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Daily Update: Ambrose, BJ Penn, Thurman vs. Porter, Funk returns, CM Punk odds

Punk vs. Gall

Ambrose Triple-Shot, Penn Suspended

Dean Ambrose was the weekend workhorse, main eventing all three house shows. On Saturday night, he worked in Boston beating Seth Rollins. He flew to Jacksonville where in a rarity for a house show, the WWE title was the opening match, where he beat Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in a three-way. He then rushed to Orlando and worked the main event, beating Rollins once again. 

Also on the Jacksonville show, Simon Gotch was shaken up after being kicked in the face. We don't have an update past the point that after the kick, he rolled to the floor and never got back in the ring, and needed help to the back and they put up an "X" sign.

B.J. Penn has accepted a six-month suspension from USADA after he had admitted using an IV out of competition in forms. He said he wasn't aware IV usage was banned outside of competition.  The suspension is through 9/25, six months after the date he admitted on a form that he had used the IV.  Penn has also challenged Georges St-Pierre to a third fight once his suspension is over.


We're looking for your thoughts from Friday night's ROH 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.

Raw is tonight in Tampa and is the only show of the week with John Cena scheduled. We're looking for reports from Raw with dark matches, Superstars matches and anything else not evident on the live show to NewsTips@WrestlingObserver.com. We're also looking for reports from Saturday's WWE house show in Boston and last night's show in Jacksonville, as well as yesterday's Ultima Lucha tapings in Los Angeles.

Smackdown will be taped on Tuesday night in Tampa, with a skeleton crew because a number of wrestlers are laving after Raw for Honolulu.

There will be a tour of Japan and Hawaii that starts Wednesday night in Honolulu (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Usos, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Shinsuke Nakamura, Asuka, A.J. Styles, Chris Jericho).

THE ROUNDUP


The 10th annual Wrestling Observer/F4W convention in Las Vegas takes place during UFC's International Fight Week from July 7 - 11. Ed in San Antonio has information on Facebook, or you can email him at F4Wfan@hotmail.com. It's always a fun time, so hurry up and make your plans to join Dave Meltzer, Bryan Alvarez, Vinny, Granny, Ed, Peach, Dez, Dr. Lucha, Rodney, Sr. Jaialai, "Filthy" Tom, and the rest of the group in beautiful Las Vegas this July. Plus... some extra secret surprises.


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Figure Four Weekly

READ IT HERE: Figure Four Weekly 6/20/2016: Never trust Nigerian investors - Growing up as a way-too-hardcore-for-my-age wrestling fan, I looked forward to watching whatever flavor of wrestling from the Dallas Sportatorium was on ESPN and in syndication at the time. The ESPN show was perfect for kids who loved pro wrestling: It aired at 4 p.m. eastern time, so it was perfect for after-school viewing... Subscribers click here to continue reading. 


Wrestling Observer Newsletter

READ IT HERE: June 27, 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Roman Reigns suspended, Money in the Bank review, more - Details on the suspension of Roman Reigns after a wellness policy violation, Money in the Bank reviewed, more...

A look at the prospective UFC sale is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The issue looks at the main bidders, what kind of money is being bid, how much the Fertittas have made from the endeavor, the situation with Dana White, what is and isn't expected to change, why the sale is coming now and who exactly owns what percentage of the company, plus a look at just how deep the UFC 200 show is.

Pluse there is a major story on the gamble of Brock Lesnar in UFC 200, the most in-depth look at the Ariel Helwani situation that you'll find anywhere, full coverage of NXT Takeover, UFC 199, WWE Money in the Bank, and the details of TNA's struggle to stay alive, its PPV and its future. There is also a breakdown on the WWE cruiserweight classic, and monthly WWE and TNA business figures.

This issue looks at Michael Bisping's unlikely title win, all the ramifications of the Lesnar deal, what it shows about WWE, a look back at the last time WWE risked one of their stars against an outsider without scripting, how Ariel Helwani got to be a star reporter and how that played into what happened last week, and what aspects of the story that are really more important that haven't been covered or have been overlooked.

Inside this week, there is also a look at the death of a key WWE musician, more on what Ali learned from pro wrestling, Bryan Danielson attends WWE event, Bobby Roode's debut, notes on SummerSlam, new WWE executive hire, new WWE announcer, WWE looking for new members of creative, who is expected to return shortly, another animated WWE movie, update on Paul Heyman plus a full rundown on all the WWE & NXT live events this past week and business notes on the shows.

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Wrestling Observer Newsletter BACK ISSUE

READ IT HERE: May 24, 1999 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: ECW Hardcore Heaven/WWF No Mercy - Amidst rumors flying everywhere of the possible demise of the company and others who are talking that the company is a short period away from growing bigger than ever, the ECW Hardcore Heaven PPV came off like a show that was a bridge for the company to something new, but when it was over, there were still no answers over whether what is new is good news or bad news... Current subscribers click here to continue reading.


MONDAY NEWS UPDATE

Bryan and I will be back tonight covering Raw, G-1 and the latest wrestling and MMA news. You can send questions to the show to MailBag@WrestlingObserver.com. We have a show from last night with a very detailed look back at the Chris Benoit murders of his wife and son, as well as comments related to the Talk is Jericho episode with Sandra Toffoloni (Nancy Benoit's sister who knows the subject better than anyone). The Jericho podcast is here.   

The Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter boxing match that aired on Saturday night on CBS, the first prime time boxing show on the network in decades, did 2.12 million viewers on the fast nationals, barely beating Major League Baseball on FOX that did 2.05 million for last place among the major networks. NBC did 3.18 million viewers for the Olympic gymnastics championships. It should be noted those are all numbers from the overnights, which means the numbers will change before final ratings are out... That fight was incredible, by the way. I think Mauro Ranallo, who announced it, called it the best fight he'd ever called or something like that after the fact, but he was touting it strong in the last few rounds for fight of the year.  If you didn't see it, you can watch or DVR it at 10 p.m.tonight on CBS Sports Network. It will also be replayed on 7/1 at 11 p.m. on CBS  Sports Network. It will also replay later this week on Showtime.

AXS has announced that they will be airing replays of World Pro Wrestling every Tuesday through Friday morning at 5 a.m. starting on 7/4. The shows will be replayed episodes in order, beginning from when Jim Ross joined the broadcast team.

Oddsmaker sat www.Bovada.lv announced odds of Mickey Gall at -300 vs. C.M. Punk at +265 for the show in Cleveland on 9/10.

Terry Funk will be returning for House of Hardcore shows on 9/16 in St. James, NY and 9/17 in Philadelphia at the 2300 Arena. Ricochet is also on both shows.

WWE

  • WWE announced today an international partnership with the Special Olympics. WWE will support the Special Olympics Play Unified campaign and WWE performers will participate in Play Unified events from around the world. 
  • Kurt Angle talks returning to WWE. 
  • As noted before, on Smackdown, they continued to promote the three-way with Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins for Battleground on 7/24, with no mention being made of Reigns not being on the show or not being around. Shaun Smith noted that on the WWE page on the Sky Sports website where they always report on WWE news, whether it be storyline or real, such as the Adam Rose suspension being reported, there is not a mention at all of the Roman Reigns suspension, and the main news item talks about the three-way match. 
  • Stephanie McMahon is advertised to return on tonight's Raw in Tampa. 
  • Finn Balor, who is always messing around, did another tease, essentially putting up a photo of tonight's Raw stage to tease he'll be on the show, and then took it down.

UFC

UFC activities planned for UFC 200 week:

  • There will be open workouts on 7/5 at the MGM Grand Casino Floor from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. with Rafael dos Anjos, Eddie Alvarez, Roy Nelson, Derrick Lewis, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Claudia Gadelha, Ross Pearson and Will Brooks. This is free and open to the public.
  • There will be a press conference on 7/6 at Noon at the MGM Grand KA Theater with Dana White, Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones, Brock Lesnar, Mark Hunt, Miesha Tate, Amanda Nunes, Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Cain Velasquez and Travis Browne. This is also free and open to the public.
  • There are weigh-ins at 4 p.m. at the T Mobile Arena on Wednesday for the Thursday sow.
  • On 7/7, there will be open workouts from 9-11 p.m. at the T Mobile Arena with Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones, Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt free and open to the public. Lesnar will be at 10:30 p.m.
  • There will be a press conference at 11:30 p.m. at the T Mobile Arena on 7/7 with Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. This is free and open to the public.
  • There are weigh-ins for the Friday show at 1 p.m. on Thursday at the T Mobile arena free and open to the public. 
  • On Friday, 7/8, there is the Fan Expo from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center. 
  • On Saturday, 7/9, the Fan Expo is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
  • On Sunday, 7/10 the Fan Expo is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Hall of Fame ceremony will be that afternoon as part of the Fan Expo.
  • The Observer/Figure Four convention is that same weekend.

Jim Ross on Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt:

If Jim was surprised that the WWE agreed to allow Lesnar to fight at UFC 200

“Well, not really. Brock is part-time performer for the WWE, certainly a phenomenal performer, and one could certainly say that he and or John Cena are 1-A as far as the top guys in the company. But I think that Vince certainly wants to keep his talent happy. The happier you keep your guys, the more productive they will be. Brock had an opportunity to earn a remarkable payday for UFC 200 – and I’m hearing all kind of numbers. I have no idea what the conclusive number is, but I’m thinking it’s certainly north of three-million dollars, and maybe more than that. Which is pretty good, as they say, day’s work. So I think Vince probably wanted to keep Brock happy. But I certainly think that somewhere down the road, Vince’s generosity will be repaid by the UFC in the form of something that is good for the WWE – Vince talked about Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania 33. Something like that could certainly be in the cards. So the way I looked at it, and I wrote about it on my website, it’s a win-win. I think everybody wins. Lesnar gets a great payday, UFC gets an attraction that’s going to drive pay-per-view buys without question, and the WWE makes the talent happy. I’m sure [WWE] got some kind of compensation for it directly, and then some sort of indirect pay-off at a time to be determined is probably in the works as well.”

If a loss hurts Lesnar’s reputation and drawing power in the WWE

“No, I don’t think so. I can certainly see why that question would be asked – and it is a good question. I think that people are now, with all the information on social media, I think people can differentiate a real sport, UFC athletic event, from a structured, theatrical-based presentation in sports entertainment. I just don’t think it would hurt him at all, quite frankly.”

If Lesnar will have more fights in the future

“I would say [regarding] more fights in the future, I’m guessing – strictly guessing – less than fifty-fifty. I would approach this as it’s more than likely the last time I’m gonna see Brock Lesnar in the octagon. But as sure as I say that, you know, [if] he goes out there and has a stellar performance against a heavy-handed Mark Hunt and gets his hand raised, he may get the itch to do another one somewhere down the road. And again, if the money’s right – obviously UFC’s paying WWE something for the use of Brock Lesnar’s services, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a unique deal because it’s never happened before – but I think it’s a win-win for everybody in that regard. So it’s hard to say he’ll have another fight. I lean that he will not, but I think a lot of it is what you alluded to, the outcome of this fight. I am going to the fight; I’ll be in Las Vegas. I’m of the belief that I don’t think the fight will get out of the first round. I don’t know who’s going to get to sleep first in the octagon before they go to sleep in a hotel room later in the night, but somebody is getting knocked out and I think it will be inside of five minutes.”

How long Lesnar has been training for this fight

“He’s a really pragmatic guy. He’s like overly blue-collar, you know, kind of a “nuts and bolts” guy, not a fancy guy. He fancies himself as a farmer, a rancher, outdoorsman. And it’s all true. It’s not an act. So I would tell you that he knows that anything less than probably an eight-week camp is not going to be acceptable for his own standards. The last thing he wants to do, is to make his return in this much-valued matchup of two knockout guys, and lay an egg. I don’t think he wants to soil the sheets on that deal. So he’s just a competitive guy. So I’m telling you that I would guess, by the time the fight rolls around, he’ll have at least eight good weeks of training under his belt.”

On what Ross expects from this fight

“I’m a whole lot more worried about his striking defence, than I am his readiness to fight or his physical conditioning. I think his conditioning will be good. But I can’t see that he or Hunt are gonna prepare for a long fight. I think they both know that it’s gonna end violently and suddenly, early – earlier than maybe some want to discuss. But Lesnar will be ready to go, and he’ll be healthy. That’s the main thing.

If JR still wants to see Lesnar vs. Fedor or if he’s lost interest after Fedor’s last performance

“I have not lost interest, and I don’t think the general public has lost interest. Fedor can be easily resurrected. The library on him is unbelievable. It’s easy to get him restabilised. He’s not moving from Russia, so even though it sounds so blasé and passé, the United States versus Russia storyline still plays. Is it kind of getting dated? Probably. But I can tell you this, when the United States was playing Canada in the last Winter Olympics in Hockey – and of course America is not an amateur Hockey state or country – the broadcast was on fire. The nationalistic thing is the point I’m making. So the USA versus Russia concept in parenthesis is still sellable. And everybody knows it’s not going to be a pretty fight. You’re going to see somebody get their ass whipped. It’s just going to be who can get their biggest punch into somebody’s face, or a liver shot, or something debilitating. So you know that you’re gonna have a train-wreck if you have Fedor and Brock – cause it can’t be pretty. It can’t be. So I think if it’s on a good card, it gets a rating. It either sells pay-per-views or gets a massive television rating.”

JR’s reaction to CM Punk making his UFC debut at UFC 203

“I think one of the great things about UFC signing CM Punk is that they have no expectations as to what to expect. I don’t know how the fans, any fan, can have any bonafide or legitimate expectations, because we just don’t know. It’s totally foreign. It’s a whole new world, new pitch. It’s a new game for CM Punk. I know he’s very cerebral. I know he’s a big fan of the genera. I know he’s worked hard. He’s a very, very smart guy – driven, if you will. He doesn’t even know how he’s going to do. So I think that the unknown is what’s going to sell that fight. Don’t doubt for a minute that the UFC or the WWE fans are gonna wanna buy a UFC event, cause we’re just too curious. We have no idea what’s going to happen. Is Punk going to get knocked out in the first minute? Is he going to get bloodied up and beat half to death? Cause we know that he won’t quit readily. Or is he gonna come in and shock the world and be a world-beater and a kickass MMA guy? I don’t know. All I know is that he’s going to be mentally and physically ready. I will certainly buy the fight, because I’m as curious as the next fan. What the heck’s gonna happen?”

Thoughts on Roman Reigns being suspended

“Well, it’s embarrassing for the talent. I have no idea what substance that he – you wanna hope invariantly – was taking. There’s a lot of the wrestlers, men and women, that are really big into the supplements out of the health food stores, and if they’re not careful and they don’t really vet it and see what’s on those ingredients, they can be inadvertently taking something that’s against the wellness program. So I’m assuming that’s what he did. He’s a hell of a good kid. I had a lot of fun when he was in developmental, when I was still working in WWE, helping him and talking with him, kind of mentoring him a little bit, like a lot of guys did – cause you wanted to mentor him cause he listened and he put what you told him into practice. So I was disappointed in him. And he’s gotta pay more attention if that’s what the case was. And hopefully he’ll learn a great lesson out of these thirty days he’s sitting. And hopefully he won’t be sitting, he’ll be getting better. And I sent out a tweet @JRsBBQ recently that said, “the game’s not over, it’s an inadvertent timeout”. So now you gotta come back better than you left and make up for lost time. So I don’t know that it hurt WWE. You have to re-arrange creative. I’m sure that he’ll come back. I would put him back in a triple threat match at Payback. You don’t want to discount the other guys’ efforts creatively and what they’ve built to get to this triple threat match. It costs the other two guys as much as it cost Reigns if you don’t have him in the match. And so I don’t know who wins in that equation. The fans don’t win. So I think the triple match should be booked and held. But he’s gotta be smarter in what he takes. The company has invested lots of money, the talent has invested lots of their time and efforts into helping him, and he’s gotta just be smarter than he was. And like I said, I just want to believe that it was totally inadvertent and that it will not happen again.”

MISCELLANEOUS

  • A correction and clarification on yesterday's note on Julien Gauthier, the first round draft choice of the Carolina Hurricanes. He is the grandson of Denis Gauthier, the 70s pro wrestler. He would be the nephew of Denis Gauther Jr., who was a well known hockey player in the NHL who later became a sportscaster. However, he is not the grandson of Joanne Rougeau as his father, Martin Gauthier, came from a prior marriage of Denis Gauthier Sr.
  • Josh Matthews has been teasing a big TNA announcement tonight. 
  • Impact lineup for tomorrow night:

Battle Royal for an X Division title shot

Bram vs. Rosemary

Mahabali Shera & Grado & Tyrus vs. Al Snow & Baron Dax & Basille Baraka

Bobby Lashley vs. Ethan Carter III vs. Drew Galloway for the TNA title

        If you haven't been watching, the TNA title program the past two months has been very good.

  • Cody Rhodes has announced he's doing dates in eight U.K. cities around the country shortly. 
  • Can you believe this? Is anyone thinking straight here?
  • Live Pro Wrestling is on 7/23 in Alexandria, ONT at the Glengarry Sports Arena.
  • UIPW on 7/9 in East Los Angeles at the UIPW Auditorium has Teddy Hart & Rush vs. Judas Draven & Steve Pain as the main event plus Ricky Reyes from Lucha Underground.
  • NWA Smoky Mountain Wrestling on 6/24 in Elizabethton, TN: Wild Bill b Onslaught, Hardliners won over Air America and White Trash Millionaires, Axton Ray b Vince Brent, Heatseekers b Jason Kincaid & Travis Lee, Kaela & Nicole Stratton b Dani Ferrera & Rock-C, Timmy Lou Retton b Colby Corino, Buff Bagwell & Toby Farley b Chris Richards & Jordan Kage
  • Wrestling with Cancer on 8/20 in Ottawa at the Vanier Columbus Club with all funds going to the Canadian Cancer Society in memory of former wrestler Phrank Morin, who died young from cancer.
  • Jerry Lynn will be doing a seminar on 7/31 in Crowley, TX at the Rec Center for $50. 
  • Bobby Fish vs. Kamaitachi has been announced for the ROH show on 7/8 in Baltimore.
  • Joey Ryan's Bachelor Party will be at the 7/10 Championship Wrestling from Hollywood television taping for the Red Carpet Rumble in Port Hueneme, CA. Ryan had proposed to Laura James while in the middle of a match with her, unbeknownst to her.
  • Nikolai Volkoff talks knocking out Manny Fernandez in Florida about 35 years ago.

    Shimmer results from the tapings held yesterday in Berwyn, IL (thanks to Martin Bentley):

    Volume 84

    • Nixon Newell b Veda Scott
    • Melanie Cruise & Yumi Ohka b Scarlett  Bordeaux & Solo Darling
    • Arise Nakajima b Rhia O'Reilly
    • Nicole Matthews b Thunderkitty
    • Tessa Blanchard b LuFisto
    • Ryo Mizunami b Courtney Rush (Rosemary in TNA)
    • Nicole Savoy b Jessicka Havok to retain the Heart of Shimmer title when  Shayna Baszler hit Havok with a baseball bat
    • Evie & Heidi Lovelace b Cherry Bomb (Allie in TNA) & Kimber Lee, KC Spinelli & Xandra Blade and Kay Lee Ray & Mia Yim (Jade in TNA) in a four-way elimination match to win the Shimmer tag team titles
    • Kellie Skater b Madison Eagles via count out in a Shimmer title match.  Eagles retained the title.

    Volume 85

    • LuFisto b Amanda Carolina Rodriguez
    • Nicole Matthews b Rhia O'Reilly
    • Allysin Kay (Sienna in TNA) b Xandra Bale
    • Arisa Nakajima b Shazza McKenzie
    • Kimber Lee b Thunderkitty
    • Shayna Baszler b Mia Yim
    • Courtney Rush won over Nixon Newell, Vanessa Kraven and Viper
    • Nicole Savoy b Kay Lee Ray to retain the Shimmer title
    • Evie & Heidi Lovelace b Melanie Cruise & Yumi Ohka to retain the tag titles
    • Madison Eagles b Tessa Blanchard to retain the Shimmer title after Blanchard and Kraven had taken out Kellie Skater backstage. Savoy and Baszler then attacked Eagles and took out her knee. Mercedes Martinez then showed up aligned with Baszler and Savoy.
    • Mercedes Martinez b Madison Eagles to win the Shimmer title