The Pro-Wres Digest for July 9th – 15th
Some disturbing news broke on 10/7 when it emerged GFW Heavyweight Champion Alberto El Patron is being investigated for domestic battery. TMZ reported that the Orlando Police Department were called to an incident at Orlando International Airport around 3pm on 9/7 after Alberto allegedly assaulted an unnamed female. Witnesses claimed Alberto and the woman were arguing in the terminal and when things escalated, “there was an altercation.” Alberto was not arrested nor charged with any crime, however the investigation is still ongoing. Police did not reveal the identity of the victim, although many witnesses noted it was indeed his girlfriend Paige, who was quick to offer an explanation and jump to the defence of her man. She noted on Twitter that they called the cops themselves and that she was crying because she found out bad news about her family. Paige also claimed that a woman tried to take a picture of Alberto and threw a drink on him then asked to be left alone. TMZ followed up by releasing audio of the incident later that day, during which Paige clearly says she is trying to get away from Alberto and tells him to, “leave me the f**k alone.” It should be pointed out that on the recording Alberto stated that Paige assaulted him after they got into a fight at a resteraunt. On 11/7, Paige’s brother Zak Bevis commented on Facebook, “she’s with a control freak who think [sic] he’s a tough guy cause he’s beats [sic] my sister and has money too [sic] cover his tracks.” Zak added that he was worried Paige would end up like “Whitney Houston or Amy Whinehouse.”One of Paige’s other brothers Roy Bevis also commented on the situation on Facebook. He confirmed Paige was upset due to the comments Alberto made about her uncle and added that Paige would not be going back to WWE because Alberto would not let her.
The eye-witness who recorded the altercation did an interview for Heavy on 11/7 and the anonymous woman gave her firsthand experience of the incident. The unidentified woman from Florida claimed Alberto “reeked” of alcohol and called Paige’s explanation of events “completely false.” Her version of the story begins with an emotional Paige on the phone outside of an airport restaurant. Paige went back inside only to emerge a few minutes later “crying and yelling,” while Alberto, who was visibly “soaked” in liquid, chased after her onto the airport tram service. The witness followed them and allegedly heard Paige accuse Alberto of “doing coke for two days straight” – Alberto also reportedly yelled for security to check Paige’s bag as it was full of cocaine. Paige was also heard shouting that Alberto was an abusive husband who had ruined her life and career. The witness, whom admittedly did not enter the restaurant, somehow gave an account of what she believed happened when Paige went back inside. She claimed that Alberto said something along the lines of, “I hope your f**king uncle dies tomorrow” and he grabbed her by the wrist because he was mad she had been on the phone for too long. Paige wanted to leave the restaurant but Alberto got mad again and tried to stop her, so Paige threw some water on him and ran out. Again, how the witness knew any of this when she was not actually inside the restaurant is unclear. Hours after the incident, Paige sent a Tweet asking for people to pray for her uncle Stanley, who is battling illness in hospital.
Unfortunately the unseemly story continued to roll on, as Paige released a statement on 12/7 in which she claimed to tell the “full story.” She confirmed that she threw a drink on Alberto because of what he said about her uncle and the cops showed up quickly after she stormed out of the resteraunt. Paige also called the eye-witness a “crazy lady” who invaded their privacy and clarified she was the one being held on battery chargers after she threw the drink on Alberto. Paige made sure to note that Alberto never touched her, nor did she physically attack him, and stated that Alberto smelled like alcohol because she threw a drink on him. She said the whole story had spiraled out of control and wished people would give them some privacy. Pro Wrestling Sheet and The Wrestling Observer both reported that portions of Paige’s statement were untrue as Alberto is the one being investigated by the Orlando PD for battery.
Global Force Wrestling initially released a brief statement on 11/7 saying they took all legal matters very seriously and that they would “fully cooperate with law enforcement.” After the story snowballed when statements from the eye-witness and Paige’s family emerged, GFW went into damage control on 12/7 and indefinitely suspended Alberto until the investigation is resolved. Jeff Jarrett held a conference call on 12/7, which was supposed to be a chance to talk about the GFW re-branding, however questions soon turned to the Alberto/Paige drama. Jarrett called the incident “unfortunate” and stated GFW would continue to investigate the matter. Jarrett hinted that Alberto would not be edited out of their Impact TV shows – 6 weeks of which has already been taped – and said he believed it would only further damage the brand if they edited him out. A caller asked if Alberto would be stripped of the GFW title and Jarrett replied that had not been addressed yet because it was far from being important right now. An anonymous source from inside GFW called the whole situation a “disaster” in this week’s Observer, because Alberto is featured in the main storyline on TV for all 6 weeks and it would be impossible to remove him from the shows. Rightly or wrongly, WWE have not made any public comment about any of this and appear to be distancing themselves from anything to do with Paige, who is still under contract to the company.
On the 12/7 GFW conference call, Jeff Jarrett was asked if the Hardys had re-acquired the rights to the Broken Universe characters and he was definitive in his answer: “No, they haven’t.” Jarrett said he maintains a good relationship with Jeff Hardy and had spoken to him recently, however that had no bearing on the character dispute. He doubled-down on the claim that GFW/Impact owns the rights to the characters and that the IP law favoured their position. In a move that surprised nobody, Reby Hardy broke her self-imposed silence on the matter to respond to Jarrett’s claims about the on-going dispute. Reby went on one of her trademark Twitter rampages, calling Jarrett a liar and noting she hadn’t said anything for weeks while, “Jeff, Dutch & Ed all can’t seem to be able to keep us out of their mouths. Snakes.” Shane Helms, who recently left GFW, chimed in and Tweeted that Jarrett “would rather climb a tree to tell a lie than stay on the ground to tell the truth.” Reby also took a shot at Jarrett for making Alberto El Patron the GFW champion. Matt Hardy Tweeted on 13/7 that Jarrett & Ed Nordholm could “end the issue, we’ve been willing to. Reby’s been peaceful for weeks while they blatantly stall.”
Instead of commandeering the IGF office, as he has done frequently over the past couple of months, Kazunari Murakami decided to hold a press conference in a park near Ginza, in the district of Chuo, Tokyo on 11/7. Murakami was in high spirits after he and Kohei Sato defeated Keisuke Okuda & Akira Joh at the NEW Korakuen Hall show on 7/7 and he spoke to members of the Japanese press while relaxing in the park with an ice cream. At the next two NEW shows (15/7 in Aichi & 16/7 in Mie) Murakami will again face Okuda & Joh in main event tag team matches; his partners will be the masked men Shiro Fukumen #4 (15/7) and Shiro Fukumen #5. Murakami actually worked as Shiro Fukumen #1 back on 18/6 in Osaka when he teamed with Shiro Fukumen #2 to down Okuda & Shinichi Suzukawa – apparently the Murakami Society has an unlimited amount of white-masked hired goons. Murakami joked while in the Ginza park that he and Fukumen #4 would “crush” Okuda & Joh so badly on 15/7 that the match on 16/7 would have to be canceled and he would go sightseeing with his masked associate. He noted that he would have to buy a parasol to protect the masked Fukumen #4 from the summer heat. Since he began his attempted take over of NEW back on 15/5 when he initially “illegally occupied” the IGF office, Murakami had been calling out Shinichi Suzukawa for a singles match and they did face-off a handful of times in June on opposite sides of tag matches. Suzukawa left the IGF/NEW after refusing to take a urine test on June 28th and subsequently joined back up with Antonio Inoki for his new ISM group. Murakami invited Suzukawa to show up at Korakuen Hall on 7/7 anyway, but the former NEW ace didn’t accept the offer. Murakami told the press that if Suzukawa is guilty of having an illegal substance in his system it would be an annoyance to everything he was fighting for.
The two NEW cards are relatively stacked for shows outside of the Tokyo market. The top three matches on 15/7 are:
(*) Minoru Tanaka & Shinya Aoki vs. Koji Kanemoto & Tatsuhito Takawa.
(*) Masakatsu Funaki & Yuya Susumu vs. KENSO & Chang Jian Feng.
(*) Kazunari Murakami & Shiro Fukumen #4 vs. Keisuke Okuda & Akira Joh.
Top matches for the NEW show on 16/7:
(*) Minoru Tanaka vs. Lin Dong Xuan.
(*) Koji Kanemoto vs. Chang Jian Feng.
(*) Masakatsu Funaki & Shinya Aoki vs. KENSO & Tatsuhito Takaiwa.
(*) Naoki Tanizaki vs. Yuya Susumu.
(*) Kazunari Murakami & Shiro Fukumen #5 vs. Keisuke Okuda & Akira Joh.
New Japan’s monstrous summer tournament, the G1 Climax, gets underway on 17/7, with the first show featuring all A Block matches taking place in Hokkaido. Here are the tournament matches for the opening night:
(*) G1 A BLOCK Match: Yuji Nagata vs. YOSHI-HASHI.
(*) G1 A BLOCK Match: Togi Makabe vs. Bad Luck Fale.
(*) G1 A BLOCK Match: Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii.
(*) G1 A BLOCK Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
(*) G1 A BLOCK Match: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi.
Night two of the G1 is on 20/7 at Korakuen Hall and will feature all B Block matches:
(*) G1 B BLOCK Match: Satoshi Kojima vs. Juice Robinson.
(*) G1 B BLOCK Match: Michael Elgin vs. Tama Tonga.
(*) G1 B BLOCK Match: EVIL vs. SANADA.
(*) G1 B BLOCK Match: Kazuchika Okada vs. Toru Yano.
(*) G1 B BLOCK Match: Minoru Suzuki vs. Kenny Omega.
Atsushi Onita will be presenting an outdoor show on 16/7 in Yokohama. Only one match has been announced for the card, but it is a special Onita vs. All Japan Electric Current Blast Death Match with, Onita , Raijin Yaguchi & Ricky Fuji vs. Suwama, Atsushi Aoki & KIYOSHI.
Keiji Mutoh’s Pro-Wrestling Masters show at Korakuen Hall on 26/7 will feature a member of the Japanese government, as the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology, Hiroshi Hase, will wrestle his first pro-wrestling match in 11 years. Hase retired in 2006 and despite being an active politician is also part of Mutoh’s Wrestle-1 Executive Committee. Mutoh said he and Hase had agreed to his return sometime before the announcement on 13/7, but due to Hase’s schedule he wasn’t able to commit to a specific date until now. Here’s the full card for the Pro-Wrestling Masters show at Korakuen Hall on 26/7:
(*) First Masters Special Singles Match: Ricky Fuji vs. Hisakatsu Oya.
(*) Lucha Master Special Six-Man Tag Match: The Great Sasuke, Shiryu & SATO vs. NOSAWA Rongai, MASADA & FUJITA.
(*) Wonderful Masters World Special Tag Match: Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Takaku Fuke vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Takuma Sano.
(*) Master Battle: Heisei Ishin-gun vs. Big Japan Special Six-Man Tag Match: Shiro Koshinaka, AKIRA & Akitoshi Saito w/Masashi Aoyagi vs. Great Kojika, Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi.
(*) Pro-Wrestling Masters Gather! Special Six-Man Tag Match: Tatsumi Fujinami, Riki Choshu & Hiroshi Hase vs. Great Muta, Great Kabuki & TNT.
Jushin “Thunder” Liger won the inaugural British J Cup on 8/7 for Rev Pro at the Walthamstow Assembly Hall in East London. Liger defeated Josh Bodom in the first round when he hit the Brainbuster within three minutes to advance to the four-way elimination final match. The four-way final also included Marty Scurll, KUSHIDA & Will Ospreay; Scurll eliminated KUSHIDA & Ospreay then Liger came back to win with a Liger Bomb and a Brainbuster. UK legend Marty Jones presented Liger with the trophy, however Josh Bodom appeared and attacked Liger to set up a singles match between the two at the big Summer Sizzler show at York Hall in August.
The complete field for the 2017 PWG Battle of Los Angeles has been announced. This year’s tournament will take place in Reseda, CA, on September 1st-3rd. Here’s the full list of entrants: (1) Flamita. (2) Keith Lee. (3) Walter. (4) Travis Banks. (5) Rey Fenix. (6) Dezmond Xavier. (7) Donovan Dijak. (8) Jeff Cobb. (9) Trevor Lee. (10) Flash Morgan Webster. (11) Zack Sabre Jr. (12) Sammy Guevara. (13) Mark Haskins. (14) Jonah Rock. (15) Brian Cage. (16) Rey Horus. (17) Marty Scurll. (18) Michael Elgin. (19) TK Cooper. (20) Matt Sydal. (21) Sami Callihan. (22) Matthew Riddle. (23) Ricochet. (24) Penta El Zero M.
Niebla Roja defeated Ultimo Guerrero at Arena Mexico on 9/7. Roja won the first fall with a Code Red and took the third via DQ when Guerrero unmasked him.
Atlantis underwent surgery on his right knee last weekend and will be out for an indeterminate amount of time. As a result, he will miss the August joint Rev Pro, NJPW, ROH & CMLL shows taking place in London and will be replaced by Titan. There was a note in this week’s Observer about the injury being worse than anticipated and Atlantis will also miss the CMLL Anniversary show in September. The injury occurred on 30/6 at Arena Mexico when Atlantis hit a Tope on Mephisto and he ruptured his right patella. Amazingly, this was the first major injury Atlantis had ever suffered in his 33-year career.
Dr. Lucha Steve Sims predicted in this week’s Figure Four Weekly the main event of CMLL’s Anniversary show in September will be Ultimo Guerrero vs. Matt Taven in a Hair vs. Hair match. The likely semi-main event, according to Dr. Lucha, is Princesa Sugehit vs. Zeuxis in a Mask match.
Dr. Lucha also speculated in Figure Four Weekly that season 4 of Lucha Underground could potentially be the last.
The WWE Mae Young Classic got underway on 13/7 and 14/7 at Full Sail University. WWE are going to upload four episodes to the Network the week following SummerSlam (20/8) and another four episodes will be uploaded the next week (27/8). The finals will air live on the Network on 12/9. Here’s the full list of the 32 women in the tournament representing 13 different countries:
Rachael Evers (Rachael Ellering).
Sage Beckett (Andrea).
Sarah Logan (Crazy Mary Dobson).
Abbey Laith (Kimber Lee).
Dakota Kai (Evie).
Kay Lee Ray.
Piper Niven (Viper).
Rhea Ripley (Demi Bennett).
Mia Yim (Jade).
Jazzy Gabert (Alpha Female).
Kairi Sane (Kairi Hojo).
Lio Rush will be heading to the WWE soon and according to the Observer will be starting out in developmental. His last match for CZW is on the big August 5th show featuring Atsushi Onita vs. Matt Tremont Electric Current Blast Death Match.
WWE canceled one of their most acclaimed Network shows this week. Talking Smack will no longer air weekly after SmackDown on Tuesdays and instead will only be shown after SmackDown exclusive PPVs.
RAW on 10/7 did a 2.04 rating with 3,074,000 viewers, up from last week’s 2,836,000. 8pm did 3,049,000 viewers, 9pm did 3,049,000 and 10pm did 2,905,000.
SmackDown on 11/7 did 2,465,000 viewers up slightly from the 2,329,000 last week.
Lucha Underground did 107,000 for the 8pm first-run and 43,000 for the 9pm replay; a total of 132,000 viewers. Last week did 132,000 and 84,000 for a total of 216,000, which was the highest number of the third season.
Impact on 13/7 did 374,000, up from 345,000 last week.
Thanks for reading, everybody. We’ll see you next week!