WED. UPDATE Match of year announced for TV Saturday; ROH TV expands; Ratings; New Polish Power
Tonight on Spike will have UFC Unleashed from 8-10 p.m. with Sean Sherk vs. Benji Radach, Karo Parisyan vs. Nick Diaz, GSP vs. Frank Trigg, Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler and Diego Sanchez vs. Brian Gassaway.
Ultimate Fighter at 10 p.m. has Joe Henle vs. Seth Baczynski.
At 11 p.m. is episode one of UFC Prime Time: Countdown to Evans vs. Jackson. It airs also at 12:30 a.m. tonight and at midnight on Friday night.
We have the first part of 2010 business review, looking at every facet of WWE business as well as the WrestleMania buy rate, as well as TNA's business with our monthly charts for the first few months of the year in Monday's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The issue also includes coverage of a very newsworthy UFC 113, including business on that show, behind some of the decision making, an update on Dragon Gate USA, WWE knocking them dead in Mexico, plus lots of major shows coming up.
The issue is available today for web site subscribers and you can access this by ordering a web subscription at http://www.f4wonline.com/content/view/13346/ You can also order mail copies of the Observer with details on mail subscriptions below. We also have our back issue of the week covering the end of the Bill Watts regime in WCW, how it went down, WCW business under Watts. Ric Flair's return to WCW and Vader signing one of the most lucrative pro wrestling contracts in history at http://www.f4wonline.com/content/view/13319/137/
This is probably the most in-depth coverage of WWE business, covering not only the financials for the first quarter but the future trends. We look at the McMahon family dividend, the profitability of WrestleMania the last few years, tax credits, the rise of what country when it comes to WWE's PPV business, a look at the numbers for WrestleMania and Royal Rumble over the past two years as well as the reaction to the WrestleMania numbers.
We look at Vince McMahon's reactions to the WrestleMania numbers, a key trend that he's no-selling and why. Vince looks at what he thought went wrong at Mania, more on WrestleMania vs. UFC 111 and what advantages each had and why it played out the way it did. We look at WWE vs. UFC vs. boxing in the PPV arena and a lot of different aspects including a major one that is rarely talked about. We look back at he WrestleMania build, the most effective outsider angle I can recall, and WWE business in every category.
We look at the shocking thing Vince McMahon predicted regarding the future of Smackdown on Syfy, what parts of the world WWE business comes from, a look at both domestic and international house show business, as well as how the PPV price raise has affected numbers.
We look at merchandise, as well as how much money the different stations carrying WWE programming are paying. We also look at WWE Classics on Demand, the home video market, toys, novelties, video games, WWE vs. UFC in the vide game market, what longtime revenue stream is now in danger of being a money loser, more on WWE movies as well as the total amount of all the downside guarantees the company currently has.
We also look at overall profitability in every sector of WWE business and what was the most important so far this year. We also have our monthly business charts for both WWE and TNA, looking at attendance, ratings and PPVs so far this year.
We also look at all the major news coming from UFC 113, including Paul Daley's firing, Kimbo Slice's firing, Shogun winning the title, an interesting stat about UFC rematches and the story that tells, thoughts regarding different brawls in the cage and how they've been handled, the potential for the most-watched live MMA fight in U.S. television history and it wouldn't be in UFC, as well as early notes on UFC 113 business. We also have match-by-match coverage and poll results.
We also have notes on what was the most successful PPV event since UFC 100.
We also look at a major media article covering what we've been writing about for months regarding WWE business moves over the past year and the Linda McMahon campaign. We also look at current plans for SummerSlam, WWE on twitter kick, two WWE stars just got married, WWE star becomes a grandfather, Vickie Guerrero booking, a funny story from a few years ago regarding the lead announcing position on Raw and who signed a contract to become the next host who never became the next host. We've got an update on the Over the Limit PPV, changes in NXT plans, Jerry Lawler talks his current situation, Chris Jericho talks the music industry, where John Cena stands as one of the longest running champions in history, injury updates including a wrestler about to get his big break when he knee went out. We also look at a promoter put in jail for false advertising, a WWE star who said he was going to get behind building of a stadium, and business notes from the last WWE tour of Europe.
We've got an update on Dragon Gate USA, including a look at the PPV this week, as well as the PPV show taped for July.
We've got a full rundown of WWE in Mexico, including what they did at the shows, who was positioned as a local hero and how it worked out, the Hall of Famer from the 80s who worked for one night as a manager in Mexico, and the booking of the shows.
We've also got the most in-depth look at the ratings, including how every segment on Raw did, the debut of Inside MMA on ESPN 2, what show set it's all-time record low, what show has almost doubled its recent ratings due to a time slot change and what show looks to have a ratings drop this summer.
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:
--Second New Japan superstar to win a CMLL title
--Main event match stopped because of an injury
--The latest outsider feud and how it's doing
--The story about the main event of the biggest show of the year for a major promotion and why it ended up never happening ever
--Ratings in Mexico
--Tag title match that includes teams from a major U.S. promotion, a major Japanese promotion and a major Mexican promotion
--Dragon Gate major show in Nagoya
--Former WWE tag champ set to debut with Japanese promotion as a regular
--One of best wrestlers in the business set to return from major surgery in a few weeks
--A look at the lineup for this year's Best of the Super Junior tournament
--New Japan's jr. heavyweight tag team tournament looked at, including son of former WWF star and a TNA star taking on a new name
--Inoki's unique show including nostalgia match, and The Masked Ultimate
--Daughter of 80s major star goes for another amateur world title
--Hall of Famer has his sixth retirement match, and probably will now come back
--A story about the pro wrestler who was denied entry into the Olympic games because pro wrestling was considered a professional sport
--Abdullah the Butcher's 40th anniversary of his Japan debut
--A look at the death of Kinji Shibuya
--Former wrestling announcer running for public office
--Legendary area wrestler running for House of Representatives
--More on a major project Dwayne Johnson is working on
--Huge competition for next ROH big event
--Future of Briscoes
--A look at the biggest ROH show so far this year
--Notes on the future of Christopher Daniels
--What happened with the Kings of Wrestling vs. Motor City Machine Guns finish
--Awesome Kong debuts in ROH
--A look at TNA morale
--Kurt Angle talks about his return as well as a movie he's doing
--Story behind Kevin Nash & Scott Hall winning the tag team titles
--What different sets of plans were changed
--Ric Flair's reaction to Jay Lethal
--Why next week is going to be very interesting in TNA
--New TV show that is going to briefly push TNA
--WWE's unofficial last offer to Jeff Hardy before he signed
--A.J. Styles works with former WWE wrestler
--Injury update in TNA
--What TNA wrestler was called on the carpet this week for comments in the media
--Former WWE names backstage at TNA's taping
--What type of gate numbers they are looking at for Lesnar vs. Carwin
--Update on attempts to get MMA into Toronto
--Behind Forrest Griffin pulling out of the 5/29 UFC show
--UFC back in movie theaters
--UFC lobbies commission regarding weight cutting rule
--UFC ring girls listed among hottest women in the world
--Tons of new UFC matches
--Update on discipline from the Strikeforce on CBS brawl
--Update on the most important feud in MMA history
--A look at the biggest Bellator event in history
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*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
*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
*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
*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
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth, and the rise of fall of
*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
*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,
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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
*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
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best
and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and
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*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his
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*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
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*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details
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*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle
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*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
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*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW,
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*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at
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*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul
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*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class
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*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are
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*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
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*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
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*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his
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*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8
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--As it turns out, UFC is going to counter program the Showtime card on Saturday night. Airing on Spike from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday night will be a replay of what is likely to win match of the year, the Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jung match from the WEC PPV. Also airing is Shane Carwin vs. Frank Mir from UFC 111, Mark Munoz vs. Kendall Grove from UFC 112, Terry Etim vs. Rafael Dos Anjos from UFC 112, Matt Serra vs. Frank Trigg from UFC 109, Nate Diaz vs. Rory Markham from UFC 111 and Paulo Thiago vs. Mike Swick from UFC 109. The show will air at 7 p.m. on the West Coast. Usually Showtime on the West Coast airs the fights at 10 p.m. and not 7 p.m., so that is a surprise, unless Showtime is changing its plans as well.
--HDNet has reached deals to air on Comcast in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Detroit, Seattle and Portland, OR. The station will be available on those systems later this year to Digital Customers.
--TNT with the NBA playoffs squeaked past USA 2.2 to 2.1 to win the weekly prime time cable ratings race. That's why you've got a commercial free Raw on Monday. Syfy was No. 15 at 0.8. Spike once again failed to crack the top 25. Raw was No. 5 and No. 11 last week, with three NBA playoff games and Spongebob as the top four. Highest rated game was Cleveland vs. Boston at 4.0. Three different Phoenix Suns vs. San Antonio Spurs games were No. 6 through No. 8. Neither hour was top ten in 18-34 while the two hours were No. 6 and No. 9 in 18-49.
--In the U.K. for the week ending 5/2, Impact did 105,000 viewers on Bravo and 48,000 for the replay on Bravo 1. The Alex Reid mini-series is down to 60,000 viewers. Raw did 123,000 viewers live and 45,000 for the Thursday replay. Smackdown did 101,000 viewers for the Friday show. Superstars did 44,000 viewers. A replay of WWE Extreme Rules did 75,000 viewers (thanks to Ian Hamilton)
--Marius Pudzianowski, who faces Tim Sylvia in the main event of a live 5/21 MMA PPV from Worcester, MA at the DCU Center, is now being nicknamed "Polish Power." Also on the show is Choi Mu Bae (Pride) vs. Travis Wiuff (former UFC/Pride), Rafael Natal vs. Travis Lutter (UFC) and Yves Edwards (UFC) vs. Mike Campbell (WEC) and Tara LaRosa vs. Roxanne Modaferri in a women's match. There will also be Butterbean vs. former Boston Bruins enforcer Lyndon Byers.
--TNA has signed Betsy Ruth for its women's division as a replacement for Awesome Kong as the big woman in the division. Ruth was the wrestler in the ring when Daffney was injured a few weeks ago in the tryout match.
--MMAjunkie.com is reporting that if Nate Diaz isn't suspended over the brawl on the Strikeforce show, he'll most likely face Marcus Davis on 8/28 in Boston.
--The password for the presale that started today for a Raw show on 7/12 in Lexington, KY at Rupp Arena is RAWWWE (thanks to Terri Bey)
--A correction in the current Observer. Jim Cornette didn't come up with the finish in the Kings of Wrestling vs. Machine Guns match. He came up with the finish in the Tyler Black vs Roderick Strong match on Saturday night in New York.
--Even though the market was up, WWE dropped from $17.29 to $16.42 today.
--ROH officially announced its debut on 7/22 in Louisville with the Bluegrass Brawl at the Davis Arena, promoted by Jim Cornette. There will be an autograph session starting at 6:30 p.m.. There will be special seating including the Champion's table with free food and drinks for two with leather living room recliners for $200, and VIP ringside for $50 which includes waitress service. Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. Eastern at www.rohwrestling.com
--WWE has an article on J.J. Dillon at http://www.wwe.com/superstars/wherearetheynow/dillonpart1
--EA Sports has added Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum and Murilo Ninja Rua to the EA Sports MMA video game that will come out this summer.
--Which of these Zuffa champions will be the next to lose their title?
Frankie Edgar 59.8%
Brock Lesnar 15.5%
Dominick Cruz 8.6%
Shogun Rua 6.3%
Anderson Silva 5.9%
Jose Aldo Jr. 2.1%
Georges St. Pierre 1.8%
--What did you think of Monday night's Raw?
23.1% of those responding didn't see the show. Not a good week.
--What did you think of Monday's ROH TV show?
72.3% of those responding didn't see the show.
--What was the key reason UFC 111 beat WrestleMania in North America?
Hotter brand 57.3%
Drawing power of GSP 21.6%
WWE didn't get people to care as much about product due to guest hosts on Raw 8.5%
UFC promoted its main events better 3.9%
UFC had better main events 3.8%
UFC had better late buzz due to media coverage 2.6%
UFC did an overall better job of promoting the event 2.3%
--WWE sent out a press release today saying its web site in March (Mania month) had more visits than Nickelodeon.com, PerezHilton.com, CBS.com, NBC.com, NBA.com and NFL.com
--Ground Xero Wrestling on 5/15 in Hopewell VA at the Community Center with all seats $5
--Great North Wrestling in Thunder Bay, ONT with Kevin Nash vs. Scott Steiner, Lanny Poffo vs. Jeremy Prophet and Vampiro vs. Hannibal with Terry Funk as referee.
--Tri-StateWrestling Alliance on 6/6 in Voorhees, NJ at the Flyers Skate Zone has a one-night tag team tournament, a well as a match with former WWF tag champs Demolition
--Texas All Star Wrestling on 5/15 in Humble, TX at the Magnolia Ballroom
--Let's Get It On Promotions headed by Elaine McCarthy has canceled all its Eastern Canadian shows at the Casino Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec. The issue is the RACJ Sports de Combat (Quebec commission) has rules that all MMA events have to be in an octagon style cage. Since UFC has that trademarked, they have to go through UFC and cut a deal to get approval to use that style of a cage. The promotion has attempted to contact UFC over the past several months to reach a deal but hasn't gotten any approval. The company wanted to instead use a circular cage but the RACJ wouldn't or said they couldn't make an amendment to its bylaws in time for the first show scheduled later this month. All the fighters under contract to the show have been given approval to try and book other fights, but McCarthy said the promotion has agreed to offer more lucrative contracts to the fighters who stay with the promotion. "It is still hard for me to comprehend how a government agency is forcing all MMA promoters within their province to use a specific cage as their fighting platform, obtain approval and pay a fee for the rights to another promoter to use that cage."
--Regarding the St. Louis fan fest, a source of MetroTix in St. Louis said that they never once claimed the event was sold out or that tickets weren't available, as Road Warrior Animal claimed to us earlier this week. They said that the very few customers who called that they no longer had tickets, but tickets were available at the door. MetroTix stopped selling tickets a week before the event because they had no will call window at the event and they couldn't guarantee mailed tickets would get there if ordered in the final week. According to a source at MetroTix, "My response to these accusations is that we are in the business to sell tickets. That's where we make our money. So why would we tell anyone we aren't selling tickets or that an event is sold out (when it isn't) when we only make money when we actually complete a sale?"
--You Shoot Live is selling tickets to a Q&A for DVD with Dixie Carter that will be filmed on Friday night at 9 p.m. Only 100 tickets, all priced at $20, are available at http://www.kayfabecommentaries.com This is in conjunction with a Legends of the Ring fan fest on Saturday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Monroe, NJ. Appearing are Jeff Jarrett, Gerald Brisco, Bruce "Brother Love" Prichard, Rico, Rhino, Giant Bernard (A-Train), Monte Brown, Earl Hebner, Dave Hebner, Ivory, Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Sean Money, Tiger Jackson, Kurrgan, P.N. News, Man-Taur, Mike McGuirk, Tajiri, Jimmy Valiant, Jose Luis Rivera, Kamala, Angelo Savoldi, Ivan Koloff, Dawn Marie, Moondog Rex, Petey Williams, Tommy Dreamer, Super Crazy, Brian Kendrick, Paul London, Domenic DeNucci, SoCal Val, Chris Harris, Jimmy Rave, C.W. Anderson, Kenny Dykstra, Evan Karagias, Bobby Heenan, Alissa Flash, Amazing Red, Johnny Rodz and more. For more info go to http://www.legendsofthering.com
--Denzel Lewis, who ran for sheriff in Vigo County in Indiana (Terre Haute), and had Hulk Hogan do radio commercials for him, lost in the primary 59-41% even though his opponent spent no money on advertising. Hogan campaigned for Lewis, who played college football at Indiana State with Bubba the Love Sponge and has been friends with him ever since. (thanks to John Lawson)
--Teddy Atlas, the famed boxing trainer, said after Mayweather-Mosley that he is going to demand Olympic drug testing for all upcoming matches involving his fighters. (thanks to Jereme Warneck)
--Very good story on Jesse Neal at http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=69917 talking about the bombing of the USS Cole, his military background and getting into pro wrestling.
--Dennis Tinerino, a four-time Mr. Universe, died this past Friday morning at Northridge Community Hospital at the age of 64 after an 18-month battle with stomach cancer.
--Sean "Val Venis" Morley and his doing wrestling camps and opening a wrestling school are noted in an article in the Peterborough Examiner at http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2573078
--Bruce Beck, who announced the early UFC shows, and Bobby Czyz, a former popular boxer, were announced as the broadcast team for Saturday night's Shine Fights PPV from Fayetteville, NC headlined by Din Thomas vs. Ricardo Mayorga under MMA rules. Murilo Ninja Rua vs. Travis Galbraith is the semi. Former Pride star Luiz Azeredo vs. Krazy Horse Bennett is also on the show.
is looking for any independent shows that will be in Tampa between 6/9 and 6/15.
--BWO on Friday night in Elmwood Park, NJ at The American Legion
--Chris Carter of the New York Mets has been coming out to "Real American" when he pinch hits (thanks to Eric Gould)
--Robert Gibson and Percy Pringle appear on Friday night in Bayou La Batre, AL at the Community Center
--Darion Caldwell reinjured his shoulder in training so the rematch of the most talked about match in the 2009 NCAA tournament, against Brent Metcalf, scheduled for tomorrow night at the USS Intrepid in New York, is off. The new main event will be Kyle Dake, who won the NCAA title this year at 141 as a freshman. So it's a battle of the 141 pound champion vs. 149 pound champion of this year. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Other top matches are Andy Hrovat vs. Kyle Cerminara and Ben Askren vs. Moza Fay.
--DDP is auctioning off items for the Shepherd Center Foundation, whose spinal cord rehab program helped Lex Luger back on his feet at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKOGBMIPAAY
--Fusion Pro Wrestling on Saturday night in Stevens Point, WI at the Players Lounge
--EGO Pro Wrestling on 6/4 at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago with Colt Cabana & Matt Stryker (not the WWE announcer) vs. Cody Hawk & Benjamin Kimera. There will also be live music at the show.
--CMLL on Monday night in Puebla: Asturiano & Centella de Oro & Millennium b Centauro de Fuego & Fuerza Chicana & Toro Bill Sr.k, Durango Kid & Puma King & Tiger Kid b Astro Boy & Leono & Metalico, Delta & Diamante & Sensei b Loco Max & Escandlo & Nitro, El Hijo del Fantasma b Psicosis-DQ, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Mistico & Taichi b La Mascara & Negro Casas & Volador Jr. in an incredible partners match (thanks to Kris Zellner and Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims)
--Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw & Hallowicked & Frightmare vs. Chuck Taylor & Gran Akuma & Colin Delaney & Vin Gerard headlines for CHIKARA on 5/22 in Tyngsboro, MA just south of Nashua, at the Sports Complex.
--NWS in Kenilworth, NJ at the Veterans Center on Friday night has the annual Chris Candido Memorial J Cup tournament. Among those on the show are Frightmare, Alex Payne, Pat Buck and Kamala.
--Ed Loredo talks to Tony Kozina on this week's Drunkast at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Edward-Loredo
--IWF Premier Pro Wrestling on Sunday in Golden, CO at the Buffalo Rose
--New England Championship Wrestling on Saturday night in Quincy, MA at the National Guard Armory