TV/show notes for tonight:
The major event of the day is, of course, UFC 187 from Las Vegas, Nevada, which Dave will provide live coverage of from press row:
Main card on PPV at 10:00 p.m. ET:
Anthony Johnson (205) vs. Daniel Cormier (205) for the vacant light heavyweight title
Chris Weidman (185) vs. Vitor Belfort (184) for Weidman’s middleweight title
Donald Cerrone (156) vs. John Makdessi (155.5)
Travis Browne (236.5) vs. Andrei Arlovski (241)
Joseph Benavidez (125.5) vs. John Moraga (126)
Prelims on Fox Sports 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET:
John Dodson (125.5) vs. Zach Makovsky (126)
Dong Hyun Kim (170.5) vs. Josh Burkman (170.5)
Uriah Hall (186) vs. Rafael Natal (185.5)
Rose Namajunas (116) vs. Nina Ansaroff (120)
Prelims on UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. ET:
Mike Pyle (171) vs. Colby Covington (170.5)
Islam Makhachev (155.5) vs. Leo Kuntz (155.5)
Justin Scoggins (126) vs. Josh Sampo (126)
This is a really excellent card, even with the removal of Jon Jones from the main event and Khabib Nurmagomedov from the Cerrone fight bring it down from the heights it could have reached. Every single main card fight and three of the four televised prelims have ranked fighters and plenty of divsional relevance, and most of the fights, if not all, sound entertaining on paper. It's also, for whatever reason, a flyweight showcase, with two matches of top ten 125 pounders as well as Scoggins-Sampo being a solid matchup of exciting prospects.
The big hook coming out of the weigh-ins last night is Chris Weidman (who's usually incredibly polite and reserved at these types of events) jawing with Vitor Belfort during the staredown and then explaining during his interview with Joe Rogan that he was calling out Belfort for "still cheating" and taking steroids. On out of competition testing that's been released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Belfort, who theoretically should have low testosterone levels since he needed testosterone replacement therapy, had noticeably higher levels than Weidman.
That said, the tests in question were urine tests and not blood tests (which are the most reliable for total testosterone levels), so not knowing what time of day the samples were collected (among other variables), it's not quite as cut and try as what Weidman is saying, though it's absolutely suspicious that Belfort doesn't have low levels.
As noted yesterday, Dish Network and the UFC have come to an agreement, so Dish customers will have access to the PPV tonight. Make sure to check out Josh Nason's preview of the main card with the Observer panel picks. Feedback on the show (as well as NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable) with best match/worst match and if you rate the show thumbs up/down/in the middle should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two of the biggest/best drawing indies in the United States have shows tonight, as Northeast Wrestling is running Bethany, CT with Matt Taven vs. Donovan Dijiak and PWS is running their home base of Rahway, NJ with Colt Cabana, Brian Myers, Amazing Red, Sonjay Dutt, Eddie Kingston, Ashley Massaro, and more.
We're looking for results/reports from any show you may happen to go to this weekend, but especially the WWE house shows tonight (Worcester and Utica) and tomorrow (White Plains and Binghamton). Send those to email@example.com.
The newest issue of Figure Four Weekly is up on the site for subscribers (subscribe here) with a detailed look at the history of popular music being used in pro wrestling, including:
* Who actually did the first pro wrestling music video?
* The role of popular songs gtting major acts over.
* What made the use of music in ECW so special.
* How "real" songs make wrestlers stand out in a sea of in-house productions.
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 American, Canadian, 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.
The new issue of the Wrestling Observer is among the most talked about of the year, with a detailed lead story on the plight of every key non-WWE promotion, as well as details of TNA's future with Destination America, ROH viewership and more, a detailed look at how MMA is going to be changing with far more serious repercussions for drug test failures and the story behind the changes, a look at Elimination Chamber, a rundown of Payback, a detailed update NXT with coverage of its Northeast tour, and of the ROH/New Japan tour. We also look at the Urijah Faber vs. Frankie Edgar show and the death of Corey Hill.
The new issue is up on the site here.
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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 the battle for the No. 2 spot in American pro wrestling. We look at ROH, TNA, GFW and Lucha Underground, as well as how WWE may have created the real No. 2. We look at where things stand with all the groups, both in going forward, if they even can go forward, the TV situation with everyone, tons of changes in TNA television with the move to Wednesday.
We also look at the background of the changes in drug testing penalties in Nevada, what it means for the sport, how the business will change for many, the realities of drug testing with these penalties, injury rates, careers ending earlier, the Wanderlei Silva case, the marijuana threshold and far more.
We also have coverage of the Elimination Chamber lineup, questions regarding the show, business for Payback and match-by-match coverage of the show with star ratings and poll results.
We also look at the attempt to make NXT a third WWE touring brand. We look at the plans for the next few years for the brand, ideas Paul Levesque talked about, long-term plans for shows in and out of Florida, business notes from the Philadelphia and Albany shows and full coverage of all three nights.
We also look at the last three nights of the ROH/New Japan tour with shows in Philadelphia and Toronto, with notes on the business and iPPV, as well as when ROH is trying to cut a deal to bring New Japan talent back.
We also look at the update on the Steve Austin/WWE relationship and some podcast notes, Update on injuries to key talent and how some of them happened, promotions, Ronda Rousey talks a WWE return, Vince McMahon on WrestleMania, What WWE performer has ESPN and FOX wanting them, Notes on how this season's Tough Enough will work, view on women in WWE going forward, Samoa Joe in WWE, WWE Studios looking to make major moves, what WWE star is in the biggest grossing movie of the weekend, more on the box office for Dwayne Johnson's latest movie, ABC airing a piece on WWE and Finn Balor talks NXT.
We also look at the next group of wrestlers getting WWE tryouts, what group in WWE is history, what person from another sport was a guest trainer last week, and a former MMA fighter signs with WWE. We've also got business notes for all the weekend WWE shows and highlights of the events.
We've also got full coverage of UFC's morning show from The Philippines, including the retirement of Mark Munoz, Urijah Faber vs. Frankie Edgar and business notes from the show.
We also have a story on the death of former UFC fighter Corey Hill, as well as one of the worst injuries in UFC history, why people thought he had championship potential and what happened.
We've also got notes on AAA's big show of he weekend, Verano de Escandalo, with many of the stars of Lucha Underground, as well as Rey Mysterio Jr.
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:
--One of biggest stars in Mexico under a police investigation and has been pulled from bookings
--Full details on how this went down
--Octagon first Arena Mexico appearance
--Big tournament coming up
--New Japan star headed to CMLL
--Huge head-to-head battle on Sunday with loaded shows a few miles from each other
--Lineup for the AAA World Cup tournament
--Notes on this week's iPPV of World Cup
--King of Gate tournament coming up to this finals this week
--One of the greatest pro wrestling stars of the 70s returns to Japan at the end of the month
--A look at all the New Japan Super Juniors shows of the week and complete New Japan World lineup of multiple shows
--Update on health of one of 80s biggest names
--More details on Global Force Wrestling including lineups for the first four shows
--Who are newcomers that they have added
--Who was pulled from the promotion
--An update on Scott Hall
--Update on Bill Goldberg and his appearance on a pro wrestling event
--Huge fund raiser to commemorate regional wrestling from the 70s with tons of area stars involved
--Notes on ROH Final Battle
--More on ROH signing of Moose
--Who else had made a play for him
--Main events for the next few ROH shows
--A look at ROH television over the next month
--Why this week's first-run Impact show didn't air in the U.S.
--A look at the Impact schedule and more on the time slot change
--TNA's U.K. tour notes
--More on Billy Corgan in TNA
--Dixie Carter talks to Steve Austin, fact vs. fiction
--TNA loses anther time slot
--A look at this coming week's UFC show
--Lots of UFC card changes and why
--UFC debuts in South Korea in the fall
--Who are the biggest stars from there
--Will UFC's books be made public due to lawsuit
--UFC expected to sign WSOF champion
--A look at all the activities in July in conjunction with UFC in Las Vegas and Fight Week
--Lots of new UFC fights
--A look at Bellator's last show and next show
--Former Pride star put in jail
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.
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue.
Our most requested issues in our history are:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)a
*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)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our history)
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*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)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk, Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods..
To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $20 for shipping costs to Canada and $25 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
Saturday Daily Update
-- As Dave noted last night, Dana White announced on AXS TV's Inside MMA that Bas Rutten will be going into the UFC Hall of Fame this year as the pioneer era fighter inductee. To add to what Dave said, depending on how much you count Pancrase as MMA, Rutten was arguably the first relatively well rounded MMA fighter, starting as a Dutch style kickboxer and picking up catch wrestling submissions quickly. He was also one hell of a gifted rookie pro wrestler in the handful of matches he had. He was put in with great workers like Osamu Nishimura (Part 1, Part 2), Koji Kanemoto, Yuji Nagata (Part 1, Part 2), and Carl Malenko, but he always looked like he fit in.
-- The Roundhouse Revival event to push for the preservation of the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis is ongoing as I write this, and lasts until 6:00 p.m. local time. The city is pushing the demolition of the building to make way for a multi-purpose athletics center (similar to what happened to Maple Leaf Gardens) and obviously there are a lot of people who want to stop that. The Memphis Business Journal has the full schedule of events at the end of their article, long-time home of Memphis wrestling WMC TV did a brief story on the event, and local newspaper of record the Memphis Commercial Appeal has a fairly detaild article,
-- NJPW results from Saitama: ReDragon defeated Mascara Dorada & Jay White,Tomoaki Honma, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask IV defeated Captain New Japan, David Finlay & Sho Tanaka, Gedo defeated Yohei Komatsu in BOSJ block A, Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Barbaro Cavernario in BOSJ block A, Kazuchika Okada & Barreta defeated Yujiro Takahashi & Cody Hall, Nick Jackson defeated KUSHIDA in BOSJ block B, and Hirooki Goto, Togi Makabe, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Katsuyori Shibata defeated Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI.
Rocky Romero vs. Alex Shelley didn't take place as scheduled due to an ankle injury suffered by Shelley at yesterday's show when Finlay fell on him awkwardly. It's not clear yet if he's pulled from the torunament and will be forefeiting his matches or if he just needed a night off and they'll catch up.
-- Tammy Sytch told TMZ that she's now starting to lead towards taking Vivid's six figure offer for her to do porn, with one big holdup being that they want her video set in a wrestling ring and she feels it's played out.
-- UFC announced that Eddie Wineland will be returning from his year-plus layoff to fight Brian Caraway at UFC on Fox: Dillashaw vs. Barao II in Chicago in July.
-- Deadspin has an article from Patrick Wyman about Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic/accused war criminal, and his connections to MMA, including paying Chris Weidman, Fabricio Werdum, and Frank Mir to hang out with him. Worth taking some time to read this even if you're not a MMA fan.
-- This article from the Danville Commercial News in Danville, Illinois reads like something Bryan would write in Flying Mare. It's about fans lining up to buy tickets when they went on sale for the WWE house show in the city in July. One fan, who drove an hour and camped all night to buy small market 2015 WWE house show tickets at the box office, was quoted as saying “I like John Cena. I like Dolph Ziggler, too.” Seriously though, that's awesome.
-- Iain Kidd did a good breakdown of the Belfort and Weidman drug tst results at Bloody Elbow.
-- Mike Fagan examines the UFC Code of Conduct at MMASucka in light of the previously suspended Anthony Johnson main eventing tonight's UFC 187 PPV.
-- Myself and Dylan Hales joined Kris Zellner on the latest episode of his Exile on Badstreet podcast for part one of our look at Jim Crockett Promotions in 1988.