*The WWE is taping Raw and SmackDown Live from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado this week. Tonight’s episode of Raw will feature the following matches that were announced over the weekend:
*Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler vs. The Revival for the Raw tag titles
*Elias vs. Bobby Lashley
*Brie Bella vs. Ruby Riott
**The SmackDown crew has a live event in Colorado Springs tonight and then head to Denver for Tuesday’s tapings. They have announced a contract signing for this week’s show involving AJ Styles and Samoa Joe for their rematch at Super Show-Down on October 6th in Melbourne.
**New Japan had a brief update on Yoshi-Hashi following Sunday’s closing angle in Kobe. The promotion stated he was hospitalized after suffering a head and shoulder injury after falling into the ring apron. He got up from the fall and was cut open on the forehead and was quickly sent to the floor after a quick interaction with Jay White.
**Joey Janela suffered a knee injury this past Friday on the Game Changer Wrestling event from Asbury Park, New Jersey. Janela was in a match with Psicosis and executed a high cross to the floor and immediately grabbed his left knee after landing it. Janela stated he went to the emergency room afterward and stated he is scheduled for an MRI this week. The injury has forced Janela to pull out of matches next weekend for AML Wrestling in North Carolina and Beyond Wrestling in Worcester.
**The NWA has announced that Jim Cornette will be calling the 70th Anniversary card on Sunday, October 21st from the Nashville Fairgrounds. Cornette will provide color commentary on the show alongside play-by-play announcer Joe Galli. The NWA has also announced that Tony Schiavone will be sitting in to call the main event between Cody and Nick Aldis for the NWA championship. The card will be streaming that night on FITE TV.
**Game Changer Wrestling has announced that their WrestleMania Week cards will take place from the White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, New Jersey. They are promoting cards running April 4th – 6th at the location. GCW is the group behind the popular “Joey Janela’s Spring Break” cards from the past two years and also introduced “Matt Riddle’s Bloodsport” this past year in New Orleans.
**MLW has announced that Sammy Guevara will take on El Hijo del L.A. Park on Thursday, October 4th at their “Fury Road” event at the Melrose Ballroom in Queens.
**Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall are hosting a “2 Sweet N.W.O. Reunion” event on Saturday, October 27th at Mango’s Tropical Café in Orlando followed by autograph and photo op session at Hogan’s Beach Shop. The event starts at 11 am and will include a podcast recording of “83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff” at 11:30, a Q&A at 12:30, followed by an autograph session at Hogan’s Beach at 4 pm and a group photo op session from 6-8 pm. The event packages begin at $199 for a group photo with the three, and additional packages that run up all the way to $999 for an All Access pass that includes everything.
**A new episode of “Photo Shoot” featuring Scott Hall will air on the WWE Network tonight following Raw.
**Stephanie McMahon-Levesque turns 42 years old today and Sonya Deville (Daria Beranto) is 25 years old today.
**Kenny Johnson, who is a very talented filmmaker and works with EVOLVE as well as worked on Ten Pounds of Gold, has released his latest documentary profiling Pierre Carl Ouellet (PCO) and his resurgence this year:
**Malki Kawa of First Round Management and agent for Jon Jones was a guest on The MMA Hour with Luke Thomas on Monday. Kawa called it a “rough year” for their team and Jones following the positive sample from Jones’ post-fight drug test at UFC 214 in July 2017. Kawa tried to explain that the “substantial assistance” that was outlined in the independent arbitrator’s ruling didn’t necessarily mean Jones was providing information on other fighters and could have been information regarding himself. The clause in the USADA policy outlines that it does require information on another athlete with the following excerpt section 10.6.1 of the policy:
USADA in its sole discretion may suspend all or part of the period of Ineligibility and other Consequences imposed in an individual case in which it has results management authority where the Athlete or other Person has provided Substantial Assistance to USADA or another Anti-Doping Organization, criminal authority or professional disciplinary body which results in: (i) USADA or another Anti-Doping Organization discovering or bringing forward an Anti-Doping Policy Violation by another person and the information provided by the Person providing Substantial Assistance is made available to USADA, or (ii) which results in a criminal or disciplinary body discovering or bringing forward a criminal offense or the breach of professional rules committed by another Person and the information provided by the Person providing Substantial Assistance is made available to USADA.
Kawa believes Jones didn’t deserve to be suspended for any length of time and opted to go to arbitration, despite USADA knocking his suspension down to 18 months, they went to arbitration and was reduced to 15. Kawa added that Jones could fight before the end of 2018 or early 2019.
**The UFC announced an attendance of 9,485 at the Ginasio do Ibirapuera for Saturday’s Fight Night card in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Fight of the Night bonus was awarded to the main eventers Thiago Santos and Eryk Anders, while the Performance bonus recipients were Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Charles Oliveira. Each received $50,000 in bonus money.
Overall, it was an entertaining card and despite 14 fights on the bill, it went by quick with ten stoppages against four decisions. The main event was a very good fight and Eryk Anders upped his stock taking the fight on less than one weeks’ notice and competing well against Thiago Santos. Anders had nothing left after the third round and collapsed twice trying to walk to his corner and there was no option but to end the fight. Renan Barao has fallen so badly and it’s going to be tough to keep him after this fight. Barao missed weight by almost six pounds, he was dropped in the first round but came back to dominate opponent Andre Ewell but was soundly outstruck in the second and third rounds. Barao was one of the best fighters in the world and the top bantamweight while Dominick Cruz was injured but was never the same after losing to T.J. Dillashaw in May 2014. Since then, he has gone 2-5 and Ewell is hardly a fighter that the Barao of old would have had any difficulty with.
**Bellator will be presenting a huge card this Saturday from the SAP Center in San Jose, California and will air exclusively on the DAZN streaming service. The deal between DAZN and Bellator is a nine-figure deal over five-years and is a game changer for the promotion. The exact figure per year has not been disclosed but even if the nine-figures equates to $100 million over the life of the deal that means minimum $20 million per year in additional revenue. DAZN recently launched in the U.S. and is available for $9.99 per month, while Canadians are required to spend $20 per month with both countries having the ability to sign up and receive the first month free. In Canada, you can also sign up for the year at $150, which the strategy seems to be to push for the annual fee that drastically reduces the amount per month for Canadians.
The card itself features one of the strongest lineups Bellator has presented, headlined by middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi defending his title against welterweight champion Rory MacDonald, which is arguably the biggest fight Bellator has ever put together. This will be MacDonald’s first middleweight fight of his career with the two fighting in their prime. It was always believed that MacDonald would grow out of the welterweight division and naturally ease himself into middleweight but in his first bout, he is fighting one of the best fighters in the world. MacDonald owns a victory over current UFC champion Tyron Woodley and since losing to Robbie Lawler and Stephen Thompson in his last two fights in the UFC, he has looked impressive in his new promotional home with his victories over Paul Daley and Douglas Lima.
While not in their prime, the name value associated with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Wanderlei Silva is still rich. This will be their fourth fight dating back to Pride’s Final Conflict event in November 2003. Silva stopped Jackson in their two fights at Pride, following up the 2003 win with a stoppage of Jackson in October 2004. Years later, when both migrated to the UFC, they met at UFC 92 in December 2008 and it was Jackson stopping Silva. In this fight, they will be meeting at heavyweight and both have shown a decline in their recent fights. Jackson is coming off losses to Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and Chael Sonnen while Silva had a very lackluster outing in losing to Sonnen in June 2017.
The main card will be rounded out with Andrey Koreshkov and Douglas Lima meeting in their third fight with each holding a victory over the other. These are two of the best welterweights out there and are both former Bellator champions. This fight is part of the Welterweight Grand Prix and is a tremendous opening round fight. I would favor Koreshkov to do very well in the tournament and I think a fight between MacDonald and Koreshkov is one I would personally love to see. Aaron Pico will face his toughest challenge to date as he meets veteran Leandro Higo, who competed on TUF Brazil in 2015 and made his way to Bellator. Higo has fought Eduardo Dantas, Joe Taimanglo, and Darrion Caldwell in his three Bellator outings, so it’s hardly been an easy path for him within the division. Higo is coming up from bantamweight for this fight. If Pico can beat someone at Higo’s level, it’s going to intensify the hype and place Pico into the upper mix of the featherweight class. The main card will also feature Keri-Ann Melendez taking on the debuting Dakota Zimmerman.
**The UFC is off this weekend with their next card the major UFC 229 pay-per-view featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor for the UFC lightweight title. While the UFC is only running two events in October, once November hits they will have a card every weekend until the end of the year except for the weekend before Christmas. There will be shows on back-to-back days November 30th and December 1st with the TUF Finale in Las Vegas followed by a Saturday card from Adelaide, Australia.
**Tickets go on sale this week for UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, November 3rd. The event doesn’t have an official main event yet with Dana White continually stating that they are “working on it”. The options are slim with the belief that Jon Jones will not be fighting on that card despite becoming eligible to fight several days prior. Over the past few days, it was reported by Ariel Helwani at ESPN that welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will need hand surgery and eliminates his possible title fight against Colby Covington from that card. The only major name they could look at is Georges St-Pierre, but there isn’t an opponent available that appears to make sense for St-Pierre. If St-Pierre is looking for maximum dollars and someone that will enhance his legacy, which Georges also states is a major reason for a fight, then he should await the winner (or loser) of the fight between Khabib Nuramgomedov and Conor McGregor. The UFC 230 card currently features Nate Diaz taking on Dustin Poirier, a rematch between Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold as the top fights announced.
**LFA 52 will take place Friday, October 19th from the Bell County Expo Center in Belton, Texas and will be headlined by a bantamweight fight between Chris Gutierrez and Ray Rodriguez. The card will also feature a flyweight bout between Jonathan Martinez and Cee Jay Hamilton, a heavyweight fight between Vernon Lewis and Jeremy Hardy, a lightweight fight with Le’Ville Simpson taking on Kolton Englund, a middleweight fight with Jhonoven Pati against Puna Soriano, a women’s strawweight fight with Vanessa Demopoulos and Itzel Esquivel, and a featherweight fight with Peter Stanonik taking on Cameron Graves.
**Joe Rogan’s newest comedy special will be premiering on Netflix on October 2nd.