THE ROUND-UP

The Latest from the F4W Staff

NEWS/COMMENTARY

WWE Royal Rumble 2017 live results, news & recap
Ranking the Royal Rumble matches
Our team’s Royal Rumble weekend thoughts & predictions
NXT TakeOver San Antonio live results: Nakamura vs. Roode
NXT TakeOver pre-show TV taping & dark match results
EVOLVE 77 recap: Chris Hero bids farewell to independent wrestling
UFC on FOX 23 live results: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Julianna Pena
EVOLVE 76 recap: Chris Hero’s farewell weekend begins 

AUDIO

DragonKing Dark: Satan 1/29
WOR: Royal Rumble, NXT San Antonio, Conor McGregor, UFC on FOX, more! 1/29
WOL: Royal Rumble, Lucha Underground future, Dr. Lucha, more! 1/27
Wrestling Weekly: Omega’s decision, training in OVW vs. NXT, mailbag 1/27

We’re looking for your thoughts on last night’s NXT show, last night’s 5 Five Star Dominant Wrestling show from Scotland (which aired on TV in the U.Kl) and of course, the Rumble. You can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to dave@wrestlingobserver.com

We’re also looking for reports from last night’s WWE show in Abilene, TX to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com

ROYAL RUMBLE FROM THE ALAMODOME IN SAN ANTONIO ON THE WWE NETWORK

Right now we don’t know when the first match goes into the ring, but probably between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Eastern time. My feeling, even though the odds here are long, that the smart money hasn’t come in. Because of info out, people are betting heavily on what appear to be the strong picks. Then again, the steep odds for Owens vs. Reigns surprise me on that score. Given four hours for five matches on the main Rumble card, it looks like some really long matches tonight. Styles vs. Cena of the listed matches to me is the one most likely to go the longest aside from the one hour Rumble.

Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks — This is a preshow match. The onus is on Jax to have a good showing, but women’s plans are likely set through Mania and this is just part of the path. Jax is a -530 favorite.
Becky Lynch & Nikki Bella & Naomi vs. Mickie James & Alexa Bliss & Natalya — This was originally set for the main card, just because one Smackdown match on the main card seemed like an imbalance. But when they timed out the show, they moved this to the preshow. With a heel champion, one would think the faces should win and the champion should lose the fall, to set up a new contender. The faces team is the -420 favorite.
Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson with two referees for Raw tag team title — This is also a preshow match. It’s early to beat Sheamus & Cesaro, but geez have Gallows & Anderson lost far too many title matches at this point. Cesaro & Sheamus are listed at -420 as well.
Rich Swann vs. Neville for cruiserweight title — On paper, this should be a great match. I’d hope they open the PPV because it’s their best shot at getting a reaction and they aren’t put in a buffer position. Neville has been on a tear and should be champion, but they need a strong babyface because they’ve had Neville run though everyone. Neville is listed at -1750. The big movement to him came Friday night.
Charlotte vs. Bayley for Raw women’s title — This also should be a good match on paper. If I was writing the story, Bayley needs a long chase so she shouldn’t win here. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but I don’t expect it to happen. Nor does anyone, as Charlotte is a -1950 favorite.
A.J. Styles vs. John Cena for WWE title — Cena is a -1050 favorite to win the match. The winner defend the title in two weeks in the Elimination Chamber. The last time these two wrestled on a PPV, it was one of the WWE’s best matches of 2016. So this should be great and they’ll probably be given lots of time. There was a strong movement to Cena earlier today.
Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns no DQ with Chris Jericho in a shark cage above the ring for Universal title — This should also be a great match because they’ve added the no DQ stips giving them lots of latitude. It’ll probably also be a long match. Owens is a -1730 favorite which are pretty high odds. They need a real strong story in the finish in some form for Reigns to lose here. Odds flipped on Friday night as Reigns had been favored.
30 man Royal Rumble — This is the most interesting Rumble to date with the Brock Lesnar, Bill Goldberg, Undertaker and Braun Strowman being heavily pushed as monsters, and a pretty star studded lineup up and down. Right now Randy Orton is the -2000 favorite which stems from Wednesday’s Observer. The number dropped earlier today with a lot of people betting on anyone but Orton at +600, betting on the idea Vince McMahon changes his mind based on the finish getting out. But money started to come in strong this afternoon on Orton once again.

Monday will be Raw in Laredo, TX for what is likely to be one of the highest rated episodes of the show this year. Brock Lesnar is advertised. Bill Goldberg is not advertised for the show and as of right now is not booked on the show. There will also be a Smackdown house show in Hidalgo, TX.

Smackdown and 205 Live will be taped on Tuesday in Corpus Christi, TX.

There will also be another NXT TV taping at Full Sail University on Wednesday, starting the build for the WrestleMania show in Orlando.


FIGURE FOUR WEEKLY: 1/23/2017: Previewing the unpredictable Royal Rumble 

Whatever your feelings are on WWE inevitably using part-timers to boost another WrestleMania season, it’s undeniable that their inclusion has added intrigue to the 2017 Royal Rumble. Suggesting otherwise would be presenting alternative facts. Even with their limited presence on television, Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, and The Undertaker have added a level of unpredictably — even if it’s only perceived — to next Sunday’s show at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas that hasn’t been matched in recent years… Subscribers click here to continue.


WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER: January 30, 2017 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Royal Rumble preview, part 2 of Jimmy Snuka bio, plus tons of news

A look at WWE plans that are locked in place, and other plans up in the air, related to WrestleMania, and how the Royal Rumble, Fast Lane and Elimination Chamber fit in is the lead story in the new double-sized of the Wrestling Observer.

There is also a major feature on the life of Jimmy Snuka, his growing up, full career, career records, the Nancy Argentino death case and reaction to his death. Plus, check out the 2016 win/loss records of all WWE talent, why Tito Ortiz is so important in MMA history, and Fantastica Mania coverage as well as notes on future major events around the world.

A look at the most loaded Royal Rumble match in years, and how all the top names figure into WrestleMania leads the news. Read about what the Mania matches say, ticket sale news from the Rumble and NXT Takeover, and where things go from there.

Have a look at Pentagon Jr., Daga and Garza Jr. leaving AAA and how many questions that asks. This includes the situation with Sexy Star, big questions facing Lucha Underground, the attempt to build The Crash promotion into a force in Mexico, notes on Lucha Underground contracts, exactly where this all stemmed from and why talent was unhappy with AAA, the Lucha Underground move that makes everything even more questionable, and how this relates to the bigger picture of wrestling all over the world right now.

Click here for full preview.


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. 
Click Here: State of Origin Jerseys
 
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WON BACK ISSUE: January 3, 2000 Goldberg injured after car window stunt goes wrong, tons of news

It appears that Bill Goldberg will be out of the ring somewhere in the neighborhood of ten to 15 weeks as the word going around within the company but others are optimistically saying it’ll be closer to six weeks. The actual blow which cut up Goldberg’s arm did air on television which was an elbow shot into the window of the limo that didn’t break the first few times… Subscribers click here to continue.


SUNDAY NEWS UPDATE

Bryan and I will be back late tonight after the Rumble show with a full rundown. We’ve got a show up right now covering last night’s Takeover, as well as Rumble thoughts and UFC show news. We’ll have another show tomorrow night after Raw. You can send questions for tonight’s show to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

We’ve had a ton of feedback over the recent Muslim travel ban since Sami Zayn is Syrian in ancestry. We’re told he himself is not affected, in the sense if he left the country he would have no trouble coming back in. But, understandably, he is furious about this. 

We didn’t talk about this last night on the show, but Conor McGregor gave a “Never say never, I know there’s been conversations (ongoing),” answer yesterday when doing his live interview PPV from Manchester, England when Ariel Helwani asked him about the WWE. Earlier, Conor on Instagram in building up the PPV did a F*** UFC, F*** WWE and F*** boxing thing to garner attention to the idea he’d rip on everyone, which he didn’t do.

Last night’s UFC on FOX did a 0.7 in the 18-49 demo and 2.02 million viewers. This doesn’t include the West Coast viewership so the final number will be higher, but this is likely to be among the lowest rated FOX shows to date, and almost certainly the lowest January show on FOX ever. With the main event ending at 10 p.m., that will hurt the growth when the final numbers come out on Tuesday. FOX had the least viewers in prime time of any network and finished third in the 18-49 demo. The NBA game on ABC that went head-to-head did 2.58 million viewers.

The plan for tonight is that the Raw announcers will do most of the show. The Smackdown announcers will do the Smackdown matches, and the 205 Live announcers will do the Neville vs. Rich Swann title match. Jerry Lawler will also be involved, doing the main event. Both Lawler and Shawn Michaels will be doing the preshow.

There are always the rumors about who will be the surprises. We’ve heard nothing at all. People noted on last night’s pregame show a note on the desk which had Zack Sabre Jr. and Sting’s names on it, which led to rumors starting on both of them. But we’ve heard nothing past that to confirm anything, and the note wasn’t necessarily Royal Rumble participants. Sabre was in town wrestling for Evolve yesterday.

Tyler Bate and Wolfgang from the U.K. tournament are both in San Antonio today, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be in the match. And it’s not a secret, given that both wrestled last night before the live special started. Pete Dunne just wrestled for Progress in London today so he’s not in the match nor in San Antonio.

On the NXT side, there are rumors of Samoa Joe, Tye Dillinger and Shinsuke Nakamura. To me, Dillinger should either enter at No. 10 and be on the main roster from that point forward, or not be in the match. It feels like Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode still has time. Joe is supposed to be on the main roster soon, but we’ve never been told he’s debuting in the Rumble. 

Matt Riddle was on the air last night just behind Bate when Bate was introduced. I wouldn’t read anything special into that past what we’ve already talked about last night.  At the NXT show last year before Mania, there were a ton of wrestlers there. All the Evolve guys were already in town and worked an afternoon show, so it made sense for them to attend, and a guy like Riddle is going to get good tickets.

As far as Google searches go, Royal Rumble was already No. 3 for the day as of this morning with 100,000 and it’ll likely end up near 1 million. Valentina Shevchenko was No. 6 at that point today. For yesterday, UFC was No.6 with 100,000. Nothing from NXT placed.

WWE
As has been noted, there are new WWE title belts being made by Orange County Choppers.
There was a huge line at a Toys R Us in San Antonio this morning for an A.J Styles signing, including a lot of fans who camped out the night before. (thanks to Michael O’Brien) 
A lot of the WWE Twitters were hacked yesterday.
The WWE brought the entire crew in from Orlando to see the Takeover show and the Rumble this weekend.
In the prime weekly slot of right after Raw, the WWE Network will be airing a new WWE 24 documentary on this past WrestleMania behind the scenes.
Miscellaneous
David Finlay of New Japan is out of action with a torn labrum.
Our UFC predictions from last night:
4-1: Mike Sempervive, David Bixenspan, and me
3-2: Mike Sawyer, Steve Juon, and Ryan Frederick
2-3: John Pollock
1-4: Josh Nason, Front Row Brian, and Paul Fontaine

We’re sorry to report on the death of Michigan independent wrestler J.J. Castillo, who died on Friday in a double homicide at a Walmart parking lot in Owooso, MI. His real name was Joe Carson and he was 31 years old. He was trained by Truth Martini and had a bloody feud with Rude Boy in some of the local indie groups. He had also fought some MMA fights under his real name. (thanks to Leonard Brand)
Jerry Seltzer, who some of you may know as the promoter of Roller Derby from 1959-1973, and is now the owner of Brown Paper Tickets, has noted wanting to work with independent promotions on doing on-line national ticketing at far lower service charges than the major ticket companies
MCW from last night in Joppa, MD before a big crowd: Sean Carr b Bobby Shields, Punk Rock All-Stars b Rock & Bowl Express, Maxwell Jacob Feinstein b Greg Excellent, Dante Caballero b Brandon Scott, Guns 4 Hire over Appalachian Outlaws, Hell Cats and Shaheem Ali & Leo St. Giovanni, Lio Rush b Anthony Henry (best match), Drolix & Chuck Lennox b Naplam Bomb & Punisher Damien Martinez, Melina b Brittany Blake to keep womens’ title, Bruiser won handicap match over Jeremiah, Sean Studd and Andy Vineberg, Sean Studd b Drolix to win the MCW title, Matt & Jeff Hardy b The Ecktourage to win the MCW tag titles, King Maxel b Kevin Eck.  The Hardys math and winning the titles was taped for Impact.
QuebecWrestling.ca announced its 2016 awards:
Wrestler of the Year — Mike Bailey
Women’s Wrestler of the Year — Vanessa Kraven
Tag Team of the Year — TDT (Mathieu St-Jacques & Thomas Du Bois)
Best High Flyer — Matt Angel
Guest of the Year — Rey Mysterio Jr.
Promotion of the Year — NSPW
Match of the Year — Matt Angel vs. Cedric Alexander

I Believe in Wrestling from Friday night in Orlando: Chasyn Rance b Faris Hakeem, Michael Patrick b Leo O’Farrell, Thea Trinidad & Kaci Lennox b Gabi Castrovinci (formerly Raquel, dropping the name since leaving TNA) & Mila Naniki, Daniel Drennen b CT Brown, JD Amazing & Chico Adams b Aaron Epic & Rey Xion, Jesse Neal won three-way over C.J. O’Doyle and Ryan Oshun, Jonny Vandal & Tyranus b Josh Hess & Leo Brien. Next show is 2/17 with Rhett Ghiddins vs. Neal for the Florida title (thanks to Al Haft)
Smash Wrestling from last night in Toronto: Scotty O’Shea b John Greed, Kevin Bennett Experience b Frankie The Mobster (3 on 1 match), Sebastian Suave b Xandra Bale, Brent Banks won three-way over Psycho Mike Rollins and Mike Bailey, Sami Callihan b Braxton Sutter, TDT b Super Smash Brothers, Tyson Dux b Tarik to retain title (thanks to Steve Khan)
Kyle Snyder, the Olympic gold medalist, yesterday became the first American to win a gold medal at the Yarygin tournament in Russia since 2009, when Steve Mocco won it.

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).
The bus will leave at 4pm (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
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).


CONTACT INFORMATION

Poll opinions: dave@wrestlingobsever.com
​Feedback: feedback@wrestlingobserver.com
Show results and news tips: newstips@wrestlingobserver.com
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