UFC News: Michael Bisping headlining Scotland debut, Ross Pearson in co-main

Monday, 25 May 2015 08:38

The UFC announced Monday that Michael Bisping vs. Thales Leites will headline its debut show in Scotland, taking place on 7/18 at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow. The event will air on Fox Sports One.

#10 Bisping is coming off a convincing recent victory over C.B. Dolloway, while #9 Leites has an eight fight winning streak, a perfect 5-0 in his second UFC run. He has finishes in his last three. Bisping is 4-4 in his last eight.

In a lightweight clash, Ross Pearson vs. Evan Dunham is the co-main event. Pearson has won two of his last three, while Dunham snapped a three-fight losing streak with a decision win over Rodrigo Damm in January. The show will also feature Joanne Calderwood vs. Bec Rawlings.

 

 

UFC: Frank Trigg talks Hall of Fame, playing heel and creating a feud in UFC

Monday, 25 May 2015 08:25

The following is from a third-party:

Frank Trigg came on Submission Radio to discuss his UFC Hall of Fame fight induction for his second fight with Matt Hughes.

Trigg is still yet to get his head around the big news:

“It hasn’t really set in yet. It’s still kind of surreal. You know, I didn’t know about it until about 4 o'clock on Tuesday night, and then about 5:15 or thereabouts they announced it on Wednesday night. Karen Bryant announced it on UFC Tonight and it still hasn’t set in much."

Frank was clear that his animosity with Matt was created by him to sell tickets and nowhere close to being real

“No, there never really was. It was all made up. It was a rivalry set because when UFC was squared away back then, there was only eight fights a year. Now they're doing almost four fights a card. So it’s a different ball game. They’d have a face, they’d have a heel. Matt was the champ, he gets to play face. He’s not much of a talker anyway publicly, and I am. So I played the heel and we showed it off. You know it’s, it was a rivalry to set people to want to buy tickets and want to see this fight, and that’s just kind of what’s up”

Frank also discussed why he thought people needed to stop feeling sorry for Jon Jones

"People have to stop making excuses for this guy and feeling sorry for this guy. I feel sorry for his Mom and Dad. I feel sorry for his brothers, I feel sorry for his Girlfriend and for their kids. I feel sorry for the team, the team around him. You know the guys at Jackson’s that have to deal with this whole fallout. Don’t feel sorry for Jon Jones. He’s a grown ass man. He’s a man that’s an adult, that pays his own bills and has his own pay cheque, can drive his own car, can make his own decisions. He’s making dumb decisions. So when you make bad decisions you have to pay for them."

“I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner."

When it came to Conor McGregor, Frank admitted he hasn't been a fan of some of his antics during the world tour with Jose Aldo

“I’m just one of those guys that I’m kind of a traditionalist. I know that if you look at how I act you would think that I wouldn’t be that much of a traditionalist, but I’m a traditionalist. You never touch the belt till you've earned the belt. You don’t go and grab it away from the champ. That’s just not what you do. You don’t do that. It’s kind of disrespectful to the promotion and it’s disrespectful to what we’re trying to accomplish. I get his antics, I get what he’s doing, but that for me is the line-crosser."

Check out the rest of the interview in the transcript below featuring Frank's thoughts on the Reebok deal, never getting paid 10,000 dollars that Pride owed him and if any of his feuds were ever really real. 

Transcript:

Reaction to finding out his fight second with Matt Hughes will be inducted into the UFC HOF

“It hasn’t really set in yet. It’s still kind of surreal. You know, I didn’t know about it until about 4 o'clock on Tuesday night, and then about 5:15 or thereabouts they announced it on Wednesday night. Karen Bryant announced it on UFC Tonight and it still hasn’t set in much. You know and really, it’s just kind of been so much of a whirlwind. But to be honest with you, I don’t really know what’s happening. Like I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve been told that I’m in the Hall of Fame. I’ve been told I’ve got some stuff I have do the week of the fight expo in July, but other than that I don’t really what else is going on.”

If he expected to ever be inducted into the hall of fame

“No. No I never thought I would be inducted in. I mean my record obviously shows that I'm not a great champ like a Matt Hughes was, and obviously he's already been in the hall of fame. He'll be a double inductee now. He'll in one as a fighter and for his fight history as being a champ, and now one for this fight. But I never thought it was going to happen. I was completely blindsided when they gave me the phone call that this was going to happen for me.”

On the animosity towards Matt Hughes never really being real

“No, there never really was. It was all made up. It was a rivalry set because when UFC was squared away back then, there was only eight fights a year. Now they're doing almost four fights a card. So it’s a different ball game. They’d have a face, they’d have a heel. Matt was the champ, he gets to play face. He’s not much of a talker anyway publicly, and I am. So I played the heel and we showed it off. You know it’s, it was a rivalry to set people to want to buy tickets and want to see this fight, and that’s just kind of what’s up”

If Matt knew that the rivalry was made up

“I have no Idea. I can't speak for what Matt thought or didn't think at that time. I have no clue.”

How it was decided that Frank would play the 'Bad Guy"

“I just decided to play the heel and sell the fight. Like I said, he's not much of a talker. He doesn't go out publicly and talk trash. It's not his style. His style is very quiet and very humble and he goes in there and does his job and beats. You know and I had to get people to wanna watch these fights and wanna buy tickets, so one of us had to talk. And so I ended up - you know because I enjoy speaking, I enjoy the public aspect of selling stuff like that - so I went out and chose that role on my own  to do it and it seemed to work.”

If any of his rivalries with guys such as GSP or Matt Serra were ever real

“No. To me it's always been...I've never been one of those guys that has to hate my opponent to have to beat them up, you know like have to hate them and have to hate everything about them to fight them. I was always one of those guys where it's all about business. It's all about trying to get the next meal on the table for my kids and try to provide for housing and provide for the college fund. So for me it was always business. You know there's a multitude of fighters that don't like me, but there's no fighter that I can really think of off the top of my head that I don't like. I don't like some of the things that some of the fighters do outside of the cage. I mean I don't like some of the things that how they act or how they conduct themselves, but those things don't really affect me. So I kind of separate myself from that kind of mindset. So there's no real rivalry between any of those fighters to my knowledge.”

If it would be tough reliving the losses to Mat Hughes when Frank gets inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame

“Well no because now - like you said, the UFC hall of fame is the most prestigious hall of fame in mixed martial arts. It's one of the most prestigious hall of fames of all hall of fames. You know of course you go against boxing and football and basketball and hockey, you know you have a longer hall of fame for those. The UFC hall of fame is newer but it's a very prestigious hall of fame. Now it actually helps take away some of the bitterness of the fight. You know I've come to terms with it, it's a piece of history. I lost the fight, I lost to Matt twice. He was the champ and I couldn't defeat him either time and that's the reality of those fights. And now it kind of takes away - for the rest of my life I will always have that on my business card. For the rest of my life, it will always be in my bio page of all my social networks and my bio page on Wikipedia that right now I am a UFC inductee. That I'm in the hall of fame. Come July 11th I will be a UFC hall of fame member. And that will always be on my business card for the rest of my life because that is the reality.”

Thoughts on the Reebok deal numbers and fighters complaining about losing money through it

“The fighters can complain all they want. If they don’t like it then leave. Go someplace else. You don’t get what you deserve. Athletes don’t get what they deserve. Every athlete deserves at least two or three times more than they're actually getting paid from their promotion, or from their team, or from whatever. The reality of it is, you get what you negotiate. And these guys are negotiating, and this is part of the negotiation deal that these Reebok deals will be a part of their deal, a part of their contract now.”

Frank on if any sponsors never paid him his money

“That was back in the day. I’ve had, you know Pride still owes me 10,000 dollars and they closed shop and never paid me. It’s always been one of those deals where you can stuff the fighter and all he can do is complain about it and it won't do him any good. And I’ve had sponsors bail out on me and I've called them to task. And I’ve been real lucky that my management team - you know I’ve had different managers throughout my career, but they’ve always been able to hunt down the money and get it for me. And so literally the only time I really didn’t get paid was when Pride walked away and they owe me 10,000 dollars. Other than that, I got the money that I could get and that was how the game was, and when I was in there, there wasn’t that many sponsorships that you could actually have, because people didn’t have money and the game wasn’t that big. And when they finally put a lockdown on them, a lot of sponsors got pulled out and they couldn’t afford to be in as much as they were. So that’s the game. That’s just how it goes. You know and I’ve been very lucky, I haven’t had to worry about sponsorship money and didn't have to worry about sponsorship deals like that, but of course I wasn’t in the heyday. My payday was not in the heyday."

Thoughts on Conor McGregor and they was he carried himself in the press tour with Aldo

“I’m just one of those guys that I’m kind of a traditionalist. I know that if you look at how I act you would think that I wouldn’t be that much of a traditionalist, but I’m a traditionalist. You never touch the belt till you've earned the belt. You don’t go and grab it away from the champ. That’s just not what you do. You don’t do that. It’s kind of disrespectful to the promotion and it’s disrespectful to what we’re trying to accomplish. I get his antics, I get what he’s doing, but that for me is the line-crosser. But then of course you have Chael Sonnen talking about, you know smacking Anderson Silva’s wife on the ass was a line crosser for me as well. Like it’s always been trash talking for you between the fighters. Keep the families out of it. But Chael made a career out of it and I didn’t like it, but I laughed at it. It was funny. The same thing with Conor McGregor. I don’t like it, but I got it. I understand what he’s doing.”

“Right now honestly, and people ask and ask about it, that he is the number one draw right now for the UFC. Right now, he’s the biggest name the UFC has. Bigger than Ronda Rousey, bigger than Jose Aldo, bigger than - obviously bigger than Jon Jones now that he’s out, bigger than anybody else in the UFC right now. Conor McGregor the challenger is the biggest name we have going on.”

Reaction to Jon Jones hit and run and him being suspended by the UFC

Like, I’m on the fence with the Daniel Cormier side, in where people have to stop making excuses for this guy and feeling sorry for this guy. I feel sorry for his Mom and Dad. I feel sorry for his brothers, I feel sorry for his Girlfriend and for their kids. I feel sorry for the team, the team around him. You know the guys at Jackson’s that have to deal with this whole fallout. Don’t feel sorry for Jon Jones. He’s a grown ass man. He’s a man that’s an adult, that pays his own bills and has his own pay cheque, can drive his own car, can make his own decisions. He’s making dumb decisions. So when you make bad decisions you have to pay for them. Sometimes the payment is smaller and easier, and this payment that he’s about to make is going to be huge.

"It’s going to be crazy for him to try to even think about trying to get out of this. And he’s in a difficult place right now. And you know for the UFC - and I think Dana White came out and said "hey, he’s going to have an immediate title shot when he comes back after everything gets settled". It’s kind of early to say that. You know, we love Dana and the fact that he says everything that comes to his mind, he holds true to his word and he wears his heart on his sleeve, but the reality of it is that it's too early to say that because, you know he could be doing six months. You know six months in jail in New Mexico. And then to come out and start training again and try to get ready, I don’t know if that’s going to happen. I don’t know if he could pull that off.”

 

Bryan & Vinny Show 5/24: Vinny Smackdown game, Wang returns for KICKBOXER film review and tons more!

Monday, 25 May 2015 00:34

The Bryan & Vinny Show returns today with special guest WANG~! for a packed show! As promised, Wang will briefly tell us what happened at last week's Billboard Music Awards, then we've got the VINNY GUESSES WHAT HAPPENED ON SMACKDOWN game, followed by the greatest film of the 80s, KICKBOXER WITH JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME. This is a show for the ages. Check it out~!
 

FREE TODAY! Wrestling Observer Live 5/24: UFC 187, TNA situation, WWE Elimination Chamber, Ronda Rousey, tons more!

Sunday, 24 May 2015 17:02

Wrestling Observer Live with Bryan Alvarez and Mike Sempervive returns today to talk all the news in wrestling and MMA, everything from UFC to WWE Elimination Chamber, Ronda Rousey, tons of calls and more! Best of all this show is completely FREE, so please post the link or file elsewhere and help spread the word about wrestlingobserver.com! If you like what you hear, sign up for a subscription as we produce anywhere from 12-15 new radio shows every week, plus members have full access to over 6,000 archived audio shows dating back to 2005, plus hundreds of new and archived Wrestling Observer and Figure Four Weekly online newsletters. It's a steal, so sign up and join the fun!
 

The full details of TNA's television situation, The battle for No. 2, Drug testing punishment in MMA, ROH viewership, MMA changes upcoming, NXT Norheast tour

Sunday, 24 May 2015 16:42

The new issue of the Wrestling Observer is among the most talked about of the year, with a detailed lead story on the plight of every key non-WWE promotion, as well as details of TNA's future with Destination America, ROH viewership and more, a detailed look at how MMA is going to be changing with far more serious repercussions for drug test failures and the story behind the changes, a look at Elimination Chamber, a rundown of Payback, a detailed update NXT with coverage of its Northeast tour, and of the ROH/New Japan tour.  We also look at the Urijah Faber vs. Frankie Edgar show and the death of Corey Hill.

 
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*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
 
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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.
 

SUN. UPDATE: More from UFC last night, Today's World Cup, Scott Hall, new faces on WWE road tour, Super Juniors, Dwayne Johnson

Sunday, 24 May 2015 16:32

By Dave Meltzer  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're looking for your thoughts on last night's UFC 187 and Wednesday night's NXT Takeover Unstoppable show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

 We're also looking for reports on these weekend shows:

*WWE last night in Worcester, MA

*WWE today in White Plains, NY (John Cena, Rusev, Dean Ambrose, Kane, Luke Harper, Neville)

*WWE today in Binghamton (Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, Bray Wyatt, Sheamus). 

AAA LUCHA WORLD CUP IPPV AT www.LuchaWorldCup.com starting at 6 p.m. Eastern time from Los Palacios de los Deportes in Mexico City 

Tournament first round matches

- Raw is Monday night at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY.  The cast of Entourage will be guest stars on the show. Smackdown and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday night in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

*****

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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.
 
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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.
 
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--Update on health of one of 80s biggest names
 
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--Main events for the next few ROH shows
 
--A look at ROH television over the next month
 
--Why this week's first-run Impact show didn't air in the U.S.
 
--A look at the Impact schedule and more on the time slot change
 
--TNA's U.K. tour notes
 
--More on Billy Corgan in TNA
 
--Dixie Carter talks to Steve Austin, fact vs. fiction
 
--TNA loses anther time slot
 
--A look at this coming week's UFC show
 
--Lots of UFC card changes and why
 
--UFC debuts in South Korea in the fall
 
--Who are the biggest stars from there
 
--Will UFC's books be made public due to lawsuit
 
--UFC expected to sign WSOF champion
 
--A look at all the activities in July in conjunction with UFC in Las Vegas and Fight Week
 
--Lots of new UFC fights
 
--A look at Bellator's last show and next show
 
--Former Pride star put in jail
 
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)
 
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*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)
 
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*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)
 
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*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)
 
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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.

SUNDAY'S NEWS UPDATE
 
--Besides the coverage of last night's UFC, I talked a lot about the TNA/Destination America story on the show with Bryan last night.  There's a lot in there about TNA and its reactions.  TNA hurt itself badly the last few weeks on how it handled the situation.   
 
--Pretty amazing UFC main card last night.  The undercard was nothing special but Travis Browne vs. Andrei Arlovski was a potential match of the year.  A lot of talk it was the best main card of a PPV since UFC 139 in San Jose, which was more than three years ago.
 
--UFC 187 was the single most searched item yesterday on the Internet in the U.S. at more than 200,000.  But a show of that caliber would be expected to do considerably more than that.
 
--We got a lot of sports bar reports and they were at a very strong level.  I don't think sports bar attendance would be impacted much by being three weeks after Mayweather-Pacquiao.  PPV may be.  That was a topic of conversation last night.

--UFC 189 has supposedly already broken the UFC's all-time U.S. live gate record.  Dana White said they'd be opening up closed-circuit locations in Las Vegas for the overflow, figuring a ton of people are coming in from the UK, Ireland and Brazil for the fight.
 
--Ryan Bader had a big confrontation with Daniel Cormier at the press conference last night, and showed some fire.  Cormier is always the main with the mic.  
 
--Big Show was back on the road last night at the WWE show in Utica, as was Brad Maddox and Layla.  All three were on the Orton tour, in Utica last night and Binghamton today.
 
--Scott Hall was pulled from the GFW shows that he was booked for due to the TMZ coverage of the incident where he was allegedly drinking.  The decision was made when the story made the news.  There are reports gong around from people who thought he was pulled due to WWE, and that's not the case. 
 
--There will be a preview of the Daniel Bryan new video on the WWE Network tomorrow night after Raw.
 
--There is a claim that Dwayne Johnson broke a Guinness World Record for most selfies (105) taken in a three minute period.
 
--The Best of the Super Juniors matches tomorrow (late night tonight) in Niigata are:
--For Tuesday in Yamagata
--For Wednesday in Aomori
--Both the ROH shows from Philadelphia with the New Japan talent are available on VOD for $19.99, night 1 and night 2.

--A story on Trish Stratus and her wrestling career.

--A story on Owen Hart.

--NPR did a story on Lucha Underground and Mexican wrestling in Los Angeles.

--The Ultimate (Bryce) Harper 

--Fan reaction to Samoa Joe in NXT

--Samoa Joe interview.
 
--Honky Tonk Man interview.
--Ric Flair on WWE being afraid to put him on live TV (thanks to Johnny Kramer)

--Story in the New York Times Magazine on Dwayne Johnson.

ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY INTERNATIONAL (thanks to Graeme Cameron)

--Today is the 42nd anniversary of the night Harley Race beat Dory Funk Jr. in Kansas City to win the NWA title, which Funk held for four years.  I remember as a kid how huge of a story that was at the time.

--Shinya Aoki retained the One lightweight title beating Koji Ando via unanimous decision in Kallang, Singapore on Friday.  The other title fight saw Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichok beat Roy Doliguez to win the strawweight title, which is the men's 115 pound division.

--There was a fight with Angela Lee vs. Aya Sabier on that show that Lee won via submission in one minute.  I'm told she has a good look and cut a great promo (thanks to Paul Fontaine)

--A show called Ladies Night takes place on 6/19 in Glen Burnie, MD at Michael's Eighth Avenue with Melina Perez, Mickie James, Tessa Blanchard, Renee Michelle, Amber Rodriguez, Lisa Marie Varon, Kimber Lee and Mick Foley.   

--Jessica Havok and Santana Garrett were extras backstage at the NXT tapings on Wednesday and Thursday night. 

--Aaron Solo sent in a Tough Enough video, saying he was more than just Bayley's boyfriend.  

--All of the Busca de un Idolo tournament marches will stream like at Terra.com  The first day of the tournament is Tuesday night.

--RF Video has a 25% off sale for Memorial Day.

--The WWE's Samoa Joe T-shirts are all sold out.

--To clarify something from last week's TNA show.  The second Austin Aries & Bobby Roode vs. Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards match of the seres will be airing this Friday.  It didn't air this past Friday on the show that wasn't seen in the U.S.  On the international version, they were pushing that match, which I was told was great, for "next week's show." (thanks to John Pollock)

--TMZ reported a funny story where Roman Reigns, R-Truth and Jimmy Uso attended a wedding last night.  This was after last night's house show in Utica.  The three were at the bar and heard that there was a wedding reception.  They went to check it out an found out that the couple were both wrestling fans and asked them to stay.  The funny thing is, the couple were such fans they sent an e-mail to WWE, knowing talent was in the area, if they could have some wrestlers attend.  The e-mail was never answered and the guys had no clue the new wife, Beth Samuels, had sent the letter.

--CWF from last night in St. Catherines, ONT at the Haig Bowl Arena on 6/6 including Yusuke Kodama from Wrestle-1, Brian Christopher, Scotty 2 Hotty, Paul London, Rene Dupree, Cody Deaner, plus a ladder match.

--Masters of Wrestling did a women's wrestling tribute in Wilmington, NC last night.  Among those attending were Trish Stratus, Lita, Lisa Marie Varon, Terri Runnels, Lisa Moretti (Ivory), Missy Hyatt and Litttle Egypt.  Results from the show:  Le'D Tapa b Candy Cartwright, Kacee Carlisle b Devyn Nicole, Roni Niclle b Aramanda Rodriguez, Santana Garrett b Nikki Adams, Kacee Carlisle b Le'D Tapa, Santana Garrett b Roni Nicole, Santana Garrett b Roni Nichole to win tournament.  Lisa Moretti presented the trophy to Garrett. Here's some pictures.

--The Winter Palace podcast debuted  a discussion onthe recent Chikara UK tour, recent comics and --Tfilms. There will be lots of wrestling content, especially lucha, in upcoming episodes. 

--Florida J Cup tournament on 5/30 at the Team Vision Dojo in Orlando.

--Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling on 6/20 in East Carondelet, IL at the Community Center. 

 

UFC 187 Fan Feedback

Sunday, 24 May 2015 08:33

UFC 187

Thumbs Up! Excellent show top to bottom. The last four fights were all great. Cerrone needs to get a title shoot. No excuses. Weidman proved that he is more than legit. Belfort has nothing left except an Anderson Silva in Brazil. He didn't look like he was on something and was pushed around like a rag doll. Coincidence? I think not! Johnson looked great when allowed. Needs to work on cardio. Cormier style is kind of boring but that's his thing. His post-fight promo was just perfect.
Jon Jones situation...
Mike Tyson was convicted for rape. Floyd Mayweather for domestic violence. And even De La Hoya had some weird scandals. Jon Jones and UFC can pretend all they want, deep inside they know that they just hit the lottery. It's a shame but is the way our society (and this business) works. Cormier's promo just made it official.
Best Fight: Arlovski vs Browne.

Leonardo Mendez Toledo

Dave,
 
UFC 187 was the first UFC show I've bought since Weidman vs. Machida. Pretty much I only buy Weidman cards since they are guaranteed to be good, and they usually offer a good double-bill with Rousey, but this time we got a light-heavyweight title fight sans Jones, which to me is must see since I never cared for him and was looking forward to change. My money was well spent. What a great show, especially the main card. Wall-to-wall action, and for my tastes everyone that I wanted to win did.
 
Not enough can be said about Arlovski's comeback in recent years. About five years ago it pretty much looked like he would have to retire, and you can't fix a glass-jaw. Yet, somehow his stint in the WSOF, and working with Greg Jackson not only fixed him, it also made him a much better fighter than before. He destroyed Travis Browne; if you told me that was going to be a possibility just a year ago I would have probably laughed at you.
 
Cowboy put on a showcase against a much-better-than-expected replacement, ending the fight it classic fashion. I can't think of anyone else that wins this many fights against anyone thrown at him, and still has to wait and see if he gets the title shot. If he were in almost any other division he would have had the shot about midway through his current streak.
 
Weidman showed why he is one of the best with a quick destruction of Belfort. Vitor used to be one of my favorites until it became clearly evident that TRT was why he was so good in recent years. His statements of aggression against media did nothing to help curb the stereotype of a juicer. I was glad to see him get folded like an accordion like the rest of his Brazilian counterparts at the hands of the current champ. Rockhold vs. Weidman awaits.
 
Johnson vs. Cormier showed the resiliency it takes that separates a champ from an also-ran. Johnson's muscled frame, and excessive early striking did him in. That works for a few minutes against chumps, but Cormier did what it takes to be a champ. People may have booed the slowdown in action, but it was all setting up a clear dismantling of the Johnson Scud Missile. Two Blackzilians entered title fights, and two walked out empty-handed with their asses handed to them.
 
Thumbs up
Best Fight: Arlovski vs. Browne
Worst Fight: None -Every match on the televised undercard was also good, although I disagreed with Natal getting the nod.
Performance: Weidman, Arlovski, Cormier
KO: Arlovski
Sub: Cormier
 
-Matt Wright

UFC 187

Thumbs up. Not much to bitch about here. Maybe some of the judging. The top card came through big time.
Best fight: Arlovski vs. Browne
Worst fight: nothing really
Best performance: Arlovski for the upset
Worst performance: Uriah Hall, not that it was that bad and I thought he got mildly robbed, but still so far below his potenital
KO: Cerrone
Sub: gonna call this an across the board draw. Islam, Kim & Cormier.

Justin Scoggins does a 30-27 X 3 karate paint job on Josh Sampo in the opener. Islam walks through Kuntz (hee hee hee) finishing in the 2nd with RNC (seriously this is a guy to keep an eye on).

Colby Covington grounds the veteran Mike Pyle for most of the fight and escapes a very tight last 30 seconds RNC for the UD with one 29-28. After drama at the weigh in, Rafael Natal opens the fight with a groin kick and goes on to edge Uriah Hall via dubious 29-28 split. Dong Hyun Kim too much for Josh Burkman and secures the arm tri tap in the 3rd. A rusty, slower John Dodson gets a highly dubious 29-28 UD over Zach Makovsky.

Joey Benavides also not ultra impressive taking a far more competitive than the scores indicate 30-27 UD over John Moraga. I don't see either him or Dodson staking a claim on the next title shot off this. Good fight though.

Andrei Arlovski flipped the script, stunning Travis Browne early and not letting him off the hook, finally dropping him with a backfist. Browne gets up and drops Arlovski with a Hail Mary but Arlovski flips the script again by not getting knocked out, gets up, and finishes Browne with more punches and somehow is in title contention again in 2015.

John Makdessi steps in way over his head late and saves the fight vs. Donald Cerrone and lands enough to keep it interesting until Cerrone lands a head kick in the 2nd that breaks Makdessi's jaw and Makdessi obviously knows it and steps back making the TO sign and the fight is over.

A very skinny looking Vitor Belfort busts up Chris Weidman in the opening seconds but Weidman takes him down and the fight is pretty much over, getting the TKO off 40+ undefended strikes and retaining the MW title.

Anthony Johnson lands a right in the opening seconds that probably would have finished anybody else but Daniel Cormier is up quickly and grinds Rumble down and wears him out, really wrecking him with G&P in the 2nd, and finishing him in the 3rd with RNC and winning the vacant 'undisputed' LHW title. Every time Rumble got any distance he landed something heavy with either fists or feet and rocked Cormier several times but just couldn't keep Cormier off. Cormier's whole promo was 'Jon Jones, get your shit together, I'm waiting for you,' and he just walked out of the cage.
Crimson Mask

Hi Dave, Big Thumbs UpWas really looking forward to this card. Wish I was there. Even more miraculous was that there were not a lot of changes due to injury, unlike Montreal. I didn’t mind too much that the Cerrone vs Nurmagomedov was changed although I would have liked to see it. Makdessi was a great substitute going in for a battle of strikers who like to throw down.  Best Fight: Browne vs ArlovskiWorst Fight: Pyle vs Covington – wasn’t horrible but everything else was betterBest Performances: Weidman, Cormier Anthony Johnson vs. Daniel Cormier – Cormier’s fight plan to a T. Survive Rumble’s early attack until he gasses, then take him down and grind him out. Cormier looked good here but not sure if this Cormier could still beat Jones and get inside his crazy reach.
Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort – Weidman was a beast surviving Vitor’s early barrage before coming back to just decimate him. Dominant performance and looking forward to Weidman vs Rockhold. Loved how Weidman’s winning scream kind of scared Herb Dean, watch Dean’s facial expression during it then after as he kind of jokes about it.

Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi -  Loved how they both stayed in the pocket and let fly. Can’t wait to see Cerrone get his much deserved title shot.

Travis Browne vs. Andrei Arlovski – What a slobberknocker. Just what we love from watching the heavyweights throw down. Not sure if I would call it the greatest heavyweight fight of all time though Joe. Although he is kind of like Jimmy Hart with “This is the greatest day of my life baby” with the most recent fight being the best. I still think Big Foot vs Hunt tops this one.

Joseph Benavidez vs. John Moraga – This fight was OK, Benavidez wasn’t as dominant as he usually is but he deserved the decision.

John Dodson vs. Zach Makovsky – I want to like Dodson but I just can’t. I respect his talent but there is something about his personality that turns me off. I’d rather watch Uncle Creepy, Ian McCall any day.
Grant Zwarych

Hi Dave,
I watched the PPV card today at the pub here in Melbourne.  the crowd was about double what it was for Pettis & Dos Anjos, which was the last one I watched there.
Great card.  Easy thumbs up.
Best Fight - Arlovski & Browne
Worst Fight - Benavediz & Moraga
Best Performance - DC
No surprise Belfort was dangerous early and then folded, but surprised how quickly that happened.  A great setup for a Middleweight Title fight with Rockhold.  Rumble is still terrifying, so outstanding performance by DC to implement a 'weather and grind' strategy to take the title.  Lastly Arlovski looked sharp and I expected he would go down first round, so that fight was quite the spectacle.
Daniel Anerphy
 

WWE NXT: After Banks vs. Lynch, the future of women's wrestling is now

Monday, 25 May 2015 05:39

Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

Submitted By Paul O'Brien

I tried writing something directly after NXT TakeOver Unstoppable. I typed and I made sentences, but the piece never came together. It was hard to figure out just what happened. Where were the big changes? What was so different? Why had wrestling become cool again?

Then, it hit me as I re-watched. NXT is feels so future-leaning because it perfectly blends whats coming with what's worked in the past. It's the show that is open to new thinking. It is the show that galvanises tradition.

If you need evidence of NXT's nod to its roots, just watch Unstoppable's opening video and count for yourself how many times the word
'wrestling' was used. If you need evidence of their stampede towards freshness, just look at their roster, their creative freedoms; just look at Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch.

And if you need evidence of just how personal it is to everyone involved, then all you have to do is observe them. The passion for what they do just pours out from the wrestlers and the decision makers in every video, interview, tweet, and Instagram. These are a bunch of internationally talented, dedicated people who have something to prove. And that includes those on top too.

If you needed evidence of all these things together, I suggest you put down your $9.99 (or more in euros) and see for yourself. What's happening in NXT was perfectly encapsulated by the Women's title match at Unstoppable. Banks and Lynch emoted artistry and technique and hunger and intensity and spirit. They told a great story, reeled their audience in and made them care.

It wasn't just the best WWE womens match of all time for me; it was a classic match featuring any two wrestlers, full stop. With all the talk of Ronda Rousey being the catalyst of dragging women's combat competition to the main event in other arenas, #GiveDivasAChance now has its own trailblazers. It doesn't need to ride the wave of outsiders, and it doesnt need to feel inferior or less than. WWE has the best roster of female wrestlers top to bottom that I've ever seen in my 30 years as an observer.

Give them time, give them a spotlight, give them issues of substance, and get out of their way. Let them do what they do best. Let these wrestlers kick ass. Theyve proven they can.

NXT is WWE's place to measure, cut, plan and cast, and recast. It's a laboratory for controlled explosions, and the one thing in particular they should be trying to replicate out in the wild of WWE, is the women wrestlers ability to connect. WWE says they're all about what their fans want. Take one look at Banks v Lynch and tell me that the reaction in the building and online afterwards isnt transferable to the big stage.

There's something new and cool happening in WWE. There's something new and cool happening, WWE.

 

Premier Boxing Championships on NBC report - James DeGale vs. Andre Dirrell as British gold medalist goes for world title

Sunday, 24 May 2015 00:36

By Jeremy Wall

James DeGale defeated Andre Dirrell by unanimous decision on Saturday, May 23rd to become the first British boxer to win both an Olympic gold medal and a major world championship, in this case the vacant IBF Super World Middleweight title (168 pounds). The fight took place at Agganis Arena in Boston and aired in the late afternoon as the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions broadcast on NBC. Scores were 114-112, 117-109, and 114-112.

“I am world champ. I made history – the first British Olympic gold medalist to become world champion,” DeGale told Skysports.com. “I am back now and injury free. I will take on any super-middleweight in the world. I am hard to beat when I am at my best.”

DeGale (21-1, 14 KOs) went into the fight having won ten fights in a row. The only loss of his career was by majority decision to George Groves in May 2011 in a fight that one judge scored 115-115 and the other two scored 115-114 for Groves. Dirrell (24-2, 16 KOs), on the other hand, went into the bout riding a six-fight winning streak. Before facing DeGale, the only loss of Dirrell’s career was by split-decision to Carl Froch in October 2009. Both DeGale and Dirrell were making their debut for Al Haymon’s PBC and it was also DeGale’s debut in the United States. Both also prefer fighting southpaw, although DeGale switched between stances late in the fight.

It was a close fight. Dirrell began solid in the first round and was also winning the second round when DeGale scored a flash knockdown with a left hook. Dirrell immediately got back up, but DeGale dropped him again with another hook. It was a strange round because Dirrell was winning the round until he got knocked down twice. Dirrell’s poor defense, though, allowed DeGale to get ahead on the scorecards early in the fight.

Degale, however, faded somewhat as the fight went on. Dirrell never had DeGale in any real danger in the later rounds, but appeared to win a serious of close rounds late in the match. DeGale was cut above his right eye about halfway through the bout from big left hands by Dirrell.

There were a number of close rounds late in the bout that could have gone either way, which explains how two judges saw the fight as 114-112 for DeGale, but another saw it as 117-109. If DeGale hadn’t scored those two knockdowns in the second, though, the result may have been completely different as the rest of the fight was much closer.

“They said I ran from Carl Froch and they took that fight from me. He ran tonight and they gave it to him. All he did was run, no way I lost this fight,” said Dirrell.

The win establishes DeGale as one of the best boxers at 168 pounds. Of the four major boxing titles, PBC now has control over two as DeGale holds the IBF version and Badou Jack holds the WBC version, which he won by defeating Dirrell’s brother Anthony on a PBC show in April.

It was recently announced that terms have been reached for Jack to defend his belt against George Groves, one of Britain’s top boxers. The fight will take place in the US, likely as part of a PBC broadcast. The agreement between both sides prevented a purse bid from happening on Friday, which likely would have been won by PBC since Haymon (through intermediary promotions) uses his hedge fund money to win every purse bid by a wide margin.

The other super middleweight champions are Art Abraham (WBO), Fedor Chudinov (WBA regular), and Andre Ward (WBA super). Abraham defends his title against Robert Stieglitz in Germany on July 18th. Ward is facing Paul Smith in a non-title bout on June 20th as part of a time buy on BET by Jay Z’s boxing promotion Roc Nation. Chudinov just won the vacant WBA regular title against Felix Sturm in Germany on May 9th.

The biggest names that DeGale could face at super middleweight are either Carl Froch or Andre Ward and neither fight is likely to happen. Froch is talking about retiring, or possibly fighting Gennady Golovkin and then retiring. He already holds a win over Dirrell.  Ward, on the other hand, is promoted by Jay Z, who is a rival to Haymon’s PBC.

The winner of Jack-Groves is a possible opponent for DeGale. This would be especially interesting if Jack won because both Jack and DeGale are under contract to Haymon (Groves isn’t) and that would give Haymon two of the five major champions at super middleweight. There has been a rumour since PBC began that the promotion is looking to create its own titles, much in the same way as the UFC. If PBC did a champion versus champion fight with Jack and DeGale, it would be interesting to see if they used that fight as a springboard to create their own promotional titles.

PBC is careful on all of its broadcasts not to refer to the alphabet name of whatever belt is being fought for. For instance, commentator Kenny Rice only referred to DeGale as the new Super Middleweight champion, rather than specifying that he was the IBF champion. Ring announcer Michael C. Williams also announced DeGale as the new Super Middleweight champion and never specified which alphabet title DeGale won. PBC has been vague about these titles since the promotion began in March.

I personally like the idea of one major boxing promotion handling its own titles. The UFC title situation isn’t perfect, but it is significantly less confusing than the title situation in boxing. To paraphrase John L. Sullivan, most boxing titles aren’t worth hanging around the neck of a goddam dog. Boxing has way too many titles in way too many weight divisions, including things like Super titles, Diamond titles, Silver titles, and so on. Having too many confusing titles and no real linear champions in most weight divisions means that these titles are worthless in the eyes of the casual fan, which is the opposite of what world titles are meant to accomplish.

The fight between Dirrell and DeGale was promoted by Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules on behalf of Al Haymon’s PBC. On March 10th Margules won the purse bid for the fight, using Haymon’s hedge fund money to outbid DeGale’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. If Hearn had won then the fight likely would have taken place in Britain. DeGale and Dirrell each received $1.55 million.

The NBC broadcast of PBC also featured the first two rounds of a bout between Edwin Rodriguez (26-1, 17 KOs) and Craig Baker (16-1, 12 KOs). Neither round was particularly exciting. The NBC broadcast ended at 6pm ET sharp and the bout between Rodriguez, 30, and Baker, 31, continued on NBC Sports Network. Rodriguez was the hometown favourite. Rodriguez stopped Baker in the third round. The stoppage was premature, as Rodriguez had Baker against the ropes and was pummeling him, but Baker still seemed in the fight when the referee stepped in and called the match.

PBC made changes to the broadcast team for the third show. Many of the big name sports broadcasters from the first two PBC shows on NBC weren’t back, probably because this was an afternoon show and the other two PBC shows on NBC were in prime time. Kenny Rice of Inside MMA provided play-by-play. Rice had previously worked as a backstage interviewer on the first two PBC shows on NBC. He has also worked as a play-by-play broadcaster for WSOF on NBC Sports Network. Rice is often criticized for his work on Inside MMA, but he does a good job as a play-by-play man and did well on this show. Sugar Ray Leonard was back as a colour commentator and the third man was BJ Flores.

It was PBC’s third broadcast on NBC, but the first on NBC that aired on a Saturday afternoon rather than Saturday night. The show started at 4:30pm ET and ran until 6. At that point, the bout between Rodriguez and Baker continued on NBC Sports Network. It was a strange time slot, not just the late afternoon start, but also airing at half past the hour rather than at the top of the hour.

This was only PBC’s second broadcast after the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight on May 2nd. The first PBC broadcaster after the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was the Figueora-Burns match on May 9th, which was an afternoon broadcast on CBS. That means PBC has yet to air a show in prime time since the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. PBC probably dropped the ball, because this show took place 21 days after Mayweather-Pacquiao. PBC should have had a prime time broadcast within a week of Mayweather-Pacquiao to take advantage of the short amount of time that boxing had a higher profile in mainstream media.

HBO has aired a couple of fights since Mayweather-Pacquiao that have drawn well. Canelo Alvarez’s fight against James Kirkland a week after Mayweather-Pacquiao drew 2.146 million viewers on average, the highest rated fight on HBO since 2006. The week after, HBO drew 1.338 million viewers on average for Gennady Golovkin putting on drama show against Willie Monroe Jr. That was the third highest rated fight on HBO of the year, behind the Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight title defense that took place at Madison Square Garden a week before Mayweather-Pacquiao.

PBC’s third broadcast on NBC was an important show to determine the longevity of ratings for PBC on network television. The first PBC show on NBC drew 3.4 million viewers on average in March, peaking at 4.2 million. The second PBC show on NBC drew 2.9 million viewers on average, peaking at 3.4 million. The second show had a drop in average viewership of approximately 15-percent.

The afternoon timeslot prevented PBC from going up against the prelims for UFC 187 on Fox Sports 1, as well as the UFC pay per view broadcast. The show was over well before UFC began. Also, Saturday night is a major night for both the NHL and NBA playoffs, as well as MLB.

The change in time slot, however, will make it difficult to compare the ratings for this show with the ratings for the two previous PBC shows on NBC. A better comparison might be the ratings PBC drew for its two Saturday afternoon shows on CBS. The debut of PBC on CBS drew 1.4 million viewers on average for a 1.0 rating. The second PBC show on CBS drew 1.3 million viewers on average for a 0.9 rating, down 8-percent from the debut.

PBC has also run two shows on Spike on Friday nights. The first drew 869,000 viewers on average and the second drew 569,000 viewers on average. That was a 35-percent drop in viewership.

If I were to guess as to why the viewership on Spike dropped more sharply than the viewership on NBC or CBS, I would say that it is because Spike‘s audience consists of males 18-34 in higher concentration than either NBC or CBS, the latter two of which probably have a higher cross-section of different people in their respective audiences. Boxing viewership skews older, so maintaining ratings with males 18-34 is going to be much harder for PBC and the sharp decline in ratings on Spike is an example of that. Getting young men to watch boxing is one of the major obstacles PBC has to overcome in order to be successful because males 18-34 are highly coveted by advertisers because that demographic has such high disposable income. PBC needs to make money by selling ad space and the more males 18-34 that watch PBC, the more money PBC can make off ads.

There will be a major decline in ratings from the second PBC show on NBC compared to the third show that aired this past weekend because of the change in timeslot. A show that airs Saturday night is obviously going to draw better ratings than a show that airs Saturday afternoon. The real comparison will be whether this Saturday’s show sees a substantial drop from the ratings PBC has garnered for their two Saturday afternoon shows on CBS. Another comparison would be the 0.8 rating that NBC average for boxing that aired on Saturday afternoons from 2012 to 2014. So, this weekend’s show should see an average viewership of about 1.3 million people, or so. Anything significantly under that number would be a failure.

A few major television executives have recently been interviewed in regards to Haymon’s promotion of PBC. In a private media conference, Sean McManus, Chairman of CBS Sports, and Mark Lazarus, Chairman of NBC Sports, were asked about the success of PBC by Richard Sandomir of The New York Times.

“I think Al looks at what’s happened with UFC and the explosive growth in that product and says to himself, ‘Why can’t I create that kind of excitement around the boxing world? Why can’t I take unknown boxers, put them on NBC and CBS and Spike and as many networks as I possibly can, and why can’t I create the kind of stars that boxing used to see in the 70s and 80s’,” said McManus. “The other obstacle I think he’s got to overcome is that the advertising support for boxing has been pretty weak throughout the years and I think he’s got to sell his case to the advertising community that the demographics are good and that the sale makes sense because the way it’s now being structured to a large extent on advertiser supported networks he’s counting on that as being the major part of his revenue and I think that’s one of the obstacles he has to overcome.”

“The roadblock he’s got to come over is building some names and getting them to fight regularly to continue to heighten their exposure and fan appeal,” said Lazarus. “For us, being involved with it, as well as Sean is, I admire his courage and business planning. In success, it’s going to be good for the sport and good for sports in general.”

Stephen Espinoza of Showtime was also recently interviewed by R. Thomas Umstead of Multichannel News in regards to the future of Floyd Mayweather and the possibility of a rematch between Mayweather and Pacquiao.

“It far exceeded our expectations, even what we were expecting late in the week. We were monitoring pre-buys all week but there was nothing in the ballpark to compare it to … they were so high we couldn’t use it to extrapolate any numbers. We were largely flying blind,” Espinoza said in regards to the buy rate for Mayweather-Pacquiao.

“One of the elements that made it hard to predict was that we did message so heavily on early buying by the viewer to avoid technical difficulties, so we weren’t sure how much of the early activity was in response to that messaging and how much was genuine overall excitement and enthusiasm for the fight,” Espinoza continued. “I guess our first real indication that there was a huge expansion of the audience was during the telecast itself when we starting getting some reports that some operators were experiencing technical difficulties processing the huge volume of orders that were coming in on Saturday evening. Ultimately we were able to buy some time by stalling the main event and that hopefully that allowed everything to get cleared up in time for a successful main event telecast.”

Espinoza continued by discussing the future of boxing’s popularity in mainstream media. “What it means for the fight and the sport is sort of a new measuring stick for mainstream appeal of boxing. It’s been decades since the sport has received this level of attention and maybe not even then,” he said. “To be able to capture the imagination and attention of the mainstream audience in such a short period of time on a very, very busy sports weekend speaks volumes about the continued appeal of this sport. Having said that, not every fight is going to be Mayweather/Pacquiao, but for the right matchups there’s still tremendous appeal and demand for boxing.

Regarding Mayweather’s next fight in September, Espinoza said “Floyd has continued to tell us that he intends to fight Sept. 12 and that it will be the last fight of his career. So we are beginning the very preliminary preparations for exactly that. We will be getting into discussions about an opponent for him very quickly. We will look to ride the momentum of this event and capitalize on the fact that Floyd has now distinguished himself as the fighter of his era.”

Regarding a rematch between Mayweather and Pacquiao, Espinoza sounded more optimistic about its possibility compared with Mayweather in the latter’s interview with Showtime a week after the fight took place. “I think we have to remain open to it,” said Espinoza. “There’s a lot of chatter on both sides about the possibility – once Manny successfully recovers from [shoulder] surgery, if there a demand and if Floyd is still active or would consider coming back to being active then it would be a topic of conversation. But it will be driven by demand.”

Next week, PBC returns to Spike with Amir Khan versus Chris Algieri on Friday night from New York. If Khan gets past Algieri (likely to happen), then he is rumoured to be on the short list of possible opponents for Mayweather in September.

On June 6th, Miguel Cotto faces Daniel Geale on HBO in New York in a fight that should setup Cotto vs Canelo Alvarez later this year on pay per view. PBC also has another Saturday afternoon show on June 6th in Carson, CA, with Robert Guerrero vs Aron Martinez. Guerrero is coming off a loss to Keith Thurman in the debut of PBC back in March.

June 12h PBC is back on Spike again with Erislandy Lara versus Delvin Rodriguez for the WBA regular Junior Middleweight title. June 13th HBO has Nicholas Walters versus Miguel Marriaga for the WBA Featherweight title in New York and the same night Showtime has Deontay Wilder defending the WBC Heavyweight title against Eric Molina. Wilder is a Haymon fighter and is super charismatic and they are making a mistake by putting him on premium cable instead of network TV, although maybe Wilder has a contract with Showtime and they have to do it that way.

On June 20th PBC returns to prime time on NBC with Adrian Broner versus Shawn Porter. That will be the most important PBC show during the promotion’s first few months because it will be the fifth show on NBC, but the third on NBC in prime time. Also, Broner and Porter are both coming off wins on previous PBC shows with Broner beating John Molina Jr on PBC’s debut on NBC back in March and Porter beating Erick  Bone on PBC’s debut on Spike, also in March. When Broner and Porter meet in prime time on NBC we will see if PBC was able to turn the two into stars with their high profile wins on American television, as the rating for that fight will be an important indicator of PBC’s success going forward.

The Broner-Porter fight goes up against Andre Ward debuting on BET against Paul Smith. Ward is promoted by Jay-Z, who has terrible bad blood with Al Haymon dating back to Haymon’s days as the preeminent R&B promoter in the US. The Ward fight is part of a time buy that Jay-Z is doing on BET and that he is putting Ward’s fight against an important PBC fight is not an accident.

And if that isn’t all, on June 20th David Lemieux faces Hassan N’Dam in Montreal for the vacant IBF Middleweight title. The fight is being promoted by Golden Boy. It will air on pay per view in Quebec, but Golden Boy doesn’t have a broadcaster in the US yet. De La Hoya said he is trying to work something out and that the fight will air in the US, which will make for three major boxing matches in one night on American TV. I would say it probably ends up on HBO, since De La Hoya has been working with HBO recently and Haymon works with Showtime and probably wouldn’t be pleased with Showtime putting a major fight against his important PBC show on NBC that night.

Then, believe it or not, the next day on June 21st PBC is back for another CBS show, this time on a Sunday afternoon with Rances Barthelemy versus Antonio DeMarco. That means PBC has back-to-back network television shows on June 20th and June 21st.

On Friday, June 26th is another boxing ratings war with four different broadcasters airing boxing the same night. Showtime has Dominic Wade vs Sam Soliman on ShoBox (their show for featuring up-and-coming fighters) as part of a triple header on that station that I believe is promoted by Haymon. TruTV has a Top Rank broadcast. Fox Sports 1 has a Golden Boy broadcast. And CBS Sports Net has minor league boxing. Then, the next night on June 27th HBO has Timothy Bradley versus Jessie Vargas for the vacant WBO Welterweight title.

On July 11th, PBC debuts on ESPN, replacing Friday Night Fights, which recently had its final broadcast.

 

On this day in pro wrestling history (May 24): Harley Race wins NWA title due to interesting circumstances, Ric Flair beats Kerry Von Erich in Japan

Sunday, 24 May 2015 11:34

By Brian Hoops, WrestlingObserver.com

1961 - In Duluth, Minnesota; Verne Gagne & Wilbur Snyder beat Hard Boiled Haggerty & Gene Kiniski.

1963 - In Omaha, Nebraska; AWA Champion Verne Gagne beat Duke Hoffman, Bill Miller went to a double DQ with Waldo Von Erich and AWA Tag Team Champions Ivan Kalmikoff & Karol Kalmikoff beat Doug Gilbert & Guy Mitchell.

1967 - In Fargo, ND; Verne Gagne & Bob Geigel beat AWA Tag Team Champions Larry Hennig & Harley Race by dq and The Crusher beat Chris Markoff

1973 - Harley Race defeated Dory Funk, Jr. for the NWA World Heavyweight Title in Kansas City, Kansas. This was the title change that was supposed to go to Jack Brisco, but Funk suffered an auto accident and couldn't defend against Brisco so a change with Race in Kansas City was planned. Also on the card, Danny Little Bear fought Bob Brown to a draw and Bob Geigel & Bobo Brazil defeated Togo the Great & Tokyo Joe; In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Superstar Billy Graham & Ivan Koloff beat Wahoo McDaniel & Angelo Mosca in 2 out of 3 falls and AWA Tag Team Champions Nick Bockwinkel & Ray Stevens beat Dusty Rhodes & Dick Murdoch when Stevens pinned Murdoch after using brass knuckles in a no DQ match.

1976 - Ric Flair defeated Wahoo McDaniel for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title in Charlotte, North Carolina in a title vs. hair match.

1984 - Ric Flair defeats Kerry Von Erich for the NWA World Heavyweight Wrestling Title in Yokosuka, Japan in the third fall of their title match on an All Japan Pro Wrestling show.

1985 - Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura defeated International Tag Team Champions Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch via count-out to win the titles in Kobe, Japan; In Denver, Colorado; Jim Brunzell & Baron Von Raschke & Larry Hennig beat Road Warriors & Paul Ellering, Butch Reed beat Baron Von Raschke, Greg Gagne beat Nick Bockwinkel and Fabulous Freebirds Michael Hayes & Buddy Roberts beat Brad Rheingans & Jim Brunzell.

1987 - Jim Crockett Promotions debuted in Chicago, Illinois; headlined by The Rock N' Roll Express defeating NWA U.S. Tag Team Champions Midnight Express in a non-title Best 2 out of 3 falls match.

 

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