THE BEAST IS BACK
What started out as just another weekend with a few minor shows turned very quickly into one of the most insane news cycles we’ve had all year, and it all happened in the span of just a few hours.
As you’ve probably heard by now, Brock Lesnar made a surprise appearance at UFC 226 answering an open challenge from Daniel Cormier, who just moments before had won the heavyweight title from Stipe MIocic, becoming only the second multi-divisional champion in company history, after Conor McGregor.
Lesnar actually shoved Cormier hard in an angle that was clearly planned, as the two had big smiles on their face and even UFC President Dana White couldn’t keep a straight face (likely thinking about all the money he’s about to make). He also got a hold of a microphone, trashing fellow heavyweight fighters Miocic and Francis Ngannou because informing the new champion that he was coming for the title.
If you still lived in the naive world where great champions faced legitimate challengers based on wins and losses and who actually deserves the opportunity, that illusion has to be completely shattered. The reality is that Lesnar is a massive ratings draw – or at least he was a decade ago – and his name means enough that his less than stellar legacy won’t get in the way of UFC booking a big time cash-grab.
Make no mistake – Lesnar lost his last two fights, retired, came back on the biggest MMA PPV in history only to pop positive for banned substances, retired again, and is now the top contender to the heavyweight title. Never underestimate the power of turning yourself into a household name brand, kids.
NJPW INVADES THE COW PALACE
If you haven’t seen this weekend’s absolutely incredible NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco, do yourself a favor and watch it before you get anything else done this week. The whole show is available on New Japan World in both English and Japanese, but if you can’t afford the subscription fee for some reason, it’ll be replaying on AXS TV this coming Friday. Check your local listings.
The biggest piece of news came right at the very end – just a few minutes before Brock Lesnar invaded the octagon at UFC 226 in fact. After months and months of tension and divide within the Bullet Club, faction OG Tama Tonga finally had enough of the in-fighting and stormed the ring with his brother Tanga Loa, and their father King Haku (aka Meng) and laid waste to the entire group. Even Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi, who have historically been on their side in the Great War, got laid out.
In the aftermath, Cody Rhodes and Kenny Omega ended up back on the same page. It’s an age old story of two bitter rivals finally coming to respect one another after beating the hell out of each other, nearly to the point of death. So now we have what looks to be the start of a turf war between Bullet Club Firing Squad (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Hikuleo, Bad Luck Fale, Taiji Ishimori) and Bullet Club: The Elite.
Another major story is that in the midst of a fantastic (albeit reckless) match, IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi suffered what looks to be a broken neck due to a botched Phoenix Plex from his long-time rival Dragon Lee.
Juice Robinson also finally won his first piece of NJPW gold when he defeated “Slingblade” Jay White in a huge story-driven match to win the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. During the match Jim Ross took a bump and fell on his back when the two went through the guardrail. There were actually several bad guardrail spots throughout the night, as the ring crew did not properly secure the railings. Josh Barnett then jumped the barricade and went after White, in a spot that both men insist was not a “work” or part of the story. Either way, it came across incredibly on television, and turned White in the biggest heel of the night.
The 2018 G1 Climax tournament kicks off this weekend, but we’re gonna need a lot more time to really dig into everything surrounding the greatest tournament in professional wrestling. Look for a big article dissecting the whole thing later on this week.
- Top superstar to miss Extreme Rules this weekend
- Kane on his future as a WWE star if elected as Mayor
- Police report revealed from Enzo Amore investigation
- Bray Wyatt is back in action after scary car accident
- Major names set for WWE MSG return in late 2018
- Nicholas backstage at this weekend’s WWE MSG event
- WWE Raw star injured and will require surgery
MORE WRESTLING NEWS
- NJPW returning to Long Beach in 2018 with two more shows
- Impact Wrestling viewership sees a huge jump this past week
- Juice Robinson sends message to WWE after title win
Sign up for our newsletter to receive the PW Daily Report direct to your inbox every single weekday, Monday through Friday. Did we mention completely free? Did we also mention we’ll never ever give out your information or spam you with anything other than the promised newsletter? Cool.
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Have an event you’d like us to add to our weekly schedule? Email [email protected]tling.com.
Monday, July 9
- WWE Raw | USA | 8PM ET
Tuesday, July 10
- WWE Smackdown Live | USA | 8PM ET
- WWE 205 Live | WWE Network | 10:05PM ET
Wednesday, July 11
- WWE NXT | WWE Network | 8PM ET
- Lucha Underground | El Rey | 8PM ET
Thursday, July 12
- Impact Wrestling | Pop TV | 8PM ET
Friday, July 13
- NJPW on AXS | 8PM ET
Saturday, July 14
- NJPW G1 Climax | NJPW World | 5:30AM ET
Sunday, July 15
- NJPW G1 Climax | NJPW World | 2AM ET
- WWE Extreme Rules | WWE Network | 7PM ET
Please submit general inquiries, news tips, show results and any other questions and comments to [email protected]