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September 18, 2017 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Vince McMahon returns to TV, Mae Young Classic finals, more

Wrestling Observer Newsletter

PO Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228 ISSN10839593 September 18, 2017

 

UFC 215 POLL RESULTS

Thumbs up 56 (50.5%)

Thumbs down 6 (05.4%)

In the middle 49 (44.1%)

 

BEST MATCH POLL

Jeremy Stephens vs. Gilbert Melendez 60

Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko 19

Alex White vs. Mitch Clarke 11

 

WORST MATCH POLL

Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko 46

Ilir Latifi vs. Tyson Pedro 29

 

NJPW DESTRUCTION IN FUKUSHIMA

Thumbs up 19 (16.1%)

Thumbs down 79 (66.9%)

In the middle 20 (16.9%)

 

BEST MATCH POLL

Naito & H.Takahashi vs. Ospreay & Ishii 64

Evil & Bushi & Sanada vs. Okada & Yano & Romero 20

Minoru Suzuki vs. Michael Elgin 16

 

WORST MATCH POLL

Minoru Suzuki vs. Michael Elgin 44

Robinson & Finlay vs. Fale & Leo Tonga 19

Y. Takahashi & Owens vs. Jado & Baretta 12

Based on e-mails and phone calls to the Observer as of Tuesday, 9/12.

 

Vince McMahon returned to WWE television in a new role, for the first time allowing himself to be portrayed as an old man.

McMahon, 72, noticeably smaller than in the past, took a head-butt from Kevin Owens, bled badly which was not only very much planned, but emphasized in the shooting of the angle. He got up, woozy, trying to feebly fight back, was decked, kicked in the ribs, superkicked and splashed off the top rope and crawled out of the ring. The angle was a set up for the Shane McMahon vs. Owens Hell in a Cell match that will be the most promoted match on the 10/8 PPV from Detroit.

McMahon, who has heavily pushed the idea that blood isn’t allowed to be shown on television, had the cameras zoomed in on his split forehead with blood gushing. Because it’s rarely done, it was more effective than in a promotion where people see blood all the time. But it does fly in the face of normal company policy regarding blading, shooting of blood and whatever family friendly content is supposed to mean. But hypocrisy and contradictions on subjects like blood and safety in pro wrestling always have, and probably always will be part of the business.

The head-butt spot was similar to the Katsuyori Shibata/Kazuchika Okada spot from Sakura Genesis on 4/9. While McMahon himself is likely unfamiliar with that since he doesn’t keep up with any other wrestling, it was one of the most talked about spots in the world and the world is a smaller place than ever before. A number of people internally saw the spot and know the background, with Shibata nearly dying and his career being ended from delivering a much harder version of the same spot to Okada, and splitting himself open in the process. Shibata had done the spot a few times previously, with no noticeable immediate ill-effects, but obviously it was not a smart thing to do, particularly since the guy taking the head-butt was the guy New Japan was looking to build its next ten years around.

Owens did connect with the head-butt to McMahon, and McMahon has had his share of head trauma from chair shots and the like in his limited matches in the past, and is also 72 years old. Given the age, even when done not nearly as dangerous, that spot was stupid. While some can credit Vince for being willing at his age to take all that stuff to get an angle over, the head-butt itself was a bad idea. But nobody is going to tell him not to do it. As an angle, it came across as effective, especially since Vince has never allowed himself to be portrayed like that, at least to this degree, and put in a position where his son is the one who goes for the retribution as opposed to himself.

The exact mechanics of the angle are unknown but most contacted who have been in the business for decades when different ways of getting blood were part of parcel, believe the same thing I did when seeing it, that McMahon would have bladed himself before the angle and put on nu-skin to cover it up (this also seems likely from a close-up freeze frame where you could see a difference in his skin where the cut opened). Then, when Owens delivered the head-butt, it would re-open the closed wound and lead to a lot of blood, which is what happened. It was clearly not a hardway unplanned shot, although you do have to take a significant level blow to open the skin, not a knockout level blow but a shot, which is hardly smart for someone of McMahon’s age given his existing conditions. McMahon was bleeding all over the place, and the cameras shot it closely.

It’s notable the double-standard since WWE had banned blading years ago and the company’s rule of thumb if there was accidental blood was to avoid camera shots showing it as much as possible. Dave Bautista, in particular, must have been thrilled by this turn of events since he bladed in a match several years ago, was caught having done it, and was fined $100,000. Then again, Bautista’s blade job was against the boss’ orders. The boss doesn’t have those same restrictions.

It is possible this was a pure hardway shot, but I would doubt it. There is no way you can guarantee blood from a single head-butt and it was very clear the way it was shot that heavy blood was to be part of the angle since it was shot so closely. In most instances, when it comes to talent who tried to do hardway juice intentionally, unless it’s the insane smashing your own head against the post that some have done in recent years, it usually takes skilled guys with direct short hard shots above the eye multiple punches to get it, which is why it makes no sense to do it that way. Plus, the force necessary to even try a head-butt that would cut open McMahon would be hard to commit to because a head-butt hard enough to cut him would be high risk for a concussion, which isn’t good at any age, but it worse the older that you get.

The final scene of the angle was the beaten up McMahon, crawling down the aisle, acting as if his ribs were broken from the splash off the top rope, and Stephanie McMahon running out acting concerned in her first time on television since WrestleMania. Perhaps the idea that less than 30 minutes later she was out there with her husband (who couldn’t come out because under the circumstance he’d have to attack Owens which would take the heat off the Shane match) beaming for photo ops after the next match was a contradiction, but there were different masters that had to be served that night.

WWE is seemingly much hotter as football season starts than last year, where they got killed by the NFL, until managing to pick up interest with the return of Bill Goldberg.

With no Goldberg on the horizon, on 9/11, the company hot shotted one of its biggest potential matches, John Cena vs. Braun Strowman, for Raw in the first week against the NFL. Due to Hurricane Irma and Nielsen’s data offices being in Tampa, where the Hurricane hit, all numbers for this week have been delayed.

Right now WWE has four clear major stars that they are protecting, Cena, Strowman, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. All are on the Raw brand, so the lip service to separate but equal which was said leading into the latest brand split during the summer of 2016 is clearly out the window. Of those big four who in some form are likely to headline WrestleMania, there are now no new fresh matches. Lesnar and Reigns has been the plan since March or earlier for the 2018 WrestleMania main event, but plans change regularly and there was a time when that match was moved to SummerSlam. Then, because Samoa Joe did so well in his originally scheduled one-and-done program with Lesnar, the decision was made to change SummerSlam to a four-way.

But of the potential new matches for PPV, all have been done before. Reigns vs. Strowman has been done to death, although it has been an effective program since it made Strowman. Lesnar vs. Strowman takes place on 9/24 in Los Angeles and Cena vs. Reigns is on the same show. This left Cena vs. Strowman as the only new match, and it was put on television with clearly no purpose. There was no storyline idea for the match, as they just did a DQ finish that led to nothing in a match where he sold little and was done in a way where the goal was to protect Strowman rather than have a good match, as the bout dragged at points before the Anaheim crowd. They had to keep Strowman strong since that’s the priority, but in doing so, somewhat weakened Cena leading into his biggest singles match in a long time, although with his tenure and star power, he’s the most bullet-proof guy on the roster right now.

Lesnar vs. Strowman had been scheduled to headline a PPV dating back before Mania. Strowman’s injury only delayed it. But that was also before Strowman got as hot as he did in the Reigns program. The idea was for Strowman to be one of a few opponents, like Seth Rollins and Finn Balor, who Lesnar would defend against before the big title change with Reigns. Now, one can make an argument that Strowman should get the title. He can work more dates than Lesnar. He’s new and has momentum. He’s proven there is no risk in putting him in a big match. Granted, Reigns vs. Strowman as the Mania main event is a match that has been done to death, but WrestleMania has also been established as a brand, and the matches, while not irrelevant (as shown by the wide margins of the PPV numbers over the years), mean less and less as compared to the branding of the event as the biggest show of the year.

But that leaves a question for No Mercy, since Lesnar always sells big in his programs when he sees that it means money for his match (Bill Goldberg storyline being the case in point) and usually gets it back at the end. But here, if Lesnar isn’t kept strong, Reigns being the one to cleanly beat him means less. But if Lesnar is made to look strong, Strowman’s momentum is stopped, and you just have to study the Ryback nosedive to see a recent example of how that works. You could also do the Goldberg style program, with the title change now and flipping it back later, maybe at Royal Rumble. This also leaves you with title matches on every PPV for the rest of the year, which Lesnar’s contract may not allow for.

With just one television show to go for No Mercy, aside from the Lesnar vs. Strowman title match and Cena vs. Reigns, the confirmed matches are Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax vs. Emma vs. Sasha Banks for the women’s title, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus & Cesaro for the tag team titles, Neville vs. Enzo Amore for the cruiserweight title and Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt. The plan was for The Miz vs. Jason Jordan for the IC title, but that has yet to be announced and they haven’t even done angles in that direction for several weeks.

For Hell in a Cell, besides Owens vs. Shane McMahon, the only match announced is Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE title.

Smackdown had three title matches on the 9/12 show in Las Vegas, and one of the matches built, A.J. Styles vs. Baron Corbin for the U.S. title, was announced for the 9/19 Smackdown TV shoot in Oakland. Continuing the Randy Orton vs. Rusev program was also at one point in the plans. Rusev was only saying on his promo that he has to break a legend. There are still plenty of weeks to put the show together, and the key Hell in a Cell match has already been announced.


Kairi Sane defeated Shayna Baszler in the finals of the Mae Young Classic on 9/12 in Las Vegas, a show more notable for what didn’t happen than what did.

It was expected that, whatever the result, it would lead to an angle involving the Ronda Rousey Horsewomen vs. WWE version. WWE ran the first part at the tapings in Orlando and released teases of a backstage angle leading up to the finals. Not everyone was there, as Sasha Banks was flying to New Zealand (she was also overseas during the original angles) and Marina Shafir wasn’t there (although Jim Ross said she was, apparently in his notes the company gave him, whoever made the notes for what to call said she was). Rousey and Jessamyn Duke were all over the show, with Rousey used for a red carpet arrival, meaning she had to get all dressed up to sit and cheer at a wrestling show, which looked out of place with her friends in casual clothes. They continually flashed to her reactions, cheering when Baszler was on top, acting depressed when Sane was on top and nearly in tears when Sane finally won in 11:54 with an elbow off the top rope.

The crowd treated the match far better than the usual stuff. There was concern going in, as they were going to follow a heavy blood segment involving the return of Vince McMahon to television. Even with McMahon’s return, the finals of the tournament and three advertised title matches, ticket sales to the Thomas & Mack Center were terrible, at just 4,000. 205 Live matches, no matter how good, usually die in front of the live crowds.

But the presentation was big, making it act like the match was important. And for their part, Sane and Baszler worked a smart match, with Baszler on top most of the way, but suffering a rib injury. Sane would attack the ribs when she was in trouble, including attacking the ribs to get out of a choke. Finally Sane hit the Del Rio style double foot stomp and the elbow off the top. There were light “this is awesome” chants and there were dueling chants at the beginning. The crowd that followed for 205 Live was dead.

The match was good. The thing is, while Baszler carries herself like a star, and almost everyone in the business who knows her raves about her, she’s still very inexperienced. She’s got some great working instincts and understands her character, and sells far better than she has the right to with her experience level. Some of her striking offense doesn’t look the best because she’s going from trying to hurt her opponent to trying to protect them while making a lot of noise, and the technique isn’t there like people who have had more reps and training would be. But Sane, who was the best performer in the tournament and is the best underdog babyface in the promotion, was the life-blood of the match and while not all the fans were into it, enough were very much into it that is was a success. The two hugged after the match, and there was some posing in the ring with the two women, along with Stephanie McMahon, Sara Amato and HHH.

Evidently the idea was to make the finals dignified, with the red carpet, Lilian Garcia brought in as the special ring announcer, people and ringside filled with mostly women all dressed up, although Mauro Ranallo was shown as the only male celebrity at ringside for some reason. Others shown included cast members from the Netflix remake of GLOW, which included former WWE & TNA star Kia “Awesome Kong” Stevens, as well as Dana Warrior, Madusa, Beth Phoenix, Charlotte, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Candice LeRae, Mercedes Martinez, Piper Niven, Toni Storm, and Ata & Simone Johnson (the mother and daughter of Dwayne Johnson).

No angles were done or teased, although Ronda Rousey was called from ringside to go backstage to do some shooting (she came back out to watch Brian Kendrick, her pro wrestling trainer in the 205 Live main event). She also did some interviews with media sources where she was coy when asked about any plans to do pro wrestling. It’s not clear when the angle will next be shot, and there are issues regarding scheduling, although WWE can change things. Some have talked about No Mercy, but Rousey was said to be scheduled to be out of town that day and not in Los Angeles. There is a Smackdown show in Las Cruces, NM, that day, but notably neither Charlotte or Becky Lynch are currently in the advertising for that show.

Baszler was put over strong in the commentary.

Regarding the future, of those in the tournament, here is kind of the scouting view:

*Princesa Sugehit - Different style, 37 years old, unlikely she’s signed

*Kay Lee Ray - Not brought in for the finals, so also unlikely

*Serena Deeb - Not talked about at all, and didn’t stand out. Still, has been there before, so seemingly a chance.

*Vanessa Borne - Pretty woman already under contract.

*Shayna Baszler - While nobody has confirmed her signing, she is not listed on any upcoming indie shows. If you watched the tournament, it would seem implausible she’s not signed. Her only negative is being 37 in a young woman’s business. Her positive is she’s extremely athletic looking physically so unlike Sugehit, doesn’t come across like her age and has charisma and a star power. There’s no doubt her being pushed as one of the stars here was at least in part due to placating Rousey, but even as one of the least inexperienced people, she had one of the best star presences and didn’t feel pushed above her level.

*Zeda - Already under contract.

*Piper Niven - Given that she was brought to the finals, flown in from Japan, tells you they have interest in her. The funny thing about her is a few years ago her body would have doomed her, and now, because of the idea of wanting a lot of different body types in the women’s division, it’s to her advantage. It reminded me of a story from many years ago when Takeshi Morishima had a tryout match. The guy was 320 pounds and tremendous, but his body looked bad and those in the company were so negative about how a guy could possibly try out for WWE without putting in the work to get in better cosmetic shape. Forget that he had one of the best tryout matches anyone had in years, as he was dismissed with the idea of daring to show up for a tryout with a body looking like that. It shows how much things have changed.

*Santana Garrett - She lost in the first round and wasn’t featured. She lives in Florida and people have known about her for years.

*Mia Yim - Had years in TNA. Again, neither featured in the way you’d think it was a sure thing, so it’s probably in her case a numbers game as they likely have a number in mind on contracts and if she falls above or below.

*Sarah Logan - Already under contract.

*Mercedes Martinez - The fact she was brought to the finals was a good sign. She was also booked to the semifinals and looked good. Her issue is also age, at almost 37. If she came into developmental right now, she’d be one of the best wrestlers there and is also in good shape.

*Xia Li - Already under contract.

*Rhea Ripley - Already under contract.

*Abby Laith - Already under contract.

*Jazzy Gabert - Gabert got over bigger than anyone, including Sane and Baszler, at the tapings. She’s already been at NXT and worked shows. I’m surprised she wasn’t brought to the finals, but perhaps she got too over and the idea was not to overshadow those in the ring.

*Toni Storm - She has not signed. I would be surprised if she’s not given an offer and doesn’t sign. She’s Stardom’s top foreigner and was one of the tournament standouts, and is 21 years old.

*Dakota Kai - Already under contract.

*Kavita Devi - Already under contract. Also, Devi is living proof regarding the “value” of YouTube hits. Her only match got 4.8 million views, no doubt almost all from India, which is triple what a great segment on Raw would do and 85,000 was the top tier number that anyone else in the tournament was getting. It’s also more than Jinder Mahal gets. Yet, nobody talked about her at all.

*Candice LeRae - She’s popular with the hardcore fans because of her credibility on the indies. Her being brought in for the finals I’d consider a very good sign for her.

*Renee Michelle - Her name wasn’t talked about much, she lost in the first round and didn’t have a standout match.

*Rachael Evers - Rachael Ellering was originally not scheduled for the tournament but there was a late change and she got a spot. Then she was supposed to lose in the first round but they thought Marti Belle was so bad that they changed the result mid-match. She gets over with the Full Sail audience because they like the women who work indies like her, Candice LeRae and Tessa Blanchard.

*Marti Belle - Given what happened in the tournament, I’d say she’s a major longshot. The company did promote her with the idea they had a woman from the Dominican Republic.

*Bianca Belair - An excellent athlete already under contract.

*Sage Beckett - Already under contract.

*Lacey Evans - Already under contract.

*Taynara Conti - Already under contract.

*Nicole Savoy - Not under contract. Haven’t heard her name talked about much, although what I did hear was qualified positive . She’s 31, and is coming off knee surgery that put her out of action until this tournament.

*Reina Gonzalez - Already under contract

*Kairi Sane - Already under contract

*Tessa Blanchard - She has lots of positives. Her match with Sane was the best match of the tournament. She’s got that wrestler pedigree that the company likes as the stepdaughter of Magnum T.A. and daughter of Tully Blanchard. She looks like a star and can wrestle. Based on first glance if you watched the tournament and had to pick three people to sign out of it, Baszler, Blanchard and Storm would be those three but they’ve known about her for years, she already lives in Orlando, and they haven’t signed her yet, even with all those obvious positives. At 22, she would appear to have more potential than nearly anyone in the tournament. That said, she wasn’t brought to the finals.

*Ayesha Raymond - Also not talked about much or brought to the finals.

The Mae Young Classic dominated WWE Network viewing for the third straight week. Because total viewing figures aren’t released, it’s impossible to compare this with the Cruiserweight Classic although the early indicators seem to show that the binge release is not as effective for total viewing and interest levels.

The Cruiserweight Classic shows were routinely the top shows on the network except the PPVs, beating NXT, during its run, but it would just be for the week. The Mae Young Classic has dominated all the top spots for three weeks, but it’s doubtful these shows will be doing numbers for ten weeks straight.

As far as worldwide interest went, at first, on a worldwide basis, based on Google searches were 22 percent higher for the Cruiserweight Classic worldwide and 35 percent higher in the U.S. at the start.

In both cases, the peak of interest was not the debut on television when WWE started hyping it, but the first week of television tapings when the results started to get out, which is very interesting because it shows mass interest levels are more when things happen then when they air and when WWE promotes them on television.

One would think the legs of interest would be longer with the 11 week long tournament instead of three weeks, but there was a fade in the cruiserweight tournament.

From an attention getting standpoint, no matter what the public stats will say, the Mae Young Classic was far better for company image. They were able to get media attention with the idea they are progressive in their portrayal of women, which is funny since it is much better but they were behind the curve and behind and following their fans, not in front and leading them. In addition, Ronda Rousey being at the shows gave them attention in places that they normally don’t get attention.

The cruiserweight tournament had far better wrestling, of course, and at least started with more buzz, but the women’s tournament was portrayed as something bigger and more important, with the idea it was part of wrestling history.

In the end, the decision was made not to go with the tournament final to fill the NXT women’s title vacancy which was announced on the TV show that aired the prior Wednesday. However, Sane will be in the match, which may be a singles match or a multiple person match, on the NXT Takeover special on 11/18 in Houston.

Sane over Toni Storm was the originally penciled in finish before the tournament started, which was switched to a semifinal when the plans were made to go all out with Sane and Baszler with the Horsewomen angle. One person close to the situation said in the end, the idea was done early in the week to make the final night about Sane and save the Horsewomen angle for later with the decision to go with Sane being made most likely on Monday.

In the cruiserweight tournament, the interest peak was the week of the first round of tapings, the same as for the Mae Young Classic. For the first week of the shows being released, the Mae Young Classic had 17 percent more interest in the U.S. than the first week of the Cruiserweight tournament, but that was also four episodes released in a week vs. one episode. For the second week, the four episode release of the Mae Young Classic and week two of the Cruiserweight tournament were identical in interest. We’ll have to see how the finals match up but based on that the weekly show release does appear to be significantly superior to the four week release as far as more bang for your buck.

However, when it comes to the most-watched shows on the network for this past week, the tournament dominated, as the top ten were: 1. Mae Young Classic episode eight; 2. Mae Young Classic episode seven; 3. NXT for 9/6; 4. Mae Young Classic episode 5; 5. Mae Young Classic episode 6; 6. SummerSlam; 7. Mae Young Classic 4; 8. Mae Young Classic 3; 9. Mae Young Classic 1; 10. WCW Fall Brawl War Games 1998. 205 Live this past week fell to 13th place, behind a 19-year-old WCW event, so the Enzo inspired added crowd reaction and star power at least in week two doesn’t appear to have continued the rise in audience levels.


Just two weeks after Mayweather-McGregor, UFC 215 was scheduled for the company’s debut in Edmonton, built around Demetrious Johnson going for the all-time company record of 11 consecutive title defenses.

But two days before the show, opponent Ray Borg dropped out due to illness. His nutrition team said it wasn’t due to a weight cut issue and that he was 133 pounds with one day to go at the time he pulled out, which is usual range. Realistically, even if making weight wasn’t an issue, when you are dropping weight it weakens your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to illness. Later, after the show, Borg parted ways with his nutrition team, but said it wasn’t a weight issue and that it was a decision made for him and not by him. UFC released a statement saying Borg was pulled by the UFC medical team.

The fight will be rescheduled for 10/7 in Las Vegas.

So this left the 9/9 show to be headlined by Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko for the women’s bantamweight title. It turned out to be lucky, since Nunes vs. Shevchenko was to headline the 7/8 show in Las Vegas but Nunes pulled out due to sinusitis. With Junior Dos Santos vs. Francis Ngannou already pulled from the show due to Dos Santos testing positive for diuretics, had the women’s match not been moved here, the show, which sold out well in advance, would have likely had to have been canceled when Borg was unable to fight.

Nunes beat Shevchenko on a razor-thin split decision in a fight that got mixed reactions. If you watch fights to see who is the best in the world in a division, you had a tactical fight, where every round was close and thus, every punch and takedown mattered. It came down to the wire, and most likely Nunes won the fight in the last two minutes, so in that sense it was tense and even exciting.

If you watch to see action-filled fights, this was anything but. It was a fight with both waiting for the other to move, with Nunes trying to conserve her energy to make sure she didn’t get tired, and Shevchenko waiting for Nunes to get tired and then attack, except with such a slow pace, she didn’t get tired.

To show how close it was, with the exception of the first round, won by Nunes, which itself was a close round, every other round saw the judges disagree on who won. Sal D’Amato scored it identical to how I did, with Nunes taking rounds one, three and five to win a 48-47 decision. Judge David Therien had Nunes rounds one, two and five to also score it for her. Judge Tony Weeks gave Nunes only rounds one and four, scoring it 48-47 for Shevchenko.

Media scores were 48 percent for Nunes, 43 percent for Shevchenko and 10 percent had it a draw.

Nunes outlanded Shevchenko 86-72 in total strikes in every round, except round five, the round that actually won the fight for Nunes, who scored had top position twice in the round. However, in strikes to the head, which should be scored more heavily, Shevchenko had a 30-18 edge, and 56 of Nunes’ strikes were low kicks.

Shevchenko was furious about the loss, saying she believed she won rounds two, three and four, and a case could be made for five. Nunes thought she won every round but round four.

Shevchenko’s big mistake appeared to be being too patient in waiting to get offensive, thinking Nunes would tire, like she did in their first fight. Had Shevchenko fought a faster-paced fight rather than just been defensive, perhaps her expected conditioning edge would have played a factor.

In the fifth round, Shevchenko was slightly winning the round. Because of how close every round was, there was no way to know what the scores were. As it turned out, even though three of the four rounds were scored differently, all three judges had it 38-38 going into round five. But neither fighter could fight like they thought they were ahead or even that the last round would decide it.

Still, both were fighting a points battle in the round. Fans were booing the fight much of the way. Nunes went for a few takedowns early in the round, but couldn’t get them. Shevchenko was landing more, but not in the sense she was dominant or that one good blow wouldn’t change the scoring. Shevchenko went for a takedown, Nunes sprawled and got her back. Shevchenko got right back up. But Nunes got a takedown and moved to side control. However, even though Nunes was on top, she delivered no real offense, and the only punches were a flurry by Shevchenko from the bottom.

Shevchenko is probably Nunes’ best contender right now, but this was her second loss to Nunes. In addition, the fight was boring so there would be no great public demand for a rematch. And the fight probably didn’t draw where, and after this fight, a rematch would be of the same or probably less interest. Nunes isn’t going to draw against anyone in the division except perhaps Holly Holm, and even that would be minimal. Nunes is most likely next to face Raquel Pennington, since Sara McMann, who would have had a claim for a possible title shot, was submitted in the second round by Ketlen Vieira earlier in the show.

There were two other fights with title implications. Former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos went to 2-0 as a welterweight with a choke submission on Neil Magny in 3:43. With Tyron Woodley out with a torn labrum, I could see a dos Anjos vs.. Robbie Lawler fight to determine his next contender.

Henry Cejudo had his most impressive outing to date, stopping Wilson Reis at :25 of the second round in a flyweight fight. Cejudo has lost to Demetrious Johnson, but so has almost everyone else. Had Borg not gotten a rematch right away, Cejudo could have gotten the shot. A lot depends on the UFC mindset regarding Cejudo getting a title shot in the near future. If they are of the opinion Cejudo, who Johnson beat quickly, isn’t going to get a shot until Johnson loses, then a Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis fight next should be avoided like the plague. Pettis is the best contender that Johnson hasn’t already beaten. If they have the idea that Cejudo could get a shot with another big win, then Johnson vs. Pettis with a title shot at stake makes sense.

The prelims, headlined by Sara McMann vs. Ketlen Vieira, did 418,000 viewers on FS 1. The number may have been the lowest ever for PPV prelims, but it should be noted that the first hour was on FS 2 instead of FS 1 because a golf tournament went long and the show started 58 minutes late on FS 1, so it makes sense that the numbers would be very low.

There was also a ton of competition with five college football games airing nationally head-to-head as well as a NASCAR race. Plus, the Weather Channel was doing ridiculous ratings as were the news channels. Still, Oklahoma vs. Ohio State football did 8,081,00 viewers head-to-head.

There are no PPV estimates available. Google searches were almost identical to the 7/8 show, which ended up doing about 130,000 buys. To me, even with Johnson, given this was two weeks after Mayweather vs. McGregor, anything above 100,000 shouldn’t be considered as that negative. It was a weak show from a name value standpoint, on PPV, with people far more interested in the news that night and football everywhere.

The show sold out Rogers Place with 16,232 fans for $2,028,307.14 U.S. When the Johnson vs. Borg fight was canceled, UFC had to offer refunds from the show that sold out almost immediately when tickets were put on sale. Edmonton had never had a show, and Edmonton per capita was one of the best cities in North America for PPV buys. There were a few hundred refunds asked for, but UFC was able to sell all of those refunded tickets, and more opened up late.

The $50,000 performance bonuses went to dos Anjos, Cejudo and to Jeremy Stephens and Gilbert Melendez for best fight. Melendez dropped to featherweight for the first time since 2005, and lost his fourth in a row. He looked to drawn out at the new weight, and he was barely able to stand as his shin was destroyed visibly by low kicks. He was put down over-and-over and really the fight should have been stopped before going the distance.

But an earlier fight with Rick Glenn vs. Gavin Tucker, where Tucker took a tremendous beating, should have been stopped. Tucker suffered four different broken bones in the face from the beating and the referee, Kyle Cardinal, was pulled from the rest of the show. Dana White wrote after the fight that Cardinal needs his ass whooped.

1. Kajan Johnson (22-12-1) beat Adriano Martins (28-9) at :49 of the third round in a lightweight fight. Martins had recent wins over Islam Makhachev and Rustam Khabilov, and he was the biggest favorite on the show. Martins won the first round after dropping Johnson with a left and going for a guillotine. Johnson came back with kicks to the body and a nice right to even things up. In the third round, Johnson threw a right that landed right behind the ear and it was over.

2. Arjan Singh Bhullar (7-0) beat Luis Henrique (10-4, 1 no contest) on straight scores of 29-28 in a heavyweight fight. Bhullar, who is from Western Canada, was one of the most popular fighters on the show. He represented Canada in the 2012 Olympics. There were a large number of people of Indian and Pakistani heritage who live in the area cheering him on. Originally Jinder Mahal was to be there as well, but due to Hurricane Irma, he felt he needed to stay in Florida, where he lives. Bhullar won the first two rounds. In the second round, Bhullar dropped him with a right and also scored with a high slam into side control and dropped punches and elbows from the top. I had that as a 10-8 round but none of the judges did. Henrique took over landing punches and knees to the body to win the third round.

3. Alex White (12-3) beat Mitch Clarke (11-5) at 4:36 of the second round in a lightweight fight. Clarke came out fast but White had the edge by late in the first round and most of the second round. White landed a lot of elbows from the clinch. White knocked Clarke down and the fight was stopped. Clarke then thanked the fans and announced he was retiring.

4. Rick Glenn (20-4-1) beat Gavin Tucker (10-1) on scores of 30-25, 30-24 and 29-27 in a featherweight fight. Tucker, the unbeaten Canadian, was the big favorite. Glenn took the first round through good counter punching. Glenn got two second round takedowns and dominated positioning. The third round was ugly. Glenn took him down and landed tons of punches on the ground. Tucker took terrible punishment with the ref just standing there and it went until the end of the round, which was far too long.

5. Sarah Moras (5-3) beat Ashlee Evans-Smith (5-3) in 2:51 in a women’s bantamweight fight. Both came out fighting for takedowns. Smith took her down and moved to side control. Moras got an armbar from the bottom and popped the elbow. Moras said she was happy about that and Joe Rogan told her that you aren’t supposed to say that in public.

6. Ketlan Vieira (9-0) beat Sara McMann (11-4) at 4:16 of the second round in a women’s bantamweight fight. McMann got a takedown and was dropping elbows. She moved to full mount and was landing a lot of punches from the mount. She kept throwing, not all landed. Vieira nearly got McMann in a kneebar and Vieira landed punches late. In the second round. McMann went for a takedown but Vieira, who was a Brazilian champion in wrestling, was able to block it and land a lot of elbows and punches. Vieira then took McMann down and beat her with a head-and-arm choke.

7. Jeremy Stephens (26-14) beat Gilbert Melendez (22-7) on scores of 30-26, 30-26 and 30-25 in a featherweight fight. Both landed early. Melendez was clearly drawn at this weight and the problem with older guys dropping a weight class is that they lose too much size and also don’t have the speed. The move sounded good on paper since Melendez had lost three in a row at lightweight. Stephens landed low kicks. Melendez collapsed. His left leg was badly swollen and he could barely stand on it. Melendez, even fighting off one leg and trying to protect the other, was able to land good punches and this ended up the most exciting fight on the show. Melendez went down a second time from low kicks. In the second round, Stephens kept landing punches. Melendez went down a third time from a low kick. He was limping badly and Stephens landed a head kick and more combos. He was put down a fourth time by a low kick. Really this fight also should have been stopped. Melendez wasn’t going to quit but his leg could barely hold him up. Melendez was knocked down three more times in the third round when he’d take a kick to the left leg and the leg couldn’t hold him. Stephens noted that he was originally going to get married this weekend but UFC offered him Melendez and he asked his wife if they could postpone the wedding by a few weeks to he could take the fight.

8. Ilir Latifi (14-5, 1 no contest) beat Tyson Pedro (6-1) on scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 in a light heavyweight fight. Latifi got two takedowns in the first round and kept him down most of the round. In the second round, Latifi scored a high takedown and Pedro nearly landed on his head. Latifi got another takedown in the third round and landed punches from the top the entire round, dominant enough that I felt it was a 10-8 round but none of the judges scored it that way.

9. Henry Cejudo (11-2) beat Wilson Reis (22-8) at :25 of the second round in a flyweight fight. Cejudo, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, was landing punches almost at will. Cejudo also landed some knees and a high kick, and got a knockdown and a takedown in the round. When the second round started, Cejudo dropped Reis with a right and finished him with punches on the ground.

10. Rafael dos Anjos (27-9) beat Neil Magny (19-7) at 3:43 in a welterweight fight. This was considered a major test for dos Anjos as a welterweight. He quickly got the takedown into side control, was throwing knees to the body, moved to mount and got a choke for the submission. He said he wanted a shot at Tyron Woodley’s title.

11. Amanda Nunes (15-4) beat Valentina Shevchenko (14-3) via split decision on scores of 47-48, 48-47 and 48-47 to retain the women’s bantamweight title. Almost nothing happened in the first round. Nunes landed more low kicks and won the round. In the second round, Shevchenko landed the best shots and got the best of the one good exchange. Shevchenko was bleeding from the left foot. The third round was very close and could have gone either way. The crowd was booing it mostly. Nunes landed well early in the fourth round but Shevchenko came on stronger late in the round. Round five started with both landing punches. Fans were booing. Shevchenko hit a Superman punch. Nunes was going for takedowns and not getting them. Shevchenko went for a takedown, Nunes sprawled and got the advantage on the ground. Shevchenko got up. Nunes took her down in side control. Shevchenko landed some punches off her back. So it came down to do you score the punches that really didn’t have any effect that Shevchenko landed from her back above the fact she was on her back and Nunes was doing no damage to her either. Still, Nunes was where she wanted to be at the end and Shevchenko was where she didn’t want to be. The crowed booed Nunes winning, but they hated the fight and may have booed either way. Shevchenko was just shaking her head, but she didn’t do enough to win. Nunes said that she had been sick and taking antibiotics and wasn’t at her best. Shevchenko said Nunes never landed a significant shot on her the entire fight and said she was really mad about the decision.


The combination of a dead crowd and an overbooked main event led to what is generally considered New Japan’s worst somewhat big show of the year with the 9/10 Destruction in Fukushima show.

The Fukushima show was the first of three Destruction big shows over a three-week period. The show drew a non-sellout of 2,056 fans to the Azuma General Gymnasium, and the late change of the Minoru Suzuki vs. Michael Elgin Never Open weight title match to a lumberjack death match pretty much telegraphed constant interference, which just got ridiculous by the end of the match.

Suzuki retained his title in 19:07 in a finishing sequence which saw Takashi Iizuka nail Elgin in the throat with the Iron fingers from hell after ref Red Shoes Unno was knocked down. Unno was knocked down, shoved down, pulled out of the ring, and distracted so much it went from heat, past being a cliche, to a major turnoff. When the show was over, you could just see the fans pretty much stoically getting up. They weren’t excited about having seen a show. They weren’t mad and there was no heel heat on all the interference. They weren’t furious or anything. It just felt like total indifference, an emotion you rarely see when a big show is over.

It was just a bad night, since the Korakuen Hall show the night before, was entertaining from start-to-finish. The tone was set early by the tough crowd. There were spots that would have gotten over in other cities that would have made the show come across better, but the lineup wasn’t strong and the wrestling, with the exception of a tag match with Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Will Ospreay, was never anything past usual small show decent level.

There were some attributing this to post-G-1, and while the quality of the in-ring is usually down for several months after G-1, that wasn’t the issue since the stuff that wasn’t good related more to booking and also bad matches that didn’t even involve anyone from G-1.

For example, the three-way for the IWGP tag team title was a surprise, as it was War Machine, who have looked great all over the world in recent months, facing Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa, who they’ve worked with, as well as the Killer Elite Squad of Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. But the match didn’t click, and was bad in spots, with the last 30 seconds or so being the real highlight with a great finish by Hanson. There will be three of these matches, one on each of the three Destruction cards, held this month.

The next major show is Destruction in Hiroshima on 9/16, although with the different time zone it doesn’t conflict with Golovkin vs. Alvarez, the CMLL Anniversary show or the UFC in Pittsburgh.

The show will be at 5 a.m. Saturday morning Eastern time with Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi & Jado, Rocky Romero & Baretta in their farewell match together under the Roppongi Vice name, face Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens, Togi Makabe & Elgin & Kota Ibushi vs. Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka & Taka Michinoku, Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi defend the IWGP jr. tag titles against Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi, the same three-way for the IWGP tag titles with War Machine defending against the Guerrillas of Destiny and Killer Elite Squad, Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Bad Luck Fale & Leo Tonga, Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano & Will Ospreay & Rocky Romero vs. Tetsuya Naito & Evil & Seiya Sanada & Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi, Kushida vs. Desperado for the IWGP jr. title and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. For the IC title.

They also have a 9/24 Destruction in Kobe show which is a Sunday at 3 a.m. Eastern start time with the return of Kenny Omega, defending the U.S. title for the first time against Robinson, just 18 days after arthroscopic knee surgery, plus the same three teams do the same IWGP tag team title match. This will be really interesting. Omega is likely to have to work a different style since it’s so soon after surgery and he can’t go hog wild. But they are in a big show main event.

lt won’t be until after this show that they will be able to announce the opponent of Omega for the 10/15 ROH show in Chicago, which is supposed to be his first U.S. title defense actually in the U.S.

1. Yuji Nagata & Hirai Kawato beat Manabu Nakanishi & Shota Umino in 5:47. There was no heat for the opening segment with Nagata vs. Nakanishi, even when they started getting physical with each other. Kawato vs. Umino’s quick mat wrestling was fun. But the match was short and never really got going. Umino was looking good until being kicked by Nagata, and Nagata beat him with the Nagata lock II, which is a crossface submission. After the match Nagata and Nakanishi squared off to start building a 25th anniversary (both started with the promotion in 1992 and have never left) match which takes place on 10/21. I’m guessing when they do this at the other cities it’ll get over better. *1/2

2. Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi beat Katsuya Kitamura & Tomoyuki Oka in 7:35. There is more focus on Kitamura, who is gaining in the charisma department and has the great physique that stands out, as well as the amateur background. They got more heat than the first match. Goto pinned Oka after a penalty kick. The problem is that the kick didn’t come across strong enough to be a finisher. I’m thinking Goto is using this as a tribute to Katsuyori Shibata, since they go back to being best friends in high school wrestling and later Shibata helped get Goto into the NJPW training program. But when you get so many guys in the company throwing hard kicks to the chest, unless it’s a Shibata or an Ibushi level kick, that’s tough for a finisher. Oka sold it great. **1/4

3. Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens beat Baretta & Jado in 7:36. Baretta still came out to the Roppongi Vice theme. There was a spot where Owens and Jado were trading chops and trading whoos. Baretta did a running flip dive over the top rope onto both guys. Takahashi pinned Jado with Pimp Juice, which is a DDT. Bad. 3/4*

4. Juice Robinson & David Finlay beat Bad Luck Fale & Leo Tonga in 5:03. Leo Tonga is really tall, listed at 6-foot-8, maybe not quite that tall but close. He’s got a body more like a basketball player than the wrestler body his brothers have. He’s really green and doesn’t have a monster presence, just being tall. Fale, who is his trainer, was in the ring basically telling Tonga to copy everything he was doing. The finish saw Finlay use a pescado on Fale and Robinson pinned Tonga with pulp fiction. Because Robinson is getting the U.S. title match, he really needed to win here. It is the right thing for now, but it is kind of weird seeing a guy as big as Tonga being used as a job guy. But he’s not close to where Cody Hall was when Hall first came in. 3/4*

5. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kushida & Ryusuke Taguchi & Togi Makabe & Ricochet beat Taka Michinoku & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi & Takashi Iizuka & Desperado in 10:40. The match had a lot of comedy but turned into a good match until the silly ending. Iizuka was out there biting Taguchi in the ass, since much of his offense is ass based, so he was weakening his body guard. Iizuka was also biting Tanahashi on his torn biceps. Ricochet, as usual, looked great when he was in. This felt like the first match the crowd enjoyed. The ending was pure comedy. Taka went to poke Taguchi in the eyes, but Taguchi grabbed his fingers and pulled them to where he instead poked Desperado in the eyes. Taka went to poke him in the eyes again, but Taguchi turned his hand around so Taka poked himself in the eyes and Taguchi cradled him. **3/4

6. Hanson & Ray Rowe won a three-way to keep the IWGP heavyweight tag team titles over Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa and Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer in 11:09. This match didn’t work. It’s hard to say why other than it didn’t. Smith wrestles in jeans and physically looks the best he ever has, but he does all brawling and very little wrestling. The idea in Japan is they don’t want a 6-foot-5 foreign technical wrestler, so it’s not playing to his strength. Crowd wasn’t into this. Hanson sold for a long time and made a not-so-hot tag to Rowe. Rowe missed a jumping knee that Loa sold which looked so bad. Hanson did a flip body block on Archer & Smith, then hit a tope on Tonga and got in the ring and they pinned Loa after the double-team fallout move. *1/4

7. Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi beat Tomohiro Ishii & Will Ospreay in 12:04. The stuff with Takahashi vs. Ospreay was the best on the show and I hope they are building to a singles match at King of Pro Wrestling. They’re doing something since they are paired together almost every night. Ospreay painted his face up like he had whiskers and in the early part of the match acted like he was a cat. He’s marketing “I am not a cat” T-shirts. Darryl Takahashi disappeared without a mention. Not sure if it’s due to an unsafe working environment or royalty issues. Naito worked over Ishii’s bad right knee a lot and he was having trouble moving. This guys’ body takes unreal punishment every night and wouldn’t you know it, the knee, that he doesn’t abuse at all, is what hurts him. Naito pinned Ospreay with a Destino. ***1/4

8. Evil & Bushi & Seiya Sanada retained the Never trios titles over Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano & Rocky Romero in 14:00. Okada’s team attacked the champions before the bell. They built to Okada vs. Evil since that’s the next Sumo Hall main event. Yano undid the padding in the corner as usual. Sanada brought back the old rolling cradle hold, which was a staple for people like Kenta Kobashi and Manami Toyota in the 90s. Yano was cradled and got up and sold it like he was dizzy. Yano gave Sanada a low blow but Evil threw Yano into the exposed metal. They traded near falls. Sanada used the paradise lock on Yano in the ropes so he was all tied up. Evil hit Okada with the STO. Sanada used the skull end on Romero and then Bushi used the MX off the top rope on him and got the pin while Evil stood over Okada. After the match, Sanada put Gedo in the paradise lock, so Okada, Gedo, Yano and Romero were all laid out at the end. ***

9. Minoru Suzuki pinned Michael Elgin in a lumberjack match to retain the Never Open weight title in 19:07. It was a hard hitting match but there was so much wrong with it. The lumberjacks were the Suzuki-gun guys like Taka Michinoku, Desperado, Taichi and Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Team Taguchi of Ryusuke Taguchi, Kushida, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Ricochet. They brawled into the stands and Suzuki broke off a piece of the guard rail and threw it on Elgin. Red Shoes Unno was shoved down and the Suzuki-gun guys, hit the ring to attack Elgin. Later, Desperado distracted Unno and Suzuki started hitting Elgin with chairs. Elgin kicked the chair out of his hands and then Unno turned around and saw Elgin with the chair. Elgin threw the chair out of the ring. At one point the crowd started getting really into it. Desperado distracted Unno again and the heels hit the ring. Unno didn’t turn around in forever. Elgin managed to get both Kanemaru and Taichi up and did the double fall away slam Samoan drop on them. Then there was another ref bump. Yes, I told you this was ridiculous. All the heels attacked Elgin again but this time Tanahashi, Taguchi, Kushida and Ricochet made the save. Elgin pressed Michinoku and threw him over the top rope onto everyone. Ricochet then did a Space Flying tiger drop onto everyone. Elgin took over with a power bomb into the turnbuckles, a spinning chop and hit the Elgin bomb and went for the pin. The Suzuki-gun guys then pulled Unno out of the ring at the count of two. Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith then hit the ring to attack Elgin. War Machine ran in for the save. In the chaos, Iizuka came down with the iron fingers from hell and nailed Elgin in the throat while Unno was down. Suzuki then hit the Gotch piledriver for the pin. By this point all of this stuff wasn’t even getting heat. People just didn’t care and if you’re presenting wrestling you want to take seriously, you can’t make the officials be part of a clown show. Well, unless you’re in Texas or Edmonton. Suzuki-gun’s junior heavyweights after the match beat down Taguchi and Ricochet as well. **1/4


Impact on 9/7 fell to 227,000 viewers, one of the lowest numbers since they went to Pop TV. It was the lowest of the year, but still beat the Christmas season shows, Thanksgiving night and the test pattern night (well, it should have beaten that for sure).

The drop was 15.3 percent from the prior week, and it can be credited to the NFL’s Thursday night first game of the season with the Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots that did 21,719,000 viewers on NBC, which was considered a disappointment. Impact is likely to take it on the chin for the next few months with NFL games on Thursdays.

The first episode of the new season of Total Bellas on 9/6 did 681,000 viewers, which is on par with what the show was doing in its first season. The demographics for this show are almost the opposite of Raw and Smackdown. Raw & Smackdown draw older viewers, with the strongest demo usually 50+ and heavily men. Total Bellas strongest demo was 18-34, but wasn’t strong at all with teenagers, and the 18-49 audience is 74.2 percent women and 12-17 is 72.2 percent girls.

We didn’t get ratings on 9/6 for Ultimate Fighter, because it didn’t crack the top 150 shows on cable, partially due to starting late due to baseball. The show was moved to FS 2 because baseball ran late with the usual 10 p.m. start. Then the show aired in full starting at 10:30 p.m.

Lucha Underground on 9/6 was up 12 percent from the prior week to a regular level of 158,000 total viewers, with 113,000 at 8 p.m. and another 45,000 at 9 p.m.


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RESULTS

 

8/22 Leeds, England (What Culture Pro Wrestling): Internet title: Gabriel Kidd b Lucky Kid, Hiromu Takahashi b Mike Bailey, Jay Lethal won three-way over Drake and Angelico, Rampage b Penta 0M, Hardcore title: BT Gunn b Primate to win title, Kushida b Travis Banks, Martin Kirby b Alex Gracie, Tag titles: Ray Rowe & Hanson b Mark Briscoe & Jay Lethal, Rey Mysterio Jr. b Ricochet, Marty Scurll b Will Ospreay

8/23 Milton Keynes, UK (What Culture Pro Wrestling - 1,200): Primate b David Starr, Mike Bailey b Travis Banks, Penta 0M b Bad Bones, War Machine & Marty Scurll b Joe Hendry & BT Gunn & El Ligero, Hiromu Takahashi b Lucky Kid, Ricochet b Angelico, Joseph Conners b Joe Coffey, Kushida b Kenny Williams, Zack Sabre Jr. b Jay Lethal, Will Ospreay b Rey Mysterio Jr.

8/24 Winter Park, FL (WWE NXT TV tapings - 400 sellout): Jazzy Gabert b Leah Knox, Peyton Royce b Ruby Riot, Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight b ?, Roderick Strong b Bobby Roode, Andrade Cien Almas b Cezar Bononi, Johnny Gargano b Riddick Moss, Lars Sullivan b ?, Sonya Deville b Zeda, No DQ: Kassius Ohno b Hideo Itami, Ruby Riot & Nikki Cross b Peyton Royce & Billie Kay, Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins b Gabriel & Uriel Ealy, U.K. title: Pete Dunne b Wolfgang, Johnny Gargano b Tino Sabbatelli, Bianca Belair b Lacey Evans, Lars Sullivan b No Way Jose, Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly b Tyler Bate & Trent Seven

8/24 Manchester, England (What Culture - 500): Tag titles: Ray Rowe & Hanson b Tarkan Aslan & Lucky Kid, Travis Banks b David Starr, Ricochet b Penta 0M, Joseph Conners b Hiromu Takahashi, Will Ospreay b Mike Bailey, Kushida b Zack Sabre Jr.

8/25 Carbondale, IL (WWE Raw): Tag titles: Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins b Cesaro & Sheamus, Cruiserweight title: Neville b Akira Tozawa, Titus O’Neil & Apollo Crews & Kalisto & R-Truth & Heath Slater & Rhyno b Curt Hawkins & Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel & Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson & Goldust, John Cena b Samoa Joe, Alicia Fox & Mickie James b Emma & Nia Jax, Finn Balor b Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns b Braun Strowman-DQ

8/25 Tampa (WWE NXT - 400): Cezar Bononi b Marcel Barthel, Mandy Rose & Vanessa Borne Taynara Conti b Zeda & Rhea Ripley & Ruby Riot, Velveteen Dream b Raul Mendoza, Bianca Belair b Lacey Evans, Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins b Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler, Ember Moon b Sarah Logan, Johnny Gargano b Riddick Moss, Tag titles: Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dain b Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight, NXT title: Drew McIntyre b Andrade Cien Almas

8/25 Mexico City Arena Mexico (CMLL - 5,500): Robin & Star Jr. b Akuma & Espanto Jr., Disturbio & Misterioso Jr. & Sagrado b Drone & Guerrero Maya Jr. & Pegasso, Vaquerita & Princesa Sugehit & Sanely b Amapola & Comandante & Zeuxis-DQ, Soberano Jr. b Cavernario, Dragon Lee & Mistico & Niebla Roja b Gran Guerrero & Shocker & El Terrible-DQ, Michael Elgin & Matt Taven & Juice Robinson b Diamante Azul & &Ultimo Guerrero & Volador Jr.

8/25 Pittsfield, MA (Northeast Wrestling): Brian Anthony won three-way over Caleb Konley and JT Dunn, Deonna Purrazzo b Karen Q, Robbie E b Jake Manning, Ricky Steamboat referee: TK O‘Ryan & Vinny Marseglia b Wrecking Ball Legursky & Brad Hollister, Three-way for Tag titles: Hale Collins & Vik Dalishus won over Keith Youngblood & Daniel Evans and Foxx Vinyer & Shane Alden, NEW title: Cody Rhodes b Jerry Lawler, Rey Mysterio Jr. b Flip Gordon

8/26 Jonesboro, AR (WWE Raw - 3,500): Tag titles: Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose b Cesaro & Sheamus, Cruiserweight title: Neville b Akira Tozawa, R-Truth & Heath Slater & Rhyno & Kalisto & Titus O’Neil & Apollo Crews b Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson & Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel & Curt Hawkins & Goldust, John Cena b Samoa Joe, Alicia Fox & Mickie James b Nia Jax & Emma, Finn Balor b Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns b Braun Strowman-DQ

8/26 Baton Rouge, LA (WWE Smackdown - 3,200): Sami Zayn b Baron Corbin, Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley b Epico & Aiden English, Rusev b Sin Cara, Street fight for U.S. title: A.J. Styles b Kevin Owens, Charlotte & Becky Lynch b Tamina & Lana, Three-way for tag titles: Usos won over Big E & Kofi Kingston and Tyler Breeze & Fandango, WWE title: Jinder Mahal b Shinsuke Nakamura

8/26 Atlanta Center Stage (ROH TV tapings - 750 sellout): Chase Brown b Gladiator Jeremiah, Will Ferrara b Cheeseburger, Silas Young b Chase Brown, Kelly Klein b Brandi Rhodes, Kenny King b Hangman Page, Marty Scurll b Rocky Romero, Mark & Jay Briscoe b T.K. O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia, Josh Woods b QT Marshall, Frankie Kazarian won Honor Rumble, Karen Q b Sumie Sakai, Ray Rowe & Hanson won three-way over Leon St-Giovanni & Shaheem Ali and Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu, Flip Gordon b Corey Hollis, ROH title: Cody b Frankie Kazarian, Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley & Jay White & Jonathan Gresham b Young Bucks & Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa

8/26 Bartow, FL (WWE NXT - 200): Demetrius Bronson b Chad Lail, Peyton Royce & Billie Kay b Aliyah & Liv Morgan, Cezar Bononi b Kona Reeves, Ruby Riot b Vanessa Borne, Tag titles: Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dain b Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake, No Way Jose b Riddick Moss, Lars Sullivan b Raul Mendoza, Sonya Deville b Bianca Belair, Aleister Black b Velveteen Dream

8/26 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (Pro Wrestling NOAH - 921): Hajime Ohara & Hitoshi Kumano & Masao Inoue b Akitoshi Saito & Yoshinari Ogawa & Seiya Morohashi, Mohammed Yone & Masa Kitamiya b Daisuke Harada & Tadasuke, Quiet Storm b Cody Hall, Kenou b Leona, GHC jr. tag titles: Hayata & Yo-Hey b Taiji Ishimori & Hi69 to win titles, GHC tag titles: Go Shiozaki & Atsushi Kotoge b Naomichi Marufuji & Maybach Taniguchi to win titles, GHC hwt title: Eddie Edwards b Naomichi Marufuji to win title

8/26 Osaka (Dragon Gate - 1,500 sellout): Gamma Kaito Ishida & Shun Skywalker b Don Fujii & Hyo Watanabe & Yuki Yoshioka-DQ, Kzy & Yosuke Santa Maria b Jimmy Kanda & Jimmy Kagetora, Lindaman b Takehiro Yamamura, Yamato & BxB Hulk b Masaaki Mochizuki & Big R Shimizu, Shingo Takagi & T-Hawk & Takashi Yoshida b Cima & Dragon Kid & Eita, Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino & Kotoka & Ben K b Genki Horiguchi & Jimmy Susumu & Ryo Saito & Jimmy K-Ness

8/27 Tupelo, MS (WWE Raw - 6,000): Finn Balor b Curt Hawkins, Cruiserweight title: Neville b Akira Tozawa, R-Truth & Kalisto & Heath Slater & Rhyno & Apollo Crews b Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel & Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson & Goldust, John Cena b Bray Wyatt, Mickie James & Alicia Fox b Emma & Nia Jax, Three-way for tag titles: Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins won over Matt & Jeff Hardy and Sheamus & Cesaro, Roman Reigns b Braun Strowman-DQ

8/27 Monroe, LA (WWE Smackdown - 3,400): Shinsuke Nakamura b Baron Corbin, Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder b Aiden English & Epico, Sin Cara b Epico, Chad Gable b Mike Kanellis, A.J. Styles & Sami Zayn b Kevin Owens & Rusev, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch b Lana & Tamina, Three-way for tag titles: Usos won over Big E & Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze & Fandango, Last man standing for WWE title: Jinder Mahal b Randy Orton

8/27 Wappingers Falls, NY (Northeast Wrestling - 2,344): Battle Brothers won three-way over Adrenaline Rush and Amazing Graysons, Brandi Rhodes b Karen Q, Brian Anthony b Brad Hollister, Warbeard Hanson b Caleb Konley, Wrecking Bell Legursky b Jake Manning, Flip Gordon won three-way over Garza Jr. and Laredo Kid, Jerry Lawler b Robbie E, Tag titles: Vik Dalishus & Hale Collins DCOR Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan, NEW title/Ricky Steamboat referee: Cody Rhodes b Rey Mysterio Jr.

8/27 Mexico City Arena Mexico (CMLL): Disturbio & Espiritu Negro b Fiero & Magia Blanca, Canelo Casas & El Hijo del Signo & Inquisidor b Flyer & Oro Jr. & Principe Diamante, Rey Cometa & Soberano Jr. & Stuka Jr. b Misterioso Jr. & Nitro & Sagrado, Angel de Oro & Mistico & Valiente b Kraneo & Rey Bucanero & Vangellys, Marco Corleone & Juice Robinson & Michael Elgin b Ephesto & Luciferno & Mephisto, Matt Taven b Euforia

8/27 Nara (Dragon Gate - 1,350): Cima & Gamma & Eita b Yamato & BxB Hulk & Yosuke Santa Maria, Ryo Saito & Jimmy Kagetora b Don Fujii & Hollywood Stalker Ichikawa, Genki Horiguchi & Jimmy Susumu b Ben K & Kotoka, Dragon Kid & Takehiro Yamamura b Masaaki Mochizuki & Kzy, Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino & Big R Shimizu b Shingo Takagi & T-Hawk & Takashi Yoshida

8/28 Memphis (WWE Raw/Main Event TV tapings - 7,500): Dana Brooke b Alicia Fox, Mustafa Ali b Ariya Daivari,. Jeff Hardy won Battle Royal, Enzo Amore b Noam Dar, Cesaro b Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose b Sheamus, Emma b Mickie James, John Cena & Roman Reigns b Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Women’s title: Alexa Bliss b Sasha Banks to win title, Street fight: Finn Balor b Bray Wyatt

8/28 Texarkana, AR (WWE Smackdown - 1,500): Shinsuke Nakamura b Baron Corbin, Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder b Aiden English & Epico, Sin Cara b Epico, Chad Gable b Mike Kanellis, A.J. Styles & Sami Zayn b Kevin Owens & Rusev, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch b Lana & Tamina, Three-way for tag titles: Usos won over Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze & Fandango, Last man standing for WWE title: Jinder Mahal b Randy Orton

8/28 Mexico City Arena Mexico (CMLL): Fiero & Sangre Imperial b Grako & Templario, Arkangel de la Muerte & Nitro & Sangre Azteca b Astral & Pegasso & Stigma, Drone & Fuego & Guerrero Maya Jr. b Puma & Tiger & Virus, Polvora b Titan, Ephesto & Luciferno & Rey Bucanero b Dragon Lee & Rey Cometa & Stuka Jr., Angel de Oro & Caristico & Diamante Azul b Gran Guerrero & Pierroth & Rush-DQ

8/29 Little Rock (WWE Smackdown/205 Live TV tapings - 3,500): Naomi b Carmella, Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable b The Ascension, U.S. title: A.J. Styles b Tye Dillinger, Bobby Roode b Mike Kanellis, Non-title: Usos b Big E & Kofi Kingston, Tamina b Tina Stock, Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton b Jinder Mahal & Rusev, Street fight: Brian Kendrick b Jack Gallagher, Rich Swann b Ariya Daivari, Enzo Amore & Gran Metalik & Cedric Alexander b Tony Nese & Noam Dar & Drew Gulak, Women’s title: Natalya b Charlotte Flair

8/31 Berwyn, IL (AAW - 435 sellout): Paco b Connor Braxton, Jeff Cobb b Joey Janela, Mat Fitchett & Davey Vega & ACH b Colt Cabana & Bill Carr & Dan Barr, Matt Riddle b Shane Strickland, Keith Lee won three-way over Trevor Lee and AR Fox, Heritage title: Penta 0M b Brian Cage, Tag titles: Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz b Dave & Jake Crist, Cody Rhodes b DJ Zema Ion, AAW title vs. mask: Rey Fenix b Sami Callihan to win title

9/1 Yokohama (Dragon Gate - 550 sellout): Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino & Don Fujii b Genki Horiguchi & Jimmy Kanda & Jimmy Kagetora, Eita b Takehiro Yamamura, Jimmy Susumu & Ryo Saito b Cima & Gamma, Dragon Kid & Masaaki Mochizuki b Big R Shimizu & Ben K, Shingo Takagi & T-Hawk & Lindaman b Yamato & BxB Hulk & Kzy

9/2 Chiba (Dragon Gate - 600): Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino & Big R Shimizu b Cima & Eita & Masaaki Mochizuki, Dragon Kid & Gamma b Don Fuji & Yuki Yoshioka, Yosuke Santa Maria b Ben K, Genki Horiguchi & Jimmy Kagetora b T-Hawk & Lindaman, Jimmy Kanda & Jimmy Susumu & Ryo saito b Yamato & BxB Hulk & Kzy

9/3 Cedar Falls, IA (WWE Smackdown): Three-way for tag titles: Usos won over Kofi Kingston & Big E and Tyler Breeze & Fandango, Aiden English b Tye Dillinger, Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley & Sami Zayn b The Ascension & Erick Rowan, Luke Harper b Konnor, Three-way for U.S. title: A.J. Styles won over Baron Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura, Naomi & Charlotte Flair b Natalya & Carmella, Bobby Roode b Dolph Ziggler, WWE title: Jinder Mahal b Randy Orton 9/3 Mexico City Arena Mexico (CMLL): Bengala & Flyer b Artillero & Espanto Jr., Mercurio & Pequeno Olimpico & Pierrothito b Acero & Fantasy & Ultimo Dragoncito, Angel de Oro & Rey Cometa & Stuka Jr. b Felino & Luciferno & Puma, Marco Corleone & Mistico & Valiente b Gran Guerrero & Kraneo & Mr. Niebla, Diamante Azul & Kenny King & Volador Jr. b Satoshi Kojima & Pierroth & Rush

9/3 Iwate (Dragon Gate - 1,200 sellout): Genki Horiguchi & Jimmy Susumu & Ryo Saito b Shingo Takagi & T-Hawk & Lindaman, Ben K b Hyo Watanabe, Masato Yoshino & Big R Shimizu b Don Fujii & Takehiro Yamamura, Naruki Doi & Masaaki Mochizuki b Jimmy Kanda & Jimmy Kagetora, Yamato & BxB Hulk & Kzy & Yosuke Santa Maria b Cima & Dragon Kid & Gamma & Eita

9/3 Osaka (Pro Wrestling NOAH - 344): Hitoshi Kumano b Jyunta Miyawaki, Cody Hall b Ashley Istria, Yoshinari Ogawa b Masao Inoue, Maybach Taniguchi & Tadasuke b Akitoshi Saito & Hajime Ohara, Daisuke Harada & Gurukun Mask & Shuri Joe b Katsuhiko Nakajima & Taiji Ishimori & Hi69, Go Shiozaki b Mohammed Yone-COR, Masa Kitamiya won four-way over Quiet Storm, Atsushi Kotoge and Kenou, Naomichi Marufuji & Hayata b Eddie Edwards & Yo-Hey

9/3 Chiba (All Japan - 134): Minoru Tanaka & Koji Iwamoto b Yohei Nakajima & Kaji Tomato, Saki b Erina, Takao Omori & Dinosaur Takuma & Kotaro Yoshino b Tajiri & Massimo & Danny Jones, TV title: Jun Akiyama b Atsushi Marimba, Taka Michinoku & Black Tiger VIII b Yuma Aoyagi & Yusuke Okada, Kento Miyahara & Zeus & Naoya Nomura & Hikaru Sato b Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama & Atsushi Aoki & Kai

9/4 Omaha (WWE Raw/Main Event TV tapings - 8,000): Mustafa Ali & Lince Dorado b TJP & Brian Kendrick, Elias b Kalisto, John Cena b Jason Jordan, Cesaro & Sheamus b Heath Slater & Rhyno, IC title: The Miz b Jeff Hardy, Enzo Amore & Gran Metalik & Cedric Alexander b Tony Nese & Drew Gulak & Noam Dar, Nia Jax & Emma b Alexa Bliss & Sasha Banks, Non-title: Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose b Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows, Cage match: Braun Strowman b Big Show

9/4 Rochester, MN (WWE Smackdown): Three-way for tag titles: Usos won over Kofi Kingston & Big E and Tyler Breeze & Fandango, Aiden English b Tye Dillinger, Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder & Sami Zayn b The Ascension & Erick Rowan, Three-way for U.S. title: A.J. Styles won over Shinsuke Nakamura and Baron Corbin, Charlotte Flair & Naomi b Natalya & Tamina, Bobby Roode b Dolph Ziggler, WWE title: Jinder Mahal b Randy Orton

9/4 Irapuato (AAA TV tapings): Angelikal & El Hijo de Vikingo & Solaris b Angel Mortal Jr. & Tiger Boy & Villano III Jr., Lady Shani won five-way over Big Mami, Ayako Hamada, Faby Apache and Hiedra, AAA Minis title: Mini Psycho Clown b Dinastia, Carta Brava Jr. & Mocho Cota Jr. & Soul Rocker b Aerostar & Dragon & Raptor, GFW title: Eli Drake b Mascara de Bronce, Averno & Chessman & Super Fly b Argenis & Lanzeloth & Ricky Marvin-DQ, Ethan Carter III & James Storm b El Hijo del Fantasma & El Texano Jr., Rey Wagner won three-way over Psycho Clown and Rey Escorpion

9/4 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (K-Dojo - 1,616 sellout): Yoshihiro Horaguchi Marines Mask b Taylor Adams & Dickey Mayer, Hi69 & Yasu Urano b Daigoro Kashiwa & Miyawaki, Io Shirai & HZK b Bambi & Erina, Ricky Fuji & Kotaro Yoshino & Dinosaur Takuma b Great Sasuke & Super Delfin & Dick Togo, Kaji Tomato & Taishi Takizawa & Shiori Asahi & Yuma b Tank Nagai & Ayumu Honda & Kunio Toshima & Kyo Mogami, Minoru Suzuki b Go Asakawa, Kazuchika Okada & Gedo b Kota Ibushi & Taka Michinoku

9/4 Yonago (Pro Wrestling NOAH - 340): Kenou b Jyunta Miyawaki, Akitoshi Saito & Yoshinari Ogawa b Hajime Ohara & Hitoshi Kumano, Hayata & Tadasuke b Gurukun Mask & Shuri Joe, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya b Cody Hall & Masao Inoue, Mohammed Yone & Taiji Ishimori b Daisuke Harada & Yo-Hey, Eddie Edwards & Go Shiozaki & Atsushi Kotoge b Naomichi Marufuji & Maybach Taniguchi & Quiet Storm

9/4 Kasukabe (Dragon Gate): U-T b Hyo Watanabe, Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito & Jimmy Kagetora b Dragon Kid & Gamma & Don Fujii, Takashi Yoshida b Kzy, BxB Hulk b Big R Shimizu, Yamato & Yosuke Santa Maria b Masaaki Mochizuki & Eita, Cima & Takehiro Yamamura b Jimmy Susumu & Jimmy Kanda, Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino & Ben K b Shingo Takagi & T-Hawk & Lindaman

9/5 Sioux Falls, SD (WWE Smackdown/205 Live TV tapings): Bobby Roode b Mike Kanellis, Non-title: Natalya b Carmella, Aiden English b Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin b Tye Dillinger, Shinsuke Nakamura b Randy Orton, TJP b Ariya Daivari, Akira Tozawa b Drew Gulak, Enzo Amore won five-way over Tony Nese, Gran Metalik, Brian Kendrick and Cedric Alexander, WWE title: A.J. Styles b Jinder Mahal-DQ

9/5 Nagoya (New Japan - 1,368 sellout): Tetsuhiro Yagi d Ren Narita, Yuji Nagata & Tomoyuki Oka b Manabu Nakanishi & Katsuya Kitamura, Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi & Taka Michinoku b Kushida & Ryusuke Taguchi & Hirai Kawato & Shota Umino, Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi & Baretta b Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens, Tama Tonga & Kenny Omega & Tanga Loa b Juice Robinson & Togi Makabe & David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin & Ray Rowe & Hanson b Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka & Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr., Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano & Will Ospreay & Rocky Romero b Tetsuya Naito & Evil & Seiya Sanada & Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi

9/5 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (Dragon Gate - 1,850 sellout): Gamma & Takehiro Yamamura & Kaito Ishida b Don Fujii & Hyo Watanabe & Yuki Yoshio0ka, Jimmy K-Ness & Jimmy Kanda b U-T & Shun Skywalker, Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito b BxB Hulk & Kzy, Takashi Yoshida b Ben K, Yamato & Yosuke Santa Maria b Jimmy Susumu & Jimmy Kagetora, Masaaki Mochizuki b Big R Shimizu, Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino & Kotoka won three-way over Cima & Dragon Kid & Eita and Shingo Takagi & T-Hawk & Lindaman

9/5 Tokyo Shinkiba (All Japan - 272 sellout): Kotaro Suzuki b Yusuke Okada, Shigehiro Irie & Massimo & Danny Jones b Minoru Tanaka & Tajiri & Fuminori Abe, Grappling rules: Hikaru Sato d Koji Iwamoto, Suwama & Atsushi Aoki b Yuji Hino & Yohei Nakajima, Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi & Manabu Soya b Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori & Zeus, Kento Miyahara & Naoya Nomura & Yuma Aoyagi b Shuji Ishikawa & Masashi Takeda & Atsushi Marimba

9/5 Mexico City Arena Mexico (CMLL): Espiritu Negro & Grako b Fiero & Magia Blanca, Pegasso & Star Jr. b Cancerbero & Forastero & Nitro, Lady Maravilla & Princesa Sugehit & Sanely b Amapola & Dallys & Tiffany, Misterioso Jr. b The Panther, Dragon Rojo Jr. & Hechicero & Polvora b Angel de Oro & Blue Panther & Johnny Idol, Caristico & Diamante Azul & Stuka Jr. b Mr. Niebla & Negro Casas & El Terrible

9/6 Kagoshima (Pro Wrestling NOAH - 272): Cody Hall b Jyunta Miyawaki, Kenou b Ashley Istria, Yoshinari Ogawa b Masao Inoue, Maybach Taniguchi & Taiji Ishimori & Hi69 b Akitoshi Saito & Hajime Ohara & Hitoshi Kumano, Daisuke Harada & Tadasuke b Gurukun Mask & Shuri Joe, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya b Hayata & Yo-Hey, Eddie Edwards & Go Shiozaki & Atsushi Kotoge b Naomichi Marufuji & Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm

9/7 Rochester, NY (WWE NXT - 850): Tye Dillinger b Kona Reeves, Ember Moon & Aliyah b Mandy Rose & Vanessa Borne, Johnny Gargano b Killian Dain, Aleister Black b Hideo Itami, Bobby Roode b Velveteen Dream, Tag titles: Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe b Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli, Nikki Cross b Lacey Evans, NXT title: Drew McIntyre b Andrade Cien Almas

9/7 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (New Japan - 1,695 sellout): Shota Umino d Tetsuhiro Yagi, Yuji Nagata & Katsuya Kitamura b Manabu Nakanishi & Tomoyuki Oka, Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi & Taka Michinoku b Togi Makabe & David Finlay & Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet & Hirai Kawato, Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens b Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi & Baretta, Ray Rowe & Hanson & Juice Robinson b Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Leo Tonga, Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka & Desperado b Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin & Kushida-DQ, Elimination match: Tetsuya Naito & Evil & Seiya Sanada & Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi b Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano & Will Ospreay & Rocky Romero

9/8 St. Catharines, ONT (WWE NXT - 1,700): Johnny Gargano b Killian Dain, Aliyah & Lacey Evans b Mandy Rose & Vanessa Borne, Aleister Black b Hideo Itami, Tye Dillinger b Velveteen Dream, Tag titles: Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe b Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli, Ember Moon b Nikki Cross, Three-way for NXT title: Drew McIntyre won over Bobby Roode and Andrade Cien Almas

9/8 Mexico City Arena Mexico (CMLL): Akuma & Espanto Jr. b Astral & Oro Jr., Drone & Fuego & Guerrero Maya Jr. b Puma & Tiger & Virus, Rey Cometa & Soberano Jr. & Stuka Jr. b Negro Casas & Cavernario & Sam Adonis, Rey Bucanero b Titan, Satoshi Kojima & Rush & Pierroth b Volador Jr. & Valiente & Caristico-DQ, Ultimo Guerrero & Gran Guerrero & Euforia b Mistico & Dragon Lee & Marco Corleone

9/8 Kumamoto (Pro Wrestling NOAH - 383 sellout): Tadasuke b Jyunta Miyawaki, Daisuke Harada b Ashley Istria, Taiji Ishimori & Hi69 b Hajime Ohara & Yoshinari Ogawa, Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm & Masao Inoue b Maybach Taniguchi & Akitoshi Saito & Hitoshi Kumano, Kenou b Cody Hall, Naomichi Marufuji & Gurukun Mask & Shuri Joe b Eddie Edwards & Hayata & Yo-Hey, Go Shiozaki & Atsushi Kotoge b Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya

9/9 Toronto (WWE NXT - 1,287): Tye Dillinger b Kona Reeves, Ember Moon & Aliyah b Mandy Rose & Vanessa Borne, Johnny Gargano b Killian Dain, Aleister Black b Hideo Itami, Bobby Roode b Velveteen Dream, Tag titles: Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe b Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli, Nikki Cross b Lacey Evans, NXT title: Drew McIntyre b Andrade Cien Almas

9/9 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (New Japan - 1,720 sellout): Yuji Nagata & Hirai Kawato & Tomoyuki Oka b Manabu Nakanishi & Katsuya Kitamura & Shota Umino, Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi & Baretta & Jado b Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi & Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa, Ray Rowe & Hanson & Togi Makabe b Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Taka Michinoku, Will Ospreay & Rocky Romero b Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi, Juice Robinson & David Finlay b Chase Owens & Leo Tonga, Tetsuya Naito & Evil & Seiya Sanada b Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano, Elimination match: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin & Kushida & Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi b Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka & Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi

9/9 Yokohama (All Japan - 271 sellout): Fuminori Abe b Yusuke Okada, Yohei Nakajima b Seiki Yoshioka, Tajiri b Masa Fuchi, Koji Iwamoto & Minoru Tanaka & Manabu Soya b Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori & Atsushi Maruyama, Suwama & Atsushi Aoki & Super Tiger b Hikaru Sato & Takuya Wada & Takatoshi Matsumoto, Kento Miyahara & Naoya Nomura & Kai & Yuma Aoyagi b Shuji Ishikawa & Yutaka Yoshie & Massimo & Danny Jones

9/10 London (Progress Wrestling - 2,000 sellout): Ladder match for tag titles: Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos won over Trent Seven & Tyler Bate to win titles, Women’s title: Toni Storm b Dahlia Black, Zack Sabre Jr. b Marty Scurll, death match: Jimmy Havoc b Mark Haskins, Three-way for Atlas title: Walter won title from Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher, Mark Andrews won eight-way over Eddie Dennis, Flash Morgan Webster, James Drake, Zack Gibson, Chief Deputy Dunne, Jack Sexsmith and James Davis, Progress title: Travis Banks b Pete Dunne

9/10 Mexico City Arena Mexico (CMLL): Coyote & Templario b Bengala & Sangre Imperial, Electrico & Fantasy & Stukita b Mercurio & Pequeno Olimpico & Pierrothito, Hechicero & Polvora & Sagrada b Esfinge & Guerrero Maya Jr. & Rey Cometa, Pierroth & Rush & Kraneo b Angel de Oro & Stuka Jr. & Valiente, Caristico & Marco Corleone & Volador Jr. b Felino & Satoshi Kojima & Negro Casas

9/10 Fukuoka (Pro Wrestling NOAH - 442): Cody Hall b Ashley Istria, Yoshinari Ogawa b Jyunta Miyawaki, Kenou b Hitoshi Kumano, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya & Akitoshi Saito b Maybach Taniguchi & Hajime Ohara & Masao Inoue, Go Shiozaki b Mohammed Yone, 2/3 falls: Taiji Ishimori & Hi69 & Gurukun Mask & Shuri Joe b Daisuke Harada & Tadasuke & Hayata & Yo-Hey, Eddie Edwards & Quiet Storm b Naomichi Marufuji & Atsushi Kotoge

9/10 Naha, Okinawa (Dragon Gate - 350 sellout): Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito b Don Fujii & Big R Shimizu, Churaumi Saver b Ultra Sokki, Dragon Kid b Kzy, Yamato & BxB Hulk & Yosuke Santa Maria b Naruki Doi & Masato Yoshino & Ben K, Jimmy Susumu & Jimmy Kagetora b Masaaki Mochizuki & Kotoka, Cima & Gamma & Takehiro Yamamura b Shingo Takagi & T-Hawk & Lindaman

9/11 Anaheim, CA (WWE Raw/Superstars TV tapings - 7,000): Rhyno b Dash Wilder, Mustafa Ali & Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik b Noam Dar & Ariya Daivari & Tony Nese, Roman Reigns b Jason Jordan, Sasha Banks b Emma, Bray Wyatt b Goldust, Elias b Kalisto, John Cena b Braun Strowman-DQ, Non-title: Enzo Amore b The Miz-DQ, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose & Matt & Jeff Hardy b Sheamus & Cesaro & Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows

9/11 Shibata (New Japan - 1,026): Shota Umino d Tetsuhiro Yagi, Manabu Nakanishi & Katsuya Kitamura b Yuji Nagata & Tomoyuki Oka, Takashi Iizuka & Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi & Taka Michinoku b Togi Makabe & Kushida & Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet & Hirai Kawato, Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi & Baretta b Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens, Juice Robinson & Ray Rowe & Hanson b Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Leo Tonga, Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer & Davey Smith Jr. b Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin & David Finlay, Tetsuya Naito & Evil & Seiya Sanada & Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi b Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano & Will Ospreay & Rocky Romero

9/12 Las Vegas (WWE Smackdown/MYC finals/205 Live - 4,000): Sami Zayn b Aiden English, U.S. title: A.J. Styles b Tye Dillinger, Street fight for tag titles: Big E & Kofi Kingston b Usos to win titles, Women’s title: Natalya b Naomi, Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable b Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder, Mae Young Classic finals: Kairi Sane b Shayna Baszler, Rich Swann b TJP, Cedric Alexander NC Brian Kendrick, Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura b Jinder Mahal & Baron Corbin

9/12 Uozu (New Japan - 1,095): Shota Umino d Ren Narita, Yuji Nagata & Katsuya Kitamura b Manabu Nakanishi & Tomoyuki Oka, Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Taka Michinoku & Desperado b Ray Rowe & Hanson & Kushida & Hirai Kawato, Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi & Baretta b Bade Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens, Togi Makabe & Juice Robinson & David Finlay b Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Leo Tonga, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin & Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet b Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi, Tetsuya Naito & Evil & Seiya Sanada & Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi b Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano & Will Ospreay & Rocky Romero

9/12 Tokyo Korakuen Hall (All Japan - 1,130): Ultimo Dragon & Kotaro Suzuki & Massimo & Danny Jones b Yohei Nakajima & Minoru Tanaka & Atsushi Maruyama & Yusuke Okada, Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori & Masa Fuchi & Osamu Nishimura b Naoya Nomura & Koji Iwamoto & Yuma Aoyagi & Fuminori Abe, Joe Doering & Hikaru Sato b Suwama & Atsushi Aoki, Yoshitatsu b Tajiri, Shuji Ishikawa b The Bodyguard, Zeus b Ryoji Sai, Kento Miyahara b Kai

9/12 Mexico City Arena Mexico (CMLL): Templario & Yago b Retro & Sangre Imperial, Vaquerita & Marcela & Sanely b Comandante & Seductora & Metalica, Gallito & Microman b Chamuel & Mije, Luciferno & Tiger & Virus b Esfinge & Fuego & Pegasso, Rey Bucanero & El Terrible & Vangellys b Drone & Johnny Idol & Titan, Dragon Lee & Stuka Jr. & Valiente b Cavernario & Negro Casas & Shocker-DQ

9/12 Okazaki (Pro Wrestling NOAH - 184): Tadasuke b Jyunta Miyawaki, Kenou b Ashley Istria, Hi69 & Yoshinari Ogawa b Hajime Ohara & Hitoshi Kumano, Naomichi Marufuji & Maybach Taniguchi b Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue, Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya b Hayata & Yo-Hey, Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm & Daisuke Harada b Go Shiozaki & Atsushi Kotoge & Taiji Ishimori

9/13 Christchurch, New Zealand (WWE Raw - 5,500 sellout): Jason Jordan won Battle Royal, Three-way for cruiserweight title: Neville won over Akira Tozawa and Enzo Amore, Heath Slater & Rhyno b Sheamus & Cesaro, Finn Balor b Bray Wyatt, Five-way for women’s title: Alexa Bliss won over Mickie James, Nia Jax, Emma and Sasha Banks, IC title: Jason Jordan b The Miz-DQ, Dean Ambrose & Jason Jordan & R-Truth b The Miz & Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas, Street fight: Roman Reigns b Braun Strowman

CMLL: Niebla Roja did an interview where he noted that the original plan for the anniversary show was he was going to face Dragon Lee for his mask. He didn’t say why that changed, but that would seem to make him the favorite to lose to Gran Guerrero since he surely would have lost had they gone with the Dragon Lee idea. He was later on the Lucha TV podcast building up the anniversary show and he claimed that he hasn’t wrestled due to personal problems, but did admit to both neck and knee injuries that he’s also rehabbing. He said the knee injury goes back some time and the neck injury comes from taking a suplex from Diamante Azul. He was injured on the 8/26 show at Arena Mexico and hasn’t wrestled since. He claimed he would be 100 percent this Saturday. Super Luchas magazine claimed that his real injury is an ankle injury

Diamante Azul was out of action this past week after winning the Grand Prix, with the promotion saying it was because he had a family emergency in France. Aficion reported that he won’t be at the anniversary show but he is still listed in the lineup and CMLL said he will be back this weekend

He’s still being billed for the show, which has a lineup of Blue Panther Jr. & Stuka Jr. & The Panther vs. Dragon Rojo Jr. & Hechicero & Polvora, Azul & Marco Corleone & Valiente vs. Cuatrero & Forastero & Sanson, Kraneo & Rush & Sam Adonis vs. Negro Casas & Felino & Cavernario, Princesa Sugehit vs. Zeuxis in the women’s mask vs. mask match, Caristico & Flip Gordon & Volador Jr. vs. Satoshi Kojima & Mephisto & Ultimo Guerrero and Gran Guerrero vs. Niebla Roja mask vs. mask. This will be an iPPV show on a Saturday with an early evening show, so it’ll be over long before the Golovkin-Alvarez fight, which is huge in Mexico

Francisco Zapata Jr., best known as El Macho as well as Sultan Gargola in a career from the mid-80s through at least 2015, passed away on 9/10 at the age of 60, reportedly due to cancer. Sultan Gargola was a regular heel here from 1991-93, and worked mostly as El Macho, or sometimes in a unit of Los Machos, where he was El Macho #1. Most remembered the name Sultan Gargola better than El Macho. He started his career as El Animal and became El Macho around 1986. He held the Mexican national cruiserweight title from November 20, 1987, through March 30, 1990

There was a Twitter fight this past week over the Pro-Trump gimmick. Eli Drake I believe was doing an El Hijo del Donald Trump gimmick on a weekend Pro Wrestling Revolution show in Northern California this weekend, who admitted he stole the gimmick from Sam Adonis. Melissa Santos then chimed in saying that Brian Cage was the one who originated the gimmick. Cage did lead Team Trump in AAA, but no longer does it since he no longer works for AAA. Cage said the same thing, that he came up with the idea that Adonis has gotten a lot of media with. Adonis said that he copied his gimmick from watching the Iron Sheik growing up. Adonis’ gimmick reminds me more of Fabuloso Blondy (Ken Timbs), who was a big CMLL star in the 90s doing a Nikolai Volkoff version of an American heel

The 9/8 show at Arena Mexico, the last Friday night card before the anniversary show, was non-eventful. A key is that Niebla Roja must be hurt significantly since he not only didn’t wrestle on the show, but never appeared at all, and he’s in the anniversary main event. The main event saw Ultimo Guerrero & Gran Guerrero & Euforia beat Dragon Lee & Mistico & Marco Corleone in a good match with a lot of cool moves by Lee & Mistico near the end. Euforia is a tremendous base and catcher and is one of the most underrated guys around. Gran Guerrero pinned Mistico clean since he’s in the anniversary main event. The semi didn’t look bad on paper, but it was as Satoshi Kojima & Pierroth & Rush beat Caristico & Valiente & Volador Jr. via DQ. Volador had Kojima pinned after a backstabber. Rush pulled the ref out of the ring to stop the count. Kojima then went down and was doing the Eddy Guerrero sell of a low blow that didn’t happen. The ref then DQ’d Volador. Pierroth was really bad. Rush is a heat machine but he doesn’t do much these days because he doesn’t have to. Kojima mostly worked with Volador, and it was okay but nothing more than okay. Rush and Valiente didn’t work well together at all. Rey Bucanero pinned Titan in the lightning match when Titan went for a moonsault and Bucanero got his foot up and then pinned him. Rey Cometa & Soberano Jr. & Stuka Jr. beat Adonis & Negro Casas & Cavernario in two straight falls. Adonis turned on his partners right away and in the second fall his partners just let Adonis get destroyed. The thing is, the anniversary card, where Casas & Cavernario would be in a match with Adonis on the opposing team, had been announced the day before this show, so all of this was expected

Adonis’ changing fortunes may have been because he did the All Japan tour with Caristico. Caristico also did the tour, but he’s bullet proof. Adonis apparently did get permission before going on the tour

Octagon was back on the 9/11 show in Puebla, in the main event, teaming with Volador Jr. & Caristico to beat Gran Guerrero & Kojima & Casas when he submitted Casas in the third fall

Woman wrestler Skadi suffered a broken leg in a 9/9 match in Mexico City against Zeuxis at Arena Coliseo. She jumped off the apron for a double foot stomp on Zeuxis, who was hunched over as opposed to laying flat, on the floor and her leg gave out on the landing

In last week’s issue when covering the Grand Prix, we missed mentioning that Matt Taven was also in the match

The annual CMLL bodybuilding contest was announced for 11/29

There was a local radio station celebrity soccer tournament where a CMLL team of Fuego, Titan, Soberano Jr., Dragon Lee, Principe Diamante, Robin, Star Jr., Fiero and Fugaz won.

AAA: After announcing a bunch of multi-person matches for Johnny Mundo for the 10/1 Heroes Inmortales show in San Luis Potosi, they announced on 9/12 that the new main event would be Mundo vs. Rey Wagner (Dr Wagner Jr.) for the AAA mega heavyweight title. Given Wagner just lost his mask, his getting a shot makes no sense, but logical booking where finishes matter has been out the window here for a long time

.They announced Ayako Hamada won a multi-person match in Aguascalientes and will face Lady Shani for the vacant Reina de Reinas title , although a date hasn’t been announced for the match

Sexy Star may be done with the promotion although that’s not clear. She just said that she was done being Sexy Star, although she says a lot of things.

THE CRASH: The 9/13 show in San Luis Potosi was announced as a pilot for a show on Televisa. Televisa in Mexico is like CBS or NBC in the U.S. in the sense it’s a game changer. Televisa was the home for CMLL and AAA when each was at their mainstream peaks in the last 25 years

The attendance for the 9/2 Crash show in Tijuana was 4,500, which was capacity. We had listed a sellout of 4,000

After the item last week of New Japan blocking Crash from booking a number of the top wrestlers, The Young Bucks contacted Crash and said they could work here, and Ricochet and War Machine can also work for Crash. The wrestlers blocked by New Japan from working here are Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay and Kenny Omega. In addition, as long as Cody Rhodes is ROH champion, he can only work for CMLL in Mexico even though CMLL has yet to use him

They announced a 10/9 show in Nuevo Laredo at the baseball stadium with Daga & Penta 0M vs. Garza Jr. & La Mascara, Jack Evans & M-ximo & Willie Mack vs. Bestia 666 & Black Taurus & Pierroth and Keith Lee vs. Brian Cage.

DRAGON GATE: As of 9/10, the standings in the Five Unit Survival race are: 1.MaxiMum 15-13; 2. Tribal Vanguard 15-14; 3. Jimmyz and Over Generation 15-15; 5. Verserk 13-16. The two factions with the worst win-loss records will have a match on 9/18 in Tokyo where the losing group then has to disband.

ALL JAPAN: The first round of the single-elimination Oudou tournament took place on 9/12 at Korakuen Hall before 1,130 fans. Yoshitatsu from New Japan pinned Tajiri with a back suplex in 9:28. I can just imagine the All Japan fans being furious at that result, given how good Tajiri is and that a New Japan guy who New Japan doesn’t even use much these days got to beat him. Shuji Ishikawa pinned The Bodyguard in 6:51 with the Razor’s edge off the middle rope. Zeus pinned Ryoji Sai in 19:24 with a jackhammer. Kento Miyahara pinned Kai in 19:22 with a German suplex. So Miyahara vs. Yoshitatsu (which Miyahara has to win but the challenge will be what kind of a match he can get out of him) and Zeus vs. Ishikawa takes place in the quarterfinals on 9/18 in Osaka. The other first round matches are 9/16 in Kitamoto with Koji Iwamoto vs. Yuma Aoyagi, Joe Doering vs. Hikaru Sato, Suwama vs. Naoya Nomura and Kotaro Suzuki vs. Atsushi Aoki

Jun Akiyama will be defending the TV title against Minoru Tanaka on 9/19, while the Akiyama & Takao Omori challenge to Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi will take place on 10/21 in Yokohama

Taka Michinoku & Black Tiger VII defend the All-Asia tag titles against Naoya Nomura & Aoyagi on 9/30 in Yamada

Taiyo Kea, who would be, along with Jun Akiyama and Takao Omori, as the last stars in this promotion who date back to when Giant Baba owned it, will be returning on the 10/9 show at Korakuen Hall

The annual Junior Battle of Glory tournament was announced for 11/3 to 11/9 with Aoki & Hikaru Sato, Iwamoto & Yusuke Okada, Masashi Takeda & Atsushi Maruyama, Kotaro Suzuki & Keiichi Sato and Black Tiger VII & Black Spider VII

The wrestler Kyoboku Futoshi, who will debut here with a push, is Slade Mercer from Australia. He is actually from New Zealand, and started wrestling there in 2005 as Max Damage, but came to Australia around 2010. He doesn’t hold the Australian heavyweight title as All Japan promoted, but is champion in two Australian companies, Battle Championship Wrestling and Hunter Valley Wrestling.

PRO WRESTLING NOAH: They announced the complete lineup for their 10/1 show at Yokohama Bunka Gym as Hitoshi Kumano vs. Jyunta Miyawaki, Yoshinari Ogawa & Scott D’Amore (wrestling on the show as well as being the liaison for TNA) vs. Masao Inoue & Tadasuke, Eli Drake vs. Cody Hall, Hajime Ohara & Ultimo Ninja vs. Hi69 & Garza Jr. (So the Garza cousins will be facing each other), Tatsumi Fujinami & Mitsuya Nagai & Leona (Fujinami) vs. Maybach Taniguchi & Akitoshi Saito & Shiro Koshinaka, Moose & Yuji Okabayashi vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya, Hayata & Yo-Hey defend the GHC jr. tag titles against Shunma Katsumata & Mao, Taiji Ishimori defends the GHC jr. title against Daisuke Harada, Go Shiozaki & Atsushi Kotoge defend the GHC tag titles against Mohammed Yone & Quiet Storm and Eddie Edwards defends the GHC heavyweight title against Naomichi Marufuji

People were raving about the Edwards title win over Nakajima with ****½ type of ratings. I haven’t had the chance to see it yet, but it was said to be close but slightly below the Nakajima vs. Brian Cage match which was generally considered the best match the company has had this year.

NEW JAPAN: The first of the two Korakuen Hall shows this week was 9/7 before a sellout of 1,695 fans. It was built around a Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano & Will Ospreay & Rocky Romero) vs. LIJ (Tetsuya Naito & Evil & Seiya Sanada & Hiromu Takahashi & Bushi) match. Naito and Ishii both went over the top rope together to build up their singles match. Yano pinned Sanada. Bushi eliminated Yano. Ospreay pinned Bushi with the Oscutter. Takahashi eliminated Ospreay as they are just starting their program. Okada pinned Takahashi after the rainmaker. This left Evil with both Okada and Romero. Evil threw Okada over the top rope to eliminate him. Evil then pinned Romero with the STO in 22:31 to win the match

The 9/9 show at Korakuen Hall did a sellout 1,720 with Team Taguchi vs. Suzuki-gun in an elimination match. Kanemaru & Taichi pinned Ricochet & Taguchi respectively, since they are challenging Ricochet & Taguchi for the jr. tag titles on 9/16. After Kushida threw Taichi over the top, Desperado pinned Kushida, since he’s also getting a title match on 9/16. This left Elgin & Tanahashi vs. Suzuki & Iizuka & Desperado. Then Iizuka threw Tanahashi out leaving Elgin with three guys. He pinned Desperado and Iizuka and threw Suzuki over the top to win

The reports we got on the Okada & Gedo vs. Kota Ibushi & Taka Michinoku main event on the Taka 25th anniversary show last week was that it was a ****½ match.

OTHER JAPAN NOTES: Eight teams were announced for the 10/10 World Cup tournament at Korakuen Hall. This is the tournament that had been held in the past in Mexico City. In the past it had been trios teams but this year they are only tag teams and it doesn’t seem anywhere near as interesting. The teams listed are AAA Mexico-born, Lucha Underground Mexico born, Lucha Underground American, NOAH Americans, NOAH Japanese, IGF (which doesn’t even exist anymore), Lucha Underground International and Team U.K./New Zealand. There will be two shows that weekend, with the World Cup, and a Lucha Underground show. The Lucha Underground roster is listed as Mil Muertes, Psycho Clown (who doesn’t even work for Lucha Underground), King Cuerno, Drago, Sexy Star and Vampiro. One would think that Muertes, Psycho, Cuerno and Drago could end up in the World Cup since they are there. The only teams announced so far are that the NOAH Americans are Cody Hall & Quiet Storm, and the NOAH Japanese are Taiji Ishimori & Hi69, who are mid-card junior heavyweights, which pretty much kills the idea of it if NOAH isn’t even using its big guns

Zero-One announced a 9/30 show at Korakuen Hall as the 25th anniversary show for both Shinjiro Otani and Tatsuhito Takaiwa. Otani & Takaiwa, who were the winners of the 1998 Tag Team of the Year award in New Japan as a junior heavyweight team, both now 45, started their careers in New Japan during the summer of 1992. They will face former New Japan stars Tatsumi Fujinami & Koji Kanemoto on a show headlined by Masato Tanaka, the company’s world champion, defending the title against Yuko Miyamoto

Current standings at press time in the Stardom Grand Prix tournament: Red Stars: 1. Mayu Iwatani 5-1; 2. Viper (Piper Niven in WWE) 4-1; 3. Yuko Bito 4-2; 4. Kagetsu and Hana Kimura 3-2; 6. Kris Wolf 1-4; 7. Hiromi Mimura and Xia Brookside 1-5; Blue Stars: 1. Io Shirai and Toni Storm 4-1-1; 3. Kay Lee Ray 4-2; 4. Mandy Leon 3-2; 5. HZK 30-3; 6. Jungle Kyona 2-3; 7. Tam Nakano 1-4; 8. Konami 0-4

Miranda Salinas, a Booker T trainee and participant in the Mae Young Classic, debuts for Stardom in January

Another match I’m told worth seeing would be the main event for the Wrestle-1 promotion’s 9/2 show at the Yokohama Bunka Gym between Shotaro Ashino vs. Jiro Kuroshio for their title, where Ashino retained. The show drew 1,812 fans, although that was papered. The match went 36:17 with Ashino retaining with an ankle lock. Ashino came across like a real world champion level performer in this match. Kuroshio did a moonsault off the second balcony at Korakuen Hall, which is insane, although I was told the match would have been great whether he did that or not. I’ve seen ****½ and ****3/4 scores for this one and more for the latter than the former. One person who has seen almost everything called it one of the best matches this year and said the sad part of this year being off the charts for great matches is that there will be a match like this and with so much great product out there, it’s not even anything people will know about. Wrestle-1 is struggling but they have a great crew of younger wrestlers and focus on them having great matches. It’s very different now from when Keiji Muto was booking and trying to do a more Americanized storyline product. But there is no magic formula for a smaller promotion to make a dent in the U.S. and Japan when there is so much product. One match they had on that show had Muto teaming with Sanshiro Takagi (DDT owner) & Great Mucha vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Naomichi Marufuji & Naoki Sakurajima.

HERE AND THERE: Robert Tovey, the son of the legendary midget wrestler Lord Littlebrook (Eric Tovey), and a pro wrestler since his teens, passed away on 9/2 at the age of 40. Tovey wrestled under a number of names, most notably Beautiful Bobby Dean. His death was said to be unexpected. Dean came from a midget wrestling family. Of his six brothers and sisters, three followed in their fathers’ footsteps and became wrestlers. Eric Tovey, based out of St. Joseph, MO, for most of his career, booked a troupe of midget wrestlers during the territorial era, who would usually spend a few weeks as attractions in the territory and move on. Some promotions didn’t use them. Other promotions tried to use them about once a year. But that world had ended before Robert started wrestling around 1995. But by the time Robert was up and running, the troupe still continued to wrestle on mostly independent shows, often against his brother, who wrestled as Little Kato. Most recently, the brothers were stars of a short-lived reality show called Half Pint Brawlers on Spike. His career was nearly ended a few years ago when he was injured in a motorcycle accident, but he still was wrestling this year

Hulk Hogan will be back on television for a new TV show on Fox News Network called “OBJECTified. It hasn’t been announced when this will air, but Hogan will guest on the show, being interviewed by Harvey Levin, to discuss the lawsuit against Gawker and his life since being out of the spotlight

Wrestlecon has made a number of announcements regarding shows at the Sugar Mill in New Orleans, which is across the street from WrestleMania Axxess. The annual Wrestlecon super show will be on Thursday night of Mania week, meaning it’ll go head-to-head with WaleMania most likely. On the Friday, there will be shows from The Crash, Revolution Pro and GFW. It appears right now that GFW and ROH will be going head-to-head with the WWE Hall of Fame. The expectation is ROH will do a major event

Cowboy Bill Watts, now 78, remains one of the more unique personality in wrestling history. Watts has retired to the Florida panhandle and after Hurricane Irma came along, he decided to encourage looters. He scattered some electronics including a flat screen television at the end of his driveway figuring it would attract looters preying on the elderly who had some of their things destroyed. I’m not exactly sure what he was then intending to do when the baited in looters would show up, but I guess I can use my imagination

Wrestlecon will have Wrestling Revolver (Sami Callihan’s group) and CZW Best of the Best 2018 on the Saturday

Rey Mysterio Jr. and El Hijo del Santo (in a very rare U.S. appearance) are scheduled to headline a 9/17 show in Cicero, IL at Cicero Stadium. Mysterio faces Super. Crazy in the main event, while Santo is listed as being on the show

Alberto El Patron said that the shows he worked for FULL in Mexico in May with Roy & Zak Knight and Latin Lover, which drew poorly, were for a promotion called XL. He said that all the Mexican stars didn’t get paid and he’s threatening to sue the promotion

XICW will be promoting a 10/7 show at the Cobo Center in Detroit, formerly Cobo Hall, the home of pro wrestling in the city in the 60s and 70s. Announced so far are Mercedes Martinez vs. Mia Yim, Al Snow vs. Shane Douglas, Zach Gowen vs. Kongo Kong, Pepper Jack vs. Kid Canuck (minis), plus Abyss, Davey Richards, Petey Williams, Johnny Devine and Mahabali Shera, along with guest appearances of Jim Cornette and Santino Marella, as well as former Michigan wrestling stars Thunderbolt Patterson and Dr. Jerry Graham Jr. (Jerry Jaffee) and former area television announcer Terry Sullivan. There will also be an afternoon convention

All Pro Wrestling officially announced its 11/10 return to the Cow Palace in San Francisco with Rey Mysterio Jr. & Juventud Guerrera vs. Rey Fenix & Penta 0M as the main event, plus MnM return as a tag team for the first time in more than a decade with John Morrison & Joey Mercury vs; Reno Scum

Combat Zone Wrestling ran its last show at its longtime home of Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ, on 9/9, featuring what was pushed as the retirement match for Danny Havoc. They announced a new site, the Rastelli Kids Complex in Sewell, NJ, starting 10/14. The move is being made due to construction at Flyers Skate Zone. Owner D.J. Hyde said that even though the name of the building is the Rastelli Kids Complex, and that the promotion is very hardcore with extreme weapons matches, that the product itself wouldn’t change

Ricochet was announced for WrestleCircus on 10/21 in Austin, TX. We do know that PWG set up an angle for Ricochet challenging Chuck Taylor for the PWG title last week, and the idea was the next show would be 10/21, but that date wasn’t confirmed because it depended upon availability of enough talent. But this seems to at least rule out that main event if they do run 10/21

Jeanine DeNucci, the wife of Domenic DeNucci, passed away on 9/11 in her sheep. She has had health problems but it was unexpected, and as you would expect, he is taking this very hard. Domenic DeNucci is a Hall of Fame candidate, a top babyface in a lot of places, best known for his run in the 60s in Australia where, in feuding with the likes of Killer Kowalski and Ray Stevens, he was the best long-term babyface drawing card likely in that country’s history

What is being billed as the first-ever match with Tom Lawlor vs. Matt Riddle was announced as a first-round match in the Black Label Pro tournament that takes place on 9/23 in Crown Point, IN at the On the Square Sports Academy. It’ll be a one-night tournament with other first round matches being Keith Lee vs. Sammy Guevara, Super Crazy vs. Darby Allin, Dasher Hatfield vs. Joe Gacy vs. Mordecai (Kevin Fertig, a short-lived WWE character), Chris Dickinson vs. KLD vs. Jaka vs. B-Boy and Dominic Garrini vs. Leva Bates vs. Rory Gulak vs. GPA vs. Donovan Danhausen

In Australia, since Will Ospreay came, other American stars that have come over include Rob Van Dam (8/25), Frankie Kazarian (9/8 and 9/9), and upcoming are Penta 0M & Rey Fenix (9/22 to 9/24) and the World Series Wrestling promotion which hasn’t promoted a show since 2007, is running Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney from 11/24 to 11/27 with Ricochet, Zack Sabre Jr., Austin Aries (which is the first place I’ve seen his name listed since he left WWE–he’s currently being paid by WWE on a non-compete through 10/5 ), Brian Cage, Tessa Blanchard, Joey Ryan, The Headbangers and Sean Waltman

Tony Lawson, who wrestled in Tennessee as Lex Victory of he Victor Twins, passed away last week

Daniel Puder, who won the 2004 Tough Enough contest and was in WWE developmental for one year, and later worked in Japan, including as Shinsuke Nakamura’s tag team partner in one of the tag tourneys, was honored at the Heroes of Freedom and Liberty Event on 9/7 in Mobile, AL as the Humanitarian of the Year.

EUROPE: Progress Wrestling announced plans for the biggest event in company history on 9/30 at SSE Wembley in London which gives them one year to put together a big event and try and top the 6,100 that ICW did in Glasgow as the biggest U.K. based promotional attendance for a show dating back 36 years

Progress ran its biggest show of the year on 9/10 in London at the Alexadra Palace before a sellout 2,000 fans (the show was sold out two months in advance) with a couple of title changes as British Strong Style, who are all under contract to WWE, all lost their titles. This was described as having a great big show like atmosphere. The show opened with a ladder match for the tag titles where Chris Brookes & Kid Lycos beat Trent Seven & Tyler Bate to win the titles. Tons of crazy spots in this one. Seven did a dragon suplex onto Lykos on a ladder set up on its side. Bate and Brookes were on top of the ladder and Bate went for his Tyler driver 98 off the ladder onto another ladder, but Brooks blocked and backdropped him onto the ladder set up at the bottom and Bate bounced off it hard. Brookes then pulled down the belts to win. Toni Storm, who flew in from Japan for this show, and then flew to Las Vegas right after, and then flew from Las Vegas back to Japan, retained her Progress women’s title over Dahlia Black after a series of piledrivers. Jinny attacked Black after the match to set up a new program with chair shots. Zack Sabre Jr. came out for an open challenge. In the building, for whatever reason, people were buzzing that it would be Jack Gallagher or Kassius Ohno, but it turned out to be Marty Scurll. It was Scurll’s first match back with the promotion since December. They had a great match ending with Sabre winning with a bridging cradle. Scurll thanked he fans and said he wouldn’t be back for a while since he’s got so many commitments in the U.S. Jimmy Havoc beat Mark Haskins in a death match. Havoc bled early on from shots with a frying pan. Haskins used a Death Valley bomb on Havoc off the stage through a table as well as a power bomb through a cinder block that was set up between two chairs. Vicky Haskins, Mark’s wife, came out and gave him a barbed wire bat. They also used thumbtacks and a staple gun. Havoc used a rainmaker with a barbed wire bat followed by a second rainmaker for the pin. Walter regained the Atlas title in a three-way over Matt Riddle, the champion, and Timothy Thatcher. Said to be match of the night. They exchanged hard chops, uppercuts, kicks and suplexes. Walter German suplexed both guys at the same time. He also did a dropkick on both men at the same time. The finish saw Riddle go for a tombstone, but Walter reversed into a sit out tombstone piledriver for the pin. Next was an eight-man match where the winner would become top contender for the Progress title. Mark Andrews, a WWE contracted wrestler, became top contender winning over Eddie Dennis, Flash Morgan Webster, James Drake, Zack Gibson, Chief Deputy Dunne, Jack Sexsmith and James Drake. Everyone looked good. Some great dives. Andrews pinned Webster to win it with a shooting star press. Dennis, who was Andrews’ longtime tag team partner, turned on him after the match and laid him out. Main event saw Travis Banks beat Pete Dunne to win the Progress title. Dunne used a pedigree on the apron and Banks hit his Kiwi crusher on the apron. Seven and Bate interfered with sledge hammer shots on Banks. Banks then took all three guys finishers and kicked out. Dunne kicked out of two Van Terminators off the top rope by Banks. Brookes and Lykos came out and chased off Bate and Seven. The second rope broke during this match. Banks made Dunne tap out to win the title

Insane Championship Wrestling of Scotland announced that Kassius Ohno will be challenging for their ICW title against Joe Coffey on 9/17 in Newcastle. It’s interesting that WWE is letting its NXT contracted talent wrestle for U.K. based promotions, or at least Progress and ICW

CHIKARA put on its King of Trios three-day tournament from 9/1 to 9/3. The final featured the women’s team from the Sendai Girls promotion in Japan, who were the defending tournament winners, lose to British Strong Style of Bate & Seven & Dunne. The shows drew 490, 533 and 549 fans. CHIKARA worked with the Fight Club: Pro promotion. There was also a match with British legend Johnny Kidd facing Mike Quackenbush. Wrestlers who dated back to the ending days of World of Sport, Danny Boy Collins & Mal Sanders, teamed with James Mason, but they lost in the first round. Another U.K. team of Jody Fleisch & Jonny Storm & Johnny Moss lost in the first round. They also held a Rey de Voladores (King of Flyers) singles tournament that came down to Ophidian beating Fleisch in the finals. Simon Gotch from WWE worked the tournament as Simon Grimm, teaming with Dasher Hatfield & Mark Angelosetti.

ROH: Final Battle, which is traditionally the company’s biggest PPV show of the year, is officially on 12/15 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. That should be the next PPV after the 9/22 show in Las Vegas

An update on the 9/22 PPV show from Las Vegas has a lineup of Cody vs. Minoru Suzuki for the ROH title which is such a weird main event. From a political standpoint, perhaps this is New Japan giving back since Cody as ROH champion lost to Kazuchika Okada, so now NJPW is offering its Never champion. The styles clash here will be interesting to say the least. Also there are the two Young Bucks matches we had reported on a few weeks ago, the tag title defense against Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley, and a six-man tag title defense where they’ll team with Adam Page (they are doing a storyline where Page has disappeared into thin air which has started rumors of him going to WWE, but he’s under ROH contract) against the winner of a match earlier in the show with Matt Taven & Vinny Marseglia & TK O’Ryan vs. Mark & Jay Briscoe & Bully Ray, plus Kushida vs. Kenny King for the TV title, Silas Young vs. Jay Lethal in a last man standing match, Jay White vs. Punishment Martinez in a street fight and PWG champion Chuck Taylor vs Marty Scurll

Will Ospreay is returning in October. He’ll be working on the combined NJPW & ROH shows that month as well as the show in Philadelphia. He’s also working on most of the November shows

There was a New York media story that King may get a gig as a celebrity guest host at Chippendale’s in Las Vegas coming off his run on “The Bachelorette.” King had been a dancer there in the past

They announced an eight-man single elimination tournament on 10/28 in Mt. Pleasant, MI, called the Soaring Eagle Cup since they are running a show at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. Announced so far for the tournament are Jay Lethal, Dalton Castle and Christopher Daniels.

GFW: Ed Nordholm, the President of GFW and Executive Vice President of Anthem Sports & Entertainment came on Wrestling Observer Radio to deny any talks that the company is for sale. He noted that the company is doing a lot of long-term moves. He admitted it is going to be very challenging to turn things around with the ultimate goal of making it profitable. “It is a challenging business and candidly, perhaps a little bit more complicated than we realized when we decided to go from being just a broadcast company to being in the content creation business, as hardcore as this is. But we knew coming in that the company had lost a lot of money last year and was losing money when we took it and we didn’t have any misapprehension that just because we put our name on the door that suddenly it was going to be profitable, that it would be a process. It’s been a year. There’s been lots of things. We’re just trying to knock them off, breaking big rocks into little rocks and my objective is at every taping, at every quarter, that we have accomplished something that is moving closer and closer to a break-even position. And you all know there’s two ways to get there. One is to get more revenue and the other is to have less cost and find the spot in between. We’re obviously needing to grow revenue but there’s no surprise that revenue isn’t going to appear overnight. So that’s a process of rebuilding the brand and rebuilding the audience and the dollars will follow. In the meantime, we’re just looking for ways to incrementally reduce our costs and find more efficient ways to do things, find more interesting ways to do things, and you’ll see that at every taping. We’ll do something a little bit different and we’re just trying things and what’s working and what’s not working and reassess and retool.” The big announcement made was more details of the Global Wrestling Network, a streaming service that starts this week. The concept is to position this as the alternate streaming service to the WWE Network with the idea of having multiple promotions on it, the companies they do business with most notably NOAH, The Crash and AAA, and using their libraries. The service will open likely with only GFW archives. Of the 3,000 hours in the TNA and GFW libraries, they have about 850 to 900 hours that the network will open with. The price will be $7.99 per month but everyone can get the first 30 days free. There will be both a free tier and a pay tier. The free tier will largely feature Impact, in North America, being put up ten days after it airs on Pop, so that’s similar to the ROH web site except more of a delay. He noted this is not branded as an Impact network because the goal is multiple promotions and he even said he hoped for New Japan (which I can’t see happening since New Japan has its own service) with the idea of being the home for non-WWE wrestling. Obviously that’s an ambitious goal. It will be interesting to see the value in the archives. The WWE Network is driven by live specials and Impact did not announce that Bound for Glory or its PPV content would air live on the network. Impact has a lot of different deals out including Fite TV for streaming so putting it on their streaming network would not only undercut the PPV providers but their other deals, and Impact is hardly WWE where they could to a degree get away with it (WWE still isn’t back on DirecTV for PPVs but WWE’s PPV numbers are very small these days). The thing with the alternative network is that Flo Slam just had the same concept, and granted, Flo Slam didn’t have a weekly TV show on Pop to push its brand, but Pop isn’t that big of a deal either. Flo Slam’s idea was an amalgamation of different promotions with live or fairly current shows all the time and it hasn’t appeared to be very successful. There’s no lock it would be, but they never got the key promotions (ROH, New Japan and perhaps PWG) involved. I’d think for the Global network to work, while the archives are fine garnish, the main course would have to be live programming. There really isn’t big interest in AAA, Crash or NOAH, although perhaps if promoted there could be. But right now with the launch around the corner, there’s nothing regarding any of the big shows from those companies airing on the network, and GFW doesn’t do enough live events, and right now, they have zero live events after Bound for Glory on the schedule. The Global Wrestling Network will be on the big iOS, Android and web-based applications, and they’re working on it for Apple TV, Roku and the other platforms. Nordholm said, “It’s hard to make a business work in the digital world off free stuff, off an ad-based product. There will be stuff available on the free tier, but mostly you’ll want to go into the pay tier if you want to see the archives.” He said building relationships with different companies around the world has been challenging due to the history of the company, the history of the brand and poor experiences that many international partners have had working with the company’s prior regime. He said that’s been a hurdle they’ve had to cross. As reported here, he noted a renewal of Impact on Pop TV for 2018. Regarding selling the library to WWE, which as noted last week, I see as extremely unlikely since The Fight Network uses the old footage for a lot of its programming, he said, “I know full well how the WWE Network would monetize the content and what they could pay for the library. Monetizing it there makes no sense for me to sell it for that kind of price. I would rather keep it, and put it up on the app and monetize it myself.

He also confirmed that Alberto El Patron would be returning at Bound for Glory. Right now, with negotiations with Rey Mysterio having fallen through (some, if not a lot of that was Mysterio pulling out over being unhappy with how The Crash/Impact relationship has been as noted last week) and Jarrett being gone, both of his planned BFG opponents are out

The big question, not exactly answered, regards the future of Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett is gone to take care of personal issues, which are generally believed to be alcohol related. Nordholm is talking about the subject, gave the impression that at some point Jarrett would be back. Karen Jarrett on Twitter positioned this as 100 percent a positive for GFW and for Jeff and thanked Ed Nordholm for giving Jeff the time he needs. Obviously Jeff had no idea this was coming, but there were people in the company who were expecting this and pretty much aware of it after TripleMania. He pushed that Scott D’Amore and Sonjay Dutt were plugged into the independent wrestling scene and Japanese wrestling scene and the style of wrestling that it doing well there. “I think you’ll see a somewhat different style because they’re more tuned into an action style wrestling and probably a little less talk and a lot more action. But fundamentally as far as the biggest change in the short-term, I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself because I’m hopeful that Jeff isn’t gone long.”

Rosemary, after the elbow injury at TripleMania, has been cleared to return and will be working this coming weekend on two indie shows in the U.K

D’Amore, Dutt and John Gaburick did a press call on 9/12 and mentioned that Dutch Mantell is still working on creative. Dutt talked about his background in creative under Jarrett with the All Wheels Wrestling concept that never really went anywhere and the Ring Ka King promotion that Jarrett was behind that ran one season in India

Regarding ran Fighting, which we mentioned last week with Impact getting a deal for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, this is not a television station but a subscription OTT fighting channel with mostly MMA, boxing and kickboxing, priced at $4.79 per month U.S. The station started airing Impact in English on 9/8. It also airs UFC, regional MMA and boxing as well as streams UFC PPV shows for $18 each. Impact airs in an 80 minute format, which is basically the entire show, commercial free every Friday at 8 p.m. and is also available on VOD. The PPVs will also air on the station, but on a tape delayed basis. Ran Fighting is owned by ProSiebenSat.1, which airs both Raw and Smackdown on their basic cable television station. Jim Cornette is booked for the Bound for Glory show but at this point is not booked for the television tapings after

Christy Hemme, 36, who worked here from 2006 to 2016, some as a wrestler, but mostly as a ring announcer, but also did booking and was used as a character in some weird angles, announced this past week that she and husband Charley Patterson are expecting quadruplets. The couple has one daughter, aged 2

Rockstar Spud (James Curtin, 34) got engaged on 9/8 to Renee Michelle, a Northeast independent wrestler who was recently in the Mae Young Classic.

UFC: As expected, the Jon Jones “B” sample from his test on 7/28 tested positive for Turinabol. In almost every case, the “B” sample is going to mirror the “A” sample since it is the same sample being split in two. Next is that Jones is going to have to come up with a defense. The California State Athletic Commission then overturned the result of that fight, calling it a no contest. With Jones no longer having that win, that meant the UFC light heavyweight title had to be returned to Daniel Cormier. It’s the worst possible position for Cormier. Very clearly, he did not lose the 7/29 fight fairly given Jones had fast-acting steroids in his system, however they got there, on the day of the fight. But to the public, it kills the title because the public never accepted Cormier as champion the last time he won it because Jones beat him and then was stripped. Now Cormier is coming off everyone seeing him knocked out by Jones, but he now the champion again and everything is a mess. Cormier has beaten Alexander Gustafsson in a war, but that didn’t do well on PPV (then again, at this point I’m not sure anything but GSP and Conor McGregor are going to do well on PPV). Just because Gustafsson looked his best in his last win over Glover Teixeira and his being 30 while Cormier is 38, he’d have to be favored in the rematch. If they don’t do that fight, Cormier would most likely face Volkan Oezdemir. This probably eliminates the fight that could draw big, Gustafsson vs. Jon Jones, for a long time. Both USADA and the California State Athletic Commission will make rulings from there. USADA will rule on a suspension. California will also rule on a suspension as well as a potential fine. In other cases, the commission and USADA have agreed on suspension terms, but from a technical standpoint, whichever suspension is the longest will be the one used. UFC will recognize a USADA suspension but if Jones was to be released and California has a lighter suspension, in theory he’d be able to fight for another promotion as soon as the California suspension is up. In theory, he could also fight in a place like Russia or Japan, or do non-commission regulated stuff like submission grappling. In reality, for a guy used to making millions, I don’t know that non-regulated foreign groups can offer him anywhere close to what he’s been making, and the one-time they tried to build a submission event around him flopped miserably from a business standpoint. Unless he can offer a great defense, the fine could be a larger percentage of his purse than just about any fine to date, and the suspension would be two to four years. Even with a proven tainted supplement defense, he’s got to be looking at one to two years and the result of the fight overturned. As far as what this is going to mean to Jones’ career is retrospect is likely to be determined based on if he offers a defense, and how credible the public buys that defense. People have been very forgiving of some drug cheats but Jones has had one issue after another, and this one came while he and the company was trying to promote his redemption storyline which, combined with the nature of the Cormier win, probably would have made him the biggest drawing card he’d ever been. Now that could all be a moot point. And under any circumstances, that mythical title he had bestowed on him as the greatest of all-time is a tough one. The reality is Anderson Silva also had a drug test failure and he’d be the other guy in that conversation. Fedor really didn’t face anywhere near the same caliber of opponents and GSP and Demetrious Johnson would be the other two who never failed a drug test

At this point, the estimate for Mayweather vs. McGregor on PPV is 4.6 million North American buys between PPV and iPPV, so those who bad on the under on the 4.99 million look to be the winners. It’s not an exact science and it’s been noted that if the same growth as Mayweather-Pacquiao takes place the number could be up to 4.8 million, but with so much a higher percentage of buys being through the Internet (a solid number that won’t grow), the growth from early numbers may not be as significant. When we look at total revenue the show produced, it should be about $445 million from PPV (Cable providers and satellite providers would get 30 percent of the PPV money but the iPPV money would go to the promotion at a much higher percentage), the live gate was $55 million, the U.K. and Ireland PPV is probably about $28 million, international TV rights were estimated at $35 million, $28 million were estimated in sponsorships, $2.6 million in U.S. movie theaters and $15 million from bars and Restaurant airings. There is also a Las Vegas area closed circuit number that is not yet available but should be in about a week, but going in the estimate for that would have been $7 million. So all-in-all, the total gross for the event looks to be in the range of $615 to $620 million. Because a single event like a World Cup final or a Super Bowl is part of a television package, you can’t really give a figure on its value, but for events that you can give a direct money value to, it would be the biggest event of its kind in sports history and I’m thinking probably entertainment history as well. Regarding unsold tickets for Mayweather vs. McGregor, there were about 1,600 unsold tickets at $3,500, 1,550 unsold tickets at $5,000, 650 unsold tickets at $7,500 and just under 700 unsold tickets at $10,000. So they overestimated what people were willing to pay. A key part of this that people also don’t take into consideration was that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao had a seven year build and was the natural match to be made between two huge drawing cards and was on a great night. Mayweather vs. McGregor had a few month build, was not on a great night (the boxing people insisted on getting it out there before 9/16 for the unfounded fear that GGG vs. Alvarez going first would lower the ceiling and they had to be first), although honestly I think night is overrated as long as it’s a Saturday

UFC is going to have competition with pro wrestling the next two weeks as well as airing on a different station for a Friday night show on 9/22. On 9/16, it’s loaded up with the Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez boxing match, which is the biggest actual competitive boxing match of the year in much of the world (in Europe, the Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko fight was probably bigger) and will probably do well in excess of 1 million buys is the big event. There is also the CMLL Anniversary show going on at the same time, plus a UFC event on FS 1 in the normal Saturday night time slot. The 9/16 show comes from the PPG Arena in Pittsburgh starting at 7:30 p.m. Eastern with the lone Fight Pass bout with Gilbert Burns (11-2) vs. Jason Saggo. From there it moves to FS 1 with Uriah Hall (12-8) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (19-2), Anthony Hamilton (15-7) vs. Daniel Spitz (5-1), Tony Martin (12-3) vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier (9-2), Justin Ledet (8-0) vs. Azunna Anyanwu (14-4), Sergio Moraes (12-2-1) vs. Kamaru Usman (10-1), Gregor Gillespie (9-0) vs. Jason Gonzalez (11-3), Hector Lombard (34-7-1) vs. Anthony Smith (27-12),Mike Perry (10-1) vs. Alex Reyes (12-2) and a main event of Luke Rockhold (15-3) vs. David Branch (21-3). Branch has won 11 in a row, last losing to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in 2012. He was both the middleweight and light heavyweight champion of the WSOF who vacated the titles to come to UFC. If Rockhold wins, he’ll probably face either Yoel Romero or Jacare Souza and the winner of that would be next in line for the winner of Robert Whittaker’s challenge to the Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping winner. The scheduled No. 2 fight on the show, Thiago Alves vs. Mike Perry, fell through when Alves couldn’t get to Pittsburgh in time to get ready. He decided to stay home with his family over the weekend due to Hurricane Irma and couldn’t get into Pittsburgh in time to get ready. The story is that Alves was at the airport for six hours on 9/12 and couldn’t get out. But Jotko, who also lives in the area, got on a flight on 9/13 and made it into Pittsburgh for the show. Alves pulled out on 9/13, three days in advance. They were able to get Alex Reyes, who usually fights at lightweight, to move up to welterweight and make his UFC debut as the replacement. It would have been extremely hard get a normal welterweight this close to fight time who could get his weight down in a day-and-a-half. Anyanwu is a 251-pound heavyweight from Philadelphia making his main roster debut on five days notice after Dmitri Sosnovskiy pulled out last week due to an injury. Anyanwu knocked out Greg Rebello on the 7/11 edition of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders. Paul Felder, who did the incredible speech after his 7/16 win over Stevie Ray in Glasgow, talking about his father, who had passed away from pancreatic cancer right before he started his camp, impressed people so much that he’s being given a shot as an analyst for this week’s show working with Jon Anik and Dominic Cruz. This was one of the spots left open with Brian Stann leaving the company

The 9/22 show will be the company’s annual event at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, headlined by Mauricio Shogun Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux and Jessica Andrade vs. Claudia Gadelha, plus Japanese star Takanori Gomi vs. Maestro Dong Hyun Kim. It will be going head-to-head with the ROH PPV show

Jesse Taylor has been provisionally suspended due to the results coming in positive from an out-of-competition drug test taken on 8/22. Taylor has been removed from his 11/18 match in Sydney against Belal Muhammad and the UFC is looking for a replacement. Taylor had just returned to UFC after being gone since 2008, through winning the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter with a choke submission win over Dhiego Lima on 7/7 in Las Vegas

Madison Square Garden on 11/4 is being officially pushed with three title fights, Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre, Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw and Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas. Other fights listed are Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal, Corey Anderson vs. Patrick Cummins, Johny Hendricks vs. Paulo Borrachinha, Aleksei Oleinik vs Curtis Blaydes, Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Ion Cutelaba and Aiemann Zahabi vs. Ricardo Ramos. Tickets are priced from $1,250 down to $100, so it’s much lower than for Conor McGregor and the show where the average ticket price was $1,000 and they did nearly $18 million

UFC did a marketing study and there was a result that surprised a lot of people, and spoke to the changes in the fan base and rapid turnaround. There was a shockingly high percentage of the current PPV buying audience that had never heard of St-Pierre. As it turned out, a large percentage of the PPV audience around today came into the sport with Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor, and have no historical knowledge of it prior to that point in time

Luke Rockhold has said that he doesn’t believe St-Pierre will really fight Michael Bisping on 11/4 in Madison Square Garden and said he’ll be ready to step in

Stephen Espinosa of Showtime on the MMA House this past week said that Showtime would be interested in UFC once its exclusive contract with FOX expires at the end of 2018. “It would be silly not to,” he said about putting in a bid. But he made it clear they would not be an exclusive home, as they aren’t going to bid the kind of money that would take

Conor McGregor was sued by William Pegg regarding the bottle throwing incident on August 17, 2016, in Las Vegas before the second Nate Diaz fight. Members of Diaz’s entourage started throwing bottles at McGregor. They were behind the fans so the bottles flew over the fans. McGregor then grabbed some cans and started throwing them back at the Diaz entourage, in the direction of the fans. McGregor was pulled backstage and the press conference was shut down, although that incident probably played a small part in that match doing the biggest PPV number in UFC history. Pegg claimed in his lawsuit that he was hit in the back of the head by what appeared to be a Monster Energy drink can. The day this happened we were told that a spectator was hit and that lawsuits were expected. Pegg claimed his medical bills ended up being just under $5,000. However, he was suing for $95,000. In an attempt at logic that I have no clue how this could possibly hold up in court, the $95,000 figure came because they estimated McGregor earned $15 million in the fight and was hit by Diaz 166 times, and they divided 15 million by 166 which is $90,361, and the $95,000 comes from that figure plus the $5,000 in medical bills

A couple of boxer vs. MMA fighter matches have at least been talked about of late. Anthony Joshua vs. Stipe Miocic has been written about here. Miocic is interested in that one, likely for the payday involved if he could get it. Miocic is a great striker in an MMA context, but boxing is very different and like McGregor, he’s never had a fight past the Golden Gloves level, and Joshua isn’t 40 and long past his prime, so that fight would be a far worse night. I can’t imagine UFC allowing that one, but there becomes a question if they could stop it. The one thing is that Miocic doesn’t have the great drawing power that McGregor had so boxing people may not be as quick to try and push it, and UFC and White were on board with McGregor vs. Mayweather because that fight was going to generate too much to walk away from it. U.K. promoter Eddie Hearn this past week was talking about Katie Taylor, who won a gold medal in the Olympics and is from Ireland, against Holly Holm, who was a great woman’s boxer before moving to MMA. Hearn said the goal was to get Taylor a world title on 10/28, and then push for a boxing match, but noted that Holm earns far more in MMA so it would be hard to put it together

. Ed Herman lost part of one finger in an accident on 9/12. He was working on repairing a well that distributes water to his home when his hand got caught and the top of his left pointer finger was torn off

Brendan Schaub was engaged this past week to Joanna Zanella, who is a host of the UFC shows on Fox Deportes. Schaub was married previously, and in between, had a relationship with Ronda Rousey. Then they broke up and Travis Browne knocked Schaub out in a fight and the rest was history

As expected, a protest by the camp of Gunnar Nelson regarding his loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio was declined. The camp claimed that their 7/16 fight, which Ponzinibbio won, was that an eye poke just before the finish, which Nelson never recovered from, was the key in the ending of the fight. Since the show was in Glasgow, Scotland, UFC regulated itself. Nelson’s camp was asking for the fight to be ruled a no contest. From watching the replay, I couldn’t find an eye poke in between the key punches that finished the fight and it looked to be a clean knockout win

Dustin Poirier vs. Anthony Pettis on 11/11 in Norfolk is now official in a fight that had been rumored for some time

Mickey Gall, best known for his wins over C.M. Punk and Sage Northcutt, will return on the 11/4 Madison Square Garden shows to face Randy Brown of New York. Both fighters were signed off Dana White’s Lookin for a Fight reality show. Brown, who is from New York, is 3-2 in UFC

Elias Theodorou vs. Daniel Kelly has been added to the 11/19 show in Sydney, Australia

Glover Teixeira vs. Misha Cirkunov and Tim Elliott vs. Justin Scoggins have been added to the 12/16 show in Winnipeg, which is a FOX special. Teixiera vs. Cirkunov was moved from the 10/28 show in Sao Paulo

Rob Font vs. Pedro Munhoz has been added to the 10/28 show in Sao Paulo.

BELLATOR: The 9/23 show in San Jose will be a combination MMA and kickboxing show at the SAP Center. The MMA fights are Benson Henderson (24-7) vs. Patricky Pitbull Freire (17-8), Roy Nelson (23-14) vs Javy Ayala (10-5), Paul Daley (39-15-2) vs. Lorenz Larkin (18-6, 1 no contest), Aaron Pico (0-1) vs. Justin Linn (7-3) and Adam Piccolotti (9-0) vs. Gouiti Yamauchi (21-3). The kickboxing matches will have Karim Ghajji (97-13-1) defending the welterweight title against Raymond Daniels (11-3), Kevin Ross (44-11) defending the featherweight title against Domenicio Lomurno (22-8), plus Joe Schilling (20-9 vs. Najib Idali (28-76-1), Jorina Baars (41-0-3) vs. Anke Van Gestel (34-11-3) and Joe Palacios (7-7) vs. Malaipet (145-31-6). Baars has a win over Cris Cyborg in a kickboxing match and is considered the best female kickboxer in the world in her weight class. The kickboxing fights will air on 10/6 after the conclusion of the live Bellator event from Thackerville, OK.

OTHER MMA: The documentary “Tough Guys,” which we wrote about in the 7/31 issue, will be debuting on 9/15 on Showtime at 9 pm. Eastern time. The movie talks about the debut of what would now be called MMA in the U.S., the “Tough Guy Championships” promotion in Pennsylvania run by Bill Viola and Frank Caligiuri. The two martial arts instructors said they came up with the idea while eating at Denny’s while getting into what was a usual discussion that teenagers had in that era, who would have won a fight between Bruno Sammartino, Bruce Lee or Muhammad Ali in their primes. Their first show took place in March 1980 in New Kensington, PA, but the promotion only lasted one year, before the state passed a law banning such events

Nick Newell, who gained a good deal of fame years ago because he was a pro MMA fighter with the WSOF, even though born with a congenital amputation just below the elbow of his left arm. Even with the defect, he was a successful high school and college wrestler and went 13-1 as a fighter. His only loss was a one-sided event on NBC against Justin Gaethje, a current UFC star and one of the best lightweights in the world, where it looked terrible to the viewing audience seeing a top fighter destroy a guy with one-arm. He retired due to injuries in 2015, but is coming back after signing a multi-fight deal with the Legacy Fighting Alliance, which runs Friday nights on AXS. Newell has some connections with pro wrestling. He first discovered MMA as the college roommate of Curt Hawkins, who would watch Ultimate Fighter during the early seasons of the show with him and that’s where he decided to become a fighter. I believe he’s also friends with Thomas Matera, who still wrestles as Antonio Thomas, a former WWE performer

Combate Americas announced that Mike Pine has been brought in as Chief Revenue Officer, a new title. He was with FanDuel for two years, and his background also includes being Global head of Sales and Partnerships for WWE and also worked for UFC where he played a part in bringing in Bud Light and Harley Davidson as advertisers.

WWE: Big Show, 45, will be undergoing surgery on his right hip on 9/29. Obviously that had been set for some time, so the cage match on Raw where Strowman destroyed him on 9/4, was done to set up his “injury” and be a storyline reason for him being gone

It was announced on TV this week that Asuka will be joining the Raw brand, which means rivalries with Bliss, Jax and Banks are on the horizon. She should be starting there around November. When they made the decision to bring her up, there was discussion given to both rosters and it was up in the air until recently

Even with all the issues with Hurricane Irma, WWE is planning on doing its scheduled NXT tapings at Full Sail University this week. On 9/12,we were told that they were moving everything back a day, so they will take place on 9/14 instead of 9/13. WWE did have a back-up plan if that was impossible, but on 9/11, we were told that all plans were on regarding that show

The company is planning a Raw tour in December which will include two dates in India. It’s surprising since they’ve gone to such great effort to put over Mahal as WWE champion on the Smackdown brand. I’d suspect Mahal will be brought in for the tour. At press time, these dates are not official and the only thing WWE would say about them is that there are plans for shows in India before the year is over. It looks to be a three-show tour with a 12/6 show at the Zayed Sports City Tennis Stadium in Abu Dhabi. WWE has gone to Abu Dhabi in the past. The last time they went they drew poorly, but the gate was strong because they could charge high ticket prices and it really didn’t matter since the government purchased the show. They would then run 12/7 and 12/8 in New Dehli, India at the Indira Ghandi indoor stadium. WWE ran there last in January 2016, drawing 11,500 fans to each show, but they weren’t catering as much to the Indian demo at the time. That was the first time back in India since the ill-fated 2002 tour that was pretty much nightmarish with a lot of people getting sick and not drawing well. It was so bad that one wrestler told me when he got back that if he was booked on another tour to India, he’d rather quit the company than go again. Nobody was saying that after the last tour which must have been a lot better

Mick Foley, 52, had right knee replacement surgery done on 9/11. The surgery was successful but it’ll be a few months before he’s recovered from it. He was coming off his replacement surgery in April, which was why his gig as General Manager of Raw ended. He’d been in great pain by the end of last year even after losing a ton of weight due to all the crazy bumps he’d taken during his career. He’d noted how much pain he was in traveling to shows every week. He had new insurance kick in this year which enabled him to be able to get these needed operations done. Foley said that he was warned ahead of time by Madusa that the knee replacement would be painful and the rehab would be even worse, and said that so far she was right, but he needed the surgery. He said the hip replacement surgery helped a lot, and removed a lot of the pain he was in the past eight or nine years. But he said, without the knee operation, he’d continue to limp. He said he hadn’t been able to straighten his right knee for ten years or more, and then had placed too much weight on his left foot and knee every day walking. Foley is also releasing another book later this year called “Saint Mick,” regarding his participation in and studying the industry of people who work as Santa Claus over the holidays. He’s done projects in the past on it which we’ve talked to him about. It’s being published by Polis Books

Miz (Mike Mizanin, 36) & Maryse (Maryse Ouellet-Mizanin, 34) announced at the 9/11 Raw that they were having their first child. The two kept it very close to the vest, as only a few people knew about it ahead of time. The talent and almost the entire staff pretty much found out when they made the announcement as they didn’t want the word to leak before they announced it themselves

Nikki Bella was at Raw and filmed a segment in the ring to promote her on “Dancing with the Stars.” It didn’t air on the show but she was in the ring with her partner with “Dancing with the Stars” shown on the screen. That goes head-to-head with Raw so that’s interesting. In the past, when Stacy Keibler and Jericho did the show, WWE didn’t promote it much. With Keibler, they gave up promoting it a few weeks in when they figured, and correctly, that Keibler wasn’t going to return

Expect Ashley (Charlotte) Flair to be out promoting her book, actually a dual autobiography with Ric Flair called “Second Nature.” The book is about her life, as well as Ric’s life, primarily after 2004 but covering the period before. It’s very different from his first book in the sense that this is very much a WWE-speak book as opposed to his first book which Mark Madden had a major part in which felt more of a Ric-speak book. But there’s a lot in there about Ric coping with the death of Reid and his issues with drinking which worsened after his son’s death, both of them going through failed marriages (three by Ric since his first book was out, two by her) and how wrestling went from something she did at first as something she could do together with her brother, then went from being able to fulfill her brother’s dream, to being her own dream

Flair was all dressed up and did an interview on 9/11 which was for People magazine. One would think there would be something done as well at some point to update the 30 for 30 piece which at last word was to be out in November on ESPN

It is interesting that they haven’t put Charlotte on television since the situation with Ric. She did shoot a backstage interview about him but given the interest level, it surprises me they’ve gone the other direction. It’s not as if Flair’s name isn’t mentioned on a lot of the shows about getting better. Part of it looks to be that she’s out of the current storylines which really involve Carmella as the focal point and Carmella and Naomi threatening Natalya’s title and Tamina getting the monster push. The one thing about wrestling, as it’s become more scripted, has become less fluid about is when real life comes, calling audibles based on certain things that the public has interest in

The trio of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly look to be doing an NWO reprise as the outsider type group. Based on a new T-shirt that has come out, it appears the groups name will be The Undisputed Era, and also be called CFO (Cole, Fish & O’Reilly)

The 2017 version of Tribute to the Troops will be taped as part of the 12/5 Smackdown tapings in San Diego. This will be the eighth year in a row the show was taped in the U.S. as part of regular tapings after a run from 2003 to 2009 where they went overseas to military bases and did the show in makeshift arenas. We were told wrestlers from both the Raw and Smackdown brands will be appearing on the show as things stand right now, although WWE would not confirm that as the date of the taping. However that date makes it difficult as I’m not sure you can do a show on a Tuesday night in San Diego and be in Abu Dhabi, where the Raw crew is scheduled, on a Wednesday their time.

Styles was at the 9/9 NWA Wildside reunion show in Cornelia, GA. Styles wrestled regularly in that arena when he was starting his career

Glen Jacobs, in his run for Mayor of Knox County, is bringing in Arn Anderson and Ricky Morton, as well as Tom Prichard, for a campaign appearance on 9/21 in Knoxville

Eddie Colon (Primo), 34, who has been out of action since June due to knee surgery, should be back imminently. Epico has been kept off television although has been working the house shows regularly with Primo out of action. It is possible they could be the mystery team plugged into the Breezango storyline that has stalled and gone into reverse, although there are still those in the company who have said the plan when the storyline was first executed was Harper & Rowan back together, and they have also not been used on television in months

There was someone who gets all the WWE finishes that made a killing at SummerSlam because not enough smart money came for them to adjust the line, and also, none of the actual finishes were changed at the last minute. He did a $3.36 parlay on ten matches, all of which he got right, and won $45,600. That was a key thing where I mentioned after the show that a lot of the gambling sites were considering dropping WWE because insiders that knew could make a lot of money and that level money was ridiculous. The company that got hammered hasn’t done parlays in a long time, and won’t be doing them again. It was noted that the one guy alone may kill the landscape because companies don’t want to open themselves up for those kind of losses in what is usually considered a minor fun thing of having odds on pro wrestling matches. It also should be noted that there are WWE talents betting heavily which is where some sites recognize and switch the odds when those bets come in

Lawler did his first double-shot in probably 20 years or more on 9/9, as he first wrestled Matt Riviera on a show in Dyresburg, TN, and then went to Jackson, TN, that evening to wrestle Carlito

Jeff Hardy will be doing a concert with his band “Peroxwhy?Gen” on 9/30 in Clarksville, TN at the O’Connors Irish Pub

Liv Morgan, the former girlfriend of Enzo, posted something on Twitter about being happy that she’s single because it means nobody is cheating on me

Raw on 9/18 will be from San Jose as the go-home show for No Mercy. Interestingly, at press time neither Cena nor Lesnar are being advertised. The advance for the show was disappointing and at this point it was expected to be a similar sized crowd as Anaheim. Bliss vs. Jax is the only match announced. Lesnar not being on the go-home Raw for a show that he’s in the main event of is strange, and this was WWE’s choice regarding days, as evidently they would have rather he be in Anaheim, near Los Angeles, and to shoot the last angle 13 days out rather than in San Jose, six days out. Lesnar and Heyman did shoot footage that will air on the 9/18 show. Why, after delaying Bliss vs. Jax for months and it being the most anticipated women’s match on the brand, are they doing the first singles match? Even if Jax wins a non-title on television before the PPV to set up a singles match later on the PPV, the first meeting should have been the title match on PPV. Smackdown on 9/19 will be in Oakland

Eric Young was recognized by the provincial legislature in Ontario on 9/11. During the meeting he was praised, using his stage name, for representing Ontario and then brought up his winning of the NXT tag team titles and they also mentioned the championships he had won in TNA

The stock closed at $21.88 per share at press time giving the company a $1.69 billion market value

Notes from the 9/11 tapings in Anaheim. It was a good show built once again around Cena vs. Reigns on promos, which was similar but not as noteworthy as the first two weeks. The Miz/Enzo segment was weird, as that got really inside to the point that I’m guessing much of the audience has no idea what they were talking about with the stuff about Enzo being kicked off the tour bus and such. Miz was great but that segment was like the Twilight Zone. You have the heels announcing their engagement, which is a clear face move, and then the face interrupts them and acts like a total jerk. Then they tell the fans the face is pretty much a jerk in real life to where nobody can stand him. They all but say he didn’t go to 205 Live to go after Neville’s title, since he’s getting the next shot, but that he was demoted to the brand, which just reinforced the perception of 205 Live. The funny part was when Reigns was talking about doing his job and ticket sales being the guy, and he said Cena hadn’t sold tickets in five years (Cena is still the only name on the roster who adds to ticket sales, even more on Smackdown as this latest Raw run the last few weeks is the first time I haven’t really noticed any difference but statistically for the last seven years he’s been good for a 20 to 27 percent increase in tickets sales at house shows, which is huge in any era, and even more impressive in this “brand is the draw” era). However, Reigns said it when they only drew 7,000 fans to Raw, and led to photos with the top tarped off and it being less than full in the bottom decks being sent around. Rhyno pinned Wilder in the first Main Event match in 5:42. Rhyno got a good reaction and won with a spinebuster. WWE clearly feels it’s okay to beat half of a future pushed tag team in a singles match on television. The other bout on Main Event was the only cruiserweight bout on the show, as Ali & Dorado & Metalik beat Dar & Daivari & Nese in 9:07 when Ali pinned Dar after the inverted 450. There was a triple dive right before the finish. The match got no more reaction than it would have gotten on 205 Live. Raw started with a 9/11 tribute and then it was Reigns over Jordan in 15:17. They are doing the best job possible now with Jordan in putting him into these very good matches where he gets a lot of near falls but still loses. Reigns wouldn’t shake hands with him to start the match, to build up when he did shake hands with him after. They were called Jordan “Gold blooded” Jason Jordan. The more they push the Angle thing, the more of an uphill climb it’ll be because it was established by week two that nobody buys it and they are just pushing harder. There was a cool spot where Reigns went for the Superman punch but Jordan caught him with a Fujiwara armbar and then a crossface. Jordan did some overhead suplexes and a high dropkick that nailed Reigns in the chin. The crowd wasn’t as hot as it was last week for the Cena match but that was an issue the whole night as this was a better match than the week before. The crowd did get into the two straight Northern Lights suplex near fall, which also got over the week before in Omaha. The crowd should have been way hotter late in the match when Jordan got the crossface again. Reigns won with the Superman punch and the spear. Cena was backstage and said he was coming out to say things to Reigns’ face. Cena came out with two mics and threw Reigns one. He called Jordan a rookie like Reigns did. He’s been wrestling steadily since 2012 so he’s had a longer than average career if he was an NFL player. Reigns said that he was having a great match with Jordan, something Cena knows nothing about. Keep in mind this is all scripted so don’t get all mad at Reigns for saying that Cena never has good matches. It was somebody on the writing team who thought this would get Reigns over, which is always the goal. And Vince had to approve it. Reigns said he’s had more great matches in two years than Cena has had in his entire career. Cena said that Reigns thinks he’s responsible for all the success of WWE because nobody ever cut him down to size. He said Reigns fails and fails. The thing is, when this program is finally all said and done, it ends the same way as Cena vs. Rock, where Cena endorses Reigns as the new top guy. Reigns said that maybe he was selling the tickets that Cena hasn’t sold in five years. Yes, factually, Cena is a much bigger drawing card than Reigns and always has been. Reigns said that ticket sales were great and revenue is sky high. Revenue is sky high because TV rights fees escalate, and live attendance is fine, although they did pick the wrong night to talk about it given the attendance at this show was very weak by Raw standards for such a major market. It could be that all the market fans figured that the Staples Center show is the big one and skipped this one, although that doesn’t explain San Jose and Las Vegas sales. Well, it is September, and the reality is September has always been a bad month for live wrestling ticket sales. Reigns said that WWE can make it without Cena, which clearly it can, and that WWE doesn’t need Cena, but Cena needs WWE because without WWE Cena can’t break into Hollywood. Reigns said that if you need any help to get into Hollywood, “I know a guy.” That’s supposed to be the reference to Dwayne Johnson. Cena then finished by saying that at No Mercy, “Consider me like a drug test, you aren’t getting past me.” That was in reference to Reigns’ failed drug test last year for Adderall. Banks beat Emma in 7:18 with the bank statement. Emma was the one of the four in the title match who to most fans doesn’t belong in the match because the other three have gotten pushes. So she’s the one who needs help in the pre-match build. Oh well. Bliss was on commentary and Jax came out as well. Jax said that she loves Bliss, but doesn’t like her very much right now. Heyman & Lesnar were out. Heyman said that his job is to sell you on something that he thinks has already been sold, which is the Lesnar vs. Strowman match. He called Strowman the single most worthy challenger in ages. He said that for the first time since the WrestleMania match with Undertaker, Lesnar goes into a fight as the underdog in a one-on-one match. He noted Strowman put Lesnar through two tables at SummerSlam, and that Lesnar is facing someone who is bigger than he is and more powerful than he is, but asked if Strowman was badder than the baddest man on the planet. He even pushed that Strowman reminds him of Lesnar in 2002, when he came in and beat Rock, Hogan, Flair, RVD (who he called Mr. ECW getting a plug in for his own history) and Undertaker. He asked Strowman if he was willing to cross the borders of the safety of sports entertainment to the hostile grounds known as suplex city. Heyman called Strowman out. Strowman came out. They went at it. Lesnar finally hit the German suplex on Strowman, which in their match, Lesnar never hit the suplex on him. Strowman popped right back up. Lesnar looked shocked. Strowman choke slammed Lesnar and then powerslammed Lesnar and left him laying again. He grabbed the belt and posed holding it up. Wyatt pinned Goldust in 2:04 with Sister Abigail. It seems like whatever ideas there were for Goldust as far as having a protégé that he talked about last month are gone, since he talked about scouting at SummerSlam and nothing has been talked about since. Wyatt then used a cloth and wiped all the paint off Goldust’s face. Balor then came out for the save and Wyatt ran off. Sheamus & Cesaro were out and said that Gallows & Anderson, who they were facing next, were more of a threat than Rollins & Ambrose. They said Rollins & Ambrose were a great team, but it’s easy to be a team when things are going your way. The real test will come at No Mercy when they bring the bar down on them. Sheamus & Cesaro have been called The Bar as their team name, but are never introduced that way and they don’t shove the name down your throat like would normally be the case. Cesaro said that at their core, Ambrose & Rollins are each selfish and self-serving. At this point Rollins & Ambrose attacked Sheamus & Cesaro. Anderson & Gallows came out and all three teams went at it. It looked like it was building to a three-way. There was a pull-apart and then they announced the Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Anderson & Gallows match wasn’t going to take place. It didn’t seem to make sense since neither team was injured or anything that would cause the match not to take place. Rollins & Ambrose then did an interview wanting to face both teams. Angle said that he couldn’t put them in such a comprising position so close to the PPV. It’s 13 days away, and they book people in matches constantly before PPVs. Angle said he would put them in an eight-man tag match against Cesaro & Sheamus & Anderson & Gallows if they could get two partners. Immediately the crowd began chanting “Delete, Delete” so they knew what was coming. They made the official announcement of Asuka to Raw. Bliss complained to Jax about Asuka coming. Bliss then apologized for not giving Jax a title shot sooner and wanted them to go back to being best friends. But Jax said that she did something that may make Bliss not want to be her friend, as she asked Angle for a singles match against Bliss on next week’s show. Elias was out singing that Anaheim sucks. This led to Elias beating Kalisto in 4:25 with drift away. Kalisto really should be on 205 Live given they aren’t doing anything with him elsewhere and he is talented. Booker talked about how Elias has every single attribute a promoter would want a wrestler to have. He’s got the look and he can get easy heat insulting the local city playing guitar, but when you talk about the most important attributes, he’s completely unproven at this point. Plus, he’s yet to prove he can keep the audiences attention or have top caliber matches. Cena beat Strowman via DQ in 13:01. This was their first-ever meeting, done with a few hours notice. I can believe they’d give this away with no build because they seem to be giving every first match away as quick as possible, but it still makes no sense. Plus, when it was over, there was no purpose for this. There was no angle coming out of it. The finish was just a way out, and also a finish that made no sense in the idea that Strowman hit Cena with the ring steps right in front of the ref and no DQ was called, and then powerslammed Cena on the steps and a DQ was called. The match was just getting Strowman over and while Cena is bullet-proof, it was weird to put him in a match where he’d come off so weak looking prior to his match with Reigns, which is his biggest singles match in a long time. Cena mostly sold. Cena threw a lousy looking dropkick and Strowman came back with one only slightly better, but anytime a guy Strowman’s size throws a dropkick the crowd is going to pop. Cena collapsed the first time he tried the Attitude Adjustment. Cena made a comeback, did the “You can’t see me,” and then walked into a spinebuster. He finally hit the Attitude Adjustment but Strowman rolled out of the ring. This led to the finish. Cena was left on his back. Reigns said that the monster wouldn’t show Cena any mercy and neither would he. Ambrose & Rollins asked The Hardys to team with them. Next came one of the most bizarre segments in a long time. This was right out of WCW when they were lost. Miz & Maryse, the top heel couple, announced they were having a baby. Miz was doing a speech about what a great dad he was going to be when Enzo interrupted. You couldn’t be more of an asshole, yet this is the guy in their storylines they are using as the top babyface of their cruiserweight division. Miz buried him, acting like an honest man, saying Enzo doesn’t know when to shut his mouth and that’s why he gets kicked out of tour buses and locker rooms. Like the audience in the building knows Enzo was kicked out of tour buses and locker rooms. They think he’s some lovable guy who gets beat up every week but allows them to sing along with him because he does the exact same promo every week for three years, but with such a great delivery. Miz said that nobody in the locker room can stand him. He said that he has been in the same shoes, but he regrouped and earned respect. Miz said he sees so much talent in Enzo, but he makes mistake after mistake. Miz is out there giving him the honest veteran advice to help dig him out of a ditch, and he’s supposed to be the heel. He said all Enzo cares about is hanging around with third rate rappers and said Enzo is nothing but a con artist with a few catchphrases. Enzo then said that he was real, while all Miz was is a copy of Jericho and Flair, that he was original and Miz wasn’t. Miz then wanted to fight him. Another ridiculous nature of this scripted promo is that Miz outright said that Enzo didn’t leave to do 205 Live, but that he had to leave because everyone wanted him gone. Well, granted, that made no sense since Enzo is on all the same shows on the road and Raw every week, so he’s not gone from anywhere. He’s just working an extra day on Tuesday and is challenging for a title rather than being a doormat who is the butt of the creative team’s jokes about laughing at him talk big and then getting beaten up every week while the fans cheer for him anyway. It was bad about somewhat burying the division when Enzo was a doormat on Raw and then immediately is the top star on 205 Live, but that’s fan appeal reality. But if the goal was for Enzo to be the top star on 205 Live, they should have given him some credibility before going over there. Miz vs. Enzo was a bad match built around both grabbing the mic and doing commentary. Enzo said to Miz that you need to ask your baby who is daddy is. He’s the babyface, worked the match as the babyface, and he said that. Miz, the heel, then went crazy about insulting his unborn child, and went crazy, as he should. Then, to make sure Miz is the heel even though everything he did was be a babyface, the finish was Axel & Dallas interfering for the DQ in 3:01. Then they all left Enzo laying. Neville confronted Enzo backstage and was laughing at him. Main event saw Hardys & Rollins & Ambrose over Sheamus & Cesaro & Gallows & Anderson in 13:14. They were all brawling before the bell. Fans were chanting “delete” while Ambrose was in the ring being beaten up. Cesaro had Ambrose pinned at one point and Matt was supposed to make the save. It looked like Matt either reacted late, or got tangled in the ropes, or both, but he didn’t get there and Ambrose didn’t know he wasn’t getting there so didn’t kick out, so the ref had to hold up his count at two, which looked real bad. Ambrose hot tagged Rollins who did a tope on Gallows. They went to the finish were Jeff and Matt each gave Gallows the twist of fate, and then Rollins landed the knee on Anderson and Ambrose followed with Dirty Deeds on Anderson to get the pin.

Notes from the 9/12 Smackdown tapings in Las Vegas. The show, which drew 4,000, opened with a dark match as Zayn pinned English. Smackdown opened with Owens out. Owens talked about how he was going to sue WWE and own this place. He said that people should note that he never fought back against Shane because he chose not to fight back, because people don’t realize it, but he respects authority (which of course was meant to show to be BS with his attacking Vince later). He said he was suing everyone in WWE, every member of the McMahon family, until Smackdown becomes the Kevin Owens show. He said that then he would make changes, and some people would be fired. He sad the first person he was firing is Zayn. He would also cancel the Fashion Files because he hates the show. He called out Vince. Instead, Shane’s music played, but it was Ziggler acting like Shane. They both laughed. Bryan came out. Owens said that he’d give Bryan a job as a janitor when he takes over. Bryan said he had no problem with hard work, but that Owens won’t like what Mr. McMahon has to say. Owens said he couldn’t wait because Mr. McMahon won’t like what he has to say. Styles retained the U.S. title over Dillinger in 7:16. This was booked to be a competitive match and was good while it lasted. Corbin came out and Styles nailed Corbin with the phenomenal forearm. Dillinger went for a schoolboy for the near fall which the crowd bought. They also reacted when he hit the Tye-breaker on Styles, but Styles kicked out. Styles then rolled into the calf crusher for the submission. Corbin then attacked Styles after the match, and also beat down Dillinger. He laid Styles out with the End of Days on the floor and Corbin told Styles that he would be his opponent next week. Dasha Fuentes was even more robotic than usual in setting a record for least amount of believability in reading lines. Obviously the decision has been made that because she has such a pretty face that nothing else matters. She talked to Rusev. Rusev said he went home to Bulgaria (I wonder what all the fans who go to live events, or pay attention, like only your most loyal audience thinks when they do this stuff) but that everyone looked at him with shame, like he was a loser, because he lost to Orton in ten seconds. He said that he lost his killer instinct but he knows what he has to do to get it back. We all do. Have them book you with Enzo. He said that he has to break a legend. Mahal came out. So this was the bad joke segment. He was out there and they showed photos of Nakamura on the screen. He was doing jokes like Nakamura’s facials are because he’s constipated. Then he and the Singhs would laugh like crazy with the Singhs rolling on the mat in laughter while most of the audience was in silence. Mahal then talked about how all the crowd was laughing at this, even though almost none of them were. The idea is he was telling Nakamura that he shouldn’t even want to be champion, because the xenophobic American swill treat Nakamura the same way they treat him. He made another joke that Nakamura looks like Pikachu having a seizure, and made some Michael Jackson jokes as well. He told Nakamura that winning the title isn’t worth the suffering you’ll go through from the crowd. Owens was backstage saying he was making plans for when he takes over. He saw Zayn and talked about them wrestling in armories during blizzards and how Zayn is getting fired and will have to go back to that. It’s so weird how they try and make their own stars seem like nobodies who are lucky enough to work for WWE because they can’t make money elsewhere. Basically you’re telling the public that your stars aren’t really stars, they are just normal guys who are lucky they got picked to have jobs. But people want to pay money for stars, not every day guys who just get picked to perform. New Day, as in Kingston & Big E, regained the tag titles for a fourth time beating the Usos in 11:21 in a Las Vegas street fight. If the idea is for the New Day to break the Dudleys record for title runs, they have to win and lose it regularly. This was a great match. Kingston took a backdrop on the floor. The Usos used chairs and kendo sticks on Big E. Jey took a nasty bump to the floor where he could have gotten hurt. E worked alone and was beaten down by both since it was worked like a tornado match. Kingston recovered and did a dive on both Usos but they caught him and threw him into the barricade. E hit Jimmy with a belly-to-belly overhead suplex on the floor and threw Jey over the announcers table. E hit Jey with the big ending but Jimmy saved. After a double superkick by the Usos on E, they went to the top. Kingston then shoved Jey off the top rope and through a table. Kingston & E hit the double-team midnight hour on Jimmy and E pinned him. They showed Rousey at ringside to promote the Mae Young Classic. Natalya retained the women’s title over Naomi in 7:10. Carmella was out with Ellsworth on commentary. Ellsworth had a dog collar on and was on a leash like he was a dog. Natalya was arguing with Carmella and Ellsworth. Naomi did a springboard dive onto all of them. However, Natalya threw Naomi in the post and made her submit to the sharpshooter. This was good while it lasted. English was backstage singing. Owens showed up and English started singing a new song for the opening of the new Kevin Owens TV show. Some fans cheered him. Ziggler came out for a promo saying he was the greatest in-ring performer in WWE history but the fans like all the people who have the elaborate ring entrances who can’t even lace his boots. He went backstage and came out to Bayley’s music and doing her mannerisms. Fans had been pretty cold to this gimmick so far, but they did cheer this one at worst. Then he talked about how there was a superstar who didn’t have anywhere near his athletic ability but all the fans idolized him. He then came out as Ultimate Warrior, to his music, with a half-mask on running all over the ring and shaking the ropes. The people didn’t really react to this. He said that anyone could do what he just did, which was come out to Warrior’s music, but nobody can do what he does in the ring. This wasn’t quite as bad as the first week he did this gimmick, but it still felt like a waste of time. The idea was meant to get heat on Ziggler, which it really didn’t, since Bayley and Dana Warrior were in the audience while this was happening. It was notable Ziggler running down Warrior for being unathletic and other things with his widow in the front row. Gable & Benjamin beat Ryder & Rawley in 2:26 when Gable pinned Ryder after a sky high bulldog. Tom Phillips talked about Gable & Benjamin being possible contenders for the tag titles, noting how the Usos looked good in defending their titles earlier in the show. Well, except they lost them in that match. Ryder walked out on Rawley. They teased a split of them ever since Ryder came back. Ryder looks to be the heel since he walked out and blamed Rawley for losing when he was the one who got pinned. Bryan was backstage with Vince. Owens came out for the final segment of the show. Vince then came out. First he said the story that Owens wouldn’t fight back against Shane wasn’t true, and that he didn’t fight back because he couldn’t fight back because Shane was beating his ass. He then told Owens that Owens wasn’t going to sue him, because the minute he files suit, he’s going to call up Owens’ attorney and tell him that you’re fired. He then asked Owens if he knows how many times he’s been sued and asked him how many he’s lost. He said “not one.” I guess he’s forgotten about Chuck Austin and Jesse Ventura which were high profile losses and some major out of court settlements over the years. He was quite successful in keeping Lesnar out of New Japan and MMA for all those years as well. He said that if he sues, it’ll take years before it ever goes to court and by that time you’ll be bankrupt. I guess that’s meant as a message to C.M. Punk. He said that he didn’t suspend Shane for putting his hands on Owens, but he suspended him for not finishing the job. He said there would be no lawsuit, but there would be a Hell in a Cell match with Owens vs. Shane. Owens seemed fine with not suing, but wanted Vince to give him his word that he wouldn’t fire him after he beat his son senseless in Hell in a Cell. Vince said that he’s got his word. They shook hands. Then they started taunting each other while Vince put the squeeze on and wouldn’t let Owens go. That’s when Owens head-butted him and destroyed him. This was a great angle under any circumstances but even better because they do so few angles like this. Next was the Mae Young Finals where Kairi Sane pinned Shayna Baszler. 205 Live followed with Rich Swann and TJP backstage. TJP made a comment about how losing was going to effect Swann. Swann said it wasn’t going to effect him because he wasn’t going to lose. Swann pinned TJP in 12:01 of their usual really good match with little heat. Swann did a flip bodyblock off the apron. Vic Joseph pointed out that TJP wasn’t favoring his knee at all and brought up the idea the knee injury was fake. Nigel McGuinness claimed that TJP had just made a miraculous recovery. Swann nearly landed on his head on a back suplex. They went back-and-forth with near falls until Swann got the pin with a Phoenix splash. The two shook hands after the match but TJP made it obvious he was mad. Vic Joseph pushed that with this win Swann could be in line for a title shot. Backstage, Mustafa Ali complained to Cedric Alexander about Enzo. He said that Alexander dominated the elimination match last week but Enzo stole the win. Alexander said that he was fine. Kendrick came out and said that Alexander lets people walk all over him. He said that Enzo outsmarted all those guys and told Alexander that he reminds him of Jack Gallagher, and said this generation of wrestlers is spineless, that they have a lot of talent but don’t have what it takes. Gulak was in the ring. He said that Tozawa wasn’t there because he’s overseas, which he was. He went to continue his Power Point presentation about things that should change in 205 Live. He said he wanted the matches to be held in complete silence. What a rib that line was, since most of them are. Then Breezango’s music played and they came out. The fans gave them a huge reaction, really as big or bigger than they’d get on Smackdown. It reminded me of when main roster guys who weren’t over would show up at Full Sail and the crowd would go crazy. Breezango came off like they were big stars here. Fandango called Gulak Captain Underpants, so they are desperate to get fans to chant that. They made fun of his trunks. He said he didn’t have time for this and went to leave. As he walked past Fandango, Breeze said that he had assaulted an officer and they handcuffed him. They did a spoof on reading him his Miranda Rights, with terms like “You have the right to remain stylish.” Gulak tried to run away but he got tripped and fell down. The crowd was into that segment. With Neville and Enzo gone, they replayed highlights of Enzo’s stuff with Miz and his backstage thing with Neville. Kendrick vs. Alexander in the main event had a surprise ending with Gallagher going heel. Kendrick undid the padding on the connecting turnbuckle. He then rammed Alexander throat first into it. Alexander was on the ground selling like he was hurt. Gallagher’s music played and he walked down the ramp. Kendrick ran out of the ring and grabbed the ring bell. Gallagher got in the ring and put his foot on the ring bell. He teased hitting Kendrick with his umbrella. But instead, he attacked Alexander with it for the turn. People didn’t know what to make of it. Kendrick acted like he was stunned by all this. Gallagher laid out Alexander with a head-butt and he and Kendrick shook hands to end the show. In the dark match main event, Orton & Nakamura beat Mahal & Corbin when Orton pinned Corbin after an RKO while Nakamura used the Kinshasa on Mahal

Notes from the 9/6 NXT TV show. The show was pretty much a routine type show for the first 35 or so minutes with a good main event with Hideo Itami vs. Kassius Ohno, and a strong Asuka farewell segment. It’s notable that they never mentioned her injury on television, clearly that was by instruction and she wasn’t selling it either, even though it was that injury which was the catalyst of her giving up the title, since she was going to be out of action for some time. They also didn’t, on television talk about how they’d fill the vacancy, although really that shouldn’t be until the next show. Andrade Cien Almas pinned Cesar Bononi in 2:51. Bononi had pinned Almas when they were doing his storyline about partying all the time and not paying attention to work. Zelina Vega was doing commentary and got mad at Percy Watson when he asked if there was more to their relationship than business. This isn’t exactly a new take, because people have been saying it for years, but Vega looks like Trish Stratus’s younger sister. Almas won the DDT and not much to it. William Regal gave a speech about how there would be no more jumping people in parking lots, or at the Performance Center. He said that Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole and Bobby Fish can be in NXT but they have to keep their action in the ring. None of the three have yet to work on the house shows tours yet. Kayla Braxton was wanting to interview Asuka, but Velveteen Dream came out and told her that he would speak very soon. You know, while he was speaking. Lars Sullivan destroyed three guys who were never named in 1:18. The one thing about guys like Sullivan who are unique physical specimens, with his giant proportions and monster legs and such, is that it gets over much better live than on television. The physical impressiveness isn’t at obvious watching on television. When you watch the fans at a live show react to him, you think he’s going to be a superstar in the not-too-distant future. But when you watch television, it’s not quite as clear. Sullivan kept beating on the three guys after the match until No Way Jose came out. That set up a future match. Johnny Gargano did an interview. He said that he lost focus in the Takeover match with Almas. That was the one where the finish was Vega throwing in a DIY T-shirt which distracted Gargano. Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli came out, so they are going to start being pushed on television as a regular team. They told Gargano to find a tag team partner since they don’t think he could make it as a singles guy. Gargano instead challenged either one to a singles match. They showed a video for Sonya Deville. It’s notable that they now have Deville, Shayna Baszler and Taynara Conti at the very least all doing women shooter gimmicks. Conti isn’t ready for television but has the look. Deville is farther along and younger than Baszler although Baszler has more personality. They showed a Sanity video. Deville beat Zeda in 1:43. They pushed Zeda (formerly Julia Ho) as having a real fighting background as well but it was booked as a squash. Deville sold nothing and landed a knee, then got a triangle and armbar for the submission. They showed Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch training together in the ring at the Performance Center with Regal watching and looking pleased, so maybe they are going to get them up and running as a tag team. Ruby Riot came up to Regal and wanted a handicap match against Billie Kay and Peyton Royce since they both keep interfering in each others’ matches. Regal said that he couldn’t give her a handicap match, but would give her a tag team match and told her to pick a partner and she’s got a tag team mach coming. Kassius Ohno pinned Hideo Itami in 10:19 in a no DQ match. Good match, story telling heavy for the time they were given. Itami brought in a chair. Ohno went for his rolling elbow but Itami blocked it with the chair, so Ohno was selling the elbow. Ohno used finishers like the axe bomber, the shining wizard and a senton but couldn’t put Ohno away. Ohno nailed the rolling elbow but it knocked Itami out of the ring. Ohno hit him with another elbow, but was selling the elbow. Itami used a fisherman suplex on the ramp and a running low dropkick into a chair into Ohno’s face. Itami had him up for the GTS, but Ohno gave him a blatant low blow and hit the rolling elbow for the pin. The low blow made storyline sense since Itami had given Ohno a low blow to win their first match, and that’s what led Ohno to issue a no DQ challenge. Itami was bleeding from the month. They announced for next week, Riot and a partner vs. Kay & Royce and Pete Dunne vs. Wolfgang for the U.K. title. The final segment was the Asuka farewell. Regal called her out and said she had been there for two years. The best woman wrestler on the roster, the one with the most experience in big match situations, spent the ages of 34 to 36 in developmental rather than the main roster. I mean, I can see nine months to adapt and such, but it’s not like it wasn’t clear on day one she was ready. The funny thing is when all is said and done, it wouldn’t surprise me if the thing she ends up being most known for is this run in NXT rather than what she does after. Regal announced that they have started negotiations with Raw and Smackdown. Everyone cheered for that, which is good since this Full Sail crowd cheered for someone improving their situation even though it means they won’t see them as much if at all. Then they booed when they announced she was vacating her title. I mean, wouldn’t the first thing imply the second? They had all of the women come to watch on the ramp, as well as a lot of the guys and the referees. It built to a spot where Ember Moon came into the ring. Asuka wanted to shake hands but Moon pulled away, but then Moon went to hug her, so essentially that was meant as the ending to the Asuka vs. Moon story. Moon never did get her win but she is positioned as Asuka’s key rival. It was really well done. HHH then came out and gave her flowers and put her o ver and that was the ending to the show

NXT canceled its Florida shows this past weekend and next weekend due to Hurricane Irma. They did run three out of the area shows. 9/7 in Rochester, NY drew 850 fans, with Dillinger and Roode both appearing on the show. Dillinger pinned Kona Reeves in 9:00 in the opener. Ember Moon & Aliyah beat Mandy Rose & Vanessa Borne in 8:19 when Moon pinned Borne. Johnny Gargano pinned Killian Dain with a roll-up in 9:56. Gargano looked great. Aleister Black pinned Hideo Itami in 9:08. Itami got busted open during the match and half his face was covered in blood. Basically a rushed version of their Takeover match. Roode pinned Velveteen Dream in 14:19. They played a game to see how long they could go without touching and reached 7:00. But they got great heat. Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe kept the tag titles over Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli in 10:31. Nikki Cross pinned Lacey Evans in 7:54. Main event saw Drew McIntyre retain the title over Andrade Cien Almas in 19:16. Best match on the show with lots of hard chops. McIntyre led the crowd in NXT chants after the match

9/8 in St. Catharines, ONT was similar. The show drew 1,700 fans. Gargano pinned Dain in 11:50 with a cradle off the one-winged angel. Aliyah & Lacey Evans beat Rose & Borne in 9:30. Aliyah got the pin over Borne with a Northern lights suplex, probably getting a rare pin win since she’s from Ontario. Still, Rose was the most over of the four even though she was supposed to be a heel. Black pinned Itami with black mass when Itami was distracted as the ref pulled a kendo stick away from him in 12:00 . Dillinger beat Dream. They billed Dillinger from St. Catharines, even though he’s usually billed from Niagara Falls. He actually is from St. Catharines. Fans were chanting Laura Secord, which was the high school he went to. He started laughing. At least they weren’t chanting the name of his high school girlfriend. Dream was getting heat doing Bret Hart mannerisms. So then Dillinger used a sharpshooter to beat him in 13:30. Dillinger then promised to beat Styles for the U.S. title. Not sure if anyone believed that. Young & Wolfe beat Moss & Sabbatelli. Fans were chanting for Young, since he’s from Toronto in 10:00 when Young pinned Sabbatelli. Moon pinned Cross with the eclipse in 8:00 of a nothing match. McIntyre retained the title in a three-way over Roode and Almas. Roode got the biggest pop on the show. They announced this match was part of his NXT farewell tour. McIntyre pinned Almas with the Claymore kick in 12:00. McIntyre then apologized for coming out late, saying he was so worried about his wife and family in Florida. Fans were chanting “Thank You Bobby” and he said even though he’s on Smackdown, that NXT is the best wrestling company to work for

The finals show of the tour was 9/9 in Toronto at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, which sits on the grounds that used to be the old Maple Leaf Gardens, the home of Toronto pro wrestling dating back to the 1930s. The show drew 1,287 fans, which surprised me since NXT is far hotter than ROH, but both ROH and Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore outdrew NXT in Toronto, one of the hottest wrestling markets in North America, and the show was built around Dillinger and Roode, both from Ontario. Dillinger pinned Reeves with the Tye-breaker. Fans chanted “Who are you?” at Reeves. Moon & Aliyah beat Rose &

Borne. Aliyah got the hometown pop. Aliyah pinned Borne with the fisherman suplex so they put her over in her home even though Moon is the bigger star with the brand. Gargano pinned Dain in a pretty good match. Gargano got the pin after a superkick. Black pinned Itami in a really good match with the same finish they did the night before. Black had new gear, pants instead of tights. Black took a bump where he basically stood on his head for about ten seconds. This was said to be very good, but not on the level of their Takeover match. Roode pinned Dream with the glorious DDT. They pushed this as Roode’s last match in NXT, and noted he was ending his NXT run in Toronto, where he started his career and in the province that he’s from. Once again Dream was getting heat by doing Bret Hart mannerisms. This was said to be the best match from most reports, and had the most heat. Young & Wolfe beat Moss & Sabbatelli with a double-team neckbreaker and elbow drop combination and Wolfe pinned Moss. Cross pinned Evans. Evans came out waving the American flag, which, even though she’s a face on TV, they had to know that would make her a heel here. Cross won with a spinning neckbreaker. Cross worked the match as the face. But the crowd wasn’t into the match and most reports had it as the worst match. McIntyre pinned Almas to keep the title in the main event with the Claymore kick after hitting the double-arm DDT. Said to be very good. No Zelida Vega on the tour. The show ended with McIntyre saying what a great wrestling city Toronto is, but said he shouldn’t be the one addressing the crowd at the end of the show and called out Roode. Fans chanted for Roode and he talked about how he started his career in Toronto. He said the last 18 months of his career in NXT was the most satisfying period in his career. Roode said that this was no longer his NXT, that it’s “Your NXT.

. There were no main roster house shows scheduled this weekend to give talent time off since this week saw the Raw crew fly right after Raw in Anaheim to Australia for this week, and the Smackdown crew flew from Las Vegas to Honolulu to Osaka and then back

Raw opened its overseas tour on 9/13 in Christchurch, New Zealand, before a sellout of 5,500 fans. This show is likely to be the same as the rest of the Australia tour. Enzo, Neville and Tozawa were on the tour which is why none were on 205 Live this week. Banks was there so that’s why she wasn’t at the Mae Young Classic. Not on the tour were Cena, Rollins and the Hardys. There are issues with various countries due to Jeff’s drug conviction. They told everyone in attendance that they would be given two free months of the WWE Network, noting it was three free PPV shows. What’s notable is that the address given doesn’t require anyone to verify they attended a live show, so anyone in Australia or New Zealand could use the code. Angle was brought on the tour. Angle opened the tour introducing the show and setting up the Battle Royal for an IC title shot at Miz later in the show. The last four in the Battle Royal were Jordan, Ambrose, Dallas and Axel. Dallas & Axel dumped Ambrose, and then Jordan immediately dumped Dallas & Axel to win. Jordan got a good reaction to winning. Neville kept the cruiserweight title winning a three-way over Tozawa and Enzo, by pinning Tozawa. Enzo got a superstar reaction. Slater & Rhyno beat Sheamus & Cesaro when Rhyno pinned Cesaro after a spinebuster. This shows just how much the doctrine is overseas that faces always go over unless a title is involved. This match was said to feel like four jetlagged guys trying to get through a match. They had all flown 15 straight hours from Los Angeles to get to New Zealand and many had to do interviews and media when they arrived. Balor pinned Wyatt with the coup de grace. Said to be better than their TV and PPV matches were. Balor also appeared to have more merchandise with the Balor Club shirts than anyone on the show. Bliss won a five-way over James, Emma, Jax and Banks when she pinned James after a DDT. Jordan beat Miz via DQ in the IC title match when Dallas & Axel interfered. R-Truth and Ambrose ran in for the save. Angle then announced he was turning it into a six-man tag match. This ended when Ambrose pinned Miz. Miz got a ton of heat using old school heel tactics that he’s not allowed to do on TV like lengthy stalling. Maryse didn’t come on the tour. Main event saw Reigns pin Strowman in a street fight with a spear through a table set up in the corner. Both got mixed reactions. Reigns was booed as heavy as on TV, but wasn’t cheered that much either. Strowman dominated but Reigns did give him a Samoan drop through a table for a near fall. Nothing close to their PPV matches

The Smackdown crew running in Hawaii, Japan and China this week is advertising for Osaka on 9/16, Mahal vs. Nakamura for the WWE title, Styles vs. Owens for the U.S. title (yes, that contradicts the angle where Owens wasn’t supposed to get any more title shots), Orton vs. Rusev last man standing, New Day vs. Ziggler & Corbin for tag titles, Naomi & Charlotte & Lynch vs. Natalya & Tamina & Lana & Carmella 3 vs. 4, Zayn vs. English and Harper vs. Rowan. Asuka is scheduled to be in the faces corner.