by David Bixenspan | email@example.com | Follow @davidbix
– NXT at 8 p.m. ET on WWE Network features matches taped at WWE Fan Axxess during WrestleMania weekend, including a look at Hideo Itami’s tournament win to get into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
– Lucha Underground at 8 p.m. ET on El Rey is episode 1×22: Mask vs. Mask, and it features more trios tournament action with Prince Puma revealing his teammates, Team Son of Havoc vs. Team Drago, and Super Fly vs. Sexy Star. There’s a teaser video that Lucha Underground tweeted as well as a preview video on YouTube. Official description from El Rey:
Tonight, each fighter must put their differences aside as the title of champion relies on their partners. Cueto’s Trios Tournament continues when Angelico, Ivelisse and Son of Havoc must work together to face Drago, Aerostar and Fenix. Long time partners Sexy Star and Super Fly will compete against each other, while Champion Prince Puma takes on King Cuerno, Tune in Wednesday, April 8th at 8:00PM ET/PT on El Rey Network to see our first ever Mask vs Mask Match!
– UFC programming on Fox Sports 1 consists of:
8:00 p.m. ET A new episode of UFC Tonight
9:00 p.m. ET Back to back reruns of the two newest episodes of UFC Ultimate Knockouts: Knockouts from 2014 and Best of the Lighter Weight Classes.
10:00 p.m. ET A new episode of UFC Unleashed: The Ultimate Fighter Champions.
The newest issue of Figure Four Weekly is up on the site for subscribers (subscribe here) with a look at AJ Lee’s retirement/departure from WWE, Vinny’s annual WrestleMania trip coverage, and all of the usual reviews and international news.
Also, now available for the first time on Kindle (meaning Kindle devices and anything with the Kindle app) is Fall Guys, the seminal 1937 book that has been described as being like the 1930s version of the Wrestling Observer. It was surprisingly not on Kindle already, so we put together a nice version with a full table of contents w/ chapter marks, proper formatting on everything, etc. Right now it’s available from the American, Canadian, and Australian Amazon/Kindle stores OR you can also buy it from anywhere in the world on PayHip, who will provide you with both Kindle and ePub (every other e-reader) format files, and you can either sideload them to your device or have them email it to your Kindle.
Our annual WrestleMania issue of the Observer is out right now. The new issue covers the entire show with exclusive backstage notes, full coverage of all the matches, injuries, and craziness of the week for not just WWE but all the promotions in town, the most detailed look at where the WWE Network stands, the aftermath of the death of Perro Aguayo Jr., the reaction to Roman Reigns not winning the title, full details on New Japan’s presence in the U.S. both on television and arena events and the best Raw ratings in a year.
The latest Observer: April 6, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Annual WrestleMania issue, Ronda Rousey, new WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar and more!
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The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
Our lead story covers WrestleMania. We look at the title plans for the show, how they changed, who knew what and when, was Seth Rollins the guy for the spot and what the arguments were, next year’s WrestleMania, Vince McMahon putting over Ronda Rousey on his biggest platform, Rock & Rousey preparation for the angle, real attendance, gate claims and other records, merchandise sales, how much people paid in San Jose, why the attendance number was announced as large as it was, biggest real WWE crowds in history, who got the biggest reaction, UFC allowing its talent to do pro wrestling appearances, looking at the results of the show, arguments on HHH vs. Sting finish and the horrible commentary.
We look at who were the most popular and talked about characters on the show, booking changes, show changes and more.
We also have match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.
We also look at the WWE Network number and what it means. We talk about why Wall Street was so negative on the stock, expanded costs and what that means to both break-even and to making the network financially viable. We look at what number of subscribers the network needs to bring the company back to where it was profitability wise and what it needs to make up for the losses of PPV and iPPV revenue.
We look at how many new subscribers the free February brought in, why WrestleMania taking in far less revenue than before is not alarming, how February free compared to November free, what the next big questions regarding the network are and when we will know the answers, the future of NXT, what Vince McMahon said about Sting, and details of lots of new WWE television shows and what it says about both the direction of the network and the relationship of the company with one of its all-time biggest stars.
We’ve also got more on Brock Lesnar’s new contract, updates on Dwayne Johnson, trouble after WrestleMania,, 2017 WrestleMania, Hall of Fame thoughts, story behind why Scott Steiner was banned from the Hall of Famer, Notes on Jimmy Jacobs to WWE, when Paul Heyman found out about Brock Lesnar signing, his thoughts on the negotiations, Daniel Bryan talks Roman Reigns, how he thinks the Reigns situation and Batista situation were different, Bryan talks Mania, Jim Ross on Bryan vs. Reigns, Bryan talks the details of his neck injury and the recovery from it.
Bill Goldberg talks about his relationship with WWE, we look at the Nikki Bella/A.J. Lee angle, Samoa Joe notes, changes on the 4/13 Raw show, Why Scotty 2 Hotty and Brian Christopher were not at the Hall of Fame with Rikishi, Phil Baroni and WWE, C.J. Parker giving notice, Ric Flair’s funny comments that made Michael Cole change the subject and two new WWE movies.
We’ve got an update on the medical examiner’s cause of death for Perro Aguayo Jr., how big the story was in Mexico, the plight this past week of Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr., the funeral of Aguayo Jr., Dorian Roldan talks the Aguayo death, Santo talks the Aguayo death, and his doctors talk about whether he came in with a serious injury.
We also look at the NXT show in San Jose, business notes on the show, why Vince McMahon extended the time, reaction to HHH, and full coverage of the show. We also talk about what the NXT crowd showed about the plight of women performers in WWE. We also look at the NXT tournament, and future of the NXT brand.
We also have full coverage of the ROH show in Redwood City, with match-by-match coverage and star ratings.
We also look at other stars of the weekend, and the other shows, nostalgia, hot matches and new stars.
We also have an exclusive look at New Japan’s new U.S. TV deal, as well as what matches will be airing on what nights from when it starts.
The Observer is the world’s most detailed weekly pro wrestling publication, in its 32nd year of publication, and is read by the biggest names in the pro wrestling, industry, MMA industry, sports world and on Wall Street.
We also have our regular features such as the most complete look at ratings, plus results of the major house show events each week in pro wrestling and MMA, and complete inside rundowns of all the TV shows.
Also in this week’s issue:
–Former fired main eventer brought back and what it says
–Full details on Pro Wrestling NOAH’s upcoming tag team tournament
–The latest on the NOAH vs. Suzuki-gun feud
–Major news on Invasion Attack
–Update on New Japan ticket sales
–Jim Ross talks Okada
–Notes on New Japan’s big show of he week
–More on the upcoming debut of Global Force Wrestling
–More on how the Tokyo Dome show did on PPV
–More on the death of Cincinnati Red
–WWE star’s new comedy show
–Update on Mysterio and Lucha Underground
–Future of Lucha Underground
–Thoughts on the promotion touring
–End of the season notes
–More on Alberto El Patron and injuries and real fights
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–More on the New Japan visit to ROH in May
–A look at other New Japan stars coming to ROH
–ROH star gives notice
–TNA inks Canadian English language TV deal
–More on thoughts regarding TNA embracing U.K. as a home promotion
–Notes on Destination America calling key shots with TNA
–Destination America changing programming
–TNA signing new overseas deals including getting a deal with a station that used to carny WWE
–Thoughts on McGregor vs. Aldo and featherweight records
–Amazing interest in the McGregor-Aldo press conference
–UFC first quarter and second quarter business notes
–UFC major executive gone
–Notes on Cris Cyborg’s deal with UFC
–This week’s UFC show
–Lots of new UFC matches
–More on commission overturning fight result
–Fourth Horsewoman signs contract
–Update on Nick Diaz
–Possible next fight for Josh Barnett
–Next Invicta show top fights
–Match of the year candidate in Bellator
–Bellator talking to a top ten ranked heavyweight boxer
–New Bellator fights
If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today. With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today.
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we’ll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We’ve got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue.
Our most requested issues in our history are:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you’ll know exactly what was said–the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)a
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our history)
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy’s win over Brock Lesnar)
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair’s book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair’s book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund, Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez–this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year’s Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby–many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling–the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff’s book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn’t click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride’s offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage–which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women’s wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair’s meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk, Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods..
To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $20 for shipping costs to Canada and $25 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
Wednesday Daily Update
— If you’re attending any of the WWE European tour house shows or NXT house shows on their latest loop around Florida, please send reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.
— After TMZ ran their initial story about the threats against Hulk Hogan that his wife Jennifer McDaniel alleges Scott Steiner relayed to her at the San Jose airport, Steiner gave his side of the story to them. The gist is that he’s saying that McDaniel is lying, he never touched her or threatened anyone, there were police officers nearby that she could’ve spoken to if she felt threatened, and that what actually happened was that “I told her Hulk introducing ‘Macho Man’ into the Hall of Fame is bullsh*t…He hated him. Everyone knew that.”
As much of a worker as Hogan can be, it should be noted that he hasn’t pushed for any publicity surrounding the incident. It’s possible that it wouldn’t have gotten out if Scott Steiner hadn’t been banned from the Hall of Fame with fans seeing that his picture was posted at every entrance. The initial TMZ post, while slightly more detailed than what was in the Observer last week, still came almost a week after the gist of the story had been reported here, so Hogan didn’t exactly go running to TMZ to publicize what happened.
— With today marking a year since The Ultimate Warrior passed away, his wife, Dana Warrior, tweeted out an essay on Twitlonger. Be prepared to get very sad very fast, as she starts by talking about how she left his suitcases from last year’s WrestleMania weekend zipped up (remember, he died not long after they got off their flight home) and will probably never unpack them.
— Shawn Merriman was asked on Fox Sports Live if he could beat CM Punk if he went into the UFC. When recounting their Twitter war (Punk said Merriman was hitting on some of the WWE Divas by a pool in Costa Rica to the point it got uncomfortable), he explained that “This comes from a guy who was wearing a small speedo/thong next to the pool, so he can’t be that tough.”
— At MMAFighting.com, Luke Thomas has an in-depth review of the judge’s decision in granting Bellator’s injunction to keep Quinton “Rampage” Jackson from fighting for the UFC (or outside of Bellator in general), including an embed of the full 25 page dccision at the bottom of the article. One of the more interesting notes pertains to Jackson’s request for the official breakdown of pay-per-view buys for the card headlined by his fight vs. King Mo Lawal:
“Defendant’s claim for breach of contract is not that he should receive additional compensation because the numbers given to him by Bellator were wrong; rather, he appears to want the reports for what he believes is evidence of his claim that the fight was not adequately promoted or that he was not adequately promoted.”
In spite of this:
“There is no marketing agreement set forth in the Agreement requiring, for example, a minimum or maximum amount to be spent on the promotion of Defendant’s fights.”
What it comes down to is that Jackson never gave Bellator a chance to match UFC’s offer, which he was required to do, even after declaring that Bellator had breached the contract. There’s lots more to it, though, both in Luke’s article and the decision itself.
— No word yet on if UFC is up for booking the fight, but Jorge Masvidal tweeted that he’s up for fighting Benson Henderson at UFC 186 in a welterweight bout to help bring Henderson’s offer to build the show back up to fruition. Henderson was originally scheduled to be Masvidal’s opponent this past Saturday at in Fairfax, Virginia in a lightweight bout, but Al Iaquinta was subbed in for Henderson when he took his welterweight fight against Brandon Thatch in February. Meanwhile, welterweight Matt Brown also tweeted that he has “good news” with a “big announcement coming soon.”
— Per BloodyElbow.com, Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera confirmed on the Revista Combate TV show that he’s fighting Stefan Struve at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro on August 1st. There are a lot of questions about what, if anything, both guys have left to offer, so this is the lowest risk fight each guy could be booked in while still being a theoretically marketable bout with a name opponent that should have some good local appeal in Brazil.
— Brent Brookhouse reported at MMAJunkie.com that Bellator has booked Pat Curran vs. Goiti Yamauchi and David “The Caveman” Rickels vs. John Alessio for Bellator 139 on June 26th at Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas. Rickels is best known for his wacky caveman and dinosaur themed entrances like “driving” a Flintstones-style car and wearing the head of a Barney costume to the cage.
— A couple notes from Kris Zellner’s Lucha Report:
WWE announced Monday that they will be returning to Mexico on October 16, 17th, & 18th where they will be going to Merida, Mexico City, & Monterrey respectively.
New Japan announced yesterday that Tetsuya Naito would be heading to EMLL on 5/23 and would be hanging around for about a month.
— Junk Food Clothing, maker of various “vintage” t-shirts, has announced a deal with WWE, and the shirts are already on WWE Shop.
— Marshall Ward at Slam Wrestling has a two part Q&A up with Jerry Brisco (Part 1, Part 2) covering a variety of topics, including next week’s Cauliflower Alley Club banquest (where he will be receiving the Lou Thesz Lifetime Achievement Award), amateur wrestling, mastering tag team wrestling with his brother, discovering Hulk Hogan, what the Cauliflower Alley Club means to him (next week’s banquet is the 50th annual one), and much more.
— The latest episode of my podcast, The Bix Show, went up today with legendary Memphis announcer and Wrestling Observer Hall of Famer Lance Russell and AVClub Raw reviewer LaToya Ferguson as guests. Lance is, as always, a wonderful guest, covering topics both recent (like the Memphis Grizzlies’ Wrestling Night) and historical (including a great story about how Tony Charles was convinced to do a clean job for Bill Dundee in a match worked in Charles’s British style). The show is now available on Stitcher Radio if that’s your preferred way to listen to podcasts.
— Pro Wrestling Eclipse has ”April Anarchy” this Sunday, April 12th at the Royal Canadian Legion in Oshawa, Ontario with a bell time of 2:00 p.m. The card has Will White vs. RJ City for the PWE Title, Kailtin Diemond vs. Miss Danyah for the PWE Flame Title, Chip Chambers vs. Buck Gunderson for the PWE Cruiserweight Title, The Flatliners (Asylum and Burns) vs. Sons of Victory (The Hardcore Hick and T-Rex Atkins) for the PWE Tag Team Titles, Tarik vs Ray Steel, and Cody Dreamer vs John Greed.
— Today in history notes for April 8th:
20 years ago today, ECW held the first of two back to back Saturday night ECW Arena shows taped for television and ECW Home Video release. The Three-Way Dance (the first time the name was used) was named after the main event, scheduled to be Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit defending the tag titles against both The Public Enemy and the team of Sabu and The Tazmaniac (who was repackaged a “shooter Taz” a few weeks later). The match was the culmination of several months of interconnected angles, going back to Benoit breaking Sabu’s ribs in October and Sabu also taking issue with Rocco Rock “stealing his gimmick” of putting opponents through tables.
The April 8th show was added in the first place because the match was originally scheduled for the April 15th show, but the match was moved to the new, earlier show because NJPW booked Benoit on the 15th. The day after the change, NJPW booked Sabu for a one-off appearance (not a full tour) on a Heisei Ishingun (worked splinter promotion) show on the same date. With NJPW being Sabu’s primary job in wrestling just like it was for Benoit, the result was inevitable, but tensions escalated and Sabu didn’t give final word of his choice until changing his outgoing answering machine message after the go-home episode of TV had been completed.
As for the show itself, Heyman famously explained the situation to the crowd, leading to a “F–k Sabu!” chant, and Rick Steiner (a few weeks removed from a WCW deal falling apart after The Steiner Brothers’ return was announced on TV) came in as a short notice replacement for Sabu. The Public Enemy regained the tag titles, but the show is probably best remembered these days for the debut of Eddy Guerrero, who beat 2 Cold Scorpio to win the TV Title in a tremendous match that’s available on WWE Network.
As for the Heisei Ishingun show, Sabu went to a double countout with Gedo. For much more on the story, check out the April 17, 1995 issue of the Observer, which is available to subscribers (subscribe here).