The Pro-Wres Digest for April 24th – April 30th
If you are unfamiliar with the Pro-Wres Digest, every week we aim to bring you all the news and interesting developments from all over the world in as condensed a format as possible. If you missed any of the SCOOPZ throughout the week, or just want to catch up on the inevitable wackiness that only the business of grown men simulating combat in their underwear can deliver, then the Digest is your one-stop shop for all your pro-wres needs.
The Digest is usually published as part of the Cubed Circle Newsletter – which as loyal readers you should all know – but this week our imperious leader brother Ryan is sequestered away in his Real Analysis Mathematics dojo, preparing for an almighty battle with his examination paper next week. So with that in mind, we’re trying something new and posting the Digest directly to the site – what lucky people you all are!
Next week things may be back to normal, but if not we’ll throw up another Digest for you to check out on the site. The weekly RAW report and classic Mid-South reviews from 1982 will still be posted as normal, so be sure to check them out.
Thank you all for reading and be sure to wish Ryan luck on Twitter @RyanClingman.
Have a good week, everyone!
Before passing away last week, Joanie “Chyna” Laurer was being filmed for a documentary by director Erik Angra. Pro Wrestling Sheet claimed this week that Angra told them Chyna was distressed after not being invited the WWE Hall of Fame in Dallas and she began to drink heavily again. Chyna was booked for an appearance at the WrestleCon meet and greet but she no showed the event, which led to promoter John Smithers releasing a statement accusing Chyna of being “incoherent and not of proper mind.” Ryan Satin and his “sources” claimed the documentary was intended to highlight Chyna’s Hall of Fame status, or lack thereof, and she was hoping that it would lead to getting the ball rolling with WWE for her to be inducted. When she didn’t receive the call to come to Dallas, she reportedly began to, “drink more than usual.” Angra told Pro Wrestling Sheet that Chyna was also “emotional” over failing to reconnect with her family and the “full story” will be revealed in the documentary – which they still plan to release. Classy. The local CBS website noted that the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office have deferred ruling on Laurer’s cause of death pending further investigation.
Ever the bastions of journalistic integrity, TMZ ran a story on 27/4 about Ric Flair “acting like a drunk person” at Lucky’s Lounge in the Logan International Airport.
The story claims the Massachusetts State police stated that Flair was in fact not intoxicated and was being treated for a cut on his hand. Reports from “eye witnesses” alleged that Flair was bleeding from the head and was “having a tough time” and “shambling about” (whatever that means.) TMZ noted they spoke to the Airport Police Sgt., who told them Flair was not drunk and had indeed been treated for a cut on his hand. Flair was allowed to board his flight without any issue, which would not have been the case if he was hammered. Melinda Morris Zanoni, Flair’s agent, gave an amazing statement to TMZ and denied that Flair was inebriated:
“Ric has been working every day around the clock, including internationally, for a month straight and has injuries on his hand that were being looked into this morning.”
“While it is true Ric Flair and his buddies have been keeping airport bars in business since the 70s that was not the case at all in Boston. I just hung up with Ric, he is already on the flight and all is good.”
WWE will be producing RAW & SmackDown from Glasgow, Scotland for the first time when the company goes back over to Europe in November. Scotland will become the eleventh country to host Monday Night RAW (USA, Canada, Germany, South Africa, England, Afghanistan, Japan, Iraq, Italy, Mexico are the other ten) when the WWE runs the SSE Hydro Arena on November 7th. The 13,000 seat Hydro will also be the venue for SmackDown on 8/11 the following night and tickets for both shows have already gone on sale. In what is surely only a harmless coincidence, WWE have booked the Hydro two weeks before Scottish independent promotion Insane Championship Wrestling’s biggest show ever in the same building. ICW managed to draw the biggest crowd in the UK for 35 years on November 15th 2015 when they drew 4,000 people to the SECC Arena to see local hero Grado defeat Drew Galloway for the ICW World title. ICW owner and promoter Mark Dallas announced on the 15/11/15 show that they were going to run the Hydro in 2016 and it appears the news eventually made its way to Stamford, CT. Make of the situation what you want, but it is pretty clear what is going on here.
Bret Hart was quoted in Total Wrestling magazine about having “no desire” to be at Payback this Sunday. Hart was in the UK as part of his spoken-word tour and at the Cardiff show someone from Total Wrestling asked him about being in Natalya’s corner for her match with Charlotte. “I do it to honour Nattie, I no desire [sic] to be there no desire to be on TV,” Hart said. “I’m happy to be there for Nattie but I’ve just had wrist surgery so it’s not a great time.” He added, “It’ll be great to put Flair in the sharpshooter though.”
Interchangeable automaton Rich Brennan was released by WWE this week. Pro Wrestling Sheet had the scoop and noted that Brennan was given his marching orders on Wednesday, although there was no reason revealed behind his departure. Also gone from the company is Kyle Edwards, the seldom seen Canadian TV guy, so it looks like we could be in for a new influx of generic white males with regulation haircuts and no personality.
Wesley Snipes’ production company Maandi Media DMM have signed a multi-picture deal with WWE Studios. Deadline.com reported that the first movie to be released under the deal will be Temple, which Snipes himself will star in alongside Seth Rollins. The movie is currently in production and will be released through WWE Studios, Maandi Media DMM and Gene Simmons’ speciality genre label Erebus Media Pictures. WWE.com noted that the second movie under the deal will start production later in the year.
The Indie Scene:
Kamaitachi has seemingly left CMLL and is now living in the US, according to a note in this week’s Observer; his first US date is for ROH this Saturday on 30/4 in Rhode Island against ACH. Kamaitachi is subbing for Roderick Strong, who is off the show due to the death of one of his close friends. It will be worth checking out the names that New Japan announce for the Best of the Super Juniors; if Kamaitachi isn’t part of the tournament then there is every chance that he could be interested in heading to WWE for the Global Cruiserweight Series.
At the Progress: Chapter 29 show in London, Zack Sabre Jr beat Flash Morgan Webster in a qualifying match for the WWE Global Cruiserweight Series. Also on the show, Jack Gallagher beat Pete Dunn in another Series qualifier.
RevPro will host another qualifying match for the Cruiserweight Series on 1/5 at the Cockpit in London, as Noam Dar will face Josh Bodom. Dar, like Sabre, was on the early list of names released for the tourney so you would think he is going over in that match.
Speaking of RevPro, the June 12th York Hall show sold out with Kurt Angle vs. Zack Sabre Jr as the only match announced. This week they revealed two more matches for the show, with Will Ospreay vs. Mike Bailey and Big Damo vs. Big Daddy Walter, both of which should be awesome. I will not be attending the June 12th show, although I will be at the July 10th show at York Hall featuring Tomohiro Ishii & Katsuyori Shibata on the card, plus Marty Scurll vs. Mike Bailey and making his RevPro debut, Moose.
PWTorch reported this week that Will Ospreay had officially signed with New Japan.
Kenny Omega retained the IWGP Intercontinental title over Michael Elgin in the main event of the Road to Dontaku in Fukuoka on 27/4. The match was not a blow-away **** ½ performance, however it was easily the best on the card and is worth checking out if you have the time. Hiroshi Tanahashi, who beat Bad Luck Fale in the semi-final on 27/4, came out and challenged Omega for the IC title at the Dominion show at Osaka Jo Hall on 19/6. Omega initially said no to the challenge then gave Tanahashi a low-blow and set up a ladder over his body. Omega claimed the ladder and proclaimed that he would not face Tanahashi in a regular singles match, so perhaps they will make their match at Dominion some kind of gimmick match. Wrestling Dontaku is on 3/5 from the Kokusai Centre in Fukuoka and the card is absolutely stacked.
Wrestling Dontaku 2016 5/3 Kokusai Centre in Fukuoka:
*Captain New Japan & Juice Robinson vs. Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi.
*Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi, Jay White & Finlay vs. Kazuchi Sakuraba, Yohi-Hashi, Will Ospreay & Gedo.
*IWGP Jr. Tag Championship Match: Rocky Romero & Barreta (C) vs. Ricochet & Matt Sydal.
*Michael Elgin, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yoshitatsu vs. Kenny Omega, Matt & Nick Jackson.
*IWGP Tag Championship: Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (C) vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma.
*NEVER Openweight Championship: Katsuyori Shibata (C) vs. Yuji Nagata.
*IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match: Kushida (C) vs. Jushin Thunder Liger.
*Hirooki Goto vs. Evil.
*Kazuchika Okada vs. Sanada.
*IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Tetsuya Naito (C) vs. Tomohiro Ishii.
Daisuke Sekimoto of Big Japan won the All Japan 2016 Champions Carnival on 24/4 in front of 793 fans at the Edion Arena in Osaka.
Sekimoto topped the A Block with 8 points (4 wins, 2 losses) and faced the winner of the B Block Zeus (5 wins, 1 loss, 10 points) in the final. Sekimoto pinned Zeus in 24:11 with his German Suplex Hold and declared afterwards that he wanted to capture all of the titles in All Japan. His first step at taking all the gold comes on 29/4 when he teams with the 73 year-old Great Kojika in the main event of a Big Japan show at Korakuen Hall to challenge the Asia Tag Team champs Yuko Miyamoto & Isami Kodaka. As a results of winning the Champions Carnival, Sekimoto also gets a shot at the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship held by Kento Miyahara at All Japan’s “Super Power Series” show at Korakuen Hall on 25/5. Miyahara has vowed to redeem his loss to Sekimoto in the final A Block match in the Champions Carnival and also to defend the title against an outsider from another promotion.
After being caught in the middle of the AAA and Octagon dispute over the rights to the Octagon Jr gimmick, Flamita announced on his Facebook on 27/4 that he was ditching the Octagon Jr character, leaving AAA, and heading back to the indies. He posted a picture of himself with the Open the Brave Gate title and included the hashtag #FlamitaDragonGate. Flamita stated in his post that he respected Octagon and said he took responsibility for using the Octagon Jr name, however he noted that the problems were between AAA & Octagon and said his fans deserved more respect. He added that he believed his talent was enough to make his own name and thanked AAA for the opportunity. Predictably, the original Octagon is proclaiming victory and put over Flamita for seeing the error of his ways; what a worker. The Cubs Fan noted that it is likely that Octagon & Flamita will end up wrestling each other on an indie show somewhere, which would be something to behold. Another aspect of the story with Flamita leaving AAA is that he is set to make his Lucha Underground debut at the end of season two under the name “Night Claw.” Cubs Fan speculated on the much talked about LU contracts and came to the conclusion that Flamita may not actually be signed to a LU deal. Night Claw hasn’t appeared at all during the season three tapings and could have conceivably been killed off in some way.
At the Lucha Underground tapings in Boyle Heights on 23/4, a “death match” between Dragon Azteca Jr and Matanza Cueto had to be stopped when Matanza pulled a Bill Goldberg and injured his arm after punching through a glass window. The story goes that there was a gimmicked window for the monster to smash, however in the heat of the moment he punched through a real sheet of glass and was bleeding everywhere. The match, and the tapings, were halted while medics attended to Matanza, who according to Pro Wrestling Sheet sliced open a vein and required five stitches. Rey Mysterio, Dragon Azteca Jr, PJ Black & Johnny Mundo all stalled for time while Matanza was being treated, although it is unclear whether they will be able to salvage any footage of the match or whether they will have to re-shoot it at some point in the future.
In more injury news for LU, Angelico reportedly suffered and elbow injury at the 24/4 tapings at the Temple. People in the building noted that he landed awkwardly while performing a springboard move and messed up his elbow. Cantu Promociones noted on Facebook that Angelico had disloctaed his left elbow and Jack Evans also suffered a fractured lower jaw at the LU tapings. Pimpinela Escarlata & Estrella Divina will replace them on the 2/5 show in Nuevo Laredo.
Ricochet was back at the Lucha Underground tapings last weekend after he lost a Grave Consequences match last month and was carried out of the Temple in a casket, which appeared to be the end of the Price Puma character. Dave Meltzer reported in the Observer that LU had offered him a “very significant offer” to stay and with money he makes from New Japan and his indie dates, Ricochet would probably end up making more money if he re-signed with LU than if he were to take an NXT developmental deal. Tessa Blanchard, Ricochet’s girlfriend, was also at the LU tapings last weekend and worked a dark tag match with Prince Puma again Marty the Moth & Mariposa; apparently the fans were chanting, “Stay Puma Stay.” Blanchard has also been linked with WWE in recent weeks and the current belief is that both her and Ricochet are still negotiating on both sides.
There was some typically Mexican wackiness last week, as a long-running lawsuit between El Hilo del Santo and AAA was finally settled. Santo’s legal battle dates back to TripleMania 2009 when he returned to AAA for the first time since 1995 and his claim is that he never agreed for AAA to use his likeness on a DVD release. Marisela Peña, the sister of Antonio Peña and owner of AAA with her husband Joaquin Roldan, was the defence attorney in the case and demanded that Santo unmask, claiming that the man under the mask could have been anybody and not the real Hil del Santo. Santo refused to unmask publicly in the courtroom and was ordered by the Judge to reveal his identity in private. Santo unmasked in front of the Judge and AAA’s legal council, including Peña, behind closed doors and Santo told Peña, “It’s me Marisela, you know it’s me.” Nearly seven years after the trail began, the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled in Santo’s favour and backed his right to protect his identity in public and also agreed that his likeness rights were infringed with the DVD release, so AAA will have to pay him some sort of compensation.
Rey Hechicero beat Negro Casas at Arena Coliseo in Monterrey on 24/4 in the main event of an independent show. The match was said to be outstanding and the best match in Monterrery in years; it was also Negro Casas’ first match at Arena Coliseo in three years. The Cubs Fan noted that the match may air on next week’s Noches de Coliseo TV show. Negro Casas subsequently missed the CMLL show at Arena Puebla the next day on 25/4 and also was not on the 26/4 show at Arena Mexico.
The 26/4 show at Arena Mexico was one of four CMLL affiliated shows on that day. They also ran their weekly show in Guadalajara with Marco Corleone, Rey Escorpion & Maximo vs. Atlantis, Kraneo and Euforia in the main event. There was also a show at the Puebla Fair with Rush, La Mascara & Super Porky vs. Ultimo Guerrero, Psicosis & Terrible on top; semi-final was Blue Panther, Angel de Oro & Esfinge vs. Okumura, Fujin & Raijin. Fouth show was a Lucha Libre Elite in Jalpan de Serra, Queretaro with Caristico, Mistico & Atlantis vs. Cibernetico, Sharly Rockstar & Mephisto.
CMLL have reached a deal with the Fight Network for a one hour TV show to air across Canada at 9pm on Thursdays. This is an interesting move considering that the Fight Network also began airing AAA TV this week at midnight on 26/4 as part of a four-hour wrestling block, including ROH & TNA TV shows.
Ultimo Guerrero beat Rush at the CMLL show at Arena Puebla on 25/4 in 11:46. The match is up on YouTube and is well worth a watch.
NXT took one giant step towards jumping the shark at the TV tapings this week, as Eric Young made his debut and challenged Samoa Joe to a match. Joe ended up beating Young with the Coquina clutch in about ten minutes in the main event of the first show they taped which will air next week. Finn Balor was all over the shows and he will be facing Samoa Joe at the next Takeover on June 8th for the NXT title. In continuing the gimmick of beating guys everybody hates, Shinsuke Nakamura beat Alex Riley in a short match. Later, Nakamura teamed with Austin Aries to beat Blake & Murphy; they shot a deal to split off Alexa Bliss from Blake & Murphy so it sucks to be them. The only other thing of note was Nia Jax defeating Bayley and they had Bayley sell like she had suffered a leg injury and some doctors came out to check on her.
According to Clevescene.com, Donald Nemeth, the younger brother of Dolph Ziggler, is wanted on “aggravated murder” charges in connection to a shooting on January 23rd at the University Hotel and Suites in Cleveland, OH.
On 28/4, some nutjob walked into the Baltimore FOX 45 TV studios, which is home to the ROH office, and claimed he had a bomb strapped to his chest. In fact, the “bomb” turned out to be nothing more than some chocolate bars wrapped in foil and attached to a circuit board. The 25 year-old male suspect ended up being shot three ties by police and was taken to hospital where he is said to be in a “serious” condition. Police were called to the scene and found that a car had been set on fire and the suspect walking around the car park wearing a hedgehog onesie. The building had to be evacuated, however thankfully nobody was hurt during this ludicrous situation. Read more at BaltimoreSun.com.
TNA announced on their Twitter that Caleb Konley and Alison Kay had signed with the company. They also announced that Robbie E had re-signed; no word on whether Bram has re-signed, however.
Here’s an interview with long time WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt on the Two Man Power Trip podcast.
WWE Payback is on Sunday 1/5 from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL and the card is as follows:
*WWE World Heavyweight Title: Roman Reigns (C) vs. AJ Styles.
*IC Title: The Miz (C) vs. Cesaro.
*Women’s Title Match: Charlotte (C) w/Ric Flair vs. Natalya w/Bret Hart.
*#1 Contenders Tag Team Tournament Final: Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady vs. The Vaudevillains.
*Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose.
*Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens.
*Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler.
*US Title: Ryback vs. Kalisto (C) (Pre-show).
*Vince McMahon will also announce who will control RAW.
RAW on 25/4 set another non-holiday/non-football season low, with a 2.19 rating and 3,116,000 viewers, down from the 2.31 and 3,322,000 they did last week.
TNA iMPACT on 26/4 did 332,000 viewers, up slightly from the 312,000 they did last week.
Lucha Underground on 27/4 did 107,000 for the first run airing, way down from the 149,000 last week. The replay did 52,000, up very slightly from from the 49,000 who watched last week’s replay.
SmackDown on 29/4, up against the NFL Draft, did a 1.54 rating with 2.109 million viewers, down from the 1.71 and 2.431 million they did last week.