NEWS ITEMS: New Japan L.A. line-ups including Billy Gunn and Cody in top matches, Impact’s Pulse Nightclub ceremony, Vader, Race, Smackdown line-up

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


-New Japan Pro Wrestling has announced the line-ups for July 1 and July 2 in Los Angeles. The July 1 shows headlines with Okada vs. Cody Rhodes and Michael Elgin vs. Kenny Omega. Night two headlines with Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Billy Gunn (huh?) and The Young Bucks vs. Trent Barretta & Rocky Romero.

See the full line-ups with graphics here: NIGHT ONE and NIGHT TWO.

(Keller’s Note: We are interested in ramping up our New Japan coverage here at PWTorch, and if you are interested in volunteering to contribute to a new array of New Japan coverage, in print and audio, we are currently working through some ideas and seeing where there is interest among ardent followers to help with our coverage as New Japan continues to grow in popularity and access in the U.S. Email me at if you are interested! Thanks.)

-Impact Wrestling has announced a special ceremony to honor the victims of the terrorist attack at the Pulse Nightclub a year ago this week. Their release, issued to PWTorch, states the following:

As the world remembers the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016, IMPACT Wrestling stands alongside the survivors and honors the 49 victims of the shooting on this, the 1-year mark.

For most of the past 15 years, IMPACT Wrestling has called Orlando its home arena, filming TV shows at Universal Studios Florida. Therefore, the Pulse Nightclub tragedy also brings extra meaning to all of the IMPACT wrestlers, referees, production crew and front-office staff.

We know there will be tears on Monday; we’re crying too, but standing strong for all.

On the next Monday that IMPACT Wrestling is in Orlando, which will be July 3rd, the company will have a special ceremony to honor all of those impacted by this tragedy, which directly impacted the LGBTQ, the LatinX and other communities of color.

IMPACT Wrestling remembers the victims and those impacted by the Pulse Nightclub tragedy.

Read the statement HERE.

-WWE has announced the following matches for Smackdown tonight: Shinsuke Nakamura & A.J. Styles & Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens & Dolph Ziggler & Baron Corbin, Charlotte vs. Natalya, New Day & Tyler Breeze & Fandango vs. The Usos & The Colons, and Naomi vs. Tamina in a non-title match. Also, Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton “go face-to-face.”

-Vader will visit Harley Race’s World League Wrestling this Saturday night. Race managed Vader in WCW in the 1990s. WLW announced the following in a press release issued to PWTorch:

Professional wrestling legend Big Van Vader will come to World League Wrestling – owned by 8-Time NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Harley Race – this Saturday (June 17th) in Troy, MO.

The Race Wrestling Arena will be the site of “It’s Vader Time” this coming Saturday as it will feature a Meet and Greet opportunity with The Mastadon, in addition to the sizzling wrestling action that will also be taking place that night. Unfortunately, due to an accident, Mr. Race will not be attending.

Vader, formerly managed by Mr. Race in World Championship Wrestling, credits him to dramatically boosting his career. “Without Harley, I wouldn’t have achieved the heights that I did. Everyone knows Vader, and I have Harley to thank for that. He was and still is probably one of the best.”

In addition to the fans getting the chance to meet the legendary Vader, they will also get to see the future of professional wrestling as the superstars of World League Wrestling will be in action Saturday night. The card features a main event of Leland Race defending the WLW Heavyweight Championship against Mark Sterling, WLW Jr. Heavyweight Champion Jon Webb facing off against Ace Hawkins, Superstar Steve, Kyle Roberts, REX, Orion Creed, Jayden Fenix and more will be in action!

NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS NEWS UPDATE: NEWS ITEMS: Adam Cole’s first post-ROH opponent named, what got cut from Hulu version of Raw, NXT’s Midwest Tour dates

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