The big news of today, and really for the week, month and maybe the year, is that WWE and USA Network is moving Smackdown to Tuesdays and running it as a live show. Additionally, they are going to attempt to relaunch the brand split and according to our Dave Meltzer, they are going to be aggressive in signing talent outside the company to help restock the cupboards.
As history has told us, WWE’s first brand split eventually failed due to the crossover of the big stars on their two shows — especially guys like John Cena. If they want to truly create two brands, they need to be two distinct brands with different aesthetics that may have WWE DNS but not the same look, feel, and even sound. Unfortunately, that also might mean a return to the dual champion era with one distinctively being pushed far heavier than the other. (Basically, the WWE title defended on RAW and especially when Cena wore the strap.)
There are still questions to be answered (dual tours? Dual monthly Network events? What about NXT?), but this is the company’s latest attempt to do something different with the 5+ live hours they have on USA every week. NXT showed that when done organically, uniquely, and firmly using wrestling’s roots as the foundation, having two promotions under one banner can work if you put them in two different parts of the wrestling universe and believe in both succeeding equally.
But if WWE doesn’t learn from history, they are doomed to repeat it….with just as much McMahon on our TV screens as ever.
WWE Smackdown going live on Tuesdays; brand split imminent?
Smackdown spoilers 5/24: Miz vs. Cesaro I-C title match; more MITB qualifiers
UFC’s Paige VanZant finishes second on ‘Dancing With The Stars’
WWE RAW ratings grow slightly
New Japan Best of the Super Juniors Night 3 results: Kushida vs. Rocky Romero
If you’ve ever wanted to WATCH our radio shows here on the site, check out our Youtube page! No full video shows, but lots of video clips, full free audio shows that you can tell your friends about, and much more to come! Make sure you subscribe today!
Figure Four Weekly 5/23/2016: More strange developments in WWE’s concussion lawsuit deposition – Last week we talked a bit about both Evan Singleton’s deposition in the WWE concussion lawsuit as well as a video of a concussion presentation held in developmental during Singleton’s time under contact. Among other topics, there’s been a bit more movement on that front.
Wrestling Observer Newsletter
READ IT HERE: May 23, 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WWE Extreme Rules preview, Vince McMahon sells portion of WWE stock, tons more
A look at what’s next for WWE after Extreme Rules, the UFC sale with lots of exclusive info, Vince & Linda McMahon selling their stock, Chris Weidman’s injury and how that changes plans, the staggering drop in kids viewing for WWE and exactly who watches the TV today, plus UFC 198 coverage and Best of The Super Juniors tournament news are among the stories covered in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
More on the injury returns and summer ideas and why WWE could have its deepest talent roster in a long time in very short order. Plus, talk about the NXT/WWE balance and why talent is actually more important for arena business if in NXT.
There is also an extensive look at the Extreme Rules show.
In addition, updates on the UFC sale, including news about who is in, who is not in, what it all means, what is being sold, where Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta fit in and UFC fixture who indicates he’s likely gone if the sale goes through, all in covered in this issue.
A glimpse into Vince McMahon’s stock sale, what it means, how much money did he get, and how his stock sale only increased the difference in the value of UFC vs. WWE, and for how much Vince McMahon bought the company.
More on the injury to Chris Weidman, how it happened, his future, Michael Bisping’s title shot and more on UFC 1999.
Also in this issue, find out who watches WWE on television and how many in each different age group.
Find out how WWE has changed the schedule of the Cruiserweight tournament and why, more on the arrest of Adam Rose, more on Stephanie McMahon’s book, how Stephanie will be pushed on television going forward, how Stephanie will be marketed as the face of the company, and another WWE firing.
Finally, there’s full coverage of UFC 198, including business notes including early estimates on success, ramifications of the show, match-by-match coverage, looking at the judging of close fights and poll results.
CLICK HERE FOR A FULL PREVIEW
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Check out the latest online Wrestling Observer BACK ISSUE: April 19, 1999 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Davey Boy Smith hospitalized with spinal infection, WCW Spring Stampede. The health situations involving both Davey Boy Smith and Japanese woman wrestler Emiko Kado took turns for the worst this past week.
Diego Brandao was given a nine month suspension from the NSAC for his marijuana test failure following his fight with Brian Ortega. Brandao was subsequently released from UFC but will be eligible to fight again on October.
The probability of Hulk Hogan getting $140 million increased as Gawker’s attempt to get a retrial was tossed out of court today. Gawker wanted a new trial because, well, the first one didn’t go their way, but they still have the right to appeal. This case is still far from over.
There’s much more on the story of the secret backer of Hogan lawsuit via Huffington post and Forbes Tech. Here’s a piece from the Washington Examiner, another piece from Forbes, and finally a third piece from the NY Times. This trial gets more Hollywood everyday.
Here’s a local media piece on an indy show being held in Louisville.
Willie Mack was the Ring Rust Radio podcast this week, talking about Lucha Underground.
California indie booker John LaRocca tried his hand at booking a launch for Apollo Crews.
The 5th season of Total Divas is now on WWE Network.
Baron Von Raschke and Jim Brunzell discuss throwing out A first pitch at a Minnesota Twins game.
Here’s a story on Rick Martel.
The University of Minnesota wrestling team has come under fire recently for drug use. Some members of the team have been accused of dealing Xanax.
This week’s Fire Pro Podcast looks at Extreme Rules and the release of Cody Rhodes here.
TUF 22 winner Ryan Hall will face Alex White at the UFC Fight Night show in South Dakota on July 13th. This will be his first fight since dominating Artem Lobov in the tournament final last December
ONE Championships has an event Friday morning at 6 am eastern from Bangkok, Thailand with a strawweight title fight between Dejdamrong Sor Anyuaysirchoke defending against Yoshitaka Naito. Featherweight champion Murat Gafurov takes on challenger Kazunori Yokota in the co-main. Teen sensation Christian Lee is on the undercard with his 5th fight in less than a year and he’s won the previous four via early stoppage.
Dan Severn talks about MMA, Ken Shamrock, and some pro wrestling on this podcast.
Scottish fan favorite Robert Whiteford has been cut from UFC after two straight losses. The 33-year-old featherweight had a 2-3 record in UFC, fighting mostly on European shows.
Shane Carwin is teasing a comeback at the age of 41. He wants to capture the UFC heavyweight title or just “beat up Brock Lesnar again”.
Here’s a funny video showing a Roberto Duran inside fighting clinic with a random Shane Mosley appearance in the background. (Thanks to John Ringo)
TONIGHT – Canadian Wrestling’s Elite, Souris & Glenwood Memorial Complex (32 – 3rd Ave West)
May 28 – Mayhem in the Magnolia State, Louisville Coliseum. This show is a benefit for Kamala.
May 27 & 28 – Absolute Intense Wrestling “2016 JT Lightning Invitational Tournament,” Our Lady Of Mount Carmel, 1355 West 70th Street, Cleveland, Ohio
May 30 – Jake Roberts will be appearing in Burbank next monday at 8pm at Flappers Comedy.
June 4 – UFC 199 from the Forum in Los Angeles with Michael Bisping getting his first title opportunity of his career battling Luke Rockhold for the middleweight belt
June 4 – In celebration of Metro Pro’s Sixth Anniversary, Demolition (Ax & Smash) will be in action on Saturday, Turner Recreation Center in Kansas City, Kansas. The event address is: 831 S. 55th St., Kansas City, KS 66106 – Tickets can be bought in advance.
June 5 – AAA’s Victoria World Cup men and women’s trio tournament finals at Los Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City which will be a live iPPV show
June 7 – New Japan Best of the Super Juniors finals from Sendai live on New Japan World
June 8 – NXT Takeover from Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL featuring Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor in a cage match plus a loaded lineup that includes American Alpha vs. The Revival and probably Shinsuke Nakamura vs Austin Aries, which could be WWE’s match of the month.
June 12 – TNA Slammiversary headlined by Drew Galloway vs. Bobby Lashley for the TNA title from Orlando
June 12 – Revolution Pro Wrestling in London, England headlined by Kurt Angle vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
June 17 – AAW “Killers Among Us” features Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Johnny Gargano, Drago vs. Chris Hero, and more at 115 Bourbon Street (3359 w 115th Street Merrionette Park, IL) All Ages Event – Tickets available.
June 18 – UFC in Ottawa: Rory McDonald vs. Stephen Thompson
June 18 – New England Fights (NEF) returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine with “NEF 24: PROMISED LAND.” Tickets for “NEF 24” are on sale now.
June 19 – New Japan Dominion, one of the company’s biggest events of the year, featuring Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada in an IWGP title match and Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi in a ladder match for the IC title
June 19 – WWE Money in the Bank from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
June 24 – ROH Best in the World from Concord, NC with Jay Lethal vs. Jay Briscoe for the ROH title
June 25 – Ultima Lucha tapings in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles at The Temple
June 26 – Ultima Lucha tapings in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles at The Temple
July 7-11 The 10th annual Wrestling Observer/F4W convention in Las Vegas, EdinSanAntonio has all the information up on Facebook, or email him at F4Wfan@hotmail.com.
Today in Professional Wrestling History: 5/25 Shawn Michaels & Steve Austin win WWF World Tag TeamTitles
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