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Posted 6/4/18 , edited 6/6/18
Here is the news of the week.

General sources are as normally credited to and and and and and and but please also note that all news and rumours are subject to updates and changes.

NXT Takeover: Chicago on Saturday, June 16 from Rosemont, Illinois

Additional Sources: Coming Soon


*NXT Championship Match: Aleister Black (C) vs. Lars Sullivan
*Street Fight: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
*NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed Era (C - Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong) vs. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
*Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream

Money in the Bank on Sunday, June 17 from Rosemont, Illinois

Additional Sources: and


*Men's Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Championship match contract
Qualified Participants: Braun Strowman (Raw), Finn Balor (Raw), Bobby Roode (Raw), Kevin Owens (Raw), The Miz (SmackDown), Rusev (SmackDown), one member of the New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E or Xavier Woods) & Samoa Joe
*Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a Women's Championship match contract
Qualified Participants: Ember Moon (Raw), Alexa Bliss (Raw), Natalya (Raw), Sasha Banks (Raw), Charlotte Flair (SmackDown), Becky Lynch (SmackDown), Lana (SmackDown) & Naomi (SmackDown)
*Raw Women's Championship Match: Nia Jax (C) vs. Ronda Rousey
*Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship: AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
*SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Carmella (C) vs. Asuka
*Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh)
*SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Bludgeon Brothers (C - Rowan & Harper) vs. The Club (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows)
*Sami Zayn vs. Bobby Lashley
*Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins (C) vs. Elias
*Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
*Raw Team Team Championship Match: The Deleter of Worlds (C - Woken Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt) vs. The B Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)

-Paul (HHH) Leveque launched a WWE performance center website that he hopes will become a starting point for athletes seeking a WWE career.

Madison Square Garden announced this morning that The Undertaker would make his first appearance in the legendary venue in eight years when WWE returns there for a Raw house show on July 7. The card will also feature Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey and Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. Elias for the Intercontinental title. Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Bobby Roode, Jinder Mahal, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Bayley, Dolph Ziggler, Matt Hardy, and Bray Wyatt are the other wrestlers advertised. The card goes up against both UFC 226 and the New Japan G-1 Special from the Cow Palace in San Francisco.

After indicating that he was retiring at the end of WrestleMania 33, Undertaker returned for a match against John Cena in New Orleans this year. It lasted for under three minutes and had a storyline where it wasn't officially announced as part of the WrestleMania card in advance. Undertaker also defeated Rusev in a casket match at the Greatest Royal Rumble in April.

As was previously announced, Ronda Rousey will be making her Madison Square Garden debut at the July 7th show. Advertising now lists her as facing Nia Jax in a Raw Women's Championship match. Whoever is champion heading into that will be decided when Rousey challenges for Jax's title at Money in the Bank on June 17th.

-The defamation trial involving Dr. Christopher Amann, CM Punk (Phil Brooks), and Colt Cabana (Scott Colton) continued Monday, which is fight week for Punk as takes on Mike Jackson this Saturday at UFC 225 in Chicago.

Ross Berman of WrestleZone attended Monday’s proceedings at the Cook County Courthouse and took extensive notes on the cross-examination of Punk along with his wife, AJ Lee, taking the stand and testifying.

Punk was asked about the lump, which it was determined last week was on his butt and not his lower back to explain why photos around this time didn’t show any marking. Punk said the lump formed in the fall of 2013. He never showed Dr. Samson the lump, but he did show it to Dr. Amann. Punk stated that in December 2013 the lump was the size of a quarter.

Punk stated he had a drainage procedure performed and felt discharge and fluid on his neck and back. He received an “excuse note” from Patrick Duffy, who was the physicians’ assistant that AJ Lee recommended to Punk and executed the drainage procedure. The note was produced in court and listed “possible staph” on it. He did confirm it was later diagnosed as a cyst.

Despite having a concussion and lump, Punk told SmackDown trainer Larry Heck that he was “physically fine” in a text message, although the date of this text was not stated. This would presumably be after the Royal Rumble which is where the concussion in question would have taken place during the clothesline spot from Kofi Kingston. His questioning concluded with Punk stating he never measured the lump or signed a HIPAA release.

AJ Lee took the stand. She began dating Punk in August 2013. She saw Punk’s lump several times and it was on his left butt cheek and saw it for the first time in August 2013, which would be earlier than Punk’s estimate of the fall of 2013. She stated it started out the size of a zit and was at its largest at the Royal Rumble in January 2014. She recommended Patrick Duffy to Punk and believed he was a doctor at the time. She added that she was surprised Dr. Amann didn’t see the lump as a problem earlier.

Lee’s testimony continued Monday afternoon with notes coming courtesy of Ross Berman at the courthouse on behalf of WrestleZone.

Lee described Punk’s lump as the size of a pimple in August 2013, with Punk stating it was painless at that time. By the Royal Rumble event in January 2014, she said the lump was the size of a “small fruit.” She later clarified she didn’t know the size of the lump when pressed and the fruit comparison was an estimate.

The next person to take the stand was a woman named Corrine, who is a massage therapist for Punk.

Corrine had seen Punk around 20 times for sessions, including on January 30th, 2014, which was four days after the Royal Rumble event.

She saw the lump and stated it was 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch raised on the left butt cheek. When she saw Punk next on April 24th, 2014, the lump was gone, and Punk told her it was a staph infection and he was “lucky to be alive.”

The day’s proceedings concluded with the announcement that closing arguments will occur on Tuesday and the jury will then deliberate a verdict.

-Brandon Howard at Wrestlenomics Radio recently listened to the “Art of the Wrestling” interviews from November 2014 with Colt Cabana and CM Punk. In an interesting note, Dr. Christopher Amann is never identified by name during the interviews. There was one person with the last name Amann who was mentioned, that being WWE lawyer Scott Amann, who has no relation to Dr. Amann.

-Tonight’s episode of Raw takes place from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas with Roman Reigns back on the show after being off last week. They have announced several matches in advance for tonight’s show:

*Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor
*Nia Jax vs. Natalya
*Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Roode
*Tag Team Battle Royal – the winner receiving a tag title match against The Deleter of Worlds [Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt]

-The SmackDown crew has a house show in Laredo, Texas tonight. AJ Styles is not listed in the advertising for the show but is scheduled for Tuesday’s television. The live event is headlined by The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan, along with a four-way with Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Big Cass vs. Shelton Benjamin for the United States. SAnitY is also listed in the advertising for the show and was on the road this past weekend.

-A new episode of WWE Photoshoot featuring The Godfather will air tonight on the WWE Network following Raw.

-The WWE is trying to push to get an Emmy for television and will be holding an event on Wednesday night in Southern California with many of the company's bigwigs including HHH, Stephanie McMahon, Ronda Rousey, Roman Reigns and the Bella Twins screening different events that they are pushing for nominations.

-U.K. wrestler Jinny has signed a WWE U.K. contract, which explains her Revolution Pro Women's title loss last night to Jamie Hayter. She won't be working any new dates for Revolution Pro, at least until her situation changes or politics change.

-NXT announced shows on 8/16 in Lowell, MA and 8/17 in Asbury Park, NJ, leading to the 8/18 Takeover show in Brooklyn.

-Two fatal four-way matches and a face-to-face segment have been announced for next week's go-home edition of Raw.

The two four-ways will feature all of Raw's participants in the Money in the Bank ladder matches. Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and Bobby Roode will face off in one of them, with Sasha Banks, Ember Moon, Alexa Bliss, and Natalya set for the other.

For the women's match, the WWE is questioning whether Bliss and Natalya will be able to compete after suffering storyline leg injuries. Bliss bailed on a six-woman tag tonight, leaving Banks & Moon behind against The Riott Squad until Bayley tried to sub in for her.

Natalya's storyline knee injury happened right before Nia Jax hit a Samoan drop to defeat her. Both Jax and Ronda Rousey checked on Natalya following the match, then argued as they tried to console her in the back. Jax insisted that she's Natalya's friend just as much as Rousey is.

Jax and Rousey will be involved in next week's face-to-face segment as part of the final build for Rousey challenging for Jax's Raw Women's Championship at Money in the Bank.

Strowman defeated Roode tonight, and Balor beat Owens by disqualification when Owens wouldn't stop stomping on him in the corner. Owens got a ladder out after the match and hesitated when going for a frog splash off it. Balor closed the show by hitting Owens with a Coup de Grace from the ladder.

**UPDATES for June 5/18**

-Triple H and Stephanie McMahon missed this week's Raw as they were in Los Angeles in advance of a WWE event this Wednesday as the company is holding a "For Your Consideration" panel discussion about the company in an attempt to get the company's TV nominated for an Emmy Award.

-On May 30, the WWE applied to register two 'NWO' trademarks. One for wrestling purposes, and another for clothing merchandise purposes.

-Oliver Luck, the former quarterback for the NFL’s Houston Oilers, has been named as the CEO and Commissioner of the XFL. Luck, who is the father of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, is leaving his job as the regulatory executive for the NCAA and was formerly the president of NFL Europe. In a press release, XFL founder Vince McMahon said,

"Oliver and I share the same vision and passion for reimaging the game of football. His experience as both an athlete and executive will ensure the long-term success of the XFL."

Luck is leaving a position as the executive vice president of regulatory affairs for the NCAA. Prior to that, Luck served as the athletic director at West Virginia University, was the president of NFL Europe and the Houston Dynamo soccer team. and was the CEO of the Houston Sports Authority.

In an interview with Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman, Luck said that the XFL respects individual freedoms but will require players to stand for the national anthem.

The relaunched XFL is planning on starting in 2020 but will face competition from Charlie Ebersol's Alliance of American Football, which will be debuting on CBS Sports in 2019.

-A trailer was just released for Bumblebee, about the yellow Transformer. It comes out for Christmas. John Cena is in it.

-Another segment for SmackDown and two matches for 205 Live are set for tonight.

Ahead of their SmackDown Women's Championship match at Money in the Bank on June 17th, WWE is advertising that Carmella will unmask Asuka by revealing a "never-before-told truth" about her. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch, Naomi & Jimmy Uso vs. Lana & Aiden English, and a contract signing for AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura's last man standing match at Money in the Bank will also take place tonight.

On 205 Live, Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy and Brian Kendrick vs. Lince Dorado have been announced. Ali and Murphy have been positioned as the two top challengers for Cedric Alexander's Cruiserweight Championship. Murphy defeated Ali on the May 8th edition of 205 Live before losing a title match to Alexander last week.

Kendrick & Jack Gallagher have been feuding with the Lucha House Party and defeated Dorado & Kalisto last Tuesday with the help of Drew Gulak.

-Lawyers for Dr. Christopher Amann in closing arguments this morning have asked for in excess of $4 million in damages from defendants Phil Brooks (CM Punk) and Scott Colton (Colt Cabana).

The lawyers for Amann broke it down as $3,989,000 in damages -- as in $1 for every person who downloaded the Art of Wrestling podcast episode, plus additional punitive damages.

The WrestleZone website covered the story from the courthouse, and Observer sources close to the case confirmed the plaintiffs were seeking in excess of $4 million.

The defamation trial itself ended yesterday with testimony from AJ Lee (April Mendez), the wife of Punk, who testified she had seen the lump in question as early as August of 2013, when the two first got together and testimony from Punk's massage therapist who said she saw the lump on January 30th, 2014, and described it as golf ball or tennis ball sized.

The jury in the case of Dr. Christopher Amann vs. Phil Brooks (CM Punk) and Scott Colton (Colt Cabana) ruled that neither man were liable for any damages against the WWE physician in the defamation lawsuit.

The jury took only two hours to deliberate. Punk and wife AJ Lee (April Mendez) began crying in court when the verdict was read. Amann was stoic.

Punk's attorneys noted that WWE's medical records were not reliable because they never listed any of Punk's antibiotic prescriptions, and that the plaintiff's argument from WWE doctors that there was no lump was ridiculous given four witnesses coming forward who described it in detail besides Punk.

The key to the case appeared to be the testimony of Punk's massage therapist, who described the lump in detail, and of his wife, who said she noticed it starting at a zit-like size in August 2013 and it grew and changed color over the months.

While there was no proof the lump was a staph infection, let alone MRSA staph, as Punk had stated on the show, the jury evidently felt that Punk either misheard the doctor or of not, his exaggerations did not damage Amann's professional standing.

The following notes from Tuesday’s closing arguments are courtesy of Ross Berman at the WrestleZone site who also got to interview both Punk and Colt post-trial and did ask Dr. Amann who declined to comment. Punk said it’s a gigantic weight that’s been lifted off his shoulders and that he’s happy for Cabana because he was dragged into it for silly reasons. Punk also said that he isn’t “All In.”

*The closing arguments from the plaintiff’s stated that they believed Punk knowingly made false statements on the podcast and Cabana published the podcast knowing they were false statements. They argued that Dr. Amann only needs to prove emotional distress and damages as opposed to monetary damages, which was discussed in the trial regarding his position within the WWE and wrestlers not treating him any differently since the podcast. They sought $1 per stream of the podcast that would amount to $3,989,000 in damages.

*The closing arguments from the defense stated that Punk and Cabana were telling stories on the podcast and stories are going to vary from person-to-person. They went through Punk’s many medical issues throughout 2013, argued the WWE’s medical reports could not be relied upon as they omitted several of Punk’s prescriptions and that Dr. Amann has brought on the negative feedback by vanity searching through social media. They added that Dr. Amann has denied needing therapy and sleeps eight hours per night.

Following the decision being read, Punk and wife AJ began crying. Punk will now get set for his second UFC fight on Saturday when he meets Mike Jackson at UFC 225 in Chicago at the United Center.

Colt Cabana spoke to shortly after the decision was read. Cabana tweeted after the verdict, “The jury decides unanimously in my favor.” He then called it a “small victory for the little guy.”

-While WWE's two United Kingdom Championship tournament shows will be airing on the Network later this month, they won't be shown live.

The WWE announced the broadcast plans for the events today, noting that they'll be taped at Royal Albert Hall on June 18-19 and will stream on the WWE Network on Monday, June 25th and Tuesday, June 26th. They'll air at 3 p.m. Eastern time.

The first night will feature the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals of a tournament to decide who will be challenging for Pete Dunne's WWE UK Championship on night two. All but one of the first round matches will take place at Download Festival on June 8-10, with Jack Gallagher vs. Drew Gulak having already been filmed during a set of NXT television tapings last month.

Here are the lineups for each show:

Night one --
*Quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals in the UK tournament
*Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate & Trent Seven vs. Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong
*Toni Storm vs. Jinny vs. Killer Kelly vs. Isla Dawn for an NXT Women's Championship shot on night two (advertised but not yet announced)
*Appearances by Triple H and Shawn Michaels

Night two --
*WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne defending against the tournament winner
*Aleister Black & Ricochet vs. EC3 & Velveteen Dream
*NXT North American, Women's, and Tag Team title matches

-For the first time since retiring eight years ago, Shawn Michaels has expressed interest in returning to the ring.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Michaels now says that he doesn’t dismiss the idea of returning to the ring for a one-off.

“It would have to be done the right way and just for one match rather than something that ran for longer” he told them. "It could be possible but people would have to accept they wouldn't be getting the Showstopper, Mr WrestleMania, and that I'm 52 years old now."

Michaels last wrestled at WrestleMania 26 back in 2010, losing to the Undertaker in a streak vs. career match. After giving a farewell speech the next night on Raw, he has sporadically appeared on WWE programing in a non-wrestling capacity. He currently helps train wrestlers at the WWE Performance Center.

In the article, Michaels mentioned Daniel Bryan, Johnny Gargano and AJ Styles as people he would like to face if he were the Shawn Michaels of ten years ago.

-In a real shocker, Raw last night did 2.52 million viewers, only up one percent from last week's near modern record low on a week when the audience should have bounced back strongly.

Essentially, the audience that shifted away for the NBA playoffs, as has happened every year, didn't come back this week even without an NBA game. There was a Stanley Cup playoff game on NBC with the Las Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals that did 5.06 million viewers in competition.

In reality, while there were two shows, one last week and one in 2016 on non-holiday dates that did lower numbers, this would be the worst showing in modern history because those episodes were expected to do poorly based on overwhelming competition.

Still, Raw was fifth for the night on cable, and the only shows that beat it were news programs.

The first two hours were almost identical to last week, but they didn't lose quite as many viewers in the third hour, which resulted in the slight increase in viewership.

The actual ratings aren't out yet, but if the viewers per home increased over last week, then it is entirely possible this will be the lowest rated Monday night wrestling show in the history of the USA Network. The record low is a 1.68 rating on Christmas night of 2017.

The three hours were:

8 p.m. 2.59 million viewers
9 p.m. 2.59 million viewers
10 p.m. 2.39 million viewers

-WWE stock stayed above $60 per share and closed at $61.50 today.

-Total Bellas posted its best ratings numbers of the season on Sunday night. The episode averaged 654,000 viewers, which is up pretty significantly from the 517,000 and 505,000 that the first two episodes of the season did. This week’s show had a 0.29 rating in the 18-49 demo.

-David Otunga filled in for Jonathan Coachman on Raw last night due to Coachman having commitments with the World Long Drive Association on the Golf Channel. Coachman tweeted that this was the last Raw he’ll have to miss for a while.

-WWE Shop is selling T-shirts made to look like The B-Team’s handmade ones.

-Curt Hawkins’ opponent “James Harden” from Raw was Will Lockhart, who is a student at Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling.

-In an interview with Pro Wrestling Sheet, Glenn Jacobs (Kane) said he wouldn’t rule out wrestling as mayor if he gets elected and wants a WWE PPV in Knoxville.

-No Way Jose defeated Mike Kanellis and Drew Gulak defeated Akira Tozawa on last night’s Main Event tapings. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Bobby Lashley also won a post-show dark match against Jinder Mahal, Elias & Sami Zayn.

-Asuka kicked Lana’s weave off during a house show match.

-Next week on the go home show for Money in the Bank, General Manager Paige will host a Women's Money in the Bank with the 4 SmackDown participants. Andrade Cien Almas will take on Sin Cara as well next week.

**UPDATES for June 6/18**

-Lio Rush will soon be making his way to 205 Live.

A vignette aired tonight promoting his impending arrival to the brand. Sporting a cocky attitude and demeanor, Rush called himself a living legend and a 23-year-old piece of gold. He said it would only be a matter of time before 205 Live felt the Rush.

Before signing with the WWE, Rush worked for a number of promotions including PWG, EVOLVE, Combat Zone Wrestling and Ring of Honor, where he won their Top Prospect tournament in 2016. He signed with WWE back in July of 2017.

Rush worked live events and made a couple of television appearances before taken off the road for a short time in the fall due to an incident where he mocked Emma’s release from the company. That publicly drew ire from Rush’s peers in WWE and NXT and was kept off television until January. Since losing to Lars Sullivan in a squash, Rush hasn’t appeared on NXT television.

In recent months, Rush has been working NXT house shows with Babatunde, a 6’10 former football player, as his bodyguard.

**UPDATES for June 7/18**

-An interview at tells what CM Punk told Ronda Rousey for advice and why he can't watch pro wrestling anymore.

-John Morgan of MMA Junkie sat down with CM Punk on Wednesday prior to his fight with Mike Jackson this Saturday in Chicago at UFC 225. Punk stated there was more than just a weight lifted off his shoulders from the conclusion of his 3 ½ lawsuit that was filed against him and Colt Cabana by Dr. Christopher Amann. Punk suggested that the case was delayed repeatedly to throw him off, knowing that his fight was approaching but that it didn’t affect him with the hard work in camp occurring before the trial began on May 26th.

Punk was indifferent to his placement on the card in response to criticism of his fight taking place on the pay-per-view portion above such names as Alistair Overeem, Rashad Evans, Joseph Benavidez and teammate Sergio Pettis. If you aren’t using Punk on a platform for maximum return, then why are you booking him, to begin with? He is on the UFC roster because of a belief he will draw money, as he did for UFC 203, it’s unknown if he will have that same effect this time around. One can’t dispute the decision to put him on pay-per-view and even though many love the flyweight fight between Benavidez and Pettis, there is no way their fight will have the same interest as Punk’s fight on Saturday.

He noted that he could be on the chopping block if he loses this fight, he was adamant to UFC president Dana White that he wanted to fight again regardless of whether it was in the UFC or not. It was interesting, POST Wrestling spoke to White immediately after the Punk vs. Mickey Gall fight and White suggested to me that Punk’s next fight should probably be somewhere other than the UFC.

-On the Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey program, POST Wrestling were told by someone with knowledge of the situation in the WWE that the intent was never to turn Jax heel in this program. It was described that Jax took the heel role too far last week on Raw and this past week was designed as a “course correction” to get Jax back and closer to a babyface role. The idea is that the program is between two babyfaces with added tension for the match.

-Despite both the NBA and NHL playoffs having the night off and network television being fully in rerun season, SmackDown averaged just 2.138 million viewers on Tuesday night.

That's the lowest number since June 13th, 2017. Aside from that date and the show that went up against election coverage in November 2016, this was the lowest audience for the show since the brand split and the move to Tuesday night.

SmackDown finished seventh for the night on cable in terms of total viewers but, in a down night for TV viewership overall, did top the 18-49 demo with a 0.67 rating.

The show was down nearly nine percent year-over-year, which is the third-worst drop-off in the last year. It's also the third straight week SmackDown was down year-over-year. The episode did maintain the usual 85 percent of Raw's audience from the night before, which was also one of the lowest numbers in that show's history.

The key points are that Raw and SmackDown didn’t rebound despite the NBA Finals not taking place on either night. Raw’s average was up 1.3% while going against the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals game, while SmackDown did its lowest average of 2018 without any sports competition. The silver lining was a 30% jump for Total Bellas that did 654,000 viewers this past Sunday after the two lowest numbers in the series’ history.

-In a correction from an earlier news piece, in the first interview that Colt Cabana conducted with CM Punk from November 2014, Dr. Christopher Amann was identified by name early in the first interview. He mentioned speaking to Dr. Amann after having elbow surgery and being cleared before being checked in Birmingham, Alabama. Punk asked, “what kind of witch-doctory bullshit is that?” over being cleared without being checked on. Later in the interview, he frequently brings up a “Doc” but doesn’t specifically name Amann.

-The WWE stock closed at $62.66 on Wednesday and nearly hit $63 today. That’s a 1.89 percent increase on the day.

-The Bovada outlet has posted odds on whether the XFL will make it to the second season. The question asked is, “Will the XFL fold before July 4th, 2021?” and odds are listed at -300 for “No” and +200 for “Yes”. The league is scheduled to launch in 2020.

-Though he wasn’t on SmackDown last night, Daniel Bryan cut a fired-up post-show promo where he responded to Big Cass continuing to mock him. Former WWE writer Tom Casiello posted a Twitter thread about working with Bryan and how easily he’s able to improvise on the spot.

-The Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado) vs. Drew Gulak, Brian Kendrick & Jack Gallagher has been announced for next week’s 205 Live.

-Conrad Thompson claimed that this week’s episode of Something Else to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard on the WWE Network is being pushed to Friday due to “creative differences” with the WWE. He said he’s fighting to get the best possible product to viewers on Friday. WWE’s revival of ECW is the subject of the show.

-Triple H spoke to Sports Illustrated about the Performance Center’s new website and discussed how Shawn Michaels rediscovered his passion for wrestling by being involved with NXT:

“Shawn Michaels and I talk about it all the time now. Shawn wasn’t a part of this business for a long time, and then he came to the Performance Center and it lit a fire under him to see all the young talent. The more he started being around, the more invigorated he became. That re-lit his passion for the business. It’s almost that same level of energy and excitement to help someone put it together and then see their success.”

-Dolph Ziggler interviewed Dave Bautista and other cast members from “Hotel Artemis,” which will be released this weekend.

-Bautista is pushing to play Marcus Fenix in a movie adaption of the “Gears of War” video game series.

-WWE Network News reported that Batista (as The Leviathan) vs. Kane from OVW Christmas Chaos 2001 will be this week’s hidden gem uploaded to the WWE Network.

-Jami Morgan of the band Code Orange Kids shared a story of Triple H showing up to a midnight rehearsal they had in Brooklyn prior to performing at NXT TakeOver.

-Marc Copani, better known as Muhammad Hassan, told Pro Wrestling Sheet that he misses being in the ring and would like to make a one-time appearance for WWE like being in a Royal Rumble.

Keep track of all of the news right here, so don't 'cha dare miss it!
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Send Message: Send PM GB Post
36 / M / Auckland New Zealand
Posted 6/7/18 , edited 6/8/18
Hey all here is todays BTS update.

During a recent edition of his podcast (transcript via, Steve Austin spoke about his first impression of both The Rock & Triple H. Here are the highlights…
On Triple H: “I met Triple H when he first came into WCW.” Austin remembered “and here he came in, good looking dude, good worker, even back then. He wasn’t too long out of Killer Kowalski’s school. I think he’d probably been working. He worked several matches because he was already very polished even when he came into WCW. We hit it off right off the bat. Same sense of humor. I was a little bit older than him, but I hadn’t been in the business too much longer, if any. So, man, we introduced ourselves, to each other and I knew he had a bright future in the business. And I don’t know what he thought about me. We always hit it off. Same sense of humor, same taste in music. He was a huge bodybuilding, powerlifting fan, always hit the gym. He wasn’t a drinker – I respected that. Good dude, great sense of humor, low-key, one of the boys. So that’s how I met Triple H and we hit it off from day one. And, to this day, whenever we see each other, it’s like old times. We didn’t run in the same crowds. We didn’t travel together. He had his crew and I had mine or I was traveling solo at the time. But nothing but good things.”

On The Rock: “I remember when The Rock came in, Rock, man, you knew this guy had potential when you saw him.” Austin continued, “he was a good looking guy. You just knew the gimmick wasn’t right at first. And then, he ended up changing his gimmick around. He joined the Nation and then turned into The Rock. And then, me and Rock started working together. I was always cool with The Rock. I knew he had potential. I think everybody did. He had the right frame, the right look, really smart, charismatic, so you saw a lot of potential in him as he came in, but the gimmick wasn’t right. But, boy, when he turned into The Rock and joined the Nation and started turning heel. I mean, the people rejected him first as a baby, but they took to him as a heel and he had some serious, serious heat. And then, of course, when he turned baby, he was mega over.”

On Remaining Friends With Both: “I remain great friends with each of them. We don’t call or text each other, but whenever we’re in the same room, it’s like nothing ever changed, no time has ever passed and we start shooting the breeze and picking it up from where we left off. And nothing but respect.”

– During a recent edition of his podcast (transcript via
Wrestlezone), Jim Ross offered some advice to Big Cass, who he feels will become a star…
“What this kid has gotta do in my opinion is continue to be aggressive. I don’t need a seven-footer that’s a finesse guy, a style guy. I need physicality. And he also needs to work on his delivery. That’s ‘out-of-the-ring’ practice in your car, in your home, in front of a mirror, wherever you are to make sure that you see what you’re saying, see your face when you see these things. And I think he needs to work on promo sounding a little bit more organic and not memorized. And sometimes because you have to memorize them, by in large, it’s hard to not sound memorized, so you don’t want it to sound like a script, by the way. But I tell ya, being seven feet tall is an asset for him. He’s got a great look, I have confidence he’s going to become a star, but he’s gotta fill some holes in his game and that’s a daily effort. A daily plan and I don’t know the kid well enough to know what that daily plan is or what they’re doing with him behind the scenes to work on some of these issues, but again you can’t teach that. He’s seven feet tall, young, a good looking kid.”

– Bret Hart spoke with TalkSport for a new interview promoting his upcoming speaking tour in the UK. You can see some highlights below:
On the current WWE product: “I think I was a better storyteller than any of the wrestlers they’ve got today. I watched Wrestlemania this year and there’s no drama anymore. They do some amazing stuff, there are some incredible athletes, but people don’t know how to tell a story. Wrestling has it’s flows, it will change again as people get tired of the ‘phoney’ wrestling, I watched my match with Davey Boy at Wembley with some journalists in a bar and they almost bought into it like it was real. The fact that fans reacted so strongly to those two British Wrestlers (Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate) shows you it might be going back in the other direction.”

On Owen Hart not being in the WWE Hall of Fame: “Like a lot of people, if he’s not in the WWE Hall of Fame, then what kind of Hall of Fame is it? I’m embarrassed on their part they can take so many great wrestlers and not include them in the Hall of Fame. I don’t have any problem with anyone who is in there, but I think Demolition should be in there, that Dynamite Kid should be in there, that Davey Boy should be in there. I’m embarrassed Owen isn’t in there. Owen was one of the most respected and admired in the business for his integrity alone. Why they won’t acknowledge him is beyond me?”

On Eric Bischoff saying that Bret Hart brought nothing creative to the table: “Eric Bischoff is a total complete idiot, maybe the single stupidest idiot that ever got into wrestling. He never came through on anything he said, he had zero ideas on wrestling, and if you went to him with ideas he’d always have some ridiculous reason he couldn’t do it. I’ve heard him say I came there a broken man (after the Montreal Screwjob), it’s absolutely an insult to me. I wanted so hard to make a difference, I wanted to go in there and do everything I could possibly do to get even with Vince. For him to suggest that is an insult to the highest order. Don’t get me talking about Eric Bischoff, I’ll take my coat off and come out of retirement!”

Braun Strowman spoke with Red Carpet Report at Wednesday night’s WWE For Your Consideration Emmy event about teaming with Nicholas at WrestleMania 34 and more. Video is below, plus highlights per WZ:
On what he likes to eat for breakfast: “It just depends a lot of the times on where I’m at and what’s going on, but I’m a big eater. My usual—let’s say I go Waffle House—I’d order ten eggs, but only four yolks, two grilled chicken breasts, a double order of hash browns—smothered, covered and chunked—and an orange juice and a coffee. That’ll get me started…It takes a lot to run a 6’8”, 385 pound frame, so yeah, I’m investing in myself. [laughs]”

On if he thinks Nicholas will return to wrestling: “You never know. I told him that he has to do school first and foremost. I preach that to every youngster out there. Do your school work, because you only get one chance at life, so do it while you’re young and it’s easy. If he does good with his grades and I’m feeling froggy, I might just give him a phone call and take those titles back.”

On if he was surprised at the impact teaming with Nicholas had: “It was a really, really special moment for me, and to share that with him and the WWE Universe. Doing things that have never been done before in the sports entertainment industry in front of 79,000 people in New Orleans—it was awesome.”
uesday’s episode of SmackDown Live was one of the least viewed episodes of the series since the brand split in July 2016.

Tuesday’s show saw an average of 2,138,000 viewers watching on the USA Network, which was surprisingly low given the lack of sports competition as the NBA and NHL playoffs had the night off.

The show was promoted around a contract signing between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura and Carmella revealing “an untold truth” about Asuka that went nowhere.

It was the fifth lowest viewership average since the brand split in the summer of 2016. This other four episodes since July 2016 to perform lower were from October 25th, 2016 (against Game 1 of the World Series, November 8th, 2016 (the night of the U.S. Election), an episode from June 7th, 2017, and on Halloween night last October, which also featured competition from the World Series.

Monday’s episode of Raw averaged 2,520,000 viewers on the USA Network, up 1.3% from the week prior. The difference from last week is that May 28th episode of Raw went against the NBA and NHL playoffs while this week only faced competition from the Stanley Cup Final, which did 5,061,000 viewers.

Raw began with 2,594,000 viewers watching on average in the first hour and remained almost identical with 2,593,000 viewers for the second hour. The third-hour drop saw an 8% drop down to 2,390,000 and concluded with the Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor match in the main event slot.

WWE did receive some positive viewership news with Total Bellas rebounding in a major way with a 30% increase for Episode 3 of the current season.

After posting all-time series’ lows of 517,000 and 505,000 viewers for the first two episodes, this week’s episode jumped to an average of 654,000 viewers on E! The jump in viewership was impressive given that Game 2 of the NBA Finals took place that night.

That's all for now check back for further updates
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Posted 6/8/18 , edited 6/10/18
Thanks as always to andy1 for covering for me after I had another hospital visit. I'm recovering but for now enough to bring the weekend news!

General sources are as normally credited to and and and and and and but please also note that all news and rumours are subject to updates and changes.

NXT Takeover: Chicago on Saturday, June 16 from Rosemont, Illinois

Additional Sources: Coming Soon


*NXT Championship Match: Aleister Black (C) vs. Lars Sullivan
*Street Fight: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
*NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed Era (C - Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong) vs. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
*Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream

Money in the Bank on Sunday, June 17 from Rosemont, Illinois

Additional Sources: and


*Men's Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Championship match contract
Qualified Participants: Braun Strowman (Raw), Finn Balor (Raw), Bobby Roode (Raw), Kevin Owens (Raw), The Miz (SmackDown), Rusev (SmackDown), one member of the New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E or Xavier Woods) & Samoa Joe
*Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a Women's Championship match contract
Qualified Participants: Ember Moon (Raw), Alexa Bliss (Raw), Natalya (Raw), Sasha Banks (Raw), Charlotte Flair (SmackDown), Becky Lynch (SmackDown), Lana (SmackDown) & Naomi (SmackDown)
*Raw Women's Championship Match: Nia Jax (C) vs. Ronda Rousey
*Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship: AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
*SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Carmella (C) vs. Asuka
*Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh)
*SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Bludgeon Brothers (C - Rowan & Harper) vs. The Club (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows)
*Sami Zayn vs. Bobby Lashley
*Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins (C) vs. Elias
*Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
*Raw Team Team Championship Match: The Deleter of Worlds (C - Woken Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt) vs. The B Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)

-British wrestling legend Johnny Saint was announced by WWE as its on-screen general manager for its United Kingdom brand.

-An interview is up online with Glenn Jacobs talking about Donald Trump, The Rock, and Vince McMahon.

-NXT's shows at the Download Music Festival in Derby, UK, which includes most of the first round of the UK tournament, takes place Friday at 1 p.m., Saturday at 11a.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. local time. NXT also runs Monday night in Paris, France and Tuesday night in Antwerp, Belgium.

-The UK tournament coming up is booked against the first game of the FIFA World Cup for England in hopes to outdraw them. So far it's struggling to sell out.

-For the 6/26 Smackdown show in Ontario, CA at the Citizens Bank Arena, they are doing a buy three tickets and get one free late promotion. They are also doing a similar offer for the 6/24 Raw house show at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

-For the 7/3 Smackdown TV taping in Omaha, they are advertising Jeff Hardy & A.J. Styles & Daniel Bryan vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Samoa Joe & Big Cass. That really doesn't mean anything because that should change weekly before show time.

-One of the original homes of Raw, the Rec Center at the Fernwood Resort in Pennsylvania, burned down this past week. They taped Raw several times in the building in 1994 and 1995. Afa used to promote his WXW shows there as well.

-There is a story online on Rugby League player Luke Menzies signing with the WWE, as well as a story on James Drake, one of the new U.K. signees.

-The video via an interview with TSN at has them talking to CM Punk and his reply to why he's done with pro wrestling.

The metal-meets-wrestling podcast, Metal Injection's Squared Circle Pit talked to CM Punk about how he got into music and wrestling and the similarities, and asked a question if he would attend All In in Chicago:

"No, I got some crippling anxiety when I'm in crowds now. My wife has it really bad, so it gets amplified if she's with me. Unless it's a Stanley Cup Final or an occasional Cubs game, I don't think you'll see me surrounding myself in a sea of people."

-Four wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinals of WWE's United Kingdom Championship tournament as Download Festival began today.

Zack Gibson defeated Amir Jordan, Flash Morgan Webster defeated James Drake, Travis Banks defeated El Ligero, and Ashton Smith defeated Joseph Conners. They join Jack Gallagher in the next round, who advanced by defeating Drew Gulak during a set of NXT television tapings last month.

With that, Gibson vs. Gallagher and Banks vs. Smith (on opposite sides of the bracket) are set for the quarterfinals. The remaining first round matches will take place as Download Festival continues over the next two days.

The quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals will be held at Royal Albert Hall on June 18th, with the winner challenging for Pete Dunne's WWE UK Championship the next night. The Royal Albert Hall shows will then air on the WWE Network on June 25th and 26th at 3 p.m. Eastern time.

On the bracketology special for the tournament, it was noted that the first round matches will be released on WWE's digital and social media platforms.

-A note on the death of Anthony Bourdain, who passed away from suicide at the age of 61. He became a big fan of wrestling in recent years after attending a live event, and was friends with Titus O'Neil in WWE and also did one of his shows on CNN when he was in Pittsburgh with Adam Cole and Britt Baker. He was also a big MMA fan and trained in BJJ and was known by a lot of the UFC fighters.

-For the WWE house shows, the entire Raw crew is scheduled for the tour other than Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey. On the Smackdown side, neither A.J. Styles nor Daniel Bryan are being advertised for the shows this weekend. Rousey is being advertised for Monday in Little Rock for Raw and Styles and Bryan are both advertised for Memphis on Tuesday for Smackdown.

-Ronda Rousey will be working an 8/5 house show in Savannah,GA. The building made that announcement and WWE has confirmed it with local media.

-Steffanie Newell in NXT, who used to be Nixon Newell in the U.K., will from this point forward be Tegan Nox.

-The WWE is advertising a "Street Fighter" battle between Xavier Woods and KENNY OMEGA, but also showing his twitter and him in a short video. Omega is referred to as "an independent wrestler," which is hilariously petty.

-Ronda Rousey will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame next month in Las Vegas, multiple sources confirm. First reported by the LA Times. She becomes the youngest inductee ever. Former UFC star and current WWE star Ronda Rousey will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame during International Fight Week in July.

The announcement was made during the UFC 225 broadcast. She will be inducted into the "modern" wing, and joins Matt Serra, Art Davie, Bruce Connal, and the Dan Henderson/Shogun Rua fight from UFC 139 as this year's Hall of Fame inductees. The ceremony ttakes place on July 5th at the UFC Fan Expo in Las Vegas and will air on UFC Fight Pass.

Rousey won the Strikeforce bantamweight championship in her fifth pro fight and came into the UFC as champion, defending the newly-christened UFC women's bantamweight title and successfully defending it in the first ever female fight for the promotion against Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 158 in February 2013.

She went on to defend the belt five more times, winning all of them by stoppage, before finally dropping her title to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia. Along the way, she became one of the biggest PPV draws in the sport, drawing over a million PPV buys on 3 separate occasions.

She returned in December 2016 and lost to current champion Amanda Nunes and has not fought since. She signed with the WWE late last year and made her debut at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans, LA. She is set to challenge WWE Raw women's champion Nia Jax at Money In The Bank in her first singles match for the company.

-In what is most likely to be his final fight in the UFC, CM Punk dropped a rather one-sided unanimous decision loss to Mike Jackson to open up the UFC 225 PPV.

All three judges had the fight 30-26 for Jackson (1-1).

In the first round, Punk (0-2) was active, throwing some kicks, hitting a good left hand, and cage grappling a bit. However, Jackson's experience took over. He blocked a Punk takedown and started to outstrike Punk, bloodying him up. He did get a takedown with about 40 seconds to go, but couldn't do anything with it.

In the second round, Jackson hit a big right hand that hurt Punk. He tried a strange standing guillotine which Jackson countered by just dropping him to the mat. Jackson didn't show much of a sense of urgency in punching Punk while in his guard, many while looking in another direction. He was dominant in battering Punk and the Chicago fans began to boo at the action. Punk looked tired throughout the round, something that would continue in the third round.

The third was all Jackson, who picked apart Punk on the feet. Punk was throwing wildely but not hitting. Again, Jackson wasn't showing a sense of urgency and pounded Punk more whhen getting him to the mat. Fans were booing or just plain sileint in the 10-8 round. Punk was trying the entire time, but just had nothing to offer Jackson.

This was Punk's first fight since September 2016 when he lost to Mickey Gall via first round submission. Ariel Helwani reported via the UFC that Punk was being transported to a local hospital for a facial CT scan.

Corey Graves posted on Twitter after the CM Punk loss in the UFC 225 PPV match that got fans in an uproar:

"Maybe abandoning everybody who stood by your side, even when we weren’t supposed to, only to have you turn your back on us wasn’t the right move after all? No anger. Only sadness.

Awww. Seems the “fans” are disappointed. Maybe you guys should know that “That Dude” held my first son before I did because I was on tour and I trusted him.

I had dinner with him the week after he quit.

The first rule of “punk rock” is loyalty, and this guy betrayed it all.

I still love you, “friend” and I’m sorry you got lost.

Don’t worry, hey @VinceMcMahon this has nothing to do with you.

You either @TripleH

This isn’t corporate. This is real life.

Calm down internerds.

My loyalty? Oh, would you like the BEFORE? Or AFTER? I’ve got both.

I mean, one can only be shit on by their “best friend” for so long before they smarten up, no?

But it’s cool. I’m sure you love Kenny Omega. And you know more about this business and friendship than I do."

Rusev replied to his comments on CM Punk:

"What did you do now @ByronSaxton !???"

Other reactions to the fight can be found at

Dana White credited CM Punk for his heart on Saturday night but said he should "call it a wrap" when asked if this was Punk's last UFC fight.

CM Punk told TSN that he’s trying his best to enjoy everything as it comes, is trying to be a better human being, and that he was angry for a long time because of Dr. Chris Amann’s lawsuit.

CM Punk said he doesn’t think Colby Covington’s brand of fight promotion is effective anymore, saying you don’t have to yell just because Hulk Hogan did it in 1984. Covington did win the interim UC Welterweight Championship on the PPV over Rofael Dos Anjos via decision.

-At are the new WWE custom championship titles being sent to the Stanley Cup winners the Washington Capitals.

-Ahead of their match at Money in the Bank, it appears that Roman Reigns and Jinder Mahal will also be facing off on Monday's episode of Raw.

Mahal tweeted a promo challenging Reigns to a match on Raw, which Reigns then accepted: "Big words from a scared man. You want to make a challenge? Get ready for the biggest fight of your career. Just another Monday for me."

Mahal & Elias defeated Reigns & Seth Rollins last Monday, with Elias pinning Rollins after a distraction from Sunil Singh. Reigns and Mahal then brawled backstage later in the show.

Rollins defending the Intercontinental Championship against Elias is also set for Money in the Bank.

In addition to Reigns vs. Mahal, Braun Strowman vs. Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Roode, Sasha Banks vs. Ember Moon vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Natalya, and a face-to-face segment with Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey as the final build to their Women's title match at Money in the Bank are advertised for Monday's go-home edition of Raw.

The idea according to reports from the Wrestling Observer is that Roman Reigns will be in this feud until Summerslam when he'll get yet another rematch with the WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar for the title. Lesnar hasn't been in the WWE since the Greatest Royal Rumble when he won a Steel Cage match against Reigns.

-The quarterfinals for WWE's United Kingdom Championship tournament are set coming out of the second day of Download Festival.

The final three first round matches took place on Saturday, with Jordan Devlin defeating Tyson T-Bone, Joe Coffey defeating Tucker, and Dave Mastiff defeating Kenny Williams. They join Zack Gibson, Jack Gallagher, Flash Morgan Webster, Travis Banks, and Ashton Smith in making up the eight-wrestler field for the quarterfinals.

Gibson vs. Gallagher and Webster vs. Devlin are set for the left side of the bracket, while the right side has Coffey vs. Mastiff and Banks vs. Smith.

The quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals of the tournament will take place at Royal Albert Hall on June 18th. The winner will then challenge Pete Dunne for the WWE UK Championship at the venue the next night.

The Royal Albert Hall shows are airing on the WWE Network on June 25th and 26th at 3 p.m. Eastern time. The first round matches will also be released online.

-With the Golden State Warriors sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals, Raw won’t be facing competition from what would have been game five of the series on Monday night. Given that last week’s low number came without competition from an NBA game, it will be interesting to see how much ratings bounce back now that the NBA and NHL playoffs are over.

-The WWE sent customized title belts to the Warriors as well for their NBA championship win.

-The WWE has announced that Ronda Rousey will be wrestling at their European tour house shows in Madrid on November 3rd, Barcelona on the 4th, Bologna on the 9th, and Rome on the 10th.

-A new episode of WWE Photoshoot, which will focus on Goldust, will be airing on the WWE Network after Raw on Monday. A new WWE 24 featuring The Hardys is set to premiere following Money in the Bank on June 17th.

-Money in the Bank is listed as running from 7 p.m. Eastern to 10:30 p.m. There will also be a one-hour pre-show before the main card starts.

-Shawn Michaels sounded more pessimistic about coming back for one more match during an interview with Red Carpet Report at WWE’s For Your Consideration Emmys event, saying he’s more excited about watching the young wrestlers who are taking the company into the future.

-In addition to today’s United Kingdom tournament matches at Download Festival, Pete Dunne retained his WWE UK title against Tommaso Ciampa in what was said to be a standout match.

-Big E tweeted that he did voice work and is going to be a series regular on the upcoming Adult Swim show “Lazor Wulf.”

-Xavier Woods congratulated Omega and hyped up their upcoming Street Fighter video game face off at E3:

“Congrats to @KennyOmegamanX for making history and becoming IWGP Heavyweight Champion! But Kenneth, please remember that wrestling has absolutely nothing to do with video games. So June 14th @e3 im still running through you”

-Matt Hardy also congratulated Omega, Jericho, and The Young Bucks.

-Before NJPW Dominion, Rey Mysterio was interviewed by ESPN and said negotiations with the WWE have been going back and forth. Mysterio said he can only wrestle once or twice a week at this point but is more than open to returning with a part-time schedule.

Enjoy the weekend and come by to check the news anytime, so don't 'cha dare miss it!
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Posted 6/10/18 , edited 6/17/18
It's the weekend of Money in the Bank, which has the new PPV start time of 7PM EST/4PM PST while there will still be a kickoff show an hour prior. Here now is the news leading into the show.

General sources are as normally credited to and and and and and and but please also note that all news and rumours are subject to updates and changes.

NXT Takeover: Chicago on Saturday, June 16 from Rosemont, Illinois

Additional Sources:


*NXT Championship Match: Aleister Black (C) vs. Lars Sullivan
*Street Fight: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
*NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed Era (C - Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong) vs. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
*Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream
*NXT Women's Championship Match: Shayna Baszler (C) vs. Nikki Cross

Money in the Bank on Sunday, June 17 from Rosemont, Illinois

Additional Sources: and


*Men's Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Championship match contract
Qualified Participants: Braun Strowman (Raw), Finn Balor (Raw), Bobby Roode (Raw), Kevin Owens (Raw), The Miz (SmackDown), Rusev (SmackDown), one member of the New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E or Xavier Woods) & Samoa Joe
*Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a Women's Championship match contract
Qualified Participants: Ember Moon (Raw), Alexa Bliss (Raw), Natalya (Raw), Sasha Banks (Raw), Charlotte Flair (SmackDown), Becky Lynch (SmackDown), Lana (SmackDown) & Naomi (SmackDown)
*Raw Women's Championship Match: Nia Jax (C) vs. Ronda Rousey
*Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship: AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
*SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Carmella (C) vs. Asuka
*Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh)
*Sami Zayn vs. Bobby Lashley
*Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins (C) vs. Elias
*Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass

**Kickoff Show Match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship: Bludgeon Brothers (C - Rowan & Harper) vs. The Club (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows)

-Sean Ross Sapp at reached out to Graves for clarification on the tweets concerning CM Punk's loss and the mention of NJPW champ Kenny Omega. Graves told Sapp that he had texted with Punk prior to his fight with Mickey Gall. Punk would not have dinner with Graves and didn’t want to associate with anyone from the WWE. Graves added that others at WWE lost their friendship with Punk over where they work. As for Omega he replied late in the night he didn't mean any diss to him and Omega accepted the apology.

-The WWE has announced that Ronda Rousey will be working four dates this November for the European tour. Rousey has been added to the shows on November 3rd in Madrid and November 4th in Barcelona, Spain, as well as November 9th in Bologna and November 10th in Rome, Italy.

-CM Punk released the following statement after the fight:

"You win some, you lose some! I’m 1-1 this week and I’ll take it! Thanks to my team, my family, my friends, and THE FANS! Wouldn’t be here without any of you. Respect to @TheTruthJackson, thanks for the fight! You only live once, and… I’M ALIVE!"

-It was announced on the UFC 225 broadcast that the final entrant into this year’s UFC Hall of Fame class will be former bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey. Rousey will be inducted into the Modern Wing of the Hall of Fame during International Fight Week next month with the ceremony scheduled for Thursday, July 5th. The announcement signals that Rousey is unlikely to ever fight again, although one can never guarantee where someone will be in their life and whether the competitive edge she has had her entire life will have to push her to want to compete again. Rousey is expected to attend the ceremony and will be working at Madison Square Garden on July 7th, which is the night of UFC 226. They produced a big video package on Rousey and positioned her as an iconic figure, which she was and was among the most influential fighters in the history of the sport.

-The Elite and The New Day have signed on for a match...but it won’t be in the ring.

It was officially announced today on WWE’s website that Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E will face Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks in a Street Fighter V team battle exhibition. It will be held inside developer Capcom’s booth at the 2018 Electronic Gaming Expo in Los Angeles, California.

Woods and Omega have been building a feud with one another on social media for years over their video gaming skills, particularly when it comes to Street Fighter V. The two faced off in a exhibition match two years ago at CEO 2016 where Omega defeated Woods. For this match, they built up feud via a contract signing on the Street Fighter V Twitter account where Woods accused Omega of not having any friends. Of course, this was all before Dominion where the Young Bucks and Omega reunited.

The bout will take place this Thursday, June 14, at 1 pm PDT. It will be streamed on Capcom’s Twitch account.

-Monday has the live Raw from Little Rock with Jinder Mahal vs. Roman Reigns, Sasha Banks vs. Natalya vs. Ember Moon vs. Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor vs. Bobby Roode plus a face-to-face confrontation with Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey. There is also a Smackdown house show in Jonesboro, AR, and an NXT show in Paris, France.

-Tuesday has Smackdown and 205 Live in Memphis with Andrade Cien Almas vs. Sin Cara and Jack Gallagher & Drew Gulak & Brian Kendrick vs. Gran Metalik & Kalisto & Lince Dorado announced. There is also an NXT show in Antwerp, Belgium.

-Hulk Hogan did a show with Ric Flair and Eric Bischoff last night. After the show Hogan was asked about going back to WWE and said things were moving "quite quickly."

-WWN announced last week that NXT North American champion Adam Cole will be working on the EVOLVE 107 card, on Sunday, June 24th in Melrose, Maryland. On Monday, the promotion announced that Cole will defend the North American title against WALTER in the main event.

This will be the first time the North American Championship has been defended outside of WWE and the first time Cole and WALTER have faced each other.

"This is a landmark announcement for EVOLVE," Gabe Sapolsky wrote. "WWE has been growing this relationship with EVOLVE for a few years. We are ecstatic that the next step is this historic match on June 24th. This is all about giving the fans in the Boston area something special. Our deepest thanks to Mr. Levesque for making this happen."

Whether Cole vs. WALTER will be airing on the iPPV broadcast for EVOLVE 107 or not is to be determined.

-Dwayne Johnson will begin shooting “Red Notice” in April 2019 with the film expected to be released in June 2020. Deadline reported on Monday that Gal Gadot has been cast to star in the film alongside Johnson and will be directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. The film will be shot in Europe.

-UFC president Dana White spoke to TMZ about the status of Brock Lesnar returning to the promotion. White estimated that Lesnar’s contract with the WWE will expire this summer and stated that Lesnar and Jon Jones want to fight each other.

-Steffanie Newell was apparently injured working at the Download Festival in Derby, UK over the weekend. She debuted under her new name. She was supposed to wrestle as Nixon Newell, the name she made well known in the U.K., against Progress champion Jinny on yesterday's show in Sheffield. But they said she was injured and Dakota Kai took her place and Jinny won with her acid rainmaker finish. Newell was there and challenged Jinny to a title match.

-Alicia Fox is backstage at Raw today. That doesn't mean she'll be on the show.

-Noam Dar has been cleared to return after knee surgery.

-So here's a weird one. If you go to the WWE Network Hidden Gems page, there is a Sgt. Slaughter vs. Kokina Maximus (who later became Yokozuna) match from the AWA library. After the match, there is significant time left in the video. It rolls right into Kokina's WWE tryout match video with no commentary. Howard Finkel announces him as Kokina and not as Yokozuna.

**UPDATES for June 12/18**

-Two matches have been added to the lineup for SmackDown's go-home show for Money in the Bank.

As SmackDown finishes building to the pay-per-view, Daniel Bryan vs. Shelton Benjamin and United States Champion Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title match will be taking place on Tuesday night.

Nakamura is set to challenge for AJ Styles' WWE Championship in a last man standing match at Money in the Bank, while Bryan and Big Cass will be facing off again at the PPV. Neither Hardy nor Benjamin have matches announced for the event.

Andrade "Cien" Almas vs. Sin Cara is also scheduled for tomorrow's SmackDown, and Paige will host a women's Money in the Bank summit between Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Naomi, and Lana. Along with Raw's Ember Moon, Alexa Bliss, Natalya, and Sasha Banks, those wrestlers will be in the women's ladder match on Sunday.

The FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee is hosting this week's SmackDown.

-If they get their way, Ring of Honor is planning to run their first show in a WWE stronghold next year.

Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley told the Baltimore Biz Journal Tuesday that ROH will run a show at NYC's Madison Square Garden in 2019. The interview was done in relation to WWE's recent TV deals and the company's own prospects for the future.

There wasn't any additional detail or a time of year mentioned. Of note, WrestleMania is returning to the New York area next spring with the arena events running out of Brooklyn's Barclays Center due to the costs of running MSG.

ROH has run shows in New York City and the region since their inception, mainly focusing on smaller venues like the Manhattan Center and Terminal 5. This would obviously be a massive step in terms of size, scope, and costs.

However, the recent success The Young Bucks and Cody Runnels had in quickly selling out a 10,000 seat venue in the Chicago region without a card could be bolstering the company's hopes to sell out MSG with the right mix of talent (i.e. Bucks, Cody, Kenny Omega, etc).

Ripley said they have been scaling their production quality, but that "it's not quite there yet" to more aggressively bring their TV product off Sinclair stations.

In last week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer noted that AAA holds a September date for MSG.

"If this show does happen, it would be the first time since the early 60s when someone other than Vince McMahon or his father would have promoted a pro wrestling event in the world’s most famous arena. It’s also notable that this past week, as there were insiders who found out about this booking, that WWE added Undertaker to its 7/7 show in Madison Square Garden, which seemed unusual given tickets were selling well for the date."

-Jeff Hardy's driving while impaired charge from March is close to being resolved.

WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina reported that Hardy pleaded guilty in court on Monday. He received a 120-day suspended sentence, was fined $300, and will need to complete 48 hours of community service within the 120 days. The report noted that Hardy also has to complete an assessment and treatment class in addition to turning over his license.

Hardy was arrested for DWI in Concord, North Carolina on March 10th after being involved in a single-car accident. The accident report stated that he "ran off the roadway to the right, in turn striking about 105 feet of guardrail before the back end of the car spun out 90 degrees to the left, coming to rest in the middle of the right N bound lane of travel." He submitted to a breathalyzer and blew a 0.25, which is more than three times the legal limit.

Hardy, who is WWE's current United States Champion, will face Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title match on SmackDown tonight.

**UPDATES for June 13/18**

-John Cena has booked a role alongside Jackie Chan in one of his next film projects.

Chan and Cena are slated to star in the action-thriller "Project X," which is a working title. Sylvester Stallone was originally scheduled for Cena's role before having to be replaced.

Cena is playing a former Marine who Chan, a private security contractor from China, teams up with to stop attackers who are trying to steal oil from a Chinese refinery in the Middle East.

The film is being directed by Scott Waugh, written by Arash Amel, and Chan is one of the producers. Waugh previously directed "Need for Speed" in 2014 and "Act of Valor" in 2012.

Cena hasn't appeared on WWE television since his matches against Triple H at the Greatest Royal Rumble and The Undertaker at WrestleMania 34 in April. He has a role in the Transformers spinoff "Bumblebee," which is set to be released this December.

-Raw last night bounced back eight percent from the low marks the past few weeks, doing 2.72 million viewers.

The key to the rating was the third hour had less of a decline than usual with the four-way men's main event of Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor vs. Bobby Roode.

The number was well below the 3.10 million viewers that the first show last year did after the conclusion of the NBA playoffs.

Raw was seventh for the night on cable, but beat everything but Fox News coverage, and also beat three of the five broadcast networks, with mostly rerun programming running against it aside from The Bachelorette.

The unusual development is that the third-hour decline, usually highest among women, was actually slightly higher, five percent as opposed to three percent, among men in the 18-49 demo.

The three hours were:

8 p.m. 2.75 million viewers
9 p.m. 2.81 million viewers
10 p.m. 2.63 million viewers

-SmackDown Live added a new segment and had another one removed.

With the show taking place in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, Jerry Lawler made an appearance and interviewing AJ Styles ahead of Money in the Bank. The segment was a part of the final build to Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura's last man standing match for the WWE Championship at the pay-per-view.

Nakamura faced United States Champion Jeff Hardy in a non-title match, with Daniel Bryan vs. Shelton Benjamin and a women's Money in the Bank summit also occurred.

A match between Andrade "Cien" Almas and Sin Cara was originally scheduled but has been canceled as part of an apparent storyline where Sin Cara's shoulder was "injured" when Almas attacked him backstage last Tuesday. Sin Cara posted a promo on Twitter where he called Almas a coward and said he's coming for him.

Almas and Sin Cara worked against each other on this past weekend's house shows.

-Chris Jericho has explained why he won’t be wrestling for NJPW shows in the United States or at All In.

In an interview with Inside the Ropes, Jericho said he rejected working for New Japan shows in the United States and the upcoming All In event for two reasons, with the first being monetary.

“You should see how many indy promoters contact me” he said. “This is a calculated big money proposition. I’m not going anywhere else unless you want to pay six f****** figures. This is where I’m at. This is McGregor/Mayweather type s*** for me.”

He also mentioned that he felt like it would be a slap in the face to Vince McMahon if he were to do a show in the United States.

“I’m doing all of these different things and enjoying the freedom but still rooted in the respect for Vince McMahon and the WWE” he said. “And [working shows in the US] goes too far over that line right now.”

On Monday’s Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted that Jericho wouldn’t be wrestling for NJPW for a long time, despite winning the IWGP Intercontinental title from Tetsuya Naito at Dominion this past Saturday. Meltzer mentioned that Jericho's absence would effectively put the championship “on ice”.

-After a slow start when changing nights for season three, Total Bellas ratings were up again on Sunday night. The episode averaged 734,000 viewers, up from 654,000 last week, and posted a 0.33 rating in the 18-49 demo. That’s the second-best viewership number in show history.

-In a tweet from Monday, Rusev accused a hotel employee of stealing from him and Lana:

“Thank you @sheratonhotels Memphis for ‘cleaning’ the room and stealing my wife camera and my money from my wallet”

-Mustafa Ali gave his light-up mask to a fan who’s suffering chronic pain, severe asthma, and other medical issues and has to wear a mask to reduce their exposure to pollen.

-Samoa Joe talked Memphis wrestling history as he appeared on Action News 5 to promote SmackDown. Joe also did a video teaching radio/podcast host Chris Vernon how to be tough. looked back on Money in the Bank 2011 and CM Punk winning the WWE Championship from John Cena. acknowledged Brock Lesnar passing CM Punk’s 434 days as Universal/World Champion.

-WWE posted a two-minute sneak peek of Friday’s Celebrity Undercover Boss episode with Stephanie McMahon.

-The trailer for Sunday’s WWE: 24 on The Hardys has also been released. It will premiere after Money in the Bank.

-Mojo Rawley defeated Chad Gable and Titus O’Neil & Apollo Crews defeated The Ascension on Monday night’s Main Event tapings.

-The WWE uploaded video of Baron Corbin getting his head shaved prior to Monday night’s Raw.

-Daniel Bryan said he could beat Mike Jackson on the ground in an MMA fight. Jackson recently beat CM Punk and told him to retire.

-Xavier Woods will be a playable character in the Super Bomberman R video game.

-Dana White reiterated that he thinks Brock Lesnar’s WWE contract expires at the end of the summer. He also said both Lesnar and Jon Jones are still interested in facing each other.

-Last week, there were reports that one of the members of the Authors of Pain was going through a visa issue. On Wednesday the visa issue has been resolved. Because the focus of the tag division has primarily been on The B Team and Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre, they have been held off television for the time being.

-The Raw tag title match with Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt vs. The B Team is not currently officially scheduled for the Money in the Bank show. There is talks to have it on the kickoff show that starts at 6PM EST/3PM PST as no match has been announced for it yet and normally at least 1 match is on the kickoff show.

UPDATE: The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows tag title match will take place on the kickoff show before Money in the Bank this Sunday in Chicago.

-The WWE stock closed at $61.70 on Wednesday.

-Bovada has already released line for a hypothetical fight between Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar with Jones listed as the -350 favorite and Lesnar at +260. The same outlet has released a line for Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington, which is expected to take place some time this year and Woodley is listed as a -140 favorite and Covington is a +110 underdog.

-Despite missing a house show on Tuesday, Ricochet will still be facing Velveteen Dream at NXT TakeOver: Chicago.

"He just tweaked himself a little bit in the show in Paris," Paul "Triple H" Levesque said on today's pre-TakeOver conference call. "He's not injured. We just didn't want to take a chance with it with TakeOver being just down the road a bit here."

Levesque added that the issue was with Ricochet's shoulders.

According to the report we received, Ricochet appeared to hurt himself on a tope while teaming with Johnny Gargano against Velveteen Dream & Tommaso Ciampa at Monday's show in Paris. He was helped to the back before returning to celebrate with Gargano after the match but didn't appear in Antwerp, Belgium on Tuesday.

Ricochet also continued to hype his TakeOver match on Twitter today:

"On the plane about to head back to the states. An amazing and my first overseas tour for @WWENXT is all wrapped up! Thanks to all who came and made it possible! Now time to get ready for my spotlight at #NXTTakeOverChicago."

NXT has house shows in Louisville, Kentucky and Evansville, Indiana this week before the Allstate Arena hosts TakeOver: Chicago on Saturday.

-Tuesday night’s SmackDown averaged 2.183 million viewers, up two percent from last week’s 2018 low mark.

The episode was also up five percent from the same week in 2017, the first time in four weeks SmackDown was up year-over-year.

SmackDown finished ninth for the night in total viewers on cable, trailing mostly news shows, which were up due to the coverage of Donald Trump's summit with Kim Jong-un. SmackDown did top the ratings in the 18-49 demo (as it does most weeks) with a 0.66 rating.

The show retained 80 percent of the Raw audience from the night before, slightly less than what SmackDown has been doing of late but still in the normal range. Of note, this is the sixth straight week that SmackDown has been below 2.3 million viewers. Prior to that, they had only been below that mark once, on Halloween night, since June 13th of last year.

-Mustafa Ali vs. Hideo Itami vs. Buddy Murphy will be the main event of next week’s 205 Live. They’ve been positioned as the three top challengers for Cedric Alexander’s Cruiserweight Championship.

-Itami paid tribute to Mitsuharu Misawa on the ninth anniversary of his passing.

-A second vignette hyping that Lio Rush’s debut is coming soon aired on 205 Live last night.

-After Rusev tweeted that a hotel employee stole from him and Lana, Paige also criticized the Sheraton in Memphis and said things were stolen:

“If you’re in the Memphis area don’t EVER stay at the @SheratonMemphis it’s literally the worst. Things stolen, bad customer service and room service takes two hours just for a salad and WE are the inconvenience. Ugh. The worst.”

Rusev tweeted that he’s pressing charges for the theft and has filed a police report.

-The WWE uploaded Jack Gallagher and Drew Gulak’s first round match in the United Kingdom Championship tournament, which was taped at Full Sail University last month.

-The WWE put out a video with Cathy Kelley discussing The New Day’s “dream match” Street Fighter V battle against Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks at E3 tomorrow. Woods cut a promo on the matchup, which will stream on his UpUpDownDown YouTube channel at 4 p.m. Eastern time.

-Woods and game streamer CDNThe3rd finished 24th out of 50th in a Fortnite celebrity pro-am at E3 and earned $10,000 for Connor’s Cure.

-On today’s pre-TakeOver: Chicago conference call, Triple H denied that the WWE is looking to build a new Performance Center. He was responding to comments made by Bobby Roode and said there aren’t any current plans for it, but they’re always looking to grow and evolve.

-Mike Jackson responded to Daniel Bryan saying he could beat him on the ground:

“Look Daniel Bryan; I will do you worse than I did your man Punk because I will have no reservations in punching this guy in the face 100-percent. And at will.” Bryan also replied to a tweet from Jackson by writing “interesting” with the thinking face emoji,

-Wrestling DVD Network reported that “Shawn Michaels -- The Showstopper Unreleased,” a three-disc DVD on Michaels, is scheduled to be available for purchase in late September or early October.

-Adam Cole’s NXT North American Championship defense against WALTER at EVOLVE 107 on June 24th won’t be airing on the broadcast for the show but is being taped to potentially be used in the future.

**UPDATES for June 14/18**

-Announcer Pat Laprade extended his deal with TVA Sports to continue as play-by-play announcer for WWE Raw on the Quebec station.

-Don't be surprised if James Ellsworth makes a surprise appearance at the Money in the Bank PPV on Sunday. He recently cancelled an appearance in China this weekend.

-Due to a conflict with the Showtime Championship Boxing card from Dallas this weekend, Mauro Ranallo will not be calling NXT TakeOver this Saturday.

Vic Joseph will be replacing Ranallo on the broadcast and will call the show alongside Nigel McGuiness and Percy Watson.

Following the Showtime card, Ranallo will be flying to England and he will be calling Monday and Tuesday’s WWE U.K. events from Royal Albert Hall. The U.K. events will air the following week on the WWE Network.

-Though it wasn't in the ring, wrestlers from the WWE and NJPW faced off at E3 this afternoon.

The New Day played The Elite in a team battle on Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, with New Day winning 2-1. Kofi Kingston defeated Nick Jackson and Xavier Woods defeated Matt Jackson, while Kenny Omega defeated Big E.

Woods and Omega, who are friends and both avid gamers, were originally announced as facing each other before their partners were added. New Day having Big E go against Omega then led to Woods vs. Omega, which was part of a bet where the loser's team was supposed to eat habanero peppers. Omega won that 5-4.

Omega, playing heel, then said this was really all about he and Woods/Creed who were the real game players. So they did a best of nine series, which, shockingly, came down to the ninth game and Omega won.

After the "rivalry" between the teams was played up all broadcast, Woods called it a day they've been working towards for the past three years. Omega said he and Woods set out on a path to bring the worlds of pro wrestling and video games together. He said they shouldn't be against each other and should work towards a common goal -- and this competition between people from two different companies was the result. Both Woods and Omega referred to it as step one.

Omega, playing heel, then said this was really all about he and Woods/Creed who were the real game players. So they did a best of nine series, which, shockingly, came down to the ninth game and Omega won.

As part of the stipulations, the losing team had to eat a pepper. Woods/Creed said he would eat all three for his team since he lost. So he ate two and the crowd was cheering him. Omega got mad people were cheering Woods/Creed even though he lost, and he said anything Woods/Creed could do, he could do better. He ate one and guzzled down water with it. Both guys were feeling sick and they put each other over. It's been more than 18 months since the two teams have wanted to do something to work with each other. It sounded impossible when both teams wanted it, and probably still is, but who knows. The full video is up at Capcom Unity and the Up Up Down Down YouTube Channel.

-Perhaps capitalizing on the buzz from his IWGP Heavyweight Championship win, WWE has uploaded a Kenny Omega match to the Network's hidden gems section.

The match is against Cru Jones and took place in Deep South Wrestling, which was part of WWE's developmental system, on September 3rd, 2006. Including a pre-match promo from Omega, the video is just under six minutes long and ends with Omega winning with Sliced Bread Number Two.

Omega joined Deep South Wrestling in 2005 before leaving in 2006.

Xavier Woods vs. Michael Tarver (FCW, 2011), Brad Armstrong & Bob Armstrong vs. Lex Luger & Tully Blanchard (NWA, 1987), Curt Hennig & Larry "The Axe" Hennig vs. The Road Warriors (AWA, 1985), and Bob Orton Sr. & Bob Orton Jr. vs. Steve Keirn & Mike Graham (CWF, 1976) were this week's other additions to the hidden gems category.

-A huge story on President Trump and his Trump Foundation which is under attack notes that the biggest donors were the McMahons.

-2K has a press conference on Monday to announce the cover superstar for WWE 2K 19. The cover superstar will also reveal news about the new game and host a Q&A session. The press conference takes place at 11 a.m. Eastern at

-For the first time, Kambi is publishing star ratings for an NXT show. You can bet over or under on three matches:

Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream ****1/4
Aleister Black vs. Lars Sullivan ***3/4
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano ****3/4

--There is a story online about Luke Menzies moving from Rugby League to the WWE.

-While there haven't been any names officially announced, a standout wrestler of her generation looks set for WWE's second Mae Young Classic.

Tokyo Sports reported today that 38-year-old Meiko Satomura would be participating in the tournament. Satomura had no comment on the report.

Whether or not Satomura would have any involvement with the WWE past appearing in the tournament wasn't made clear.

Satomura is a founder of the Sendai Girls promotion in Japan and has been wrestling for over 20 years. She's also been wrestling on the United Kingdom independent scene fairly often recently, appearing for Pro Wrestling: EVE and Fight Club: PRO. She won the Fight Club: PRO title from Chris Brookes earlier this year.

The Mae Young Classic will be taped in Orlando, Florida on August 8th and 9th. Last year's tournament had a 32-wrestler field that included a mix of wrestlers who were under contract with WWE and those who weren't.

**UPDATES for June 15/18**

-At shows NXT Stars Ricochet, Kiliian Dain and Fabiaan Aichner having a tug-o-war with a lion cub at the San Antonio Zoo.

-David Bixenspan at Deadspin has uncovered several motions that were filed on behalf of Dr. Christopher Amann ahead of his trial against CM Punk and Colt Cabana. According to Bixenspan’s reporting, the motions were filed to ensure specific issues would not be broached during the trial, some of those motions were under seal and could only be viewed by those involved in the case, others were viewable to the public.

The publicly accessible documents included a motion that the defense could not reference his romantic and sexual relationships he had with former WWE performer Jillian Hall and an independent wrestler who had tryouts with the company. Deadspin did contact Hall, who gave her approval that her name could be included in their story. Dr. Amann stated in a deposition from last August, that he and Hall were involved in a relationship from November 2009 – February 2010. Hall remained with the company until November 2010.

The Deadspin article goes on to speak with Arthur Caplan, an ethics professor at NYU, who explains the ethical implication of dating a patient, classifying it as “a huge ethics no-no”. Caplan explained that a doctor in the position of treating someone they are involved with can cause the doctor to distort their ability to properly treat them and creates “dual loyalties”.

Deadspin did receive a statement from the WWE on the story:

"We were not aware of this. We are investigating the matter and will determine if any action is warranted."

-The WWE Raw crew is in Peoria, Illinois tonight and are advertising Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal, Seth Rollins vs. Elias for the Intercontinental title, and Bobby Lashley & Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. The Raw crew heads to Champaign, Illinois on Saturday while the SmackDown crew is in Dubuque, Iowa on Saturday with Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The Miz and Big Cass vs. Daniel Bryan being advertised.

-Stephanie McMahon’s appearance on ‘Celebrity Undercover Boss’ airs tonight at 8 pm Eastern on CBS.

-Nia Jax spoke to Yahoo about her match with Ronda Rousey this Sunday at Money in the Bank, the decision to have her weight be announced for her matches, and not classifying herself as a babyface or a heel.

-The WWE Network has added a bunch of Mid-Atlantic episodes from 1983-85.

-Raw will be Monday night in Grand Rapids, MI while Smackdown has a house show on Monday night in Fort Wayne, IN, and the WWE Network is taping a show at Royal Albert Hall in London.

-Smackdown and 205 Live will be taped on Tuesday night in Toledo with the only thing announced being Mustafa Ali vs. Hideo Itami vs. Buddy Murphy for the No. 1 contender position in the cruiserweight division on 205 Live. There is also a WWE Network taping on Tuesday at Royal Albert Hall in London.

-For this weekend, Roman Reigns is back in action on all the Raw house shows. Braun Strowman isn't being advertised for Friday or Saturday night. A.J Styles is not booked in Dubuque on Saturday night, but the rest of the Smackdown crew is. Strowman and Ronda Rousey are booked for the PPV and Raw. Styles is booked for a house show Monday in Fort Wayne.

-Kambi has put up the over/unders for star ratings for Sunday, so you can bet on over and under:

Styles vs. Nakamura ****1/4
Rousey vs. Jax **1/4
Rollins vs. Elias **1/2
Men's Money in the bank ****1/4
Reigns vs. Mahal **3/4
Bludgeon Brothers vs. Anderson & Gallows **
Carmella vs. Asuka **
Women's Money in the Bank ***

You can also bet on an exact star rating, bet on what wins best match, and bet on whether the Styles match or Money in the Bank match gets the most stars.

**UPDATES for June 16/18**

-The WWE has officially announced another stadium show for 2018 with the “Super Show-Down” at the 100,000 seat Melbourne Cricket Grounds on Saturday, October 6th. The news of the stadium event was first reported back in March by the Melbourne Herald Sun.

The WWE will be partnering with TEG Dainty to present the show, who also promoted the 2002 Global Warning event at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.

The promotional poster states the event will air on the WWE Network.

Vince McMahon released a promotional video to announce the card, which will feature a singles match between Triple H and The Undertaker that is being promoted as their final match ever. It will also be their first match since WrestleMania 28 in April 2012.

John Cena, Ronda Rousey, Kurt Angle, Big Show, and Shawn Michaels were also mentioned as appearing at the show. Though Michaels has discussed potentially being open to one more match under the right circumstances, it wasn't specified whether he would just be making an appearance or not.

The poster for the events features Roman Reigns, The Undertaker, John Cena, Triple H, Charlotte Flair, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Nia Jax, AJ Styles, Asuka, The Miz, Bobby Lashley, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Finn Balor, Sasha Banks, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, Alexa Bliss, New Day, Samoa Joe, Bray Wyatt, and Carmella.

Brock Lesnar is not part of the advertising for the show.

Tickets for the event will go on sale Friday, June 28th. It's taking place three weeks after Hell in a Cell and two weeks before TLC.

Here's the ticket information for the show: "Tickets for WWE Super Show-Down will be available Thursday, June 28, at 10 a.m. AEST via An exclusive Telstra Thanks pre-sale for customers starts this Friday, June 22, at 12 noon AEST, and is open until Tuesday, June 26, at 10 p.m. AEST."

-Prior to TakeOver, Bianca Belair vs. Dakota Kai and War Raiders vs. TM61 are being taped for next week’s NXT TV. Adam Cole and EC3, who don’t have matches on the card, will be making appearances on the pre-show with Charly Caruso, Sam Roberts, and Pat McAfee.

-The WWE posted a 10-minute video on Ricochet's road to TakeOver, which includes him hurting his shoulder in Paris earlier this week.

-There were no women’s matches at last night’s Raw house show in Peoria, Illinois, likely due to preparations for Money in the Bank. Braun Strowman also wasn’t on the show.

-Fox 13 in Memphis has an update on the police investigation into the items that Rusev and Lana said were stolen from their hotel room while in the city this week. A Sony digital camera, $500, and Rusev’s wallet were taken, with a cleaning person (who police said cleaned the room while a “do not disturb” sign was up) as the suspect. She said she found the wallet inside a chicken box in the trash. Security returned the wallet to Rusev, but it didn’t have the money in it.

-PWInsider reported that Dean Ambrose was at the Performance Center over the last several days as he continues to recover from December’s triceps surgery. The report noted that it wasn’t known if Ambrose was working in the ring or just doing physical therapy.

-The WWE uploaded Travis Banks vs. El Ligero, Dave Mastiff vs. Kenny Williams, Ashton Smith vs. Joseph Conners, and Flash Morgan Webster vs. James Drake from the first round of the United Kingdom Championship tournament. The matches took place at Download Festival last weekend. published an article on Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa’s feud prior to their street fight tonight.

-Nia Jax was interviewed by Yahoo ahead of her title defense against Ronda Rousey.

-Ember Moon also spoke to TV Insider about Money in the Bank and her being in the women’s ladder match.

-In a clip from their WWE 24 special that will premiere after Sunday’s PPV, The Hardys discussed the inspiration for their Final Deletion match from TNA. It includes footage from the match with the Global Wrestling Network logo.

**UPDATES for June 17/18**

-At NXT Takeover: Chicago, EC3 was shown in the audience followed by Keith Lee, who received a big reaction. Nick Hausman of WrestleZone was right behind Lee. McGuinness identified Lee as a former WWN champion.

Lee signing with WWE had been expected for the last couple of months. He finished up on the independent scene at the end of May, having farewell shows for Beyond Wrestling, PWG, and EVOLVE.

Dave Meltzer, who reported in March that Lee had been offered a WWE contract, wrote earlier this month that Lee, Io Shirai, Deonna Purrazzo, gymnast Stacey Ervin Jr., and former rugby players Daniel Vidot and Luke Menzies were expected to be part of the next class to report to NXT as long as there weren't any last-minute medical issues.

NXT will follow up on TakeOver as they return to Full Sail University for television tapings this coming Thursday.

-Io Shirai did her Stardom farewell today at Korakuen Hall. Kaori Yoneyama & Ruaka b Natsuko Tora & Leo Onozaki, Natsu Sumire b Hanan, Konami & AZM b Starlight Kid & Shiki Shibusawa, Saki Kashima & Tam Nakano b Deonna Purrazzo& Zoe Lucas, Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani b Kagetsu & Hazuki, Momo Watanabe b Jungle Kyona to retain the Wonder of Stardom title. The show was all about trying to get the sellout crowd behind Watanabe as the new star with Shirai endorsing her at the end.

-The reason the crowd wasn't reacting in the Shayna Baszler vs. Nikki Cross match last night was because they were paying more attention to beach calls in the crowd and chanting "CM Punk."

-The Undertaker was on stage last night at a Post Malone concert in Austin, TX and choke slammed Malone.

-Lost In Time, a pacer, co-owned by Ric Flair, finished a fast-closing third at 17-1 in the $1 million Pepsi NA Cup Saturday night in Canada.

-The New York Post has a story on Ember Moon ahead of tonight's show.

-James Ellsworth made his return to the WWE when he interfered in the Carmella vs. Asuka match.

Enjoy everything going into the go home shows, so don't 'cha dare miss it!
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Posted 6/18/18 , edited 6/24/18
The Money in the Bank PPV is done. Alexa Bliss not only won the the women's Money in the Bank briefcase, she cashed it in the same night after making the Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey title match a no contest then cashed in to pin Nia Jax to become the new RAW Women's Championship. Meanwhile Braun Strowman won the main event Men's MITB Ladder match to join his Mixed Tag Challenge partner in becoming Mr. Monster in the Bank. Now comes the fallout on TV this week.

General sources are as normally credited to and and and and and and but please also note that all news and rumours are subject to updates and changes.

Extreme Rules on Sunday, July 15, 2018 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Additional Sources: and


*Multiple Men Match for a WWE Universal Championship Title Shot
Participants Announced: Roman Reigns, Bobby Lashley
*WWE Raw Women's Champoinship Match: Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Nia Jax
*WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Rusev (w/ Aiden English)

-Adam Cole has an opponent for his NXT North American Championship defense at Royal Albert Hall.

WWE announced today that Wolfgang would be challenging for Cole's title on night two of this week's shows in London. Wolfgang, who is one of WWE's United Kingdom division-contracted wrestlers, didn't appear in this year's UK Championship tournament. He lost to Tyler Bate in the semifinals of the 2017 edition.

There will also be three other title matches at Royal Albert Hall tomorrow. Pete Dunne will defend the WWE United Kingdom Championship against the winner of today's tournament, Toni Storm vs. Jinny vs. Killer Kelly vs. Isla Dawn is taking place today to decide a challenger for Shayna Baszler's title, and Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong's Tag Team titles will be on the line.

Cole, O'Reilly & Strong are teaming against Dunne, Bate & Trent Seven today. Below are the matches that were taped Monday and will air next week on the WWE Network:

*Travis Banks vs. Ashton Smith in the quarter-finals
*Joe Coffey vs. Dave Mastiff in the quarter-finals
*Flash Morgan Webster vs. Jordan Devlin in the quarter-finals
*Jack Gallagher vs. Zack Gibson in the quarter-finals
*Toni Storm vs. Jinny vs. Killer Kelly vs. Isla Dawn in a #1 contender’s match for the NXT women’s title
*Pete Dunne, Trent Seven & Tyler Bate vs. Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong

The Royal Albert Hall shows will air on the WWE Network at 3 p.m. Eastern time on June 25th and 26th.

During Monday’s WWE card at Royal Albert Hall, Paul Levesque entered the ring alongside Johnny Saint and formally announced the launch of the WWE’s own NXT UK brand.

“NXT UK” will feature divisions for the men, women, and tag teams with tapings beginning July in Cambridge on July 28th and 29th.

The WWE has added they will be adding championships for the women and tag divisions, in addition to the UK title that was created in January 2017 and is held by Pete Dunne.

They have also added dates for August 25th and 26th in Birmingham, October 13th and 14th in Plymouth, and November 24th and 25th in Liverpool at the Liverpool Olympia.

The brand is being positioned as falling under the NXT umbrella, and Levesque has spoken about wanting to create a global territory system with similar outposts around the world. It's being advertised that the series will feature wrestlers from the UK and Ireland, with it also including wrestlers who were born elsewhere but are based in those countries.

“The UK has an amazing talent base and incredibly passionate fans that are deserving of their own showcase,” Levesque said. “This is the next step in our ongoing strategy to create localized content and further develop our brand globally.”

-Tonight’s episode of Raw takes place from Grand Rapids, Michigan coming off Money in the Bank. The next major show is Extreme Rules on July 15th in Pittsburgh. Sunday’s show felt like the conclusion of several programs, including Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal and Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn. The major news as noted from Sunday’s show was Alexa Bliss winning the Raw women’s title and the directions that set up for Bliss, Nia Jax, and Ronda Rousey.

-The SmackDown crew is in Fort Wayne, Indiana with AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura advertised for the main event. The television tapings are in Toledo, Ohio on Tuesday.

-The WWE’s ‘24’ special on The Hardys premiered on the WWE Network on Sunday following Money in the Bank. It is way more revealing than most WWE specials that will either shy away from certain realities that exist within the industry. There is a fair amount spent on both Matt and Jeff’s drug dependency issues where they start focusing on the problems in 2009 when Jeff was leaving the company and Matt was spiraling downward and remained with the WWE for another year. There is some unbelievable footage caught on camera from Matt falling asleep during a sit-down interview, and a frank discussion between Matt and Jeff on their property with Jeff’s wife, Beth, informing them they have microphones on and to be careful as the two laughed about it. The special does address Jeff’s recent DWI from March with Matt admitting how mad he was and didn’t speak to Jeff for 24 hours. Jeff stated that he does see a counselor and it was attributed to Jeff being in his own head a lot with Matt adding that, “Jeff still worries me.” The DWI portion felt like it needed someone representing the company to speak on it as it came off as someone with a long history of dependency problems, falling off the wagon and getting behind the wheel and then we cut to Jeff’s rehab of his shoulder and return to television one month after the arrest.

-The episode of Celebrity Undercover Boss featuring Stephanie McMahon from this past Friday averaged 4,158,000 viewers on CBS.

-Paige took to social media following an incident after Money in the Bank where she was assaulted by a fan.

She posted the following on her Instagram page:

"To the 'fan' that decided to pie face me through my car window and then tell me to 'lose some weight Paige'.. you inspired me to keep being myself and eat whatever the f I want. Good luck with your karma!"

According to PWInsider, there were witnesses who saw the incident. One reader told the site that Paige was leaving the Allstate Arena on the passenger's side of her car when she rolled down the window to wave goodbye to the fans. A male fan then pie-faced her and yelled at her. People confronted the fan following the incident.

There is no current word on any legal action stemming from the incident. Paige retired earlier this year after re-injuring her surgically repaired neck at the end of 2017.

-Carsten Schaefer, the longtime WWE German language announcer, suffered a mild heart attack on Saturday, which caused him to miss yesterday's PPV show. He said he had bad back pain and went to the hospital, and it was discovered he had a mild heart attack. He is still currently hospitalized.

-The new episode of Being the Elite is built around the Elite vs. New Day E3 video game thing from Thursday and other shenanigans. There is a big tease at the end for a match between the two sides.

-Money in the Bank got 200,000 searches yesterday. That's usual B show numbers and not big four level. It was the No. 4 most searched term on the Internet, and all three that beat it were World Cup related. For a comparison, the UFC 225 show a week earlier did 800,000. Actually C.M. Punk alone last week got more than the entire MITB show combined got this week.

-Raw has competition tonight from the MTV movie awards, which start at 9 p.m. on MTV.

-Stephanie McMahon is in France today at the Cannes Liones Festival representing the WWE.

-For SmackDown Live tomorrow there will be a gauntlet match with 5 participants to decide who will get the title shot against the WWE Champion AJ Styles at Extreme Rules.

-After interrupting Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey on Sunday and cashing in her Money in the Bank briefcase to win the Raw Women's Championship, Alexa Bliss will be defending the title against Jax at Extreme Rules. That was announced by Kurt Angle at the start of tonight's Raw, with him saying Jax is getting her automatic rematch.

Rousey came out during the segment with Bliss and Angle and went on a rampage after Bliss told her to get to the back of the line and called her an overhyped rookie. Rousey attacked Bliss, then did the same to Angle when he tried to stop her. She laid out referees, put Bliss through a table, and was given a 30-day suspension in storyline. In storyline, this would mean that the next time Rousey will be allowed on television is July 18, which would be just a few days after Extreme Rules on July 15. She would be able to appear back on TV starting on the 7/23 episode of Raw.

This will be the third time Bliss and Jax have faced each other on PPV this year. There wasn't a stipulation announced for the match.

Later on in the night Angle also announced a new contender for the WWE Universal Champion will be determined by a multiple men match. No additional stipulations were added yet but so far Angle said Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns would be in that match after they interrupted the announcement and more names would be added at a later date.

Extreme Rules is taking place at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 15. It's WWE's final PPV before SummerSlam.

-Seth Rollins, after losing the Intercontinental Championship to Dolph Ziggler after making an open challenge, invoked his rematch clause later in the night and said the match will happen next week on Raw.

**UPDATES for June 19/18**

-The Mountain Goats have released a new tune, "Song for Sasha Banks." The Boss had tweeted out after The Mountain Goats released their album with nothing but wrestling songs, Beat the Champ:

"Where's my song, @mountain_goats?" ... so now there is one.

-Each year, ESPN: The Magazine does a "Body Issue" celebrating the athletic torsos of the men and women of sport. Charlotte Flair will be in this year's issue. It would be the first time a representative of the WWE has been included in the issue. Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate have both appeared in the Body Issue in past years. The magazine will be released on Friday, June 29th.

-Apparently, the WWE has squashed any attempt that Ring of Honor had of running New York City's Madison Square Garden in 2019. The fight over Madison Square Garden appears to have a frontrunner, if not the outright winner in World Wrestling Entertainment. One-week following Sinclair Broadcasting CEO Chris Ripley’s interview with the Baltimore Business Journal announcing the Ring of Honor would run the famous venue in 2019, those plans appear to have been shelved. On Tuesday, Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff spoke to Mike Johnson at and when pressed on the rumored event at The Garden, Koff stated:

"I’m not going to discuss beyond this statement because I am not going to litigate this in the press. We had a deal with [Madison Square] Garden and they then told us they were backing out after communications from the WWE. We are not able to get any other dates in any kind of discussion. I’m expecting that our lawyers will be contacting all the parties involved and the best we can hope is that we can find a resolution, so we can bring the kind of energy and excitement that ROH and our partner New Japan to a bigger audience and to bigger arenas and to the fans of New York City."

A date was never announced for the theoretical card at Madison Square Garden, but it was expected to be during the weekend of WrestleMania next April, which was the most logical weekend to run when so many tourists would be in the city.

The next subject is what deal The Garden has struck with the WWE, who has been running the arena less frequently in favor of the Barclays Center. The Garden was not expected to host any WWE-related events next year during WrestleMania week, although with the pressure of ROH attempting to book the arena, the WWE may have to find something to put in ROH’s place that weekend.

ROH would also need a new venue for their annual Supercard of Honor show that weekend with The Garden not available to them. It’s a tough predicament in that market because they have outgrown the Hammerstein Ballroom for an event of that level. Ideally, Ring of Honor would want to book a 6-10,000 seat venue. AAA has also been planning to run Madison Square Garden. It's been several decades since anyone other than the McMahon family has promoted a pro wrestling show at the venue.

-In what seems like the first time in a long time, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was shut out of a Hollywood Awards ceremony this past weekend. At the MTV Movie and TV Awards, Johnson and his Jumanji co-stars got beat out in the Best On-Screen Team category, losing to the cast of the horror movie It. Johnson's co-star in the movie, Jack Black, failed to win the Best Comedic Performance award. WWE legend Dave "Batista" Bautista's movie, Avengers: Infinity War was similarly shut out, losing the Best Movie prize and a couple of other awards. Proving that MTV audiences may be more discerning than ever, neither Total Divas nor Total Bellas were nominated for Best Reality Series.

-The WWE announced Tuesday afternoon that Big Cass (William Morrissey) has been released with no further explanation. The WWE announced the following on their website:

“WWE has come to terms on the release of William Morrissey (Big Cass)”.

Morrissey was trained at Johnny Rodz’s school and had his first match in 2009. Within two years he had been signed to a WWE developmental contract and was on TV for Florida Championship Wrestling very quickly. It wasn’t until FCW was re-branded NXT and he was paired with Enzo Amore that he started to get over. They became a very popular babyface act while in NXT. Carmella was later added to the act as well, although she remained in NXT when the two were called up to the main roster in April 2016. On their first night on Raw, Enzo cut a big promo on The Dudley Boyz and his promos immediately stood out. Shortly after their main roster debut, Enzo was injured in a tag match with The Vaudevillains when his neck snapped on the bottom rope and led to a scary scene at the Payback card in May 2016. Enzo was sidelined and led to Cass getting more promo time and showing potential. They broke the team up last summer with Cass being revealed as Enzo’s mystery attacker and led to a brief feud, which was cut short when Cass tore his ACL during a street fight on Raw with Enzo in August. Cass returned to television this past April on SmackDown and began a feud with Daniel Bryan that featured two pay-per-view matches where Cass was submitted.

There are rumours within the company that several people were unhappy with Cass’ performance in the Big Show feud last summer before his injury. That opinion of Cass continued with the recent program with Daniel Bryan and that his release was not that surprising to anyone. Dave Meltzer notes that Vince McMahon called a meeting at SmackDown in Toledo today and fired Cass.

Pro Wrestling Sheet reported last month that Big Cass got heat after going off script in a segment where he was to beat up a little person who was dressed up like Daniel Bryan. According to the report, officials only wanted to have the performer laid out with a big boot. Cass wanted to do something more physical, and despite Vince McMahon telling him otherwise, Cass pummeled the performer with punches. The footage was later edited off social media sites.

Despite the reported heat, he had continued his feud with Bryan over the last month, culminating with their match at Money in the Bank where Bryan submitted Cass.

-Alicia Fox was just cleared and is expected back at any time, presumably once they have an idea for her. She suffered a broken tailbone back in January just before the Royal Rumble.

-Tonight’s episode of SmackDown takes place from Toledo, Ohio and will feature a five-man Gauntlet Match involving Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, The Miz, Big E., and Rusev with the winner facing AJ Styles for the WWE title at Extreme Rules next month. On paper, this match sounds outstanding and it could be going very long. Below are the matches announced for tonight:

*Gauntlet Match
*The Usos vs. SAnitY
*Billie Kay vs. Becky Lynch
*Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy vs. Hideo Itami on 205 Live

The WWE is teasing another "Mellabration" after Carmella retained her SmackDown Women's Championship against Asuka at Money in the Bank. Carmella won after a distraction from the returning James Ellsworth.

UPDATE: A tag team title rematch is set for tonight’s SmackDown Live.

SmackDown GM Paige announced this afternoon that we’ll be seeing a rematch for the SmackDown tag team titles tonight between Anderson and Gallows and champions The Bludgeon Brothers.

“#MITB was exciting! ... but that was Sunday” Paige wrote on Twitter.

“This is Tuesday and tonight is #SDLive! So let’s make an exciting title match..Soooo the tag team champions, the #BludgeonBrothers will defend their titles against @LukeGallowsWWE and @KarlAndersonWWE.”

The reason for the tag team title match wasn’t made clear. The Bludgeon Brothers defeated Anderson and Gallows pretty cleanly at Money in the Bank, with the Bludgeon Brothers pinning Gallows following a double team power bomb.

-Regarding Nikki Cross, she is scheduled for the NXT tapings this Thursday and thus don't expect her to be coming up with SAnitY. is reporting that Sami Zayn had been working with an injury through Sunday’s match with Bobby Lashley and will be missing some time. The site reported that Zayn was headed to Birmingham, Alabama but the actual injury is not known nor a timetable for his time off.

-Despite the storyline of Ronda Rousey’s suspension, the WWE website is still advertising Rousey for next Monday’s Raw in San Diego, as well as July 9th in Boston, and July 16th in Buffalo (which is the night after Extreme Rules). The Wrestling Observer website adds that the WWE has confirmed Rousey is still scheduled for live events this Sunday in Anaheim, July 6th in Philadelphia, July 7th at Madison Square Garden, and July 8th in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

-This past Sunday’s episode of Total Bellas did 726,000 viewers on E! The number was slightly down from last week’s season-high but was still their second-highest viewership total of the current season.

-NXT will be taping television this Thursday night at Full Sail University and Mauro Ranallo will be back at the tapings after missing TakeOver due to his Showtime Championship Boxing commitments on Saturday. This week’s show will feature TM61 vs. War Raiders and Dakota Kai vs. Bianca Belair, which were taped at the Allstate Arena on Saturday.

-John Cena is one of the finalists for ESPN’s Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian of the Year. Cena is being honored along with Doug Baldwin of the Seattle Seahawks, Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, and J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans. The award ceremony will take place Tuesday, July 24th on ESPN.

-Raw last night, getting the PPV bump from Money in the Bank, was up six percent to 2.90 million viewers.

It was the best number the show has done since April 30, although it's also lower than every episode from the end of football season through April 30.

Raw was third for the night on cable, trailing Hannity on Fox News at 3.40 million viewers and The Five on Fox News at 2.92 million viewers.

Coming off the PPV, the first hour was the most-watched slightly, rather than usual summer patterns where it is the second hour. The third hour dropped, as usual, but it wasn't one of the bigger drops.

It was also back to the usual pattern where most of the third hour decline was with women.

The three hours were:

8 p.m. 3.00 million viewers
9 p.m. 2.98 million viewers
10 p.m. 2.73 million viewers

-The NXT Tag Team titles changed hands at Royal Albert Hall this afternoon.

Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven) defeated The Undisputed Era (Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong) to become the new champions. The match was announced yesterday after Bate, Seven & Pete Dunne won a six-man tag against O'Reilly, Strong & Adam Cole on the first night in London.

This is Bate & Seven's first Tag Team title reign in the WWE. Bate was the inaugural United Kingdom Champion before losing it to Dunne.

Noam Dar also returned to action for the first time since undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus last year. He defeated Travis Banks, Mark Andrews, and Flash Morgan Webster in a fatal four-way number one contender's match and will get a future shot at the UK Championship. After the match, Joe Coffey and Mark Coffey attacked everyone except Dar.

The UK Championship tournament shows will air on the WWE Network at 3 p.m. Eastern time next Monday and Tuesday.

UPDATE: Triple H said that Jinny suffered a concussion at yesterday’s United Kingdom Championship tournament show at Royal Albert Hall. She got hurt when catching Isla Dawn on a dive, and the planned fatal four-way match was started again as a triple threat with Toni Storm, Killer Kelly, and Dawn. Jinny tweeted about the injury:

“Heartbroken? Yes. Seriously hurt? No. I'm so grateful to have the people I have in my life, friends and family checking up on me. And, thank you to all the fans who wished me well #YassQueen”

Triple H also said they aren’t yet sure where the NXT UK brand show will air.

-With it being 6/19, today was declared “Rey Mysterio Day” in San Diego. Mysterio said he’s possibly getting ready to go back to the WWE and indicated that it would be a three-year contract if they come to terms. Mysterio also mentioned that he has more dates with NJPW scheduled.

Mysterio tweeted about being honored today:

“Honored & grateful with the city of SD 619 for officially naming today 6/19/Rey Mysterio Day! A Sincere Thank U to my fans [worldwide] for the support & unconditional love given through out my 28 yrs of career & please understand that without your support I would not be who I am now!”

-WWE stock closed at $66.14 per share today, which is another record-high number and up 3.46 percent on the day.

-With an angle that he officially signed his contract last week, Lio Rush could be making his 205 Live debut soon.

-Total Bellas viewership was down slightly but remained strong on Sunday night. This week’s episode averaged 726,000 viewers, down from 734,000 last week. The rating in the 18-49 demo was a 0.35, up from 0.33.

-PWInsider reported that William Regal will be back on the road as NXT general manager for Thursday’s TV tapings in Orlando.

-Cena and Ford settled out of court after Ford sued Cena for selling an exclusive car that he got the chance to purchase. Ford had claimed that Cena wasn’t supposed to resell the car as part of the agreement.

-Shawn Michaels and Pete Dunne appeared on BBC Radio 1Xtra today to promote the UK tournament.

-Bobby Roode celebrated the 20th anniversary of his pro wrestling debut:

“June 19 1998 was my very first pro wrestling match. It’s been an amazing 20 years in this business. Thank you to everyone who has helped me get to where I am today! #Glorious”

-Former rugby player Daniel Vidot spoke to about signing with WWE and the character that he'll portray.

**UPDATES for June 20/18**

-Vader (real name Leon White), a legendary big man wherever he went in pro wrestling, has passed away at 63 years old.

White's son wrote the following:

"It is with a heavy heart to inform everyone that my father, Leon White, passed away on Monday night (6/18/18) at approximately 7:25pm. Around a month ago my father was diagnosed with a severe case of Pneumonia. He fought extremely hard and clinically was making progress. Unfortunately, on Monday night his heart had enough and it was his time."

White underwent successful open-heart surgery in March but still had a long road to recovery ahead of him at that point. He was hospitalized again in April due to pneumonia, which he tweeted was downgraded to bronchitis. He underwent another surgery in May to repair an irregular heartbeat.

Despite years of heart problems, White was active in the ring until 2017 and had been vowing to make a comeback even after his open-heart surgery. He briefly fainted after a match in Japan last year but claimed it wasn't related to his heart issues.

White was a football player before starting his wrestling career in the AWA. With incredible athleticism for his size, he became a star in both Japan and the United States, wrestling for promotions like NJPW, AJPW, Pro Wrestling NOAH, WCW, and the WWF. He also appeared as a character on a few episodes of "Boy Meets World" in the 1990s.

Tonight’s episode of NXT on the WWE Network opened with a graphic paying tribute to Vader. A picture of him and messages from wrestlers that were posted on social media were also displayed on the bottom of the screen during the open for the show.

Triple H tweeted a statement on the passing of Vader:

“Leon White entertained (and intimidated) audiences all over the world with his size, strength, and agility. Saddened to hear of his passing and our thoughts are with his family at this time. #RIPVader”

Mick Foley, who had been lobbying for Vader to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame before he passed away, wrote a remembrance of him.

Sting tweeted about Vader:

“ Loved working with Leon, loved the friendship I had with him for many years, and especially these last 8 months of his life. He will truly be missed.”

Dustin Rhodes paid tribute to Vader:

“Very sad to here of the passing of @itsvadertime . He was @DakotaRunnels22 Godfather and a friend. He will be missed. #RIPLeonWhite” posted many of the other tributes to Vader that were shared on social media.

-Pro Wrestling Sheet reported that one incident where Big Cass made some people feel negatively about him before his release happened when he broke down a door while riding on a WWE bus. While the lock was apparently broken, Cass thought it was a prank and broke the door after being stuck inside. Everyone had to use the bathroom with no door after, though the report noted that there were people who understood Cass' frustration.

-Cris Cyborg offered to help Alexa Bliss ahead of an eventual match against Ronda Rousey:

“Let me know # @AlexaBliss_WWE if you need help training Judo takedown and armbar defense!"

-Jeff Hardy retaining the United States Championship against The Miz was last night’s post-205 Live dark match. Tye Dillinger also faced Shelton Benjamin before SmackDown started.

-Producer Ashok Moore had his last day at ESPN before leaving to work for the WWE.

**UPDATES for June 21/18**

-The WWE announced that the Mae Young Classic 2018 will take place Wednesday, Aug. 8, and Thursday, Aug. 9, from Full Sail Live in Orlando, FL., with tickets available tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET.

Like with the 2017 edition, the single-elimination tournament will again feature a 32-participant field. The WWE is advertising that it will include wrestlers from 12 different countries.

“We are thrilled to once again present the Mae Young Classic and provide a global showcase for 32 of the top female talent from around the world,” Paul “Triple H” Levesque said in a press release. “Last year’s event was a significant milestone in WWE’s Women’s Evolution, and I am confident this year’s event will break even more barriers."

The WWE noted that additional information will be announced in the coming weeks. They haven't confirmed any wrestlers for the tournament, but Tokyo Sports reported last Thursday that Meiko Satomura would be in it. Last year's version featured a mix of wrestlers who were under contract with WWE and many who weren't.

-Shinsuke Nakamura’s autobiography King of Strong Style will be released in North America on August 7.

-Coming off Sunday's Money in the Bank pay-per-view, SmackDown viewership was up six percent this week, posting its best numbers since May 1. The show averaged 2.315 million viewers on the night.

SmackDown finished eighth on cable in terms of total viewers but topped the 18-49 demo with a 0.78 rating.

It wasn't all good news, however, as the show was down eight percent year-over-year and retained just under 80 percent of the Raw viewers from the previous night. Raw was also down year-over-year, so again the biggest factor in SmackDown viewership seems to be whatever the Raw audience was the night before.

The show was built around a number one contender's gauntlet match for a shot at AJ Styles' WWE Championship, featuring Daniel Bryan, Big E, Samoa Joe, The Miz, and Rusev. That formula has been a ratings success in the past for WWE on Raw. Rusev won the match and will face Styles at Extreme Rules next month.

-Sami Zayn just underwent surgery for a torn right rotator cuff, and he'll be having surgery on the left one in several weeks.

In an interview with today, Zayn revealed that he'll be out of action for an extended period of time due to two torn rotator cuffs.

"Well, right now I’m in Birmingham, Ala. I just underwent surgery for my right shoulder, a.k.a. my good shoulder," Zayn said. "So, I’m out for a little while with that. I guess people don’t know about this injury; I’ve been working with it for some time. I don’t know exactly when I tore it. I think I tore it, or initially injured it, on a Montreal live event. Which is ironic because I injured my left shoulder -- now somewhat famously -- in Montreal in my [Raw] debut against John Cena. And at a live event this past August wrestling Jinder Mahal, I think I injured it then."

Zayn called his left shoulder his "bad" one due to past injuries and said it's never felt the same since hurting it on the Raw where he faced Cena in 2015. He doesn't know how long the left rotator cuff was torn for, but he had tests done to see if the right one was okay and the left turned out to be even worse.

Zayn said he'll be undergoing surgery on the left rotator cuff in about six or seven weeks. He mentioned that he'd love to be in the mix for WrestleMania season in 2019 and said he thinks he should be ready to return in time for 'Mania.

Before getting surgery, Zayn wrapped up his program with Bobby Lashley by losing to him at Money in the Bank this past Sunday.

-The WWE has confirmed that Ronda Rousey will be appearing at Monday's Raw event in San Diego. They did not confirm she would be on the television show, only that she would be there. She is also scheduled for the Extreme Rules show in Pittsburgh in some capacity. However, she has been pulled from the Raw events upcoming in Boston and Buffalo.

-NXT is doing TV tapings tonight at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. Tyler Bate & Trent Seven are there as new NXT tag team champions. William Regal is back for tonight's tapings after being gone for several months with health issues.

-Kurt Angle, Titus O'Neil, Apollo Crews and Dana Brooke shot a Pizza Hut TV commercial today.

-Online Fred Ottman talked Titus O'Neil's botch from the Greatest Royal Rumble.

-There is an online interview with Tom Phillips talking about college at Penn State and breaking into broadcasting. posted online a spoiler from the NXT Tapings:

"The Undisputed ERA regained the NXT Tag Team Championship from Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven) during tonight’s NXT tapings at Full Sail University.

The championship bout was a rematch of Moustache Mountain’s title victory over Roderick Strong & Kyle O’Reilly, which will air Tuesday as part of the NXT U.K. Championship special on WWE Network."

**UPDATES for June 22/18**

-Tucker Knight of the Heavy Machinery tag team missed last night's WWE NXT taping in Winter Park, Florida tonight. During the taping, it was noted that he was out due to an accident. Knight was actually celebrating the birth of his daughter.

-The WWE will be holding a tryout at the Performance Center starting June 27. The only names confirmed thus far are Northeast independent wrestler Max Castor, 24-year old Duke University football player Shaquille Powell, and 28 year old former NFL player Terence "TJ" Barnes.

-To update yesterday's news, Sami Zayn will be gone for the rest of 2018 and will be a question mark for next year’s WrestleMania card in April. Zayn underwent surgery this past week for a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder and is awaiting a second surgery for a torn rotator cuff in the left shoulder. Zayn believes he injured the right shoulder, which is considered “the good shoulder”, last August at a live event in Montreal against Jinder Mahal. The left shoulder is one he has town twice before, once in 2009 during a match with Kevin Steen, and a second time during his Raw debut (also in Montreal) against John Cena in 2015, which required surgery and he missed several months. Zayn has no idea when he re-tore the left shoulder and believes it may have been torn for several years and as far back as his rehab after the 2015 surgery. It’s a major blow to have one torn rotator cuff and with two, it’s going to be a long road to recovery for Zayn. He will be turning 34 years old next month and has been wrestling for 16 years.

-Mike Johnson at reported Friday that AAA still has a hold on a date at Madison Square Garden on September 16th. Johnson added that they have a second date on hold in 2018 as well, although the exact date of the back up isn’t known. This follows the news from earlier in the week that Ring of Honor had lost a date at The Garden with Joe Koff speaking to and stating that they were informed they were losing the date after the venue had communication with the WWE. It was expected that Ring of Honor was going to run The Garden over WrestleMania weekend next April and would easily be the biggest show in the promotion’s history. Johnson also noted that AAA is considering pushing back their proposed show at The Garden until 2019 to maximize the impact of running the venue.

-The Raw crew starts their weekend tour with a card in Boise Idaho at the Taco Bell Arena tonight and are in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday. The SmackDown crew is in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday with The Miz, Jeff Hardy, Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe as the top talent advertised. Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles are not listed for Saturday’s show. AJ is also not listed for next week's TV. Daniel Bryan is advertised for Bakersfield on Monday and TV in Ontario, California on Tuesday but not the other shows. Ronda Rousey is advertised for Sunday's house show in Anaheim and while not listed, The WWE has said she is scheduled to appear in some form on Monday night in San Diego. Dave Meltzer notes that, as of this morning, Rousey was again scheduled for the Raw in Buffalo on July 16. That doesn’t confirm that she’ll be appearing on TV.

-Coming out of TakeOver: Chicago, the first match is already set for NXT's next special event.

At TakeOver: Brooklyn on August 18, Shayna Baszler will be defending her NXT Women's Championship against Kairi Sane in a rematch from the finals of last year's Mae Young Classic. Sane won a triple threat number one contender's match during Thursday's NXT television tapings at Full Sail University to set up her challenging Baszler.

For the finish of the triple threat, Candice LeRae hit a lionsault on Nikki Cross and was going for the pin when Sane came off the top rope with her Insane Elbow. Sane pinned LeRae and then had a staredown with Baszler, who was doing commentary for the match.

Baszler cut a promo earlier in the tapings where she ran down the women's division, saying no one can take the title from her. Sane also defeated Vanessa Borne prior to the triple threat and set her sights on Baszler, promising to beat her like she did in the Mae Young Classic finals.

NXT will finish building to TakeOver: Brooklyn when they return to Full Sail on July 18 for more tapings.

-The WWE uploaded a nine-minute behind-the-scenes video with Rousey from Money in the Bank where she talks about why she’s crossed over to pro wrestling and wanting to effect social change before she brings children into the world.

-The WWE streamed a marathon of all the first round matches from this year’s United Kingdom Championship tournament, which led into this week’s Royal Albert Hall shows.

-Wrestling DVD Network revealed some of the matches that will be included in the Shawn Michaels unreleased matches DVD that is being put out this October:

*The Rockers vs. The Orient Express (London, Ontario, Canada, April 29, 1990)
*Piper’s Pit segment with Michaels (Syracuse, New York, April 29, 1992)
*Michaels, Diesel & The Undertaker vs. Sycho Sid, Tatanka & Kama in a six-man elimination match (Evansville, Indiana, July 25, 1995)
*Michaels vs. Vader for the WWF Championship (State College, Pennsylvania, September 29, 1996)
*Michaels vs. Brooklyn Brawler for the WWF Championship (Madison Square Garden, November 15, 1997)
*Michaels vs. Batista vs. Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship (Atlanta, Georgia, November 17, 2008)

-A Vader collection has been added to the WWE Network.

-After Hulk Hogan tweeted about potentially being his manager, Velveteen Dream responded:

“HollyWoodDREAM has a nice ring 2 it, but DREAM rides solo. Good Try Terry!”

**UPDATES for June 23/18**

-While the card is always subject to change, it looks like The Undertaker's match has been revealed for next month's house show at Madison Square Garden.

Undertaker, Roman Reigns & Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin & Elias in a six-man tag is advertised to headline the July 7 event. Undertaker and Reigns are teaming together after their WrestleMania 33 main event, where Undertaker indicated that he was retiring before returning this year.

Undertaker last wrestled this past April, defeating John Cena at WrestleMania 34 and Rusev at the Greatest Royal Rumble. He's also scheduled for a match against Triple H at WWE Super Show-Down in Melbourne, Australia this October, which is being billed as the final time they'll face each other.

Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax for the Raw Women's Championship had originally been announced for the Madison Square Garden house show. She'll still be facing Jax, but now it's a non-title match with champion Alexa Bliss as the special guest referee.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Championship is also listed for Madison Square Garden, and Bobby Lashley, Jinder Mahal, Bobby Roode, Natalya, Bayley, Matt Hardy, and Bray Wyatt are advertised.

-Monday has Raw TV in San Diego with Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins for the IC title. There is also a Smackdown house show in Bakersfield.

-Tuesday has Smackdown and 205 Live in Ontario, CA. Announced for 205 Live is Jack Gallagher & Brian Kendrick & Drew Gulak vs. Kalisto & Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik.

-The WWE posted a video paying tribute to the life and career of Leon “Vader” White, which features previously taped interview clips from Mick Foley, Booker T, Jim Ross, and Sting.

-Harley Race also talked about how people should remember how nice Vader was -- in addition to who he was in the ring.

-Vader’s son Jesse noted that there are a few projects they had been working on prior to his father's passing:

“I want everyone to know that there are few things my father and I have been working on for some time now. Please stay tuned. Coming Soon!!!! It will always and forever be VADER TIME!!!”

-NXT’s Bianca Belair and Montez Ford had their wedding ceremony today.

-Steve Austin’s iconic “Austin 3:16” promo took place after his King of the Ring win on this day in 1996.

-Braun Strowman, Bobby Roode, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Elias, Finn Balor, Jinder Mahal, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, and Baron Corbin were the available options in a poll that WWE put out where they asked who should join Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley in the multi-man number one contender’s match at Extreme Rules.

-Becky Lynch and Shinsuke Nakamura took part in a panel moderated by Lilian Garcia at ACE Comic Con in Seattle.

-Daniel Bryan discussed how Johnny Saint’s involvement will be able to help the wrestlers in NXT’s United Kingdom brand.

-Following James Ellsworth’s return at Money in the Bank, WWE looked at surprise reveals for this week’s video top 10 list.

-Adam Cole was interviewed by Sports Illustrated about his NXT North American Championship defense against WALTER for EVOLVE.

-Molly Holly made an appearance on Xavier Woods’ UpUpDownDown YouTube channel.

**UPDATES for June 24/18**

-Shinsuke Nakamura is going from the WWE Championship picture to challenging for the United States title.

Nakamura and US Champion Jeff Hardy have started a program over the past couple of weeks and will face off in a title match on Tuesday's SmackDown. WWE had Paige make the announcement on Twitter:

"As General Manger of #SDLive, it’s my responsibility to make matches that you want to SEE ... so, I’m making it official. @JeffHardyBrand will defend the #USTitle against @ShinsukeN THIS Tuesday."

Hardy defeated Nakamura by disqualification in a non-title match on the go-home show for Money in the Bank, with Nakamura low blowing Hardy and then hitting him with the Kinshasa. Hardy cut a promo while wearing face paint and white contacts on last week's episode where he said he wasn't going to forget about what Nakamura did to him. He said that Nakamura opened his eyes, and Nakamura later responded by saying he'll close them if Hardy crosses him again.

Hardy vs. Nakamura is the first match set for Tuesday's SmackDown. The show is taking place at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.

-The "suspended" Ronda Rousey is scheduled to wrestle on her first U.S. house show tonight in Anaheim, which is also the building that she headlined the first women's UFC fight against Liz Carmouche.

-Jesse White, the son of Leon "Vader" White, talked to talked to TMZ about how DDP, Steve Austin, Mick Foley and Sting were all keeping in contact with Vader of late. He said that Sting and Leon became every close over the last ten months and that the two of them would read the Bible together on the phone and tell old stories.

-Oney Lorcan suffered a broken orbital bone in his right eye and will be undergoing surgery. That explains why he wasn't at the TV tapings this past weekend and Danny Burch was working singles matches.

-The advances for Monday and Tuesday's WWE TV's aren't strong.

-Both Carmella and AJ Styles, both the men's and women's champion, were off the Smackdown house shows this weekend as they are in Australia to promote the 10/6 show in Melbourne.

-The Adam Cole vs. Walter match today on the Evolve show in Melrose, MA won't be allowed on the WWN streaming service. The rest of the show, which features Matt Riddle vs. AR Fox, is on the service

There will be more news coming, so don't 'cha dare miss it!
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Posted 6/25/18 , edited 6/29/18
The long weekend approaches but there will be news updates when possible here!

General sources are as normally credited to and and and and and and but please also note that all news and rumours are subject to updates and changes.

Extreme Rules on Sunday, July 15, 2018 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Additional Sources: and


*WWE Raw Women's Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Nia Jax
*WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Rusev (w/ Aiden English)
*Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley
*WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Deleter of Worlds (C - Woken Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt) vs. The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas)
*WWE SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Carmella (C - w/ James Ellsworth) vs. Asuka
*WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bludgeon Brothers (C-Rowan & Harper) vs. Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan)

-Tweeted out by Impact Wrestling:

"We’re delighted to announce that dummies will be named and shamed long into the future as @TheEliDrake has signed a contract extension with IMPACT Wrestling."

It's in reference to rumours that he was NXT/WWE bound.

-The WWE filed a trademark for the term "British Strong Style" on June 18.

-Tonight’s episode of Raw takes place from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California and will feature a rematch between Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental title. Ronda Rousey is still being advertised locally by the venue for tonight’s taping, although the WWE site is not listing her. It could end up with Rousey appearing just for the live crowd or interrupting the show to play up the suspension angle and Rousey defying Kurt Angle.

-The SmackDown crew has a house show in Bakersfield, California tonight with Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Jeff Hardy advertised.

-The WWE has announced that Jeff Hardy will defend the United States title against Shinsuke Nakamura on Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown from Ontario, California.

-Adam Cole defeated WALTER in the dark match main event at EVOLVE 107 on Sunday in Melrose, Massachusetts. Due to Cole’s contractual rights belonging to the WWE, they could not stream the match on WWN Live with the viewers at home getting Matt Riddle vs. AR Fox in the main event slot. There was notable interest in the Cole vs. WALTER match when it was announced and given the association between the WWE and Gabe Sapolsky, opportunities like this will come about. It is tough with regards to the promotion because you are forced to promote two main events – one for ticket sales and one for iPPV buys and there could be confusion by some ordering the event without the knowledge of the separation. It will be intriguing to see where WWN is situated within the WWE’s eventual tiering of the WWE Network, which was outlined under the loose working title of “WWE Network 2.0” by George Barrios and Michelle Wilson at the annual Business Partner Summit. WWN along with Progress and ICW would be the brands most would expect to have at least some representation on the WWE Network when the tiered system is introduced.

-The WWE is doing an angle that contract negotiations with Brock Lesnar and WWE have stalled and thus they don't have a date for his next title defense. Hence the originally planned multi-men match for a contender was called off on Raw.

-Advertising in San Antonio lists the 9/16 Hell in a Cell PPV top matches as Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens and AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe. Keep in mind that advertising in Pittsburgh listed two different cards, and they ended up changing both of them.

-ESPN talked to Charlotte Flair about her appearing in The Body Issue.

-Nia Jax did a TV interview promoting tonight's Raw show.

-The Authors of Pain and Alicia Fox returned to Raw this week.

**UPDATES for June 26/18**

-Sami Zayn will be performing as part of The Blender in Montreal as a part of the Off-Just For Laughs comedy festival, on Sunday, July 22. He is off from WWE at the moment rehabbing from surgery.

-At is a preview of everyone in this year's ESPN Body Issue which includes a couple of firsts as it will include its very first WWE star. Representing the wrestling world in the magazine will be Charlotte Flair, daughter of wrestling legend Ric Flair.

-On Tuesday, World Wrestling Entertainment confirmed the previously reported domestic television rights deals with the USA Network and Fox Sports.

The company confirmed that both Raw and SmackDown Live has entered into five-year agreements with Raw remaining on the USA Network, while SmackDown Live will be moving from the USA Network and will air Friday nights on the Fox broadcast network. Both deals will go into effect on October 1st, 2019, at the expiration of the WWE’s existing domestic rights deal with NBC Universal for both programs.

“WWE and FOX are a perfect match,” Vince McMahon said. “Moving SmackDown LIVE to broadcast TV and having the ability to leverage FOX’s extensive portfolio of world-class sporting events will expand the reach of our flagship programming.”

“Monday Night Raw and USA Network have dominated Monday nights during a truly historic run,” Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable was quoted as saying.“Our partnership with WWE is one of the strongest and most successful in the business, and together we’ll take Raw to even greater heights.”

The Hollywood Reporter had previously reported that Fox had secured the rights to SmackDown Live with a five-year deal worth $205 million per year and $1.025 billion over the length of the contract. They added that Raw was retained by the USA Network with a hefty increase to approximately $265 million per year and bringing the value of the two deals to $2.35 billion over the five-year period.

The company also confirmed that SmackDown will remain as a live program when it shifts to Friday nights and will premiere on the Fox network on October 4th, 2019.

Since the news of the pending deals was reported, the WWE’s stock has skyrocketed to record highs and closed on Tuesday at $66.62.

These agreements increase the average annual value (AAV) of WWE’s U.S. distribution to 3.6 times that of the prior deal with NBCU.

The WWE will host a conference call Wednesday morning at 8 am Eastern, hosted by company co-presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson to discuss the deals.

-Eric Arndt (formerly Enzo Amore and now going by ‘Real1’) was a guest on the Steve Austin podcast on Tuesday and went in-depth over his firing by World Wrestling Entertainment in January following allegations of sexual assault. Arndt remained quiet during the process of the Phoenix Police Department’s investigation, which the department announced was closed in May. Since then, Arndt has released a rap video slamming the allegations and maintaining his innocence regarding the falsehood of what he was accused of.

The firing occurred the day after the Raw 25th-anniversary episode in January. Enzo said he became aware of the allegations on that day when the accuser publicly tweeted about it. In the interview with Austin, Arndt did clarify that a friend of his contacted him in December and the friend’s girlfriend did receive an email from someone stating they were an investigator (but not identifying themselves as a police officer) and a woman had made a claim against a wrestler (not stating Arndt’s name). Arndt was made aware, contacted his lawyer, who in turn reached out the Phoenix Police Department and asked if Arndt was being charged and was told no charges had been laid. Arndt went about his business until the day of Raw 25 in Brooklyn and once the tweets came out, he immediately contacted his lawyer and then went to Mark Carrano, a WWE lawyer, and WWE official Adam Hopkins before meeting with Vince McMahon.

Enzo was scheduled for several segments throughout the episode of Raw. He was supposed to be part of the APA poker game and a series of backstage segments were to be shot with Enzo losing his Cruiserweight title in the game to Ted DiBiase, leading to Nia Jax winning the title back herself and handing it back to Enzo. Enzo was also scheduled for a match with Goldust on the show that would culminate with The Dudley Boyz appearing and putting Enzo through a table.

After meeting with Vince McMahon, Enzo was sent home with McMahon noting the timing of these allegations when they are promoting the women’s Royal Rumble match that weekend and the “Me Too” movement. As soon as Enzo left the meeting with McMahon, he was informed by Adam Hopkins that he had been suspended a statement had just been released by the company with Enzo responding, “I won’t forget about this” and was furious that the company didn’t have his back. Enzo proceeded to drive from Brooklyn to his sister’s house in Delaware while recording himself for the entire drive and is holding onto that audio until he thinks of what to do with it.

He was also contacted after his firing the next day about returning the Cruiserweight title or he wouldn’t be paid out for his 90 day no compete period.

The way his storyline with Nia Jax was scheduled to go, was that Enzo would be caught with Alexa Bliss and revealed that he was using Jax as his “heater” to keep the Cruiserweight title while hooking up with Bliss.

He confirmed in the interview that he was dressing by himself backstage and came off as having a dismissive attitude toward the culture of the wrestling locker room, with certain outdated traditions such as Wrestler’s Court not appealing to him and refusing to participate in them.

Regarding a return to the WWE, he stated he can’t wrestle due to sciatica right now, adding that he broke his back for a company that didn’t have his back in the end. He has also blocked out all the numbers with a “203” area code in his phone, which is the Connecticut area code. His full concentration appears to be on writing and producing music, which his younger brother shoots and edits as Arndt is hesitant to sign with a label.

-Here are the matches announced for tonight’s episodes of SmackDown Live and 205 Live from the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California:

*Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the United States title
*Rusev vs. Xavier Woods
*Peyton Royce vs. Becky Lynch
*The Bludgeon Brothers on Miz TV
*The Lucha House Party vs. Drew Gulak, Brian Kendrick & Jack Gallagher on 205 Live
*The debut of Lio Rush on 205 Live

UPDATE: Just a few hours before it was supposed to happen, the WWE announced that the Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura United States Championship match that was scheduled to headline tonight's SmackDown has been pulled from the show.

While offering few other details, the WWE put out a video this afternoon noting that Nakamura suffered an injury last night and won't be able to compete today. Nakamura didn't work SmackDown's Monday night house show in Bakersfield, California, and Dave Meltzer has confirmed that Nakamura was bit in the leg by a police dog at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield yesterday.

Whether or not Nakamura will be able to wrestle at WWE's house shows in Japan this weekend is uncertain at this point.

For tonight's show, WWE is advertising that Hardy will instead defend the US title in an open challenge. Rusev vs. Xavier Woods, Becky Lynch vs. Peyton Royce, and Miz TV with The Bludgeon Brothers are still set, along with cast members from Netflix's GLOW appearing.

-Britt Baron and Sydelle Noel, who are cast members on ‘GLOW’ have indicated they will be appearing on tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live with Naomi. The second season of ‘GLOW’ premieres on Friday on Netflix. The WWE is hyping that at least two of the cast members from Netflix's GLOW will appear. Britt Baron (who plays Justine) and Sydelle Noel (who plays Cherry Bang) tweeted videos where they said they were going to add glow to the show and sent messages to Naomi, referencing her "feel the glow" catchphrase. Season two of GLOW will be uploaded to Netflix this Friday.

-Due to an injury in the middle of the match, the WWE had to edit around Monday’s multi-person women’s match on the UK Championship Tournament show. It was originally a fatal four-way match with Toni Storm, Killer Kelly, Isla Dawn, and Jinny. During the match, Jinny is believed to have suffered a concussion and they removed her from the match and redid it as a three-way, which is what you saw on Monday’s broadcast. The lone slip up was that the announcer introduced the match at the beginning as a “fatal four-way match”, which was a minor issue but one that I figured someone would have caught in post-production. Jinny has since come out stating she wasn’t seriously hurt and thanked those that checked in on her.

-As previously noted, Alicia Fox made her first appearance on Raw Monday night as she was cleared to return last Monday. She was featured in a brief interaction with Bayley and then left the scene with Kurt Angle entered to speak with Bayley.

-Pro Wrestling NOAH has officially announced that Hideo Itami (formerly ‘KENTA’) will be returning on September 1st at Naomichi Marufuji’s 20th-anniversary card for a singles match with his long-time partner and rival. The card will take place at Sumo Hall and will also feature a tag match with Takashi Sugiura & Daisuke Harada taking on Jun Akiyama & Atsushi Aoki. It opens the door for a relationship between the WWE and Pro Wrestling NOAH, which Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has reported on and stated that a verbal agreement was in place last week between the two sides.

-The WWE is running local ads in the New York market to promote their July 7th house show at Madison Square Garden that state, “Ronda may be banned from Raw, but she is not banned from Madison Square Garden.”

-The multi-man number one contender's match that had previously been announced for Extreme Rules apparently won't be happening.

Raw opened with a segment where the WWE brass had Kurt Angle announce that, due to a storyline where there was a snag in negotiations with Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, the match to decide Lesnar's next challenger was -- at least for now -- no longer on the table. A singles match between Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley, who were the only two wrestlers confirmed for the multi-man, was instead teased and made for now under advisement.

Reigns & Lashley lost a tag team match to The Revival, with tension between them leading to Dash Wilder rolling up Reigns. Reigns also appeared later in the show and helped Seth Rollins even the odds against Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre.

Paul Heyman continued the angle with Lesnar over the weekend, writing a Facebook post where he said Lesnar was going to focus on "more pressing, 'Ultimate' opportunities" until someone proves that they're worthy of challenging for the Universal title.

There will be two more episodes of Raw building to Extreme Rules before the pay-per-view takes place on July 15.

-Last night's Raw ratings had both good and bad news.

The bad news is the final number, of 2.67 million viewers, which would be the lowest the show has done in the modern era except against the NFL or NBA playoffs. It was an eight percent drop from last week's show which was boosted by coming the day after the Money in the Bank PPV.

However, the show was trending to do significantly worse after the first two hours. Shockingly, not only was the usual pattern of a third-hour drop not there, but the third hour, built around the Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins Intercontinental title match, was the highest rated hour of the show.

Ironically, the last time the third hour was the highest rated of the show was 52 weeks ago, on June 26, 2017.

Before that, you'd have to go back to March 14, 2016.

There is no television explanation for this. There was nothing that did big numbers on the networks -- and cable numbers weren't strong either. Raw was fifth on cable, trailing only news shows.

The explanation is the show itself.

What this means is there was lower than usual level of interest in the show, however, the show itself was good, in fact by current standards when it comes to keeping the audience, it was the best in a year. This caused the usual viewership tune-out not to happen. The lesson of the show was that, at least for this week, the idea of a nearly 30-minute main event was a huge ratings success.

The three hours were:

8 p.m. 2.60 million viewers
9 p.m. 2.68 million viewers
10 p.m. 2.71 million viewers

**UPDATES for June 27/18**

-Bayley and Sasha Banks having to attend “mandatory counselling” has been announced as an angle for next week’s Raw. Bayley snapped on Banks last night and attacked her after a six-woman tag match.

-Bobby Roode & Breezango defeating Curt Hawkins & The Ascension and Chad Gable defeating Mike Kanellis were the matches filmed for Main Event prior to Raw this week.

-Total Bellas drew 666,000 total viewers and a 0.30 rating in the 18-49 demo on Sunday night. That’s down from 726,000 and 734,000 over the last two weeks.

-Ronda Rousey starred in a new commercial for Twizzlers.

-9 News in Australia posted an article on the expensive prices for premium tickets for WWE’s Super Show-Down PPV that is being held in Melbourne this October.

-WPSD TV in Paducah, Kentucky ran a story on Ricochet being from the city and the success he’s having in the WWE.

-James Ellsworth is set to have his first match in the WWE since being released last November.

It will be another intergender match involving Ellsworth as he faces Asuka on next week's episode of SmackDown. That was announced tonight, with Paige coming to the ring and making the match when Ellsworth called out Asuka. Ellsworth challenging her was part of a storyline where he knew she wasn't there this week.

The WWE also announced that Carmella will again defend her SmackDown Women's Championship against Asuka at Extreme Rules on July 15.

Ellsworth's last match for WWE took place on November 7, 2017. He lost to Becky Lynch and was then written off television as he was superkicked by Carmella. He returned at Money in the Bank earlier this month, was again paired with Carmella, and helped her retain her title against Asuka.

Carmella didn't appear on SmackDown this week due to her and AJ Styles traveling to Australia to promote WWE's Super Show-Down pay-per-view, which is taking place in Melbourne this October.

-Daniel Bryan will team with the returning Kane to challenge for The Bludgeon Brothers' SmackDown Tag Team titles.

Kane returned to television for the first time since becoming the Republican candidate for mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. The mayoral election will be in August. He made the save and helped even the odds against The Bludgeon Brothers after Bryan defeated Harper by disqualification in this week's main event. Bryan and Kane hugged, reuniting their Team Hell No duo. Paige then announced the title match for Extreme Rules, which will be near the final stretch of his campaign to become mayor of Knox County, Tennessee at the time of the PPV. The general election is taking place on August 2, and he’s expected to easily defeat his democratic opponent.

-The WWE held a conference call Wednesday morning to go over their domestic television rights deals with NBC Universal and Fox Sports. The call was hosted by WWE co-presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson, who have been placed at the forefront as the faces of this deal. There was no Vince McMahon, Paul Levesque, or Stephanie McMahon on the call.

Rather than break down the value of the U.S. deals, they have provided figures and estimates for their television revenue among their top seven territories, that consist of the U.S., U.K., India, Canada, Latin America, Middle East, and South Africa. They list the revenue for their key content at $213 million for 2017 among the seven territories and $244 million worldwide, that figure escalates to $235 million in 2018 and $270 worldwide. The NBC Universal renewal and Fox Sports deals go into effect October 1st, 2019, so the final quarter of the year will reflect the new financial picture. 2019 is estimated at $314 million among the top seven territories and $348 million worldwide (there is some estimation on the company’s behalf because they have deals coming up with the U.K. and India). By 2021, the company estimates revenue for their key content at $542 million among the top seven territories and $576 million worldwide. To put into perspective, in 2017 the WWE brought in a total of $801 million in revenue for the entire company and by 2021, they believe they will be bringing in $576 million just for their content among their worldwide distribution deals.

The company has greatly benefited from the massive jumps in television rights fees, positioning themselves as live sports that have continued to deliver strong viewership by cable standards today. On the call, they credited NBC Universal for their status growth and were very complimentary towards their ongoing broadcaster for Raw. This comes one month after the Hollywood Reporter breakdown of the Fox negotiations, where Rupert Murdoch reportedly insulted the USA Network during the meeting stating the broadcaster was embarrassed by the WWE and Fox was better positioned to handle and sell their product.

It is a big test for both the WWE and Fox as SmackDown moves to a weekly network prime time slot. Unlike in 1999, when SmackDown became a shining light on the fledgling UPN, in 2018 they are going onto a major network that is paying a reported $205 million per year so the standards are significantly higher than in 1999 in terms of what is deemed a success.

In 2018, SmackDown Live is averaging 2,515,000 viewers on the USA Network, which is a very respectable viewership average on cable but falls below the network average for Fox. From October 2017 – February 2018, Fox averaged 5,892,000 viewers for their prime-time programming and were trailing NBC, CBS, and ABC. Unlike Raw, SmackDown will find itself in a position where they will need to grow their audience to maintain the status of a prime-time network show on Fox. It is also a new type of product that Fox is going to have to go out and sell to make back their big investment. We saw the lengths that NBC Universal has gone to since the last contract negotiation in 2014 to sell the product, by integrating the WWE with examples like John Cena regularly appearing on the ‘Today Show’, various campaigns they have run and what has led to the WWE having a higher status among advertisers and programmers.

The upside of the Fox deal far outweighs any concerns, as this will provide the WWE with their largest platform they have ever had for a weekly program. The ability to cross promote on Fox Sports programming and receive the promotional muscle that Fox wields could prove extremely effective in creating further awareness of their content and serve as a star-making vehicle.

This was the same goal the UFC had when they entered their relationship with Fox in 2011. The idea was that the Fox specials would feature number one contender bouts and present fights that would build to the bigger title fights on pay-per-view. The wider audience would see a fighter win a fight to set up a bigger one that they would pay for. That idea was sound on paper but didn’t play itself out in execution. The best example was the second UFC on Fox card in January 2012, that featured two major fights with Rashad Evans defeating Phil Davis with a dull decision, and a razor-close split decision victory by Chael Sonnen over Michael Bisping. This set up Evans challenging Jon Jones at UFC 145 in April 2012 and Sonnen earning a rematch with Anderson Silva in July 2012, both did strong numbers on pay-per-view. On the flip side, were fighters like Benson Henderson and Demetrious Johnson who fought routinely on Fox and could never transfer those eyeballs into paying customers when they fought on pay-per-view. The best UFC-Fox Sports promotional crossover occurred in January 2015 with Fox airing the NFC championship game and directing viewers to the live FS 1 card after the game that was headlined by Conor McGregor fighting Dennis Siver in McGregor’s last fight on free television.

With the WWE, they are not out selling pay-per-views or even targeting WWE Network subscriptions as their primary objective. The goal is getting eyeballs onto the free product Friday nights and incentivizes Fox to exploit the WWE and promote harder than the UFC, knowing that the biggest UFC fights were earmarked for pay-per-view and not the network.

The Raw renewal with NBC Universal doesn’t present nearly the issues, as most would seem confident that Raw is going to perform well on the USA Network and whatever drops they may experience in viewership, it is unlikely Raw will fall off a cliff. The success of Raw’s viewership won’t be a comparative study of how Raw was performing five years ago, but how the show compares on a weekly basis to their cable competitors.

The structure of SmackDown won’t likely be addressed until much closer to the start date on Fox, which will air its first episode on October 4th, 2019. I cannot imagine SmackDown in its current form is the product you see in 16 months. Whether these deals signal the end of the brand split, it makes no sense to have major stars like Ronda Rousey exclusive to one show and the company needs to go all out for their debut on Fox. The move to Fox also coincides with the 20th anniversary of SmackDown (premiering in August 1999) and could easily build to a Raw 25 type of show for the Fox launch.

During the conference call, they confirmed that the digital rights to Raw and SmackDown Live were included in these deals so there will not be separate digital rights deal for those two programs. The episodes will continue to be added to the WWE Network 30-days after they air on USA and Fox. They did cite the potential for other digital distribution deals with the Mixed Match Challenge brought up by one investor as a possibility.

Following the official announcement of the new TV deals for Raw and SmackDown, WWE stock reached another record-high number today. It closed at $70.85 per share after peaking at over $74. That’s up 6.35 percent from yesterday.

-Kevin Owens was brought on stage during Tuesday night’s Shania Twain concert in Montreal at the Bell Centre. Owens had been tweeting Twain about singing the song ‘When’, claiming it was his favorite song. It led to Owens being brought on stage and getting a big reaction from the audience. The story was covered by TMZ and the entire segment on stage was filmed by Kevin’s wife, with Twain stating if he beats Braun Strowman she would come back to Montreal and sing ‘When’.

Owens tweeted about the concert:

“My wife is incredible! I’m so lucky to have her. She got us tickets because she knows how much I like @ShaniaTwain’s music and I had never been able to see her in concert before and somehow, this happened. We had a great night! Oh, Shania...I’ll see you #When I beat Strowman.”

-Kevin Owens spoke to the Argus Leader to promote next Monday’s Raw in Sioux Falls.

-Coming off a night where Raw had an unusual ratings pattern and did the lowest number of modern times that wasn't against major sports competition, SmackDown followed suit with its lowest number of 2018, averaging just 2.135 million viewers. And, aside from Halloween night in 2017, it was SmackDown's lowest total in over a year.

The number was down eight percent from last week and down a whopping 18 percent year-over-year, which is the largest year-over-year drop the show has done since the brand split.

SmackDown finished seventh for the night on cable in terms of total viewers but did once again top the 18-49 demo with a 0.64 rating.

The show retained the usual 80 percent of the previous night's Raw audience. It was an almost identical percentage to last week, down to hundredths of a percentage point.

-Bakersfield police have commented on the dog attack that has put Shinsuke Nakamura on the shelf.

They have issued the following statement:

“On Monday, June 25, 2018, officers of the Bakersfield Police Department Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Team were conducting a protective sweep of the Rabobank Arena in preparation for the WWE Live Summerslam Heatwave Tour" the statement says.

“During the sweep, the EOD Team, which consisted of an explosive detection trained canine team and bomb technicians entered an area of the arena where an employee of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) was present. The canine entered the room to sweep for the presence of any explosive material. As the sweep took place the WWE employee was accidentally bit by the canine. The employee sustained an injury to his lower left leg. Medical aid was immediately summoned to the scene and the employee was transported to a local area hospital for medical treatment.”

It was reported yesterday afternoon that Nakamura was bitten by a police dog, rendering him unable to compete in a planned match against Jeff Hardy for the United States championship on SmackDown. His status for this weekend’s shows in Japan is also currently up in the air. There is no current timetable for a return.

-Pro Wrestling Sheet reported that there have been discussions about a weekly airing of NXT on FS1.

-Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy in a no DQ match is set for next week’s episode of 205 Live.

-Finn Balor posted a photo of bruising on his lower back/butt that he suffered on Raw this week.

-Maryse Mizanin officially became a United States citizen today.

-Alison Brie thanked the WWE for letting her and other cast members from GLOW appear on SmackDown last night:

“Thanks @wwe for letting us @glownetflix gals come hang with some real steel!! So fun getting to meet @thelanawwe & @trinity_fatu - I do hope those two can work it out! #glownetflix #wwesmackdown”

-The WWE uploaded video of actress Danielle Fishel (Topanga from “Boy Meets World”) reconnecting with Lio Rush backstage at SmackDown/205 Live. Fishel bought one of Rush’s T-shirts at the first PWG show she attended. Xavier Woods also posted online a photo meeting Fishel.

-Becky Lynch vs. Peyton Royce was originally advertised for SmackDown last night before being changed to Lynch vs. Sonya Deville.

-Wrestling DVD Network posted the full content listing for the Shawn Michaels unreleased matches DVD that will hit stores this October.

-While doing media in Australia, Carmella was asked about John Cena and Nikki Bella’s breakup potentially being faked for Total Bellas. Carmella dismissed the question by saying she had no idea and that if you read something on the internet it must be true.

**UPDATES for June 28/18**

-The Philadelphia Phillies are hosting a WWE at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night, and it includes a sweet Phillies WWE Night T-shirt. The Philadelphia Phillies host WWE Night for their game with the Washington Nationals. The first 1,000 fans who purchase a special ticket will get a Phillies/WWE T-shirt featuring a championship belt with a Phillies logo. The Boston Red Sox have a WWE Night on 7/11 and Kofi Kingston will be throwing out the first pitch at that game.

-Two former Impact stars are at the latest set of tryouts that are taking place this week at the WWE Performance Center.

Chelsea Green (Laurel Van Ness) and Robert Strauss (Robbie E) have been seen doing drills at the Performance Center and were included in videos and photos WWE has posted from the tryouts.

Green left Impact back in January after dropping the Knockouts title to Allie. She was also a contestant on the 2015 revival of Tough Enough, where she finished fourth. Since leaving Impact, she has worked on the independent scene and for Lucha Underground.

Strauss worked as Robbie E for a number of years, joining Impact in 2010 and winning the Television, X Division and World Cup titles along the way. He left the promotion in September of 2017 and has since done projects outside of wrestling as well as working the independent scene.

Green and Strauss are the only two tryout names thus far that have surfaced this week.

-There is no update on whether Shinsuke Nakamura will be wrestling this weekend in Japan.

-Adam Pearce and The Revival have been added to the Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame weekend in Waterloo, IA. The Revival will appear at the live show on 7/27 while Pearce will be the M.C. at the induction banquet for the Hall of Fame. Also scheduled at the induction banquet to appear include Booker T, Sharmell, Road Warrior Animal, Gerald Brisco, Wes Brisco, Brian Blair, Larry Hennig, Austin Aries, Dan Severn, Stan Hansen, Nikita Koloff, Tony Garea, Ben Askren, J.J. Dillon, Brian Cage, Colt Cabana, DJZ, Bob Holly, Bob Orton Jr., as well as Charlie Thesz (Lou's wife), Barbara Goodish (wife of Bruiser Brody), Japanese historian Koji Miyamoto, Bruce Mitchell, Wade Keller, and Ross, Bruce and Diana Hart and Davey Boy Smith Jr.

-The Oakland City Council this past week was talking about if an XFL team would come to Oakland when the Raiders move.

-Under Armour and Dwayne Johnson have released a new product, the UA Sport Wireless Train headphones Project Rock edition. They list for $249.

-Miz & Maryse will appear on Larry King Now on 7/23 on Hulu to promote Miz & Mrs, the USA Network reality show that will air after Smackdown on Tuesday's starting in a few weeks.

**UPDATES for June 29/18**

-The WWE is holding two events from Sumo Hall today and Saturday with Shinsuke Nakamura advertised for the shows. Nakamura’s status is currently unknown for these events stemming from the injury he sustained Monday when he was bitten by a law enforcement dog prior to Monday’s house show in Bakersfield, California.

-The Raw crew begins their weekend tour in Rapid City, South Dakota with Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, and Braun Strowman advertised. On Saturday, the Raw crew is in Bismarck, North Dakota.

-ESPN has a major feature on Charlotte Flair to coincide with the release of ESPN’s annual Body Issue, which Flair posed for earlier this year.

-Slate looks at Linda McMahon’s Instagram account and believes she may be the best Trump Cabinet member to use the photo-sharing site.

-It appears the new version of the XFL is going to be an expensive venture for Vince McMahon, as according to ESPN's Darren Rovell, the WWE chairman has told insiders he expects to spend close to $500 million in the league's first three seasons.

McMahon sold $100 million in WWE stock to begin the funding of the league through his company Alpha Entertainment, but it appears his investment in the XFL will be much higher than that.

"People were focused on the $100 million, but the truth is that doesn't even get us to the 20-yard line," XFL commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck told ESPN.

The average salaries for the 40-man rosters will be approximately $75,000, with top names making significantly more than that. That's much higher than the $45,000 average McMahon and NBC paid players in his first version of the XFL.

One of the reasons for the high costs is the league insurance policy to cover player injury, something Luck said McMahon secured before he announced the target date for the new league.

The XFL is slated to begin play in February 2020. They'll face competition from Charlie Ebersol's Alliance of American Football, which will be launching on CBS Sports in 2019.

-Shinsuke Nakamura made an appearance but wasn't able to wrestle at WWE's house show in Tokyo today.

The event at Sumo Hall was built around AJ Styles vs. Nakamura for the WWE Championship, but Nakamura entered with a crutch and told the crowd that he wasn't able to compete.

Nakamura was injured when he was bit on the left leg by a police dog at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, California on Monday morning prior to SmackDown's house show at the venue. United States Champion Jeff Hardy vs. Nakamura was then pulled from this past Tuesday's SmackDown.

Nakamura was interrupted by Samoa Joe today, who wanted to challenge for the WWE title in his place. The segment led to Joe trying to choke him out, with Styles making the save for Nakamura.

Styles retained his championship against Joe in the main event.

The WWE has another house show at Sumo Hall tomorrow, which was scheduled to be headlined by Styles vs. Nakamura vs. Joe vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE title. Bryan, who was advertised to face Big Cass at today's show before Cass was released, defeated The Miz instead.

-Matt Cappotelli has passed away after his second battle with brain cancer.

Cappotelli's wife, Lindsay, wrote on Facebook:

"Hey Team Capp...I’ve been struggling with what to say and how to say this, and I’ll probably end up rambling, but here goes. Today my love-my strong, sweet, beautiful love-took his last breath at 3:30 a.m. and went Home to be with Jesus...exactly one year after his brain surgery. You think you can be prepared for this when you know it’s coming, but you just can’t. The only person who’s comfort I want right now is the one who can’t give it to me. I miss him so much. I know where he is now is so much better, but it doesn’t change how much I miss him."

Cappotelli was 38 years old.

Last June, Cappotelli underwent surgery after being diagnosed with a grade four glioblastoma brain tumor. Ninety percent of the tumor was able to be removed, but the remaining portion was too close to his brain stem. Lindsay wrote last month that they met with Cappotelli's neuro-oncologist and it was decided that he was at the point where they should discontinue treatments.

Cappotelli, who appeared to be universally well-liked by those who knew him, was one of the winners of season three of WWE Tough Enough. He was an up-and-coming star in OVW until his first brain cancer diagnosis in 2005 led to the end of his in-ring career.

John Hennigan (John Morrison), the other winner of Tough Enough season three, posted about Cappotelli's passing:

"My first best friend in the wrestling business and to this day one of the best people I’ve ever known Matt Cappotelli has passed on. I’m gutted about this news. Matt inspired everyone around him especially me early in my career. He is loved and will be missed."

-Monday has Raw in Sioux Falls, SD. Nothing has been announced for the show. There is no Smackdown house show on Monday as it's a travel day coming back from Taiwan.

Tuesday has Smackdown in Omaha with James Ellsworth vs. Carmella announced plus a hint of Cedric Alexander vs. Hideo Itami for 205 Live.

-The National Labor Relations Board region has ruled that the claims by Leslie Smith have merit and will be filing a claim against UFC that the fighters are not independent contractors, but are employees. Obviously if the complaint goes through, this strongly relates to the WWE in particular. This would also lead to a claim that UFC was discriminated against for being released for her out of the ring unionizing activities. Lucas Middlebrook, the attorney for Smith, told MMA Fighting that the complaint would be filed in one month. It would eventually end up with a hearing before an administrative law judge in Philadelphia. In the big picture, this is a massive story.

-Not sure if this is the case for Brooklyn, it likely is, but it is definitely the case for November in Los Angeles, that NXT Takeover shows are permanently being moved up one hour to 7 p.m. starts on Saturday night. The NXT Takeover live events will start closer to 6 p.m. The idea isn't longer shows, but that's probably what will wind up happening. Right now the directive is that the shows will be less than three hours in length, when before they were just over two hours, and then lengthened to close to two hours and 30 minutes.

-Mick Foley did his 20th anniversary Hell in a Cell show in Pittsburgh last night. Jeremy Borash hosted the show. Nita Strauss, who did the Shinsuke Nakamura guitar ring entrance at WrestleMania, played Foley's theme. Foley's trainer, Dominic DeNucci, was at the show. This show was taped for a WWE Network special that will air after Hell in a Cell on 9/18.

-Reminisce Magazine has articles in the current issue on both Dwayne Johnson and Andre the Giant.

-A number of college athletes and independent wrestlers were a part of the latest WWE tryouts held at the WWE Performance Center this past week.

Some of the more well known names (Robbie E and Chelsea Green) have been reported on for the last day or so. But Wthe WE has put out a list which also features the likes of Blaster McMassive, the tag team 3.0 and Ava Storie, among other names. There are also a number of people who tried out that have a background in amateur wrestling, college football and the NFL.

Here is a list of the more notable names that were a part of this tryout camp:

*Jake Kasper, a two time All-American from Duke University. The article noted that Gerald Brisco compared him to a young John Cena.

*Chelsea Green, formerly of Impact Wrestling as Laurel Van Ness who also competed in the Tough Enough 2015 reboot

*Terrell and Terrence Hughes, twin sons of D-Von Dudley who made a few appearances in Impact Wrestling earlier this decade.

*Thomas Stintsman, who has wrestled for CHIKARA as Blaster McMassive and most recently worked in EVOLVE as Thomas Sharp.

*Rob Strauss, also known as Robbie E. Former Impact wrestling star and also a competitor on the reality show Amazing Race.

*Shane Matthews and Scott Parker, known as 3.0. They have competed in several independent promotions including CZW and PWG. They've also worked both in NXT and WWE as enhancement talent.

*Rory Gulak, brother of Drew Gulak. He has an amateur wrestling background and has competed in places like CZW and CHIKARA.

*Brandi Lauren Pawelek, who has wrestled under the name Ava Storie in Impact Wrestling.

*Terence "TJ" Barner, who played for the Jacksonville Jaguarys, New York Jets and other NFL teams.

*Gabriella Belpre, better known as Gabby Ortiz who has trained in the ROH dojo and has wrestled for STARDOM

*Dorin Dickerson, a former tight end for the NFL.

*Nilka Garcia, a Puerto Rican wrestler who was wrestled for WWC, winning their women's title under the name La Rosa Negra.

A full list of try-out participants is at

Have a nice long weekend wherever you are and get your WWE news and more here when you can, so don't 'cha dare miss it!
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Posted 7/1/18 , edited 7/7/18
Happy Canada Day/4th of July week! This is the news of the holiday week.

General sources are as normally credited to and and and and and and but please also note that all news and rumours are subject to updates and changes.

Extreme Rules on Sunday, July 15, 2018 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Additional Sources: and


*Extreme Rules Match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship: Alexa Bliss (C - w/ Mickie James) vs. Nia Jax (w/ Natalya & Ronda Rousey in the crowd)
*WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Rusev (w/ Aiden English)
*Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley
*WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Deleter of Worlds (C - Woken Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt) vs. The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas)
*WWE SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Carmella (C - w/ James Ellsworth) vs. Asuka
*WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bludgeon Brothers (C-Rowan & Harper) vs. Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan)
*Ironman Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler (C - w/ Drew McIntyre) vs. Seth Rollins
*United States Championship Match: Jeff Hardy (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
*Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin

-Confirming what had been known for the last month, Io Shirai is officially headed to the WWE.

At the second of two days of WWE house shows at Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan, Shirai made an appearance in front of the crowd and announced that she had signed with the company and will be starting in NXT this summer. Whether or not she'll be in this year's Mae Young Classic, which will be taped at Full Sail University this August, wasn't confirmed.

Tokyo Sports first reported in the May 28 edition of their newspaper that Shirai would be departing Stardom and going to the WWE. She had her final match for Stardom on June 17.

Shirai originally accepted an offer to join the WWE in May 2017, but a heart issue that was found during medical testing kept her from being signed then. She was cleared to return to wrestling for Stardom and continued to be their top star until leaving the promotion.

Shirai, who is 28 years old, finished 10th in the "Most Outstanding" category in last year's Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards.

The WWE posted some video of Shirai's appearance from today on Instagram.

-Monday has Raw in Sioux Falls, SD. There is no Smackdown house show on Monday as it's a travel day coming back from Taiwan.

Tuesday has Smackdown in Omaha with James Ellsworth vs. Asuka announced plus a hint of Cedric Alexander vs. Hideo Itami for 205 Live.

-WDRB News in Louisville, which covered Matt Cappotelli’s battle with brain cancer over the last year, ran a story on their newscast Friday night about Cappotelli passing away and the strength he showed despite being in such a terrible situation.

Stephanie McMahon tweeted a statement on Cappotelli’s passing:

“#RIPMattCappotelli You showed everyone what it means to never give up and to always stay positive. It was a honor to know you.”

Lance Storm, who worked with Cappotelli in OVW, wrote a post on Facebook where he shared his thoughts and said he doubts he’s ever met a finer human being than Cappotelli.

Video of Cappotelli’s emotional retirement speech from February 2006 has been uploaded online.

This comes from a short online post from reporter Mike DeGeorge on Matt Cappotelli:

"I was invited to go to the Tough Enough 3 finale through my writing on the show for the now-defunct RealityNewsOnline website.

It was there I met Matt Cappotelli. I felt it was imperative that I congratulate him and tell him how much I enjoyed watching him, and that I was sure he had a long career ahead of him. I didn’t even get a chance when, after introducing myself, his eyes lit up and he exclaimed “Mike! I love your writing!”

Matt Cappotelli was a fan of MINE? Wow.

That’s the thing I will always remember about Matt. On what was possibly the greatest night of his life, all he wanted to do was tell me how happy he was to meet me and how much he enjoyed my work. I only talked to him for a few minutes but he made me feel like the most important person in the world. His smile was infectious, he radiated pure joy. Since then, I’ve spoken to him many times, and spoken to many people about him. I even talked to an ex-girlfriend of his. Everyone loves Matt. He was always positive, even after his first diagnosis which cost him his wrestling career, his dream since he was a kid. Above all, he wanted to help people, whether it was teaching at OVW or giving an ear to someone who was having a bad day. He never felt sorry for himself, he would tell me he was blessed to live the life he did. He was thankful for everything he had.

I have met a lot of people in my life, but Matt is the kindest and most genuinely nice, selfless, caring person I have ever, and I’m willing to bet will ever, meet. I didn’t know him well, but I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have known him. Even in his emails, you felt the joy radiate from him.

No amount of words can convey properly the effect Matt had on my life. He was, quite simply, a great person.

My interview with him is lost to the internet due to a server malfunction on the website’s end and a virus knocking out my computer at this end, unfortunately. If you know how to find archives of old websites I’d love to find it."

Here's the funeral information for Matthew Cappotelli. Visitation will be from 3:00 pm until 8:00 pm on Monday, July 2, 2018 at Newcomer Cremations, Funerals & Receptions (235 Juneau Drive, Louisville, KY 40243). Visitation will continue on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 from 12:00 pm until 2:00 pm in the Fireside Room at Southeast Christian Church (920 Blankenbaker Parkway Louisville, KY 40243) with the funeral ceremony to begin at 2:00 pm in the Chapel at Southeast Christian Church.

Matt Cappotelli was the 10th most searched item on the Internet Saturday with more than 50,000 searches.

-Sasha Banks tweeted that she couldn’t make Raw’s house show in Rapid City, South Dakota Friday night due to her flight getting cancelled. She noted that she made it to Bismarck in time for Saturday’s show.

-Drew McIntyre also had travel issues but was able to make it just in time by convincing a stranger to give up their seat.

-A lot of wrestlers missed Friday night's show in Rapid City, SD due to travel issues but everyone was at Saturday night's show in Bismarck, ND. Bayley and Sasha Banks were both babyfaces on the show although Bayley was far more popular with the crowd.

-With the WWE being short-handed, Adam Pearce did ring announcing for the first time at the show in Rapid City.

-A new episode of Ride Along featuring Rusev & Lana and Peyton Royce & Billie Kay will air on the WWE Network following Monday’s Raw.

-Jeff Jarrett and Women’s Revolution collections will also be added to the Network on Monday.

-Since this Thursday was the 20th anniversary of King of the Ring 1998 and The Undertaker and Mick Foley’s Hell in a Cell match, the WWE ranked the company’s best announcer calls for this week’s video top 10 list. Jim Ross’ call of the HIAC match ranks at number one.

-Charlotte Flair spoke to Yahoo about being included in this year’s edition of ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue. She said both her and Ric Flair have been blown away by how well Ronda Rousey has done in the WWE so quickly.

-Ember Moon threw out the first pitch at Friday night’s Philadelphia Phillies’ game.

-Shania Twain posted better video of Kevin Owens appearing onstage at her concert in Montreal from earlier this week.

-Congratulations to Cedric Alexander and Aerial Monroe, an independent wrestler who works for Rise, Shine and other groups, who were married over the weekend.

-A trailer for the new World of Sport show that starts in a few weeks on ITV is online. This show is why there is a WWE U.K. division.

-At Sunday's WWE show in Taipei, when Samoa Joe demanded Shinsuke Nakamura's title shot at AJ Styles, Nakamura got a big pop saying he doesn't speak English, in English.

-Hiroshi Tanahashi was in Taipei on his own business and posed for photos with Shinsuke Nakamura.

-Despite being suspended for 30 days in storyline, it looks like Ronda Rousey will be making an on-camera appearance at Extreme Rules after all.

The WWE posted video of a brief sit-down interview with Rousey where Rousey said she'd be in attendance for Alexa Bliss' Raw Women's Championship defense against Nia Jax at the pay-per-view.

"Even though I'm suspended from Raw, I'm not suspended from Extreme Rules," Rousey said. "So, I'm going to be buying a ticket. It's going to be a front row ticket."

Rousey's storyline suspension began on the June 18 episode of Raw following an angle where she went on a rampage, attacking Bliss, Kurt Angle, and referees. The attack was revenge for Bliss cashing in her briefcase during Jax vs. Rousey at Money in the Bank and then mocking Rousey on Raw.

Rousey will also be in action at this weekend's house shows in Philadelphia, New York City (Madison Square Garden), and Bridgeport.

Extreme Rules is taking place at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on July 15.

-Next month, the WWE will return to New York City for the 2018 Summerslam PPV. There are a number of events, promoted by the WWE and others, set for that week. Here is the schedule: Friday 8/17 - House of Glory Wrestling in Jamaica, Queens at Club Amazura; Friday 8/17 - GCW presents Janela Lost in NY in Long Island City, Queens at the Melrose Ballroom; Saturday 8/17 - 12 PM - The Rocks Off Wrestling Boat, a three-hour cruise around New York City; Saturday 8/18 - WWE NXT Takeover: Brooklyn at Barclays Center; Sunday 8/19 - WWE Summerslam PPV at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY; Monday 8/20 - WWE Raw TV taping at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY; Tuesday 8/21 -WWE Smackdown Live and 205 Live TV taping at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

-In an interview with Nikkan Sports, Nakamura confirmed the story of a police dog biting his leg and estimated he would be able to wrestle again in two weeks. He will continue to be evaluated over the next few weeks until a timetable for a return is more clear.

He was injured last Monday after a police dog, who was doing a sweep before a SmackDown house show in Bakersfield, California for explosives, bit Nakamura during the inspection. His originally scheduled match against Jeff Hardy for the United States title was canceled the following day and he hasn’t been able to wrestle since.

Nakamura did not wrestle on this weekend’s house show events in Asia, but did appear in front of crowds on crutches explaining that he couldn’t wrestle. Two times, Samoa Joe came out and the two got into it before AJ Styles made the save.

-Roman Reigns & Bobby Lashley are set to face The Revival for the third straight week.

Making it the first match confirmed for Monday night's Raw, WWE announced the rematch via a promo from The Revival this afternoon. Despite defeating Reigns & Lashley last week, the storyline for the match is that The Revival asked for it so they can send a message and prove that their win wasn't a fluke.

Dash Wilder pinned Reigns with a roll-up last Monday after tension between Reigns and Lashley led to the finish. The week before that, Lashley tagged himself in and beat Wilder with a spear.

Before it was canceled, Reigns and Lashley were the only two wrestlers confirmed for the Universal Championship multi-man number one contender's match at Extreme Rules. The WWE has instead teased that Reigns will face Lashley at the pay-per-view.

Reigns also made the save for Seth Rollins last week after Drew McIntyre's interference caused Dolph Ziggler and Rollins' Intercontinental Championship match to end in a disqualification.

The only other thing that's been announced for tonight is an angle where Sasha Banks and Bayley will have to attend "mandatory counseling." Bayley snapped and attacked Banks following a six-woman tag on last Monday's episode. The WWE was in LA last week where Dr. Shelby's actor lives.

-Bray Wyatt won't be appearing on tonight's episode of Raw after being injured in a car accident last Friday. posted an article on Monday noting that Wyatt suffered "multiple injuries" in a head-on collision when travelling to the airport for this past weekend's house shows. The WWE didn't reveal any further details on his injuries or the severity of them. They noted that he has since been released from Tampa General Hospital after being treated.

With Wyatt not on the house shows, Matt Hardy instead faced Mojo Rawley in singles matches.

Wyatt & Hardy are the current Raw Tag Team Champions and are scheduled to defend their titles against The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas) at Extreme Rules later this month. The WWE didn't indicate whether or not the status of that match is in question.

-Another match between Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins has been set, this time for Extreme Rules.

Kurt Angle made the announcement Monday afternoon on his Twitter account.

“@HEELZiggler and @WWERollins are two of the best competitors on #Raw...and they’ll have their opportunity to see who’s better at #ExtremeRules... in a 30-minute #IronMan Match for the #ICTitle” he tweeted.

Their feud started two weeks ago on Raw when Ziggler defeated Rollins to win the title. Drew McIntyre, Ziggler’s tag team partner got involved. Ziggler went for a roll up, which Rollins countered with one of his own. He went for another, but Ziggler grabbed the tights and won the title.

The rematch, which took place last week, ended when McIntyre dragged the referee to the floor and attacked Rollins, causing a DQ. Roman Reigns came in to even things up, forming a mini Shield reunion to close out the show.

-Ruby Riott has suffered a knee injury, leaving her currently on the shelf.

The WWE announced shortly before Raw that Riott was injured during a house show over the weekend. They didn’t clarify what kind of knee injury it was or how severe it is. Her last match was back on June 29 at a house show in Rapid City, South Dakota where she wrestled Dana Brooke.

Riott and the rest of the Riott Squad, which consists of Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan, have been featured on Raw over the last several weeks, with backstage segments showing them throwing things around and causing mischief. They’ve also served as a backdrop for the Bayley/Sasha Banks feud.

Riott last wrestled on TV last Monday, with the Riott Squad defeating Sasha Banks, Bayley and Ember Moon, which led to the angle where Bayley assaulted Banks.

An MRI scheduled to determine the extent of the injury was scheduled for earlier today. There is no word on how long Riott may be out for.

-Stephanie McMahon, Charlotte Flair and Mark Henry were all representing WWE this weekend at the Special Olympics in Seattle.

-Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura spoke with the Asbury Park Press in advance of upcoming appearances in New Jersey. Rollins spoke about the prospects of a Shield reunion and how they never delivered the full-fledged reunion late last year and now can revisit it again in the future. Nakamura also had some interesting things to say about how he approaches his new heel persona.

-Shaquille O'Neal is once again pushing for a match with Big Show at next year's WrestleMania. There have been talks of this for several years but there always ends up being a snag.

**UPDATES for July 3/18**

-Entertainment Weekly has an article about the new reality show Miz & Mrs about The Miz and Maryse, airing on USA Network, premering Tuesday, July 24.

-Bret “the Hitman” Hart and Bruce “Brother Love” Prichard have been announced as guests for the upcoming Frightmare in the Falls horror convention, taking place on October 27 and 28 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Both WWE legends will be appearing on the Saturday only

-As noted before, Daniel Bryan was interviewed on The Gorilla Position podcast during the recent European tour in May. Bryan said it’s been tougher than he imagined being on the road and away from his daughter, mentioning that he missed her first birthday and Mother’s Day that month as well. With the WWE’s event in Saudi Arabia at the end of April and the European tour in May, Bryan stated that he was only home three days in the stretch of one month. He would prefer a schedule in the ballpark of 50-100 dates per year with the initial plan prior to his clearance being “a revised concussion protocol for a limited schedule”, and instead of a limited schedule, he is booked on everything currently.

The most-discussed part of the interview was his pessimism regarding a long-term story being built to culminate with a match against The Miz. The interviewer proposed the two being built for a climax at WrestleMania next year and the story to be told that dates to the first season of NXT when Daniel Bryan was assigned to The Miz to serve as Bryan’s mentor on the series. Bryan responded by asking if the interviewer felt the WWE could pull that off by telling a story over such a long period. When the example of Bryan’s lead up to WrestleMania 30 was mentioned, Bryan laughed and called that “an accident”. While the visual of Bryan winning the title at WrestleMania 30 is the lasting image, it was hardly the plan when they were repeatedly closing the shows in late 2013 with Bryan being beaten down, defeated and wound up in The Wyatt Family, not in the plans for the world title picture at WrestleMania. The original plan was Bryan having another singles match with Sheamus at WrestleMania but the plans blew up when CM Punk left, leaving Triple H without an opponent for WrestleMania and the Randy Orton vs. Batista program not lighting the world on fire.

Bryan also shared a conversation he had with an unnamed producer in the company, who told Bryan that, “you’re Daniel Bryan and you need to treat yourself like you’re Daniel Bryan”, suggesting that Bryan push for his programs harder and fight for what he believes is the best direction for his career. Bryan acknowledged he has been in a mindset of being grateful to have been cleared and needs to ease into the mindset of a top performer that will push for things.

He wasn’t willing to discuss the issues between John Cena and Nikki Bella, but noted the stuff being reported was true and not just for the reality series.

His dream match scenario would be facing Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 35 in Seattle, even though he noted WrestleMania is set for New Jersey next year.

Bryan's contract expires at the beginning of September, but he's advertised for WWE's PPV in Melbourne, Australia on October 6.

-Tonight’s SmackDown & 205 Live tapings take place from Omaha, Nebraska with the following announced:

*AJ Styles vs. Aiden English in a non-title match
*Jeff Hardy defends the United States title in an open challenge
*Asuka vs. James Ellsworth
*Becky Lynch vs. Peyton Royce
*New Day hosts a Pancake Eating Contest
*Team Hell No will start off the show
*Buddy Murphy vs. Mustafa Ali in a No Disqualification Match on 205 Live
*TJP vs. “an opponent of Drake Maverick’s choosing” on 205 Live

-The AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas will be hosting the WWE’s Hell in a Cell event on September 16th and are advertising two matches on the site. The arena is listing a WWE championship match between AJ Styles and Samoa Joe for the card, as well as a singles match between Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens. The period between September – October is going to feature three WWE pay-per-view shows in five weeks. After Hell in a Cell, they will have the Super Show-Down card from Melbourne on October 6th and two weeks later will have the TLC show on October 21st.

-Mick Foley has announced Canadian dates for his speaking tour in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker. Foley will be hosting shows on August 28th in Victoria, B.C at Distrikt Night Club, August 29th in Nanaimo at The Queen’s, New Westminster at Lafflines Comedy Club, September 1st in Saskatoon at The Broadway Theatre, September 6th in St. Catharines, Ontario at Showtime Comedy & Entertainment, September 7th in London, Ontario at London Music Hall, September 9th in Brantford, Ontario at Club NV, September 13th in Ottawa at Yuk Yuk’s, and September 14th in Kingston, Ontario at Don Cherry’s Sports Grill.

-Destiny Wrestling has announced that Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, and Trent Seven will be working three Canadian dates for the promotion on October 5th in Sarnia, Ontario, October 6th in Montreal, Quebec, and October 7th in Toronto.

-The WWE stock closed at $74.04 on Tuesday.

-Ricky Steamboat is recovering after undergoing hip replacement surgery.

Steamboat, who turned 65 years old this past February, underwent surgery yesterday. He then wrote a positive update on Twitter later in the day where he thanked everyone for the support they sent him:

"Got up and walked down the hall about 4 hours after surgery with zero pain. Thx for all the love and prayers sent my way....prayer works!"

Steamboat had tweeted a video on Sunday asking everyone to wish him well and noting that the surgery was to get his hip totally replaced. Prior to having surgery, he appeared and signed autographs at the Fanboy Expo in Knoxville, Tennessee over the weekend. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, JJ Dillon, Magnum TA, Tessa Blanchard, The Rock 'n' Roll Express, Teddy Long, and The Nasty Boys were also advertised for the event.

The last match that Steamboat wrestled was in 2010.

-After announcing yesterday that she suffered a knee injury at a house show over the weekend, the WWE has issued an injury update on Ruby Riott.

Riott underwent an MRI yesterday that confirmed that she suffered an MCL sprain in her left knee. WWE didn't put a timetable on Riott's recovery time or reveal the severity of the sprain, which will determine how long she'll be out of action for. A less severe sprain would likely be a short-term injury where her recovery time would be measured in weeks rather than months.

Riott most recently wrestled in a singles match against Dana Brooke at Raw's house show in Rapid City, South Dakota last Friday. She didn't appear with the other members of The Riott Squad on last night's Raw in Sioux Falls, but Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan were featured on the show. They were involved in a backstage segment with Elias before Morgan lost to Ember Moon.

-Raw last night drew an almost identical number to the week before, up one percent to 2.70 million viewers.

The ratings pattern was interesting, while not like last week where the third hour was the highest, this week the first hour was low, the second hour had a strong gain, and the third hour was down, but not badly. The third hour was actually higher than the first hour, which has been a rare occurrence in recent years.

Raw was third for the night on cable, which is higher than usual, trailing only Tucker Carlson (2.74 million viewers) and Hannity (2.85 million). The cable ratings show the value of Raw and WWE from an entertainment standpoint, because aside from VH-1's Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, which did 2.08 million viewers, no other non-news program on cable broke the two-million level, with the next highest rated non-news show being Basketball Wives season 7 on VH-1 at 1.86 million viewers.

This week was down five percent from the same week last year.

The three hours were:

8 p.m. 2.64 million viewers
9 p.m. 2.82 million viewers
10 p.m. 2.66 million viewers

-Deonna Purrazzo will no longer compete at the upcoming All In event in Chicago on September 1st.

Cody Rhodes first broke the news yesterday on Twitter when someone asked about a potential match.

“Deonna is unable to do All In” he replied. “We love her. She’s phenomenal. She’s kicking ass/breaking arms no matter where you see her.”

Purazzo herself later confirmed on Twitter today that she wouldn’t be able to attend.

“It’s been incredible to see first hand what @MattJackson13, @NickJacksonYB, & @CodyRhodes envision for pro wrestling” she said. “I am so sad I won’t be wrestling at #AllIn but my heart will be there September 1st.”

Purrazzo, 23, is a standout independent wrestler trained by Rip Rogers and Damian Adams. She's appeared both on WWE television and NXT as an enhancement talent. Squared Circle Sirens reported back in May that she has reportedly signed a WWE developmental deal, though that has yet to be confirmed.

-The WWE hasn’t issued an update on Bray Wyatt since they announced yesterday that he was treated and released from the hospital after suffering “multiple injuries” during a head-on collision last Friday where he totalled his car while travelling to the airport for the weekend house shows. But they continued to push Wyatt & Hardy vs. Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas for Extreme Rules on Raw last night, with Wyatt tweeting that he was going to come to Hardy’s rescue after Hardy lost to Axel. Wyatt also told TMZ that he’s in good spirits and “moving around.”

-On SmackDown Live they claimed Kane was trending online when it was for in fact English soccer star Harry Kane since England played and won their FIFA World Cup playoff game over Columbia.

-Due to James Ellsworth running from the match versus Asuka ending in a double count out, Paige booked for next week a rematch with the added stipulation of it being a Lumberjill match with all of the SmackDown women's roster ringside.

-Dr. Shelby (Michael Aspinwall), who previously appeared as Daniel Bryan and Kane’s therapist, returned to WWE TV as Bayley and Sasha Banks’ counselor on Raw last night. It appears that the segment will continue next week.

-Jinder Mahal wrestled on last night’s Main Event tapings and defeated Zack Ryder. The Ascension also defeated Heath Slater & Rhyno.

-NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler was backstage at Raw in her hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

-A clip of Triple H informing Peyton Royce and Billie Kay that they were coming up to SmackDown and them getting emotional when hearing the news was shown on this week’s episode of Ride Along.

-Elias posted on Instagram that he’s now “officially sponsored” by Fender guitars.

-Sasha Banks spoke to Sports Illustrated about being involved with WWE’s partnership with the Special Olympics.

Sports Illustrated also has a story on “Million Dollar Arm” pitcher Rinku Singh and his transition to the WWE.

-Dave Meltzer was quoted in a story for the Miami New Times about Richard Rodriguez and Wellness Fitness Nutrition’s steroid bust. In March, Rodriguez and documentary filmmaker Jon Bravo failed to produce any evidence that they had teased of Roman Reigns being a client of WFN. Reigns also issued a statement in January where he said he’s never heard of Rodriguez or WFN.

-The WWE parodied the press release where LeBron James announced that he was signing with the Los Angeles Lakers by tweeting one about Braun Strowman tackling Kevin Owens off the stage in a porta potty last night.

-On SmackDown Live, they aired an exclusive scene and trailer from the Rock's upcoming Skyscraper movie.

**UPDATES for July 4/18**

-Cedric Alexander's next title defense is set.

WWE announced last night that Hideo Itami would be challenging for Alexander's Cruiserweight Championship on next Tuesday's 205 Live. Itami was positioned as the top challenger for the title when he defeated Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy in what was unofficially a number one contender's triple threat match on the June 19 episode of the show.

On last week's 205 Live, Alexander asked Drake Maverick when his next defense would be and wanted to face Itami. The storyline was that Maverick didn't want to reward Itami's bad behavior, like interrupting a match between Ali and Murphy on June 5, but Alexander said Itami has earned the title shot. Itami later shoved Alexander during a backstage interview and they had to be separated.

Alexander has had two televised title defenses since becoming champion, defeating Kalisto at the Greatest Royal Rumble in April and Murphy on 205 Live in May.

SmackDown and 205 Live are taking place at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire next Tuesday. Asuka vs. James Ellsworth in a lumberjack match has been announced for SmackDown, which will be the go-home show for Extreme Rules.

-A few more details have emerged regarding the car accident that Bray Wyatt was injured in last Friday.

TMZ obtained the accident report from the incident and wrote that Wyatt was cited for "careless driving due to his failure to operate his vehicle in a careful and prudent manner." The report noted that Wyatt was "inattentive" while driving but didn't explain that any further.

The report also stated that it was a three-car accident that Wyatt was involved in, with Wyatt smashing into the car in front of him and causing that driver to veer left and hit another vehicle. Whether or not anyone else was injured wasn't mentioned in TMZ's article.

Wyatt was traveling to the airport for this past weekend's house shows when the accident occurred and was then transported to Tampa General Hospital by ambulance.

Wyatt missed those weekend events and this week's Raw, with the WWE announcing on Monday that he had suffered "multiple injuries" and totalled his car but had since been released from the hospital. The WWE has yet to post an update on his condition, though they've continued to advertise Wyatt & Matt Hardy defending their Raw Tag Team titles against The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas) for the July 15 Extreme Rules pay-per-view.

TMZ wrote that Wyatt was in good spirits when he talked to them on Monday and that he told them he was "moving around."

-The WWE set up a future Samoa Joe vs. Tye Dillinger match in a post-SmackDown video. It wasn’t specifically announced whether the match will be on next week’s episode or not. Joe wasn’t on last night’s SmackDown and hasn’t been on the show since the Jun 19 number one contender’s gauntlet match.

-Andrade “Cien” Almas, who hasn’t wrestled on SmackDown since May 22, defeated Sin Cara in a dark match prior to last night’s show but didn’t appear on television. SAnitY vs. The New Day was the post-205 Live dark match, with New Day standing tall after a DQ.

-After returning at WWE’s UK shows at Royal Albert Hall last month and winning a number one contender’s match for a shot at the UK title, Noam Dar was back on 205 Live this week and quickly defeated TJP. He was Drake Maverick’s “hand-picked opponent” for TJP.

-Finn Balor and Baron Corbin have continued their storyline from Raw on Twitter. Balor wrote that Corbin was getting released from NFL teams while he was winning the Best of the Super Juniors tournament in Japan, and Corbin called that “as impressive to me as winning an over 40 church basketball league mvp award.” Corbin tweeted that he just had to make a call to get into WWE when Balor had to wait for 10 years. Balor then responded by saying WWE called him to sign with the company and, unlike Corbin, he didn't have to call them.

-CM Punk’s career from 2006-2008 will be the subject of next week’s season finale of Something Else to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson on the WWE Network.

-The first trailer has been released for “Miz & Mrs,” The Miz and Maryse’s reality show that will premiere on the USA Network on July 24. Miz described the show in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:

“We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, we just want to make a shiny new wheel that people can look at and go, ‘Wow, this is something special, this is something nice,. What we set out to do was make this show [so that] when you watch it you don’t literally look at it and go, ‘Oh that was fake’ or ‘That was real.’ You watch it like you watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, like you watch The Office, like you watch Modern Family. You watch it, you get enthralled by the characters, you follow the stories, and you just enjoy the show. … We made a 30-minute comedy and it’s things that people can relate to and I think that’s what’s gonna set us apart from everybody else.”

-Dolph Ziggler will be performing a comedy show at Carolines on Broadway in Manhattan on August 17, which is the Friday of SummerSlam weekend. Renee Young, Charly Caruso, Tyler Breeze, Zack Ryder, and “other surprise guests’ are also advertised to appear.

-Ahead of Friday’s house show at the Wells Fargo Center, Philly Voice has a Q&A with Matt Hardy on teaming with Bray Wyatt and using his “Broken/Woken” character in WWE.

-The WWE uploaded video of AJ Styles' entrance from last Saturday’s house show at Sumo Hall in Tokyo. Styles wore an entrance mask that he’s been wearing when going back to Japan to wrestle.

-After undergoing hip replacement surgery on Monday, Ricky Steamboat tweeted that he’s back home and resting:

“Finally back at home resting up. Thx again for all the well wishes and prayers....very humbling. Have no doubt, the Dragon will be back and breathing fire again soon!” Steamboat had said he walked down the hall with zero pain four hours after the surgery.

**UPDATES for July 5/18**

-The NXT title match between Aleister Black and Tommaso Ciampa will take place on the July 25th episode and will be taped July 18th at Full Sail University. It was announced on last night's show. That will be taped when NXT returns to Full Sail University on July 18 for the last set of TV tapings leading into TakeOver: Brooklyn IV.

Whatever happens in Black vs. Ciampa should help set up the card for Brooklyn. An angle leading into last month's TakeOver: Chicago special saw Ciampa attack Johnny Gargano and take him out of a match with Black before Gargano was supposed to challenge for the title on TV.

After being defeated by Ciampa in Chicago, Gargano hit the same draping DDT that Ciampa used to beat him as the finish of his match with EC3 on last night's episode. The storyline is that Gargano's rivalry with Ciampa is continuing to turn him into what he was fighting against.

Ciampa interrupted a promo from Black on the June 29 episode of NXT TV to set him up as the next challenger for the title. That was after Black retained against Lars Sullivan in Chicago.

TakeOver: Brooklyn will be held at the Barclays Center on August 18 as part of SummerSlam weekend.

-Via a video announcement from Cathy Kelley, the WWE confirmed today that Finn Balor will face Baron Corbin at the July 15 pay-per-view in Pittsburgh. They've been feuding over the last few weeks since Corbin began his "Constable of Raw" gimmick.

Corbin pinned Balor while teaming with Kevin Owens against Balor & Braun Strowman on the June 18 episode of Raw. The next week, Balor & Corbin vs. Strowman & Owens ended in a countout as Balor and Corbin wouldn't stop fighting with each other after Corbin tagged himself in. Corbin then mocked Balor and demanded an apology from him on this Monday's show.

The segment ended with Balor calling Corbin "Stephanie McMahon's stooge" and Corbin cheap shotting him before backing off when Balor hit a slingblade and a dropkick.

-For the third time in five weeks, SmackDown posted its lowest viewership total of the year, as this week's July 3 episode averaged 2.013 million viewers. That's actually the second-lowest number since the brand split, trailing only a November 2016 edition of the show that went up against coverage of the United States Presidential election.

The show was promoted around the appearance of Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane), who reunited at the end of last week's episode. The pair were featured in the opening, had segments throughout the show, and wrestled The Usos in the last half hour. While critically well received, the reunion wasn't a ratings success here.

SmackDown finished right around its usual place in the overall cable TV ratings, having the seventh-highest viewership total for the day. It did fall from the usual top spot in the 18-49 demo, finishing second behind a World Cup soccer game with a 0.54 rating.

Year-to-year, the show was down 14 percent from last year's July 4 edition of SmackDown (which featured a heavily-promoted return of John Cena), the third straight week the show has been down double digits. It also retained just 74 percent of the Raw audience from the night before, which was actually up from the previous week.

-If you are still feel patriotic following the 4th of July, this week’s Hidden Gem on the WWE Network has your back.

This week’s upload pretty much has everything regarding Lex Luger’s big push in the summer of 1993: the “I’ll Be Your Hero” music video, footage of Luger touring the United States on the Lex Express bus, b-roll footage of Luger’s babyface turn on the USS Intrepid on July 4, 1993 where slammed Yokozuna and the WWF title match at that year's SummerSlam. The footage runs slightly over the three hour mark.

The patriotic push came after Luger had an initial middling run as a heel, the Narcissist. The original plan was for him to defeat Yokozuna for the WWE title at SummerSlam 1993, but the win was pushed to WrestleMania X. By the time that show rolled around, plans changed again and ultimately Luger never got over in the way the WWF/WWE was hoping for.

Luger jumped to WCW in 1995 and won the WCW title once before the company folded in 2001.

-The WWE will be announcing its second quarter business results on 7/26. Among the key items will be the value of the WWE Saudi Arabian deal, and how well network subscriptions held up after WrestleMania.

-The WWE has sent members of its social media team to Las Vegas tonight for Ronda Rousey's UFC Hall of Fame induction.

-Oney Lorcan had surgery to repair his broken orbital bone and will be out of action about three months.

-The WWE changed Saturday's announced Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor match in Madison Square Garden to just Ziggler vs.Rollins. Balor is still listed on the show. It could be changed again. Things like that are constantly happening.

-The WWE has offered a buy one ticket, get one free promotion for its 7/16 house show in Reading, PA. This is only good for today.

-Bill Goldberg talked online about working WrestleMania and his comeback.

**UPDATES for July 6/18**

-Ronda Rousey is scheduled for three WWE house shows this weekend, beginning tonight in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center, the arena she debuted during the Royal Rumble. On Saturday, the Raw crew is at Madison Square Garden for a big show with Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax, and a six-man with The Undertaker, Roman Reigns & Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens, Elias & Baron Corbin advertised. On Sunday, they run Bridgeport, Connecticut with Rousey advertised for a tag match with Nia Jax against Alexa Bliss & Mickie James.

-The story involving Lars Sullivan suffering a broken jaw at Takeover is just a storyline. They are keeping him off the live events to match the story they are telling on television, but one person with knowledge of the situation said that he is completely fine. It is unknown if he is going to be used at the upcoming tapings this month.

-With him returning to WWE television in the lead-up to next month's mayoral election, Glenn Jacobs (Kane) has received some criticism from his Democratic opponent.

The Knoxville News Sentinel ran a story this morning where they spoke to Jacobs and Democrat Linda Haney about Jacobs continuing to wrestle during their race to decide the next mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. “I was really stunned to find out he was still pursuing it. I thought it was in the past,” Haney said. “I thought in this crucial time he’d want to be here and be with the people.

“Being an entertainer doesn’t make you a political figure. It may get you some votes, but I believe people want someone with common sense and who is (ready to lead).”

Jacobs responded by saying that his schedule with WWE is "sporadic," that it isn't different than if he had any other job, and that it doesn't have an impact on his preparation. He also left the door open to still make special appearances for the WWE if he wins the election.

“After I am elected mayor, I’ll be mayor. (Though) I may still do a few special things,” Jacobs said. “I’ve done it for 23 years now and have quite a history, it’ll always be part of my life. I think the question is, if I am taking it seriously, and of course I am. I wouldn’t (be running) if not.

“I’m sure some people will say that (I’m not focused) and some others will say that’s the coolest thing ever,” Jacobs said. “Again, you can’t make everyone happy. You just do what you can and that’s’re always going to catch criticism no matter what you do.”

The past two mayors of Knox County, who are both Republicans, spoke supportively of Jacobs in the News Sentinel's article.

Jacobs won May's Republican primary by just 23 votes but is expected to easily defeat Haney in the August 2 election. Before it takes place, Kane & Daniel Bryan will be challenging for The Bludgeon Brothers' SmackDown Tag Team titles at Extreme Rules in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 15.

-Monday has Raw in Boston. There is also a Smackdown house show in Augusta, ME.

Tuesday night is Smackdown and 205 Live from Manchester, NH including Asuka vs. James Ellsworth in a lumberjill match and Cedric Alexander vs. Hideo Itami for the cruiserweight title.

-After announcing in May that they found insufficient evidence to press charges, Phoenix Police have released their report on the rape allegation that was made against Enzo Amore. It noted that Amore wasn’t contacted prior to his accuser making the claim public, which is what Amore had said himself and through his attorney. During an appearance on the Steve Austin Show last month, Amore noted that a friend’s girlfriend was emailed by someone who said they were an investigator and said someone had made a claim against a wrestler. He said his lawyer looked into that in December and couldn’t find anything that was going on. Amore was released from the WWE on January 23, the day after the allegation was made public.

-This weekend there is only one WWE tour. Because the crew went to Japan and Taiwan last week, the SmackDown crew doesn't go back to work until a Monday show in Augusta, Maine. There are also no NXT shows this week.

-The WWE posted video of Ronda Rousey talking about heading from her UFC Hall of Fame induction to the airport so that she could make tonight’s house show in Philadelphia.

Rousey wrote on Instagram about going into the UFC Hall of Fame:

“I had so many more to thank than I could have used the time I had the stage for. Everyone I know personally, I can thank in person ... last night was for YOU. Thank YOU for watching and letting the adventures of this Venetian judoka with a bad reputation change the world”
Stephanie McMahon tweeted about Rousey’s induction: “Congratulations @RondaRousey on your induction into the #UFCHOF! Thank you for your fearless leadership and for changing the lives of girls and women everywhere! #NeverSayNever!”

Triple H also congratulated Rousey:

“The door was closed until you knocked it down. An athlete, an inspiration, and a fighter in every sense of the word, @RondaRousey. Congratulations on your #UFCHOF induction, here’s to the future, dreaming big, and knowing nothing is impossible.”

-“Ronda Rousey Uncaged,” which will feature her going through survival training, will air on the first night of the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week at 10 p.m. Eastern time on July 22.

-The Miz will participate in this year’s MLB celebrities and legends softball game in Washington D.C. on July 15, which is the same day as WWE’s Extreme Rules PPV in Pittsburgh.

-A new episode of Table for Three with Alexa Bliss, Lita, and Trish Stratus will premiere on the WWE Network after Monday’s Raw.

-The New York post interviewed Elias about facing The Undertaker in a six-man tag match at tomorrow’s Madison Square Garden house show.

-Cathy Kelley, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Matt Hardy, and “a mystery guest or two” will be appearing at a WWE and Mattel panel at San Diego Comic Con on July 22 at 11:15 a.m. Pacific time.

-The Mansfield News Journal has an article on Duke wrestler Jacob Kasper, who attended last week’s WWE Performance Center tryouts.

**UPDATES for July 7/18**

-At NBA player for the Philadelphia 76ers channels the Undertaker for a career resurrection.

-Despite being injured in a car accident last Friday, Bray Wyatt is already back in the ring.

Wyatt returned one week after the accident took place. He teamed with Matt Hardy at Friday night's Raw-brand house show at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they retained their Tag Team titles against The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas) and Titus Worldwide (Titus O'Neil & Apollo Crews) in a triple threat match.

Dave Meltzer reported in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Wyatt was scheduled to be evaluated Friday to see whether or not he'd be able to return on the show.

The WWE announced this Monday that Wyatt suffered "multiple injuries" in a car accident on June 29 while travelling to the airport for that weekend's house shows. The report from the accident noted that Wyatt was cited for "careless driving due to his failure to operate his vehicle in a careful and prudent manner." Three cars were involved, with Wyatt smashing into the car in front of him and forcing that driver to veer left and hit another vehicle.

Wyatt was released from Tampa General Hospital after being transported there by ambulance but wasn't on Monday's Raw. He'll be teaming with Hardy at Extreme Rules on July 15 as they defend their titles against Axel & Dallas.

-Though she’s been cleared and waiting to return and briefly appeared in a backstage segment on Raw late last month, Alicia Fox returned to the ring at last night’s house show in Philadelphia. It was her first match since breaking her tailbone prior to the Royal Rumble. She teamed with Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan against Ember Moon, Bayley & Natalya due to Ruby Riott’s sprained MCL.

-Jim Ross said on this week’s episode of his podcast that he hasn’t been contacted to do commentary for this year’s Mae Young Classic yet and assumes that means he won’t be doing it. He said he doesn’t feel he did his best work on last year’s tournament, that there were a lot of things that made it challenging, and that the WWE has young commentators who need more reps. The 2018 MYC will be taped at Full Sail University next month.

-Kurt Angle answered a question during a Facebook Q&A that asked if he had any regrets about the time he spent in TNA:

“I can’t. I had a great career in TNA, maybe better than my WWE career. I had a reduced schedule there. And I wrestled so many greats AJ, Joe, Sting, Roode...To name a few. My body couldn’t hold up to the rigorous schedule in WWE at the time. I always imagine the career I could have had if I stayed in WWE. It would have been incredible. BUT I couldn’t stay so I can’t keep asking myself ‘what if’?”

Angle also noted that he has a documentary he’s making right now.

-With the Raw roster having a house show at Madison Square Garden, Alexa Bliss, Matt Hardy, Jinder Mahal, Ember Moon, and Kalisto were filming in New York City today for what appears to be a SummerSlam commercial.

-Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel wrote a column on Ronda Rousey’s UFC Hall of Fame induction and her importance in women’s MMA.

-Dustin Rhodes is partnering with the sheriff of Williamson County in Texas to work with kids on bullying and drugs and alcohol issues.

-Carmella responded to a viral video of a Michael Jackson impersonator doing a moonwalk DDT:

“Yes, I have seen the moonwalk DDT. No need to keep tagging me in it. And if you’re wondering, I can do it better. So, stay tuned.”

-Analysts at BTIG Research called WWE stock “among the safest plays in media now.”

-Paige and Corey Graves appeared on this week’s episode of Renee Young’s podcast.

-The WWE uploaded Roman Reigns and AJ Styles’ title match from Extreme Rules 2016 on YouTube.

-Earlier on Saturday, rumors started swirling that WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar was in Las Vegas, NV, and had entered the USADA pool at some point, hidden from public view.

At UFC 226, Lesnar seemingly made his intentions a bit more clear as he walked out to cageside right before the main event of UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic vs. light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.

As he did, commentator Joe Rogan noted that Lesnar motioned toward the cage as if to insinuate he is returning to fighting. Then, Bleacher Report's Jeremy Botter tweeted that Lesnar will fight the winner of the Miocic-Cormier fight at Madison Square Garden this November.

In order for that to be true, he would have indeed have had to enter the USADA testing pool in secret due to the timeframe needed in order to fight in November.

There's also the question of his WWE commitment which is still unclear. He still holds the biggest title in the company, but there have been rumblings in recent months about issues between the two sides. A multi-man match at Extreme Rules to determine the next contender for Lesnar was scrapped a week after it was announced.

Lesnar hasn't fought since UFC 200 in July 2016 in a decison win over Mark Hunt that was overturned as he later tested positive for PEDs.

Enjoy your time off and drop by to check on the news, so don't 'cha dare miss it!
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Posted 7/8/18 , edited 7/15/18
It's the go home week on Raw and SmackDown Live before the WWE Extreme Rules PPV. Oh and the WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar has finally shown up again, but in the UFC. This news and more comes now.

General sources are as normally credited to and and and and and and but please also note that all news and rumours are subject to updates and changes.

Extreme Rules on Sunday, July 15, 2018 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Additional Sources: and


*Extreme Rules Match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship: Alexa Bliss (C - w/ Mickie James) vs. Nia Jax (w/ Natalya & Ronda Rousey in the crowd)
*WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Rusev (w/ Aiden English)
*Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley
*WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Deleter of Worlds (C - Woken Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt) vs. The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas)
*WWE SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Carmella (C - w/ James Ellsworth) vs. Asuka
NOTE: James Ellsworth will be suspended above the ring in a Shark Cage.)
*WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bludgeon Brothers (C-Rowan & Harper) vs. Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan)
*Ironman Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler (C - w/ Drew McIntyre) vs. Seth Rollins
*United States Championship Match: Jeff Hardy (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
*Finn Balor vs. Baron Corbin
*Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens

*Kickoff Show Tables Match: SAnitY (Eric Young, Killian Dain & Alexander Wolfe) vs. New Day (Big E, Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston)
*Kickof Show Match: Andrade "Cien" Almas (w/ Zelina Vega) vs. Sin Cara

-Prior to the UFC heavyweight title fight at UFC 226, Brock Lesnar entered the T-Mobile Arena to watch the UFC Heavyweight Championship fight between then champ Stipe Miocic and the UFC Light Heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier. At UFC 226 Saturday, light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier became just the second simultaneous two-division champion in UFC history after knocking out former champion Stipe Miocic in the first round.

Following Cormier’s victory, he called on Brock Lesnar to get his *ss in the Octagon, Lesnar came into the octagon and they shot an angle to build to a future title bout.

Lesnar shoved Cormier upon entering the ring and some of Cormier's cornermen came to shove Lesnar back, Lesnar then cut a promo running down the UFC’s heavyweight division and called Cormier, Miocic and Francis Ngannou pieces of sh*t. He added to Cormier, “I’m coming for you, motherf*cker”. Cormier then told Lesnar to get out of his octagon. He told Lesnar to get out of the cage as he had pictures to take. Dana White eventually escorted a heated Lesnar out of the cage. Cormier insisted the exchange wasn’t staged.

“Brock decided to step in the octagon with me,” Cormier said. “He’s a pro wrestler. He does fake fighting. So I’ll do fake fighting with you until I put my fists upside your face.” Much of the video can be found at and

The two are actually very friendly and that is hardly a secret if you have ever spoken to Cormier.

Unlike other setups for major fights, this one was about as transparent as it comes regarding two friends wanting to make a lot of money together.

Of course, Lesnar still has to re-enter the USADA testing pool, which there is no confirmation that he has done so. Lesnar would need to go through six-months of drug testing following his retirement in 2017. When he retired, he was in the middle of serving a one-year suspension following his drug test failures associated with his UFC 200 fight with Mark Hunt in July 2016.

Brock Lesnar was not in the UFC's drug testing pool as of this past week. He is in the process of doing so, which means the earliest he would be able to fight would be the late January PPV show. The WWE was certainly aware of what happened. Wrestling Observer had reported weeks ago that this was something that UFC wanted (Lesnar to in person challenge the winner) and that the idea was open, but we didn't know for sure until yesterday afternoon that Lesnar was coming.

Jeremy Botter has reported that Lesnar has quietly re-entered the pool and is expected to fight for the heavyweight title at Madison Square Garden in November.

The WWE quickly had a story on their site when Lesnar appeared on the UFC 226 broadcast.

UFC President Dana White confirmed the long-anticipated mixed martial arts return of the popular professional wrestler Saturday night after UFC 226. White also confirmed Lesnar has started the process to re-enter the USADA testing pool.

White intends to match Cormier against Lesnar early next year, more likely in March, after Lesnar completes the drug testing required by the UFC’s anti-doping policy. Lesnar hasn’t fought since beating Mark Hunt at UFC 200 and failing a doping test in 2016.

On the post-event Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said that Lesnar has one more match on his WWE deal and that his deal runs out in August. Lesnar is still under contract to World Wrestling Entertainment and is expected to be part of SummerSlam in August along with several appearances on television.

White said that Lesnar reached out to him this week and said he wanted to come to the event this weekend. White said they started "the process" with USADA last week, but wasn't sure where everything stood. Meltzer said that they wanted a Lesnar return for December which would line up with the timeframe, but that would mean the possibility of the fight happening at Madison Square Garden would be out.

Cormer started his career at heavyweight and won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix prior to entering UFC, amassing a 13-0 record in that weight class before moving to 205. His teammate Cain Velasquez was the champion at that time and Cormier was adamant that he didn't want to fight him.

Cormier is still the promotion's light heavyweight champion, but speculation could increase that he will vacate that belt as he has stated that he will not fight beyond his 40th birthday, which is in March of 2019. Prior to the Cormier loss, Miocic had established himself as the most dominant UFC heavyweight champion in history, being the only fighter to successfully defend that belt three times.

Lesnar has played his cards effectively with an enormous money fight with Daniel Cormier, dual bidders in the UFC and WWE, and if USADA provides a favorable ruling to Jon Jones, the possibility of an even bigger fight in 2019 with the former light heavyweight champion.

For Cormier, he is adamant that he will retire by his 40th birthday next March and has spoken about having two fights before. If the Lesnar fight doesn’t happen until early 2019, it would make it difficult to squeeze in two fights. There is no fight for Cormier in the heavyweight or light heavyweight division that comes anywhere close to the level of Brock Lesnar or Jon Jones, which would be the ultimate fights to end his career on, but Jones is hardly a guarantee to be available before March 2019.

UPDATE: USADA issued a statement on Monday confirming that Lesnar has been re-entered into their testing pool and will be eligible to fight again on January 8, 2019 if all goes well:

"After receiving notice of his intent to compete in the UFC, Brock Lesnar re-entered the testing pool on July 3. With six months and four days remaining on his period of ineligibility, Lesnar will be able to compete on or after January 8, 2019, should he remain in compliance with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy."

Lesnar had received a one-year suspension in 2016 for drug test failures that surrounded his UFC 200 fight against Mark Hunt. That suspension was then frozen when Lesnar retired from mixed martial arts.

Dana White has confirmed that the UFC will be making heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier vs. Lesnar when Lesnar is able to fight again. Cormier, who is currently a two-division champion, may defend his light heavyweight title before then. On Ariel Helwani's MMA Show Monday, Cormier mentioned Shogun Rua as a potential opponent in that weight class.

-Wrestling legend Danny Hodge is currently missing.

FOX 25 in Oklahoma reported that the Perry Police Department have issued a Silver Alert for Hodge, who is 86 years old. The Silver Alert is a notification system in the United States that broadcasts information about a missing person, particularly senior citizens with mental disabilities.

Hodge was last seen at his home in Perry on July 7 at 5:20 p.m. local time. He drove off in a silver Toyota Camry with the license plate GLV226 and has not been seen since. The article reported that he is currently suffering from dementia, and authorities say he is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.

Hodge is well known in both amateur and professional wrestling circles. Competing in the 1952 and 1956 Olympics as a wrestler, he earned a silver medal in 1956. He later transitioned into pro wrestling where he held the NWA Junior Heavyweight title seven times. He was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame in 1996.

UPDATE: Danny Hodge, who was missing on the weekend, was found and is okay according to messages sent by his granddaughter, Stacy Ewy Wilson, and Les Thatcher.

Hodge, 86 was reported missing at 5:30 p.m. Saturday night when police put out a silver alert on one of the greatest amateur and pro wrestlers of all-time.

Police feared that Hodge, who suffers from dementia, would not be able to find his way home. The alert stated that Hodge was "in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death."

"Praise God! Thank you!," wrote Wilson. "We appreciate all of your help and prayers! Grandpa, Danny Hodge, has been located in Tulsa! On our way to pick him up. Very blessed to have so many who love him and our family."

Tulsa is about 90 miles from Perry, where Hodge is the local hero, and lives.

Jake Hager (Jack Swagger) grew up down the street from Hodge and wrestled with his grandchildren.

-John Ourand at Sports Business Journal has a big feature on the behind-the-scenes of the recent televisions deals struck by the UFC with ESPN, and the WWE with USA Network and Fox. The article is behind a paywall but below are some highlights:

*The UFC’s initial asking price of $450 million per year for their domestic rights was largely scoffed at by the networks, who were never hesitant to even meet when the figure was so inflated

*After Fox’s exclusive negotiating window for the UFC ended last fall, the key for the UFC was finding another network to bid against Fox to drive up the value. One of the networks they spoke with was Turner, but the regulatory process for their merger with AT&T greatly hampered their ability.

*A big factor in ESPN’s interest in the UFC was new president Jimmy Pitaro replacing the outgoing John Skipper, who didn’t feel UFC was a fit. Pitaro was much more receptive.

*Internally, Fox was preparing for a set of scenarios for the UFC – the first, was paying $200 million per year but airing fewer fight cards per year and giving up the rights to certain shoulder programming, such as TUF. The second option was to split the UFC’s rights with another network and Fox would air UFC for the first six months and the other network would carry the final six months. The third option was to not renew the UFC package. Eric Shanks of Fox Sports did give a verbal offer of $200 million to the UFC, which was dismissed.

*In the WWE’s negotiations, it became an issue with the WWE using Ari Emanuel of Endeavor to shop their television rights, at the same time he was also shopping the UFC. It led to Eric Shanks informing Vince McMahon of the conflict of interest and the WWE brought CAA on board to negotiate on their behalf. Ourand reported that this move upset Emanuel with Fox.

*The WWE met with ESPN four times since last December but it was not possible for ESPN to bring Raw and SmackDown on board given all their programming commitments, and an outlet like ESPN+ was in direct competition with the WWE Network.

*The UFC’s deal with ESPN began with a streaming deal for ESPN+ that would pay the UFC $150 million per year for 15 events on the service, this left the UFC with the second half of their package to sell. ESPN assumed the UFC would price the other half too high for them, but when the figure of $150 million was floated to ESPN, a deal was quickly made for the entire UFC rights at $300 million per year for five years.

*After UFC signed with the deal with ESPN for the initial $150 million package, a meeting with Emanuel, Endeavor's Mark Shapiro, and Disney CEO Bob Iger brought about the other half of the deal. During a meeting Emanuel and Shapiro had with Viacom, the two got the word via text that ESPN wanted the entire package for $300 million. Interestingly, Viacom owns Bellator MMA.

*On the WWE front, the NBC Universal talks were led by chairman Bonnie Hammer. CAA wanted $265 million for Raw and $200 for SmackDown, which is where a deal for Raw was completed and they let SmackDown go on the market, opening the door for Fox to make their deal for $205 million per year.

-Raw takes place from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts and is the final Raw before Extreme Rules on Sunday. They have announced a tag match with Finn Balor & Bobby Roode vs. Baron Corbin & Elias. The WWE posted video of an interview with Corbin this afternoon where, in storyline, he explained that he used his influence as the "Constable of Raw" to make the match. Corbin insulted Balor and said he hopes Balor is still able to make it to Extreme Rules after tonight's match.

Balor and Corbin will be facing each other at Extreme Rules on Sunday. Roode and Elias don't have matches announced for the pay-per-view, and Monday night will be the first time Roode has been on Raw since June 18.

Raw should feature the continuation of Bayley and Sasha Banks' angle where they attended counselling with Dr. Shelby last week, along with the final build to Raw's matches for Extreme Rules.

A new episode of “Table for 3” will air tonight on the WWE Network with Trish Stratus, Lita, and Alexa Bliss following Raw.

The SmackDown crew has a Monday house show in Augusta, Maine featuring AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Jeff Hardy & Rusev being advertised. Tuesday’s television tapings will feature Asuka vs. James Ellsworth in a Lumberjack match and Cedric Alexander vs. Hideo Itami for the Cruiserweight title on 205 Live. Styles vs. Nakamura in a non-title match has been announced for Tuesday's episode of SmackDown, which is the go-home show for Extreme Rules. Styles will defend his WWE Championship against Rusev at the pay-per-view, and Nakamura will challenge for Jeff Hardy's United States title. Rusev and/or Hardy getting involved in tomorrow's match in some form seems like a possibility.

Nakamura hasn't wrestled since his dog-bite injury from two weeks ago, though Dave Meltzer reported in the most recent edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that he was scheduled to be evaluated today.

Styles retained the WWE title against Nakamura in a last man standing match at Money in the Bank last month. They've had four matches against each other on PPV this year, and this will be the second time they've faced off on SmackDown in 2018. There will also be a special Miz TV on the show.

-Fandango is expected to be out of action for an extended period of time due to a shoulder injury.

The WWE announced on Sunday that Fandango will require surgery for a left labrum tear in his shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place this coming Tuesday.

Fandango tweeted that morning: "Seeya guys in 6-? Months." He then thanked everyone for the love they've sent him.

The WWE didn't indicate when Fandango suffered the injury or how long he's been dealing with it. His most recent appearance on television was on the episode of Main Event that was taped on June 25, where he teamed with Tyler Breeze & Bobby Roode to defeat Curt Hawkins & The Ascension.

After previously being on SmackDown, Breezango (Fandango & Breeze) moved over to the Raw roster in the Superstar Shakeup this April. Since then, they've been used as depth in the show's tag team division.

Breeze also tweeted: "Well, damn."

-With the movie "Skyscraper" coming out this weekend, Dwayne Johnson will be on Live with Kelly and Ryan on Tuesday, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday.

-The WWE announced on Raw that Braun Strowman will be facing Kevin Owens in a steel cage match on Sunday. After Strowman trapped Owens in a porta-potty and tackled it off the stage last week, their storyline tonight was that Owens hid from Strowman in Kurt Angle's office and had a doctor's note that said he couldn't compete. It led to Strowman eventually coming into the office and Angle making the match for Extreme Rules.

-Ronda Rousey on Instagram said she cried happy tears like a baby at the end of the show in her debut in Madison Square Garden:

"There are no words.... thank you New York and MSG for a night I’ll never forget. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry like a baby at the end of last night... happy tears, but what a whirlwind past few days have been.... I’m humbled, grateful, and far from finished"

-WWE producer Adam Pearce will be the M.C. for the upcoming George Tragos/Lou Thesz Hall of Fame induction banquet 7/26 to 7/28 in Waterloo, IA. It's very good that the WWE is helping out this Hall of Fame, partially because Gerald Brisco and Jim Ross have been such major supporters of it.

-Raw, Smackdown and NXT tickets for Survivor Series weekend at the Staples Center in Los Angeles go on sale on 7/20.

-The WWE debuts on 9/14 in Edinburg TX at the Bert Odgen Arena.

-The next house show in Cleveland on 9/1 will be at the Wolstein Center instead of the Quicken Loans Arena, the usual WWE venue.

-There is a story online on TJ Barnes regarding his WWE tryout.

-NXT star Nikki Cross made her first main roster appearance tonight at a house show in Augusta, Maine.

Teaming with Becky Lynch, the duo defeated Billie Kay and Peyton Royce Monday night after Lynch got the submission win with the Disarmour. The two celebrated after the match. Despite competing on tonight’s show, PWInsider reports that she is not scheduled for SmackDown Live.

Cross has been associated with SAnitY since the group was formed back in 2016. However, she was not called up with Killian Dain, Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe when they were brought up to the SmackDown roster as part of the SuperStar Shakeup following WrestleMania 34.

Since the split from SAnitY, Cross has continued to work down in NXT, even scoring a title match against Shayna Baszler at NXT TakeOver: Chicago last month. Baszler retained the title, submitting Cross with the kirifuda choke.

Cross was signed by WWE in 2016. Before that, as Nikki Storm, she wrestled for several promotions including ICW, Pro Wrestling EVE, JWP and SHIMMER.

**UPDATES for July 10/18**

-Retired wrestler/trainer Scott Casey had a bad heart attack on Sunday night and faced open heart surgery this morning.

-There's a new WWE DVD coming, 30 Years of SummerSlam.

-The WWE has switched up their pay-per-view schedule for the later this year. One POST Wrestling reader alerted them Monday night that at the TD Garden they promoted the WWE’s return for October 21st (which was scheduled to be the TLC event) and was announced as a WWE Supershow with Raw & SmackDown Live talent. has confirmed that TLC will now take place December 16th in place of Clash of Champions in San Jose. Instead of running two pay-per-views in October, the WWE will just be running the Super Show-down event from Melbourne, Australia on October 6th as the major show that month. Below is the schedule for the remainder of 2018:

*This Sunday – Extreme Rules from Pittsburgh
*August 19th – SummerSlam from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn
*September 16th – Hell in a Cell from the AT&T Center in San Antonio
*October 6th – Super Show-Down from Melbourne, Australia
*November 18th – Survivor Series at the Staples Center in Los Angeles
*December 16th – TLC at the SAP Center in San Jose

-Shinsuke Nakamura returned to the ring on Monday’s house show in Augusta, Maine following the dog bite he sustained last month. Nakamura worked against AJ Styles in the main event of the show with Styles retaining the WWE title. Nikki Cross also worked the house show Monday as she teamed with Becky Lynch and defeated Billie Kay and Peyton Royce.

-Sunday’s episode of Total Bellas averaged 719,000 viewers on E! The show was up 8% from their last episode that aired June 24th. There was no episode last week.

-The WWE has announced a distribution deal with FOX Networks Group Asia to air Raw on FOX+ in the Philippines. The deal will go into effect next week with Raw airing live on Tuesdays at 8 am on FOX+ and will replay Tuesday nights at 8 pm on FOX Sports. The FOX+ streaming service is also going to begin running “Afterburn”, “Experience” and “This Week”.

-Paige announced on Twitter today that The New Day (Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston & Big E) would face all three members of SAnitY (Killian Dain, Alexander Wolfe & Eric Young) in a tables match. It will take place on the kickoff show prior to the main card.

The match stems from an angle last week where the New Day were competing against one another in a pancake eating contest. They had just started when SAnitY’s music hit. The trio jumped them from behind, leaving them all lying.Young then launched off the top rope and put Woods through the table with an elbow drop.

-Raw last night did the all-time record modern low audience with 2.46 million viewers.

The show dropped nine percent from last week.

Still, Raw was fourth for the night on cable, once again only trailing news shows, and beat both FOX and CW on network television.

The least-watched modern era episode was on September 26, 2016, which also did 2.46 million viewers against both the first Trump-Clinton Presidential debate and the NFL.

Last year on the same week Raw did 3.01 million viewers, so this is an 18 percent annual drop.

The show started out weak and fell throughout, meaning whatever they were hyping did not keep the audience.

There were consistent drops in almost every demo throughout the show. Unusual is the third hour male drop in 18-49 was seven percent while the female 18-49 drop was only two percent. Usually third hour drops are more female skewed.

The three hours were:

8 p.m. 2.58 million viewers
9 p.m. 2.51 million viewers
10 p.m. 2.32 million viewers

-Though they posted an article about his appearance at UFC 226 on Saturday, the WWE didn’t mention Brock Lesnar by name on Raw last night. Roman Reigns did say he was going to beat Bobby Lashley and move on to “bigger and better things” but didn't say Lesnar’s name.

-Dustin Rhodes (Goldust) tweeted a photo before undergoing surgery in Birmingham, Alabama. He wrote that his “knees needed it” but didn’t indicate what the surgery was for or how long he’ll be out of action. He also wrote:

"I regret not a thing as I have done it all. My family on the road at work has been incredible and are exceeding their talents daily. They all are true superstars and family with a bright future. Remember, be patient and humble. Your time will come! #OutlastThemAll #Keepsreppin”

Rhodes later in the day tweeted that both of his knee surgeries went well.

-Fandango was also scheduled to undergo surgery for the torn left labrum in his shoulder today.

-Sasha Banks and Bayley reporting back to Kurt Angle from their counselling sessions is advertised for Raw next week. They don’t have a match scheduled for Extreme Rules on Sunday.

-Chad Gable defeated Curt Hawkins and The Authors of Pain defeated Titus O’Neil & Apollo Crews on last night’s Main Event tapings. Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins defeated Kevin Owens, Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler in a dark match after Raw.

-Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson discussed his daughter, Simone, wanting to be a pro wrestler during an appearance on Good Morning America this morning. Ata Johnson also appeared during the interview.

-Sami Zayn announced that he’ll be doing improv comedy during this year’s Just for Laughs festival in Montreal.

-The WWE uploaded video of The Undertaker’s entrance from last Saturday’s house show at Madison Square Garden.

**UPDATES for July 11/18**

-When Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was on Good Morning America on Tuesday, he mentioned that his oldest daughter Simone has started to train to become a pro wrestler. Johnson also talked about his decision to temporarily drop his "Rock" moniker when he first made it big in Hollywood. It's a preview of a longer interview he did for actor Jamie Foxx's new web series called Off Script. This happened in 2005 when the management of Johnson pushed him to ease off the use of “The Rock” moniker and took place after his contract at the WWE expired at the end of 2004. Johnson did not show up for any WWE-related events until the 2008 Hall of Fame ceremony and then another exodus until returning in 2011. Prior to his return to the WWE to host WrestleMania and the subsequent matches with John Cena, Johnson acquired new management and embraced both wrestling and “The Rock” name.

-Kofi Kingston will be throwing out the first pitch at today's Boston Red Sox game at Fenway park when the Sox play the Texas Rangers as the Sox will hosts their first-ever "WWE Night."

-Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live averaged 2,183,000 viewers on the USA Network.. It was up 8.4% from last week’s average, although last week was SmackDown number was the second lowest viewership average since the brand split in July 2016.

-The WWE has announced via that Kaitlyn (Celeste Bonin) is the first entrant for the Mae Young Classic this August. The 31-year old had a bodybuilding background before signing a developmental deal with the WWE in 2010 and assigned to Florida Championship Wrestling. She won the third season of NXT and would go on to win the Diva’s championship in January 2013 and feuded with AJ Lee. She remained with the company until 2014 when she opted to leave and return to the fitness industry. She began a comeback to professional wrestling last year and recently spoke about a possible WWE return during an interview with Chris Van Vliet.

"Since I came back, I had the opportunity to work backward and really nail down the fundamentals and the basics -- things that I really lacked during my first run with the WWE," Bonin told ESPN. "Now I am bringing these newly honed and developed skills that I have acquired recently and I am combining that with my fearless attitude. And because I don't have this rookie vibe about me, now I can really concentrate on surprising the WWE universe with all the things I have learned."

Dave Meltzer reported last month that Bonin was backstage at the set of NXT television tapings that took place on June 21 and that there was talk of her returning.

Bonin has a YouTube channel where she's documented her return to the ring, her life after getting divorced, and overcoming addiction issues after getting addicted to what she described as a legal research chemical.

The Mae Young Classic is scheduled to take place from Full Sail University on August 8th and 9th. There will be 32 wrestlers in the tournament.

-Two WWE wrestlers underwent surgery in Birmingham, Alabama yesterday.

Fandango had a left labrum tear in his shoulder repaired, while Goldust had surgery on both of his knees. posted articles on each of their surgeries and noted that they were successful.

Fandango estimated that he'd be out of action for "6-?" months before having his operation. He wrote overnight: "Surgery went well Very overwhelming to get so many nice tweets/texts/calls. This surgery will be a thing of the past. The [love] is forever ...."

The WWE said that Goldust is expected to make a full recovery but didn't reveal further details on the type of surgery he had or when he'll be able to return. He also tweeted last night: "Hey everybody, letting you know that both my knee surgeries went well. Ready to ride up outta here."

Though he appeared on the May 7 episode of Raw, Goldust hasn't wrestled on television since April. He was wrestling at house shows up until mid-June.

**UPDATES for July 12/18**

-The infamous “Black Saturday” episode of World Championship Wrestling will be this week’s Hidden Gem upload on the WWE Network, according to a report.

WWE Network News, who has broken similar stories in the past, first reported the news. While episodes of World Championship Wrestling have already been uploaded to the WWE Network, nothing has been uploaded before November 1985.

Viewers were in for a shock on July 14, 1984 when their usual World Championship Wrestling action was completely overhauled. Instead of Gordon Solie and wrestling stars from Georgia Championship Wrestling, Vince McMahon and the superstars of the World Wrestling Federation filled the hour time slot instead. While the Georgia show usually featured hot in-ring action and interviews, McMahon used the Saturday time slot mainly as a recap show that only featured the occasional in studio squash match.

Declining ratings due to viewership outrage over the drastic overhaul eventually led McMahon to sell the time slot to Jim Crockett Promotions, who took over in March 1985.

-Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa and TJP vs. Noam Dar have been announced for next week’s 205 Live. Tozawa has been Rush’s first feud on the show. Dar returned to 205 Live last week and quickly defeated TJP.

-Maria Kanellis hyped on Instagram that she’s getting ready to return after giving birth in April. She wrote that:

“A Superstar is when a talent meets WWE TV time” and that she’ll be going down to Florida in August to prepare for her return and to fight for that TV time.

-Samoa Joe vs. Tye Dillinger, which was originally announced for SmackDown Live, was cancleled as part of an angle where Joe attacked him on the entrance ramp before the show started.

-Pro Wrestling Sheet reported that, though it isn’t set in stone, the WWE has discussed an all-women’s event for late September or October.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the opening of the WWE Performance Center.

-The September 4 episode of SmackDown will be taking place at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Though that’s right after Daniel Bryan’s contract expires, AJ Styles, Bryan & Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, The Miz & Samoa Joe is advertised.

-Rusev told that holding the World title is something that’s on his bucket list and that “it’s about damn time” he got a title shot.

-Sheamus spoke to the Canton Repository to promote Saturday’s house show in the city. r.”

-The WWE released a “Shut up, Saxton” T-shirt for Corey Graves.

**UPDATES for July 13/18**

-In a big turn of events, Ring of Honor has announced a joint show with New Japan Pro Wrestling at Madison Square Garden over WrestleMania weekend next year.

The news was announced Thursday with the show being billed as “G1 Supercard” and will be presented by the two promotions. They have announced Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito and all the top Ring of Honor talent for the show. While Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Tetsuya Naito were listed, it was somewhat notable that the other member of NJPW’s big four, Kenny Omega, wasn’t advertised along with them when ROH and NJPW announced their April 6, 2019 G1 Supercard for Madison Square Garden. It seems obvious that Omega will be added if he re-signs with NJPW. With The Young Bucks’ future also in question, Matt Jackson shared ROH’s tweet about the event and wrote:

“The World’s Most Famous Arena.” The show, which is taking place on the Saturday of WrestleMania weekend next year, will presumably be going up against NXT TakeOver.

Ring of Honor had planned to run Madison Square Garden with the news made public by Chris Ripley, the CEO of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, during an interview with the Baltimore Business Journal last month. Shortly after that interview, a statement was made by Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff to that they were not running the venue and stated it was a result of The Garden being contacted by the WWE. Koff suggested at the time there could have been legal action taken.

“This is destined to join a long list of historical wrestling moments and where better to hold it than at Madison Square Garden," ROH chief operating officer Joe Koff said in a press release. "I am extremely proud of what we have been able to achieve as a company and am very appreciative of how great our relationship with New Japan Pro-Wrestling has become. However, none of this would be possible without our fans, who are truly the best in the world. Madison Square Garden would not be possible without them and for that I am most grateful.”

New NJPW president Harold Meij was also quoted, “This is a historic initiative for ROH and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. This gives us a great chance to expose fans to NJPW in the building which housed so many memorable and compelling matches.”

Now that Ring of Honor and New Japan have secured a date at The Garden, it will result in a head-to-head battle with the WWE, who will be running TakeOver that same night from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. After ROH's plans to hold a show at Madison Square Garden next year were made public, Dave Meltzer reported in June that WWE was doing everything possible to block it from happening. Koff then did an interview with PWInsider where he said that MSG informed ROH that they were backing out of the event after "communications from the WWE." Koff said he expected that ROH's lawyers would be contacting all of the involved parties in hopes of finding a resolution.

"We are thrilled to welcome Ring of Honor Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling to Madison Square Garden for the much anticipated G1 Supercard,” Joel Fisher, MSG's executive vice president of marquee events, said today. “We expect April 6th to be another memorable night of wrestling at The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

Tickets will go on sale to HonorClub members on Wednesday, August 8 at 10 a.m. Eastern time before being made available to the general public on August 10.

-Rey Mysterio will be returning to New Japan Pro Wrestling at next month's G1 finals.

NJPW announced that Mysterio will be wrestling at Budokan Hall on August 12 as part of the final show for this year's G1. The show is the last of NJPW's three consecutive nights at the venue.

NJPW didn't reveal an opponent for Mysterio or any further details about the match that he'll be in.

Mysterio made his NJPW debut at last month's Dominion event in Osaka. He teamed with Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Thunder Liger against Cody Rhodes, Marty Scurll & Hangman Page, with Cody getting the pin on Liger.

Mysterio was originally supposed to debut for NJPW in a singles match against Liger at Strong Style Evolved in Long Beach, California this past March, but a bicep injury prevented him from wrestling at the show. He still made an appearance at Strong Style Evolved but had no involvement with last Saturday's G1 Special at the Cow Palace.

Dave Meltzer reported in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter that, while Mysterio hasn't signed with the WWE, the discussions are at a point where they've talked about what commitments he has left. Meltzer noted that Mysterio wants to wrestle at All In as scheduled, while the WWE would rather he didn't. Meltzer also wrote that Mysterio wants to drop the Heavyweight title that he holds in The Crash Lucha Libre before returning to the WWE.

-The WWE has announced that Rhea Ripley (Demi Bennett) is the second official participant for the Mae Young Classic this summer.

The 21-year old Ripley joins Kaitlyn as the first two official entrants in the 32-woman tournament that will take place August 8th and 9th at Full Sail University in Florida.

The Australian native began her career in 2013 and landed on the WWE’s radar with a spot in the inaugural Mae Young Classic last year. In the opening round, she defeated Miranda Salinas and was subsequently eliminated by Dakota Kai.

“When I first got here, I was very uneasy about everything...a different country, new surroundings, new people,” Ripley told Adelaide's The Advertiser. "I’m feeling a bit more settled to be honest...I still miss home, I miss my friends and my family, but my training and my dog, Luna, have made me feel a lot more at home.

“I’ve always struggled to make good friends but everyone in the Performance Centre has been so helpful that it’s definitely a family environment.”

Ripley is signed to a developmental deal and been with the company for the past year.

-Despite a big push that included hosting a For Your Consideration party last month in Los Angeles and being listed on the preliminary ballots for the first time ever, World Wrestling Entertainment failed to land any official nominations for the 2018 Emmy Awards. Some content did appear on the preliminary ballot, with Raw and Mixed Match Challenge appearing for Best Structured Reality Program, Total Bellas and Total Divas for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program, WrestleMania 34 for Outstanding Variety Special and the WWE 24: Empowered and Andre the Giant documentaries for Best Documentary or Nonfiction Special. In the end, none of them made the final cut.

The Emmy awards will air live September 17 on NBC.

-Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson was on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert Wednesday night to promote his new movie Skyscraper, out this weekend, and apparently to announce his candidacy for U.S. President in the 2020 election.

Speaking of Skyscraper, the movie is trending at 54% Fresh on the Rotten Tomatoes critics’ index. Their general consensus is that the movie is a fun, popcorn action movie, but doesn’t really have much depth or anything really new to add to the action genre.

-Martha Hart has responded to Bret Hart’s allegations that she is erasing the memory of her late husband.

The press release stems from a recent Bret Hart interview on CBS Sports' In This Corner podcast where he said that he felt Martha had done more to erase Owen Hart's memory than to preserve it.

“I think Martha, Owens’s widow, she is a very obtuse, square-headed person,” he said on the podcast. “I think she’s done more to erase my brother Owen’s memory than she ever did to remember him. I think it really bothers me that the fans that loved Owen so much don’t get a chance to remember him.”

Martha issued a press release yesterday defending her decisions, saying that she does not want the WWE profiting off of Owen, as she blames the company for his death.

“Bret’s comments are rooted in the fact that I have steadfastly refused to work with the WWE to exploit Owen’s image for commercial gain,” she says in the release. “Owen was an incredible entertainer and I know that his many fans around the world enjoyed his wrestling career immensely. I encourage them to continue to do so. But I am firm in my belief that the WWE was responsible for Owen’s death. As a result, I cannot and will not support any efforts by the WWE to profit from Owen’s memory.”

“Bret Hart's comments are disrespectful and cruel,” she continued. “It is disappointing that so many in the media have chosen to report them without seeking my perspective.”

The full statement can be read below:

CALGARY, Alberta, July 11, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Dr. J. Martha Hart, PhD, released the following statement today in response to published comments attributed to the former WWE wrestler, Bret Hart:

The suggestion by Bret Hart that I am "erasing" the memory of my late husband, Owen Hart, is reckless, irresponsible, and clearly untrue.

Bret's comments are rooted in the fact that I have steadfastly refused to work with the WWE to exploit Owen's image for commercial gain. Owen was an incredible entertainer and I know that his many fans around the world enjoyed his wrestling career immensely. I encourage them to continue to do so. But I am firm in my belief that the WWE was responsible for Owen's death. As a result, I cannot and will not support any efforts by the WWE to profit from Owen's memory.

Instead, I, my son Oje and daughter Athena have worked tirelessly to honor Owen through the good works of The Owen Hart Foundation, which has exceeded $4 million in gift giving and contributions toward scholarships, homeowner bursaries, and other special projects that have greatly improved the lives of so many in Canada and around the world. We have always believed that this is the most fitting public tribute to a man of profound integrity; a wonderful human being who just happened to wrestle. I know that Owen would be very proud of the tremendous accomplishments the Foundation has achieved in his name.

Bret Hart's comments are disrespectful and cruel. It is disappointing that so many in the media have chosen to report them without seeking my perspective. Whatever Bret may believe, the fact is that, far from "erasing" Owen's memory, I have devoted the last 20 years to celebrating his life in a very public way. I can think of very few people who have been remembered so glowingly by their spouse.

-Brock Lesnar’s next WWE match is set for next month’s SummerSlam event.

Dave Meltzer has confirmed that Lesnar will be back in the ring for WWE’s premier summer show. It isn’t known who he will face. A multi-man match was originally set for Extreme Rules that would have determined the next contender for the Universal title, but that was canceled as part of a storyline where negotiations for Lesnar's next title defense fell through. Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley, who were the first two announced for the bout, will instead battle in a singles match.

Lesnar made headlines this past weekend at UFC 226 when he responded to a challenge by new UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. The two got into a brief shoving match before being seperated. It was later revealed that Lesnar had returned to USADA testing and would be able to fight starting in January.

Despite the high profile altercation, there was no mention of Lesnar in this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw. In the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, it was said that this was a Vince McMahon call as they want to focus on stars that will be at this Sunday’s Extreme Rules event.

-UFC Fighter and Commentator Dominick Cruz alleged that Brock Lesnar is “absolutely doping” and said he’d be shocked if Lesnar is able to make it to his fight against Daniel Cormier due to USADA.

UFC Fighter Junior dos Santos also said he believes that it’s “almost certain” that Lesnar won’t be clean.

-Jeff Hardy spoke to the Canton Repository about toning it down on house shows and doing the swanton bomb less because his lower back has been hurting him:

“Lately, my lower back has really been bothering me to the point where I haven’t been doing the swanton as much in the live events just to protect it. I think looking forward I’m gonna have to be more like that, because nothing lasts forever. I’ve been real lucky, and naturally on TV I always want to go all out, but in the live events, I might have to hold back a little. I’m glad my face paint has come back. That’s always fun for people to see, because it’s original and unique each and every night, and I love doing that. Growing up I was a huge fan of Ultimate Warrior and Sting, and I wanted to be a little bit of both of them.” Hardy has been using a Twist of Fate that ends like a stunner as a finisher lately.

-Mike Kanellis celebrated reaching one year of sobriety:

“This time last year I embarked on the most difficult journey of my life. I’m proud to announce that today marks 1 year sober”

-Sami Zayn tweeted that his birthday wish is to raise as much money as possible for his fundraising campaign to support displaced civilians in Syria. His birthday was on Thursday.

-3MB (Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal, and Heath Slater) and Hornswoggle (via phone) reunited to watch Hornswoggle’s WeeLC match against El Torito for WWE’s YouTube channel.

-Wrestlers from SmackDown took part in a photo shoot where they dressed up as ECW wrestlers.

-It was declared “Rusev Day” in Knox County as Rusev appeared with Glenn Jacobs on the campaign trail. He posted online:

"Great time tonight at @PowellAuction! Thanks to everyone who attended and helped out! And thanks to @timburchett for declaring it #RusevDay in Knox County!"

-Cathy Kelley interviewed Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on the red carpet for the premiere of his movie “Skyscraper” in New York City.

Johnson talked about his daughter Simone wanting to be a pro wrestler and how much he likes being able to connect with the crowd when in a WWE ring. has an interview with Candice LeRae about her career, being a good role model, and marriage to Johnny Gargano.

-Santino Marella tweeted that his daughter is training to be a pro wrestler:

“Today was day one of me overseeing my daughters training personally and acting as her head coach, @WWEPerformCtr is our goal for 2019”

-The South China Morning Post has an article on HoHo Lun and his life since leaving the WWE. His mother passed away in January after battling breast cancer, and her being sick contributed to his decision to depart the WWE.

-Cheng of the NXT Roster got hurt at the recent NXT House Show. He received medical attention but was able to walk out under his own power.

-After no Canadians were in last year's WWE Mae Young Classic, SLAM! Wrestling are pleased that Nicole Matthews was announced as one of this year's participants. Also announced were recent signee from Stardom Io Shirai, British grappler Jinny, and Kacy Catanzaro who comes via the American Ninja Warrior TV show. Here is more info on each participant:

*The 28-year old Shirai was expected to join the WWE last year, but after further evaluation, the WWE rescinded her offer due to a reported neck injury. Shirai returned to Stardom where she has worked the past year and was cleared to compete. She got a second look by the company with Tokyo Sports reporting that Shirai was leaving for the WWE this past May.

*Matthews has been wrestling for over 12 years and a native of British Columbia, where she gained her first exposure through the ECCW promotion and has worked with SHIMMER since 2007.

*Jinny was recently part of the WWE’s UK events at Royal Albert Hall, although was in the middle of a four-way match with Toni Storm, Killer Kelly and Isla Dawn, where she suffered an injury and was edited out of the match when it aired the following week.

*Catanzaro is 28-years old and has a background with American Ninja Warrior, which led to a WWE tryout in early 2017 and later signed. Catanzaro has only been training for a short time but has worked on NXT live events. took a look at the range of characters played by Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson in his movies. The National Post wrote about Johnson as well. Meanwhile, The AVClub has fun with ideas of future on-screen opponents for Johnson.

-On Jim Ross’ podcast this week, he provided an update on his rib injury from this past Saturday at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Ross bruised the left side of his ribs and lung, which also caused some issues for his sternum with concerns about contracting pneumonia. As a result, he missed two appearances this week with one scheduled Asheville, North Carolina for the Headlock for Hunger organization of which Ross is a spokesman. Ross was also scheduled to appear in Knoxville, Tennessee for Glen Jacobs’ mayoral race in Knox County. Josh Barnett was a guest on the show and felt they were being disrespected during the sequence with Jay White throwing Juice Robinson into the guardrail that led to the injury to Ross. Ross and Barnett confirmed that the two apologised afterwards and were sincere, with Barnett added that he gave them a lecture. Barnett called the ring crew’s lack of care for the set up “a gross oversight” and cited the timekeeper who had the guardrail come down directly on his knee in a separate incident.

-The Raw crew is on the road Friday night with a show in Charleston, West Virginia with a main event six-man tag advertised with Roman Reigns, Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens, Jinder Mahal & Elias. On Saturday, the Raw crew is in Wheeling, West Virginia, and the SmackDown crew is in Canton, Ohio with AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura advertised. The Extreme Rules show is Sunday night from Pittsburgh.

-The WWE has a profile on the coaches at the Performance Center with comments from Matt Bloom, Sara Amato, Shawn Michaels, Norman Smiley, Terry Taylor, Robbie Brookside, Steve Corino, Serena Deeb, Scott Garland (Scotty 2 Hotty), and Johnny Moss describing their roles at the PC.

-James Lynch at Fightful recently spoke to Paige VanZant, who is set for arm surgery next Thursday after her initial injury didn’t heal after her loss to Jessica Rose-Clark this past January. VanZant is optimistic of fighting before the end of the year after recovering from the surgery. Her fiancé, Austin Vanderford is fighting on next week’s edition of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. VanZant also spoke about the potential of working in the WWE in the future.

-Andrade Cien Almas will once again battle Sin Cara, this time as part of the preshow kickoff set to air before Extreme Rules. WWE confirmed the news this afternoon on their Twitter account. This would be a rematch from this past Tuesday’s match on SmackDown where Almas defeated Sin Cara pretty decisively after hitting the double knees in the corner.

This brings the match total for this Sunday’s Extreme Rules event to 12, including two kickoff matches.

-Morgan Stanley upgraded its price target for WWE stock to $100 per share. Benjamin Swinburne of Morgan Stanley wrote to clients:

“WWE may be the strongest example of the rapid appreciation in content ‘value’ in the public markets. By securing a 3.6x multiple in its new five-year agreements with NBC/FOX relative to its prior five-year broadcast agreement with NBC, WWE gains a massive increase in earnings power, with visibility into the revenue associated with these new rights extremely high.” CNBC noted that this is the highest target among the 12 analysts who cover WWE.

WWE stock closed at $76.90 today, up a bit over three percent from yesterday.

-A new episode of Table for Three with Bruce Prichard, Eric Bischoff, and JBL will air on the WWE Network after Monday’s Raw.

-The Bakersfield Police Department told Pro Wrestling Sheet that the police dog that bit Shinsuke Nakamura continued to work through their internal investigation and won’t be removed from the force.

-Former NFL tight end Dorin Dickerson spoke to Yahoo Sports about attending the most recent round of WWE tryouts and the passion that his late mother had for pro wrestling.

-On Busted Open Radio, Elias challenged The Rock to take part in a segment with him.

-Natalya wrote a column for the Calgary Sun about Renee Young being a role model for women outside of the ring.

-In an interview with the New York Post about ROH and NJPW’s G1 Supercard at Madison Square Garden next April, ROH COO Joe Koff spoke about their date at the venue originally falling through:

“I think that’s a question better asked of Madison Square Garden because we were very aggressive in wanting that date and we thought we had that date, but we did what we had to do as a business. [MSG] did what they had to do as a business and I guess all of a sudden there was a phone call and we were able to work it out. ...That’s probably their story to tell because they made the call [to us] and said let’s get on the phone and see if we can work this out. They wanted us. They knew that we would be good promotion. I think they were just looking for a satisfactory outcome for all parties.”

The WWE was also quoted in the New York Post’s story as saying that “MSG is, of course, free to work with ROH however they want.”

**UPDATES for July 14/18**

-Daniel Bryan has expressed optimism that he’ll resign with the WWE.

In an interview with The Business Times during the WWE's recent stop in Taipei on July 1, it was mentioned that Bryan is currently in negotiations with the WWE for a new contract, which is set to expire on September 1. Bryan said in the interview that chances were good when it came to re-signing with the promotion.

"The wrestling world is an interesting world right now," he said. “But I love working with WWE and my wife is a part of WWE and so there’s a good chance I’ll re-sign."

Before he was cleared to wrestle back in March, Bryan hinted that if he wasn’t cleared to return while under contract to the WWE, he would likely leave to resume his wrestling career on the independent scene. Medical Director for WWE Joseph Maroon eventually did clear Bryan, who returned to the ring at WrestleMania 34 teaming with Shane McMahon to defeat Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

Bryan is next expected to team with Kane to take on The Bludgeon Brothers for the SmackDown tag team titles tomorrow at Extreme Rules.

-A photo gallery that posted of every Performance Center recruit indicates that Donovan Dijak and former TNA wrestler Gunner, who had both been wrestling under their real names in NXT, have gotten their WWE names. Dijak is referred to as “Dominik Dijakovic,” while Gunner is “Jaxson Ryker.”

-NXT is doing an angle where Bianca Belair has been removed from an announced number one contender’s fatal four-way for next week’s episode due to a storyline "injury." The match, which included Kairi Sane, Nikki Cross and Candice LeRae, was taped while Belair and Montez Ford were on their honeymoon. It seems that the storyline is to explain her not being in the match and protect her/set her up as a future challenger.

-The Hollywood Reporter projected that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s movie “Skyscraper” will earn a disappointing $24-25 million at the box office this weekend. Pre-release tracking had indicated that it would earn $33-40 million. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the film is counting on the money it will generate overseas.

-Charlotte Flair looked back on yesterday being the three-year anniversary of her main roster debut:

“3 years ago today I debuted on #Raw @wwe in Atlanta and had no idea what the future was going to hold. Main events, Ladder Matches, Hell In a Cell, Titles, Brand Splits, Robes (@terrysews2) and co-workers that become family. We have a very special job as @WWE talent and the memories I have made in and outside of the ring I am going to cherish forever. Wrestling has changed my life for the better in so many ways and cant wait to see where it continues to take me both professionally and personally. The Women’s Division has come so far and I believe we’ve really only scratched the surface”

-The Undertaker appeared at a Harlem Globetrotters game and held the ball for a player who did a trampoline-assisted dunk.

-In his hometown, Kurt Angle threw out the first pitch at today’s Pittsburgh Pirates game. Extreme Rules will take place in the city tomorrow night.

-The WWE looked back at Kaitlyn’s five best moments for the company after it was announced that she’d be returning for this year’s Mae Young Classic. They also ranked the 10 craziest crash-landings from Extreme Rules PPVs.

-After challenging The Rock to take part in a segment with him, Elias tweeted a link to a Go Fund Me to help The Rock’s “road to recovery after Walking With Elias.”

-Goldberg spent an hour helping teach at the Portsmouth School of Wrestling in the UK this morning.

**UPDATES for July 15/18**

-The WWE made a major announcement Sunday that Hulk Hogan has been reinstated into the WWE’s Hall of Fame and appears to be the first step in Hogan’s full return to the company. The WWE issued this statement on the matter:

After a three-year suspension, Hulk Hogan has been reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame. This second chance follows Hogan’s numerous public apologies and volunteering to work with young people, where he is helping them learn from his mistake. These efforts led to a recent induction into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame.

The reaction to Hogan’s return to the company is going to be a debated one. His language on the sex tape that was made public in 2015 is not going to be forgiven by the entirety of the WWE’s audience. There is a valid argument that Hogan should not be attached to the company, given their placement within the television world, the scale at which advertisers are more accepting of the WWE, and the liability that Hogan presents. It is very hard to imagine Hogan becoming an ambassador and going to markets to promote the company without his past being a big talking point. While it’s unknown how significant a role Hogan will have with the company, most would assume that being “reinstated” into a Hall of Fame that constitutes his name being listed on a website is not the extent of this renewed relationship.

Earlier in the day, had reported that Hogan was spotted at an airport in Cleveland and is two hours from Pittsburgh where the site of tonight’s pay-per-view is. A photo of Hogan and Jimmy Hart at the Cleveland airport surfaced yesterday which started speculation Hogan would be appearing at tonight's Extreme Rules pay-per-view. The show is in Pittsburgh, but him flying into Cleveland was likely to make sure fans staking out the Pittsburgh airport didn't see him. Then Hogan sent out a tweet this afternoon about meeting with the WWE roster at Extreme Rules:

"Just met with the @WWE Superstars and on all levels the volume of love and support was overwhelming. I’ve been praying for this day and I finally feel like I made it back home. Only Love 4 the #WWEUNIVERSE brother HH"

Dave Meltzer notes that Hogan apologized to everyone for the racist rant that led to Hogan being fired from WWE in July 2015. Meltzer added that there were wrestlers cheering for Hogan and congratulating and hugging him.

PWInsider first reported the details of Hogan's apology. They wrote that Hogan reminded everyone to always think about what they're saying and that, in today's day and age, "they have to remember that there are always cameras everywhere and they could be recorded even when they don't realize they are."

The WWE also confirmed on the Extreme Rules pre-show that Hogan is backstage at the PPV. As of now, that and him being reinstated into the Hall of Fame is all that the WWE has announced about his status with the company.

A Hogan return should get some big interest which they need with the strong baseball competition this week that would under normal circumstances hurt ratings. It would make sense for him to be back and then appear on Raw to help boost the rating against Home Run Derby and coming off last Monday's record low rating for the show.

-Raw will be tomorrow night in Buffalo with all the fallout of tonight's PPV show. There will also be a Smackdown house show in Reading, PA.

Smackdown and 205 Live take place Tuesday night in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Announced for 205 Live is TJP vs. Noam Dar and Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa.

-This Wednesday, NXT will be holding their television tapings at Full Sail University and will feature the Aleister Black vs. Tommaso Ciampa title match, which is scheduled to air July 25th. This is the final set of tapings before the TakeOver card in Brooklyn on Saturday, August 18th.

-Dwayne Johnson's movie Skyscraper is estimated at doing $25,485,000 for the weekend, which is under the $30 million projections. However, the expectation was the movie would be a bigger hit internationally, as so many of Johnson's recent movies have turned out to be. It was third for the weekend behind "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" and "Ant-Man and the Wasp."

Entertainment Weekly gave Skyscraper a C- rating, saying it was a knockoff of Die Hard and Towering Inferno but without the great qualities of those two classic movies, and noting it's missing a great heel like Alan Rickman was in Die Hard.

-A note as to why the 9/1 WWE show will be at the Wolstein Center and not the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland is because the Quicken Loans Arena is closed until early October due to massive renovations being made. They will also be closing it part of next summer for more renovations. The WWE was asked if they could put off their Cleveland date until October but the WWE told the arena that the way the schedule is, that wouldn't be possible, so they booked the smaller place.

-An 11/2 Raw show in Brussels, Belgium at Forest National Arena has been moved to May 9, 2019. The key is that tells you the annual spring WWE tour will be in May, or at least starting late April into May.

-Randy Orton is back, and made a statement tonight at Extreme Rules.

Orton returned right after Shinsuke Nakamura captured the United States title from Jeff Hardy on tonight’s program. Right before the match was to begin, Nakamura low blowed Hardy. After he said he would continue the match, Nakamura struck Hardy with the kinshasa and pinned him in a short match. As Nakamura as celebrating, Orton made his return to the company, music playing as he headed to the ring.

After he and Nakamura had a staredown, Orton took a recovering Jeff Hardy back to the ground and stomped him right in the groin, seemingly turning heel in the process. He then made his way to the back, leaving Nakamura in a state of confusion. Later in the program, commentators noted that Hardy wanted his rematch against Nakamura on SmackDown. It was said that Paige had yet to sanction the match.

Orton was last seen on television back in May at Backlash, where Hardy defeated Orton to retain the United States championship. He had been out the last couple of months following surgery that repaired a medial meniscus tear in his left knee.

The jam-packed news update will be coming hard and fast, so don't 'cha dare miss it!
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Posted 7/16/18 , edited 7/22/18
The build moves onto one of the big four, 6+ hours planned shows with NXT Takeover the night prior, with SummerSlam coming next month! This week it begins with if the WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar shows up on Raw or he'll be stripped of the title by GM Kurt Angle. Here is the news of the week coming off WWE Extreme Rules.

General sources are as normally credited to and and and and and and but please also note that all news and rumours are subject to updates and changes.

NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV on Saturday, August 18, 2018 from Brooklyn, NY

Additional Sources:

*Triple Threat Match for the NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (C) vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black
*NXT North American Championship Match: Adam Cole (C) vs. Ricochet
*NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed Era (C- Roderick Strong & Kyle O'Reilly) vs. Mustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven)
*NXT Women's Championship Match: Shayna Baszler (C) vs. Kairi Sane
*Velveteen Dream vs. EC3

WWE SummerSlam on Sunday, August 19, 2018 from Brooklyn, NY

Additional Sources: and


*WWE Raw Women's Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (C - w/ Mickie James) vs. Ronda Rousey (w/ Natalya)
*WWE Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (C - w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Bobby Lashley or Roman Reigns

-With Extreme Rules over and SummerSlam now five weeks away, the build to Brock Lesnar's next Universal Championship defense is about to pick up.

On the pay-per-view, the WWE set up an angle where Kurt Angle issued an ultimatum to Lesnar. Angle said that, while negotiations had been reopened for Lesnar's next defense, Paul Heyman told him Lesnar isn't interested in returning at this time. Angle issued a storyline ultimatum to Lesnar: he has to show up to Monday's Raw or agree to a date to defend the title to avoid being stripped of it.

Angle also made reference to Lesnar's appearance at UFC 226, which WWE avoided doing on last week's Raw. Dave Meltzer reported that Lesnar not being mentioned by name on last Monday's show was due to Vince McMahon wanting the focus to be completely on Extreme Rules.

As reported last Thursday, Lesnar's next match is scheduled to take place at SummerSlam. A multi-man to decide a challenger for him was originally announced for Extreme Rules, but that was canceled as part of the storyline where negotiations with Lesnar fell through. Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley were positioned as two of his top contenders, and Lashley defeated Reigns after hitting a spear.

Lesnar's next appearance will be the first time he's been on WWE television since April's Greatest Royal Rumble.

The angle is there to boost ratings because with the MLB All-Star Game Home Run Derby and coming off the lowest rated episode of Raw in history, it could have set a record low easily tonight without a unique angle.

-The moment Brock Lesnar barged into the Octagon at UFC 226, Stipe Miocic was pushed to the background. And he's not OK with it.

The former UFC heavyweight champion believes he's owed a rematch after losing his belt to Daniel Cormier, and he's not about to watch Lesnar jump the queue to get ahead of him.

"I thought they were going to interview me (after the fight) and I was going to ask for a rematch. When Brock came in, I said, 'I'm out of here, I don't need this circus,'" Miocic said to Brett Okamoto of ESPN.

"How can you give a guy a title shot who hasn't fought in over two years, is suspended, and his last fight is a no-contest because he was taking PEDs?"

Cormier called out Lesnar, who hasn't fought in the promotion since July 2016 due to a positive drug test, after his TKO victory over Miocic. Lesnar responded by shoving Cormier in the chest, which prompted UFC president Dana White to announce he would work on making that fight happen.

Lesnar has six months remaining on his USADA suspension.

"(Lesnar) hasn't fought in how long? For him to get a title shot, as I get thrown to the side, it just seems like they are desperate for pay-per-views," Miocic said.

Miocic set a heavyweight record in January by recording three straight title defenses before his loss to Cormier. He believes he's owed a level of respect from the UFC.

"I cleaned out the division. I defended (the belt) more than anyone, and you're gonna tell me I don't deserve a chance to get it back? Get out of here," Miocic said. "Kiss my @ss if you don't think I deserve that."

-Christina Denning, the attorney for Mark Hunt, told MMA Fighting that she is looking at amending some of their lawsuit against Lesnar and UFC based on Lesnar's returning and getting a title shot. She has not done so yet.

-After losing the title within seconds at Extreme Rules, Jeff Hardy will get his rematch for the United States Championship on Tuesday's episode of SmackDown.

The story of tonight's match was that Shinsuke Nakamura hit Hardy with a low blow before the bell even rang. Hardy insisted that the referee start the match despite the low blow, and Nakamura immediately hit the Kinshasa to win the title.

Randy Orton then returned to WWE television, making his first appearance since undergoing surgery in May to repair a medial meniscus tear in his left knee. Nakamura left the ring, had a staredown with Orton, and Orton took Hardy down and kicked him for a low blow. The WWE hid Randy Orton from everyone until shortly before his angle.

Later in the pay-per-view, Nakamura and Hardy's rematch was confirmed for SmackDown. That was after a brief storyline where it was noted that Hardy requested the match but WWE said Paige had yet to make it official. Smackdown and 205 Live take place Tuesday night in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Announced for 205 Live is TJP vs. Noam Dar and Lio Rush vs. Akira Tozawa.

-Masanori Saito, a former Olympian as an amateur wrestler and Hall of Famer as a pro, passed away on Saturday after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Saito was 76.

Saito had the most successful long-term career of any Japanese native on the American scene, being a championship-level wrestler in multiple territories from 1968 to 1990. While Giant Baba in the 60s, Great Muta, and now Shinsuke Nakamura were as big or bigger stars, Saito spent the majority of his career in the United States as opposed to a brief version, and was always a headliner as a former Olympian who was a top tier in-ring worker, even with limited English speaking ability.

During most of his career he played the stereotypical salt-throwing Japanese heel, a role mostly played by Hawaiians rather than Japanese wrestlers in the 60s.

Saito was a top level in-ring wrestler, one of the most solid workers in North America during the 70s and well into the 80s, and considered top 10 in the world well into his 40s. He was one of Hulk Hogan's biggest rivals in his AWA heyday.

In 1984, he was voted the Best Technical Wrestler in the world even though he was 42 at the time. He came back after missing two years due to being in prison over a brawl where he injured several police officers in Waukesha, Wisconsin, which in wrestling at the time was viewed as him protecting Ken Patera, his traveling partner.

He was a star in Japan, heavily recognized for his American success. He was also the innovator of one of the biggest finishers, the scorpion deathlock/sharpshooter, which he used first and later transferred to tag team partner Riki Choshu. It was Choshu's success with the move that led to both Bret Hart and Sting using it as their finishers, and now is almost considered the classic finishing move among Canadian wrestlers and even emulated by people like The Young Bucks, who grew up as Bret Hart fans, and Cesaro, who uses it as a tribute to T.J. Wilson.

Saito had a major feud with Antonio Inoki, which was blown off by the legendary Jungle Death Match on October 4, 1987 that went 125:14, the longest match in Japanese history. The setting, a bout with no ring in the jungle, made it impossible to have a good match, but the uniqueness of it was viewed as one of the most legendary matches in the country's history and led to many other location no-ring matches that followed.

Saito was extremely well respected in Japan, and it was wrestlers and reporters from that country who were the key in his being voted into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame in 2009.

Saito was a former AWA World Champion, although that was well past the peak of the promotion. But he also held World Tag Team titles twice with Kinji Shibuya, in a legendary early 70s team, and twice with Mr. Fuji in the WWF, as well as with both Choshu and Shinya Hashimoto in Japan.

He had been battling Parkinson's Disease since 2000. One of the key reasons for the "Beast in the East" WWE Network special from Tokyo actually taking place is that Brock Lesnar, who thought so highly of Saito, wanted to visit him with Brad Rheingans, and he coincided it with a WWE Japan tour to do business with it, and with Lesnar's return to Japan, the WWE made the show a special.

-For the second year in a row, WarGames will be taking place inside two NXT rings.

The WWE announced this afternoon on their NXT Twitter account that the WarGames match would be making a return at their Los Angeles TakeOver event this November. Oddly, WWE had announced the show earlier this morning as simply NXT TakeOver Los Angeles, with no mention of the bout.

Last year’s match was the first to take place under the WWE banner and the first official WarGames match since 1998. Last year's match had Undisputed Era defeating The Authors of Pain and Roderick Strong plus SAnitY in a match filled with brawling, sick bumps and weapons. Adam Cole got the win for his team, pinning Eric Young after hitting a shining wizard into a steel chair.

Tickets will go on sale starting on Friday at 1 p.m. ET on It will take place on November 17, the day before Survivor Series, at the Staples Center.

-The reason the Bryan & Kane vs. Bludgeon Brothers match went down the way it did is because Kane suffered a leg injury and really couldn't wrestle. He is getting around in a walking boot.

-Hulk Hogan went home early in the PPV show last night. He was just there to film the backstage apology angle. So he's not scheduled for Raw tonight.

-Vince McMahon was not at Extreme Rules last night. Triple H made the calls including the match order choices.

-Shinsuke Nakamura's 2015 Japanese autobiography, translated into English, is schedule for release by VIZ Media in hardcover on 8/7.

-The Washington Post wrote on Hulk Hogan.

-Next week on Raw, the Deleters of Worlds invoke their rematch clause against the new Raw Teg Team Champions the B Team, and the conclusion of the mini-tourney to crown the #1 contender to face Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam takes place between Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley, who both won triple threat matches this week.

**UPDATES for July 17/18**

-The newest class of WWE signings have reported to the Performance Center and the class includes Keith Lee, Io Shirai, Deonna Purrazzo, MJ Jenkins and others.

Keith Lee and Io Shirai were both officially introduced today. Lee was shown sitting in the front row at NXT TakeOver: Chicago last month, while Shirai appeared at a WWE house show in Tokyo a few weeks ago and was announced as joining NXT this summer. Shirai has been confirmed as one of the participants in this year's Mae Young Classic.

Deonna Purrazzo was also announced as part of this Performance Center class. She's wrestled for Ring of Honor, Stardom, and on the independents, and her signing with WWE means that she won't be able to be part of All In this September.

Here are the other names that rounded out today's arrivals:

*MJ Jenkins: An indie wrestler who was formerly part of Impact Wrestling's Knockouts division.
*Lacey Lane: A former basketball player for Shaw University who has since wrestled on the indies and once held The Crash Lucha Libre's Women's Championship.
*Stacey Ervin Jr.: Dave Meltzer referred to Ervin as the "highest caliber gymnast ever in a U.S. promotion" when reporting that he would be signing with the WWE.
*Luke Menzies: A former rugby player who has wrestled independently in the United Kingdom over the last couple of years. He was trained by Marty Jones.
*Taishan Dong: A seven-foot-tall boxer from China.
*Denzel Dejournette: An amateur wrestler for Appalachian State while in college.

-Monday’s Raw featured the start of several programs being put in place for SummerSlam. As noted previously, Brock Lesnar is confirmed for SummerSlam and will defend the Universal title. Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley will have a match on next week’s episode from Cincinnati with the winner facing Lesnar. There are several directions they can go from a singles program, a three-way, and there is the option of involving Braun Strowman or teasing a cash-in ahead of time even if he isn’t involved in the match. The other match that has been made for the August 19th event at the Barclays Center is Alexa Bliss defending the Raw women’s title against Ronda Rousey.

-Tonight’s SmackDown & 205 Live tapings take place from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and will feature a rematch between Shinsuke Nakamura and Jeff Hardy for the United States title. The 205 Live tapings will feature Lio Rush taking on Akira Tozawa. Tonight’s episode will go against the MLB All-Star Game, which did 9.28 million viewers in 2017 with SmackDown’s viewership at 2,465,000 against the game (and is a figure SmackDown hasn’t reached since April).

UPDATE: AJ Styles and Andrade "Cien" Almas will be facing off in their first-ever singles match tonight.

The WWE posted a video today where Styles was doing an interview and said he's heard Paige has already decided on who will challenge for his WWE Championship at SummerSlam. Zelina Vega interrupted him and said that Almas should be the one to challenge him at the pay-per-view. Vega said Almas likes to do his talking in the ring, and Styles challenged him to a match tonight. Vega then accepted.

WWE had Paige tweet out that Styles vs. Almas will be the first match on tonight's SmackDown:

"And the #WWE Universe won’t have to wait very long BECAUSE... @AJStylesOrg vs. @AndradeCienWWE will be the FIRST match of #SDLive. I’m ready to see this one. #TheFuturevsThePhenomenal

Styles vs. Almas will presumably be a non-title match.

-Christopher Jeter at FanSided has a piece on the WWE’s choice to get back into business with Hulk Hogan. Jeter looks at the many troubling portrayals of African-American performers in the past, as well as other minority depictions. In addition, there are the examples of others within the company using racist language either on camera or behind-the-scenes, with the Michael Hayes incident from 2008 one of the most prominent. During a WrestleMania after party, Hayes made a joke towards Mark Henry that included the n-word that was highly offensive and resulted in Hayes being suspended. Hayes also lost his title as an Executive but remained with the company.

-This past Sunday’s episode of Total Bellas from Paris dropped 17% with 594,000 viewers watching on E! The show was based around Nikki Bella’s bachelorette party where they traveled to Paris. It was a sizable drop from the 719,000 viewers the week prior. While there was a WWE pay-per-view airing at the same time, the show didn’t experience any viewership drop last month on the night of Money in the Bank.

-The WWE has officially announced that this November’s TakeOver event in Los Angeles will once again be called “War Games” with tickets on sale this Friday. This coincides with the recent announcement that MLW will be promoting a War Games match of their own in September for a card in Fort Lauderdale. MLW filed for the trademark of War Games earlier this year and company CEO Court Bauer has stated they have the IP.

-Former Impact Wrestling performer Braxton Sutter / Pepper Parks was a guest coach at the WWE’s Performance Center last week in Florida.

-Ronda Rousey has added a house show in China to her WWE schedule.

The WWE announced last night that the company will be returning to China for the third straight year, with the Raw-brand house show being held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai on September 1.

Along with Rousey, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, Finn Balor, Jinder Mahal, Matt Hardy, and Bray Wyatt are advertised for the event.

The show will take place less than two weeks after Rousey challenges for Bliss' Raw Women's Championship at SummerSlam. That match was announced on this week's Raw, with Kurt Angle extending Rousey's storyline suspension by a week due to Rousey appearing and attacking Bliss and Mickie James.

Before heading to China, the Raw roster has house shows in London, England on August 29 and Osaka, Japan on August 31. Rousey will also be wrestling at those events.

Tickets to the show in China will go on sale this Thursday at 10 a.m. local time.

-Whether it was curiosity coming off the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, or more likely, over Brock Lesnar and the Universal title, Raw rebounded strongly last night to 2.86 million viewers, a 16 percent increase from last week even going up against the Home Run Derby, which traditionally has hurt Raw numbers.

Based on the ratings pattern -- a huge first hour, which is unusual for the summer -- there was something very big that people were interested in. This would either be the curiosity of how the Lesnar Universal title story would play out, or possibly Hulk Hogan. Given that Hogan didn't even make the Google trends list on Sunday or Monday, his return didn't resonate strong enough for it to play out as a factor.

Plus, the big audience drop in the second and third hours showed that whatever people were tuning in to see and find out, happened in hour one. The show led off with Kurt Angle and Paul Heyman talking about the Universal title, setting up Lesnar's defense at SummerSlam on August 19 in Brooklyn's Barclays Center against the winner of next week's Bobby Lashley vs. Roman Reigns match.

The WWE needed a big boost and clearly this angle playing out the way it did worked, since Raw had its lowest rated episode in the 25 1/2 year history of the show last week, a 1.72 rating. Going against the Home Run Derby, with nothing special promoted, it would have been expected to do even worse.

Instead, it was one of the better numbers over the last several months, largely due to the big first hour.

The Home Run Derby did 5.57 million viewers, while the celebrity softball game, which followed it on ESPN and featured The Miz, did 2.54 million viewers from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.

The three hours for Raw were:

8 p.m. 3.12 million viewers
9 p.m. 2.86 million viewers
10 p.m. 2.62 million viewers

-The Corey Graves T-shirt that says "Shut up, Saxton" referring to his SmackDown Live co-host Byron Saxton has been pulled off the WWE shop. No reason was given.

Corey Graves tweeted that WWE Shop won’t be releasing the “Shut up, Saxton” T-shirt that they had already put up: “

Sorry guys, no #ShutUpSaxton shirt. Out of my hands. We tried.”

-WWE stock closed above $80 per share for the first time ever today, coming in at $80.53. That was a bit more than a one percent increase on the day. WWE’s market capitalization is currently above six-billion dollars.

-During an appearance on “Conversations With Maria Menounos,” Charlotte Flair said she expects to be cleared to return on July 31 after undergoing surgery for her breast implants rupturing. Charlotte worked through the issue before having surgery.

-Mark Henry told TMZ that he thinks Hulk Hogan is genuine about wanting to clear his name and that Hogan has been hurt by people treating him differently after his leaked racist diatribe were made public in 2015. Henry noted that there’s a “50/50 split” towards Hogan returning among the black wrestlers in the WWE. On Busted Open Radio, Henry also discussed the conversation he had with Hogan. He said Hogan told him he wants to fix things. And if Hogan is willing to do that, Henry said he will help him.

-The WWE displayed a tribute graphic for Masa Saito at the start of last night’s Raw.

-Michael Hayes tweeted about yesterday being the 17th anniversary of Terry Gordy’s death:

“17 years ago today we lost Terry Gordy, here on earth. We never lost Terry in our mind, memories and heart. I can’t thank Bam enough for deciding to b my Freebird Brother. Love and miss U ALWAYS!!!”

-The Revival & Mike Kanellis defeated Heath Slater, Rhyno & Chad Gable and No Way Jose defeated Curt Hawkins on this week’s Main Event tapings.

-Diamond Dallas Page has been guest coaching at the Performance Center this week.

-The Miz won the MVP award in this year’s MLB celebrities and legends softball game, which aired after the Home Run Derby last night.

-Drew Mcintyre was the guest on this week’s episode of Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia.

-Next week on SmackDown Live, GM Paige agreed to a match between Becky Lynch and the WWE SmackDown Women's Champion Carmella where if Carmella wins there will be another Mella-Bration but if Lynch wins, she gets the title shot at SummerSlam.

**UPDATES for July 18/18**

-Congratulations to Toronto-based wrestler Rob Rage, who announced that he's landed the role of Hulk Hogan in an upcoming Viceland series.

-Styles submitted Andrade "Cien" Almas with the Calf Crusher on SmackDown Live. Samoa Joe also defeated Tye Dillinger with the Coquina Clutch and sent out a tweet about wanting a title shot:

"How many more must pay before you give me what I want? You keep denying, I keep collecting."

-The WWE has confirmed four more participants for the 2018 Mae Young Classic.

After reporting to the Performance Center this week, Deonna Purrazzo has been officially announced for the tournament. Tegan Nox (the former Nixon Newell), Jessie Elaban, and Reina Gonzalez were also confirmed for the Mae Young Classic today.

Purrazzo was one of the alternates for the first Mae Young Classic and was included in a dark match at last year's tapings. She wrestled for Ring of Honor, Stardom, and independent promotions both in the United States and internationally before signing with WWE. She was originally scheduled to wrestle at All In this September, but her going to WWE means that she won't be able to be on the show.

Nox is from Wales and wrestled on the UK indies and internationally before signing with WWE in 2017. She was supposed to be in the first Mae Young Classic, but a torn ACL prevented her from being in the tournament. She returned to the ring at an NXT house show this April and recently got her new WWE name.

Elaban and Gonzalez are both signed to WWE and regularly wrestle on NXT house shows. Gonzalez lost to Nicole Savoy in the first round of last year's tournament.

Kaitlyn, Rhea Ripley, Io Shirai, Nicole Matthews, Jinny, Kacy Catanzaro, Purrazzo, Nox, Elaban, and Gonzalez have now been confirmed for this year's tournament. It will feature 32 participants and will be taped at Full Sail University on August 8 and 9.

-Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods have issued a joint statement on Hulk Hogan being reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame.

The New Day members released their comments via Kingston's Twitter account overnight:

"To the WWE Universe and whoever else it may concern:

This will be the only statement we will make regarding Hogan's reinstatement into WWE's Hall of Fame. We do not wish to spend the energy debating the point, because between our kids, our external ventures, and this job, our energy is spread thin enough already, lol.

We are only writing this simply to provide an answer to the many who have bombarded us with questions on where we stand on the issue.

We preface this statement by emphasizing that this is our own opinion and may not necessarily reflect the opinion of anyone else affected.

How do we feel? Indifferent. We are not happy, or sad, angry or resentful. Who WWE puts into the HOF is totally and completely up to the company and from a career standpoint, there is no argument on whether or not Hogan should have his place. We have no problem with his re-induction in the slightest degree. It is impossible to even begin to mention the history and evolution of the business without mentioning his name and accolades.

On a personal level, when someone makes racist and hateful comments about any race or group of people, especially to the degree that Hogan made about our people, we find it difficult to simply forget, regardless of how long ago it was, or the situation in which those comments were made. But we also do not respond with more feelings of hate. Instead, we just do not associate with the people who convey or have conveyed this negative and hurtful mindset. This instance will be no different. Perhaps if we see him make a genuine effort to change, then maybe our opinion will change with him. Time will tell.

Through the course of our lives, people have used racist comments towards us and it doesn't feel good. But if we stopped moving forward everytime we were met with prejudicial hatred, then we would have never achieved our current accomplishments.

We know we are worth it, we know our kids are worth it, and most importantly, we know that people that look like us are worth it and always have been. There isn't a person on this planet who will be ever be able to say anything to make us think otherwise because we believe in ourselves as a people and don't need anyones approval on that, regardless of who they are.

Having said that, his reinstatement won't change anything for us. It will have zero effect on our ability to perform or the level of effort we will put into doing what we love to do, and that is: To deliver and entertaining product each week for our fan base.


-The New Day

"Never trade your authenticity for approval." "

Titus O'Neil also responded to The New Day's statement and refuted unfounded rumors that claimed he walked out of Extreme Rules due to Hogan being there:

"In FULL AGREEMENT AND SUPPORT OF EVERYTHING SAID IN THIS STATEMENT. MY additional response to this from to follow as there have been NUMEROUS ERRONEOUS reports on my Views and Response-to this situation."

WWE announced on Sunday that Hogan had been reinstated into their Hall of Fame. He was fired from the company in July 2015 when a leaked racist diatribe, where Hogan used the n-word multiple times and said he was "racist, to a point," from the 2000s was made public. Hogan was backstage at Extreme Rules in Pittsburgh on Sunday and met with the WWE locker room, where he apologized for those comments. Hogan didn't make an appearance on the pay-per-view broadcast.

As of now, all that WWE has announced about Hogan's status with the company is that he is back in the Hall of Fame and was at Extreme Rules.

-UFC fighter Cain Velasquez is at the NXT tapings tonight in the crowd.

-Drew Gulak vs. Hideo Itami vs. TJP vs. Mustafa Ali in a number one contender’s fatal four-way match has been announced for next week’s 205 Live. The winner will become the next challenger for Cedric Alexander’s Cruiserweight Championship.

-Ric Flair tweeted that he’s up and running after undergoing surgery last week to eliminate the need for a colostomy bag:

“Thank You To All The Staff At Gwinnett Medical Center For The Excellent Care During My Stay! I Was So Lucky To Be In The Hands Of An Amazing Surgeon, Dr. James Elsey. Truly Grateful For Everything! The Naitch Is Back Up And Runnin’! @GwinnettMedical”

-Roman Reigns, Charlotte Flair, Mickie James, and Lana are attending tonight’s ESPN ESPY Awards.

-The WWE was honored with the League Humanitarian Leadership Award at ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Awards last night.

-Daniel Cormier told Instinct Culture at the Sports Humanitarian Awards that Seth Rollins texted him

“Congratulations, now go kick Brock’s @ss” after UFC 226. Cormier said he's friends with Rollins, and Cormier famously celebrated in the crowd when Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the WWE title at WrestleMania 31.

-During an interview with ESPN, Cormier joked that he’ll win the Universal title from Brock Lesnar.

-When asked about potentially wrestling in the WWE, Travis Browne said he’s under contract with the UFC but would never say no to the possibility of wrestling. He said he’d love to work with Ronda Rousey and would want to be in a tag team with her. Browne is Rousey’s husband and said he’s never seen her happier than she is now.

-Figure Four Online's Bryan Alvarez tweeted an update about Hulk Hogan’s apology to the WWE locker room at Extreme Rules:

“Had a WWE source vehemently deny that there were any cameras present when Hulk Hogan apologized to the locker room.”

-PWInsider reported that Kane suffered an Achilles tendon injury on the last episode of SmackDown before Extreme Rules and that he isn’t expected to be back on TV any time soon. With his mayoral campaign, it was expected that would be the case when Team Hell No’s program with The Bludgeon Brothers was over.

-The Sporting News interviewed Deonna Purrazzo about signing with the WWE and being in this year’s Mae Young Classic.

-Daniel Bryan defeated The Miz in last night’s post-SmackDown and 205 Live dark match. The Usos also defeated Cesaro & Sheamus in a dark match before SmackDown.

-One of The Rock’s earliest matches in his pro wrestling career will be tomorrow’s WWE Network Hidden Gem upload.

WWE Network News reported tonight that tomorrow’s upload will be a dark match between Dwayne Johnson and Bodydonna Skip, also known as Chris Candido. The reported synopsis lists a March 11, 1996 date meaning this would be his second ever WWE match, with a dark match against the Brooklyn Brawler the day before at a WWE Superstars taping being his first.

Johnson, who was a standout college football player, transitioned into pro wrestling and started training in 1995 under his father, Rocky Johnson. After working several house shows, Johnson was sent to the USWA for more seasoning.

After several months wrestling in Memphis as Flex Kavana, Johnson made his debut at Survivor Series 1996 as Rocky Maivia. He teamed with Jake Roberts, Marc Mero and The Stalker (Barry Windham) to defeat Crush, Goldust, Jerry Lawler and Hunter Hearst Helmsley in a Survivor Series elimination match, himself being the only survivor.

-Brock Lesnar is listed as an upcoming guest for UFC Announcer Joe Rogan’s podcast. A date for the episode hasn’t been announced.

**UPDATES for July 19/18**

-The card for TakeOver: Brooklyn IV came into focus at last night's NXT television tapings.

The biggest development of the night was an NXT Championship change and a triple threat match for the title being made for TakeOver. Tommaso Ciampa won the title from Aleister Black and will defend it against Black and Johnny Gargano in Brooklyn.

Interference from Gargano ended up leading to Ciampa winning the title. The story was that Black had the match won, but a ref bump prevented the pin from being counted. Gargano ran in while Ciampa was trying to use the NXT title as a weapon. He attacked both Ciampa and Black, kicking Ciampa and then hitting Black with the championship belt. Ciampa threw Gargano out of the ring and hit an Angel's Wings slam on Black to become the new champion. The WWE later confirmed the news on their website.

Black vs. Gargano was made for later in the night, but it ended in a no contest when Ciampa attacked them. William Regal entered and announced the triple threat match for TakeOver.

Two title matches involving the Undisputed Era were also set up for Brooklyn. Adam Cole will defend his NXT North American Championship against Ricochet, while Tyler Bate & Trent Seven challenged Tag Team Champions Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong to a rematch.

Velveteen Dream vs. EC3 was announced for TakeOver as well, bringing the card up to five matches. Shayna Baszler defending her Women's Championship against Kairi Sane was confirmed for the special at last month's tapings.

TakeOver: Brooklyn will be held at the Barclays Center on August 18.

-Despite just arriving at the Performance Center this week, Keith Lee has already wrestled in his first match for NXT.

Lee defeated Marcel Barthel at tonight's NXT television tapings. Lee's "Limitless" nickname was displayed on his entrance video and tights, and his "Bask in My Glory" catchphrase was on the hoodie that he wore to the ring. He won with his fireman's carry into a jackhammer finisher.

If the match does air, this will also serve as Barthel's TV debut. He formerly wrestled as Axel Dieter Jr. for wXw in Germany and PROGRESS in the United Kingdom before being signed by WWE in 2017. He's wrestled under his real name at NXT house shows since debuting in June of last year.

Lee was shown sitting in the front row at NXT TakeOver: Chicago last month and was officially introduced with the newest group of NXT signees yesterday. He held the PWG World Championship and WWN title before coming to the WWE.

-With a jump to 2.293 million viewers on Tuesday night, SmackDown ratings increased for the second straight week. The show was heavily promoted around Shinsuke Nakamura defending his newly-won United States title against former champion Jeff Hardy.

This week's number was up from last Tuesday's 2.183 million viewers and 14 percent higher than the low-water mark posted two weeks ago.

The show finished sixth for the night in total viewers on cable and topped the 18-49 demo with a 0.74 rating -- nearly 50 percent higher than second-place finisher "Haves and the Have Nots."

SmackDown continues to show huge declines in the year-over-year ratings, however, as this week's episode was down 10 percent over the same week in 2017, the fifth straight week the show has had a double-digit decline.

Coming off a Raw that had a huge increase over last week, SmackDown retained 80 percent of Monday's audience despite going up against the MLB All Star Game on FOX, which did 8.7 million viewers.

-Following the comments posted by The New Day, Titus O'Neil has also issued a statement on Hulk Hogan being reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame.

The statement was released via O'Neil's Twitter and Instagram accounts on Wednesday, with O'Neil refuting rumors that claimed he walked out of Sunday's Extreme Rules pay-per-view. While O'Neil wrote that Hogan is entitled to being reinstated and that he believes in second and third chances for people who show real remorse and try to fix what they've done wrong, he was critical of the apology that Hogan gave to the WWE locker room at Extreme Rules in Pittsburgh.

O'Neil wrote that Hogan bringing up that he didn't know he was being recorded during the racist diatribe (which was from earlier in the 2000s and included Hogan saying the n-word multiple times) that led to Hogan being fired from WWE in July 2015 lacked "true contrition, remorse and a desire to change."

O'Neil's full statement is available below:

"To my gracious fans and the WWE Universe.

The reports and rumors concerning my boycotting "Extreme Rules" in Pittsburgh is false and inaccurate. I was not scheduled to attend or be a participant in the "Extreme Rules" match/production and was otherwise not booked for the show.

The talent present in Pittsburgh, which I was a part of, was asked to attend a mandatory meeting in which Mr. Terry Bollea addressed everyone and informed the same that he would be reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame. At no point during, after or otherwise did I make any scene concerning Mr. Bollea's communication to the talent. In addition, let it be known that I did not refuse to shake Mr. Bollea's hand; we did not have any type of one-on-one interaction whatsoever that would or did necessitate any exchange between us individually.

As to the reinstatement of Mr. Bollea, I can only communicate that I am a proponent of second and even third chances for individuals that show true remorse, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, fulfill their punishment, if applicable, and otherwise put forth sincere efforts to correct the issues.

Unfortunately, I must echo the sentiment and dissatisfaction expressed by many of my fellow contemporaries concerning Mr. Bollea's apology and its lack of true contrition, remorse and a desire to change. Mr. Bollea's apology "that he didn't know he was being recorded" is not remorse for the hateful and violent utterances he made which reprise language that has caused violence against blacks and minorities for centuries.

I stand firm in my position that Mr. Bollea is entitled to reinstatement; he was and is a role model, hero and icon to countless people. I hope that Mr. Bollea's missteps in communicating to the WWE talent in Pittsburgh are not repeated to his fans and I expect that he shall pursue an agenda that clearly communicates to all third parties that his language was inappropriate, wrong and should not be tolerated in a civilized and inclusive society.

As the father of two young black men, I have spent their entire life and the majority of my adult life with a singular focus; being a role model for my children and young black boys and girls. I take tremendous pride in my charity work and the community outreach programs that I have fostered via the platform I have been given. I teach my sons love and tolerance for everybody, but I also teach them to operate in truth and respect.

I hope this clears up any confusion. I, like New Day, will continue to use my platform to positively affect, entertain, embrace, celebrate and love people from all backgrounds both inside and outside of the WWE Universe.


Thaddeus Bullard aka WWE SuperStar "Titus Oneil" "

Hogan didn't appear on the broadcast for Extreme Rules, but it was announced on the pre-show that he was backstage. The WWE hasn't announced anything further regarding Hogan's status or future with the company. has published its list of the highest-paid celebrities for the past 12 months. Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson came in at #5, pulling in $124MM USD. Boxer Floyd Mayweather - who famously wrestled the Big Show at WrestleMania some years back - came in first thanks to his mammoth box office fight against UFC star Conor McGregor last summer.

-Sami Zayn will be performing as part of The Blender in Montreal as a part of the Off-Just For Laughs comedy festival, on Sunday, July 22. He is off from WWE at the moment rehabbing from surgery.

-Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez visited the WWE Performance Center this week.

After the 35-year-old Velasquez was in attendance for last night's NXT television tapings, posted an article today about Velasquez training at the Performance Center during his visit. WWE noted that Velasquez worked with Norman Smiley in the ring, participated in a DDP Yoga session with Diamond Dallas Page (who is guest coaching this week), and worked out in the weight room.

“My experience so far here at the WWE Performance Center has been amazing,” Velasquez told “All of the athletes here have been just really easy to talk to -- ask questions and get good feedback. I’m just looking [forward] to being here and to learn as much as I can the time that I'm here. I’ve been a fan of the sport since I was a little kid, and now I get to participate in it, so it's great that I have all this accessible to me."

ESPN's Ariel Helwani tweeted about Velasquez's Performance Center visit:

"Velasquez enjoyed his time there, I’m told, and is open to 'options.' He is healthier than he’s been in a while. His team wouldn’t comment on his contract status though."

Velasquez was one of several UFC fighters who attended WWE's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in Las Vegas this February, which was one of Ronda Rousey's first appearances for the company. He tweeted that he "could feel at home here" after the PPV and teased taking another title from Brock Lesnar. He didn't mention whether or not he has legitimate ambitions in pro wrestling when tweeting a thank you to WWE today for inviting him to the Performance Center.

Velasquez won the UFC heavyweight title from Lesnar in 2010 and has had two reigns with the championship during his career. He hasn't fought since defeating Travis Browne at UFC 200 in July 2016 and being pulled from a scheduled bout against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 207 later that year.

-While this hasn’t been officially announced bythe WWE or the venue, the American Airlines Arena lists Brock Lesnar as one of the wrestlers that is advertised to appear on the July 30 episode of Raw in Miami. Lesnar hasn’t been on Raw since before the Greatest Royal Rumble in April. His Universal Championship challenger for SummerSlam will be decided in a number one contender’s match on this coming Monday’s episode, with Roman Reigns facing Bobby Lashley.

-On this week’s episode of his Dinner with the King podcast, Jerry Lawler said he’s heard Howard Finkel is in really bad health and that, while he emphasized that he’s not sure of this, Finkel may have suffered a stroke.

-WWE stock has remained above $80 per share since reaching that number for the first time. It closed at $82.12 today.

-Taynara Conti defeated Vanessa Borne in a Mae Young Classic qualifying match at last night’s NXT TV tapings. Conti, who is from Brazil, was also in last year’s tournament and was one of the NXT wrestlers in the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal this April. Conti lost to Lacey Evans in the first round last year.

-Bret Hart continued his public back-and-forth with Martha Hart, Owen Hart’s widow, by posting a lengthy statement on Facebook. Bret responded to the statement that Martha put out after he criticized her for not allowing Owen to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Bret wrote that the Owen Hart Foundation is a wonderful charity, but he doesn’t think it should be the sole outlet to remember Owen and that his wrestling career should be acknowledged.

-A really good profile piece on the War Raiders and their backstory aired on last night’s episode of NXT TV.

-The WWE posted video of a brief interview with Deonna Purrazzo from backstage at last night’s NXT tapings, with Purrazzo reacting to signing with WWE and being in the Mae Young Classic.

-The WWE unveiled Ronda Rousey’s first action figure and other new figures during San Diego Comic-Con.

-On Instagram, Rousey joked about her hair and makeup from Monday’s Raw and posted her favorite memes about it.

-The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois has an interview with Big E ahead of Sunday’s SmackDown-brand house show in the city.
WWE looked back at Kalisto’s botched “Good Lucha Things” promo from 2016, with Kalisto doing an interview to redeem himself in Worcester, Massachusetts, which is where the original promo took place.

-Dolph Ziggler will appear on tonight’s episode of “Wild ‘n Out” on MTV at 11:30 p.m. Eastern.

**UPDATES for July 20/18**

-This is a follow up on the news that Cain Velasquez was at the WWE Performance Centre. Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez attended this past Wednesday’s NXT television tapings at Full Sail University. Velasquez was in Florida and worked out of the Performance Center this week and participated in a DDP Yoga session. Velasquez was interviewed by the WWE website and stated that he had been a fan since childhood. While it may not involve much beyond a guest spot at the Performance Center, there is a great storyline idea on the main roster involving Velasquez. If you went with Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley for SummerSlam (and it could work with Roman Reigns as well but works better for Lashley’s character) with a serious sport-oriented build up, with Lashley bringing Velasquez on to train him as the man that defeated Lesnar for his UFC heavyweight title. The vignettes would be strictly training style videos and would emphasize Lashley and Velasquez’s strengths, their athleticism and not rely on Lashley and Paul Heyman cutting promos on each other.

-Stephanie McMahon is returning to WWE television to make a "historic announcement" on Monday's Raw from Cincinnati, Ohio. The WWE announced the news via Twitter today:

"BREAKING: Commissioner @StephMcMahon will appear LIVE this Monday on #RAW to deliver a historic announcement!"

McMahon's most recent history-making announcements were when the WWE confirmed the first-ever women's Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber matches for this year. If this were to be in the same vein, it could be about the all-women's pay-per-view that Pro Wrestling Sheet reported the WWE was discussing earlier this month. The report mentioned that the PPV would take place in late September or in October if it happens, which would be after SummerSlam.

McMahon hasn't appeared on Raw since May. The storyline recently has been that she's appointed Baron Corbin to be the "Constable of Raw" and work with Kurt Angle.

Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley in a number one contender's match is also set for Monday's show, along with Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt getting their rematch for Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas' Tag Team titles. The winner of Reigns vs. Lashley will challenge for Brock Lesnar's Universal Championship at SummerSlam on August 19.

They are also advertising Lashley & Reigns & Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman vs. Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler & Kevin Owens & Elias, but odds are that match will never happen or it is a dark match. There is also a Monday night Smackdown house show in Carbondale, IL.

-Smackdown and 205 Live take place on Tuesday in Evansville, IN. Announced so far is Carmella vs. Becky Lynch in a non-title match Hideo Itami vs. Drew Gulak vs. Mustafa Ali vs. TJP for a shot at Cedric Alexander's cruiserweight title.

-Nearly half of the lineup for this summer's Mae Young Classic has now been confirmed.

The WWE added four more participants to the 32-wrestler field today. Three of the new additions are returning from last year's Mae Young Classic, while the other is a newcomer to the tournament.

Mia Yim, Mercedes Martinez, and Kavita Devi will be back this year. Yim and Martinez aren't under WWE contracts, but both made it past the first round in 2017. Martinez, a veteran indie wrestler, lost to Shayna Baszler in the semifinals. Yim was formerly known as Jade in TNA/Impact Wrestling and was defeated by Baszler in the second round.

Devi is from India and lost to Dakota Kai in the opening round last year, with WWE's clip of their match on YouTube currently having nearly 30 million views. Devi is under contract to the WWE and appeared in the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal this April.

Killer Kelly was the other wrestler announced for the tournament today. Kelly is from Portugal and wrestled on both of WWE's United Kingdom-brand shows at Royal Albert Hall last month.

The WWE originally announced a wrestler named Crystal, who made her in-ring debut in 2016 and calls herself the “Queen of Philippine Wrestling,” for the tournament before removing her from their article. She took part in a WWE tryout in Manila in 2017 and currently wrestles in Southeast Asia. She may be announced at another point as the WWE continues their rollout of this year's participants.

The 2018 Mae Young Classic will be taped at Full Sail University on August 8 and 9. Here's the updated lineup:

Rhea Ripley
Io Shirai
Nicole Matthews
Kacy Catanzaro
Deonna Purrazzo
Tegan Nox (formerly known as Nixon Newell)
Jessie Elaban
Reina Gonzalez
Taynara Conti (won a qualifying match at NXT TV tapings)
Mia Yim
Mercedes Martinez
Kavita Devi
Killer Kelly

-For WWE house shows this weekend, Braun Strowman is not advertised on Raw shows except for Monday. Daniel Bryan is advertised for all the Smackdown shows. The WWE has announced that Jeff Hardy will be appearing at the weekend shows so the injury angle they shot at Smackdown isn't carrying over to house shows. Randy Orton isn't advertised on any shows this weekend except TV. That would be strange if only because St. Louis is tomorow night and that's a home show for him.

-Titus O'Neil as a follow-up to what he wrote earlier in the week, wrote:

"I'm nowhere near perfect, make mistakes as well as I have had to ask for forgiveness and give it as well. We can all grow in various areas of our lives. Accept full responsibility when you're wrong and in due season through actions, forgiveness and respect comes."

-The WWE is advertising Ronda Rousey for the 9/3 Raw show in Columbus, OH at the Schottenstein Center. Also advertised is Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley & Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens & Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre & Baron Corbin in a match that likely won't take place unless it's a dark match.

**UPDATES for July 21/18**

-It's expected that the WWE will be introducing women's tag team titles, perhaps a set for each brand.

-It has been reported that WWE Ring Announcer Howard Finkel is in poor health, perhaps having had a stroke.

-Two specials focusing on Elias are set to air on the WWE Network this month.

"Elias: Live from Bourbon Street" is listed as airing on the Network at 11:36 p.m. Eastern time this coming Monday. The performance was filmed at Razzoo Bar & Patio in New Orleans on the Thursday of WrestleMania week this April.

The WWE posted the full performance on YouTube yesterday. At the end of it, there are clips hyping up "Walk With Elias: The Documentary." It's a mockumentary about the making of "Walk With Elias: The Album" and includes clips of interviews with others talking about him, seemingly leading up to Elias interrupting John Cena and being fought off by him at WrestleMania 34. The special will premiere on the WWE Network after Raw on July 30, though the runtime for it wasn't announced.

The songs are similar to what he does at WWE shows. It's noted that they're a sample of his album, which will be released on Spotify and iTunes this coming Monday.

-Hulk Hogan shared a post from Elijah “The Pope” Burke about forgiving Hogan and the friendship they had while working together:

“This one hit me really hard!! Thanks Pope,I love you my brother HH”

-Nikki & Brie Bella will be guests on Wednesday’s episode of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

-During an appearance at San Diego Comic-Con to promote the Transformers spinoff “Bumblebee,” John Cena spoke about playing villains in movies and not turning heel in WWE:

“I have had a great career in the WWE and for that entire time I have been the good guy and that kind of went into my films so far, and now it doesn’t seem like my character in the WWE will ever evolve into that bad guy role that perhaps a lot of people have wanted; so this is kind of a way for my fans from that aspect of my career to see that side of me. So, don’t expect heel John Cena in the WWE -- that’s Inside Baseball talk for some of you -- but it means bad guy John Cena isn’t happening there, so this is that chance for me.”

-Entertainment Weekly interviewed Cena while at Comic Con.

-The WWE released a 10-minute behind-the-scenes video on Seth Rollins from last week’s Extreme Rules PPV.

-MTV posted video of Dolph Ziggler’s appearance from this week’s Wild 'N Out.

-Brock Lesnar has given his first sample to USADA since entering back into the pool on July 3. If all goes well, Lesnar will be eligible to fight starting on January 8, 2019.

**UPDATES for July 22/18**

-The Bludgeon Brothers' challengers for SummerSlam will be decided on SmackDown over the next few weeks.

The WWE announced last night that a four-team tournament will be held on SmackDown during the build to SummerSlam. The matches will take place over the next three weeks of episodes, with the winners challenging Harper & Rowan for the SmackDown Tag Team titles at the August 19 pay-per-view in Brooklyn, New York.

The WWE didn't reveal the teams that will be in the tournament, but The New Day, SAnitY, The Usos, Cesaro & Sheamus, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, and Rusev & Aiden English would appear to be the most likely options. Tye Dillinger and R-Truth have also had an on-screen friendship but have yet to team with each other. The Colons are also on this brand but been off TV due to injury or shows overseas.

The Bludgeon Brothers' program with Daniel Bryan & Kane finished up at Extreme Rules last week. There was an angle where they attacked Bryan and Kane earlier in the night, leading to Harper & Rowan retaining in the match. Kane had a legitimate Achilles tendon injury coming into the PPV.

UPDATE: The WWE has revealed the four teams that will be in SmackDown's tournament to decide The Bludgeon Brothers' next challengers.

There weren't any surprises among the announcements. It will be The New Day, SAnitY, The Usos, and Cesaro & Sheamus vying to become the team that challenges for Harper & Rowan's SmackDown tag titles at SummerSlam.

Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson and Rusev & Aiden English are the most notable teams not in the tournament.

The tournament is set to take place on SmackDown over the next three weeks. Though they've been in action at house shows and in dark matches, this will be the first time Cesaro & Sheamus have wrestled on television since May 29. They moved from Raw to SmackDown in April's roster shakeup.

SummerSlam will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on August 19. AJ Styles' WWE Championship challenger for the pay-per-view is scheduled to be revealed on Tuesday's SmackDown, and Becky Lynch will face Carmella in a non-title match on the episode. The angle is that Lynch will challenge for Carmella's SmackDown Women's Championship at the PPV if she wins.

-U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa L. Bryant ruled today to uphold the sanctions of attorney Konstantine Kyros ordered by Judge Robert Richardson regarding the lawsuit by Russ McCullough, Vito LoGrasso and Evan Singleton against the WWE. Richardson recommended that Kyros and his law offices also pay all the legal fees the WWE reasonably incurred in connection to the WWE's motion for Kyros to be sanctioned.

-Dwayne Johnson's Skyscraper, without a strong buzz coming out of week one fell to No. 7 in its second week with an estimated $10.96 million this weekend.

-Ronda Rousey is on The Discovery Channel's Shark Week specials, a show tonight at 10 p.m. called "Ronda Rousey Uncaged" where she goes swimming head-to-head with a shark.

-The Bella Twins will be on The Tonight show on Wednesday night.

There is more news to come this week, so don't 'cha dare miss it!
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Posted 7/23/18 , edited 7/26/18
Tonight's Raw is highlighted by a historic announcement by the commissioner Stephanie McMahon who is making her TV return. Tune in there and for all of the TV this week and come here for the news around it!

General sources are as normally credited to and and and and and and but please also note that all news and rumours are subject to updates and changes.

NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV on Saturday, August 18, 2018 from Brooklyn, NY

Additional Sources:

*Triple Threat Match for the NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (C) vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black
*NXT North American Championship Match: Adam Cole (C) vs. Ricochet
*NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed Era (C- Roderick Strong & Kyle O'Reilly) vs. Mustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven)
*NXT Women's Championship Match: Shayna Baszler (C) vs. Kairi Sane
*Velveteen Dream vs. EC3

WWE SummerSlam on Sunday, August 19, 2018 from Brooklyn, NY

Additional Sources: and


*WWE Raw Women's Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (C - w/ Mickie James) vs. Ronda Rousey (w/ Natalya)
*WWE Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (C - w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Roman Reigns
*WWE SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Carmella (C) vs. Becky Lynch
*WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Samoa Joe
*WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bludgeon Brothers (C) vs. the winner of a #1 contender's spot tournament
*Match for Braun Strowman's Money in the Bank Briefcase: Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens
*Intercontinental Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler (C - w/ Drew McIntyre) vs. Seth Rollins

-Tonight’s episode of Raw from Cincinnati, Ohio is being promoted around a big announcement from Stephanie McMahon, who has not been on television for months. The following matches have also been announced for tonight’s show:

*Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley with the winner facing Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam
*Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas vs. Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt for the Raw tag titles
*Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre

Then today, another match has been added to the lineup for tonight's Raw.

The WWE announced on Twitter this afternoon that Finn Balor will face Drew McIntyre on the show:

"BREAKING: It'll be @FinnBalor vs. @DMcIntyreWWE as they go head-to-head TONIGHT on #RAW!"

Both were involved in a triple threat match with Roman Reigns on last Monday's Raw, which Reigns won to advance to tonight's number one contender's match against Bobby Lashley. McIntyre hit Balor with a Claymore kick before Reigns gave McIntyre a Superman punch and speared Balor for the win. Before the finish, McIntyre also pulled Balor out of the ring when he was pinning Reigns after hitting the Coup de Grace.

They are also advertising Lashley & Reigns & Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman vs. Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler & Kevin Owens & Elias, but odds are that match will never happen on TV. There is also a Monday night Smackdown house show in Carbondale, IL.

-SmackDown Live is going to feature a tag team tournament over the next three weeks with the winners earning a tag title shot against The Bludgeon Brothers at SummerSlam. The four teams will be Sanity, New Day, The Usos, and Cesaro & Sheamus, who have been off television for months. The tournament will begin on Tuesday night’s episode from Toledo, Ohio. Also announced so far is Carmella vs. Becky Lynch in a non-title match where if Lynch wins, she'll challenge for Carmella's Women's Championship at the PPV and Hideo Itami vs. Drew Gulak vs. Mustafa Ali vs. TJP for a shot at Cedric Alexander's cruiserweight title.

Ahead of it beginning tomorrow, the WWE has revealed the matchups for SmackDown's tag team tournament.

WWE announced today that The New Day vs. SAnitY will be the first tournament match and will take place on tomorrow's SmackDown. That means that Cesaro & Sheamus will face The Usos in the other first round matchup on next week's episode.

The tournament finals are scheduled for the August 7 edition of SmackDown, with the winning team getting a Tag Team title shot against The Bludgeon Brothers at SummerSlam. The pay-per-view will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on August 19.

SAnitY (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dain) defeated The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) in a tables match on the Extreme Rules pre-show earlier this month. The Bludgeon Brothers' program with Daniel Bryan & Kane also finished up at Extreme Rules as Harper & Rowan retained their titles.

On last week's SmackDown, Young defeated Kingston in a singles match. He won with the wheelbarrow neckbreaker after Dain threw Woods into Kingston.

This Tuesday's show will also feature Paige revealing AJ Styles' WWE Championship challenger for SummerSlam.

-The WWE Network will have a new episode of ‘Table for 3’ airing immediately after Raw with Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, and Sting. That is followed by ‘Elias: Live from Bourbon Street’, which was shot WrestleMania weekend features Elias performing on the street in New Orleans

-Nikki and Brie Bella are scheduled to appear on ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’ this Wednesday night on NBC. The season finale of Total Bellas airs this Sunday on E!

-The WWE has posted a clip of Cain Velasquez working out at the Performance Center last week.

-The big historical announcement opened up Raw. The WWE announces the company's first-ever all-women's PPV, called "Evolution," for October 28 at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island. Raw, SD, and NXT title matches and the Mae Young Classic finals will take place. Stephanie with Triple H and Vince McMahon made the announcement with all of the talent on the ramp. All of the Smackdown women were pulled off the Carbondale house show tonight to be at Raw for Stephanie McMahon's announcement. Nikki Cross of NXT was also there.

It was hinted during the announcement that there will be women’s performers from the past, present, and future on the event.

In a follow-up post from the company, they have announced that all the women on the roster will be on hand for the show and specifically listed the following while noting 50 female superstars will be involved in the show:

*Ronda Rousey
*Charlotte Flair
*Alexa Bliss
*Sasha Banks
*Nia Jax
*Trish Stratus
*Beth Phoenix

An ESPN article that came out shortly after the announcement said that women from the past, specifically Trish Stratus and Lita, would be part of the event. The article also notes that finals of the second Mae Young Classic, which is set to tape next month, will also be held at Evolution.

-There were teases that Ronda Rousey would be at the show in violation of her suspension, which last week they tacked another week on when she showed up. She was on last night's Shark Week show Ronda Rousey: Uncaged with her husband Travis Browne,

-Paul Heyman is in Cincinnati, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be on TV as he has non-TV duties as far as helping build Brock Lesnar's SummerSlam program. He and Brock Lesnar are scheduled for TV next Monday in Miami.

-O.A.R. of Connor's Cure were shown in the front row.

-The build to SummerSlam is set to pick up as Brock Lesnar returns to WWE television next week.

It was officially confirmed tonight that Lesnar will be appearing on next Monday's Raw at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Lesnar had been advertised for the show on the venue's website before his return was announced.

This will be the first time Lesnar has been on Raw since April 23, which was the go-home show for the Greatest Royal Rumble. The WWE is hyping that Lesnar's appearance next week will be to confront his opponent for SummerSlam.

The winner of tonight's number one contender's match between Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley will challenge for Lesnar's Universal Championship at SummerSlam. The pay-per-view is taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on August 19.

Reigns unsuccessfully challenged for the title at WrestleMania 34 and the Greatest Royal Rumble in April, with the latter booked to end in controversy as Reigns speared Lesnar through the side of a steel cage.

-Matt Riddle got replaced on PWG's Best of Los Angeles tournament which has started speculation that the WWE is finally signing him even if he's very open about his marijuana use which goes against the Wellness Policy.

-Next week the following matches are booked:

*Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre
*Finn Balor vs. Constable Baron Corbin

-Ronda Rousey's suspension is up next Monday so she'll return to Raw.

**UPDATES for July 24/18**

-It is believed that Matt Riddle is WWE/NXT bound. EVOLVE boss Gabe Sapolsky addressed the rumour:

"EVOLVE Champion Matt Riddle has been the subject of rumors. Riddle is confirmed for all four August EVOLVE events, where he will defend the championship at EVOLVE 108 against Shane Strickland in a Hardcore Rules Match on August 4th in Philadelphia. If Riddle is successful, he will defend vs. Darby Allin at EVOLVE 110 on August 11th in Chicago. Riddle is set for non-title action vs. Austin Theory at EVOLVE 109 in Melrose, MA and JD Drake at EVOLVE 111 in Livonia, MI. If Riddle is still EVOLVE Champion after August, he will be added to additional dates. Riddle is currently scheduled to miss the September weekend due to previously approved personal obligations."

On Sunday night’s Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer mentioned that current rumours indicate that both New Japan and the WWE are looking into bringing in Riddle, with NJPW having interest in using him for their shows in the United States. Both companies have expressed interest in Riddle in the past, but were wary of bringing him in due to previous marijuana drug test violations in the UFC.

-Going into last night's announcement from Stephanie McMahon, it was speculated that it would have something to do with the WWE introducing Tag Team titles for the women's division.

They weren't mentioned during the reveal of WWE's first all-women's pay-per-view, but McMahon spoke to Sky Sports about her announcement and was asked if the WWE would be adding Women's Tag Team titles at the PPV.

"Not quite yet but that's absolutely something we've heard loud and clear from our fan base and it's something we're keen on implementing as soon as we are able to," McMahon said.

The women's PPV will be called "Evolution" and will be held at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York on October 28. Titles from all of WWE's brands will be on the line, the Mae Young Classic finals will take place, and the WWE is hyping that over 50 wrestlers from the past and present will take part in the show.

-Despite their viewership down from last week, this week’s audience on Raw stayed with the show for the duration of the three hours. The first hour of the show averaged 2,817,000 viewers and featured the all women’s pay-per-view announcement and was the major news from the show. The news kept the audience tuned with a small jump in the second hour to 2,821,000 viewers before a slight drop of 4% in the third hour to 2,701,000 viewers that featured the main event between Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley. In a comparison from last week, last week was helped by being the day after the Extreme Rules pay-per-view and with the Brock Lesnar ultimatum, but also faced far tougher television competition.

Raw moved up to fourth place on cable, trailing three news shows. Raw also beat FOX and CW programming on the network, so really for the three hours beat every station except ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox News.

An interesting note, which is very much the exception to normal patterns, is that the women audience was more loyal, and actually grew, while the male audience was the one less interested as the show went on.

In women 18-49, the first-to-third hour growth was 10 percent while the male drop was one percent. With teenage girls, the first-to-third hour growth was 15 percent while the male drop was seven percent.

-The “Miz & Mrs” reality series debuts tonight at 10 pm Eastern on the USA Network immediately following SmackDown. They will be pushing this hard on the show tonight as it’s a big jump to go from a reality series on E! to the USA Network.

-Despite Nikki Cross being on Raw with the SmackDown women, this doesn't indicate her call up yet as she's just on the road for house shows with them for now. She's still in an upcoming feud with Bianca Belair on NXT TV. Speaking of the NXT women, it was discussed bringing the NXT women to the show as well, but it was logistically too difficult to do so when the idea came up.

The show was hammered hard throughout Raw with just about everyone working in mentions of the announcement during their promos and blanketing social media with posts about the show.

The timing of such a show could be interesting if the WWE has their rumoured follow up show in Saudi Arabia in November, which was reported at the time of the first event this past April and stated that would likely run the next show in the capital city of Riyadh. Regardless of when the next Saudi Arabian event takes place, the same complaints will arise if the women are not part of that event. It is great they are promoting an all women’s show, but they have also entered a business agreement where they are heavily profiting from a Government that outright banishes female involvement on the shows.

-The main event for SummerSlam was set up on Monday’s episode of Raw with Roman Reigns defeating Bobby Lashley and the two shaking hands afterward. Reigns will challenge Brock Lesnar at the Barclays Center on Sunday, August 19th in the latest attempt to crown Reigns as champion and get his elusive victory over Lesnar, which dates to their match at WrestleMania 31 in March 2015. Unlike WrestleMania, where there was doubt regarding how the audience would react to the match, there is no doubt in this scenario that it will be a hostile crowd at the Barclays Center, barring a miraculous next three weeks that change the tone of the feud and attitude towards the match. It’s the WWE’s choice to not alter plans, this has always been designed for Reigns to get his win and had been delayed throughout 2018, but you know what you’re getting in Brooklyn. When/if the audience turns on the match, when the beach balls come out, when the chants take away from the match, lots of people will complain about the crowd, complain about not giving the match a chance, and while they may be valid arguments, No one can have sympathy when the company knows the game and they know what they are booking. There will be no surprises at SummerSlam and given the level the match will be promoted at, it’s almost a lock to go on last of a lengthy show that starts at 5 pm Eastern and the first match will go into the ring at 5:30. More importantly, is the challenges that are set up for Reigns beyond SummerSlam. Lashley and Reigns have traded wins, so you do have a rubber match to go it. Braun Strowman has the briefcase and if he keeps it, one would expect “Get These Hands” will be the dominant chant of the main event at SummerSlam. Plus, with Reigns as champion, it sets up the Dean Ambrose return as a heel as it would be a fresh character and could be a reason he hasn’t been brought back yet.

-TMZ reported that former WWE talent Brian Lawler a.k.a. Brian Christopher was arrested earlier this month on charges of driving under the influence and evading police in Tennessee. The site reports that Lawler was seen swerving his vehicle while also speeding around 1 am local time back on July 7th. Lawler didn’t pull over to the side of the road when instructed and continued driving until he got home. The cops on the scene saw an open can in the front of the car and said that he smelled of alcohol. His bail was set at $40,000 after the arrest.

-The WWE stock closed at $81.03 on Monday. This is a big week for the WWE financials with the released of their second-quarter results this Thursday.

-Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke will be making their pro wrestling debuts this week.

The two Four Horsewomen of MMA members will be wrestling at NXT's house show in Largo, Florida on Thursday. They are friends and training partners of both Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler, who have been making waves in WWE and NXT, respectively. Shafir was first to make the announcement on her Twitter, while Duke followed shortly after.

Both signed with the WWE back in May and have been training at the Performance Center ever since. Duke, who stands at 5’11, fought in the UFC and participated in the eighteenth season of the Ultimate Fighter. She sported a 1-3 record before being cut in 2015 and stopped fighting a year later.

Shafir, who is engaged to NXT tag team champion Roderick Strong, also has a MMA background. She had a 1-3 record, having fought in Invicta in the past.

All four women were a part of an angle last year during the Mae Young Classic where they had a confrontation with the Four Horsewomen of the WWE: Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley.

-Jack Gallagher vs. Akira Tozawa has been added to tonight’s 205 Live, which will also feature Mustafa Ali vs. Hideo Itami vs. TJP vs. Drew Gulak for the next shot at Cedric Alexander’s Cruiserweight Championship.

205 Live will face competition from “Miz & Mrs,” which debuts on the USA Network tonight after SmackDown. The episodes of "Miz & Mrs" will be 30 minutes long.

-Paul “Triple H” Levesque spoke to about people saying WWE’s all-women’s Evolution PPV is happening because the women’s division wasn’t allowed to wrestle at the Greatest Royal Rumble:

"Let's take the Saudi Arabia show off the table, and let's just say it never happened -- would anybody question that they deserve this opportunity? To me, it's a ridiculous statement, the timing of it. You cannot effect change in a region that, culturally, is trying to change, you cannot help them affect that change without being there."

-Mickie James teased on Twitter facing Trish Stratus at the Evolution PPV:

“We’ve stood the test of time my friend... But after tonight’s announcement from @StephMcMahon and all the excitement for something we all worked so hard for I must ask... One more time?! #EVOLUTION #ThePeopleWantIt #IWantIt”

-Renee Young tweeted that she’d be ready to step up to the challenge if Evolution has an all-women’s commentary team.

-Seth Rollins appeared on this week’s episode of Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia. He said he was mostly happy with his Iron Man match against Dolph Ziggler at Extreme Rules. He mentioned that the fans counting with the clock really messed with Ziggler and that WWE’s decision to take the clock off the video screen was a bad one because it was like taking a toy from a petulant child. He said he’s never understood the concept of coming to a show and doing anything other than watching it, but fans pay their money and can do what they want.

-During a conference call, Bobby Lashley responded to a question about Hulk Hogan being reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame:

“If he’s in, he’s in. Nothing to do with me.”

-Sunday’s episode of Total Bellas averaged 610,000 viewers, up from last week’s 594,000. The show was also up in the 18-49 demo, posting a 0.33 rating after last week’s 0.27.

-On Total Bellas, Daniel Bryan got emotional when seeing a picture of his daughter watching him wrestle on TV at WrestleMania 34.

-OVW’s Jaylee and ARW Pro’s Moxie Molly were the wrestlers that Sasha Banks & Bayley defeated in their tag match on Raw last night.

-Zack Ryder defeated Mike Kanellis and Chad Gable & No Way Jose defeated The Ascension on last night’s Main Event tapings.

-UFC Champ Cris Cyborg told TMZ that she’d be open to facing Ronda Rousey in WWE if the opportunity ever presented itself. She said she’s seen some of the things Rousey has done in the WWE and that she thinks Rousey is doing great.

-Loudwire ran a story on Elias’ EP reaching the top 10 of the iTunes charts.

-Dolph Ziggler is appearing on an upcoming episode of Comedy Central’s Roast Battle that is being taped today.

-New Day beat SAnitY to advance in the SmackDown Tag Team Tournament. The Usos were on commentary and their opponents next week the Bar appeared post match.

-In Madden 19 news, the game adds former ESPN anchor Jonathan Coachman to the voice cast. Madden 19 launches a little earlier this year, arriving at the start of August. The game is coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as PC for the first time in a decade.

**UPDATES for July 25/18**

-Drew Gulak won a fatal-four way match on 205 Live to become the new #1 contender for the Cruiserweight Championship held by Cedric Alexanader.

-With the WWE’s stock at record-setting levels, several directors & officers within the company have sold major amounts of stock just ahead of Thursday’s second-quarter report. Here is a recap of the stock sold this past week:

*Kevin Dunn, Executive Producer & Chief of Global Television Production, sold 122,926 of Class A common stock for $10,193,023
*Michelle Wilson, co-president of WWE, sold 121,181 shares of Class A common stock for $10,048.328
*George Barrios, co-president of WWE, sold 120,546 for $9,988,211
*Stephanie McMahon-Levesque, Chief Brand Officer, sold 17,373 of Class A common stock for $1,440,569
*Paul Levesque, EVP of Talent Live Events & Creative, sold 17,272 shares of Class A common stock for $1,432,194
*Michael Luisi, President of WWE Studios, sold 16,579 shares of Class A common stock for $1,374,730
*Mark Kowal, a Senior Vice President & Controller sold 4,913 shares of Class A common stock for $407,385

An interesting comparison is that if Vince McMahon had waited to sell his 3,340,000 shares of stock this past December until now, that stock would have been worth $276,952,800 based on the stock price the company officials sold at this week. The amount McMahon sold his stock for this past December was believed to be just under $100 million.

-The WWE has released four additional participants for the Mae Young Classic with the announcement that Zeuxis, Isla Dawn, Lacey Lane, and Karen Q will be part of the tournament.

*Zeuxis is 29 years old, has been wrestling for over 10 years and spent her career working for CMLL before departing earlier this year. She had just appeared for AAA this past week. She defeated Princesa Sugehit at last year’s CMLL Anniversary card and unmasked her. Zeuxis also held the Mexican National Women’s title for over two-years, defeating Estrellita in January 2015 and dropping it to Sugehit in February 2017.
*Isla Dawn is 24 years old and originally from Scotland. She has been wrestling for 4 ½ years and was just featured on the WWE’s UK events at Royal Albert Hall.
*Lacey Lane is 20 years old and was signed to a WWE developmental deal when she was 18 following a tryout. She was trained at the Team 3-D Academy in Florida and was a Division II basketball player. She previously wrestled for The Crash in Mexico and won their women’s title this past January and lost it to Tessa Blanchard earlier this month.
*Karen Q has been wrestling for almost four years and has been featured on Ring of Honor programming for the past year as part of the development of the Women of Honor division and lost to Brandi Rhodes in the inaugural title tournament. She was a gymnast and volleyball player prior to entering professional wrestling.

Here's the updated list of participants for the 2018 Mae Young Classic:

Rhea Ripley
Io Shirai
Nicole Matthews
Kacy Catanzaro
Deonna Purrazzo
Tegan Nox (formerly known as Nixon Newell)
Jessie Elaban
Reina Gonzalez
Taynara Conti (won a qualifying match at NXT TV tapings)
Mia Yim
Mercedes Martinez
Kavita Devi
Killer Kelly
Isla Dawn
Lacey Lane
Karen Q

-Titus O’Neil appeared on Busted Open Radio and expanded on his previous statement on Hulk Hogan. He said he supports Hogan being in the WWE Hall of Fame and being part of the company’s history, but he doesn’t respect how Hogan went about his apology to the WWE roster. O’Neil said he feels strongly that it “was not an apology.”

-Triple H spoke to SKy Sports about WWE’s Evolution PPV and was asked about the concept becoming a mainstay:

“It's a question to be answered down the road. Do we need to have a women's only event? No -- just like we don't need a men's only event or anything else. I think that the opportunity is there whoever is the best, the most prominent box office attraction that is the main event. It doesn't matter if that's Raw, Smackdown, NXT, Wrestlemania. So can they have their own event? Can it be a mainstay? Yes, and if our fans want it and it's the right thing then we'll give it to them. The WWE universe will dictate to us what the approach is."

-TMZ reported that Nikki Bella has started shopping for a home of her own in San Diego after having lived at John Cena’s house in the area.

-The Hollywood Reporter noted that HBO’s Andre the Giant documentary “quickly became the most-watched documentary in HBO Sports history with nearly 7 million viewers across the network’s linear and digital platforms.”

-The WWE Network has added Coliseum Home Videos on British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith, George the Animal Steele, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Bret Hart, Jake Roberts, The Hart Foundation, Ken Patera, Macho Man and Ms. Elizabeth, Bruno Sammartino, and Captain Lou Albano, along with two on Hulk Hogan.

-The Poffo family is featured on this week’s additions to the WWE Network’s hidden gems section. The matches that have been added are: Angelo Poffo vs. Pat Patterson (Championship Wrestling from Florida, 1977), Randy Savage & Magnum TA vs. The Mongolians (Georgia Championship Wrestling, 1983), Lanny Poffo vs. Nick Bockwinkel (Pro Wrestling USA, 1984).

-AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan & Jeff Hardy defeated Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro & Sheamus in last night’s post-SmackDown and 205 Live dark match. Naomi also defeated Sonya Deville before SmackDown went on the air.

-Mickie James made an appearance and performed on WTVR TV in Virginia this morning.

-Sky Cinema has released the trailer for “Final Score,” which stars Dave Bautista.

-AdWeek ranked Vince McMahon 70th on their list of the 100 most cutting-edge CEOs in marketing, media, branding, and tech. Dana White was ranked 72nd.

**UPDATES for July 26/18**

-The premiere episode of “Miz & Mrs” performed well Tuesday night on the USA Network with an average viewership of 1,473,000 for the 30-minute reality show.

The show is taking over the timeslot that was previously held by “Chrisley Knows Best”, which immediately follows SmackDown Live at 10 pm Eastern Tuesday night.

With the addition of “Miz & Mrs”, “Chrisley Knows Best” is airing at 10:30 pm right after.

Over the past four weeks, Chrisley Knows Best averaged 1,439,000 viewers in the 10 pm timeslot. On Week 1, Miz & Mrs was slightly ahead of the last month’s average.

Tuesday night’s episode of SmackDown Live averaged 2,340,000 viewers, an increase of 2% from last week’s figure that went against the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

It was SmackDown’s highest viewership since May 1st.

In comparing demographics between SmackDown and Miz & Mrs, the strongest demos for SmackDown on Tuesday were People 50+, Males 18-49, and People 25-54. For Miz & Mrs, the strongest three were Males 18-49, People 25-54, and People 18-49. While SmackDown outdid Miz & Mrs in all the demographic comparisons, the closest margin was among Females 12-34 where SmackDown did a 0.43 and Miz & Mrs garnered a 0.34.

-Although profit margins did not meet analyst expectations, the news had to be considered an overall positive coming out of today's WWE second quarter business release.

The WrestleMania quarter set a record in revenue at $281.6 million, and finished with $10 million in profits. This compares to the second quarter last year which did $214.6 million in revenue and $5.7 million in profits.

The positive results saw the stock at $85.01, an all-time record, at this point in time. It closed at $83.84 per share today, giving the company a $6.469 billion market

Revenues were well over expectations, although the profit margin was less than most investors expected. The profits benefited from lower taxes, but also included very high executive bonuses due to other metrics met.

The huge increase in revenues comes in what is listed in the media category as $60.6 million listed as "other," up from $11.9 million. Other is listed as "Other forms of media monetization reflect revenues earned from the distribution of other content, including, but not limited to, scripted, reality and other in-ring programming, as well as theatrical and direct-to-home video releases."

The key aspect of this change is likely the Saudi Arabia deal. The company noted they have a confidentiality clause in their deal and thus did not discuss the nature of that agreement past that it was a ten-year deal that included an annual show.

The nature of the talks indicated that the idea of a November show there isn't happening as was talked about after the first show, as they specified it would be a once-a-year event.

OIBDA in the quarter was $43.5 million and the company has increased its target for the year to the $160 million to $170 million range, well above previous projections of $145 million to 150 million.

The company's cash-on-hand was $341.6 million, the highest level in years and up from $297.4 million at the end of December.

Other good news regarded the retention of WWE Network subscriptions.

In 2017, after WrestleMania, the Network had 1,661,000 subscribers, and on June 30, that number fell to 1,568,000. This year the drop was from 1,808,000 subscribers, a number inflated by all the gimmick offers, but only fell to 1,742,000, meaning a strong 11 percent increase over the same day last year. It should be noted the increase was consistent in both the United States and overseas, as opposed to just overseas growth as had been the key to much of the recent year growth.

Basically that meant that the people who sampled at lower prices this year stuck with it at full price at a much higher rate. That means whatever the reason, whether it was the programming mix or the big events during the quarter, the Network retained Mania subscribers at its best level in history.

At the investment call the company said they would be increasing the amount of content, mentioning more new events were coming.

They also expect to announce the new United Kingdom TV deal by the end of this year and the new India deal in the early part of next year. The U.K. and India deals are the second and third biggest revenue television deals they have.

George Barrios pushed that with the economic markets in India and China growing that they had to get their piece of them, noting the prioritization of those markets. They also noted that 45 percent of the talent in developmental right now is from outside the U.S., as they look to the future internationally.

Profits from the media division are significantly higher, likely due to the Saudi deal.

Live event revenue was slightly down and profits were down from $17.1 million in the quarter last year to $13.4 million this year. Attendance was down both in the U.S. and outside, but that was offset to a degree by higher ticket prices, so revenue dropped from $52.8 million to $52.3 million. But costs of touring were up.

Consumer products revenue increased from $24.6 million to $26.7 million, but operating income declined from $5.5 million to $4.6 million in the category.

If you factor out WrestleMania, North American house show attendance fell from an average of 5,500 to 5,000. International, largely the European tour, dropped from 6,300 to 5,700, but with much higher ticket prices.

-Another confirmation of one of pro wrestling's worst-kept-secrets is a Combat Zone Wrestling advertisement that just came out for the promotion's Saturday night New Heights show in Voorhees, New Jersey that is advertising, "Don't miss one of Matt Riddle's final indy appearances before going to WWE!"

Riddle has pulled out of a number of dates, most notably SummerSlam weekend and dates in September over the past week, including being replaced by Trevor Lee in PWG's Battle of Los Angeles.

It is widely expected the WWE will announce Riddle at the NXT show in Brooklyn, or some time around that period and he will start in NXT imminently.

Riddle was on Sean Waltman's podcast this week and just said that everyone that wasn't interested in him previously now was (referring to WWE and New Japan) but because of WWE rules on this sort of thing, couldn't commit further. Our communication with him was similar, where he just confirmed both sides being interested but couldn't confirm anything more.

-Following an angle where he seemed to be written off television, James Ellsworth posted a statement yesterday about his status with the WWE.

Ellsworth took part in a segment on this Tuesday's SmackDown where he interrupted Paige while she was announcing Samoa Joe as AJ Styles' WWE Championship challenger for SummerSlam. It led to Paige firing Ellsworth and having him taken out of the building.

In his statement, Ellsworth reflected on his time with the WWE, wrote that he doesn't know what's next for him, and noted that he'll never give up on his dream. He returned last month and was paired back with Carmella to be part of her feud with Asuka, which included Ellsworth being involved in their matches at Money in the Bank and Extreme Rules and facing Asuka twice on TV.

Dave Meltzer reported that Ellsworth wasn't under contract for his most recent run with the WWE and was working on a per-date basis. His first stint with the company began after a memorable squash match loss against Braun Strowman in 2016, with him eventually being signed by the WWE before being released in November 2017.

Ellsworth has also been using the hashtag "#RehireEllsworth" since the angle on SmackDown. His full statement is posted below:

"Two years ago today I went to Pittsburgh PA for Raw to be an extra talent for WWE.

Little did I know I would be facing Braun Strowman that night. I was picked by Arn Anderson who was the agent for the match to be the one that got to be apart of raw against the Monster Among Men..

Before the match started I got to cut a promo as Braun made his way down to the ring, talking on a microphone in a WWE ring is a moment I'd dreamed about my whole life. During the promo, I said the most important words of my life, words I'll always live by, 'Any Man With Two Hands Has A Fighting Chance' I believe those words, the beating I took from Braun and my lack of Chin of course is all what caught the WWE Universes eye about me.

These past 2 years has been the best years of my life! I've been able to support my daughters by doing what I love to do for a living! I've been on WWE television the last two years more often than not, got to travel the world more then once, wrestled in my opinion the best wrestler in the world AJ Styles, even shared the ring with the #1 guy in the business John Cena! Not to mention I got to be apart of WrestleMania!

Smackdown Live has been my home for the majority of the past two years, and that show along with every writer, producer agent, camera man, and all other staff will always have a place in my heart! Last but certainly not least spent a lot of time on tv with my home girl Carmella! She's an amazing person, and so fun to work with, Can't say enough good things about her.

What an amazing ride the last 2 years have been!! The fans have been great, WWE has taught me so much and giving me opportunity's I woulda never dreamed I would get.

In closing, I'm not sure what's next for me, but I promise you this, I will keep fighting, never give up on my dream, if anything when people look back at James Ellsworth I want them to be inspired by the fact that I refused to give up on my dream, even after accomplishing so much, because there's so much more left to do, and to prove, I'll continue to show the world 'Any Man With Two Hands Has A Fighting Chance'

Thank you all - James Ellsworth"

-As expected, Toni Storm will be returning for this summer's Mae Young Classic.

The WWE announced via The Mirror today that Storm will be taking part in the tournament for the second straight year. She made it to the semifinals in 2017, losing to Kairi Sane.

Storm signed a United Kingdom contract with WWE earlier this year and appears set to be positioned as a top star in NXT UK's women's division. She won a triple threat match on night one of June's Royal Albert Hall shows and advanced to unsuccessfully challenge for Shayna Baszler's NXT Women's Championship the next night.

"It’s just strange because I feel like my brain still hasn’t let it sink in yet that I am associated with WWE," Storm told The Mirror. "I have strived for it for so long and dreamt of getting into WWE from being a kid and I have never let it go. It’s completely surreal, a lot of the time I kind of don’t even think i have got there."

Storm was born in New Zealand, grew up in Australia, and has held titles in PROGRESS Wrestling and Stardom. She's also the current wXw Women's Champion.

The Mae Young Classic will be taped at Full Sail University on August 8 and 9 before the finals are held at WWE's Evolution pay-per-view in Long Island, New York on October 28. Twenty of the 32 participants for the tournament have now been announced:

Rhea Ripley
Io Shirai
Nicole Matthews
Kacy Catanzaro
Deonna Purrazzo
Tegan Nox (formerly known as Nixon Newell)
Jessie Elaban
Reina Gonzalez
Taynara Conti (won a qualifying match at NXT TV tapings)
Mia Yim
Mercedes Martinez
Kavita Devi
Killer Kelly
Isla Dawn
Lacey Lane
Karen Q
Toni Storm

-Juice Robinson did an interview last night after his match with Kenny Omega and said he's not only not going back to the WWE but he's never going. Wrestling Observer noted that the WWE had interest in bringing him back.

-David Ismaller, the President of 2K Games said that they were expanding their WWE franchise. He told

"We are looking to expand and grow our profile, whether it's internally developing more products, or it's adding more long-term partnerships to our 2K product line."

-The NXT show this weekend in Riverside, CA is sold out.

-Mark Henry is representing the WWE this weekend at the London Film & Comic Con in the U.K.

-A 9/18 show in Tulsa lists Carmella vs. Asuka for the women's title and A.J.Styles & Daniel Bryan & Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & The Miz & Samoa Joe as the main events. That's a TV taping meaning don't read anything into those matches actually taking place.

-For TV tapings in Toronto on 8/27 and 8/28, the 8/27 show is advertising Roman Reigns & Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley & Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre & Kevin Owens & Baron Corbin as the main event. For 8/28 they are advertising Daniel Bryan & A.J. Styles & Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Samoa Joe & The Miz.

-Chelsea Green talks about her recent WWE tryout, work visa issues, her upcoming movie role and a magical night at Disney. She said no matter what happens with the tryout, she’s more at peace than she has been in a long time: “That’s why I went in there so confident. I’m going to give it my all, but I’m also going to know my worth, know that I have options, and that’s the best feeling in the world.”

-WWE coach Robbie Brookside will be doing a seminar at the 9/7 Evolve show in Joppa, MD.

Get all of the announcements from the WWE right here, so don't 'cha dare miss it!
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Posted 7/27/18 , edited 7/28/18
Hey all here is today's BTS update.

-On the latest episode of The Ross Report (transcript via WrestleZone), Jim Ross spoke about Hulk Hogan’s reinstatement into the WWE and the responses that were given from New Day & Titus O’Neil…
“I felt that Titus and New Day were very honest and open, talked from the heart about how they felt and I admire people that do that. You have to understand African Americans have had so much prejudice, so much mistreatment in our country. So the deal is, is that Hogan, he’s gotta continue to move forward in a positive way. He’s gotta be honest, he’s gotta stay in a healing manner. So ladies and gentlemen, only time will tell (‘brother’), but if everyone involved does their part from the heart and their soul it could result in great things. So let’s allow this to play out and if anybody belongs in the WWE Hall Of Fame, it’s Hulk Hogan.”

In the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio (via SportsKeeda), Dave Meltzer spoke about possible plans for Rusev, Lana, Aiden English, Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega on Smackdown. Rusev had a match with Almas on Tuesday, which he lost after a distraction from his own team. It’s believed that Rusev will continue to feud with El Idolo while Vega feuds with Lana.
Meltzer said: “I like the idea of the Rusev and Andrade “Cien” Almas program. I think it gets Lana in a situation where she can be a lot more successful, than the situation which she’s been in where she’s wasting her time. And it gives Zelina Vega an opponent…Now they’re in a good position. Then there’s that secondary thing where (Aiden) English and Rusev are having their problems, which is too bad for English because it wouldn’t end well for him.”
Meltzer added that the story would likely end with English being removed from the Rusev/Lana pairing.

The latest edition of GiveMeSport’s Turnbuckle Talk featured last month’s WWE media conference call with Triple H and Shawn Michaels, where the former praised Ronda Rousey’s drive and commitment to wrestling. Here are highlights:
On Rousey’s passion and drive: “Having spoken to her since the beginning, her passion and her drive for this to me made it perfectly reasonable that she might be this good at it. Once I kind of got in there with her for the first time and got a feel for her natural movement in this, I’ve been saying it since the day she signed with us and we started talking about it, but she’s going to shock everybody. I’ve never seen anybody grab it as quickly as she has. I mean, Kurt Angle would probably be the closest to it because he just took to it like a fish to water with it. But she has no right to be anywhere near as good as she is, but she just gets it. I mean she gets it on more than just a physical aspect, across the board. She wants to entertain and she’s loved this from probably before anything else […] she truly believes all she’s done is to get to [WWE]. When I used to hear her say that before I used to think, ‘oh that’s a cool way of saying it.’ But legit, it is like this is what she was supposed to be doing. Her route to get here was different than everybody else’s. Her route to get here was going through judo and coming up through MMA and the whole thing to get to where she is right now. It truly is like she is, it’s amazing.”

The latest edition of GiveMeSport’s Turnbuckle Talk featured last month’s WWE media conference call with Triple H and Shawn Michaels, where the former praised Ronda Rousey’s drive and commitment to wrestling. Here are highlights:
On Rousey’s passion and drive: “Having spoken to her since the beginning, her passion and her drive for this to me made it perfectly reasonable that she might be this good at it. Once I kind of got in there with her for the first time and got a feel for her natural movement in this, I’ve been saying it since the day she signed with us and we started talking about it, but she’s going to shock everybody. I’ve never seen anybody grab it as quickly as she has. I mean, Kurt Angle would probably be the closest to it because he just took to it like a fish to water with it. But she has no right to be anywhere near as good as she is, but she just gets it. I mean she gets it on more than just a physical aspect, across the board. She wants to entertain and she’s loved this from probably before anything else […] she truly believes all she’s done is to get to [WWE]. When I used to hear her say that before I used to think, ‘oh that’s a cool way of saying it.’ But legit, it is like this is what she was supposed to be doing. Her route to get here was different than everybody else’s. Her route to get here was going through judo and coming up through MMA and the whole thing to get to where she is right now. It truly is like she is, it’s amazing.”
– Ronda Rousey spoke with Cosmopolitan Magazine for an interview discussing her goal over the next year, being nervous at WrestleMania and more. Highlights are below:
On the last time she was nervous: “WrestleMania. It was my very first WWE match, in front of a crowd of about 80,000.”
On her “Woman Crush Wednesday” choice: “My best friend [and fellow WWE star], Marina Shafir. She’s a badass who inspires me every day.”

On her vice: “It rotates—right now, it’s Amazon 1-Click purchases. I always need at least one vice since being perfect makes me crazy.”
On the most common misconception about her: “That I’m gratuitously violent. I don’t fight for free—that’s for amateurs.”
On where she wants to be by this time next year: “Be one of the first women to headline WrestleMania.”
– Seth Rollins appeared on a recent episode of Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast and discussed growing up as a Hulk Hogan fan, plus more. Highlights are below, per WZ:
On Hulk Hogan’s influence on him growing up: “For me I was captivated by Hulk Hogan right away. He was obviously the guy at that period of time and he just sucked me in man. I just thought he was legit like a super hero as if he was Tony Stark, ya know, in the flesh. It doesn’t get any better than that. Here’s this six foot six giant with blonde hair, Venice Beach, California, 303 pounds, you know, beating up all the bad guys. It was awesome, so I was hooked before I can even remember an age…The reason I wanted to do it [wrestling] was to make people feel the way I felt when I watched Hulk Hogan when I was 4 years old.”
On being pressured to drink early on in his WWE run: “I was 25-26 and it was my first international tour with the company. I was still in NXT. We were in Egypt. I went to bed and got called to come downstairs and hang out. I’m like, “Ok, cool.” It was guys that I respected as far as my colleagues were concerned. I was literally asleep at 1 in the morning when the phone rang…I kinda knew what I was getting myself into in that they were gonna get me to try to drink. Fun fact: I’ve never been drunk….I did have a drink that night. I had a beer. I sipped on it. I’ll stay up as late as you guys. We’ll all hang out; but, I’m not gonna take shots. I’m not getting drunk. I’m not gonna act a fool…that’s not in my character; but, you can’t pressure me to drink. Then it turned into a, ‘You think you’re better than us,’ type thing.”
On refusing to give in despite peer pressure: “At the end of the day aside from one – and again, we won’t mention names here – every single person in that room that tried to pressure me into doing something I wanted to do….apologized to me for it. People sober up….I’m cool with hanging out, with being a part of the team; but, that’s not the way I roll.”
– Carmella spoke with USA Today’s News-Press for a new interview, discussing fan reaction to her and more. Highlights are below:
On fan reactions to her: “More people are hating on everything I do. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel very fortunate to be the face of the women’s division on SmackDown Live and defend that championship any opportunity that I get.”
On being a WWE-homegrown talent: “You know, a lot’s changed in a year. About a year ago is when I won the Money in the Bank contract and when I kind of put myself on the map. Now being the champion, it solidifies all the hard work. And it’s also a testament to the [WWE] Performance Center and all the hard work the trainers put in down there and the hard work I put in, as well. That’s where you learn to hone your craft. I didn’t come from wrestling, and I never wrestled outside of WWE. So I’m kind of a homegrown talent. I learned everything from the Performance Center and NXT.”
On the state of the women’s division: “Oh, I think that people are taking it more seriously now more than ever. The women are main-eventing pay-per-views. … We’re having ladder matches. You name it, we’re doing it. It’s to the point now where it’s not even a big deal if the women main event on SmackDown or on Raw, because it’s just kind of become the norm. Whereas before, it was like, ‘Oh my God, the women are main-eventing Smackdown Live tonight!’ Now it’s no big deal. The women are the norm.”

In an interview with Wrestlezone, Jake Roberts spoke about how much he watches modern WWE and wrestling in general. Here are highlights:
On how much he watches WWE & wrestling in general: “Not much. I’m pretty busy and to be brutally honest man, I could say well I don’t like what they’re doing, that’s the easy way out, but the bottom line is I don’t like watching it because I miss it so much. I know that I watch and I think I’d have done this and I’d have done that, and the next thing I know I’m talking myself into getting back into the ring one more time and I can’t do that. My body will not take that. It’s like, do you really wanna enjoy your grandkids, or do you wanna sit in a corner and drool. I don’t watch it because it hurts.”
On watching back The Resurrection of Jake The Snake: “It’s tough, man, it’s tough. Because that’s who I was. It’s not candy-coated, it’s not about making money, I didn’t make any money off of that film – not one cent. I did it so that I could help others. That’s the reason. We do everything for different reasons, and I did it so that hopefully someone won’t make the same mistakes that I did.”
On helping out others: “That’s the reason I still go out and do my comedy shows man, because I go out and encourage people to come and see me after the show if they are struggling and want help. I receive letters and emails all the time from people that have been there, and people that have come out the other side because of me, and because they thought well dammit if Jake can do it I can do it to. Let’s do it together. I’ve done all the drugs you can do, but the best high I’ve ever received is the one where I’m helping somebody else. That’s the greatest feeling in the world when you can raise somebody up and rescue them from the fire. You’re facing death here.”
On travelling the world: “I do wanna go out and actually see these places now. Yeah I’ve been every place in the world, I know every damn bathroom in every damn airport in the country. But I never actually get time to go see something, to go do something in that area – so now I’m taking the time, and really enjoying it. I hope to do a month in Alaska, we’re trying to set something up there, and there’s some other places I have in mind.”
On the advice he gives young wrestlers: “I think the one thing I tell them is shut up and get in the car you don’t know a damn thing about what you’re doing. They waste so much, they expose so much, you can’t build something if you don’t believe in something. They don’t believe in anything that they do. They’re like pinballs out there, they bounce around the ring, there’s no pain, there’s no sacrifice or loss, and at some point they ring the bell. The most vicious hold in wrestling today is the schoolboy – are you serious? Everything else means completely nothing, including the DDT. I want you guys to keep doing the DDT, because it just tells the world that Jake Roberts is that much better than you! That’s right.”

On the future: “I’m expecting magical things to happen, because that’s what’s happened since I got sober. It’s been six years now man that I haven’t had a drink or a drug. That just blows me away. I couldn’t go six hours before, and now I’ve done six years. In the next 18-24 months I’ll be looking at eight years sobriety, and that’s awesome. Try something different, man, help somebody today. Help one person today without expecting something back from it. Try that.”

That's all for now check back for further updates.

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36 / M / Auckland New Zealand
Posted 7/28/18 , edited 7/29/18
Here's today's BTS update.

In an interview with Noelle Foley for Ringside Collectibles (Via SportsKeeda), AJ Styles revealed that he wants a match with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 35. He also spoke about his matches with Mick Foley in Impact Wrestling. Here are highlights:
On wrestling The Undertaker: “I’d love to be in the ring with The Undertaker. To learn from this man would be unbelievable. Will it ever happen, I don’t know—but yes. That would be a dream match for me.”

On facing Mick Foley: “Well, I actually have been in the ring with your dad. Not at WrestleMania, but we went at it a couple of times.”

On which Face of Foley he’d want to fight: “Cactus Jack, because that would be a good one. He’s like a lunatic. You never know, (he’s) even worse than Mankind I think. I think Cactus Jack would be the guy I would want to go up against.”

In an interview with NewsHub, Bobby Lashley revealed that in addition to wanting a match with Brock Lesnar in WWE, he also wants an MMA fight with him. Here are highlights:
On facing Brock Lesnar: “Our careers are so similar. We were both WWE guys, then we went into fighting then we have both come back to WWE. [MMA] was something I suggested when I first came in. The problem is I am still currently contracted to Bellator and Brock is signed with the UFC. However if there was some sort of cross promotion fight we could do, with all three companies involved, then I would absolutely love to do it. Right now I’m focused on the wrestling side of things and what comes with that, including a match with Brock, but I would be down for that and I am sure the fans would be as well. We will see. So many people deserve that match. I deserve it, Brock deserves it, and the fans deserve it. To have the opportunity to hopefully face Brock with his MMA background, now that I have a similar background with 19 heavyweight fights under my belt. For the past 10-years I have got countless messages from people all around the world that are just dying to see myself and Brock, get inside a wrestling ring together, and create something memorable. I just think that is a match that needs to happen. It’s been written since I started my professional wrestling career. From the minute I stepped inside the ring people have compared me to Brock.”

On Lesnar’s fight with Daniel Cormier: “Brock is Brock – he is going to charge and he is going to push his size on Cormier. Brock is so much bigger than Cormier and I think Cormier needs to take that into consideration. He will be the smaller fighter, use his quickness and stay away from Brock. If Brock can get on top of Cormier he will punish him. Cormier is so well rounded – it’s a real tough fight for Brock against an Olympic level wrestler. Awesome fight though.”
In an interview with Chris Van Vliet (via Wrestling Inc), Ronda Rousey said that there were low expectations for her Wrestlemania debut due to her lack of experience as a wrestler. Here are highlights:
On making a strong start: “I think that going into any new career like wrestling or acting or anything like that, a lot of people assume you can only be really good at one thing and if you master one thing you’ll never be able to master anything else as well. There’s a lot of low expectations going into things and it’s harder to learn with the world watching opposed to being able to learn in private. But you know, it comes with the territory. It makes things a little bit more difficult but it also I think helps me improve quicker. My first match was at WrestleMania […] it’s like yeah, I’m hitting the ground running but I have all the best tools in front of me and I’m really lucky.”

On memorizing lines: “It’s very different in that you only get one shot, it’s live. People aren’t going to reset the shot for every single scene so you need to be very aware of where the cameras are at all times to make sure they catch what’s going on. Because when you’re acting in a movie you’re going to do exactly what you need to do, you’re just in it with the character. With WWE you have to think about, ‘okay I have to take a moment this happened, I have to register in my face this happened. I have to wait a minute because it’s going to take them three seconds to turn this way so I have to wait for them to come around this side and have this person cue me or whatever.’ So it’s being very aware of that and also memorizing dialogue very last minute, you know? Because you show up and don’t know what’s going on and they’re like, ‘here’s two pages of dialogue and don’t screw up there’s going to be a live audience there actively making you try to screw up.”

– AZ Central recently interviewed NXT Superstar Johnny Gargano, and he discussed how he first met his wife Candice LeRae. Below are some highlights.
Gargano on NXT drawing hardcore fans: “Some of the most hardcore, nitty-gritty fans in the world are independent-wrestling fans, and I think a lot of those came with us to NXT.”
Gargano on how he met Candice LeRae: “I remember [Candice] brought her cousin to the back, and they were just hanging out talking, and I decided I was going to try to get to [Candice] by talking to her cousin about her cellphone. It didn’t really work that well, but we developed a friendship.”

Johnny Gargano on how he’s a nerd at heart: “I’m looking around our apartment, and there’s landspeeder there, there’s a lightsaber there, all kinds of ‘Star Wars’ stuff. I just went crazy on ‘Spider-Man’ the animated series, like old-school action figures from the early ’90s, I bought all those. So our apartment is glass cases filled with toys and helmets and things like that. eBay is very dangerous to me. … Toys ‘R’ Us was going out of business, and my wife wanted one of the landspeeders. And I was like, ‘I don’t think you’re going to fit in it,’ because it’s for little kids. But she’s like, ‘No, I only weigh like 110 pounds, I can definitely fit in that.’ So I said, ‘OK, if it gets slashed to 50 percent off,’ I’ll go buy you one of those little-kid landspeeders that you can drive around our apartment. And she actually does.”

Thats all for now check back for further updates
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Posted 7/29/18 , edited 7/30/18
Some sad news to report in todays BTS Update.

Josip Peruzovic, who wrestled throughout his career as Nikolai Volkoff, has died at the age of 70.

The Volkoff character was tailor-made for the product the World Wrestling Federation was selling the 1980’s with Volkoff assuming the role of the evil representative of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

While most remembered for his rendition of the Soviet national anthem at the beginning of his matches, Volkoff was a native of the People’s Republic of Croatia, prior to Croatia’s split from Yugoslavia.
Nikolai Volkoff, one of the most famous heels in professional wrestling history, has passed away. PWInsider reports that Volkoff, real name Josip Nikolai Peruzović, died on Sunday morning at the age of seventy. Volkoff had been released days ago from a Maryland hospital where he wasz treated for dehydration and other medical issues. Volkoff’s cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Volkoff is best known for his run in WWF during the Hulkamania era of the 1980s, working as one of the top heels in the company under his Russian gimmick. He was born in then-Yugoslavia (now Croatia) in October of 1947, gaining a spot on the Yugoslavian weightlifting team when he was twenty years old. Volkoff left his home country for Canada in 1967 and decided to get into professional wrestling with help and initial training from Newton Tattrie, who he had become friends with.

He trained with Stu Hart and began working for Hart’s Stampede Wrestling, then went with Tattrie to the US in 1968. They began working for the National Wrestling Alliance, working territories like NWA Detroit, International Wrestling Association and National Wrestling Federation. The latter of those saw them win the NWF World Tag Team Championship under the tag team name of The Mongols. They also worked under that gimmick in the WWWF, holding the International Tag Team Championships twice between 1970 and 1971.
After they lost those titles in November of 1971, Volkoff left the company and began working in singles matches under the Russian gimmick that would become his signature character. He retrurned to the WWWF and had a big feud with Bruno Sammartino. Volkoff also worked worked the AWA, where he was known as Boris Breznikoff and was managed by Bobby Heenan, as well as working Mid-South.
When WWF became a national company, Nikolai Volkoff returned again for the run he would be most well-known for. Working as a foreign heel, he teamed with the Iron Sheik with Freddie Blassie managing him. Volkoff would play into Cold War sensibilities and would sing the Russian national anthem to rile up the crowd before matches began. The two beat the US Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda) for the WWF Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania, holding them for just over two months before dropping them back to the Express.

Evgentually, Hogan and Volkoff would meet in the ring in a United States vs. Russia feud that became Volkoff’s defining moments as a wrestler. Volkoff never won the WWE Championship, but he would prove to be a resilient heel against Hogan and their feud helped push the company’s exposure in a big way. Volkoff would also feud with other patriotic heels around that era such as Corporal Kirchner, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and others.
Volkoff would go on to be managed by Slick and would team with Boris Zhukov to become the Bolsheviks. They put over a lot of talent and feuded with the Bushwhackers, until Volkoff turned babyface and associating with Lithuania left the USSR. He would face foreign heels from that point, or characters like Sgt. Slaughter who were portraying traitorous heels who had turned their backs on America. Volkoff eventually left WWE in 1990, then reutrned for a run through 1995 that included a feud and “forced” association with the Million Dollar Corporation. Following this run, he went into semi-retirement but would make one-off appearances on WWE television on and off over the many years that followed. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005, the same year Hogasn, Roddy Piper, Bob Orton, Jimmy Hart, Paul Orndorff, and Iron Sheik were inducted.
Volkoff was generally known as one of the most well-liked and respected personalities in the business, spending his time away from the camera as a family man with his wife and daughters. His last appearance for WWE came in 2014, when he appeared in a backstage segment with Lana and Rusev where they sang the Soviet National Anthem. He released a comic book book miniseries, Nikolai, in 2016 and had an unsuccessful run

WWE released the following statement on the passing of WWE Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff:
WWE is saddened to learn that Josip Nikolai Peruzović, known to WWE fans as Nikolai Volkoff, has passed away at age 70.
Best known for his dastardly, WWE Tag Team Championship–winning union with The Iron Sheik, Volkoff’s in-ring career spanned the better part of 40 years, which featured battles against the likes of Sgt. Slaughter, Hulk Hogan and Bruno Sammartino. As one of the greatest villains sports-entertainment had ever seen, Volkoff’s infamous rendition of the Soviet National Anthem before his matches made him an instant icon in the eyes of the WWE Universe as a Superstar they truly loved to hate. Jim Ross inducted Volkoff into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2005.
WWE extends its condolences to Peruzović’s family, friends and fans.

Brian Lawler, who wrestled for the majority of his three-decade career as Brian Christopher, has died following a tragic situation.

Lawler was arrested earlier this month and it was only recently reported by TMZ. The site reported that Lawler was arrested on late on Saturday, July 7th. He did not stop for the police after he was spotted speeding and swerving and drove home where the cops followed him. Lawler was arrested, and bail was set at $40,000 with Lawler remaining in custody all this time at Hardeman County Correctional Facility in Tennessee.

The same site added that Lawler allegedly tried to hang himself on Saturday and rushed to the hospital. There were conflicting reports throughout the day Sunday, but he was declared dead at 4:40 pm Eastern.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has stated that an investigation is open and ongoing regarding his death. The bureau added that corrections officers at the jail performed CPR on Lawler until paramedics arrived and transported Lawler to the Regional One Medical Center.

WWE and Triple H have both released statements following the passing on Sunday of WWE alumnus Brian Lawler. Lawler passed away on Sunday at the age of forty-six following a suicide attempt in a Memphis jail, where he was being held on charges of DUI and evading arrest.
WWE said in their statement, “WWE is saddened to learn that Brian Christopher Lawler, who is best known in WWE as Too Cool’s Grandmaster Sexay, has passed away. Lawler, who is the son of WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler, competed during the height of the Attitude Era. WWE extends its condolences to Lawler’s family, friends and fans.”
Triple H posted:
Incredibly sad news about the passing of Brian Christopher. A tragic loss of life. Both @StephMcMahon and I are thinking of Jerry Lawler and the entire Lawler family this evening.

During a recent edition of The Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer stated that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a desire to wrestle next year at WrestleMania 35. As previously reported, there was an earlier rumor that indicated that The Rock wanted to wrestle again and possibly as soon as WrestleMania 35 and that he could make some WWE appearances soon. Below are some highlights of Meltzer addressing the issue on his podcast (transcript via

Meltzer on The Rock wanting to perform at WrestleMania again: “[The Rock] wants to wrestle at WrestleMania. You know [WWE] wanted him last year. He was originally in the Kurt Angle position, he had filming stuff. If there’s a movie project or something [The Rock] has to film at that time or a week later or something it makes it difficult because of the injury risk. If he doesn’t have anything much going on I would think that he would. My impression is that he wants to wrestle, you know The Rock loves wrestling.”

Meltzer on how it could be based on offers and schedules: “If there’s no movie project on the table that he wants to do and he wants to do WrestleMania I’m sure Vince isn’t gonna go, ‘hey we don’t need you, we don’t want you. Especially [WWE] is trying to break into China because The Rock’s movies are doing just giant business in China. Even if they weren’t [doing well in China] he’s The Rock and he’s one of the biggest movie stars in the world, some say he’s the biggest, I don’t know if he’s the biggest, but he’s up there. Time will tell, it’s up to offers and schedules, you know? It’s not like WrestleMania is going to be the number one thing but I think at 46 [years old], he’ll almost be 47 next year, I think in [The Rock’s] mind he’s probably going, ‘if I’m gonna do another match next year might be a good time.’ Because do you really want to do it at 48, 49? Maybe, but I know he doesn’t want to go in there when he doesn’t have his speed anymore and when he’s not as good as he once was. I don’t see him wanting to be that guy… maybe he would. Because let’s face it he can get through anything just based on the fact that he’s technically sound and he has incredible charisma and he’s The Rock. It’s not like he has to go in there and do a bunch of really quick armdrags and things like that. He can just talk his way through a match or just basic his way through a match. But I don’t see him as a guy who wants to go in there when he’s diminished.”

His thoughts on a potential match between The Rock and Roman Reigns: “Someone suggested to me the idea of [The Rock] and Roman Reigns in a match. At first, I thought, ‘eh it doesn’t really appeal to me.’ I feel like that could be something that could appeal to [The Rock]. Again, for Roman Reigns, if they’re trying to get Roman Reigns over something big, I mean The Rock will do the job for him that’s not even a question. In [WWE’s] mind if they want to get Roman over as a big Superstar, you know that’s a match that makes sense from everyone’s perspective.”
Alexa Bliss was recently interviewed by the Cheap Seats podcast, and she discussed winning Money in the Bank and the women’s title at Money in the Bank earlier this year. Below are some additional highlights (transcript via
Alexa Bliss on her two victories during Money in the Bank: “That has to definitely be up there at the time. Winning your first title – nothing can ever get in the way of that, but that was definitely up there. Perhaps at number two. Two victories in one night is something that hasn’t happened to me before. So that definitely has to be very top. I was so nervous too because I wasn’t sure that I would have been able to reach the briefcase. That was my biggest concern.”
Alexa Bliss on her biggest concern during the ladder match: “Um, I’m not afraid of heights, but if I was I wouldn’t be able to do it. It is so high up there. The thing is, you have the ladder, which is twelve to fourteen feet when you are standing on it. Plus, when you look down there are three feet from the bottom of the ring up into the ground. So you are that much higher.”
The Post and Courier recently interviewed WWE Superstar Ember Moon, where Moon had high praise for former UFC women’s bantamweight champion and current WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey. Below are some highlights.
Her thoughts on Ronda Rousey: “I love Ronda. She’s awesome. I’m so proud of Ronda and everything she’s done and what she continues to do here. I think a lot of people were expecting Ronda to fall on her face, but she’s proven that she can hang with anyone.”
Ember Moon on how she trains everywhere to get more well-rounded: “I pride myself that when I was learning this craft and learning the sports entertainment side of things, it was with a variety of people. Originally I was trained by Skandor Akbar (the late Jim Wehba). I also trained with Vance Archer (aka Lance Hoyt), then Booker T, along with Rodney Mack and Jazz. I later went to Mexico to train for a bit, then I went to Canada. I started working strong style from Japan to the point where I even got the nickname ‘American Joshi.’ … I tried so hard to learn everything I could to present every style I could. I just didn’t want to be a one-sided performer as far as what I could do in the ring. So I can do the high flying, I can do the power moves, I can do the technical, but most of all I learned how to present myself in a way that no one else could.”

Ember Moon on who she wants to face: “There are so many people I have yet had the opportunity to work with. I’d love to have a match with Charlotte, Sasha, Bayley — the women who were at the forefront of the women’s revolution. I’d love to have another match with Asuka. I’d love to have a match with Natalya. But my ultimate dream match of all time would be versus Beth Phoenix. She has been such an inspiration for people who are different and were told that they would never be here. She kept that dream alive for me.”

That's all for nw check back for further updates as they come to hand.
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38 / M / Somewhere on this...
Posted 7/30/18 , edited 7/30/18
Hi folks back from my annual convention that this year had some pro wrestling in ring and at panels! With Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey back on Raw, here is the news of the week.

General sources are as normally credited to and and and and and and but please also note that all news and rumours are subject to updates and changes.

NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV on Saturday, August 18, 2018 from Brooklyn, NY

Additional Sources:

*Triple Threat Match for the NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (C) vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black
*NXT North American Championship Match: Adam Cole (C) vs. Ricochet
*NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed Era (C- Roderick Strong & Kyle O'Reilly) vs. Mustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven)
*NXT Women's Championship Match: Shayna Baszler (C) vs. Kairi Sane
*Velveteen Dream vs. EC3

WWE SummerSlam on Sunday, August 19, 2018 from Brooklyn, NY

Additional Sources: and


*WWE Raw Women's Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (C - w/ Mickie James) vs. Ronda Rousey (w/ Natalya)
*WWE Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (C - w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Roman Reigns
*WWE SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Carmella (C) vs. Becky Lynch
*WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Samoa Joe
*WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bludgeon Brothers (C) vs. the winner of a #1 contender's spot tournament
*Match for Braun Strowman's Money in the Bank Briefcase: Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens
*Intercontinental Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler (C - w/ Drew McIntyre) vs. Seth Rollins
*WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak

-At are various ways Nikolai Volkoff was honoured and noted in the wake of his passing. The WWE showed a graphic of him and Brian Christopher before the start of Raw.

-Here’s an updated list of the wrestling guests that will be appearing at the Hamilton Comic Con on October 13/14: Rob Van Dam, WWE Hall of Famers “Cowboy” Bob Orton and Jake “the Snake” Roberts, the Brooklyn Brawler, Torrie Wilson, and Barbie “Kelly Kelly” Blank.

-On Monday’s edition of ‘Being the Elite’, a huge six-man tag was announced for the ‘All In’ event on September 1st at the Sears Centre.

The Young Bucks will team with Kota Ibushi against Rey Mysterio, Rey Fenix & Bandido in a dream match involving six of the best wrestlers in the world.

Mysterio is scheduled to wrestle on the final night of the G1 Climax on Sunday, August 12th at Budokan Hall as he continues to take outside dates amidst talks of a potential return to World Wrestling Entertainment.

-The WWE has announced another title match for SummerSlam on Sunday, August 19th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

On Monday, the WWE posted a video with Drake Maverick announcing that Cruiserweight champion Cedric Alexander will defend the title against Drew Gulak at the event. This was set up by Gulak defeating Hideo Itami, Mustafa Ali, and TJP on last week’s edition of 205 Live.

It is the first time the Cruiserweight title will be defended at a WWE pay-per-view since the Greatest Royal Rumble event past in April.

Alexander became Cruiserweight champion at WrestleMania earlier this year, defeating Mustafa Ali in the finals of the tournament for the vacant title.

It is unknown if this match will be part of the main show or the kickoff portion.

-Regarding the passing of Brian Lawler, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into his death. There was a statement issued by John Doolen, who is the Hardeman County Sheriff, to WMC-TV in Memphis. obtained the full text of the statement and it can be read below:

"Mr. Lawler, a resident of Hardeman County, was arrested for third offense DUI, driving on a revoked driver’s license and felony evading arrest. Mr. Lawler’s bond was set at $40.000. He appeared before the Judge of the General Sessions Court at which time his family requested time to determine if they were going to hire a private attorney or wanted the public defender to represent Mr. Lawler.

Mr. Lawler, because of his notoriety, was placed in a cell by himself but as the Sheriff’s Department had no indication he was suicidal, he was not on suicide watch.

When Mr. Lawler was discovered, he was given CPR and air lifted to the MED in Memphis. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was notified and requested to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr. Lawler.

Any further information will be provided by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation."

-WMC-TV has a story on the passing of Brian Lawler with comments from legendary Memphis weatherman and wrestling announcer Dave Brown as well as wrestler Derrick King.

-The SmackDown has a house show in Fort Myers, Florida tonight with AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, and Asuka among those advertised. The television tapings are Tuesday in Tampa and they have announced a singles match between Lana and Zelina Vega for this week’s show. This will be Vega's in ring debut on SmackDown Live.

Cesaro & Sheamus vs. The Usos in a tag team tournament match is also scheduled for tomorrow's SmackDown, with the winners advancing to face The New Day in the finals next week. The team that wins the tournament will challenge for The Bludgeon Brothers' SmackDown Tag Team titles at SummerSlam.

-The WWE has announced that Madison Rayne, Xia Brookside, and Priscilla Kelly will be part of next month’s Mae Young Classic tournament. Rayne is the most experienced performer of the three and follows up on a tryout she had at the WWE’s Performance Center last fall. Over the past two weeks, Rayne challenged for ROH’s Women of Honor championship against Sumie Sakai in Atlanta and the following night lost to Knockout’s champion Su Yung at the Slammiversary pay-per-view event. Rayne is also scheduled for the “All In” event on September 1st.

Brookside is the daughter of Robbie Brookside, who is a trainer at the Performance Center. She began wrestling in 2015 and has been wrestling for Stardom over the past year, and worked in the U.S. for promotions including RISE, Bar Wrestling, DEFY, APW and others. Kelly is 20-years old and been wrestling since 2015. From 2016 onward, she has been a regular within the WWN wrestling on cards for SHINE and Full Impact Pro. Last July, Kelly became the inaugural SHINE Nova champion by winning a 16-woman tournament and defeating Veda Scott, Leah Vaughan, Kiera Hogan, and Candy Cartwright to win the title.

Here's the updated MYC lineup:

Rhea Ripley
Io Shirai
Nicole Matthews
Kacy Catanzaro
Deonna Purrazzo
Tegan Nox (formerly known as Nixon Newell)
Jessie Elaban
Reina Gonzalez
Taynara Conti (won a qualifying match at NXT TV tapings)
Mia Yim
Mercedes Martinez
Kavita Devi
Killer Kelly
Isla Dawn
Lacey Lane
Karen Q
Toni Storm
Meiko Satomura
Madison Rayne
Priscilla Kelly
Xia Brookside

-The WWE stock dropped almost 4% on Monday with a close at $78.50 after opening at $80.93.

-The WWE has announced a meet-and-greet with Paul Levesque & Stephanie McMahon at the 40/40 Club at the Barclays Center on Friday, August 17th over SummerSlam weekend. The proceeds of the event will be donated to Connor’s Cure. Tickets for the event will be priced at $200, which includes an autograph from both and a professional photo taken with the two and go on sale this Friday.

-Both Lince Dorado and Mustafa Ali are injured. Dorado has a ruptured ligament in his thumb. Ali's injury is unknown but he sent out a photo from the hospital saying he always kicks out.

-PW Insider reported people seeing Hulk Hogan in Miami today. Raw is in Miami. There's no word that he's at the building, but if he was to appear, they'd probably hide him until the last minute.

-HHH announced NXT shows on 9/6 in Buffalo, 9/7 in Pittsburgh, 9/8 in Warren, OH and 9/9 in Detroit.

-Ronda Rousey is set to have her first match on Raw next week.

Kurt Angle announced a match between Rousey and Alicia Fox for next week’s episode of Raw. It was set up when Alexa Bliss, who has now aligned herself with Fox, interfered in a match between Rousey’s training partner Natalya and Fox. Rousey went after Bliss following the match, caught her and put her in the armbar. Fox broke it up before anything could happen, but Rousey laid her out with a slam.

This would be Rousey’s first match on Raw. She’s wrestled twice on pay-per-view events, the first at WrestleMania where she and Kurt Angle defeated Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. She followed that with a match at Money in the Bank where she defeated Nia Jax by disqualification after Bliss got involved.

The next night on Raw, Rousey destroyed Bliss and powerbombed her through a table. In storyline, she was suspended for her actions. After serving an extra week for breaking the suspension, Rousey was officially cleared to return tonight on Raw.

-Cedric Alexander will face The Brian Kendrick on 205 Live in a non-title match.

-Mojo Rawley vs. Bobby Roode will happen next week.

It will be another busy week building to SummerSlam, so don't 'cha dare miss it!
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Posted 7/31/18 , edited 8/1/18
Hey all here is today's update.

- This week’s episode of Raw hit a three-month high in the ratings, while the viewership was up as well. Monday’s episode brought in a 0.99 rating in the 18 – 49 demographic and 2.901 million viewers. Those numbers are up 7% and 4% from last week’s 0.92 demo rating and 2.78 million viewers. The rating was the highest since the April 30th episode had a 1.08 demo rating, while the viewership was the best since the June 18th episode’s 2.903 million.
Raw tied for #1 among cable originals for the night per Showbuzz Daily, matching VH-1’s Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood (0.99 demo rating, 1.992 million viewers). The hourly numbers were:

8 PM: 0.96 demo rating (2.875 million viewers)
9 PM: 1.02 demo rating (3.012 million viewers)
10 PM: 0.98 demo rating (2.815 million viewers)

Big E. spoke with promoting tonight’s episode of Smackdown discussing the New Day’s longevity and more. Highlights are below:
On who they’d like to face in the Smackdown Tag Team Tournament finals: “We’re ready for whoever. The Bar was the team to end our reign as tag champs but in the same vain the Usos was our best feud and brought the best out of us. If forced to pick one, I guess I’d like to rekindle things with The Usos. We have a ton of respect for them. They’re extremely talented. And a lot of people are making a strong argument that they are the best tag team in the world right now. And we always want to go against the best. Regardless of who it is we’re excited for the opportunity.”
On the importance of NXT for younger talent: “I think it’s fantastic. It has become more than just a feeder system for WWE. It’s become its own brand. It’s really cool to see how a lot of our hardcore fans have really taken to the brand. It has such a different feel, which I think is great. It doesn’t feel like RAW, it doesn’t feel like Smackdown. There is so much talent there. I think it’s great to have it in Central Florida. It’s cool. When I was in NXT five years ago, we didn’t travel nationally. And not only are they traveling and doing shows around the country, but they’re doing tours of Japan and Europe. And people across the world have taken to NXT so passionately.”

On how the New Day has lasted over in the modern era: “Honestly, one of the biggest things is we’re pretty selfless amongst ourselves. We wanted to make it clear from the beginning there is no leader. Not hogging the spotlight and believing in the group as a whole. With wrestling and entertainment as a whole, there’s always egos and it’s hard to remain humble, remain a group centric. That doesn’t always happen and for us it’s been fairly easy. There’s no bickering. There’s no battling. I’m not saying we don’t have different ideas sometimes. But were always able to discuss it. We’re always trying to think of what’s next. There’s no complacency. There’s no feeling we made it and it’s time to coast. We’re always trying to push for new ideas. Trying to get better in the ring. We fought tooth and nail from the very beginning. We weren’t three guys the office put together. We were three guys on our own, whose career was stalling. We needed to do something and that was what fortified it.”

Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer Radio (via that Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman are scheduled to be at the August 13th Raw in Greensboro, North Carolina. This is the go home show for Summerslam.
– According to THR, director Peter Segal is scheduled to direct Dave Bautista’s action comedy My Spy. The film “will tell the story of a hardened CIA operative (Bautista) who finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl, having been sent undercover to spy on her family.”

ccording to, Sunday’s episode of WWE’s Total Bellas on E! drew 617,000 viewers and ranked #24 for the night on cable in the 18-49 demographic. The season three finale was up from last week’s episode, which drew 610,000 viewers and ranked #14 for the night on cable. Here is the season three breakdown and the average viewership for the show’s three seasons…
* Episode 1: 517,000 viewers
* Episode 2: 505,000 viewers
* Episode 3: 654,000 viewers
* Episode 4: 734,000 viewers
* Episode 5: 726,000 viewers
* Episode 6: 666,000 viewers
* Episode 7: 719,000 viewers
* Episode 8: 594,000 viewers
* Episode 9: 610,000 viewers
* Episode 10: 617,000 viewers
* Season 1 Average: 640,000 viewers per episode (6 episodes)
* Season 2 Average: 587,750 viewers per episode (8 episodes)
* Season 3 Average: 634,200 viewers per episode (10 episodes)

Thats all for now check back for further updates.
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