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WED. UPDATE: TV previews, coverage of Hulk Hogan-Gawker lawsuit ramping up, and more

by David Bixenspan | davidbix@wrestlingobserver.comFollow @davidbix

TV notes for tonight:

NXT at 8:00 p.m. ET on WWE Network Enzo, Big Cass, and Carmella vs. Blake, Murphy, and Alexa Bliss, The Vaudevillians vs. Jason Jordan and Mikaze, Charlotte vs. KC Cassidy, and the long-awaited main event of Kevin Owens vs. Samoa Joe.

Lucha Underground at 8:00 p.m. ET on El Rey has Prince Puma defending his title against Johnny Mundo in an "All Night Long Match," which is basically the same thing as an iron man match or a marathon match.

ROH at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on Destination America has Adam Page and Colby Corino vs. Hanson and Raymond Rowe, Moose vs. Cedric Alexander, ACH and Matt Sydal vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Naito, and the Jay Briscoe and Jay Lethal contract signing for their champion vs. champion match Best in the World.

Impact Wrestling at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on Destination America has the contract signing for Kurt Angle vs. Ethan Carter III, Bobby Roode vs. Eddie Edwards, EC3 vs. an opponent of Angle’s choosing, Awesome Kong and Brooke vs. Marti Bell and Jade, another Bram open challenge, and more.

The Ultimate Fighter at 10:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 is a new episode titled "No Guts, No Glory."  The pressure on both teams is heightened when they have to choose their fighters for the first 100-point fight of the season, looking through their rosters to see who has it inside of them to rise up to the occasion and win the much-needed bout.


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.

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*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)

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*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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*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $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)

*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)

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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)

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*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)

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*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)

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*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)

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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.


Wednesday Daily Update

-- ROH hasn't edited their website to reflect this yet, but the terms of the Destination America deal have made it so that they can no longer provide earlier streaming access to their TV show to fans who paid for a Ringside Membership. While there are other benefits like classic ROH video content and discounts on merchandise, one of the primary incentives was that you got a streaming version of the TV show on Mondays (none-paying members get in Thursdays). Now, they get it on Thursdays with the non-paying members, so the only legal ways to see it earlier is via a Sinclair station, one of the handful of syndicated outlets like NESN, or Destination America on Wednesday nights.

-- Kevin Melton of has an excellent article about the death of Dusty Rhodes with quotes from Magnum T.A., Tully Blanchard, Jim Cornette, and others. Much of the article is in the context of Dusty's presence at the old Jim Crockett Promotions tapings in Spartanburg, SC, which hosted a lot of classic TV angles when he was booking.

-- and are the latest mainstream news sites to do articles about Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker (for publishing clips of the sex tape that was shot without his knowledge), which goes to trial in a few weeks. The angles that seem to be driving a lot of the articles are where exactly sex tapes (especially if shot without one of the subjects' consent) fall in terms of both privacy laws and journalistic freedoms as well as how a large jury award could force Gawker founder Nick Denton to sell the company.

While experts believe that Gawker would eventually win on appeal even if they lost at trial, in Florida, there's a law that if you're appealing a jury award, you need to post a bond of the full amount plus two years interest.

-- Bobby Green has had to pull out of his fight with Al Iaquinta at the UFC Fight night card on July 15th in San Diego. For the time being, Iaquinta is still training as if he still has a fight, though no new opponent has been announced.

-- Ben Fowlkes has a great article at MMA Junkie about the effects of fighting at high elevation in light of the aftermath of UFC 188 in Mexico City.

-- Vic Grujic, an Australian UFC fighter who was cut recently and had been a cast member on "TUF Nations," is sell selling his persona UFC memorabilia on eBay to make ends meet. This came on the heels of him helping with the successful effort to lobby to get MMA in a cage legalized in Victoria (the state that Melbourne is in), so he was pretty surprised and gutted by his release.

-- Greg Oliver has a big article about The Great Wojo at Slam Wrestling in advance of his upcoming induction into the Thesz/Tragos Hall of Fame in Iowa. Greg's historical articles are always excellent to make sure to check it out.

-- Bellator has some fan events Thursday and Friday to go along with Friday night's quarterly "tentpole" card in St. Louis with the Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice main event:

Thursday has the weigh-in at Scottrade Center. Door open to fans and media at 4:00 p.m. and the weigh-in starts at 5:00 p.m. It will also stream live on

That evening, starting at 7:00 p.m. they have the Bellator MMA Fan Fest at Dave & Buster’s in Maryland Heights, Missouri. Fedor Emelianenko, Royce Gracie, Tito Ortiz, Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Champion Liam McGeary, and “MMA’s most popular referee” John McCarthy will be for photo opportunities and to sign autographs. Bellator Lightweight Champion Will Brooks and the Bellator ring girls will also be there, as will merchandise and tickets for Friday’s card.

On Friday at 4:00 p.m. there will be an autograph signing for ticket holders with Fedor Emelianenko, Royce Gracie, and Bellator’s ring girls.

-- AIW on July 10th in Cleveland has Ethan Carter III (TNA), DJ Z/Zema Ion (TNA), Raymond Rowe (ROH), Matt “M-Dogg 20” Cross/Son of Havoc (Lucha Underground), and Samoa Joe (WWE) teaming as THE DUDES ON TV against Team AIW (Josh Prohibition, Alex Daniels, Johnny Gargano, and The Young Bucks) in a Cleveland Street Fight. More info here

-- Ken "Mr. Kennedy/Mr. Anderson" Kennedy will be visiting the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Amsterdam, NY, on Saturday July 25th for an autograph signing from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. with half of the proceeds going to the PWHF. More info at