FRI UPDATE: John Lauranitis still wrestling, update on Impact and the BFG tourney, Punk interviews Colt, new Money in the Bank name, tons of shows to discuss, weekend schedule and more

By Bryan Alvarez

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We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's UFC 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

A ton of stuff this weekend on the schedule. We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE Raw brand house show in Bethlehem, PA and tonight's TNA show in Buffalo at Coca Cola Field (Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy for TNA title, A.J. Styles & Kurt Angle vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian for tag titles, Miss Tessmacher vs. Gail Kim for Knockouts title, Austin Aries vs. Zema Ion for X title--yes, I know, Aries already vacated the title, James Storm vs. Robbie E for the Bound for Glory series and Samoa Joe vs. Mr. Anderson for the Bound for Glory series).

UFC tonight from Atlantic City:

Facebook fights at 5 p.m. Eastern time

Dustin Pague (11-6, 135) vs. Ken Stone (10-3, 135.5)

Ricardo Funch (8-3, 170.5) vs Dan Miller (13-6, 1 no contest, 170.5)

Fuel Fights at 6 p.m.

Luis Ramos (19-7, 170) vs. Matt Brown (16-11, 170.5)

Chris Camozzi (16-5, 185.5) vs. Nick Catone (9-2, 185.5)

Joey Gambino (9-0, 145) vs. Steven Siler (20-9, 145.5)

Brock Jardine (9-1, 170.5) vs. Rick Story (13-5, 169.5)

C.J. Keith (8-0, 157) vs. Ramsey Nijem (6-2, 156) - Keith missed weight by one pound and was fined 20% of his purse

Ricardo Lamas (11-2, 145) vs. Hatsu Hioki (26-4-2, 145.5)

FX fights at 9 p.m.

Cub Swanson (16-5, 145.5) vs. Ross Pearson (15-5, 146)

T.J. Waldburger (15-6, 170.5) vs. Brian Ebersole (49-14-1, 1 no contest, 170)

Spencer Fisher (25-8, 156) vs. Sam Stout (18-7-1, 155.5)

Clay Guida (29-9, 155) vs. Gray Maynard (11-1-1, 1 no contest, 155)

Bellator tonight from Chester, WV. A note that Bellator is not airing on MTV 2. The entire show will air on both You tube and starting at 7 p.m:

Neil Johnson (146) vs. Bryan Van Artsdalen (145.2)

Chris Goldbaugh (189.2) vs. Kevin Zalac (189.4) - 190 pound catch weight fight

Duane Bastress (184.8) vs. Jason Butcher (186)

Dan Spohn (206) vs. Jason Stansbury (204.2)

Brett Rogers (264.8) vs. Kevin Asplund (246.8)

Tim Carpenter (204.2) vs. Beau Tribolet (204.6) in first round of light heavyweight tournament

Roy Broughton (205.6) vs. Emmanuel Newton (204.6) in first round of light heavyweight tournament

Zelg Galesic (205) vs. Attila Vegh (204.6) in first round of light heavyweight tournament

Chris Davis (204.6) vs. Travis Wiuff (206) in first round of light heavyweight tournament

XFC tonight from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium starting at 10 p.m. on HDNet

Dustin West (183.8) vs. Joe Ray (184.6)

Matt Metts (155.6) vs. Scott Holtzman (155.4)

Jason Blackford (170) vs. Donny Wallace (170)

Luke Sanders (144.8) vs. Zachary Sanders (144.8)

Avery Vilche (119.2) vs. Heather Jo Clark (120.4)

Scott Barrett (265.8) vs. Gabriel Salinas-Jones (249)

John Salter (186) vs. Reggie Pena (186)

The big show on Saturday is UFC 147 from Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Facebook fights at 7 p.m.

Felipe Arantes vs. Milton Vieira

Marcos Pancini vs. Wagner Campos

FX fights at 8 p.m.

Leonardo Macarrao vs. Thiago de Oliveira Perpetuo

John Macapa Teixeira vs. Hugo Wolverine Viana

Francisco Massaranduba Drinaldo vs. Delson Heleno

Rodrigo Damm vs. Anistavio Gasparzinho Madeiros

PPV fights at 10 p.m.

Yuri Alcantra vs. Hacran Dias

Mike Russow vs. Fabricio Werdum

Rony Jason vs. Godofredo Pepey for TUF Brazil featherweight title

Cezar Mutante vs. Serginho Moraes for TUF middleweight title

Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva

On Saturday, we're also looking for reports on the Raw show in Wheeling, WV, Smackdown in Springfield, IL, and TNA in Oshawa, ONT at the General Motors Center (Bobby Roode vs. Mr. Anderson for TNA title, Kurt Angle vs. Christopher Daniels in the Bound for Glory series), Samoa Joe vs. Robbie E in the Bound for Glory series), A.D. Styles vs. Kazarian, Miss Tessmacher vs. Gail Kim for Knockouts title, Austin Aries vs. Zema Ion for X title and Gunner vs. James Storm.

The big show on Sunday is the ROH Hostage Crisis iPPV at starting at 5 p.m. Eastern time Kevin Steen vs. Davey Richards for ROH title in an anything goes match with the piledriver legal, if Richards loses he never gets another title shot as long as Steen is champion

Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. Kenny King & Rhett Titus for tag titles

Fit Finlay vs. Michael Elgin

Roderick Strong vs. Jay Lethal vs. Tommaso Ciampa for TV title

Eddie Edwards vs. Homicide

Mark & Jay Briscoe vs. The Guardians of Truth (who will be a masked mystery team managed by Truth Martini)

Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly with Hybrid rules, no pins, match can only end via submission, knockout or DQ

We're also looking for reports on Sunday's Raw show in Huntington, WV, Smackdown in Bloomington, IL and TNA in Hamilton, ONT at the Convention Centre (Bobby Roode & Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. A.J. Styles & Samoa Joe & Austin Aries, James Storm vs. Mr. Anderson in the Bound for Glory series, Miss Tessmacher vs. Gail Kim for Knockouts title, Samoa Joe vs. Zema Ion, Robbie E vs. Gunner).

Raw will be live on Monday from Fort Wayne, IN.

Smackdown will be taped on Tuesday in Evansville, IN at the Ford Center.

        We've got thoughts on an MMA Hall of Fame, who definitely belongs in, who should be considered, and who shouldn't be in, as one of the lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  The issue also includes an update on WWE after No Way Out, full coverage of the show, New Japan PPV coverage and the career of its top star, Hiroshi Tanahashi, two of the biggest promotions in the world combine for a show in two weeks, what moved the Raw ratings, as well as plans for an annual tradition that will be the MMA equivalent to WrestleMania.          

        The issue will be on the site today if you are a web site member.  We also have a new back issue on the site from 1995 which covers the fallout of WrestleMania that year, the aftermath of Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie II, which at the time was the biggest nonbeing sports PPV of all-time, the 1995 Champion Carnival tournament, TripleMania build for that year and more.
        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.
        The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world.  The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe.  Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively.  They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world.  Everywhere from Wall Street to the major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.
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        You can also subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O Box 1228, Campbell, CA  95009-1228. 
        We look at a number of questions regarding an MMA Hall of Fame, how it would differ from a UFC Hall of Fame, the weakness of the UFC Hall of Fame, who is in the UFC Hall of Fame, who are the most talked about people who could be in that aren't and why, questions regarding Brock Lesnar, Tank Abbott, Gina Carano, Bob Sapp and other notable attractions of the past.
        We also break down various candidates and put them into five different categories regarding who should and shouldn't be in.  We also speculate on the future of the UFC Hall of Fame, and also ask questions regarding two key issues that would keep most candidates out of a sports Hall of Fame that are uniquely different in MMA.
        We also look at WWE's No Way Out, with full coverage of the show included polls, business, match-by-match coverage with star ratings, stories behind the booking, where things are probably headed next month and more.
        We also have more on Randy Orton's drug test failure, what he actually failed for, how WWE changed plans greatly because of it and what Orton wants.
        We also have an update on the Linda McMahon campaign, including how wrestling was brought up in political debates, reactions and policy.  We've got an update on Ric Flair's status, what Vince McMahon wants regarding new signees to the company, plans for blueprint of the three hour Raw shows, Vince's new philosophy on announcers behavior, what happened to Eve Torres, and Chris Jericho talks future.
        We also have notes on the new WWE video game, who is in charge of booking house shows, Randy Savage in the WWE Hall of Fame, Brock Lesnar returning and WWE Raw in Mexico.
        We also look a lot at WWE developmental, Vader's reaction to WWE, the future of NXT, why it's no longer on the Internet, as well as notes from the last taping.  We've got updates on Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes, viewership of Raw on DVR, as well as WWE business notes from the past weekend and house show highlights.
        We also cover the New Japan Dominion PPV, look at the records when it comes to the IWGP title, the title reign of Kazuchika Okada, and full show coverage.
         We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows and complete details on the this week's Raw and Impact.  We also look at how the time slot move and going live has affected TNA numbers.
        We also have results from all the major arena events around the world over the past week, as well as reviews of all the major television shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--A web site streaming live overseas matches every week
--New Japan star to challenge for CMLL heavyweight title
--TNA star in a TV feud in Mexico
--A look at the reality show premise CMLL is doing on its shows
--Updated Mexico TV ratings
--Changes in AAA booking explained
--A look at the angles leading into TripleMania along with new major matches added to the show
--What American stars are scheduled on the show
--Notes on All Japan's annual junior heavyweight tournament
--Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial show notes
--What wrestler from the past got carried away on that show and ended up hurt
--Notes on NOAH's next big show
--Update on Davey Richards in Japan
--Notes on 2012 Fire Festival tournament
--Shinjiro Otani anniversary show
--Lots more on tape collections not owned by WWE including what is left in one of wrestling all-time best markets
--One of the best in-ring wrestlers explains why he is retiring next year and his disappointment with wrestling
--Notes on the Best in the World show from ROH
--ROH upcoming dates
--Notes on the weekend ROH combined show and TV taping
--Does TNA have momentum
--Early Slammiversary numbers
--Update on Chris Sabin and Matt Morgan in TNA
--Notes on the Bound for Glory tournament
--What is different from last year
--What still doesn't make sense from the tournament
--Thoughts on TNA's X Division title and what it's worth right now
--Who TNA should make a push to get
--Notes on Eric Young's new TV show
--Notes on TNA female star competing in a national bikini contest
--Update on King Mo
--Notes on weekend TNA house shows
--A major UFC tradition they are looking at starting
--Behind the Feijao suspension and how that screws up the Strikeforce light heavyweight title picture
--Notes on the weekend UFC shows
--The controversy over Clay Guida's hair
--Alistair Overeem talks his return and what he said that doesn't make sense
--Notes on how other sports are now doing on Saturday nights
--Health update on Demetrious Johnson
--News on lots of UFC special TV programming
--How FOX is going to help promote the upcoming major shows
--Why there is an extra PPV match at UFC 148
--Lots more UFC card changes
--U.K. ratings for UFC
--Thoughts on the latest judging snafu
--More on drug testing in UFC
--Former trainer files suit against Anderson Silva
--Notes on UFC's return to the U.N.
--New Bellator signees
--Pacquiao vs. Bradley business notes
--International group with a long-term TV deal
--Updating the Bob Sapp career
        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.
Rates are:
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        If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
        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., $10 for shipping costs to Canada and $12 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
Today's News, Notes and Links

-- John Lauranitis works all the house shows this weekend in handicap matches with Big Show versus John Cena. The storyline is that the Board of Directors has demanded he fulfill the obligations set before he was fired. It's preposterous.

-- AJ Styles & Kurt Angle vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian headlines next week's Impact.

-- Standings for the Bound for Glory tournament after last night:

James Storm -- 27 points
Kurt Angle -- 10 points
Jeff Hardy -- 7 points
Mr. Anderson -- 7 points
Magnus -- 7 points
D'Angelo Dinero -- 7 points
Christopher Daniels -- 0 points
AJ Styles -- 0 points
Bully Ray -- 0 points
Robbie E -- 0 points
Samoa Joe -- 0 points
Rob Van Dam -- 0 points

-- To celebrate Colt Cabana's 100th Art of Wrestling show, a twist: CM Punk interviews Colt about his career

-- It is revealed tonight that Big Show will participate in one of the two the Money in the Bank matches at July's PPV.

-- We have a great one-hour interview with the legendary Terry Funk up right now for subscribers. All sorts of discussion on wrestling past and present, Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, his ECW run, working all the major territories around the world, forgotten great performers in history, his childhood as a wrestling fan, when he got smartened up, and so much more.

-- If you can't keep up, just as an update we did five new shows yesterday alone. We have interviews with Todd Martin, Dr. Lucha Steve Sims, Johnny Gargano, Roderick Strong and our weekly Thursday Bryan & Vinny Show. That's in addition to several shows earlier in the week, plus Dave and I return for the next four straight days (today with Terry Funk, tomorrow after UFC, Sunday after the ROH iPPV, Monday after Raw), plus we'll have a new Wrestling Observer Live Sunday. Oh, and if you sign upto hear any of this, your subscription also includes access to EVERY SHOW WE'VE EVER DONE. Yes, over 10,000 hours of audio dating back to 2005. And you get Observers and Figure Fours ever week plus newsletter archives. Not bad for $11 a month, if I do say so myself.

-- Speaking of Wrestling Observer Live, we are pleased to announce that starting this Sunday we'll be available in Utica, New York on WUSP-FM 95.5, WUSP-AM 1550 and WADR-AM 1480. If you are a program director at a radio station and would like to air the show every Sunday, please contact Darren Peck at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

-- This coming Friday, July 6, 2012, the Colombian company LWF - Latin American Wrestling Federation at the hands of the President of this company El Jaguar de Colombia (The Columbian Jaguar or The Jaguar of Columbia) former WWF Intercontinental Champion and El Capitán América (local wrestler) will be performing from San Martin Shopping Center located in the Seventh Race # 32 - 16 at Bogota, Colombia, the Grand Opening of the Museum of wrestling, where you will find a wealth of original articles of the greatest legends of wrestling worldwide.

-- Interview with Gabe Sapolsky talking next week's EVOLVE Wrestling events here.

-- Gardner Watts, a friend of the site, is looking to raise money for an animated film called "Kayfabe" and has a kickstarter page set up with more information up here.

-- Next Thursday at the Teaneck Armory Arena, Universal Combat Championship returns with its first show of the year. UCC5: Unleashed will feature some of the fastest growing stars in MMA—including fighters from the UFC, Bellator and past WEC champions.

-- JBL has an update on his mountain climbing expeditions with photos here.

-- This is pretty cool. Smackdown to Sumo Hall promo video in Japanese here.

-- In a follow-up to last night, Granny has a ways to go to become the oldest weekly radio personality in the world

-- NWA Rampage Professional Wrestling returns to Johnny G's in Warner Robins, GA on Sunday, June 24, 2012 with a start time of 3PM, and in the tradition of the Crockett Cup presents the 1st annual RAMPAGE CUP Tag Team Tournament that was announced by Dr. Johnny Gayton continues. Plus the NWA RPW Heavyweight Title, the NWA RPW TV Title and the NWA North American Title will be defended.

-- Some of the best of Ring of Honor here.

-- Mike Tyson talks the Gracie influence on MMA here


-- Who is the best wrestler of the current world champions?
C.M. Punk 50.3%
Hiroshi Tanahashi 20.0%
Bobby Roode 14.5%
Kevin Steen 5.5%
Jun Akiyama 4.1%
Sheamus 2.1%
Takeshi Morishima 2.0%
El Terrible 1.1%
Mesias 0.4%

What July event do you have the most interest in?
UFC 148 46.3%
WWE Money in the Bank 24.4%
TNA Destination X 20.0%
New Japan 7/22 8.1%
UFC 149 1.2%

Which of these men in the strongest MMA Hall of Fame candidate?
Dan Severn 48.5%
Pat Miletich 11.2%
Rampage Jackson 11.0%
Mark Coleman 8.9%
Frank Mir 5.3%
Bob Meyrowitz 4.8%
Rich Franklin 4.2%
Satoru Sayama 3.0%
Josh Barnett 1.1%
Rashad Evans 1.1%
Euclides Periera 0.4%
Lyoto Machida 0.4%

-- I would suggest if you are an MMA fan, look up some info on Euclides Periera.

Which of these men would be best added to the Hall of Fame ballot?
Bob Armstrong 37.8%
Lord Al Hayes 28.2%
Black Gordman & Great Goliath 14.4%
Bob Geigel 9.6%
Miguel Perez Sr. 3.8%
Buddy Colt 2.5%
Ricki Starr 1.6%
Ed Francis 0.9%
Bobby Managoff 0.7%
John Da Silva 0.2%
Count Billy Varga 0.2%

-- Over the Top Radio discusses the news of the week tonight here.

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?