Amid a quiet weekend in the world of combat sports, the calm got disrupted a bit Saturday afternoon with news that former TNA World Champion and NXT TakeOver background regular Bobby Roode made his promotional debut at the organization’s two day run at the UK-based Download Festival. Here’s a look at his entrance.
Roode downed Angelo Dawkins in his debut, and could be appearing Sunday as NXT has four hours of matches booked at the Festival. He didn’t appear on last Thursday’s TV tapings, but could be a presence via the magic of videotape with an official contract signing, a promo, etc.
So now what? With many of the top NXT talents expect to be brought up to WWE when the brand extension happens in July, NXT will still need to keep the cupboard stocked with a few veterans to mix with the up and comers. There’s also the concern of WWE bringing up too many talents and not having a plan on what to do with them -- something that has plagued them in the past.
Saturday was a nice step forward for Roode and it will be fun to see how NXT debuts him and what the vision is for his career throughout 2016. With more of an opportunity to make an, ahem, impact in the WWE system than ever before, he picked a good time to explore his free agency options after what felt like a lifetime in TNA.
TNA SLAMMIVERSARY PPV FROM UNIVERSAL IN ORLANDO AT 8 P.M.
- Bobby Lashley vs. Drew Galloway for the TNA title - match can only be won via knockout or submission
- Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy full metal mayhem
- Jade vs. Sienna for Knockouts title
- Abyss & Crazzy Steve vs. Jessie Godderz & Robbie E for tag titles
- Trevor Lee vs. Eddie Edwards vs. DJ Zema Ion vs. Andre Everett for X title
- Eli Drake vs. Bram for King of the Mountain title
- Ethan Carter III vs. Mike Bennett
- Grado & Mahabali Shera vs. The Tribunal
Sunday we're looking for reports from WWE in Baton Rouge (Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens, Rusev, Enzo, Cass, Kane, Big Show, Braun Strowman, Erick Rowan, Sami Zayn, Dudleys, Lane, Sasha Banks), Lake Charles, LA (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, A.J. Styles, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Charlotte, Alberto Del Rio,Natalya, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Usos, New Day), NXT in Darby, UK and ROH in Milwaukee at the Turner Hall Ballroom (Adam Cole vs Colt Cabana, Christopher Daniels vs. Kamaitachi plus the finals of Tag Wars).
Raw will be Monday in New Orleans including the return of Shane McMahon. It'll be the go-home show for Money in the Bank. NXT also runs in Belfast, Northern Ireland. There are also TNA tapings in Orlando.
Smackdown and Main Event will be taped Tuesday in Biloxi, MS and NXT runs in Dublin, Ireland. There is also an almost live Impact in Orlando as well as the taping for the following week's show.
TNA tapings will continue on Wednesday in Orlando. NXT will be in Liverpool, England.
- NXT Download Festival results: Bobby Roode makes in-ring debut; surprise return
- Evolve 62 results & video highlights: Hero vs. Thatcher III; Tony Nese gets WWE tourney opp
- F4W / Wrestling Observer annual VEGAS convention information (updated)
- UFC featherweight contender Chad Mendes flagged by USADA
- The Week In British Wrestling: Where does Will Ospreay's BOSJ win rank historically?
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Figure Four Weekly 6/9/2016: Will Christopher Nowinski testify in WWE concussion lawsuit? - The latest battleground in the WWE concussion litigation is whether or not Christopher Nowinski can be compelled to testify. Issues cited in a WWE opposition to the plaintiffs' effort are included in the lawsuit.
Wrestling Observer Newsletter
A look at the lives and careers of Muhammad Ali and Kimbo Slice, the return of Brock Lesnar to UFC and the story behind it and coverage of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament are the lead stories in this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Our Ali story talks about the changes in public opinion on him going through the years, his place in culture, the Ali-Frazier fight, the Ali-Liston fights, his being banned from boxing, the creation of different world titles, the Ali-Foreman fight, the Thrilla in Manila, the inspiration of the movie Rocky, what Ali took from pro wrestling, Gorgeous George and Fred Blassie, and what he gave back to pro wrestling, the Ali vs. Inoki story, Ali's appearances in relation to pro wrestling, Ali's pro wrestling matches that are often forgotten, Ali working the first WrestleMania and the Superdome in New Orleans for Bill Watts, the sad ending of his career and the fraud on the public that was the Larry Holmes fight.
The death of Kimbo Slice is also covered. Read about the circumstances leading to the death, how he became famous, his real background, what he did between football and MMA, the Sean Gannon fight, Elite XC, his television ratings records, the crazy night that was supposed to be the Ken Shamrock fight, the death of Elite XC and how media a misunderstanding ended the promotion, Kimbo's days in UFC, the highest rated season of Ultimate Fighter, and sustaining the drawing power. Plus, a look at Kimbo Slice and pro wrestling and why it was about to happen, and how it fell apart, is covered. There's also look at Slice in boxing, and the Dada 5000 fight.
Finally, read about the Brock Lesnar to UFC deal, what Lesnar said about why he's coming back should it be believed, the choice of Mark Hunt as the opponent, why the deal took so long to be announced, how this affects pro wrestling, Lesnar's regrets about re-signing with WWE but why you can question that, the drug testing issue and the Ariel Helwani issue that reporting the story first turned into.
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Check out the latest online Wrestling Observer BACK ISSUE: May 3, 1999 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Death of Rick Rude, WWF Backlash review, more. A look at the life and career of Rick Rude, a review of WWF Backlash, plus tons more.
SATURDAY NEWS UPDATE
Canadian authorities reportedly dropped criminal charges against Teddy Hart stemming from sexual assault allegations in 2014. The case apparently lacked criteria needed for it to proceed. An attorney representing Hart says his client always maintained his innocence. Hart also signed a peace bond to not have any contact for two years with the two women who accused him of the charges. His attorney said Hart has no interest in contacting them.
Evolve runs their second iPPV in as many nights, heading to Orlando for an 8 PM start for Evolve 62. It looks like a fun show featuring their champ Timothy Thatcher, a five-way WWE cruiserweight tourney preview where Tony Nese can grab a spot if he wins, an ECIII open challenge, and more. Here’s a look at last night where Chris Hero made his presence felt.
In an update on the manslaughter trial of a Pennsylvania man accused of causing the death of an 18-month-old by imitating wrestling moves, a judge will not allow the prosecution to show jurors computer-generated videos of the moves. If the 21-year-old man on trial takes the stand to testify, the judge may allow the images shown during cross-examination. The injuries suffered were allegedly from the defendant imitating Undertaker’s Last Ride and Rock’s Rock Bottom. The defense says the death was an accident. The trial is set to begin on Wednesday.
WWE & Pro Wrestling
Dave Bautista teaches Hollywood couple Anna Faris and husband Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World, Parks & Rec) some wrestling moves.
- Last night in Arena Mexico, Rey Cometa beat Cavernario to win the Mexican national welterweight title in a match worth checking out. The Cubs Fan has a breakdown of the entire card that also featured a trios match in the main event.
- VICE has an article headlined “How Robert Rodriquez’s Lucha Libre Telenovela Helped Me Love Professional Wrestling Again”
- In an interview plugging Raw in New Orleans, Luke Gallows talks about The Club and their role in WWE.
- One young fan totally marked out for the surprise return of Seth Rollins at Extreme Rules.
- Our NXT TV recapper Arya Witner had TNA World Champion Drew Galloway on the Wrestling Outsider Podcast.
- A Fox Sports article looks back at Brock Lesnar and his first run in WWE with Lesnar quoted as saying his best friends on the road during that time period were vodka and Vicodin.
- Here’s a look at the trailer for Gridlocked, a movie starring Trish Stratus, Danny Glover, and Dominic Purcell of Prison Break fame.
- One blogger is calling the return of Brock to UFC a “huge risk”.
- Here is a gallery listing 10 pro wrestlers with a background in MMA.
- Big congrats to former WWF wrestler Big Bully Busick who beat cancer. Here’s the story.
- Another gallery from an Alabama website lists 10 things pro wrestling fans hate about wrestling. The comments section is not very kind to wrestling fans questioning the IQ of fans, whether they should be allowed to vote and estimating the amount of front teeth they have retained.
- A Scottish promotion is celebrating their fifth anniversary and bringing in Billy Gunn and Sean Waltman for shows in July.
- Kevin Owens did some press for a Texas newspaper.
- An indie promotion out of Shelbyville, IN is running a show today as part of a day-long fundraiser benefiting a 5-year-old girl battling epilepsy. In an event that also features a motorcycle ride and a concert, the wrestling show itself features a title match and a battle royal where the winner will receive a trophy.
- Another fundraiser for a volunteer fire department features a wrestling show in Pamplin, VA. The Times-Virginian (Appomattox, VA) has a story on the show set for next Saturday.
- Chris Nowinski’s Concussion Legacy Foundation issued a release ahead of an article that is “attempting to create controversy where there is none.”
- A wrestling show headlined a fundraiser last weekend that benefited a 16-year-old Georgia native who is battling cancer.
- This week on 6:05 Superpodcast, David Bixenspan and Brian Last talk to John Arezzi about photographing the Muhammad Ali vs. Gorilla Monsoon angle, Don Laible about Dennis Coralluzzo, and AWA producer "Polish" Joe Ciupik about Larry Nelson and other crazy AWA characters in the '80s. Also, Brian and Bix talk about Johnny Valentine vs. Bull Curry match on NWA On Demand and much more.
- Catch Mid-States Wrestling tonight in Harrison, AR, at the Youth Center with Trevor Murdoch, Ace Steel, Bob Orton Jr. and TONYA HARDING.
- In Your Face Wrestling tonight at Duanesburg YMCA in Delanson, NY with their Coronation Cup event with Bob Evans, HC Loc, and more.
- This week’s Wrestling Weekly podcast featured Les Thatcher talking about the late Danny Miller.
UFC & MMA
- Not only is Josh Gross’ Ali vs. Inoki book available for pre-order, Gross is involved with a documentary on the fight along with filmmaker Bobby Razak. Here’s the six-minute trailer.
- As of now, Chad Mendes still has yet to comment on USADA flagging him for an out of competition violation. For what? We have no idea.
- In case you missed it, Bryan Alvarez’s weekly show with UFC light heavyweight Tom Lawlor went up last night for subscribers.
- Our Josh Nason had UFC commentator Jon Anik on Punch-Out this week.
SUMMER EVENTS CALENDAR
TODAY (JUNE 11) in professional Wrestling History: Rick Rude wins Southern Title; AJ Styles wins TNA/NWA Title
- June 11 - Mid States Wrestling in Harrison, AR at the Youth Center has Matt Riviera vs. Americos, Trevor Murdoch vs. Roosevelt, Bob Orton Jr. Vs. Michael Barry, plus Ace Steel and Tonya Harding refs an arm wrestling match.
- June 11 - In Your Face Wrestling Presents: "Coronation Cup 2016" - Duanesburg YMCA (formerly Duanesburg Area Community Center) 221 Victoria Drive Delanson, NY, Only a 30 minute drive from Albany!
- June 11 - SMASH wrestling in Oshawa, Ontario - Harmony Creek Community & Events Centre, 15 Harmony Road North, Oshawa, Ontario L1K6K8. Tickets here.
- June 11 - Kayfabe Dojo Wrestling runs at Pineapple Jack’s in Rochester, NY, for a 4 PM show
- June 11 - ECCW Port Coquitlam, BC at the Elks Hall #49.
- June 11 - NECW presents the 2016 IRON 8 Championship, Saturday Night, June 11 in Wakefield, MA
- June 11 - Lex Luger will appear in Gray, TN at the Daniel Boone High School for the Fountain of Life Bible Church's Car and Bike show at 6 p.m. The show is free.
- June 11 - The UWC returns to Kelly’s Bar/Banquet Hall, 14 Railroad Avenue, Wrightstown, NJ 08562. Facebook: www.facebook.com/UWCFanCave.
- June 12 - TNA Slammiversary headlined by Drew Galloway vs. Bobby Lashley for the TNA title from Orlando
- June 12 - Revolution Pro Wrestling in London, England headlined by Kurt Angle vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
- June 17 - Absolute Intense Wrestling at Mentor-on-the-Lake, OH at Tequila Jaxx with Joey Janela vs. Facade, Shayna Baszler vs. Veda Scott, Laredo Kid, & B.J. Whitmer
- June 17 - AAW “Killers Among Us,” Drago vs. Chris Hero, at 115 Bourbon Street (3359 w 115th Street Merrionette Park, IL) Tickets available.
- June 18 - UFC in Ottawa: Rory McDonald vs. Stephen Thompson
- June 18 - New England Fights (NEF) returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine with "NEF 24: PROMISED LAND." Tickets for “NEF 24” are on sale now.
- June 19 - Steel Pro Wrestling runs at the KoC in Hamilton, ON.
- June 19 - New Japan Dominion - Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada in an IWGP title match and Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi in a ladder match for the IC title
- June 19 - WWE Money in the Bank from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
- June 24 - ROH Best in the World from Concord, NC with Jay Lethal vs. Jay Briscoe for the ROH title
- June 24 - Isao Kobayashi vs. Justin Lawrence will appear on Spike.com at the Bellator Dynamite show in St. Louis. This is a combo MMA & kickboxing show.
- June 25 - Pure Wrestling Association, Wakas Community Hall, 180 Tsulquate Rd, Port Hardy, BC
- June 25 - Great North Wrestling returns to the Pembroke Memorial Centre, featuring Nicolai Volkoff. Tickets available here.
- June 25 - The UWC returns to Kelly’s Bar/Banquet Hall, 14 Railroad Avenue, Wrightstown, NJ 08562. More information here.
- June 25 - Ultima Lucha tapings in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles at The Temple
- June 26 - Ultima Lucha tapings in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles at The Temple
- July 1 - Pure Wrestling Association is proud to announce our 7th year as part of the Canada Day Celebration. Riverside Park Cambridge, Cambridge, Ontario N3H.
- July 2 - Stars of Wrestling from Alameda, CA at the Alameda Point Gym has Bobby Lashley, Carlito and The Boogeyman appearing.
- July 2 - NWA Cajun Heat in Morgan City, LA at the Municipal Auditorium with Jax Dane vs. Mustang Mike for the NWA title, and an appearance by Kevin Nash
- July 7 - Rock Solid Wrestling runs in Sudbury, ON.
- July 7-11 The 10th annual Wrestling Observer/F4W convention in Las Vegas, EdinSanAntonio has information up on Facebook, or email him F4Wfan@hotmail.com
- July 9 - Smash Wrestling in Fort Erie, ONT at the Native Friendship Center. Chris Hero will headline this fund raising event
- July 17 - Lucha by the Water ft Blue Demon Jr! - Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Ontario M5J 2G8, 3-6 pm. Tickets here.
- July 17 - Premier Wrestling at the IFDES Lodge and Portuguese Hall in Gilroy, CA with Joe Graves vs. Gabriel Gallo for the Premier. Tickets at www.premierwrestle.com.
- July 22 - Ignite Wrestling in Fort Pierce, FL at the National Guard Armory on a show with Lince Dorado, Mr. 450 Hammet, Lio Rush, Martin Stone, Los Ben Dejos, and more
- July 23 - Chikara Pro announced a doubleheader event at Toronto’s Franklin Horner Community Center.
- July 24 - Fenix vs. Pentagon Jr. headlines for Lucha Libre New York at Club LaBoom in Queens, NY
From Dave: For those coming to our convention 7/7 to 7/10 in Las Vegas, the people at The Las Vegas Fight Shop, who have been subscribers for probably 25 years, have a special to those coming. They have a Friday night from 6-8 p.m. signing with Randy Couture and a Saturday from Noon to 2 p.m. signing with Nate Diaz. The signings require the purchase of an Affliction shirt, but anyone from the site can get 20% off a shirt and VIP treatment to cut down the line. Also, anyone from the site who comes to the store can get 20 percent off anything all weekend.