Afternoon Update: Raw matches and segments added including DX Reunion and Rousey-Bella contract signing, Dick Slater obits, Fox Network’s Smackdown commentator pick misses tryout, Evolution match added

By Wade Keller, PWTorch Editor

Triple H (art credit Travis Beaven)


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-Since posting our detailed Raw Preview article earlier today, WWE has announced Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose for the Raw Tag Team Titles, Sasha Banks vs. Ruby Riott, a contract signing for the Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella title match at Evolution, plus Shawn Michaels and Triple H will appear and promote their Crown Jewel DX reunion. It’ll be noteworthy whether they mention “Saudi Arabia” as the host country this week. They didn’t last week amidst the continuing controversy of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by a group of killers from Saudi Arabia, which Saudi Arabia has changed their story on in a way that is drawing a ton of scrutiny and skepticism. The BBC has a timeline of Saudi Arabia’s story changing HERE.

-WWE announced Evolution will also includes a six0woman tag match featuring Natalya & Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. The Riott Squad. That’s in addition to the Raw, Smackdown, and NXT singles title matches, plus Trish Stratus & Lita vs. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James, the Mae Young Classic finals match, and the Battle Royal for the future women’s title shot. Tonight’s Raw is the final hype for Evolution on Raw, as the event is now just six days away.

-Fox Network requested Daniel Cormier be the color commentator on Smackdown, reported Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, a move that would likely unseat either  Byron Saxton or Corey Graves. (Insert your own joke here about who is more likely and why.) “They wanted me to go in and do an audition as a member of the commentary team,” Cormier said (via MMAFighting). “That was my private little thing, but because of the fight, I had to push it back,” he told MMA Fighting about missing his scheduled audition at the WWE Performance Center. “So there might be some DC in WWE coming.” More on this story at our sister site, Daniel Cormier says he delayed WWE commentary audition to take UFC 230 fight

Check out today’s new episode of “MMATorch Talk for Pro Wrestling Fans,” part of the daily PWTorch Livecast line-up. Subscribe in Apple Podcasts HERE or check out the latest episodes on Stitcher or anywhere you listen to podcasts by searching “Pro Wrestling Torch.”

-In other MMA/Pro Wrestling news, Derrick Lewis – made recently more famous for his comedic answer when Joe Rogan asked him why he took his shorts off after his last UFC victory – says he is fine with facing either Brock Lesnar or Stipe Miocic. “If it’s Miocic or Lesnar, that’s fine,” Lewis added Whatever the UFC wants to pay me for, that’s fine. I don’t care who’s next.” Read more about Lewis’s comments at MMATorch HERE or read MMATorch managing editor Mike Hiscoe’s editorial: HISCOE: Lesnar vs. Lewis is the fight we all deserve

-For more on the death of Dick Slater, age 67, check out fellow Pro Wrestling Hall of Famer journalist Greg Oliver’s oblituary at Slam Sports HERE. Excerpt:

Slater was at his unpredictable best in the 1970s and 1980s, earning status as one of the top heels in the business. “Dick Slater was a great heel … Tough, tough, tough guy,” Mid-Atlantic star Don Kernodle recalled. “Not a wrestling tough guy, but a fighter. He wasn’t a great shooter in wrestling, but he would knock a great shooter out before he knew what hit him.”

In fact, Slater was considered world championship material at one time because he could work a variety of styles and defend himself in just about any situation. But, according to Slater in The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels, Charlotte, N.C.-based promoter Jim Crockett insisted that Ric Flair hold the National Wrestling Alliance championship strap, and that was that. “I couldn’t fight politics, so I just went along with the flow,” he said. Slater played off the decision, though — in 1984, he had his own world championship belt made and strutted around the Carolinas as kingpin, touching off a program with Flair. READ FULL ARTICLE

-Also check out long time pro wrestling newspaper columnist and historian Mike Mooneyham’s obituary on Dick Slater HERE. Excerpt:

A respected singles performer known for a brawling style much like that of Terry Funk, Slater also found success and tag titles with the likes of Funk, Dusty Rhodes, Dick Murdoch, Bruiser Brody, Greg Valentine and Bunkhouse Buck (Jimmy Golden).

In 1977, he was chosen by Rhodes to be his tag-team partner in a grudge match with NWA tag-team champions Gene and Ole Anderson. Slater and Rhodes won the belts in front of a packed house at the Omni.

“Dickie Slater was one of the top four or five most talented guys in wrestling back then, a great guy and a good friend,”′ Rhodes said in a 2000 interview. “I gave him the nickname of Buford as in Buford Pusser, the famous sheriff from ‘Walking Tall.’ He was a rugged SOB.”’ READ FULL ARTICLE

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