Daily Update: Fastlane, Big Show vs. Shaq, Khabib

THE ROUND-UP

The Latest from the F4W Staff

NEWS

Rick Rude added to 2017 WWE Hall of Fame class
Tomoaki Honma begins to regain some movement after scary injury
NJPW 45th Anniversary show live results: Okada vs. Tiger Mask W
WWE Fastlane live results: Kevin Owens vs. Goldberg
Wrestler Tom Jones passes away after suffering from dementia
ROH Manhattan Mayhem VI results: The Hardys & Bully Ray appear
Impact Wrestling Saturday TV taping results: New tag champs crowned
The Hardys & Bully Ray show up in Ring of Honor

AUDIO

FREE WOL! WWE Fast Lane fallout, WrestleMania, more! 3/6
WOR: WWE Fast Lane, Category B Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards 3/6
B&V: WWE Fast Lane 2017 PPV recap! 3/5
DR. KEITH PRESENTS: The Honorable Ring! 3/5

We’re looking for reports from Raw in Chicago with dark matches, Main Event matches and anything notable not on television, as well as the SmackDown house show in Bloomington, IL, to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com.

We’re also looking for your thoughts on UFC 209, Fast Line & the NJPW Anniversary show tonight, thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

NEW JAPAN FROM KORAKUEN HALL ON TUESDAY AT 4:30 A.M. EASTERN TIME ON NEW JAPAN WORLD

The card won’t be announced until Monday after the anniversary show.

SmackDown and 205 Live will be taped Tuesday in Indianapolis. Announced so far are A.J. Styles vs. Randy Orton with the winner meeting Bray Wyatt for the WWE title at WrestleMania, plus John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. James Ellsworth & Carmella.


FIGURE FOUR WEEKLY: 2/27/2017: Looking ahead to WWE Fast Lane

With WWE’s final pay-per-view before WrestleMania under a week away, the build to Fastlane has been aided by a few of the company’s best television segments of at least the past several months. The Festival of Friendship was perfect. From the timing of it coming before the audience knew for sure that the full turn was happening, the performances of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, and even the parts played by the bit characters, everything delivered… Subscribers click here to continue.


WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER: February 27, 2017, Massive Ivan Koloff bio, death of George “The Animal” Steele, tons more

The 2016 awards issue of the Observer is out with not only the winners, but the top place winners in every category as well as every winner of the awards which date back to 1980. Plus, have a look at the pros and cons of the Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping fight that looks to be the biggest PPV event at least until the fall, plus a detailed look at all the changes going on in TNA including people leaving, why they are leaving, where they are headed, who is coming in, and office changes.  We also look at the New Japan Cup, the career of Beth Phoenix, and Honor Rising tour.

The new issue has awards in these categories:

Ric Flair/Lou Thesz Award for Wrestler of the Year
MMA MVP
Most Outstanding Wrestler
Most Outstanding MMA Fighter
Best Box Office Draw
Feud of the Year
Tag Team of the Year
Most Improved
Best on Interviews
Most Charismatic
Bryan Danielson Award for Best Technical Wrestler
Bruiser Brody Award for Best Brawler
Best Flying Wrestler
Most Overrated
Most Underrated
Promotion of the Year
Best Weekly TV show
Pro Wrestling Match of the Year
MMA Match of the Year
Rookie of the Year
Best Non-Wrestler
Best TV announcer
Worst TV announcer
Best major show
Worst major show
Best maneuver
Most disgusting promotional tactic
Worst TV show
Worst match of the year
Worst feud of the year
Worst promotion of the year
Best Booker
Promoter of the Year
Best gimmick
Worst gimmick
Best Book
Best DVD/documentary

In this issue, there are notes on the business climate headed into WrestleMania week in Orlando as compared to last year, notes on Fast Lane, more on the WWE concussion lawsuit, departure of Jack Swagger from WWE, lots more on WrestleMania week, WWE Hall of Fame, HHH wrestling dates in March, a new WWE signee, John Cena outside activities and talks about Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Angle update and notes no next week’s TV. Plus, look at the most-watched shows on the WWE Network, business notes from all the WWE and NXT weekend shows and highlights.

There is also the results of the major league arena events held all over the world this past week, as well as notes on the various TV shows.


ORDERING INFO: Order the print Wrestling Observer right now and get it delivered via mail, by sending your name, address, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to Dave Meltzer, or by using PayPal directing funds to Dave@WrestlingObserver.com. 
 
Rates in the United States are $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to moonsault@mediaplusint.com. For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52. If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.)

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can choose one free classic issue, or two free classic issues with a 40-issue subscription.

WON BACK ISSUE: February 7, 2000, Radicalz debut in WWF, The Rock autobiography review, more

Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Eddy Guerrero debuted as The Radicals on the 1/31 Raw show from Pittsburgh in what was considered a big push but it all fell apart the next night in their in-ring debut when Guerrero suffered what appeared to be a serious elbow injury on the 2/1 SmackDown tapings in Detroit. SmackDown, live Raw the previous night, was to be built around the newcomers with the stipulations that they would have a best-of-three series between DX and the Radicals, and if the Radicals won, then Hunter Hearst Helmsley would have to agree to sign them to a WWF contract… Subscribers click here to continue.


MONDAY NEWS UPDATE

Not a lot new from Raw tonight on the first show with the hard-sell for WrestleMania and the Goldberg vs. Lesnar match. As of earlier today, there was a plan for controversy regarding one of the title matches. Since clearly the tag team title match and cruiserweight title match had no controversy, that leaves the heavyweight and women’s title and the heavyweight title doesn’t seem to fit but we’ll see if that goes through and how it will be handled.
 
Shaquille O’Neal on his podcast has claimed that he’s back in talks with WWE officials about the WrestleMania match with Big Show. 
 
The angle that would appear to end Josh Mathews as Impact announcer was shot yesterday with Team JB beating Team Josh in an eight-man tag team match that will air in early April. Chris Masters as Chris Adonis and Matt Morgan were both involved in that match as babyfaces on Team JB with Morgan winning it for the team.
 
The first A.J. Styles vs. Randy Orton match of their new program took place as the main event of the SmackDown brand house show last night in Rockford. It’s expected that will be the main event in Bloomington, IL tonight before their TV match on Tuesday night in Indianapolis to determine who faces Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania.
 
Zack Sabre Jr. joined Suzuki-gun at today’s New Japan anniversary show.

WWE
Finn Balor is advertised as starting back on the road this coming weekend on the Raw brand.   
Last night’s show was the rare show where the smart money didn’t come in late at all, and major underdogs won matches including Sasha Banks and Roman Reigns. I mentioned by the betting patterns that it never appeared this was a smart money show.
WWE is now advertising SummerSlam travel packages, to get the best tickets to the show before they go on sale to the public on 3/25. SummerSlam will be part of a weekend with NXT Takeover on 8/19, SummerSlam on 8/20, Raw on 8/21 and SmackDown on 8/22 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Chris Jericho has a fundraising campaign for Type 1 diabetes research and is selling Stupid Idiot T-shirts for the next two weeks to raise money. For more info and ordering you can go here.
UFC

This isn’t related to wrestling, but in a round about way, any ESPN news that involves the budget does affect UFC in particular with the contract with FOX coming due at the end of 2018, but this is about the latest round of ESPN budget cuts. (thanks to Denis Gorman and many others)

Dana White said he’s not sure what to do with Khabib Nurmagomedov, who missed weight. Tony Ferguson was upset at Nurmagomedov on today’s MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, saying he didn’t know if he could trust that Nurmagomedov would fight if they booked the fight again. Nurmagomedov will have to get healthy and then be able to train to get into fight shape, and he never fights over the summer due to religious beliefs so they are also fighting time. Ferguson said whoever he fights next, it has to be a title fight. Ferguson said today that he weighs 195 pounds when he starts dropping weight to fight at 155 and the final pounds are quite painful. One thing Bryan and I talked about is that there have been a lot more people missing weight with the new earlier weigh-ins, and I think it’s the mentality that with the extra several hours to rehydrate, you can cut from a higher weight, and clearly some in doing that don’t get down to contracted weight, which is the exact opposite of what the new regulations were put there for.
Here are our results from the UFC 209 panel picks (where only one of the four favorites won):
2-2: Mike Sempervive, Josh Nason, Steve Juon, John Pollock, David Bixenspan, Front Row Brian and Paul Fontaine
1-3: Dave Meltzer
0-4: Ryan Frederick

MISCELLANEOUS

The 2016 G-1 Climax tournament will air in a series of two-hour New Japan specials on AXS this coming Friday night. Friday’s show has Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Seiya Sanada, Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto vs. Bad Luck Fale and Kazuchika Okada vs. Naomichi Marufuji. Okada vs. Marufuji was a hell of a match, and Tanahashi vs Sanada was a breakthrough performance for Sanada.
Dann Lennard has a piece reviewing every single Observer match of the year winner, updated with this year.
Chaotic Wrestling on 3/8 in Nashua, NH at Chunky’s with Elia Markopolous vs. JT Dunn and Hanson vs. Christian Casanova.
Bully Ray, who is scheduled to work regularly for ROH going forward, will be co-hosting the SiriusXM wrestling show Busted Open with Dave LaGreca, debuting today and tomorrow and starting next week, will be a regular every Thursday and Friday on the show.
Eduard Folayang defends his One lightweight title against Ev Ting in the main event of the show on 4/21 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in The Philippines.
Legacy Fighting Alliance on 4/7 in Greenville, SC at the Convention Center will air live on AXS TV as part of their Fridaynight fights series.
NFC runs on 4/22 at Center Stage in Atlanta with Jared  Gooden (7-1) vs. Julien Williams (8-1) as the main event.
NWF KC from Saturday at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City:  Lakota Red Cloud b Ken Dharma (Mike Sydal) to advance to the final four of the KC title tournament, Miles Plonk b Thor Thieriot to advance to the final four, Dez Wellston b Buddy Shepard, Jeremy Wyatt b Scott Slade-DQ, Devlin won three-way over Ray Briggs and Chad Barstow, Blaine Meeks b Flex Zebra to advance to the final four, Dak Draper b Max Edwards to advance to the final four, Royal bloods b The Underground in a KC vs. St. Louis match, putting KC up 4-1. (thanks to Brian Hoops)
Cross Body Pro Wrestling on 3/18 in Kitchener, ONT at 69 Agnes St. headlined by Tyler Thomas vs. Scotty O’Shea.
Fite TV announced an interview with Christopher Daniels plus a free new episode of ROH Wrestling on their app at 7 p.m,. tonight. They also announced a taped Ringside with Jim Ross iPPV for $5.99 which will be a Ross show featuring Jeff Hardy, Jeff Jarrett, Karen Jarrett, Rob Van Dam and Jim Cornette.
This week’s quiz on pro athletes doing pro wrestling is here.
F4W / WO EMPIRE WRESTLEMANIA GROUP INFO

BUS INFO:

The Empire bus to WrestleMania will cost $50.00 and will be round trip from Rosen Inn at 9000 International Drive 32819 (a few blocks away from Wrestlcon). THERE ARE ONLY 5 SEATS LEFT!
The bus will leave at 3:30pm (time subject to change) for WrestleMania and will leave WrestleMania no later then one hour after the show. If you would like a seat email Ed at f4wfan@hotmail.com or message him on the BOARD~! for Paypal payment instructions.

DINNER INFO:

WHAT: Dinner at Texas de Brazil
WHEN: Friday March 31st
WHERE: 5259 International Dr Ste F1, Orlando, FL 32819 at 5 p.m. (they may open at 4:30 for us)
WHO: All your best empire buddies, including BIG DAVE MELTZER
DETAILS: The cost of the dinner will be $68.00 which includes the dinner, salad bar, soft drinks and tea, and dessert, tax and tip. This is a pre pay dinner and you can send payment to paypal at Srjaialaiot@yahoo.com (please send as a gift to a friend). Payments must be made by March 24th (if you wait until after that, Ed will charge an extra $5.00 for being a pain).
Pro Wrestling Tees is now carrying our latest line of F4W shirts. Support the Empire~! Grab yours today!

Today in professional wrestling history (3/6): Williams & Gordy win AJPW tag titles


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