SUN. UPDATE: WWE draft, Gordon makes ESPN mag, UFC TV debut on ESPN2, Lawler, Best Interviews



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        We're looking for reports on today's WWE shows in Lyon, France, which is the second Smackdown show in the city and the final event of the WWE's European tour, as well as Friday's show in Lievan, France and Thursday's show in Strasbourg, France and Bucharest, Romania at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        Because Monday is the draft and it wasn't planned at all ahead of time, the Smackdown crew doesn't even get a travel day before having to be at Raw on Monday in Raleigh.  The Raw tour had a 14-hour flight from Qatar to Raleigh today.  Every wrestler and performer was told to be in Raleigh and to the best of our knowledge, nobody has been told anything unless it's someone like HHH.  Smackdown tapings are Tuesday in Greensboro.  Guys who usually have Tuesdays off have been given the information that they could be on call for Tuesday with the changes.
 
        The newest issue of the Wrestling Observer looks at the changes in the WWE business strategy.  We look at the whys and the risks, as well as the attempt to rebrand pro wrestling, the stock price, debt operations, changes in the marketplace that have benefited both WWE and TNA, changes being planned by HHH, Vince McMahon's history outside of the wrestling industry as well as notes on other major sports franchises over the years that WWE had negotiations with about acquiring and how they fell through.
 
        We also look at changes in the Board of Directors, the strategy of the movie division, how many have reacted to Vince's changes, and more.     
 
        We also look at the identity of the pro wrestling legend who was just immortalized with his own postage stamp.
 
        We also have more on the TNA rebranding campaign and major changes the company is looking at making.
 
       The issue will be up on the site today.  A back issue from early 1994 will also be up this week.  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.
 
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        We also look at the retirement of Randy Couture before what is scheduled as his final fight, records set by Couture as a fighter, Couture talks about his decision and downplays it.
 
        We also look at the WWE draft going forward and have a career title history on Edge.
 
        We also have a complete rundown of TNA Lockdown, including business notes, poll results, match-by-match coverage with star ratings, thoughts on Kurt Angle's big bumps, the story behind them, what screwed up on the show and how the crowd was.
 
        We also look at the return of The Rock to Raw, more on the injury that ended Edge's career, more on exactly who watches WWE television right now, two new major hirings, Ziggler haircut reaction, WWE legend looking at getting into acting, lots of notes on Jericho's return and Dancing with the Stars, WWE Hall of Famer asks to be taken out of the Hall of Fame, and notes from the Eddy Guerrero funeral that he brought up.  We also look at an idea for the next season of NXT, more on Tough Enough, former wrestler talks about how much company cares about the health of talent, notes on new talent signed, plus business notes so far in the European tour and a look at highlights from all of the European shows so far.
 
        We also look at the first announcement of what will be one of the biggest pro wrestling events of 2011, as well as a look back at what this show is the anniversary of.
 
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        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 issue:
 
--Hall of Fame candidate who recovered from a stroke talks coming out of retirement
 
--Update on Perro Aguayo Jr.
 
--Notes on the upcoming Dragon Gate singles tournament
 
--Dragon Gate's planned biggest show of the year, canceled due to earthquake, takes place on a much smaller scale
 
--One of the best wrestlers in the world will be sidelined for a long time due to neck issues
 
--A look at the next major show by Pro Wrestling NOAH including champ Sugiura defends against another outsider
 
--A look at the annual NOAH tag tournament which includes the Kings of Wrestling
 
--The Best of the Super Junior tournament for 2011, more wrestlers than ever, and on paper looks like some of the best matches of the year may be taking place
 
--Major New Japan matches from the past week
 
--Kickboxing legend may make pro wrestling debut
 
--One of the biggest feuds of the late 80s reprised on a major show at the end of the month
 
--Details of the King of Trios weekend, business, top matches and fallout
 
--News that freaked out many indie wrestlers in the Ohio area
 
--This week's pro wrestling award for stupidity in social media
 
--Lots of new ROH matches
 
--Lots of strange Matt hardy stuff
 
--Updates on TNA status of guys who have been off television
 
--TNA fan cruise
 
--Hulk Hogan to appear on major MMA TV show
 
--Lots more on the UFC purchasing Strikeforce with more details
 
--A look at several major MMA fights signed including top matches for UFC in Rio de Janeiro
 
--Update on Royce Gracie in UFC
 
--Lots of news about UFC show at the Rogers Centre and the setup of the show
 
--UFC network partner makes a major signing and how the money earmarked there affects UFC and WWE
 
--More on the future of Chael Sonnen
 
--Nick Diaz plays boxing card
 
--Realities of Diaz as a boxer
 
--How an FBI raid affects the MMA industry
 
--Jon Jones makes claims about Rashad Evans
 
--Junior Dos Santos talks what he can do to Brock Lesnar
 
--Update on UFC ticket sales including how the Lesnar vs. Dos Santos fight is doing
 
--More on the Toronto numbers
 
--Why the first proposed opponent for Gina Carano fell through and an update on someone talked about
 
--Human interest story regarding a headliner at the Toronto show
 
--Lots more UFC fights added this past week
 
--Payoffs from the last Strikeforce show
 
--MMA star looks to defect from their country to represent the U.S. at the Olympics
 
--Notes from Ultimate Fighter
 
--A financially strapped company announces a new major show
 
--A look at Joe Warren's attempt to go after several different goals
 
--A look at the last Bellator show
 
--How the last boxing PPV show did
 
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and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
 
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*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the
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*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the
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*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of
Road Warrior Hawk)
 
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*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
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*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details
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why it didn't click)
 
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*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
 
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calling one of the best issues in history)
 
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*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his
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including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler
Lewis)
 
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*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers
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--Want to wish everyone a Happy Easter from all of us here. 
 
--No real news on Scott Hall.  Sean Waltman did a radio show and when asked about it, said, "He's still breathing."   
 
--After Tuesday, the entire crew for WWE is off until Sunday's Extreme Rules show from Tampa.
 
--Only TV today is Lucha Libre on Galavision and a WEC show at 7 p.m. (4 p.m. Pacific) on Versus.
 
--Bryan and I will be back for our weekend edition of Wrestling Observer radio late tonight.  If you've got any questions for the show on wrestling or MMA you can send them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   We'll be doing eight shows over the next nine days with coverage of the WWE draft, UFC 129 and WWE Extreme Rules.  And that doesn't include Bryan's regular rotation of guests.
 
--Lou Thesz would have turned 95 today. 
 
--I'm guessing this was a mishap but Beth Phoenix was listed as a Raw superstar for a time yesterday on the WWE web site.  I seriously doubt the web people have been told anything so I don't know that it's a sign of anything, even though her moving to Raw would make sense.
 
--Longtime subscriber Ross Burbage has a great article on the history of Roller Derby including noting a ton of links to pro wrestling angles at http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/sportslocal/a-look-ahead-and-back-at-the-history-of-roller-derby  It focuses on the Eastern Warriors games in the market every Thursday night at the Baltimore Civic Center 1969-76 and noted how almost no tapes from the era still exist.
 
--The new ESPN magazine which talks about how much different athletes in different sports earn, has a talk with former ECW promoter Tod Gordon about athletes that pawn their stuff.
 
--While this didn't make it on television last night on ESPN, before the Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs NBA playoff game last night, you could hear Jerry Lawler's ring entrance music and he came out and you could hear him cut a promo on the Spurs (thanks to Mark Pink and Gary Kamansky).
 
--Poll on Smackdown
Excellent 14.6%
Good 39.8%
Average 26.2%
Fair 7.8%
Poor 11.7%
        30.4% of those responding didn't see the show
 
--What company will grow the most in popularity by the end of the year
UFC 17.2%
Strikeforce 15.6%
WWE 11.6%
ROH 8.6%
TNA 7.6%
Dragon Gate USA 5.6%
Bellator 3.6%
No promotion is growing in popularity this year 30.1%
 
--Best of this group on promos
Terry Funk 61.7%
Nick Bockwinkel 17.4%
Buddy Rogers 5.9%
Harley Race 5.2%
King Curtis Iaukea 5.2%
Ray Stevens 2.4%
Mad Dog Vachon 1.4%
Jack Brisco 0.7%  
 
--Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke (his Dancing with the Stars partner) will be on Ellen DeGeners tomorrow. (thanks to Adam Lebow)
 
--UFC Prime Time airs Wednesday at 11 p.m. on ESPN 2.  That will be the episoide that aired this past week on Spike, not the final episode (thanks to John Patton)
 
--The Al Snow Mondo Wrestling a Go-Go show on Friday night in Louisville is a takeoff on the Lucha Va Voom shows that used to be held in Southern California on a regular basis as well as Lucha Britannia, a British touring act that has done the same concept for years at night clubs and music festivals (thanks to Will Cooling and others)
 
--David Lagana talks about the 2005 draft and the end of Smackdown being comparable to Raw at http://iwantwrestling.com/2011/04/23/tale-of-two-titl-wwe-draft-2005/
 
--A story about a documentary looking for donations on the plight of independent wrestling in the Northwest is at http://www.OneFallTheMovie.com  
 
--CWE on 5/8 in Winnipeg at Rockbar on Pembina featuring a War Games match plus Eugene appearing.
 
--The 2/26 edition of All Pro Wrestling which opens with a great video on Bay Area wrestling.  A lot of photos and audio sound bites of Ray Stevens, Pat Patterson, Curtis Iaukea, The Destroyer, Fred Blassie, Jimmy Lennon, Buddy Rose and many others at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iofaVsTzNCg as well as during the show they have a dicussion with Allan Bolte, Mike Lano and Roland Alexander talking about the old Cow Palace Battle Royals.
 
--Heartland Cup results from Cincinnati this past weekend:
Friday night:  Sid Fabulous b Alex Colon, Jake Crist b Rich Swann, Gerome Phillips b Chrisjen Hayme, Paul Burchill b Jesse Emerson, Necro Butcher b Ron Mathis, Tim Donst b Jeremy Madrox, Zack Sabre Jr. b Dustin Rayz, Sami Callihan b Dave Crist, B.J. Whitmer b Jimmy Jacobs
Saturday night:  Jesse Emerson b Juice Jennings, Clark Konnor NC Reed Bentley, B.J. Whitmer b Gerome Phillips, Zack Sabre Jr. b Tim Donst, Jake Crist b Paul Burchill, Sami Callihan b Necro Butcher, Noble Bloods b Jeremy Madrox & Kaden Assan-COR, Jake Crist b Zack Sabre Jr., Sami Callihan b B.J. Whitmer, Dustin Rayz over Dave Crist, Rich Swann, Jon Murray, Alex Colon and Chrisjen Hayme in six-way, Jake Crist b Sami Callihan to win tournament.  Next shows are 4/30 in Norwood, OH and 5/6 in Hamilton, OH (thanks to Adam Sanders)
 
--Real Championship Wrestling from last night in Baltimore before 500 fans:  Forsaken b Violent Intentions, Niles Young b Kindred & Ryan Eagles & Pinkie Sanchez, J.T. Roberts b Skull, Sara Del Rey b Mia Yim, Osirian Portal b Rhett Titus & Greg Excellent, Shiima Xion b Frightmare, Derek Frazier & Adam Flash b Ambassadors, Robbie Mireno b Derek Frazier, Azrieal b Adam Cole & Ryan McBride & Sabian in elimination match, Christian York b Robbie E.  Next show is 6/4 at the Du Burns Arena in Baltimore (thanks to Joe Burrows)
 
--New Era Wrestling from last night in Shelbyville, in:  Hillbilly Jedd b Ricky Ruckus, T.J. Kemp & Gary Cherry b Joey Owens & Love, Camron Star b Darlin Niki, Troy Van Zant & Jon Wall b Tom Van Zant & Donny Idol, Tyson Judge b Flash Flanagan, Bobby Black b Jake Omen, Damian Cole b Baron Von Kane, Dylan Bostic b Shawn Cook.  Next show is 5/21 in Shelbyville, IN at the Boys Club
 
--Southern Illinois Championship wrestling had its fourth straight sellout of 250 fans in East Carondelet, IL since they started TV:  Ron Powers b Chris Harges, Mark Sterling d Dave Vaughn, Gary Jackson & Ace Hawkins b Brandon Espinosa & Jeremy Wyatt, Sean Vincent b Johnny Courageous, Big Texan b Dave Osborne, Waco DDQ Tony Raze, Kevin X b Max Archer, LMC b Jayson Static.  Next show is 4/7 in Belleville, IL at the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds with Bob Orton & Danny Boy Hawkins vs. Ron Powers & Sean Vincent, and on 5/21 in East Carondelet, IL, will be Dory Funk Jr.'s return to St. Louis wrestling on a 52nd anniversary of Wrestling at the Chase show. (thanks to Larry Matysik)
 
--USWO from Friday night in Nashville before 105 fans:  White Tiger b Jason Nesmith, Panther b Danny Copass, Steve O b Damien Payne, Tim Renesto & Saint b Jamey Farrari & Nick Iggy, Shawn Hoodrich b Mike Cobbs, Drew Haskins b Gary Valiant-DQ, Chris Michaels & L.T. Falk b Wolfie D & Jocephus (thanks to Jimmie Daniel) 
 
--IWF from last night in Woodland Park, NJ:  Austin Williams b Aaron Stride, Donte Arcade & Karson Slade b Frank Scoleri & Kraig Stagg, Jarrett Foster b Marc Corino, Danny E b Kevin Knight, Flex Freeman b Damian Adams, Latin Lover Chachi b Dr. Hurtz, Mastodon Franciz b Chris Steeler
 
--Neo Spirit Wrestling from last night in Niagara Falls, ONT before fans:  Jake O'Reilly & Anthony Darko b Shawn Spears & Crazy Steve, Ashley Sixx b Andrew Davis, Scotty Turner b Michael Elgin, Michael Elgin DCOR Andrew Davis, Nick Vickers b Sebastian Suave, Tiberious King & Lazz & Courtney Rush b Derek Wylde & Cody Deaner & Cherry Bomb, Italianos b Body Count in a street fight.  Next show is 6/25 (thanks to Allan Cajilig)
 
--The 5/7 Cleveland All Pro Wrestling show has been canceled according to promoter J.T. Lightning.  He said after a fallout with the local church where the show was held, he wasn't able to secure a new venue to promote the show properly.
 
--I Believe in Wrestling from last night in Orlando:  Jack LeDuc b Cameron Mathews, Brandon Scherer & Conner Murphy b Brian Badical & Alby Gonzalez, Danny Demanto b Bobby Fonta, Santana b Danny Demanto, Mike Cruz & Gus Money b Chris Jones & Johnny Vandal, Mike Reed b Milo Beasley, J.D. Amazing & Wayne Van Dyke b Rufio Lionhawk & Jason Hanley, Ray Beez b Q.T. Marshall (thanks to Al Haft)
 
 

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