Two major tournaments in wrestling take place starting tonight as the first round of the WWE Cruiserweight Classic will be taped at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL, and Elite Lucha Libre’s World Grand Prix (details in the current Observer) with stars from all over including several from New Japan starts tonight at Arena Mexico. 

Mustafa Ali is replacing Zumbi in the WWE tournament, so the final 32 competitors are Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr., Gran Metalik (Mascara Dorada), Brian Kendrick, Drew Gulak, Tyson Dux, Tajiri, Noam Dar, Da Mack, Clement Petiot, Fabian Aichner, Harv Sirha, Gurv Sihra, Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali, Akira Tozawa, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Jack Gallagher, Tony Nese, TJ Perkins, Ho Ho Lun, Anthony Bennett, Lince Dorado, Sean Maluta, Raul Mendoza, Kenneth Johnson, Alejandro Aaez, Damien Salter, Jason Lee and Arya Daiavari.

SMACKDOWN TONIGHT AT 8 P.M. ON USA NETWORK

Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio
Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus
Jimmy Uso vs. A.J. Styles
Big E & Kofi Kingston vs. Vaudevillains
Becky Lynch vs.. Dana Brooke
Sami Zayn vs. Seth Rollins

THE ROUNDUP

Lucha Underground results: Rey Mysterio and Prince Puma confrontation 
Conor McGregor, Robbie Lawler, and Holly Holm up for 2016 ESPYs  
WWE NXT results: Nakamura; Bayley returns; Austin Aries & No Way Jose dance
TNA Impact Wrestling results: Hardy vs. Hardy in a Six Sides of Steel cage match 
WWE Cruiserweight Classic gets debut date, announcing team 

​The 10th annual Wrestling Observer/F4W convention in Las Vegas takes place during UFC’s International Fight Week from July 7 – 11. Ed in San Antonio has information up on Facebook, or you can email him at F4Wfan@hotmail.com. It’s always a fun time, so hurry up and make your plans to join Dave Meltzer, Bryan Alvarez, Vinny, Granny, Ed, Peach, Dez, Dr. Lucha, Rodney, Sr. Jaialai, “Filthy” Tom, and the rest of the group in beautiful Las Vegas this July. Plus… some extra secret surprises.


​If you’ve ever wanted to WATCH our radio shows here on the site, check out our Youtube page! No full video shows, but lots of video clips, full free audio shows that you can tell your friends about, and much more to come! Make sure you subscribe today!  


Figure Four Weekly

READ IT HERE: Figure Four Weekly 6/20/2016: Never trust Nigerian investors – Growing up as a way-too-hardcore-for-my-age wrestling fan, I looked forward to watching whatever flavor of wrestling from the Dallas Sportatorium was on ESPN and in syndication at the time. The ESPN show was perfect for kids who loved pro wrestling: It aired at 4 p.m. eastern time, so it was perfect for after-school viewing… Subscribers click here to continue reading. 


Wrestling Observer Newsletter

READ IT HERE: June 27, 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Roman Reigns suspended, Money in the Bank review, more – Details on the suspension of Roman Reigns after a wellness policy violation, Money in the Bank reviewed, more…

A look at the prospective UFC sale is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The issue looks at the main bidders, what kind of money is being bid, how much the Fertittas have made from the endeavor, the situation with Dana White, what is and isn’t expected to change, why the sale is coming now and who exactly owns what percentage of the company, plus a look at just how deep the UFC 200 show is.

Pluse there is a major story on the gamble of Brock Lesnar in UFC 200, the most in-depth look at the Ariel Helwani situation that you’ll find anywhere, full coverage of NXT Takeover, UFC 199, WWE Money in the Bank, and the details of TNA’s struggle to stay alive, its PPV and its future. There is also a breakdown on the WWE cruiserweight classic, and monthly WWE and TNA business figures.

This issue looks at Michael Bisping’s unlikely title win, all the ramifications of the Lesnar deal, what it shows about WWE, a look back at the last time WWE risked one of their stars against an outsider without scripting, how Ariel Helwani got to be a star reporter and how that played into what happened last week, and what aspects of the story that are really more important that haven’t been covered or have been overlooked.

Inisde this week, there is also a look at the death of a key WWE musician, more on what Ali learned from pro wrestling, Bryan Danielson attends WWE event, Bobby Roode’s debut, notes on SummerSlam, new WWE executive hire, new WWE announcer, WWE looking for new members of creative, who is expected to return shortly, another animated WWE movie, update on Paul Heyman plus a full rundown on all the WWE & NXT live events this past week and business notes on the shows.

Subscribers click here to continue reading.


You can also order the print Observer right now and get it delivered to your door via mail, by sending your name, address, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to Dave Meltzer.

You can also order print issues at www.paypal.com directing funds to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.
 
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For the United States, it is $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52.  In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to moonsault@mediaplusint.com  For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52.
 
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.

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. 

Check out the latest online Wrestling Observer BACK ISSUE: May 10, 1999 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Fans celebrate life of Giant Baba at Tokyo Dome, PRIDE 5 recap, more. The final chapter in the career and life of Shohei Baba took place on the biggest show he ever main evented and the biggest show he ever promoted–some three months after his death.

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE

Tomorrow is going to be a big night with the usual Friday stuff plus an ROH PPV and Bellator: Dynamite 2. We’ll have a special show late tomorrow night recapping everything. There are also NXT tapings with some big matches as well as Arena Mexico in the final Friday show before their 7/1 iPPV Grand Prix tournament.

Dwayne Johnson was on the UFC Unfiltered podcast and said that in 2004, he was considering going to UFC to fight. “There was a time there where I thought, I achieved everything I wanted to achieve in WWE, my movie career is floundering a little bit, what should I do? I was still relatively young, I think I was 34. I thought, oh well, maybe UFC. Maybe I should do something like that.” He said he thought it would take two years to be ready, and he wasn’t sure how to approach it, so the idea fizzled out. He also said he thinks MMA is the toughest sport in the world. For the math, Johnson was 31 and turned 32 in 2004.

Spike TV is airing a special “Kimbo Slice: One of a Kind,” a tribute to Slice at 7 p.m. Friday prior to the Bellator show. Among the people appearing on the show will be Bill Goldberg, Kurt Angle, Scott Coker, Dana White, Renzo Gracie, Rashad Evans, Roy Nelson, Quinton Jackson, Liam McGeary, Antonio Tarver, King Mo, Daniel Strauss, John McCarthy, and Kimbo’s son.

ROH parent company Sinclair Broadcasting ranks as No. 913 in Fortune’s list of the 1,000 largest companies in the U.S. based on revenue generated. The company generated $2.2 billion last year.

The funeral for Gypsy Joe will be at the Heritage Funeral Home at 609 Bear Creek Pike in Columbia, TN on Sunday. Visitation is 2-4 P.M.and the funeral is 4 p.m. Anyone wanting to make a donation to help pay for the funeral can send it to Heritage Funeral Home, 609 Bear Creek Pike, Columbus, TN 38401 and please make note it is for Gilberto Melendez aka Gypsy Joe. Next week’s Observer will most likely have a major story on Gypsy Joe. 

WWE

Dean Ambrose will officially be replacing Roman Reigns on the show in Honolulu and the two shows in Japan 6/29 to 7/2.
There was a big memorial to Joanie Laurer last night. Sean Waltman spoke and was very emotional about saying that he never stopped loving her even though they had a very rocky relationship. “Until the day she died, I loved her very much. I really did.” He also vowed to make sure she got into the WWE Hall of fame. Taped promos from Hulk Hogan and Kurt Angle also played.
On Smackdown tonight, there is no mention of Jerry Lawler’s absence. Roman Reigns not being there isn’t acknowledged and was still being pushed for Battleground like nothing had changed. Both Alberto Del Rio vs. Cesaro and Sami Zayn vs. Seth Rollins were good matches and it was a good overall show. (thanks to Steve Khan)
The new card for 7/16 in Madison Square Garden is headlined by Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE title, John Cena vs. A.J. Styles, and Chris Jericho vs Neville in a street fight. That tells you Neville will be back any week now. Also advertised are New Day, Kevin Owens, Sheamus, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Usos, Mark Henry, Apollo Crews, Natalya and Becky Lynch.
WWE runs on 8/7 in Fresno. There is a presale going on right now that ends on Friday at midnight. Advertised are Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, The New Day, Kevin Owens, A.J. Styles, Charlotte and Sasha Banks. That can and will all change.
The presale code for Raw in Anaheim on 8/8 and Smackdown in Bakersfield on 8/9 is WWEFAN
A story on Sasha Banks is here.
Here is a story updating fans on Daniel Bryan and his new life beyond wrestling.
Wrestling legends come to Pittsburgh. Video 3 is awesome… STEINERLINE.

​UFC

Paige VanZant will be back in the Octagon sooner than many thought as she announced via Twitter today that she will face Bec Rawlings on the Vancouver show August 27th on FOX. VanZant is coming off a successful appearance on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars and in her last UFC fight, she was dismantled by Rose Namajunas in the main event of a Fight Pass card last December.
As noted earlier today, C.M. Punk announced that his UFC debut would be at UFC 203 on 9/10 in Cleveland against Mickey Gall.
Jeremy Botter talks more about the UFC sale story.
UFC announced a return to the Philippines for the 2nd straight year. Fight Night Manila will take place Saturday October 15th at the Mall of Asia Arena. No fights are announced for the show yet but John Dodson, a Filipino-American, is rumoured to have a featured fight on the show. The UFC’s first show in the country last year sold out very quickly.
Valerie Letourneau was mad about the announcing of her fight with Joanne Calderwood as she thought Jon Anik and Kenny Florian were saying she was complaining about being kicked in the chest. She said she wasn’t complaining about that, but that her sports bra slipped under her breast. She said she thought Anik and Florian were mocking her because she was complaining about being kicked. She made clear it was not an excuse for her loss, just that she was mad at them.
Sultan Aliev (13-2) vs. Hyun Gyu Lim (13-5-1 was announced for 8/20’s UFC 202 show in Las Vegas.
The weighi-ns for tomorrow’s Bellator Dynamite 2 begin and 6 pm eastern and can be viewed here. Rampage Jackson returns to Bellator against Satoshi Ishii in the main event of that show and Michael Chandler takes on Patrick Pitbull for the vacant lightweight title in the co-main.
Former UFC star Brian Ebersole, who retired last year, returns to MMA on Friday. He will face former fellow UFC fighter Steven Kennedy in the main event of Hex Fight Series 6, which airs live on GFL.TV starting at 5 am eastern time Friday morning. Paul Fontaine has a preview of the show here, which also features Frank Trevino, one of Sage Northcutt’s UFC victims.

MISCELLANEOUS

For those going to the inductions for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Hall of Fame in Waterloo, IA which include Bob Backlund, myself, Lex Luger, Joe Blanchard, JJ Dillon and Chael Sonnen among others, there is a show in Waterloo on 7/22 which features Ricochet vs. Sami Callihan, plus Wes Brisco, Brian Blair, Tessa Blanchard and Jessicka Havok all wrestling, and Dillon will be managing.    
What may be the only surviving Dusty Rhodes vs. Bruiser Brody singles match, the main event of the August 11, 1978 show at the Sam Houston Coliseum, was released today on NWAOnDemand.com. You can get one free week of the service just to check it out. I’ve seen that match. It was before Brody was fully polished, but he was gigantic here, around 320 pounds.
An article on tomorow night’s Bellator show is here.
An MMA fight with Jack Gallagher, who is in WWE’s cruiserweight tournament is here. (thanks to Ian Hamilton)
Kenny Omega is in Orlando right now, but it’s for the Community Effort Orlando, one of the world’s largest fighting game tournaments and conventions.
Lucha Underground purchased ad space in the latest DC Comics Warner Brothers issues, including the big superhero titles like Flash and Justice League. (thanks to Mike O’Brien)
CHIKARA on 7/23 has a doubleheader at the Franklin Horner Community Centre in Toronto with shows at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Lucha Toronto on 7/17 in Toronto at the Harbourfront Center Theatre at 3 p.m. featuring Blue Demon Jr., Lince Dorado and Octagoncito.
Capital City Championship Combat on Saturday in Ottawa at the Vanier Columbus Club.
AAW on 7/23 in Merrionette Park, IL at 115 Bourbon Street features Sami Callihan vs. Pentagon Jr. for the AAW title and AR Fox vs. Mat Fitchett for the Heritage title plus Zack Sabre Jr., Marty Scurll, Tommaso Ciampa, Fenix, Johnny Gargano, Andrew Everett, Trevor Lee, Cedric Alexander, Eddie Kingston and Josh Alexander.
Masters of the Ring Entertainment on 7/23 in Wilmington, NC at the Coastline Convention Center. There will also be a convention besides a live show, featuring Diamond Dallas Page, Kevin Nash, Jeff & Karen Jarrett, Terri runnels, Sabu, James Storm, Ethan Carter III, Eddie Edwards, Davey Richards, Matt Sydal, Angelina Love, Awesome Kong and Sonjay Dutt. 
CMLL on Monday night in Puebla: Guerrero Especial & Inquisidor b Millenium & Vega, Robin & Starman & Zaeta Roja b Fuerza Chicana & King Jaguar & Policeman, Blue Panther Jr. & Rey Cometa & The Panther b Fujin & Raijin & Okumura, Maximo Sexy b Shocker to retain the CMLL heavyweight title, Sam Adonis & Cibernetico & Ultimo Guerrero b Diamante Azul & Johnny Idol & Rush (thanks to Kris Zellner)
Premier Wrestling on 7/17 in Gilroy, CA at the IFDES Lodge Portuguese Hall. The Premier champion, Joe Graves, has had to undergo surgery for a torn biceps and will be out of action for six months. The new main event will be a match for the vacant title with Jeff Cobb (6-6-1) vs. JR Kratos (9-3-1) wrestling and the winner of that match facing Gabriel Gallo (5-0-1) in the main event for the title.  Raze (3-2) defends the Premier Woman Athletes title against Shayna Baszler (1-0). Also Nicole Savoy (3-3) vs. Desi de Rata (0-0), Alexander Hammerstone (2-0) vs. Douglas James (1-0),  Marcus Lewis (5-5) vs. Tyler Bateman (2-3) and Buddy Royal (3-5) vs. Levi Shapiro (1-0). Tickets are available at www.premierwrestle.com.
UPW on 7/9 in Rochester, NY at the Eagles Club.
Former WWE wrestler Gene Snitsky stars in “100 Acres of Hell,” a horror movie where Snisky portrays a pro wrestling world champion who after a major injury and a family tragedy goes out for a weekend of hunting and debauchery in a wildlife preserve and a ferocious lunatic goes after he and his friends. Samu Anoa’i is also in the movie.
The Tuff N Uff promotion is running a show Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center. Admission is free. The show will air live on Youtube with Frank Mir and Forrest Griffin as announcers.  
Dynamo Pro Wrestling is on 7/16 in Glen Carbon, IL at the Sports Academy. 
A story on women’s wrestling in Ireland is here.
“Finding Zach Gowen” One-Legged Wrestler’s Life Story.


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