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Daily Update: Raw ratings, NJPW on AXS, IWGP US title tournament

THE ROUND-UP

The Latest from the F4W Staff

NEWS

AUDIO

We're looking for reports from Raw in Lafayette, LA with the non-Raw stuff like Main Event matches and dark matches to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com.

We're also looking for your thoughts on New Japan Dominion, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to dave@wrestlingosberver.com.

Raw is in Lafayette, LA, featuring the return of Brock Lesnar with a likely confrontation with Samoa Joe as well as Sheamus & Cesaro vs. The Hardys for the tag titles. There will be no Monday night SmackDown show as that's a traveling day to return from Costa Rica.

SmackDown and 205 Live will be on Tuesday night in New Orleans.


FIGURE FOUR WEEKLY: 6/5/2017: Looking at the timing of the Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe dream match

Like with most things in pro wrestling, the most important part of a dream match is getting the timing right. It was almost a year ago that Kurt Angle wrestled Zack Sabre Jr. for Revolution Pro Wrestling during an overseas trip at York Hall in London. The live crowd appreciated Angle's work and loved seeing him. The match itself was fine, mostly sticking to a formula that Angle had perfected during the latter stages of his career. 

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WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER: June 12, 2017: Extreme Rules and Best of the Super Juniors finals reviewed, tons of news

It’s a huge double issue week of the Observer, which includes a look at how the aging of the pro wrestling television audience is like that in other sports, but aging so much faster than any other, as well as the latest on the WWE summer direction, Extreme Rules coverage, Best of the Super Juniors coverage and major features on Kazushi Sakuraba and Joe Silva and how both have impacted the history of MMA.

Look at the Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe match, the Lesnar direction between now and WrestleMania, the problems with the logic and finishes at Extreme Rules plus full coverage of the event including poll results and star ratings.

Examine the aging of the sports audience and where pro wrestling and MMA fit in, breaking down WWF vs. WCW in the heyday, where things stood ten years ago and where they stand now. Also, look at how that relates to other sports as well as how wrestling's younger audience breakdown compares with that of other sports and how it has changed.

Check out the last shows of this year's Best of the Super Juniors tournament, lessons from the tournament, business of the tournament, the epic last match, preview the Dominion show, Kenny Omega's thoughts on his match with Okada this week, how this compares with other legendary series of matches, the Okada title reign, history of Super Juniors, a chart on how all the wrestlers in the tournament did and star ratings and poll on the last day.

This issue has Frank Deford's autobiography and his views on Vince McMahon, more on the U.K. proposed network show, an update on Ric Flair 30 for 30, WWE star films movie over the weekend, notes on a lot of new talent signed to contracts that are starting in Orlando soon, WWE loading up the MSG house show, an update on the women's tournament, Jack Swagger talks leaving WWE, the strongest power lifter ever in WWE, and the most-watched shows on the WWE Network this past week.

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ORDERING INFO: Order the print Wrestling Observer right now and get it delivered via mail, by sending your name, address, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to Dave Meltzer, or by using PayPal directing funds to Dave@WrestlingObserver.com
 
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WON BACK ISSUE: May 15, 2000 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WCW Slamboree review, drug testing for wrestling in NY, more

The bill in New York written by State Senator Tom Libous of Binghamton, which would require state mandated drug testing of all pro wrestlers that work in New York, if it passes, would without question wind up in some form or fashion completely changing the pro wrestling industry as we know it. Whether that's good or bad depends upon your point of view. There are a few things clear about pro wrestling. Even if some promoters can argue that they can regulate their own companies, the fact is, this business is largely a total failure at regulating itself. 

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MONDAY NEWS UPDATE

Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Raw and the NJPW Long Beach shows as well as taking your e-mail questions that can be sent to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com.

WWE made the call to open Raw with Brock Lesnar before the Warriors vs. Cavaliers game gets going. Obviously this will either be a confrontation with Samoa Joe or build to such a confrontation. If Lesnar wasn't on this show, I see it getting maybe 2.45 million viewers, which would be the second lowest of all-time. It may do slightly or significantly more, although if Lesnar is in an opening segment and it's not building a later angle, that gives people full license to switch off when he's done.

The Sheamus & Cesaro vs Hardys title match tonight has been changed to a 2/3 fall match. Two other tag matches are on the show, Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. Miz & a mystery partner and Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Enzo & Cass.

The famous or infamous Kazuchika Okada vs. Katsuyori Shibata match airs this Friday on AXS with the Jim Ross/Josh Barnett call. Yesterday's Dominion show will air on AXS on the 30th.

The bracketing for the IWGP U.S. title tournament that takes place on the New Japan Long Beach shows on 7/1 and 7/2 has Michael Elgin vs. Kenny Omega and Jay Lethal vs. Hangman Page on one side and Juice Robinson vs. Zack Sabre Jr., and Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii on the other side.

Mike Mooneyham writes about Harley Race.

WWE

  • At Awesome Con in Washington, DC this coming weekend, Charlotte and Shinsuke Nakamura are signing. The price for VIP treatment is $230 for each, or for both $290. Only Stan Lee at $350 is more expensive.
  • Mark Henry turns 46 today. Happy birthday.
  • Paul Levesque announced new NXT dates on 7/27 in Milwaukee, 7/28 in Green Bay and 7/29 in Minneapolis.
  • John Cena talks the TV show "American Grit" to the Boston Herald. The show debuted last night on FOX.
  • WNS Podcast hosted an interview with Sasha Banks in which she discussed a number of topics including her chemistry with Bayley, thoughts before going into the first ever women's Hell In A Cell match and her desire to main event WrestleMania in the future Click Here to listen to the full interview. Below are the highlights:

ON THE CHEMISTRY SHE HAD WITH BAYLEY THAT MADE THEIR MATCHES SPECIAL

It was a love/hate relationship. We have so much in common. We love this business so much and you know talking to her more, her dream was to be a wrestler when she was 10. My dream was to be a wrestler when I was 10. I wanted to change the definition of what it was to be a woman in WWE and she had the exact same feelings. So, it was just that mutual love for this knowing that we always wanted to steal the show. And getting the opportunity at NXT Brooklyn and just hearing that crowd. We tore the house down. Honestly, I can't wait to do it again. I can't wait to tie up with her again. But, that's all in due time. Ever since then, from that very moment the women's revolution has just been taking over. And from there I got to main event a WWE pay per view with Charlotte at Hell In A Cell. The first ever woman's match in hell in a cell and it's been just such a whirlwind of excitement. It's so crazy.

HER THOUGHTS ON MINUTES BEFORE THE HELL IN A CELL MATCH

First of all, I came out in an SUV I wasn't really walking because I'm The Boss you know what I'm saying? It was in my hometown and I remember being like "holy crap man! We are making history" It's moments like that where you just have to stand still and look around. We've come such a long way for the women and the men. But even then, getting to be part of WrestleMania and having these great matches. The SmackDown women are going to be competing in the first ever women's Money In The Bank. Of course I'm really jealous but I'm so happy to see where this Women's division has taken it and grown. It's so incredible.

ON ANYONE HELPING HER SINCE MAKING THE TRANSITION TO THE MAIN ROSTER

Nope. Honestly, when I first got called up, I was so nervous and the people that really looked after me was The New Day. And I was fortunate enough to be paired up with two amazing, incredible women in Tamina and Naomi and they just took care of me so much. It was those girls and New Day that kept me going. They told me their struggles, their highs, their lows and we were all in it together. Those are my people right there. That's my family. You have to create a bond with these people because we see these people more than we see our own family. I see my mom, legit, like twice a year. I see these guys every single week. Four times a week. You just have to create that bond. We fight, we argue but we love each other the most. They've become my siblings.

THOUGHTS ON THE UPCOMING MAE YOUNG SPECIAL

Going down to Brooklyn, New York and work with Amazing Red. His students are incredible. There's this woman named Sonya Strong and she loves this so much and I love her passion for and so I really want to try and push her in this women's classic. I think this is a great opportunity for women all over the world. And finding out we were going to have our own tournament after seeing these guys get it year after year. The women deserve it too. I think it's going to be the best tournament out of all of them we've had so far and I can't wait to go down and support them.

HER FAVORITE MATCH

Any Eddie Guerrero match is my favorite. I loved Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterious from WrestleMania 21 and Halloween Havoc. Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker from WrestleMania (their first one). Of course myself vs Bayley from NXT Takeover Brooklyn.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Keri Melendez has pulled out of the 6/24 Bellator show due to an injury that requires surgery. She was to face Sadee Monserrate Williams on the Spike fights before the PPV.  They are moving a new fight onto the TV schedule, with boxer Heather Hardy facing Alice Yauger. 
  • Dave Navarro was announced today as performing the national anthem on 6/24 at the Bellator show in Madison Square Garden on PPV headlined by Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva. Sonnen, Silva, Douglas Lima and Lorenz Larkin  as well as Scott Coker will be doing a media conference call tomorrow.
  • A correction from yesterday regarding Jake Roberts no-showing a NEW show in Waterbury, CT on Friday night. Actually Roberts was at the autograph show but not at the live wrestling show.
  • Bob Costas did this on Frank Deford on Saturday when he was announcing the Belmont.
  • The IWC promotion claimed their largest crowd ever in their regular building in Elizabeth, PA on Saturday night for a Super indy title tournament: Adam Cole b DJ Zema Ion, Joey Janela b Colt Cabana, Jonathan Gresham b Jay White, Chris LeRusso b Mike Orlando, Adam Cole b Joey Janela, Jonathan Gresham b Chris LaRusso, Jack Pollock & Warldow b Jimmy Vegas & Andrew Palace, Britt Baker b Penelope Ford to retain women's title, Adam Cole b Jonathan Gresham in 25:00 to win the vacant title. (thanks to Joe Kazmer)
  • Impact Wrestling announced that today, the one year anniversary of the tragedy at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, that on its 7/3 show in Orlando, they will have a special ceremony honoring those impacted by the tragedy.
  • Impact Pro Wrestling in Iowa, no relation to Impact Wrestling, announced its Hall of Fame Classic one-night tournament on 7/21 in Waterloo, IA in conjunction with their Hall of Fame ceremony. The eight men in the tournament will be Shelton Benjamin, Shane Strickland, Chuck Taylor, A.J. Smooth, Penta 0M, Curt Stallion, Myron Reed and ACH. The first round matches are Penta 0M vs. ACH, Strickland vs. Benjamin, Taylor vs Smooth and Stallion vs. Reed.
  • Big Time Wrestling from Sunday in Hastings, FL: Chasyn Rance b CT Brown, Amber Nova b Mila Naniki, Michael Tarver b Kahagas, Austin Gunn (Billy's son) b Ken Kerbis, Jesse Neal b Reex Bacchus, Sean Maluta b Jonnny Vandal, Terrence & Terrell Dudley b Michael Patrick & Leo Brien. Next show is 6/23. Ricky Steamboat was also at the show doing a 15 minute talk. This was Austin Gunn's first-ever singles match. (thanks to Al haft)
  • NWL KC has gotten television on KQ2 in St. Joseph, MO with a Saturday and Sunday 4 p.m. time slot. They will starting running shows in St. Joseph and that area in a few months. (thanks to Brian Hoops)
  • AAW on Saturday night in Merrionette Park, IL with Sami Callihan vs. Michael Elgin for the AAW title, Penta 0M vs. Trevor Lee for the Heritage title, John Morrison vs. Brian Cage, Abyss vs. Low Ki, War Machine vs. Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly, Zack Sabre Jr. b Mat Fitchett, Eddie Kingston vs. Jeff Cobb plus DJZ, ACH, Garza Jr., Chuck Taylor, Dezmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz and more.
  • Smash Wrestling from yesterday in Toronto: Tarik b Lio Rush, Kevin Bennett b Brent Banks, Sebastian Suave b Greed, Mark Haskins b Dalton Castle, Evil Uno b Scotty O'Shea, TDT b Halal Beefcake, Tyson Dux won three-way over Braxton Sutter and Mike Rollins, Mark Haskins won four-way over Kevin Bennett, Evil Uno and Scotty O'Shea to earn an upcoming title match.
  • Fight Evolution Wrestling from Saturday night in Coral Springs, FL: Gemini  b Red Velvet, Diablo Rojo & Jack Kelley b Sweet Rhythm, Hardhittas b Guadalupe Brothers, Ati Valu b Jesse Neal, Leah Nox b ODB, JB Cool b Johann Ramzes, Johnny Velvet b Reggie Rhythm, Pope Elijah Burke & X-Pac b Headbangers. Next show is 6/17 in Clewiston, FL at the John Boy Auditorium. (thanks to Jeff B)
  • This week's pro wrestling quiz.

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