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Daily Update: Hogan's secret backer, NXT TakeOver, Sasha and Enzo return

Peter Thiel admitted in a New York Times article that he was, as reported earlier in the week by Forbes, secretly funding Hulk Hogan's lawsuit, noting that most people can't defend themselves and even a famous millionaire like Terry Bollea didn't have the resources to do this one alone. He said he had planned this against Gawker several years ago. "I refuse to believe that journalism means massive privacy violations. I think much more highly of journalists than that. Its precisely because I respect journalists that I do not believe they are endangered by fighting back against Gawker." 

Thiel said the published estimates of him spending $10 million were "roughly in the ballpark." He said this is not a business venture and he's not expecting any money out of funding Hogan's case. He said he considered this "one of my greater philanthropic things that I've done. I think of it in those terms." He also said this is not the only case that he's funded. Here is another article on this aspect of the on-going Hulk Hogan saga.

We're looking for reports on tonight's NXT house show in Lakeland, FL to newstips@WrestlingObserver.com.

SMACKDOWN TONIGHT AT 8 P.M. ON USA NETWORK

  • Zack Ryder vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Money in the Bank qualifier
  • Rusev vs. Kalisto for the U.S. title
  • Natalya vs. Dana Brooke
  • R-Truth & Goldust vs. Fandango & Tyler Breeze
  • The Miz vs. Cesaro for IC title

NEW JAPAN BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS TOURNAMENT LIVE FROM TOKYO KORAKUEN HALL AT 5:30 A.M. EASTERNFRIDAY MORNING ON NEW JAPAN WORLD

  • Matt Sydal & Michael Elgin vs. Rocky Romero & Yoshi-Hashi
  • Yuji Nagata & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Manabu Nakanishi & David Finlay & Kyle O'Reilly vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Kushida & Ryusuke Taguchi & Juice Robinson & Jay White
  • Tiger Mask vs. Chase Owens
  • Trent Baretta vs. Bobby Fish
  • Satoshi Kojima & Yoshitatsu & Captain New Japan vs. Kenny Omega & Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi
  • Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo vs. Tetsuya Naito & Seiya Sanada & Evil & Bushi
  • Jushin Liger vs. Volador Jr.
  • Ricochet vs. Will  Ospreay 

On  Friday, we're looking for reports on the WWE house show in Springfield, IL (Roman Reigns, Sheamus, Kevin Owens, Dudleys, Enzo, Cass, Sami Zayn, Charlotte, Natalya) and the NXT show in Cocoa Beach, FL to newstips@WrestlingObserver.com

NEW JAPAN WORLD PRO WRESTLING ON FRIDAY NIGHT ON AXS TV AT 8 P.M.

The show returns with the first of several two hour specials from the 2015 G-1 Climax tournament

  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi
  • A.J Styles vs. Katsuyori Shibata
  • Tetsuya Naito vs. Bad Luck Fale

CMLL FROM ARENA MEXICO IN MEXICO CITY ON FRIDAY NIGHT

  • Oro Jr. & Soberano vs. Cancerbero & Raziel
  • Marcela & Princesa Sugei & Silueta vs. Amapola & Dallys & Zeuxis
  • Blue Panther & Blue Panther Jr. & The Panther vs. Ephesto & Luciferno & Mephisto
  • Guerrero Maya Jr. vs. Felino
  • Diamante Azul & Marco Corleone & Titan vs. Kraneo & Rey Bucanero & Ripper
  • Maximo Sexy & Mistico & Stuka Jr. vs. El Terrible & Shocker & La Mascara

Saturday we're looking for reports on the WWE shows in Peoria, IL (Roman Reigns, Sheamus, Kevin Owens, Dudleys, Enzo, Cass, Sami Zayn, Charlotte, Natalya) and Winnipeg (Big Show, Chris Jericho, Kane, Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman, Dean Ambrose, New Day, Rusev, Kalisto, Alberto De Rio, Paige, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks).

NEW JAPAN BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS TOURNAMENT FROM OSAKA AT 3 A.M. EASTERN SUNDAY MORNING/SATURDAYNIGHT ON NEW JAPAN WORLD

  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Michael Elgin & Volador Jr. vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Trent Baretta & Will Ospreay
  • Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Bobby Fish & Jay White & Juice Robinson & Katsuyori Shibata
  • David Finlay vs. Gedo
  • Rocky Romero vs. Bushi
  • Satoshi Kojima & Yoshitatsu & Captain New Japan & Ricochet vs. Kenny Omega & Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens
  • Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Tetsuya Naito & Evil & Seiya Sanada
  • Matt Sydal vs.. Kyle O'Reilly
  • Kushida vs. Ryusuke Taguchi

Sunday we're looking for reports on WWE shows in Madison, WI (Roman Reigns, Sheamus, Kevin Owens, Dudleys, Enzo, Cass, Sami Zayn, Charlotte, Natalya) and LaCrosse, WI (Big Show, Kane, Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman, Dean Ambrose, New Day, Rusev, Kalisto, Alberto Del Rio, Paige, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks).

UFC FROM THE MANDALAY BAY EVENTS CENTER IN LAS VEGAS ON SUNDAY

Fight Pass bouts at 6 p.m. Eastern

  • Adam Milstead vs. Chris De La Rosa
  • Bryan Caraway vs. Aljamain Sterling

FS 1 at 7 p.m. Eastern

  • Shane Campbell vs. Erik Koch
  • Jake Collier vs. Alberto Pereira Uda
  • Abel Trujillo vs. Jordan Rinaldi
  • Sara McMann vs. Jessica Eye
  • Josh Burkman vs. Paul Felder
  • Jorge Masvidal vs. Lorenz Larkin
  • Chris Camozzi vs Vitor Miranda
  • Tarec Saffiedine vs. Rick Story
  • Jeremy Stephens vs. Renan Barao
  • Cody Garbrandt vs. Thomas Almeida

NEW JAPAN BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS FROM TOTTORI ON MONDAY (taped for New Japan World available later in the day)

  • Trent Baretta vs. Chase Owens
  • Tiger Mask vs. Will Ospreay
  • Bobby Fish vs. Volador Jr.
  • Jushin Liger vs. Ricochet

Raw is Monday from Green Bay featuring the return of John Cena plus a Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin match.

NEW JAPAN BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS FROM HIROSHIMA ON TUESDAY (taped for New Japan World available later in the day)

  • Bushi vs. David Finlay
  • Matt Sydal vs. Rocky Romero
  • Kushida vs. Gedo
  • Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Kyle O'Reilly

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday in Rockford, IL.

    THE ROUND-UP

    If you've ever wanted to WATCH our radio shows here on the site, check out our Youtube page! No full video shows, but lots of video clips, full free audio shows that you can tell your friends about, and much more to come! Make sure you subscribe today!

    Figure Four Weekly 5/23/2016: More strange developments in WWE's concussion lawsuit deposition - Last week we talked a bit about both Evan Singleton's deposition in the WWE concussion lawsuit as well as a video of a concussion presentation held in developmental during Singleton's time under contact. Among other topics, there's been a bit more movement on that front.

    Wrestling Observer Newsletter

    READ IT HERE: May 30, 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Return of Seth Rollins and the WWE brand split, plus tons of news

    With two of the biggest news stories of the year, the WWE brand split and the UFC sale both in play, we've got a new issue of the Observer packed with news.

    Our lead story looks at the brand split, with what we do know, what has and hasn't been decided and the background of how it went down. There's also more info on the UFC sale talks.  Plus there is coverage of the return of Seth Rollins, the build to Money in the Bank and have coverage of Extreme Rules, the negotiations for a Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz fight and look more at the Floyd Mayweather vs. McGregor rumors. Take an in-depth look at the departure of Cody Runnels (Rhodes) from WWE and his future prospects, plus look at his complaints regarding people in the company. All this plus a look at the New Japan Super Juniors tournament, the funding of the Hulk Hogan lawsuit, the World Cup trios tournament coming up and a feature on the last PWG show.

    The lead story looks at every aspect of the brand split.  It looks at the original goals and reasons for it and what did and didn't work, plus how it'll be different this time, how the touring will work, and an examination of what talent knows and tentative plans in place.  Vince McMahon' reaction is a big part of this, and this issue explains how the deal went down, the story behind the story and other aspects to be considered. There's also a look at Smackdown going live, the affect on the fan base, the affect on TNA and why it was important to get Smackdown away from Thursday.

    Another big story in this issues is Extreme Rules, the decision to make Seth Rollins a heel and current plans for Money in the Bank, and also match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.

    Details about what's going on with Conor McGregor, including Colin Cowherd's claim that Mayweather vs. McGregor is happening, as well as a look at the Nate Diaz negotiations last week and what McGregor has said publicly.

    Finally, this issue looks at Cody Runnels leaving WWE, what he said was the reason why, and a look into those reasons, and a look at the realities of WWE business decisions and his background.

    CLICK HERE FOR A FULL PREVIEW.

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    Check out the latest online Wrestling Observer BACK ISSUE: April 19, 1999 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Davey Boy Smith hospitalized with spinal infection, WCW Spring Stampede. The health situations involving both Davey Boy Smith and Japanese woman wrestler Emiko Kado took turns for the worst this past week.

    THURSDAY NEWS

    HHH on Twitter yesterday noted that the name of the 6/8 NXT Takeover show would be "Takeover: The End." Some people seem to think that means it's the end of NXT. It isn't. It's just likely the end of the Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor program with their third meeting in a cage.

    We're sorry to hear about the death today of Beverly Crookshanks, better known as Beverly Dundee. Dundee was the wife of Bill Dundee who was part of a huge angle in Memphis where after Bill lost his hair in a match with Jerry Lawler, he put up his wife's hair to get another shot at Lawler's hair. Lawler won again and mocked Dundee for years about shaving his wife's head and him having to go home to a bald woman. She had a stroke several months ago and her health had declined since then. Here is a youtube video where you can see Lawler and Dundee.

    UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has been named the honorary chairman of the World Cup of Wrestling which takes place on 6/11 and 6/12 at the Forum in Los Angeles.  All six members of the freestyle Olympic team are scheduled to represent the U.S.

    Sasha Banks has been cleared to work after what is believed to have been a concussion. She will be working in Winnipeg and LaCrosse, WI at the house shows this weekend. Not sure about TV. On the original plans for Money in the Bank, she was to have a match and to return to TV to build it.

    Enzo Amore is also scheduled for house shows this weekend in Springfield, IL, Peoria and Madison, WI.

    WWE

    • Brandi Runnels talks her departure from WWE.
    • Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat will be appearing together on 7/23 at The Sands Resort in Bethlehem, PA for a Q&A show. Former ROH owner Cary Silkin said that he would be going to that event to try and collect $41,000 the he said Flair owes him for not living up to his contract and quitting on ROH in 2010.
    • John Cena talks about building the WWE brand
    • Randy Orton and his new wife are expecting a daughter in November.
    • There will be a new episode of Camp WWE put on the network tonight at 10 p.m.
    • On NXT last night, they started promoting the debut of Andrade Cien Almas, who is the former La Sombra.
    • WWE stock, which fell last week due to Vince & Linda McMahon selling stock, is back to normal range as it was up 13 cents per share today to $17.43.

    UFC

    • Alex Caceres replaces B.J. Penn as the opponent for Cole Miller on the 6/4 UFC show in Los Angeles.  
    • Matt Brown vs. Jake Ellenberger was announced for UFC 201 on 7/30 in Atlanta.
    • Kid Yamamoto pulled out of his 6/18 fight with Chris Beal. He's being replaced on the show by Joe Soto.
    • Jim Alers vs. Jason Knight was added to the 7/23 show in Chicago.

    MISCELLANEOUS

    • Mike Tyson has joined the cast of "Kickboxer: Retaliation," which is the movie starring Dave Bautista, Jean Claude Van Damme, Paige VanZant, Gina Carano and Georges St-Pierre.
    • Dixie Carter did media in India and said TNA was looking for a female pro wrestler from India.
    • The first series of Ring of Honor action figures are now up for preorder at www.figurestoycompany.com and www.wrestlingsuperstore.com. This series features Jay Lethal, Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, and Kevin Steen. Figures are available individually or as a complete set with some special deals available when you order. Estimated delivery is in July.
    • An interview with Ricochet is here. 
    • Chris Honeycutt vs. Mikkel Parlo at middleweight has been added to the 6/17 Bellator show in Fresno at the SaveMart Center.
    • New England Championship Wrestling's Iron Man 8 championship takes place on 6/11 in Wakefield, MA. There will be four singles matches and the four winners come back in a four-way 45 minute match where whoever wins the most falls in 45 minutes is the winner. Announced in are Slyck Wagner Brown, Brad Hollister, Chris Escobar, Tod Loco, Kevin Tibbs and the rest are to be announced.
    • Former WCW and TNA employee Jason Hervey, best known as Eric Bischoff's warner in BHE, was arrested in January according to TMZ reports that came out today, noting he had spent 48 hours behind bars for a DUI and carrying a weapon while under the influence charge as there was allegedly a loaded handgun in his car when pulled over. Hervey is best known for his days as a child actor on "The Wonder Years" TV show.  
    • AAW on 6/17 in Merionette Park, IL at 115 Bourbon Street with Sami Callihan & Dave Crist vs. Eddie Kingston & Homicide, Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett vs. Devin & Mason Cutter, Chris Hero vs Drago, Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa vs. ?, plus AR Fox, Aerostar, Trevor Lee, Andrew Everett, Cedric Alexander, Drew Gulak, Silas Young, Moose, Candice LaRae, Heidi Lovelace, Jessicka Havok, Kimber Lee and Kongo Kong.
    • Metro Pro Wrestling's sixth anniversary show features Demolition on 6/4 in Kansas City at the turner Rec Center.
    • Woman's Fatale 19 is in Ste-Therese, Quebec at the Cultural Centre Communautiare.
    • WCWF has its third anniversary show on 6/4 at 7 p.m. at the Yuba Sutter Fairgrounds in Yuba City headlined by Nathan Brick vs. Lord Luxury.
    • Legends of the Ring on 6/11 in Monroe, NJ at the Crowne Plaza Hotel has an autograph show with Matt & Jeff Hardy, Bret Hart, Gene Okerlund, Sting, Booker T, Stevie Ray, Demolition, Warlord, Barbarian, Candice Michelle, Dutch Mantell, Terry Funk, Scott Steiner and Butch Reed. 
    • CWE tonight in Brandon, Manitoba at the Assiniboine Community College with Frankie Kazarian & Silas Young vs. Orin Veidi & Jacob Savage and Lio Rush vs. Jason Kincaid vs. AJ Sanchez.
    • Evolve on 6/11 in Orlando at the Downtown Rec Center Elimination match:  Johnny Gargano vs. Drew Gulak vs. TJP vs. Lince Dorado vs. ? Drew Galloway vs. Ethan Page Ethan Carter III vs. ? Timothy Thatcher vs. Tracy Williams Matt Riddle vs. Trevor Lee Fred Yehi vs. Cedric Alexander Bravado Brother vs. Jason Cade &Darby Allin
    • Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame show from Friday night in Wichita Falls, TX before 450 fans:  Americos b Jastin Taylor, Greg Anthony b Matt Riviera, Moonshine Mantell b Double D, Charlie Haas b Houston Carson, Tim Storm b Andrew Anderson.  Eric Embry, David Manning and Gary Young attended the show.
    • The J.T. Lightning 24-man Invitational tournament takes place on 5/27 and 5/28 in Cleveland at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  Dylan Postl (Swoggle as he's now gong) appears plus opening round matches of Colt Cabana vs. Homicide, Dan Severn vs. Colin Delaney, Brian Myers vs. Billy Gunn, Josh Alexander vs. Johnny Gargano, Ray Rowe vs. Big Damo, Little Guido vs. Tim Donst, Tyson Dux vs. Tracy Williams, Cedric Alexander vs. Veda Scott, DJ Zema Ion vs. Laredo Kid, Alex Daniels vs. Britt Baker, Louis Lyndon vs. Cheech and BJ Whitmer vs. Candice LaRae.
    • Lex Luger appears on 6/11 in Gray, TN at Daniel Boone High School for a combination wrestling show at Fountain of Life Bible Church's Car and Bike show.  The event has free admission.
    • John LaRocca and Alan Counihan talk the Champion Carnival tournament.
    • Here is a story comparing Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather to the Ali vs. Inoki match 40 years ago.
    • Here is a story on an indie event in Louisville.
    • A review of the autobiography of Jeannie Clarke-Williams, a former wrestling valet in WCCW and WCW who was married to Chris Adams and Steve Austin can be read here.

    Today in Professional Wrestling History: Smoking Gunns win WWF Tag Team Titles; Eric Young wins TNA TV Title