POST IT NOTES
**Later today, we will release the 2021 MMA Prediction Show with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani as we look at last year’s predictions, and then we make a new list for 2021 with “Likely or Unlikely”. This is always a fun show to do with Ariel.
**On Friday, the upNXT crew releases a free edition of Best Match Ever looking at the best matches of Brodie Lee’s career. That’s out on the upNXT feed.
**On Friday night, Wai Ting and I will be LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Café members with Rewind-A-SmackDown.
**Bobby Davis, who was one of the first managers in professional wrestling, died on Wednesday at the age of 83. Davis, who managed the likes of Dr. Jerry & Eddie Graham, Gorilla Monsoon, Bob Orton Sr., Johnny Valentine, Johnny Barend, and Gene Dubuque, was most closely associated with the late Buddy Rogers. Davis initially tried to enter the business as a wrestler coming up in Columbus, Ohio, which was run by promoter Al Haft. Later, Davis realized he would be more effective outside of the ring than in it. He managed Rogers during the era he became NWA champion defeating Pat O’Connor at Comiskey Park in 1961 and held it until 1963. The circumstances behind the change was other promoters wanting more dates on the champion, which was controlled by Vince McMahon Sr. Rogers dropped the NWA version to Lou Thesz at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on January 24, 1963, with Rogers later being recognized as the first WWWF champion before losing to Bruno Sammartino later that year. Davis and Rogers split prior in 1962.
Davis found great fortune outside of wrestling as he was from the same hometown as Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas. Davis operated several Wendy’s franchises, getting in early with the chain expanding into the thousands and ventured into real estate.
Davis was also a key resource for historian Tim Hornbaker for his recent biography of Buddy Rogers called “Master of the Ring” and reported the news of his passing. Hornbaker has written a story for SLAM Wrestling on the passing of Davis and was probably Davis’ closest link to wrestling in his remaining years.
**A state of emergency has been declared in Japan covering Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama stemming from the rising COVID cases. This will go into effect on Friday and last for at least one month through February 7th with restrictions being imposed. The prefectures will have to meet certain thresholds for the state of emergency to be lifted, so it could last longer. Citizens are being asked to stay home after 8 pm with restaurants and pubs to close by 8 with financial assistance to businesses that comply.
As it pertains to pro wrestling, large-scale events will be capped at 50 percent capacity with a maximum of 5,000 people. No promotions have released information regarding its upcoming events. Pro Wrestling NOAH, DDT, Sendai Girls, and Ice Ribbon are among the groups with scheduled shows this weekend in the areas under the restrictions. There is also a public holiday this Monday meaning a bunch of shows are scheduled. The major ones in question would be New Japan’s shows at Korakuen Hall where they have the venue booked January 17-19 for the start of the “Road to New Beginning” tour. Stardom is also set to run Korakuen Hall on January 17th with a major show headlined by Utami Hayashishita and Maika for the World of Stardom title.
**This past week has been one of the greatest three-day periods when it comes to professional wrestling. The depth of quality was illustrated with the Last Woman Standing match between Raquel Gonzalez and Rhea Ripley, which was exceptional and yet, would be near the bottom or not even crack some people’s top ten lists for the week. The matches we have seen with Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi, Will Ospreay vs. Kazuchika Okada, Ibushi vs. Jay White, Hiromu Takahashi vs. Taiji Ishimori, Shingo Takagi vs. Jeff Cobb, Kenny Omega vs. Rey Fenix, Finn Balor vs. Kyle O’Reilly, the Last Woman Standing Match is the epitome of how high the level has become. In a normal week, we’d be high on the Hiromu vs. El Phantasmo or the eight-man tag on Dynamite and they are afterthoughts this week. This year could not have started with a higher bar being set regarding match quality and the performers to watch out for in 2021. The state of the art evolves on a weekly basis and those that are challenging the boundaries and finding a way to breakthrough are the ones that will thrive. The old mentality is being exposed as it appears some are chasing after an audience that either isn’t around anymore or has evolved their tastes and you have to satisfy the audience of today and tomorrow, not yesterday.
**Wednesday’s ratings for AEW Dynamite and NXT New Year’s Evil will be out on Friday. Obviously, there will be enormous viewership for the news due to the events in D.C.
**IMPACT Wrestling’s first episode of 2021 averaged 148,000 viewers and finished 140th for the night on cable with a 0.04 in the 18-49 demographic. The show included an advertised appearance by Kenny Omega, who attacked Rich Swann & The Motor City Machine Guns alongside Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows. Next week is a big episode as it’s their final show before “Hard to Kill” and it would make sense to have a big push for the main event on both IMPACT and Wednesday’s Dynamite.
**El Sol de Salamanca has an update on Septimo Dragon, who is recovering after being struck by a vehicle while riding his motorcycle on December 27th. The performer’s father spoke with the newspaper stating his son was making progress and was set to undergo his fourth operation yesterday, which should allow him to get out of the intensive care unit. In September 2019, it was announced he had signed a multi-year deal with MLW and has been wrestling professionally for almost a decade.
**Bateman is the latest performer to re-sign with Ring of Honor. He joined the promotion in 2019 and was part of Final Battle last month teaming with Vincent in a loss to Matt Taven & Mike Bennett.
**Greg Oliver wrote a piece at Slam Wrestling on the passing of famed manager Bobby Davis and his interactions with Davis by phone.
**After Dynamite, Kenny Omega and Don Callis cut a promo hyping next week’s six-man tag with “The Elite”. Callis repeatedly said Omega would team with “his two best friends” but was careful to never say The Young Bucks.
**Jonny Candido and John Cosper are set to release a biography on the late Chris Candido called “No Gimmicks Needed”. Cosper worked with Chris’ brother on the book. Chris died tragically in 2005 at the age of 33.
**Next week’s episode of IMPACT has the following matches advertised:
*Rich Swann vs. Karl Anderson
*Tenille Dashwood vs. Rosemary
*Taya Valkyrie vs. Kimber Lee
*Tommy Dreamer vs. Cody Deaner
**Stardom has released its card for Korakuen Hall on January 17th with a loaded line-up:
*World of Stardom Championship: Utami Hayashishita (champion) vs. Maika
*Wonder of Stardom Championship: Giulia (champion) vs. Natsuko Tora
*Elimination Match: Bea Priestley & Saki Kashima vs. Mayu Iwatani & Ruaka vs. Syuri & Himeka vs. Momo Watanabe & Saya Kamitani
*Starlight Kid vs. Tam Nakano
*Natsupoi vs. Konami
* High-Speed Championship: AZM (champion) vs. Kaori Yoneyama
*Future of Stardom Championship: Saya Iida (champion) vs. Unagi Sayaka
**Steven Muelhlhausen at DAZN/Sporting News spoke with Mike Bennett on his return to Ring of Honor and spoke about the last time he was happy in wrestling prior to this return:
Probably in Impact. We did a segment in Impact, it was a wedding segment with Allie, Braxton and Maria. That was probably the last time I actually enjoyed working, believe it or not. That was probably like almost four years ago, where I was genuinely happy enjoying myself. I loved my time over at Impact. So I had a good time going there. But the last three years at WWE, I just wasn’t happy. It’s not a knock on WWE, they have a culture there. That’s how they run their business. Some people work jobs that they hate all the time. And it’s just they come to an agreement that I’m just not happy here and some people are and some people are not. It just happened that this place isn’t for me. I don’t like how it functions. It doesn’t meet my values.
**The WWE stock closed at $48.43 on Thursday.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis – UFC Fight Night, Feb. 20th (ESPN)
Andrei Arlovski vs. Tom Aspinall – UFC Fight Night, Feb. 20th
Julia Avila vs. Julija Stoliarenko – UFC Fight Night, Feb. 20th (MMA Fighting)
ON THIS DATE
upNXT 1/6/21: New Year’s Evil
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT’s New Year’s Evil headlined by Finn Balor vs Kyle O’Reilly for the NXT Championship.
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 1/6/21: Omega vs. Fenix, Bullet Club Reunion
John Pollock and Wai Ting review the first AEW Dynamite of 2021: “New Years Smash – Night 1” featuring Kenny Omega vs. Rey Fenix and a Bullet Club reunion.
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 POST Show (Night 2)
John Pollock and Wai Ting review NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 (Night 2) headlined by Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White and Taiji Ishimori vs. Hiromu Takahashi.
REWIND-A-RAW 1/4/21: Legends Night, Goldberg challenges McIntyre
John Pollock & Wai Ting review Legends Night on WWE Raw featuring a WWE Championship match between Drew McIntyre and Keith Lee and the post-match challenge by Bill Goldberg.
NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 POST Show (Night 1)
John Pollock and Wai Ting review NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 15 (Night 1) headlined by Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi and Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay.
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