SUN. UPDATE: Latest Mania, WWE updates before big show, Non-WWE guys at the events, Surprise

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        We'll be doing polls this weekend, obviously for WrestleMania, but also for both of the ROH iPPV shows and the Dragon Gate iPPV show.  No poll for Strikeforce since it's a B show or Bellator.  So you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it    
        We're also looking for reports on this past weekend's TNA house shows, Thursday night in Corbin, KY, Friday night in Pikeville, KY and Saturday night in Johnson City, TN, as well as the Friday night Dragon Gate USA show in Burlington, NC.
        WrestleMania Sunday from the Georgia Dome, with this lineup, starting at 7 p.m. on PPV or one hour earlier with a four hour show.
The Miz vs. John Cena for WWE title
Undertaker vs. HHH No Holds Barred
Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio World title
Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole
Randy Orton vs. C.M. Punk
John Morrison & Trish Stratus & Snooki vs. Dolph Ziggler & Layla & Michelle McCool
Big Show & Kane & Santino Marella & Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett & Ezekiel Jackson & Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel
Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan for the U.S. title
Battle Royal (not announced but wrestlers were getting ready for it yesterday)
        Based on the latest stuff we have, the lineup, order etc. has changed many times.  The last we heard, Miz vs. Cena goes on last.  Jim Ross is expected to announce from Lawler vs. Cole on, wherever that match winds up on the show.
        Raw is Monday night from Atlanta at the Phillips Arena with Rock appearing.  Tough Enough also debuts after Raw on Monday.
        Smackdown and NXT will be taped Tuesday night from Charlotte.
        With WrestleMania upon us, we have two issues of the Observer out this week, and one of our big three issues of the year, the WrestleMania review issue covering not only the major WWE activities, the big show, the financial and backstage news, but also the ROH and Dragon Gate shows, will be out next week.
        Both issues are up on the site right now in the Observer archives section listed as April 4 and April 6.
        Among the major features in the issues coming out this week is a look back at the start of WrestleMania and the real history, the good, the bad, how the show changed the face of the industry in so many ways, as well as truths, lies, myths and more that have sprung up regarding 27 years of what in almost every year was the biggest show on the North American continent, and in most cases, in the world each year.  We look at questions regarding the show, including arena vs. stadium, real main events, and the untold history, particularly from the first show and why it is still the most important of all of them.
        We look back at the concept of the big show, problems doing the first one, the growth to WrestleMania III, the ups and downs of the 90s, and the new era starting in 1998 to the current show.
        We also have a WrestleMania preview, looking at company goals, markets efforts, predictions on how the show will do, a match-by-match preview, what is the real key to whether this show does bigger than last year and more.  We look at how and why matches changed, notes on the Hall of Fame, celebrity involvement, ticket availability and much more.
       The first of the two issues will be up on the site today, and the second will be up tomorrow.  A back issue from early 1994 was just put up yesterday.  Between the Observer and Figure Four Weekly, we have about 14 issues put up every month and dozens of new audio shows for web site subscribers including coverage after the shows of every major pro wrestling and MMA event.
        You can also order print copies of the Observer with details below.
        We also have an interesting look at the controversial UFC plan for the next season of Ultimate Fighter and why it may or may not happen.
        We've also got a bio on the great manager, Sir Oliver Humpderink, going through his career through the territories, his legend in Florida, the unique way he got into pro wrestling, his first night as a manager, his most famous roles, his time with WWF and WCW at the end of his career, an life after wrestling, including his own words about life and wrestling taken from lengthy interviews he's done before his death, and friends talk about him as well. 
        We also look more at the firing of Fit Finlay by WWE, more on the Elimination Chamber numbers, Lesnar talks Undertaker and going back to wrestling, a longtime WWE vet says he's retiring in 18 months, lots of news on the season of Tough Enough, a look at Sin Cara's house show debut, Chris Jericho talks Dancing with the Stars and does pro wrestling help him, an upcoming Dwayne Johnson movie as well as a new John Cena movie, what happened with Michael Cole on twitter and why, behind the greatest 50 wrestlers DVD and WWE sending 80s legends on the road after Mania.
        We also look at a former member of The Ultimate Fighter cast known for doing pro wrestling interviews who is trying out for WWE, if the return of Rock has affected DVR usage when it comes to Raw, lots of background on who is David Otunga, pre-Mania publicity, notes on the Hall of Fame process and celebrates, Scott Hall on why he's not going to Atlanta for the Shawn Michaels induction, a former WWE star says he'd be insulted if asked to go into the Hall of Fame, Hall of Famer son wins first championship an more developmental news.  Plus an interesting stat on Lay Cool, how WWE handles crowd mishaps, as well as business notes from the past weekend and a look at all the WWE house shows the last weekend before Mania and what the notes indicate.
        We also run down the UFC Fight Night show, with our usual match-by-match coverage, how much everyone earned on the show, business notes, poll results, where the main fighters go and more.  We also have some very interesting notes because the ratings for this show were very different than most UFC shows on Spike and we look at what that says about different variables including start time and matches.  We also look at a couple of big matches and moments underneath that, because the show ran long, were not able to be aired on Spike.
        We also look at the question marks surrounding the future of Bobby Lashley in MMA and pro wrestling.
        We've got ratings of all the national shows including how every segment on Raw and Impact did and what viewers came and left.  In particular this week we look at the WrestleMania go-home show, and how the key segments on the show did. . 
        We also have our usual weekly features with results of the major arena shows from around the world, and the major TV show rundowns and reviews.
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Also in this week's issues:
--Return of CMLL to U.S. television
--68th anniversary of pro wrestling at Arena Coliseo in Mexico City
--A look at the death of a wrestler turned movie villain
--Heels talk about their belief heeling is a lost art and complain why
--TripleMania date announced
--Mexico ratings
--Promotion feuding with leading magazine
--AAA starts pushing new talent
--Japanese star tries to put together an all-star charity show and major star from the last decade says he'll come out of retirement for it
--Notes on the 2011 Champion Carnival tournament
--ROH tag champs head to NOAH for its annual tag tournament
--More on New Japan coming to the U.S. for a tour
--Hall of Famer in Japan has his first match against the son of a major former rival
--Update on Jinsei Shinzaki and his plight after all the troubles he's had after the earthquake
--Update on plans for a major feature movie on one of the greatest pro wrestlers in history
--A look at Memphis Heat, business, reviews and notes about the movie and its future
--A sleazy promoter and sleazy athlete combine for a story
--Larry Zbyszko talks Chris Jericho
--More notes on Lockdown
--Update on the Bellator tournaments and future shows
--Granddaughter of one of the most famous wrestlers in history and her sex with a minor charges case comes to a close
--A look at Kurt Angle's latest arrest
--Hulk Hogan now working indies?
--Former TNA wrestler looked at regarding a return
--Plenty of TV craziness
--A look at the last weekend of TNA shows
--Updated UFC PPV estimates
--Jon Jones' drawing power
--A look at UFC's July PPV
--A very interesting statement made by Spike TV head about something they are talking about for the fall
--A look at the Thiago Silva drug case
--Update on Fedor Emelianenko
--Future of Mirko Cro Cop
--Future Spike UFC shows
--A controversy regarding medical suspensions
--Another foreign champion comes into the Zuffa fold next week
--Several UFC cuts
--Women fighters feud on the radio    
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--We've got audio shows up on the site from the past two nights in Atlanta.  Bryan and I talk the latest WrestleMania notes, Hall of Fame, ROH, Dragon Gate, Bellator, Chael Sonnen on the show from early this morning and Bryan and Craig talk the first night of ROH and more on the Saturday morning show.  We will be back tonight talking WrestleMania and the other WWE news, as well as tomorrow night after Raw.  For tonight, if you have any questions about tonight's show or news from the weekend send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it    We'll get back to general questions on Wednesday. 
--All the Snooki and Drew Carey references last night were booed, although Carey put over how hard wrestlers work and turned the crowd toward him.
--Vladimir Kozlov is going everywhere with his arm in a sling to sell the injury from yesterday morning, which put Kofi Kingston into the eight-man match.  At one point this was to be the buffer match on the show, but match orders change rapidly so if it opens, or does anything but closes, who would know.  Cody Rhodes was selling his worked injuries everywhere wearing that face mask deal.  The injured members of Nexus are not selling injuries.
--Add Lita and Paul Bearer to the list of people who were at Fan Axxess.  So Paul Bearer is not dead.  Tommy Dreamer is also in Atlanta from TNA hanging around but not getting the pub Flair got. 
--Lex Luger, DDP, Ron Simmons and Nikita Koloff were among those at the Hall of Fame last night.  Ric Flair was there and was shown all over the WWE web site. 
--Roddy Piper has teased a surprise for the show tonight.
--Chris Jericho will be on "The Metal Show" on VH-1 Classics on Saturday night.
--Big Show was on the Kids Choice Awards show last night.  Obviously his segment was taped.
--LCD Soundsystem played their last ever show last night at a sold out Madison Square Garden.  At the show, front man James Murphy noted how funny it was that they were playing at what is known as a boxing arena, and then said that it's time New York allowed mixed martial arts.  They noted there are now only three states that don't allow it.  Murphy is known as a big boxing fan, but he's grown to love MMA in recent years.  (thanks to Forrest Lynn)    
--The funeral for Sir Oliver Humperdink took place earlier today in Bloomington, MN.
--Lance Storm talks WrestleMania 18 from Sky Dome in Toronto with the Hulk Hogan vs. Rock match from nine years ago at
--John Cena puts over Snooki saying she's cut out for wrestling.  Story is at  He will never leave wrestling even though they say he has a burgeoning film career.  Many people have different translations for the word burgeoning these days.
--Poll on Smackdown
Excellent 9.6%
Good 18.4%
Average 15.8%
Fair 21.9%
Poor 34.2%
        33.3% of those responding didn't see the show
--Poll on Strikeforce
Excellent 11.1%
Good 33.3%
Average 36.1%
Fair 8.3%
Poor 11.1%
        66.0% of those responding didn't see the show
--Phil Mushnick got his Mania knock in, noting the Georgia Dome is only a few miles from where Chris Benoit murdered his wife and son. at
--Interesting trivia note.  The last time a WrestleMania match had a DQ was 1999 (Kane vs. HHH; Big Show vs. Mankind).
--Mickie James isn't happy, as apparently Facebook shut down her page and she noted this was after over a year of her lawyers getting fake Mickie James facebook pages shut down.
--Former Strikeforce women's champion Sarah Kaufman headlined the AFC 5 show last night in Victoria, BC, winning her first fight since losing the title to Marloes Coenen  with a third round TKO of Megumi Yabushita.  Greg Jackson was cornering her and she's from the area and the crowd saw her as a star (thanks to Greg Hill)
--EWF on 4/16 in Converse, IN at Borderman Gym featuring Billy Gunn, who somehow didn't get the call to be part of that curtain call deal last night.  Must have changed cell phone numbers or something.   
--GXW on Sunday in Richmond, VA at Club Aurora featuring The Barbarian.
--Some interesting names at the Thursday Platinum Championship Wrestling show in Atlanta including Cary Silkin and Jim Cornette from ROH and Gary Juster, the former WCW promoter.  They had a unique ref stoppage as Jay Fury suffered a hand injury and it was stopped.   The hand was not broken, but needed to get it set and also needed 11 stitches.
--WSU from yesterday in Kearny, NJ:  Sassy Stephanie b Jennifer Cruz, Jana b Marti Belle, Jamilia Craft b Tina San Antonio, Brittney Savage b Cindy Rogers, Brittney Savage b Jana, Sassy Stephanie b Jamilia Craft, Brittney Savage b Sassy Stephanie to win tournament, Jessicks Havoc b Nikki Styx, Mercedes Martinez b Ariel (I wonder if he interviewed her after losing).
--WSU from last night in Kearny, NJ:  Jamilia Craft & Frightmare b Sassy Stephanie & J.D. Smooth, J-Cruz & Nicky Oceans b Joey Janella & Jana, Cindy Rogers & Kenny Dykstra (he lives) b Ariel & Spyral, Mercedes Martinez & Julio Dinero b Nikki Styx & Corey Havok, J-Cruz & Nicky Oceans b Joey Janella & Jana, Mercedes Martinez & Julio Dinero b Cindy Rogers & Kenny Dykstra, Mercedes Martinez & Julio Dinero b J-Cruz & Nicky Oceans to win King and Queen tournament.
--HPW from last night in Columbus, IN before 315 fans:  Loose Cannons b Cruel Intentions, Stompin Steve b Sabotage Styles, Cousin Cooter b Damien Cole, J.D. Marioni b Dylan Bostic, Donny Idol b Tom Van Zant, Rob Conway b Shawn Cook, Pastor Pain b Diceman Ronnie Vegas in a strap match (thanks to Jerry Wilson)
--NAWA from last night in Waxahachie, TX:  Chris Cross b Jason Silver, Mad Dog b Dr. Remo Luv, Max Muscles b Doberman, Cowboy Adam & Tim Storm b Keith Lee & Li Fang-DQ.  Next show is 5/7.  The show was preceded by a ten bell salute to Sir Oliver Humperdink. 
--Lita will be doing an autograph show on 4/10 at the Middletown Market in Middletown, NY.
--Matt Hardy teased going to Mania saying he was going to a show today and not performing, but later said he was going to see is girl (Reba Sky, who was on the Dragon Gate show).
--Jimmy Hart and Ricky Steamboat were on Hillbilly Jim's radio show yesterday.  Hart was promoting Mania and the Hall of Fame, saying Miz has it and pushed the Lawler vs. Cole match.  Steamboat talked about going to Verne Gagne's camp 37 years ago and said the last 37 years have gone by like a blink of an eye.  He noted that he'd never even heard of Sammy Steamboat when Eddie Graham gave him the Ricky Steamboat name. 
--Tulalip Championship Wrestling from last night in Marysville, WA:  Patrick Large b Christopher Ryseck, Cole Bishop over Caliber X, Dash Ventura and Ethan HD, Damon James b Ray Brooks Lylah Lodge DCOR K.C. Spinelli, Aaron Bolo & Azul Angel b Bubba & Jeremy Blanchard, Ideal Luchadore b Juventud 3000, Kellen Raeth b Exile in a tables match.  Next show is 4/9 in Marysville at the Pacific Rim Restaurant. (thanks to Charles Short)

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?