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SAT. UPDATE: Hulk Hogan fallout galore, UFC on Fox preview, and more

by David Bixenspan | davidbix@wrestlingobserver.com

We're looking for your thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match for last night's ROH iPPV show, today's UFC show and tomorrow morning's New Japan show (the biggest of the weekend) to hsmeltzer@junocom

We're also looking for reports on these shows:

*NXT Thursday in Fort Pierce, FL

*NXT last night in Coral Gables, FL

*WWE last night in Bakersfield, CA

*WWE tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles

*WWE tonight in Odessa, TX

*ROH TV tapings in Baltimore

All reports should be sent to Dave Meltzer

We'll also be looking for reports on tomorrows WWE shows in Lawton, OK and Amarillo.

UFC on Fox: Dillashaw vs. Barao II comes live from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois:

Here is our live report:  UFC On FOX 16: Dillashaw vs. Barao 2 live results and coverage

Main Card on Fox at 8:00 p.m. ET
T.J. Dillashaw (135) vs. Renan Barao (135) for Dillashaw’s UFC Bantamweight Championship
Miesha Tate (135.5) vs. Jessica Eye (136)
Edson Barboza (155) vs. Paul Felder (155.5)
Joe Lauzon (155.5) vs. Takanori Gomi (155.5)
 
Prelims on Fox at 6:00 p.m. ET
Gian Villante (205) vs. Tom Lawlor (203)
Jim Miller (155) vs. Danny Castillo (155.5)
Kenny Robertson (170) vs. Ben Saunders (170.5)
Eddie Wineland (136) vs. Bryan Caraway (135.5)
 
Prelims on UFC Fight Pass at 4:15 p.m. ET
Daron Cruickshank (155) vs. James Krause (155.5)
Ramsey Nijem (156) vs. Andrew Holbrook (155.5)
Jessamyn Duke (135.5) vs. Elizabeth Phillips (135)
Zak Cummings (170.5) vs. Dominique Steele (170.5) 
 
Another really strong Fox special on paper. While Barao didn't necessarily earn a rematch, it's the best fight that can be made at 135 right now, as the top of the bantamweight division is filled with injured fighters, inactive fighters, prospects who aren't quite ready, and Urijah Faber, who looks to be moving back up to featherweight. Dillashaw is rightfully the favorite, as the stylistic matchup still favors him, but it'll be interesting to see how Barao does against him without the be-all and end-all of nightmarish weight cuts.
 
Everything starting with Cruickshank-Krause, the featured Fight Pass prelim, is at least pretty good on paper. In prelim fights of note, Wineland returns after a broken jaw and over a year off with a tough but stylistically favorable opponent in Caraway, WrestlingObserver.com's own Tom Lawlor tries to crack into th top 15 in his return to light heavyweight, and Robertson-Saunders is a battle of fun surging fighters with the winner likely getting a name opponent.
 
As for the support on the main card, all three fights are really enticing. Tate-Eye is a title eliminator for a shot at the Ronda Rousey-Bethe Correia winner (who will be Ronda Rousey) featuring two consistently fun to watch fighters. Barboza-Felder is a really interesting fight that evolved out of the originally scheduled Anthony Pettis (replaced by Barboza) vs. Myles Jury (replaced by Felder) bout. It should be nothing less than a corker of a stand-up battle, and Felder, who's the superior defensive and counter fighter, stands a real shot at getting into the top 10 in his third UFC fight. Finally, Gomi-Lauzon is a meeting of two of the most popular action fighters in MMA, so they have pretty high expectations to live up to but has to be a fun fight at bare minimum.

Day 5 of 19 in NJPW's 25th annual G1 Climax Tournament airs live on NJPW World at 5:00 a.m. ET:

Non-tournament matches:
1. Hirooki Goto, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask IV & Yohei Komatsu vs. Tomoaki Honma, Mascara Dorada, David Finlay Jr. & Jay White
2. Yujiro Takahashi & Cody Hall vs. Yuji Nagata & Captain New Japan
3. Tomohiro Ishii & Captain New Japan vs. Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga
4. Satoshi Kojima, Michael Elgin & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada & Gedo
 
Tournament matches (A Block):
5. Doc Gallows vs. Bad Luck Fale
6. Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Toru Yano
7. Togi Makabe vs. Katsuyori Shibata
8. AJ Styles vs. Kota Ibushi
9. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito
 
 
* Reports from the WWE house shows this weekend as well as any other pro wrestling show you might be attending at newstips@wrestlingobserver.com.
 
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The newest issue of Figure Four Weekly is up on the site for subscribers (subscribe here) with a feature story looking at WWE's firing of Hulk Hogan and how it relates to all of the litigation with Gawker including:

* How Hogan's racist comments and the set of sex tapes his tirade was part of tied into the FBI investigating someone attempting to extort money from Hogan.

* How long it's been known that something like this could come out.

* Gawker alluding to the idea that the FBI was helping Hogan cover up these statements.

* Where The National Enquirer and Radar Onlne could have sourced the story from.

And much more. Plus, as always, we have  all of the usual reviews and international news.

Also, now available for the first time on Kindle (meaning Kindle devices and anything with the Kindle app) is Fall Guys, the seminal 1937 book that has been described as being like the 1930s version of the Wrestling Observer. It was surprisingly not on Kindle already, so we put together a nice version with a full table of contents w/ chapter marks, proper formatting on everything, etc. Right now it's available from the AmericanCanadian, and Australian Amazon/Kindle stores OR you can also buy it from anywhere in the world on PayHip, who will provide you with both Kindle and ePub (every other e-reader) format files, and you can either sideload them to your device or have them email it to your Kindle. 

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The return of the Undertaker and build to SummerSlam, Battleground coverage, the rise of NXT and situation with ROH, the G-1 Climax tournament and some major UFC stories are the major stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. 

The latest Wrestling Observer: July 27, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: The Undertaker returns at Battleground, NXT/ROH insanity with Liger booking

Web site subscriptions, which include access to both current and older newsletters as well as every audio show in the history of the site are at  Sign up here for as low as $9.99 per month!

You can also order the print Observer right now and get it delivered to your door via mail, by sending your name, address, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to Dave Meltzer

You can also order at paypal.com directing funds to dave@wrestlingobserver.com 
 
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For the United States, it is $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52.  In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to moonsault@mediaplusint.com  For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52.
 
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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.

Our lead story concerns the build to SummerSlam.  We look at advertising that has already been cut for the show, what are the possibilities for Sting, the Lesnar-Undertaker angle, the booking of WWE right now, the situation with the women, plus full coverage of Battleground with match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results on the show.

We also look at the booking of  Jushin Liger to NXT on 8/22, ticket sales for the show, plans for the NXT show, how the Liger booking affects ROH and has caused such a political turmoil.  We look at the NXT card as well as the competing ROH show.  We look at the Liger booking, ROH working with New Japan, ratings with New Japan stars vs. shows without New Japan stars, NXT touring, the next NXT vs. ROH head-to-head in September, the next ROH PPV show and much more.

We also have full coverage of the G-1 Climax tournament, with all of the shows planned for the next week, as well as full coverage of opening night in Sapporo with match-by-match-coverage, star ratings and poll results.

We also look at a major story concerning fighters for UFC to address which is the banning of IVs for rehydrating after weigh-ins starting October and why the story is far more significant than people realize.

We also look at a potential alliance between ESPN and WWE and the ethical debate regarding the coverage.  We also look at the Hogan/Gawker lawsuit and each side's case, an update on the Dr. Christopher Amann lawsuit against C.M. Punk and Colt Cabana, an update on Dolph Ziggler and what he claims is his contract status, Undertaker working more than just SummerSlam, Stephanie McMahon talks gay characterizations in future WWE creative as well as a look back from former creative members regarding different suggestions on gay characterizations in the past.  We look at more WWE banned terms and how some were changed and why.  We also look at how the characters are being described for Camp WWE, which is really hilarious.

We've also got notes on Chris Jericho working more house shows, Tough Enough notes, John Cena in the movies, how the WWE Network free month has changed, as well as what to look for over the next week in WWE stock.

We also have full coverage of the next month of NXT TV tapings, as well as coverage of all the WWE and NXT house shows this past week and business notes from the shows.

We also have notes on TripleMania being on U.S. PPV for the first time on 8/9, including price point, why it's happening now, and its history as well as broadcast information.

We also have coverage of both UFC events held over the past week, with the Mir vs. Duffee and Bisping vs. Leites shows.  We've got business notes and stories behind both events.

We also have notes on the third season of New Japan World on AXS, including highlights of the new season, all the matches airing from 8/14 to 12/11 including when the Wrestle Kingdom 9 matches will air, as well as notes on the schedule for 2016.

We also look at Dragon Gate's Kobe World Festival show and CMLL's Sin Salida show, which were two of those two company's biggest events of the year.

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Saturday Daily Update

  • David Houston, Hulk Hogan's lawyer, spoke to Fox News's Fox 411 about the Hogan's racist comments, primarily trying to shift the narrative from the comments themselves to who leaked them, saying “I have my suspicions, as you can imagine. If I can find out it is Gawker who leaked the transcripts, we will bury them.” Heather Dietrick, Gawker's President and General Counsel, replied with this statement: "Hulk Hogan has only one person to blame for what he said and no one from Gawker had any role in leaking that information.”

Houston also mentioned that Hogan wanted him to tell his fans that he’s “devastated” by what he said years ago and “sincerely apologizes to his family, friends and fans,” before adding that  “He is not a racist. His history defines him as something different.” According to the transcript, which Hogan and Houston have not disputed the authenticity of, Hogan outright says “I mean, I am a racist, to a point, f**king n***ers” and later "I guess we’re all a little racist. F**king n***er." From the nature of Hogan's apology and damage control attemptss so far, he seems to be banking on the idea that most people don't know what exactly he said, "just" that he used the N-word and made some other, vaguely defined racist ommnts.

Fox also spoke to a legal expert, Ameer Benno, who explained what type of sanctions Gawker culd be subject to if they did leak the tape: "At one extreme, the court could strike Gawker's answer in the case, thereby awarding Hogan the equivalent of a default judgment. As a middle ground, the court could penalize Gawker by precluding it from introducing certain evidence or making certain arguments at trial in support of its defenses.”

  • It was inevitable that a mainstream site would cover the backstage skit where Mr. McMahon called Booker T "my nia" in light of the Hulk hogan stuff this weekend, which TMZ did. WWE issued a statement saying that the skit “was an outlandish and satirical skit involving fictional characters, similar to that of many scripted television shows and movies.”
  • You may or may not remember that last year, the Hogan's Beach restaurant in Tampa was the subject of scrutiny for having a dress code that was perceieved by some as racist and singling out black customers. At the time, Hogan told TMZ that while he didn't own the restaurant (he said they licensed his name), he personally made sure that they removed the dress code, which he claimed they had lifted from pool parties in Las Vegas and Miami. 
  • Well, it turns out that, according to Radar Online (who partnered with the National Enquirer in reporting on Hogan's racist comments), Hogan is, in fact, the owner of the restaurant. A document that they obtained from the Florida Secretary of State shows that Hogan, under his real name ofTerry Gene (misspelled as "Geen") Bollea as the registered agent on their 2015 Florida Limited Liability Company Annual Report.
  • The manager of the restaurant, who made sure to mention that the eatery has nothing to do with the scandal and that everyone is welcome, also added that Hogan hadn't been around “for a very long time.” Radar easily found a photo of Hogan with a fan at the restaurant that was taken two weeks ago. 
  • Radar has another article about having spoken to Hogan's ex-wife Linda (who was his wife at th time the comments were made), who said she doesn't "agree with such statements or beliefs.”
  • Radar also spoke to Bruce Comtois, Hogan's former driver. “There were no racial overtones. He never ranted about anything. He wouldn’t go off about anyone, color or background. This is a real surprise for me.”
  • As part of the tour to promote his new book that came out Tuesday (highly recommended, by the way), Daniel Bryan commented on the Hogan situation yesterday in a radio interview on THE FAN in Dallas. "I got back to my hotel room at about 10-or-11-o'clock last night, and I woke up this morning just in time to start doing phoners. Everyone is like, 'Hey! What do you think about this thing with Hulk Hogan?' I'm like, 'Wait, what thing? What are you talking about?' I had no idea. So, yeah, not in any of my dealings with him."
  • Jim Ross has a look at the Hogan stuff in his latest blog post.
  • Mark Henry tweeted a statement about Hogan that I believe includes his first public acknowledgemnt of having been subject to use of racial slurs (reportedly Michal Hayes saying "I'm more of a n-er than you are!" at a post-WrestleMania party) in WWE: