FRI UPDATE: Huge weekend preview, ROH press conference notes, TNA plug for next week, Al Gore tie climate change into wrestling, Bret vs. Shawn DVD, Finlay to EVOLVE, tons more
By Bryan Alvarez
A lot of events this weekend as well, including televised MMA fights the next three nights.
We're looking for reports on tonight's TNA house show in Fort Wayne, IN, at
. the show features Mr. Anderson vs. Kurt Angle, Abyss vs. Kazarian vs. Alex Shelley vs. Robbie E for the X title, Jeff Jarrett vs. A.J. Styles, Beer Money vs. Generation Me for the tag titles, Mickie James vs. Madison Rayne for the Knockouts title, plus Bound for Glory series matches with Crimson vs. The Pope and Devon vs. Gunner.
Strikeforce Challengers runs tonight at 11 p.m. on Showtime with these matches:
Trevor Smith (206) vs. Keith Berry (205.5)
Eduardo Pamplona (170.05) vs. Jerron Peoples (170.5)
Derek Brunson (186) vs. Jeremy Hamilton (186)
Germaine de Randamie (145) vs. Julie Budd (145.5)
Jason High (171) vs. Quinn Mulhern (169)
Lorenz Larkin (205.5) vs. Gian Villante (205.5)
Ryan Couture (155.5) vs Matt Ricehouse (155.5)
Caros Fodor (155.5) vs. James Terry (156)
Saturday features a Bellator show from Hollywood, FL, which has the first round of a summer-long featherweight tournament featuring Genair da Silva vs. Marlon Sandro, Ronnie Mann vs. Adam Schindler, Pat Curran vs. Luis Palomino and Jacob Devree vs. Nazareno Malegarie.
The WWE weekend tour starts on Saturday night with a Raw show in Dallas at the American Airlines Center and Smackdown in Hidalgo, TX, which has been one of the company's best markets for years. TNA finishes its weekend tour in Troy, OH with Anderson vs. Angle, Abyss vs. Kazarian, James vs. Rayne plus Bound for Glory series matches with Beer Money vs. Pope & Devon and A.J. Styles vs. Gunner.
Sunday features UFC on Versus from the Consol Energy Arena in Pittsburgh, with the TV starting at 9 p.m. with Nate Marquardt vs. Rick Story, Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo, Matt Brown vs. John Howard and Christian Morecraft vs. Matt Mitrione.
Sunday is also the ROH iPPV from the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan with Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards for the ROH title, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin defend the tag titles in a four-way against The Kings of Wrestling, All Night Express and Brisoces, Christopher Daniels vs. El Generico for the TV title, Steve Corino vs. Michael Elgin, Mike Bennett vs. Jay Lethal, Homicide vs. Rhino in a street fight and Colt Cabana vs. Tommaso Ciampa.
WWE has Raw on Sunday in Houston and Smackdown on Sunday in Laredo.
Monday is the live Raw from Las Vegas, with the Raw Roulette gimmick. The only match announced so far is Sin Cara vs. Evan Bourne. TNA also runs Monday night tapings in Orlando with A.J. Styles vs. Gunner and Samoa Joe vs. Devon in the Bound for Glory tournament, plus Mickie James & Tara & Miss Tessmacher vs. Madison Rayne & Winter & Velvet Sky.
Tuesday is Smackdown and NXT tapings from Phoenix while TNA has a second night of tapings from Orlando.
We've got coverage of all the major shows of the past week in one of the year's biggest weekends, from WWE, Strikeforce, All Japan, New Japan and AAA as the lead stories in the newest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
We look at C.M. Punk and the intrigue for the Money in the Bank PPV, as well as coverage of WWE's Capitol Punishment, with star ratings and poll results.
We've got full coverage of Strikeforce, including where the heavyweight tournament stands, what person's stock dropped the most, Josh Barnett and pro wrestling, polls and match-by-match coverage.
We also look at the latest failure of MMA to get legalized in New York.
We look at TripleMania, as well as the AAA/TNA relationship, an update on Perro Aguayo Jr., the timing issues that caused one of the biggest matches not to air on PPV, changes in the company and notes on all the matches.
We also look at the situation where there was nearly a picket line before CMLL's Juicio Final show, and a look at the name of the next guy to hit WWE, after Averno lost his mask in the main event.
We also look at the first tag team in history to hold two of Japan's major three companies tag team titles at the same time. We also look at both the New Japan and All Japan major shows this past week.
The issue will be up on the site tomorrow. A new back issue from early 1994 was put up earlier in the week and another will be up today. Between the Observer and Figure Four Weekly, we have about 14 issues put up every month and dozens of new audio shows for web site subscribers including coverage after the shows of every major pro wrestling and MMA event.
You can also order print copies of the Observer with details below.
We also have notes from a conversation with Batista, including his thoughts regarding returning to WWE, his giving notice, his frustrations with the direction, his new goals, what happened with his contract negotiations with Strikeforce and why he opened up a gym.
We have notes on a promo already cut for SummerSlam.
We've got notes on Shane McMahon who has been getting exposure in two different non-wrestling related ventures, as well as him talking about his leaving WWF, and why one of the business is on the ground floor of something that could be gigantic.
We've also got more on the changes in the WWE drug policy, which is a major issue to a segment in the locker room, plus the return to TV of HHH, what wrestler company officials are saying they dropped the ball on and why, former tag champ returning to WWE, and what happened behind the scenes as John Laurinaitis read the riot act to one of the Tough Enough fighters.
We also have an update on what Bill DeMott is doing nowadays, as well as his comparisons of the 2004 and 2011 Tough Enough, and the future of Andy Leavine.
We also note the funny things about the Little Jimmy line, as well as who got Kong pregnant, what WWE wrestler's father was a well known sportscaster and also was a former roommate in college with an old AWA star. We've got notes on what percentage of viewers don't watch live anymore. We also have a rundown of all the weekend house shows as well as business notes on the show.
We've got notes on the Power to the People Raw and the screwed up voting, how it happened and what happens next.
We also look at a law that is being discussed which will cost WWE and UFC seven figures in lost sponsorships.
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-- ROH had a major press conference today talking the sale to Sinclair, this Sunday's ROH iPPV, and debuting their new logo. They heavily pushed the 9/24/11 debut date for the new television show on 35 Sinclair affiliates around the country. Gary Juster, who did great promotional work for WCW, was there and introduced as the guy who would be serving the same role in ROH. Cornette is the Executive Producer of the company and said ROH would continue to be about building up new young stars. He said the business was in the doldrums with many top stars long past their primes and ROH was looking to change that. They are going to roll-out strictly on Sinclair stations at first (meaning no New York or Philadelphia), but they'll still be running house show in those markets and hope to expand the TV in the coming months. They claimed they would get 1,000 times the exposure on Sinclair that they did on HDNet. They are looking at opening up doors in Japan and elsewhere for talent exchanges, but said this probably wouldn't happen until the TV was entrenched. They noted that the TV show would be starting everything from scratch since they're presuming it'll be largely all new viewers. They plugged all the matches for Sunday and did a pull-apart spot with the Briscoes, Haas and Benjamin. It was also announced today that Dayton on August 12th is being rescheduled for November 18th, and Plymouth on September 16th has been canceled outright. All due to scheduling issues with the new planned TV tapings. More info at rohwrestling.com
-- TNA announced a Sting vs. Hogan confrontation in 2011, Samoa Joe vs. Devon, Gunner vs. AJ Styles, Mickie James & Miss Tessmacher & Tara vs. Angelina & Winter & Madison in an elimination match and an X-Division three-way for next week, and also said the show would have limited commercial breaks.
-- Smackdown tonight has Christian vs. Kane to determine number-one contender for the World Title (because Christian getting screwed on Sunday and pinning the champ on Monday is not enough to get you a title shot in WWE), Zeke vs. Wade Barrett for the IC Title, Sin Cara vs. Ted DiBiase, Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes, Jinder Mahal vs. Yoshi Tatsu, Gabriel & Slater vs. the Usos and more.
-- Al Gore has a story here about the Climate Change debate
in the new Rolling Stone. Interestingly, in the first few paragraphs he somehow manages to tie this in with his love for pro-wrestling as a child.
-- WWE is working on a DVD looking at the history between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Including, of course, the Montreal Screwjob.
-- Fit Finlay is coming to EVOLVE. He's working Sami Callihan on the EVOLVE 9 show on July 26th at BB Kings Blues Club and Grill in Times Square NY. Tickets are now on sale in the www.EVOLVEwrestling.com Shop or by calling 267-519-9744. He's also going to be available for autographs and the show will be available on iPPV at WWNlive.com
-- Rodney writes: Last night when you and Dave were talking about WWF's history with 2 out of 3 falls matches, Dave was trying to remember a match where there was a disqualification in one of the falls and a subsequent title change. One match that I remember for sure where this occurred was at Summerslam in 1990 between Demolition(champs) and the Hart Foundation. Demolition won the first fall by pinfall, the Harts won the second fall by disqualification, and the Harts won the deciding fall and the titles by pinfall. I just thought I'd let ya know.
-- As you can see from the front page, we have new logo t-shirts available
. This design was voted on by members of our board. Essentially, if it sells well we have other designs in the works and are also open to designing hoodies, shorts, etc. Check it out!
-- Paul Daley vs. Cyborg Santos is off the Fedor vs. Henderson show after Cyborg suffered a shoulder injury in training.
-- Zack Ryder's latest video is up here
-- The Riverside Press/Enterprise, the largest paper in Riverside County, CA, ran a story on former EWF wrestler Sonny Valens. It was a very positive story, talking about Valens' work in Hollywood and his work on a number of TV shows incuding Law and Order-LA, and the Closer, among others. Sonny started to train at Jess Hernandez's School of Hard Knocks at a very young age. Thanks to Frank.
-- Jeff writes: Jonathan Coachman was a co-host this morning of Mike and Mike on ESPN radio. It is also simulcast on ESPN TV stations. Mike Goldberg and Mike Golic both had the morning off. Throughout the day they were going to tell Coachman WWE stories. The one story I heard was about a trip to Afghanistan. He said Vince wanted a Red Bull but catering didn’t have any. He told Vince just to go rehearse his promo to open the show and he would talk to catering about getting one for him. So he ran to catering and they told him they couldn’t get any. One of the soldiers over heard and pulled one out of his pocket and gave it to Coach. Coach went running to find Vince and went to hand it to Vince. Vince said, “Why don’t you open it for me”. Without thinking, Coach opened it right under Vince’s chin and it exploded in Vince’s face. Vince stood there wiping Red Bull off his face then said to Coach “you are one stupid mother******”, as he walked away. Coach said from that point forward, that was the bonding story they shared! After the story the other co-host played DX music and asked if it made him feel at home. He told the other host he himself had his own music. Two theme songs to be exact. He was asked if he ever got in the ring, and he said all the time. They were going to dig up both of Coachman’s theme songs and play them later in the show.
-- Ed O'Neill, who besides starring as Al Bundy in Married with Children and currently working on the award-winning series Modern Family is also a Gracie Jiu Jitsu black belt, will be appearing on Inside MMA tonight.
-- The Onion interviews Mike Quackenbush here
. That's pretty damn cool.
-- Chris Jericho talks the return of Fozzy to the UK, Christian's short title reign and more here
-- NWA Hollywood sent out a press release here
offering a pro-wrestling job to any locked-out NFL football players. This actually got picked up by USA Today. Back in the day, tons of football players did pro-wrestling during the off-season. This was back when you could actually make more money in wrestling than in football. Which was a long damn time ago.
-- There's another story here
talking more about Kurt Angle's attempt to make the 2012 Olympic team, plus more stories from him about negotiating with Dana White. The new story is that they wanted him to fight Kimbo Slice.
-- Jeff Jarrett talks TNA here
. He says TNA has been profitable for years, says he's pulling for Kurt Angle to make the Olympic team, discusses the anti-bullying campaign and how TNA often has four-on-one beatdowns, and more.
-- Hispanic Business has a big article on the Urban Wrestling Federation here
. Their first PPV debuts this Sunday at 5 PM Pacific/8 PM Eastern, so if you're into wrestling and MMA, you can watch ROH on iPPV, this show and UFC on Versus. That's a long day.
-- Cracked has an article on mid-fight MMA mockery here
. Number one was not, in fact, Randy Couture spanking Tito Ortiz on the ass.
-- Chuck Miller has an article here
about the day his love for pro-wrestling died. Yes, Chris Benoit killed his family and himself four years ago this week.
-- Which pro wrestler did Jennie Finch name her son after? Take three guesses and then click the link
. You will probably be wrong.
-- Daniel Bryan has a video promo for PETA here
-- The Secret World of WWE Figure Collecting
. Didn't know this world was such a secret. They should have used UNIVERSE.
-- Newfoundland's Hartford Love adored at home, hated abroad
. Great historical piece.
-- Trailer here
for Big Dave Batista's new movie, House of the Rising Sun.
-- Should Tito Ortiz be cut if he loses to Ryan Bader?
Depends on if he's competitive or not 41.4%
Do you believe July 17th is C.M. Punk's last night with WWE?
Yes, for now 65.8%
Yes, for good 3.7%
No, he'll win the title and stay 30.5%
What July show are you most interested in?
WWE Money in the Bank 34.5%
UFC 132 Faber vs. Cruz 29.8%
Strikeforce Henderson vs. Fedor 22.2%
TNA Destination X 13.5%
-- This Saturday, June 25, New England Championship Wrestling debuts BAR WARS, a whole new NECW experience, on the outdoor patio at Michael’s Pub, 147 Frost Road in Tyngsboro, MA with a special 4 PM bell time presented by Beantown Energy Drink & Scorch’s PFG-TV.
-- Tri-State Wrestling Entertainment, LLC presents East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA) LIVE!, Sat, July 16th, 2011, Greater Newark Boys' & Girls' Club, 109 Glasgow Drive, Rt. 40 & #1 Positive Place, Newark, DE 19702
-- Huge Chikara weekend. More info at chikarapro.com
"The Case of the Bulletproof Waldo"
Friday evening - 6.24.2011
Live at The Logan Square Auditorium
2539 N. Kedzie Avenue
in Chicago, IL!
The action starts at 7:30 pm, Doors open at 7:00 pm!
"A Demon in his Pocket"
Saturday evening - 6.25.2011
Live at The Taylortown Trade Center
22525 Ecorse Road
in Taylor, MI!
The action starts at 7:30 pm, Doors open at 7:00 pm!
"The Evil That Lies Within, Part 4"
Sunday afternoon - 6.26.2011
Live at St. Gregory's Byzantine Hall
12920 Madison Avenue
in Lakewood, OH!
The action starts at 4:00 pm, Doors open at 3:30 pm!
-- Santino Bros Wrestlng Academy is well underway and moving forward at a rapid pace with its current Beginners Class. With a full class and inquiries still coming in, we are in the process of possibly starting a new beginners class, forming tentatively for mid summer. More details coming next week. For this and more information, call 323.896.3017 or email us at
-- FREE SoCal Pro Wrestling Event TOMORROW Escondido, CA, Friday Night June 24th 2011, Door: 6:30 - Bell Time: 7pm, Escondido Sport & Fitness, 130 East Lincoln Ave., Escondido, CA 92026
-- APW GYM WARS Television Taping, The Famous APW Garage, 21063 Cabot Blvd. Suite #1, Hayward, CA 94545, DOORS OPEN: 7:30pm, BELL TIME: 8:00pm
-- The National Wrestling Alliance presents the NWA AT THE OHIO STATE FAIR on July 31, 2011, at 3PM in the Coliseum. This is the second consecutive year that the NWA has presented professional wrestling at the Columbus, Ohio based State Fair.
-- New Rumorz Radio talking all sorts of weird stuff (think After Dark, though Terry's podcast here was created first) is up here
-- Nick Bockwinkle on Raw Radio up here
talking his legendary career, the art of the promo and more.
-- ROH ring announcer Bobby Cruise talks the ROH sale and more here
-- Ed, Craig and Cutrer will be talking the WWE Invasion angle tonight. Show will be up here