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Daily Update: Shinsuke Nakamura, Tragos/Thesz HOF, XFL

THE ROUND-UP

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THE LATEST NEWS

THE LATEST AUDIO

NXT runs tonight in St. Petersburg. We'll be doing one weekend poll, which will be for the ROH show tomorrow night. 

IMPACT TONIGHT AT 8 P.M. ON POP TV

  • Rich Swann debuts
  • Matt Sydal vs. Dezmond Xavier  

F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly: Remembering Leon 'Vader' White

The professional wrestling world lost a truly one-of-a-kind figure last week. Leon "Vader" White, the best big man that the industry has ever seen, died on Monday, June 18 after years of heart problems and complications from a recent bout with pneumonia. Vader's son and former WWE developmental wrestler, Jesse, shared the news on Twitter: "It is with a heavy heart to inform everyone that my father, Leon White, passed away on Monday night (6/18/18) at approximately 7:25pm. Around a month ago my father was diagnosed with a severe case of Pneumonia. 

WON NEWSLETTER: (July 2, 2018): WWE announces new TV deals, more

The official announcement of the WWE's new television deals for the 2019-2024 television seasons is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer. 

Find out about the financial figures for each year, what those numbers mean, what it means to WWE profitability, how much the company is now worth and how that valuation as compared to profits compares to other media stocks. Look at how much money Vince McMahon could have made if he didn't sell so much in December.

Look at a very interesting part of the WWE/Fox deal that hasn't been talked about. There are also notes from WWE Co-Presidents Michelle Wilson and George Barrios on the deal, what led to the deal, and how things have changed both regarding the perception of wrestling, its fans and other content ideas WWE has for television and streaming.

Read about the new Bellator deal with the money figures involved, how this changes the game for them, and how the entire game for all wrestling and MMA companies are no different due to these latest deals. 

Find out about the situation with Brock Lesnar and WWE, what the goals are for the latest storyline change, plans for the Extreme Rules PPV show and matches announced, matches told to the arena and matches seemingly being built.

Read the update on Rey Mysterio and WWE, Shinsuke Nakamura's injury, Jeff Hardy's injuries and lots of other WWE injury updates, Big Cass, Sami Zayn, Ronda Rousey as well as the amazing contract Oliver Luck got with Vince McMahon and what it says about the XFL. 

Look at Minoru Suzuki's 30th anniversary show and match with Kazuchika Okada, the retirement of Rashad Evans, coverage of UFC from Singapore, a look at the PWG Battle of Los Angeles, and the WWE U.K.show.

ORDERING INFO: Order the print Wrestling Observer right now and get it delivered via mail, by sending your name, address, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to Dave Meltzer, or by using PayPal directing funds to Dave@WrestlingObserver.com

Rates in the United States are $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. If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.)

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can choose one free classic issue or two free classic issues with a 40-issue subscription.

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE

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There is no update on whether Shinsuke Nakamura will be wrestling this weekend in Japan.

Besides the ROH show tomorrow night, there is the Kenny Omega promoted New Japan show in Daytona Beach on Twitch and Bellator on Paramount Network.

Adam Pearce and The Revival have been added to the Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame weekend in Waterloo, IA. The Revival will appear at the live show on 7/27 while Pearce will be the M.C. at the induction banquet for the Hall of Fame. Also scheduled at the induction banquet to appear include Booker T, Sharmell, Road Warrior Animal, Gerald Brisco, Wes Brisco, Brian Blair, Larry Hennig, Austin Aries, Dan Severn, Stan Hansen, Nikita Koloff, Tony Garea, Ben Askren, J.J. Dillon, Brian Cage, Colt Cabana, DJZ, Bob Holly, Bob Orton Jr., as well as Charlie Thesz (Lou's wife), Barbara Goodish (wife of Bruiser Brody), Japanese historian Koji Miyamoto, Bruce Mitchell, Wade Keller, and Ross, Bruce and Diana Hart and Davey Boy Smith Jr.

The Oakland City Council this past week was talking about if an XFL team would come to Oakland when the Raiders move.

There is a major story on a $112 million health care conspiracy involving Dr. Frank Patino of Woodhaven, MI, a doctor who was indicted yesterday and used some of the money to sponsor MMA fighters, including Team Alpha Male and Urijah Faber, and boxers. Josh Burns, a former Bellator fighter, was also implicated. 

For the first time ever, I will be doing a podcast with Wade Keller as part of a four-person panel with Keller, Bruce Mitchell, myself and Bryan Alvarez which will take place in Chicago as part of the Starrcast convention on 8/31 from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. and then there will also be a 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Meet and Greet. They will also be selling an enamel pin exclusive signed by 8x10 art by all four of us.  This is our second show as our Mailbag and meet and greet for subscribers on 9/1 has sold out. 

The World MMA Awards show produced by Fighters Only Magazine will take place from the Pearl Theater at the Palms in Las Vegas this coming Tuesday night. It will air at some point on television. Jeremy Piven of Entourage fame will host. Piven played the role of agent Ari Gold on the show, and Ari Gold was based on Ari Emmanuel, the UFC co-owner. A number of celebrities are on the show including former WWE performer Torrie Wilson.   

WWE

  • Under Armour and Dwayne Johnson have released a new product, the UA Sport Wireless Train headphones Project Rock edition. They list for $249.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies host WWE Night tomorrow night for their game with the Washington Nationals. The first 1,000 fans who purchase a special ticket will get a Phillies/WWE T-shirt featuring a championship belt with a Phillies logo. The Boston Red Sox have a WWE Night on 7/11 and Kofi Kingston will be throwing out the first pitch at that game.
  • Miz & Maryse will appear on Larry King Now on 7/23 on Hulu to promote Miz & Mrs, the USA Network reality show that will air after Smackdown on Tuesday's starting in a few weeks.
  • Chris Jericho was on Sean Waltman's podcast:
  • His match with Naito at Dominion:
  • "We went to the Dojo the day before and I had some ideas...but once again I was thinking more along the lines of what’s the story I want to tell? And here’s what I always go with, if I ever do a promo or match. What’s the vibe of this promo? What’s the vibe of this match? What’s the mood that I wanna set? Once I circled in on that then the rest just came together very quickly. I wanted something that’s a little uncomfortable, a little bit stiff. Cause Naito’s style is tranquilo as his catchphrase, very laid back...I wanted a different Naito, I wanted a Naito that did give a shit and wanted to fight...That whole start of the match was his (Gedo) idea; attack him before the bell, attack him before he takes his suit off, put him through a table. Like I didn’t think of it that way… It sets the tone of being this super intense brawl."
  • Working a Brock Lesnar type schedule with NJPW and his future with the company: "A lot more tales to tell with Chris Jericho in New Japan. And almost doing a Brock Lesnar type of schedule to where I am not there for every show but the ones that I am there for are now special cause Jericho is there. I didn’t expect to be doing more matches with New Japan as of January of this year and now that I’ve done another one and there’s a couple more in the pipeline I might decide to stay a little longer."
  • Making the Jericho cruise an annual destination vacation: "My schedule is ridiculous I’m not gonna have any fun at all, I am working the whole damn time but I have to sell this cruise, I have to make it a success. So you know wrestling fans are gonna have a great time, it might be a little bit crazy for the boys but it’s gonna be a fun experience for everybody because it’s people from all of the same mind set of really loving this certain art form of wrestling and rock n’ roll as well as love live comedy and love live podcasts all that sort of thing. It’s never been done before, I am taking a big chance but I had to do it and so far so good. My goal is for it to be an annual destination vacation. In year two, I’ve already got X-Pac 12360 on the docket for a live podcast if you could put up with it [laughs].   
  • Being able to learn the WWE style and take it anywhere to have the best match: "It’s all part of the learning process. Anytime you come into a new company it takes a while to figure it out. Now I always laugh when people say ‘WWE style? There’s no WWE style.’ Yes there is a WWE style, it’s a main event style, it’s how you really work. And anybody that comes through the system, it makes me laugh when you see guys from NXT that came from the indies that were super great and critically acclaimed...there’s always an adjustment period when you come into the WWE, I don’t care who you are - AJ Styles it was an adjustment, Bobby Roode or Samoa Joe or any of those guys...There is a way we work in WWE and once you can work that way you can take that style and work it anywhere on the planet and always have the best match on the show."
  • How the business was different back in the 1990s: "It was such a different business in the 90s. Even if it was only twenty years ago it might as well have been fifty years ago with the way the boys thought, the way the business was...it doesn’t even matter who the main event is anymore, whereas back in the 90s, if you were going to make the big money you had to be in the main event. And as a result, to stay in the main event there was a lot of political imagination going on behind the scenes to keep guys down or help guys out whatever it was. And those sorts of politics don’t really exist anymore."
  • The politics between WCW and WWE guys: "When I came into WWE; it’s hard for people to actually believe this but at that time frame the wrestling war was real… there was a little bit of underlying heat amongst the boys if you came from WCW or vice versa. It’s just the way that it was. And so when I came into WWE… the first night I interrupted The Rock, I’m sure I had nuclear heat just by the fact that I was doing it. I was completely oblivious to that, knew really nothing of the politics that were going on. I was just doing my thing."
  • Chyna having the stiffest forearm strikes: "I remember the first real feud that I had was with Chyna. And he (Vince McMahon) said to me, ‘Do you mind working with a woman?’ and I said ‘No I don’t mind, I’ll be happy too.’ And he goes ‘I don’t want you to treat her with kid gloves, I want you to work with her like you would work with a guy. I don’t want you to pull any punches, I don’t want you to stiff her but do what you do.’ So I did that and I remember as a result she did get a little bit of a black eye once. By the way her forearm strikes were stiff as f***."
  • The passing of Vinnie Paul: "Vinnie was one of those guys, I’ll use this analogy that Sean (Waltman) can understand. He (Vinnie) was a more partying version of Owen Hart. A guy everybody loved, always had a smile on his face, very generous, just a great great guy." 

UFC

  • It is official that James Vick will face Justin Gaethje in the main event for the 8/25 show in Lincoln, NE. Vick replaces Al Iaquinta.
  • Yancy Medeiros today announced he is off the 7/7 PPV show in Las Vegas due to an injury. He was to face Mike Perry. Paul Felder will be the replacement.
  • Javier Mendez talks on Submission Radio:
  • If training with Cain Velasquez is a tougher test for Daniel Cormier than Stipe Miocic at UFC 226: “I think Cain Velasquez is a monster for anybody in the gym and in real life too. It’s unfortunate that these things have happened to him that probably should never happened, but to me he’s the king.”
  • If Velasquez is 100% healthy: “Cain’s been 100 percent since the beginning of the year, it’s just a matter of something happening when the managers can get together and structure it. I’m not privy to any of that, so I don’t know anything about that. I just know he’s healthy, he’s been healthy.”
  • If DC may fight after his set retirement date of March 2019: “Well, obviously he’s 39. I said he keeps improving all the time, so he could go on still, but obviously it’s his decision and we as his coaches have to be behind our guy, and that’s what he wants and that’s what we’ll do. I’m not going to try and convince him otherwise. He’s been saying this for a while. It’s not like it’s new. He didn’t just all of a sudden decide and say this morning, ‘hey you guys, guess what? I’m retiring now,’ he’s been saying this for a while. So, we knew this day was coming, and hopefully it will be successful all the way through and hopefully he can get this fight out of the way and two more before it’s all said and done. But, we’ll see.”
  • What this win would do for DC in terms of his legacy and if it would overshadow the Jon Jones losses: “I think he’s in the GOAT discussion only because the other people that should be there are disqualified – by their doing or not their doing, they got disqualified. So, to me it’s a no-brainer as why he would be considered in that category. If you disqualify yourself, you disqualify yourself. Right or wrong, it doesn’t matter, you’re disqualified. So just from that point alone, a hundred percent he’s in the discussion in my opinion.”
  • What Javier thinks of the match-up with Miocic and what DC’s advantages are: “What can you say about Stipe? He’s great. He’s great everywhere. He’s a great ambassador for the sport. Man, I have nothing but praise for him. He does everything right and he’s not a trash talker. So, this is not one of those fights that is related to this person hates this person, there’s no hate here. It’s just to see who’s the best. And Stipe, like you said, he’s got great hands too. Also, he has good power backing up, going forward, you know, he’s extremely well-rounded, he’s got a good IQ. He’s got everything. And with DC, what edges him out a little bit is in the wrestling, you know, a little higher wrestler. I think we have more striking opportunities with what we have, but the power factor goes to him, the height factor goes to him. But that’s nothing new to DC. When he fought as a heavyweight for the 12 or 13 fights, he never lost a round in any of his heavyweight fights. The rounds that DC’s ever lost were in the light heavyweight division, but never in the heavyweight. So, I’m expecting, honestly speaking, I’m expecting that to happen again where he just dominates the heavyweights.”
  • If Javier expects Khabib to fight McGregor next: “I’m not sure. From what I’m reading, John Kavanagh said that he’ll bet anything that that fight happens this year.
  • If Javier is in on that bet: “No, because I don’t know what New York has planned for him. We’ll see come his final court hearing. They have more inside information on that, but hey man, anything could happen, you know? One thing I will say, is if it does get licensed it won’t be in New York, it would have to be in Vegas. So, the fight will have to be in Vegas if it happens this year. I’m hoping it happens this year. The fans need to see it. We need to have something outside of the Stipe and DC fight, we need to have another blockbuster, and I think that would be the blockbuster of all time if they can ever get that one together.”
  • When the perfect time for Khabib to fight this year would be in terms of preparation: “Ideally, if he comes in September and the fight’s in December, that would be ideal. But also, we can’t go hard for the whole time, we can go for like eight months, the rest is just learning, picking up new stuff.”
  • If October is realistic for UFC 229: “I don’t know cause I don’t know what’s going on. Islam and those guys, his other training partners, are here getting ready for their fights. I don’t know. I’m thinking October if he’s training, which I’m pretty sure he is, is doable, but I think it’s probably more realistic November, December. That’s what I’m thinking now based on what’s going on.”
  • If Khabib needs to beat McGregor to prove he’s the undisputed champion: “No, I don’t think he needs to beat McGregor, but I think he needs to personally beat a Tony Ferguson, he needs to beat like a GSP-type guy. He needs to beat some top, top, top guys to really solidify his place in history. That I do think he needs to do. But, does he need to fight Conor? Depends on Conor. If Conor’s fighting, then yes, he does. But if Conor’s not, then that obviously doesn’t matter. He’s still going to make history by beating the other guys. But it would be nice to get Conor in there, only because that’s the fight everybody wants to see.”
  • Who the toughest fight is for Khabib out of GSP, Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson: “The most dangerous fight for us is GSP. It’s his fight IQ. He’s got an incredible fight IQ. He’s a brilliant fighter and he’ll have the right game plan and he’ll exercise it. He’ll implement his game plan and it would be up to us to stop him from doing it. But he would be to me the most dangerous, because out of all of them he’s the most intelligent when it comes to how he’s going to approach the fight, how he’s gonna get his body ready. He’ll do it to perfection. He’s like a scientist in a way. I love the guy, I think he’s incredible and I believe he’s our toughest test for sure.”

MISCELLANEOUS

  • A story promoting the second season of GLOW.
  • MLW announced the creation of its middleweight title with a match between Joey Ryan vs. MJF on 7/19 at the Long Island, City, NY show at the Melrose Ballroom. The middleweight division is 205 pounds or less. Hoping they are doing same-day weigh-ins so we don't have people trying lost 46 pounds in two weeks to make it.
  • In the story on Bellator's deal with DAZN in the current issue, it should be noted that MLW through its deal with Bein Sports is also on DAZN outside the U.S.
  • Weigh-in results for tomorrow's Bellator show in Temecula, CA on Paramount Network: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (125) vs. Alejandra Lara (124.6) Saad Awad (159.8) vs. Ryan Couture (159.9) Valerie Letourneau (126) vs. Kristina Williams (125.4) Juan Archuleta (146) vs. Robbie Peralta (145.3)
  • Jordynne Grace has a family emergency and won't be able to attend the AWS tournament show Saturday night in South Gate, CA.
  • Laura DiMatteo, who wrestles in the U.K., announced on her Twitter that she is gay and said she wanted to do it at the end of Pride month. She said some knew and she never hid it but never said it publicly. (thanks to Jake Koch)
  • Blackcraft Wrestling iPPV on 8/24 from Pittsburgh for $10, which also gets you a $10 gift card to Blackcraft Clothing, is listing Johnny Blackcraft (John Morrison) vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Brody King in a no DQ match as the main event, plus PCO vs. Chris Dickinson, Britt Baker vs. Saraya Knight, Taya Valkyrie vs. Samantha Heights vs. Isla Dawn and much more.
  • PCW Ultra on 7/27 in Wilmington, CA on FITE TV has Penta 0M & Warbeast vs. OVE & Sami Callhan, Shane Strickland vs. Flip Gordon for the light heavyweight title, Tessa Blanchard vs. Britt Baker for the women's title, Matt Riddle vs. Brody King, Rich Swann vs. Matt Cross vs. Jake Atlas, Dragon Lee vs. ACH and Hammerstone vs. Timothy Thatcher. Jake Roberts will also be a special guest.
  • CZW tomorrow night in Asbury Park, NJ at the House of Independents with MJF vs. Joe Gacy.
  • Unholy Warfare on Saturday night in Reidsville, NC with a series of death matches.
  • All Star Wrestling's 11th anniversary show takes place 7/28 in Surrey, BC at the Alice McKay Building (the same building Mauro Ranallo often refers to in commentary) featuring Short Sleeve Sampson vs. El Loco. They also run 7/27 in Vancouver at the Wise Hall & Lounge with the same main event.
  • Toa Henare works for Asylum Pro Wrestling in Christchurch, New Zealand on 8/25.
  • Crossfire Wrestling on 7/22 in St. Catharines, ONT at the Merritton Community Centre.
  • Pure Wrestling Association on 7/20 in Guelph, ONT at Red Cheveron.
  • PWF on 7/15 in Oshawa, ONT at the Legion on Simcoe St. with Jake O'Reilly vs Cody Deaner.
  • Girl Fight Wrestling on Saturday night in Summit, IL with have an eight-woman death match tournament with Rebecca Payne vs. LuDark Shaitan in a no rope barbed wire match, Randi West vs. Jewels Malone in a barbed wire baseball bat match, Khloe vs. Sage Sin in a 10,000 thumbtacks match, Mickie Knuckles vs. Maria Manic in a dog collar match, plus a Taipei Death match and a light tube cage match.
  • New Evolution Wrestling on 7/25 in Whitbourne, NL at the Trinity-Placentia Stadium headlined by Rene Dupree. They also run 7/24 in Gander, NL and 7/23 in Grand Falls-Windsor at the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium with Dupree as the headliner.
  • Magen Boys Entertainment from Monday night in Toronto before 550 fans: Colt Cabana b David Starr for the Kosher heavyweight title, Celine Jian won Battle Royal, Tomer Shalom & Stone Rockwell b Bin Hamin & Karou, Brent Banks won four-way over Phil Seinfeldk, Shmuli Schwartz and Izzy Slapowitz Jr., Morrocan Mafia b Hollywood Howie & Chris Mordechai. (Chris Masters).
  • MCW's annual Shane Shamrock Cup is 7/13 and 7/14 in Joppa,MD. 2 Cold Scorpio will be on the show. Mark Henry, Danielle Moinet (Summer Rae), Milena Roucka (Rosa Mendes) will be making appearances on the 7/13 show.
  • Action Wrestling tomorrow night in Tyrone, GA with Tracy Williams vs. Arik Royal and Anthony Henry vs. Cain Justice.
  • Great North Wrestling on 8/26 in Hawkesbury, ONT.
  • Beyond Wrestling Americanrana on 7/29 in Worcester, MA at the White Eagle has PCO vs. Brian Cage, Brody King vs. Josh Briggs, Matt Riddle & Tom Lawlor vs Nick Gage & Matt Tremont, Tracy Williams vs. Wheeler Yuta, Jonathan Gresham vs MJF and more.
  • Alpha One Wrestling on 7/27 at the Hamilton Convention Centre with Rickey Shane Page and more.
  • NSW on 7/22 in Hamilton, ONT at the Lincoln Alexander Centre.
  • Mid States Wrestling from Saturday night in Harrison, AR before 300 fans: Bennett James b Niles Plonk, Diamond Dogs b Dr. Isin & Dusty Gold, Bill Dundee (at 74 years old) b Johnny Morton, Jason Jones won Battle Royal, Roosevelt Gary Gram b Tim Storm-DQ, Jerry Lawler b Matt Riviera-DQ.
  • Maureen O'Brien, a Roller Derby star in the 60s and 70s, who was on the San Francisco Bay Bombers and New York Chiefs, passed away yesterday.
  • Lion's Pride Sports Saturday night in College Station, TX has Lance Hoyt defending the title against Mike Dell in a street fight loser leaves town match.
  • ECCW on 7/7 in New Westminster, BC at the Sapperton Pensioners Hall. 

Daily Professional Wrestling History: 20 years since Undertaker & Foley's Hell in a Cell match

12th Annual F4W Empire Vegas Convention

Greetings friends and fans of the F4W / Wrestling Observer website. It's time to announce the details of the 12th annual F4W / Wrestling Observer Empire Las Vegas Convention~!

This year's event will be taking place in Las Vegas from August 16th to the 20th and will again be in conjunction with WWE's SummerSlam weekend a.k.a. Super China Buffet Day~! There will still be the usual events, but our big draw will be WWE's summer blockbuster PPV, SummerSlam. As per tradition, we will all gorge ourselves at a Las Vegas buffet, and then watch SummerSlam in a rented out movie theater. All information and ticketing prices are available now. Sign up ASAP as spots are limited for some events. 

This year will also feature a Future Stars Wrestling show which will include the first ever Gladys Gibson Doubles Match Classic! Already booked for the show are the teams Mia Yim & Leva Bates, Shotzi Blackheart & ???, Samantha Heights & Brittany Blake, and Miranda Alize & Kylie Rae. Also appearing will be Kris Wolf along with many more future stars. There may even be a classic star or two making an appearance. You won't want to miss this show! Check out the convention's Facebook page for all additional information.

CONTACT INFORMATION