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It’s a slow news Friday my friends as we try to wrap up the first week of 2018. I actually typed 2017 before I corrected myself. It always throws me off in the first week of a new year.

John Cena’s in the news again because his on-again, off-again status in WWE will see him return to the Smackdown brand to take part in the Fastlane pay-per-view in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday, March 11. The event takes place at the Nationwide Arena. It’s the last pay-per-view before WrestleMania.

Here’s the tweet sent out by the Nationwide Arena with a link to ticket sales.

Here’s what they have advertised on the Nationwide Arena website for the event with an interesting main event.

WWE FASTLANE comes to Columbus for the FIRST time!

Witness the final WWE Pay per View before Wrestlemania 34.

Special Appearance by John Cena!

See your favorite WWE Smackdown Superstars in action live including:

WWE CHAMPION – AJ STYLES VS RANDY ORTON VS SHINSUKE NAKAMURA VS KEVIN OWENS VS SAMI ZAYN IN A FATAL FIVE WAY MATCH FOR THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP

PLUS, CHARLOTTE, BOBBY ROODE, BARON CORBIN, JINDER MAHAL, NEW DAY, THE USOS, DOLPH ZIGGLER

PLUS MANY MORE! (Card subject to change)

I think “card subject to change” is important to look at there. I know this five-way match was first mentioned a few weeks ago and some websites reported it, but I was reluctant to do so. I find it highly unlikely that WWE would send out advertising for a PPV lineup three months in advance, so I’m reluctant to believe that it is true.

As for Cena, we know he’s going to be a part of the Royal Rumble already. Cena is also likely a lock to appear on the January 22 edition of Raw that is the 25 year anniversary of the show. I don’t think he’s going to win the Rumble, but I think Cena will have a bigger WrestleMania match this year compared to what he had last year.

UPDATE:  Cena is also advertised for the Raw brand Elimination Chamber PPV on February 25. That news came out after this update published.

 

MIXED MATCH CHALLENGE UPDATES

This week has been filled with WWE announcing teams for the Mixed Match Challenge that starts on Facebook on Tuesday, January 16 at 10pmET after Smackdown concludes.

Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss (Raw)

Bobby Roode and Charlotte Flair (Smackdown)

Finn Balor and Sasha Banks (Raw)

Rusev and Lana (Smackdown)

Apollo Crews and Nia Jax (Raw)

Jimmy Uso and Naomi (Smackdown)

Here’s the announcement of Jimmy and Naomi teaming up. They are a husband and wife team like Rusev and Lana.

Here’s the video of Jax finding out Crews is her partner and she’s not thrilled about it.

There are still more teams that will be announced, but I think the team of Strowman and Bliss are the likely winners. Does it matter? No, but that’s my pick for now.

 

IN OTHER NEWS

– WWE canceled the first of their three scheduled 205 Live house shows this month. The show was scheduled to take place on 1/19 at the Ryan Center in Kingston, Rhode Island. The reason for the cancellation, according to the Ryan Center website, is due to “routing and scheduling issues.” Fans that got tickets can contact the venue for refunds. (PWInsider)

The real reason is likely due to not enough tickets being sold, but it’s not like WWE is going to admit that. It’s not a good sign for 205 Live.

The shows scheduled for January 20 (Lowell, MA) and January 21 (Poughkeepsie, NY) are both still on.

– Here’s how the touring schedule looks for WWE talent this weekend.

Raw: Evansville, Indiana (Friday), Cape Girardeau, Missouri (Saturday) and West Plain, Missouri on Sunday.  Raw on Monday takes place in Memphis, Tennessee.

Smackdown: Jackson, Mississippi (Saturday), Mobile, Alabama (Sunday) and Montgomery, Alabama on Monday.  Smackdown Live on Tuesday takes place in Birmingham, Alabama.

The main NXT crew is in Spartanburg, South Carolina tonight and they’re in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday.

 

THE VIDEO SECTION

Here’s a cool video where WWE produced the 1996 WWE Raw intro using current stars. It was made by a guy named Adam Kirshner, who does a great job with WWE videos.

WWE released a list of eight superstars you must keep an eye on in 2018.

Also, today is National Bird Day (really?) and WWE posted a video of Koko B Ware singing “Bird, Bird, Bird” for it. It’s a classic. Not really.

THE PLUG ZONE

I wrote a review of Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega from Wrestle Kingdom 12 on Thursday that you can check out here. Jericho shot an angle with Tetsuya Naito on Friday, so it’s very possible Jericho will wrestle another match in Japan. I plan on writing a review of the whole show for Saturday or maybe even Sunday. It’s tough to find five hours to watch the whole thing. Life is busy.

Daniel Bryan’s wrestling future is a big question mark coming into 2018, so I tried to sum what we know, what he’s said about his status and more in this exclusive article I did for The Comeback. Please check it out.

 

IN CLOSING 

That’s all for this week. Keep checking the site all weekend as we post more content and I’ll be back on Monday with another news update.

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