Welcome to the new feature that needs a catchier name, The Friday News Wrap-Up. Each Friday I’ll be highlighting some of the bigger stories from wrestling/MMA and providing some commentary.
UFC 193 in Australia this Saturday
UFC will present its latest pay-per-view event, UFC 193, from Ethihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday night. The show will be headlined by Ronda Rousey defending her Women’s Bantam Weight Championship against challenger Holly Holm. Rousey is an overwhelming 18:1 favorite. Holm is reputed to be the strongest fighter Rousey has faced, as she is undefeated in MMA and an accomplished kick boxer.
The card is filled out by Joanna Jędrzejczyk defending the Women’s Strawweight Championship against Valérie Létourneau, Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva in a heavyweight bout, Uriah Hall vs. Robert Whittaker, and Stefan Struve vs. Jared Rosholt.
The pay-per-view broadcast starts at 10:00 PM EST with the TV undercard on Fox Sports 1 at 8:00 PM.
Genchichiro Tenryu faces Kazuchika Okada in Tenryu’s retirement match
65 year old Japanese wrestling legend will conclude his career this weekend in a retirement match against Kazuchika Okada. Tenryu announced his retirement earlier this year and has been wrestling for promotions all across Japan on his farewell tour. Okada is in the prime of his career at 28 years old and is the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
If I’m doing the time conversion right, the match will take place at 1:00 AM EST (3:00 PM in Tokyo). The match will air on New Japan’s New Japan World service.
More dates added to Brock Lesnar’s contract
Brock Lesnar will wrestle at a WWE live event in Houston on January 8th. According to the Wrestling Observer WWE and Lesnar have reached an agreement for him to work more dates in 2016. Lesnar will have worked six dates on his new contract in 2015 (plus the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania on his previous contract).
More Lesnar is definitely a good thing, especially if WWE can come up with some fresh opponents for him. His appearances at Beast in the East and Madison Square Garden were fun, and I look forward to seeing more of him in 2016. Extra dates should put him under consideration for another run with the WWE Championship. Looking back, I wish he’d never lost the title at Wrestlemania last year.
The Rock unlikely to wrestle at Wrestlemania
The Rock is having trouble getting insurance for a match at Wrestlemania and is thus unlikely to have a match. Reports indicated he was likely to face Triple H in one of the top matches on the show.
WWE.com announced NXT TakeOver: London will be airing at 3:00 PM EST on WWE Network on December 16th. This marks a departure from the typical taped shows airing from the UK.
Summerslam 1992 was tape delayed and drew a disappointing buyrate, and seemingly for that reason WWE has avoided pay-per-views from the UK (other than the UK exclusive shows of the late 90s and early 2000s). For a Network exclusive show, buyrates are irrelevant but the more interesting question is whether WWE would be comfortable doing a proper PPV from the UK. My feeling is we’re probably not quite there yet but will be in a few years.
I think this is just a case of WWE being cautious. With how thin their roster is right now they can’t afford more injuries, and having a guy wrestle in another company just to be nice doesn’t make much sense from their perspective. Interestingly, Del Rio will still be working some dates in Puerto Rico for Carlos Colon.
Lucha Underground begins taping season two on Saturday
Lucha Underground will begin taping its second season this weekend in Boyle Heights. Season two will begin airing in January 2016 on El Rey Network.