Sunday, 26 April 2015 01:14Wrestling Observer Radio with Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer returns today with special guest FILTHY TOM LAWLOR~! to discuss all the news in wrestling and mixed martial arts including full results of UFC 186, Dana White's recent comments about Ronda Rousey and her WWE future, Goldberg talks a potential return to WWE, Dave reviews Daniel Bryan's book, a full Extreme Rules preview, the Impact report and tons more! A fun show as always so check it out~!
Saturday, 25 April 2015 22:12By Jeremy Peeples, WrestlingObserver.com
Saturday, 25 April 2015 21:28by Paul Fontaine, WrestlingObserver.com
Saturday, 25 April 2015 14:05
We've got a double issue this week of the Observer, a big one if you're into history as we look at Tennessee wrestling legend Ron Wright and his crazy career, as well as look at the career of Takeshi Morishima and have a huge write-up on the Cauliflower Alley Club and the legend that is Nick Bockwinkel. Plus our lead story looks at the current WWE situation, and we've got a detailed story on the Lucha Underground promotion and its two week Ultimate Lucha shows that will end the season. We've also got UFC coverage and a number of court cases to look at.
--Why Dwayne Johnson should host the Oscars
TNAINDY TV SHOWSMISC. STUFF
Saturday, 25 April 2015 13:28
The big show of the weekend is UFC 186 live from Montreal:
Main Card on Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. ET
Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson vs. Kyoji Horiguchi for the UFC Flyweight Championship
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Fabio Maldonado in a 215 lb. catchweight fight
Michael Bisping vs. C.B. Dollaway in a middleweight fight
John Makdessi vs. Shane Campbell in a 160 lb. catchweight fight
Yves Jabouin vs. Thomas Almeida in a bantamweight fight
Prelims on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET
Patrick Cote vs. Joe Riggs in a welterweight fight
Alexis Davis vs. Sarah Kaufman in a women’s bantamweight fight
Chad Laprise vs. Bryan Barberena in a lightweight fight
Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. David Michaud in a lightweight fight
Prelims on UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. ET
Nordine Taleb vs. Chris Clements in a welterweight fight
Jessica Rakoczy vs. Valerie Letourneau in both fighters’ strawweight debut
Randa Markos vs. Aisling Daly in a strawweight fight
For fun fights, this is not necessarily a bad card by any means, but as everyone has been talking about for weeks, it feels like a stretch for $60 (or $70 for some reason if you have Verizon Fios), and that's even more pronounced coming a week after a much stronger card that was broadcast on free, over the air TV. There's no real reason that Ovince St. Preux vs. Patrick Cummins (the best, most relevant prelim without any local fighters) couldn't be on this PPV to at least deepen the main card.
Still, there's plenty to look forward to. Kyoji Horiguchi is one of the best prospects at flyweight division and clearly a special fighter. It seems way to early for a title shot, but of the ranked flyweights, he and Jussier Formiga were literally the only two ranked fighters that were on a win streak in the division at the time the fight was bookd who also hadn't faced Mighty Mouse. While, by all rights, Johnson should retain and there's no real reason not to pick him, Horiguchi does have the type of skillset (odd rhythm, big knockout power, very fast, and unpredictable striking choices) that makes a big upset at least theoretically possible.
Outside of the main event: Rampage has promised an entertaining fight vs. Maldonado after complaining for years about being booked against fighters who rely on their wrestling, but he may not be himself with the stress of the legal battles. John Makdessi, meanwhile, also goes into his fight with Shane Campbell coming off being sued this week by Gegard Mousasi because his Fear the Fighter apparel company is alleged to have not paid Mousasi the sponsorship money he's due. So we have two theoretical action fights that could potentially be marred by the fighters not having their heads completely in the fight. Keep an eye out for Thomas Almeida, though, who's run through his opponents so far.
In the prelims, the women's fights are all interesting in one way or another: Davis returns from her 16 second loss to Ronda Rousey to beat Kaufman, who's already beaten her twice and tends to have entertaining fights. Rakozcky and LeTourneau are the first UFC bantamweights to move down to strawweight, while the late addition of Daly vs. Markos, a battle of two aggressive grapplers, is the sleeper fight of the night and is worthy of a much higher placement on the card.
ROH will be taping two hours of television Saturday night in Hopkins, MN. Matches announced are Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O'Reilly for the TV title, Mark & Jay Briscoe vs. Hanson & Rowe, Adam Page vs. ACH (this is a big match for them), Roderick Strong vs. Silas Young, Bobby Fish vs. Arya Daivari, Michael Elgin vs. Caprice Coleman plus the return of ODB.
The newest issue of Figure Four Weekly is up on the site for subscribers (subscribe here) with the most extensive look at Doug and Tommy Gilbert's lawsuit against WWE and ESPN that you'll find anywhere, with lots of details about WWE's history with lawsuits over video royalties, which past cases are or aren't relevant to this one what people often misunderstand about the Jesse Ventura lawsuit, when WWE actually started paying every wrestler royaltis, and much more. Plus, as always, we have all of the usual reviews and international news.
Also, now available for the first time on Kindle (meaning Kindle devices and anything with the Kindle app) is Fall Guys, the seminal 1937 book that has been described as being like the 1930s version of the Wrestling Observer. It was surprisingly not on Kindle already, so we put together a nice version with a full table of contents w/ chapter marks, proper formatting on everything, etc. Right now it's available from the American, Canadian, and Australian Amazon/Kindle stores OR you can also buy it from anywhere in the world on PayHip, who will provide you with both Kindle and ePub (every other e-reader) format files, and you can either sideload them to your device or have them email it to your Kindle.
We've got full coverage of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony from two weeks ago along with a lot of backstage stories, truth vs. fiction on the stories told, as our lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. We also have a ton of notes on ROH and the New Japan tour, Lucha Underground's future and what it needs, TNA and Destination America along with notes on Taz, the Briscoes, Daniel Bryan, the latest lawsuits against WWE and UFC and a look at WWE & TNA business for February.
The latest Wrestling Observer: April 20, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WWF Hall of Fame feature, latest WWE concussion lawsuit, UFC Poland debut
Website subscriptions, which include access to both current and older newsletters as well as every audio show in the history of the site as low as $9.99 per month!
You can also order at www.paypal.com directing funds to
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
Our lead story updates the Daniel Bryan situation and the strange lack of information out on the subject, as well as runs down every match on the show and where WWE goes from here.
We also look at UFC's PPV this week being off the Dish Network.
We've got an update on Lucha Underground, including the end of the TV season, what talent and fans were told about the future of the company, the public reason for the hiatus, what's the real question going forward, its prospects, where the promotion stands right now for the future and what it needs, plus a full rundown of Ultima Lucha, the last two episodes of the season and what angles to look for the next season.
We've got a look at the career of Takeshi Morishima, with his title history, awards won, how he got started in pro wrestling, who he was compared to, why he never reached his potential, why he got the ROH title, his matches with Bryan Danielson, his outstanding 2007 year, what went wrong when he got his big push. We also look at his early career, his WWE tryout and what happened there, a well as some of his biggest matches.
We look at the legal situation involving Rampage Jackson and how things changed this past week.
We've got a look at UFC's attempt to run in New York, going through both the legislature and the court system to be able to run in December at Madison Square Garden. We look at the crazy hypocrisy in New York laws, the real story behind them, the Culinary unions latest attempt to keep UFC out of New York, and UFC's latest move in going to court.
We also look at Saturday's show in Newark, NJ, who came out of it as stars, ratings info and other business notes plus match-by-match coverage.
We've got a long feature on the Tennessee legend, Ron Wright, who passed away this past week. We look at the legendary Ron Wright vs. Whitey Caldwell feud and some of the most famous matches, why Wright considered wrestling only a hobby, as well as his being shot at and his plane being blown up and other craziness of being perhaps the greatest heel ever in the backwoods towns in Tennessee and Kentucky. We look at his career from his amateur days as a teenager, the irony of the Caldwell feud, how he and Caldwell got into pro wrestling at first, plus comments from Les Thatcher, Jim Cornette and others.
We also look at his unique way of drawing blood, how he got his first pro wrestling break, the business that he and Caldwell did in the 60s, why he usually stayed in his home territory, and his own thoughts about his career.
We also look at the next season of Tough Enough, the change in Seth Rollins' finisher, update on the business of Furious 7, More on the Russ McCullough lawsuit against WWE, Shawn Michaels talks the time he wanted to go to WCW and WWE asks him to be on next year's WrestleMania, plus why he's not interested in working in creative and his thoughts on who should be on top.
We also look at John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns on top as draws, schedule of NXT tapings for the next year as well as a look at a number of not yet announced WWE overseas tours.
We also have notes on WWE movies, WWE stars who want a reality show about their lives, Barrett talks why he dropped weight, contract notes from lawsuits against WWE, the Gilberts lawsuit against WWE, Batista talks a potential return, Samoa Joe note, NXT dates outside Florida, Jey Uso update, what creative is told about the women characters and what is says about why people don't care about the WWE Divas, ROH star blasts WWE stereotypes, NXT weekend shows and notes on the last week of the WWE European tour with business notes and highlights of all the house shows.
We also look at this year's Cauliflower Alley Club banquet, looking at the history of the organization, who was there, the appearance of Nick Bockwinkel, highlights of speeches from the honorees, Jake Roberts' complaint about indie shows, Jushin Liger defending his NWA jr. title, Gerald Brisco talking Brock Lesnar and Jack Brisco and much more.
We also look at Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling as the first shows are announced, and look at what the company needs to be viable.
The Observer is the world's most detailed weekly pro wrestling publication, in its 32nd year of publication, and is read by the biggest names in the pro wrestling, industry, MMA industry, sports world and on Wall Street.
We also have our regular features such as the most complete look at ratings, plus results of the major house show events each week in pro wrestling and MMA, and complete inside rundowns of all the TV shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--Notes on the death of 80s star El Verdugo
--Latest from Arena Mexico
--Changes in CMLL weekly schedule
--Top indie vs. top CMLL star note
--More on AAA's World Cup show this coming month
--Perro Aguayo Jr. situation remains in the news with a major press conference featuring a Congressman and many sports stars
--Dragon Gate announces huge show with three title bouts and a huge stipulation match
--Wrestler runs for the senate in Japan this week
--Update on Champion Carnival tournament
--Update on NOAH tag team tournament
--Notes on next New Japan big show
--Notes on New Japan newcomer
--Notes on current New Japan tour
--One of the major companies from the 90s returns and its history
--Promoter announces that a current UFC star will come in and challenge for their pro wrestling world title
--Biggest woman's star ever and best drawing barbed wire match wrestler ever team up
--Lance Russell tribute in Evansville with Jerry Lawler
--Oldest living wresting personalities
--Sad update on former UFC & New Japan star Brian Johnston
--Dreamer gets TV deal
--Bill Apter writes autobiography
--New book coming on history of women's wrestling
--Same person wins major pro wrestling title and pro boxing match within hours
--Another wrestling history book on the way
--Who is the only guy to be in Broken Skull Challenge, Tough Enough and Ultimate Fighter
--Nearly two hour match on Mexico show
--New Japan and ROH tour and lineups
--Notes on Taz leaving TNA
--Notes on Sanada laving TNA
--More on people's pay being behind in TNA
--Funny story about TNA television in Canada
--Latest on TNA television
--More litigation involving Wanderlei Silva and the Nevada commission and how the ruling could hurt regulation of he sport
--More on the UFC July schedule
--Notes on the new season of Ultimate Fighter
--Background of the Dan Lambert-Glenn Robinson feud
--Two major MMA shows this weekend
--Dana White blasts AKA Gym and AKA responds
--Bill in Nevada to increase tax on live boxing and MMA
--Anderson Silva issues challenge for fight
--New UFC fights
--New Bellator fights
--Something to think about regarding Pacquiao-Mayweather and how big it really is
If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today. With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today.
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue.
Our most requested issues in our history are:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)a
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our history)
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund, Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk, Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods..
To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $20 for shipping costs to Canada and $25 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
Saturday Daily Update
--Mick Foley's show last night in Winter Park, FL at Full Sail University will air on Wednesday night on the WWE Network. Jim Ross did 30 minute as a warm-up act, but I don't believe that was taped for the network.
-- Elsewhere on the site:
- For subscribers, the new Figure Four Weekly goes in-depth into past lawsuits against WWE over royalties and how they may or may not impact Doug and Tommy Gilbert's lawsuit.
- WWE released Brian Reid (who used the name Tony Briggs), Laszlo Vandracsek, Courtney Freeman, Leyvonna Zakari, and Dustin Mueller from NXT. Outside of Briggs, none of them were regulars on TV.
- Josh Nason's UFC 186 preview w/ the Observer panel picks for the main card.
- The Secret Psychic Spy's UFC 186 betting picks.
-- The PC version of WWE 2K15 is coming out this Tuesday, April 28th, and pre-orders are available on Steam. Our review of the console version is available in the November 21, 2014 edition of Figure Four Weekly, which is available as a free sample issue that everyone can check out even if they're not a subscriber.
-- Meanwhile, some reviews of the WWE 2K mobile game came out during the week from Technology Tell and MakeUseOf.com. Both are pretty negative. On the other hand, the reviews of the mobile version of EA Sports UFC (a free to play title with various in-app purchases_ that have come out from Phones Review and Pocket Gamer are pretty positive.
-- This week's episode of Beau James' Southern States Wrestling show is a tribute to Ron Wright, including the only surviving clips of him wrestling Whitey Caldwell, audio of a promo from 1973, footage of a match vs. Louis Tillet, and a couple segments from when he was a manager in Continental Championship Wrestling and USA Championship Wrestling in the late '80s. James also has another audio-only Wright promo up on his YouTube channel. Fantastic stuff that everyone should check out immediately.
-- The Japan Times interviewed Ladybeard, the Australian expat who now lives in Japan and works for various indies there.
-- Smith Hart talks to Devon Nicholson about whether or not he's ever actually cooked and eaten roadkill. Yes, really.
-- New Jack is interviewed on New York comedy show The Special Without Brett Davis
-- Nice article about a British indpendent promotion paying tribute to a fan, Rachel Andrew, who passed away suddenly.
-- The Marietta Times previews OVW's semi-annual Throwdown for the Pound, Humane Society a Humane Society show that takes place tonight in Marietta, Ohio.
-- On Saturday, May 9, Grand Slam Wrestling presents 'Vinny vs. Lymphoma', a benefit for Vinny Reyrat, a pro wrestler battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma, at Moosic Youth Center, 606 Main ST in Moosic, PA at 7 pm.
-- ProSouth Wrestling announced A.J. Styles vs. Jimmy Rave as the main event of their May 8th card. The venue is located at 627 Southern Avenue in Piedmont, AL. Bell time is 7:00 PM. For more information on ProSouth Wrestling, check out their Facebook page.
-- PCW 5upershow 2 results from Preston, England earlier today: Dave Mastiff b Noam Dar, Sha Samuels b Ashton Smith, El Ligero b Juventud Guerrera, Sabu b Pete Dunne, The UK Hooligans (Roy and Zak Knight) b Ryan Smile and Damien Dunne, Bubblegum b Lionheart, Chris Masters b Charlie Garrett, Joey Hayes, Martin Kirby, Rampage Brown, and T-Bone b Jim and Lee Hunter, Matt Taven, and Mike Bennett w/ Maria.
TOMORROW'S WWE NETWORK SCHEDULE
Saturday, 25 April 2015 10:46
Saturday, 25 April 2015 09:34
Released on Friday were:
Brian Reid (who had done TV and house shows as Tony Briggs)
Saturday, 25 April 2015 03:27
By Jeremy Wall
Premier Boxing Champions held their second Spike TV broadcast on Friday, April 24th at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. It was headlined by a double main event based on a theme of two different cancer survivors fighting in world title matches. In the main event, Anthony Dirrell (27-1-1, 22KO), who in 2006 was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was upset by Badou Jack (19-1-1, 12KO) to drop the WBC World Super Middleweight title via majority decision. In the co-main, Daniel Jacobs (29-1, 26KO), who in 2011 was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer), retained the WBA World Middleweight title by stopping Caleb Truax (25-2-2, 15KO) at 2:12 of the 12th round.
Dirrell, 30, was defending the belt that he won by beating Sakio Bika by unanimus decision last August. Jack, 31, went into the fight with two straight wins over Francisco Sierra and Jason Escalera last year, but before that suffered an embarrassing first round TKO loss to Derek Edwards in February 2013. Dirrell was figured as the heavy favourite.
Dirrell-Jack was a slow fight that picked up steam as it wore on, but neither fighter really turned it on and made it into an exciting match. It was also the first example on Premier where a featured fighter who was a favourite to win ended up dropping the bout, which probably won't happen often since Premier is carefully matching opponents. The first couple of rounds were even, particularly the opening round. Jack started winning rounds by pressing forward and connecting more often with jabs, whereas Dirrell would hang back in an erect fighting stance and kept looking for power shots.
Dirrell started taking a couple of rounds in the middle of the fight, connecting with power to win on points. Although Dirrell was looking for the big power shots, even when he landed he never came close to damaging Jack and Dirrell seemed to tire as the fight wore on.
Jack started winning more rounds later by throwing volume and pressing forward, setting the pace of the fight. He was also landing some hard right hands. By the ninth round Dirrell had a cut on his upper cheekbone, but it was small and away from his eyes. Connection stats were about the same at this point for both fighters, but Jack pulled ahead late in the fight. The judges scored the fight 114-114, 116-112, and 115-113 for Jack. Spike's unofficial scorecard had it at 114-114. I had it at 118-110 for Jack, but there were many close rounds. It wouldn't have been an upset if either fighter got the decision, or if it was a draw. It was the first loss of Dirrell's career, against a fighter who was brought in as a showcase opponent.
Jimmy Smith did a post-fight interview with Jack, who didn't say anything substantial. Post-fight interviews in Premier have been odd. Fighters never say anything substantial and the interviewers never ask about future opponents, probably because most of the obvious future opponents for these guys are fighters that are not managed by Al Haymon and there is no point in hyping fights that are difficult to put together.
George Groves was in attendance for the fight, but was never mentioned on the air (he's not a Haymon guy). The fight at Super-Middleweight that people wanted to see was Groves-Dirrell, although now it would be Groves-Jack. Groves is the mandatory challenger for Jack's new title. There was also talk of a bigger money fight between Dirrell and Carl Froch that might be off the table with Dirrell’s loss. None of this was mentioned on Spike.
“It’s always good to go and see it live because you might see things you would otherwise miss. It will be a good opportunity to scope the opposition,” Groves said via Sky Sports News HQ. “If he (Dirrell) wins he’s got 10 days for us to secure a deal or the fight will go to purse bids and then it will take place in 90 days. So in July I will be challenging for the WBC, whether it’s Dirrell or Badou Jack.”
Groves, 27, is 21-2 with 16 KO. He is coming off two straight wins this past year over Denis Douglin and Chris Rebrasse after dropping two straight TKO losses to Carl Froch, the second of which drew a monster crowd to Wembley Stadium last May. Groves is a UK fighter and hasn't fought outside of that country since 2012. He is promoted by Matchroom Boxing, a UK company that is handling the promotion for Premier's May 23rd broadcast on NBC that takes place in Boston. Groves challenging for Jack's new title is already being hyped in the British press.
The way Premier is handling boxing titles has also been odd. The company doesn't seem like it has quite figured out how to approach titles. Calling the show "Premier Boxing Champions" was probably a mistake because the title emphasizes that their fighters are champions, yet Premier wants to distance itself from boxing's confusing championship title situation. For instance, when ring announcer Michael Williams announced that Jack won the fight, he just mentioned that Jack was the new "Super-Middleweight champion" without specifying which Super-Middleweight title he actually won.
It has been rumoured that Premier will introduce their own championship titles more or less the same way UFC does their titles. People in boxing have been critical of Premier's aversion to the traditional boxing titles, but I think dropping references to those titles is a good idea because the boxing title situation is confusing to the casual and new consumer that Premier is trying to reach. The only problem I have with it is that right now Premier doesn't seem to have a clear policy on championship titles, referencing that their fighters are champions, but not referencing the actual championships. However, if Premier wins the promotional war in boxing, emerges as the dominant promotion and has their own titles, then perhaps boxing can finally be rid of the massive amount of confusing and pointless belts that weigh the sport down.
In the co-main, Daniel Jacobs, 28, stopped Caleb Truax, 31, in the 12th round. This fight was originally booked for the April 11th Premier card on NBC, but was rescheduled to take place on Spike. Jacobs was making his first defense of the WBA World Middleweight belt which was vacant when he won it by beating Jarrod Fletcher by TKO last August. Truax was coming into the fight off two straight wins over Scott Sigmon and Derek Ennis.
Jacobs-Truax was a dull fight until its closing minutes. During the fight they showed Bellator fighter Pat Curran watching from ringside, as well as Lucien Bute. Every so often on commentary Scott Hanson would hype the upcoming main events on Bellator or Premier.
The early rounds were dull. Jacobs was pressing forward more and landing more often with his jab, or at least his jab was landing with more accuracy compared to punches thrown by Truax. By round seven Truax was cut under his eye.
The action increased in the final few rounds. Truax starting landing more and there were more combinations being landed by both fighters. Finally, in the twelfth round when it looked certain that the fight would go the distance and Jacobs would win an obvious decision, he decided to put an exclamation point on the win by putting Truax on rubber legs with a left-right combo. Truax didn't fall, but he was out on his feet and grabbed the ropes to keep standing. Truax made the count, but Jacobs was destroying him with bombs after and the ref stopped it.
Every time I see a boxing match end this way I always think how ridiculous it was in the 90s when politicians were claiming that UFC was more violent than boxing, because if this was a UFC fight it likely would have been stopped when Jacobs scored the knock down. I can only imagine the amount of brain damage that Truax sustained between the knock down and when the ref stopped the fight, which was also completely unnecessary brain damage because Truax was out on his feet and it was obvious Jacobs was going to finish him.
The show also featured a third bout between Roberto Garcia (37-3, 23KO) and James Stevenson (22-2, 15KO), scheduled for eight rounds at a catchweight of 152 pounds. Garcia was originally booked as the opponent for Shawn Porter back on Premier's debut card on Spike in March. But Garcia showed up four pounds overweight and didn't bother trying to weigh in and was replaced by Erick Bone. Garcia was rebooked to face Stevenson for the second Spike show.
Garcia, 35, beat Stevenson, 32, by unanimous decision, winning just about every round after Stevenson knocked him down with a right uppercut in the first. Stevenson took the fight on two weeks’ notice and tired as the fight wore on. It was a sloppy fight, with a lot of holding and few clean breaks. Neither fighter looked good, as Garcia got knocked down early and fought slow. Stevenson wasn't able to capitalize on his early lead. It was also dull, as little happened after the first round knockdown.
Garcia-Stevenson opened the broadcast. Neither fighter got a fancy ring entrance, but Garcia got a lengthy video package before the fight featuring an interview where he discussed the horrific death of his mother, who was shot to death by Garcia's father in their family home before Garcia's father committed suicide when Garcia was 10. Airing a personality piece on Garcia was an odd choice, as although he has an emotional story, he is a 35-year-old journeyman with little upside. Premier has other fighters with more upside that could have been given the attention that Garcia received on this broadcast.
Local promotion was handled by Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing, a Florida-based company that frequently runs shows at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. Because Al Haymon is the manager of the fighters that compete for Premier and federal law precludes a manager from also acting as promoter, Premier pays a fee to other companies to handle local promotion.
The commentary team of Scott Hanson, Jimmy Smith, and Antonio Tarver returned from the first broadcast. Of the three broadcast teams for Premier (NBC, CBS, and Spike), this team does the best job, although the NBC broadcast has the more prestigious names. Dana Jacobson was back as host. She does a good job, too, in a Today show sort of way. Thomas Hearns did not return as co-host. He was borderline incoherent on the first broadcast. Instead, they used Joe Calzaghe as co-host. Calzaghe is probably the greatest Super-Middleweight of all time, but was a strange choice because he is from the UK and I don't think he has that much name value in the US. The reason they used him seemed to be that the Dirrell-Jack main event was at Super-Middleweight and Calzaghe is ranked as the best super-middleweight ever.
Of course, Premier has state of the art production. The lavish stage and overhead screens returned. Of the six fighters who appeared on Spike, only Garcia and Stevenson in the opening bout didn't receive the featured walkouts. The company also had sensors placed on the gloves and shorts of Truax and Jacobs during their bout. The sensors are able to measure things like punching angles, velocity, and impact in milliseconds and instantly display the data to the broadcasters. It is an interesting concept and could lead to a lot of detailed stats that could change the way matches are fought. But this wasn't well used during the broadcast, as it was only mentioned in passing on commentary a few times.
Despite the lavish production, Premier still has formatting problems. The broadcast ran from 9pm ET to 12:15am on Spike, which was much longer than Spike allocates for their other Friday night combat sports programming, including Bellator which is the station's own property. The programming guide had the show listed as ending at 11:45. In fact, the last time Glory Kickboxing aired, it was on a tape delay from Dubai and Spike was precise with its edits of that show to get it to fit into a 2 hour time window. The Premier show was too long and it was hard to sustain interest. The dull fights made it worse.
They also wasted a lot of time between fights. After the Garcia-Stevenson bout, Jacobson spent a few minutes interviewing Calzaghe about his career (he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame last year). Calzaghe said nothing interesting. He is retired and says he is staying that way. That broadcast time could have been used in so many more productive ways. After the Jacobs-Truax bout, they brought out King Mo Lawal (who was wearing a Bellator windbreaker, which for some reason I found funny) to talk about Bellator with Jacobson and Calzaghe. Promoting Bellator was a better use of time than talking to Calzaghe about his career.
Premier was trying to do too much during this broadcast, airing two 12-round bouts, an 8-round bout, a long interview with Calzaghe, an interview with King Mo, advertising upcoming events, airing personality pieces, advertising May-Pac, and everything else that needs to be done during a broadcast. Formatting on Spike needs to be tightened. One way of doing that would be decreasing bout length, as if they want to get three bouts on a broadcast instead of two, they need to do bouts with fewer rounds, otherwise they end up broadcasting for more than three hours, or airing fewer fights.
Another way is to cut out things like the hosting segments with Jacobson and just focus on the fights and the hype for future shows. I think the segments with Jacobson, however, are useful if they are used for hype. But if they are using it to do things like interview Calzaghe, who isn't fighting for the promotion and won't bring in any revenue, then it's a waste of time and ought to be scrapped.
Shoulder programming hyping the show aired on April 17th on Spike, built around the cancer stories of Dirrell and Jacobs. Road to Dirrell vs Jack aired from 11pm ET to 11:30 and drew 512,000 viewers and a 0.2 rating among 18-49 adults. Never Give Up, about Dirrell and Jacobs and their cancer stories (the latter has a huge scar on his back from surgery relating to his cancer, because he didn't want the surgeons to cut into his chest, which would have ended his boxing career), aired from 11:30 to 12am and drew 452,000 viewers and a 0.2 rating among 18-49 adults. Those ratings are far below what Premier and Bellator draw on Spike, albeit usually with an earlier 9pm ET start, but seem adequate for shoulder programming of that nature. The shoulder programming ratings are about the same as what Glory draws on Spike.
They announced Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri on Spike for May 29th. They did a couple of personality pieces on Khan, which included a clip where Khan does a trick where he throws a plastic milk bottle in the air and keeps it spinning in mid-air while he pummels it like a speed bag. It looks like an optical illusion, but it isn't. This is a big fight for a Spike broadcast. Algieri fought Pacquaio on pay per view last year, although the buy rate was lousy for a Pac fight. Khan has frequently been discussed as a possible opponent for Mayweather.
Premier's debut on Spike on March 7th drew an average of 869,000 viewers and a 0.3 in the 18-34 adults demo. The Berto-Lopez main event from that show drew 989,000 viewers. It will be interesting to see what this second Spike show does. Premier on Spike has the potential to draw larger audiences than boxing on HBO, which typically peaks out close to 1.5 million viewers for that station's biggest fights. But the floor is also low as Glory Kickboxing has frequently been far below 500,000 average viewers for their shows.
There was also an interesting article last week by Bill King in the Sports Business Journal about Premier's business model and financing. It's a free article and worth reading if you have any interest in what is going on in boxing. The article was based on an interview King conducted with Ryan Caldwell, Premier's chief operating officer.
King wrote that Premier received a pledge of up of $425 million from a $40 billion fund that Caldwell managed for Waddell & Reed before leaving that company to join Premier. The fund is called the Ivy Asset Strategy Fund and it is the same fund that invested $1.5 billion in Formula One and it is the largest institutional investor in CBS. In the article Caldwell noted that he talked to the UFC about investing in a minority stake in their promotion, but UFC had already sold shares to Zap Entertainment, a media company owned by Abu Dhabi.
One of the holdings in the fund is Media Group Holdings LLC, Series H, which is actually Haymon's boxing company. The fund has $371.3 million invested in Haymon's company.
A second Waddell fund, WRA Asset Strategy, has also invested in Haymon. According to the Waddell & Reed web site, the market value of Media Group Holdings in the WRA Asset Strategy fund was $42,156,907.00 as of December 31st, 2014, with Haymon's company taking up 1.27% of the fund's net assets.
A third fund, Ivy Funds VIP Asset Strategy, is invested for $18.5 million. There are also likely other funds run by Waddell & Reed invested in Haymon's company at smaller positions, with the total investment currently up to $432 million. Caldwell said the plan was to invest about 1-percent of the primary $40 billion fund into Haymon Boxing, with the willingness to lose the entire investment if the company doesn't succeed.
The article also wrote about Haymon's business model. Revenue is generated by the 15-percent cut that Haymon takes from the fighters who compete on Premier, which typically only kicks in after the fighter earns at least $100,000. Haymon takes that cut because he is technically the manager of the fighters and not the event promoter.
The article also said that Premier is collecting some television rights fees, but also paying for time. My guess is that they are collecting rights fees from Spike, based on comparisons of advertising between Premier broadcasts on Spike and Premier broadcasts on NBC or CBS. NBC is covering at least some of the production costs for their broadcast of Premier and is covering the cost of the broadcast talent. Premier’s television situation is more complex than a simple time buy.
“It’s not a time-buy,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC. “The reason we’re not selling it is because you couldn’t have six different networks out there selling the same product — and certainly not a product without a track record. So you have one group selling everything. And that’s really the brilliance of the concept.”
To garner sponsorship money, Premier has hired SJX Partners to market advertising opportunities on Premier broadcasts. Premier also hired Bruce Binkow, the former chief operating officer for Golden Boy, to create relationships with brands already involved in boxing. This seems to be how Premier connected with Corona, which also seems to be the only company sponsoring Premier right now.
“What we anticipated was this: We think there’s a latent boxing audience that is unreached by the current distribution system," said Caldwell. "We think if we expose the sport and the kids and their stories to that audience we can immediately have a bigger fan base than exists in the sport today because it is underserved. We think there’s a demo overlay that fits on top of those ... fans that advertisers would love to get to as the face of this country continues to look different over the next 10 years."
Not everyone has been impressed with Haymon's work. "I wasn't happy necessarily on Chavez's loss because, you know, what took us eight or nine years to build, fucking Haymon destroyed in one fucking night," said Bob Arum of Top Rank in an interview with BoxingScene.com in reference to Chavez's TKO loss to Andrzej Fonfara on Showtime last weekend. Arum was Chavez's promoter until last year when Chavez signed with Haymon, resulting in Arum filing a lawsuit against Chavez that was settled out of court a few weeks ago.
Nevertheless, Premier continues to roll on. They are back on May 9th for their second CBS show, airing at 4pm ET with Figueora vs Burns from Hidalgo. On May 23rd they do their third show on NBC with Andre Dirrell vs Degale from Boston. That show has a 4:30pm ET start time, much earlier than the prime time broadcasts Premier had for their first two shows on NBC. On May 29th they are back on Spike for Khan-Algieri from the Barclays Center at 9pm ET and then again on Spike on June 12th for Huck vs Glowacki from Chicago. They debut on ESPN on July 11th, replacing Friday Night Fights, which currently airs on ESPN2. They also have shows scheduled for NBS Sportsnet and CBS Sportsnet.
Elsewhere, Saturday night Wladimir Klitschko defends all of his Heavyweight belts against Bryant Jennings on HBO at Madison Square Garden; Top Rank debuts on truTV on May 1st for a show used to hype future HBO boxing broadcasts, probably as an aggressive response to what Haymon is doing (they are back on truTV on May 8th and May 15th); Canelo Alvarez fights James Kirkland on HBO on May 9th in Houston; Gennady Golovkin is scheduled to fustigate Willie Monroe Jr on May 16th in Inglewood on HBO; the series finale for Friday Night Fights on May 22nd from Corona; Miguel Cotto vs Daniel Geale in New York on HBO on June 4th; and Andre Ward returns to boxing from a long layoff, debuting for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation promotion on June 20th against Paul Smith in Oakland on BET as part of a time buy.
And of course, Mayweather fights Pacquiao on May 2nd.
Saturday, 25 April 2015 06:23
By Brian Hoops, WrestlingObserver.com
1970 - WWWF World Champion Bruno Sammartino defeated Ivan Koloff in a Texas Death Match in Boston, Massachusetts.
1973 - In Fargo, North Dakota; Superstar Billy Graham beat Wahoo McDaniel in a No Time Limit No DQ Match.
1974 - At Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas; World Heavyweight Champion Jack Brisco wrestled Harley Race to a time limit draw; Central States Heavyweight Champion Mike George defeated Don Fargo and World Tag Team Champions Lord Alfred Hayes & Bob Brown defeated Chris Taylor & Omar Atlas
1976 - In St. Paul, Minnesota; Verne Gagne, Greg Gagne & Jim Brunzell beat Nick Bockwinkel, Bobby Heenan & Bobby Duncum
1977 - WWWF World Champion Bruno Sammartino defeated Baron Von Raschke in Madison Square Garden.
1980 - An event at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri saw both the WWF and NWA World Titles defended, as WWF champion Bob Backlund defeated Bulldog Bob Brown and NWA champion Harley Race defeated Ric Flair. Also on the show, Ken Patera defeated Kevin Von Erich to win the Missouri State Championship.
1981 - In Chicago, Illinois; AWA Champion Verne Gagne beat Jerry Blackwell; The Crusher & Baron Von Raschke beat AWA Tag Team Champions Adrian Adonis & Jesse Ventura via DQ; and Greg Gagne & Jim Brunzell beat Nick Bockwinkel & Ray Stevens.
1982 - At the Maple Leafs Garden in Toronto, Ontario; NWA Champion Ric Flair went to a DDQ with Harley Race
1989 - At a Saturday Night's Main Event taping in Des Moines, Iowa; Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard defeated WWF World Tag Team Champions Demolition via DQ; Hacksaw Duggan defeated Intercontinental Champion Rick Rude via countout and Hulk Hogan defeated Big Bossman in a steel cage match.
1992 - ECW (then known at Eastern Championship Wrestling) crowned their first ECW Champion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two separate Battle Royales were held with Sal Bellomo winning the first, and Jimmy Snuka winning the second. Snuka then defeated Bellomo to become the first ECW Champion.
1999 - At the Backlash PPV held in Providence, Rhode Island; WWF World Champion Steve Austin defeated The Rock in a No Holds Barred match
2000 - In Charlotte, North Carolina Dean Malenko defeated Scotty 2 Hotty to win the WWF Light Heavyweight Title and Crash Holly defeated Matt Hardy to win the WWF Hardcore Title
2009 - ROH ran an event in Chicago, Illinois; The American Wolves defeated Kevin Steen and Jay Briscoe in a two-out-of-three falss match to retain the Ring of Honor tag team titles and Jerry Lynn defeated Colt Cabana to retain the ROH World Title.
2010 - At the Extreme Rules PPV; Beth Phoenix defeated Michelle McCool in an Extreme Makeover match to win the Divas Title.
Saturday, 25 April 2015 01:07After Dark Radio with Bryan Alvarez returns tonight with special guest Steven Negron for our demonic follow-up to the last two weeks of shows -- more details, more stories, videos and more! Plus, the usual phone calls, emails, news stories and more! A fun show as always so check it out~!
Page 1 of 9