Hello all, my name is Daniel Wade and I’ll be doing the OWW Weekly News and Notes from this point on. I’d like to thank Brad for the opportunity. And now, why not stop wasting space and get started?
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OWW Open Call
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Hermes Franca Retires
Former UFC 155 pound contender Hermes Franca announced his retirement on Jan. 8, 2010. Franca is 35 years old and has a professional record of 19-9. He once headlined UFC 73 in a battle for the Lightweight Championship against Sean Sherk. Sherk won a unanimous decision but after the fight it was announced both fighters had failed their post-fight steroid tests. Franca never fully recovered after that loss, going 1-4 in his last 5 fights before retiring.
OWW Radio News
This weeks guest: Rick “The Model” Martel
This weeks topics: TNA, Great, and not-so great heel persona’s, more
This weeks plugs:
OWW Radio Nominated for 2009 People’s Choice Award (Favorite Show)
Big news!! OWW Radio has been nominated for the 2009 People’s Choice Award (Favorite Show) by Wrestling Radio Awards.com. We consider it the utmost honor and privilege to be nominated for this award.
WWE began it’s annual January talent purge this past week with 7 Developmental wrestlers and 1 main roster wrestler being released.
Tommy Dreamer, who’s been with the company since July 2001 when he was brought in as part of the WCW/ECW Invasion angle, requested his release late last year and was finally granted it last week. Dreamer is a former World Tag Team Champion and 14x Hardcore Champion in WWE and had been working mostly as an agent for the ECW brand as of late. In non-typical WWE fashion, Dreamer was given a live mic after his final match and thanked the fans for their years of support then left the ring with his head held high, carrying his two daughters up the ramp with him. Most people in the back are expecting Dreamer to go to TNA once his no-compete clause has expired.
Also on the chopping block was Developmental talent Leroy Morgan, real name Max McGuirk. Max is the son of former WWF ring announcer Mike McGuirk and grandson of legendary territory days promoter Leroy McGuirk. Max had begun his wrestler career at the tail end of 2007 and was awarded with a Developmental Contract thereafter.
DJ Gabriel, who had worked a number of ECW shows last year with a dancing gimmick, was also released. Gabriel had been on somewhat of a roll on ECW, putting together a few decent matches but wasn’t able to get over with the crowds thanks in large part to the goofy dancing gimmick he was given. Once Gabriel’s manager Alicia Fox was taken from him and moved to RAW, Gabriel was moved back to FCW where he was hardly used, even after being given a character change.
Also of note would be Developmental talent Johnny Riggs who, like Dreamer, had requested his release from the company. Riggs had been in WWE Developmental for a little over a year but hadn’t found much success. Prior to his Developmental deal, Riggs had worked a tag team dark match for TNA Final Resolution 2007, suprisingly picking up a win over TNA contracted wrestlers Serotonin.
With a string of releases usually comes a few Developmental signings.
Josh Fatu, the son of former Intercontinental and World Tag Team Champion Rikishi, has agreed to a Developmental deal with WWE. Fatu made his debut in Florida Championship Wrestling last week.
There have also been reports that luchadore Super Nova has signed with WWE and will be debuting in Florida Championship Wrestling soon. Super Nova would make the fourth luchadore signed by WWE within the last twelve months, including Sicodelico Jr (Released), Dos Caras Jr (who is wrestling in FCW unmasked with a generic gimmick, Alberto Banderas), and Incognito (also unmasked in FCW with a generic gimmick, Jorge Arias).
Hart Family DVD in the Works
It’s been reported that a number of Hart Family members have recently recorded interviews for a Hart Family DVD project. Names I’ve seen confirmed recently include Bret, DH Smith, Natalya, Tyson Kidd, and Jim Neidhart. It’ll be interesting to see which of Bret’s siblings make the cut and if WWE will be able to pry an interview out of Dynamite Kid, which I doubt.
WWE owns the Stampede Wrestling tape library up to 1989 so it’s also possible the final product will take the form of a Stampede memorial DVD much in the vein of the AWA, WCCW, ECW, and WCW DVDs that have come out. Those DVDs have traditionally been top sellers for WWE and one has to believe a Stampede DVD with an abundance of Hart participation would do very well.
Stone Cold Breaks Rambo’s Neck
A news story recently came out that Sylvester Stallone suffered a broken neck at the hands of Stone Cold in a scene for their upcoming film “The Expendables.” Stallone reportedly suffered a hairline fracture in his neck which required emergency surgery and a steel plate being inserted into his neck.
The reason I bring this up is because Austin also broke the nose of a stunt double, Paul Lazenby, on the set of The Condemned. Maybe it’s time to start using a stunt double Mr. Austin.
Bryan Danielson Update
Bryan Danielson, who signed with WWE way back in August and has been in Las Vegas training on his own at an Extreme Couture gym, will finally make his debut in WWE Developmental territory Florida Championship wrestling in the coming weeks. Danielson worked a dark match prior to the January 4th RAW, defeating Chavo Guerrero. Guerrero praised the match on his Twitter account that night.
Danielson reportedly ASKED to be brought to FCW after his dark match, citing ring rust due to his not being used in 4 months. He’s being touted in an FCW press release as “Internation Superstar” Bryan Danielson.
TNA Wrestling Takes Small Steps Forward
In response to the record 1.4 rating TNA drew head-to-head against RAW on Jan. 4, the company has announced a few more steps in the battle with WWE.
Starting this week TNAWrestling.com will be doing a live pre-iMPACT and post-iMPACT internet podcast, as well as pre- and post-PPV shows. The show will likely be hosted by Jeremy Borash, who had a similar gig in WCW about a decade ago.
Jeff Jarrett has also said the company is working on setting up live internet broadcasts of their PPVs for people who don’t have access to them via satellite or cable.
I’m personally wondering why they don’t get broadcasts of iMPACT uploaded to Hulu.com. WWE has already taken this step with full episodes of SmackDown! and ECW being available a day or two after original broadcast. Good way to catch up on the shows if, like me, you don’t have MyNetworkTV.
There are alot of rumors that TNA is also looking at a permanent move to Monday nights.
TNA President Dixie Carter has also confirmed in an Interview with British Newspaper The Daily Star that TNA Genesis will air live on www.TNAppv.com at the cost of £10.50 (equivalent to $17.10) . TNA Fans have also noted that their Sky Guide does not make any mention of TNA Genesis on Wednesday (the usual PPV airing in the UK). This could mean there will be no future TV broadcast of PPV’s. Dixie Carter had the following to say to the Daily Star :
“You’ll see more wrestling and less talk.
“We’ll let the action propel those storylines versus the talk. The fans will be the ones who win.”
And of Monday’s bumper show, she said: “Thank you, thank you for helping TNA set record ratings in every way last night. We ALL won.”
This will be great news for many in the UK who normally receive the TNA PPV’s on the Wednesday following the Sunday PPV. To compare WWE PPV’s air live in the UK on Sky Sports and Sky Box office however UK fans pay for half of them at the cost of around £14.95 (equivalent to $24.36) while the other half a free. The downside however is UK fans are used to many free PPV’s from WWE and if TNA intend to charge for every PPV they could see a dent in the number of UK buys. [Thanks to Ben Kerin of Wrestling-Radio.com]
One of TNA’s newest employees, Bubba the Love Sponge, who was given his job because he’s a personal friend of Hulk Hogan and likely nothing more, verbally bashed former TNA employee Jim Cornette on his nationwide talkshow recently. Cornette was released from TNA earlier this year after citing problems with the company’s direction under Vince Russo. The segment, in it’s entirety, can be heard on Youtube below.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqHXIJbzoIU – Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTgoejShXmg – Part 2
Personally, the only thing I really have to say is that Jim Cornette has had a job in the wrestling business for over 40 years. He has applied his knowledge and done a very good job at it in basically every company that has ever meant anything in this country. TNA would be wise to listen to some of the things Jim Cornette has to say, no matter the audio quality. Bubba got his job because he’s friends with Hulk Hogan – that’s it. I’m sure Cornette will have something to say back to Bubba, he’s never been one to take ignorant criticism lightly.
Jim White Passes Away
On January 7, 2010 Jim White passed away at the age of 67 after a long battle with cancer. After training under Johnny Thunder, White began his professional career in the early ’60s, working for promoters such as Chicago promoter Fred Kohler and Nashville promoter Nick Gulas. White was very active throughout the southern US throughout his career and formed a successful tag team with Jerry “The King” Lawler in the Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling promotion in the early 70s. White was forced to retire from pro wrestling in 1985 due to a hip injury. He was an honoree at the 1997 Cauliflower Alley Club convention and was inducted into the East Tennesee Wrestling Hall of Fame. Prior to being stricken with cancer, White was a regular at wrestling reunions across the country, especially the CAC and Gulf Coast Wrestlers Reunions. Jim leaves behind a wife and two sons.
Ludvig Borga Passes Away
Former WWE Superstar Ludvig Borga passed away at the age of 47 on January 10, 2009. After being trained by Verne Gagne and honing his craft in the AWA, UWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and a number of other territories, Borga made his WWF debut in 1993 as the typical monster foreign heel. He began a squash match win streak that lasted for a few months before he defeated Tatanka on television, ending the Native American wrestler’s own near two year undefeated streak. Borga worked a few main events with Lex Luger and had a small run with Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon until an ankle injury forced him to retire from wrestling.
After his retirement, Borga competed in a few MMA matches for the early UFC and the RINGS promotions. Most of his career is undocumented except for a :57 loss to future UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. Borga also competed as a pro boxer, mostly in his native Finland, where he compiled a 13-6 record. He was also an accomplished author, having published 4 books, released an album, served as a member of Finnish Parliament, and was an accomplished actor, including having a small role in the mainstream hit Die Hard with a Vengeance.
Borga’s personal life was plagued with drug and alchohol problems, including voluntarily checking himself into a mental hospital in 2006 for a battle with delirium that ended his Parliamentary run. Last month he was quoted in a Finnish newspaper as having problems with his short-term memory. It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but a number of Finnish newspapers have speculated that his death was the result of suicide.
!BANG! TV Press Release
!BANG! TV Report – New Webisodes for Support Your Troops 48, “Genesis.”
A new series of Webisodes are now up on !BANG! TV in support ot the next !BANG! TV Taping Support Your Troops 48, “Genesis” coming to the !BANG! TV Sound Stage Sunday January 23rd
The new series of Webisodes now on !BANG! feature “The Pencil” Dory Funk Jr. interacting with the stars of !BANG! TV as they prepare in their own way for the first show of the New Year, Support the Troops 48, “Genesis.”
To see the newest of Webisodes on !BANG! TV, visit http://www.dory-funk.com.
Next !BANG! TV Taping Saturday January 23rd,, Support Your Troops 48, “Genesis.”
5 Main Events
United States Championship Match
Johnny Magnum (Champion) vs Damien Steele
Pro-Wrestling vs MMA Fighter
Blain Rage vs Luke Spencer
Women’s Championship Match
Claudia “The Claw” Reiff (Champion)
The Wasilla Wrecker, Rachael Moore
European Championship Match
ECW’s Hack Meyers vs Walter “Killer” Roberts
Dory Funk Jr. in “Killer” Roberts’ Corner
# 1 Contender’s Match
The Cold Front
Christian Norskog vs Jordan Vinson
For ticket information and training schedules for the Funking Conservatory Wrestling School, Call 352-895-4658 or visit http://www.dory-funk.com.
Ring Of Honor will be holding TV tapings at The Arena in Philadelphia on May 21st & 22nd, 2010. The tapings on May 14th & 15th, 2010 have been canceled. [Thanks to Devin Cutting]
Pro wrestling and media personality Shannon Rose, whose courageous battle against a potentially debilitating disorder has inspired many throughout the country, has been named an “Everyday Hero” by Tampa-area Bay News 9 television. More info on the “Everyday Heroes” can be found at http://www.baynews9.com/EveryDayHero.html and more info on Shannon Rose can be found at his website, www.mediaproductions.tv [Thanks to Shannon Rose]
According to WWE.com, the house show in Amarillo, Texas has been moved back to February 26th, 2010 and changed back to a Raw event. Earlier in the week, it had been switched to a Smackdown/ECW show on February 27th, 2010. The postponed WWE house show in Tyler, Texas has been rescheduled for February 27th, 2010. This explains why the event in Amarillo was moved back to the 26th after being switched to the 27th earlier in the week. [Thanks to Devin Cutting]
WEC 46: Varner -vs- Henderson (Jan. 10)
Lightweight Championship bout: Jamie Varner (c) vs. Ben Henderson (ic)
Henderson defeated Varner via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:41 of Round 3 to become the undisputed WEC Lightweight Champion.
Featherweight bout: Urijah Faber vs. Raphael Assuncao
Faber defeated Assuncao via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:49 of Round 3.
Lightweight bout: Dave Jansen vs. Kamal Shalorus
Shalorus defeated Jansen via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Featherweight bout: Mike Brown vs. Anthony Morrison
Brown defeated Morrison via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:54 of Round 1.
Featherweight bout: Mackens Semerzier vs. Deividas Taurosevi?ius
Taurosevi?ius defeated Semerzier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Bantamweight bout: Charlie Valencia vs. Akitoshi Tamura
Valencia defeated Tamura via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Bantamweight bout: Wagnney Fabiano vs. Clint Godfrey
Fabiano defeated Godfrey via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Featherweight bout: Mark Hominick vs. Bryan Caraway
Hominick defeated Caraway via submission (triangle) at 3:48 of Round 1. This bout, although preliminary, was aired on the live broadcast.
Bantamweight bout: Eddie Wineland vs. George Roop
Wineland defeated Roop via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 20-27).
Bantamweight bout: Coty Wheeler vs. Will Campuzano
Campuzano defeated Wheeler via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27).
Fighters were awarded $10,000 bonuses.
Fight of the Night: Coty Wheeler vs. Will Campuzano
Knockout of the Night: Not awarded as no matches ended with knockout
Submission of the Night: Urijah Faber
Once again a strong showing from WEC. Although owned by Zuffa, the same company that owns the UFC, the WEC hasn’t had an opportunity to build it’s brand as strongly as it’s sister company has. But strong shows like this one will keep fans happy and the possibility of an upcoming debut on PPV will do alot to strengthen the brand. The main event was a unification match between Lightweight Champion Jamie Varner, who was stepping into the cage for the first time in a year, and Ben Henderson, who defeated the man who put Varner on the shelf to win the Interim Lightweight Championsip. The fight was an exciting tilt, with the first round being a showcase of Varner’s worldclass boxing and Henderson’s all-around striking skills. Henderson also showed his exceptional ground game by battling out of an early guillotine submission attempt. The second round was much of the same tit-for-tat striking with no clear winner emerging. However, when Varner attemped as double leg takedown in the third round he was caught by a standing guillotine by Henderson, who quickly finished the fight. Henderson is now the Undisputed WEC Lightweight Champion. No word on who his next opponent will be.
The other big story of the night was former WEC posterboy Urijah Faber submitting BJJ blackbelt Raphael Assuncao in the third round of their fight. With that win Faber is now positioned to take on Jose Aldo in an attempt to reclaim the WEC Featherweight Championship that he held for 2 years before dropping it to Mike Brown in Nov. 2008. It is widely believed that Faber/Aldo will take place sometime this Summer and, with Faber’s massive popularity, it has been speculated that this is the fight that could headline the WEC’s first PPV venture.
UFC Fight Night 20: Diaz -vs- Maynard (Jan. 11)
Middleweight bout: Nick Catone vs. Jesse Forbes
Catone defeated Forbes via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
Middleweight bout: Gerald Harris vs. John Salter
Harris defeated Salter via TKO (strikes) at 3:24 of round 3.
Lightweight bout: Kyle Bradley vs. Rafael dos Anjos
dos Anjos defeated Bradley via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Welterweight bout: Mike Guymon vs. Rory MacDonald
MacDonald defeated Guymon via submission (armbar) at 4:27 of round 1.
Lightweight bout: Thiago Tavares vs. Nik Lentz
Tavares and Lentz fought to a majority draw after three rounds. The judges scored the fight 29-27 (Lentz), 28-28 and 28-28. A point deduction was given to Tavares for a shot to the groin.
Welterweight bout: Rick Story vs. Jesse Lennox
Story defeated Lennox via split decision (30-27, 30-27, 28-29). Due to a scoring error, the bout was initially announced as a majority draw.
Middleweight bout: Chris Leben vs. Jay Silva
Leben defeated Silva via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Welterweight bout: Amir Sadollah vs. Brad Blackburn
Sadollah defeated Blackburn via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Middleweight bout: Tom Lawlor vs. Aaron Simpson
Simpson defeated Lawlor via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
Lightweight bout: Efrain Escudero vs. Evan Dunham
Dunham defeated Escudero via submission (armbar) at 1:59 of round 3
Lightweight bout: Gray Maynard vs. Nate Diaz
Maynard defeated Diaz via split decision (29-28, 28-29 30-27).
Fighters were awarded $30,000 bonuses.
Fight of the Night: Tom Lawlor vs. Aaron Simpson
Knockout of the Night: Gerald Harris
Submission of the Night: Evan Dunham
I thought the show wasn’t bad. There were alot of decision fights which, when a fight goes three rounds, I personally know alot of people who consider it to be a boring fight. They always want to see finishes. The only thing really notable coming from the show was the poor performance of Gray Maynard. It was speculated that a strong win on this show would put the still undefeated Maynard in contention for a shot at BJ Penn and the UFC Lightweight Championship. Soon after Maynard’s split decision win it was announced that Frankie Edgar would instead be getting the next title shot. Maynard’s current spot in the title rankings is now in question.
The show itself scored a 1.2 rating, which isn’t bad and is fairly consistent with what Fight Nights draw. For a show that only airs once every few months they’re able to maintain a consistent viewership. which is somewhere around 1.3-1.5 million people. You also have to look at the card, which could be perceived as weak in this case. No failed drug tests were reported. All in all, it was a successful show.
UFC Sells Stock
On January 12th, the UFC sold 10% of it’s stock to Flash Entertainment, a United Arab Emirates based company. The UFC is a privately owned company with ownership now breaking down as Frank & Lorenzo Fertitta owning 40% each and Dana White & Flash Entertainment owning 10%. No price was listed for the stock.
Flash Entertainment is HQ’ed in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. Abu Dhabi is home to the Abu Dhabi Combat Club, an organization that puts on submission fighting tournaments that are known and revered worldwide. UFC is considering running UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi in April, headlined by a proposed dual main event of BJ Penn defending his UFC Lightweight Championship against Frankie Edgar and Anderson Silva defending his UFC Middleweight Championhsip against Vitor Belfort. Penn/Edgar has been signed while the Silva/Belfort fight is being held up to see how Silva recovers from a recent elbow surgery.
It hasn’t been officially confirmed yet but one has to believe that this company buying in and being headquarted in the city would be a strong indication that the show will indeed be held in Abu Dhabi. The Fertittas have turned down numerous offers from large US corporations, including CBS and ESPN to buy stock in UFC so this new partnership with Flash Ent. is curious. CBS eventually turned their funding to StrikeForce and ESPN is expected to be part of the bidding war for UFC and WEC shows when the current television contracts come up.
OWW MMA Rankings
I’d like to thank OWW Genesis’s Pumpt for compiling these rankings and allowing me to use them in this column. If you have any disagreements with the rankings feel free to join Genesis, the official forum for Online World of Wrestling, and dispute them. To save space here I’ll just be including the Top 5 in each weight class and omitting the reason why. You’ll find the original rankings, in their entirety, in the MMA Forum.
HEAVYWEIGHTS 206lbs – 265lbs
1. Fedor Emelianenko 31-1
2. Frank Mir 13-4
3. Brock Lesnar 4-1
4. Junior Dos Santos 10-1
5. Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera 32-5-1
Graham Cawthon of The History of WWE.com is doing a giveaway where every week 1 lucky fan has the chance to win a FREE shoot-style DVD. This week’s DVD is the recent YouShoot: Bob Holly production. For more information on the giveaway and how you can put your name in the hat visit www.thehistoryofwwe.com [Thanks to Graham Cawthon]
Gabe Sapolsky just wrote a new blog, probably the most personal one he has ever written. It looks at the 13 month road to EVOLVE including new stuff about being fired from ROH, some projects he was working on that led to EVOLVE, Bryan Danielson talk, Davey Richards and more at: www.Myspace.com/rohgabe [Thanks to Gabe Sapolsky]
For more info on these news stories and others visit the Online World of Wrestling Forums, OWW Genesis, where our News board is kept updated throughout the week. www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/forums