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WED. UPDATE: WWE Medical Director's controversial comments on brain injuries, UK raid on UFC/WWE pirate, more AAA bus accident info

by David Bixenspan | davidbix@wrestlingobserver.com

TV tonight:

NXT on WWE Network at 8 p.m. ET is built around the live event at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio, including the Kevin Steen vs. Alex Riley match.

Lucha Underground at 8 p.m. ET on El Rey (watch the preview video here) has Mil Muertes vs. Fenix in a coffin match, Aero Star vs. Drago in match three of their best of five series, and Big Ryck vs. The Crew in a handicap elimination match. Full blurb from El Rey: Every opponent realizes that the key to winning an intense match is to fight for your life. There are grave consequences tonight, as the MASSIVE main event finally happens between Mil Muertes and his opponent Fenix. Aero Star and Drago perform a gut-wrenching performance, while Cortez Castro, Mr. Cisco and Big Ryck battle it out to an extreme. This time, the only way to win is to put your opponent in a coffin! Each attack you make counts in this can’t miss event, and it all takes place on Wednesday, March 18th at 8:00PM ET/PT on El Rey Network.
 
As far as UFC on Fox Sports 1 goes, they start with a new UFC Tonight at 8 p.m. ET followed by a block of flyweight division-themed programming: The only new show is Fighter's Cut: Demetrious Johnson at 10 p.m. ET, which is bookended by UFC Main Event: Johnson vs. Moraga at 9 p.m. ET and UFC Fight Flashback: Johnson vs. Benavidez I at 10:30 p.m. ET.
 
AAA Rey de Reyes should finally take place tonight after being postponed twice, and it airs live as an internet pay-per-view event for $15 at InterneTVLuchaLibreAAA.com (that's the actual URL) with the announced card being as follows:

Bengala, Drago, & Súper Nova vs. Daga, Hijo de Pirata Morgan, & Súper Fly
Hijo del Fantasma (c) vs. Fénix for the AAA Cruiserweight Championship
Angélico, Blue Demon Jr., & Jack Evans vs. Averno, Chessman, & Cibernético
Aerostar vs. Psycho Clown vs. El Mesías vs. Texano for the Rey de Reyes championship
Myzteziz & Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. El Hijo del Perro Aguayo & Pentagón Jr
 
There should also be some kind of additional match to replace Alberto El Patron vs. Brian Cage, as well as two bonus matches.

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The newest issue of Figure Four Weekly is up on the site for subscribers (subscribe here) with a look at whatever is going on with NXT, plus notes on the upcoming WWE Jerry Lawler DVD as well as all of the usual reviews and international news.

The Kindle edition for non-subscribers isn't up yet, but you can still get the February 6th issue, featuring a a eulogy for the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Almanac and Book of Facts (which Kappa Publishing announced it is no longer producing) as well as all of the usual reviews and international news. It's available on the AmericanUK/IrelandCanadian, and Australian Amazon Kindle stores, as well as various other regional Kindle stores that I'm probably forgetting. 

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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Bill DeMott's resignation, what led to it happening, incidents that are claimed to have taken place and a rundown of developmental, is the headline story in the March 16 double issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  We also have an update on what is going on with Brock Lesnar and Vince McMahon, the WrestleMania card, more on Rampage Jackson's Bellator contract and what was in it, Al Haymon's attempt to bring boxing back to the mainstream and how this relates to wrestling and MMA, Coverage of the New Japan Cup and a look at PWG.

The latest issue of the observer Mar. 16, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Bill DeMott resigns from WWE, Brock Lesnar-WWE impasse continues, PWG live report

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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.
 
The lead story looks at Bill DeMott's tenure as head trainer for WWE developmental.  We look at how he got started as a trainer, We look at the history of the WWE developmental program, why it was a surprise at first that DeMott was made head trainer, more on the complaints regarding DeMott, the claimed language used and how this relates to what pro wrestling was.  We look at injury issues in developmental, why cameras were put on all practices, if there was a feeling DeMott was a time bomb, and why WWE handled this the way it did.

We look at other firings in WWE caused by outside pressure, including the departure of Hulk Hogan in 1992.  We look at different things said  by different former WWE performers regarding DeMott and this situation.  We also look at talent development itself.

We up date Brock Lesnar's contract situation and negotiations, his timing, how things that have taken place work in his favor.   We also update WrestleMania.

We look at the unique Rampage Jackson Bellator contract, where he said they breached, notes on the Bellator PPV, his guaranteed fight money and bonuses.

We also look at Connor Michalek and the WWE Hall of Fame, WWE signs book deal, Notes on this year's SummerSlam as well as the 2016 version, Daniel Bryan talks his return, the Rumble and his Mania match, current WWE value, Pat Patterson talks career to Chris Jericho, Patterson talks the first WrestleMania and Royal Rumble creation, John Cena honored, rundown of NXT shows and activities in Ohio, as well as a look at the WWE house shows and business notes from the past week.

We also look at the attempt with the Premier Boxing Championships to take boxing mainstream, and look at the debut show on NBC.  We compare the ratings and the difference in audience makeup to that of UFC.  We look at the PBC plans for 2015, and how they compare to what Vince McMahon did in 1984 and what the UFC did in 2005.  We look at upcoming events, what the goal is, decisions, talent pay and overall economics related to the show.

We update the New Japan Cup, with the next iPPV lineup, early notes on the Invasion Attack show along with coverage of the first two events.

We also look at PWG, its changes, what has happened regarding some ROH talent, as well as a look at their last show.

We also have complete win-loss records of all TNA talent in 2014.

We also look at WWE business for January in several categories, including live attendance and television ratings.

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:

--CMLL lineup for its first major show of the year

--What CMLL is doing for fans who watch Dos Leyendas at the movie theaters

--Tournament final to crown new NWA light heavyweight champion

--Finals of the incredible partners tournament

--Update on Alberto Del Rio injury

--AAA iPPV show this week ad notes on how to order

--A look at AAA's TV tapings this past week in Mexico City

--A look at the debut of Brian Cage in AAA

--Keiji Muto loses W-1 title belt and a look at the singles and tag titles in the promotion, plus the cruiserweight tournament

--A look at this week's Dragon Gate iPPV show

--Early notes on the next major Dragon Gate shows

--Notes on the 2015 Champion Carnival tournament

--First real big test of the new NOAH booking

--Notes on future of New Japan World

--New Japan stars headed to U.K.

--Shoot tournament to crown a pro wrestling world champion starts in April

--Special perks for Observer readers over WrestleMania weekend

--Tons of notes on activities and shows over Mania weekend

--Update on the first New Japan PPV, how it did, as well as an update on the future of Global Force Wrestling

--Notes on Northeast Wrestling doing an indie show that did more than 2,000 fans

--A look at Tommy Dreamer's House of Hardcore show

--Notes on the wXw 16 Carat Gold tournament

--Major Lucha Libre stars headed to he U.K.

--70s star resurfaces after winning battle over cancer and wrestles his first match in 24 years

--Another former UFC fighter now training for pro wrestling

--Notes on the next ROH PPV show

--Notes on the ROH shows with New Japan

--More on the Samoa Joe vs. Jay Briscoe ROH title match

--The biggest threat to ROH right now

--Lineups for this week's ROH house shows

--Matt Sydal injury notes

--A look at the next month of ROH television

--Changes in TNA television

--TNA tag team title notes

--Wrestler to debut this week with TNA

--New TNA TV contract

--Notes on this week's UFC show 

--Thoughts on the new Johny Hendricks

--UFC to have a four hour live show on FOX

--New UFC fights

--Pay records for the last Invicta show

--More on PPV potential of Rousey vs. Cyborg

--More on Burt Watson quitting UFC

--Watson talks about his departure

--A look at UFC's debut in The Philippines

--Next Bellator lineup featuring former star from Japan

--Renzo Gracie pleads guilty to assault charges

--Jason Miller arrested again

--Former UFC fighter tracks down robber

--Next Ben Askren fight

--Chael Sonnen returns to combat

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Wednesday Daily Update

  • WWE Medical Director Dr. Joseph Maroon, in his capacity as Pittsburgh Steelers neurosurgeon and a NFL medical consultant, appeared on the NFL Network yesterday to talk about concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy in light of the retirement of of San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland. Borland, 24, retired this week out of concern for his long-term neurological health if he continued to play football. Maroon has gotten a lot of negative attention from the sports media for his comments, which were:

- Saying that his message to concerned parents of youth football players would that he thinks "the problem of CTE, although real, is it's being overexaggerated and being extrapolated to youth football and to high school football" and that “it’s much more dangerous riding a bike or a skateboard than playing youth football."

- That Mike Webster was an outlier because he “was one of the hardest players in the history of the sport, and he obviously had many traumatic episodes through his head" on top of having a long career when playing hurt "was a badge of courage."

As you'd expect, the "riding a bike or a skateboard" comment has gotten the most scrutiny, with plenty of comments about how a kid isn't falling down and suffering a brain injury almost every time (s)he goes for a ride.

  • In a story that is getting some mainstream coverage in the UK, including stories on BBC Newsbeat and The Daily Mail, the Police International Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has raided and arrested a 55 year old English man who, as TorrentFreak.com put it, is "said to be one of the world’s most prolific uploaders of both UFC and WWE content." The belief is that it was the man who used the name "Sir Paul" for his releases on rorrent sites. While in the past, there had been a focus on individual users who used BitTorrent to download shows, it seems like the content creators have finally started to realize that their efforts are best spent on the "groups" who are putting the shows up in the first place.
  • More details from Kris Zellner on the AAA crew bus crash that caused several injuries and killed coordinator Irma Osomo: What had started out as an awful week for AAA with the multiple Rey de Reyes cancelations became even worse early Tuesday morning as the bus that carries their technical crew around slammed into a truck at a toll booth near Morelia. The bus driver wasn't aware that the truck was just sitting still and just plowed into it impaling the bus on impact with there being 1 death in Irma Osorno who was the coordinator for AAA's edecanes (ring girls) and 14 more people going to local hospitals with 16 others being treated on site. The drivers of both vehicles supposedly fled the scene and haven't been found yet. This is just a total tragedy and my condolences to the family of Irma Osorno.
  • Remember the stuff from yesterday about the fans in WWE legend costumes who were forced to change their clothes or else lose their front row seats dead center across from the hard camera? And how it seemed overzealous because they weren't playing to the crowd and actively distracting from the matches? Well, a Reddit poster who remembered them from a previous Des Moines Raw he had attended decided to look at the last two Des Moines Raws on WWE Network. What did he find? The same fans in the same costumes blatantly playing to the crowd and having issues with arena security. Welcome to the Internet in 2015. Anyway, when you see this, it's now a lot easier to understand WWE's point of view for making them change even if they hadn't acted up yet during Monday's show.
  • It's been fairly well-known for weeks, but MMAFighting.com was able to confirm that Carlos Condit vs. Thiago Alves will headline UFC's May 30th card in Golania, Brazil, which will air on Fox Sports 1 in the United States. This is Condit's return from over a year out of action after tearing his ACL and meniscus in his loss to Tyron Woodley. On paper, it's a fantastic action fight where Condit will have z dangerous enough opponent that you can't say he's getting an easy return, but he has enough of a stylistic advantage that he's still likely to be heavily favored, even coming off a major injury layoff. Alves is coming off a TKO win over Jordan Mein at UFC 183 on January 31st.
  • While WWE and DraftKings announced a partnership today, it's not for any kind of fantasy WWE game. Instead, DraftKings will help push WrestleMania and one fan who plays certain basketball games will win a trip to SummerSlam.
  • Mick Foley's charity raffle for a trip to WrestleMania ends tonight, March 18th at 10 p.m. ET. The grand prize winner gets a two person trip to WrestleMania and a whole host of WrestleMania weekend events as well as a trip to Disneyland while you're in California. This includes everything: Flights, hotels, and tickets to all of the events. Raffle tickets are $2 each, you must buy at least five, and all proceeds go to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization.
  •  The Niagara Falls Sports and Hobby Expo takes place this Saturday, March 21st at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In attendance will be Bret Hart, Kevin Nash and Dan Severn, as well as various athletes including actor Christopher McDonald in character as golf pro Shooter McGavin from the film Happy Gilmore. Admission includes a full wrestling card put on by Crossfire Wrestling featuring Cody Deaner, plus Greg Oliver will have a booth selling his various wrestling and other sports books.
  • Lucha Report scribe, historian, and friend to everyone Kris Zellner has jumped into the podcast fray with Exile on Badstreet, and yes, the first episode deals with the legacy of
  • the Fabulous Freebirds. Go check it out.

WWE Network schedule for tomorrow (thanks to Bert Duckwall)

12:00 AM ET
LEGENDS HOUSE The WWE Legends play a game of 'How well do you know your roommates?' Then the group receives a visit from Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels.

1:00 AM ET
TOTAL DIVAS Summer Rae takes her relationship with Fandango to the next level; Brie can't enjoy being a bride, and Trinity betrays Jon behind his back.

2:00 AM ET
WWE BEYOND THE RING Wrestling's Highest Flyers collects some of the greatest aerial displays in sports entertainment history!

4:00 AM ET
RAW FLASHBACK WWE Champion Shawn Michaels battles Yokozuna in the main event. Plus, an Intercontinental Title Tournament begins and much, much more!

5:00 AM ET
RAW FLASHBACK Goldust challenges Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship in the main event. Plus, Mark Henry receives his first challenge, and much more!

6:00 AM ET
PRIME TIME WRESTLING Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan host another edition of Prime Time Wrestling featuring Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, and many more.

8:00 AM ET
WRESTLEMANIA 10 Yokozuna defends the WWE Championship against Bret Hart; Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels compete in an epic Ladder Match.

11:00 AM ET
RAW FLASHBACK A Battle Royal will determine the two contenders for the vacant WWE Intercontinental Championship. Doink clowns around with Bobby Heenan.

12:00 PM ET
RAW FLASHBACK Razor Ramon and Rick Martel battle for the vacant WWE Intercontinental Championship. The Rock n Roll Express are in tag team action.

1:00 PM ET
CLASH OF THE CHAMPIONS Clash of the Champions XII: Fall Brawl '90 Mountain Madness features Sting defending the World Heavyweight Title against The Black Scorpion.

3:00 PM ET
WCW MONDAY NITRO The New World Order attempts to completely take over Nitro while WCW's top superstars are away competing on a tour in Japan.

5:00 PM ET
WCW STARRCADE 1989 Starrcade 89 features round-robin Iron Man and Iron Team tournaments with top NWA stars including Ric Flair, Sting, Great Muta, and more.

8:00 PM ET
WCW MONDAY NITRO The New World Order attempts to completely take over Nitro while WCW's top superstars are away competing on a tour in Japan.

10:00 PM ET
WWE HALL OF FAME Join Renee Young and Mean Gene Okerlund for a special Look Back at the 1994 WWE Hall of Fame!

11:00 PM ET
WCW MONDAY NITRO The New World Order attempts to completely take over Nitro while WCW's top superstars are away competing on a tour in Japan.