I hook it up to my CPAP machine which is a good thing. It helps me heal at night.” Roberts also gave his thoughts about the warm reception from fans over his recent return to AEW stating “It doesn’t get any better, it really doesn’t. You can’t imagine how it feels to walk out and all of sudden they’re chanting your name in unison. It’s overwhelming.” Roberts also provided an update on the current status of his health stating “I feel pretty good. I’m going to the gym five, six days a week. I’m stretching, I’m riding the bike for 45 minutes a day. So I’m getting things going man, I’m keeping this moving. When you’re my age, going through protocol is never something you’re completely sure about because I got bits and pieces that have taken a lot of beatings and parts of me that just don’t work the way they used to. So being cleared by AEW is a pat on the back that all’s well.“
- As noted before, FTR’s Dex Harwood and Cash Wheeler’s contracts with AEW are currently set to expire this April. While responding to a fan question on Twitter, Wheeler hinted that he would be interested in the idea of working for Impact Wrestling once FTR’s contracts with AEW expires.
- During a recent episode of the ARN podcast, co-host Arn Anderson stated that he feels that Powerhouse Hobbs could become AEW Champion in the future and what he is currently missing from making that a reality. Anderson stated “I think if given a little more time [and] a little more experience, Will Hobbs. Powerhouse Hobbs. He has all the athletic potential. He is a quality human being. A beast. He can turn it up. He’s explosive. He just needs to be in a bunch of matches with guys that have more experience than him and he will pick it up just like that. A lot of time for Powerhouse. He’s got all the tools. He’s got a level and he just needs reps. Reps are the key, guys, to this business. These guys that you see out there that are so good, the Bryan Danielsons, Ambrose, all those guys, all the top shelf guys that can perform, it’s because they’ve had thousands of matches. Fans are looking at these kids out here on our show, AEW, and some of them have had under 50 matches. A lot of them between 50 and 100 [matches]. I’m talking about for their career. For us, that was three months work.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
- This week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter issue featured the results from the voting for the 2022 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards. In regards to the Tag Team of the Year award, FTR took the top spot for Best Tag Team of 2022. While AEW publicly congratulated all of their talent who won 2022 WON Awards, there was one notable absence. Dax Harwood stated on Twitter that he was upset over AEW not sending a congratulatory message to FTR for their award and hinted this would help make their decision on the future of their careers easier for them. Harwood stated “Tell me April’s around the corner without telling me April’s around the corner.” In an interesting note, AEW also did not issue a congratulatory message to FTR for their half of the WON award for Best Feud of 2022 with The Briscoes.
- As noted before, AEW announced this past Wednesday that they will be debuting a new television series called AEW All Access next month on TBS. Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston reported that his sources provided some details regarding the portion of the press releasing stating that AEW draws around 4 million viewers for their weekly shows on TBS. These sources reportedly stated that this number comes from internal ratings measurements used by TBS which tracks everyone who had watched at least one minute of their programming from 7PM to 12AM EST on Wednesdays. One Warner Bros Discovery spokesperson spoken to reportedly stated “[W]e attribute most of that success to AEW Dynamite.” Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that this number comes from combining those watching Dynamite live and on DVR immediately after the show. Meltzer reported that when using the same measurement, WWE’s SmackDown helps draw in over 5 million viewers each Friday night for FOX and RAW helps draw in over 4 million viewers each Monday night for USA Network.
- AEW reportedly generated an attendance of 7,400 (7,000 paid) for their Feb. 25th Dynamite show in Phoenix, AZ, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- AEW reportedly has sold around 3,297 tickets for their Match 1st Dynamite show in San Francisco, 2,229 tickets for their March 3rd Rampage show in San Francisco, 7,250 tickets for their March 5th Revolution 2023 event in San Francisco, CA, 4,112 tickets for their March 8th Dynamite show in Sacramento, CA, 6,654 tickets for their March 15th Dynamite show in Winnipeg, Canada, 2,927 tickets for their March 22nd Dynamite show in Independence, MO, 2,477 tickets for their March 29th Dynamite show in St. Louis, MO, 4,501 tickets for their April 5th Dynamite show in Long Island, NY, 2,172 tickets for their April 7th Rampage and Battle of the Belts IV shows in Kingston, RI, 2,366 tickets for their April 12th Dynamite show in Milwaukee, WI, 3,615 tickets for their April 19th Dynamite show in Pittsburgh, PA, 2,419 tickets for their April 26th Dynamite show in Sunrise, FL, and 2,206 tickets for their May 3rd Dynamite show in Baltimore, MD as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- In a recent episode of The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, co-host Matt Hardy gave his thoughts on what would be his one suggestion to AEW CEO Tony Khan to help improve AEW’s programming. Hardy stated “I think if I had one suggestion for Tony Khan, I think I would try and focus a little more on the storytelling of the different characters, really highlight every character’s journeys a lot more. I think it’s still very important. I know it’s a very sports-centric program, AEW Dynamite, and they want the matches to be the best of the best quality and yet, with quality, and I totally respect that.I feel like professional wrestling, a big part of it is the sportsmanship and the showmanship. Having characters that the crowd is connected to, that they’re emotionally invested in, that have this journey that you want to follow, you want to see what’s going to happen next. You’re really worried about where this story is going to go. I would like to add a little bit more of that into all the amazing wrestling that happens weekend and week out on AEW programming.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
- During a recent interview with the Busted Open Radio podcast, Chris Jericho praised Ricky Starks for the work he did during their promo segment on this past Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite show. Jericho stated “When you first stand in the ring with The Rock, you talk about a generational talent, that’s a different level. The thing with Ricky is, I’ve seen glimpses of that, which is great. He’s still harnessing and the idea for this program was to continue to build. He did a great promo in San Antonio when we started that really blew my mind, I thought it was awesome. Then there were some moments that weren’t quite as good just because that’s how it goes. I thought last night [Wednesday] was the best Starks has been in our program so far. Nuances. A lot of the younger guys, they’ll talk with deep breathing because they are afraid to be like, ‘I want to say this. Pause. Let the crowd react.’ He really had some great nuances with that. That’s what Sammy Guevara and Danny Garcia are learning. Guys have to learn when they haven’t had a lot of promos, really how to hone in what you are and how to hold the crowd in the palm of your hand without saying a word. At the click of a pen, shall we say. Ricky is really starting to hone in on that and figure it out, which has been great.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
- AEW filed a trademark for “AEW All Access” for wrestling and entertainment-related purposes on February 20th to the USPTO.
- Ring of Honor reportedly has sold around 2,741 tickets for their March 31st Supercard of Honor 2023 event in Los Angeles, CA, as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- ROH recently released a new limited edition Jay Briscoe Memorial artwork print with all proceeds going directly towards Briscoe’s family.
- Former Impact Wrestling talent Fallah Bahh reportedly was seen in attendance backstage at Saturday’s ROH’s ROH TV tapings in Orlando, Florida, according to PWInsider.
- ROH owner Tony Khan recently reflected on Twitter about ROH holding their first set of television tapings on Saturday for the relaunch of ROH TV. Khan stated “Thank you everyone at the sold out @UniversalORL tapings for the debut @ringofhonor weekly series, streaming every Thursday night on the ROH app or https://t.co/520ivBM0yA. It will be a great show each week, & tonight’s taping will feature some great wrestling to start a new era!“
Indies & Misc. Wrestling
- In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, KUSHIDA gave his thoughts on Mercedes Mone’s recent match for New Japan Pro Wrestling and their new IWGP Women’s Championship. KUSHIDA also stated that his current goal in NJPW is to be able to wrestle against their heavyweight stars as a junior star. KUSHIDA stated “Mercedes Mone had a match at Battle in the Valley in San Jose, and I think that was a great beginning for this. Japan still has a culture that cherishes tradition, so there are arguments both for and against the IWGP women’s championship. Japanese people don’t like ‘change.’ I want to create an atmosphere to challenge from junior heavyweight in 2023. We can change little by little. I think we can challenge and create change more in New Japan Pro-Wrestling America. That is why I chose this lifestyle that is back and forth between Japan and the U.S. It is great that we can challenge a lot of things in New Japan Pro-Wrestling America. That is why the top title says NJPW Strong openweight championship, and Kenta has that. I think that title is very innovative for Japanese wrestlers. I am looking forward to Mercedes Mone’s reign, and I will show you that I can overturn the weight difference.”
- NJPW reportedly generated an attendance of around 2,400 (2,115 paid) for their Feb. 18th Battle in the Valley 2023 event in San Jose, CA and a paid attendance of 768 for their Feb. 22nd Fantasticamania 2023 event in Takamatsu and 765 for their Feb. 23rd Fantasticamania 2023 event in Kobe, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- WrestleCon recently announced that Minoru Suzuki, Lisa Marie Varon, SoCal Val, and Zeda Zhang will be making an appearance for the company at their WrestleCon 2023 convention on April 2nd in Los Angeles, California.
- DEFY Wrestling recently announced a new match for the card of their The Realest event on April 8th in Seattle, Washington. This is a singles match of Swerve Strickland vs. Nick Wayne.
- Capital Championship Wrestling recently announced that Miyu Yamashita and Killer Kelly will be making an appearance for the company at their Dead Zone event on April 15th.
- Pro Wrestling NOAH reportedly generated a paid attendance of 30,096 for their Feb. 21st. Keiji Muto Grand Final Pro-Wrestling ‘Last’ Love Hold Out event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Dave Meltzer reported that NOAH’s event drew the largest crowd for a wrestling event in Japan in the past three years.
- This past Wednesday’s episode of Power Slap drew 309,000 viewers and a 0.10 key demographic rating on TBS, according to ShowBuzz Daily. This was up compared to last week’s 275,000 viewers and a 0.09 key demographic rating.
- As noted before, this past Tuesday’s MLW Underground show drew 97,000 viewers and a 0.03 key demographic rating on REELZ Channel. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that MLW drew an additional 42,000 viewers for their West Coast airing bringing the total to 139,000 viewers for this past week’s show on REELZ. Meltzer also reported that MLW drew 64,000 key demographic viewers for their combined East and West Coast airings, up from last week’s 24,000 viewers. Meltzer also reported MLW’s show was the youngest skewing wrestling show for this past week.
- Faby Apache reportedly is currently rumored to have recently left Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- Lucha Libre AAA reportedly recently signed a new television contract with Mexican television network Canal 13 for their southern Mexican television markets, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- Stardom reportedly generated a paid attendance of 1,126 for their Feb. 17th Triangle Derby event in Tokyo and 305 for their Feb. 23rd event in Nagano, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- All Japan Pro Wrestling reportedly generated a paid attendance of 1,405 for their Feb. 19th Excite Series 2023 event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- AEW’s Scorpio Sky and Rancid band member Lars Frederiksen reportedly were seen in attendance backstage at Impact Wrestling’s No Surrender 2023 event this past Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada, according to PWInsider.
- Josh Barnett recently announced two new matches for the card of Game Changer Wrestling’s Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 9 event on March 30th in Los Angeles, California. The first is a singles match of Yuya Uemura vs. Alex Coughlin. The other is a singles match of Marina Shafir vs. Killer Kelly.
- Gringo Loco recently announced a new match for the card of GCW’s The WRLD on Lucha 2023 event on April 1st in Los Angeles, California. This will be a singles match of Hijo del Vikingo vs. Laredo Kid.
- As noted before, Kota Ibushi left New Japan Pro Wrestling this past January following the expiration of his contract and is currently a free agent. Dark Puroresu Flowsion reported that besides WWE and AEW, there is a third company who is currently very interested in Ibushi and is expected to be very aggressive in their attempt to sign him. While the name of this promotion was not given, it is currently rumored to be Pro Wrestling NOAH with their parent company CyberAgent being the one who is heavily pushing for a deal to be made.
- PROGRESS Wrestling announced that former WWE commentator Nigel McGuinness will be making an appearance for the company at their Super Strong Style 16 2023 tournament event on May 27-29th in London, England.