FRI UPDATE: Nancy Benoit sister talks six years after murders, WWE and concussions, Tim Kennedy in hot water, weekend schedule, Dos Santos doesn't care about Overeem, tons more

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

It's a quiet weekend with no truly major shows.

We're looking for reports on last night's TNA house show in Ottumwa, IA, tonight's WWE house show is Bismark, ND (Ryback, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan and The Shield are headliners), tonight's TNA show in St. Joseph, MO and tonight's NXT show in Lakeland, FL at the Armory 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

There is a PPV show, the Global Warrior Challenge: British Invasion on Saturday night from the Sprint Center in Kansas City:

Oli Thompson vs. Kevin Asplund

Drew Fickett vs. Andre Winner

Bobby Lashley vs. Matthew Larson

Ricco Rodriguez vs. Marcin Lazarz

Jack Marshman vs. Wayne Cole

Kendall Grove vs. Danny Mitchell

L.C. Davis vs. James Saville

The WWE house show crews are cut way back from usual with John Cena, C.M. Punk and Chris Jericho all off the road this weekend.

The Cena crew, without Cena, is in Fargo, ND on Saturday night while the Randy Orton-led crew, with Orton, Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and Cody Rhodes, is in Cedar Rapids, IA.

TNA will be taping two weeks worth of Impact tapings at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. This will be for the shows that air on 7/4 and 7/11.

The end of All Japan Pro Wrestling, as we know it, will be on Sunday at Sumo Hall in Tokyo. After this show, much of the crew will be leaving the promotion.

Hiroshi Yamato vs. Kazushi Miyamoto vs. Hikaru Sato

Masa Fuchi & Sushi vs. Tamon Honda & Mazada

Masakatsu Funaki & Masayuki Kono & Koji Kanemoto vs. Akebono & Ryota Hama & Osamu Nishimura

Taiyo Kea & Takao Omori vs. Joe Doering & Yasufumi Nakanoueno Kenso vs. Go Shiozaki

Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Minoru Tanaka for jr. heavyweight title

Kotaro Suzuki & Atsushi Aoki vs. Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo for All-Asia tag title

Suwama vs. Jun Akiyama for the Triple Crown

Sunday also has WWE shows in Sioux Falls, SD and Rochester, MN.

Raw will be on Monday in Sioux City, IA. The only match announced is C.M. Punk & Curtis Axel vs. Prime Time Players.

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday night in Topeka.

        The first of a two-part series on the life and times of Jackie Fargo is one of the headline stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  We also have a ton about the backstage confrontation with HHH and Daniel Bryan, a look at what could be the show of the year, the New Japan Dominion PPV, as well as the situation in Ring of Honor after a PPV misfire and the potential leaving of the current ROH champion.
        The lead story looks at Fargo, going back to the Fabulous Fargos tag team, what originally got him over, his role in wrestling in Tennessee, the heyday of Tennessee, some of his most famous matches, his role in making Jerry Lawler a star, his background and drawing the largest crowd in Madison Square Garden in 25 years, the Fargo strut, Roughhouse Fargo and how Lawler and Fargo became so close long before Lawler was a wrestler.
        We also look back at the Lawler/Fargo match that took place 39 years to the day of Fargo's death when they set the Mid South Coliseum attendance record.  We look at the Tennessee wrestling war, the creation of The Fabulous Ones, the era of the Rock & Roll tag team, plus comments from Lawler and Stan Lane.  We look at Fargo's role in Lawler winning the AWA title, and his continuing to be booked in matches into his 70s.
        We also have a feature on the questions revolving the future of Ring of Honor.  We look at the contract situation of the Briscoes, whether they are staying or going, the ROH title situation, as well as others on the roster who may be leaving.  We look at the current state of the company and the decision to drop iPPVs. 
        We also have a match-by-match rundown of Best in the World with star ratings.
        We've got a detailed look at what happened on June 17th with Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, the call by HHH, Bryan's reaction, and what is and isn't real about the scenario.
        We also update the WWE writing situation including who is in, who is out, who has risen to power and lost power all in the past few weeks.  We look at who is responsible for the quality of the TV. 
        We also look at Jack Swagger's arrest and conviction, notes from his trial and the officer description upon arresting him.
        We've also got the monthly WWE business notes when it comes to attendance, merchandise and web site numbers.
        We also have the first word on the WrestleMania DVD and whether it's good or not.
        We've got more on the Alberto Del Rio character, the developmental move, WWE stock and why it's up, viewers per home of late, UFC/WWE crossover and more.
        We also look at the WWE career of Matt Striker and his being let go, as well as details around it.
        We also update the Money in the Bank PPV, WWE scouting, a physical WWE Hall of Fame, RVD talking his WWE signing, update on a number of WWE injuries, doctor of WWE star gets in a lot of trouble and more on the Total Divas reality show.
        We also have a complete rundown of the last NXT tapings, angles changed, notes on different newcomer, as well as more WWE signings. We also look at one of the best wrestlers in the world who is trying to get into WWE, Gerald Brisco talks about the two most charismatic amateur wrestlers he's scouted and why WWE didn't sign either and both are doing well elsewhere.  We also look at a wrestler who wants to keep chair shots to the head, Mick Foley talks about the last angle he was supposed to do and why it never happened and a released WWE developmental wrestler complaints about Bill DeMott.
        We also have notes on Ron Simmons Appreciation Night, as well as business notes and highlights from all of WWE's weekend live events.
        We've also got a look at New Japan's Dominion PPV, as well as plans going forward for PPV shows from the promotion over the summer, going up to the G-1 Climax tournament.  We look at the cards for both July shows and the significance.  We've also got match-by-match rundowns with star ratings ad poll results
        We also look at how much wrestling helped Bellator ratings with a look at the Wednesday night debut of Bellator.
        We also have updated PPV numbers for every WWE show so far this year, including changes for Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania, as well as the first report on how Extreme Rules did and whether Brock Lesnar paid for himself or came close to it.
        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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        We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows as well as details of how every segment on Raw and Impact this past week did and what 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:
--Revival of a wrestling magazine
--Pro wrestler gets governmental honor
--Honor attempted to be turned into an angle
--New Japan title defended in Mexico
--Anniversary shows in Guadalajara and Puebla
--More notes from TripleMania
--Why the iPPV misfire was more damaging that originally thought
--What flopped
--What famous WWE angle was being used and why it didn't happen
--How the TNA talent was received at TripleMania
--All the new Dragon Gate title matches
--All the updated info on the split of New Japan and who is in what camp as a number of wrestlers make up their mind this past week
--Next major NOAH show and the outside stars who have been booked
--More on the NOAH junior heavyweight tag team tournament
--New Japan president makes a startling statement
--Feature movie being made on legendary wrestling character
--More on Hall of Fame wrestler running for senate and chances
--Japanese movie star being part of upcoming big show
--Notes on Flair and Piper TV special
--A look at Celebrity Wife Swap
--More on the Flair lifestyle
--A look at Dutch Savage
--Notes on Tommy Dreamer's latest show with a ton of the biggest outside names
--What did and didn't work
--Who came as surprises
--What wrestler who was one of the best in-ring performers has been telling promoters trying to book him that he's retired
--Biggest match of 2013 from a non-major promotion
--WWC's battle of legends lineup looked at
--Update on Jim Cornette
--Update on Scott Hall and DDP
--A look at the next month of ROH television
--All the upcoming ROH dates
--Notes on the ROH vs. SCUM feud ender
--More on the last TNA TV tapings
--More on company cost cutting
--A look at the TNA TV schedule
--Update on Zema Ion
--Dana White talks Bellator
--Another UFC international deal
--Return of Kid Yamamoto
--Historical pieces on MMA coming out in a few months to look out for
--More on Miesha Tate in ESPN Body magazine
--More on the current season of Ultimate Fighter
--MMA stats
--An MMA movie coming out
--A number of UFC cuts and their background
--UFC fighters complaining about money
--UFC bans sponsor
--New UFC fights
--A look at the last Bellator show
--Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez business notes
--Invicta moving to PPV

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        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

-- Huge interview herewith Sandra Toffoloni, the sister of Nancy Benoit, talking all about the murders from six years ago, her thoughts about everything today, and a lot of interesting statements that differ from what came out publicly at the time. She firmly believes Chris did what he did as a result of roid rage and drug addiction, not concussions, and that the public statement by the coroner that his heart was normal and undamaged was inaccurate. She says the coroner privately told his family that had the murders not happened he was probably ten months away from death anyway with a massively oversized heart. She also talks about her final conversations with both Chris and Nancy and what she thought of Chris as a husband. Very interesting read.

-- Speaking of concussions, there is a great interview herewith Chris Amann of WWE talking about how they manage concussions and concussion symptoms within the company. There have been people of late who have passed the iMPACT testing but weren't allowed to compete until passing additional tests, and he goes into detail on what those tests are.

-- On that note, as reported on the front page, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton were both fined an undisclosed sum of money for the tope chairshot on Raw Monday. You couldn't tell from the camera angle but I'm pretty certain that Bryan got his hand up and was never actually hit in the head with the chair. However, I believe if you're going to be serious about concussion management, then you've got to err on the side of caution and fine in every instance, otherwise you'll have people constantly arguing that they got their hands up whether they did or not.

-- Condolences to the friends of family of Matt Borne. Obviously, being from around here I know a lot of people who knew him really well from the Portland days.

-- A transcript of the Tim Kennedy interview where he complains about fighter pay, which he now claims was taken out of context, is up here. The difference between Tim Kennedy and everyone else who has been complaining about low pay in UFC lately is that all the other guys have been cut and he's about to have his first UFC fight.

-- RVD posted that he's cancelling a live appearance on Tuesday because of a WWE commitment.

-- New Figure Four Weekly up right now herewith tons of notes about what's going on with the Briscoe Brothers and ROH, why they're dropping live iPPVs, and more.

-- Yes, my cable, TV and Internet are back today.

-- After Dark Radio returns tonight at midnight Pacific/3 AM Eastern with open lines and emails. The main topic is kind of based on pro-wrestling, very loosely in fact. Jesse Ventura is writing a new book about the JFK assassination. I don't buy that there was a conspiracy, but obviously many people do. So tonight, it's the CONVINCE BRYAN SHOW. You can argue either way, but you're goal is to convince me that either the JFK assassination was a conspiracy or that Oswald acted alone. Obviously your goal is to try to convince the listening audience as well. Now obviously this is a pretty in-depth subject and you've got a limited amount of time 2-3 minutes per call, 200-300 words per email, so you've got to make your argument short, sweet and compelling. Send emails to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with "After Dark" in the subject line, or be ready to call 425-482-1686 at midnight. Of course, as noted, you can also call or email on any subject under the sun. Remember, this is a listener-driven show so it'll only survive with your input!

-- For those going to Las Vegas for our annual Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online convention, some notes. There are, last I checked only THREE SEATS LEFT for our annual Friday night banquet. The room was reserved for 60, so once those three are gone that's it, no sneaking in at the last minute. If you want one, email Ed immediately at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For those there mostly for the MMA, the Las Vegas Fight Shop on the Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino has a ton of things going on, and the complete schedule is here. Any other questions about anything, email Ed ASAP because he's the point man and should know everything that's going on.

-- Junior Dos Santos said today that while he'll fight anyone the UFC puts in front of him, he's no longer interested in fighting the "limited" Alistair Overeem. They have been scheduled to fight twice and both times it fell through due to issues on the Overeem side. He said he stopped caring the moment Bigfoot Silva destroyed him.

-- As noted on the front page, Bellator Fight Master was up over 100,000 viewers from last week's episode. I think what helped is that the first show was great and it replayed approximately 95 times on Spike over the next several days, so I presume a lot of people saw it and decided to check out week two.

-- Wrestling Cares with our buddy Les Thatcher runs this weekend in Gardena, CA with Adam Pearce vs. Adam Page, Johnny Gargano vs. Chase Stevens, Brandon Gatson vs. Willie Mac and tons more. For more you can check out the webpage at Maria Kanellis will be there as host for the evening.

-- The Divas talk hereabout the Total Divas TV show which is coming to E! at the end of July.

-- Jim Ross talks the new WWE Performance Training Center here. I've seen a bunch of photos from the facility and it looks incredible, like far above and beyond anything you would expect for a pro-wrestling training camp.

-- Story hereabout a Georgia jewerly store that got robbed by four suspects earlier this week. One of them shot the owner of the jewelry store, and as they were fleeing, Ururahy Rodrigues, who owns an MMA school right next door to the jewelry store, gave chase, tackled one of the suspects and held him down with a choke until police arrived. There's a video at the link of the news story on what happened, including an interview with Rodrigues, who had one prelim fight with Bellator earlier this year.

-- Dana White has an interview heresaying he wants to bring a show to Maine. I remember I used to go to all of these UFC press conferences and everyone would always ask Dana if he was coming to their town. No matter what the town was, from Seattle, WA to Goose Egg, WY (real place), Dana always said yes, they were working on it. And then one day, I forget what town it was, but someone asked and Dana actually said, no, we have no plans to go to that town anytime soon. My world was turned upside-down.

- By the way, Dana called it wrong, but I'm sure he's thrilled about it. After bitching about Steve Mazzagatti for nine minutes in a scrum two weeks ago and presuming that as a result the NSAC was going to automatically assign him to the main event of the Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman fight, in fact they did not, and Herb Dean got the assignment. They did, however, assign Adalaide Byrd, Marcos Rosales and Patricia Morse Jarman as judges, so dear God let there be a finish.

-- Interview with Big E. Langston here.

-- Support the troops and honor those that served our country with a night of action during Independence Day weekend! On Saturday, July 6, River City Wrestling -- San Antonio's brand of professional wrestling for 11 years -- will host a night of action at the Aztec Indoor Soccer Arena, 9870 Marbach Rd.. The doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the event starts at 8 p.m. RCW is honored to have the courageous and talented Sebastien De La Cruz, "El Charro de Oro," sing the national anthem. De La Cruz is the young artist that captured national attention when he beautifully sang the anthem during the recent NBA Finals. De La Cruz personifies the American spirit and RCW is thrilled to have him kick off the festivities! In addition, RCW will donate a portion of the event proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Family & Support Center. Tickets will be sold at the door (cash or credit card) and are as follows: front row, all ages are $15; general admission, adults are $12; general admission, kids ages 4-18 years and adults with a military/student ID are $10; and children three years and younger are free. Advance tickets are online at or Advance tickets are cheaper than those sold at the door with group discounts also available.

-- PREMIER CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING Presents THE PREMIER CUP !!! Friday, June 14th 2013 Doubles Fun Club (at the Travelodge Hotel) $10 at the Door 9 PM Start Time

-- Vladimir Koslov made an appearance in last nights episode of Burn Notice as a random GRB (Russian) guard. Thanks to Chris.

-- Today in History with Brian Hoops:

1962 - Ilio DiPaolo & Joe Scarpello defeated Mr. M and Bob Geigel to become the first AWA Canadian Open Tag Team Champions in a one night tournament in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada.

1982 - Chief Jay & Jules Strongbow defeated Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito for the WWF Tag Team Title in New York City at Madison Square Garden.

1993 - The Bruise Brothers defeated the Rock n' Roll Express for the Smoky Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Title in Council, Virgina

1993 - Jeff Jarrett defeated Brian Christopher for the USWA Southern Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee.

1997 - Chris Jericho defeated Syxx for the WCW Cruiserweight Title in Inglewood, California.

1998 - In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ken Shamrock defeated Rocky Maivia to win the King Of The Ring tournament. Also, The Undertaker defeated Mankind in a Hell In A Cell match and Kane defeated Steve Austin in a First Blood match to win the WWF World Heavyweight Title.

2009 - At the Bash PPV, Rey Mysterio defeated Chris Jericho in a title vs. mask match to win the WWE Intercontinental Title. Also, Edge and Chris Jericho defeated Carlito & Primo and Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes to win the WWE Tag Team Championship and Michelle McCool defeated Melina to win the Diva's Title.

2012 - Badd Influence, Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian defeated Kurt Angle & AJ Styles to win the TNA World Tag Team Title.

Excellent 9.4%
Good 39.6%
Average 35.8%
Fair 7.5%
Poor 7.5%
60.4% of those responding didn't see the show

Excellent 18.6%
Good 60.5%
Average 9.3%
Fair 0.0%
Poor 11.6%
64.8% of those responding didn't see the show

Yes 17.1%
No 82.9%

Stronger 13.4%
Weaker 31.5%
The same 55.1%

-- Chad Campbell writes about Matt Borne here.

-- Story on the late, great Jackie Fargo here.

-- David Otunga on Between the Ropes talking The Call here.

-- Story on House of Hardcore II here. If you want to hear a funny Terry Funk story from Lance Storm, listen to Wednesday's Figure Four Daily 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?