FRI UPDATE: Big weekend preview, lots of wrestling and MMA shows, readers down on WWE Network, UFC fighter retires, lots of history and news articles

By Bryan Alvarez | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @bryanalvarez

We're looking for reports on tonight's Raw show in Toronto and tonight's TNA house show in Dodge City, KS (Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray for the TNA title, James Storm vs. Ken Anderson, Austin Aries vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr., Gail Kim vs. ODB, Samoa Joe vs. Garett Bischoff, Magnus vs. Doc) This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tonight on AXS is the Legacy Fighting Championships from the Arena Theater in Houston:

Brandon Farran vs. Alex Morono

Jennifer Scott vs. Lauren Taylor

Todd Moore vs. Charlie Ontiveros

Antonio Banuelos vs. Rafael de Freitas

Jorge Patino vs. Derrick Krantz

Derrick Lewis vs. Ricky Shivers

Saturday has the UFC on Fuel from the famed Saitama Super Arena

Facebook at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time

Marcelo Guimares vs. Hyun Gu Lim

Alex Cacares vs. Kyung Ho Kim

Cristiano Marcello vs. Kazuki Tokodome

Bryan Caraway vs. Takeya Mizugaki

Riki Fukuda vs. Brad Tavares

Fuel at 10 p.m Eastern

Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Dong Hyun Kim

Mizuto Hirota vs. Rani Yahya

Hector Lombard vs. Yushin Okami

Takanori Gomi vs. Diego Sanchez

Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve

Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann

There is also an ROH iPPV, the company's 11th anniversary show. at 7:30 p.m. at from the Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge, IL:

Kevin Steen vs. Jay Lethal for ROH title

Mark & Jay Briscoe vs. Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly for ROH tag titles

Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards vs Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov

Michael Elgin vs. Roderick Strong 2/3 falls

Adam Cole vs. Matt Taven for TV title

Charlie Haas vs. B.J. Whitmer

Jimmy Jacobs & Steve Corino vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander

Q.T. Marshall vs ACH vs. Silas Young vs. Mike Sydal vs. Adam Page vs. Tadarius Thomas

Saturday also has a Raw house show in Kingston, ONT, Smackdown in Kalamazoo, MI and TNA in Salina, KS (Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray, James Storm vs. Ken Anderson, Austin Aries vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr., Gail Kim vs. ODB, Samoa Joe vs Garett Bischoff, Magnus vs. Doc).

The big show on Sunday is the New Japan 41st anniversary show from Korakuen Hall in Tokyo:

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Prince Devitt non-title (If Tanahashi wins, he'll vacate the IWGP title)

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Lance Archer for the IC title

Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo & Jado vs. Minoru Suzuki & Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Kengo Mashimo & Taka Michinoku in an elimination match

Togi Makabe & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Toru Yano &

Takashi Iizuka & Yujiro Takahashi & Yoshi-Hashi

Kushida & Alex Shelley vs. Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask for IWGP jr. tag titles

Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue & Super Strong Machine & Captain New Japan vs. Hirooki Goto & Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga & Ryusuke Taguchi

Hiromu Takahashi & Takaaki Watanabe vs. Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu

This show is not available in the U.S.

Sunday is also the ROH TV tapings from Chicago with Adam Cole vs. Matt Hardy for the TV title, Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov challenging for the tag titles, American Wolves vs. ACH & Tadarius Thomas and Athena vs. MsChif vs. Cherry Bomb vs. Scarlet Bordeaux.

Also on Sunday is Raw from Syracuse, NY and Smackdown from Cleveland.

Raw will be live on Monday from Buffalo. The Rock returns this Monday.

Smackdown, Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam will be taped on Tuesday in Albany, NY.

        The business and historical significance of UFC 157 is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  We also update this week's news on the road to WrestleMania looking at what's up with Undertaker, what he could and couldn't do in his return match, plus we also have the first issue of 1996 new on the site this week, where we look at the year that ended and made predictions on the year that was coming.
        For UFC 157, we look at the business of the show, the narrative that built the show, the marketability of Ronda Rousey, a look at the PPV numbers for the last two shows, Dana White and Rousey talk about the reaction to the show, who was at the show, comparisons with the prior show, how the show was expected to fare, when the last time someone lighter than 170 did those kind of numbers, the marketing of Liz Carmouche, some interesting notes about viewership and what they meant, thoughts on skeptics, the Cyborg factor going forward, Rousey's outside offers, Hollywood offers, plans for her next opponent, plus all kinds of new fights talked about from the past week.
        We also have fight-by-fight coverage, how much everyone earned on the show as well as poll results from the show, and polls on the close decisions. 
        We also look at the HHH/Brock Lesnar angle, Undertaker's return, Jack Swagger's arrest, WWE's attempt to garner publicity through Glenn Beck and the irony of the reaction.
        We also have more notes on All Japan Pro Wrestling being sold, including background of the new ownership group, how the company is being reorganized and what is the vision of the new owners for the company.
        We also look at the secondary market for WrestleMania tickets, the business of the movie "Snitch" starring The Rock, more on Donald Trump in WWE Hall of Fame and what to look out for, Chris Jericho talks how he got a Raw main event that the creative team didn't think would happen.
        We also have tons of developmental news, name changes, angles, who is looking good, plus all the WWE business notes from the week and highlights from all the weekend house shows.
        We also have an extensive article on one of pro wrestling's top stars of the 60s and 70s, the late Ciclon Negro, who headlined all over the world against some of the biggest names of the era.  We talk about his glory days in places like Japan, Australia, California, Texas and more.  We look back at his world title challenges in Houston to Pat O'Connor, his promotion as King of the death matches and more.
        We also look at the theory that live sports are DVR proof.  We look at what percentages in the 18-49 age group are watching which type of shows, and in particular how shows like Raw and Bellator do when it comes to DVR viewership.
        The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
        The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world.  The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe.  Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively.  They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world.  Everywhere from Wall Street to the major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.
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        We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows as well as details of how every segment on Raw and Impact did and what gained and lost viewers.

        We also have results from all the major league arena events over the past week as well as a look at all the major television shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--Notes on CMLL's first big show of the year and its lineup
--Anniversaries coming up in Mexico
--Benefit show for the patriarch of the family that has produced the largest number of successful modern wrestlers
--Update on Arena Mexico wrestling
--Major legends match coming up
--Problems with a retirement show
--More notes on WrestleMania week shows
--Three promotions all run big shows in Japan head-to-head and how they did
--All Japan vs. Burning best-of-five seres
--A look at All Japan's first major show of the year including a rematch from one of the greatest fights in history
--Notes on wrestlers leaving New Japan
--Huge group of legends attend pro wrestling show this weekend including five Hall of Famers
--More on Nielsen looking at changing ratings
--Update on wrestling in the Olympics going forward
--1980s star will be part of a Lifetime reality show
--Notes on the AAA Canada show and the funny tournament they ran for their title
--Plans going forward
--A new pro wrestling reality show debuts i the U.S.
--New promotion opens its doors in April for "rematch of the century"
--Notes on the next ROH iPPV
--Hulk Hogan talks C.M. Punk
--Hulk Hogan talks why he nixed Bobby Roode as champion
--Reaction to Hogan's restaurant
--TNA looking at video games deal
--A look at TNA weekend shows
--Dana White talks cutting of Jon Fitch
--The real reason behind Fitch being cut
--Where Fitch is expected to end up
--The match equation around the UFC roster
--Lineup for this week's UFC show
--Alistair Overeem's testosterone level
--UFC again fights for legalization in New York
--Dana White unhappy with Diaz brothers
--Lots of UFC new matches and card changes
--More on UFC women's division
--Chael Sonnen files lawsuit
--More on Matt Riddle being cut
--Michael Bisping injuries
--UFC TV situation in the U.K.
--Notes on the most Explosive Bellator TV show to date
--What went wrong for King Mo

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        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.
Today's News, Notes and Links

-- Craig of Over the Top Radio is going to be putting more Figure Four Empire T-shirts into production. We're going to do a six-week pre-order period and you must order during that time if you want to get one, because he's going to print up one big batch and then it'd doubtful any will be left over. A picture of the design and a simple ordering button will be on the front page in a few days, so if you want to grab what will be a collector's item in 6 weeks and 1 day, prepare to order! We hope to do a different design/shirt/sweatshirt, etc. every six months or so if the demand is there. I've seen the design and it's very cool.

-- Also a note that I'm going to be using Twitter to ask questions of guests for a little while, so if you want to get involved, follow me at @bryanalvarez.

-- As noted on the front page, after Impact last night the Lockdown card looks to be Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy in a cage match for the World Title; WAR GAMES Aces & Eights of Devon, Mr Anderson, DOC, Garett and KNOX (his creative new TNA name) vs. Team TNA of Sting, Magnus, Samoa Joe, James Storm and Eric Young; Wes Brisco vs. Kurt Angle in a cage, Daniels & Kazarian vs. Roode & Aries vs. Chavo & Hernandez for the tag titles not in a steel cage match, and Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky for the women's title not in a cage match.

-- Attila Vegh beat Christian M'Pumbu via decision last night to win the Bellator Light Heavyweight title. The full show is up on the front page right now if you missed it.

-- Matt Riddle on getting cut from UFC for failing two pot tests in less than a year: "There's not much I can do," Riddle said. "I was prescribed my medicine and I'm going to take it. I got fired over taking my medicine because I don't want to take pharmaceutical drugs or testosterone. This is what works for me, it's just shitty, but it is what it is." His medicine.

-- Diego Sanchez noted on Twitter that because of an injury he gained FIFTY POUNDS, and had to cut that for his fight tomorrow versus Takanori Gomi. He was 165 yesterday.

-- It's Social Media Smackdown~! tonight, with Alberto Del Rio vs. Damien Sandow, Jim Ross returning to interview Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter, Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. Prime Time Players, Antonio Cesaro vs. Miz in a best-of-three falls match, Randy Orton vs. Big Show, Heath Slater vs. Sin Cara, Fandango's kind-of debut, and more.

-- For those going to WrestleMania this year, Ed is trying to put together a big meet and greet at the hotel most of us are staying at. Basically, the hotel restaurant doesn't know if it has enough room for everyone so he is thinking of having everyone chip in to rent out a meeting room. Basically he needs to know how many people are thinking of going so we can do a head count. Email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information, or check out this threadon the board.

-- Put up an old TV match from 2000 at the Roseland Theatre in Portland, OR with Buddy Wayne and I that someone sent me from Youtube. I actually remember this match. Roddy Piper was there and his commentary on the match afterwards was, and I quote, "You guys went up, and you guys went down." I think I know what he meant.

-- The Briscoes video on the front page is the new best thing I ever saw this week. WWE passed on these men.

-- Jason MacDonald announced that he is retiring from MMA to focus on his crossfit gym and spending time with his family.

-- Video hereof GSP noting that he likes everyone in the media personally, but he despises doing it because he says the same thing 50 times, it's a waste of his time, and it's not fair if he has to do it and Nick Diaz doesn't.

-- Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Gustaffson at UFC on FUEL 9 on April 6th in Stockholm has been approved as a five-round fight.

-- Y2J video interview heretalking how he kept his return at Royal Rumble a surprise.

-- Olympic wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann vs. Sheila Gaff looks to be added to UFC 159 at the Prudential Center on April 27th.

-- Clips from Anderson Silva's Muay Thai University launch party Friday here.

-- Absolute Intense Wrestling "Girls Night Out 8" Friday March 1st,2013 7:30pm Bell time Live From The Legendary Turners Hall 7325 Gutrie Avenue Cleveland,Ohio. Show will air on iPPV as well through Smart Mark Video.

-- Some international wrestling history from Graeme:

In Australia

On 1974/3/1 Larry O'Dea defeated Don Carson in Melbourne in a tournament final to become the first WCW Australian TV champion

On 1972/3/2 Robert Bruce defeated John DaSilva in Upper Hutt to win the New Zealand version of the British Commonwealth title

On 1972/3/2 The Medics (Dale Lewis & Bob Griffin) defeated Don Carson & Dick Dunn in Sydney to become Austra-Asian tag team champions

On 1974/3/2 Mario Milano defeated Cylcone Negro in Melbourne to win the WCW World Brass Knuckles title

On 1977/3/2 Don Murraco defeated Ed Wiskowski in Melbourne to win the WCW North American title

In Japan

On 1990/3/1 Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas defeated Toshio Kawada & Samson Fuyuki in Tokyo to win the All Japan All-Asian tag team title

On 1992/3/1 Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue defeated Steve Williams & Terry Gordy in Tokyo to win the All Japan World and International tag team title

On 1993/3/1 Vader & Bam Bam Bigelow defeated Hiroshi Hase & Keiji Muto in Yokahama to win the IWPG tag team title

In Mexico

On 1981/31 Villano 3 defeated Fishman in Naucalpan to win the UWA Light Heavyweight title

On 1992/3/1 Missionares de la Muerte ( El Signo, Negro Navarro & Black Power II) defeated Villanos I, IV & V in Mexico City to win the UWA trios title

On 1999/3/1 Perro Aguayo Sr & Jr defeated El Cobarde Sr & /Jr in Nueva Laredo to win the National tag team title

-- Tom Filsinger, the owner of Filsinger Games, and the creator of Champions of the Galaxy wrestling game will be a special guest at WrestleCon on April 5-7 in Secaucus, New Jersey.

-- The Road to WrestleMania heading through Buffalo.

-- Ed, Craig and Cutrer with part two of their history of WrestleMania series here.

-- Tickets are moving quickly for the Saturday, March 9, "The Darwish Brothers Presents EFC: Relentless" MMA Event in the Xanadu Theater at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. More than a week out from the event and co-promoter Hani Darwish reports that 70% of the tickets have already been sold.

-- One of our readers writes: I don't know if this was mentioned yet or not, but this week's Workaholics (a sitcom on Comedy Central) had a wrestling sub-theme. Midway through the show, one of the characters texted a female co-worker to arrange a luau party, but it was auto-corrected to Captain Lou party (due to the character confessing that he texts about Captain Lou Albano several times per week). The co-worker thought that she was arranging a party to meet Captain Lou, dressed up as him herself, and invited her female hockey teammates to the "Captain Lou party." Another recurring character dressed up as Jimmy Hart, and used his megaphone to cut a promo on a male character who later on had been beaten up by one of the female hockey players. It was pretty amusing and unexpected, I wanted to pass it along in case no one had yet. Thank you and take care.

-- Today in history with Brian Hoops:

1952 - Ben and Mike Sharpe defeated Ron Etchison and Sandor Szabo for the San Francisco NWA World Tag Team Title.

1953 - Al Kashey and Tom Rice defeated Bobby Bruns and Rikidozan to win the NWA Hawaii Tag Team Title in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1966 - Duke Keomuka and Fritz Von Erich defeated The Destroyer (Dick Beyer) and The Golden Terror to win the Texas NWA World Tag Team Title in Dallas, Texas.

1967 - Curtis Iaukea won the Hawaii NWA United States Heavyweight Title in Honolulu, Hawaii by defeating Johnny Barend.

1968 - Dennis Hall and Ken Lucas defeated Chin Lee and Pancho Villa to win the NWA Gulf Coast Tag Team Title in Dothan, Alabama.

1972 - Goliath and Kinji Shibuya defeated Dory Dixon and Earl Maynard to win the NWA America'sTag Team Title in Los Angeles, California.

1975 - Pierre Martel defeated Carlos Colon for the WWC North American Heavyweight Title in Bayaman Puerto Rico. At the same event, Toru Tanaka won a tournament final to become the first WWC Caribbean Heavyweight Champion.

1976 - At a WWWF in Madison Square Garden, Ric Flair defeated Pete Sanchez in his MSG debut. Also, Superstar Billy Graham and Ivan Koloff defeated WWWF World Tag Team Champions Louis Cerdan and Tony Parisi in a two-out-of-three falls match and WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino defeated Ernie Ladd to retain the title. WWWF United States Heavyweight Champion Bobo Brazil defeated Jerry Blackwell to retain the title.

1977 - Dick Murdoch defeated The Great Zimm (Waldo Von Erich) in Shreveport, Louisiana to win the NWA Tri-State North American Heavyweight Title.

1981 - Steve Keirn won the NWA National Television Title from Kevin Sullivan.

1981 - Villano III defeated Fishman for the UWA World Light Heavyweight Title in Naucalpan, Mexico.

1982 - Jerry Lawler defeated Dutch Mantel to win the AWA Southern Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee.

1986 - Ben Bassarab and Chris Benoit defeated Wayne Farris (Honky Tonk Man) and Ron Starr to win the Stampede International Tag Team Title in Regina, Saskatchewan

1989 - Carlos Colon won the WWC Television Title from Jason the Terrible in San Juan, Puerto Rico

1992 - Bam Bam Bigelow and Big Van Vader defeated Hiroshi Hase and Keiji Muto for the IWGP World Tag Team Title in Yokohama, Japan.

1992 - The Heartbreakers (Wendell Cooley and Frankie Lancaster) defeated Rex King and Ricky Santana to win the WWC World Tag Team Title in Mayagez, Puerto Rico

1993 - Jeff Jarrett won the USWA Southern Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee by defeating Brian Christopher. At the same show, JC Ice defeated Danny Davis in a tournament final to become the first USWA Middleweight Champion.

1993 - Bobby Eaton defeated Tim Horner to win the SMW Television Title in Sevierville, Tennessee.

1997 - Flash Flanagan and Billy Travis defeated PG-13 (JC Ice and Wolfie D) to win the USWA Tag Team Title in Memphis, Tennessee

1998 - Bam Bam Bigelow defeated Taz to win the ECW TV Title in Ashbury Park, New Jersey.

-- Jim Scherr calls restoring Olympic wrestling a 'major challenge'

Will the WWE Network get 2 million subscribers?

No 87.0%

Yes 13.0%

Who wins this fight?

Brian Stann 64.5%

Wanderlei Silva 35.5%

Who would do the best business vs. Ronda Rousey next?

Miesha Tate 73.%

Sara McMann 9.9%

Liz Carmouche 5.8%

Cat Zingano 5.5%

Sarah Kaufman 5.5%

What do you attribute the rising Raw ratings to?

More appearances by Rock and Brock Lesnar 68.4%

Booking for the money players is better 9.3%

Punk & Heyman top heel dynamic 8.7%

Booking is better overall 8.1%

Better matches on television 3.2%

New performers getting pushed 2.4%

Poll on Wednesday's main event

Excellent 10.2%

Good 40.8%

Average 22.4%

Fair 8.2%

Poor 18.4%

69.0% of those responding didn't see the show

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?