Daily Update: ESPYS, Show vs. Shaq, WWE CWC, UFC 202

The ESPY Awards on ABC did 5,603,000 viewers, finishing third among the four major networks. The UFC show did 609,000 viewers, which is the lowest prime time show they’ve done in a long time. That speaks loudly to viewer fatigue, a term we may be using a lot more of starting this fall. The prelims did 311,000 viewers. For a UFC prime time show on FS 1, that may be the lowest to date, certainly lowest in a long time. It was a great show, but there’s just a limit to how many hours people are willing to watch in a short period of time.

Among those at the ESPY awards included Ric Flair (shown on camera during the monologue), Charlotte, The Miz, Maryse, Mark Henry, New Day, Nikki Bella, Stephanie McMahon, Rey Mysterio (in his mask) and Cryme Tyme. Cathy Kelly was brought to Los Angeles to film interviews. They did an angle where Big Show and Shaquille O’Neil teased a WrestleMania challenge. If they are ever going to do that match, and it’s been teased for years, next year is the time with the show in Orlando. Miz and Maryse were walking around with their belts per order of management, but New Day didn’t have to do so. Flair is friends with Cena and Charlotte went because Ric did. Big E often trains with Cena so they got the New Day in. Henry is close with Cena. Show was sent for the angle with Shaq, while Miz and Maryse live in Los Angeles. 

Lost in the shuffle of all the news yesterday is how well John Cena did as the host of the ESPY awards. It was pretty clear watching it, with all the WWE references in the monologue, that this was an attempt to try and make pro wrestling acceptable to sports fans by joking about its lack of reality and its characters like Vince McMahon. 

We’re looking for reports from the TNA TV tapings tonight in Orlando at newstips@wrestlingobserver.com. It’s the final night of the tapings.

The Cruiserweight Classic is being taped tonight at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. Among the matches being taped are:

Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher
Tajiri vs. Gran Metalik
Drew Gulak vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Noam Dar vs. Hoho Lun
Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese
Kota Ibushi vs. Cedric Alexander
TJ Perkins vs. Johnny Gargano
Lince Dorado vs. Rich Swann

SMACKDOWN TONIGHT AT 8 P.M. ON USA

Sasha Banks vs. Dana Brooke
Dolph Ziggler vs Rusev
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. A.J. Styles & Karl Anderson
Kalisto vs. Tyler Breeze
Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens
Dean Ambrose & Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens & Seth Rollins

THE ROUNDUP

Big Show challenges Shaq to a match at WrestleMania 
UFC fighters Conor McGregor and Holly Holm win ESPYs; other UFC notes
WWE Cruiserweight Classic results: Kota Ibushi vs. Sean Maluta 
TNA Impact Wrestling TV taping results: Bound For Glory qualifiers & semifinals  
WWE Cruiserweight Classic Preview pt. 4: Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Rich Swann


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READ IT HERE: Figure Four Weekly 7/4/2016: Jimmy Snuka to appear at Wrestlecon – Jimmy Snuka, who was found too incompetent to stand trial for murder charges, is signing autographs at Wrestlecon 2017.

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Wrestling Observer Newsletter

READ IT HERE: July 18, 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: UFC sold for 4 billion dollars, UFC 200 review, notes on the WWE draft, more – Details on the sale of UFC for 4 billion dollars, recap of UFC 200, notes on the WWE draft, plus tons more.

The most detailed look at how the UFC got sold and the business ramifications of the sale is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Also inside, a look at the Brock Lesnar deal, where things stand going forward with Lesnar, a lot of updated thoughts on the WWE draft, the future of John Cena and notes on how that affects WWE business, Battle of Los Angeles, and coverage of all the UFC shows.  

This issue contains a copy of the letter that all the UFC fighters were sent by management and what they were told about the sale.  

An in depth look at how the original partners came together and the 2001 sale of the UFC to Dana White & The Fertittas, how much money White and the Fertittas probably got in the sale, plus a lot of things about the sale that haven’t gone public yet. There’s also a look at White’s new contract with the company, and the company’s business numbers for 2015.  

Inside, examine how things are likely to change, where Lorenzo Fertitta is likely to go, the new owners and where their money came from, other bidders, and how the deal almost fell through. Plus, take a look at Lorenzo Fertitta & Dana White’s role in the company going forward, how the source of the money to buy the company changed in recent weeks, why they were able to get $4 billion and what rivalry outside sports is key in them increasing revenue.  

Finally, this issue considers where Lesnar stands coming off his win over Mark Hunt, how the deal with Lesnar was first made, a look at a clause in every WWE contract and what it specifically says about MMA, and a look at why C.M. Punk was able to get out of the clause. Plus, take a look at future MMA prospects with Lesnar, how much money he really got from the show, how he changed a lot of the criticism of his career, and why he’s more valuable now than before.  

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THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE

Bryan and I have a new interview with Chael Sonnen up on the site that goes into a very unique direction at the end, but covers a lot of topics including the Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz fight and Jimmy Snuka non-trial.

There are no WWE or UFC shows this weekend, and at this point that’s a blessing as four UFC events in one week is overkill. Ironically the two best UFC shows were the ones that were the least-watched ones.

The biggest pro wrestling show will be the opening of the G-1 tournament on late Sunday night (2 a.m. Eastern, 11 p.m. Pacific) from Sapporo live on New Japan World.  We’ll be doing a post-show poll on that one.

Tickets for UFC 202 go on sale tomorrow to the public for the 8/20 show headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz, Anthony Rumble Johnson vs. Glover Teixeira and Demian Maia vs. Carlos Condit. Tickets are priced at $1,292.65, $880.65, $674.65, $520.15, $365.65 and $211.65 at Ticketmaster.

WXW has announced its new streaming servive, wXw NOW which will launch on 8/13 at www.wxwnow.de. It will offer shows, original content and archived shows dating back to 2006. All the major shows will be available on a 72 hour turnaround, plus there will be a 60 minute and 30 minute television show and other original content like interviews. All events from 2013 will be up in HD. The price will come out to about $11.10 per month.

WWE

Kevin Owens has been added to the main event on Saturday night in Madison Square Garden. It’ll be a three-way with Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Owens for the WWE title.
Topps & WWE announced WWE Slam digital trading cards.
Right now the plan is to break up some tag teams in the draft. Of course, like everything, you know how that goes.
An interview with Owens is here.
Dolph Ziggler was on Fox News comparing wrestling with the election.

UFC & MMA

– World Series of Fighting today announced the signing of former Bellator and UFC fighter Paul Bradley. Bradley had a 3-1- 1 record in Bellator, most recently spoiling the undefeated record of Chris Honeycutt in January. He had an 0-2 UFC record, losing 2011 bouts to Mike Pierce and Rafael Natal.

– For those wondering whether or not Brock Lesnar will fight in UFC again, this is telling: Lesnar will continue to be drug tested by USADA as he’s still considered under UFC contract.

– From last night’s awesome UFC on FS 1 show in South Dakota, Tony Ferguson and Landon Vannata each scored 50K bonuses for their wild fight. Other performance bonuses went to John Lineker and Louis Smolka for their respective wins over Michael McDonald and Ben Nguyen.

– RFA 40 runs Friday night on AXS TV and The Fight Network from Prior Lake, MN. The main event features former UFC flyweight Chico Camus vs Czar Sklavos.

– DEEP Jewels strawweight champion Mizuki Inoue will return to Invicta Fighting championships on Friday July 29th as a late replacement. She will face Lynn Alvarez after Manjit Kolekar had to pull out from her fight due to injury. Inoue beat Lacey Schuckman in her only previous bout for Invicta.

MISCELLANEOUS

Unfortunately, neither Terry Funk nor Chael Sonnen will be appearing at the Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame induction ceremony 7/22 to 7/24 in Waterloo, IA. Sonnen, who said he was greatly looking forward to it and was bringing his mother, is staying home because one of his wrestling coaches has his funeral that weekend. Funk also had a personal matter that will keep him from attending.  Those still attending include Brian Blair, Baron Von Raschke, Bob Backlund, Charlie Thesz, Dan Gable, me, Gerald Brisco, Iron Sheik, Greg Oliver, Jason Sanderson, J.J. Dillon, Ken Patera, Larry Hennig, Magnum T.A. Ricochet, Stan Kowalski, Tully Blanchard, Wade Keller, Wes Briscoe and Big E.
TNA announced a deal on China’s Youku platform to run Impact every Wednesday at 8 p.m..
Northeast Wrestling on 7/30 in Pomona, NY at the Palisades Credit Union Park at 7 PM. features Ric Flair, Matt & Jeff Hardy, Velvet Sky, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley and Damien Sandow.
Bellator has announced a one-year deal with AbemaTV to air tomorrow night in Japan with the show from London headlined by Paul Daley vs Douglas Lima. The show will air on a slight tape delay at 10 a.m. Saturday in Japan, and also airing at 9 p.m. tomorrow on Spike. In the U.K., the show will air from 9-10 p.m. BST on Spike UK and from 10 p.m. to conclusion on Ch. 5.
Sylvester Stallone is looking to cast some MMA women in his new The Expendables movie.
MCW Pro Wrestling on Saturday night has Sting and Lex Luger at a 4 p.m. meet and greet before its Shamrock Cup 2016 show at the MCW Arena in Joppa, MD. Matches announced include Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jason Kincaid and Sonjay Dutt vs. Chuck Lennox.
Ressurection Fighting Alliance on 8/19 in Visalia, CA at the Visalia Convention Center features Zach Juusola (11-3) vs. Christos Gioagos (12-5) in the main event. The show will air live on AXS TV.
The funeral for Bonnie Gomez, the wife of the late Pepper Gomez, will be on Monday at 2 p.m. at Church of the Presentation at 1515 W. Benjamin Holt Dr., in Stockton. In lieu of flowers, they are asking for donations to any cancer charity of your choice in her name.
Legacy Wrestling on 8/23 in Manheim, PA at the Spooky Nook Sports with Mickie James, Lio Rush, DJ Hyde, Veda Scott and more.
Gladiator Series MMA on 7/16 in Voorhees, NJ at the Coliseum Fight Club.
As noted earlier in the week, Evolve has iPPV shows on Saturday at 4 p.m. Eastern time from Queens, NY and Sunday at 7 p.m. Eastern time from Melrose, MA. Both shows are available at www.wwnlive.com. We’ll have complete rundowns tomorrow but both shows are loaded with top quality wrestlers including Roderick Strong on Saturday night making his return.
Dory Funk Jr. has three charity shows on 8/4, 8/5 and 8/6 in Ocala, FL, benefiting the Clara Bell Downing Foundation teaching children in Kenya, the Marion County Humane Society and the Special Olympics of Marion County. for more info go to www.dory-funk.com.
IWF has shows on 7/16 and 7/23 at the IWF Center in Nutley, NJ.
CMLL on Monday night in Puebla: Astro & Asturiano & Ultimo Dragoncito b Espiritu Maligno & Mini Jocker & Pierrothito, Black Tiger & King Jaguar & Oro Jr b Ares & Disturbio & Fuerza Chicana, Diamante Azul & Rey Escorpion b Kushida & Kraneo, Volador Jr. & Rush b Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa, Atlantis & Ultimo Guerrero b Ripper & ?, La Mascara & Sharly Rockstar b Negro Casas & Shocker (to set up a CMLL tag team title match next week), Volador Jr. & Rush b Diamante Azul & Rey Escorpion, Atlantis & Ultimo Guerrero b La Mascara & Sharly Rockstar, Atlantis & Ultimo Guerrero b Volador Jr. & Rush-DQ to win the one-night tournament, Mephisto b Mistico to retain the CMLL welterweight title (thanks to Kris Zellner)
There is show on Saturday night at Arena Coliseo in Mexico City to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the debut of Arakangel de la Muerte.
Tomorrow night in Tijuana at the Auditorio has ? & Mascara Aerea & Mascara Dorada vs. Mr. Elektro & Rey Escorpion & Rush.
Icons of Wrestling and House of Hardcore has shows on 8/6 in Pasadena, TX at the Convention Center. Appearing at the afternoon fan fest is Booker T, Vickie Guerrero, Tommy Dreamer, Billy Gunn, One Man Gang, Sandman and Bruce Prichard.  The evening show includes Carlito, Vickie Guerrero, Sandman, Dreamer, Mickie James, MVP, Billy Gunn and Allie from TNA.
ECCW has shows at the Agrifair 2016 in Abbotsford, BC on 7/29 at Noon, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., 7/30 at Noon, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and 7/31 at Noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.  Jimmy Hart will be at the Saturday and Sunday shows.
Absolute Intense Wrestling on 7/22 in Cleveland at Our Lady of Mt Carmel with Ethan Page vs. Josh Prohibition vs. Josh Alexander, Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae vs. Ethan Carter III & Karlee Perez (Catrina in Lucha Underground), Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Louis Lyndon, DJZ and more.
Big West Wrestling on 7/15 in Kelowna, BC at the Lake City Bowling & Billiards. They also run on 8/12 in the same location. 
Conflict Wrestling on 8/26 in Kitchener, ONT at the Moose Lodge with Tyler Tirva vs. Tyson Dux.
The return of Rey Mysterio Jr. to Montgomery High School (where he went to high school) in San Diego is part of a show on 8/13 that also has John Morrison, TJ Perikins, Nicho, Teddy Hart, Willie Mack and more.  
Konnan will be at the Comic-Con International on 7/20 in the Hallowicked Booth #1901 on this coming Wednesday night from 7-9 p.m. Fans will be able to purchase autographs and photos along with memorabilia and merchandise. 
Jessie Godderz talks about how Ric Flair helped him get started in wrestling and comparisons to John Cena. 
Esquire magazine talks to Jesse Ventura.
A story on longtime wrestling writer Mike Mooneyham is here.
Dave Prazak looks at the rise of women’s wrestling. 
A story on Brutus Beefcake is here.
An interview with Donovan Dijak about a possible off-season in wrestling and the industry is here.

Daily Pro Wrestling History (07/14): Harley Race wins King of the Ring; Austin & Foley win WWF tag titles


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