FRI. UPDATE: Weekend/TV preview, WWE cut; Machida vs. Rua, Jim Ross, Lashley,Faber,TUF question

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        We're looking for reports from tonight's Raw house show in Huntsville, AL at the Von Braun Civic Center and TNA in Vicksburg, MS with Jeff Hardy vs. A.J. Styles, Abyss vs. Desmond Wolfe, Jeff Jarrett vs. James Storm, Shannon Moore vs. Jay Lethal vs. Brian Kendrick, Machine Guns vs. Generation Me and Beautiful People vs. ODB & Hamada.
        WWE has its first full weekend of house shows in North America since WrestleMania coming up.  Tomorrow night has Raw in Mobile which locally is advertising John Cena & Mark Henry vs. Big Show & Sheamus and The Miz vs. Christian.  Smackdown opens its tour tomorrow night in Knoxville with Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton as the advertised main event.  It's anyone's guess if the show will even resemble that.  TNA has a house show in Greenwood, MS with the same advertised show as Huntsville.
        Sunday has Raw in Columbia, GA and Smackdown in Johnson City, TN.  The biggest international event of the weekend would be Pro Wrestling NOAH at Budokan Hall on Sunday.
        The live Raw will be Monday night in Jacksonville.  Nothing has been announced for the show other than Wayne Brady will be the guest host.  There is a rare Smackdown house show on Monday night in Aiken, SC.  TNA Impact will be live on Monday night from Orlando with the Motor City Machine Guns vs. Beer Money and Velvet Sky & Madison Rayne & Lacey Von Erich vs. Tara & Taylor Wilde & Sarita in a match with both the Knockouts singls and tag team titles at stake as the only matches announced so far.
        The Smackdown and NXT tapings are Tuesday night in North Charleston, SC.  The Impact show for 5/10 will be taped on Tuesday night in Orlando.
        Smackdown tonight:
*Kofi Kingston vs. Chris Jericho
*John Morrison vs. Cody Rhodes
*Beth Phoenix & Kelly Kelly vs. Michelle McCool & Layla
*Rey Mysterio & MVP vs. C.M. Punk & Luke Gallows
        The big story Monday was supposed to be the draft, but it ended up being the ratings.  We look at both stories in depth in this coming Monday's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
        The issue is available today for web site subscribers and you can access this by ordering a web subscription.  You can also order mail copies of the Observer with details on mail subscriptions below.  The issue is at

        We look at what the TNA rating shows, as well as the WWE draft rating, including going through segment-by-segment to see which segments gained and lost viewers.  We look at the biggest problems that face TNA, and how changes in wrestling are affecting the promotion.
        We look at the draft, including the reasons for the various moves, late changes in plans, have the Raw and Smackdown depth chart so you can see who is going to be positioned higher or lower than their abilities as well as thoughts on both rosters.  We look at how this year's draft was different from the past, both in regard to goals and secrecy.  We look at who are in good and bad positions, the futures of major characters like Edge, HHH and Batista, who would have benefited by moves that weren't made, as well as where the cast of NXT fits in when the season ends.  We also give thoughts on ideas to help better utilize certain characters.
        We also look at one of the most important and best MMA events of the year, the WEC show held this past week in Sacramento.  We look at the marketing decisions, how well they worked out, a look at Aldo vs. Faber and the future of both and why even with a great show there were aspects not positive going forward.  We also look at what could be the fight of the year with Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jung, a note on the viewership of the fight, and a look at the judging, plus we've got a look at the business, the ratings, the much debated price point, the Lex Luger moment of the show, as well as match-by-match coverage and poll results.
        We also have more on the arrest of Tito Ortiz and more background on it, including what Ortiz has said and what Jenna Jameson has said.
        We've got a rundown on the draft special, traditionally one of the biggest episodes of Raw during a given year.
        We also have a look at the wrestlers released this past week by WWE, running down who they were, what the reasons were, and background on all of them.  We've got some funny notes on Mickie James, future of Shelton Benjamin, and what releases were and weren't surprises.
        We also have updates on two main eventers in WWE, what directive they have right now to finding a top star and what wrestler in developmental may get that shot, Vince McMahon meets Linda McMahon's potential opponent and what happened there, what McMahon directive was announced, and then canceled as soon as it made local press, as well as an update on Bill Goldberg in WWE, more on the Mark Henry arrest in Northern Ireland, more on WWE's first pro wrestling based movie since No Holds Barred, what current WWE headliner now has MMA rumors floating around them and why it's unlikely to happen.  
        We also have full rundown on the WWE Extreme Rules PPV, as well as notes on Over the Limit, where the programs are, business notes and match-by-match coverage with star ratings.
        We have full ratings rundowns from every national show of the past week, including the surprise number of the week.
      We also have our usual weekly features such as the results of the biggest matches of the week and rundown of the major television shows.

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Also in this week's issue:

--Cease and desist letter sent regarding long standing championships
--How one group is looking at making new stars right now
--Anniversary of pro wrestling at one of its major regular arenas
--How an invasion angle is going
--TV ratings in Mexico
--Sabu in Mexico
--Top star leaving promotion after almost ten years
--NOAH trying new arena for major shows
--Update on the Global tournament in NOAH
--A unique pro wrestling show that includes MMA stars vs. pro wrestlers
--Vader returns, wants matches with former rivals
--Notes on the Cauliflower Alley banquet and speeches by Ted DiBiase and Jim Ross
--Update on health of one of wrestling's great all-time workers as well as health of one of the most famous managers of all-time
--New inductees into the St. Louis wrestling Hall of Fame
--King of Trios tournament
--What happened with the CHIKARA/Jorge Rivera relationship
--Notes on the ROH weekend shows
--Lineup for TNA Sacrifice
--Flaws in TNA's new rankings system
--What happened with Sean Waltman at the last PPV
--TNA reaction to Jim Cornette
--Lots of TNA injury updates
--Why RVD got the title
--More on TNA's attempt at market research on their biggest issues
--Wrestler TNA is looking at signing
--Characters that appear to be dropped, although one is still in play for a possible role
--Update on Kurt Angle and he's back talking MMA
--New TNA show
--Dana White on Jake Shields
--A look at proposed UFC matches for Boston
--Lots of new UFC matches in the planning stages
--City UFC does some of its best PPV numbers in and why Dana White is shying away from a big show there
--Former early day UFC star now in prison for five years after a crazy drug fueled night
--UFC signs two new undefeated fighters
--A look at the next Strikeforce show
--A look at the next Dream show
--Fighter arrested on a crazy charge
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--The final airing of the Machida vs. Rua Countdown show will be 11 a.m. tomorrow morning on Spike.  I thought Josh Koscheck and Paul Daley did a great job of building their fight.  They also did a unique job with Lyoto Machida and Shogun Rua, as they had both guys with their camps watch a replay of the fight and showed highlights and reactions with both guys explaining why they thought they won.  Still, it's clear Zuffa sees the Rampage Jackson vs. Rashad Evans fight at the end of the month as the priority since they are already pushing it hard.  Interestingly, the Countdown show will not air once on Spike the week of the fight.

--Linda McMahon announced today that she will not accept the $174,000 a year paycheck if she's elected senator.
--Jim Ross' WWE contract expired today, which will open the speculation on where he's headed.  Somehow I think TNA would have a lot better shot if they were doing 1.5s right now instead of coming off an 0.5.


--WWE did not say Ross was no longer with the company, but did announce the release of Tony Atlas. 

--On the facebook of Team Oyama, regarding Bobby Lashley, they wrote, "So even though he agreed to fight Shane (Del Rosario) but now I guess he won't.  WTF.  Ridiculous.  Shane is still fighting June 16 but it won't be Lashley again.  Go back to pro wrestling."  The only thing we know is Lashley doesn't have an opponent for that show.
--Alessio Sakara has pulled out of his UFC 7/3 fight with Nate Marquardt due to the death of his father.  
--The Best of Pride show this coming Wednesday night after Ultimate Fighter will air Takanori Gomi vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri (great fight), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Gary Goodridge, Tank Abbott vs. Hidehiko Yoshida, Sergey Kharitonov vs. Murilo Ninja Rua and Kimo vs. Ikuhisa Minowa.
--Lots of MMA tonight on HDNet, starting at 8 p.m. Eastern (5 p.m. Pacific) with IFL World Grand Prix.  Fighting Words with Mike Straka has Royce Gracie as a guest at 8:30.  Inside MMA tonight has Dan Hardy, Urijah Faber and Brett Rogers on the show, so Faber can talk his future.    
--Poll on Ultimate Fighter on Wednesday
Excellent 4.0%
Good 41.3%
Average 26.7%
Fair 13.3%
Poor 14.7%
        51.6% of those responding didn't see the show.  Real interesting how this season doesn't seem to have much interest with our readership, yet ratings are up.  Also unique that ratings are up only with Men 18-34, not at all with Men over 35 and I have no idea as to why that would be.
--Why is NXT flopping in ratings?
Not well booked 26.3%
Parity booking - nobody booked to become a star 23.1%
The challenges are a turnoff 16.0%
Not enough relevance to major shows 15.3%
Wrong guys being pushed 8.5%
Season is too long 5.3%
Too little personality profiles 4.1%
Too much wrestling 1.4%
--Do you think WWE made a mistake taking Jim Ross off commentary?
Yes 94.2%
No 5.8%
        I expected it to be fairly one-sided, but nothing like this level.
--The movie The Wrong Side of Town, which features RVD, Batista and Big Daddy V is available on instant streaming right now on Netlifx.
--Platinum Championship Wrestling tonight at the Academy Theater in Avondale Estates, GA at 10:30 p.m.  Consequences Creed will be on the show with his new ring name of Awesome Austin Creed.
--Ground Xero Wrestling on 5/22 at Prince George High School in Prince George, VA has a show with al tickets only $5, and includes Axl Rotten, Consequences Creed, Doink the Clown and Ricky Morton.
--Freddy Madball's song "Y Que" is the official theme song for the debuting Viva La Lucha Revolucion PPV that will air on 6/11.  The show is being taped this weekend in Mexico City.
--Tammy Sytch will be on the 9 p.m. news on KABB in San Antonio tonight, promoting her appearance at a show for River City Wrestling at the
Good Sherphard Lutheran Church tomorrow.
--Victory Pro Wrestling on Saturday night in Centereach, NY at VFW Post 4927
--Ed and Cutrer talk 5 star matches tonight at 9 p.m. at
--NWA Main Event out of Nashville promoted by Mike Porter will debut soon in Nashville on Ch. 6.2 digital Friday nights at 9 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m., and will also air on KQDK 39 in Denver, KQCK in Cheyenne, KWWF in Cedar Rapids and KCTU in Wichita soon.


--UWC on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Pemberton, NJ at the Bulington County College has a free show with Twiggy Ramriez vs. Legion as the main evnet plus Don Montoya and Alex Payne. 

What was the best match of the weekend in G-1?


Who was g-1 MVP


Whcih show are you most interested in?