Daily Update: Raw tonight, Dana White & Brock Lesnar, Jon Jones

THE ROUND-UP

THE LATEST NEWS

WWE announces this year’s Warrior Award recipient
NJPW reveals bracket for 2018 New Japan Cup
Lesnar vs. Reigns announced for WWE WrestleMania 34
Rousey to appear on WWE Raw as WrestleMania build continues
NJPW confirms Omega & Ibushi vs. Young Bucks for Long Beach
WWE Elimination Chamber live results, news & recap

THE LATEST AUDIO

WOL: Elimination Chamber fallout with Sempervive 2/26
WOR: Elimination Chamber, Ronda Rousey, Roman Reigns, Raw, tons more! 2/26
B&V: WWE Elimination Chamber 2018 PPV recap! 2/25

We’re looking for reports from last night’s Smackdown house show in Ontario, CA, tonight’s Smackdown house show in San Diego, and the dark match and Main Event results as well as any other news times not on Raw tonight from Anaheim to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com.

We’re looking for your thoughts on last night’s Elimination Chamber show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

Tuesday has Smackdown in Los Angeles at the Staples Center. Ruby Riott vs. Naomi has been announced, along with Finn Balor & Sasha Banks vs. The Miz & Asuka in mixed match challenge and cruiserweight title tournament matches the Roderick Strong vs. Kalisto and TJP vs. Cedric Alexander.


​F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly: WWE Announces the end of brand exclusive PPVs 

Less than two years into the current brand split, WWE announced last week that the era of brand-exclusive pay-per-views is coming to an end. Sunday’s Elimination Chamber will be the last Raw-exclusive event, and Fastlane on March 11th will be the final SmackDown PPV. Starting with Backlash on May 6th, every PPV will feature wrestlers from both Raw and SmackDown. The schedule for 2018 initially listed five dual-brand shows (the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, Money in the Bank, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series), five Raw-only shows, and four SmackDown ones.


WON NEWSLETTER: February 26, 2018 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Raw gauntlet match, brand exclusive PPVs ending, more 

A look at some of the longest matches in WWE history is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Then, look back to the Bruno Sammartino era and his matches with Waldo Von Erich and Pedro Morales, as well as look at the gauntlet match on Monday with notes on records.

Look at the reason behind WWE changing its PPV schedule, cutting back on the individual brand PPV shows and lowering the number of shows this year, the reasons behind it, the schedule for the rest of the year and an update on the next two PPV shows.

Read about the possible retirement of Keiji Muto and the latest issues facing Roman Reigns. Also look at past precedents in this situation.

There is a detailed look at New Japan’s tour of Australia, including business notes, the highlights from all the shows and talks regarding returning.

Look at Donald Cerrone and career all-time records in UFC with coverage of Sunday’s show from Austin, TX.

Read a major feature on the career of Jeff Jarrett, from his days working for his father, the move to WWF, what did and didn’t work, the infamous holding up Vince for money and background of that story, his WCW run, why WWF never took him back, the starting and history of TNA and why WWF is putting him in its Hall of fame.

Read notes on the death of Tom Zenk and how it relates to an entire era of wrestling.

This issue has more on the release of Rich Swann and his schedule, an update on the cruiserweight title tournament, a unique match added to the next Madison Square Garden show, executive positions opened, SummerSlam notes, The Miz’s baby shower, where WWE holds live events, WWE market value, Ronda Rousey honored and the most-watched shows over the past week on the WWE Network.


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WON BACK ISSUE: January 29, 2001 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Royal Rumble review, Shawn Michaels to return

In what was one of the best PPVs in the history of the WWF, the company gave a big tease for the eventual Rock vs. Steve Austin match which at this point still looks to be the headliner at Wrestlemania, putting Austin over in the Rumble. The show, featuring some strong highs and only a few lows, featured an early match of the year candidate in the Chris Jericho IC title win over Chris Benoit in a ladder match.


MONDAY NEWS UPDATE

Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Raw and the rest of today’s news as well as taking e-mail questions you can send to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com.

Jon Jones has his hearing at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning in Anaheim before the California State Athletic Commission regarding his positive test for the steroid Turinabol on a test taken the day before his fight with Daniel Cormier where he knocked Cormier out. But the decision was overturned due to the positive test. Jones’ defense has been postponed since the test came back last summer. Jones has continued to say that he never knowingly took the steroid. No matter what the CSAC rules, Jones still will have another hearing with USADA based on the positive test result.

Brock Lesnar, John Cena and Ronda Rousey are all scheduled for Raw tonight. Lesnar and Roman Reigns are to have a face-to-face confrontation. Stephanie McMahon is to do a segment with Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey. And John Cena is to do an interview related to WrestleMania. 

PW Insider reported Kane will be at the show as well. Kane was in Las Vegas yesterday but didn’t appear on the show. It is believed Asuka will announce tonight if she’s challenging Charlotte or Alexa Bliss at WrestleMania. For what it’s worth, Charlotte was the plan all along. And thus far, WWE hasn’t strayed from its plans of a month ago. But it’s also WWE, where nothing is for sure until after it’s over.

Even though Brock Lesnar wasn’t on the Elimination Chamber show, nor at the building, he was in Las Vegas yesterday, and met with Dana White. The photo of them together was taken yesterday according to MMA Junkie.

For WWN over WrestleMania week, here are the cards:

4/5 Evolve at 8 p.m. – Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Matt Riddle for Evolve title, Daisuke Sekimoto & Munenori Sawa vs. Timothy Thatcher & Walter, AR Fox vs. Will Ospreay, multi-person tag match with Chris Dickinson & Jaka vs. The End vs. James Drake & Anthony Henry vs. Tracy Williams & Dom Garrini, Keith Lee vs. Darby Allin, Austin Theory vs. DJZ
4/6 Evolve at 4 p.m. – Riddle vs. Sekimoto, Dickinson vs. Travis Banks, Walter vs. Allin
4/6 WWN Supershow at 8 p.m. – Lee vs. Sekimoto for WWN title, Sabre vs. Sawa for Evolve title, Dickinson & Jaka vs. Thatcher & Walter for tag titles, Riddle vs. Ospreay
4/7 Style Battle at 8 p.m. – Eight man single elimination tournament with Lee vs. Nick Gage
WWE
Today would have been the 30th birthday of the late Reid Fliehr, who was the impetus for Charlotte getting into pro wrestling.
NXT has announced a tour of 4/19 in Washington, DC at The Anthem, 4/20 in Bethlehem, PA at the Sands Event Center 4/21 in Bel Air, MD at the APF Federal Credit Union Arena and 4/22 in Johnstown, PA at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena.
UFC
A lawsuit filed by the Ballengee Group against Nate Diaz for more than $1 million was thrown out of court by a Texas judge who said that Texas was not the correct venue for the suit. Ballengee Group said they helped Diaz negotiate his UFC 202 contract for Conor McGregor and never received the agreed upon percentage. The suit was filed in Dallas County and it was thrown out on Friday based on jurisdiction. They had also sued Sam Awad, Diaz’ attorney, also thrown out for the same reason. Ballengee’s attorney Jason Friedman told MMA Fighting that they refile the case in California or Nevada.
The Chicago Tribune reported Sergio Pettis vs. Joseph Benavidez and Rashad Coulter vs. Allen Crowder for the 6/9 PPV show from Chicago’s United Center.
MISCELLANEOUS
Progress results from yesterday in London before 700 fans, selling out in ten minutes: David Starr & Jack Sexsmith (known as Sexy Starr) b Chief Deputy Dunne & Los Federales Santos Jr., Charlie Morgan b Millie McKenzie with interference from Jinny, Mark Davis b Maverick Mayhew in the Natural Progression series, Zack Gibson & James Drake b Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins to win back the Progress tag titles, Zack Sabre Jr. b Jonah Rock, Flash Morgan Webster won the Thunderbastard elimination match over Tyler Bate (last man eliminated), Eddie Dennis, Pete Dunne, Trent Seven, Mark Andrews, TK Cooper and Chris Brookes (Webster was helped by Vicky Haskins), Travis Banks b Matt Riddle to keep the Progress title. Webster challenged Banks after the match for a title shot. The next show is 3/25 and is already sold out.
Great Sasuke was announced as coming to WrestleCon. 
Bellator 200 was announced for 5/25 in London at SSE Wembley with Rafael Carvalho vs. Gegard Mousasi and Michael Venom Page vs. David Rickels as the top fights.
Femmes Fatales 20 from Saturday night in Ottawa before a sellout of 460 fans: Alexia Nicole b KC Spinelli, Stacy Thibault & Misty Haven b Pink Flash Kira & Angie Skye, Stafeny Sinclair b Xandra Bale, Jessicka Havok b Samantha Heights, Tessa Blanchard b Britt Baker, Vanessa Kraven b Mercedes Martinez to win the Femmes Fatales title.
IPW from Saturday night in Whanganiu, New Zealand: Kingi b Falcon Kid, JB Bennett & Oliver Griffin & Mr. Tagataese b Alex Savage & Little Ted & Will Stone, Short & Sweet b Privileged, Liger b Bradical, CTRL won three-way over Chad Howard & Paul Sayres and James Show & Jukebox Hero, Liam Fury b Vinny Dunn, Candy Lee b Misty Kitana, Mr. Burns b Ben Mana. Next show is 3/10. (thanks to Steve Ogilvie).
Melbourne City Wrestling from Saturday night in Melbourne: Lochy Hendricks b Cremator, Tome Filip b Alex Kingston, Kelly Anne b Allyson Cruz, Helter Skelter b Brad Pack-DQ Slex b Robbie Eagles in a ladder match to win the Intercommonwealth title, Will Ospreay b Gino Gambino, Elliot Sexton b JXT, Dow James b Jonathan Preston to keep MCW title. Jimmy Havoc and Toni Storm were announced for the Progress tour of Australia. Ospreay and Gambino worked Friday night for Venom Pro Wrestling on the Gold Coast. (thanks to Kevin Chiat)
Vandal Ortagun vs. Barrington Heights was added to the 3/8 MLW show in Orlando. 
Ignite Wrestling on 5/5 in Vero Beach, FL at the Walking Tree Brewery.
AAW on 3/16 in Merrionette Park, IL at 115 Bourbon Street has Jessica Havok vs. Hudson Envy for the women’s title and Moose vs. Keith Lee, plus Jushin Liger, ACH, David Starr, Trevor Lee, Eddie Kingston,k DJZ, Sami Callihan, Dave & Jake Crist, Besties in the World, Teddy Hart, Joey Janela, Dezmond Xavier, Ace Romero, MJF and more. They also run 3/31 in LaSalle, IL at the Knights of Columbus with Havok vs. Ivelisse, Besties in the World defend the tag titles against Jake Something & Curt Stallion, AR Fox & Myron Reed vs. Trey Miguel & Stephen Wolf plus ACH, Callihan, Keith Lee, Moose, David Star, Trevor Lee, Eddie Kingston and more.
Referee Rick Knox, best known for Lucha Underground and PWG, broke his clavicle during the Lucha Underground tapings. So he’s likely out for the season. 
Rise announced TV tapings on 5/12 in the Pittsburgh area and 7/8 in Berwyn, IL.
Spanish press coverage of the Jack Veneno movie that came out on Thursday. Trailer is here. (thanks to Jatzel Roman)

Today in Professional Wrestling History: Verne Gagne wins AWA World title on his birthday


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