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TGIF: A New Day For Hulk, MLW's Major League Potential, and More
The ROHbot Report: Nashville Return, Top Contenders 6-Man Gauntlet, And More
(32 Mins) Honor Nation: Forgiving Hogan

TGIF: Cass'd Away, DIY Does It Again, and More

By James Bullock Jun 22, 2018 - 12:25 PM print

T.G.I.F. with James Bullock

It’s that time of the week again and I am not Matt Dawgs, but your “Resident ROHbot”, the voice of the “Honor Nation” podcast, bad girls wrangler, pro of “The Challenge”, and anime connoisseur James Bullock to give you all the news, pictures and videos to finish off your workweek. Lets do it to it!

- IMPORTANT MATT NOTE I am hoping that you readers have taken the time to lend a hand and donated to the JAIDEN STRONG cause for me. I’d really appreciate it if you did; as little as $5 can go a long way. If not, it isn’t a big deal but please at least SHARE THE LINK. I get that finances can be tough for some but taking the time to share a link via your social media doesn’t cost a dime. I’d appreciate it greatly as one of your friends or family members may be able to help out. Thanks.

MDJG NOTE: James Guttman is the Dad of Hi Blog! I'm Dad.


- Sadly the wrestling world lost a true legend as Leon “Big Van Vader” White passed away at the age of 63. One of my first exposures to WCW included Vader destroying people leading up to his remarkable feud with Sting. Vader was the most unique big man wrestlers I'd ever witnessed up to that point and, to a certain extent, haven't witnessed since.

- In a shocking piece of news to drop before this week's “Smackdown Live!”, WWE released Big Cass. Cass' last WWE appearance was at “Money in the Bank” where he lost clean to Daniel Bryan – making their pay-per-view appearances 2-0 in Daniel's favor even though it appeared their feud was meant to establish Cass as a future main event star. Cass reportedly gained a massive amount of heat with Vince McMahon during the build to Bryan-Cass I at “Backlash” by going against the boss' orders during an in-ring segment where he did more than what was ordered even though he was told beforehand not to perform what he thought was for the segment's benefit. Cass reportedly had enemies defending Donald Trump while in an argument with Sami Zayn about the treatment of Muslims that upset many backstage. Agents/producers have had issues with him going back to before his injury, and there had been negative reviews of his work since returning from injury. It'll be interesting to see if Enzo decides to reunite with his old partner on the indie scene; or maybe Cass can become Enzo's hype man for his impending legendary rap career.

- Well, they did it again – the latest NXT “Takeover” proved to be one of the best things seen this year featuring a must-see main event where Tommaso Ciampa defeated Johnny Gargano in a match that somehow outdid their previous classic from “Wrestlemania” weekend. The storytelling, from weapon & instruments of destruction introductions to running commentary from each competitor, was on another level. The finish was just as climatic with Johnny Gargano's obsession with revenge costing him in the end as he won twice visually and once by unannounced referee's stoppage; yet kept attacking until he took a DDT on the uncovered ring so he was spiked on nothing but wood & steel. I can't be the only one who heard the closing scene theme from “Avengers: Infinity War” playing in my mind as a brutalized Ciampa stumbled up the aisle (actually using a stretcher as a walker). This year alone Johnny Gargano has been a part of three certifiable classic matches (two against Ciampa) and yet it still feels like there's fuel left in the fire for something even bigger.

- The rest of “Takeover: Chicago” was very good with a thriller of a Tag title match where the challengers came in being booed, yet got a standing ovation after a very gutsy (and downright stupid in regards to some of the bumps Oney took) performance. Velveteen Dream did a cosplay mix of Hulk Hogan and Ricochet's former Lucha Underground personality, Prince Puma. The match was fantastic with some incredible spots that actually played into the overall story as Dream's want to prove himself as much of an unbelievable athlete as Ricochet cost him in the end as he missed a coast-to-coast elbow drop and was left prone to the 630. The Women's title match was the weakest match of the show, but still ended up being a strong showing of Nikki Cross having no fear of pain or the champ; leading to her taking a thrashing while smiling & threatening Baszler to test her luck with going for the choke. Once again the NXT title match was the show's semi-main, but it was in a very good spot because Alestair Black and Lars Sullivan had good chemistry; though things got a little sloppy in the end following Lars' somewhat underwhelming heat sequence. Another highlight from the show was the first official WWE sighting of Keith Lee. I've stated time & time again Lee has been primed for WWE for at least two years and reminds me of Samoa Joe in 2005 (that's a dream match that could happen now: Joe vs. Lee). I'll make a bold prediction that Lee will be a WWE champion in three years tops.

- One night after another classic NXT event, WWE held an admirable “Money in the Bank” pay-per-view. There were definitely plenty of peaks (both MitB Ladder matches where Alexa Bliss took the least hazardous road on her way to getting the briefcase in a match much better than last year's inaugural Women's division MitB match & Braun Strowman dominating his way to the briefcase; Daniel Bryan carrying an obviously struggling Big Cass to another very strong match; Seth Rollins cheating his way to victory over Elias; AJ Styles retaining against Shinsuke Nakamura; Aiden English's Chicago-themed outfit) & valleys (whatever Lashley vs. Zayn was; Asuka losing to Carmella because of interference from James Ellsworth; Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal being put in the death spot), but WWE's restraint in regards of giving Ronda Rousey too much too soon has to be commended. Rousey found her inner Sting while Nia Jax played the role of Vader right down to the spot of Ronda taking a big maneuver (in this case a power bomb). Rousey made an explosive comeback, only for Bliss to bash her and the champ with the MitB briefcase and cashing in to pin Jax to prove that bullies never win. WWE smartly protected Ronda while Rousey looked as good as possible (if not better than anyone could've expected at this level), Nia had her best match to date, and now there's a big amount of intrigue to see how the Raw's Women's title scene pans out heading into “SummerSlam”.

- Just to reiterate, WWE can be completely schizophrenic when it comes to the handling of Roman Reigns. Why would they put Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal in Chicago is baffling enough, but to book the match to go almost twenty minutes after a MitB Ladder match just comes across as WWE wanting the fans to hate both guys. There's no reason why Mahal didn't beat up Reigns for a couple of minutes, Reigns make his comeback and end the bout in five minutes or so.

- I know I'm not the only one to state this, but I hate “Raw” being three hours long. The amount of lost steam & plodding is so obvious especially when the show starts & finishes so strongly and ends up killing time in the middle. The opening segment of Ronda destroying Alexa, Kurt Angle & a host of referees was awesome and is the embodiment of everything Rousey should be: someone who actually comes across as believable and acts like a human being in an absurd environment. Ronda's suspension as a result of her actions smartly keeps her away from the title scene and builds anticipation to the night she truly gets revenge.

- “Who saw that coming?” is the only way to describe Dolph Ziggler defeating Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental title. They had a great match and really set a standard for the show that wasn't overcome.

- The majority of “Raw” after the first two main segments was incredibly forgettable with the main event and Kevin Owens trying to manipulate Braun Strowman into a Universal title match if Strowman is successful with his MitB cash-in being the only real highlights that followed those aforementioned moments.

- Seriously, Constable Corbin is just cringe.

- The rating and viewership for this week’s episode of Raw rose to hit the highest point since the end of April. Monday night’s episode brought in a 0.98 rating in the 18 – 49 demographic and 2.903 million viewers. Those numbers are up 5% and 6% from last week’s 0.94 demo rating and 2.731 million viewers. Both metrics were the best for the show since the April 30th episode had a 1.08 demo rating and an audience of 3.066 million. Raw ranked #2 among cable originals for the night per Showbuzz Daily, bested only by VH-1’s Love & Hip-Hop (1.03 demo rating, 2.1 million viewers).

- “Smackdown Live” was a very good show this week featuring a number one contender gauntlet match to crown AJ Styles' next challenger. After Big E was eliminated by Daniel Bryan in the prior's best singles showing in WWE to date and Samoa Joe being counted out when trying to defeat Bryan, The Miz used the quickness & swarmy nature of a genuine heel to pin Bryan after he was attacked by The Bludgeon Bros. It came down to Rusev and The Miz, resulting in the greatest Rusev Day yet as Rusev won and earned his first WWE title shot on pay-per-view. It's great to see WWE test the waters with Rusev in the WWE title picture as all signs pointed to either Joe or Miz being the next person to challenge Styles.

- Sanity made its “SD” debut, demolishing The Usos in a great showcase. Pairing them with The Usos immediately establishes a great chance for them to deliver some classic bouts as well as solidify them as a top-tier group.

- Asuka is just another person on the roster now – no aura, no character growth, and easily outsmarted like a dummy.

- Kudos to Hideo Itami, Mustafa Ali and Buddy Murphy for having a stellar match on “205 Live” this week. It's sad these incredibly talented performers are stuck working a show that, while a lot better than it was this time last year, doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things in the WWE landscape.

- WWE 205 Live’s official twitter has announced that Drake Maverick has officially signed Lio Rush to the Cruiserweight exclusive program and will debut next week.

- Spoiler warning: During Tuesday’s taping of the UK title tournament special, their was a changing of the NXT Tag Team Championship as Trent Seven & Tyler Bate dethroned the Undisputed Era to win the title. The Undisputed Era regained the title during the NXT TV taping Thursday.

- According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the WWE women were pulled from live events in order to get in practice for the WWE MitB PPV. TJ Wilson/Tyson Kidd and Fit Finlay in charge of putting the women’s WWE MitB match, while Finlay laid out the Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey match. Both matches were laid out and heavily practiced. Asuka vs. Carmella has not practiced ahead of time, and there is no word on who produced the match.

- The latest “WWE 24” special starring The Hardyz that aired after “MitB” was shockingly honest as it didn't take long before they got into the pair's issues with drugs & alcohol before having their redemption story conclude with a return to WWE (though they did acknowledge Jeff's most recent run-in with the law). Like the Kurt Angle special, there was a lot of footage from their mutual times in TNA including the origin of “Broken” Matt Hardy and the “Broken Universe”. Matt's wife Reby gets a lot of credit for getting her then-future husband's life back in order. Matt also confirmed Vince McMahon didn't understand the Broken Universe's popularity, but gives the brothers credit for doing something different that worked. Another great piece of production from WWE.

- WWE announced on Monday that a new UK series is officially launching, NXT UK. The brand will add two new championships with tapings officially set to take place for the upcoming episodes. Tickets for the taping will be available on June 29th for the following dates: Saturday, July 28 & Sunday, July 29 at the Corn Exchange, Cambridge; Saturday, August 25 & Sunday, August 26 as part of “Insomnia”, the UK’s biggest gaming festival, at NEC Birmingham; Saturday, October 13 & Sunday, October 14 at Plymouth Pavilions; Saturday, November 24 & Sunday, November 25 at Liverpool Olympia. The new show will see the UK Championship, as well as the new UK Women’s Championship and UK Tag Team Championship, be defended at the shows. As of now, there is no information on when the series will air. This is coming off the heels of the recent UK Championship Tournament series that was recorded this week and will air on June 25th & 26th.

- WWE officially announced today that the Mae Young Classic 2018 will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 8 & Thursday, Aug. 9 from Full Sail Live. MYC 2 will once again feature 32 of the top female competitors from 12 countries participating in a single-elimination tournament. The second annual event will stream exclusively on WWE Network later this summer.

- According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE is considering a WWE Network show/special featuring talent not under contract to WWE. The idea behind the show would be to use the relationships with WWN, ICW, and PROGRESS, as well as to use it to look at other talents not signed.

- In a true WTF moment, WWE Smackdown General Manager Paige posted an Instagram story following the Money in the Bank PPV in Chicago, noting that she was assaulted by a fan that pie-faced her and told her to lose weight. On the Instagram story, Paige said, “To the ‘fan’ that decided to pie face me through my car window and then tell me to “lose some weight you inspired me to keep being myself and eat whatever the f I want. Good luck with your karma!” PWInsider.com is reporting that as Paige’s car was leaving the Allstate Arena with Paige sitting in the passenger seat. She had her window down and was saying goodbye to fans, high-fiving some of them, when a male fan struck her and yelled at her and the fan, was confronted after the incident, but not by Paige.

- Several WWE shows have been included in the Emmy Prelim Ballots including: “Wrestlemania 34” has been included in the Outstanding Variety Special (Live) category; “Raw” and the “Mixed Match Challenge” for Outstanding Structured Reality Program; “Total Bellas” and “Total Divas” are included in the Unstructured Reality Program category; the WWE Studios and HBO documentary on “Andre The Giant” has been included in the list for Best Documentary or Non-fiction Special - WWE Network’s WWE 24 special “Empowered” has been included in the same category.

- Tommaso Ciampa continues to troll WWE Shop while refusing to let them make merchandise for him. Ciampa, who has consistently refused to allow WWE to sell merchandise for him continue playing up his heel status, posted to Twitter with a new design he won’t let WWE utilizing — namely, the tank top he wore to the ring at NXT Takeover.

- 2K has named AJ Styles as the cover star of the upcoming edition of the “WWE 2K19” video game that will be released on Oct. 9th, 2018. In addition to its cover Superstar selection, 2K introduced the WWE 2K19 Million Dollar Challenge. This competition, introduced by Styles during the press conference, will put players on a path to facing The Phenomenal One for a chance to win $1 million.

- According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Jason Jordan’s return is now tentatively scheduled for July. Dean Ambrose was training at the Performance Center this past week. The timetable for his return after surgery to repair a torn triceps is sometime in the summer. Alicia Fox was cleared to return to in-ring action on June 18th.

- WWE has posted an article about Charlotte being featured in the 10th anniversary of ESPN The Magazine‘s “The Body Issue” series. The magazine will feature several other athletes including Football Hall Of Famer, Jerry Rice. It will be available at newsstands on June 29th.

- Charlotte Flair has underdone surgery to fix a ruptured implant and is expected to be out for the current PPV cycle and will be back for the build to SummerSlam.

- Sami Zayn has undergone shoulder surgery to fix a torn rotator cuff and has another one coming. Zayn will be out through the end of 2018 and told WWE.com that he hopes to be back in time for “Wrestlemania 35” season.

- ESPN has announced that John Cena is a finalist for their “Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Of The Year” Award.

- Back in November, it was reported that John Cena has been sued by Ford for selling a $500,000 2017 Ford GT. Ford says Cena violated a contract by selling it. In February, Cena asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit Ford filed. Cena got his Ford GT in late September 2017 and sold the car a month later for $450,000. Ford was seeking $75,000 plus the cost of the Ford GT in question because Cena sold his ride too soon. Auto Blog reports today that Cena and Ford have settled out of court on this matter. Ford will reportedly receive an undisclosed settlement amount from Cena and they will donate that money to charity.

- WWE has made a working agreement with Pro Wrestling NOAH. Details are limited at this time, but the deal will see Hideo Itami returning to NOAH for an August 29th show.

- Sid Vicious discussed his experiences on his first “Wrestlemania”, working with Hulk Hogan and more on a recent episode of Prime Time With Sean Mooney; stating, “You know Sean - and this is not an exaggeration - I don’t even remember my first 'Wrestlemania'. I didn’t realize it was 'Wrestlemania', and I’m not kidding you. I didn’t look at the booking sheet, I didn’t care who I was working with; I didn’t care. It was a business to me. I didn’t care if I won or lost, I just wanted to get paid. After my first 'Wrestlemania', someone said to me ‘you know you’re main eventing 'Wrestlemania'?’ And I said, ‘No? Was I?’ I remember the Hoosier Dome, but I didn’t realize that was 'Wrestlemania'. At that point, Vince was already upset with me because I had already given my notice to quit. The reason was is because in that situation and in that company, I was in the wrong situation at the wrong time. I left a big guaranteed contract to come to [WWF] and the deal was I was going to do TVs and pay-per-views for one year, and then after Wrestlemania I was going to become the World Champion. I was going to do my first house show, but then [Vince] had to go and fire [Ultimate] Warrior and all of that shit changed. From the very beginning, things didn’t go right. We were at the 'Royal Rumble' - and I think Hogan pulled me out from the outside - and they started booing him. When we get back to the dressing room, Hogan is screaming and acting like a woman. And I go, ‘Hold on a minute,’ and he’s screaming at Vince about ‘You set this up! You made this happen!’ I didn’t even know Vince was that bad of a person at the time; I thought that was just all hearsay. I didn’t care; I really didn’t care what they did. I went to Vince’s office and I stuck my hand out and said, ‘I want to thank you for the opportunity, but I’m gone. I cannot work in a place where grown men act like women.’ And he said, ‘No, no, no, I’m not going to shake your hand. That won’t do you any good.’”

- Enzo Amore claimed in a new interview that his romantic storyline with Nia Jax would have involved Alexa Bliss and led to a heel turn for him. During his appearance on the Store Horseman podcast, Amore discussed what he said were the plans for the arc as told to him by Vince McMahon, “I was getting so much heat it was awesome that people probably won’t appreciate it until five, ten years from now,” Amore said (per Wrestling Inc). “Like a babyface transition that I made and on a marketing level too it was crazy and Vince wanted me in that gray area though. He didn’t want me full-blown. He had plans to make me full-blown that nobody else knew about, not even the other people that were involved in it.” He went on to say, “I mean look at that Nia / Alexa Bliss Wrestlemania blow-off. What do you think was gonna happen? How else could I get full-blown heat? Enzo Amore with the gray area trying to get full-blown heel real, real f**king heat. How do you do that? I’m using Nia as a heater to keep my title and I get caught hooking up with her best friend backstage. Bang, that’s how you do it. Nia didn’t know that. Alexa didn’t know it. I knew that because Vince told me […] I was just toying along with her I wanted her to win me matches, I wanted her to be like Chyna.”

WWE EXTREME RULES PPV is on Sunday, July 15th, 2018 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the line-up is as follows:

  • WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE #1 CONTENDER MATCH: Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley vs. More Competitors TBA
  • WWE TITLE: AJ Styles © vs. Rusev
  • RAW WOMEN'S TITLE: Alexa Bliss © vs. Nia Jax

  • NXT TAKEOVER BROOKLYN IV is on Saturday, August 18th, 2018 from Brooklyn, New York and the line-up is as follows:

  • NXT WOMEN’S TITLE: Shayna Baszler © vs. Kairi Sane

    - This week's “Impact” was a good one featuring LAX regaining the Impact Tag Team Championship from DJZ & Andrew Everett in the best match of the evening; though the outcome was a little disappointing considering the former champions barely got any time being titleholders.

    - Seriously, Scott Steiner is squashing people in 2018.

    - The continued handling of Eddie Edwards' descent into madness is the most underrated angle going in wrestling right now.

    - While Madison Rayne getting a push is nice, but her getting the Gail Kim treatment just feels a bit misguided considering her importance to the division when she was around as well as her drastically different & more interesting character.

    - Considering the parties involved a feud between Pentagon and Sami Callihan should be barbaric. The end of “Impact” saw Callihan lay the former Heavyweight champion out with his infamous baseball bat to make sure Jake Crist didn't have his arm broken.

    - Rich Swann debuts for Impact next week.

    - IMPACT Wrestling has announced the launch of a new podcast titled “Total Nonstop Recall” that will take a look at IMPACT’s history month by month.

    SLAMMIVERSARY XVI is on Saturday, August 19th, 2017 and the line-up is as follows:

  • IMPACT WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE: Austin Aries © vs. Moose
  • IMPACT KNOCKOUTS TITLE: Su Yung © vs. Madison Rayne
  • X-DIVISION TITLE: Matt Sydal © vs. Brian Cage
  • Johnny Impact vs. TBA
  • Taiji Ishimori vs. TBA
  • Ring of Honor / Lucha Underground / Independent / International News and Notes:

    - A solid second episode of Lucha Underground season four saw Pentagon Dark successfully defend his LU Heavyweight title against Matanza; handing “The Monster” his first singles loss since debuting. There were a few new faces introduced, a showcase for the new Trios champion iteration of Killshot, The Mack & Son of Havoc, the Gift of the Gods returning, potentially removing the ultra-powerful gauntlet once held by Cage, and the announcement of next week's must-see main event: Mil Muertes vs. Fenix vs. Jeremiah Crane in a first-ever Three Way to the Grave match.

    - Chris Jericho has announced the First Round of the Sea of Honor Tournament during his Rock N’ Wrestling Rager cruise. The winner will receive an ROH World title opportunity. The bracket will feature these matches: Jay Lethal vs BJ Whitmer; Christopher Daniels vs Delirious; Marty Scurll vs Rhett Titus; Silas Young vs. Flip Gordon; Mark Briscoe vs Will Ferrara; Adam Page vs Frankie Kazarian; Cheeseburger vs Beer City Bruiser; Jay Briscoe vs. Kenny King

    - Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com recently interviewed ROH COO Joe Koff. During the interview, Johnson asked about the Madison Square Garden debut to which Koff confirmed to him that Madison Square Garden had pulled out of negotiations with them after communications with WWE. There's a chance Sinclair Broadcast Group (ROH's owners) may seek legal action as everything but pen to paper was set for ROH in MSG to happen until the owners of MSG went back on their words.

    - Ring of Honor has added Austin Aries vs. Kenny King for its “Best in the World” pay-per-view next Friday.

    - WWE has made a working agreement with Pro Wrestling NOAH. Details are limited at this time, but the deal will see Hideo Itami returning to NOAH for an August 29th show.

    - Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, Mark Burnett, President of MGM Television and Digital Group and David McLane, the impresario behind the ’80s hit TV series GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling), have tapped AXS TV to bring the emerging hit series “WOW-Women Of Wrestling” (WOW) to a wider U.S. TV audience. AXS TV will start recording WOW events in Los Angeles later this year, for broadcast beginning in early 2019. Information on the date, venue and ticket sales will be announced soon.

    - Pro Wrestling Guerrilla has announced the first four competitors for the 2018 Battle of Los Angeles tournament. The following talent will compete in the tournament, which takes place from September 14th through the 16th: Robbie Eagles; David Starr; Rey Horus; Chris Brookes; Joey Janela; Puma King; PCO (Pierre Carl Oulette); Brody King; Jody Fleisch; Ilja Dragunov.

    - MLW announced today that Konnan is coming out of retirement after undergoing hip replacement surgery to compete in MLW’s Battle Riot. He joins John Morrison, “Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan, ACH, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Teddy Hart, Rich Swann, Pentagon Jr., Jimmy Yuta, Jake Hager, Swoggle, Lance Anoa’i, and “PCO” Pierre Carl Ouellet as confirmed participants. The match is mash-up of a battle royal, royal rumble and anything goes street fight, the Battle Riot is a super-sized main event which will feature 40 wrestlers with new participants entering the ring every 60 seconds.

    NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING “COW PALACE SHOW” is on Saturday, July 7th, 2018 from San Francisco California and the line-up is as follows:

  • IWGP U.S. TITLE: “Switchblade” Jay White © vs. Juice Robinson
  • IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE: The Young Bucks © (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA)
  • IWGP Jr. HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE: Hiromu Tanahashi © vs. Dragon Lee
  • NEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE: Hirooki Goto © vs. Jeff Cobb
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA vs. Hangman Page & Marty Scurll
  • Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI)
  • Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.
  • CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Gedo, Rocky Romero, SHO & YOH) vs. Bullet Club (Haku, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens)
  • MMA News and Notes:

    - After a five-year stint with the UFC, veteran heavyweight Josh Barnett has been released from his contract. Barnett’s release from his contract does not carry any stipulations and is considered a full separation from the UFC. The move comes three months after the 40-year-old fighter was exonerated by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for a failed drug test, receiving only a public warning from the UFC’s anti-doping partner.

    - Alexa Grasso will face Angela Hill in a strawweight bout at UFC Fight Night 135. UFC Fight Night 135 takes place on August 25th in Lincoln, Nebraska.

    - A heavyweight bout between Andrei Arlovski and Shamil Abdurakhimov is the latest addition to September’s UFC Fight Night lineup in Russia. UFC Fight Night in Moscow takes place Sept. 15th at Olympic Stadium in Russia.

    - A movie centered on the formation of the UFC is under development, according to a new report. MMA Fighting reports that Mandalay Sports Media is working on a feature film about the beginning of the organization and co-founder Rorion Gracie’s influence on the sport. The film will be funded by MSM along with IMG, which is a subsidiary of the company that owns the UFC. The film will be titled Gracie and follow the UFC’s formation as a vehicle for the growth of Brazilian jiu-jitsu worldwide. Robert Specland is writing the film with Mike Tollin, Mason Gordon, Mark Card and Gordon Gray producing.

    - Leon Tabbs, who served as the first official cutman for the UFC, has passed away. Bruce Tabbs has confirmed that his father passed away on Friday evening at the age of eighty-six after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Tabbs was a longtime boxer who trained fellow servicemen in the sport during his seven year stint in the Navy. He worked as a police officer in Philadelphia as well as a boxing trainer, and had a part in the first Rocky film. He went on to be the cutman for Bernard Hopkins and eventually worked with the UFC, serving as cutman for UFC 1 and working with the company through UFC on FX 4 in June of 2012.

    - Brock Lesnar isn’t confirmed to be making a UFC return (yet), but if he does than he’ll be an underdog against Jon Jones. MMAjunkie reports that betting lines have opened for the potential fight, and Lesnar is currently a serious underdog against the former light-heavyweight champion. As of now, the betting odds are: Jon Jones: -350 (2/7); Brock Lesnar: +260 (13/5)

    - In a post on Instagram, Urijah Faber revealed a nasty video of his foot after it was run over by a car while in Singapore. The video shows his foot swollen after the incident, but he seemed to avoid serious injury.

    UFC 226 is on Saturday, July 7th, 2018 from Las Vegas Nevada and the line-up is as follows:

  • UFC FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE: Max Holloway © vs. Brian Ortega
  • Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis
  • UFC ON FOX is on Saturday, July 28th, 2018 from Calgary Alberta Canada Saturday, July 29th, 2017 in Anaheim, California and the line-up is as follows:

  • Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Tecia Torres
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Porier
  • Jose Aldo vs. Jeremy Stephens
  • UFC 227 is on Saturday, August 4th, 2018 from Los Angeles, California and the line-up is as follows:

  • UFC BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE: T.J. Dillashaw © vs. Cody Garbrandt
  • UFC FLYWEIGHT TITLE: Demetrious Johnson © vs. Henry Cejudo
  • Cub Swanson vs. Renato Moicano
  • Polyanna Vianna vs. JJ Aldrich
  • UFC 228 is on Saturday, September 8th, 2018 from TBD and the line-up is as follows:

  • Yair Rodriquez cs. Zabit Magomedsharipov
  • Jimmie Rivera vs. John Dodson
  • Random Thoughts, Links, Pics, ETC.

    - Random VIDEO of the week: “Creed 2” Trailer

    - BONUS Random VIDEO of the week: “The Domestics” Trailer.

    - BONUS Random VIDEO of the week PART 2: Honest Game Trailer: Jurassic Park

    - BONUS Random VIDEO of the week PART 3: Chad Boswick rewards a real hero.

    - THIS LINK is for LIFE. Thank you soldiers. WELCOME HOME BLOG

    - BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week: This is an absolute mess.

    - BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week PART 1: His message will be forever marred by his actions on Earth.

    - BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week PART 2: Long live, Koko.

    - BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week PART 3: It's sad to see someone so beautiful falling apart like this.

    - BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week PART 4: No matter what side of the fence you were on regarding his views, it's always sad to see someone succumb to such a horrendous sickness.

    - BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week PART 5: I guess if Mick Jagger can still live after so many years, Depp probably thinks he'll last as well.

    - BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week PART 6: “Roseanne” gets saved without Roseanne.

    - BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week PART 7: I'd rather have that live action movie parody of “Daria” starring Aubrey Plaza.

    - Disney increased its bid for 20th Century Fox and other Fox assets (National Geographic and FX, Star TV, stakes in Sky, Endemol Shine Group and Hulu as well as regional sports networks) to try and beat Comcast’s $65 billion cash offer. Now Coming Soon reports that Disney has signed an amended acquisition agreement with 21st Century Fox for $71.3 Billion ($38 per share in cash and stock) and will acquire the company after the spin-off business for “New Fox” launches. Disney’s initial offer before Comcast intervened was $52.4 billion.

    - After fourteen years, “The Incredibles 2” was finally unleashed on the box office this weekend and records fell as a result. Disney-Pixar’s animated superhero sequel grossed $180 million to decimate the competition for an easy #1 start. That marks the third-best opening weekend of 2018, behind only “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther.” It also represents, with ease, the best animated film opening weekend of all-time. “The Incredibles 2” blew past all expectations from industry analysts for the weekend. Going into Friday, most had the film predicted at $125 million to $140 million, with high-end projections at $150 million. Those expectations were tossed aside after a $71.5 million Friday (including Thursday previews). This can be attributed to a lot of things — a strong marketing campaign, the overwhelmingly positive reviews (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and positive word of mouth (a rare A+ CinemaScore). But mostly, it speaks to the anticipation for the film based on appreciation of the original. The film dominated social media trends leading up to its release and the audience was spread across all ages, meaning this wasn’t just a film that parents were taking their kids to.

    - NBC and AMC have released statements regarding their relationships with Chris Hardwick following abuse allegations levied against him. Hardwick was the subject of an open letter by his ex-girlfriend, actress Chloe Dykstra, which had details accounts of emotional and sexual abuse during their three-year relationship. On Saturday, NBC - who broadcasts Hardwick’s show “The Wall” - issued a statement regarding his status on the show. Hardwick hosts and is an executive producer on the series, which was renewed for a third season in March. The statement reads, “These allegations about Chris Hardwick took us by surprise as we have had a positive working relationship with him. However, we take allegations of misconduct very seriously. Production on 'The Wall' does not begin until September, and in the meantime we are continuing to assess the situation and will take appropriate action based on the outcome.” Meanwhile, AMC announced that they are suspending broadcast of “Talking With Chris Hardwick”, which was set to premiere on Sunday, while they “assess the situation.” The network has also announced that Hardwick will no longer moderate the planned AMC and BBC America panels at San Diego Comic-Con in July, which would have included the Doctor Who panel. No decision was mentioned regarding Hardwick’s post-“Walking Dead” discussion series “Talking Dead.” Hardwick, who is married to Lydia Hearst, said in a statement he was "heartbroken" to read Dykstra's allegations, "Our three-year relationship was not perfect—we were ultimately not a good match and argued—even shouted at each other—but I loved her, and did my best to uplift and support her as a partner and companion in any way and at no time did I sexually assault her. I'm devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur. I was blindsided by her post and always wanted the best for her. As a husband, a son, and future father, I do not condone any kind of mistreatment of women."

    - According to a new report, Lucasfilm has put plans for further Star Wars Story spin-off films on hold after “Solo” disappointed at the box office. Collider reports that the studio has put a hold on the spin-off plans for films including Stephen Daldry’s Obi-Wan film and James Mangold’s Boba Fett movie. The report cites not only the lower-than-expected gross for “Solo” - which is expected to ultimately be a money loser - but the production issues that plagued both it and “Rogue One”. The latter film was ultimately a big hit with $532.2 million domestically and $1.056 billion worldwide, but it went through extensive reshoots due to story problems in the third act. “Solo” famously lost directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who were fired mid-production and replaced with Ron Howard. It has grossed $196.2 million domestically and $343.3 million worldwide, and looks to be far from recouping its $250 million budget and marketing costs. Lucasfilm is now devoting almost all its energy and focus to the main franchise, specifically “Star Wars: Episode IX” which will release on December 20th, 2019.

    - Shane will be back - for an episode, at least - on “The Walking Dead”. Jon Bernthal will return to the show for an episode in the new season according to TV Line. It will mark his first appearance on the AMC show since season three when he appeared as a figment of Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) imagination. During a “Kick-Ass Women of AMC” panel Wednesday, “The Walking Dead” showrunner Angela Kang revealed that the ninth season will jump forward in time. This is similar to the comics, which moved forward two years after the “All Out War” between Rick and Negan, which recently wrapped up in season eight.

    - Xavier Dolan and Will Beinbrink have joined the cast of “IT: Chapter Two” in supporting roles. Deadline reports that Dolan will play Adrian Mellon in the film, with Beinbrink playing Tom Rogan. In the Stephen King novel, Adrian Mellon was a gay man living in Derry who was attacked by a mob and become one of Pennywise’s victims. Tom is Beverly’s abusive lover in the book. The two join a cast that includes James McAvoy as Bill, Jessica Chastain as Beverly, Bill Hader as Richie, Jay Ryan as Ben, James Ransone as Eddie, with Andy Bean as Stanely Uris, Isaiah Mustafa as Mike, and Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise. The film is written by Gary Dauberman from the book by Stephen King, and will be directed by Andy Muschietti (who directed the first). The sequel releases on September 6th, 2019.

    ~James Bullock

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