FRI UPDATE: Smackdown to air tonight, Dragon Gate with three shows, Hogan talks Bubba, Beth Phoenix speaks up, surprise UFC drug failure, tons more



Last edited: Friday, 11/2 @ 7:15 PM

By Bryan Alvarez | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @bryanalvarez

A lot of action this weekend.

We're looking for reports on today's Raw show from Newcastle, England, today's Smackdown show in Hamburg, Germany, today's TNA show in Hidalgo, TX (Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries, Bobby Roode vs. James Storm, Chavo Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez defend tag titles against Aces and 8s, Bully Ray vs. Mr. Anderson, A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels) as well as yesterday's Raw in Nantes, France, yesterday's Smackdown in Lyon, France and Wednesday's Raw in Strasbourg, France at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Smackdown TV tonight:

- Sin Cara vs. Darren Young
- Rey Mysterio vs. Titus O'Neil
- Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett
- Great Khali vs. David Otunga
- R-Truth vs. Justin Gabriel
- Sheamus & Kofi Kingston vs. Big Show & The Miz

Bellator tonight on MTV 2 at 8 p.m.

- Kyle Baker (170.8) vs. Ryan Ford (169.8)
- Douglas Lima (179.4) vs. Jacob Ortiz (179.8)
- Mike Richman (145.2) vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev (145.6) in a featherweight tournament semifinal
- Richard Hale (238.4) vs. Thiago Santos (265) in a heavyweight tournament semifinal

Dragon Gate USA on iPPV at 8 p.m. tonight from Everett, MA at the Everett Rec Center

- A.R. Fox vs. Ricochet - Loser has to shake the winners hand and say he is the better man
- Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito vs. Super Smash Brothers - Winners get tag title shot on Saturday night in Voorhees, NJ
- Rich Swann & Cima & ACH vs. Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy & Drew Gulak in a captains fall match. The only way the match can end is if Swann pins Taylor or Taylor pins Swann
- Akira Tozawa vs. Jon Davis
- Sami Callihan vs. Samuray del Sol
- Johnny Gargano vs. EITA
- Scott Reed & Caleb Konley with Larry Dallas and Trina Michaels vs. Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez

Saturday has Raw in Manchester, England, Smackdown in Leipzig, Germany and Impact in Laredo, TX. ROH also has a TV taping in Belle Vernon, PA at the Rostraver Ice Arena (Kevin Steen vs. Mike Bennett for ROH title; Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly for TV title, Steve Corino & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Rhett Titus & B.J. Whitmer for tag titles, Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin, Briscoes vs. Headbangers, Roderick Strong vs. Tadarius Thomas, MsChif vs. Allysin Kay), Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander, QT Marshall vs. Adam Page plus Bobby Fish, Jay Lethal, Mike Mondo, Bravados and Prince Nana)

The Glory 3 PPV Final 8 from Rome, Italy will air live at 3:30 p.m. Eastern and 12:30 p.m. Pacific on all usual PPV outlets for $19.95. There is also an HD Internet feed for $15. If you have Cablevision, you can see the show on regular television at Fight Now TV, Ch. 464. We're also looking for reports on this show. It will be an eight-man one-night tournament at the 154 pound weight class.

Non-tournament matches

Jordan Watson (155.5) vs. Mustapha Haida (155)

Aika Matewa (160.9) vs. Marco re (157.9)

Reserve fights (if someone in tournament is injured, the winner may advance)

Dzhabar Askerov (154) vs Warren Stevelmans (didn't weight in, will do so today)

Fabio Pinca (153.9) vs. Alessandro Campagna (154.3)

Tournament first round matches

Giorgio Petrosyan (154.3) vs. Ky Hollenbeck (154.3)

Robin Van Roosmalen (154.3) vs. Tim Thomas (150.1)

Yoshihiro Sato (153.9) vs. Sammy Dahlbeck (153.9)

Shemsi Beqiri (154.3) vs. Davit Kiria (153)

Dragon Gate USA on iPPV at www.WWNlive.com at 8 p.m. Saturday night from Voorhees, NJ at Flyers Skate Zone. If you live in Cape May, Wildwood or Somers Point and bring your drivers license, you can attend the show for free.

Cima & A.R. Fox vs. winner of Horiguchi & Saito vs. Super Smash Brothers the night before for the Open the United Gate tag titles

Ricochet & Rich Swann vs. winner of Horiguchi & Saito vs. Super Smash Brothers loser

El Generico vs. Sami Callihan 2/3 falls

Akira Tozawa vs. Samuray del Sol

Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez vs. Jigsaw & Fire Ant

Chuck Taylor & Drew Gulak & Orange Cassidy vs. Scott Reed & Caleb Konley & ?

World Series of Fighting on Saturday Night at 10:30 p.m. Eastern and 7:30 p.m. Pacific from Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas airing live on NBC Sports

Travis Bartlett vs. Tyrone Spong

Gregor Gracie vs. Tyson Steele

Marlon Moraes vs. Miguel Angel Torres

Anthony Johnson vs. D.J. Linderman

Andrei Arlovski vs. Devin Cole

Sunday has Raw in Manchester, England at the Evening News Arena and Smackdown in London at Wembley Arena.

Dragon Gate USA on iPPV at www.WWNLive.com at 8 p.m. Sunday (usual PPV) time from Deer Park, NY at the Sportatorium Johnny Gargano vs. Akira Tozawa vs. A.R. Fox vs. Ricochet for the Open the Freedom Gate title in an elimination match

Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito vs. El Generico & Samuray del Sol

Cima vs. Sami Callihan

Jigsaw & Fire Ant vs. Super Smash Brothers

Arik Cannon vs. ACH

Tony Nese & Papa don vs. Scott Reed & Caleb Konley

Jon Davis vs. EITA

If Rich Swann wins on 11/2, he gets a singles match with Chuck Taylor. If Taylor wins on 11/2, he gets to whip Swann

Monday is Raw from Birmingham, England which will be airing on a few hour tape delay

Tuesday has a Smackdown/Saturday Morning Slam/Main Event taping from Birmingham, England. Two matches announced are Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio falls count anywhere as the Smackdown main event, and Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus for Main Event.

        We look at the current WWE situation, including Hell in a Cell and the build for Survivor Series and Royal Rumble as the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that will be up on the site today.  We also have a  new back issue from 1995, talking about the build to the first Nitro and the building of what at the time was the biggest money live pro wrestling event in history in Japan.
 
        Also, everyone who subscribes this month for either the print or web site version of the newsletter will get our most talked about issue, the Hall of Fame issue that comes out in less than two weeks.  There will be six new entrants into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, voted on by those in the business, as well as reporters and historians in our annual balloting.   
 
        Our lead story looks at every aspect of the Ryback situation, the decision on who won, how the actual finish came to be, as well as looking back at the early career of a number of major names in wrestling including how Lou Thesz won his first world title, why Brock Lesnar wasn't involved in the finish at Hell in a Cell, why the traditional Survivor Series main event hasn't been done in nearly two decades, as well as full coverage of the PPV with poll results and star ratings for every match.
 
        We also have a look at the life, wrestling career, announcing career and the influence of Jeff Blatnick on the sport of MMA.  We look at the origination of the term Mixed Martial Arts, how it got popularized in pro wrestling before UFC, how Blatnick named the sport and when it happened.
 
        We also look at the fight UFC had for survival in the late 90s and some amazing ironies about that period.  We look at why Jeff Blatnick was used by UFC as its point man, including discussions Blatnick had with the most powerful people in the cable industry at the time.  We look at why Blatnick was no longer associated with UFC and how he resurfaced as a key figure in MMA in the Northeast.
 
        We look at how Blatnick first became involved in UFC, as well as his amazing career as a wrestler, from his beginnings not liking wrestling, to his college career including a match with Steve Williams that may have cost him an NCAA title.  We look at his Olympic days, from the 1980 boycott year to his 1984 gold medal win, and his battles with cancer.
 
        We look at his move into announcing, his offers from pro wrestling including one that few know about that would have involved him being in a major executive position with the No. 2 wrestling company in the world at one point.
 
        We also have details and backgrounds on a lot of new talent that WWE has recruited and just signed, where they came from, ring names, who they were and more including the type of people WWE is now recruiting and why.
 
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        We also have a very strange story regarding the payment to Donald Trump for WrestleMania in 2007, as well as more on Linda McMahon's spending for the current senate race, the latest polls, where Linda is losing ground and the latest dirt spread by both sides.  We also look at the media coverage of the campaign.
 
        We also have more on the WWE's women's division, Brock Lesnar's future, what type of backgrounds have seemed to work in women's wrestling, the sales of C.M. Punk's DVD, notes on the WWE video game, a WWE movie project, promotion for WrestleMania, notes on he WWE Network, the European tour, Ric Flair coming to WWE, the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure and DVR viewership of Raw.
 
         We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows and complete details on how every segment of Raw and Impact this past week did.  We look at what segments gained and lost viewers
 
        We also have results from all the major league arena events over the past week as well as a look at all the major television shows.
 
Also in this week's issue:
 
--Title change at Arena Mexico
 
--Update on Hector Garza
 
--Next AAA tapings
 
--Lineups for Dragon Gate USA shows this weekend on iPPV
 
--Major Dragon Gate angles for Japan
 
--Notes on the build for the annual Real World Tag League event in Japan
 
--Bracketing and key matches in the tournament
 
--Combined All Japan and New Japan shows in Taiwan
 
--Battle of tag champs in a singles match
 
--GHC tag title change and where that belt is going
 
--Notes on final major NOAH show of the year
 
--Update on Tajiri's promotion in Japan using several top Americans
 
--A promotion lets the fans make the card
 
--Notes on tha attempted comeback of Jake Roberts
 
--How Mike Graham's pro wrestling career got started and his first major TV angle
 
--The angle that got Mike Graham out of Eddie's shadow and let to Dusty Rhodes being the biggest star in Florida wresting history
 
--Who booked the angle
 
--NWA title vacated and match to decide the new champion
 
--Extreme Rising runs in the Pittsburgh area and plans for WrestleMania weekend
 
--The History Channel doing a feature on an 80s wrestler
 
--Notes on this weekend's ROH TV tapings
 
--Notes on Hulk Hogan's quick settlement with Bubba the Love Sponge
 
--Bound for Glory PPV notes
 
--TNA star doing outside media work
 
--TNA wrestler hospitalized with kidney issues but already back
 
--The strange TNA announcing dynamic
 
--Lineup for Turning Point thus far and new matches likely added
 
--Notes on the weekend TNA house shows
 
--Notes on the ungodly hour the next UFC show will be airing at
 
--New UFC television specials over the next two weeks
 
--Story on UFC no longer running at The Palms in Las Vegas
 
--Lots of new UFC matches announced
 
--Plans for UFC light heavyweight division and how they changed
 
--Notes on the next season of TUF Brazil including a June main event
 
--UFC fighter nearly loses home in Hurricane
 
--Stephan Bonnar retires
 
--UFC PPV estimates
 
--Chad Mendes legal issues and sentencing
 
--A few UFC cuts
 
--The Eddie Alvarez contract situation
 
--Controversial officiating on Bellator show
 
--Lots of shows this coming weekend on TV
 
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FRIDAY NEWS, NOTES AND LINKS

-- As noted on the front page, Smackdown airs in its normal timeslot tonight on Syfy. The concert for Hurricane Sandy airs at 11 PM, not 8 PM as we'd incorrectly listed yesterday.

-- Stephan Bonnar failed his drug test at UFC Brazil for Drostanolone, an anabolic steroid. Bonnar, who took the fight on short notice, lost via knockout to Anderson Silva in a 205-pound fight and shortly afterwards announced his retirement. Dave Herman also failed for marijuana. Because there was no athletic commission overseeing the event, UFC did the drug testing and ended up testing everyone on the card.

-- The Fight Network announced today their entry into the United States: Fight Network, the world’s premier 24/7 television channel dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports, is expanding to the U.S. market with an exclusive broadcast deal with NeuLion Inc., the leading provider of live and on-demand sports content to Internet-connected devices .

Fight Network will be available via NeuLion in the U.S. at stream.fightnetwork.com on a subscription basis starting at 5pm ET on November 1. Annual subscribers will be offered two months of free service upon launch.

“We’ve had significant interest from people in the U.S. asking us for years how they can get our service,” said Leonard Asper, CEO of Fight Network. “Well, now they can. This marks an important milestone for Fight Network’s international expansion strategy, taking its successful channel beyond Canada to the global market.”

“The consumer demand for combat sports continues to grow exponentially,” said Chris Wagner, Executive VP of NeuLion. “Using the NeuLion Sports Platform, Fight Network is able to expand on their success in Canada and deliver their content via the Internet to consumers in other geographic areas for anytime, anywhere consumption. This is a great next step for Fight Network and we are excited to be their technology partner enabling this expansion and growth.”

Fight Network will offer a steady slate of combat-related programming, including coverage of fights, fighters, fight news and fight lifestyle. Fight Network will broadcast shows from various combative disciplines, including mixed martial arts, boxing, kickboxing, professional wrestling, judo, karate and submission grappling.

Fight Network’s signature news program “Fight News Now” will also be broadcast on the NeuLion service, in addition to its outstanding profile series “Toe to Toe” featuring all the world’s top fighters, plus renowned international promotions, including DEEP, HEAT, Jewels and Ringside MMA. Fight Network will have more announcements in the future regarding additional programming to enhance our service.

--UFC Primetime Condit vs. GSP premieres tonight. It's a three-week series, so there will be episodes tonight, November 9th and November 16th, all following Ultimate Fighter.

-- Beth Phoenix on Twitter talked why she left WWE: Thank (you) for the outpouring of love and support. I'm overwhelmed by those that have expressed appreciation for my career. I always tried my best ... My family waited patiently for 10 years while I chased my dreams. I decided it was time to come home to put family first. That's the reason.

-- Hogan talked Bubba the Love Sponge on Twitter today: Just for the record,Bubba and I are NOT friends and never will be friends,we are NOT friends. HH

-- Caylee Crawford, who is the sister of Alicia Fox and was recently cut by WWE, worked a dark match for TNA last night.

-- Brodus Clay in a Snoop Dogg video here. Brodus used to work as a bodyguard for Snoop, hence the name "Brodus" Clay as Snoop's real name is Calvin Broadus.

-- So after all the talk that Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen weren't on good terms given Henderson's burial of the decision to book Sonnen vs. Jon Jones and after Chael earlier this week said he hadn't spoken to Dan since, Chael announced yesterday that Dan will be working with him as an assistant coach on TUF 17. Henderson confirmed he would be there when his schedule allowed it.

-- Full line-up for TNA Turning Point after last night has Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries for the TNA Title, Chavo & Hernandez vs. Chris Daniels and Kazarian, James Storm vs. Bobby Roode vs. AJ Styles in a three-way where the loser can't get a TNA Title shot until Bound for Glory NEXT year, Kurt Angle vs. D-Von, and Magnus vs. Samoa Joe.

-- Alex Shelley & Kushida will challenge Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov for the IWGP jr. tag title in a new match on the 11/11 New Japan iPPV show from Osaka. Shelley & Kushida earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo won the Super Juniors tag team tournament beating Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi in the finals, to earn the title shot.

-- GSP talks here about how his knee injury was a blessing in disguise, the upcoming fight with Carlos Condit, his diet and his genetics.

-- Kyung Ho Kang suffered a foot injury and will be replaced in his fight with Alex Caceres by Motonobu Tezuka for next weekend's UFC show in China.

-- Jesse Ventura's Conspiracy Theory TV show returns next week to TruTV.

-- Dragon Gate USA is live tonight for the first of three straight shows. Check out the full line-up, info and any specials on live tickets and more here. Trina Michaels will be live tweeting and answering questions (wrestling related) during all three shows this weekend. She has joined Larry Dallas to manage "The Scene".

-- Story on female wrestler Athena here.

-- Daniel Bryan talks his WWE run, feuding with CM Punk and more here.

-- DREAMWAVE Wrestling Saturday at Knights of Columbus 209 Gooding St. LaSalle, IL 61301.

-- East Coast Wrestling Association on Saturday at Greater Newark Boys' & Girls' Club 109 Glasgow Drive, Rt. 40 & #1 Positive Place Newark, DE 19702.

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?
Kensuke Sasaki 36.2%
Hiroshi Tanahashi 22.2%
Volk Han 9.2%
Masahiko Kimura 5.9%
Perro Aguayo Jr. 5.4%
Atlantis 5.4%
Gran Hamada 4.9%
Mike & Ben Sharpe 3.6%
Kiyoshi Tamura 2.7%
George Gordienko 1.6%
Seiji Sakaguchi 1.6%
Cien Caras 1.1%

Which of these events do you have the most interest in?
World Series of Fighting 19.0%
Dragon Gate USA on iPPV 16.3%
Bellator 8.5%
No interest in any of them 56.2%

Will GSP vs. Condit beat WrestleMania or previous UFC shows this year North American numbers?
Won't be Mania, Silva vs. Sonnen or Jones vs. Evans 69.7%
Will beat Mania and Jones vs Evans, not Sonnen vs. Silva 24.2%
Will be the biggest PPV of 2012 from wrestling or MMA 6.1%

Poll on WWE Main Event?
Excellent 17.1%
Good 34.3%
Average 22.9%
Fair 5.7%
Poor 20.0%
67.6% of those responding didn't see the show

-- Over the Top Radio with Ed, Craig and Cutrer tonight with a Halloween theme talking monsters in wrestling here. Last week's show with Trina Michaels is up here.

-- CHIKARA on Sunday, November 11th at Turner's Hall in Cleveland, OH.

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