SUNDAY UPDATE: SummerSlam lineup & notes, Ric Flair Axxess fallout, Hulk Hogan rumors, Bellator signs another former UFC talent, this day in history, 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 SummerSlam, 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're looking for reports from last night's TNA show in Asheville, NC tonight, as well as Friday night's WWE show from Portland, OR and the TNA show from Roanoke at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Today's big show is SummerSlam from the Staples Center in Los Angeles:

  • John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan with HHH as referee for WWE title
  • C.M. Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
  • Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian for World title
  • Kane vs. Bray Wyatt in a Ring of Fire match
  • Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston & A.J. Lee
  • Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow
  • Natalya vs. Brie Bella
  • Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam for U.S. title as the preshow match at about 7:30 p.m. Eastern

It should be noted that as of yesterday, Big Show, Mark Henry, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns were all booked to wrestle which would stem from an angle in the Ambrose vs. RVD match. I was given the hint that the main card may slightly change as well.

Raw will be Monday at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Tuesday will be Smackdown tapings and Main Event tapings in Bakersfield.

*****
 
Looking at SummerSlam and the debut of UFC on FS 1 is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  Both this issue and a new back issue from 1996 will be on the web site today.

We look at the scheduled and the cards for both major weekend shows.  We look at the situation when it comes to the availability of FS 1 a it stands at press time, who is carrying the station and who isn't, and what the issues are.  We look at the benefits and concerns of a new television move for much of its programming.

For SummerSlam, we look at the John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan main event, including health updates and how it may affect decision making, why a company weakness is likely to force a character change, the McMahons angle and how it plays into SummerSlam and to WrestleMania. 
 
We look at how last year's show did as well.

We also have full coverage of this year's G-1 Climax tournament, including an overview of what happened, how Tetsuya Naito won, notes about tournament history, notes of parity booking and the last night, thoughts on usage of Kazuchika Okada and him in the world title role and the difficulty in booking a tournament like this.
 
        We also look at the physical toll, the best matches, who got the best performer bonus, the difference in physical toll between this tournament and a 90s Champion Carnival type tournament, the working parameters and how that limited certain things.  We look at many of the storylines, final standings, the best shows, and business of G-1.
 
        We also look at New Japan's major annual singles tournaments every year dating back to the winners since the inception of the promotion and the first World League in 1974.
 
        We also have complete coverage of the final three shows, with match-by-match notes, star ratings and poll results, similar to a major WWE or TNA show, as well as notes on each night.
 
        We also look at the fall booking for New Japan, apparent direction for the next PPV show, and when and where.
 
        We also look at UFC and WWE when it comes to the frontier of international business.  We look at each company's alleged comparisons on the international scene, the Brazilian market, the future of the Brazilian market, WWE's history with boom markets, Lorenzo Fertitta's thoughts on international business, PPV and 24 hour networks, and UFC's new way of opening up a major overseas market, as well as international cities UFC is planning on debuting in next year.
 
        We also look at the WWE 2K 14 video game, with updates on promotional ideas, future of Total Divas, Dwayne Johnson apparently set for another blockbuster, update on Sheamus' injuries, who HHH is grooming for a to spot, Michael Cole tries something very difficult this week, the Cena/Nikki Bella dynamic and more.
 
        We also look at Show's return, update on Chris Jericho, and WWE up for a major award, ref Marc Harris speaks about the Natalya spot with A.J. on Raw. 
 
        We also look at a major late 70s grudge feud that is returning, a former WWE Divas returns for work this week, what to watch out for before SummerSlam,  another new name, new characters for developmental, Stephanie McMahon and her WWE stock, WWE signs up new movie and SummerSlam preshow notes.
 
        We also have gate, attendance and a rundown of the WWE weekend house show.
 
        We also look at the settlement in the Eddie Alvarez case with Bellator, the legal situation, his personal realities, that he was offered by each group, why he settled and why settling was the right thing.
 
        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.
 
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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:
 
--Title changes in Mexico
 
--New Japan stars headed to Mexico including a debut of one of the G-1 heroes
 
--Big legends match with every wrestler in a trios match being a 30 year or more veteran
 
--All Japan Open tournament
 
--NOAH's biggest singles tournament
 
--New Japan financials and where and show business is changing
 
--Debut of Keiji Muto's promotion and what has been announced
 
--Zero-One Fire Festival coverage
 
--Pro Wrestling Guerrilla celebrates its 10th anniversary
 
--HBO working on a pro wrestling story
 
--New wrestling history book coming out
 
--Promotion shutting down and why
 
--British star announces retirement
 
--Ric Flair update
 
--Two indie wrestlers whose careers are in jeopardy
 
--Both wrestler and MMA fighter this week arrested for domestic violence
 
--Update on B.J. Whitmer
 
--Notes on the ROH show in New York
 
--Nigel McGuinness talks about why he retired from wrestling
 
--McGuinness talks about TNA fan voting for title shot
 
--Update on the TNA Hardcore Justice television show and new details
 
--A Hulk Hogan bio movie and what is and isn't real according to him 
 
--More on TNA star being off TV for a while
 
--TNA talent in OVW
 
--King Mo's upcoming MMA fights
 
--More on Jesse Sorensen
 
--Upcoming UFC shows
 
--UFC employee inducted into a boxing Hall of Fame
 
--Problems in holding a UFC event in Boston
 
--Who is behind the problems
 
--A lot at the Boston market for UFC
 
--Will UFC return
 
--Notes on UFC 163
 
--Story of Nik Lentz and his bonus money
 
--Ronda Rousey talks her MMA future
 
--Dana White talks Vitor Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida
 
--Update on T.J. Grant
 
--Lots of new UFC fights
 
--Four UFC fighters competing in a different sport
 
--Bellator changes
 
--Notes on the arrest of Jason Mayhem Miller
 
--Big fights coming up with week in MMA
 
--Bob Sapp resurfaces    
 
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        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

-- New Wrestling Observer Live with a one-hour SummerSlam preview and more starts at 3 Pacific/6 Eastern on Sports Byline USA, Sirius ch. 92, Sirius ch. 794, and more. 

-- Whatever is happening at SummerSlam tonight, everything is said to be finalized as of the time you're reading this, so if you see last-minute odd changes or Reddit predictions (my personal feeling is the Reddit guy will no longer be doing spoilers) that are different from yesterday, those could be accurate.

-- The Maria Menounos match took place at Axxess today. She and Natalya beat Brie Bella and Eva Marie.

-- From talking to tons of people in and around WWE today, the feeling coming out of last night's 2K14 press conference where Ric Flair hijacked the show is that the video game people weren't bothered at all about it, but the WWE side was pretty upset. "Infuriated" is probably pretty strong, but they weren't happy at all and it might have ruined Flair's chances at least short-term for a PR deal with the company. Don't expect the video to ever see the light of day from the WWE side but it is online in various places right now, including hereFlair was pulled from the rest of the 2K14 PR.

-- We didn't mention it last night when recapping the Q&A, but Mick Foley made it abundantly clear that he can never wrestle again.

-- Jim Ross tweeted that he was not drunk last night. I don't think anyone reputable ever said he was. He joked that the deal was sponsored by Grey Goose, but that was in reference to Flair. I can tell you that we got reports from fans who saw Flair in the bar literally all afternoon. Also, he is doing a Q&A speaking engagement on 8/26 at the Comedy Store in Manchester which is the only one of the four appearances he has where tickets are still available.

-- Primo and Epico are being repackaged as a matador tag team.

-- While we haven't heard anyone from the WWE side say Hulk Hogan is going to be at SummerSlam tonight, because of what happened with Brooke Hogan being fired from TNA and all the talk about Hogan in regards to the 2K14 video game, the fans at the Staples Center are apparently convinced he's appearing tonight and are spreading that rumor around amongst themselves,

-- Not looking good for Uriah Hall after last night's UFC event. Dana White said he was a great kid and super nice but flat out said he wasn't a figther. I think he'll likely get one more fight, but who knows after his last two performances. Dana also said it was Joe Silva's idea to try to do Nick Diaz vs. Lyoto Machida and that it wasn't going to happen. He said Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler was still on track as a future fight. Also, although the idea that Mike Pyle is better than GSP is preposterous, Matt Brown REALLY wants that fight.

-- Steve writes: Watching the Texans-Dolphins preseason game and they showed this guy in the stands wearing a lucha mask and cape. The announcer said something like, "He may thinks he looks like Rey Misterio, but he's a little heavy for that. But the mask does look right." I'm a Blue Demon, Santo, Black Shadow, etc fan and the mask to me looked like Blue Demon with Texans logos on the side. Don't know how you get Misterio out of that. 

-- In UFC picks, Oliver Copp went a perfect 5-0 last night, the only one to pick Travis Browne. Dave, Mike Sempervive, Josh Nason and Todd Martin all went 3-2, while Mike Sawyer was 2-3.

-- Due to a hand injury, Christian M’Pumbu is off of the September 13th Bellator show against Vladimir Matyushenko. Replacing him is former UFC fighter Houston Alexander. Main event is a 145 pound tournament fight between Patricio Pitbull and Diego Nunes.

THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY 

-- 1944 - Lou Thesz defeated Ernie Dusek to win the Texas Heavyweight Championship in Houston, Texas.

1949 - Dave Levin defeated George Bollas in Toledo, Ohio for the Jack Pfeffer-promoted World Heavyweight Title

1951 - Frenchy Roy defeated Dale Haddock in Oregon to win the Pacific Coast Junior Heavyweight Title.

1960 - Ilio DiPaolo and Whipper Billy Watson defeated Doc and Mike Gallagher in Toronto, Ontario to win the NWA Canadian Open Tag Team Title

1970 - Bill Dromo and Alberto Torres defeated Buddy Colt and Karl Von Stroheim in Macon, Georgia for the NWA Macon Tag Team Title.

1971 - Rip Tyler defeated Ken Lucas in the finals of a 17-man tag team match in Mobile, Alabama to win the vacant City of Mobile Heavyweight Title.

1978 - Mil Máscaras defeated The Destroyer in Kagoshima, Japan to win the AJPW PWF United States Heavyweight Title

1978 - The Mongolian Stomper won the NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Title in Knoxville, Tennessee, by defeating Robert Fuller

1982 - Mike Sharpe defeated Killer Khan for the Mid-South Louisiana Heavyweight Title in Shreveport, Louisiana,

1984 - Tom Prichard and Brett Sawyer won the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Title in Portland, Oregon, by defeating Mr. Ebony (Tom Jones) and Mike Miller.

1988 - Leo Burke defeated Rip Rogers for the Grand Prix Wrestling International Heavyweight Title in Halifax, Nova Scotia

1989 - Sumo Hara (Tatsumi Kitahara) and Benkei (Kensuke) Sasaki defeated Bob and Kerry Brown for the Stampede International Tag Team Title in Calgary, Alberta.

1989 - Eric Embry defeated P.Y. Chu-Hi in Dallas, Texas to win the USWA Texas Heavyweight Title.

1993 - At the Clash of the Champions in Daytona Beach, Florida; Ricky Steamboat pinned WCW World Television Champion Paul Orndorff to win the title. Arn Anderson and Paul Roma defeated NWA and WCW World Tag Team Champions Steve Austin and Lord Steven Regal (subbing for the injured Brian Pillman) (with Sir William) to win the titles.

HOW MANY NORTH AMERICAN BUYS DO YOU EXPECT SUMMERSLAM TO DO?
  • Under 150,000 9.4% 151-175,000 7.5%
  • 176-200,000 7.5%
  • 201-225,000 10.6%
  • 226-250,000 13.8%
  • 251-275,000 8.6%
  • 276-300,000 9.4%
  • 301-325,000 15.0%
  • 326-350,000 1.9%
  • 351-375,000 2.5%
  • 376-400,000 1.3%
  • More than 401,000 12.5%
WHAT RATING DO YOU EXPECT UFC ON FS 1 TO DO?
  • Less than 0.6 25.7%
  • 0.7 5.0%
  • 0.8 4.0%
  • 0.9 9.9%
  • 1.0 19.8%
  • 1.1 5.9%
  • 1.2 7.9%
  • 1.3 4.0%
  • 1.4 1.0%
  • 1.5 5.0%
  • 1.6 3.0%
  • 1.7 or more 8.9%
POLL ON FIGHT MASTER THIS WEEK
  • Excellent 17.9%
  • Good 35.7%
  • Average 17.9%
  • Fair 3.6%
  • Poor 25.0%
  • 65.4% of those responding didn't see the show
POLL ON IMPACT
  • Excellent 21.0%
  • Good 43.4%
  • Average 14.0%
  • Fair 7.7%
  • Poor 14.0%
  • 25.9% of those responding didn't see the show
WHO IS THE BEST WORLD CHAMPION IN PRO WRESTLING? 
  • Alberto Del Rio 31.3% 
  • Kazuchika Okada 23.7%
  • KENTA 20.2%
  • John Cena 13.8%
  • Bully Ray 7.2%
  • Shingo Takagi 1.8%
  • El Texano Jr. 1.2%
  • Suwama 0.4% 
  • El Terrible 0.3%
WHO IS THE BEST WORLD CHAMPION IN MMA?
  • GSP 35.9%
  • Jon Jones34.5%
  • Ronda Rousey 11.8%
  • Cain Velasquez 7.6%
  • Jose Aldo 4.6%
  • Benson Henderson 3.3%
  • Chris Weidman 1.3%
  • Demetrious Johnson 0.7%
  • Renan Barao 0.3%

-- And finally, SummerSlam predictions from MR. BELDING here.

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