Weekend Roundup: The Rock WWE Hall of Fame Input Update, Jay Lethal, Shelton Benjamin AEW Talks, AJPW’s Yutaka Yoshie Passes Away, Stephanie Vaquer Wins NJPW Strong Women’s Title, Indies


  • This past Friday’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown drew a preliminary viewership of 2,368,000 viewers on FOX, according to Jed I. Goodman.
  • As noted before, Seth Rollins announced at this past Monday’s WWE RAW show that he has been medically cleared from his knee injury for an in-ring return. Saturday’s WWE house show event in Alexandria. Louisiana featured Rollins making his official in-ring return. Rollins teamed up with Cody Rhodes in a tag team match against The Bloodline (Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa), which was won Rollins & Rhodes.
  • As noted before, WWE announced this past Friday that the U.S. Express (Barry Windham & Mike Rotunda) will be inducted into their Hall of Fame as part of this year’s class on inductees. In a recent interview with The Ringer’s Cheap Heat podcast, Windham and Rotunda gave their thoughts about getting inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame. Rotunda stated “It was kind of out of the blue. I wasn’t expecting it. It means a lot. You’re getting rewarded for a lifetime of work. So a nice honor to have and have the respect of the officials that elect to put you in there and all the guys that I worked with to make me look good.” Windham responded stating “It was a really big surprise and this one is special because I get to go in with my best friend and that makes it all that much bigger.” (Transcript h/t: SEScoops.com)
  • WWE filed trademarks for “Shawn Spears”, “Berto”, and “Dijak” for wrestling and entertainment-related purposes on March 7th to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • WWE also filed a trademark for “Uriah Connors” for wrestling and entertainment-related purposes on March 6th to the USPTO. This former indies talent Brogan Finlay’s new ring name in WWE’s NXT developmental brand.
  • WrestleVotes reported that their sources stated that WWE officials currently have plans for the return of The Rock Concert segment for next week’s SmackDown show on March 15th in Memphis, Tennessee. It was reported that WWE officials had been working on this idea for The Rock for the past several weeks.
  • As noted before, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is currently believed to have a big input on WWE’s decisions for the list of inductees for this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class. Fightful Select reported that their sources provided additional details regarding the level of input Johnson has for this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class. It was reported that one name Johnson had pitched to be included in this year’s Hall of Fame class was his grandmother Lia Maivia, who took over running the Polynesian Pro Wrestling promotion from 1982 to 1988. It was also reported that it is currently not known if Maivia is currently planned to be included in this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class.
  • In a recent interview with Awful Announcing, RAW brand commentator Michael Cole gave his thoughts about Corey Graves recent promotion as the lead commentator for SmackDown and the changes over how WWE handles their commentary team’s work under the new regime. Cole stated “It’s a different world. Corey came in at a good time. Under the new regime now, things are looser. The direction’s different. There’s a lot more trust in commentators now than there was before. We are having the opportunity to be ourselves. Open up, develop character, call pro wrestling, sports entertainment, the way we want to. Corey was able to jump in under this new regime, and it was the perfect chance to make a switch. This was the time to do it.
  • As noted before, FOX is currently expected to be moving SmackDown to FS1 this September due to them airing College football games this Fall on Friday nights on the network. The Athletic reported that FOX will be airing college football games from the Big Ten, Big 12 and the Mountain West Conferences in SmackDown’s timeslot on Fridays. It was also reported that FOX officials currently are expecting to get higher ratings for their college football games than what SmackDown has been drawing for the network.
  • WWE recently announced they will be holding a new UNDERTAKER 1 deadMAN SHOW event on April 4th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Dominick Mysterio got married to his fiance Marie Juliette this past Thursday. Among those in attendance were Judgement Day’s Rhea Ripley and Damian Priest.
  • Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston reported that WWE’s top merchandise sellers for this past February at their online WWEShop in order were Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, Jey Uso, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Rhea Ripley, LA Knight, and Bray Wyatt.
  • WWE reportedly generated around 8,800 cable television pay-per-view buys for this past February’s Elimination Chamber 2024 event based on updated late buys numbers, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • WWE reportedly drew an attendance of 12,197 for their March 1st SmackDown show in Glendale, AZ, 7,497 for their March 2nd house show event in Palm Desert, CA, 5,163 for their March 3rd house show event in Bakersfield, CA, and 13,748 for their March 4th RAW show in San Antonio, TX, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • WWE reportedly has sold around 11,767 tickets for their March 11th RAW show in Houston, TX, 7,147 tickets for their March 15th SmackDown show in Memphis, TN, 3,987 tickets for their March 16th house show event in Augusta, GA, 3,451 tickets for their March 17th house show event in North Charleston, SC, 11,481 tickets for their March 18th RAW show in Raleigh, NC, 10,197 tickets for their March 22nd SmackDown show in Milwaukee, WI, 3,111 tickets for their March 23rd house show event in Springfield, IL, 3,023 tickets for their March 24th house show event in Rockford, IL, 11,859 tickets for their March 25th RAW show event in Chicago, IL, 4,767 tickets for their March 29th SmackDown show in Uncasville, CT, 4,495 tickets for their March 30th house show event in Manchester, NH, 2,341 tickets for their March 31st house show event in Syracuse, NY, 9,075 tickets for their April 1st RAW show in Brooklyn, NY, 15,906 tickets for their April 5th SmackDown show in Philadelphia, 9,000 for their April 6th NXT Stand & Deliver 2024 event in Philadelphia, 57,415 tickets for their April 6th WrestleMania 40 Night 1 event in Philadelphia, 58,826 tickets for their April 7th WrestleMania 40 Night 2 event in Philadelphia, and 15,959 tickets for their April 8th RAW show in Philadelphia, PA, 10,135 tickets for their April 12th SmackDown show in Detroit, MI, and 8,574 for their April 15th RAW show in Montreal, Canada, as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • TKO Group recently made changes to their official company logo dropping the previous green color for a new gray color style for their logo’s motiff.
  • As noted before, 2K Games dropped Vince McMahon and Brock Lesnar as playable characters for their recently released WWE 2K24 video game due to their involvement in the sex trafficking lawsuit that was filed against McMahon this past January. Following the release of the game, it was revealed that McMahon is still featured in the game’s cuteness for the 40 Years of WrestleMania mode but with his face blurred out in most of them.


  • Fightful Select’s Sean Ross Sapp reported that his sources stated that former WWE talent Shelton Benjamin has held recent talks with AEW regarding him making potential appearances in the company. Sapp reported that it is currently not known if these talks also include Benjamin signing a potential contract nor if anything has been finalized between the two sides. Sapp also reported that several people within AEW had been pushing for Benjamin to be brought to the company in the future even before Benjamin’s release from WWE this past September.
  • Dave Meltzer reported in a recent episode of the Wrestling Observer Radio that the high end for AEW’s Revolution 2024 pay-per-view buys would be around 176,000 based on updated data. Meltzer reported that Revolution’s cable television buys were up 26% and streaming buys were up 25% compared to this past December’s World’s End event based on the same number of days after the event. Meltzer reported that one factor that could lead to Revolution 2024 ending up closer to the low end of 170,000 buys is due to international buys were not up as much compared to World’s End based on the same number of days after the event.
  • Saturday’s AEW Collision show featured an Atlanta Street Fight match between House of Black and Mark Briscoe, Jay Lethal, & Jeff Jarrett, which was won by House of Black. During the match, Lethal was seen wearing a black armband with the word “MOM” on it. PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that the reason for the armband was due to Lethal’s mother Shirley Shipman had passed away on February 29th and this was Lethal’s way of honoring his mother.
  • AEW recently released a new Timelines video on their YouTube channel featuring the best matches from their Women’s division over the years.
  • AEW also recently released a new Timelines video on their YouTube channel featuring a look at Toni Storm’s career in AEW.
  • In a recent interview with Fanatics View, AEW CEO Tony Khan gave his thoughts about wanting to continue holding AEW Collision shows in the same city as the Super Bowl during Super Bowl weekend as a new tradition for the company. Khan stated “I would really like that. Yeah, I think we’ve got something really special here. So I do think that’s a great thing for us. Year in and year out, we know that the Super Bowl brings in the most vast array of fans and certainly is the biggest event in the world. I’m on the NFL fan engagement and major event committee, so I can tell you with assurance that this is the biggest live event of all time in the history of the world. What’s happening out here, Super Bowl in Las Vegas, this is our biggest Super Bowl ever, and what the NFL has been able to do out here, it’s amazing. The support from the Las Vegas community has been great. So I thought it would make a lot of sense to bring AEW here for a Saturday show. Yeah, I think doing the Saturday Collision on the night before the Super Bowl [in the same city as the Super Bowl] makes a lot of sense. We’ll always be on the road to Revolution. Seems like AEW always heats up on the road to Revolution.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • As noted before, Kevin Kelly was recently fired from AEW over issues related to an online incident last weekend involving Kelly accusing AEW and ROH commentator Ian Riccaboni committing libel against him. This incident revolved around Kelly and Riccaboni arguing recently over a sex trafficking documentary film titled Sound of Freedom that is allegedly deceitful and funded by QAnon. Besides the online incident, AEW officials had also not been pleased with the quality of Kelly’s work on commentary for AEW Collision shows. In a recent statement to Post Wrestling, Kelly responded to his status in AEW stating “It’s an internal matter. We are handling it within the organization.” John Pollock reported that Kelly did not confirm that he was fired from AEW when reached for comments.
  • As noted before, AEW generated over $1 million for the live gate of this past Sunday’s Revolution 2024 event in Greensboro, North Carolina. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that AEW’s live gate revenue was around$1.05 million and was also their first million dollar gate since CM Punk’s departure. Meltzer reported that this was also the first ever $1 million gate in Greensboro Coliseum history, surpassing the previous record of around $600,000 for a WWE SmackDown show in 2020. Meltzer also reported that due to the stage setup, Revolution 2024 did not manage to break the record for highest ever attendance in the venue but it was the highest attendance for a wrestling event there since WWE’s King of the Ring 1999 event in June of 1999.
  • AEW reportedly drew an attendance of 16,878 (16,118 paid) for their March 3rd Revolution 2024 event in Greensboro, NC and 3,382 for their March 6th Dynamite show in Duluth, GA, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • AEW reportedly has sold around 7,004 tickets for their March 13th Dynamite Big Business show at the TD Garden in Boston, MA, 2,384 tickets for their March 16th Collision show in Ottawa, Canada, 3,804 tickets for their March 20th Dynamite show in Toronto, Canada, 2,132 tickets for their March 27th Dynamite show in Quebec City, Canada, 3,206 tickets for their Match 30th Collision show in London, Canada, 1,988 tickets for their May 3rd Dynamite show in Worcester, MA, 1,403 for their March 10th Dynamite show in Charleston, WV, 2,794 tickets for their May 1st Dynamite show in Winnipeg, Canada, and 2,356 for their May 8th Dynamite show in Edmonton, Canada as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • AEW reportedly has sold around 3,822 tickets for their April 21st Dynasty event in St. Louis, MO as of this past Thursday, according to WrestleTix.
  • As noted before, Hangman Adam Page is currently on a break from AEW since this past Sunday’s Revolution 2024 event due to family-related reasons. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources stated that the “family matters” issues that Page is dealing with is nothing negative nor serious. Meltzer reported that a timetable for Page’s return is currently not known.
  • Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston reported that AEW’s top merchandise sellers for this past February at their online AEW Shop in order were AEW, Sting, Bullet Club Gold, Swerve Strickland, Orange Cassidy, Jon Moxley, Julia Hart & Skye Blue, Mark & Jay Briscoe, and Sting & Darby Allin. Sting’s Final Encounter shirt reportedly was the top selling merchandise item for both AEW Shop and Pro Wrestling Tees.
  • Will Ospreay recently reflected on Twitter about his first week as a full-time member of AEW’s roster and him heading back to his home in the United Kingdom for a break. Ospreay statedAnd thus my first tour under the @AEW banner has come to an end. Thank you so much for such an overwhelming response. To everyone backstage thank you so much for allowing into the home you’ve built, I will cherish this place & treat it as my own. I’m banged up bad but my foot is still on the gas pedal. But now I’m gonna get on this flight home to my beautiful Mrs & step son and enjoy the fruits of my labour. I believe in AEW.
  • As noted before, this past Sunday’s Revolution 2024 event featured Sting’s final match of his legendary wrestling career. In a recent episode of the What Happened When with Tony Schiavone podcast, co-host Conrad Thompson revealed that Ric Flair had pitched the idea of turning on Sting for one final time for Sting’s retirement match. Thompson stated “In talking to The Nature Boy, boy, he desperately wanted to turn on Sting. ‘Conrad, will you go talk to Tony [Tony Khan]? You’re friends with him. Just go talk to him.’ ‘What are you talking about?’ ‘Just go talk to him, try to convince him me turning on Sting is best for business.’ I go, ‘Ric, you work here, you’re in the storyline. I think maybe…’ ‘I told him! I told him I should turn. I think if he hears it from you.’ ‘I’m not going to talk to Tony about this.’ ‘No, no, seriously, hear me out. Hit him with this line, Tony, it’s only worked ten other times.’ ‘I think that’s why he doesn’t want to do it.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘You’ve done it ten times.’ ‘One more.’ That right there is Ric Flair in a nutshell. ‘One more’.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • In the same episode, co-host Tony Schiavone confirmed the reports about AEW officials had reached out to Martha Hart to get her blessing for Sting’s entrance from the rafters at the February 28th Dynamite show in Huntsville, Alabama. Schiavone stated “Tony [Tony Khan] did call Martha Hart, I was there when he fucking called her. He told me, ‘Go let Sting, Darby, and the Bucks know that Martha Hart and I have talked and she has given it her blessing.’ I went and told them what the communication was. Would not have done it without first talking to Martha Hart.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • In a recent interview with A2theK, wrestling legend Kevin Von Erich gave his thoughts about his backstage experience from his recent appearances in AEW. Von Erich stated “I love those people. It’s a great company. I know this isn’t anything, but the catering was great! What good food. The people are really nice. Tony Khan is something else. Every company needs a guy like that. Somebody that loves the business. That can look at the business like it was his first day every morning. That’s that guy. I have a lot of admiration for him. The wrestlers, all great, old friends.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • Ring of Honor reportedly has sold around 1,557 tickets for their Supercard of Honor 2024 event in Philadelphia, PA as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

TNA, NJPW, Indies, & Misc. Wrestling

  • All Japan Pro Wrestling announced that 50-year old Yutaka Yoshie passed away following their Dream Power Series 2024 event earlier today in Takasaki, Japan. It was announced that following his tag match at the event, Yoshie’s condition had “suddenly deteriorated” backstage and he was rushed to the hospital. It was also announced that Yoshie’s family had informed them that Yoshie had passed away. In an official statement, AJPW statedNotice of the passing of Yutaka Yoshie. Yutaka Yoshie, who was participating in the Takasaki tournament held today, passed away on March 10, 2024. After Yutaka Yoshie returned to the waiting room after the game, his condition suddenly deteriorated and he was rushed to a hospital in Takasaki City, but he never returned home. We would like to remember Yutaka Yoshie’s achievements during his lifetime and pray for his soul to rest in peace. All Japan Pro Wrestling.” In a follow-up statement, AJPW stated that they have postponed the airing of this Monday’s AJPW TV show. AJPW’s stated[Notice of postponement of LIVE broadcast] In response to the news of Yutaka Yoshie’s death, we have decided to postpone the live broadcast of All Japan Pro Wrestling TV Renewal, which was scheduled to be broadcast from 19:00 on Monday, March 11th. The new distribution date will be announced on the homepage and official X (formerly Twitter) as soon as it is decided. We humbly ask for your understanding.” While no cause of death is currently known, Yahoo Sports Japan reported that those in attendance did not notice any spot during the match where Yoshie could have suffered an injury as a potential cause for his death. Prior to his passing, Yoshie’s wrestling career spanned from 1994 to 2024 and was most known for his time in NJPW and as a freelancer for multiple other promotions including Pro Wrestling Zero1, Pro Wrestling NOAH and AJPW.
  • Sunday’s New Japan Cup 2024 event for New Japan Pro Wrestling in Amagasaki, Japan featured El Phantasmo, Ren Narita, and Yota Tsuji advancing to the next round of this year’s New Japan Cup tournament.
  • As noted before, Yuya Uemura lost a Hair vs. Hair match against Yota Tsuji at this past February’s NJPW The New Beginning in Sapporo 2024 Night 2 event in Sapporo, Japan. In a recent interview with NJPW’s official website, Uemura stated that he donated his hair to a donation center that makes wigs for chemotherapy patients. Uemura stated “I actually gave the hair to a hair donation place, to make wigs for chemotherapy patients, things like that. Hopefully some use can come from it.
  • NJPW reportedly drew a paid attendance of 3,008 for their March 6th 52nd Anniversary Event in Tokyo and 1,324 for their March 7th New Japan Cup 2023 event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • NJPW reportedly has sold around 5,160 tickets for their April 12th Windy City Riot 2024 event in Chicago, Illinois as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Saturday’s Cinderella Tournament 2024 event for Stardom in Tokyo, Japan featured CMLL talent Stephanie Vaquer defeating Giulia to become the new NJPW Strong Women’s Champion. Giulia is currently set to leave Stardom following the expiration of her contract with the company at the end of this month.
  • Stardom reportedly generated a paid attendance of 367 for their March 2nd event in Kanazawa and 345 for their March 3rd event in Kenshin, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • CMLL reportedly drew an attendance of 11,500 for their March 1st Super Viernes event in Mexico City, Mexico, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • CMLL reportedly has sold almost 16,500 tickets for their March 29th Super Viernes event in Mexico City, Mexico as of this past Thursday, according to WrestleTix. This event will be featuring AEW talents Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, Wheeler Yuta, and Willow Nightingale competing at the event.
  • In a recent interview with PEOPLE, Tenille Dashwood and Mike Rallis, former Emma and Madcap Moss in WWE, revealed that they got married this past Friday in Hawaii.
  • Major League Wrestling recently announced that Mistico will be defending his MLW World Middleweight Championship against Angel del Oro at this Tuesday’s Martes De Arena Mexico event for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre in Mexico City, Mexico.
  • As noted before, WWE paid MLW $20 million as part of the terms of their settlement deal for MLW’s antitrust lawsuit against the company this past December. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that one MLW wrestler spoken to confirmed that WWE had been tampering with MLW talent contracts and stated that he was one of the people who WWE had tampered with. This wrestler stated “I’m glad they settled out of court and good for Court (Bauer). WWE deserved it, and did tamper with guys’ deals and bully their way into negotiations, me as an example years ago.
  • Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling recently announced the full card for their TJPW Live in Philly event on April 5th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • As noted before, Lucha legend Damián 666, real name Leonardo Carrera, recently suffered a heart attack and is currently in stable condition. A GoFundMe fundraiser was recently launched to help financially assist Carrera’s family for Carrera’s medical costs.
  • TNA Wrestling reportedly is currently estimated to have generated around 20,300 cable television pay-per-vies buys for this past January’s Hard to Kill 2024 event, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. In regards to the one rural based PPV tracking company had more buys for TNA’s event than this past December’s AEW World’s End event, Meltzer reported that this tracking company caters heavily to rural markets and TNA’s PPV buys for their events from this tracking company always ends up being higher than from other trackers. Meltzer reported that TNA’s buys from this one rural tracking company was double or more than what TNA generated for their prior PPV events. Meltzer also reported that in rural areas, Hard To Kill 2024 outdrew eight of AEW’s PPVs and six of WWE’s PPVs events in 2023.
  • Dragon Gate reportedly drew a paid attendance of 1,028 for their March 2nd The Gate of Nostalgia 2024 event in Osaka, 1,102 for their March 3rd Champion Gate in Osaka 2024 event in Osaka, and 1,324 for their March 6th Rey De Parejas 2024 event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Pro Wrestling NOAH reportedly drew a paid attendance of 809 for their March 2nd Great Voyage 2024 in Nagoya event in Nagoya and 342 for their March 3rd Sunny Voyage 2024 event in Takaoka, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Wrestling TV Ratings for Week of March 1 to March 7, 2024

  • WWE Friday Night SmackDown – 2,348,000 viewers, 0.64 rating (prior week – 2,272,000 viewers, 0.62 rating)
  • WWE RAW – 1,649,000 viewers, 0.54 rating (prior week – 1,738,000 viewers, 0.57 rating)
  • WWE NXT – 654,000 viewers, 0.16 rating (prior week – 570,000 viewers, 0.16 rating)
  • AEW Rampage – 344,000 viewers, 0.10 rating (prior week – 364,000 viewers, 0.11 rating)
  • AEW Collision – 455,000 viewers, 0.13 rating (prior week – 385,000 viewers, 0.11 rating)
  • AEW Dynamite – 779,000 viewers, 0.27 rating (prior week – 822,000 viewers, 0.29 rating)
  • TNA Wrestling Impact! – N/A (prior week – 85,000 viewers, 0.02 rating)
  • Various – Biography: WWE Legends (A&E) – 276,000 viewers, 0.07 rating (prior week – 377,000 viewers, 0.11 rating)
  • Various – WWE Rivals (A&E) – 316,000 viewers, 0.06 rating (prior week – 351,000 viewers, 0.07 rating)
  • Various – Dark Side of the Ring (VICE) – 141,000 viewers, 0.05 rating (prior week – N/A)

Total wrestling television viewership for the week: 6,962,000 viewers, down 2,000 viewers compared to the prior week’s 6,964,000 viewers.

The viewership and ratings numbers for the March 7th TNA Impact! show are currently not known.

The March 5th episode of Dark Side of the Ring was the Season Five premiere show.