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WED. UPDATE: Jon Jones & Jeff Hardy updates, too much TV, NJPW, and more

by David Bixenspan | davidbix@wrestlingobserver.com

TV tonight:

Lucha Underground at 8:00 p.m. ET on El Rey has Prince Puma vs. Drago for the Lucha Underground Title, Hernandez vs. Cage vs. King Cuerno for a shot at the title, and .Killshot vs. Fenix. As always, theres a preview on YouTube as well as a teaser on Twitter. Official description from El Rey:

Losing tonight may mean never returning to the ring for one fighter. Cueto vows to banish the one-and-only Drago from his Temple forever if he fails to beat the defending champion Puma in the Champion vs Career match. The intensity doesn't stop there when King Cuerno, Cage and Hernandez go head-to-head to be crowned as the new #1 contender. This is a high stakes event on Wednesday, April 29th at 8:00PM ET/PT on El Rey Network.

WWE Network has a more loaded night than usual with:

8:00 p.m. ET: NXT with Sami Zayn vs. Alex Riley, Bayley vs. Dana Brooke, Hideo Itami in a singles match, and more.
 
9:00 p.m. ET  Mick Foley: Have a Nice Night, a new Foley retrospective special.
 
10:00 p.m. ET Mick Foley: Cheap Pops, his one man show that he just shot last week at Full Sail University.

And on Fox Sports 1's UFC block:

8:00 p.m. ET Replay of episode 3 of the Conor McGregor documentary miniseries, The Notorious. These have been good, but this one (which covers the night of his fight with Dustin Poirier last September at UFC 178) is must-see for McGregor doing the Vince McMahon walk and singing "No Chance in Hell."

8:30 p.m. ET Replay of last week's season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter. Official description: Two gyms go head to head for the first time in show history as Glenn Robinson and the Blackzilians face Dan Lambert and the American Top Team in South Florida to see which of the two squads will reign supreme in the Octagon.

10:00 p.m. ET New episode of The Ultimate Fighter. Official description: Tempers flare at the weigh-in as the owners of the two teams get into it, while the pressure of the entire competition starts to get to the fighters with in-team hostility turns things ugly and causes the two groups to lose focus of the larger goal.

11:00 p.m. ET Fox Sports Live, which always opens with a long "TUF Talk" ssegment.
 
12:00 a.m. ET New episode of UFC Tonight.
 
12:30 a.m. ET Episode four of "The Notorious."

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The newest issue of Figure Four Weekly is up on the site for subscribers (subscribe here) with the most extensive look at Doug and Tommy Gilbert's lawsuit against WWE and ESPN that you'll find anywhere, with lots of details about WWE's history with lawsuits over video royalties, which past cases are or aren't relevant to this one what people often misunderstand about the Jesse Ventura lawsuit, when WWE actually started paying every wrestler royaltis, 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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We've got full coverage of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony from two weeks ago along with a lot of backstage stories, truth vs. fiction on the stories told, as our lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  We also have a ton of notes on ROH and the New Japan tour, Lucha Underground's future and what it needs, TNA and Destination America along with notes on Taz, the Briscoes, Daniel Bryan, the latest lawsuits against WWE and UFC and a look at WWE & TNA business for February.

The latest Wrestling Observer:  April 20, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WWF Hall of Fame feature, latest WWE concussion lawsuit, UFC Poland debut

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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 updates the Daniel Bryan situation and the strange lack of information out on the subject, as well as runs down every match on the show and where WWE goes from here.

We also look at UFC's PPV this week being off the Dish Network.

We've got an update on Lucha Underground, including the end of the TV season, what talent and fans were told about the future of the company, the public reason for the hiatus, what's the real question going forward, its prospects, where the promotion stands right now for the future and what it needs, plus a full rundown of Ultima Lucha, the last two episodes of the season and what angles to look for the next season.

We've got a look at the career of Takeshi Morishima, with his title history, awards won, how he got started in pro wrestling, who he was compared to, why he never reached his potential, why he got the ROH title, his matches with Bryan Danielson, his outstanding 2007 year, what went wrong when he got his big push.  We also look at his early career, his WWE tryout and what happened there, a well as some of his biggest matches.

We look at the legal situation involving Rampage Jackson and how things changed this past week.

We've got a look at UFC's attempt to run in New York, going through both the legislature and the court system to be able to run in December at Madison Square Garden.  We look at the crazy hypocrisy in New York laws, the real story behind them, the Culinary unions latest attempt to keep UFC out of New York, and UFC's latest move in going to court.

We also look at Saturday's show in Newark, NJ, who came out of it as stars, ratings info and other business notes plus match-by-match coverage.

We've got a long feature on the Tennessee legend, Ron Wright, who passed away this past week.  We look at the legendary Ron Wright vs. Whitey Caldwell feud and some of the most famous matches, why Wright considered wrestling only a hobby, as well as his being shot at and his plane being blown up and other craziness of being perhaps the greatest heel ever in the backwoods towns in Tennessee and Kentucky.  We look at his career from his amateur days as a teenager, the irony of the Caldwell feud, how he and Caldwell got into pro wrestling at first, plus comments from Les Thatcher, Jim Cornette and others.

We also look at his unique way of drawing blood, how he got his first pro wrestling break, the business that he and Caldwell did in the 60s, why he usually stayed in his home territory, and his own thoughts about his career.

We also look at the next season of Tough Enough, the change in Seth Rollins' finisher, update on the business of Furious 7, More on the Russ McCullough lawsuit against WWE, Shawn Michaels talks the time he wanted to go to WCW and WWE asks him to be on next year's WrestleMania, plus why he's not interested in working in creative  and his thoughts on who should be on top.

We also look at John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns on top as draws, schedule of NXT tapings for the next year as well as a look at a number of not yet announced WWE overseas tours.

We also have notes on WWE movies, WWE stars who want a reality show about their lives, Barrett talks why he dropped weight, contract notes from lawsuits against WWE, the Gilberts lawsuit against WWE, Batista talks a potential return, Samoa Joe note, NXT dates outside Florida, Jey Uso update, what creative is told about the women characters and what is says about why people don't care about the WWE Divas, ROH star blasts WWE stereotypes, NXT weekend shows and notes on the last week of the WWE European tour with business notes and highlights of all the house shows.

We also look at this year's Cauliflower Alley Club banquet, looking at the history of the organization, who was there, the appearance of Nick Bockwinkel, highlights of speeches from the honorees, Jake Roberts' complaint about indie shows, Jushin Liger defending his NWA jr. title, Gerald Brisco talking Brock Lesnar and Jack Brisco and much more.

We also look at Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling as the first shows are announced, and look at what the company needs to be viable.

The Observer is the world's most detailed weekly pro wrestling publication, in its 32nd year of publication, and is read by the biggest names in the pro wrestling, industry, MMA industry, sports world and on Wall Street.
 
We also have our regular features such as the most complete look at ratings, plus results of the major house show events each week in pro wrestling and MMA, and complete inside rundowns of all the TV shows.
 
Also in this week's issue:

--Notes on the death of 80s star El Verdugo

--Latest from Arena Mexico

--Changes in CMLL weekly schedule

--Top indie vs. top CMLL star note

--More on AAA's World Cup show this coming month

--Perro Aguayo Jr. situation remains in the news with a major press conference featuring a Congressman and many sports stars

--Dragon Gate announces huge show with three title bouts and a huge stipulation match

--Wrestler runs for the senate in Japan this week

--Update on Champion Carnival tournament

--Update on NOAH tag team tournament

--Notes on next New Japan big show

--Notes on New Japan newcomer

--Notes on current New Japan tour

--One of the major companies from the 90s returns and its history

--Promoter announces that a current UFC star will come in and challenge for their pro wrestling world title

--Biggest woman's star ever and best drawing barbed wire match wrestler ever team up

--Lance Russell tribute in Evansville with Jerry Lawler

--Oldest living wresting personalities

--Sad update on former UFC & New Japan star Brian Johnston

--Dreamer gets TV deal

--Bill Apter writes autobiography

--New book coming on history of women's wrestling

--Promotion folding

--Same person wins major pro wrestling title and pro boxing match within hours

--Another wrestling history book on the way

--Who is the only guy to be in Broken Skull Challenge, Tough Enough and Ultimate Fighter

--Nearly two hour match on Mexico show

--New Japan and ROH tour and lineups

--Notes on Taz leaving TNA

--Notes on Sanada laving TNA

--More on people's pay being behind in TNA

--Funny story about TNA television in Canada

--Latest on TNA television

--More litigation involving Wanderlei Silva and the Nevada commission and how the ruling could hurt regulation of he sport

--More on the UFC July schedule

--Notes on the new season of Ultimate Fighter

--Background of the Dan Lambert-Glenn Robinson feud

--Two major MMA shows this weekend

--Dana White blasts AKA Gym and AKA responds

--Bill in Nevada to increase tax on live boxing and MMA

--Anderson Silva issues challenge for fight

--New UFC fights

--New Bellator fights

--Something to think about regarding Pacquiao-Mayweather and how big it really is

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today.  With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today.
 
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*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
 
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*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
 
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*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
 
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*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund, Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
 
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Wednesday Daily Update

-- The latest development in the Jon Jones saga since he was stripped of his UFC Light Heavyweight Title last night is that per ESPN's Darren Rovell, Reebok has terminated Jones' contract with them. As per the deal UFC has with Reebok for the fighter uniforms (and partial sponsorship replacement money that comes with that), champions are to negotiate their own deals with Reebok. Right now, the terms for everyone else are that unless Reebok decides they want to do a special deal with them anyway (like with Conor McGregor and Paige VanZant), their pseudo-sponsor pay will be decided by how many UFC (and WEC/Strikeforce fights under Zuffa ownership) fights they've had and if they've gotten title shots/held titles in the past. So if Jones cleans up his life to everyone's liking, ir'll be interesting to see how exactly Reebok reacts.

-- UFC updated the official rankings as soon as they could, which briefly led to a glitch where Anthony Johnson was ranked #0. The only actual consequence is that Jones has been removed from pound for pound balloting, which, depending on the person, is either a big deal or a completely pointless imaginary exercise. The change means Jose Aldo is now ranked #1 in P4P balloting with Demetrious Johnson at #2.

-- With Daniel Cormier replacing Jon Jones in the fight w/ Anthony "Rumble" Johnson at UFC 187, as of this writing, Cormier's original opponent for the New Orleans card two weeks later, Ryan Bader, is still without an opponent. The card was built around Cormier as the biggest star of various local fighters in action, and with what's booked, who's injured, and who he's already fought, there's nobody for Bader to fight among the ranked (top 15) contenders. Even when it comes to big middlweights or past light havyweights, there's not really anyone who should move up.

-- Meanwhile, Ken Shamrock wrote an open letter to Jones on his website. Actual quote: “Your next fight is with yourself. [paragraph break] Ironically, a documentary film is soon (June) to be released about me called The Greatest Fight. The greatest fight was ultimately with myself.” It does seem like his heart is in the right place, though.

-- Per Dixie Carter, Jeff Hardy will be eundergoing surgery today to repair the broken leg (technically a fractured tibia) that he suffered yesterday in a dirtbike accident on his property in North Carolina.

-- Togi Makabe beat Tomohiro Ishii with an especially crazy looking King Kong Knedrop to regain the NEVER Openweight Title last night at NJPW's Wrestling HINOKUNI card, which aired on NJPW World. For a full review of the card, Rob McCarron's writeup at Voices of Wrestling is the place to go right now.

-- Esquire has a feature about Billy Corgan joining TNA as Senior Producer, Creative and Talent Development. Well worth checking out. He makes some prttty big promises, like turning TNA into a completely modernized TV show when it comes to the social consciousness of storylines, including representation of homosexual characters.

-- Due to demand for tickets to the first show, WWE has added a second NXT show in Philadelphia that'll take place on May 15th, with tickets going on sale this Friday.

-- The Chicago Sun-Times' Verne Gagne obituary went up late last night. Worth checking out just for the awesome photo of Gagne with Ken Patera.

-- WQAD Quad Cities talked to Seth Rollins about returning to his home area for the SmackDown taping in Moline, IL last night.

-- This fell under the radar a bit for a few days, but April "AJ Lee" Brooks has announced her sponsorship of a $1,500 scholarship to a Girls Make Games event in Chicago. Really nice gesture for a cool cause that likely appeals to a lot of the younger members of her fanbase. To quote the announcement:

Girls Make Games hosts international summer camps, workshops and game jams designed to inspire the next generation of designers, creators, and engineers. Camp attendees are introduced to game design, programming, art, audio/music and entrepreneurship. The GMG flagship three week camp helps girls ages 11-14 take a creative concept and turn it into a fully functional prototype. Not only do campers have a finished product at the end of the three weeks, they also compete nationally for the top prize, a chance to have their video game developed and published by LearnDistrict, the educational company behind GMG.

-- Dave has three separate articles at MMAFighting.com that went up since yesterday evening:

- Ratings report: UFC 186 prelims does 710,000 viewers
- Josh Barnett takes movie role, delays return to Octagon
- Rampage Jackson's camp not interested in fight with Ovince St. Preux

-- My latest podcast is up, this time with Sean Wheelock, the voice of Bellator MMA, talking old Central States wrestling (including being at Ric Flair's first NWA World Heavyweight Title win), shoots and kayfabe, early UFC in the context of his book ("Is This Legal?") with UFC founder Art Davie, refereeing, and more.

-- Jason Thacker, who was part of the cast of the first sason of The Ultimate Fighter thanks to the producers wanting a "character" in spite of his sketchy fighting background, posted a thank you video directed at fans who have donated to his GoFundMe campaign.

-- 10 years ago today, with input from his good friend Shane Douglas, TNA made the decision to air Chris Candido's last appearance on a pro wrestling show. Not long before Candido broke his leg, he had been faking an injury, so the storyline was that his real broken leg was "karmic payback." He was managing The Naturals, they beat America's Most Wanted for the tag titles, and with a broken leg, he was the one stealing the show with his antics at ringside, his facial expressions, and a completely ad-libbed promo he cut to close the show when they were short on time. The look of glee on his face as the show went off the air was the perfect way to say goodbye to him in a TV context and the one memory of him from that awful week that will put a smile on your face.

-- D-Lo Brown is on the newest Pancakes and Powerslams Podcast. Quote Re: the accident that paralyzed Droz:

"As a performer, I was never the same. There was time after that when I quit wrestling. Luckily, Jim Ross called me and talked me out of that. There's no hatred from Droz towards me. We both understand the risks we take when we go in the ring, and it's dangerous in there. Just because it's predetermined, that's why they have the PSAs of kids don't try this at home. But as far as Droz and I are concerned, we're boys, we're good, we've talked throughout the years. He has a place in my heart. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about him. There's no blame on either side from either person."

-- In light of today's empty stadium baseball game in Baltimore, Rich Kraetsch looked at empty arena matches at Voices of Wrestling.

-- Game Debate has a look at the effects of the various graphical sliders in tbe PC version of WWE 2K15. The comparison betwen minimum and maximum graphic settings includes no fans in the arena on the minimum setting. Next step: See what modders can do.

-- Friday July 31st the "Unspoken Word Tour" featuring Jake the Snake Roberts with special guest Kizarny comes to the Moose Lodge 655 Wabanaki Drive Kitchener Ontario Tickets 30 ADV and 35 at door    VIPs $70 includes 1st and 2nd row seats early entry 6pm and some swag  regular tickets doors open at  7pm  Tickets available at Moose lodge Ticket Scene or by calling 226 647 4402 . VIPs also get a meet and greet before show.