Smackdown and ECW are being taped tonight in Baltimore at the First Mariner Center.
We're still looking for reports on the WWE house shows on Friday night in Salisbury, MD and Saturday night in Wildwood, NJ, as well as the Friday night TNA house show in Monroe, LA.
An update and detailed look at TNA and the Jeff Jarrett/Kurt Angle situation, where reality begins and its repercussions is the lead story in Monday's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The issue, available right now to premium members of the site, is a jumbo-sized issue, which also looks at Affliction's issues with Josh Barnett out, more records set by UFC 100 and where total revenues for the event would fall in comparison to the biggest Wrestlemania shows, and how this affects UFC future PPV numbers. We also have a Victory Road rundown, a feature looking at the Brock Lesnar double standard among MMA fans, as well as UFC stars wanting to be the next one to rock the Brock. We also have a look at downside guarantees of WWE talent, highs, lows and average in a look at WWE profits so far this year.
We've also got more on the departure of Jeff Hardy, the current planned main event for SummerSlam, updates on returns of Shawn Michaels and Undertaker, an update on Edge's recovery and on the WWE's next major television special.
Our lead story talks about the situation with Jeff Jarrett and Karen Angle, the TNA business structure, what Kurt was saying about the situation in the dressing room to the wrestlers this past week, the work vs. shoot angle and how much of this is real, how the dressing room is viewing this, how Victory Road was affected and the mentality behind putting all the heels over clean in the big matches on the show.
We also look at how the story went public with Bubba the Love Sponge and the internal reaction.
We have more notes on Josh Barnett testing positive and being pulled out of the Affliction show, Bobby Lashley's comments on being offered the fight and how this affects business.
We've got a complete rundown of UFC 100 business updates, including yet another company record set and where it is looking at falling on the all-time list of the biggest PPV shows in North American history.
We've got full coverage of Victory Road, the worst match in years, the booking of the show, the Bobby Lashley promo as well as match-by-match coverage with star ratings, and poll results on the show.
We also have a WWE business feature looking at actual profits based on division so far this year. We look at how profits have changed over the past year and what categories are up and what categories are down. We look at the economy's affect on merchandise, what move the company did that saved them millions of dollars, what categories are down, how one division is down almost in half in sales and why even so, it is still more profitable than it was a year ago, as well as the total downside guarantees for all the wrestlers on the roster, including the variance from top to bottom and the overall average downside for the current roster.
We also have a feature on the double standard of some MMA fans when it comes to Lesnar, as well as comments from fighters on Lesnar beating Mir.
We also have coverage of the Dream show with the welterweight title tournament.
All subscriptions to the newsletter and web site for more than one month will include what is traditionally our most talked about and best selling issue of the year, the 2009 Hall of Fame issue. Starting this coming week in the Observer we are doing an historical look at the biggest draws in history and in looking at those numbers, a number of names come up as potentially overlooked candidates. We'll have more in that direction over the next few weeks as well as a Hall of Fame preview issue after all the ballots are cast but before the Hall of Fame issue itself. So several special issues are coming over the next six weeks.
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sites and has the most complete look at the business as a whole anywhere.
We also look at Tom Atencio talking about the future of Affliction, an Olympic silver medalist signing for MMA, tourism for Wrestlemania in Phoenix, the ZZ Top segments on Raw, why original ideas for this week's Raw show were changed, Billy Graham selling Hall of Fame ring, best selling DVDs, and a WWE roster player talks about going back to college after his career is over.
We also have notes on why JBL is not affiliated with WWE right now, a WWE star doing a local television ad, an interesting name surfacing at WWE weekend house shows, new WWE names tabbed for a commercial campaign, Jim Ross talks Lesnar and how the viewpoint among many in WWE on Lesnar has done a 180 in recent weeks and why. We also look at new names planned for characters, the story behind the Pretty Ricky idea, as well as notes on the weekend WWE live events.
We've got our usual in-depth look at the ratings of all the major WWE, TNA and UFC television shows this past week. We look at segment-by-segment of Raw and Impact as to what segments gained and lost viewers. We also have results from the major league arena events held around the world as well as the major TV show rundowns.
Also in this week's issue:
--A new U.S. national television show deal signed for an international pro wrestling group and when the first tapings are
--As he turns 70, we talk about the birth of the character of Mil Mascaras
--A look at the next CMLL major show
--A look at all the AAA booking turns
--A look at IWA's 10th anniversary show including TNA stars and former WWE stars appearing
--An unbelievable main event tag team for 2009
--A look at the Dragon Gate 10th anniversary show
--A look at Dragon Gate's first U.S. PPV show
--Update on NOAH's Junior heavyweight tag team tournament featuring some of the best matches in the world right now
--Notes on New Japan's big weekend show including some surprising booking twists including a former WWE star challenging for the IWGP title
--A retirement match announced of a onetime Hall of Fame candidate
--An incredibly crazy move
--A new touring idea of early 80s nostalgia matches
--Pro wrestling star turning to becoming a heavyweight pro boxer
--Wrestling Hall of Famer gets national beer ad that will play on the big networks
--Update on some of the biggest wrestling events by year, updating the story form a few weeks ago
--Notes on Ron Simmons and the College Football Hall of Fame
--Notes on a new book on Memphis wrestling
--Former WWE star suspended for failing a drug test
--NWA Hall of Fame news
--A look back 25 years and the anniversary of a major event and turning point in the history of the industry
--A look at a new book on arguably the greatest U.S. woman wrestler in history
--The night a major world championship changed hands in a completely legitimate match
--More on future of TNA video game
--Search for Kevin Nash's new diva
--TNA announcing situation
--A look at the next several weeks of TNA television
--Who and why is being groomed for a major singles push that had been buried in the middle for years
--Where does Bobby Lashley fit in
--First time IWGP tag titles ever change hands outside of Japan
--Dana White talks about a pending big deal
--ESPN and MMA
--Why Dan Henderson vs. Rich Franklin was signed again
--The pros and cons of that match
--Georges St. Pierre talks more about what he needs to do to fight Anderson Silva
--More on UFC business revenues
--Update on UFC video game sales
--UFC game sales vs. EA's new boxing game sales
--The Tito Ortiz about face and what's going on with him and UFC
--Update on Canadian interest in MMA
--Ridiculous comments on MMA
--Mirko Cro Cop gives his side of what went down in his contract situation
--Fighter says he's been promised next title shot
--UFC steroid test results
--Who UFC is pushing for the Mexico market
--Thoughts on MMA fighters nominated for Espy awards
--Lots of new UFC matches finalized over the past week
--Former world boxing champion signs with K-1
--Update on Lavar Johnson and arrest of one of the people involved in the shooting
--Olympic silver medalist signed
--One of the hottest MMA cities in the world, update on regulation and UFC plans
--Former amateur superstar faces MMA legend
--Show that first put MMA on is now canceled New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major story (ies) of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue. Our most requested issues in our history are:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said
--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our history)
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth, and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund, Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez
--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby
--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling
--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage
--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
*September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
*September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
*September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk, Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods. To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $10 for shipping costs to Canada and $12 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
-- After nearly two years, Terry and Linda Bollea agreed to a divorce settlement this morning. The terms are confidential but both sides seemed happy about it and Linda and Hulk even shared a kiss for the cameras. Hogan was there with his girlfriend Jennifer McDaniel and said he was happy to get this over with and start his new life with her. Linda said that she still loved Hulk, as he was the father of her children, and planned on keeping her name and moving to California. Her 20-year-old boyfriend Charlie Hill was not present. There is an article about the situation up here. The story will be covered on Showbiz tonight on CNN as well.
-- Dana White will be making a bunch of major announcements during a media conference call on Friday. Hopefully it goes better than the media call today with BJ Penn where several people prank called. We'll have the audio up on the site shortly thereafter, then Dave and I will do a breaking news audio to discuss the pertinent details.
-- For whatever its worth, Lance Pugmire of the LA Times is reporting that according to sources close to the negotiations, White will be announcing the signing of Fedor.
-- Raw did a 4.0 last night., which is very strong. The near 15-minute overrun helped, but the first hour was a 3.9. Smackdown did a 1.8.
-- Smackdown Friday will be headlined by Jeff Hardy vs. John Morrison, apparently for the title.
-- Maryse has either undergone or will be undergoing knee injury soon, which was why they wrote her out of the Miz storyline at the PPV.
-- Video of the post-Raw birthday celebration for HHH was still up on TMZ.com last time I checked. It looked like a lot of fun. The best part was HHH pulling guard on Vince to get him down into the cake. I'm just happy that with all that slippery cake in there, neither Vince, HHH or Batista tore any muscles.
-- Dave's story on the doom of Affliction, which you can read here, was the number one sports story on Yahoo yesterday.
-- Lance Storm has a must-read article here about what might be the last match of his career as Lance Storm. We'll talk to Lance about all of this on Figure Four Daily this Thursday.
-- Francine of ECW fame gave birth to her first child last night.
-- As of today, the Impact overrun on Thursday to celebrate the 200th episode will only be 4 minutes long. We'd heard 15 last week but that might have been changed. Thank God.
-- Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post was at Raw last night and updated his Twitter all evening. At least he didn't spend the whole day talking about how he wanted to fight Brock Lesnar like Shaq did. There is an article in the Post about it here.
-- Blackjack Mulligan has canceled his appearance at the NWA Legends Fanfest Hall of Heroes induction, saying he didn't want to be inducted unless he was physically present, and he's not going to be. Apparently there were issues between Mulligan and the promoters. He was scheduled to be inducted by Ric Flair.
-- If you haven't checked it out, we have a really fun interview with Claudio Castagnoli up on the site for members right now, and you can check out his website by clicking here.
-- There is a video here of the ESPN ad that WWE spoofed (if you want to call it that) on Raw last night.
-- Ranato Babalu vs. Gegard Mousasi, which was supposed to take place at the Affliction show this weekend which has been canceled, will now be taking place on the August 15th Strikeforce event. It'll now be a five-round fight for Sobral's 205-pound Strikeforce title. For those wondering, Josh Thomson is still scheduled to be fighting on that show as well.
-- Andrei Arlovski will be signing autographs and meeting fans at Chicago Comic-Con, August 6-9, at the Rosemont Convention Center. There will also be a special Limited Edition Arlovski Round 5 figurine available exclusively at the event.
-- The Survivor Series pre-sale began at midnight last night. The password is CLASSIC. Maybe Chavo Sr. is coming back. Tickets for TNA Bound for Glory go on sale Saturday for the UCI Bren Events Center in Irvine, CA.
-- WWE returns to the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville, Kentucky on October 12th, 2009. Tickets go on sale August 8th, 2009 at 10 AM. This is the first WWE event in Pikeville since mid-2006. Thanks to Devin Cutting.
-- Taiji Ishimori of NOAH did a bodybuilding show this week and came in second in the lightweight division. Pics are here.
-- Naruki Doi vs. Bryan Danielson and Shingo vs. Davey Richards have been added to the 9/6 DGUSA show in Chicago.
-- Ron Whitworth, who was at Raw last night, said the Superstars show this week is worth going out of your way to see. Matches including John Morrison vs. Tyson Kidd and Randy Orton vs. Primo Colon.
-- Which of these companies do you seeing having the most successful future?
Dragon Gate USA 13.7%
What is the best announcing team right now
Mike Goldberg & Joe Rogan 41.6%
Josh Matthews & Matt Striker 19.7%
Todd Grisham & Jim Ross 18.3%
Gus Johnson & Mauro Ranallo & Frank Shamrock 6.2%
Mike Tenay & Don West 6.2%
Todd Harris aka "That Other Guy" & Frank Mir 5.3%
Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler 2.7%
Did the double submission spot in the HHH vs. Cena vs. Orton match
Help the match 14.3%
Hurt the match 45.5%
Made no difference 40.1%
-- Mo Lawa and Rampage have a war of words here
-- UWA Wrestling tonight, doors open 7PM, Belltime 8PM, located at 10237 Chapman Hwy. Seymour, TN. All tickets $6.00, children 6 and under admitted free.
-- Stranglehold Wrestling on August 23rd at Tranzac in Toronto with Necro Butcher headlining and PISSED OFF PETE on the undercard.
-- Damian Demento says Jesus prays for pot users
-- The Championship Wrestling Alliance presents a FREE event this Friday (July 31) at the Skate Inn in Bristol, TN (210 K-Mart Dr.). Doors open at 4 pm and there will be a special Bell Time of 5 PM. After the event, fans can stay and skate for FREE.
-- NYWC presents "Draw The Line", August 29, 2009, NYWC Sportatorium, 435-13 Brook Avenue, Deer Park, NY 11729
-- National Wrestling Superstars returns to northern New Jersey on Friday night August 14th at 7:45pm, for a night of all-star pro wrestling action at the Belleville, NJ Knights of Columbus Hall, 98 Bridge Street (at Belleville Avenue, minutes from the Parkway and Routes 21 and 280).
-- CPW Wrestling Benefit for the Lackawanna Humane Society at The Ice Box, 3 West Olive Street, Scranton PA on August 22
-- KWA Debuts in Frackville Saturday, August 15, 2009, 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM, Frackville Community Center, Oak and Center sts., Frackville, PA, 17931
-- Chikara this Friday night live at The Riverside Beneficial Assoc., 1742 Pear St. in clean Reading, PA! The fun starts at 7:30 pm!