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THURS EVE UPDATE: Fedor, Ratings destroyed by CNN, UFC early 2016 big shows, TNA title match, NXT

By Dave Meltzer

We're looking for reports on tonight's NXT show in Houston and TNA show in York, PA (Ethan Carter III with Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy, Bobby Roode vs. Drew Galloway vs. Ken Anderson for the King of the Mountain title, Tommy Dreamer vs. Eli Drake in a street fight, Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong, The Wolves vs. Abyss & Manik, DJ Zema Ion vs. Tyrus) at Dave">

Smackdown tonight from Little Rock

Paige & Becky Lynch vs. Naomi & Sasha Banks

Devon Dudley vs. Kofi Kingston

Cesaro vs. Big Show

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens

Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins & Sheamus 

We've got a look at WWE right now with the issues that have led to ratings setting record lows as well as an update on TNA, New Japan, GFW, ROH and everyone else in the battle for No. 2, as the lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  This issue also has a detailed look at the Nick Diaz situation and why it is far more complicated than most are making it out to be, Atlantis vs. La Sombra in one of the year's biggest matches, a history of the CMLL anniversary shows, a look at Thomas Hauser's article on USADA, an update on Dr. Christopher Amann's lawsuit against C.M. Punk and Colt Cabana, what led to the Mayweather flop on PPV and New Japan builds for two PPVs this month.

The latest Wrestling Observer:September 21, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: State of WWE after lowest ratings in years

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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 what is and isn't misleading about the record low ratings for Raw and Smackdown over the past two weeks, the rate of decline, the future of Smackdown, and why wrestling even with lower ratings may be far more valuable to the USA Network when the current contract is over.  We look at the problems that are inherent, those that can be addressed and those that can't.  We look at why this past week's Raw rating was far more sobering than the week before as well as how wrestling and every combat sport is changing from an economic situation worldwide.  We look at interviews, finishes, making stars and dropping the ball on stars.  We also look at Night of Champions.

We update the TNA television situation, what promotion had a strong growth year, and the future of No. 2, as well as an update on all of TNA's TV deals.

We go in depth on Nick Diaz, and what are the key elements of the story, why he got a five year suspension, how Diaz has blown his prime years in fighting, the commissioners discuss the suspension and the deliberations leading to it.  We talk about why comparisons to Anderson Silva and Jon Jones aren't valid in this case, detail the controversies over the test results, the legal issues involved, and Diaz talks about what happened in childhood that led him to where he is.

We also look at the situation with Jake Shields and the commission ruling on his post-match punch to Rousimar Palhares, as well as his comments on what happened.

We also look at what contracted talent was told about Hulk Hogan, as well as a double standard that is too obvious, the next Takeover special, Update on Lana, Dwayne Johnson makes former WWE writer a major executive in his company, what happened at the recent NXT talent meeting, Daniel Bryan talks about creating new stars, and his health situation as well as PPV matches he wants.

We look at plans for the November European tour, WWE performers and Twitter, Paige talks in detail about her incident with Alicia Fox that turned into a fight of sorts with two other women and how it all went down.  Jimmy Noonan talks issues with WWE security including a story when a fan kicked the ass of a main event wrestler inside the ring one night and how that fan ended up as a wrestler.

We look at another sports star that WWE is bringing in for a tryout, four cast members from Tough Enough who have now signed contracts, this week's NXT shows, and the father of a WWE wrestler who is an all-time legend in slow-pitch softball.

We've got notes on the WWE TV shows as well as the next month of NXT shows, as well as reports on WWE business over the past week, and highlights from all the house shows.

We look at the Atlantis vs La Sombra match, the build to the match, why the match is so big, the last angle and what happened with Dr. Wagner Jr. an L.A. Park.  We also look at a history of the CMLL Anniversary shows, with the big names that have appeared on them and the most famous matches over the years.

We look at Thomas Hauser's article on USADA and how it related to Floyd Mayweather, what about the article had validity and what was a stretch.  We look at USADA's drug testing in UFC and what the results so far say, the concept of retroactive TUE's, a scary aspect of a contract Manny Pacquiao was given and wouldn't sign, rumors of Mayweather positive tests, and the story behind Erik Morales failing four tests before a fight for Clenbuterol and still fighting.

We update the situation with Dr. Christopher Amann's lawsuit against C.M. Punk.  We look at the response to the suit filed by Punk and Colt Cabana, WWE's response and what the key issues in the suit are.

We also update on the last two AAA TV tapings, Genichiro Tenryu's last match at Korakuen Hall, the Dragon Gate Summer Adventure tag team tournament, the All Japan Open singles tournament, the NOAH jr. heavyweight tournament, New Japan talks about their relationship with WWE and more.

We also look at some significant negotiations going on with ROH and a look at the weekend events.

We also look at the Jarrett/Dixie Carter deal, Earl Hebner into the TNA Hall of Fame and his background, an update on Bram and Kurt Angle and Angle's wrestling schedule.

We look at ticket sales for UFC 194 and how early sales have been, more big fights announced, a UFC signee who will start after competing in the 2016 Olympics, Ronda Rousey in the ESPN poll of the greatest female athlete of all-time, as well as lots of new UFC fights.

We also look at a new Bellator deal, and Scott Coker's hopes for this week's show.

We also look at a proposed Chael Sonnen vs. Josh Barnett grappling match, and the return of Ben Askren.

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  • Fedor Emelianenko is here in San Jose for the weekend for the Bellator show.  He said that his announcement, that he originally said would be at the end of the month, regarding his comeback, may be delayed.  He said the deal is not completed right now.  He said he's enjoying training and his injuries have healed, and estimates being four months from his first fight back.
  • The ring, cage and stage set up for Saturday's show takes up almost the entire floor.  They were setting the arena up this morning.  The show has already destroyed every Bellator gate record in its history.  Based on local reaction, Tito Ortiz is still a draw and this is a good MMA city when they are given what the people consider a marquee show.
  • The debate last night destroyed everyone's ratings.  Ultimate Fighter was down to 463,000 viewers for the first episode.  TNA did 258,000 viewers at 9 p.m., its lowest to date, on the show where the future of the company was at stake.  ROH did 89,000 viewers, which is by far its low since being down to one airing.  The TNA replay did 62,000 viewers, which is not its all-time low, but well below average.  The Republic debate drew 23.06 million viewers on CNN and went head-to-head with both TNA and Ultimate Fighter, and the debate and post-debate coverage went against ROH.
  • Dana White said today that if Conor McGregor beats Jose Aldo, that they have promised him that his first title defense will be at Croke Park in Dublin.  White actually said this back in July after McGregor beat Chad Mendes, that they had made that deal with him.  That will mean for the first time in years, UFC will do a PPV out of its regular time slot, and it will be an afternoon show instead of a prime time show in the U.S.
  • A more detailed version of USADA corrections to the Thomas Hauser article
  • A major discussion on concussions at the start of hour two of this show, a lot of which relates to  Daniel Bryan
  • EPIX TV is doing a documentary called "DOPED," a one hour show covering USADA.  Thomas Hauser will be the guest, as will reps from USADA, WADA and Victor  Conte.  It should be interesting given the Hauser article and USADA response today.  The show will air on 9/30.
  • Expect a TNA departure in 24 hours and counting.
  • Gail Kim defends the Knockouts title against Awesome Kong at Bound for Glory on 10/4.
  • UFC has announced a 2/6 show in Las Vegas on PPV as well as a 1/30 show on FOX.  There will also be another PPV on 3/5.  Also announced are FS 1 dates on 2/21, 2/27 (from the O2 Arena in London) and 3/19.
  • Paige VanZant has signed to face Joanne Calderwood on the 12/10 UFC show in Las Vegas on Fight Pass.  VanZant has also signed a new UFC contract.
  • For Saturday night's Minoru Suzuki vs. Takashi Sugiura GHC title match in Osaka, it was announced today that New Japan's Tiger Hattori will be the guest referee.  The match is billed as having an absolute conclusion, meaning no time limit, and can only end by pin, submission or knockout.  Nobody is allowed at ringside from either NOAH or Suzuki-gun.  But there will be back-up referees at ringside.  The show also has Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer defending the tag titles against War Machine, Taichi vs. Daisuke Harada for the GHC jr. title and Maybach Taniguchi vs. Takashi Iizuka no DQ and no count out.
  • UFC's Leslie Smith has said she will no longer fight in Las Vegas, protesting the five year suspension of Nick Diaz. 
  • NXT tonight in Houston has Finn Balor vs. Tyler Breeze for the NXT title, Bayley vs. Emma for the women's title and Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin.
  • Tomorrow's NXT in Austin, going head-to-head with ROH's PPV show in nearby San Antonio, has Bayley vs. Dana Brooke for the women's title and Joe vs. Breeze.  The Sunday show in San Antonio, against the ROH tapings, has Balor vs. Breeze again and Vaudevillains vs. Blake & Murphy as part of the Dusty Rhodes tag team tournament.
  • WWE stock ended up unchanged today, closing at $19.05 per share.
  • Here is a link of pics including Edge as the character Atom Smasher on the TV Series The Flash.  Of the 28 pics, you can see him at pics 25 and 26.
  • CWE on 10/3 in Morden,, Manitoba with an eight woman Battle Royal.
  • World Series of Fighting airs at 10 p.m. tomorrow night on NBC Sports with Justin Gaethje vs. Luis Palomino for the lightweight title and David Branch vs. Teddy Holder to decide the first WSOF light heavyweight title.  Former Seattle crime fighter Phoenix Jones, real name Ben Fodor, returns on the show.
  • WWE's Matt Bloom, who stars in the movie "The Dog Wedding," will be appearing at a red carpet premiere on 9/21 in Boston,  The plot of the movie is that a German businesswoman (Rosalie Thomass) falls for an American pro wrestler (Bloom) while planning a wedding for her British Bulldog.  The premiere will be at the AMC Loews Boston Common at 7:30 p.m.
  • Honky Tonk Man and Bushwhacker Luke Williams will headline for the IWF in Nutley, NJ on 10/10 at the IWF Centre.  They will also do a meet and greet.
  • Story on Dwayne Johnson's girlfriend expecting a baby
  • A story on the Jake Roberts documentary and its Atlanta premiere
  • Alberto Del Rio, whose MMA announcing debut is tonight at 11 p.m. Eastern, talks C.M. Punk "It's going to be difficult, but I know he's been busting his ass for months and months," Patron told Sporting News. "I know he's going to be ready. He's an athlete. He has the passion. He's hungry for that and I know a lot of people want him to not do well." "I'm 100 percent sure he's going to do just fine," Patron said of Punk. "I'm going to be there that day to support him and I just wish him success. Not luck because he doesn't need luck. He's going to succeed in this venture." Patron also discusses why people want to see pro wrestlers fail when they transition to MMA. Here is the link to the article
  • A 1989 Bruno Sammartino interview
  • Frenchy Martin talks the murder of Dino Bravo