Thursday, 18 December 2014 02:01Wrestling Observer Radio with Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer are back with our 14TH SHOW SINCE SATURDAY MORNING talking all the news in wrestling and mixed martial arts including the class-action lawsuit against UFC and everything you ever wanted to know about it, Jones vs. Cormier hype, Hendricks vs. Lawler III, Raw ratings, Smackdown and Lucha Underground reviews, questions and more! A fun show as always so check it out~!
Thursday, 18 December 2014 00:25
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 23:03
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 18:25
By Josh Nason, Wrestling Observer
On UFC Tonight Wednesday, Ariel Helwani reported that Rory MacDonald has been told he will not be getting the next welterweight title shot as expected, clearing the way for the third fight between current champion Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks. MacDonald said that UFC called him last week and gave him the news. He's disappointed, but he will "light up whoever is next."
Hendricks' camp was asked and said they haven't been approached, but a story on Fox Sports says that the fight is being planned for the first half of 2015, speculating Memorial Day weekend could be it.
I could go either way on this. The expectation was that Lawler/MacDonald would headline a big show in Montreal in early 2015, but that's clearly changed. Both fights both have the same intrigue level, and the build for Hendricks/Lawler can have the whole 'trilogy' marketing tag associated with it. Plus, they have 50 minutes of the previous two fights to draw from. The key is not potentially kill MacDonald off with whoever he fights next.
In other news from the show:
- UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis wants to be active in 2015 and fight at least three times, targeting March/April, July, and the end of the year.
- For that first shot, Khabib Nurmagomedov is thought to be the next contender but might not get cleared from his knee injury until May. In that case, it would make sense for Rafael dos Anjos to get the next opportunity and Khabib to get the winner of that fight in July.
- Perennial top flyweight contender Joe Benavidez would like to fight either #4 John Moraga or Wilson Reis next.
- Demian Maia has been cleared to return to training.
- Mark Munoz will officially return to action on February 28 in Los Angeles against newly signed Roan Carneiro, he of the recent one-night tournament victory at Battleground MMA -- the same show Jim Ross and Chael Sonnen called.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 18:09
by Jeremy Peeples/@Jeremy_Peeples
Setting the Stage
Johnny Mundo won last week's ladder match for $100,000, but knocked out Dario Cueto afterwards. He also put Cueto's key over his fallen body, so now Cueto has more motivation than ever before to unleash whoever his monster is with the key. Chavo got a win over Fenix, while Pengaton Jr. beat up a ninja and Super Fly debuted in a losing effort to King Cuerno. Tonight's show features the return of Cueto and the first-ever 10 man match in Lucha Underground according to the show's preview.
The show opens with a recap of the Cueto-Mundo saga starting with Cueto ripping him off and concluding with last week's ending. Exterior shots bring us into the Temple where 10 men are in the ring. Vampiro says he has no idea why they're here. Cueto comes out of his office with his theme, and a dark pair of shades to conceal a massive shiner. Cueto says the men will compete in a Lucha Underground TEN WAY MATCH! Ten more men will be in a different match later, and to make things interesting, the winner of each match will be rewarded with something else - something more important than money.
Match 1 - 10-Man Match
Everyone jumps on Ryck, and it's a one fall match. Mascarita Sagrada goes for collar and elbow, then goes behind Ryck and kicks the legs. Ryck beats up the mini with a kick. Loco springboards onto Ryck, while Pentagon Jr. sends him out with a dropkick. Drago does a corkscrew dive onto Fenix while Danny Trejo looks on. Sagrada did a spinning headscissors to Pentagon Jr. Pengagon and Sagrada exchange blows on the apron and Pentagon wins that war with a thrust kick. Sagrada dives onto the pile. Super Fly moonsaults off the top to the floor to Pentagon. Puma and Havoc brawl leading to a double somersault flip from what would normally be a leapfrog position. Puma does a double backflip into a spinning headscissors. Other than his ribs being taped up, this is ruling. Puma dives to the guys and Trejo high fives him. Ryck tosses Drago onto a pile. Puma and Fenix prevents that from happening again by attacking him. Fenix facewashes Puma, who replies with a corner dropkick. Superkick takes Puma down. Fenix, Cuerno, and Puma do a tower of doom. Super Fly moonsaults Havoc for 2. Drago hits the Dragon's Tail cradle for 2. Cuerno and Drago exchange kicks and Cuerno hits Thrill of the Hunt on Drago for 2 thanks to a save. Pentagon punts Mariachi to prevent him from beating Cuerno.
Pentagon gets a muscle buster for 2. Sagrada gets a sunset bomb to Pentagon for 2. Puma kicks Sagrada for 2. Ryck bowls Puma over. Puma high kicks Ryck, Fenix superkicks him. Everyone kicks him, leading to Cuerno and Pentagon dropkicking him out. Bullet dive from Cuerno to Drago. Mariachi and Super Fly do a double swanton dive to the floor. Pentagon does one off the top to the floor onto a pile. Havoc does a space flying tiger drop. Sagrada does a flying rana off the top to the floor to Pentagon. 619 to Ryck from Fenix. Puma takes Fenix down with a kick. 630 to Ryck! Tornado DDT to Puma from Fenix gets 2. Owen driver from Fenix gets the win! Vampiro puts this over as the most exciting match he's seen in 33 years in wrestling. Fenix now gets a shot at the "unique opportunity" promised by Cueto. This was 15 minutes of crazy action and a ton of fun.
Brian Cage video - he's a machine and he's called Cage. The LA cityscape leads us to Konnan yelling to Puma about missing out on a huge opportunity. If he screws up again, Konnan's done with him. Mundo comes to the ring for the second match - a 10-person intergender match. A shot of the Temple brings us back in for the match. We're told this a Boyle Heights Battle Royal, and there are only nine people in the ring - Chavo is number 10.
Match 2 - 10-Person Intergender Boyle Heights Battle Royal
Sexy Star starts this by doing a diving Thesz press to Chavo on the floor. Striker talks about William Regal giving him great advice for a battle royal - just stay in the center. Mundo gets tossed over, but he skins the cat. Famous B's out. Pimpy gets chopped down by the Crew. Sexy dropkicks Pimpy down. Pimpy goes for a rope walk, but is taken down by Muertes and eliminated. Sexy Star hops on Chavo's back and gets flying mared. Sexy slaps him and hits a Codebreaker. Crossbody is caught and she's tossed out. The Crew attacks Mundo on the mat. Mundo skins the cat again and Vamp says that Finlay would just kick your lungs out of your chest in that position. Mundo saves himself again with a double foot grab. Pop in underarm rana to the Crew two of them out out. Muertes kills the last guy and throws him out. Chavo, Muertes, and Mundo are the final three. Mundo sunset flips Muertes leading to a massive German suplex with Chavo landing right on his head. Springboard dropkick to Muertes from Mundo. Striker, like last week, talks about lactic acid buildup hurting Mundo.
Chavo gets crotched on the top rope and eats a Flying Chuck kick to take him out. Angela Fong looks on from the crowd. Muertes and Mundo exchange punches and he spears Mundo to death. Flying forearm sends Muertes down for the running knee. Fisherman's buster lock sends Muertes to the apron. They exchange shots while Striker talks about them fighting for their destiny. Mundo kicks Muertes on the apron. Pele kick from Mundo sends Muertes down. Muertes gets the knees up for Starship Pain, and he lariats Mundo to the floor after chucking him over the top to the apron. Muertes advances and we get clips of him walking backstage while clips of this airing. Cueto will come to the ring next and announce what each man has won.
The cityscape takes us to the Temple, where Muertes and Fenix are mid-ring waiting for Cueto. He holds up the Lucha Underground championship, which resembles the current WWE Tag Team Titles, only it's all-gold and not copper. He comes up with an innovative match concept - Aztec Warfare. In there weeks, on the first Lucha Underground of the new year on January 7, the winner of the match becomes champion. Fenix and Muertes are congratulated for winning their matches, but they have one more man to fight - each other! The winner of this enters Aztec Warfare last, so I guess it's like a Royal Rumble. The loser will enter first. An ad hypes up the January 7 show with operatic music and clips of Cage and the rest of the roster doing cool things.
Match 3 - Fenix vs. Mil Muertes
Muertes goes for a tie-up, but Fenix outfoxes him. He decides to just start clubbing and fares far better. Fenix grabs the arm, hits some kicks, and does a variety of jumps on the rope into a spinning armdrag. He smashes Fenix with a kick and takes him down. Big missile dropkick off the top from Fenix sends him down and he goes to the floor to regroup - but Fenix does a somersault dive to the floor. They got to a 9 count and Muertes barely gets back in time. Fenix kicks him, but eats a massive spear and some ground stomps. Catalina chokes Fenix on the ropes and Vampiro says that she's a hottie, A HOTTIE in fact. DDT from Muertes gets 2. Over the shoulder running powerslam gets 2 from Muertes. Striker talks about Aztec Warfare having the open door policy in place. Fenix gets a handspring elbow to regroup. Pop-up rana from Fenix leads to a powerbomb for 2. Handsprinig cutter from Fenix gets 2.9. Fenix does a spinning nothing off the top and eats a punch from Muertes. Flatliner hits from Muertes and he wins, so he'll be number 20 in the match and Fenix has to defy the odds. Cueto meets with his monster in jail and talks about the title belt having gold from seven aztec tribes within it.
The Bigger Picture
This wasn't the best episode, but the opener was worth checking out. This was an excellent future-building show in one sense since we know the roster not only has a title to fight for, but have seen it too. It's a shame the show will be going off the air until January 7, but it builds up anticipation. The title belt design itself isn't amazing, but is far better than the Lucha Libre USA titles, and they've made it seem really important. Cueto's monster will seemingly be debuting early in the new year since this is the second time we've seen Cueto with him and he's got his key back.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:56
Thoughts on CM Punk leaving WWE:
Good for him. Kudos to Punk for finding himself something to do after WWE. He's made a big splash over the last few weeks between his podcasts and signing with UFC. I wish him the best of luck. I really hope that he has as much success there as he has here. I think it will be very interesting for him to try something new. He's only been a pro wrestler since he was 18 years old. For him, at his age, to step out of his comfort zone and try something new is pretty admirable and I'm looking forward to seeing how he does.
The way CM Punk left WWE:
I think it could have handled better, probably, on both sides. And I think down the road, people involved will say the same thing. But as much as I don't necessary agree with the way he left, I think I understand, mentally, where he was. This business can take a toll on you. You travel a lot. You get beat up a lot. There's a lot of frustration that's involved and mentally, over time, that can wear on you. It can put you in place where you're a different person. And when you're not happy with who you are and the person you want to be, you gotta take a step back. You gotta look at things outside the bubble a little bit. I think that's what he did and I think he realized that he needed to take a step back and see what was going on. And if he didn't like it, then he can move on. I think they agreed to disagree. Like I said, could have been handled differently from a public relations standpoint on both sides. I think once the dust settles, everything will feel itself out and it should be alright.
If the locker room would welcome CM Punk back to WWE:
I don't see why not. He's a self-admitted jerk, first of all. And if you listen to his podcast, he didn't say that he was in a great mood the last few months that he was there. He admitted how grumpy he was and how much of a jerk he was, even more than he already is. I think we would welcome him back. I'm not to hold too much grudges. I think everyone deserves a second chance; an opportunity to redeem themselves. I would welcome him back. I'm sure he would face some resentment, as far as the locker room is concerned. But guys get over that stuff pretty quick. I think if it was best for business, yeah, I would be open to it for sure.
He also talked about NXT, TLC match vs. John Cena (pre), his career, Crossfit and what he wants fans to think about him when he retires.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 14:40
Week two of the C.M. Punk Observer is up on the site. We've got two major articles, the first covering the UFC signing and the second covering his latest points regarding WWE. It's a great companion piece to last week's issue. Plus, we've got coverage of several major international big shows, and Japanese and WWE awards for 2014.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 13:43Wrestling Observer Radio with Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer returns today with special guest JEFF JARRETT to talk Global Force Wrestling, the New Japan Tokyo Dome show, future plans for both GFW and the New Japan relationship, Mike Tenay, TNA and more! A fun show as always so check it out~!
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 12:51Figure Four Daily with Bryan Alvarez returns today with Dr. Lucha Steve Sims to talk all the news in pro-wrestling south of the border including the AAA Guerra de Titanes report, Lucha Underground future plans, CMLL, Steve's prediction for the 2015 Aniversario show main event, and more! A fun show as always so check it out~!
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 12:34
by David Bixenspan |
Tonight on TV:
With the Ultimate Fighter season over, Fox Sports 1's UFC Lineup consists of: (UFC Unleashed at 7 p.m ET (w/ the Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustaffson classic), UFC Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, and A replay of Saturday's Dos Santos vs. Miocic main card at 9 p.m. ET.
Lucha Underground on El Rey at 8 p.m. ET features some kind of 10-way match or battle royal (they used both terms) as the main event. The teaser video is up on El Rey's YouTube channel.
Impact Wrestling presents "Countdown to the All-Time Best TNA Moment, Part 1" at 11 p.m. ET on Spike as they burn off the remaining episodes. This will be either ridiculously entertaining or ridiculously depressing. Maybe both. I have no idea what TNA's self-worth is when it comes to this stuff.
The latest Figure Four Weekly is now up on the site for subscribers with analysis of why the Green Ranger should be CM Punk's first UFC opponent (that's not a joke), Punk's podcasts in hindsight, and more on that topic, Bryan on Raw being too damn long, and much more, including the usual news and reviews from around the world. Of course, that's not the only newsletter on the site...
Week two of the C.M. Punk Observer is up on the site. We've got two major articles, the first covering the UFC signing and the second covering his latest points regarding WWE. It's a great companion piece to last week's issue. Plus, we've got coverage of several major international big shows, and Japanese and WWE awards for 2014.
The new issue is up on the site at Dec 15 2014 Wrestling Observer Newsletter CM Punk to UFC
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--CMLL's last big show of the year with the last man left in a cage escape match getting his head shaved
--Major high flying star looking at returning soon after injury
--Wrestler collapses in ring but ends up recovering well enough to work the next night
--Promotion and one of its longest lasting stars at odds with legal action threatened
--Wrestle-1 star to Europe to defend European title
--Will TNA star capture outside world title
--Coverage of the All Japan tag team tournament finals
--Tag team reunites after 30 years
--A look at the first three weeks of New Japan TV on AXS
--More notes on New Japan World
--New Japan promoter apologizes to fans and you'll never believe what for
--Notes on warrant out for the arrest of Teddy Hart
--Movie about one of pro wrestling all-time legends about to be released
--The last major WWC show of the year and first TV airing in more than a decade of one of the bloodiest matches of all-time
--Notes on the Lucha Underground schedule
--Dates for two major stars working in ROH
--Notes on TNA's new TV deal and schedule
--A look at the TV situation for the next few months
--Some TNA contract notes
--Dixie Carter talks new TV deal and Vince Russo
--TNA British Boot Camp winner notes
--A look at the upcoming UFC shows
--Olympic gold medalist debut this week
--UFC star wants out of his contract to fight in Bellator
--Update on Cris Cyborg
--Another UFC drug suspension
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Bellator star gets arrested
--New Bellator fights
--Another former MMA superstar added to a movie cast that includes a former multi- time WWE champion and an MMA all-time great
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* 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.
-- Some in-house notes:
We've decided to experiment with putting Figure Four Weekly on the Kindle Store again, with last week's issue up right now, fully formatted with chapters and a table of contents. It's an experiment for now as a way for non-subscribers to get single issues digitally, spread awareness about the newsletter and website, and so on. The intention is not to get subscribers to double dip, and I want to make that clear since someone asked about it. However, if you are interested in ebook versions of the newsletter becoming part of the site (and especially if you don't subscribe now but would if we offered that), please let me and Bryan know so we can try to gauge interest.
Also, this is just an idea I'm bouncing around, but if we were to do something like a F4W Yearbook or F4W Annual, what would people want to see in it? Again, this would be part of your subscriptions but also offered externally.
-- CM Punk is in the New York area to do a media tour. Today, he's at the ESPN studios in Bristol, Connecticut, and tomorrow, he's going to be on Opie with Jim Norton (formerly Opie and Anthony) on Sirius XM. On today's show, they mentioned that they'll talk about the UFC class action lawsuit and his podcast comments about WWE. Didn't hear if they teased that they'd be tying the two topics together but it makes sense that they would.
-- Really interesting Ben Fowlkes article at MMAJunkie talking to Jens Pulver, Pat Barry, and Mike Pyle about fans constantly asking them to retire for their own safety.
-- Useful MMA reading: Kevin Iole's article about UFC cutting Jon Fitch (and potentially cutting every fighter managed by DeWayne Zinkin) in 2008 for trying negotiate the then-new UFC likeness rights agreement. Lots of terrible Dana White quotes but this stands out as the most amusing one in 2014: "Can you believe that? Chuck Liddell has that language in his contract. Randy Couture has it. Anderson Silva has it. And Cain [expletive] Velasquez, with two [expletive] fights, wants us to change it for him? That’s [expletive] nuts. He can get the [expletive] out."
-- Gabe "Tyler Reks" Tuft did an interview with WrestlingInc where he was pretty blunt about pay, which seems like it's becoming a trend after Punk & Del Rio. Key quote:
"Here's a perfect example: I hate to spill my salary on the internet, but when I left I got a bump to $100,000 a year. But a third of it goes to road expenses. The only thing they pay for is your flight. You pay for your own hotel, and car, and food. Could you imagine trying to eat out five times a day? As a body guy, you have to maintain your physique and that means eating five times a day. Spending all your money trying to maintain that? Good luck. Then Uncle Sam takes 20%-30%. You guys do the math and see how much I walked away with, which was next to nothing. I was making more money fresh out of college as an engineer fresh out of college in an entry level position than being on TV. That's gotten worse from what I hear. They do a ton of tours, and some guys would be making $30,000-$40,000 in the day. I went to Europe and I think I brought home $5,000. Then there was one tour I flew overseas and did a ten day tour and made less than $2,000. I made less than $500 a show. The video games are getting worse - guys used to get paid up to $100,000 for being in the video game and now it's much, much less. The reading audience will think that's a lot of money, but when you're on the road it's not. We don't all have busses like John and Punk and Show. You're breaking your body to barely pay the bills."
-- It's behind their paywall, but Seth Rollins did an interview with The Sun in the UK. It appears to mostly be in character, with the key quotes being about Randy Orton:
"Randy and I are colleagues for sure, but we were never friends as far as hanging out."
“Randy’s got his life, I’ve got my life – we were business partners when it made sense. But now it doesn’t make sense any more so we’re at odds again."
“And if you look at the way things were when we first came in as The Shield, he didn’t like us very much then so it is one of those things where I think he has always harboured a little professional jealousy when it comes to myself."
“Maybe he’s a little afraid that some of the young guys are going to come in and steal some of his thunder."
“An incredible performer and a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer – but he’s had his time and I think he may be a little afraid to admit that.”
-- From the WWE Has No Clue How to Promote the Network file, there's this video on WWE.com, which is, in theory, supposed to count down the top 10 hidden gems on WWE Network. It consists of quick clips from the network's eight weekly shows and then three clips of archival footage: Ric Flair vs. Sting from the first Clash of the Champions, The Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy in their ladder match on Raw in 2003, and Elizabeth announcing on Saturday Night's Main Event that she'll be in a neutral corner at WrestleMania V. First of all, that adds up to 11. But more importantly, none of the archival footage is named and there's no actual countdown of any of this. Without a brief "hidden gems" graphic you'd think they posted the wrong video.
-- Today in title change history thanks to Brian Hoops (my notes in brackets):
1906 - Frank Gotch defeats Fred Beel in Kansas City, Missouri to win the American Heavyweight Title
1965 - Chris and Ken Lucas defeaedt The Mysterio Medics in Dothan, Alabama to win the Gulf Coast version of the NWA Southern Tag Team Title
1968 - Fritz Von Erich & Dan Miller defeated The Spoiler & Gary Hart to win the NWA American Tag Team Title (later to become the World Class World Tag Team Title) in Dallas, Texas.
1970 - Kim Il and Pak Song defeated Gorgeous George, Jr. and Rufus R. Jones to win the NWA Texas Tag Team Title.
1971 - The Royal Kangaroos (Jonathan Boyd and Norman Frederick Charles) defeated Beauregard and Dutch Savage for the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Title.
1973 - Buddy Colt defeated Eddie Graham for the NWA Florida Heavyweight Title
1973 - Buck Ramstead and Mr. X (Guy Mitchell) defeated The Samoans (Afa and Sika) to win the Vancouver version of the NWA Canadian Tag Team Title in Vancouver, British Columbia.
1977 - The Hollywood Blondes (Jack Evans and Larry Sharpe) defeated Carlos Colon and Victor Jovica for the WWC North American Tag Team Title in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At the same event, Jose Rivera and Invader I defeated The Samoans (Afa and Sika) for the WWC World Tag Team Title, and Joe Novak defeated Hercules Ayala for the WWC Caribbean Heavywight Title.
1978 - Dino Bravo defeated Gene Kinishi in Toronto, Ontario to become the first holder of the Toronto version of the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Title.
1978 - Tiger Conway, Jr. and Bull Ramos defeated Killer Karl Krupp and Mark Lewin for the NWA Texas Tag Team Title in Dallas, Texas.
1979 - Bob Backlund defeated Bobby Duncum in a Texas death match to win the vacant WWF World Heavyweight Title in Madison Square Garden. [35 years ago today, this was the main event of one of the best and most loaded MSG house shows in WWE history, with NJPW talent in multiple matches including Antonio Inoki vs. Hussein Arab (Iron Sheik), Harley Race defending the NWA Title against Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan making his MSG debut against Ted DiBiase, and more. The WWF title was only billed as vacant in Japan, but the intros for the match were done carefully so that it made sense in both countries.]
1985 - Bob Brown defeated Brett Sawyer in Ames, Iowa to win the NWA Central States Heavyweight Title.
1987 - El Gran Markus, Jr. defeated Super Halcon in Acapulco, Mexico for the Mexican National Heavyweight Title.
1988 - Hercules Ayala defeated Ricky Santana for the WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Title in Bayamon, Puerto Rico
1989 - Leo Burke defeated Carlos Colon to win the WWC Universal Heavyweight Title in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
1993 - Gran Hamada defeated Villano IV in Tokyo, Japan for the WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Title.
1995 - Dr. Wagner, Jr. defeated Atlantis in Mexico City, Mexico to win the CMLL World Light Heavyweight Title
1999 - In Nashville, Tennessee Masato Tanaka defeated Mike Awesome for the ECW World Heavyweight Title. [This was their best ECW match if I remember correctly.]
2000 - Kevin Nash & Dallas Page defeated Shawn Stasiak & Chuck Polumbo to regain the WCW World Tag Titles at Starrcade in Washington, DC.
2005 - In Edison, New Jersey; Austin Aries and Roderick Strong defeated Sal Rinauro and Tony Mamaluke to win the ROH Tag Team Title.
THURSDAY'S WWE NETWORK SCHEDULE (thanks to Bert Duckwall)
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