TUES UPDATE: More from Raw, additional Divas footage from last night for your viewing pleasure, line-up for tapings, Benoit movie, Warrior has message for Vince, tons 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 the weekend's New Japan iPPV show and Dragon Gate iPPV, 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

WWE will be taping four TV's this week.

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.

To be taped today:

Cena vs. Ryback tables match
Bryan vs. Kane
Henry & Usos vs. Shield (not sure if it's been announced but it is planned)

         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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        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

-- Wrestling Observer Live with myself and Mike Sempervive launches on iHeartRadio tomorrow, meaning it's now available to an additional 60 million subscribers. The official page is here. Between this, all the Sports Byline Radio affiliates over-the-air across the US, Sirius Satellite Radio channel 92, 94 and 794, XM Radio channel 208, the TuneIn Radio app (search Sports Byline or Wrestling Observer), and, obviously, the front page of this website, this is the most-listened to wrestling radio show in the entire world.

-- So much audio the last few days it's not even funny, including a three-plus hour Observer Radio with Dave and Mike Saturday night, a two-hour Wrestling Observer Live on Sunday, both a Bryan and Vinny and Wrestling Observer Radio on Sunday as well, Observer Radio twice yesterday as well as Figure Four Daily with Johnny Gargano today. Bryan and Vinny returns tonight as well, and Karl Stern is nearing 31 straight days of radio shows.

-- Both Wrestling Observer Live from Sunday and the Johnny Gargano showtoday are FREE, so check them out.

-- Also, as noted Sunday, Vinny has signed on to do a THIRD Bryan & Vinny Show every week, the new show taking place Sunday nights.

-- Brie Bella on Twitter apologized for her nip slip on Raw, saying the sticky tape didn't work and that it would never happen again.

-- If you thought that segment was bad, check out the first half of Raw Backstage Fallout here. WOW.

-- Also, since nobody appeared to be able to keep it straight, her actual name is Eva Marie, not Eva Maria.

-- Daniel Bryan wrestled a fourth time after Raw, teaming with John Cena & Mark Henry against the Shield.

-- Deadline.com claims there is a director for a Chris Benoit biopic.

-- Warrior's message to Vince McMahon: @VinceMcMahon Vince, thank you for your personal welcome back to the WWE Universe. It is noted and appreciated. All the Warriors of Parts Unknown take pride in being one of the original galaxies of the Universe you created. Not one of my days has passed without a flashback to my time in the business and my relationship with you. After 17 years of battling one another, perhaps the stars have finally aligned and Destiny is prepared to tell one of Sports Entertainment's greatest stories: how two of the industry's most determined, colorful, intense and explosive personalities brought to life a persona that made such an inspiring impression that it still captures the hearts and minds of fans all over the world, even all these years later. I am proud Ultimate Warrior is an iconic, immortal spirit in the Universe you created. I know, Vince McMahon, you are proud, too. The inhabitants of your WWE Universe believe your personal welcome is an invitation of sorts. If so, consider this my RSVP with one condition. Wisdom takes a seat at the table with us when we meet, but we each also leave unburied a slight edge of the hatchet we've carried over the years. that other gutless and heartless God-fearing men urge us to lay to rest forever. Face it, neither one of us were ever any good at being bored or boring others. So coming prepared to kill one another makes for a interesting backup plan. Always Believe, Warrior. We'll see how long this one lasts.

-- After advertising him all week, they did in fact pull Big Show from Raw due to his knee still giving him trouble. He's still expected back at any time.

-- Smackdown will be in Cincinnati for a TV taping Sept. 17. Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus, Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam are being advertising. Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. Thanks to Brian.

-- RVD has been added to the Raw taping August 27th in Las Vegas.

-- Regarding the story about Nick Diaz no-showing a taping of The Voice Versus with Michael Schiavello, keep in mind that Schiavello flew all the way from Australia to tape this thing. Schiavello, obviously, is pretty upset.

-- Mike Kogan said Roy Nelson's new UFC deal was for nine fights over three years.

-- UFC TV this week:

On this week’s UFC TONIGHT, hosts Kenny Florian and Chael Sonnen break down and make predictions for this weekend’s FOX UFC Saturday, including theflyweight championship between Demetrious Johnson and John Moraga.

Plus, Sonnen reveals details about a new contract and changes in his training camp. Insider Ariel Helwani discusses potential upcoming bouts in the featherweight division, as well as possible match-ups for Rashad Evans. Brittany Palmer gives us an all-access look at the UFC Fan Expo. Watch all those stories, plus more tonight.

This week on UFC ULTIMATE INSIDER, Phoenix native John Moraga was headed down a dead end when he discovered wrestling and found a purpose. Meet the coaches that transformed Moraga’s life as they recall the origin of the fast-rising flyweight title challenger. Elite welterweight Jake Ellenberger is focused on his showdown with Rory MacDonald, but he still finds time to have some fun in Southern California. We suited up with him for a day at the motocross track to burn off some steam during his intense training schedule.

In one of 2013’s more stunning moments, Liz Carmouche nearly finished Ronda Rousey in the first women’s fight in UFC history. While the former Marine was ultimately submitted by the champion, she is now back training in San Diego and as committed as ever to donning UFC gold. When Jessica Andrade enters the Octagon on July 27 against Carmouche, the Brazilian will do so as a decided underdog. We travel to Rio de Janeiro to witness her training camp and how long odds have never deterred her.

-- New England Fights (NEF) today announced that Westbrook, Maine native Brandon Bushaw (6-2) will make his highly anticipated return to the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion when he takes on Derek Shorey (2-7) at “NEF IX” at the Biddeford Ice Arena in Biddeford, Maine on Saturday, August 3rd.

-- The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) announced today that it is honored to welcome Dr. Don Catlin as VADA’s Scientific Advisor. For more than three decades, Dr. Catlin has been at the forefront of the global battle against performance-enhancing drug (PED) use in sport. Dr. Catlin's research has been instrumental to the detection methodology currently used worldwide in high-level PED testing.

0.9 or less 19.4%
1.0 7.5%
1.1 13.4%
1.2 13.4%
1.3 6.9%
1.4 10.4%
1.5 4.5%
1.6 3.0%
1.7 6.0%
1.8 6.0%
1.9 0.0%
2.0 or more 7.5%

2.6 or less 6.6%
2.7 0.8%
2.8 9.9%
2.9 14.0%
3.0 38.8%
3.1 17.4%
3.2 6.6%
3.3 1.7%
3.4 0.0%
3.5 0.0%
3.6 or more 4.1%

WWE Money in the Bank 31.6%
New Japan Dominion 23.2%
WWE Payback 19.4%
UFC 162 11.6%
ROH Best in the World 4.5%
Dragon Gate 7/21 3.2%
New Japan Kizuna Road II 3.2%
UFC 161 2.6%
New Japan Kizuna Road I 0.6%

Tanahashi vs. Devitt 57.1%
Nakamura vs. Ibushi 13.5%
Ishii vs. Shibata 12.7%
Okada vs. Makabe 7.1%
Nagata vs. Benjamin 6.3%
Naito vs. Suzuki 3.2%

Okada 29.7%
Devitt 25.4%
Suzuki 22.9%
Nakamura 6.8%
Ishii 5.1%
Sakuraba 2.5%
Sombra 2.5%
Tanaka 2.5%
Naito 0.8%
Shibata 0.8%
Romero 0.8%

Not nearly enough Suzuki love here.

-- Today in history with Brian Hoops.

1970 - Sputnik Monroe and Tommy Gilbert defeated Ron and Don Wright for the Tennessee Tag Team Title in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1974 - The Destroyer defeated Dick The Bruiser to win the WWA World Title in Los Angeles, Ca.

1976 - Blackjack Lanza & Bobby Duncum beat Dick the Bruiser & The Crusher to win the AWA tag team title in Chicago, Illinois

1977 - Mr. Wrestling II defeated Dick Slater to win the Georgia Title in Atlanta, Georgia.

1984 - Wendi Richter defeated The Fabulous Moolah to win the WWF Women's Title in Madison Square Garden.

1989 - Great American Bash PPV was held in Baltimore, Maryland headlined by Ric Flair defeating Terry Funk to retain the NWA World Title.

2000 - Perry Saturn defeated Eddie Guerrero to win the WWF European Title in Dallas, Texas.

-- NWA Music City Showdown 2 will be at the SAW Mill at 1214 B Louisville Highway in Millersville, Tennessee. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with a special 7:30 p.m. bell time. Tickets are $10. For more information on NWA Southern All-Star Wrestling, visit www.southernallstar.com. Rob Conway headlines.

-- All-star pro wrestling returns to the Long Branch, NJ area on Friday night August 9th at 7:45pm, as popular northeast pro wrestling promotion Funkdafied Wrestling Federation returns to the Holy Trinity Church (408 Prospect Street, just off Broadway, minutes from Route and the Parkway), with partial proceeds to benefit The Valerie Fund. The Valerie Fund's mission is to provide support for the comprehensive health care of children with cancer and blood disorders. Thanks to wrestler Ryan Torok, the FwF and the great wrestling fans in the area who will come out and show their support.

-- WrestlingCares.com - On Saturday, August 17 LIVE from the Sheraton Gateway LAX on 6101 W Century Blvd in Los Angeles, CA, the Wrestling Cares Association presents an all-star supercard benefiting the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center.

-- AAW: Professional Wrestling Redefined presents Scars and Stripes Saturday, July 27th 115 Bourbon Street Merrionette Park, IL Belltime: 7:30pm

-- Story about Pennsylvania pro-wrestling taxation here with quotes from Dave, whose name they managed to misspell here.

-- A guide to this year's G-1 Climax tourney here.

-- First-ever AWR wrestling podcast 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?