FRI UPDATE: Lots of news from Impact, what's up with Tazz, weekend schedule, Matt Borne death, After Dark, WOL expands, RVD on TNA site, more



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

We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's New Japan iPPV 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'll also be doing a poll after the Dragon Gate show late Saturday/early Sunday.

A fairly quiet weekend with no WWE or UFC events.

We're looking for reports on tonight's TNA house show in Danville, IL (Chris Sabin vs. Bully Ray for TNA title, Kurt Angle vs. Devon, James Storm & Gunner vs. Wes Brisco & Garett Bischoff for tag titles, Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe vs. Jay Bradley (Bound for Glory series match) and Gail Kim vs. Miss Tessmacher. We're also looking for reports on the NXT show at the Jacksonville 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

New Japan's Kizuno Road PPV is late tonight/early tomorrow from Akita, Japan, airing live at 4 a.m. Eastern, 1 a.m. Pacific and 9 a.m. UK at www.ustream.tv/channel/njpw1972 The show is available for replays for one week.

Tiger Mask & Kushida & Tomoaki Honma & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Gedo & Jado & Yujiro Takahashi & Yoshi-Hashi

Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov vs. Taka Michinoku & Taichi for the IWGP jr. tag titles

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Minoru Suzuki

Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka for IWGP tag team titles

Masato Tanaka vs. Tetsuya Naito for the Never championship

La Sombra vs Shinsuke Nakamura for the IC championship

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Liger & Captain New Japan & Togi Makabe vs. Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga & El Terrible & Bad Luck Fale

Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata

Yuji Nagata vs. Kazushi Sakuraba

Kazuchika Okada vs. Prince Devitt for IWGP heavyweight title

TNA has a house show on Saturday night in Cape Girardeau, MO.

Dragon Gate has an iPPV from Kobe World Hall, perhaps the company's biggest show of the year, late Saturday/early Sunday at 2 a.m. Eastern, 11 p.m. Pacific and 7 a.m. UK at www.ustream.tv/dragongate

Super Shisa & Shachihoko Boy & Rich Swann vs. Kotoka & Super Shenlong & Chihiro Tominaga

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa submission match

Jimmy Susumu & Jimmy Kagetora & Quu Quu Toyonaka Dolphin vs. Hub & Cyber Kong & Nosawa

Ryo Saito & Genki Horiguchi & Jimmy Kanda defend the Open the Triangle Gate titles in a three-way with Don Fujii & Gamma & Dragon Kid and Kzy & Mondai Ryu & Uhaa Nation

Masato Yoshino vs. K-Ness for the Open the Brave Gate title

Yamato vs. Masaaki Mochizuki no DQ

Akira Tozawa & BxB Hulk vs. Naruki Doi & Ricochet for the Open the Twin Gate tag titles

Cima vs. Shingo Takagi for the Open the Dream Gate title.

WWE will be taping four TV's early next week.

Raw will be live on Monday from Austin, TX.

The Raw show for 7/29 will be taped on Tuesday night in Laredo.

Smackdown for 7/26 will be taped on Wednesday in Corpus Christi. With a lot of the crew leaving for Australia before this show, the headliners will be Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, C.M. Punk, Sheamus and Rob Van Dam.

Smackdown for 8/2 will be taped on Thursday in Houston with the same crew as Corpus Christi.

        It's a big week for the Observer this week.  The back issue up on the site covers the career of Ray Stevens, one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time, who passed away in 1996.  Legend has it Stevens was the best wrestler in the business during the 60s (I never saw him live until the 70s, and he was very good then, the best ever at making a questionable opponent look like a champion). 
 
        We also have a new double issue covering the issues in TNA, the opening of the WWE Performance Center, Bruiser Brody, Brian Stann, Invicta, WWE SummerSlam, WrestleMania 2015, Money in the Bank PPV and a lot more.
 
        Our lead story looks at the WWE Performance Center.  We look at the developmental structure for WWE, why it is so important, notes on what the new building has, different reasons it's such a major change, who and what type of people they are scouting, what the idea was modeled after, what is good and not so good about the current developmental system and how it can be improved with some tweaks.  We also look at roster turnover and the grand opening, as well as who was there that was significant and not talked about, as well as how this relates to MMA.
 
        We also have a look at the build to SummerSlam, coverage of Money in the Bank, winners of WWE PPV matches being leaked, poll results, match-by-match coverage and star ratings.
 
        We also look at the impending UFC 168 show, which will be among the biggest non-boxing PPV events in U.S. history.  We look at the various factors that will determine how well the show does, including key info on the launch of Fox Sports 1, what impacts the two big matches, how Christmas has historically affected UFC on PPV and more.
 
        We also look at the Ultimate Warrior being added to the WWE video game, the segment being done, the introduction, WWE promotion of it, Warrior talking about doing another match, WWE reaction, as well as a look at Warrior's wrestling career and his match with Hulk Hogan, as well as his various comebacks.
 
        We look at the issues facing TNA, why the financial situation has gotten the way it has, why the situation is so concerning, what TNA can and cant' do about it, what advantages Bellator has with taping live events compared with TNA, as well as notes on the releases of Tara and Doc.
 
        We update on WrestleMania in 2015 and 2016, the situation with Dave Bautista and a WWE return, thoughts on part-timers and next year WrestleMania, Rock's income from wrestling and movies, lots more on the Total Divas reality show, promotion of the show, WWE on NBC, WWE sponsorships, extensive TV tapings coming, Steve Austin and wrestling again, update on Undertaker wrestling again, lots of WWE injury updates, why two WWE wrestlers haven't been around of late who aren't hurt, scheduled returns from injuries of WWE stars, Mark Henry talks pay cut, tons of news out of developmental, well known wrestler on writing team, secret rules regarding working in WWE that haven't gotten out, Lawler talks wrestling again, viewership of Raw, live vs. delayed, Coachman talks about his days in WWE, NFL draft pick talks going to WWE, plus notes on the weekend house show.
 
        We also look at the debut of Invicta on PPV.  We look at what was done right, what could be improved on, quality of fights, Cyborg vs. Rousey, a look at the highlight fights and future matches.
 
        We also look back at the career of Brian Stann, why he retired, what he's doing next, and why his retirement was such a major story for a fighter who never had a championship match.
 
        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 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:
 
--Date for the biggest match in Mexico in years
 
--Future of wrestling on Galavision
 
--Santo anniversary show upcoming
 
--CMLL major show lineup
 
--Update on Dr. Wagner Jr.
 
--Notes on Dragon Gate iPPV and loaded lineup for one of the biggest shows of the year
 
--The new version of All Japan has its first show
 
--Who is involved behind the scenes with this new company
 
--Pro Wrestling NOAH jr. heavyweight tag team tournament
 
--New Japan iPPV notes for this week
 
--New Japan tag champs coming to Texas
 
--Goals for the Wrestle-1 promotion and a look back at the kind of matchmaking Keiji Muto is looking at
 
--Hall of Famer talks retirement once again
 
--More on Ric Flair's legal situation
 
--Coverage of the Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame weekend
 
--Notes from the speeches
 
--The problems with honorees not showing up
 
--Jim Ross talks about Bill Watts
 
--Matt Hughes at the Hall of Fame
 
--More on shooting outside the club that Colt Cabana performed at on July 4th
 
--Notes on the death of Bruiser Brody
 
--Movies with wrestlers
 
--Former WWE star as a bodyguard for Alex Rodriguez
 
--One of 90s most famous tag teams reunites
 
--Pro wrestling area local star books a boxing match and pro wrestling match on the same night
 
--One of the biggest non-WWE crowds of the year main event between stars of decades ago is rematched
 
--Former WWE wrestler gets regular role in a TV series
 
--Roddy Piper doing more television
 
--Wrestler and his family in terrible auto accident
 
--Well-known MMA manager and his boxing match against well known pro wrestling star of the era
 
--Pro wrestling manager of the 80s does boxing
 
--John Madden talks going to high school with a pro wrestling legend as well as daughters of all-time great tag team
 
--Bas Rutten talks his pro wrestling career
 
--ROH title tournament notes
 
--Why certain wrestlers aren't in the tournament
 
--New Japan stars coming to ROH
 
--Notes on the weekend ROH events and highlights
 
--TV series with a TNA star
 
--TNA star gets national TV commercial
 
--Taelor Hendrix talks problems in TNA and being let go
 
--TNA weekend house show notes
 
--Story behind T.J. Grant being pulled from UFC 164
 
--Analysis of Pettis vs. Henderson
 
--Chris Weidman day
 
--Tons of new UFC fights
 
--Notes on Ultimate Fighter China
 
--UFC main event will have the most extensive drug testing ever
 
--Nick Diaz and a return
 
--Interesting reaction by a fighter to a proposed fight
 
--UFC lobbying efforts
 
--UFC Hall of Famer talking a comeback
 
--World Series of Fighting notes
 
--Story behind the fallout of Ken Shamrock's MMA return
 
--Shamrock Brothers working together
 
--Jens Pulver returns to fight former Olympian
 
--Gotch piledriver in MMA
 
--Former Pride star retires
 
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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

-- I'm driving back from Oregon tonight so depending on when I arrive, we may or may not do Open Lines for After Dark tonight. It's a long drive, so if I get back by midnight I'll open them up, otherwise it'll likely be an e-mail-only show. One way or another, send those emails and I'll get to as many as I can. Everyone should know the topics by now, and really, you're welcome to write about anything. The address is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and make sure to put "After Dark" in the subject line or body of the email or it'll probably be missed. You can always find out when the phone lines are open, including tonight if we do it, by following me on Twitter @bryanalvarez. Got some cool beach pics up there as well.

-- Just want to send a big shout-out to Karl Stern, who has done NINETEEN RADIO SHOWS IN A ROW on the site without a break. His shows are tons of fun and I get emails at least once a week from listeners telling me how much they appreciate them. So head over and check it out, his show, along with all of the others on our site, are all available for subscribers (both new and archived, dating back to 2005, so that's a LOT of shows).

-- TMZ story on the death of Matt Borne is up here.

-- Best wishes to Rey Mysterio and his family. His mom is having very serious health issues and he won't be at ComicCon this weekend.

-- Wrestlers, fans, media and promoters please share and support wrestler Jack Gamble and his family. They were hit head-on by another car after a show last week.

-- Starting July 28th, Wrestling Observer Live with myself and Mike Sempervive will be available on iHeartRadio'snew Talk portal, meaning it'll be available to over 60 million subscribers. You'll be able to find the show by searching for "Sports Byline" or "Wrestling Observer". There is also an app that will allow you to listen to the show through iHeartRadio on the Android and iPhone. I don't know for sure, but I'd guess that between the Sports Byline over-the-air affiliates, Sirius Satellite Radio (ch. 92 or 94), XM Radio (ch. 208), iTunes, free on the front page of wrestlingobserver.com, plus availability on the TuneIn Radio app, the Sirius Radio app, etc., that Wrestling Observer Live is the single most-listened to wrestling radio show on Earth.

-- Video of Chris Sabin's title win last night is up on the front page right now.

-- New audio interview with DOC heretalking his TNA run, working with Hogan and Bischoff, Bruce Prichard, the fate of the company and more. It starts a little less than an hour in.

-- On the front page of TNA's website last night during Impact was an ad for their RVD action figure.

-- Thankfully, Petey Williams was not hurt taking the gringo killer from Homicide last night. Looked really bad, though.

-- Regarding Tazz, him not being there last night will likely be turned into an angle and he's still with the company. Bruce Prichard had given him the night off before Prichard ended up axed. There were people in the company who probably should know who had no idea where he was, however, and nobody told them anything.

-- Cesar Gracie earlier this week said an offer was on the table for Nick Diaz to return, and that the fight offered as kind of "neat". Dana White then said nobody in UFC had talked to Cesar, Nick or anyone involved with them. Cesar than tweeted that he'd been misquoted.

-- Open workouts for UFC on FOX 8 take place at the Seattle Center Pavilion this coming Wednesday at 11 AM.

-- Brock, RVD, HHH and Vince McMahon are all advertised for the post- SummerSlam Raw.

-- Ox Baker will be appearing at the Mid-Atlantic Wrestler's Convention this year.

-- This is absolutely awesome.

-- Jose Aldo did an interview in Brazil and when asked the top five greatest fighters of all time, in order, he said Fedor Emelianenko, Royce Gracie, Chuck Liddell, Anderson Silva, and of course Jose Aldo.

-- As part of the campaign to get wrestling back into the Olympics (final vote takes place in September), wrestlers have been granted access to a site at Ancient Olympia in Greece for a 15-country tournament this weekend. The site, which is normally off limits to competitions, is located about 200 miles southwest of Athens. It's where they normally do the Olympic torch-lighting ceremony.

-- The cover art for "Triple H: Thy Kingdom Come", his new 3-disc DVD, is up on his Twitter here.

-- Chuck with interesting trivia: Twenty-four years ago on this date, July 19, 1989, current WWE Vice President of Talent Relations Jane Geddes won the LPGA Boston Five Classic for the second straight year. All told, Geddes won 11 LPGA tour events in her pro golf career.

-- Line-ups for the next few DGUSA shows are up here. We have Johnny Gargano scheduled for Figure Four Daily on Tuesday. He's always a great interview. We'll take some Twitter questions the day of the show @bryanalvarez, so follow me there.

-- Today in History with Brian Hoops:

1960 - Verne Gagne & Leo Nomellini defeated Murder Inc. (Tiny Mills & Stan Kowalski) to win the AWA World Tag team Title in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

1961 - Shoulders Newman & Ted Travis defeated Neff Maivia & Billy White Wolf for the NWA Hawaii Tag Team Title in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1968 - Fritz Von Erich & Grizzly Smith defeated The Spoiler & Gary Hart in Houston, Texas to win the NWA American Tag Team Title (later renamed the World Class World Tag Team Title)

1971 - Thunderbolt Patterson & Toru Tanaka defeated Johnny Valentine & Wahoo McDaniel to win the NWA American Tag Team Title (later renamed the World Class World Tag Team Title) in Ft. Worth, Texas.

1980 - Pierre Martel defeated Mr. Fuji to win the WWC North American Heavyweight Title in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

1981 - El Solitario defeated Eric Embry in Mexico City, Mexico to win the UWA World Junior Light-Heavyweight Title

1989 - The Brain Busters (Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson) defeated Demolition to win the WWF World Tag Team Championship in a two out of three falls match that aired on Saturday' Nights Main Event. The event was taped in Worcester, Massachusetts.

1997 - The Gangstas (New Jack & Mustafa) defeated The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray & D-Von) to win the ECW World Tag Team Title in a Steel Cage Weapons match in Philadelphia, PA.

2009 - Angelina Love defeated Tara to win the TNA Knockouts Title in Orlando, Florida. Also, Kevin Nash defeated AJ Styles to win the Legends Title and Scott Steiner & Booker T defeated Beer Money to win the TNA Tag Team Championship.

-- Roddy Piper was supposed to be on the Preston and Steve Show in Philly this morning but never called in.

-- Quick correction from a plug on the Antonio The Promise Thomas show. The correct URL for EWA Pro Wrestling is EWAProwrestling.com.

-- Story hereon DESTROYER PARK GOLF, the Destroyer's new golf course. He'll be there most days.

-- The Arizona Diamondbacks now have a new luchador mascot. Pic of him here.

-- The correct link to Irv Muchnick's story about Jimmy Snuka is up here.

-- Lucha news from Kris Zellner:

Hijo del Santo held a press conference yesterday to announce the full card for the Todos x Todos show on 7/27 at Gimnasio Juan de la Barrera and they changed the original lineup to feature more names in the main event most likely because AAA announced they would run that building a week later. The press conference took a backseat to a bigger announcement which was a probable (key word) 3 way mask match between him, Dr. Wagner Jr., & L.A. Par-K on 9/1 at the big outdoor show in Zocalo. Santo made sure to say that nothing was definite even the date and location so there are already excuses being built if it gets cancelled. Santo went on to talk about his injury and said that if he doesn't feel like he can come back to top condition then he would retire completely. Santo said that if the mask match does come to pass he wants Par-K's in particular because they have had a personal rivalry for the last 25 years after a fight in a locker room even though Santo said that he let it go but obviously Par-K didn't since he tried to break his neck. All I can say is we will see.

Rush stated today that after taking Damian el Terrible's hair he thought he would never be interested in anyone else's hair but Negro Casas & Shocker came along in his life and now he wants to take their hair as trophies as part of his plan of overthrowing hierarchies in lucha libre. Rush said that Negro & Shocker are jealous of his youth and good looks and want to relive their pasts through him and he isn't going to let that happen. Rush said that being in the Infierno en el Ring tomorrow night at Arena Mexico doesn't scare him because he was in the match two years ago where he escaped with his hair and now he is even more experienced and wised. Rush was asked about his issues with the fans and he said that he doesn't care who cheers him or boos him because he is who he is and he is targeting everyone including tecnicos and rudos because he feels they are all targeting him so why not. Rush said that even if he doesn't take someone's hair tomorrow night that he will win Negro & Shocker's hair soon.

-- A look at an upcoming TNA house show with Samoa Joe talking about his first stage exposure at age 5 is here.

-- Chris Nowinski will be speaking in Virginia about concussions, more info on which is up here.

-- WHAT DID YOU THINK OF FIGHT MASTER THIS WEEK?
Excellent 16.7%
Good 30.0%
Average 20.0%
Fair 3.3%
Poor 30.0%
73.5% of those responding didn't see the show

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF MAIN EVENT?
Excellent 14.5%
Good 50.7%
Average 20.3%
Fair 10.1%
Poor 4.3%
51.4% of those responding didn't see the show

FROM THE 70S AND 80S GLORY PERIOD OF JAPANESE WRESTLING, WHO WAS THE TOP FOREIGN STAR?
Stan Hansen 34.1%
Bruiser Brody 21.8%
Andre the Giant 14.8%
Terry Funk 11.0%
Dynamite Kid 5.5%
Hulk Hogan 5.3%
Abdullah the Butcher 2.0%
Harley Race 1.8%
Dory Funk Jr. 1.3%
Mil Mascaras 1.0%
Tiger Jeet Singh 1.0%
Billy Robinson 0.5%

WHO WAS THE BEST REGIONAL WRESTLING PROMOTER?
Bill Watts 18.7%
Vincent James McMahon 18.7%
Jim Crockett Jr. 15.4%
Sam Muchnick 12.9%
Jim Crockett Sr. 7.4%
Jerry Jarrett 6.9%
Eddie Graham 5.8%
Verne Gagne 4.8%
Paul Boesch 3.0%
Don Owen 2.8%
Frank Tunney 1.8%
Roy Shire 1.8%

Who is the strongest Hall of Fame candidate from this list?

 

Who is the strongest Hall of Fame candidate from this list?

 

Who should get the next featherweight title shot?