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SAT. UPDATE: UFC 188 preview, plenty of Dusty Rhodes tributes, fallout of UFC drug test incident in Brazil, and more

by David Bixenspan | davidbix@wrestlingobserver.comFollow @davidbix

UFC 188 is tonight live from Arena Ciudad in Mexico City:

Prelims on UFC Fight Pass at 7:00 p.m. ET
Gabriel Benitez vs. Clay Collard
Augusto Montano vs. Cathal Pendred

Prelims on FX (not Fox Sports 1) at 8:00 p.m. ET
Johnny Case vs. Francisco Trevino
Alejandro Perez vs. Patrick Williams
Drew Dober vs. Efrain Escudero
Henry Cejudo vs. Chico Camus

Main card on pay-per-view at 10:00 p.m. ET
Tecia Torres vs. Angela Hill
Yair Rodriguez vs. Charles Rosa
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nate Marquardt
Gilbert Melendez vs. Eddie Alvarez
Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum for heavyweight title

This is a solid line-up for a pay-per-view, albeit one with at least one obvious concession made for Mexican television in the Rodriguez (The Ultimate Fighter LatinoAmerica winner) vs. Rosa doesn't have much business on a PPV main card even if it's a good fight on paper. The main event is the best fight that can be made at heavyweight right now, and while Velasquez absolutely should be the favorit, his the knee injury is a question mark is Werdum has made a career out of exceeding expectations.

Melendez-Alvarez is a long-time dream match of the top two non-UFC lightweight names, both of whom have been trash talking the other, and it has the potential to be an incredible action fight. It's unlikely that it's anything less than a very good fight, the question is just how good it gets. Gastelum is up at middleweight working off his punishment for missing weight against Tyron Woodley in January, and the matchmaking (Marquardt is an aging veteran middleweight who has a welterweight frame by 2015 standards and went 1-3 when he moved down) makes it seem like this is a one off punishment where he'll go back down after a win here.

The featured prelim and main card opener are two really fun fights from the UFC's two lightest weight classes. Camus, who's reinvented himself with a new, movement-heavy style at flyweight, is a sneakily tough matchup for Cejudo, arguably moreso than the higher-ranked Chris Cariaso, who Cejudo beat in his last fight. Cejudo is the better athlete and wrestler, but if Camus can stay away and potshot him, it's a winnable fight. Torres-Hill is a tremendous striking match on paper and an interesting clash of different kickboxing styles.  The UFC clearly sees something in Hill, signing her for the TUF tournament right after her pro MMA debut (a fight she took to be eligible for the show), putting her in front of the media when they can, etc, and this is a big test for her.

WWE has Money in the Bank tomorrow night on pay-per-view and WWE Network:

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose in a ladder match for WWE World Heavyweight Championship
John Cena vs. Kevin Owens in a non-title match
Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton vs. Neville vs. Kane vs. Kofi Kingston in the Money in the Bank ladder match
Ryback vs. Big Show for the WWE Intercontintnal Championship
New Day vs. Prime Time Players for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Nikki Bella vs. Paige for the WWE Divas' Championship
R-Truth vs. King Barrett

Also on Sunday, the U.S. World Team Trials in wrestling air Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

For today, we're looking for reports on WWE shows in Terre Haute and Dayton, NXT in Columbus and GFW in Knoxville at

We're looking for feedback on tonight's UFC show as well as both Money in the Bank and Verano de Escandalo tomorrow, so you can send a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle rating for the shwre along with a best and worst match to">

Raw is Monday in Cleveland featuring the return to WWE of Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman.

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped Tuesday in Buffalo.


The newest issue of Figure Four Weekly is up on the site for subscribers (subscribe here) with a detailed look at what made Dusty Rhodes such a uniquely gifted performer. Topics covered include:

* How his appeal differed from other superstar babyfaces.

* His underrated athleticism and in-ring working ability.

* His versatility on promos.

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 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. 


Last week the big story was the tease of a Steve Austin vs. Brock Lesnar match at WrestleMania.  This week we have a double issue because of such a busy news week, with our lead story talks about the background of that promo and why the match isn't happening.  We have the background of Austin, Lesnar, Paul Heyman and Vince McMahon, what led to the promo on the WWE Network, why Vince McMahon was unhappy about it, and what happened from there including Austin talking about the situation.

We also have the first look at the Wednesday night wrestling wars with ROH & TNA, an update on MMA in New York, coverage of one of UFC's best shows in recent years, New Japan's summer look at including the G-1 Climax and Super Juniors tournament along with a history of the New Japan junior heavyweight division, as well as full coverage of the Hall of Fame and the new season of Tough Enough.

The Latest Wrestling Observer: June 15, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Latest on Austin-Lesnar, Destination America, NY MMA

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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.

Our lead story talks about Steve Austin and Brock Lesnar.  We look at Austin's comments regarding what he said last week, we look at the background, we look at why Vince McMahon wasn't happy about what happened, we look at what this seems to end speculation on, where the Texas death match comment came from and what we don't know about the situation and why the book seems closed on the match.

We've got full details on the first week of both ROH & TNA together on Destination America.  We look at the audience for both groups, and what the quarter hours told about both groups.  We look at what the ratings seem to have indicated about both ROH and TNA and their audiences, as well as the next time this should be evaluated.

We also look at Money in the Bank, the WWE Network special on 7/4 from Japan with the lineup.  We also look at the rest of the tour, an idea floated for the Slammys, what Vince McMahon wants out of the live talk shows on the WWE network, update on Tyson Kidd, why the stock is rising, Dwayne Johnson entertainment news, how the Kevin Steen action figure triggered so many things, return of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman, special guest on Raw next week, Austin signs a new deal, and lots of the recent WWE tryout camp.

We also look at the Jessicka Havok situation.

We also look at all the NXT and WWE house show notes and business notes from the past week.

We look at the new attempt to pass legislation in New York to legalize MMA, how this affects pro wrestling in the state as well as boxing, why MMA has to agree to certain things that are inherently unfair in a last ditch effort to get into the state.  We also look at a unique law regarding attendance at events in the bill, as well as what rules are in place to promote pro wrestling in New York.

We've got coverage of one of the year's best events, Saturday's UFC show in New Orleans.  We look at the record tied, the career of Dan Henderson, the career of Brian Ebersole, as well as business notes and full coverage of the show.

We also look at New Japan's G-1 Climax tournament, who is in, who is out, what is says about current booking, the big shows on the tour, coverage of the show, prior winners, handicapping the tournament, why the winner is already planned out and how far in advance booking is, as well as the next few shows on New Japan World and the Dominion PPV show.

We also have coverage of this year's Best of the Super Juniors tournament, why the interest level was down, business notes on the tournament, a look at the great finale match, as well as coverage of the final shows.  We also have a history of the New Japan junior heavyweight division, including the stars that build the division and the 1996 heyday period.

We've got full coverage of the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremonies last month in Amsterdam, NY, with the awards, presentations, and a look at talent like Jumbo Tsuruta, Rick Martel, Vivian Vachon, Whipper Watson, Pedro Morales, The Freebirds and Curt Hennig.

We also look at the new season of Tough Enough, who was and wasn't picked to be part of the show, notes on why the winners are going to have it tough and not winning may to advantageous, as well as notes and backgrounds of some of the people involved.

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:

--A look at this year's Busca de un Idolo tournament's first shows

--What happens in pro wrestling the night before UFC

--Problems between companies in Mexico regarding CMLL pulling talent

--Notes on Verano de Escandalo and U.S. iPPV and the card

--First notes on TripleMania

--What mach may be headlining this year's TripleMania

--Upcoming AAA TV

--The debut of the three generations of green mist trio

--Dragon Gate two big shows coming this week

--All Japan's big event for the week

--A tag team of stars from two different promotions has a long reign as tag champions gone

--More on the new Japan NOAH relationship and how this relates to the New Japan World service

--New Japan scouting talent in the U.S. this summer

--New Japan's upcoming shows in Singapore

--Satoru Sayama health update

--Notes on the beginning shows of Global Force Wrestling

--Notes on the lineups and what is and isn't important about these events

--Special celebrity guest added

--An unselfish act acts an aspiring pro wrestling career

--Another streaming service expected to start featuring 800 hours of a lost library

--Chris Hero's three hour gauntlet match and full details

--Bill Goldberg talks about a potential pro wrestling farewell match and what could stand in the way

--Who Goldberg still keeps in touch with in wrestling

--Goldberg talks Brock Lesnar

--A look at the big show at Citifield in New York this past week

--A look at what TNA angle was revived on the show and how Goldberg fit in

--A.J. Styles vs. Lionheart match coverage, back story, and why the crowd was so hot

--Kris Travis talks return from cancer

--Tons of indie big show news

--A suspended senator in Canada participates in a pro wrestling show

--Early ROH champion moving into MMA

--Son of former Oregon star suspect in a beating death

--Wrestling star in talks for a national cable television show unique deal

--Update on the next ROH PPV

--A look at the weekend ROH events

--Why they did the Mickie James angle

--TNA gets another international deal

--UFC's Labor Day weekend show announced

--Two new title fights announced

--Comparing Bader vs. Gustafsson as challengers for Cormier

--When Cormier is targeting his first title defense

--What Bader needs to do to get a title shot

--Update on Anderson Silva and his suspension hearing, as well as Nick Diaz

--Ben Rothwell accuses Cain Velasquez of PEDs and Velasquez responds

--Former UFC star gets TV major network announcing gig

--An interesting question that the courts may have to decide regarding UFC contract clause

--Lots of new UFC fights

--Notes on Shamrock vs. Kimbo

--The first head to be cut off in new stronger penalties for PED usage

--War Machine has court outburst

--TV martial arts star with pro wrestling ties in bad health

--Fighter comes back from nearly being stabbed to death to win a small promotion world title

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)

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*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)

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*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)

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*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

-- The Brazilian UFC website released a statement about the incident relating to Jose Aldo's random drug test a few days ago, which MMAFighting translated into English. In the statement, it said they're fully supporting Aldo and his team. Essentially, what happened was that the tester didn't have any identification associating him with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which led to Aldo's coach, Andre Pederneiras, calling the police after Aldo gave a urine sample. It turned out that the tester had the wrong type of visa, which meant he was in Brazil illegally, invalidating the sample. The Brazillian commission worked to facilitate a new test a day or two later.

Meanwhile, Aldo's opponent next month, Conor McGregor, tweeted that on that unlike Aldo, who was only subjected to a blood test, he had to give both urine and blood samples for his last random test, which was May 23rd.

-- Triple H unveiled the Tough Enough "barracks" today, which will be the living quarters for the participants. It's pretty barebones except for the relaxation/recreation area and the hot tub. We were told by someone in WWE to keep in mind that they hired a producer from "Blind Date" to work on this show, meaning that the hot tub may not be there specifically for recovery.

-- Really nice obituary for Dusty Rhodes in the Austin-American Statesman, the paper of record in his birthplace of Austin, Texas (which is also where his son Dustin still lives today). This made the front page of their sports section today. It includes quotes from Mark Henry and a high school classmate.

-- The Sedalia Democrat in Missouri has another nice Dusty obituary with quotes from Harley Race and local fans.

-- Fighting Spirit Magazine has reprinted Jim Cornette's column about Dusty from two years ago on their website for free. Excellent stuff covering all of Dusty's career.

-- In a bit of an weird coincidence, the promos for last night's CES MMA card on AXS TV featured Chuck "Cold Steel" O'Neil cutting his own version of the Dusty Rhodes' "hard times" promo, complete with Dusty impression. These had started airing last week, so it had nothing to do with Dusty's death, but it stood out a lot more during NJPW on AXS last night for obvious reasons.

-- To push next week's card in Berlin, UFC posted Joanna Jedrzejczyk's strawweight title win over Carla Esparza for free on YouTube. If you haven't seen it, it'll probably make you a lot more interested in her next fight.

-- The Independent in the UK has an article on Mark Henry talking to him about the evolution of his career with a special focus on the "Attitude Era" since he's promoting WWE's book about that period. 

-- WGHP TV has a story about Larry Heck, an athletic trainer who's been on the road with WWE for 14 years.

-- I was on Kris Zellner's latest Exile on Badstreet podcast so we could go over the career of Dusty Rhodes.


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