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THURS. UPDATE: Dusty Rhodes, Flair, Tough Enough, WWE deal, no TNA commentary in Canada, UFC

By dave@wrestlingobserver.com">Dave Meltzer

Smackdown tonight on Syfy:

Ryback vs. The Miz non-title
Jack Swagger vs. King Barrett
Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler non-title
Paige vs. Alicia Fox
Roman Reigns & Randy Orton & Neville vs. Sheamus & Kane & Kofi Kingston

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

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*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)

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*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)

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THURSDAY'S NEWS UPDATE

  • We've got a ton of stuff up on the front page on Dusty Rhodes.  Rob Naylor and I spent nearly an hour reminiscing about Dusty Rhodes with all kinds of stories from all through his career, from his turn in Florida, the heyday is Georgia, JCP and his recent work at the Performance Center with WWE talent.  Dusty was a captivating larger than life individual.  He had a hand in so many lives whether they were people he worked with or fans from the 70s and 80s when he was one of the top stars in the business.  He was an amazing character and there's a lot of good, and some bad, that can be said, but we all owe so much to him and in big ways and little ways, it is amazing how much we were all influenced by him, right down to my son and his best friend who are named Cody and Dusty.
  • Dusty Rhodes is the No. 2 most searched term in the U.S. today with 200,000, behind only Christopher Lee.  On Twitter, the only trends at this writing from pro wrestling and MMA were Dusty Rhodes (174,000), and Invicta (274).
  • The big event with a reunion of the stars of Florida wrestling, as well as people like Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns and Kofi Kingston from WWE, was to take place tonight at the Jewish Community Center in Tampa, the former Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, which housed some of Rhodes' most famous matches.  The event starts at 6:30 p.m. tonight.   
  • Chip Caray and Joe Simpson on today's Atlanta Braves baseball game mentioned the death of Dusty Rhodes and were very positive about he and wrestling.  The Braves and Georgia Championship Wrestling, with Rhodes as the top star, really built TBS as a national station.
  • Ric Flair's statement on Rhodes' death:
  • "Today I lost one of my greatest opponents and greatest friends.  He was the definition of heart and soul and I'm honored to have shared the ring with him countless times.  He became the American Dream because wrestling needed a hero they could respect, and he was the man for the job.  Dusty Rhodes, I will miss you my mentor and friend."
  • A big story from Mexico was that Cain Velasquez refused to shake Fabricio Werdum's hand yesterday at breakfast for Werdum calling him a fake Mexican.  Werdum later said that Velasquez was a great representative of Mexican fans, but that he just meant he was American, not Mexican, and I think blamed it all on Luke Rockhold for whatever reason.
  • TNA Slammiversary will be carried on the Fliipps app live on 6/28 for $39.95.  As noted earlier this week, the ROH show on 6/19 will also be on the Flipps app.
  • Names cut as of yesterday from Tough Enough were:

Carly Marshall due to a knee injury

Kevin Penczek

Jason Vazquez

Ava Knight-Salicka

Lorenzo Davis II

Adam Ohriner

Krishany San Jorge

Philip Guilford

  • Ohringer was the Big O from Zack Ryder's old show, who was once on TNA Gut Check.  He was, along with Mike Hayes, one of the two most recognizable names of the 40 because he had experience in and around wrestling for years.
  • In regards to the story in the new issue of the Observer on why WWE is looking at getting word out to prospective wrestlers that they aren't going to be interested in talent that appears going forward in TNA and ROH, that also includes WWE at least talking about a deal with WWNLive (Evolve).  As noted on last night's radio show, the deal was not signed, at least as of yesterday afternoon and could easily fall through.  Until the deal is completed, it's not fully known what the deal would entail past obviously some form of a working relationship.
  • Here are notes for weekend UFC television.
  • UFC 188 weigh-ins are at 7 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow on FS 2.  Karyn Bryant, Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping and Ariel Helwani are hosts.
  • Prelims are on FX, not FS 1, at 8 p.m. Saturday night.
  • On the version of Impact that aired in Canada last night on The Fight Network, they forgot to send the commentary track.  It was described as like watching a spot show on New Japan World. (thanks to Paul Fontaine)
  • WWE stock fell 60 cents a share today to $15.37 after a lot of growth the past two weeks.
  • NBC Sports Network will be airing the U.S. trials in wrestling for the world championships on Sunday at 7 p.m.
  • Lana from WWE appeared as a celebrity guest at the CMT Awards.
  • Jessica Aguilar, the WSOF strawweight champion who many considered the best in the world at that weight, debuts on the 8/1 UFC show in Rio de Janeiro against Claudio Gadelha.  Most likely the winner will get a title shot coming out of this match.
  • Another new UFC fight announced is Marcio Alexandre Jr. vs. George Sullivan, this taking place on 7/12 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand, the day after a big PPV show.
  • Absolution X on 7/10 in Cleveland at the Ohio City Masonic Arts Center with Young Bucks & Johnny Gargano & Josh Prohibition & Alex Daniels vs Samoa Joe & Ethan Carter III & DJ Zema Ion & Raymond Rowe & Matt Cross in a street fight, Josh Alexander vs. Rickey Shane Page, Tim Donst vs. Nick Gage, Eddie Kingston vs. Ethan Page I Quit match, Davey Vega vs B.J. Whitmer for Intense title, Veda Scott vs. Athena plus Chris Sabin, Cedric Alexander, Louis Lyndon, Flip Kendrick and Candice LaRae wrestle, and an appearance of Vader.
  • Lance Archer & Chris Masters headline on 6/28 for Future Stars of Wrestling at the Silverton Casino in Las Vegas.
  • All Pro Wrestling at the Bayshore Community Center (across from the Cow Palace) in San Francisco tomorrow night headlined by MVP vs. Willie Mack, Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Marcus Lewis, JR Kratos vs. Jeff Cobb, plus Candice LaRae, Timothy Thatcher, Joey Ryan, Dylan Drake, Jody Kristofferson and more.  I was thinking of going to this show but the Dusty thing throws a monkey wrench in that plan.
  • In what is notable years later, Australian historian Graeme Cameron noted to us that on June 10, 1966, at Sydney Stadium, Harley Race beat Nick Bockwinkel in a match which was actually to set up a tag match with Larry Hennig & Race vs. Bockwinkel & Bill Dromo.  A decade later, Race and Bockwinkel were NWA and AWA champions, each with multi-year runs.
  • Smash Wrestling on 7/19 in Toronto at the Franklin Horner Community Centre with Matt Cross vs. Tarik in an I Quit match and Chris Hero vs. Rich Swann.
  • Rock Solid Wrestling on 8/15 in MacTier, ONT at the MacTier Memorial Arena with Cody Deaner headlining.
  • Squared Circle Live on 7/12 in Etobicoke, ONT at the Royal Canadian Legion
  • The Crash promotion on 7/3 in Tijuana has La Parka & Psycho Clown vs. Parka Negra & Zorro
  • CMLL from Monday night in Puebla:  Demus 3:16 & Mini Jocker & Sauron b Astro & Mini Fantasy & Shockercito, Asturiano & Magnus & Rey Samuray b Disturbio & Fuerza Chicana & Policeman, Fuego & Titan & Triton b Cancerbero & King Jaguar & Raziel, Euforia & Gran Guerrero & Ultimo Guerrero b Atlantis & Marco Corleone & Maximo, Dragon Rojo Jr. & Polvora & Rey Escorpion b Mistico & Valiente & Volador Jr. (thanks to Kris Zellner)
  • Orlando Pro Wrestling from Tuesday night in Orlando:  Lince Dorado b Slade Porter, Chico Adams b Joey Mayberry, Chasyn Rance b Li Bryan, Santana Garrett b Shaniah to keep NWA womens' title, Aaron Epic b Ace Andrews, Tyranus & Night Stalker & Dalton Murphy & Rex Bacchus b Gabriel Black & Bobby Fonta & Josh Parker & Russell Payne, Rhett Giddins b Mark Silva.  Next show is Saturday night at 8 p.m. at the Team Vision Dojo in Orlando. (thanks to Al Haft)
  • Hoosier Pro Wrestling on 6/27 at 6:30 p.m. in Columbus, IN at JD Byrider's lot is a canned food drive for the loacal food banks.  Admission is six cans of food.  Be sure to bring your own lawn chair.
  • Tommy Dreamer's House of Hardcore on 7/18 in Toronto at the Ted Reeve Arena with Young Bucks, Team 3-D, Johnny Mundo, Rhino, Tommy Dreamer, Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian, Tony Nese, Eddie Kingston, Thea Trinidad, Matt Taven, Michael Bennett, Maria Kanellis, Tomasso Ciampa and the return as a farewell to wrestling of Traci Brooks.
  • World Pro Wrestling on AXS has announced its TV coverage of the greatest tournament in pro wrestling history, the 2014 G-1 Climax:

June 26 - Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Katsuyori Shibata plus highlights of Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tomoaki Honma and A.J. Styles vs. Kazuchika Okada

July 3 - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata plus highlights of Yuji Nagata vs Shinsuke Nakamura, Tetsuya Naito vs. A.J. Styles and Kazuchika Okada vs. Karl Anderson

July 10 - Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada plus highlights of Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale and Tomoaki Honma vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

July 17 - Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tomohiro Ishii plus highlights of Minoru Suzuki vs. A.J. Styles and Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Hirooki Goto

July 24 - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura plus highlights of Tomoaki Honma vs. Katsuyori Shibata and Kazuchika Okada vs. Yujiro Takahashi

July 31 - Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki plus highlights of Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bad Luck Fale, A.J. Styles vs. Togi Makabe and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.

August 7 - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. A.J. Styles

August 14 - Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kazuchika Okada

All of these shows are great.  July 17 has two match of the year candidates and the other shows almost all have at least one.

  • Pro Wrestling Eclipse on Friday in Oshawa, ONT at the Legion 471 at 2 p.m.
  • Pure Wrestling Association on 7/5 in Dundas, ONT at the Hamilton Air Force Association Hall.
  • The BBC talks Lucha Libre

ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY INTERNATIONAL (thanks to Graeme Cameron)

1973 - Masked Lee & Sandy Parker beat Jumbo Miyamoto & Mariko Akagi in Sasebo to win the WWWA tag titles

1976 - Umanosuke Ueda beat Rusher Kimura in Ibaragi to win the IWE title

1977 - Rollerball Mark Rocco beat Bert Royal in Manchester to win the British heavy middleweight title

1980 - Alan Dennison beat Jim Breaks in London to win the British welterweight title

1981 - Takashi Ishikawa & Akio Sato beat David & Kevin Von Erich in Tokyo to win the All-Asia tag titles

TODAY'S PRO WRESTLING VIDEOS

WWE

6/8/15 WWE RAW "Fallout":  The Big Dog Owns The Yard

6/8/15 Top Ten WWE RAW Moments

WWE Canvas 2 Canvas-Rhyno Gores Through The Canvas

6/10/15 Emotional Rusev Crashes Lana's Interview

MISC. STUFF

Top 5 Moves Of Oleg The Usurper

Bobby Roode On "The Apter Chat"

Dean Malenko On "The Apter Chat"

Jake "The Snake" Roberts On "The Apter Chat"

CHIKARA Podcast-A-Go-Go (Episode 419)

Dad You Don't Work, You Wrestle (Episode 123)

AnarchyPro "Internet Beatdown" (Webisode 12)

FULL WRESTLING SHOWS

5/16/15 APW Live

4/18/15 CWF Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's "High Tension" Live

TNA

The Question Mark (Episode 11)

What Does Rockstar Spud Think His Chances Are Of Winning The World Title?

Kenny King And MVP Talk About Bringing the X Division Title Back To The BDC

Brooke Comments On Being First To Defeat A Dollhouse Member

A Look At The X Division Qualifying Matches At #DestinationX

LUCHA UNDERGROUND

Outside With Vampiro:  Linda Vista Community Hospital

INDY TV SHOWS

West Virginia Championship Wrestling TV (Episode 231)

Premiere Wrestling Experience TV (Episode 1)

Premiere Wrestling Experience TV (Episode 2)

Premiere Wrestling Experience TV (Episode 3)

Covey Pro Wrestling TV (Episode 209)

West Coast Wrestling Connection TV (Episode 54)

Pro Wrestling Syndicate TV (Episode 23)

5/22/15 Future Stars Of Wrestling "High Octane" TV

Anarchy Wrestling TV (Episode 487)

America's Most Liked Wrestling TV (Season 1, Episode 8)

GLOBAL FORCE WRESTLING

#GFWGRANDSLAM Tour Recap From Waterloo, Iowa

TOMORROW'S WWE NETWORK SCHEDULE (thanks to Bert Duckwall)   12:00 AM ET
RAW FLASHBACK The Undertaker is set to face Kama but Ted Dibiase may have a change of plans. WWE Champion Bret Hart joins The Brother Love Show.

1:00 AM ET
THE WWE LIST Whether it's winning the Diva's Championship, or posting a very flattering photos on Twitter... These Divas do it all to stay trending.

1:30 AM ET
WWE UNFILTERED WITH RENEE YOUNG Renee Young chats with the King of the Ring Bad News Barrett, discussing everything from music, marine biology and everything in between!

1:45 AM ET
CULTURE SHOCK WITH COREY GRAVES Corey Graves experiences a culture shock at the 2015 Star Wars Celebration, getting caught up in the hype for Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

2:00 AM ET
WWE COUNTDOWN Counting down the Top Ten Most Infamous Intercontinental Champions of all time!

3:00 AM ET
WWE MONEY IN THE BANK 2013 Can John Cena overcome the brute strength of Mark Henry or will the world's strongest man finally capture the WWE Championship?

6:00 AM ET
WWE NXT The future is here. Witness the entertainers, the leading men and women, the Superstars of tomorrow -- this is NXT!

7:00 AM ET
TOTAL DIVAS What starts as a couples road trip for Eva and Ariane ends in an all out blowout, and Bryan is keeping tabs on Brie.

8:00 AM ET
THE WWE LIST Whether it's winning the Diva's Championship, or posting a very flattering photos on Twitter... These Divas do it all to stay trending.

8:30 AM ET
WWE UNFILTERED WITH RENEE YOUNG Renee Young chats with the King of the Ring Bad News Barrett, discussing everything from music, marine biology and everything in between!

8:45 AM ET
CULTURE SHOCK WITH COREY GRAVES Corey Graves experiences a culture shock at the 2015 Star Wars Celebration, getting caught up in the hype for Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

9:00 AM ET
WWE NXT The future is here. Witness the entertainers, the leading men and women, the Superstars of tomorrow -- this is NXT!

10:00 AM ET
TOTAL DIVAS What starts as a couples road trip for Eva and Ariane ends in an all out blowout, and Bryan is keeping tabs on Brie.

11:00 AM ET
THE WWE LIST Whether it's winning the Diva's Championship, or posting a very flattering photos on Twitter... These Divas do it all to stay trending.

11:30 AM ET
WWE UNFILTERED WITH RENEE YOUNG Renee Young chats with the King of the Ring Bad News Barrett, discussing everything from music, marine biology and everything in between!

11:45 AM ET
CULTURE SHOCK WITH COREY GRAVES Corey Graves experiences a culture shock at the 2015 Star Wars Celebration, getting caught up in the hype for Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

12:00 PM ET
WWE NXT The future is here. Witness the entertainers, the leading men and women, the Superstars of tomorrow -- this is NXT!

1:00 PM ET
TOTAL DIVAS What starts as a couples road trip for Eva and Ariane ends in an all out blowout, and Bryan is keeping tabs on Brie.

2:00 PM ET
THE WWE LIST Whether it's winning the Diva's Championship, or posting a very flattering photos on Twitter... These Divas do it all to stay trending.

2:30 PM ET
WWE UNFILTERED WITH RENEE YOUNG Renee Young chats with the King of the Ring Bad News Barrett, discussing everything from music, marine biology and everything in between!

2:45 PM ET
CULTURE SHOCK WITH COREY GRAVES Corey Graves experiences a culture shock at the 2015 Star Wars Celebration, getting caught up in the hype for Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

3:00 PM ET
MONDAY NIGHT WAR The strategies that helped Eric Bischoff build WCW would hasten the decline of both he and his company.

4:00 PM ET
WWE BEYOND THE RING Straight to the Top: The Money in the Bank Anthology presents the lineage of this epic match!

6:00 PM ET
TOTAL DIVAS Nikki is devastated when she discovers John's kept a secret from her. Rosa's unaware she's competing in her pursuits of an NFL player.

7:00 PM ET
TOUGH ENOUGH In the pursuit to become a WWE Superstar, eight hopeful athletes compete for a million dollar WWE Contract and find out who is Tough Enough!

8:00 PM ET
WWE SUPERSTARS WWE Superstars features the best of the best, in matches you’ll have to see to believe. You never know what to expect, so expect everything.

9:00 PM ET
WWE BEYOND THE RING Straight to the Top: The Money in the Bank Anthology presents the lineage of this epic match!

11:00 PM ET
WWE SUPERSTARS WWE Superstars features the best of the best, in matches you’ll have to see to believe. You never know what to expect, so expect everything.