Wrestling Observer Newsletter Rewind Thread • 1991 (COMPLETE)
#1
So I got a whole bunch of old Wrestling Observer newsletters from the early 90s. Full of Meltzer's inside info. They're long and sometimes boring to read in full, so I figured I'd start going through them and posting highlights in this thread. With the benefit of 20+ years of hindsight, a lot of this stuff is pretty interesting. Starting at the very beginning of 1991 and I'll continue to post new ones in this thread as often as I get around to reading and summarizing them.


1-8-1991

- Dusty Rhodes contract with WWF is almost up. His last scheduled appearance will be at the 1991 Royal Rumble and then it's almost a certainty that he will be going back to WCW to take over as head booker, despite being fired by them 2 years earlier for nearly booking Crockett into bankruptcy. But, yanno, LOLWCW.

- Joe Pedicino is in talks to buy out Jerry Jarrett's USWA (Memphis!) and start a company called Global Wrestling Federation and has stars like Terry Funk, Steve Williams, Konnan, One Man Gang, Terry Gordy and Scotty The Body (Raven) and Cactus Jack as planned members of the roster. They're doing TV tapings in Dallas and trying to leech the remaining WCCW fans, since Dallas is a hotbed for wrestling, and hoping to air it on ESPN.

- Andre The Giant won't be in the Royal Rumble because of a leg injury suffered in Japan.

- Honky Tonk Man has quit WWF over a money dispute.

- Lou Thesz, at 74 years old, came out of retirement to wrestle in Japan and put over Masa Chono, becoming the first person to wrestle in 7 different decades.

- The "Catch Cup 90 Tournament" took place in Europe for an organization called CWA the month before and featured Scott Hall, Fit Finlay, Vader, Terry Funk, Owen Hart, Chris Benoit, and more.

- Back to WWF, Percy Pringle will be starting as a manager at the TV tapings this week and he may come in as a babyface manager for Rick Rude. lolwut?

- Virgil is filling in for Ted Dibiase on house shows due to Dibiase getting arthroscopic knee surgery. He also beat Dusty Rhodes in about 1 minute in Dusty's last few house show matches, as they're jobbing him out before he leaves.

- Jobber Chuck Austin was injured in a match with the Rockers and suffered a "broken back," requiring 6 hours of surgery to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about that...

- Hulk Hogan is hoping to get his weight up to 330lbs by Wrestlemania. Gee, I wonder how.

- Kerry Von Erich may be on his way out of WWF soon (spoiler: nope. he stuck around for another year+)

- The Steiner Brothers haven't signed their new contracts because WCW is trying to cut their percentage of merch down and also add a clause saying that if they get injured and are out for more than a month, WCW won't have to pay them. Steiners are refusing to sign it, naturally.

- In the letters section, Karl Gotch (google him) sends in a long letter trashing Bruno Sammartino.

And that's it for this issue!
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#2
LOL at JJ sticking with the Global Force Wrestling name for so long.
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#3
My dad constantly teased me as a little kid by calling Paul Bearer Percy Pringle.
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#4
I have access to back issues if anyone is interested.

And GWF will only be remembered for the bungee jumping match.
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#5
1-14-1991

- The USWA/Global Wrestling Federation deal fell through over money and the usual bullshit. But Joe Pedicino is still planning to start it on his own (and a quick google tells me that he did and the company lasted for a few years, airing on ESPN. WWE and ESPN currently share the rights to the video library.)

- Ed Gantner, a Florida wrestler, committed suicide. After years of steroid abuse, his kidneys were failing him and he decided to check out. The interesting thing here is Meltzer's comments on the matter of steroids in wrestling: "I can't help but think this business is 10-to-15 years away from a rash of tragic endings." Boy, was he ever fucking right.

- Bobby Heenan collapsed on an airplane and his heartbeat was down to 35 beats a minute. After police checked Heenan's baggage, they found 48 grams of marijuana and narcotic paraphernalia. Once he awoke, he was arrested and charged but was back on the road the next day.

- WWF and Super World Sports of Japan announced a combined show called Wrestle Fest 91 to take place in March. Hulk Hogan & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Legion of Doom is the main event. Ringside tickets will be $370, making them the highest priced ringside tickets in wrestling history (lol). Hogan vs. Tenryu should be the main event, but neither side will agree to let their top star do the job. So they agreed on the tag team match, which is also a problem because LOD has never done a clean job in Japan yet and are just as huge there as Hogan is so they're not excited about the prospect of putting over Hogan and Tenryu.

- Meanwhile, WCW and New Japan also have a joint show in Japan 9 days earlier and there's concern about how two huge competing shows like that might split the market and lead to low turnout for both.

- Eddie Gilbert no-showed a USWA show in Memphis where he was scheduled to main event against Jerry Lawler and may be gone from the company for good (he wasn't).

- WWF's four PPVs in 1990 were listed as 4 of the top 5 highest buyrates of the year (#1 being the Buster Douglas/Evander Holyfield fight). However, the numbers used are WWF's exaggerated figures and probably not the real buyrates (they always lie about the numbers) so take it with a grain of salt. Meanwhile, WCW's numbers are also in and Starrcade may have been below a 1.0 buyrate, which would be a huge disappointment.

- Norman Smiley is negotiating to work with EMLL in Mexico....

- Apparently Hulk Hogan has a Gillette commercial out and it's a big hit.

- Back in WCW, Dusty has been announced as the new booker and is already making changes. Changed the Clash of the Champions main event, is turning Ron Simmons babyface and, of course, is planning to bring in his son Dustin.

- At the recent TV tapings, Brutus Beefcake ran in as a mysterious masked character and attacked the heels. This is his first real return after the parasailing accident. If you've never seen it, here you go. It only lasted a few weeks on TV and he never wrestled a match as the character and it was never revealed who he was:



And that's it. I'm mostly glossing past the letters pages and the results categories. I don't think anyone gives a shit about Puerto Rican house show results and attendance figures.
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#6
Haha @ that Heenan shit!
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#7
I don't remember that gimmick at all.
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#8
1-21-1991

- Some backstory on Sting and Flair. When Sting won the NWA Championship in July 1990, it was seen as WCW's attempt to phase out Flair and usher in Sting as the new face of WCW. But business tanked with Sting on top and so they decided to go back to Flair (his 7th reign, which tied him with Harley Race at the time for most reigns). They initially wanted to do it at Starrcade, with Sting dropping the belt to the Black Scorpion, but Stink balked at that because, duh, and so they did it about a month later. Sting was getting Cena-esque mixed reactions while Flair was the clear face to the crowd. TL;DR - Sting's first title reign in WCW was a bust, despite revisionist history that says otherwise. In fairness, some of it wasn't Sting's fault. The company was in shambles.

- Passing mentions of how Vince McMahon thought Butch Reed would be the biggest heel since Gorgeous George because he was a black man with blonde hair. Or how he thought Honky Tonk Man (imitating Elvis) would be a huge babyface because oldies radio stations were so popular. Basically, Vince has always been totally out of touch.

- The TV show "Inside Edition" has been at recent WCW tapings, filming Michael Wallstreet (aka Bray & Bo's dad) because I guess they think a character like that will bring in the Forbes audience for pro wrestling.

- Boxing promoter Don King has been meeting with EMLL wrestlers in Mexico recently, but it doesn't go into why.

- Vince is threatening legal action against UWF promoter for using his stars. specifically Rick Rude and Honky Tonk Man on UWF programming. Both guys had recently walked out of WWF while still under contract and Vince believes they have no right to appear on UWF's shows (like if CM Punk had immediately gone to TNA after quitting). Meanwhile, he's also claiming a copyright on Honky Tonk Man's name and gimmick. HTM is fighting it, saying he used the Honky Tonk name prior to working for Vince and that Vince has no right to trademark the gimmick of Elvis impersonators, since there's thousands of them.

- Looks like a war may break out any second in the Middle East (indeed it did) and this is putting pressure on Vince because Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter vs. Hogan at WM7 is still the plan. However, the Iraqi Embassy (!!!) is upset at Vince because of the character. They have demanded he stop using Saddam Hussein's name to hype the Sgt. Slaughter character.

- Ricky Steamboat just signed a 2 year contract with WWF and should be starting soon.

- Japanese company Super World of Sports top star Genichiro Tenryu is scheduled to wrestle a singles match at WM7 (ended up being a tag match against Demolition).

- Brutus Beefcake is expected to return to action soon. The gimmick will be that, since he has a steel plate in his head, Jack Tunney has forbidden him to wrestle without a mask due to his lethal headbutts. In reality, doctors have forbidden him to wrestle without face protection because one errant punch or bad fall could collapse his entire face in. Most other wrestlers in the locker room don't want him to return because they don't want to work with him and risk being the one to injure him.

- Wrestlemania 7 still needs to sell another 70,000 tickets to fill the stadium and tickets are moving slowly. They should probably move it to a small arena a month before and claim they were scared of terrorism threats or something...

- Chuck Austin, the guy injured by Marty Jannetty last month, may not be able to walk for at least a year (or, yanno, forever).

- Jake Roberts wants to turn heel after his storyline with Rick Martel finishes at WM7 (and boy, did he ever. Best work of his career).
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#9
So before I keep doing these, is anyone actually interested? I already have the next 5 written up, but I'm trying to space them out and only post 1 or 2 a day.
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#10
Post on, pretty good read.
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#11
I'm reading, just too delirious to post anything insightful.
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#12
Keep em going man
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#13
Right on. Will do!


1-28-1991

- The issue starts out with a long (nearly full page) extended joke about a research study showing Vince McMahon likes balding wrestlers. It's like a Kayfabe News article of ridiculousness. Meltz was apparently feeling pretty cheeky this week I guess. At the end of it, Dave explains that this issue is going to be a little bit of a lighthearted affair because war has indeed broken out in the Middle East and he knows some readers may have friends or family over there and he just wants to maybe give people a laugh or two since everything else happening in the world is anything but funny. Well that's nice.

- Dave calls the Royal Rumble the best WWF PPV event ever, calling the Rockers vs. Orient Express match the best match since Steamboat/Savage at WM3 and specifically saying that Shawn Michaels (all the way back in 1991) is one of the best wrestlers in the business right now. The Rumble match itself, however, he says is the worst so far of the 4 that have happened.

- As of this issue, the Gulf War has just broken out and America is at war. Lots of debate on whether the Sgt. Slaughter character crosses the line, with some high ranking front office people even considering quitting because Vince refuses to change plans with Slaughter. When it became apparent that Middle East tensions were actually going to turn into a real war, almost everyone expected Vince to back off his plan. But instead, Slaughter captured the world title from Warrior at the Rumble and Vince has dug his heels in, despite backlash from nearly everyone in the wrestling business.

- In even more distasteful news, the WWF was negotiating to send Hulk Hogan to Saudi Arabia with the USO to visit the troops but was turned down. Instead, Hogan will spend the next few weeks visiting military families and vowing to bring the title back from Saddam's chosen one, Sgt. Slaughter. Dave says that this is exploiting the deaths of possibly thousands of people, simply for a wrestling angle, and he is aghast at Vince's tastelessness and with Hogan and Slaughter for going along with it.

- Speaking of Iraq, Antonio Inoki (who is now dabbling in politics) recently negotiated the release of Japanese hostages in Iraq. In the past six weeks, 4 different books about Inoki have been published in Japan. I had to google this and sure enough, Inoki traveled to Iraq and got Saddam Hussein to release 41 Japanese hostages. Holy shit!

- Honky Tonk Man is negotiating with WCW

- Diamond Dallas Page made his debut in WCW this week as a manager.

- Art Barr was in Atlanta this week trying to get WCW to hire him back. He was hired last year and portrayed "The Juicer" but was released soon after when details of his sexual assault conviction reached WCW and they dropped him like a hot potato.

- Kevin Nash worked solo as The Master Blaster at the recent tapings.

- Due to the success of Dances With Wolves, WWF wants an Indian character ASAP. Native American wrestlers Chris Chavis and Charlie Norris are being brought in for tryout matches and dancing ability is more important than wrestling ability. (Chavis ended up getting the job and is now better known as Tatanka).

- Quote: "Chris Benoit (Pegasus Kid) is so dedicated to improving that instead of going home between these two Japan tours, he's staying in Japan for three weeks to train with Jushin Liger."
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#14
2-4-1991

- Dave recounts a long story from 1987 where Jim Duggan and Iron Sheik were fired by WWF because the story of them being arrested for possessing cocaine had made multiple news outlets. Soon after this, WWF began testing its wrestlers for cocaine. One wrestler who failed several tests was Jake Roberts, who was then promptly suspended along with several other wrestlers. Dave had written about this story in the Observer, but had not yet mailed it out when WWF contacted him and asked him not to run the story. On the heels of Duggan and Sheik's firing and the media picking up on it, it would appear that the company had a cocaine problem and if this story was made public, Jake Roberts would probably have to be fired for the company to save face. WWF admitted that they recognized the issue and were trying to clean things up. So Dave, not wanting to be responsible for Jake losing his job, rewrote the issue before mailing it out, leaving out the Jake Roberts story. Bruiser Brody found out and was upset with Meltzer, stating that his only job is to tell the truth, not to cover up stories for WWF. At the time, Meltzer thought he did the right thing, but now he realizes Brody was correct. His responsibility is to the reader, not the promoters. Just a couple weeks ago, when Bobby Heenan was found passed out on a plane, someone within WWF begged him not to publish the story. Despite feeling bad about it, Meltzer knew he had a responsibility and so he published it. From here, Meltzer apologizes and says there won't be much in the way of wrestling news this week.

- Almost the entire issue is basically all about one big story. Meltzer's rant last week in the Observer and in a national newspaper article about the Slaughter/Iraq storyline pissed off Vince McMahon and there's been a lot of public back and forth between Meltzer, the Observer, and the WWF. Meltzer spends most of the issue telling his side of the story and talking about his experiences directly with WWF and Vince McMahon and all that.

- WWF sent a letter to the newspaper (The National) that published Meltzer's piece, denying that WWF attempted to send Hulk Hogan to Saudi Arabia for a USO tour. They say the USO wanted Hogan but the Defense Dept. nixed the trip. They deny that the trip was being used to strengthen Hogan's image. They also say that Meltzer's reporting of discussions within WWF about the Slaughter/Hogan angle have been completely inaccurate and claim that Dave never made an effort to check the facts with them. They also deny that there was anyone in the office who was thinking of quitting over the angle. WWF insists that The National print a retraction and apology and threaten to file a lawsuit against the paper.

- Dave responds that, indeed, WWF is correct in stating that the Defense Dept. canceled the USO trip and he is making the correction here and will do so in the next issue of The National. However, Dave disagrees that the trip wasn't being used to strengthen Hogan's image, given things that he has been told from other sources and that WWF has been actively portraying Hulk Hogan as a flag waving patriot in a feud with an Iraqi sympathizer. He also knows people were thinking about quitting because he talked to several of them directly and they told him they were.

- As for whether Meltzer made "an effort to check the facts" with WWF, Dave goes through everything he did: he wrote the article and then read it, word-for-word, to 2 sources within the company who verified it was correct. Then he called Vince McMahon's house and got no answer or answering machine. He then called Howard Finkel and left him a voicemail but Finkel never called back. He then tried to contact JJ Dillon at the office and left a message with his secretary. After not getting a call back, he called again several house later to reiterate that it was urgent and again never heard back.

- Overall, aside from a small error on the USO trip, Dave stands behind every word of his reporting on the Iraqi storyline controversy and invites Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, or Sgt. Slaughter to speak with him on the record about it if they would like to share a different side of the story.

- Dave then goes on to recount his dealings with JJ Dillon and says they have pretty much always been friendly and gives examples of the few disagreements they have had but that, for the most part, they were always respectful.

- One of the biggest complaints from within WWF has been that Dave has no right to write about the WWF since he has never worked in wrestling. As silly as that complaint is, Dave reveals for the first time that he actually HAS worked in the business, and for the WWF. It was many years ago and his job was to keep the company up to date on all the happenings in Japan. Tour dates, who was being booked, and just general news. WWF had him on the payroll for that job briefly and only a few people knew about it (Vince, Pat Patterson, Terry Garvin, etc.). Dave also reveals that WWF offered him a job writing for WWF Magazine, which he passed on. And that seems to be it for now.

Okay, on to actual news!

- Michael Wallstreet walked out on WCW last week due to issues with his contract that he didn't like.

- With Vince McMahon getting ready to announce his World Bodybuilding Federation, Ted Turner is concerned (why?) that Vince may be hiring all these bodybuilders to use on his wrestling shows (to "guest pose" not wrestle). So Turner made a deal with the competing bodybuilding organization to use their bodybuilders if Vince decides to use his. Good lord, this is ridiculous.

- Herb Abrams' UWF is bouncing checks to many of his employees and wrestlers. Meanwhile, Bill Anderson and Louie Spicoli have either been fired or quit, depending on who you believe. The reason given is that Anderson and Spicoli visited WWF's offices while they were in town for the tour and Abrams was pissed about it and canned them. Word is Vince McMahon has tied Abrams up in court over things like the Rick Rude and Honky Tonk Man contract issues and Abrams is spending all his money fighting Vince in court, which is why checks are bouncing. Meanwhile, any footage or mention of Rude, HTM and Greg Valentine have been edited out of UWF's TV show, as well as the term "sports entertainment" which Vince is also making a trademark claim for.

- Chris Chavis has been hired by WWF as their resident Indian and will be using the name "War Eagle" (not quite...)

- Jesse Ventura is negotiating with GWF to come in as an announcer. Speaking of, GWF is looking to get started around April, although most of the names mentioned a few weeks ago are no longer involved.

- Finally Dave gets one last bit in, his own opinion this time, essentially boiling down to WWF attempting to deflect criticism of their own tasteless storyline by shifting the narrative of the story that Dave Meltzer is a biased reporter out to ruin the company. Dave, of course, rejects this and says in the end, WWF has to accept responsibility for exploiting a war simply to line their pockets.
And that's mostly it.
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#15
I love that the only reason there was a native american wrestler at the time was because Vince saw Dancing with Wolves and thought that's what wrestling fans would want to see in the ring.
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#16
Yeah I love that too. Fuckin' Vince, always such a goddamn dummy when it comes to pop culture.
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#17
vince should just hire a 'fan' as the next authority figure, so they can take all the shit for the product and come back to say that he was always right LOL
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#18
2-11-1991

- The big news is that WWF has moved the location of WM7, from the 105,000 seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the 15,500 seat Los Angeles Sports Arena. I actually thought they made that decision later than this. However, Meltzer says that slow ticket sales likely aren't the reason (he'd correct himself on that within the next few issues). Even though WM7 had no chance of selling out the 105k seats, the expectation was that they could at least do around 60k. Also, they have already sold around 20-23k tickets, which presents a problem since they have now drastically oversold the L.A. Sports Arena. That's all Meltzer knows at the moment.

- Dusty Rhodes did color commentary at the Clash of the Champions and TBS's switchboard was reportedly lit up like a Christmas tree with complaints about his commentary, especially when he went on a rant about the Iraq war to get himself over.

- Randy Savage broke his thumb and required surgery and two pins to be put in. He's still scheduled to face Ultimate Warrior in a retirement match at WM7. Meltzer doesn't believe Savage is going to really retire. Instead, he thinks he'll take a temporary vacation and then come back and do television announcing until they work him into an angle that will allow him to return, likely as a face. (damn, Meltzer was dead on).

- Vince McMahon announced the WBF (World Bodybuilding Federation) at a press conference and he has pretty much signed away most of the competition (IFBB)'s bodybuilders to guaranteed contracts. You know, the same shit WCW would do to him a few years later.

- Percy Pringle debuted at the latest TV tapings as a character named Paul Bearer, who buys the contract of the Undertaker from Brother Love. Speaking of Brother Love, the character is no more. Bruce Pritchard is going to be taking on a bigger front office role.

- The Steiner Brothers and Missy Hyatt have re-signed to new deals with WCW.

- At a house show, during a cage match between Savage and Warrior, Sherri got into the cage and distracted Warrior, allowing Savage to escape and win. In retribution, Warrior stripped her to her bra and panties and press slammed her. In 1991! Reportedly parents in the crowd with their kids were livid and many walked out. It's the seed that spawned the Attitude Era!
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#19
I won't be doing this on a regular basis, but for anyone curious or bored, here is the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer:

Quote:April 18, 2016


NEW JAPAN INVASION ATTACK POLL RESULTS

Thumbs up 215 (99.5%)

Thumbs down 0 (00.0%)

In the middle 1 (00.5%)



BEST MATCH POLL

Kushida vs. Will Ospreay 176

Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada 29

Romero & Baretta vs. Ricochet & Sydal 9



WORST MATCH POLL

Fale & Takahashi vs. Robinson & Taguchi 118

Tonga & Loa vs. Makabe & Honma 57

Based on phone calls and e-mails to the Observer as of Tuesday, 4/12.



During the 70s and 80s, Blackjack Mulligan was one of the legendary characters in pro wrestling, a man whose life and career had major ups and just as legendary downs.

Robert Deroy Windham played the character and later became the patriarch of one of the most significant modern wrestling families. He went from being a John Wayne-like figure as one of the most memorable characters in the heyday of Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling, to a wrestler known for no-shows and walking out on promotions, and later spent two years in prison for counterfeiting.

He returned to wrestling after being in prison, but he was a guy who was quick to throw down, and quick to leave when he was unhappy. The business was changing where there weren’t the options to go somewhere and always have a job like in his heyday.

Windham passed away on 4/7 at the age of 73. He had health problems for decades, dating back to the late 70s when he was running hard both in and out of the ring with Ric Flair as the stars of the promotion. He had several heart attacks over the years, including one last year. He was said to be in the range of 500 pounds. He hadn’t even been seen in public since being talked into attending the 2006 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, where the Blackjacks tag team of he and Jack Lanza were inducted. He had at first declined the invitation, citing health issues, but they persuaded him to attend. While he remained active on the phone with friends for the next decade, he made it clear that he didn’t want people outside of his family to see him in the shape he was in. On more than one occasion he was near death, including a hospital stay last year where he was told he had only days to live. At another point, his family that worked for WWE, son-in-law Mike Rotunda and grandsons Windham Rotunda (Bray Wyatt) and Taylor Rotunda (Bo Dallas) flew back home before television tapings to be with him. But on his deathbed, he kept kicking out. Every few weeks, rumors would start on the Internet among wrestlers that he had passed away.

As a wrestler, Blackjack Mulligan was known for a towering giant, billed at anywhere from 6-foot-7 to 6-foot-10, depending on the promotion, although he actually about 6-foot-5 ½, and weighed in the range of 310 pounds.

Bob Windham grew up in Odessa, TX, where the local sports hero was Edward McDaniel of Midland High, who became Wahoo McDaniel. Windham was a freshman when McDaniel was a senior, and an all-state football star who got a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma.

Windham was a high school football star who went to Texas Western University, now known as the University of Texas at El Paso. Because of his size, he got some looks from teams in the old American Football League. He had a tryout with the Denver Broncos in 1966 and the New York Jets in 1967. He suffered a compound fracture of the left leg in 1967 which largely ended his football career, although he did try out for the New Orleans Saints in the first year of the franchise in 1968. But the leg didn’t recover well enough for him to play football.

BLACKJACK MULLIGAN



CAREER TITLE HISTORY



NWA UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT: def. Paul Jones March 13, 1976 Greensboro; lost to Paul Jones October 16, 1978 Greensboro; def. Paul Jones November 28, 1976 Charlotte; lost to Paul Jones December 9, 1976 Winston-Salem; def. Paul Jones December 15, 1976 Raleigh; lost to Bobo Brazil July 7, 1977 Norfolk; def. Ricky Steamboat January 1, 1978 Greensboro; lost to Tim Woods March 19, 1978 Greensboro



NWA WORLD TAG TEAM: w/Ric Flair def. Paul Jones & Baron Von Raschke August 8, 1979 Greensboro; lost to Paul Jones & Baron Von Raschke August 22, 1979 Raleigh



WWWF WORLD TAG TEAM: w/Blackjack Lanza def. Dominic DeNucci & Pat Barrett August 26, 1975 Philadelphia; lost to Tony Parisi & Louis Cerdan (Gino Brito) November 18, 1975 Philadelphia



NWA AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHT: As The Texan def. Fritz Von Erich March 26, 1974 Dallas; lost to Fritz von Erich April 16, 1974 Dallas



NWA TEXAS HEAVYWEIGHT: def. Jose Lothario April 28, 1973; lost to Jose Lothario May 1973; def. Jose Lothario May 4, 1973 Houston; lost to Jose Lothario May 23, 1973 San Antonio



NWA AMERICAN TAG TEAM: w/Blackjack Lanza def. Afa & Sika Anoai in tournament final for vacant titles January 22, 1974; lost to Tex McKenzie & Ken Patera July 22, 1974 Fort Worth; w/Blackjack Lanza def. Tex McKenzie & Ken Patera 1974; lost to Johnny Valentine & Tex McKenzie September 23, 1974 Fort Worth



NWA TEXAS TAG TEAM: w/Blackjack Lanza held titles in 1975



NWA TEXAS BRASS KNUX: won title winning Battle Royal for vacant tile May 29, 1973 Dallas; lost to Jose Lothario July 13, 1973 Houston



NWA INTERNATIONAL TITLE: def. Dick Murdoch November 16, 1974 Amarillo; lost to Dick Murdoch January 6, 1975 El Paso; def. Dick Murdoch January 10, 1975 Abilene; lost to Dick Murdoch January 22, 1975 Lubbock; def. Dory Funk Jr. May 8, 1979 Odessa; lost to Dick Murdoch July 5, 1979 Amarillo



NWA WESTERN STATES TAG TEAM: w/Dick Murdoch def. Roger Kirby & Doug Somers October 31, 1978 Odessa; lost to Mr. Sato (Akio Sato) & Mr. Pogo (Tetsuo Sekigawa) January 9, 1979 Durango, CO



IWA WORLD TAG TEAM: as Bob Windham w/Larry Hennig def. Thunder Sugiyama & Great Kusatsu November 19, 1970 Ashikaga; lost to Thunder Sugiyama & Great Kusatsu December 12, 1970 Tokyo



WWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT: def. Bobo Brazil October 11, 1981 Indianapolis; lost to Bobo Brazil November 1981 Knoxville



WWA WORLD TAG TEAM: w/Blackjack Lanza def. Wilbur Snyder & Paul Christy November 6, 1971 Detroit; lost to Dick the Bruiser & The Crusher December 2, 1972 Detroit



EUROPEAN WRESTLING UNION WORLD SUPERHEAVYWEIGHT: def. Jan Wilkens October 3, 1981 Cape Town; lost to Jan Wilkens October 1982



NWA UNITED STATES TAG TEAM: w/Dusty Rhodes def. Kareem Muhammad (Ray Candy) & Elijah Akeem (Leroy Brown) November 5, 1983 Lakeland; lost to Ron Bass & Black Bart November 29, 1983 Tampa when Mulligan missed the show and Mike Davis subbed



NWA FLORIDA BRASS KNUX: def. Kareem Muhammad (Ray Candy) September 1983; lost to Black Bart January 1984; def. Black Bart May 5, 1984 St. Petersburg; lost to Panama Gang (One Man Gang)



PRO WRESTLING HALL OF FAME - 2016 WITH BLACKJACK LANZA



WWE HALL OF FAME - 2006 WITH BLACKJACK LANZA

McDaniel, who was still playing football, but wrestled during the off season, was working in Texas in 1969 and met with Windham, who at the time was living in Corpus Christi. He told him that with his size, he could make a lot of money as a pro wrestler. McDaniel introduced him to Joe Blanchard, who was promoting in San Antonio and Corpus Christi at the time. He started his career as Big Bob Windham with a match on August 8, 1969 in Harlingen, TX, against Benny Matta, an area prelim wrestler.

He mostly worked Blanchard’s cities on the circuit early on, although he was only a few weeks into his career when he had his first singles match with Dusty Rhodes. He started out with Susan Greene, who became a top female wrestler, and local powerlifter Joe Bednarski, who later became Ivan Putski.

Windham was such a big powerful looking guy that he looked ridiculous working in prelims. While he didn’t look like a bodybuilder, he was both tall and huge. He had started taking steroids as a college football player and never denied usage during his pro wrestling career, where he garnered a reputation as a legendary tough guy.

One of the top stars in Texas at the time was Thunderbolt Patterson, and Windham was enamored with Patterson’s interview style, and later copied it, and to an extent the style of Rhodes, Muhammad Ali and Superstar Billy Graham, for his own style.

“He did one of the greatest TV promos in the history of wrestling,” Windham said in an interview years ago with the Mid Atlantic Gateway web site about Patterson. “He never got his due. I think because he went on that racial thing in Atlanta and had problems after that with some in the business. Regardless of that, Dusty started it and I came in right behind him, and we copied him. It was a soul-like down home barbeque type interview. People had never seen white boys do this type of promo interview before.

“We did that kind of interview and we copied it from Thunderbolt Patterson. We added our Western twang into it, and that thing just started popping left and right.”

He became a main eventer in 1971 when he had his first run in the WWWF, as Blackjack Mulligan, the very first protégé of The Grand Wizard of Wrestling. He remained a headliner no matter where he went for nearly the next two decades. While people may remember the Blackjacks as one of the top tag teams of the 70s, his greatest success came after he essentially walked out of the WWWF in 1975 to become the top heel in the Mid Atlantic territory, and got even bigger when turning face and feuded with Flair.

It was his promos, far more than his matches, that are what people remember. For a few years, he was the Dusty Rhodes of the promotion, except a physically larger version. He did comedy based promos talking about his cast of friends, like the fat girlfriend, Sarah Jo Puckett,. Sheriff Slim Gabriel, Spider, Gripp and Uncle Reba Joe. He’d start his promos saying, “Get momma out of the kitchen,” with the idea that the kids or fathers watching need to get the whole family in front of the TV set to listen to what he had to say.

There really was a Slim Gabriel, the Sheriff of Ector County in Texas, Spider and Gripp were old rodeo characters, Uncle Reba Joe was his read headed uncle from Abilene.

He had only been wrestling three months in South Texas when he went to the AWA, mostly losing in prelims. In an ironic note to the future, on April 17, 1970, he was brought in as a babyface to Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, there to put over one of the big drawing heels in the city at the time, Blackjack Lanza.

“He (Lanza) was there in the AWA and I just loved the Western (thing) he was doing. That Western thing was a natural for me, because I was the real deal. Jack was from Albuquerque and he was already a top main eventer in St. Louis and everything. So we made the deal that when I’d come to New York, we’d team up and see what happened.”

Windham’s big career break came at the end of 1970, when Verne Gagne sent he and Larry Hennig as a big tag team to the International Wrestling Enterprises group in Japan. While there, they headlined against the group’s top tag team, Thunder Sugiyama, a 1964 Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler, and the Great Kusatsu, winning the IWA tag team title early in the tour and dropping it in Tokyo on the final night.

When 1971 arrived, things were changing greatly in the WWWF. Bob Windham took on the gimmick that Lanza was using, and became Blackjack Mulligan, named after Jerry Mulligan of Sweetwater, TX, his great uncle who was a boxer.

He arrived with another newcomer, The Grand Wizard of Wrestling. Ernie Roth. Roth had been around wrestling for years, first as a television announcer. He then became one of the hottest managers in the business in the 60s as Abdullah Farouk, the weasel, the mouthpiece for The Sheik, pro wrestling’s premiere heel of the era.

At the same time, Bruno Sammartino opted out as WWWF champion, losing the title to Ivan Koloff on January 18, 1971, in Madison Square Garden, ending his nearly eight-year run on top. Windham made his debut that night under the Mulligan name and gimmick that night. He worked a prelim match, beating Jose Rivera.

On the next show, on February 8, the night Pedro Morales beat Koloff to win the title, Mulligan scored a solid win over Tony Marino. It was then announced that Morales’ first title defense would be March 15, 1971, against Mulligan.

It was a one-and-done New York program, as Morales scored the clean pin in 14:12 before a sellout of more than 21,000 fans paying $88,865, which may have been in U.S. indoor gate record at the time.

The two wrestled several title matches throughout the Northeast, until a match on May, 15, 1971 at the Boston Garden, where Mulligan was stabbed down his leg by a fan, who was never apprehended, who used a butcher knife.

“Mulligan was using roughhouse tactics to bring on a disqualification and a rematch,” remembered music executive Mike Omansky in a letter to the Observer. “As Pedro was being beaten on, two fans jumped into the ring and one stabbed Mulligan in the leg. Gorilla Monsoon, at that point a babyface and also working behind the scenes, raced out in street clothes and literally threw the two fans out of the ring. Monsoon was accompanied by two non-wrestlers. As a result, there was no Morales vs. Mulligan rematch in Boston, and in fact, no subsequent appearances in Boston by Mulligan. The crowds during Morales’ reign were such that these sort of instances were constantly feared.”

Mulligan blamed himself to a degree, saying he was green as far as headlining went, and didn’t understand controlling heat and brought the crowd up too much in beating on Morales and didn’t know how to turn it down.

The knife used had been dipped in pig fat and Mulligan’s leg got infected. He was out of action until July, and left the territory to work for The Sheik out of Detroit. He returned for one appearance, on July 24, 1971 in Madison Square Garden.

Sammartino returned in his first match in Madison Square Garden since February, to face Mulligan as part of a double main event with Morales & Monsoon vs. Luke Graham & Tarzan Tyler. The show drew a sellout 21,912 fans and $103,485, believed to be the first indoor $100,000 gate in U.S. pro wrestling history.

The tag team of the Blackjacks, Lanza & Mulligan, managed by Bobby Heenan, started in September for Dick the Bruiser’s promotion, the WWA, out of Indiana. The promotion was at a business peak, and things got contentious when Bruiser started promoting in Detroit, at the Olympia, against The Sheik, who ran Cobo Arena.

Lanza & Mulligan beat Wilbur Snyder & Paul Christy to win the WWA tag team titles on November 6 in Detroit. They did strong business as champions for the next 13 months, also working big matches against AWA talent in Chicago’s International Amphitheater, which combined AWA and WWA talent to present unique matchups in that era.

One of the biggest matches was in Soldier Field in Chicago on September 1, 1972, when the Blackjacks lost the main event, a cage match to Dick the Bruiser & The Crusher, with former heavyweight boxing champion Jersey Joe Walcott as referee.

During that period, he was also frequently brought into Quebec by Grand Prix Wrestling, where he regularly faced Jean Ferre, who later became Andre the Giant, in tag team matches.

After dropping the WWA tag team titles at the end of 1972, losing cage matches to Bruiser & Crusher in both Detroit and Indianapolis, they teamed up for a few more months, working WWA, Pittsburgh and Quebec, as well as Chicago, before Mulligan went to Texas as a single.

His main rivals were Fritz Von Erich, Jose Lothario, Putski and McDaniel. After losing a loser leaves town match to Von Erich, he went on his second IWE tour, which climaxed with a cage match with IWA world champion Shozo Kobayashi in a cage on October 12, 1973.

At the end of the year, Mulligan was working as a babyface in San Antonio, teaming with Lothario against Black Gordman & Great Goliath, but still a heel in North Texas, with match after match against Von Erich.

In early 1974, Lanza joined him in Texas and the Blackjacks won the American tag team titles in a tournament final on January 22, 1974 in Dallas over Afa & Sika Anoa’i.

In February, Mulligan started appearing in North Texas under a mask, as The Texan, although it was very clear who he was, given his size, and he’d often team with Lanza. In the rest of the circuit, Lanza & Mulligan worked as tag team champions. He moved on to the Amarillo circuit, feuding with Dick Murdoch over the International title. A scheduled short run in the Carolinas preceded plans for the Blackjacks to reunite in the WWWF and win the tag team titles.

Lanza & Mulligan won the WWWF tag titles at a TV taping on August 26, 1975, in Philadelphia. They were scheduled for a long run, but things happened in the Carolinas which changed the course of his career and that of the territory itself.

In October, Flair, Johnny Valentine, Tim Woods, David Crockett and Bob Bruggers were in a plane crash near Wilmington, NC. Jim Crockett Promotions as far back as anyone could remember was known as a place where you could make nice solid money but the travel was difficult. George Scott came in as booker, moved out the longtime stars from the main events and built around physical matches with McDaniel and Valentine. It started slowly, but fans got accustomed to the new more physical style, and it was growing into what would end up being probably the best territory in the country when it came to talent.

Due to injuries in the crash, Valentine never wrestled again, and Flair wasn’t going to be able to wrestle again for several months.

Business had gotten strong, and all of sudden, the top two heels were out of action.

Scott called Mulligan and told him he had to have him immediately, needing a new top heel for the next TV tapings. Mulligan said that Scott told him if he came in, he’d give him the No. 1 heel slot in the company. He also told him up front that he was grooming Flair for the spot, but Flair wasn’t ready for it yet. He said that when Flair was ready, Mulligan would have the No. 2 heel spot and he promised him he’d keep him at No. 2 for as long as Mulligan stayed in the territory.

That isn’t exactly how it turned out. When Scott felt Flair was ready to carry the territory in 1978, Mulligan instead went babyface for the best run of his career. But Mulligan agreed to come in.

The problem was he was WWWF tag team champions, with Lanza. At the time, they were managed by Lou Albano, since WWWF had their own house managers and Bobby Heenan at that point was in the AWA managing Nick Bockwinkel & Ray Stevens.

He said he told Lanza he was leaving, and Lanza told him that nobody in their right mind would make that decision. While the Carolinas had gotten strong, to where the top guys were making very good money, and Scott promised Mulligan considerably more money than he was making in WWWF, by reputation, nobody would leave a top run in WWWF early for the Carolinas or raise the ire of a promoter as powerful as Vince McMahon Sr. Mulligan said he and Lanza were never the same as friends again, and for the most part, that ended their team, although they did team together again for a short time nearly a decade later.

He then told Vince McMahon Sr. he was giving notice. McMahon didn’t take it any better than Lanza, and told him that he wasn’t accepting his notice. McMahon wasn’t used to champions leaving on their own time or varying from his long-term booked out plans, where main events in Madison Square Garden were decided six months or more in advance. They’d have their run, however long McMahon felt it should be, and then they’d go elsewhere. Plus, promoters weren’t taking talent from McMahon. But Scott was desperate, feeling they needed to keep the building momentum.

There was a match, which may have been on October 24, 1975, in Harrisburg, PA, where the Blackjacks were defending the tag team titles against Dominic DeNucci & Pat Barrett. In the third fall of a match they weren’t supposed to lose, Mulligan was down for a near fall with DeNucci on top, and told DeNucci he wasn’t kicking out and not to get up. DeNucci & Barrett won the match. Both Vince McMahon Sr. and his son, the current Vince McMahon, were livid at Mulligan losing the title at a house show. They told him that no matter what the fans saw in the arena that night, it wasn’t a title change. But they also realized at that moment that Mulligan really was leaving. He started in the Carolinas, and came back for a November 8, 1975, TV match in Philadelphia where he and Lanza dropped the titles to Tony Parisi & Louis Cerdan. Mulligan split time between the two territories, doing his jobs on the way out in the WWWF, while appearing regularly on TV and in some of the major Carolinas cities before going full-time.

The Carolinas run was huge, first as a heel, then as Flair’s running mate, and then doing the switch.

With the benefit of hindsight, even though Flair was going to be a top star under almost any circumstance, most believe that even though Valentine was the superior in-ring wrestler, that Flair’s run as the top heel kicked off stronger and drew more with Mulligan than it ever would have had the angle been done with Valentine, as was the original plan.

Part of the reason it clicked was because everyone knew Flair and Mulligan were friends. They were together in the clubs after the matches in every city. Flair being the pretty boy type in those days, with the wild personality, who was always around women, could be a heat magnet outside the ring as well as in. Mulligan was always there if there was any trouble, because he was so physically intimidating. There was a chemistry with Mulligan that there wouldn’t have been with Johnny Valentine, nor would there have been the promos. If they had done it with Greg Valentine, while there was the chemistry as Flair & Valentine were one of the best heel teams of the last 50 years, Greg Valentine didn’t have Mulligan’s charisma or promo ability.

The two lived next door and bought a Cadillac van together from the beach rock group, The Tams, who were huge in the Carolinas in the area. The party van became legendary.

Once, when Mulligan’s wife wanted to use the van, Mulligan rushed to clean it out from a night of partying and when he cleaned out the blond wig and the panty hose and God knows what else. It was the impetus down the line for one of the most memorable angles in Carolinas history.

The angle started with a tease in early 1978. Mulligan was booked for a U.S. title match with Flair, as the top contender. There were interviews building up the unique heel vs. heel match for the title among longtime partners. Flair was also teaming with Greg Valentine more than Mulligan at the time. The match never happened, as Mulligan lost the U.S. title to Tim “Mr. Wrestling” Woods just before the bout was to take place, and Flair ended up challenging Woods for the title.

But it set the stage for disagreements, culminating with Flair destroying Mulligan’s cowboy hat that he claimed Waylon Jennings gave him. Mulligan then destroyed one of Flair’s most expensive robes.

This led to an interview where Mulligan came out with a box full of Flair’s things that he had to give him back when he cleaned out the van, including panty hose and a wig, while Flair went crazy. Mulligan later copied the angle when he did a split in the Amarillo territory with Dick Murdoch a few years later, although that wasn’t as successful.

Flair vs. Mulligan was a huge program for both. Later, Flair, Mulligan and Steamboat were the company’s big three where Crockett was often booking three shows a night, one headlined by each.

The three all drew from different fan bases. Steamboat was the favorite among the women. The young girls liked him because he was good looking and the older women liked him because he was handsome and polite. The guys liked him because he was a superior athlete. Flair was the cool guy, a heel who people paid to see lose, but also admired him and drew the college aged crowd and both men and women in their 20s. Mulligan drew the guys with the pick-up trucks and the gun racks, the cowboys, and the guys who wanted to pay to see a big guy kick ass in bar fights. But Mulligan was also popular with a segment of women, because he was always talking about his fondness for heavy-set women.

But those years physically took their toll on him. He already had the injuries from football. Mulligan would note that people like he, Rhodes and Superstar Billy Graham would work a style that was built a lot around playing to the crowd and not as physically demanding. But in the Carolinas, it was an all-action territory. Mulligan couldn’t compete as far as giving hot matches with the Flairs or the Steamboats or Jay Youngbloods, but as a headliner, he had to try his best to at least keep up. Plus, even though the money was good, the schedule and the travel were insane because they promotion ran so many shows covering so many markets. While the Carolinas and Virginia didn’t have huge population cities, they had great wrestling markets as the business had great visibility to the public and huge television ratings everywhere. Because they didn’t have professional sports franchises in those days in the area, the local celebrity athletes were the star NASCAR drivers and the pro wrestlers.

Mulligan talked that he may have been at the end of his physical prime when he got there, but after a few years later, his body was shot.

Mulligan babyface run could have lasted years, but he, Murdoch and Mario Savoldi bought the Amarillo territory from Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk in late 1978. The Funks realized that the days of being able to run a profitable smaller territory were over because fans wanted to see the stars they saw on cable television rather than the local wrestlers. Flair vs. Mulligan set gate records in most of the cities in the Carolinas, climaxing by setting the territory’s record for a cage match that sold out the Greensboro Coliseum on Thanksgiving night with more than 15,000 fans. Everyone figured Mulligan, the face, would win the cage match, but since he was leaving, he lost.

The West Texas territory lost a ton of money in a short period of time. They also failed when trying to expand into Northern California and going into cities Roy Shire abandoned when closing his territory, but that Shire still considered his cities, drawing crowds of 400 fans in trying to build up San Jose. He in hindsight said he wanted to go home so he could see his son Barry play football for West Texas State. He called it the most expensive football season of his life.

By July, Mulligan had lost so much money that he needed to return to the Carolinas and make money again. While he was still a top babyface, there was a loss of momentum. He worked on top against even bigger heels like John Studd and Ernie Ladd, and got back together with Flair, who had turned babyface, with the two beating Paul Jones & Baron Von Raschke to win the NWA world tag team titles, but lost them back two weeks later.

Barry Windham ended up leaving college after one year to become a pro wrestler, first as Blackjack Mulligan Jr., and later under his real name. Windham was one of the greatest workers of his era, and it was joked that if you could combine Windham’s natural wrestling ability with his father’s talking ability, you’d have the greatest big man in wrestling history. Mulligan and Flair at one point purchased the Knoxville area and went to do a promotion that would combine the Crockett guys with area wrestlers. But that was also unsuccessful. He had his ups and downs over the years in real estate, and also ran a car dealership for some time.

After Flair & Mulligan stopped teaming, Mulligan would work bloody matches on top, like Rhodes, specializing in Texas death matches, Texas street fight matches, chain matches and bullrope matches. His opponents were usually big guys, some of who were good like The Masked Superstar, and others who weren’t, like John Studd, or Enforcer Luciano. Killer Tim Brooks was at one time brought in as Cousin Luke Mulligan. He also had a memorable program with Bruiser Brody, which spanned the Carolinas, Knoxville and was on national television with Georgia Championship Wrestling with a several match series at the Omni in Atlanta in 1981.

He stayed again until 1982, after Scott was fired as booker, and he went to WWF as a heel for matches with Bob Backlund and Andre the Giant. Ole Anderson tried to replace him with Ron Bass doing the same character as the big kickass cowboy, but Bass didn’t have his charisma or promo ability, even though he was better in the ring. And that wasn’t going to work.

In WWF, the gimmick was that his claw finisher was so violent that it wasn’t allowed on television, so he’d put the claw on his hapless foe and there would be a big X on the screen saying it was censored.

He left WWF for Florida in 1983, where he, Barry and Rhodes were the top faces, called The Family. When Larry Matysik left the St. Louis Wrestling Club and did opposition using Brody as his top star, the first major program was to be Brody vs. Mulligan. They opened drawing 6,700 fans, an amazing total given they had no television at the time, but Mulligan no-showed after being talked to by the NWA, leaving the debut show without a main event.

In 1984, after Hulk Hogan, David Shults and much of the AWA crew left, Gagne brought Mulligan in to reform the Blackjacks tag team nine years after they split, only this time as babyfaces.

He left the AWA after six months, breaking up the team for good, went back to Florida, and even had a run in the Carolinas where Flair asked him to be his partner for a feud with a heel McDaniel and Tully Blanchard. He then he left to return to WWF as part of Vince McMahon’s national expansion, as a babyface.

He quit the WWF in September 1985, to return to a falling Florida territory for his feud with Kevin Sullivan, which included a fake heart attack angle.

He left there in early 1986, went to World Class as a heel, where he quit after a month, and was back in WWF under a mask as Big Machine, teaming with Andre as Giant Machine, and Bill Eadie as Super Machine. He went back to being Blackjack Mulligan but was phased out in the spring of 1987, and returned to Florida in the summer, lasting two months there, as his career as a regular phased down.

Mulligan also had a reputation as a fighter, a guy who would throw a punch first and ask questions later. When wrestlers were breaking into the Carolinas, they would be put in television matches with Mulligan, whose job was to test them, by pounding on them hard to the body. He’d give them good workings over, not trying to maim them like the shooters would do to run off talent, but the mentality is they didn’t want anyone who wasn’t tough in their closed society. If you could take the punishment without complaining, you passed the initiation.

There were legendary bar fight stories with him and non-wrestlers. Once, he got into it with Harley Race, who himself was a legendary tough guy. Mulligan ended up on top of Race in a hotel room as they were on the floor between twin beds and Race couldn’t get Mulligan off him. Flair, Race, McDaniel and Mulligan were traveling partners that night, and Flair noted that he was scared to death Race would try and get retribution later, but it never happened. Mulligan knocked out Ole Anderson, who himself was a noted tough guy, at least twice, although Anderson claimed they were sucker punches. He pounded Sheik Adnan El-Kaissie, who was a world-class amateur wrestler.

On December 29, 1987, the Observer reported that “Probably the best match on recent independent cards took place in the dressing room at Miami Marine Stadium. Blackjack Mulligan saw Bob Roop (who represented the U.S. in Greco-Roman Wrestling in the 1968 Olympics) in the dressing room and pummeled on Roop so badly that Roop needed medical help. Apparently there were some problems going back to when Roop booked Florida.”

But his most famous fight, or fights, were incidences with Andre the Giant. In one, Andre threw him into a wall in a hotel or motel so hard that Mulligan went through the wall and into the next room which was occupied by people.

The other, more famous, was in Virginia Beach, after a show in Norfolk, when the wrestlers had a party in a beach front hotel. Mulligan winked at Murdoch and then sucker punched Andre. Andre was so mad that he grabbed both Mulligan and Murdoch, dragged them out of the room, down the beach and into the Atlantic Ocean and held both under water until it was broken up.

In 1989, Scott hired Mulligan as an assistant booker and road agent for WCW. Less than two weeks later, Mulligan, in a suit and tie, had a discussion with Lex Luger after being told he was going to wrestle Dutch Mantel. Luger apparently said to Mulligan, talking about himself in the third person, “Why would a Lex Luger wrestle a Dutch Mantel.” Mulligan allegedly wanted to punch Luger, but instead got so frustrated, that he quit on the spot, telling Scott that he couldn’t relate to modern wrestlers.

Besides Barry, Mulligan’s son Kendall Windham was a pushed wrestler in Florida. He got a big push in Florida, but was tall and thin and his look didn’t translate well in the steroid era on a national basis. He was never a major star and faded out of wrestling after a few years. His daughter, Stephanie, married Mike Rotunda, Barry Windham’s frequent tag team partner, including as WWF tag team champions.

On December 26, 1989, Robert and Kendall Windham were arrested on charges of trying to pass counterfeit $20 bills. He two were held on $25,000 bail. Barry Windham posted the bail for both of them. The two were charged with trying to pass the counterfeit bills on December 22, 1989.

After the Windhams arrest, the nine-member counterfeit ring started crumbling. The ring had been under investigation dating back to April, when two of the men in the ring apparently printed up $1.2 million in fake $20s. Undercover police made a deal to buy $1 million of fake $20s for $250,000 in cash. The man who brought the suitcase to the undercover officers was reported as being Bob Windham. Police at the time believed that the money was originally earmarked to be used to buy into big-time drug action (the money had been printed for payment for a drug deal that ended up never occurring) and that about $500,000 of the counterfeit money had been passed around the Tampa area. But they also believed the recovered most of it.

Bob and Kendall Windham pleaded guilty to possession and trying to sell $1 million in counterfeit $20 bills. The two weren’t charged with any other crimes in exchange for helping the Secret Service solve the case. However, Windham also claimed the story put out wasn’t true and that he never rolled for the police on those he worked with. Kendall, 23, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and two years probation while Bob was sentenced to two years in prison and also two years probation.

Mulligan returned to wrestling after getting out of prison in the summer of 1992, but only did a handful of matches, mostly working Florida independent shows. His last match was a nostalgia match on a May 23, 1993, WCW PPV show, where he teamed with McDaniel & Jim Brunzell, going to a draw with Murdoch & Don Muraco & Jimmy Snuka.

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Part II:

Quote:A bill was proposed on 4/12 in front of the senate in Mexico to declare 9/21 as a national holiday known as Dia de Lucha Libre.

The bill was prosed by Jesus Casillas Romero, and many CMLL wrestlers were there to show support. Romero argued that Lucha Libre should have its own day because Lucha Libre isn’t just a sport in Mexico, it’s part of the culture and history of the country. He said that Lucha Libre generates lots of money from tourism and provides jobs for thousands of people in Mexico.

As it turned out, New Japan ended up giving WWE the blueprint after the fact on its Roman Reigns fan reaction issue.

In 2013, Tetsuya Naito defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the G-1 Climax tournament, and defended his win for the remainder of the year, leading to his challenge of Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP heavyweight title.

Everything made sense. Naito had a tremendous match with Tanahashi, and was known as something of a genius in the ring for his ability to lay out matches. But something didn’t click. Like with Reigns, it was a combination of some fans booing, and some apathy. It became clear as the year was ending, that for whatever reason, it wasn’t clicking like a Tokyo Dome main event. New Japan booker Gedo regrouped, announced a poll where fans would vote for the main event at the Dome, between Okada vs. Naito and an IC title match with Shinsuke Nakamura defending against Tanahashi. Fans voted, overwhelmingly, for the latter.

That was used as the impetus for Naito to turn heel, copying the concept he saw in Mexico of CMLL’s lead heel faction, Los Ingobernables. In many ways, they also foreshadowed Reigns. Rush, because of his look, was being groomed as the rising superstar babyface, but the crowds at Arena Mexico were booing and rejecting him. So, he went heel, embraced the negative, and became a far more effective headliner.

Naito copied the name that was working in Mexico, forming Los Ingobernables en Japon (in Japan), and starting a heel turn last year. Eventually Evil (Takaaki Watanabe) and Bushi joined him. Merchandise started selling because between the dress clothes and the mask, along with the T-shirts, they became the cool wrestling merchandise. And he became more and more popular for being different.

On 4/10, at Invasion Attack, New Japan’s biggest event since the Tokyo Dome, Naito, who was heavily cheered in his match where he beat Hirooki Goto to win the New Japan Cup, was the challenger for IWGP heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada.

At a time when New Japan has been falling noticeably at the gate, the advance was strong and they ended up doing 9,078 fans paid, which was a sellout. It’s hard to make direct comparisons because of how attendance announcements have changed in recent years, but it was, along with last year’s Invasion Attack headlined by A.J. Styles vs. Kota Ibushi, the company’s most successful show at Sumo Hall that wasn’t a G-1 final in many years.

A big surprise was the volume of responses we got to the show. It was nearly as much as the Tokyo Dome show, ahead of most UFC shows and slightly more than the WWE’s Fast Lane show.

The crowd was solidly behind Naito, 33, in his quest to win the title for the first time. In a business where timing is of such importance, it was the right time to pull the trigger for a number of reasons. The key is that New Japan had to elevate a couple of new wrestlers to the level of Okada and Tanahashi due to losses of Nakamura, Styles and Ibushi (who wasn’t there yet but would have needed to be had he stayed). The company booked to do that with Kenny Omega, as he beat Tanahashi for the IC title.

The match had its controversy with the Americanized ref bump finish when Okada laid out ref Red Shoes with a spinning elbow when Naito moved. Evil and Bushi tried to get involved. Okada laid out Evil with a flapjack. Bushi blew mist, but Okada ducked and the mist went in the air. Okada then hit his dropkick. A new guy under a mask came out. He gave Okada a neckbreaker and hit the moonsault on Okada. Naito came back and went for the Destino, but Okada escaped and hit a German suplex. Okada went for the rainmaker, but Naito ducked it and hit the Destino for the pin in 28:50.

The masked man revealed himself as Seiya Sanada, who was best known from Wrestle-1 and TNA. Naito, Bushi, Evil and Sanada beat down Okada and Gedo after the match until Goto and Tomohiro Ishii made the save. This led to Ishii challenging Naito for his first title defense on 5/3 in Fukuoka. Before leaving, Naito threw the IWGP belt in the air, let it land on the ground and walked out without it, with the idea he was showing no respect for the title. Naito even said after that the crowd cheering for him after the way they reacted to his push a few years ago was more important than the title.

Naito’s win was one of four title changes on the show.

Rocky Romero & Trent Baretta won the IWGP jr. tag titles from Matt Sydal & Ricochet, with Ricochet losing the fall, which immediately made people figure Ricochet was done and headed to WWE. And that’s not necessarily untrue, but it’s not happening right away, as Ricochet & Sydal are getting a rematch, and Ricochet is also booked for the Best of the Super Juniors tournament from 5/21 to 6/7.

Tanahashi & Michael Elgin & Yoshitatsu, in his return after being out 18 months due to a broken neck and neck surgery, won the Never trios titles from The Young Bucks & Kenny Omega. The finish saw Elgin pin Nick Jackson, largely to set up an Omega vs. Elgin IC title match. There was a part of me that thought the Bucks & Omega were in the process of making the belts mean something and it was too early to make the switch.

That match was tempered because early in the match, when Nick Jackson was doing a senton off the Sumo Hall balcony by the entrance, somewhat similar to a balcony dive in Madison Square Garden, he had the other five wrestlers and Cody Hall all there to catch him. He landed on Hall and it wasn’t exact, but it did look similar to when D.J. Zema Ion injured Jessy Sorenson on the live TNA PPV show four years ago. Hall went down and wasn’t moving. The wrestlers left the scene and continued the match. The injury put a damper on the match, more for the wrestlers themselves than the fans.

Hall was not moving at all when he was put on a stretcher and taken to the hospital in an ambulance. He was diagnosed with a very severe stinger and was still hospitalized the next day, but X-rays showed no broken bones and there were no signs of a concussion.

The third title change saw the brother combination of Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (formerly Camacho), of Bullet Club, winning the tag titles over Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma.

New Japan announced the schedule for the G-1 Climax tournament at the show. There will be 19 shows, starting 7/18 and ending 8/14, with a format similar to last year where they will alternate nine shows for each block with the guys in the other block working underneath tag team matches.

The tour starts 7/18 in Sapporo. The key dates on 7/22 and 7/24 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, 7/30 at the Aiichi Gym in Nagoya, 8/4 at the Fukuoka Citizen Gym (downgrading from the usual Fukuoka International Center Arena after they drew so poorly at the larger arena last year), 8/6 at the Edion Arena in Osaka (the Osaka G-1 show is traditionally one of the best shows of the year), 8/8 at the Yokohama Bunka Gym, and it closes with the A block championship on 8/12 at Sumo Hall, the B block championship on 8/13 at Sumo Hall, and the two winners meet on 8/14 in what is considered the company’s second biggest show of the year. I believe they will be bringing the English language crew in for the last three nights.

Coming up on New Japan World are four shows. They will be airing 4/23 and 4/24 from Korakuen Hall at 2:30 a.m. The lineups have not been announced.

At Invasion Attack, they shot angles to build two big shows, both PPV events, a 4/29 show in Kumamoto at the Grand Messe which is a late Thursday/early Friday show that starts at 4 a.m. Eastern, and the traditional Wrestling Dontaku show on 5/3 at the Fukuoka International Center Arena, also starting at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.

The key matches, but not complete cards, have been announced for both shows.

Kumamoto has Omega vs. Elgin for the IC title as the main event, which is rare going with two foreigners on top in a singles match, plus Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale, Katsuyori Shibata vs. Yuji Nagata for the Never Open weight title, Romero & Baretta vs. Ricochet & Sydal for the IWGP jr. tag title plus Naito & Evil & Bushi & Sanada vs. Okada & Ishii & Goto & Ospreay.

Fukuoka is headlined by Naito vs. Ishii for the IWGP title, plus Okada vs. Sanada, Goto vs. Evil, Kushida vs. Jushin Liger for the IWGP jr. title and Tonga & Loa vs. Makabe & Honma for the tag title.

The one thing about the booking for the show is that when you see where everything was going, every single result made sense.

1. Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi beat Juice Robinson & Ryusuke Taguchi in 3:45. Takahashi, who has been bothered by injuries, looked bad here. Fale hit the grenade on Robinson, but Taguchi saved. But then he hit Robinson with a spear and pinned him after the Bad Luck fall. Not good at all. ½*

2. Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata & Jushin Liger beat Kazushi Sakuraba & Toru Yano & Yoshi-Hashi in 7:06. Sakuraba was doing this seven days before a shoot match in Rizin. Good action but too short. Kojima did his trademark stuff. Nagata looked good when he was in there. Yoshi-Hashi did a small package for a good near fall when Nagata went for his bridging back suplex. Yoshi-Hashi missed a charge and Nagata used a knee to the back of the head and the bridging back suplex for the pin. **½

3. Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto beat Evil & Bushi in 10:36. This was good. Goto and Evil were laying into each other with elbows. The crowd was booing Goto and cheered Evil. This crowd was pro-Los Ingobernables. Fans booed whenever Goto would get offense. This was physical as hell at the end. Goto head-butted Evil, used the neckbreaker over the knee and a sliding lariat for the pin. ***½

4. Rocky Romero & Trent Baretta won the IWGP jr. tag titles from Matt Sydal & Ricochet in 15:48. Baretta’s waist and ribs were all taped up as he was suffering from floating cartilage. He still did a ton. The English announce team, Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino, did a great job on this show. Corino noted little things, such as that Rocky Romero, Christopher Daniels and C.W. Anderson his mind were three of the greatest ring generals in the business. Ricochet was amazing here. Ricochet did a tope on Romero, and then got back in the ring and did a running flip dive to the other side of the ring onto Baretta. He worked n Baretta’s bad ribs. Sydal & Ricochet did double standing shooting stars on Baretta’s bad ribs. Sydal did a double huracanrana on Romero & Baretta, but they came back with double flying knees to Sydal. Ricochet hit a 450 on Baretta, but he kicked out. Sydal missed a shooting star press and Baretta got a near fall with a schoolboy. Baretta did the Dudebuster on Sydal but he kicked out. Ricochet and Romero were trading elbows and European uppercuts. Ricochet missed a Benadryller and Romero clotheslined the hell out of him. Romero went for a Frankensteiner off the top rope but Ricochet landed on his feet. Romero & Baretta hit Ricochet with a double jumping knee, and Romero & Baretta did the double-team Ground Zero on Ricochet for the pin. ****1/4

5. Kushida beat Will Ospreay in 15:07 to retain the IWGP jr. title. This was Ospreay’s New Japan debut. Most of the fans didn’t know him but he did this series of nip ups right away out of the old Steve Wright playbook and the crowd immediately realized he was something special. Ospreay wore Kris Travis tights and dedicated the match to him. Both hit the other with huracanranas and both landed on their feet. Kushida spent most of the match working on the left arm. Ospreay went for a flip into the ropes and bounce off spot but the bad arm gave out. Later in the match he did the same spot, except flipped into the ropes and bounced off without his hands touching the ground. Ospreay did a Fosbury flop dive. Ospreay used a codebreaker and standing 540. He then called for the rainmaker, but Kushida ducked and reversed into his hoverboard lock (Kimura). All kinds of great moves back and forth. Kushida did a flying armbar off the to rope. He did Kawada kicks. They did hockey fight spot. Ospreay did a running Spanish fly for a near fall. Ospreay went to te top for a Phoenix splash, but Kushida got his knees up and used a small package for a near fall. Ospreay came off the top rope backwards and Kushida caught him with an armbar. That was spectacular. Kushida changed to a triangle. Ospreay did a one arm clean to the shoulders, but Kushida got the hoverboard lock. Ospreay made it almost to the ropes when Kushida rolled him back to the center of the ring and he tapped out. This match was comparable to the Ospreay vs. Ricochet and Sami Zayn vs. Nakamura matches last week. Of the three, this came across the most like the result mattered, and had the best storytelling and psychology. It didn’t have the athleticism of Ospreay vs. Ricochet, but almost nobody could beat those two at that. But it had more than Nakamura vs. Zayn. Nakamura vs Zayn had the cool factor of Nakamura, and the crowd, but if you took the unique crowd away, really this match was far better. Plus, these guys started at 0 because the fans didn’t no Ospreay, and got to 100, while Nakamura vs. Zayn started at 100, and ended up 100. It was a fantastic debut for Ospreay. Liger came out after the match to issue a challenge. The place went nuts when Liger came out. Liger said he wanted to become a 12-time IWGP jr. heavyweight champion. ****½

6. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin & Yoshitatsu won the Never six man titles from The Young Bucks & Kenny Omega in 14:46. Coming to the ring, Nick Jackson issued a challenge to the New Day. Omega said that a lot of people wasted their money last weekend when they should have been watching him all along. The story of the match was it being Yoshitatsu’s return after a broken neck from a Styles clash, and Omega kept teasing a Styles clash on him, and later the Bucks teased tombstone piledrivers on him. Elgin suplexed both Bucks at the same time. Nick came off the balcony with a swanton, which was where Cody Hall got hurt. Omega hit Elgin with a garbage can and put the can on his head and Matt superkicked the can. Omega & Bucks did a triple dive. Matt did a flip into a Lawler strut and a back scratch on Tanahashi. Tanahashi came back and scratched Matt’s back. Fans were behind Yoshitatsu the entire match and he did a spin kick and a springboard dropkick on Matt. Elgin picked both Bucks up and did a double fall away. Yoshitatsu got Matt in the Indian deathlock, but Omega grabbed the spray they use in Japan to freeze and numb injured areas. They sprayed it in Yoshitatsu’s eyes, then Elgin’s eyes and then Tanahashi’s eyes. The Bucks & Omega were about to finish Yoshitatsu and Tanahashi used the spray in all of their eyes. Elgin hit a German suplex on Nick, and then suplexed both Bucks at the same time. Elgin threw Tanahashi onto Nick, but Nick got his knees up. They tried the Meltzer driver but Elgin caught Nick and threw him over the top rope to the floor. Elgin used a power delayed falcon arrow on Matt for a near fall. Elgin finally pinned Nick with a super power bomb. Omega and Elgin got face-to-face after to set up the IC title match. Both put their belts on the ground. Then, after it seemed it was all over, Fale showed up and he attacked Tanahashi. ***3/4

7. Katsuyori Shibata pinned Hiroyoshi Tenzan to keep the Never Open weight title in 10:47. This was pushed as Tenzan trying to win one last big one. Kojima, Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi were at ringside cheering for Tenzan with the idea they all started together. Masahiro Chono, who was Tenzan’s legendary partner, was doing commentary. Shibata first wore him down with a figure four and then kicked the hell out of Tenzan’s left shoulder. Tenzan did his head-butts and Mongolian chops. Tenzan did some sick klunking head-butts, the stuff that nobody should be doing. Tenzan kicked Shibata in the face and put on the Anaconda vise. Tenzan got to his feet and broke it. Tenzan came back with his trademark Mongolian chops and head butts. Tenzan used the anaconda buster. He went to the top and Shibata power bombed him, pulling him off the top rope. Tenzan came back with lots of head-butts. Tenzan got the Anaconda vise but Shibata made the rope again. Shibata then used a Tenzan driver on Tenzan for a near fall, landed hard chops, another choke and then let it go and Shibata nailed Tenzan with a penalty kick. ***½

8. The Guerillas of Destiny, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa won the IWGP tag titles from Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma in 16:54. The match started slow but got good. Loa, new to the promotion, was just there, and didn’t seem to show anything special. The crowd was into Honma and his kokeshi head-butts. After near falls, the Guerillas did a double team Guerrilla warfare on Honma for the pin. ***

9. Tetsuya Naito pinned Kazuchika Okada to win the IWGP heavyweight title in 28:50. Loud Naito chants and some Okada chants. The crowd was really into this like a big-time main event. Bushi tripped Okada and Naito threw him into the guard rail. He also threw Gedo into the guard rail and put the boots to Gedo. Evil put a chair around Okada’s neck and did the baseball bat swing with another chair. Okada was upside down in the turnbuckles and Naito worked him over, and Bushi was choking him. Okada came back and put Naito on the top turnbuckle and dropkicked him out of the ring. He threw him into the guard rail and kicked him over the top. Evil charged after Okada, but Okada moved and he flew over the guard rail. Okada then threw Bushi over the guard rail onto both and did a running crossbody over the guard rail onto all three. Naito came back, spit in his face, and then dropped Okada on his head with a tornado DDT. Gedo attacked Bushi. Evil distracted Okada and Naito used a low blow and the puma blanca submission. He had the move on for a long time and the fans didn’t buy it. That was a spot that should have worked better as Okada made the ropes. Naito used a Frankensteiner off the top for a near fall as well as a back suplex. Okada came back with a running dropkick and Naito’s head hit the bottom rope. Okada used low dropkicks and a missile dropkick two thirds of the way across the ring for a near fall. Okada then delivered the Randy Savage elbow off the top. He set up the rainmaker, and fans booed. Naito ducked it. Okada went for a spinning elbow on Naito, who moved, and Okada took out referee Red Shoes Uno. Evil and Bushi came in. Okada hit the flapjack on Evil. Bushi blew the mist, but Okada ducked. Okada hit the big dropkick on Naito. A new guy in a mask showed up, who was Seiya Sanada. Sanada did a moonsault on Okada. Naito used an elbow and an enzuigiri, but Okada blocked Destino. Okada hit a German suplex and went for the rainmaker, but Naito ducked it and hit Destino for the win. ****1/4

The first of what was at least at first expected to be more names in a class action lawsuit against WWE regarding lack of royalties from the network was filed on 4/6 by Rene Goguen, 32, better known as Rene Dupree, and dropped five days later.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, is a claim that Goguen hasn’t received contractually owed royalty payments from WWE from appearances on the network.

It was withdrawn by his lawyers, Brenden P. Leydon of Tooher Wocl & Leydon of Stamford, and Clinton Krislov and Matthew Peterson of Krislov and Associates of Chicago on 4/11.

The belief is the suit was dropped based on the lawyers finding out from WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt that Goguen, the son of Eastern Canadian wrestling promoter Emil Dupree (Emil Goguen) who was thought to have great potential early on based on his look, but ended up for a number of reasons not living up to expectations, signed a 2011 contract which very specifically stated things regarding royalty rights that would have specified talent was not entitled to rights from network broadcasts of their performances, as well as his 2006 contract which also pretty much did the same thing.

If the Chicago lawyers involved want to do a class action suit, which we were told was the plan, that may eliminate anyone who had signed a deal post 2006 when the contracts addressed that point.

The original claim was that Goguen’s booking contract (he worked for the company from 2003 to 2007), gave him 25 percent of net of licensed product royalties that his likeness was used in.

The original contract terms used prior to 2006 stated that wrestlers were to get a percentage of net from “video cassettes, videodiscs, CD Rom or other technology, including technology not yet created.” They were hanging their head on the term “technology not yet created.” The argument is that because this would have applied to DVD sales of PPVs he was in, and putting the PPVs on the network killed DVD sales, wrestlers on those PPV shows should be entitled to a percentage. The suit also said that WWE has given rights to Netflix to stream videos of older shows but that the wrestlers haven’t gotten any money out of those deals.

We had reported this was coming and it is expected a number of other former wrestlers will join in.

McDevitt noted that there were already similar lawsuits that were thrown out including Douglas Somerson (Doug Somers) vs. WWE and Stevie Ray (not the Harlem Heat Stevie Ray but another a wrestler known as Wild Thing Stevie Ray) wrestler vs. ESPN (for airing of old television shows on ESPN without paying royalties). The late Tommy Gilbert and son Doug also filed a lawsuit against WWE for appearances on the network that went nowhere.

Where this claim differs is that WWE’s going to the network for revenue has hurt revenue streams, while wrestlers themselves are losing out, the company is gaining without paying similar royalties. When it comes to PPV, the headliners are still being paid at the same level as they had been before.

But by 2006, WWE was aware of emerging technologies and specifically put in all wrestler contracts that they are not entitled to revenues from them.

There is a difference in the sense that consumers don’t directly pay for ESPN while the network is a paid subscription service. And it is true that the network has cannibalized several revenue streams wrestlers had previously been paid more for, both PPV shows and DVDs.

Some NFL players had sued the league on similar grounds, and that lawsuit went nowhere. Goguen, according to McDevitt, signed an agreement which he wouldn’t specify based on confidentiality (it was not a new contract, nor a legends contract, nor the new ambassador deals), which McDevitt said almost immediately after it was filed that would kill this lawsuit. McDevitt said that Goguen never told his lawyers about the 2011 agreement.

McDevitt also said that Goguen signed a new contract in 2006 that stated explicitly that he is not eligible for payments based on those claims, as the company was already doing the 24/7 Classics on Demand service by then.

Those new standard contracts dating back to 2006 stated that wrestlers are not eligible for any payment or royalties from television license fees, television subscription fees, internet subscription fees and subscription video on demand fees.

There were a number of other wrestlers spoken with who were at least talking about a similar suit, who may not have the baggage that Goguen had. Others had turned down being part of the suit.

Joao Carvalho, a 28-year-old Portuguese fighter, passed away on 4/11, two days after losing a fight to Charlie Ward on a show in Dublin, Ireland.

The finish of the fight didn’t look unusual. In the third round, Ward had Carvalho’s back and threw about ten hard punches from that position on the ground when the referee waved it off. Conor McGregor, who was in attendance at the show, promoted by Total Extreme Fighting, and held at Dublin’s National Boxing Stadium, said it could have been stopped sooner. Video of the end of the fight showed it was not what would be viewed under normal circumstances as a late stoppage.

Carvalho looked stunned while sitting up after the stoppage, no different from a usual reaction, and then laid down. He was rushed to Beaumont Hospital about 20 minutes after the fight when he started to feel weakened. He underwent emergency brain surgery and was in critical condition before passing away at 9:35 p.m. local time.

Ward is a fighter from SBG in Dublin, the same team as McGregor.

Michael Ring, the acting Minister of State for Tourism said that he expects there will be an investigation and didn’t want to comment until the results were in.

The governing body, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, said, “We are in the process of gathering information with the support of the Irish Amateur Pankration Association and await the outcome of official medical reports. In the meantime, we cannot comment further on this isolated and very sad incident, other than to say that we offer our support.”

Deaths in combat sports are a sad reality and are a reminder why it is imperative fighters are checked out before fights and proper medical care is exercised during and after fights, and why officials have to be well trained and not allow fights to go on too long. But even with everything done correctly, there will sometimes be tragedies in MMA, boxing and kickboxing.

“Terrible news regarding Joao Carvalho,” wrote McGregor on Facebook. “To see a young man doing what he loves, competing for a chance at a better life, and then to have it taken away is truly heartbreaking.

We are just men and women doing something we love in the hope of a better life for ourselves and our families. Nobody involved in combat sports of any kind wants to see this. It is such a rare occurrence that I don’t know how to take this. I was at ringside supporting my teammate, and the fight was so back-and-forth that I just can’t understand it.

My condolences go out to Joao’s family and his team. Their man was a hell of a fighter and will be sorely missed by all.

Combat sport is a crazy game and the recent incident in boxing and now this in MMA, it is a sad time to be a fighter and a fight fan.

It is easy for those on the outside to criticize our way of living, but for the millions of people around the world who have had their lives, their health, their fitness and their mental strength all changed for the better through combat, this is a truly bitter pill to swallow. We have lost one of us.

I hope we remember Joao as a champion, who pursued his dream doing what he loved, and show him the eternal respect and admiration he deserves.”

Carvalho was bleeding heavily from the nose when the fight was stopped. It was said that doctors asked him after the fight if he felt any pain or headaches and he responded he felt no pain or headaches but did feel very tired. The doctors on the premises recommended him going to the hospital for a CT scan. He was described as walking around, talking and smiling backstage before being sent to the hospital. There was nothing out of the ordinary about anything from the post-fight tests but they did order him to be taken to the hospital.

Ten minutes later he complained his head was hurting and started to vomit and five minutes after that he got significantly worse so they immediately put him in an ambulance, rushed him to the hospital, and called the hospital ahead of time.

Jonathan Rechner, best known for his days in ECW as Balls Mahoney, became the latest in the string of tragedies that came out of that promotion. Rechner passed away on 4/12, one day after his 44th birthday.

Rechner had been in bad shape physically for years, notable for how much he had aged in the documentary “Barbed Wire City” that was released in 2013 that he was a major part of. The year before, he had a match with Marty Jannetty, and after his trademark of taking a hard chair shot to the head, although not as hard as he did in his youth, he started throwing up all over ringside. He had lost most of his teeth. He walked with a limp. His body was ravaged from all the injuries he suffered, mostly in his ECW days, where he was work through them and brag about missing almost no time for broken bones, herniated discs or torn muscles. Those who had seen him said that for years he looked gaunt, had lost a lot of weight, and was looking more and more unhealthy every time they saw him.

Only sketchy details are available at press time regarding his death on 4/12. A few days before his death, he was injured in a fall. He was on a walker and started violently throwing up in front of his wife and his young son, seven-year-old Christopher, who was the world to him and who he took everywhere. Early reports were that he got so sick that he passed away.

Rechner was a top level high school wrestler in New Jersey, who was banned from the sport as a teenager when he was called for an illegal move that injured his opponent and then head-butted the referee who made the call.

It was about that time he met Chris Candito, another teenager who had started doing independent shows. Candito got in because his grandfather, Chuck “Popeye” Richards, had done some wrestling for the WWWF in prelims from 1966 to 1974.

The two started doing pro wrestling as teenagers. Rechner came out of the Monster Factory in Paulsboro, NJ, and had his first match in 1987, at the age of 15, using the name Abbuda Singh, where he played an Arab who blew fire, in area independents.

Early in his career he did some enhancement work for the WWF, and got his first break as Boo Bradley with Smoky Mountain Wrestling in 1994, a character based on Boo Radley from “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Candito and Tammy Sytch, using the name Tammy Fytch, were with the promotion and he was brought in as their giant, naive childhood friend who they would abuse and make fun of. It was a very typical naive powerhouse heel character who would be made fun of with the idea it would lead to him becoming a popular babyface down the line. With the exception of Candido (the pro wrestling spelling of his last name) and Fytch, he believed his only friend was his pet cat Boots. They did an angle where Candito and Sytch killed his cat (which was actually their pet cat). The attempt was to turn him babyface and model him after Cactus Jack, using “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf as his theme song. Mick Foley was even brought in as part of the storyline in having Bradley break away from Candido and Fytch to lead to a series of matches.

He was signed by WWF in 1995 to play a heel Santa, using the name Xanta Claus, but the character was dropped after only a few appearances, because he fell asleep in the dressing room before a show.

But he was best known as “The Chair Swinging Freak,” Balls Mahoney from Nutley, NJ. The act was built around the AC/DC song “Big Balls,” which he used as his entrance music, and the fans would sing it as he came out. Later, he’d get into back-and-forth punching battles with opponents and the fans would chant “Balls” every time he threw a punch, and later “Nuts” every time his opponent would punch back.

The original idea for Balls Mahoney in ECW was to be the world’s toughest biker, who would also come out as being gay. Paul Heyman had the idea of making him the antithesis of every gay stereotype of that era. Heyman explained the idea to some of the wrestlers at a show at the ECW Arena and asked what name should we give him. Heyman said that Raven suggested using the most ridiculous name possible, and said Balls Mahogoney. Candito didn’t like the last name, saying it sounded too gimmicky. Several people popped because of the two names, Balls wounded more gimmicky.

Heyman then came up with Mahoney, from Jerry Mahoney, a ventriloquist dummy character who was part of a television act popular in New York television when Heyman was growing up. Heyman used to copy the act in front of his parents when he was four or five years old.

But Heyman decided against the gay character for Rechner, feeling it wasn’t the right fit. But kept the name.

He formed a tag team with Axl Rotten (Brian Knighton), who passed away from a drug overdose on 2/4. The two never held the ECW tag team titles, but Mahoney held the titles three times, once with Masato Tanaka and twice with Spike Dudley (Matthew Hyson).

Mahoney was known for both delivering and taking some of the most brutal chair shots in the business, often with Japanese star Masato Tanaka. It was scary in the late 90s when they were doing it, but with the knowledge we have today, it’s far worse. His most remembered singles bouts were with Rob Van Dam and Tanaka.

At more than 300 pounds, and while not in great condition, he would do everything he physically could, including taking hard weapons shots and bleeding profusely to where he face was covered in scar tissue, to be as good as he physically could be on that given night.

Mahoney suffered a number of serious injuries in ECW, but through heavy use of pain killing medications, worked through them and took little if any time off. He remained with ECW until its demise in 2001, and was one of the last believers. Even after Paul Heyman disappeared, no more shows were scheduled and had shown up on WWF television, Mahoney would still cling to the idea it was part of a Heyman master plan and ECW would be coming back.

Like all of the ex-ECW stars, he got plenty of work on weekends in the Northeast on the independent scene, and briefly worked for TNA.

When Rob Van Dam came up with the idea of doing an ECW style PPV, the first ECW One Night Stand, something of a landmark event, Mahoney and Rotten were naturals to be brought in for the show. Vince McMahon brought them in as a gimmick ECW tag team coming off the success of the show, but Knighton’s drug issues soured WWE on the team and they were going within a few weeks.

In 2006, after he was brought in for the second ECW One Night Stand show, this one to lead to WWE’s presenting an ECW revival as a third brand, he became a regular with the touring group. The idea was they felt they needed authentic ECW characters to make the new brand work, and Mahoney was used as a singles wrestler. His most memorable role was him attempting to get a date with Kelly Kelly, where Miz, as the leader of the Dancing troupe of Kelly, Layla and Brooke Adams, would keep them apart. Eventually she stopped listening to Miz. The idea was to make Kelly into a major attraction with the idea that the girl that pretty would be considered attainable if she would date Mahoney. Shortly after that, with the ECW brand floundering, the decision was made to release him in April 2008.

He continued to work independent shows based on his ECW name, including appearing in TNA in 2010 when they tried to do an ECW reunion. Since WWE had purchased the ECW intellectual property, he had to use the name Kahoney’s in TNA. On that year’s Hardcore Justice PPV, an ECW revival show, he and Rotten lost to Team 3-D.

He continued to work on the independent scene, mostly in the Northeast, but had slowed down his schedule greatly over the past year as his health worsened.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos was coming off the worst career performance of his career, a second round knockout loss to Alistair Overeem on 12/19 in Orlando where he did almost nothing on offense.

His opponent, Ben Rothwell, was coming off probably the most impressive looking win of his career, becoming the first person ever to submit Josh Barnett (technically Barnett submitted due to a shoulder injury in a fight with Mirko Cro Cop, but he had never lost in MMA via submission and the last time he was tapped in grappling competition was in 2000) in an MMA fight with one of the most shocking endings of a fight in recent memory on 1/30 in Newark.

The last dominant win by Dos Santos was three years ago. Rothwell hadn’t lost a fight in the last three years.

So, naturally, Dos Santos dominated Rothwell in all five rounds to win the main event of UFC’s debut show at Arena Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia on 4/10. Dos Santos fought a careful fight, going back to basic boxing, using footwork and distance and relying on his jab to set a UFC record for most punches landed in a heavyweight fight with 157. He also set a record for any UFC fight, regardless of weight, with 92 landed strikes to the body.

That stat pretty much tells you about the workmanlike fight. Dos Santos kept at a distance and kept moving. Rothwell did land some punches, but Dos Santos was far more effective landing jabs to the body. After the fight, Dos Santos noted while he trains in Jiu Jitsu and wrestling, that he is a boxer and needs to fight like one.

Dos Santos, at 32, is the youngest top ten UFC heavyweight in the aging division. But, after the Overeem fight, he looked more like a shot fighter than the majority of the top fighters in the division, many of which are five to ten years older than him.

Rothwell was on the short list, with Cain Velasquez and Overeem, of guys that could have been chosen to face the winner of the 5/14 fight with Fabricio Werdum defending the title against Stipe Miocic. Had Rothwell won, and Velasquez and Overeem lost, he’d have been a lock to have been the next contender. But now it’s back to the drawing board.

For Dos Santos, what happens next probably has to wait to see how three key fights, the Werdum vs. Miocic fight, the 5/10 fight in Rotterdam, Holland, with Overeem vs. Andrei Arlovski, and the 7/9 fight with Velasquez vs Travis Browne go.

The show was a significant ratings success, as it was the most-watched UFC Fight Night show that aired outside of prime time in network history, doing 781,000 viewers. That number beat four shows last year that aired in prime time, and more than doubled the 389,000 viewers for the main card for FS 1's last afternoon Fight Night show, last April, headlined by Chad Mendes’ win over Ricardo Lamas. FS 1 was also in first place among the sports networks during the 2 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. time slot. The number is strong given that aside from the main event, there were no marquee fights. Dos Santos vs. Rothwell itself peaked between 4:45 and 5 p.m. (the early rounds) with more than 1 million viewers, meaning people did turn it off during the later rounds because it wasn’t much of a spectator fight.

The prelims, headlined by Zak Cummings vs. Nicolas Dalby, which had three straight first round finishes leading to a decision in the last match, averaged 443,000 viewers, up from 304,000 the last time prelims aired in a similar time slot.

The show did a 0.16 in 12-17, 0.24 in 18-34, 0.42 in 35-49 and 0.28 in 50+, with a 73 percent male skew.

The prefight show did 119,000 viewers. The postfight show did 310,000 viewers. The weigh-ins did 109,000 viewers, which more than tripled the weigh-in number for the Mendes vs. Lamas fight in the same time slot.

The show drew a sellout of 13,177 fans for a live gate of $549,000. Those numbers indicate the lowest ticket prices for an event in recent UFC history.

The main event was really the only fight of major relevance as far as contenders went. The fight wasn’t particularly exciting. The show was lacking in name value, but most of the undercard fights went quickly and the action itself was good.

Derrick Lewis, Alejandro Perez, Mairbek Taisumov and Jared Cannonier all took $50,000 performance bonuses. The UFC decided against a best fight bonus, which would have likely gone to the light heavyweight bout with Igor Pokrajac vs. Jan Blachowicz.

Lewis knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga in the semi. Lewis has scary punching power as of his 15 wins, 14 of them have been via knockout. He’s never fought a top tier heavyweight yet. After the win, there was talk of matching him with Roy Nelson, which would be a good test. But even as impressive as his power has looked, you can’t look past the fact he’s been knocked out by Shawn Jordan and Matt Mitrione in the last two years.

1. Bojan Velickovic (14-3) beat Alessio Di Chirico (9-1) via unanimous decision on scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 in a welterweight fight. Both men were making their UFC debuts. It came down to the final round and each had a takedown and it was a close round.

2. Jared Cannonier (8-1) beat Cyril Asker (7-2) in 2:44 of a heavyweight fight. Asker landed hard shots but Cannonier dropped him with a left to the jaw and it was stopped after a few punches on the ground. Cannonier is a small heavyweight and talked of dieting down to 205.

3. Lucas Martins (16-3) beat Robert Whiteford (12-4) via split decision on scores of 29-28, 28-29 and 30-27 in a featherweight fight. Most of the fight was standing. Whiteford got a takedown in the second round. Mostly Martins landing more.

4. Damian Stasiak (9-3) beat Filip Pejic (10-2-1) at 2:16 of a bantamweight fight. Stasiak took him down with a trip, got his back and secured the choke. Despite the spelling, Pejic’s name is easy to pronounce as Phillip Page.

5. Mairbek Taisumov (25-5) beat Damir Hadzovic (10-3) in 3:44 in a lightweight fight. Both were landing shots early. Taisumov hurt him with a couple of rights. It turned into a big brawl with both throwing hard punches until Taisumov dropped him with a right uppercut. After the fight, Taisumov asked Joe Silva how many knockouts does he need to face someone in the top ten. This was Taisumov’s fourth straight knockout win.

6. Alejandro Perez (18-6) beat Ian Entwistle (9-3) in 4:04 in a bantamweight fight. Perez was the winner of TUF Latin America, and moved to San Jose to train. Entwistle kept going for leglocks. He went for one and Perez slipped out and Entwistle complained that Perez was greased. The ref checked the leg and said there was no grease. Perez dropped him with a right as he shot in. But Entwistle on the ground went back to work for a heel hook. Entwistle was going for the hold and Perez was throwing punches to the head while Entwistle was working for the submission. He took so many shots while working for the submission that he was rocked and the fight was stopped.

7. Zak Cummings (19-4) beat Nicolas Dalby (14-1-1) on straight 30-27 scores in a welterweight fight. Cummings landed a right and left to put Dalby down in the first round and got on top into side control. Dalby got up and out and they traded late. In the second round, not a lot of action but Cummings landed more. Cummings was landing punches in the third round. Dalby lost his balance at one point and went down and Cummings was on top. Cummings got on top again late in the round and was still on top when the third round ended.

8. Maryna Moroz (7-1) beat Cristine Stanciu (5-1) on straight 30-27 scores in a strawweight fight. Stanciu went for a guillotine early but gave it up. Moroz ended up on top throwing punches. Moroz got a takedown later in the round and side control, followed by getting Stanciu’s back and working for a choke. In the second round, Stanciu landed a nice right and went for a kneebar. Moroz ended up on top and landed an elbow. In the third round, Stanciu landed front kicks and low kicks. Moroz went for a trip but Stanciu reversed, but Moroz was working for an armbar when the fight ended. Kind of a boring fight.

9. Jan Blachowicz (19-5) beat Igor Pokrajac (28-13, 1 no contest) beat Jan Blachowicz (18-6) on straight 29-28 scores in a light heavyweight bout. This was the best fight of the show. Both came out swinging and Blachowicz took Pokrajac down and landed punches from the top and got his back. Pokrajac got up and with Blachowicz in a piggy back position, but too high on him, Pokrajac threw him over and landed on top. Blachowicz went for an armbar from the bottom but Pokrajac got out of trouble. In the second round, both were landing punches. They had a great exchange. Blachowicz ended up bleeding from the left eye. Blachowicz got a takedown and back position, and was throwing a lot of punches. Pokrajac got back up. Pokrajac was landing punches and Blachowicz took him down again. Pokrajac got back up and Blachowicz landed a head kick, a body shot and a knee. In the third round, Blachowicz landed an uppercut and left hook and another takedown. He was landing punches and elbows from the top. Blachowicz was on top landing punches and the ref kept warning him he was going to order a standup, which was weird since he was staying busy.

10. Tim Johnson (10-2) beat Marcin Tybura (13-2) on straight 29-28 scorers in a heavyweight fight. Both landed in a close first round. Not much happened in the second round, but Johnson landed good punches at the end of the round. In the third round, Tybura got a takedown and got Johnson’s back. After Johnson got up, Tybura landed a head kick and some punches and an elbow. The first round for Johnson decided it but this one could have gone either way.

11. Francis Ngannou (7-1) beat Curtis Blaydes (5-1) when the fight was stopped by the doctor and referee after the second round in a heavyweight fight. Ngannou was still big at 6-foot- 4 and 252 pounds, and cut at that weight, but he didn’t look quite as freaky as in his debut. He’s got some tools but he’s still in the beginning stages. He’s got really long reach and hits hard, and has good takedown defense. In the first round, Ngannou knocked Blaydes down with a left to the ear. Blaydes did get a takedown late in the round. In the second round, both landed but Ngannou’s shots had more power. Blaydes’ right eye was swelling badly. Blaydes got a takedown into side control, but his eye was looking bad, almost swollen shut. Between rounds, the doctor wanted to stop the fight saying that Blaydes couldn’t see out of the right eye. The referee at first didn’t want to stop it, but the doctor said Blaydes couldn’t see and there was really no choice.

12. Derrick Lewis (15-4, 1 no contest) beat Gabriel Gonzaga (17-11) in 4:48 of a heavyweight fight. Lewis landed a head kick but Gonzaga tied him up. Gonzaga got a takedown into side control and then his back, but Lewis got back to his feet. Lewis was landing punches as Gonzaga tried to take him down. Lewis landed a series of punches late in the round, landing a solid right to the jaw and Gonzaga went down. Gonzaga was out of it and he was stopped.

13. Junior Dos Santos (18-4) beat Ben Rothwell (36-10) on straight 50-45 scores in a heavyweight fight. Dos Santos stayed on the outside and landed jabs, mostly to the body in the first round. Rothwell landed some good punches and cut Dos Santos, but Dos Santos was landing more and Rothwell really couldn’t find an answer or get any sustained offense. In the second round, Dos Santos continued to land. Rothwell was bleeding. Dos Santos dropped him late in the round with a front kick and Rothwell was in trouble for the only time in the fight. Dos Santos continued to land, with key blows being a kick to the head and spin kick to the body. In the fourth round, it was more of the same, with the key move being a spin kick to the body. Dos Santos kept connecting. Dos Santos was picking him apart as the fight continued and more so in the final round.

World Wrestling Entertainment announced this past week ten signings for its developmental program, which include three wrestlers who come in with significant reputations, Nicola Glencross (Nikki Storm), Michael Nicholls (Mikey Nicholls) and Shane Veryzer (Shane Haste).

It had been known that all three were WWE bound for months. Nicholls and Veryzer have been training in Orlando since doing their farewell tour with Pro Wrestling NOAH in March. Both were given contract offers last summer, but their debut was delayed due to Haste suffering a torn ACL and needing surgery. Glencross, 26. from Scotland, who had been expected to come in for months, starts this week after finishing up her indie bookings last week and losing a loser leaves town match in Insane Championship Wrestling. She’s been wrestling for eight years and was part of the cast of TNA’s British Boot Camp 2 in 2014, the season that Mark Andrews won and also featured Kris Travis.

The other new signings:

*Babatunde Aiyegbusi - Aiyegbusi, 27, who is 6-foot-9 and 350 pounds, gained some media attention last year as a giant from Olesnica, Poland who was trying out, somewhat as a gimmick, to be an offensive lineman with the Minnesota Vikings. He was cut before the start of the 2015 season and in October was invited to a WWE tryout camp. We had reported he was training in Orlando recently. WWE officials made a connection with him after he had appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show.

*Bianca Blair - Blair, 25 placed in the SEC track and field championships in the hurdles in 2013 while attending the University of Tennessee. After college, she competed in both CrossFit and powerlifting competitions. She’s been featured in a number of women’s fitness type magazines. She was state high school champion in 2006 and 2007 in both the 100 and 300 meter hurdles, and placed fourth at a high school national competition in the 60 meter hurdles in indoor track. She can also squad 310 pounds and clean 200 pounds.

*Nikola Bogojevic - Bogojevic, 24, is a 5-foot-8, 285 pound Greco-Roman wrestler who had trained to make the Olympic team in 2016 but fell short after placing third in 2014 at the Pan American games. He trained with the Greco-Roman national team. His great grandmother was a carnival wrestler in Wisconsin, and he was state heavyweight champion in high school in 2010.

*Carolyn Dunning - Dunning is a model and bodybuilding bikini contest competitor from Las Vegas who placed 15th in the 2014 NPC USA championships.

*Macey Estrella - Estrella trained with American Premier Wrestling and has a background as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps SWAT Team.

*Terrance Jean-Jacques - Jean-Jacques was a Division III All-American wrestler at the University of Rhode Island in 2015 after previously wrestling at Rutgers and Iowa. He’s 6-foot-2 and 265 pounds, and had a 22-6 record as a heavyweight at Iowa in 2014 before leaving the school. He was a football and wrestling star at Haverhill High School in Massachusetts.

*Daniella Kamela - Kamela tried out for the last season of Tough Enough and appeared in the tryout special, but ended up being cut. She then started training for pro wrestling at the Knoxx Pro Wrestling School run by Rikishi and Gangrel. She was used as on-air talent by Fox Sports Arizona, and has previously been on the dance team for the Phoenix Suns and a cheerleader for the Arizona Cardinals. She was also a model and a halftime reporter for the Suns during the 2010-11 season.

Raw on 4/11 was back to usual levels with a 2.50 rating and 3,523,000 viewers (1.47 viewers per home). The viewership was down 13.6 percent from last week, but that was to be expected given that was the Raw after Mania.

Raw was the most-watched show on cable for the night. The viewership was right around usual levels for this year post-football, as it was the eighth best number of the 13 shows this year that didn’t have football competition. The pattern was a little different with a low first hour, but a strong second hour and not much of a third hour drop.

The first hour did 3,474,000 viewers; with the peak second hour doing 3,687,000 viewers (Roman Reigns interview setting up his teaming with Bray Wyatt in the main event, Charlotte vs. Natalya and Usos vs. Social Outcasts) and the third hour dropping to 3,427,000 viewers.

The show did a 1.07 in the 12-17 age group (down 25.7 percent from last week), 1.13 in 18-34 (down 24.7 percent), 1.37 in 35-49 (down 14.4 percent) and 1.30 in 50+ (down 6.5 percent). Basically, the audience that grew the most last week to watch Raw after Mania was the audience that dropped the most this week.

The audience was 64.3 percent male in the 18-34 demo and 66.1 percent male in the 12-17 age group.

Dancing With the Stars, which featured UFC’s Paige VanZant, was the most-watched show on television for the night with 12,507,000 viewers.

Smackdown on 4/7 did a 1.75 rating and 2,444,000 viewers (1.46 viewers per home), which is right at the usual average. It was in third place for the night on cable and second in its time slot (a late night NBA game with the Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs did 3,437,000 viewers).

In the demos, the show did a 0.64 in 12-17(down 5.9 percent), 0.62 in 18-34 (up 3.3 percent), 0.80 in 35-49 (up 2.6 percent) and 1.07 in 50+ (up 5.9 percent). The show did 53.8 percent men in 18-49, which is very high for women and very low for men on the show, and 56.4 percent men in 12-17.

The WWE Hall of Fame ceremony that followed did 1,677,000 viewers. The show did a 0.51 in 12-17, 0.45 in 18-34, 0.57 in 35-49 and 0.61 in 50+. So the retention rate was 79.7% in 12-17, 72.6% in 18-34, 71.3% in 35-49 and 57.0% in 50+. You’d think a show based on nostalgia would do the opposite percentages, particularly with the idea of teenagers and school the next day, yet most teenagers watching Smackdown stuck with it and the older people got, the less likely they were to have stuck with it even though one would think The Freebirds and Sting would mean more to older fans.

Lucha Underground on 4/6 did 156,000 viewers at 8 p.m. and 78,000 viewers at 9 p.m. The combined 234,000 viewers for both episodes was the all-time high for the show. The show’s average viewer was 59 years old and it was 77 percent male.

For the week before this past week, Raw viewership was 90.3% live or night of, Smackdown was 94.3% live or night of, Impact was 86.7% live and Lucha Underground was 78.7%.

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CMLL:

After L.A. Park had verbally agreed to return to AAA on 4/18 (and some expected him on the 4/8 show at Juan de la Barrera Gym in Mexico City), he showed up on 4/6 at the Elite show with his son, sitting in the front row and shooting an angle with Cibernetico. He was then announced as the mystery guy (that formerly was Juventud Guerrera) in their 12-man round robin tournament. Park and his son, El Hijo de L.A. Park, were at ringside. He claimed that he and his son were bored and just decided to fly to Mexico City and watch a show, and they hadn’t signed. Park continually mentioned Dr. Wagner Jr.’s name in his interview, and Park and Wagner always stick together. He kept saying how his goals in wrestling are to unmask Wagner and to shave Rush’s head

. The 4/8 show at Arena Mexico was headlined by Marco Corleone beating Rush via DQ in a short match in straight falls. They are pushing the two of them had. Dragon Lee & Mascara Dorada & Mistico beat Euforia & Ultimo Guerrero & Gran Guerrero in a pretty much fantastic match. Lee & Dorada & Mistico are so good together because it’s three guys who seem to be in competition to outdo each other. It’s like watching the future of junior heavyweight wrestling ahead of time. La Mascara beat Angel de Oro to win the CMLL light heavyweight title due to Angel de Oro being distracted by Rush. After the match, Dragon Lee and Mascara got into it so that looks like the new title program. They were about to go at it until Rush got involved. The key to this is that Mascara and Rush are regular partners in Los Ingobernables, but Rush and Dragon Lee are brothers in real life

The 4/15 show has the first night of the three-week long tag team tournament with faces and heels, usually rivals, as partners. The teams in week one are Mistico & Mephisto, Corleone & Rush, Volador Jr. & Mr. Niebla, Super Crazy & Felino, Angel do Oro & Polvora, Dragon Rojo Jr. & Euforia, Mascara Dorada & Bobby Z and Blue Panther & Ephesto. The other announced main event is Caristico & Atlantis & Maximo Sexy vs. Rey Bucanero & Rey Escorpion & El Terrible

Negro Casas is out with an undisclosed injury. He was to team with Volador Jr. In the tournament but Mr. Niebla will be taking his place

The 4/6 show Elite show saw Magno return. He had been with WWE but was recently cut. In the tournament, Atlantis beat La Mascara and Caristico beat Volador Jr. in a great match. The 4/13 show has tournament matches with Extreme Tiger vs. Ultimo Guerrero, Park vs. Cibernetico plus a battle brother teams with Caristico & Argos (the younger brother of Caristico) vs. Dragon Lee & Rush. I’ve seen their new TV show and it’s pretty cool. It’s one of the better TV’s out there as they make it feel like it’s a big deal with the red carpet open with both wrestling and entertainment stars arriving that they had on the first two weeks of shows. We’re told the show is on Azteca 7 on a trial basis, but the station seems behind it, to the point they are now on Wednesday nights giving the results of the weekly show on the sports news

Bobby Lashley will work on 5/15 in Monterrey for Elite, teaming with Caristico vs. Volador Jr. & Rush. They also announced 5/19 in Xalapa with Mil Mascaras & Cibernetico & Caristico vs. Canek & Rush & La Mascara, plus Atlantis & Octagon & Rayo de Jalisco Jr. vs. Los Hermanos Dinamita

Other old-timers coming back for a show on 4/17 in Monterrey are Sangre Chicana (65), El Satancio (66) and Dandy (54)

The 4/5 show in Guadalajara headlined by Mistico & Caristico vs. Cibernetico & Ultimo Guerrero, which ended when the rudos couldn’t get along (to set up a singles match between them) drew the biggest Tuesday night crowd in the city in a long time.

AAA:

In a big surprise, particularly with Konnan on the outs with AAA, was the announcement that Rey Mysterio Jr. would be returning. No date was given. Brian Cage also returned this past week. All financial issues involving Mysterio and Cage have been settled. Mysterio still has two more dates left on the original contract he signed, so he is at least doing two more shows. After that, it’s hard to say. AAA wants to keep the relationship with him because they’ve lost so much talent and he’s got the most mainstream star power of anyone they have, but since the cost of using him is so high, the idea is for him to be used for what was described as a Brock Lesnar schedule. However, there is no deal in place at this point past what is left on his current deal

There was a really strange incident this past week involving the original Octagon (Juan Escalera, 55) and AAA’s new Octagon Jr., 21. Octagon Jr. was at a restaurant over the weekend promoting a show for the CaraLucha promotion. He was doing a signing in front of a lot of kids and families when Octagon came out of an SUV with his wife, kids and three bodyguards who the belief is were armed (there have been conflicting stories on that). Octagon was having this recorded. He started yelling at Octagon Jr. for using the name and stealing his gimmick while Octagon Jr. said he was just doing his job. Octagon then grabbed his mask and pulled it off, and Octagon Jr. ran off so nobody would see his face. This was definitely not an angle for the promotion, but it was Octagon shooting his own publicity stunt and the video ended up on the ESPN Mexico web site. Octagon kept cutting a promo on Octagon Jr. for his own camera. One of the promoters tried to stop him but Octagon’s bodyguards stepped forward to stop him. Octagon was then asked to leave, and went back into his SUV with his family and left with the bodyguards. Octagon Jr .left the signing quickly. The promoter has said he will take action against Octagon, claiming trespassing and robbery (the robbery apparently is from stealing the mask). The promoter said that if Octagon has a problem, he needs to take it up with AAA. AAA owns the rights to the name and gimmick. The promoter was furious noting that there were young kids at the signing and they saw the bodyguards with guns and were terrified. Dorian Roldan tweeted that AAA stands behind Octagon Jr. and called Octagon unprofessional for pulling the stunt and claimed they were looking to take action on assault charges. Octagon then went on Twitter and re-tweeted messages supporting him. Most in the industry in Mexico were very negative toward Octagon, but obviously there are fans sympathetic to him since to them, he is Octagon. Later, he gave a half-hearted apology to ESPN Mexico, but then went on Twitter, taking back his apology and saying negative things about Flamita and AAA, saying that he would debut his own real Octagon Jr. very soon, perhaps as early as next week. He denied the story that his bodyguards were armed, although the CaraLucha promoter insists they were armed and said that’s why nobody tried to get between them and stop Octagon when he came out and made a scene. Octagon had tried to claim ownership of the name as recently as two months ago, but it was denied because AAA owns all rights to the name and gimmick

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Part III:

Quote:L.A. Park said that when he was having problems regarding using the La Parka name that he made famous, he never got any support from Octagon, and that Octagon teamed with the new La Parka for years as tag team champions. He said he has no sympathy at all for Octagon

The current La Parka was okay after collapsing at the show in Benbrook, TX on 4/1 as he worked shows this past week including TV on 4/8 at Juan de la Barrera Gym in Mexico City. At the TV, Chessman & Averno & Ricky Marvin beat Bengala & Drago & Elegido. What’s notable is that Marvin was on one side and Bengala (who used to be Marvin) was on the other. And Marvin pinned the new Bengala to take the match. Argenis & Australian Suicide & Jack Evans beat Daga & Joe Lider & Pentagon Jr. when Angelico returned from Europe and injuries and helped Evans, who pinned Pentagon to take the fall. They are doing a Perros Del Mal feud as the current Perros team of Daga & Lider & Pentagon Jr. were attacked by Damian 666 & Halloween, from the original Perros Del Mal, who had Pagano as their third man. Garza Jr. & Parka & Octagon Jr. beat Brian Cage & Mesias & El Texano Jr. Mesias cut a promo and wanted Texano to join him in supporting Donald Trump for President (Mexicans hate Trump). Cage and Mesias were talking up Trump and Texano didn’t want to join in with them. So after the fall ended with Parka pinning Texano, Cage & Mesias turned on Texano, so looks like he’s going face to feud with them. Cage & Mesias destroyed Texano after the match. There were teases that El Hijo del Fantasma, who said on Twitter he’d be back in a few weeks (he wanted to go to WWE but couldn’t get out of his Lucha Underground contract) would join with Texano in feuding with Cage & Mesias

Psycho Clown won the Latin American title from Dr Wagner Jr. after going after Wagner’s mask and he was pinned.

WRESTLE-1:

Yuji Hino vs. Kai for the heavyweight title and Kotaro Suzuki vs. Kaz Hayashi for the jr. title will be on the 5/4 show at Korakuen Hall. Also on the show will be Keiji Muto & Daichi Hashimoto & Leona vs. Yuji Okabayashi & Yasufumi Nakanoue & Seiki Yoshioka.

DRAGON GATE:

The annual King of Gate tournament will be a round-robin, like the G-1, as opposed to the traditional single elimination. It starts 5/8 in Osaka and ends in Fukuoka with shows on 6/11 and 6/12. There will be four blocks, each with six wrestlers. The winners of each block go to the semifinals on 6/11, and the finals are the next night. The A block has Shingo Takagi, Yamato, Don Fujii, Jimmy Kanda, Kzy and Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa. The B block has Cima, Jimmy Susumu, Akira Tozawa, Eita, Yosuke Santa Maria and Mondai Ryu. The C block has T-Hawk, Ryo Saito, Masaaki Mochizuki, Dragon Kid, Cyber Kong and Kotoka. The D block has Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi, Gamma, Genki Horiguchi, Big R Shimizu and Lindaman. The shows will have one match from every block. For example, the 5/8 show in Osaka has Yamato vs. Ichikawa, Cima vs. Tozawa, Saito vs. Kong and Doi vs. Gamma. The 5/11 shot at Korakuen Hall has Yamato vs. Takagi, Tozawa vs. Eita, T-Hawk vs. Mochizuki and Shimizu vs. Gamma. They also have a 6/2 show at Korakuen Hall with Yamato vs. Fujii, Susumu vs. Eita, Dragon Kid vs. T-Hawk and Doi vs. Yoshino

One of the company’s big shows of the year, “Dead or Alive,” takes place on 5/5 in Nagoya at the Aiichi Gym, headlined by a cage match. It’s a six-way cage match where the loser either loses his mask, or gets his head shaved, but if he gets his head shaved, he has to keep it shaved for one year. The six participants are Takagi, Doi, Yamato, Tanizaki, Kong and Kotoka

Yoshino suffered a right knee injury on the 4/7 show at Korakuen Hall and is currently out of action

They ran 4/7 at Korakuen Hall before a sellout of 1,850 fans with The Jimmyz team of Jimmy Masaaki (Mochizuki) & Jimmy Susumu & Jimmy K-Ness & Jimmy Kanda over Takagi & Yamato & Tanizaki & Kong, while Punch Tominaga vowed he would retire if he lost, so he & Dragon Kid & Eta beat Doi & Kotoka & Mondai Ryu.

ALL JAPAN:

The Champion Carnival tournament opened on 4/9 at Korakuen Hall before 1,299 fans, well up from what this group usually draws. In the tournament matches, Atsushi Aoki beat Jake Lee in 8:38 with a kneebar; Naoya Nomura pinned The Bodyguard in 9:54 with a schoolboy; Ryoji Sai beat Zeus in 17:50 with a double foot stomp; Super Tiger upset Jun Akiyama in 7:52 via knockout with a high kick; and Kento Miyahara drew with Kengo Mashimo over 30:00 in what was said to be an off the charts match. Mashimo said after the match that he wanted a shot at Miyahara’s Triple Crown

The show was also billed as the 25th anniversary show for both Masao Inoue and Osamu Nishimura. Inoue, 46, debuted on April 4, 1991. Nishimura, 44, started his career on April 21, 1991. The match saw Dory Funk Jr. (Nishimura’s coach) & Takao Omori & Inoue & Tamon Honda (who rarely wrestles these days) over Masa Fuchi & Great Kabuki & Nishimura & Yutaka Yoshie and Inoue pinned Fuchi

4/10 in Nagano in the tournament saw Mashimo pin Nomura in 7:34, Zeus pinned Yoshie with a jackhammer slam in 13:09 and Omori pinned Sai in 13:20 after an axe bomber

The next Triple Crown title defense will be 5/25 at Korakuen Hall.

PRO WRESTLING NOAH:

Mitsuhiro Kitamiya announced on 4/11 that he is changing his ring name to Masa Kitamiya, in honor of Masa Saito. Saito, now 73, has Parkinson’s disease. The reason Brock Lesnar went to Japan last year for the “Beast in the East” special on the WWE Network was primarily to make it a business trip when he and Brad Rheingans went to Japan together to visit Saito last summer. He was one of Kitamiya’s business mentors. Kitamiya is also going to start using some moves that Saito was famous for. Saito was working for Kensuke Sasaki in the Kensuke Office where Kitamiya was trained, but Saito did not train Kitamiya, but said Saito gave his okay to use his name and to honor him

The annual Global Tag League tournament will be 4/21 to 5/4. Due to financial issues, only one foreign team has been announced, champions Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. Even Chris Hero & Colt Cabana, who beat the champs in the tournament last year, aren’t in. The other teams are Takashi Sugiura & Shelton Benjamin, Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka, Naomichi Marufuji & Toru Yano of New Japan, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kitamiya, Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm, Go Shiozaki & Maybach Taniguchi and New Japan’s Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan one more

The 4/21 show at Korakuen Hall features tournament matches with Nakajima & Kitamiya vs. Yone & Storm, Suzuki & Iizuka vs. Tenzan & Kojima, Archer & Smith vs. Marufuji & Yano and Sugiura & Benjamin vs. Shiozaki & Taniguchi. The final night of the round robin is 5/3 at Korakuen Hall with Shiozaki & Taniguchi vs. Tenzan & Kojima, Suzuki & Iizuka vs. Marufuji & Yano, Archer & Smith vs. Yone & Storm and Sugiura & Benjamin vs. Nakajima & Kitamiya. The two top point getters will meet in the finals on 5/4 at Korakuen Hall. .. On 4/10 at Differ Ariake before 528 fans they had a four-man tournament for the top contender for jr. champion Yoshinobu Kanemaru. In the first round, Daisuke Harada pinned Atsushi Kotoge in 4:29 with a German suplex and Hajime Ohara beat Kenou in 10:49. Both of those were match-ups of regular tag team partners. Ohara beat Harada in the finals in 16:01 and will get his title shot on 5/4 at Korakuen Hall

Takashi Sugiura’s next GHC title defense will be against Go Shiozaki on 5/28 in Osaka as they are running a big show at the Edion Arena.

HERE AND THERE:

What is traditionally the biggest independent show of the year as far as attendance goes, usually topping 3,000 fans, Northeast Wrestling’s annual show at Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls, NY, will take place on 8/27. Announced so far are Kurt Angle vs. Matt Hardy, Jushin Liger vs. Jeff Hardy plus the Northeast wrestling debut of Kamaitachi. Also scheduled are Jerry Lawler, Maria Kanellis, Mike Bennett and Sami Callihan. Northeast Wrestling also announced they will be doing a tour this summer of minor league baseball stadiums, and will have shows in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Connecticut and even California.

LUCHA UNDERGROUND:

Just days after MVP announced that he had signed a deal with Lucha Underground as an agent and performer, he was fired by the company for breaching his contract. He made the announcement with complete class, given he took complete blame for it and talked about how great the product is when saying he was let go and didn’t even try to hide his disappointment. It makes sense given there aren’t a lot of options and you don’t want to burn your bridge. He did a podcast with several Lucha Underground performers including Jeff Cobb and Catrina. Lucha Underground was mad about it because apparently there was some talk of what they are doing and the promotion thought they were giving out spoilers. Cobb was never said to be Matanza Cueto on the show. When he found out the company was upset, he had the podcast taken down, but that apparently wasn’t enough. The company said that he violated the contract by talking about spoilers and that the parent company lawyers were upset. Apparently during the show Catrina said her character on the show is 138 years old (or whatever the number is they are going to use), which hasn’t been revealed yet. Others close to the situation including one with the promotion were in shock at why it went down, feeling it was ridiculously petty and the feeling is it has to be a cover reason for something else. Christopher DeJoseph is the name that keeps coming up regarding the person on staff who was upset, although all decisions would be DeJoseph as head writer and Eric Van Wagenen. MVP wouldn’t say anything about it on his VIP Lounge podcast, but co-host Alex Greenfield said that the firing was a personal betrayal, but didn’t say by who

They changed the Lucha Underground title twice over the weekend in shows that won’t be airing until well into 2017. First, they had Aztec Warfare III where Dario Cueto for some reason ordered Matanza to start and he eventually was pinned for the first time by Rey Mysterio Jr., who used a Canadian Destroyer. This was halfway into the match, so this was his first loss. The match came down to Sexy Star and Mil Muertes, and Sexy Star won the title after Muertes kept missing table spots and he went for a flatliner off the top rope, but she shoved him off and he went backwards through a table and was pinned. The reaction was mixed. The women in the crowd loved her winning the title. A lot of the guys did as well, as they are the crowd that cheers for everything they do. But there were regulars, and good number of them, who were furious at the finish. There were a lot of thumbs down, heads shaking and chants of “She’s not Sexy,” and when fans chanted “You deserve it” at her, they would chant, “No she doesn’t.” It was estimated that was 15 to 20 percent of the crowd. A lot of fans leaving were buzzing that putting the title on a woman made the title look like a joke. Others weren’t negative about the idea of putting the title on a woman, but thought if they were going to do it, that it should have been one of the women who was a better wrestler. If they were dead set on giving a woman the title, Sexy Star had been pushed more than the other women, and Ivelisse is out of action with a broken ankle,. It does make the title a joke, and if you go with the attitude that it’s all fake and it’s a joke, that’s fine, but once you do that, you’re eliminating an element of what makes wrestling work. Given the TV show draws mostly an older male audience (most viewers most weeks are over the age of 50 and this past week nearly half the viewers were over the age of 60), I can’t see where this is a positive. She did a post-match speech in Spanish and was crying. Matt Striker was crying as well. The speech appeared to be all about women’s empowerment. The big surprise is that she got the title even though she quit AAA and wouldn’t drop the mixed tag titles on the way out, and at times had been very difficult to deal with here. It may only be a one week deal. You don’t know, because they don’t tape in order necessarily, but Johnny Mundo won the title from her the next day. Most of the fans were behind Sexy but the same fan base that hated her winning was cheering Mundo. The finish saw a woman in a mask on crutches in the stands and Sexy Star took one of her crutches to beat up Mundo. But the masked woman hit Sexy in the back of the back with a crutch and Mundo pinned her with the End of the World. The woman unmasked, revealing Taya. Jack Evans and P.J. Black then celebrated and carried Mundo around on their shoulders

There have been complaints among talent that the creative team and management don’t understand the physical punishment involved in the style. While most are thrilled to be working there, because the Mexicans can’t make that money anywhere else and the Americans love being featured as most wouldn’t elsewhere and the ones who could go to WWE in most cases wouldn’t get the breaks there they get here, there is the feeling they are asked to do too much for one day or weekend. There are times when wrestlers have had to do two ridiculously physically hard matches on the same show, often stip matches that involve weapons or long high flying matches less than two hours apart. The feeling is those in creative don’t understand in-ring wrestling or respect the physical demands of matches of this type

The situation regarding Trevor Mann (Ricochet) and the Prince Puma character is said to be not dead. Reports are that the promotion has made Mann a major offer for a new deal to stay. If the numbers going around are accurate, between Lucha Underground, New Japan and indies, he’d earn more than just about anyone in NXT (I’d think Nakamura and perhaps Balor or Joe would be the exceptions) although it would still be significantly less than a major star on the WWE main roster would earn. He’s said nothing past that he’s working the New Japan Super Juniors tournament which is in May and June, and then talking time off and not taking bookings

The contract situation is such that the belief is Mann (Ricochet) is done with the promotion, but they believe it won’t be until 2017 that he can go to WWE because of the stips in his deal regarding the non-compete. I don’t know how serious this is, but we were told by someone internally that there is talk of resurrecting the character for season four, if there is a season four, and if Mann isn’t available, putting someone else in the character because it’s one of the key characters on the show

El Hijo del Fantasma (King Cuerno) wanted out but he looks to be back soon. He returned to AAA this past week. He wanted to take an offer with WWE but his Lucha Underground contract wouldn’t allow it. He had a seven season contract and they wouldn’t release him. Evidently he didn’t have whatever leverage Alberto had to force a release. So he may be back. His only option, and I’m not sure if it’s even an option, would be to sign with a Japanese group because his Lucha Underground contract covers exclusivity in the U.S., but not in Japan

They did an injury angle during Aztec Warfare 3 with Mysterio Jr. Mysterio went after the tapings to Jacksonville to film what I believe was a PSA for the Mexican government on the flu virus going on. This weekend he will be the headliner for a show in Chile run by Hugo Savinovich that also includes MVP, Bobby Lashley, Mesias, Pentagon Jr. and Eddie Edwards. .. Notes from the 4/6 TV show. The show opened with a segment with Vampiro in the bathroom staring at his pills. He looked like he was losing it because Matanza destroyed Pentagon Jr. While he was in the bathroom, Dario Cueto showed up and called him Ian Hotchkinson, which is his real name. He said that you’re probably mad about what happened and said that his brother went too far but we’re all lucky that Pentagon Jr. is still alive. But he told Vampiro that if he crosses his brother he doesn’t think Vampiro will be so lucky. Vampiro made this face like he wanted to kill Dario. Dario said that Vampiro needs to keep his cool and announce the show because everyone loves him as the voice of Lucha Underground and he needs to be there to call the Matanza vs. Fenix title match. Vampiro took a bunch of pills, and the next thing you know, he was at ringside. This segment was quite good. Next, we’re back at the police precinct with Chief of Police Garcia, Officer Meehan (Joey Ryan, whose real last name is Meehan), and Officer Reyes (Cortez Castro’s real last name is Reyes). She needs evidence to nail Cueto now that Cueto has returned to Los Angeles. She told them to get the job done, even if it means becoming a tag team. Ryan said that Cueto has entered him in the trios tournament with Reyes & Cisco as his partners. Garcia told them they are ordered to win the trios titles. How that relates to getting evidence on Cueto I have no idea. Ivelisse beat Kobra Moon in 6:29. The mat work at the beginning of the match was good. As long as they chain wrestle, Kobra Moon is good, but once they started striking, she needed work. But they did lots of submissions back and forth. Ivelisse got the pin after the Infrared. They did a Killshot vignette. They showed him as a Marine Corps sniper beating up people and shooting people. He said that he was a prison of war, with the theory being in Iraq since all the guys he was beating up were dressed like arabs (as opposed to being dressed in masks as you’d expect in a Lucha Underground vignette). He said that he was captured and held as a prisoner for 13 months but escaped, but doesn’t know how his brothers are doing. So AR Fox comes in for the next season as his buddy. They showed Killshot killing a bunch of guys by shooting them all over the place or beating them up. He said that the government claims he never existed and now he fights to forget about the past. He said he was a man with no identity and no face. So he should be called Sin Caras and his long last brother should have been Del Rio. Mascarita Sagrada was using one of the exercise machines when Famous B showed up. He was trying to recruit him. Famous B is great. Sexy Star was then shown doing shoulder shrugs with 315 pounds, which just possibly maybe was gimmicked. The Mack showed up and wanted her to be his corner since Dario Cueto is making him team with Marty the Moth & Mariposa in the trios tournament. She turned him down and started curling 315 pounds. Well, that’s believable. Castro & Cisco & Ryan beat Marty the Moth & Mariposa & The Mack in 8:31. Vampiro in commentary this week mentioned both Dan Gable and Andy Hug. The Mack was good at the end but overall not much of a match. Mack did a running flip dive after kicking Mariposa off the apron. Mack then turned on Marty and did a stunner to him. Ryan stole the pin for his team after Cisco and Castro had finished him with a double-team move. Mariposa then attacked The Mack for turning on the team, until Sexy Star ran in for the save. Rey Mysterio Jr. & Dragon Azteca Jr. were hanging on the roof of a building. Azteca believed that the monster killed their teacher. Actually it was Black Lotus but they probably didn’t watch the TV. Azteca wanted to kill Matanza for revenge. Mysterio brought up that Matanza kicked his ass last week and told Azteca that they have to fight for the pride of the tribe. I guess all the former Misterios are now a tribe. Mysterio told him that they have to fight for honor, not for revenge, but that revenge will come in time. Mysterio told Azteca that they were in the trios tournament and have a match next week. Azteca asked who the partner is, and Prince Puma showed up. Mysterio apparently found Puma on the streets of Boyle Heights. Originally that was Konnan, but apparently he’s still dead even though I just saw him. Puma now talks. He doesn’t sound the slightest bit Mexican, but neither does Azteca. The main event saw Matanza beat Fenix in 4:46 to retain the title. Once again pretty much a world title squash. Matanza did some cool power moves. Fenix went for a tope but Matanza caught him on the floor and powerslammed him. Matanza won with a reverse powerslam. Matanza kept beating on Fenix until Catrina came out. She told him to stop the beating. Mil Muertes then attacked Matanza and threw a punch that knocked Matanza out of the ring. That was the most Matanza has sold in his three weeks of television

Notes from the 4/9 TV tapings. They are doing a tournament called Battle of the Bulls. They were doing four–person matches on both sets of tapings. The first match taped saw The Mack win over Marty Martinez, Dragon Azteca Jr., and a wrestler nobody seemed to know. Mil Muertes speared Azteca. Matanza and Dario Cueto came out. Dario Cueto apparently got beat up at some point because he was hiding half his face with a blood stained towel. For whatever reason, the crowd that usually reacts like everything is the greatest thing and is never negative, were negative toward Azteca, chanting, “You’re not Puma,” I guess as a protest because they knew Puma wasn’t there. A second tournament match saw Cage beat El Texano Jr., Dr. Wagner Jr., and Joey Ryan. In a dark match, Kevin Kross, a muscular guy from Las Vegas, got another try out and beat Kevin Martenson via ref stoppage. The match just ended when Martenson was down. It looked like an injury but he was walking around fine later. The match was said to be bad and the crowd was doing “Let’s Go Kevin, Kevin sucks.” Dragon Azteca Jr. beat Chavo Guerrero Jr. with Rey Mysterio Jr. as referee. The match wasn’t getting over well. Guerrero attacked Mysterio, mad about his counts as Azteca kept kicking out. Mysterio made a comeback on him and Azteca used a twisting huracanrana and got the pin. The match was also said to not be good, with spots botched and it felt slow. Aerostar & Fenix & Drago retained the trios titles beating Paul London and two masked men in jump suits. London looked good including a running shooting star off the apron. Kobra Moon was stalking Drago, watching from the balcony above Cueto’s office. She cut a promo in Spanish on Drago after the match. Once again they did a full episode long Aztec Warfare match. I was told it was the weakest of the three Aztec Warfare matches to date, but was still better than this year’s Royal Rumble. The names we got in the match were Sexy, Matanza, Muertes, Dante Fox (AR Fox), Drago, Famous B, Jack Evans, Jeremiah Gray (Sami Callihan), Ryan, Mundo, Killshot, Kobra Moon, The Mack Marty the Moth Martinez, Mascarita Sagrada, Pentagon Dark, Black, Mysterio, Ricky Mandel, Son of Havoc, Wagner Jr. and maybe Mariposa, but not sure on that. Matanza and Mundo started. Ryan, Mandel, Famous B and Kobra Moon were all beaten in the first minute. Ryan tried to do the same handcuff spot as in the second match, but Muertes came down and destroyed and pinned him in seconds. Pentagon Dark wasn’t in very long. He cleared out the ring when Black Lotus (Angela Fong) and the Stardom trio of Io Shrai, Kairi Hojo and Mayu Iwatani came out. They were all wearing long black leather pants and matching leather tops. They probably had different names. But all four women beat him up which led to his elimination. Mysterio got thrown out of the ring and they did what appeared to be worked injury to his right knee so he couldn’t finish the match, and was carried out on a stretcher. There were people in the building who thought it was legit, but it was an angle. The injury story (and Mysterio not working the next day means they may run an injury angle) was that Matanza destroyed him after Mysterio had pinned Matanza. Mundo, Evans and Black were laying everyone out and talked on the mic for some time. This was going on to distract people from Mysterio being carried out. They did a long beat down on Sexy Star without eliminating her. Angelico then made his season three return and dove off the top of Dario Cueto’s office onto Mundo, Evans and Black to break up their beating on Sexy. Notable that Angelico & Evans are a regular tag team in Mexico but it looked like they were going to book a feud with them here. Angelico once told me he was scared to death when he looked down when did the dives the other times and would never do another of those again. But he did. Angelico wasn’t in the match itself. He just did the big spot return

Notes from the 4/10 tapings. They announced that Christopher DeJoseph’s birthday was the next day. Vampiro and Melissa Santos came out with cupcakes with candles and the fans sang “Happy Birthday” to him. DeJoseph said that his birthday wish was for Lucha Underground to grow and gain success. Mundo beat Sexy Star to win the title. Mundo held the Gift of the Gods title so on the TV show a week earlier he must have cashed it in. It was described as a standard mach. Killshot pinned Fox in their grudge match. Said to be great. The big move was Killshot doing a Death Valley bomb from the top rope to the edge of the ring apron. Fox was the heel, but the crowd cheered him a lot. There was a gauntlet series of matches where Pentagon beat Kairi Hojo, then beat Mayu Iwatani, but then lost to Io Shirai. Pentagon was hitting all three as hard as he could with chops to the chest and low kicks. The women were all bruised up. The women were all given different names. Pentagon beat Hojo with a package piledriver and broke her arm after. Then he beat Iwatani with a package piledriver and broke her arm. Shirai ran in to attack him from behind. He did several chair shots to the head, which is stupid in this day and age, as well as slammed him on the floor. She also did a crossbody from the roof of Dario Cueto’s office. Pentagon was choking Shrai with camera cables. Then he dragged her to the post and started choking her with the cable as she was tied to the post and came close to hanging her off the ground. Even the people who liked intergender stuff, and that’s a good percentage of this crowd, was not reacting well to this. Shirai came back with chair shots and a Canadian Destroyer for the pin. Then Lotus, Hojo, Iwatani and Shirai all broke both of Pentagon’s arms. The Stardom women got super reactions and when the show was over, people were talking about them and praising them. In another four-way, Black beat Evans, Son of Havoc and Angelico. Good match. Havoc and Angelico, who have been a team here, brawled for short periods of time before the others took them away. Evans knocked Angelico and Havoc out. Black then laid on his back and told Evans to just pin him since they are both part of Mundo’s stable. But when he did, Black double crossed him and turned it into a small package for the win. Drago beat Kobra Moon. This was said to be much better than Kobra Moon’s stuff previously and they had a good match. The masked guy with the frog mask, who is Steve Pain, came out and attacked Drago. Fenix and Aerostar ran in for the save but then a very tall masked men showed up and destroyed everyone with bicycle kicks. The tall guy is believed to have been Austin Matelson, who was a former WWE developmental guy who was one of the key guys who came forward and led to Bill DeMott being fired. Fans were chanting “Luchasaurus” since Matelson came out with a Dinosaur mask on. Another four-way saw Gray (Callihan) win over Killshot, Fox and Mariposa. This was said to be the best match of the tournament. Very brutal match. Mariposa gave Fox a vertebreaker onto a chair. There were also six to eight chairs set up and Mariposa threw al three guys onto the chairs. The last match taped, which looked to be an on-line exclusive match, was Cage & Texano & Mack over Wagner Jr. & Kross & Muertes. Famous B was on commentary. Said to be a fun match that served to send everyone home happy. They finally had the square off between Cage and Muertes, who they had avoided putting against each other. Catrina slapped Cage. Cage pressed her overhead and threw her into the section next to the office. Texano was bleeding badly. Mack pinned Kross after a stunner. He then hit Wagner and Muertes with stunners. The timekeeper then started throwing beers to Mack and he did an Austin beer bash celebration to end the show. They were also throwing beers to the crowd, which was said to be really dumb given it was about five minutes before the show ended and everyone was getting in their cars and driving home. Cage wouldn’t drink the beer and had a thermos given to him with a protein shake.

ROH:

Besides the May tour, ROH has announced that New Japan talent will be in two more times before the fall begins. The Death Before Dishonor PPV will be 8/19 in Las Vegas at Sam’s Town, the same location of the Anniversary PPV. They will have TV tapings at Sam’s Town Casino the next day. All Star Extravaganza, another PPV with New Japan talent, will be 9/30 in Lowell, MA, at the Memorial Auditorium, with a TV taping the next day

Less than 100 tickets remain for the PPV on 5/8 from Chicago Ridge, IL. The 5/14 show in New York with the New Japan talent is sold out even though no names or matches have been officially announced. New York is also a small building. There are still tickets available for 5/9 in Dearborn, MI and 5/11 in Toronto at the Ted Reeve Arena for shows with the top stars of New Japan. Actually the idea that Toronto isn’t nearly sold out with the New Japan crew to me isn’t a great sign. While not announced, it’s mostly the same crew as last time, such as Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin, Kushida, Kazuchika Okada, Gedo and Tomohiro Ishii. Katsuyori Shibata has been talked about but that’s not a done deal because of paperwork that would have to go through. Kenny Omega is expected back, but again, that’s based on when the Visa comes in, but Omega should be able to work Toronto either way

They also announced an 8/27 date at MCU Field in Brooklyn. Last year their summer date was the night before the Royal Rumble, which ended up going head-to-head with a sold out NXT show. But ROH did well, drawing 2,000 fans. This year they are going the following Saturday night.

TNA:

In a really bad sign, the television and office people will be moving at the end of the month from their headquarters at Cummins Station in Nashville, where the corporate offices have been located since Dixie Carter took over the company in 2002. The company had fallen behind in rent and were no longer able to afford to stay there. They had already moved the offices to the basement where the TV production was done to cut back on expenses and Cummins Station essentially evicted them effective the end of the month. They are now moving the corporate offices to the warehouse they had been using for their merchandise. Because there is no room for the television production at the warehouse, they are moving the production to the offices of North Star Productions in Nashville. Carter had been based at Cummins Station long before TNA ever existed, as she was running her Trifecta Entertainment publicity company out of those offices. The Jarretts hired Trifecta Entertainment to do their publicity when they started TNA in the summer of 2002. The Jarretts had lost so much money in the early months of TNA, due to having a business model that simply couldn’t work, doing weekly $10 PPVs with no television to promote the PPV. That was based on the idea that PPV was profitable but the costs of producing television unless you had somebody to pay you, which they didn’t, cost money, missing the obvious fact that without television to promote it, very few people were going to buy PPVs. They were thinking they could do 150,000 buys weekly due to the low price, but ended up hovering between 8,000 and 12,000 weekly after from the third week on when thing settled into a normal pattern. When they were going to have to close up because they were so far in debt, Carter, the publicist, found out and being from a wealthy family, she put together the deal where her father would purchase controlling interest in the company to keep it alive and she would become the company President. The new prospective investors, who do exist and are still in play, haven’t purchased an interest in the company yet as far as we can find out. They have put money in to keep the TV going. The deal revolves around who ends up with controlling interest in the company but the feeling is TNA needs the deal to go through to survive, giving the investors the leverage to get the controlling interest

Another bad sign is that with no notice, on 4/11, Pop TV canceled the second Tuesday night airing of Impact. I should point out it was no notice to the fan base, but TNA was aware but also didn’t let its fans know until the day before. The assumption that all fans are going to find out about time slot changes through the Internet is so flawed. The least you could do is give the fan base one week or longer notice on television. They pushed that there’s only one chance to see the show. The second airing will instead air at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings. This feels just like Destination America, although they were bailing on the replays the first time they got a bad number while Pop at least waited for a full quarter. It’s not good news, but in reality, the people who are fans of TNA will just set their DVR’s if it’s a bad time slot, and if they don’t, they were losing interest anyway. But it sucks as far as making new fans on the West Coast because the two airings are 6 p.m. on a Tuesday and 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday. The change isn’t that bad, in the sense they weren’t moved out of prime time, but just the fact they’d make the change a day before airing is never a good sign. Plus, every time TNA has had a time slot move, the result has always been whittling away at the audience, and there’s so much evidence in that direction that Pop making this move pretty much says what they care. Plus Brad Schwartz, the President of the station, who was predicting 1.3 million viewers when they got the product, and regularly tweets about company programming, hasn’t mentioned TNA in a Tweet in more than a month

Ohio independent wrestler Justin Carnes, who works that area as Krimson and previously as Conrad Kennedy III, filed a cease and desist against TNA claiming the Crazzy Steve character infringes on several of his copyrights. His Krimson character is that of a evil clown and he claims elements of Steve’s performances were taken from Krimson, stating mannerisms, costuming, face paint and usage of red mist. He also claimed his own creation of the Dead Wrestler’s Society on the indies in 2010 was replicated by Decay. He threatened legal action if they didn’t either drop or change the characters. This has virtually no merit, given that Crazzy Steve was doing his gimmick on the indies before Carnes was doing the Krimson gimmick. Steve started doing the gimmick in 2009 and Carnes in 2010, and Steve wrestled Carnes as Crazzy Steve before Carnes started as Krimson. Keep in mind that Carnes had made a similar charge years ago against TNA claiming that when Sting did the Joker character he was copying his Krimson character. TNA is not going to drop the character, given that evil clowns, face paint and heel stables have been part of wrestling long before Carnes.

UFC:

There is a major change for the 6/4 show in Los Angeles, and this will also be the case for Bellator’s 5/14 show in San Jose, since both are in California. The commission will allow the fighters to weigh in as early as 10 a.m., giving them six added hours to rehydrate before fight time. They will also be examining fighters with hydration tests. If a fighter is severely dehydrated when they weigh-in, they will be pulled from the show. If a fighter isn’t properly hydrated on the day of the fight (they will be giving fighters hydration tests on fight day), they will be pulled from the show by the commission. The weigh-in may turn into just something done for the crowd but actually more a crowd appearance than an actual weigh-in since the belief is that most fighters will want to weigh in as soon as possible. In an interview on MMAFighting.com, Urijah Faber, who faces Dominick Cruz on the show, noted that he cuts from 163 to 135 but also said he has experience in gaming the system when it comes to hydration tests from his days as a college wrestler

Frank Mir, who is the longest lasting fighter, when it comes to always having been with the organization, on the roster, failed a USADA drug test on 3/20, the day he fought and lost to Mark Hunt in the main event in Brisbane, Australia. USADA protocol is now to inform UFC when a fighter fails a test so UFC doesn’t book him. UFC then announces that is a potential issue. The drug itself and punishment isn’t meted out until the fighter is given a chance to defend himself. Mir acknowledged that he failed for a PED but denied use, saying, “To all my fans and supporters, I have recently been notified by USADA that the test I took on the night of the fight came back positive for a substance that I did not take. I don’t know how that is possible as I did not take any performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) to compete. I have never tested positive for a banned substance since joining the UFC and becoming a 2x champion. I ask all of you to hod judgement against me until the facts have been revealed.” Mir was one of the handful of fighters using TRT, after having been approved for use the testosterone by the Nevada commission before the commission decided against allowing testosterone replacement therapy in competition and the UFC following suit. Mir does a regular podcast and talked at length on the subject. He didn’t say the drug he tested positive for because he couldn’t pronounce it, but said he never took it, was floored when he was told about it, had to google it to find out it was an oral steroid and then joked about how bad his body looked as compared to the past in that fight with Hunt. Mir said that if he was suspended for two years at this stage of his career, as he’s 37 now, that it would probably end his career. The eye test isn’t always accurate when it comes to steroids, but more often than not it is. When it comes to the eye test on that night, Mir comes off pretty well if you compare him to how he used to look

Viscardi Andrade also has a possible anti-doping violation stemming from a 3/7 test, 12 days before his win over Richard Walsh in Brisbane, Australia. Andrade was tested while still in Brazil and his sample was flagged by a lab in Rio de Janeiro. Andrade said that he was informed on 4/12 of the violation. This is an issue because if you have a violation from a test on 3/7, it shouldn’t take five weeks for the fighter to know, and with issues in the past with Anderson Silva in particular, the idea that someone tests positive before their fight should have disqualified them from their fight. Andrade said that he asked for his B sample to be tested and vehemently denied using the substance in question, which was not released

B.J. Penn, 37, under the tutelage of Greg Jackson for the first time, makes his comeback as a featherweight for a fight against Dennis Siver on 6/4 in Los Angeles. There had been talk of him facing Nik Lentz for a few months. The goal would be to win some bouts and set up a megafight with Conor McGregor, but the last time Penn fought, against Frankie Edgar, he looked like a shot fighter. Penn’s return was delayed due to a sexual assault claim made by Pedro Carrasco, who had formerly run the BJPenn.com web site before the two had a falling out, and claimed Penn sexually assaulted his girlfriend. The UFC held off booking Penn due to the allegation, but after investigating, decided to book him. “We have taken a look at the available facts, which aren’t too substantial, and there are two stories of what happened,” said UFC COO Lawrence Epstein in an article by Kevin Iole. “To date, there has been no action at all taken by any law enforcement agency. We decided to allow B.J. to fight. However, we are going to continue to monitor the situation. If new information, more information, becomes available to us, obviously, we reserve the right to reevaluate.

George St-Pierre has all but confirmed a return in an interview this past week with RDS in Quebec. “It’s true, we are talking and we are on good terms. Anything can happen. We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks, few months.” “I can’t give you any scoop. If there is something, UFC will decide how they want to release that. I can tell you that I’m on good terms with them. But sometimes we don’t agree on some stuff.” “There’s a lot of things going on, but I don’t want to get into detail. My contract is very old, even before the Reebok deal, so there’s a lot of things to take into consideration.” “I went to Las Vegas because I had friends there. McGregor was supposed to fight dos Anjos, and if he would have won, he would have been the first fighter t have two titles in two different weight categories, so I wanted to be there to show him my respect. Unfortunately, the fight was canceled and Nate Diaz got the call. But that was an incredible fight and we got our money’s worth.” “I will never challenge someone in a lighter category than mine. I was not there for that. It as his show. If he wanted to challenge me, he would have done it. I don’t know if it was his plan, but I was there to watch the fight, not to start one.” “My return doesn’t have to be at UFC 200. I know the Conor Mcgregor will fight Nate Diaz and that’s enough reason for them to have a good card.” “We’ll see what happens. But again, there are things that I can’t talk about. My agents and UFC have a plan and we will see what’s best for me and for them.”

There were a lot of claims thrown out this past week regarding the matchmaking of Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes instead of Holly Holm at UFC 200 and of the women’s division. Lenny Fresquez, the manager of Holm, told the local Albuquerque Journal that he was told by UFC that Tate made the call to face Nunes instead of Holm. When that got out, Tate was heavily criticized for lack of business sense, because a fight with Holm would be far bigger. The flip side is that while nothing is ever guaranteed, Tate’s style of being able to survive would make her a favorite in a five-round fight against Nunes, who is super strong in the first round but then usually fades. Tate, on the other hand, while she did beat Holm via choke, if you watched that fight, Holm was winning the entire fight except for being destroyed when she was taken down. Tate failed on most takedown attempts, but did get two of them and finished the fight on the second one. But clearly, Holm was the better athlete of the two and would likely win a boring fight via decision if they fought again. Tate claimed to MMA Junkie that UFC was the one that brought up Nunes and she was just fighting who the company asked her to. She said UFC felt that since she finished Holm, they didn’t think Holm should get a rematch and with Rousey having movie commitments, they felt Nunes was the next best contender. Tate’s manager, Josh Jones, claimed that UFC never brought up Holm to them. Fresquez then said, “I talked Lorenzo (Fertitta) at his word. This is what Tate wanted to do.” Based on people I’ve spoken with, Tate’s version is the one most feel is accurate. It’s also notable that after Holm had said publicly she would face Cris Cyborg, giving her a lot of support since Ronda Rousey had said she’d only fight Cyborg at 135, and Cyborg kept refusing saying it was a health issue (even though her nutritionist said she could make the weight in a healthy manner), that when Holm was offered the fight, she turned it down. Holm said she turned it down because she was under the impression she was in line for a shot at Tate and the title, a more important fight

Similarly, reps of Jon Jones and Jones himself this past week said that Anthony Johnson had originally agreed to face him on 4/23 when Daniel Cormier pulled out, but then changed his mind, and that’s how Ovince Saint Preux got the fight. Jones was on the MMA Hour this week and said Johnson first accepted the fight, but moments later changed his mind, which led to Saint Preux getting the fight. Johnson said that he never accepted the fight because he had just gotten dental work done, although said that nobody knew that. He said he had four screws put in his jaw, and that he never could have accepted the fight. “So why would I accept a fight and then say, `No, I don’t want to fight him?’ That’s stupid.” He said either the UFC told Jones the wrong thing, or somebody in the middle isn’t telling the truth. Johnson also said that teammate Kamaru Usman, who had said Johnson was ready for such a fight if there was an injury, didn’t know about his dental work

Due to an injury to Tony Ferguson, the 4/16 FOX special main event from Tampa will be Rashad Evans vs. Glover Teixeira in a five round fight. At first Nurmagomedov was talked with about fighting Donald Cerrone, and because it was a short notice fight for Cerrone, was asked to fight at 170. Both men apparently agreed and then it got weird. Nurmagomedov on Twitter said that three hours after they had agreed, Cerrone was injured and pulled out and was trying to find another lightweight to step up on short notice, calling out Anthony Pettis. Cerrone later said he wasn’t injured and had agreed to the fight, but there has been no explanation as to why the fight with Cerrone didn’t happen past UFC likely making the decision against doing it. On UFC Tonight, they reported that UFC was looking to put Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov on the 5/29 show in Las Vegas. Nurmagomedov then sent out a copy of his contract against Cerrone that he signed. Anyway, for some reason Cerrone is not his opponent, and instead he’s facing Darrell Horcher, who makes his UFC debut on the FOX main card, which rules out the Ferguson fight on 5/29. Horcher is 12-1, but the only guy with any name value that he fought, former UFC fighter Philippe Nover, he lost to via decision in 2013. Because Horcher took the fight barely a week ahead of time, both fighters have agreed to fight at 160 pounds instead of 155

The show begins with five Fight Pass fights at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time, which are Omari Akhmedov vs Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, Drew Dober vs. Islam Makhachev, Cezar Ferreria vs Caio Magalhaes, Randy Brown vs. Michael Graves and the Fight Pass main of Bethe Correia vs. Raquel Pennington. The FOX card starts at 6 p.m. with Hacran Dias vs. Cub Swanson, Court McGee vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio, John Dodson vs. Manny Gamburyan, Michael Chiesa vs Beneil Dariush, Rose Namajunas vs. Tecia Torres, Horcher vs. Nurmagomedov, Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida and Evans vs. Teixeira

Mehdi Baghdad vs. John Makdessi has been added to the 6/4 show in Los Angeles

Julianna Pena vs. Cat Zingano, which we reported as being in talks two weeks ago, is now official for UFC 200

Lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos has taken his walking boot off after his broken foot suffered in February and is starting to train. He said he’s looking for a fight soon

Demetrious Johnson told Submission Radio that he would like to fight between 4/23 (when he defends his flyweight title against Henry Cejudo) and December (when, if he retains against Cejudo, he is scheduled to defend against the winner of The Ultimate Fighter flyweight tournament that airs in the fall). In the UFC press release regarding the fall season of the show, which will start filming at the end of next month, it stated that the fighters in the house will get coaching and watch tapes of the champion during the season to prepare to challenge him for the title. If they are watching films and coaches are coming in to prepare them in May or June, then whoever wins between Johnson and Cejudo couldn’t risk a title loss before December because it would negate what is being filmed and would be airing on television in the fall

Anthony Pettis and Cerrone are now training together. Pettis faces Edson Barboza on 4/23 in Las Vegas, and Cerrone, who beat Barboza, is mimicking the Barboza style for him

Paige VanZant scored 36 out of 40 on 4/11 on Dancing With the Stars, putting her tied for first place with Ginger Zee, the “Good Morning America” meteorologist

The roster for the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia, which debuts with the two hour special on 4/20 on FS 1, was revealed. There will be two eight person tournaments, with men light heavyweights and women strawweights. There will be 16 fights to get into the house that will air on the first episode, and then they’ll pick teams. The men are Abdel Medjedoub (3-0), Andrew Sanchez (7-2), Cory Hendricks (3-0), Elias Urbina (3-0), Eric Spicely (8-0), Jamelle Jones (6-2), John Paul Elias (3-0), Joshua Stansbury (7-2), Kenneth Bergh (3-0), Khalil Rountree (4-0), Marcel Fortuna (8-1), Muhammed DeReese (5-0), Myron Dennis (12-4), Norman Paraisy (15-4-2, 1 no contest), Phil Hawes (3-0) and Trevor Carlson (10-2). The women are Alyssa Krahn (3-1), Amanda Cooper (1-1), Amy Montenegro (7-2) Ashley Cummins (3-3), Ashley Yoder (4-1), Chelsea Bailey (2-0), Helen Harper (4-1), Irene Rivera (6-2), Jamie Moyle (3-1), J.J. Aldrich (2-1), Jodie Esquibel (5-1), Kate Jackson (7-2-1), Kristi Lopez (2-0), Lanchana Green (2-1), Mellony Geugjes (0-1) and Tatiana Suarez (3-0). To show the lack of depth in that division they usually want three fights and at least two wins yet four women on the list don’t even have that qualification. Montenegro (1-1 record), Moyle (3-1 record), Aldrich (2-1) and Esquibel (3-1 record) all have experience in Invicta.

There will also be an Ultimate Fighter Latin America season for the Central and South America markets, in particular Televisa Ch. 5 in Mexico. It will also air on Fight Pass, as well as a number of stations throughout Latin America. The show will start filming in the late spring in Buenos Airies, Argentina with Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin as coaches. The finals will be part of a show on 11/5 in Mexico City at Arena Ciudad

Felice Herrig will be competing on NBC’s “America Ninja Warriors” TV show. The show will be filmed shortly and air over the summer.

BELLATOR:

Ken Shamrock’s claim regarding his failed steroid test for Nandrolone is that he claims the results stem from medications prescribed to him from his doctor to control swollen pituitary glands in is brain. Shamrock allegedly said that he was taking the medications due t high testosterone readings that concerned him, thinking it was cancer.

OTHER MMA:

The third Rizin show takes place on 4/17 in Nagoya and the Gaisha Hall with its unique lineup. Matches are Kanako Murata (0-0), a top Japanese woman amateur wrestler, vs Natalya Denisova (2-1), Gabi Garcia (the jacked up woman who beat Lei’D Tapa) (1-0) vs. Anna Malyukova (1-0), Daron Cruickshank (former UFC fighter who is 16-8) vs. Shinji Sasaki (16-8-3), Chris Barnett (14-2) vs. Kiril Sidelnikov (8-4, a training partner of Fedor), Teodoras Aukstuolis (8-3) vs. Jaideep Singh (the guy Fedor beat on New Year’s Eve, 2-1, Vadim Nemkov (5-1) vs. Karl Albrektsson (4-0), Hisaki Kato (5-2, a Bellator fighter) vs. Yuta Watanabe (19-6-4), Yuki Motoya (15-4) vs. Allan Nascimento (14-3), Kazuyuki Fujita (the 45-year-old former New Japan wrestler turned Pride star 15-10) vs. Jiri Prochazka (16-3-1) in a scary match considering Fujita’s age, and the main event is the grappling tag team match with Wanderlei Silva & Kiyoshi Tamura (46-year-old pro wrestling star from the glory days of shoot style pro wrestling who later did MMA) vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Hideo Tokoro. Between Sakuraba being completely done due to age and punishment and Tokoro being a guy who usually fights at 135, while Silva & Tamura are middleweights, 50 pounds heavier, this is pretty ridiculous. There is no U.S. television of this as Spike passed on it.

WWE:

This looks to be the update on the 5/1 Payback show. Matches that are already pretty clear are Reigns vs. Styles for the WWE title, Jericho vs. Ambrose, Miz vs. Cesaro for the IC title, Wyatt Family vs. League of Nations and Charlotte vs. Natalya for the women’s title. Zayn vs. Owens is a probable and possibly Dudleys vs. Enzo & Cass. There will also be a tag title match with the New Day defending against the winners of a tournament going on. The semifinals of the tournament are the Usos vs. Vaudevillains and Dudleys vs. Cass & Amore. If the Dudleys vs. Cass & Amore end up on PPV, and the New Day should face heels, that would indicate Vaudevillains. And it would make sense to have the Vaudevillains win when Anderson & Gallows cost the Usos the match, since Anderson & Gallows vs. Usos has already been started as a direction. On paper, this is looking like a lot of fresh matchups going forward

WWE sent out a release with more stats regarding WrestleMania. The show had the most social discussion with 2.5 million mentions of WrestleMania on Twitter during the day and 1.3 million during the show. It said a new record for data usage at AT&T Stadium, even beating out the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl played the stadium five years ago and things have changed greatly culturally since then when it comes to data usage. The company said that the average subscriber to the network watched 12 hours of programming during WrestleMania week. Last year the average subscriber watched 11 ½ hours. That’s amazing when you think about it because last year’s show was shorter, last year there were more network subscribers who ordered it on PPV, and last year there was no NXT special that aired on the network over the weekend. The company did $4,550,000 in merchandise revenue, destroying the old record for a show of $3.3 million set for last year’s WrestleMania. Last year’s number was $49.25 per head. This year’s number was $48.54 per head

One of our readers who was unable to watch WrestleMania on Amazon Fire TV sent WWE a letter asking for a refund and the response was, “We apologize for the inconvenience but we do have a no refund that is under the terms and conditions.

Here are some notes about the WWE Network subscribers from SNL Kagan research, and how they differ from the usual television audience. The subscribers are 76 percent male, which means far less women by percentage than television viewers or Raw and Smackdown, let alone Total Divas, subscribe. The audience skews younger, with the average subscriber being 34. What that says is the heavy 50+ audience that watches TV is less likely to subscribe to the network. Ironically that audience would probably be the one most interested in the archives, and WWE never advertises around them. 45% of the adults are single. 19% are single without children. 37% are married with children. As compared with the public as a whole, WWE is lowest among in getting networks compared to the national average among those who are single, those living with a partner, and those with no kids. Education doesn’t very that much from the average, although sightly less have four-year degrees than the public at large, but the percentage with post graduate degrees is the same as the general public. They are far more likely to subscribe to Netflix Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus, although that’s to be expected. They are also more likely to subscribe to Showtime, and 46 percent say they view videos on Youtube as opposed to 16 percent of the population

Shane McMahon tweeted support for Bruce Springsteen for canceling a show in North Carolina due to the new law passed which only allows for people to use the public bathrooms of the gender they were born as, and in the case of transgender, not the gender they currently are. That has become a national topic of hot debate. A lot of entertainment groups have pulled out of the state. The WWE has events on 5/14 in Raleigh, and a Raw taping 5/16 in Greensboro but has not indicated following suit. It should be noted that Shane McMahon, while part of the McMahon family, at this point his only role with the company is as talent and not management

Shane McMahon and You on Demand Holdings, Inc. the company in China that he had been running, were sued in U.S. District Court in New York on 3/14 by Deborah Donoghue. Donoghue was a stockholder in the company and claimed McMahon realized profits from short selling the stock in violation of guidelines. She was suing for $18,000

Cena was on the YES Network doing an interview and claimed that when he showed up in OVW, he believed he’d never make it, because he started with Lesnar, Batista, Orton and Shelton Benjamin and felt he was out of his league athletically with those guys. He said the first thing Vince McMahon ever said to him was to cut his hair when they first met. He said the Attitude Adjustment was taken from Tommy Dreamer’s move and Dreamer gave it to him

The call-ups to the main roster from NXT, at least Corbin, Crews, The Vaudevillains and Enzo & Cass were all decided on in February if not earlier. Nevertheless, the date was never finalized and a couple of them were booked to fly back to Orlando on Monday after WrestleMania and before Raw before plans changed

Roode did an interview with his local Peterborough Examiner saying, “I’m not officially signed yet. The Internet has blown up over it, and I mean, I’m close, but I don’t want to spoil anything or ruin anything. I want to wait until it’s official. I don’t want to jinx anything either.” WWE tells talent not to tell anyone if they sign, so public denials at this point mean nothing. If they are signed, or have a verbal agreement but the contract itself wasn’t fully executed, they would have to deny it anyway

Brie Bella did an interview on the WWE web site where she downplayed the finality of her retirement and gave the impression it was a leave of absence. She said about her WrestleMania match, “I wouldn’t say my last match forever, just my last match you’ll see in a while.” She said she and Bryan were trying to start a family so she’s putting her career on hold. “I don’t know if it will be a year-and-a-half, two years, or three years. So it feels like a retirement. At the same time, I’m just not going to close that door.” She said originally she was looking at retiring after SummerSlam. She said Bryan being forced to move on made her feel that it was time for her also to move on

The lawsuit by Dr. Chris Amann against Phil Brooks and Scott Colton (C.M. Punk and Colt Cabana) is scheduled to go to trial on 6/27 at the Circuit Court in Cook County, IL. Usually cases like this end up being settled before going to court. .. Right now the plan is to break up the League of Nations, or at least that is what people who need to know have been told. Not sure how quick, but the thing last week wasn’t just Barrett being kicked out but the beginning of the end of the group

One of the benefits of the Tapout deal for the wrestlers is the company, in promoting the brand, is allowing the wrestlers to wear Tapout clothing in public. The company had a business casual dress code in place for when wrestlers were on tour, but now it’s business casual or Tapout brand athletic apparel since wearing Tapout stuff is promoting a product the company partially owns

Sky Sports in the U.K. received a warning from Ofcom on 4/11. Ofcom is the television regulatory body in that country. The issue in question was commercial plus for European tour house shows during Smackdown. Ofcom said that promoting house show events would fall under program related material and not commercial related material, but they said that the number of those promos crossed the line, noting that one two-hour episode of Smackdown had five different segments promoting the tour. .. Regarding the reason bom a ye wasn’t used for Nakamura’s finisher, it’s because it’s already trademarked for clothing by another company in the U.S

Charlotte and Natalya right now are scheduled for a two month program with singles matches for the title on the next two PPV shows. The original plan was Charlotte vs. Banks on these shows but the decision was made to hold off on Banks, who they don’t want to beat, until SummerSlam, when she’s scheduled to get her singles shot at the title. Originally that was scheduled for Mania, but the decision was changed when the match was changed to involve Lynch

WWE has applied for a trademark of the Term “Total Bellas.” They asked for it covering paper goods, toys, lipstick, DVDs, underwear and reality shows. It could be that they will change the name of “Total Divas” to “Total Bellas” and phase out the divas term, since they have already dropped it on the rest of their programming. Or it may simply be they are looking at creating Bellas merchandise

Undertaker will only be appearing on two shows on the upcoming European tour according to WWE. He had at first been scheduled to be the special attraction headliner for one of the tours while Daniel Bryan Appreciation Night would headline the other night. Last week, Undertaker was pulled from the advertising for most of the tour, but he was still being advertised for Raw on 4/18 in London, Smackdown on 4/19 in London and a house show in Newcastle on 4/20. At last word, we’re told he’s still on for the Smackdown tapings and the Newcastle show. After WrestleMania, Undertaker told some people that he thought that would be his last WrestleMania match. Now, he’s said that before but always comes back. Two years ago when he did the job for Lesnar the belief was at the time by Vince McMahon that it was his last match, which is why the decision was made late for him to lose. On the house shows, he would have just done tag matches with Kane where Kane would work most of the match and he’d just tag in and do his trademark spots

Due to the European tour, the Smackdown tapings in San Diego only had a skeleton crew available as after Raw, Reigns, Sheamus, Rusev, Kane, The Wyatt Family, Dudleys, New Day, Charlotte, Lynch and Banks all flew out for a 4/13 show in Milan, Italy. The crew that stayed in San Diego flew to Dubai for shows on 4/14 and 4/15 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium. That crew will then fly to Europe and start on 4/17 in Leeds, England. The 4/19 Smackdown show will also be a skeleton crew as they are running a house show the same night in Manchester with Reigns, Sheamus, Rusev, Kane, Wyatt Family, Dudleys, New Day, Charlotte, Lynch and Banks. Ric Flair will be traveling the tour as Charlotte’s manager

Michaels appeared as a guest on Vince Russo’s podcast and said that Vince McMahon had called him up six weeks before Mania and told him the plan for him. The idea for Austin, Michaels and Foley to lay out the League of Nations was done a long time ago and never wavered. Michaels told Vince that he was out of shape and would come out in a T-shirt. Vince told him to get in shape because he wanted him to come out in his old ring gear and that Austin and Foley would be in their gear as well. Well, Foley’s gear is what he always wears anyway. Vince told him Austin was going to be in hi gear as well. So he said he told his wife to monitor his diet and he trained twice a day for six weeks. Then when he got to Texas and saw how big Austin was, he knew Vince had fed him a line of shit, but he said by that point he was okay because he’s gotten himself into good shape and wanted to show off his physique

There were no WWE branded house shows this weekend because everyone got the weekend off since they were going to be working straight from TV to Europe to 4/25 or 4/26, depending on if the person is working the Smackdown tapings in Manchester, NH

A clarification on Orton. We wrote that Orton had said he would be coming back in three months when asked over Mania weekend. He actually said two to three months

Also, it has already been revealed on Total Divas this season that Renee Young and Ambrose are a couple. Young has been on the show a few times and one segment had Young and the Bellas on a vacation with Ambrose was there with Young

A correction on the Sting story, when he started his career in Memphis, he was Steve “Flash” Borden, not Steve “Justice Borden. Warrior was Jim “Justice” Hellwig

Nakamura’s entrance music was No. 1 on the iTunes soundtrack chart last week

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#23
Part IV:

Quote:The company filed a motion in U.S. District Court on 4/4 trying to get the remaining part of the Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton concussion lawsuits thrown out. Most of the Singleton case was thrown out, with the exception of WWE not informing him of the potential dangers of head trauma and concussions. WWE’s argument is that the injury that ended Singleton’s career took place on September 2012 and Singleton was present at a presentation by Dr. Joseph Maroon talking about the dangers of concussions one month earlier. In addition, after Singleton suffered a concussion from taking a choke slam in training, after an independent neurologist cleared him, WWE medical would not clear him and he never trained again inside a WWE ring. WWE claimed they had already informed his lawyers of these facts but the lawyers never took the claim out of the suit. With LoGrasso, the WWE claims that he never reported to the company any concussion like symptoms and if he had never told them, they say it’s impossible they could have ignored them.

The Raw after SummerSlam on 8/22 at the Barclays Center sold out immediately. My presumption is that the NXT show on 8/20 will also sell out. Last year the NXT show didn’t sell out immediately, but ended up selling out. But with ticket brokers and secondary marketing of tickets, if an event sells out the year before in the same market, the brokers are going to buy tons of tickets immediately with the idea they can sell them at a higher price on the secondary market

The spot with the Kalisto “injury” on Raw with the Dudleys was a planned spot. For one, they never did the “X” sign, although they do at times do the “X” sign for a worked injury but never don’t do it for a legit injury. Also, none of the talent was talking about it after which they would if it was legit. But the key point is that the guy out there as a trainer, wasn’t even a trainer, but it was Jorel Nelson, a Southern California independent wrestler working that night as an extra

Some updated gates. The 3/21 Raw in Philadelphia drew 14,267 (60 tickets were left) and $584,405. Atlantic City on 3/12 was 4,317 attendance and $174,890. From the February California tour, the 2/13 show in Fresno drew 5,190 paying $202,752. The 2/9 Smackdown tapings in Portland, OR, drew 5,077 and $235,097. And the 2/6 show in San Jose drew 6,407 and $380,656

The stock closed at press time at $16.16 per share, down from last week, and leaving the company with a market value of $1.23 billion

LaQuan McGowan, a 6-foot-7, 410 pound tight end at Baylor University, has said that he wants to go into pro wrestling. He would give the NFL a try and said he doesn’t expect a long career and when that’s over, said he’s like to be in WWE. He said he didn’t grow up as a fan and his interest in pro wrestling is something new. He has been in at least some contact with Jim Ross

Notes from the 4/10 Raw. So after the big match and Vince McMahon talking about how running Raw is like running WWE and how hard he worked to keep Shane from being in charge, Shane McMahon, after losing the match, was once again in charge and running Raw this week. His promise to fire HHH & Stephanie didn’t happen either. They were pushing him as the babyface authority figure and once again HHH & Stephanie were not even on the show, even though as late as Sunday there was local advertising pushing HHH, Stephanie and Vince McMahon appearing. The weird thing is they are putting Shane over by having new talent and good matches on the show when he was in charge, so they are making him a babyface giving people a better television show. The explanation for this week is that he was popular in Social Media even though it the first show after Mania was generally viewed as one of the weaker Raws after WrestleMania and it drew the worst ratings for such a show to date. This week’s show was better than usual because of strong singles matchups, but it still dragged by the end. The show drew 13,900 to the Staples Center. While announced on television as a sellout, and it was certainly expected to be one. It was close enough, as a usual sellout of the Staples Center for WWE is slightly over 14,000.

Ryder pinned Sandow with the shellshock in the opener for Superstars. The crowd was super into Sandow, even though he’s almost never used. The other Superstars match saw Ziggler pin Breeze with a superkick in what was said to be a good match.

Raw opened with Shane McMahon out. He’s now 100 percent fine after that bump eight days earlier. There was no explanation on why Shane was in charge again, nor any mention of The Authority and Vince not being there, although having not having a heel authority figure was a refreshing change of pace. He announced Charlotte vs. Natalya for the women’s title, a tag team tournament for a title shot at the New Day, and Zayn vs. Styles, and if Zayn wins, the Reigns vs. Styles title match becomes a three-way. Owens came out and said that Zayn didn’t deserve this opportunity, saying if Shane thought Zayn deserved it, he must have knocked a few screws loose when he jumped off the top of the cell. Owens said that he has been absolutely getting screwed over, that he hasn’t gotten his rematch for the IC title, and he wasn’t even pinned to lose it. Shane told him that he was the one who screwed over Zayn from getting into the four-way last week and that he had his opportunities and he lost at WrestleMania and he lost in the four-way on Raw. Owens said that Zayn robbed him from winning the ladder match at KO Mania. Owens demanded his IC title rematch and Shane told him he could get his rematch if he can beat Cesaro next.

Cesaro pinning Owens in 14:41 of a good match. Cesaro’s left shoulder had Kinesiology tape all over it so he’s still not 100 percent. He came out with a T-shirt that read “Cesaro Section,” so they are embracing the idea the fans gave them. They kept cutting to Miz and Maryse backstage watching with Miz acting like he was a big star and Maryse acting like his agent. Owens worked over the shoulder, throwing it into the post and head-butting it. Owens used a crossface on him. Cesaro came back with a sharpshooter, Owens used a frog splash. JBL talked about the Guerrero tradition in this building dating back to Gori. Aside from Eddy, I don’t think any Guerreros ever did anything of note a the Staples Center, and the building didn’t even open until nine years after Gori passed away. Cesaro escaped the pop up power bomb and turned it into a huracanrana, and then hit the Neutralizer for the pin. Good to get Cesaro going on his return instead of the usual cutting off they do with people coming in fresh.

Charlotte was backstage with Ric Flair saying that she should be on Legends With JBL instead of having to defend her title against Natalya. She asked what Natty has done to earn the title match. She did he same thing Shane did, well, other than her team won at Mania and she was the one who shot the angle. Dr. Phil showed up and put over Charlotte as hard working, intelligent, committed, but was trying to break her and her father up by saying that her father was holding her back. He said Ric was corrupting her and kept talking bout how she’s doing dirty tricks and cheating. He told her that she doesn’t need him and to quit cheating. Given how the much later was going to turn out, this made Dr. Phil so lame. He was so bad here, in the sense he came across like a guy doing bad acting knowing nothing about wrestling and using terminology that nobody uses in wrestling like cheating. It ended where Ric squared of with Dr. Phil, and Phil said “Whoo” in Ric’s face.

Owens was yelling at Shane McMahon saying that he was screwed by Zayn on Smackdown and screwed today. He said what happens tonight to Zayn is “on your pretty gray hair.” Shane told him that he was kicking him out of the building so he couldn’t screw Zayn later in the show. Well, there’s a lesson there about telling the babyface boss you are planning a run-in later in the show.

In the first tournament match, the Dudleys beat the Lucha Dragons in 3:15. They did the worked injury spot to Kalisto early on. He was on the floor so Sin Cara had to work the match on his own, and Bubba pinned him after the 3-D. Enzo & Cass came out. The crowd wasn’t nearly as hot for them this week as last, but there was no way they were repeating the day after WrestleMania reaction. Enough of the crowd knew them to where they got a better reaction than most, and there were people doing at least some of Enzo’s promo with him. He called Devon “Devin” on purpose, which was funny. The Dudleys talked about how they paved the road for teams like Enzo & Cass to be there. You know, because without the Dudleys, tag team wrestling would have never been invented. He said if it wasn’t for them, Enzo wouldn’t even exist. Enzo said the reason he exists is because his mom and dad got it on. Enzo & Cass told them to step aside. Segment was good.

The security kicked Owens out and he didn’t sneak back in. Reigns came out. He was booed heavily. Was told it was about 65 to 70 percent live booing him, the rest were cheering him but the cheers were overwhelmed. He did his catch phrase, “I’m not a bad guy. I’m not a good guy. I’m the guy.” People booed that one a lot. He said that Styles and Zayn have won titles all over the world, but they’ve never won the title. The League of Nations came out. Sheamus did the talking, saying that they strengthened the group by kicking Barrett out. Barrett, by the way, was nowhere to be found looking for revenge. He said they were unhappy since none of them were in the No. 1 contenders match last week. Rusev went on a rant on Reigns saying that “I’m bigger than you, I’m stronger than you and I’m better looking than you.” Reigns seemed to crack up at that. Reigns challenged all three. That made sense. Stupid babyfaces usually don’t get over. And people being beaten down three-on-one usually don’t make for the best heels. So they all beat down Reigns until The Wyatt Family came to his aid. Reigns and the Wyatts fought together to clear the ring. Then the Wyatts squared off with Reigns. The Wyatts were about to attack when Shane came out and announced that the main event of the show would be Reigns & Wyatt against two members of the League of Nations.

They did an NXT commercial built all around Nakamura, pushing that he’s one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet. Makes it so weird they say that on WWE television when, if that’s the case, he should be on WWE television. They replayed the Colons vignette.

Dr. Phil came out to watch the Charlotte vs. Natalya title match. He got no reaction at all. He was such a fish out of water here. Natalya beat Charlotte via DQ in 10:56. Both Charlotte and Natalya have been training mat wrestling in California. Natalya has been training with Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Josh Barnett. Charlotte said she was training with Duke as well. During this match they mentioned that Brie Bella had retired, which was the only mention thus far. Very good mat wrestling early. The crowd was really up for the last few minutes in particular. Charlotte missed a moonsault and Natalya put on the sharpshooter. Ric distracted the ref. Flair jumped in the ring. The ref stopped him. Flair pulled the ref out of the ring and Charlotte tapped. The ref DQ’d Charlotte so saved her title having missed the tap, so Charlotte retained the title. The way it was portrayed, Charlotte was almost in tears about losing the title, knowing she tapped, but not knowing her father saved the title for her. Women cheered loudly when Natalya was announced as the winner. Dr. Phil said he was very disappointed and was hoping she wouldn’t resort fo such underhanded tricks. He sounded like Batman (Adam West) when he confronted Jerry Lawler on Memphis TV in the 70s.

Zayn did an interview. He said he didn’t come this far to lose. Styles came in and said that he knew how hard Zayn had worked to get to WWE, and that they both had worked hard, but Styles said he’s the only No. 1 contender.

Usos beat Slater & Axel in the tag team tournament in 4:11. The Social Outcasts were running around the ring with the Bo train celebrating. Jimmy Uso threw Slater into Axel and schoolboyed Slater. After the match, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows, called Luke Gallows (his WWE name), hit the ring. The crowd cheered them like crazy. They took out the Usos, hitting the Magic Killer on Jimmy. Then they threw Jey into the barricade and steps. They pushed the idea that everyone knew Anderson & Gallows were coming but nobody knew exactly when.

Backstage, Maryse was in her role as the psycho wife Dragon Lady yelling at everyone. She did the old gag about how Miz’s contract stated no blue M&Ms in his private dressing room and they had some blue ones. And also only imported bottled water, no American bottled water. It was noted she was playing the role of a woman from another promotion over Mania weekend. JoJo came in to interview Miz and Maryse started yelling at her for being a groupie and said Miz was already taken and showed her wedding ring. Miz did a promo saying that he drives an Audi R8 and as far as the Swiss superman goes, he’s his kryptonite. Cesaro showed up and they made it clear the match was at Payback. Miz started drinking the water and she started yelling at him for drinking domestic water. Miz & Maryse looks like a good act and Cesaro is the kind of guy who can get the best match possible out of him.

Styles pinned Zayn in 16:42. Some fans were singing Zayn’s entrance music. JBL compared them to George Gervin and Julius Erving. They were superstars in the old ABA, which merged with the NBA in 1976, and then they were superstars in the NBA. The idea was that everyone knew they were good but they really didn’t prove it until they made it in the NBA. As a basketball fan in that era, the reaction was the same as wrestling fans. Everyone knew they were great before they were in the NBA and the idea they had to prove it was as silly as the idea Styles and Zayn haven’t proved it already. So basically it was the same thing if Vince McMahon ran the ABA and booked all the stars to fail to prove they weren’t stars all along. Zayn did a running flip dive. Really good match. Crowd wasn’t super hot but they were with it. Styles got the calf crusher and Zayn made the ropes. Styles tried a sunset flip off the top but Zayn landed on his feet. He went for a Helluva kick but Styes blocked it and hit the springboard forearm for the pin. This was the right result because it’s way too early for Zayn to be in a title match. He’s best as someone who has to take a long journey than instant gratification, so him coming close and not getting there for a while is a viable part of his story. Plus, Styles needs to be portrayed as on fire right now given he’s getting the next title shot. Backstage, Zayn and Styles were talking. Zayn was all disappointed with losing and Styles was telling him he’s great and it was a close match. Shane then congratulated both of them for their performances. That was good because it made it come off like it was more than just another match.

Jericho was in the ring and said tonight would be the biggest Highlight Reel ever. He said he would be interviewing the biggest star in WWE history tonight, a future Hall of Famer, multiple time world champion, former WrestleMania main eventer, himself. So he would ask himself questions. He brought up beating Rock and Austin on the same night and being the first undisputed world champion in WWE history. Ambrose came out. He said he had a memo from Shane McMahon and handed it to Jericho. Jericho said it was a speeding ticket. Ambrose acted like he gave him the wrong piece of paper and handed him another piece of paper with a big hole in it. But the paper said that The Ambrose Asylum was taking over for The Highlight Reel and Ambrose put a piece of paper with a handwritten “Ambrose Asylum” on it and put it over the “Highlight Reel” sign. He made fun of Jericho’s scarf. Jericho said he was such a big star that he can do whatever he wants and there’s no repercussions. Jericho told Ambrose to keep his nose clean or he’d bury him. Ambrose ended up laying Jericho out with Dirty deeds.

R-Truth and Goldust did a segment. Goldust was mad that they were in the tag team tournament because they aren’t a team. Dr. Phil came out. By this point the fans were booing Dr. Phil heavily. He actually said nothing and just walked away, like he couldn’t save them. Crews pinned Rose in 3:30 with an enzuigiri and pinning power bomb.

TV main event saw Reigns & Wyatt beat Sheamus & De Rio in 11:05. The crowd cheered Wyatt loudly, and heavily booed Reigns. Reigns and Wyatt had no problems working together. When Reigns went for the hot tag, the tease was Wyatt wouldn’t tag him, but he did and he made the face comeback. Sheamus threw Reigns into the steps and Rusev kicked Wyatt. Del Rio used the backstabber on Wyatt for a near fall. Strowman and Rowan then came out and attacked Rusev and threw him into the timekeeper’s area. Del Rio went for the armbar on Wyatt, but Wyatt countered and hit Sister Abigail. Reigns speared sheamus at the same time and Wyatt pinned Del Rio. Reigns and Wyatt were face-to-face as the show ended. After Raw ended, they gave the people a bonus dark match with Reigns & Ambrose & Styles beating Wyatt & Rowan & Strowman (it was advertised they would have a six-man tag locally although they advertise all the time matches that don’t end up happening) when Ambrose pinned Rowan after Dirty Deeds

Notes from the 4/12 tapings in San Diego. An interesting note is that security wasn’t letting anyone into the building with signs, so any signs that got up snuck through. Not sure what that was about because signs were in full force the night before. Main Event opened with two local wrestlers in the ring. Gallows & Anderson hit the ring and took them out and cut a promo saying that nobody can stop them. This may not have been taped. Kalisto, who wasn’t selling any injury, pinned Slater. The Social Outcasts got mad and said they weren’t leaving and challenged anyone to come out. Crews came out and pinned Dallas with his twisting power bomb. Slater, Rose and Axel were all kicked out of ringside. Owens pinned Ziggler in a good match with a pop up power bomb. Smackdown opened with Maryse out. She introduced Miz for the Miz TV segment. Miz announced that his guest was his wife, Maryse. He said he was going to ask her the question everyone is dying to find out the answer to–what is it like being married to Miz? Ryder came out and said that he wants his IC title rematch tonight. Miz agreed, but then reneged, saying he forgot, that Ryder already had a match booked tonight, against Corbin. Corbin pinned Ryder with the End of Days. Enzo & Cass beat The Ascension to advance in the tag team tournament. Styles was doing an interview. Del Rio interrupted him. This led to a singles match between the two which Styles won with a roll-up. There was a backstage segment with Goldust, R-Truth and Fandango. Somehow out of all this, Goldust and R-Truth ended up not teaming in the tournament, and Goldust instead teamed with Fandango. The Vaudevillains then advanced in the tournament beating Goldust & Fandango. Nobody knew how to take The Vaudevillains. Most didn’t know them, and the ones that did weren’t sure if they were faces or heels. Jericho did an interview ripping on San Diego and talking about his TV main event with Zayn. Zayn beat Jericho via DQ. Both Ambrose and Owens ended up at ringside. They both were doing commentary. Jericho started arguing with Ambrose. Jericho went after Ambrose later. Zayn ended up knocking Jericho into Owens. Owens and Ambrose at this point were both down. Owens got up first and attacked Zayn which caused the DQ. Jericho and Owens were beating on Zayn until Ambrose recovered and made the save and he and Zayn ran off Jericho & Owens to end the show. They did a dark match after, with Zayn & Ambrose beating Jericho & Owens when Ambrose pinned Owens after Dirty Deeds

Notes from the 4/6 NXT TV show. This show was mostly highlights from Takeover. They showed highlights of all the matches on the show, and featured new first-run interviews done after the show. Cathy Kelly debuted as the hostess of the show, pitching to the different segments in studio. Like all the announcers, and this not her fault, they come across like almost robots speaking in a foreign language off the Teleprompter in these type of segments. A big part is the delivery as you can tell they are reciting scripted lines as opposed to being conversational. Kelly came from Maria Menounos’ Afterbuzz network. Really, the only announcer on the show who, because of his delivery and product knowledge, that gets past that is Graves. Jason Jordan & Chad Gable were interviewed after the match. This was good stuff because Jordan was in tears over winning the titles and Gable noted their story about both falling short in amateur wrestling, which was a storyline used the week before the match to make it seem real. Gable put over that Jordan has been here a lot longer than he has been, since Jordan was a guy who looked to have potential but had fallen into really an enhancement guy seemingly on the bubble regarding being let go until put in this team. Gable said he was so happy he was able to help Jordan achieve his dream and that it’s a long time coming for him. Bayley did a promo congratulating Asuka. She said that Asuka had a counter for everything she threw at her and that Asuka is on a “whole nother level.” She said that maybe she wasn’t fully prepared and talked about letting the little kids down and letting her down family sitting in the front row down. She said that a champion is made by how many times they get knocked down, get back up and get better. Both of these promos came across so much better than the vast majority of the promos you see in wrestling today. Austin Aries, in his promo, said he was the most polarizing man in sports entertainment. Not sure where that was coming from as the crowd was completely behind him at th Takeover match. She said that he made Baron Corbin respect him, and that talent isn’t measure by a ruler and passion isn’t measured by a scale. Those were also good lines. He said Corbin found out why he’s the self proclaimed greatest man who ever lived. So he got greatest man who ever lived line in but had to temper it with self-proclaimed. Finn Balor did an interview putting over Samoa Joe, saying Je was a monster who keeps going forward. He said that if London (their first Takeover match) was a battle, Dallas was a bloody war. He said that he may be champion, but he doesn’t feel that I won, he merely survived the latest challenge. They went to Joe for an interview but he wouldn’t talk. They aired the Apollo Crews vs. Elias Samson match that didn’t air on the Takeover special from Dallas. The Manny Andrade vs. Christopher Girard match at the show wasn’t taped and they are waiting to introduce Andrade as a character on television as I’m guessing when they do he’ll get a superstar push out of the gate. The crowd didn’t like Samson at all. He was singing and they were chanting “We Want Wrestling.” After 32 years, I’ve still never heard a “We Want Sports Entertainment” chant. It’s a minor disconnect that is so annoying because only a tiny percentage of the audience would use that terminology and when you watch the show you get hammered by it. Crews’ music got a big pop, but it was mostly because it stopped Samson from singing. There was a cool spot where they were fighting outside the ring and Samson whipped Crews into the apron, but he jumped up to the apron and came back off with a moonsault. Crews won in 12:05. This would have been the weakest match on the special. They saved the Nakamura vs. Zayn coverage for last. Zayn did an interview putting over the match, saying he had nothing but respect for Nakamura. Nakamura was there with Shoichi Funaki with him as his translator. I hate to say it, but this came off weak. If he does promos, and he’ll have to do be a headliner, he needs to have a manager with him just making his faces and saying a few words at the end, followed by “Yeaoh,” which will get over. Heyman is the guy, particularly because Lesnar isn’t a weekly character. Granted, Heyman with Cesaro didn’t work out well, but a lot of that was because they kept beating Cesaro on television every week. But the translator thing isn’t going to work and he shouldn’t be doing long interviews, just a sentence or two with his facials while somebody else does the message

The only shows weekend were NXT which had a Carolinas tour which featured Nakamura and no smaller shows in Florida. The tour opened in Concord, NC, before 1,900 fans. No Way Jose, who was Manny Garcia on the indies in that area, pinned Riddick Moss in the opener. Fans chanted for Jose, who uses a wind up punch like a pitcher throwing a pitch as the finisher. Samson pinned John Skylar. People don’t like Samson, but not in a good heel way. It’s the we don’t want to see you way. Lots of “You can’t wrestle” chants. Alex Riley pinned Blake. Reported as a bad match. Eva Marie beat Carmella to set Eva up for a title shot at Asuka the next night. She won with her feet on the ropes. Carmella then put the triangle on Eva after the match. Jordan & Gable beat Dash & Dawson to retain the tag titles in a very good match. Aries pinned Manny Andrade. The crowd was quiet early since nobody knows who Andrade is, but they did some great wrestling and Andrade was getting a star reaction by te end. Asuka kept the women’s title over Peyton Royce with the Asuka lock. The problem with Asuka and it was notable here is that she has a female Goldberg aura in that the match dies if she sells too long because it’s not that she can’t sell, it’s that people’s vision of her doesn’t allow her to sell for long periods of time. She has to work differently, especially with someone like Royce with no cred where she was selling a lot. Main event saw Balor & Nakamura beat Corbin & Dillinger. Nakamura got the biggest reaction on the show. Balor would throw Flair-like chops since they were in the Carolinas, and Dillinger took Flair style bumps. The crowd cheered Dillinger for his Flair selling. Balor pinned Dillinger with the Bloody Sunday DDT. Balor said that there are a lot of tired, sore and homesick wrestlers on the roster but the reaction made them want to go out and not let anyone down. The whole crowd did the “Yeaoh” with Nakamura at the end

4/8 in Columbia, SC drew 2,000 fans. Jose pinned Blake. Fans were singing Bayley songs for Jose and Jose, Jose like Ole, Ole. Jose needs work on his offense. Moss pinned Skyler. Moss placed the heel and insulted the locals and Skyler was billed from Columbia to make sure Moss was the heel. Moss won using the ropes. Not good. Carmella beat Royce. Not very good and crowd wasn’t into it. Samson pinned Riley wit his neckbreaker. Crowd almost turned on the match. Jordan & Gable beat Dawson & Wilder in what was reported as the best match with the best crowd reactions. The match had all the same spots as the Takeover match. They actually did a false finish where Gable was pinned and the ref counted three. But the ref later reversed the decision saying the illegal man pinned Gable and ordered the match restarted. Asuka vs. Eva was weird. Half the crowd booed Eva and then half the crowd got mad people were booing her and cheered her. Then they had dueling chants. Eva got half the offense before Asuka beat her with the Asuka lock. Nakamura beat Andrade in a 12:00 match. Andrade with a moonsault off the stage to the floor and Nakamura was hurt and down. He was checked on. He was bleeding. Nakamura got the pin with the bom a ye. Balor & Aries beat Dillinger & Corbin when Balor pinned Dillinger after the sling blade and Bloody Sunday DDT. After the match they did a spot where the ref threw Dillinger over the top rope. They pushed on mic work where Balor noted Corbin won the Battle Royal and he vowed to throw Corbin over the top. Corbin vowed to throw Balor over the top. Corbin threw Aries over the top but couldn’t throw Balor over the top. Eventually Balor did throw Corbin over the top

The final night of the tour was 4/9 in North Charleston, SC before 1,650 fans. Whenever they ran the Tapout ad, Reigns was booed. No Way Jose pinned Moss. Samson pinned Corey Hollis. People chanted “Play Freebird” at Samson, who then started playing it but did heel lyrics. Eva pinned Carmella with her feet on the ropes. After the match Carmella made a comeback. Riley pinned Blake. Jordan & Gable beat Dash & Dawson in another great match. Aries pinned Andrade. Andrade got over doing the double moonsault spot which may have been the biggest reaction on the show. The shook hands after the match and Aries put over Andrade. Asuka beat Royce with the Asuka lock. Nakamura & Balor beat Dillinger & Corbin. Corbin was working wearing a T-shirt. Fans were chanting “Take your shirt off,” which is something that stemmed from the show in Columbia that drew some of the same fans. So Corbin took off his T-shirt, to reveal a second T-shirt. Balor was out there doing Flair mannerisms and strut. Balor pinned Dillinger to take it.


I now return you to your regularly scheduled Peezy Programming.
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#24
(04-14-2016, 04:57 PM)Peezy Wrote: Do you subscribe to it? Is it worth it?


Back when I was homebound, I started listening to their free shows. Then, when I went back to PT, I decided to subscribe. Their podcasts are what I enjoy most (Wrestling Observer Radio for news, Bryan and Vinny Show for entertainment). The newsletter is bonus. On slow months, it can just put you to sleep. However, you learn a lot about the current ongoings of not just WWE but future big names from around the world. Right before WM, I subscribed for a Month. I doubt I'll keep the subscription again, but during hot times in the business, it makes my experience even better. PPV's and Raws may suck, but I can always look forward to Dave, Bryan, and Vinny's analysis in days following.

If you want, I'll PM you my account info. You can download all the old newsletters and radio shows that they still have.
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#25
Holy shit, that would be incredible. I'm curious to try it out. Just hesitant about paying more for it a month than I do for the Network or Netflix or whatever.
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#26
God damn he is long winded. He should take lessons from Peezy and Someguy on how to write concisely.
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#27
First time I've ever heard that about myself.
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#28
Only when compared to Meltzer.
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#29
PM sent. I agree about the price being a bit much especially for something that produces no actual wrestling. My justification is that I listened to/used their content more than I do the WWE Network. For the most part, I only watch the monthly PPV's and some of the original content so you're talking 6-10 hours a month. With the radio shows, I average 4 hours a week if not more (generally while doing house work, driving, or on the rare occasion I work out). That's something I can't do with WWE Network (listen and not watch). Plus, it's like any independent business you enjoy: support them when you can.

(04-14-2016, 06:18 PM)I Am Not Avery Wrote: God damn he is long winded. He should take lessons from Peezy and Someguy on how to write concisely.


Gotta fill them pages.
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#30
God damn Chris, fuck reading all that
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