Jan. 9 News Update: WWE Confirms WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans


**The LAW’s “Worst of 2016” show is up on the site with Jason Agnew, Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski, Braden Herrington and I making our picks in 19 different categories for the very worst that professional wrestling and MMA had to offer last year. On the show, we also played “Likely / Unlikely” with predictions made for 2017 the discussed this week’s news along with a LAW Extra segment discussing Wrestle Kingdom 11 and the New Year Dash event. The show is up at http://fightnetwork.com/law/jan-8-edition-of-the-law-the-worst-of-2016/ and you can subscribe to Live Audio Wrestling on iTunes.

**The WWE officially announced today that WrestleMania 34 will take place on Sunday April 8th 2018 from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The news was broken last week by Ryan Satin at Pro Wrestling Sheet that the event would be returning to New Orleans after only four-years since the 2014 event. A press conference will be held in the city on Tuesday with representatives from the company on hand. The Times-Picayune in New Orleans stated that Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Governor John Bel Edwards are expected to attend the press conference on Tuesday.

A useless trivia fact: April 8th of next year will be the latest that WrestleMania has ever taken place in April.

**Tonight Raw takes place from New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center (right across the street from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome) and will feature Roman Reigns defending the U.S. title against Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho in a handicap match. The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels are both scheduled for the show tonight as well. Michaels is promoting “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone” WWE Studios’ film and ‘Taker is expected to be shooting some sort of angle for the Royal Rumble and would expect that ‘Taker ends up in the Rumble match.

**Raw has big competition from the College National Championship game tonight between Alabama and Clemson. Next week Raw is clear of all football competition until September.

**Very sad news today about the passing of 9-year old Elijah Mainville. He was a WWE fan that sent in a Tough Enough audition video last year and was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma in 2010. The WWE brought him to a Raw taping and did a contract signing before the show with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Stardust in the ring in front of the crowd and gave him the name “Drax Shadow”. A lot of wrestlers were tweeting about him on Sunday and it’s a very sad story and I would imagine it will be mentioned on Raw tonight.

**The WWE Network will be airing a preview show for this weekend’s U.K. tournament after Raw tonight.

**Seth Rollins posted Monday that he’s in the Royal Rumble match.

**Tokyo Sports has an interview with Kenny Omega, which has been translated by Japanese Audio Wrestling’s Chris Charlton. In the interview, Omega states that he will miss the Fantasticamania tour and may also miss the New Beginning shows in February. Omega’s storyline is that he was bound and determined to win the IWGP heavyweight title and must reassess everything after the loss at Wrestle Kingdom. In the Tokyo Sports piece, it did state that Omega has time left on his contract but didn’t state how much.

**The WWE has released the brackets for the U.K. tournament and will feature the following opening round matches:
*Tyler Bate vs. Tucker
*Danny Burch vs. Jordan Devlin
*Trent Seven vs. H.C. Dyer
*Tyson T-Bone vs. Wolfgang
*Mark Andrews vs. Dan Moloney
*Joseph Connors vs. James Drake
*Pete Dunne vs. Roy Johnson
*Sam Gradwell vs. Saxon Huxley

**Jim Ross and Josh Barnett will be voicing the Wrestle Kingdom 11 event on Tuesday in Los Angeles and with the show broken up over the next month on AXS TV. The main event between Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega will be airing this Friday night on AXS TV and will take up the entire duration of the one-hour episode.

**Mick Foley posted his comments about the Okada vs. Omega match:

1) The bar has been set VERY high for 2017 match of the year.
2) This is one of the greatest matches I have ever seen. If the Dynamite Kid vs Tiger Mask and Flair vs Steamboat classics had a baby, it’s name would be Omega vs Okada.
3) Kenny Omega is out of this world. He might be the perfect combination of wrestler/sports entertainer in the business.
4) If there was an award for best performance by a prop, the table in this match would win in a landslide. I don’t think I have ever seen a table better teased or better utilized, leading to one of the greatest payoff crowd reactions I’ve ever witnessed. On its own, it may not stand out from other remarkable table spots – but within the context of the match, it was just incredible.
4) This is probably not the best choice if you are trying to get to sleep late at night. #OmegaVsOkada may be many things, but it is NOT a cure for late night insomnia.

**Big Damo’s NXT moniker will be Killian Dain.

**Nigel McGuinness spoke to WWE.com about joining the company and serving as a commentator for this weekend’s U.K. tournament. McGuiness stated that as a performer he always believed he would make it to the WWE but in the past 3-4 years when he was retired, he felt that he wasn’t ever going to come to the WWE. McGuinness cited Kevin Kelly and Jim Cornette as people that helped him transition into a broadcasting position with Ring of Honor and finding his own voice as a commentator. It was also a landmark interview as I believe McGuinness was the first WWE personality to ever quote F. Scott Fitzgerald during an interview.

**If you are in the Toronto area on Royal Rumble weekend, Jason Agnew will be running a special improv comedy show called “Rumble Strikes” on Friday January 27th at 10:30pm at Comedy Bar (955 Bloor Street West) in the city. The show will be a wrestling themed comedy show and will include RJ City and Aftermath’s Nug Nahrgang among the players. Tickets are available now at http://comedybar.ca/show.php?Event_ID=7129.

**The WWE stock closed at $18.76 on Monday.


**Bellator has announced that they will following suit and introducing their own women’s featherweight title and will do so at Bellator 174 on Friday March 3rd. The title will be awarded to the winner between Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd on that date in Thackerville, Oklahoma with the card airing on Spike TV.

**Below is the countdown special for this Sunday’s UFC Fight Night main event between Yair Rodriguez and BJ Penn in Phoenix, Arizona:

(Jason Agnew, Dan Lovranski, John Pollock and Braden Herrington make their picks for the Worst of 2016 and then play “Likely / Unlikely” as they make predictions for 2017)
(Chris Charlton & WH Park are joined by Jojo Remy to review Wrestle Kingdom 11 and the incredible main event, New Year Dash, all the big angles shots, the return of Suzuki-gun and so much more on this mammoth edition of the show)
KEEP IT 2000 – Episode 2: What a Funk Wants
(Brian Mann & Nate Milton review the January 10th 2000 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, which was Vince Russo’s final Nitro during his first tenure with WCW as head writer)
THE MMA REPORT – The 2017 Prediction Show
(John Pollock welcomes Ariel Helwani from MMA Fighting to play “Likely / Unlikely” as we look back at 2016 predictions and make new ones for 2017 and a new game as well!)
(In their first show, Martin Bushby and Oli Court provide an overview of the U.K. wrestling scene, the key promotions, a look at the WWE’s U.K. tournament, the recent ITV World of Sport pilot and more)
REVIEW-A-SMACKDOWN – Jan. 4th 2017
(John Pollock & Wai Ting review the first episode of 2017, a great contract signing segment, Dean Ambrose wins the Intercontinental title, reviews of 205 Live and Talking Smack)
REVIEW-A-RAW: “Happy New Spear”
(John Pollock & Wai Ting review the first Raw of 2017, Bill Goldberg returns, more names for the Rumble, “Bring it to the Table” thoughts, UFC 207, your feedback and more)

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