Ben Askren predicts Georges St-Pierre fight: He will mentally break in the fifth round
Retired undefeated welterweight fighter Ben Askren has been wanting to fight Georges St-Pierre for a while now. In fact, he says he foresees a fight between them will be finalized for late 2019 in Montreal, Canada.
Now, "Funky" is offering a prediction of how the fight will happen, where he unsurprisingly sees himself as the victor. However, he feels it would be an ugly night for the two-division UFC champion in the process.
"Here's what I think happens, because the one thing I have over him is I have the wrestling advantage and I don't get tired, and that's usually what he's relied on in the last, say, 10 to 12 fights or so," Askren said on Monday's episode of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). "I think he's very tough to take down early. I think he's very tough. I think he's probably going to win the striking battle, but one of the things, I never take a lot of damage. I just don't get hit a lot. That's what I'm good at."
Askren believes he would be able to wear St-Pierre down so badly, that he ends up winning via a late stoppage.
"And over the course of the second and third round, I start to wear him down, my takedowns become more effective," he continued. "By the third and fourth round, I've started dominating with my top game. He's used to being on top -- he can't get me off of the top. If he does get a momentary glimpse of hope, I'm back on him, no problem.
"And in the fifth round, he mentally breaks and he says, 'I can't do this anymore, I've never been in this position in my life,' and he lets me finish him."
"TKO. He just says, 'I'm done with this sh-t.'"
From his end, St-Pierre is not at all interested in a fight against Askren and is looking for a fight that would enhance his legacy, if he does decide to make a comeback.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans will return to 205-pounds after a brief spell at middleweight to face Anthony Smith at UFC 225 in Chicago. The UFC will return to Chicago's United Center on June 9th for the first time since UFC on FOX 20 in July 2016. Brett Okamato of ESPN first reported the new matchup for the card on Monday, March 12.
Evans (19-7-1) returns to light heavyweight after losing consecutive fights at 185-pounds to Sam Alvey and Daniel Kelly. The former UFC light heavyweight champion hasn't won a fight since defeating Chael Sonnen by TKO at UFC 167 in November 2013.
Smith (28-13) last fought at UFC Belem in February when he lost to Thiago Santos by second round TKO. Before that, 'Lionheart' had won three straight fights, including third round knockouts over Hector Lombard and Andrew Sanchez.
Last Wednesday, the UFC finalized a heavyweight contest between Alistair Overeem and Curtis Blaydes for the card, which is also expected to include a strawweight bout between Claudia Gadelha and Carla Esparza, and a flyweight fight between Sergio Pettis and Joseph Benavidez. A middleweight title fight between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero has been rumored for the event as well.
For those of you who have been absolutely clamoring to see former WWE star CM Punk compete in the Octagon again, then there might be some good news for you.
When asked by someone on Twitter, "When are we gonna see you cry again in the Octagon?" the 39-year-old responded by saying he's fighting on June 9th, which would be UFC 225 in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, lost his MMA debut back at UFC 203, as Mickey Gall tapped him out in just over two minutes. Dana White recently said that CM Punk would get another shot at his first MMA win, but he didn't let on who the opponent would be.
One name that has floated around as a potential opponent is Mike Jackson, who fought and was choked out by Gall just months before Gall took on Punk. A report surfaced last month that Punk vs. Jackson was being discussed, but White said there was no deal in place whatsoever.
UFC 225 doesn't have a main event, although a middleweight title fight between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero is reportedly in the works to headline this show, which takes place at the United Center.
Max Griffin says Mike Perry win 'wasn't a fluke': 'I broke him, and you can't deny it'
Enemy territory. Coming off a loss. On the last fight of his contract. Biggest underdog on the card.
That's what Max Griffin had to deal with heading into his welterweight bout against Mike Perry on the UFC on FOX 28 main card last month in Orlando. It didn't look good for Griffin. Everyone was picking Perry. And mostly by knockout.
But one thing going for Griffin was that this was his first fight as a full-time fighter. He left his day job at the end of 2017. Starting this past camp, he trained more often, had less on his plate, and was subsequently able to focus much more on fighting than he had ever before.
Leaving his day job at a local health insurance company was a risky decision. It was a reliable job -- more so than fighting, anyway.
But it paid off.
Griffin came through at the end of February in a big way, defeating Perry by unanimous decision. He frustrated Perry with his boxing and reach advantage, outpointing the Florida resident from a distance over 15 minutes.
Griffin believes the work he put in between the last day at his job and the Perry fight made a difference.
"Usually when I fight, it's stressful," Griffin told BloodyElbow.com. "You have a lot of nerves, it's happening so fast. This time, it was slowed down. I was beyond comfortable. It was just slow. It was calm in there. It was great.
"I've never fought like this before. It's always like how you want to fight -- 'I want to this, I want to do that' -- but your nerves get a hold of you."
The Perry win, which moved Griffin's UFC record to 2-2, simply reassured Griffin that he had made the right choice by laying everything on the line and becoming a full-time fighter. Not only did he get back into the winning column, he put on an impressive performance against a highly-touted fighter in Perry -- that has to count for something, Griffin said.
"This was my breakthrough fight," he said. "I definitely made the right choice. I went all in, and it paid off big. It paid off major."
Usually, fighters want to get finishes. That's just the how MMA has always been. The more finishes, the better. The flashier they are, the better. Finishes can lead to performance bonuses -- which, for some fighters, can be life-changing -- and typically make the UFC happier with you. Fans want to see you fight again after you score a brutal knockout or put someone to sleep.
But Griffin actually thinks going the distance with Perry, as a major underdog, made his win more impressive. He said there's no argument to be made regarding his upset being just luck.
"I feel like I got to show a lot more by going that long," Griffin said. "I didn't take him early; I got to bust him up, show my speed, show my wrestling, show my cardio, show my movement. And it was real decisive. He got picked apart. He took some good punches.
"I feel better about it, because I did drop him, I did hurt him, I kind of embarrassed him. There was a lot more win in that win by making it a decision than just finishing the guy.
"It wasn't a fluke. I broke him, and you can't deny it."
Griffin wasn't happy to see after beating Perry that some people were questioning Perry's condition heading into the matchup (Perry lost a hard-fought decision to Santiago Ponzinibbio two months earlier, and has been very active over the past year or so). Griffin believes some are taking away from his win and not giving him the credit he deserves.
"All the media now is not giving me too much credit, because they counted me out so much," Griffin said. "They're saying more, 'Should Perry have fought me?' It's like they're taking away from me, like he had a bad night, instead of I actually put him exactly where I wanted to put him and beat him there."
Griffin said his gameplan worked to a tee. He knew a lot about Perry going in -- he knew that Perry hits hard, comes forward with aggression, and throws with all his might. Griffin also knew how to avoid Perry's power, proven by the fact that he did not get knocked out like many of Perry's past opponents.
Perry's lack of success was a result of Griffin's smart tactics, he said. Not Perry coming back too soon after his last fight.
"I made him fight like that," Griffin said. "I was doing particular things. He was in shape. People just don't understand that I fought the fight that I wanted him to fight.
"It wasn't a lucky fight. He got dismantled."
Griffin believes the Perry win has changed his life.
"To have this type of performance against a Mike Perry, it's a blessing," he said. "I'm so pumped for the future. It's like a fairy tale, just how it's going down, how I was able to do that to him. And everyone thought I was gonna lose. Everyone picked him. It helps my fire. I fought him for a reason. I'm telling you. People don't understand that."
Griffin said the Perry fight is the one where everyone will start remembering who he is. When fans look back on his career, the win in Orlando will mark a big transition period -- or, as Griffin calls it, the start of his career.
Griffin used his unsuccessful The Ultimate Fighter stint as an example. Back in 2012, when he fell short to Matt Secor in season 16's opening round, he wasn't ready to fight at the highest level. But now he is, he said.
"I'm just getting started," Griffin said. "This is just the beginning. My next deal is gonna be like the beginning of my career. This is like my breakthrough. This is my moment. Now is my time."
Now a free agent, Griffin plans on re-signing with the UFC. He believes the premier MMA promotion is still interested in his services, considering he's coming off the biggest win of his career.
"We sent something out," Griffin said. "They're definitely down, interested. My manager sent a message out, and they're totally on board. They see an interest all the way."
But Griffin won't sign the dotted line without a significant increase in pay. He believes he deserves to get paid more money after beating a widely-known fighter in Perry. He made $24,000 (which includes a $12,000 win bonus) for the Orlando bout, and wants a raise in his next contract.
"I want to get paid," Griffin said. "I feel like I can get paid. I feel like I'm worth it."
Griffin expects to remain in the UFC, but he said he'd entertain outside offers if the promotion doesn't offer him what he's looking for.
"I do want to stay in the UFC. And I think they'll let me. I feel like the owners know that I can do my job," Griffin said. "It's about getting paid, though. If someone else has some lucrative offer, hey, I'd consider it, honestly."
Former welterweight title challenger, Demian Maia is tired of waiting around for a fight. On a two-fight skid, with losses to champion Tyron Woodley and contender Colby Covington, Maia can't wait to get back in the Octagon to begin a new winning streak.
As he explained to Combate, even his wife wants to see him back in action, as his last fight was in October 2017.
"Has it really been that long? Just yesterday my wife told me I didn't even look like a fighter anymore. I don't even spend time in the house, I do a lot of stuff. Unlike other fighters, I have 300 different businesses. I want to go back. I've been training for a while and I want to come back. My coach has been talking to the UFC, but there's nothing certain yet. The weight class is quite convoluted now, there's not a title fight on the horizon or anything. We'll just have to wait and see."
Although Demian did not ask for any specific names for his next fight, he did share some fighters that he admires inside the Octagon.
"There's some guys in my weight class who I really admire. It's hard to say, but guys like Donald Cerrone and Robbie Lawler have been around since forever, just like me. It doesn't matter who I fight next, the only important thing is to win. That's what I have to pursue."
Demian Maia dropped decision losses to Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington in his last two outings. His latest win came in May 2017, when he defeated Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision.
One of the featured fights at UFC 94 in January 2009 was a lightweight fight between Clay Guida and Nate Diaz. Guida won via split decision, but both men took home an extra $50,000 for Fight of the Night honors.
Nine years later, "The Carpenter" is calling for a second fight against the younger Diaz brother for UFC 225 in Chicago, via a recent Instagram video he posted.
Hey Natalie. Want a Rematch? I'll see you in "The 312" ChiTown. Unless you're scared. Oh, and don't forget to bring your Painkilling Weed Pen. You're gonna need it... Homey!!! #[email protected] @danawhite @seanshelby @ufc
"Yo, what's up 209 bitch? Yeah, I'm talking about you Nate Diaz," Guida said. "We scrapped it out about nine years ago, but maybe it was a fluke. So, what do you say we do it one more time for the fans?"
"And when you sign on that dotted line before you get in the cage, make sure you get real, real high this time. So when I spike you on your head and put you in a full nelson like last time, you won't feel a thing. See you in Chicago, homie."
Since Diaz was involved in the two Conor McGregor fights in 2016 and became one of the biggest "money fighters" in the UFC, a lot on the roster have begun calling him out. The most notable one was welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who was even 100% confident that Diaz would be his next opponent, only to be shut down by UFC president Dana White himself.
Diaz has yet to respond to Guida's callout, but already make it clear that he would only come back if he was "approached respectably."
UFC 225 is slated to take place on June 9th at the United Center. Two of the bouts that are reportedly being targeted to be part of the said card is a rematch between middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero, as well as a fight between Chicago native CM Punk and Mike Jackson.
Ilir Latifi hopes to launch wildlife show, be the next Steve Irwin
Ilir Latifi has major plans outside the cage.
The UFC light heavyweight contender hopes to launch a wildlife show in the future. Latifi has always loved nature and animals, he said, and wants to travel the world, see areas he's never come across before, and visit many different animals -- and let people watch it all play out.
"I've always said one day, I'm gonna do a Steve Irwin kind of animal show," Latifi told BloodyElbow.com. "100 percent, you're gonna see that. That is gonna be on another level. You're never gonna see the things that I'm gonna do."
Right now, Latifi's wildlife show is mostly a dream. It's something he wants to do. But he is hoping to take it to the next step -- one step closer to reality -- sooner than later.
"I have plans about that," he said. "I just want to find the right people and team to work with, great production team to do it. I would love to do it. A lot of people would love to see it, right? I'm gonna do a crazy show."
Latifi has already mapped out a rough sketch of exactly where he'd film -- and has a specific order, too.
"Probably we will start in Africa, do the big five: see all the lions, the buffalo, the rhinos -- rhinos are my favorite -- elephants," Latifi said. "Then probably do the Amazon in Brazil, see that. And Australia. There's a lot of cool places to see. Nature is amazing."
However, Latifi's to-be-named wildlife show won't come to fruition before a 205-pound title bid in the UFC.
"First we gotta win this title. I have a lot of work to do," he said.
Latifi's love for nature has seemingly been evident for years. The Sweden resident gained fan-favorite status for two iconic photos that were posted online. The first one was of Latifi riding a horse on a beach. It was taken about four years ago in Cape Verde, an island off the west coast of Africa, he said. He never expected it to gain such fame among hardcore MMA fans.
"I'm very interested in everything with nature and animals and wildlife," Latifi said. "I just love taking a ride on a horse on the beach.
"I never thought [there] would be such a hype about that photo. I think it's just like it is a natural photo, and almost a little bit raw -- like some kind of ancient time, I don't know what. But it's a cool photo, I can admit it."
The second photo is more recent. Latifi arguably stepped up his animal-riding game, this time photographed riding an elephant in Thailand.
"I was at an elephant sanctuary that helps elephants that have been abused and stuff," Latifi said. "They take care of them. I was there visiting and got the opportunity to meet some amazing animals. Elephants are very intelligent; they have a great memory."
Latifi has realized over the years that he has gained a fairly large fan base thanks to the above photos.
"I know I have a huge support around the world -- not only from Sweden and Albania, but all over the world," Latifi said. "I have a big community that supports me. I love the fans that are there. It means a lot.
"It's cool when fans, they love you in that way. Sometimes you have great fighters, but they don't get promoted, so people can't see them in that way. But to be able to do that, even if you're not promoted or if you are, that's amazing, so I'm very thankful for that. I'm just being me."
If anyone's curious whether Latifi plans to one up the horse and elephant photos, it appears that there's a good chance:
"Can you imagine seeing me riding a rhino?" Latifi asked. "It would be amazing."
Holly Holm on Cris Cyborg: 'I would definitely want that rematch'
Holly Holm might have dropped a unanimous decision to Cris Cyborg at UFC 219, but 'The Preacher's Daughter' gave the reigning women's featherweight champion the toughest fight of her carer back in December at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Naturally, Holm would like a championship rematch with Cyborg but the Jackson-Wink product is realistic about her chances, understanding that she'll need a win before she gets another crack at the title.
"I would definitely want that rematch," Holm said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour, per MMA Fighting's Dave Doyle.
"It's not something I'm putting all my thought into. I really don't think that can be my next fight, I bet you it will be something else. I don't know what it might be, maybe 135, maybe 145, I'm not really putting too much into thinking it has to be one way or the other. I guess it's just one of those things that I always want to beat the unbeatable, I guess".
Holm, a former multi-division boxing champ, still hasn't watched the tape back from UFC 219 but says she'll probably replay the footage when she starts her next training camp.
"If I get back into training camp, I probably will," she said. "I've seen clips here and there. Mostly highlights of her hitting me, basically that's how it went in that fight. But I know I had some good moments, there were a couple times I hit her with some good solid shots and I just felt like, you know, in the clinch I was doing some good things. There's always some things to build on. It always takes me awhile to go back to my fight."
Holm is determined to avenge the loss and believes a rematch would be a completely 'different fight'.
"I think about all my fights, I always want to avenge my losses," Holm said. "I want that fight back I know it's a lot of work and the biggest women's fighter in all the divisions of the UFC, but, it's also I feel like I can do it and I want to do it again.
"There are a couple things, basic things, just I could have been more active in situations and been controlling them. Every fight is different, too. There's things I have, goals I want to get better at... If her and I got a rematch, it still would be a different fight. No two fights are exactly the same."
Holm, the former UFC women's bantamweight titleholder, hasn't fought since her loss to Cyborg back in December. Cyborg, on the other hand, returned to the Octagon this past month at UFC 222, knocking out Yana Kunitskaya in the main event to defend her featherweight title.
Luke Rockhold says it was 'ridiculous' for Yoel Romero to kiss him on cheek at UFC 221
Yoel Romero stepped across the line after his knockout win over Luke Rockhold at UFC 221.
Shortly after crumpling Rockhold with a monster left hand in the third round, 'Soldier of God' walked over to a very disorientated Rockhold, pushed his head into his face and kissed him on the cheek.
It might sound like a bit of harmless fun, but Romero shouldn't have been allowed to put his hands on a KO'd opponent so shortly after the win, and Rockhold didn't exactly give consent.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on a recent edition of The MMA Hour, Rockhold called Romero's actions at UFC 221 'ridiculous' and believes the Cuban-born fighter is 'a bit fake'.
"For him to come across the cage like that, it's just ridiculous for them to let him do that," Rockhold said, per MMA Fighting's Marc Raimondi. "Not a big fan of how he carries himself. He's a bit fake. I'm not really saying how I feel. I am who I am. Like it or hate it."
The interim middleweight title was supposed to be on the line for both fighters at UFC 221 but, after Romero missed weight by 1.7 pounds, only Rockhold was eligible to win the belt.
Rockhold, though, had weight cutting issues of his own and says he didn't feel himself in the main event. The Californian is expected to make a permanent move to the light heavyweight division in the coming months.
"Yoel felt strong," he said. "He felt big. I didn't feel my best.... The weight cuts are getting to me these days.
"The man felt like cement. I thought I could really take his movement and force him to wrestle more, but that really wasn't the case... I had to work around my kicks. I just didn't put it together like I should have."
Rockhold, a former UFC middleweight champion, dropped to No. 3 in the official middleweight rankings and has teased at a light heavyweight bout against Alexander Gustafsson.
Romero, 40, is expected to rematch current middleweight champ Robert Whittaker at UFC 225 on June 9 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Holloway prefers Khabib fight over McGregor rematch at 155 pounds: 'To be the best, you got to beat the best'
Nowadays, it is pretty much a given that taking a fight against Conor McGregor would mean an instant fat paycheck. And while many fighters on the UFC roster have been looking to capitalize on the opportunity, not everyone is interested in such a "big money fight."
Two-division world champion Georges St-Pierre recently went on record to shut down a McGregor fight, mainly because he feels it would not do much for his overall legacy as a fighter. Featherweight champion Max Holloway seems to feel the same way and prefers to face current 155-pound title contender Khabib Nurmagomedov.
"You know, everybody keeps talking about me and a guy too. That Irish man [Conor McGregor]," Holloway told Cage Fanatic's Mike Finch in a recent interview (transcript via MMA Mania). "Everybody wants to see us run that back, everybody seems to not be talking about Khabib. I want Khabib. You know, to be the best you got to beat the best and one of those guys is Khabib."
Holloway, however, looks like he is taking the same path as McGregor did during his very short stint as featherweight champion.
"I remember Tony (Ferguson) saying that he wanted to come down to 145 pounds, but they all can stay up there," Holloway said. "Stay at 155 pounds, no excuses, let me come up and let me fight. I'm a big boy and we can go up. And 170 pounds ain't so far after that."
"I'm a Samoan, I'm Hawaiian, I'm Polynesian. I love eating food. You guys know I love cupcakes," Holloway said. "I'm going to put my weight on and we'll see what happens. No one's safe. No one's safe. I'm willing. I'm ready to go. After this injury, we'll get back to it at 145 pounds and we'll go from there."
As of the moment, Holloway's upcoming assignment is his second title defense against the undefeated Brian Ortega. No date has been set for the fight yet, but Holloway is looking for it to happen at UFC 226 on July 7th for International Fight Week in Las Vegas.
Per WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon, Roman Reigns is temporarily suspended, effective immediately.
The suspension came moments after Reigns publicly criticized The Chairman for choosing not to punish Universal Champion Brock Lesnar when The Beast Incarnate did not appear live in Detroit to meet The Big Dog face-to-face as scheduled, four weeks before their title bout at WrestleMania 34.
Papa Roach debuts the new opening sequence for Monday Night Raw
The Dusty Classic kicked off on March 7 and will continue in the coming weeks on WWE NXT on WWE Network. The winners of this year's tournament will face NXT Tag Team Champions Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly for the titles at TakeOver: New Orleans on Saturday, April 7.
So far, The Authors of Pain defeated TM61 in a rematch of the 2016 Dusty Classic Final to advance to the Second Round.
Remaining First Round matches include the following:
- SAnitY vs. Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli
- Street Profits vs. Heavy Machinery
- Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs. Moustache Mountain
Which team will prevail in this year's prestigious tournament honoring the WWE Hall of Famer and move one step closer to challenging for the NXT Tag Team Titles? Tune in to NXT every Wednesday night at 8/7 C on the award-winning WWE Network to watch all the action unfold
While his song "New Orleans" is setting the tone for the party atmosphere that WrestleMania is bringing to The Big Easy this year, Kid Rock will be taking his place in WWE history.
As first reported by Billboard.com, Kid Rock will join the WWE Hall of Fame's Celebrity Wing as a member of the Class of 2018. He'll be inducted into the hallowed hall on Friday, April 6, in New Orleans during WrestleMania 34 Week in The Big Easy. He joins Goldberg, The Dudley Boyz, Ivory, Jeff Jarrett, Hillbilly Jim and Warrior Award recipient Jarrius "JJ" Robertson among those being honored that night.
Kid Rock's musical career is legendary. After breaking into the mainstream music scene in the late 1990s with songs like "Bawitdaba" and "Cowboy," the Detroit native has gone on to sell more than 26 million albums. His unique blend of rap, rock and country music has helped him transcend genres and become one of the most popular recording artists going today.
His in-your-face style in the studio and on stage has made Kid Rock a big contributor to the soundtrack of the WWE Universe. Several of his songs have been the official themes for WWE pay-per-view events, including "Cocky" and the worldwide hit, "All Summer Long." Kid Rock's music has also been entrance music for a select few Superstars. The Undertaker used the 2000 single "American Bad Ass" as he thundered to the ring on his motorcycle, while Kid Rock's cover of ZZ Top's hit "Legs" blared through arenas around the world as Stacy Keibler made her way to the squared circle. He's even brought his incomparable live show to WWE on several occasions, including a May 2000 edition of Monday Night Raw, a stellar performance at the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania, and a show for America's armed forces during the 2012 edition of WWE's most patriotic night of the year, Tribute to the Troops.
For his huge contributions to the sound of WWE, Kid Rock will receive the great honor of induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
-Roman Reigns confronted Mr. McMahon over Universal Champion Brock Lesnar's absence
For a second time, Universal Champion Brock Lesnar did not honor a planned face-to-face with his WrestleMania challenger, Roman Reigns. Unlike last time, however, The Big Dog decided to take his grievances straight to the top, and unlike last time, he immediately faced the consequences.
Reigns' protests to Raw General Manager Kurt Angle over Lesnar's absence failed to produce a reprimand for The Beast Incarnate, which he said was no surprise, as Lesnar was "Vince's boy." As such, and given that The Chairman had "disrespected" Reigns by not informing him of Lesnar's absence in person, The Big Dog made his way behind the curtain and demanded answers from Mr. McMahon himself.
Their ensuing closed-door meeting was not captured by cameras, though The Chairman was caught coming out of his office and cleared the air on a few matters. For one, Lesnar was "nobody's boy," least of all his own. For another, no matter who Lesnar respects or does not, The Beast had indeed been afforded special privileges and could take advantage of them if he chose. Third, even though Lesnar occasionally steps out of line, Mr. McMahon gave his word that the Universal Champion would be at WrestleMania and, more immediately, he would be at Raw next week.
That said, since Reigns had failed to honor his famous cousin's catchphrase of "know your role and shut your mouth," Mr. McMahon found he had suffered the only disrespect of the evening. As a result, The Chairman announced that Reigns would be temporarily suspended for his actions.
-Sasha Banks def. Sonya Deville
It has been a rough couple of weeks for Sasha Banks and Bayley's friendship, and despite a cooling-off period that saw the two former champions reunite as allies on Raw, there may yet be an issue or two that needs working out.
Though Bayley was, indeed, ringside for Sasha Banks' match with Absolution's Sonya Deville and did, indeed, provide a crucial assist when Mandy Rose attempted to interfere (payment, apparently, for Banks' help the previous week), The Huggable One's willingness to have Sasha's back only went so far. Bayley left the ring immediately after Banks submitted Deville with the Bank Statement, making The Boss easy pickings for a two-on-one beatdown from Absolution as a result.
-The Raw Tag Team division attacked Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Sheamus
Cesaro & Sheamus may have thought they were out of the woods after beating all of Raw's tandems before WrestleMania even came around. Raw's tag teams seemed to disagree, however. The Raw Tag Team Champions had been set to battle The Miztourage (the last team left for them to battle) as a result of a half-joking "open invitation," to see who could hang with them, but Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel weren't the only team who decided to accept the offer.
Before the match could even start, each Team Red tandem -- The Revival, Heath Slater & Rhyno, Titus Worldwide and Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson -- ran to the ring, one after the other, and instigated an all-out brawl that The Bar narrowly escaped. Sheamus & Cesaro gave Raw General Manager Kurt Angle an earful about it, too: Despite the rumors of a Superstar Shake-up after WrestleMania, The Bar eviscerated Angle for allowing the Raw Tag Team division to attack en masse and demanded an immediate trade to SmackDown LIVE. The Olympic Hero, unsurprisingly, turned them down, though he did inform his champions their WrestleMania opponents would be decided in a Battle Royal among Raw's tag teams later in the evening.
-John Cena asked The Undertaker for one more match
John Cena's "Plan B" to get to WrestleMania failed at WWE Fastlane, so now he's circling back to "Plan A": Challenge The Undertaker to a match at The Show of Shows. Well aware that he had fallen short in his recent opportunities and was now hinging his WrestleMania hopes on the longest of long shots, Cena seemingly defied protocol and challenged The Deadman outright -- his rationale being that, as he had been told he wasn't going to compete at WrestleMania and had resigned himself to attending as a fan, he really had nothing to lose if The Phenom turned him down.
Cena went big in his call-out, too, claiming that The Deadman was the only factor stopping the match from happening in the first place. And given that he believed Undertaker's "ego" was the only thing holding him back, Cena decided to play to it. The 16-time World Champion flat-out asked the WWE Universe if they wanted to see him eat a Tombstone at The Showcase of the Immortals. When the fans responded in the thunderous affirmative, Cena dared The Deadman to try before leaving Raw with a tantalizing offer on the table: "One. More. Match."
-Finn Balor def. Seth Rollins
Technically, The Miz faces a disadvantage when he defends his Intercontinental Title against Seth Rollins and Finn Blor under Triple Threat rules at WrestleMania. However, credit where credit is due: The A-Lister has played the situation perfectly thus far. Rather than target or try to form an alliance with one of his opponents, Miz has instead stoked the lingering animosity between The Kingslayer and The Extraordinary Man - so much that even a joint "Miz TV" interview turned into a brawl that ended with Rollins decking Blor to the mat.
The mounting tensions also led to a match later in the night between The Awesome One's two challengers, a hard-hitting game of one-upsmanship that saw Rollins fight with a little extra fire given that Miz made a point of bringing up his Universal Title loss to Blor back at SummerSlam 2016. The two former champions went kick-for-kick as the match went on, but Blor went scientific for the deciding maneuver, trapping The Kingslayer in a small package while he was halfway through the superplex-Falcon Arrow combo.
The sudden loss left Rollins visibly frustrated as he left the ring, and seemed to confirm that all this drama forecasts the best possible outcome for Miz: Rollins is shaken, both challengers are a little worse for wear physically, and with their eyes on each other instead of the title, the champion could have his opponents right where he wants them.
-The Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal is announced for WrestleMania
As the Women's divisions of WWE continue to march toward WrestleMania, Raw saw the announcement of the latest leap forward in the Women's Evolution: The Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal, an over-the-top-rope contest named after the late WWE Hall of Famer herself and open to all WWE's Women's division competitors. The inaugural edition of the Fabulous Moolah Battle Royal will take place Sunday, April 8, at WrestleMania 34. May the best woman win.
-Asuka def. Mickie James
At WWE Fastlane, Asuka surprised everybody by using her Women's Royal Rumble Match privilege to challenge SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania. That doesn't mean Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss is in the clear just yet, though. Not only did The Goddess suffer a serious burn when she mocked Asuka's choice of title match -- The Empress of Tomorrow replied she wanted to face the best Women's Champion and chose accordingly -- her apparent plan to sic Nia Jax on the undefeated Superstar backfired when The Irresistible Force didn't answer the call.
Mickie James stepped up instead, and she got The Empress of Tomorrow impressively close to the edge of her first loss. An early cheap shot gave the six-time Women's Champion an early advantage, and a timely dodge of Asuka's kick sent The Empress' shin swinging into the ring post. Mickie continued to target the leg in the hopes of exploiting the injury, but when she tried to hit higher-impact maneuvers instead, The Empress of Tomorrow had only to weather the storm and apply the Asuka Lock for the win. Which, of course, she did.
-Nia Jax def. Joan King
With a match against Asuka approaching next week, Alexa Bliss had planned to shore up Nia Jax as an ally against The Empress of Tomorrow by reinforcing their tough-love bond and telling Jax she loves her. Unfortunately, she said a little more than that in front of a working microphone.
With Jax appropriately inspired, The Irresistible Force made quick work of a local named Joan King, but the TitanTron cut to a planned interview with the champion before she was ready. The boom mic propped up in the dressing room caught Bliss openly admitting to Mickie James about "using" Nia, including her earlier words of encouragement, planning to use her to do the heavy lifting against Asuka next week, and plotting to beat her up if she didn't.
Bliss seemed appropriately shaken when Charly Caruso informed her she and Mickie had been gabbing in front of a live microphone, and for good reason: Jax stormed into the locker room in something halfway between despair and rage, then tore it apart when Charly told her that Bliss was gone. It's a fair bet she won't be in Alexa's corner next week. Instead, The Goddess may just find herself in Nia's path.
-"Woken" Matt Hardy revealed his "Woken family"
"Woken" Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt's twisted rivalry has been leading up to a bizarre battle on Hardy's home turf, dubbed The Ultimate Deletion. What that will entail, exactly, is anybody's guess. Hardy's extended "Woken family" -- Queen Rebecca, King Maxel, Lord Wolfgang, Seor Benjamin and the drone Vanguard 1 -- will be there, as will a "Lake of Reincarnation" with the ultimate goal of exorcising Sister Abigail from Wyatt's vessel.
Wyatt, for his part, made thinly veiled threats toward Hardy's family. However, about the only certainty surrounding The Ultimate Deletion is that it's happening next week. And, since The Ultimate Deletion is technically a Raw match, General Manager Kurt Angle had to assign a referee to officiate it. The lucky(?) soul ended up being Shawn Bennett, who was given one simple charge by The Olympic Hero: To make sure, if at all possible, that Hardy and Wyatt return to Raw in one piece.
-Braun Strowman won a Tag Team Battle Royal to determine Cesaro & Sheamus' WrestleMania opponents
Braun Strowman guaranteed he would administer These Hands at WrestleMania, and it appears his "Path of Destruction" has gone through an entirely unexpected route: The Tag Team division. The Monster Among Men both surfaced as a surprise entrant in the Tag Team Battle Royal that was supposed to determine Cesaro & Sheamus' WrestleMania challengers, but that was nothing compared to the shocker at the end, when he won the melee by his lonesome.
Granted, Strowman is not a tag team unto himself, and he more or less yelled at the official to ring the bell in the opening confusion, both of which muddled the legality of his participation as well as his victory. Yet, participate he did, and win he did as well, dishing out eliminations and forcing the five competing tag teams to unite in a series of unlikely alliances that culminated with Braun being obliterated outside the ring with the steel steps. Yet, as The Bar looked on in shock from the commentary position, Strowman roared back to last eliminate Karl Anderson with a battle cry of "I'M GOING TO WRESTLEMANIA!"
Of course, Raw General Manager Kurt Angle would have to let the result stand first, and there's no guarantee that will happen. But clearly, one refuses Braun Strowman at one's own risk.
ROH ANNOUNCES RETURN TO UK WITH 'HONOR UNITED' TOUR IN MAY
Ring of Honor continues to expand internationally, and this May the "Best Wrestling on the Planet" makes its much-anticipated return to the UK!
The Honor United tour, featuring the stars of ROH as well as top talent from New Japan Pro-Wrestling, kicks off in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 24. The tour then heads to London, England on May 26 before concluding on May 27, when ROH makes its debut in Doncaster, England!
Tickets for the Honor United shows go on sale THIS Wednesday, March 7 at 10 a.m. local time for HonorClub members and Friday, March 9 at 10 a.m. local time for the general public.
These events mark the first time ROH has been in the UK since last August's sold-out War of the Worlds UK Tour. That's where the rivalry between Cody and Dalton Castle over the ROH World Title began in dramatic fashion, and The Hung Bucks (The Young Bucks and Adam Page) captured the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles.
May 24, 2018 -- Edinburgh Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, Scotland, 7:30 p.m. local time
May 26, 2018 -- Crystal Palace Sports Centre, London, England, 6 p.m. local time
May 27, 2018 -- The Doncaster Dome, Doncaster, England, 6 p.m. local time
ROH Star Comments On The State Of African-Americans In Professional Wrestling
Ring of Honor star Shane Taylor was a recent guest on the Pancakes and Powerslams Show to promote the upcoming Manhattan Mayhem event, scheduled for March 3, 2018, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, NY. The show starts at 7:00pm EST. Taylor will be competing alongside Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky to compete against Bullet Club members The Young Bucks, Marty Scurll, and Hangman Page.
Taylor received an opportunity to compete in Ring of Honor due to recent WWE signee, War Machine member Raymond Rowe.
"I was trained in Cleveland, Ohio by a guy named Raymond Rowe. Raymond Rowe, obviously a former 2-time ROH World Tag Team Champion, and a former IWGP Tag Team Champion with Hanson, 'War Machine.' The whole time I was up there riding up with them," Taylor explained. "They were taking me as many places as they could, showing me as much as they could. Then after a few years of that, Raymond moved to Texas so I was on my own and doing my own thing. I felt that I had sort of peaked to where I was at. I was one of the best guys there in the area, and really wasn't getting the opportunity to be in the ring with people that were better than me. That is the only way that you get better at doing this, is to be around people that are better than you. I don't say that trying to be cocky or anything, but I felt that I was in the same level as everyone else, but I wasn't getting any better. Raymond Rowe convinced me to move to Texas, and the few years that I have moved down here to Texas I have made tremendous strides.
"Also, with Wildcat Sports in Louisiana and different places like VIP in Dallas; WrestleCircus in Austin, and really just getting a chance to re-start. When I went to Ring of Honor I was riding with Ray Rowe; went to a few shows there just trying to get my face seen and talk with folks to network, eventually being around the guys and talking to them and getting to know them. They found out I was a pretty good dude and I was pretty okay at this wrestling thing. They gave me a shot; they liked what they saw. They gave me some critiques to work on, and each point that I came back I improved in each areas that they asked me to work on I improved in and that goes a long way so eventually they saw me keep it together and that was their chance that they saw that they could do something with me."
Taylor also discussed the state of African-Americans in pro wrestling today. For many years, people have critiqued the fact that there has never been a black WWE Champion. Names such as The Rock, Mark Henry, and Booker T are mentioned, however, people oftentimes state that Rock is half-Samoan and Booker T & Mark Henry were never WWE Champions. Here is what Taylor had to say about this topic, and how people like Jay Lethal and Kenny King have broken barriers in ROH.
"One thing that I feel like black people as a whole need to do is stop dividing ourselves with things," said Taylor. "We should be able to look at people's accomplishments and take them as a win for our culture, as opposed to looking who is in what, or who is classified where, because nobody else does that. No other group does that. We happen to be the only group that does, and it is to our detriment. We should be applauding the fact that Mark Henry was World Heavyweight Champion. We should be applauding that Booker T was a multi-time World Heavyweight Champion. Whatever the case may be as to the circumstance is irrelevant because that is still a representation of our culture. Even with The Rock; I don't care what he promotes, I don't care when he does it, or what he does. The fact is that he is who he is and we should see that and accept that and count that as a win like any other group that because it's not just one way or the other. That is something we look at and we should take pride in. He has done it in a way that nobody else has been able to do it. He can arguably be the best of all-time and that should inspire us to go forward and use that as a platform and as an example to only work harder. When you are talking about the business aspect of it, this is the thing.
"In Professional Wrestling, you have a sport with a majority of the fanbase being one group of people. In this business it is about money, selling tickets, and something people can identify with so it is a tough task to identify with someone who doesn't look like them. The catch-22 is that you can say, well, you can showcase people in a way that would make them more relatable and put somebody in that spot to be able to see if they can carry that ball; fair enough, but nobody likes to lose money, so the unknown is a problem when you get to making those kind of choices, because while it could be wildly successful, it also could not, you know? Then what do you do? You will always have the opinion of some that they didn't get a chance, so it is tough. As a Professional Wrestler, who also happens to be black, you have to be able to go out there and prove yourself first. There are so many people that have to go out there and make themselves stars rather than the company going out there making them stars because they have to see that the equity is there. They have to be able to see that if they decide to move forward with you it is a good business decision with them. Speaking about ROH specifically.
"Before I got there, there was a stigma of sorts that it is hard to be successful there if you happen to be a black wrestler. And, at the time I am looking and taking all this stuff in, I am looking, and the World Champion is Jay Lethal. He's also the Television Champion, so he is breaking new grounds and creating these unprecedented feats and defending two titles on one pay per view, and I'm like, okay, it is possible. Is it going to be easy? Absolutely not. But it's possible. While there have been many that have come and gone who have a legitimate gripe, it is one of those things that, if I want to change this culture, or change this perception, I can't do it outside of the company. I have to be there. You can't change anything in this world sitting on the sidelines. You have to be able to get in there, get your hands dirty, and help. Be the change that you want to see. I think when you look at the history of ROH there's only two champions who have been black; one being Jay Lethal and the other being Kenny King. When you look at 15 years of a company and the plethora of guys that have come in there, you wonder holy hell, how has that has been possible? You run down the gamut who have gone on to other companies and won championships and gone on to be wildly successful overseas and whoever they work for, you stop and think that perhaps there is some truth to it, but again, there is different circumstances for everybody.
"Again, it is something that is going to be a constant battle. It's something that will be a constant struggle. But it is also something that is able to be in control if we continue to take strides in being excellent. Will it be a harder road? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, nobody can say that anything was given to us, and nobody can say that we didn't earn it. If you are put in that spot you have no choice, you have to earn it. That would be my answer; to accept the wins that come our way as a culture and build upon those. Try not to quantify and classify who is what or this and that because I am sure they had the person there that made them money like The Rock, [Steve] Austin, [John] Cena, or [Randy] Orton did that they would be able to put someone in that spot. We just have to see who that is."
"The Stone Pitbull" Tomohiro Ishii made history in 2016 when he stunned ROH fans watching that year's Honor Rising Tour on New Japan World and defeated Roderick Strong to become the Ring of Honor World Television Champion! This victory was the introduction for some to one of New Japan's hardest-hitting stars but the victory did not shock those who had seen his epic encounters with Katsuyori Shibata, Tomoaki Honma, and Kazuchika Okada!
Ishii has dominated the NEVER Openweight Championship scene, holding the record for most championship wins and most time as champion, and his explosive style led to classic confrontations with Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito in 2017!
One of the most decorated and intimidating stars in New Japan history returns to the United States and will compete at Supercard of Honor! Ishii joins Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, and Kenny Omega as New Japan stars already signed to compete!
The former World Television Champion has so many dream opponents and the speculation among ROH officials has already begun as to who he will face! Ishii never received a World Television Championship rematch - will he get it in New Orleans? Will the former IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion find a partner and challenge the ROH World Tag Team Champions? Or will he call out one of the biggest, baddest brawlers in ROH like Punishment Martinez, Beer City Bruiser, Jay Briscoe, or Shane Taylor?
Keep it locked into ROHWrestling.com to find out!
Supercard of Honor XII will emanate from the UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, LA on Saturday April 7! Like last year's history-making event, this event will feature high profile stars and very special matches for all of our fans around the world.
Last year's Supercard was the most attended event in ROH history, when thousands of fans from around the globe descended on Lakeland, Florida. This April, The Best Wrestling on the Planet will shatter that record in the Big Easy! Based on the high demand for recent major events, you will want to act fast to ensure you get the best seats and not get locked out of the action! Don't miss SUPERCARD OF HONOR XII in New Orleans!
"THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE" CODY VS. "THE CLEANER" KENNY OMEGA
SIGNED TO COMPETE:
ROH WORLD CHAMPION DALTON CASTLE
CO-HOLDERS ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS THE YOUNG BUCKS
Matt Taven Says NXT Is ROH Lite, ROH Is Ignoring Talent To 'Kiss That A-- Of The Bullet Club'
Matt Taven appeared on Interactive Wrestling Radio to discuss his match against Cody at the ROH 16th Anniversary PPV this Friday night, March 9th. You can check out the full interview by clicking here, they sent us these highlights:
NXT being WWE doing an ROH-style show:
"I couldn't agree more. Our touring schedule and their touring schedule is starting to cross paths to where maybe they hit a market a week before we hit that market. That is on purpose. Taking talent from Ring of Honor? That is all on purpose. I basically look at NXT as ROH Lite. I wish for every wrestling company to be as successful as possible. There is something that ROH is obviously doing right if the top dog is trying to hurt them. That is something that they've (WWE) has tried to do a few times. It just lets us know that we (ROH) are doing something right. And, ROH has been resilient. I first started working here in 2009 doing stuff. I started working more consistently in 2012. But, in my 9 years, wow I feel old saying that, in my 9 years, I've seen them come and go. And still, ROH continues to get bigger and continues to grow and grow and reach broader audiences. As much as I love my buds, it shows ROH is doing something right if WWE is trying to bite their style so much."
If he's excited about facing Cody at the 16th Anniversary PPV:
"Of course I am. People sing the praises of this guy. For what reason? Because he hit the genetic lottery and his dad was someone? I cannot wait to get on pay per view, show everybody what a Melvin he is, and at the end, take the ring, shove it against his face and he'll know who the King is!"
If this match with Cody establishes himself back on top of ROH:
"I've always felt I deserve to be there. This Kingdom conspiracy thing, it is not just me putting stuff online. I truly believe that. There is a movement against me and the Kingdom in general. I mean, I've won every single title Ring of Honor has had to offer. In the 5 years I've been with Ring of Honor, I've had 2 World Title shots. Two of them! One ended with interference from Truth Martini. The other had interference from Frankie Kazarian. What has Ring of Honor done about it? Absolutely nothing. They're so, so (kissing noise) making sure to kiss that ass of the Bullet Club, Ring of Honor is letting guys like me fall to the wayside. They give title opportunities to guys like Cody Rhodes come in here, think that he is someone for no reason. It is a shame. It is a conspiracy like I've said. But, live on pay per view, I get to embarrass that bleached blond doll and let everybody know that if Ring of Honor continues to hold me down, it is obvious this company has a bias against me and is obviously pushing this Bullet Club agenda."
The Jay Lethal / Dalton Castle title match:
"I'm not looking past Cody but I'll always have my sights set on the World Title. Jay Lethal is getting a World Title shot 2 months after I beat him right in the middle of the ring on Ring of Honor TV. I'm not sure why that shot isn't for me. But, I'm not looking past Cody. Embarrassing Cody Rhodes is that next step towards proving Matt Taven is every bit as good as he says he is and there's a reason that I am the King. This is the launching pad that puts me right in the #1 contendersip for the World Title. I deserve a World Title shot anyway. But, to beat the former champion and then move on to a title shot, you couldn't write a better story than that."
What the 16th Anniversary of ROH means to him:
"To be a cornerstone of this company for the past 5 years, it is a sense of pride and a badge of honor. A friend of mine, actually my girlfriend, said to me something the other day that really put things in perspective. She was like, 'I remember you doing your first pay per view.' That was in 2014 and now we're going into New Orleans, already over 5,000 tickets have been sold. Like you said, that Nashville taping. It just keeps growing and growing and growing. And even though there are things that people think will deter us, it hasn't stopped us at all. There is obviously a sense of pride. We want to be on that level where we're as big of stars as everyone else in the wrestling world. Until we're there, we're not going to be satisfied."
'All In' Location Revealed, Impact Wrestling TV Tapings Returning To Canada, MLW Tournament Change
During the Border City Wrestling co-promoted event One Night Only: March Breakdown, IMPACT Wrestling announced to the live audience that they were going to return to St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, Canada for television tapings on June 1st and 2nd. (Thanks to Wrestling Inc. readers Himanshu D and Terrance Kozak)
- "Filthy" Tom Lawlor has been replaced by tournament alternate ACH in the MLW World Championship Tournament. Lawlor was forced to withdraw after breaking his forearm last week. ACH will face Matt Riddle in this Thursday's semi-finals clash in Orlando at MLW: Spring Break '18 hosted by Gilt Nightclub. Below is the updated card for this Thursday:
MVP vs. Low Ki (with Stokely Hathaway)
World Heavyweight Championship Semi-Finals:
Matt Riddle vs. ACH
World Heavyweight Championship Semi-Finals:
Jimmy Havoc vs. Shane "Swerve" Strickland
Fans Bring The Weapons Match:
"Bad Boy" Joey Janela vs. Darby Allin
Sami Callihan vs. Brody King
Garza Jr. vs. ltimo Ninja
Jason Cade & Jimmy Yuta vs. The Dirty Blondes (managed by Col. Robert Parker)
TENILLE DASHWOOD AND BRANDI RHODES MEET IN THE WOH CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT
The tournament to crown the first-ever Women of Honor Champion continues in Las Vegas before 16th Anniversary is broadcast LIVE around the globe for HonorClub VIP and Pay Per View audiences. Two Women of Honor Championship Tournament matches will take place and air LIVE via Ring of Honor's Facebook Live!
In addition to the previously-announced first-round match between Sumie Sakai and Stardom's Hana Kimura, the first second-round match will take place Friday, LIVE on Facebook Live!
WOMEN OF HONOR CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINAL MATCH
TENILLE DASHWOOD vs. BRANDI RHODES
International superstar Tenille Dashwood shocked the professional wrestling world when she appeared during the live broadcast of Honor Reigns Supreme and announced herself as entrant sixteen in the tournament to crown the first-ever Women of Honor Champion! In a bout that will be seen on Ring of Honor Television, Tenille defeated Women of Honor competitor Stacy Shadows in Atlanta to earn her ticket into the second round.
Brandi Rhodes had perhaps the biggest upset of the first round of the tournament when she defeated Karen Q after feigning injury, playing possum long enough to secure a victory that may have even surprised her! Brandi has been in the middle of the Bullet Club cyclone as the wife of Cody but has managed to keep the madness within Bullet Club separate as she continues to compete in Women of Honor, picking up wins.
Following Tenille's tag team victory as the partner of Deonna Purrazzo at Manhattan Mayhem, Tenille is undefeated in Women of Honor but Brandi has had the opportunity to scout Tenille while on commentary during Tenille's bout at Honor Reigns Supreme. Tenille enters as the odds-on favorite with her Spotlight kick that can come out of anywhere and end the match but Brandi, one of the most well-educated women in Women of Honor, has proved she can use her smarts to pick up upset victories.
Who will become the first semi-finalist in the tournament to crown the first-ever Women of Honor Champion? Join us on Facebook Live prior to 16th Anniversary to find out!
It will be a celebration of 16 years of amazing Ring of Honor action on Friday, March 9 when ROH Presents 16th Anniversary! Fans can watch the event LIVE on Pay Per View, the Fite.TV App, by becoming a HonorClub VIP member, or ordering as a HonorClub member with a discount! Don't miss this celebration of the history of ROH with the hard-hitting, in-your-face action only ROH can deliver LIVE!
RING OF HONOR PRESENTS 16TH ANNIVERSARY
Local Time: Friday, Mar 9, 2018 06:00 pm PST
Sam's Town Live
5111 Boulder Highway
Las Vegas, Nevada 89122
ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
ROH WORLD CHAMPION DALTON CASTLE W/THE BOYS vs. JAY LETHAL
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (ALEX SHELLEY & CHRIS SABIN) vs. THE BRISCOES (JAY & MARK BRISCOE)
ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE YOUNG BUCKS & ADAM PAGE vs. SOCAL UNCENSORED ("ALMIGHTY" CHRISTOPHER DANIELS, "HEAVY METAL REBEL" FRANKIE KAZARIAN, & SCORPIO SKY)
"THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE" CODY vs. MATT TAVEN
PUNISHMENT MARTINEZ vs. "THE VILLAIN" MARTY SCURLL
FLIP GORDON vs. HIROMU TAKAHASHI w/DARYL
PRE-PAY PER VIEW MATCHES AIRING ON FACEBOOK LIVE
WOMEN OF HONOR CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINAL MATCH
TENILLE DASHWOOD vs. BRANDI RHODES
WOMEN OF HONOR CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND MATCH
SUMIE SAKAI VS. HANA KIMURA
Sami Callihan Addresses Baseball Bat Incident With Eddie Edwards On Impact, Calls Out Jim Cornette
In last night's Impact main event, Sami Callihan faced Eddie Edwards with Edwards picking up the pinfall victory. After the match, Callihan accidentally hit Edwards in the head with a baseball bat as he swung the bat on a chair. The bat ricocheted and hit Edwards, which caused a broken orbital bone and a broken nose.
Today, both Callihan and Edwards spoke to TMZ Sports about the incident. In the video at the top, Callihan said he doesn't feel sorry for what he did, and TMZ should be interviewing him, not Edwards about what happened.
"I hit this man in the face with a baseball bat and in the last 24 hours I've been getting all this hate and all this negativity online and Impact says 'Yo, you have to go out of your way to make this right,'" Callihan said. "People are saying we crossed the line, so from the bottom of my heart, I have to tell each and every one of you that I'm not sorry for a single thing that happened. Look at me and tell me I'm not being serious. I do not feel bad. TMZ is messaging and interviewing Eddie Edwards when they should be interviewing me. The most dangerous man in professional wrestling today. Oh yeah, and Jim Cornette, you can kiss my ass too."
Edwards spoke with TMZ Sports about what happened on last night's show. After the bat connected, Edwards said he yelled an explicative and immediately headed to the back to have the Doctor check him out. He was asked how it felt after it happened.
"I didn't get knocked out or anything," Edwards said. "I felt okay, aside from the actual eye. It was like getting punched in the eye by The Hulk."
On Twitter, Impact released some new footage of Edwards backstage and getting into an ambulance.
IMPACT Wrestling has learned that Eddie Edwards will not be cleared in time for Crossroads on Thursday and therefore has been pulled from the match. It will now be Lashley going into battle alone against the vile oVe who will no doubt have Sami Callihan lurking ringside while Dave Crist and Jake Crist go into this now 2 on 1 handicapped match.
Lashley told IMPACT Wrestling that he has no problem entering this match alone, that he is Walking Armageddon and he can handle oVe alone. When asked about the presence of Callihan at ringside, Lashley paused and said that he will have to keep his head on a swivel, that he will be ready for all three members of oVe at Crossroads on Thursday night.
Eddie Edwards took a more somber approach to our conversation, Eddie is still clearly upset that he can't compete, just finding out this morning from IMPACT Officials and his doctor, Eddie is optimistic about his return. "I will be back, I will be back at 100% and I will be ready to get revenge on Sami Callihan. I heard what he told TMZ and I have to say, the backlash that Sami must be feeling right now is probably getting to him. I will rest up, I will heal up and there is a reason they call me Mr. AIP, there is a reason people say you can't destroy, kill me or stop me, I will be ready for Sami Callihan and the rest of the thugs. I wish Lashley luck on Thursday against these guys, I told Bobby to be ready for anything and watch out for that baseball bat that Sami carries, it is vicious and it hurts. Wounds heal... I will be back, that is a promise."
Eddie Edwards has the resolve of a stud, but Sami Callihan might look to put Eddie down for good the next time they cross paths. As for Crossroads, Lashley better have a plan for all three members of oVe.
Austin Aries returned to IMPACT Wrestling and the world took notice, he won the World Title and the entire locker room took notice. Austin Aries is back, but not to make friends or to push his own agenda, Aries is back to bring change. Aries is here to bring IMPACT forward and in his own words, Aries needs to be World Champion in order to do just that. So Austin Aries returned, interrupted then World Champion Eli Drake and beat him for the title. Aries won the rematch and all the while, Johnny IMPACT was winning matches and quickly became Number 1 Contender for the World Title. The stage is set for a showdown Thursday at Crossroads. Austin Aries. Johnny IMPACT. One on one. For the World Title. For the first time ever.
Those are all just words on paper, it is hype, but it is hype that will be delivered upon when these two Stars clash inside the ring on Thursday. Austin Aries and Johnny IMPACT both have egos, they both know they are very good and this could go down as one of the best matches of the year. Does that really matter to either man? Depends who wins. When you lose, you want to forget about it and move on, when you win, you can look back on this match as something that you did to prove you are the very best. Austin Aries vs. Johnny IMPACT. These are two names that can be at the top of any marquee in any venue in the world and people will know their names. Aries is known for his intensity, his smooth actions in the ring, being a vegan athlete and an author. Johnny IMPACT made parkour a part of wrestling, he has won titles all over the world, he is flashy and even starred in a movie that he wrote and produced.
All that being said, what will happen when they lock up on Thursday night? What will happen when the World Title is on the line? All the hype goes out the window and what matters is who leaves as Champion. Crossroads will be a can't miss event and this Main Event is something that everyone needs to see. Crossroads happens Thursday night and once the dust settles, where do we go from there? Depends on who wins.
Jimmy Jacobs Says Impact Wrestling Has Advantage Over WWE Regarding Storylines
Former WWE writer Jimmy Jacobs was recently a part of an Impact Wrestling media conference call, and discussed a number of topics regarding Impact, WWE, and Ring of Honor. Jacobs became popular during his time in the independent circuit, as well as his years of competing for Ring of Honor. Jacobs was also one of the founding members of ROH's S.C.U.M. faction, which was a villainous group which included Kevin Owens (Steen), Steve Corino, Matt Hardy, and others, from 2012 to 2013.
Jacobs can now be seen as a manager of Kongo Kong in Impact Wrestling, as both have been challenging Abyss for the past several weeks to see who the real monster of Impact Wrestling is. He was reportedly released from WWE after posting a picture with Bullet Club members Young Bucks, Marty Scurll, and Adam Page, but he discussed during his interview on Talk Is Jericho that there was a compilation of things which led to his release.
Shortly after his WWE release, Jacobs appeared in Impact Wrestling, showing up on their annual Bound for Glory pay-per-view. Although Jacobs was offered to return to ROH, he explained that he was looking to try something different.
"I wanted to do something new, I had a conversation with Scott D'Amore and Sonjay Dutt on the phone about different things at Impact and it just seemed like a nice fit," said Jacobs. "So my first time in Ottawa [at Bound for Glory] was a test run to see how the fit was. We are in a rebuilding phase and they needed somebody who could wear a lot of hats and do a lot of different things and I had experience in all those things. It was a nice week in Ottawa and solidified that Impact was the direction that I wanted to go. I also felt valued and that might seem like a small thing, but it was a big deal. I felt valued and not just by the boys and locker room."
Regarding his contract status with Impact, Jacobs stated that he is on a handshake deal with the company, which is something he wants. He also stated that he has much more freedom at Impact than he did with WWE.
"I felt so restricted for two and a half years [in WWE] and so coming in now with the freedom to grow where I want to and do what I am best suited for," said Jacobs. "I feel like that wasn't an opportunity I had at the last company I worked for."
Jacobs also shared how leaving WWE has opened his eyes to how financially beneficial it can be being an independent wrestler.
"When I got fired from the WWE, I was in the WWE bubble. So when I got fired people kept telling me that the independents was booming, but I didn't know about it," Jacobs explained. "Sami Callihan called me up straight away and introduced me to promoters and stuff and it's brilliant. There is more awesome wrestling going on now than ever before. So much great talent and it's great to still wrestle on independents and work at Impact as well and there are some guys I get to work with that I would love to bring to Impact. I'm making more money than I ever have before in my life so I am not mad at it."
According to Jacobs, Impact has an advantage over WWE regarding storylines.
"One of [the] advantages we have here is that we are taping a lot of weeks of TV in a row. What's cool about that is that we can tell a story long term and in WWE there is not a lot of that. Whilst it's similar in some ways, it's nice that we can tell long-term stories. And we have more freedom to try new things and experiment. It's a time to try something that may fail. Lot of times in WWE you tread water to get to the next week. I feel like at Impact we can do a little more. But it's still crazy busy. The last tapings we did in January was like nothing I have done in my life."
Although Impact Wrestling has a series of tapings at once, Jacobs explained the grueling schedule he experienced.
"It was six days of taping two shows a day then afterwards going back to the hotel and staying up until 6 am and looking at the next day's tapings," said Jacobs. "We were working 18-20 hour days, six days in a row and I remember me and Scott taking the brunt of the work. After one night I remember I looked at Scott and said to him 'I worked with Vince McMahon for over two years but this is the hardest thing in my life'."
Regarding how Impact Wrestling can get back to where it once was, Jacobs said that it is about gaining the trust from the fans again. The company has asked for the fans' trust so many times, only to break it and "screw them over." The key, according to Jacobs, is to bring a unique element to the product in order to regain the trust of the fans.
The Young Bucks On Proving Doubters Wrong, Losing 'Too Sweet,' The Growth Of 'Being The Elite'
The Young Bucks spoke with Sports Illustrated's "Extra Mustard" section on their continued success, working with a chip on their shoulder, and Being the Elite. Here are some of the highlights:
Proving people wrong:
Matt Jackson: "We've made a career out of working with a chip on our shoulder. Maybe that's why we work so hard? To prove others wrong? The pool of doubters has thinned in recent years, but it's definitely still around."
Losing "Too Sweet" and their continued success:
Matt Jackson: "People said our careers were over when the 'Too Sweet' hand gesture was taken from us. Now, it doesn't even feel strange not doing it. People said we only knew how to work one style. Then we switched it up completely. People said Bullet Club had peaked for years now. Yet, here we are, as we continue to help it stay interesting and popular."
Their Being the Elite series:
Nick Jackson: "I always knew it was going to be big for us, but I'm not sure that I thought it would be this big. Originally I just wanted it all to be shot like a documentary on a weekly basis, but Matt thought of adding storylines and I think that's what has brought it to heights we didn't know it would reach. It's pretty awesome to see and I'm flattered anytime someone says they watch every week."
Matt Jackson: "We're very proud of the way everything is going down. This is the most hands-on we've ever been with a wrestling angle, so to see people are enjoying it is very rewarding. When we first started using Being The Elite to supplement storylines, it was just a little extra bonus reward for the fans who watched. Something fun to follow along with. Whereas now, it feels like some of the stuff we've included on recent episodes are actually must-see, if you're trying to follow along. Actually, recently, our show has given more detailed content than you might not see from watching only ROH or New Japan."
Katsuyori Shibata to be Head Coach of New Japan Dojo in Los Angeles!
On March 19, New Japan Pro-Wrestling Dojo will kick off with Spring Camp in Los Angeles, CA. Katsuyori Shibata will undertake the post of head coach of the dojo.
This is what Shibata had to say about his new position:
"With rehab and training, I've been sensing it's time to move past the struggle of finding what I am capable of doing. These days, I've had a burning desire to take on a new challenge... What can I do in my current state? I thought a change of pace was needed, and the next thing I knew, I found myself in Los Angeles.
By some twist of fate, my thoughts happened around the time the new NJPW dojo was being set up in LA. While getting the dojo ready, I had the chance to assemble the ring with some of the young wrestlers and train with them, and I found myself doing wrestling moves I haven't been able to do before.
These days have been full of discovery, and as I teach them things, I am learning, too. Los Angeles' weather is great, and it would be difficult to find an environment with better conditions. As I continue with my rehabilitation and training, I have a desire to pass down the fundamentals, the know-how and techniques and the philosophy that I have built up through my own experience in pro-wrestling to the younger generation here in Los Angeles.
This is the best thing "I can do" right now, and I believe it will benefit the young wrestlers of the next generation and the wrestling world as a whole.
The good, classic Japanese pro-wrestling is starting to disappear from the current wrestling world. But we must never lose that fighting attitude and spirit of traditional Japanese pro-wrestling. I have accepted the mission to open the gates and transcend the cultural differences to pass down our knowledge to the younger generation.
As the NJPW dojo opens in Los Angeles mid-March, I wanted to share my thoughts as I announce that I, Katsuyori Shibata, will lead the LA dojo as the head coach.
That's all I got to say!
Additionally, Ring of Honor's own Scorpio Sky joins camp as assistant coach.
A 17-year veteran, Sky is known for his Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, Impact Wrestling, and WWE. Starting in 2015, looking to challenge himself outside the world of Professional Wrestling, Sky competed in Mixed Martial Arts achieving a record of 4-1. In 2017 he joined the Ring Of Honor ranks and is currently a part of "Socal Uncensored" alongside Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian.
Scorpio Sky is a very explosive and unique athlete with a wealth of knowledge. The LA Dojo is proud to have him join our Spring Camp coaching team.
After losing to Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12, the last time we saw Chris Jericho in NJPW was in January at New Year Dash where he attacked Tetsuya Naito near the end of the show. The team of Los Ingobernables de Japon celebrated their win over CHAOS and began heading to the back, Jericho attacked Naito from behind and the two had to be separated. Naito nearly threw a chair out towards Jericho, but placed in the ring and sat down with his back to him.
Today on Twitter a fan asked Jericho if he was done with NJPW and he responded, "unfortunately yes." Tough to say how serious that answer is since Jericho has been known to play with fans on social media over the years.
In January, Jericho was a guest on Busted Open and spoke about his future with NJPW. At the time, he said he wanted more of a "Brock Lesnar deal" with NJPW to the point where fans would say, "the guy is barely there."
"I need to keep the ball rolling, I don't know, once again, the Naito thing is pretty interesting thing to me, and don't over-saturate [myself]," Jericho said. "Don't join the G1 Climax and be just another guy. I really want to do the Brock Lesnar deal with NJPW, if it works out. Pick my spots and come and go to where you're like, 'This guy's barely there, yet, when he's there it makes an impact.' And that might have to be the incentive, I just have to reevaluate and see what I want to do next wrestling wise."
There were previous reports that Jericho would face Naito at NJPW's Strong Style Evolved in Long Beach, California on March 25. Currently, the only announced matches are Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi vs. The Young Bucks, IWGP US Champion Jay White vs. Hangman Page, and Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. With Mysterio's injury over the weekend, that match is now up in the air.
Robert Whittaker is set to defend his UFC middleweight title for the first time against former foe Yoel Romero at UFC 225. After a report from BJPenn.com, MMAFighting.com reported the news Tuesday evening. UFC officials have yet to announce the pairing.
Whittaker and Romero first met at UFC 213 last July for the interim 185-pound belt; Whittaker won a competitive five-round decision.
That was Whittaker's last bout, as he has been sidelined since with an injury. He was promoted to undisputed champion when Georges St-Pierre vacated the title a month after winning it against Michael Bisping.
The champ is riding an eight-fight winning streak.
Since his first unsuccessful UFC title bid, Romero has knocked out former titleholder Luke Rockhold in the UFC 221 main event last month. The bout was expected to be for the interim championship, but Romero missed weight and was subsequently ineligible to take home UFC gold with a victory.
UFC 225 takes place at United Center in Chicago on June 9.
MMAFighting.com's report did not state whether Whittaker vs. Romero 2 is the pay-per-view main event.
What Sam Alvey asks for, Sam Alvey gets. At least it seems that way. After a huge knockout win over Marcin Prachnio at a UFC on Fox event last month, Alvey used his post-fight interview to request a fight with Gian Villante. And the UFC has decided to grant him that, with the two men meeting in a light heavyweight bout in Utica on June 1st.
Newsday was the first to break news of the bout.
The 31-year-old Alvey (32-10, 1 NC, 9-5 UFC) bounced back from a lost to Ramazan Emeev with the Prachnio KO. This will be his sixth UFC fight in 18 months, and his second straight at light heavyweight after a long run at 185 pounds.
Villante (16-9, 6-6 UFC) is coming off a split decision win over Francimar Barroso. That win ended a two-fight losing skid. Villante is currently ranked in the 14 spot at 205 pounds.
The Utica event does not yet have a headliner, and only has a few bouts attached to it so far. It will be the first time that the UFC has brought the Octagon to the upstate New York town.