Daily Update: Honma injury, Khabib, Impact tapings

THE ROUND-UP

The Latest from the F4W Staff

NEWS

VIDEO: GSP, Michael Bisping begin their UFC title fight promotion
WWE: Jack Swagger has not yet been released
UFC 209 semi-main event off due to Khabib’s weight cutting issues
Tomoaki Honma carried out of the ring after suffering an injury
Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles set for SmackDown next week
Impact Wrestling TV taping results: ‘Talk of the wrestling world’ coming Friday
TNA Impact Wrestling results: Bobby Lashley vs. Josh Barnett
New era of Impact begins with possible title change at TV tapings

AUDIO

WOL: Tomoaki Honma injury, Khabib misses weight, Dr. Lucha appears! 3/3
Wrestling Weekly: Changes at Impact Wrestling, Observer Awards, mailbag 3/3
B&V: NXT, Starrcade 1983, RAW, Granny Wrestling Report, more! 3/2

We’re looking for reports tonight from the Impact tapings in Orlando, and the NXT shows in Cleveland, OH and Crystal River, FL, to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com.

For this coming weekend, we’ll be doing three polls, for the UFC 209 PPV on Saturday night in Las Vegas, for WWE Fast Lane on Sunday from Milwaukee, and from the New Japan anniversary show on Monday from Tokyo.

NEW JAPAN WORLD PRO WRESTLING RETURNS AT 8 P.M. EASTERN AND MIDNIGHT ON AXS TV

Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP heavyweight title

BELLATOR MMA TONIGHT AT 9 P.M. ON SPIKE TV

Rafael Lovato (193) vs. Charles Hackmann (194.8)
Roman Pizzoloato (242.6) vs. Justin Wren (234.4)
Fernando Gonzalez (173.9) vs. Brandon Girtz (165.6)
Marloes Coenen (144.7) vs. Julia Budd (144.8) to determine the first Bellator womens’ featherweight champion

CMLL LIVE FROM ARENA MEXICO AT 9:30 P.M. EASTERN

Ultimo Dragoncito & Fantasy vs. Pequeno Nitro & Demus 3:16
Soberano Jr. & Fuego & Pegasso vs. Misterioso Jr. & Sagrado & Disturbio
Blue Panther & The Panther & Blue Panther Jr. vs. Dragon Rojo Jr. & Bobby Villa & Polvora
Atlantis & Angel de Oro & Titan vs. Mascara Ano 2000 & Sanson & Forastero
Maximo Sexy &  Diamante Azul & Valiente vs. Rush & Pierroth & La Mascara
Volador Jr. vs. Yoshitatsu

Saturday we’re looking for reports on the Impact tapings in Orlando, WWE Smackdown show in LaCrosse, WI (neither Randy Orton, Nikki Bella nor John Cena are advertised), NXT in Warren, OH and ROH in New York at the Hammerstein Ballroom (Adam Cole vs Bobby Fish for ROH title, Young Bucks vs. Lio Rush & Jay White for tag titles, Marty Scurll vs. Sonjay Dutt for TV title, Will Ospreay vs. Dragon Lee, Dalton Castle vs. Colt Cabana, Cody & Hangman Page & Frankie Kazarian vs. Mark & Jay Briscoe & Jay Lethal plus a 15 man Battle Royal where the winner gets an ROH title shot and the Top Prospect tournament semifinals with Brian Milonas, John Skyler, Josh Woods and Curt Stallion).

UFC 209 TAKES PLACE SATURDAY AT THE T MOBILE ARENA IN LAS VEGAS

Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time

Cynthia Cavillo (3-0) vs. Amanda Cooper (2-2)
Albert Morales (6-1-1) vs. Andre Soukhamthath (11-3)
Paul Craig (9-0) vs. Tyson Pedro (5-0)

FS 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern time

Iuri Alcantara (33-7) vs. Luke Sanders (11-0)
Mirsad Bektic (11-0) vs. Darren Elkins (21-5)
Luis Henrique (10-2) vs. Marcin Tybura (14-2)
Daniel Spitz (5-0) vs. Mark Godbeer (11-2)

PPV at 10 p.m. Eastern time

Mark Hunt (12-10-1) vs. Alistair Overeem (41-15)
David Teymur (5-1) vs. Lando Vannata (9-1)
Rashad Evans (19-5-1) vs. Daniel Kelly (12-1)
Tyron Woodley (16-3-1) vs Stephen Thompson (13-1-1) for welterweight title

WWE FAST LANE ON SUNDAY AT 7:30 P.M. ON WWE NETWORK

Kevin Owens vs. Bill Goldberg for Universal title
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
Bayley vs. Charlotte for women’s title
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass for tag titles
Neville vs. Jack Gallagher for cruiserweight title 
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa vs. Noam Dar & Brian Kendrick

There are Impact tapings on Sunday in Orlando as well as a Sunday WWE house show in Rockford, IL with the Smackdown brand. No John Cena nor Nikki Bella, but Randy Orton is advertised to return on that show.

NEW JAPAN 45TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW ON MONDAY AT 5 A.M. EASTERN TIME ON NEW JAPAN WORLD

Jushin Liger & Hirai Kawato vs. Tiger Mask & Tomoyuki Oka
Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi & Gedo & Jado vs. Minoru Suzuki & Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Desperado & Taka Michinoku
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi & David Finlay vs. Kenny Omega & Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi &Tama Tonga & Tonga Roa
Rocky Romero & Baretta vs. Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru for IWGP jr. tag titles
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for British heavyweight title
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe & ? for IWGP tag team titles
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin & Juice Robinson & Kushida vs. Tetsuya Naito & Evil & Bushi & Seiya Sanada
Hiromu Takahashi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi for IWGP jr. title
Kazuchika Okada vs. Tiger Mask W (Kota Ibushi) in a non-title match

Raw will be Monday night in Chicago at the All-State Arena. Brock Lesnar, Bill Goldberg and Chris Jericho are all advertised for Monday’s show. There will also be a Smackdown brand house show Monday night in Bloomington, IL. No John Cena or Nikki Bella advertised but Randy Orton is advertised. There will also be Impact tapings in Orlando.

NEW JAPAN FROM KORAKUEN HALL ON TUESDAY AT 4:30 A.M. EASTERN TIME ON NEW JAPAN WORLD

The card won’t be announced until Monday after the anniversary show.

Smackdown and 205 Live will be taped Tuesday in Indianapolis. Announced so far are A.J. Styles vs. Randy Orton with the winner meeting Bray Wyatt for the WWE title at WrestleMania, plus John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. James Ellsworth & Carmella.


FIGURE FOUR WEEKLY: 2/27/2017: Looking ahead to WWE Fast Lane

With WWE’s final pay-per-view before WrestleMania under a week away, the build to Fastlane has been aided by a few of the company’s best television segments of at least the past several months. The Festival of Friendship was perfect. From the timing of it coming before the audience knew for sure that the full turn was happening, the performances of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, and even the parts played by the bit characters, everything delivered… Subscribers click here to continue.


WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER: February 27, 2017, Massive Ivan Koloff bio, death of George “The Animal” Steele, tons more

A huge feature on the life and career of Ivan Koloff is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which is available right now. Plus, there are also features on George Steele, Nicole Bass, Johnny K-9, Diamond Dallas Page and Teddy Long.

The Koloff story talks about the most famous match of the 1970s in the U.S., his win over Bruno Sammartino, as well as his loss to Pedro Morales in WWWF title matches, the birth of Ivan Koloff, his days as Red McNulty, his first match with Sammartino, how he got the Koloff gimmick and who he was named after. This issue also looks at his title run with Sammartino the first time in Pittsburgh and then the WWWF, the most one-sided trade in sports history, the return of Koloff for his title win, the angle done to cover Sammartino, and the two big nights in Madison Square Garden.

Have a look at the creation of Ivan Koloff in Quebec and how he first made his name as a major drawing card, and look at his run in Australia where Gary Hart managed him. Plus look at his days in the AWA, Hawaii, St. Louis, Georgia, Florida, the second WWWF run, the role as top heel for the opposition, the tag team with Ole Anderson, his feud with Dusty Rhodes, and the emergence of Nikita Koloff and the other Russians in the 80s.

Examine the career of George Steele, the life and times of Johnny K-9, the strange world of Nicole Bass, and the WWE Hall of Fame inductions of DDP and Teddy Long.

Plus, details about the filming of “Fighting with My Family” after Raw and Smackdown this past week, notes on the movie, the phone calls to C.M. Punk in front of the fans, the Naomi injury, an update on Fast Lane, return of Finn Balor notes, a look at plans for a show after WrestleMania, the busy Raw brand schedule, WWE working with Indies on WWE Network update, WWE market value, most watched shows on WWE Network, plus details of all the WWE & NXT house shows over the past week along with business notes.


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. 
 
Rates in the United States are $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to moonsault@mediaplusint.com. For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52. If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.)

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can choose one free classic issue, or two free classic issues with a 40-issue subscription.

WON BACK ISSUE: February 7, 2000, Radicalz debut in WWF, The Rock autobiography review, more

Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Eddy Guerrero debuted as The Radicals on the 1/31 Raw show from Pittsburgh in what was considered a big push but it all fell apart the next night in their in-ring debut when Guerrero suffered what appeared to be a serious elbow injury on the 2/1 Smackdown tapings in Detroit. Smackdown, live Raw the previous night, was to be built around the newcomers with the stipulations that they would have a best-of-three series between DX and the Radicals, and if the Radicals won, then Hunter Hearst Helmsley would have to agree to sign them to a WWF contract… Subscribers click here to continue.


FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE

We haven’t heard anything new since this morning regarding Tomoaki Honma, who was rushed to the hospital after landing badly on a DDT off the middle rope from Jado during a match today in Okinawa. We’ve been in contact with people from New Japan and as of last word, they still don’t know anything new. 

Regarding Khabib Nurmagomedov, he was taken to Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas last night due to issues with weight cutting. He was out of the hospital this morning but the doctor’s recommended that he not fight tomorrow. Nurmagomedov was reported resting in his room earlier today by his management team who apologized to Ferguson for the fight not happening.

A number of fighters, including Lando Vanatta who has already made weight, Michael Johnson, who said he can make weight, and Eddie Alvarez have asked to step in to face Tony Ferguson in place of Khabib Nurmagomedov. At this writing UFC hasn’t made any decision, and Ferguson, who on such short notice shouldn’t have to make a rash decision, hasn’t said anything yet either.

In light of today’s news with Khabib Nurmagomedov and all the discussion of weight cutting, this article regarding amateur wrestling and how they approach weight cutting is notable. It should also be noted that amateur wrestling responded to its problems immediately after tragedies as opposed to MMA which, aside from One, really didn’t address the issue until Andy Foster and other commissioners did last year, and pro wrestling, which dragged its feet on the drug death issue for nearly 30 years.

Regarding my speculation on Jim Ross being the mystery guy at the TNA tapings tonight, that won’t be the case as Ross will be in Thackerville, OK, with his wife, at the Bellator show. Ross and Bellator announcer Sean Grande are good friends and Ross is an MMA fan.

WWE
As noted above, John Cena and Nikki Bella are not on this weekend’s WWE house shows. I doubt they will be next weekend since Cena is hosting the Kids Choice Awards on 3/11. Randy Orton will not be in LaCrosse, WI tomorrow but he is scheduled for the rest of the tour. This is all subject to change since the ad department isn’t always aware of what’s going on as last weekend shows.
Jerry Lawler will be in Milwaukee to do the post-fight show after Fast Lane on the WWE Network.
A story on Natalya is here.
A story on Dean Ambrose and Renee Young is here.
UFC
Tickets for the 4/15 show in Nashville went on sale today priced from $175 down to $40. Cub Swanson vs. Artem Lobov is the main event.
Here were the results of the World MMA Awards from last night’s ceremony in Las Vegas:
Fighter of the Year- Conor McGregor
Female Fighter of the Year – Amanda Nunes
Breakthrough Fighter of the Year – Cody Garbrandt
International Fighter of the Year – Khabib Nurmagomedov
Fight of the Year – Cub Swanson vs. Doo Ho Choi
Knockouts of the Year – Michael Page vs. Cyborg Santos
Submission of the Year – Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor
Comeback of the Year – Miesha Tate vs. Holly Holm
Upset of the Year – Michael Bisping vs. Luke Rockhold
Coach of the Year – John Kavanagh
Trainer of the Year – Mike Dolce
Gym of the Year – American Top Team
Referee of the Year – John McCarthy
Ringcard Girl of the Year – Jhenny Andrade
Leading Man – Dana White
Promotion of the Year – UFC
Analyst of the Year – Dominick Cruz
Best program – Ultimate Fighter
Best Media Source – MMA Fighting
Best MMA reporter – Ariel Helwani
Best Clothing brand – Venum

MISCELLANEOUS
ROH announced a joint show with New Japan Pro Wrestling on 5/12 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. We had reported on that show several months ago, but they didn’t want to announce it because they didn’t want to hurt tickets sales for tomorrow’s show in the same building.
The Evolve show on 3/30 at 8 p.m. in Orlando, the Thursday before WrestleMania, has a strong lineup with Zack Sabre Jr. vs. ACH for the Evolve title, Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi vs. Michael Elgin & Donovan Dijak for the tag titles, Matt Riddle vs. Drew Galloway, Ricochet vs. Keith Lee plus Ethan Page, Timothy Thatcher and more. They also run 3/31 at 4 P.M. with Sabre Jr. vs. Elgin for the Evolve title, Yehi vs. Riddle, Lee vs. Dijak, and ACH vs. Galloway.
The deal for Impact Wrestling to bring in Alberto El Patron wasn’t finalized until Wednesday.
Reno Scum’s match was taped for next week’s Impact and they were wearing the GFW tag team titles belts, so GFW and those belts will be acknowledged on television.
Add Tanea Brooks (Rebel) to the list of those expected back in Impact this week. 
Kurt Angle vs. Cody Rhodes takes place tonight for Northeast Wrestling in Waterbury, CT, at Crosby High School in a cage match. Also appearing are Great Khali, Ryback, Jerry Lawler, Vinny Marseglia, TK O’Ryan, Hanson and Charles “Godfather” Wright. There is a Sports lllustrated interview on it here.
There is a documentary called Wrestling School about the Santino Brothers school that can be viewed here. PROMO CODE: OBSERVER
A look at the last PWG show is here.
Guardians of the Galaxy II, where Dave Bautista will once again play Drax, opens on 4/25 in Australia.
Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Jeremy Prophet headlines on 5/13 for Great North Wrestling in Hawkesbury, ONT at the Smiths Falls Memorial Centre. Also on the show is Hannibal vs. Wes Brisco for the Canadian title. Both matches will be inside an MMA style cage.
SWF tomorrow night in Avenel, NJ at the Avenel Colombian Club.
ACH has been added to the WWN Supershow on 4/1 in Orlando. 
The next Style Battle show on Flo Slam is 3/12 in Ybor City, FL. Style Battle is a one-night eight-man tournament with first round matches of Martin Stone vs. Anthony Henry, Kyle Matthews vs. Jason Cade, Jon Davis vs. James Drake and Parrow vs. Jon Cruz.
Sean Waltman appears on 4/30 in London for IPW UK.
David Lagana talks his time in TNA.

Leon White (Vader) on his health issues from the Two Man Power Trip:

The cryptic tweets regarding his health:

“I really kind of regret tweeting it out. In other words when I got diagnosed and was told, ‘Leon, you have a bad heart and you have congestive heart failure and we feel your time is limited and you have maybe a couple of years left…two years or less to live.’ I remember getting very angry and said this has got to be bullshit because I don’t feel bad and I remember getting extremely angry. Since that time and when I got the news I left the hospital and went right to the gym and rode the bike for a half hour. Hard. As hard as I could and when I got off the bike and got on the treadmill and walked for another 15 minutes pretty hard and I was exhausted but my heart felt fine so how can I do that if my heart is going to give out? The doctor in some of the ongoing appointments that I had with him explained to me that when you are tipping the scales at 400 and 420-25 pounds that a man that size and that heavy isn’t supposed to be able to push himself in a cardiovascular endeavor no matter what it is much past 2 or 3 minutes.”

Accepting his fate and still taking bookings to wrestle:

“I kind of wish I hadn’t brought it up, and I am continuing to wrestle. Someone said, ‘Aren’t you afraid? Why would you get a booking (to wrestle) at this point when you’ve had this type of diagnosis?’ I said, ‘Brother, where would you rather die in a bed at home, or in the hospital, or would you rather die in front of 10,000 people having fun in the ring?”

“So, if it’s true, if this doctor isn’t just totally full of sh*t which, that’s what I’m betting on, and I should say ‘these doctors’ at this point you know, that’s my choice, and that’s the way I decide to go out. If this thing’s gonna happen, I’d rather be in a ring, anywhere, compared to sitting in a hospital room in a hospital bed, sitting there like some sheep getting ready to be slaughtered. It’s not who I am, and it’s not the way it’s gonna happen with me.”

F4W / WO EMPIRE WRESTLEMANIA GROUP INFO

BUS INFO:

The Empire bus to WrestleMania will cost $50.00 and will be round trip from Rosen Inn at 9000 International Drive 32819 (a few blocks away from Wrestlcon). THERE ARE ONLY 5 SEATS LEFT!
The bus will leave at 3:30pm (time subject to change) for WrestleMania and will leave WrestleMania no later then one hour after the show. If you would like a seat email Ed at f4wfan@hotmail.com or message him on the BOARD~! for Paypal payment instructions.

DINNER INFO:

WHAT: Dinner at Texas de Brazil
WHEN: Friday March 31st
WHERE: 5259 International Dr Ste F1, Orlando, FL 32819 at 5 p.m. (they may open at 4:30 for us)
WHO: All your best empire buddies, including BIG DAVE MELTZER
DETAILS: The cost of the dinner will be $68.00 which includes the dinner, salad bar, soft drinks and tea, and dessert, tax and tip. This is a pre pay dinner and you can send payment to paypal at Srjaialaiot@yahoo.com (please send as a gift to a friend). Payments must be made by March 24th (if you wait until after that, Ed will charge an extra $5.00 for being a pain).

Pro Wrestling Tees is now carrying our latest line of F4W shirts. Support the Empire~! Grab yours today!


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