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Daily Update: UFC Fight Night 88, plus the returns of John Cena, Sasha Banks, & Eric Bischoff

UFC Fight Night Almeida vs. Garbrandt

Unless John Cena's drawing power makes a huge difference in ratings for his return, Raw on Monday will be doing an all-time seasonal low number given the competition of game seven of the Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game and the San Jose Sharks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins game one of the Stanley Cup finals. The Warriors game won't start until 9 p.m. but traditionally over Memorial Day weekend, because of the holiday, the audience comes late and a lot miss the first hour of Raw. Also, because of the holiday, the ratings will likely be delayed. They should set up the final man in Money in the Bank and start working on the undercard, plus they'll probably hype to death Smackdown going live and the brand split.

We're looking for reports on WWE shows in Madison, WI (Roman Reigns, Sheamus, Kevin Owens, Dudleys, Enzo, Cass, Sami Zayn, Charlotte, Natalya) and LaCrosse, WI (Big Show, Kane, Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman, Dean Ambrose, New Day, Rusev, Kalisto, Alberto Del Rio, Paige, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks).  newstips@wrestlingobserver.com


Fight Pass bouts at 6 p.m. Eastern

  • Adam Milstead vs. Chris De La Rosa
  • Bryan Caraway vs. Aljamain Sterling

FS 1 at 7 p.m. Eastern

  • Shane Campbell vs. Erik Koch
  • Jake Collier vs. Alberto Pereira Uda
  • Abel Trujillo vs. Jordan Rinaldi
  • Sara McMann vs. Jessica Eye
  • Josh Burkman vs. Paul Felder
  • Jorge Masvidal vs. Lorenz Larkin
  • Chris Camozzi vs Vitor Miranda
  • Tarec Saffiedine vs. Rick Story
  • Jeremy Stephens vs. Renan Barao
  • Cody Garbrandt vs. Thomas Almeida

NEW JAPAN BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS FROM TOTTORI ON MONDAY (taped for New Japan World available later in the day)

  • Trent Baretta vs. Chase Owens
  • Tiger Mask vs. Will Ospreay
  • Bobby Fish vs. Volador Jr.
  • Jushin Liger vs. Ricochet

Raw is Monday from Green Bay featuring the return of John Cena plus a Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin match.

NEW JAPAN BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS FROM HIROSHIMA ON TUESDAY (taped for New Japan World available later in the day)

  • Bushi vs. David Finlay
  • Matt Sydal vs. Rocky Romero
  • Kushida vs. Gedo
  • Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Kyle O'Reilly

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday in Rockford, IL.


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    Figure Four Weekly 5/23/2016: More strange developments in WWE's concussion lawsuit deposition - Last week we talked a bit about both Evan Singleton's deposition in the WWE concussion lawsuit as well as a video of a concussion presentation held in developmental during Singleton's time under contact. Among other topics, there's been a bit more movement on that front.

    Wrestling Observer Newsletter

    READ IT HERE: May 30, 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Return of Seth Rollins and the WWE brand split, plus tons of news 

    With two of the biggest news stories of the year, the WWE brand split and the UFC sale both in play, we've got a new issue of the Observer packed with news.

    Our lead story looks at the brand split, with what we do know, what has and hasn't been decided and the background of how it went down. There's also more info on the UFC sale talks.  Plus there is coverage of the return of Seth Rollins, the build to Money in the Bank and have coverage of Extreme Rules, the negotiations for a Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz fight and look more at the Floyd Mayweather vs. McGregor rumors. Take an in-depth look at the departure of Cody Runnels (Rhodes) from WWE and his future prospects, plus look at his complaints regarding people in the company. All this plus a look at the New Japan Super Juniors tournament, the funding of the Hulk Hogan lawsuit, the World Cup trios tournament coming up and a feature on the last PWG show.

    The lead story looks at every aspect of the brand split.  It looks at the original goals and reasons for it and what did and didn't work, plus how it'll be different this time, how the touring will work, and an examination of what talent knows and tentative plans in place.  Vince McMahon' reaction is a big part of this, and this issue explains how the deal went down, the story behind the story and other aspects to be considered. There's also a look at Smackdown going live, the affect on the fan base, the affect on TNA and why it was important to get Smackdown away from Thursday.

    Another big story in this issues is Extreme Rules, the decision to make Seth Rollins a heel and current plans for Money in the Bank, and also match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.

    Details about what's going on with Conor McGregor, including Colin Cowherd's claim that Mayweather vs. McGregor is happening, as well as a look at the Nate Diaz negotiations last week and what McGregor has said publicly.

    Finally, this issue looks at Cody Runnels leaving WWE, what he said was the reason why, and a look into those reasons, and a look at the realities of WWE business decisions and his background.


    Current subscribers click here to continue reading.

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    Check out the latest online Wrestling Observer BACK ISSUE: April 19, 1999 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Davey Boy Smith hospitalized with spinal infection, WCW Spring Stampede. The health situations involving both Davey Boy Smith and Japanese woman wrestler Emiko Kado took turns for the worst this past week.


    Bryan and I will be back tonight with Wrestling Observer radio covering the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, today's UFC, the brand split and taking your questions that you can send to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

    Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Paul Levesque will all be deposed in the Evan Singleton and Vito LaGrasso concussion lawsuit. Vince was deposed on Friday actually and Levesque on Tuesday. Dr. Joseph Maroon was deposed as well, and the plaintiffs want him deposed again.

    There have been teases of a "Hatch" on Raw tomorrow night. I don't know if that has to do with the impending return to television of the Wyatt family (aside from Luke Harper, who still has several months before he'll be able to wrestle).

    Sasha Banks returned to action last night in Winnipeg after her head injury suffered two weeks ago. They had a unique deal last night as Chris Jericho worked as the face and Dean Ambrose as the heel in the main event since Jericho grew up in Winnipeg.    

    Eric Bischoff is now looking for indie books for appearances, seminars, conventions and Q&A's through Bill Behrens at showbis@aol.comWWE will be releasing an Eric Bischoff DVD a week from Tuesday and the WWE Network will air a special on that at 5 p.m. on Thursday so his name will be back in the news. Other names available for bookings include Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman, Drew Galloway, Matt Sydal, Al Snow, Tommy Dreamer, Mike Posey, Jimmy Rave, Diamond Dallas Page, Moose, Nunzio, Tony Mamaluke, Kenn Doane, Blue Meanie, Stevie Richards, Shane Helms and more. He is also booking a number of ROH's top stars including champions Jay Lethal, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian for dates only outside the U.S. and Ontario.

    WWE & Pro Wrestling

    • Thanks to Alex Yohkna, Josh Anderson, Allan Albert, Rohan Unrao, Geoff Melnechuk, and Josh Hammerstein for the reports from the WWE shows last night.
    • After Raw tomorrow, they are airing a special called "Seth Rollins: Redesign, Rebuild, Reclaim" about his training to return. Yes, they produced a sympathetic show for a guy who turned back heel last week. I'd have expected that from WCW in 1998 or 1999.   
    • Corey Graves has been teasing a move to Smackdown, which would be a good decision. If that's the case, he'd take the slot held by Byron Saxton, who would be exclusive to Raw.
    • Rolling Stone did an article on A.J. Styles.
    • An interview with Bayley regarding the UK tour is here.
    • Here is Mike Mooneyham on the WWE brand split.
    • Tons of discussion going around about Friday's Will Ospreay vs. Ricochet match. We'll talk more about it tonight. There is a story from Australia on the match
    • Today's New Japan show in Osaka was one of the better shows of the year. No matches of the year, but so much good wrestling up and down the show. 
    • The Lucha Libre World Cup on Friday and Sunday will officially be on iPPV for $19 combined. There is no separate show ordering.  
    • Dixie Carter talks TNA.
    • A note on the Mike Johnson interview with Pop TV's Brad Schwartz earlier in the week. The interview was set up with Johnson and Pop TV and not through TNA. According to Johnson, TNA was not even aware of the interview being done until after it was completed.


    • UFC Fight Pass this past week debuted a "Where Are They Now?" series looking at memorable cast members of the early seasons of The Ultimate Fighter including Bobby Southworth, Luke Cummo, Noah Inhofer, Tait Fletcher, Shonie Carter and Din Thomas. I hope to god that Noah at least is still with that girl he walked off the show for because he missed her so much.
    • UFC Bad Blood airs on Tuesday at 9 p.m. Eastern on FS 1 as a build up for this coming Saturday's Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber bantamweight title match.
    • Make sure to read this great story on Kevin Randleman.


    • There is a ton of pressure on J Robinson to resign as the University of Minnesota wrestling coach.
    • Jim Ross is doing a Fund Raiser for Headlock for Hunger with a new "Good Gawd Almighty" T-shirt to raise funds.
    • My friend Dave Doyle is raising money for Hire Heroes.
    • So on Friday my daughter asked me how come she sees her friends at school every day but all my friends live so far away. And I asked her what does she mean, and she goes, your friends in the Pink video. That's when I discovered this.
    • Resurrection Fighting Alliance runs 6/3 at The Hangar at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Ca with Thiago Moise vs. Jamall Emmers for the lightweight title as the main event. The show will air at 10 p.m. on Friday night after the two hours of New Japan on AXS.
    • It should be noted that this past week's New Japan show was only one hour because the kickboxing show started at 9 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. There will be both one hour shows and two hour shows depending on the week through 7/10.
    • The death of Tacoma, WA sports personality Stan Naccataro, who passed away at 88 on Wednesday, is notable because he lost his broadcasting job eight years ago for comments made on MMA. While primarily a baseball guy in town, he was also a well-known boxing announcer. "They put on two ounce gloves and exchange punches for a few seconds, then fall onto the mat while one guy tries to put a strangle-hold on the other guy. There's no art to it, no strategy. Somebody's gonna get killed one of these days. It ought to be banned. The kids love it through. There's nothing like a good fight. I love the sport (boxing). It just breaks my heart that the next generation of boxing fans would rather watch this martial arts garbage."
    • The Venator Fighting championships show from Milan, Italy, that features Mayhem Miller and Rousimar Palhares last week did 105,000 streaming viewers on MMA.TV according to the promotion. It was also on Fox Sports Italy and did 110,000 viewers, which is less than ICW does in the same market.
    • Insane Championship Wrestling has added a Canadian television deal on The Fight Network. It will air on late Thursday nights at 1 a.m.after the CMLL & AAA shows on Thursday nights.
    • NWA Cajun Heat on 7/2 in Morgan City, LA with two cage matches plus an appearance by Kevin Nash. 
    • Netflix will be airing "The Resurrection of Jake Roberts" starting on Wednesday. (thanks to Michael Bargas)
    • ROH tickets went on sale on Friday for a 10/22 show in Lakeland, FL.
    • Evolve on 6/10 in Ybor City, FL on iPPV that night:
    • Timothy Thatcher vs. Chris Hero for the Evolve title
    • Drew Gulak & Tracy Williams vs. Bravado Brothers for the tag titles
    • Johnny Gargano & TJP vs. Drew Galloway & Ethan Carter III
    • Matt Riddle vs. Cedric Alexander
    • Anthony Nese vs Fred Yehi
    • Ethan Page vs. Darby Allin   
    • Dynamo Pro Wrestling from last night in St. Louis: Makaze b Ozzie Gallagher-DQ, Keon Option & Justin D'Air won three-way over Rocket Mapache & Jackal and Danny Adams and Paco Gonzalez, Brandon Aarons won three-way over Kevin Lee Davidson and Evan Morris, Brandon Espinosa b CJ Shine, Outtkast b Ricky Cruz, Jake Dirden b Brandon Aarons (thanks to Patrick Brandmeyer)
    • Wildkat Sports, which is Luke Hawx's promotion in Louisiana, starts on the New Orleans affiliate Ch. 54 in September. Teddy Long will be working with the group as the TV General Manager.
    • Victory Commonwealth Wrestling on 6/30 in Toronto at the Super Wonder Gallery
    • Jim Cornette and Danny Davis talk about OVW as a developmental territory for WWE and how it fell apart.

    Today in Professional Wrestling History: Crusher vs. Harley Race; Charlotte wins NXT Women's Title