Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
For those of you who were largely away from things for the July 4 long holiday…. you missed one helluva weekend of events.
First, New Japan Pro Wrestling returned to the United States last Saturday with the G1 Special in USA show as a lead in to their annual G1 Special tournament to determine a challenger for next year’s Wrestle Kingdom tournament (typically for the IWGP Heavyweight Title). New Japan Pro Wrestling drew an estimated 6,400 to the Cow Palace for the show; all without the kind of fly-in kind of crowd that came to their previous Los Angeles shows, or that come to a Wrestlemania weekend.
The Bullet Club soap opera of “Team Cody” vs. “Team Kenny” wound up…sort of…. as Kenny Omega successfully defended his IWGP Heavyweight Title over Cody Rhodes. Omega made up with the Young Bucks, then Cody Rhodes and the rst of the primary Bullet Club members only to both be jumped by BC members Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) plus their father Haku…to unveil t-shirts and the name “Firing Squad” (undoubtedly available at your local Hot Topix store shortly).
In other notable matches, Juice Robinson (known by any WWE fans as former developmental talent CJ Parker some time) defeated Jay White to win the NJPW US Title; The Young Bucks retained their IWGP Tag Team Championships over
Los Ingobernables de Japon members EVIL and SANADA , Hirooki Goto defeated. Jeff Cobb to retain his NEVER Openweight Championship; and Chaos (Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon members BUSHI and Tetsuya Naito) .
New Japan Pro Wrestling President Harold Meij also announced New Japan’s return to the United States on September 30 in Long Beach, CA titled “The Fighting Spirit Unleashed”, and a two day event featuring the Young Lions of NJPW on November 10 and 11 at the Anaheim, CA Convention Center titled “The Lion’s Break”.
The most unfortunate event of the entire weekend was the possible broken neck suffered by Hiromu Takahashi in his match with Dragon Lee, after a possible broken his neck after a the Phoenix Plex, where Dragon Lee released Takahashi (rather than a cradle as Kota Ibushi does), dropping him right on top of his head. Somehow Takahashi finished the match as scheduled, then is reported to have collapsed backstage, and was taken to a San Francisco area hospital.
Then, there was a small matter of UFC 226 in Las Vegas featuring a main of Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier. In a major upset, Cormier defeated Champion Miocic to become double UFC Champion (Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion). Then, from ringside…came a certain Beast, who makes his home in Suplex City (rumored to be a 2 hour plane ride from Freebird Mountain)…Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar entered the Octagon and went head to head with Cormier after Cormier called him out with “There’s a guy that I’ve known for a long time. He’s a wrestler, he’s an All-American, he’s a former UFC champion. I never thought I would fight him, but Brock Lesnar get your ass in here”. Lesnar entered the Octagon then two handed Cormier. One of Cormier’s stablemates pushed Lesnar back adding to the fun. Cormier replied on the mike: “Push me now, you’re going to sleep later”
After calling former Champion Miocic a “piece of sh*t”, then heavyweights Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis (who admittedly had a snoozer in the co-main) and the division a disaster, Lesnar proceeded to say “DC…I’m coming for you mo@*%#&er” and shoved the mike into the camera, cracking its lens.
Later that night, Dana White acknowledged that Lesnar was back in the USADA testing pool, and a Lesnar-Cormier fight would be taking place at a future unnamed date. Lesnar still has to serve a six month steroid suspension, so the soonest any fight could take place would be UFC 232 show, UFC’s major year end show on
Saturday, December 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas; or more likely, on UFC annual Super Bowl weekend show on a date to be announced.
Making things more interesting, WWE.com covered the news of Brock Lesnar attending the UFC 226 PPV and his post-fight antics, and actually went so far as to mention that “Later in the night, during the post-show press conference, UFC President Dana White confirmed that Cormier vs. Lesnar would be happening in the future. He added that no date had been set.”
Dana White later went so far as to say Lesnar is “free and clear” to do this fight and noted that both Vince and Brock have a good relationship where Lesnar would “not do anything to piss Vince off”…. and McMahon “[is] in the loop,”. although claiming that he no plans to talk to McMahon about the fight.
Something here doesn’t add up. What…I wouldn’t pretend to know. These are two competitors, whether Vince McMahon acknowledges that fact or not. But ask yourself these questions:
* Why would UFC and WWE effectively cooperate with this?
* Why is WWE.com covering all this? It can’t be to act as if they have the scoop over “other wrestling websites”
* If Lesnar is no longer under contract after approximately Summer Slam, why would it matter if he pisses Vince off?
It’ll be interesting to see if this increases RAW viewership, as there will no doubt be curiosity to see when Lesnar shows up next on WWE TV. Will Daniel Cormier actually show up on WWE TV to promote the fight (in an interview, Cormier said he’d be willing to if it took that)? Not to mention will this FINALLY feature the coronation of Roman Reigns at Summer Slam…as WWE now HAS to get the belt off of Lesnar (and should have months ago).
Until next time…