Weekend Roundup: New Uncle Howdy Teaser, The Blade Dealing with Back Injury, Yuka Sakazaki Leg Injury Update, Matt Hardy Still Free Agent Following TNA Return, Sami Callihan MLW Update, Indies


  • As noted before, WWE released a new batch of talents on Friday, which included Jinder Mahal. PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that his sources that there was a lot of empathy expressed by WWE’s locker room over Mahal and Xia Li’s releases. Johnson reported that WWE talents felt that the company failed to capitalize on his momentum from his WWE Champiosnhip title reign several years ago and also from his segment with The Rock this past January. Following his release, WWE talents reportedly joked around backstage over the idea of Mahal feuding with Tony Khan in AEW this summer in a nod to their past online feud over Mahal’s WWE World title match shot he recieved earlier this year against Rollins. In regards to Li, Johnson reported that WWE talents held a similar view of Li’s career in the company was hampered by the sporadic pushes during the Vince McMahon era. Johnson also reported that WWE talent had felt that Li had been given inconsistent opportunities to advance her career in the company despite being very well liked backstage.
  • Besides Mahal and Li, Sanga was also among those released this past Friday. Sanga recently reflected on Twitter about his release statingThere is a little pain in my heart. When is comes to viewership, you want viewership from our country India. Viewership on Facebook is needed from India. Viewership on YouTube is needed from India. Viewership on TV is needed from India, but when it comes to talent of India, they are not taking you forward. Whatever you are thinking, it is okay, creatives have their own way of working, but you should understand that we are saddened by the fact that our 1.4 billion people, like you, people like us, they want that their country India should have athletes who work at the international level, but you are not ready to give opportunities.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • Xyon Quinn was also among those released this past Friday by WWE. Quinn recently reflected on Instagram about his release statingI remember my first fight. The way it felt. The way I hurt his heart beat faster and faster, his eyes so wide. I never felt so powerful. So alive. When he begged me to stop, I remember that… I just snapped. That happened sometimes. I try to control it, but I guess I’m a little unpredictable, unhinged, you might say, I’m a ghost. Boo.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • Team USA recently announced that WWE NIL signee Mason Parris will be representing the United States in Men’s Freestyle 125kg wrestling at this year’s 2024 Olympics Games in Paris, France.
  • In a recent interview with WWE Die Woche, Dijak gave his thoughts about his current character in NXT being the most comfortable one he’s been in WWE. Dijak stated “It’s definitely the most comfortable for me. I always try my best, especially in wrestling, to continuously reinvent and innovate and stuff like that. Because the turnaround time in wrestling is so fast. Once people get used to something and get comfortable with it, that’s when it can go a number of different directions. I’ve never felt comfortable enough in a state of where I was in terms of my career to say, oh, I can just kind of sit back and coast and let the character just kind of be itself. Even in this current incarnation, we started leaning more heavily into my criminal justice background, which is great. I wanted that. I wanted to add another layer of depth to who I am and why people would tune in and watch me and what kind of storylines I can be integrated to. To Shawn Michaels’s credit, he was very receptive that, and it’s worked out beautifully. But again, we only started that a year and a half ago, and after maybe a year, I’ve already taken that and said, okay, I’m going to add more and more layers of who I am and peel back a little bit of that character. So I’m always trying to evolve and add more depth and add more layers because that’s kind of definitive to who everyone is as a human being.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • This past Friday’s SmackDown show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania featured a new video teaser for Bo Dallas and the Uncle Howdy character’s return to WWE. During WWE CCO Paul “Triple H” Levesque’s entrance on the show, the screen briefly glitched and flashed a QR code. This code when scanned leads to a photo of a mysterious black figure and the text of “I’m Nobody.”
  • The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer reported that due to the 2024 NHL Playoffs, WWE’s RAW and SmackDown shows next week in Canada will be moved from SportsNet 360 to OLN instead due to SportsNet 360 airing NHL games on the network during WWE’s usual time slot. Meltzer reported that next week’s NXT show will also be moved off of SportsNet 360 and will air on the SportsNet Plus streaming service instead.
  • WWE reportedly generated around 24,100 pay-per-view buys for their WrestleMania 40 Night 1 event on April 6th and 24,800 PPV buys for their WrestleMania 40 Night 2 event on April 7th in Philadelphia based on early estimates and data, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources confirmed that WWE’s original plans for the Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns match at last year’s WrestleMania 39 event was for Rhodes to defeat Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Meltzer reported that Vince McMahon and WWE CCO Paul “Triple H” Levesque were both on board with the plans for Rhodes’ return from a torn pec injury and title victory. Meltzer reported that these plans were changed due to a lot of stuff happening behind-the-scenes resulting in everyone being in agreement to hold off the title change until a year later to make Rhodes’ victory even stronger. In regards to the decision for Reigns to retain his title at WrestleMania 39, Meltzer reported that this was due to WWE officials wanting to make Jey Uso into a major singles star and open the door to him being a mega merchandise seller as a babyface by feuding with Reigns for the title afterwards. Meltzer also reported that McMahon was the key person who made the decision to change the original WrestleMania 39 plans but Levesque was on board with it and this was not a case of McMahon overruling Levesque for creative and forcing the decision.
  • As noted before, Erick Redbeard, former Erick Rowan in WWE, is currently rumored to have signed a new contract with WWE and will be making his return to the company soon. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources have yet to confirm that Rowan has signed a new contract with WWE but the current belief within the company is that Rowan will be returning as part of the plans for Bo Dallas’ official return.
  • As noted before, LWO’s Cruz Del Toro underwent arm surgery this past week to repair an undisclosed injury. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources stated that the backstage injury angle involving Del Toro and Von Wagner at this past Tuesday’s NXT show was meant to be NXT officials way of writing off Del Toro for his scheduled surgery.
  • WWE reportedly drew an attendance of 14,659 for their April 12th SmackDown show in Detroit, MI and 11,837 for their April 15th RAW show in Montreal, Canada, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE’s current sellout streak for shows ended at this past Monday’s RAW show in Montreal. Meltzer reported that despite WWE first announcing an attendance of “over 15,000” and later a number of 14,994 for the show, a real sellout would have been around 14,000 based on the stage and seating layout for the show. Meltzer reported that even without the artificial numbers given by WWE, their sellout streak had been on pace to be ending this past week anyways based on how ticket sales were moving along in recent weeks.


  • AEW reportedly has sold and distributed around 6,307 tickets for Sunday’s AEW Dynasty event in St. Louis, Missouri as of this morning, according to WrestleTix.
  • During Saturday’s AEW Collision show, AEW officially announced that the Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Jon Moxley match for the April 24th Dynamite show at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida will now be an IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match.
  • The Blade announced on Instagram that he is currently dealing with a a lower back injury for the reason for his current in-ring absence from AEW. The Blade stated “Hello Instagram 😃 My apologies, it’s been awhile. I’m currently off the road nursing a lower back injury. 2 bulging discs, L2 L3 and L4 L5. Plus two ruptured discs, L3 L4 and L5 S1. I’d like to thank @aew and @tonyrkhan for giving me this time off to heal. Plus, I’ve got the Buffalo,NY magic man pictured with me here, @anthony.albano.dpt . Time off can be a rough place for athletes mentally. Anthony’s physical therapy is helping me stay on track and I can’t sing praises high enough about the sweet science behind his training. I’m not sure where this journey I’m on is gonna lead. But, I have a lot of options and a great team around me and that’s a beautiful thing. Love ya everybody.
  • Saturday’s AEW Collision show in Peoria, Illinois featured Yuka Sakazaki suffering a potential leg injury that she was able to work though to finish her match against Emi Sakura. The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer reported that his sources stated that Sakazaki’s injury was legitimate and not for storyline reasons. Meltzer reported that the exact nature of Sakazaki’s injury is currently not known.
  • In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Bryan Danielson gave his thoughts about what fans can expect for his match against Will Ospreay at tonight’s AEW Dynasty event. Danielson stated “Expect the best version of Bryan Danielson. After I am no longer wrestling full-time, that will be different. Unless something happens medically, I’ll never retire. Now will it be my best work? I don’t know. But there is something to be said about going out and performing in front of a small audience, which I am very passionate about. But that’s later on. Now, expect the best. That’s what you’re going to get at Dynasty. Will is the modern evolution of wrestling. I’m really excited to be wrestling him. Think of all the history in St. Louis, especially with Wrestling at the Chase. I can’t wait for this show. This is a chance for me to produce my absolute best work. I’ll close my eyes during the match so I can feel what wrestling him feels like. Ever since I was forced to retire, I do that in my matches. Soon, I’m not going to feel that on a regular basis. I want to capture it in my memory. All I’ll have to do is close my eyes, and I’ll be there.
  • Fightful Select reported that their sources stated that Marq Quen recently suffered an undisclosed injury but AEW officials currently expect Quen to return soon. It was reported that this was the reason why Quen’s tag team partner Isiah Kassidy has been working in singles matches in recent weeks.
  • Fightful Select also reported that their sources stated that the reason for Emi Sakura’s recent absence from AEW was due to her dealing with visa-related issues which was only recently resolved.
  • The Athletic reported that Warner Bros Discovery is currently interested in signing a potential media rights deal with the WNBA following Caitlin Clark officially entering the league and the current belief that WNBA ratings will increase greatly next season. In regards to the potential impact on wrestling television industry and AEW, the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer reported that should WBD secure a media rights deal, the impact on AEW would vary depending on if TBS and/or TNT gets the games and how much money out of WBD’s budget would go away for AEW’s potential new media rights deal with WBD.
  • In a recent interview with WrestleZone, Willow Nightingale gave her thoughts about her potentially being Mercedes Mone’s first opponent in AEW. Nightingale stated “It’s hard to even really try to think forward to Mercedes as a possibility because Julia is, for such a small person, a very big roadblock in the way first. So obviously my mind is set on Sunday and trying to get through that. But Mercedes is there. On every episode of TV that I am there, she is also there hovering over our shoulders to remind us, like, ‘Hey, I’m here, and I’m very instantly a big deal.’ I think anyone in the locker room would be fortunate to be able to put themselves against such a measuring stick. To be the first person to kind of challenge yourself against her would be an honor, but also for me, it’s a little bit more personal than that, to get that opportunity, and I think I’m deserving of it. I just have to prove that I’m deserving of that this Sunday.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • AEW CEO Tony Khan recently announced on Twitter that this Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite show will be airing live from coast to coast in the United States. Khan statedWe’ve just learned that Wednesday’s #AEWDynamite Homecoming in Jacksonville @dailysplace will air on TBS live coast-to-coast, 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT So we’re on 5pm west coast this Wednesday!” The official reason is due to TBS’ commitments with the 2024 NHL Playoffs for that night on the West Coast.
  • Saturday’s MLB game between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis featured Swerve Strickland throwing the ceremonial first pitch for the game.
  • In a recent Twitch stream, Kenny Omega revealed that AEW and TNA/Impact officials never had any real plans for him and Josh Alexander to compete in a match against each other during his Impact World Championship reign in 2021. Omega stated “I’ll be transparent, I’ll be honest. I don’t know if you guys remember, but while I was doing the belt collect thing, I was doing pre-tapes all the time. I was doing eight weeks of TV in a day. One of the pre-tapes they said, ‘You’re going to walk through to where the ring is, but you’re going to bump into Josh Alexander and there is going to be a bit of a confrontation.’ I said, ‘Where are we going with this? Is there physicality? I didn’t know I was going a thing with Josh. That’s great. I love Josh. I think he’s fantastic.’ He goes, ‘No, we’re not.’ I said, ‘We’re not? Then why are we doing it? Don’t you think people want to see it?’ ‘Yeah, that’s the point. ‘Yeah, but if they want to see it and we don’t give it to them…’ ‘We’ll worry about that later.’ ‘Ohhhh, man. Can we maybe do it at some point?’ ‘Yeah, yeah, maybe we can get around to it.’ I’m telling you, there was no actual plan plan. My apologies for that. Right off the bat, I thought that was odd. I’m all about throwing in a red herring, but I was only there for a certain amount of time. Eventually, I was going to be losing that belt. I was more than willing to work with anyone. They have such good guys.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • In a recent episode of the Grilling JR podcast, co-host Jim Ross gave his thoughts about AEW’s decision to air the Jack Perry and CM Punk backstage altercation footage from their All In event during the April 10th AEW Dynamite show. Ross stated “The value of showing that footage to me was the fact that you got on with your storytelling [with] FTR and the Bucks. So to me, when that was the direction that was chosen, I was much more comfortable showing that footage. Other than that, I’m not sure what it meant. I’m not sure why we did it, other than the fact that it helped tie together a very crucial and important pay-per-view match. So that’s my thoughts on that deal. As far as Jack Perry’s concerned, I’ve been a Jack Perry fan since day one. I remember being somewhat resistant on calling him Jungle Boy. Because I told him, I’m not gonna rely on this Jungle Boy moniker as much as it has been in the past because you’re not gonna be a boy forever. I never had a cross word with this kid. He’s always been very polite. I got to know his mother and his sister. They’re just wonderful people. But we all can mistakes, and he’s young and can be somewhat impetuous, but that just goes with the youth. Hell, some of us old guys are young-thinking and impetuous, but I hope that they get everything worked out with Jack. Wouldn’t Sunday be an interesting time for him to return?” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • This past Friday’s Once Upon a Time In Chicago event for Chicago Style Wrestling in Chicago, Illinois featured Kyle Fletcher and Will Ospreay making a surprise appearance. Fletcher replaced Missa Tate for her scheduled match against Skye Blue and Ospreay was the special guest referee for this match on the show.
  • In a recent interview with Fightful, Kyle O’Reilly gave his thoughts about his current storyline feud with Roderick Strong in AEW. O’Reilly stated “You’re 100% right. A guy that I trust fully, in and out of the ring, one of my best friends. That’s an ideal situation to be put in coming back from this amount of time off, to be in there with a guy like Roddy. Even if we weren’t as close as we are, it would still be ideal because he’s a professional, he’s one of the best to ever do it in this generation and other generations. He’s a guy that I’ve looked up to for a long time. Trying to make it in wrestling, he’s a guy that I’ve watched and idolized and I was like, ‘Man, I wish I would be as good as him one day.’ Lo and behold, we’ve become close pals and tag team partners. It’s crazy how life works sometimes.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • AEW reportedly drew an attendance of 2,600 (2,511 WrestleTix) for their April 13th Collision and Battle of the Belts X shows in Highland Heights, KY and 3,012 for their April 17th Dynamite show in Indianapolis, IN, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

TNA, NJPW, Indies, & Misc. Wrestling

  • As noted before, Saturday’s Rebellion 2024 event for TNA Wrestling in Las Vegas, Nevada featured “Broken” Matt Hardy making his official return to the company. Hardy provided an update on Twitter earlier today stating that despite his return to TNA, he has not signed a contract with the company and is still a free agent. In response to a fan question, Hardy statedNo. I’m a free agent. I will appear when I want to appear.
  • As noted before, Saturday’s TNA Rebellion 2024 event also featured Mike Santana making his official return to the company. Following the event, Santana reflected on Twitter about his return to TNA. Santana statedAbout last night… Trust yourself. Stick to your guns. Middle fingers to all the doubters. PAPI IS BACK! 👑🇵🇷
  • TNA recently announced that rapper Bun B will be making an appearance for their company at Sunday’s Impact tapings in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • As noted before, The Motor City Machine Guns’ Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin’s contracts with TNA Wrestling expired at the end of this past March. Sabin recently posted a farewell message to TNA on Twitter that simply stated “Thank You” for his time in the company.
  • As noted before, Lucha Libre legend Dos Caras was recently accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. TheCubsFan reported that Caras recently gave his version of the story claiming that he was the one who tried to break off their relationship and Diana Mondragon was the one who flipped out instead and made claims against him in retaliation. Caras also claimed that Mondragon had been harassing his family for the past three months and had filed a criminal complaint against her. Caras also stated that he has already talked to the police investigating the allegations against him and told them that her claims were all made up and defamatory and had offered to show proof that he is innocent.
  • MAX recently announced that wrestling-based film The Iron Claw will be premiering exclusively on their streaming service on May 10th.
  • Stardom recently released the official trailer for the upcoming Mayu Iwatani biopic titled Runaway Wrestler.
  • Stardom reportedly drew a paid attendance of 1,390 for their April 12th event in Tokyo and 608 for their April 14th event in Hamamatsu, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. In regards to Stardom’s April 12th event, this event was notable for featuring Giulia and Utami Hayashishita’s final matches in the company.
  • As noted before, former Stardom owner and head booker Rossy Ogawa officially announced his new Joshi promotion called Marigold this past Monday. Marigold recently announced on Twitter that Giulia led the first in-ring practice session with all of roster for the company on Saturday.
  • Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Rossy Ogawa and WWE CCO Paul “Triple H” Levesque had been in talks dating back to at least late 2023 for a potential partnership deal between WWE and Ogawa’s new promotion that he had been working on plans for its launch while he was still working for Stardom. In regards to the former Stardom talent who left the company to join Ogawa’s new Marigold promotion, Meltzer reported that all of them had met together and made the decision in the week prior to Ogawa’s announcement to join his new promotion as a group. In regards to the group of former Actress Girl’z joining Marigold, Meltzer reported that the main reason was due to growing issues those talents had had with ActWres management for the past several months that were not resolved. In regards to WWE’s involvement with Marigold, Meltzer reported that those spoken to stated that WWE does not have any ownership stake in Ogawa’s new promotion nor do they have any agreement in place to help fund his new promotion.
  • As noted before, World Xtreme Wrestling announced earlier this year that they will be shutting down due to WXW owner Afa Anoa’i dealing with serious heart-related health issues. Anoai’s son Afa Anoa’i Jr. announced at a event for his Battlefield Pro Wrestling promotion on Saturday that he has become the new owner of his father’s WXW promotion. Anoa’i Jr. also stated that he will bring his father’s promotion to cable television in Pennsylvania.
  • Saturday’s taped War Chamber II 2024 event for Major League Wrestling featured Death Fighters (Raven, Akira, Jake Crist, & Jimmy Lloyd) defeated The Calling (Rickey Shane Page, Sami Callihan, Cannonball, & Dr. Cornwallis) in a War Chamber match.
  • PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that his sources stated that MLW officials currently have plans for Contra Unit to be the top heel faction for the company following their War Chamber II event. Johnson reported that Saturday’s event was also meant to be the end of The Calling’s storyline in the company.
  • PWInsider’s Mike Johnson also reported that his sources stated that MLW officials currently have plans for Sami Callihan to work as a singles star going forward in the company. Callihan made his official return to TNA at their Rebellion 2024 event leading to online speculation that he had finished up his time with MLW.
  • Prestige Wrestling recently announced that Roderick Strong will be making an appearance for the company at their Combat Clash PDX event on July 12th in Portland, Oregon.
  • As noted before, indie talent Matt Cardona underwent surgery this past Thursday to repair a torn pectoral injury. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Cardona is currently expected to be out of action until at least the end of this year to early 2025 based on the typical recovery timetable for a torn pec injury.
  • All Japan Pro Wrestling reportedly drew a paid attendance of 1,157 for their April 18th Champion Carnival 2024 event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that despite Matt Riddle being speculated to have finished up his time in New Japan Pro Wrestling following their Windy City Rio 2024 event earlier this month, his sources stated that Riddle is still booked for future appearances with the company. Meltzer reported that NJPW officials are still considering the idea of Riddle and Jeff Cobb reuniting and reforming their past tag team The Chosen Bros in the indies that was disbanded when Riddle went to WWE in 2018.
  • NJPW reportedly drew a paid attendance of 6,028 for their April 12th Windy City Riot 2024 event in Chicago, Illinois, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • NJPW recently released the full card for their Wrestling Satsuma no Kuni 2024 event on April 29th at the Nishihara Shoaki Arena in Kagoshima, Japan.
  • House of Glory announced that Lucha Libre AAA talent Areo Star will be making his official debut for the company at their Cinco De Mayo event on May 5th in New York City, New York.

Wrestling TV Ratings for Week of April 12 to April 18, 2024

  • WWE Friday Night SmackDown – 2,499,000 viewers, 0.76 rating (prior week – 2,600,000 viewers, 0.77 rating)
  • WWE RAW – 1,807,000 viewers, 0.61 rating (prior week – 2,362,000 viewers, 0.83 rating)
  • WWE NXT – 625,000 viewers, 0.17 rating (prior week – 647,000 viewers, 0.19 rating)
  • AEW Rampage – 295,000 viewers, 0.08 rating (prior week – 267,000 viewers, 0.08 rating)
  • AEW Collision – 468,000 viewers, 0.13 rating (prior week – 463,000 viewers, 0.15 rating)
  • AEW Dynamite – 762,000 viewers, 0.26 rating (prior week – 819,000 viewers, 0.30 rating)
  • AEW Battle of the Belts X – 422,000 viewers, 0.11 rating (prior week – N/A)
  • TNA Wrestling Impact! – N/A (prior week – N/A)
  • Various – WWE Most Wanted Treasures – 281,000 viewers, 0.09 rating (prior week – N/A)
  • Various – Dark Side of the Ring (VICE) – 108,000 viewers, 0.03 rating (prior week – 184,000 viewers, 0.05 rating)

Total wrestling television viewership for the week: 7,267,000 viewers, down 75,000 viewers compared to the prior week’s 7,342,000 viewers.

The viewership and ratings numbers for the April 11th and April 18th TNA Impact! shows is currently not known.

The April 14th WWE Most Wanted Treasures show was the season premiere show on A&E.