WED. UPDATE: AUSTIN RETURNS TO PPV; NEW RULES OF SCRAMBLE MATCH MAIN EVENTS; WWE TAPINGS CHANGE
By Dave Meltzer
Spike has two hours of Unleashed tonight. At 9 p.m. is Manny Gamburyan vs. Jeff Cox, Chris Lytle vs. Kyle Bradley, Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett (damn good match) and Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson. They skip an hour and then at 11 p.m. is Chris Leben vs. Alessio Sakara, Marcus Aurelio vs. Ryan Roberts, Diego Sanchez vs. David Bielkheden, Kendall Grove vs. Alan Belcher and Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar.
Versus also airs old WEC fights tonight.
Madison Square Garden Classics tonight at 8 p.m. on MSG Cable:
Demolition vs. Warlord & Barbarian in a no DQ WWF tag title match
Greg Valentine vs. Ronnie Garvin
Randy Savage vs. Badnews Brown for WWF title
Bob Backlund vs. Larry Sharpe
Superstar Billy Graham vs. Dusty Rhodes for WWWF title
Peter Maivia vs. George Steele
Our annual SummerSlam issue will be coming out Monday of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, but is available to premium members of the site today. The issue not only includes coverage of the show, a look at WWE booking going forward, as well as updates on Bobby Heenan, and Killer Kowalski's fiercest battle.
SummerSlam coverage includes a look at the changes in the mind set of Vince McMahon and how this has affected the show, as well as the change in audience, the company's new goals to improve its image, as well as the direction, decisions, match-by-match coverage, poll results and star ratings.
We also have news on Hulk Hogan's divorce proceedings, with news on his worth, how the assets were split and the temporary rulings, as well as a look at how important everything from house shows, PPVs, merchandise and TV are to the WWE when it comes to profits. There have been some interesting changes in the business, including one aspect that has not been a priority for years, but for WWE and TNA, is becoming more important. We also look at what is now the most profitable part of the WWE business.
We've also got notes on the attempts to unify the rules of MMA, the various committees that have been put together as well as people asked for feedback, and my own thoughts when it comes to judging and scoring fights.
We also have an update on Randy Orton, the quiet departure of Mick Foley, a surprise over who is training to do some pro wrestling, as well as a detailed look at all the recent WWE cuts, reasons why, and some interesting stories about why some get in but didn't make it. We look at a company injury update, the story behind Takeshi Morishima and WWE, the rise of C.M. Punk, what WWE figure did a secret MMA match a few years ago under a fake name and what happened. We also look at a newcomer who is rising fast, HHH mad at some of the younger wrestlers, plus developmental and house show news.
We also have thoughts on TNA's short-term business, the reason behind Sting's angle going the way it did, as well as lots more on the future of Sting in TNA.
We also have a feature on the Olympics, including U.S. and Japanese coverage of athletes which may end up in MMA, or even pro wrestling. We look at the people already approached for pro wrestling, what Olympic star is already talking about facing what MMA legend, and a look back at internal talks WWE had with someone in the recent Olympics that Vince temporarily green-lighted but it then fell apart. We also look at one of our long-term readers and his Olympic story.
We also have notes on the next season of Ultimate Fighter, with the beginning cast members, who to look out for, and two former pro wrestlers who will be on the show this coming season and a third who at one time considered pro wrestling, as well as the guy Dana White is claiming will be another Anderson Silva, the All-American wrestler and the BJJ champion all on the show this coming season.
We have complete coverage of the G-1 Climax tournament for 2008, which is one of the biggest events annually in Japan. We look at the business, the booking, the last few days, Kurt Angle and A.J. Styles going to Japan and how the business went.
We also have a look at one of the strangest pro wrestling promotions, the Inoki Genome Federation, featuring a unique mix of former WWE stars and MMA stars in a very different and dated vision of what Inoki thinks pro wrestling should be.
We also have thoughts on what is becoming a very touchy subject in society, MMA and children. We look at some recent TV features and how it came across, some media manipulations but also a realistic look at the subject.
We have all our regular weekly features, including TV ratings, including how every segment on Raw and Impact did, plus results of the biggest shows of the past week and the major TV show reviews.
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Also in the issue:
--TNA stars headed to Arena Mexico again
--One of the biggest mask vs. mask matches in recent years gets signed
--Juventud Guerrera update
--A unique gimmick match promoted by Kensuke Sasaki which went 55 minutes and involved many top stars
--Former TNA booker debuts with Japan group
--Notes on the Mid Atlantic convention with plenty of Flair, Ole Anderson, Scott Hall and more
--Dwayne Johnson's next project update
--Notes on the new Memphis wrestling TV show and what legend of the area was on the phone for the first show
--The son of a Hall of Famer just starting that everyone seems to be raving about
--Brother of one of WWE's stars takes up boxing
--Highlights from the ROH house shows
--Thoughts on the TNA fall season
--TNA TV show news
--Update on St. Pierre-Penn talks and why some in UFC don't want it to happen
--Update on ticket sales for all the next UFC events
--What they are hoping to do to salvage November
--Thoughts on the worth of Randy Couture vs. Fedor Emelianenko and a realistic look at what he can get paid for it, as well as his thoughts and if they are viable
--Lesnar talks about why he did what he did on the show
--Media coverage of the last UFC
--Fedor's injury update
--Elite XC business notes and thoughts on the company's future
--Thoughts on what was missing in the CBS broadcast
--What Bob Arum claims about UFC that is crazy
--Older U.S. former MMA stars fight in Japan
--MMA legends fight in Japan
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major story (ies) of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue. Our most requested issues in our history are:
*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 networks)
*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 trial)
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*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 history)
*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 Hogan)
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth, and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*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 and friends)
*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, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding 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 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 as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
*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 look at their
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*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
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*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bam Bigelow)
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*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*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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*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
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*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
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*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
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--Steve Austin is being advertised for Cyber Sunday on 10/26 in Phoenix as making a special guest appearance on the PPV.
--WWE tapings the next few weeks have changed. This coming Monday in Wilkes-Barre, they will tape both Raw and ECW, with ECW first, so we're looking for ECW reports on the show that would air the next day. Tuesday in Pittsburgh will tape Smackdown and the ECW show for 9/2. The 8/31 taping in St. Louis will be for both Raw and Smackdown so Raw will be taped in two weeks.
--The Smackdown main event for Unforgiven will also be a scramble match. The Smackdown spoilers have the match. Don't want to give away the four guys with HHH because they are determined by who wins matches that air on Friday night. They have changed the rules again today of the two Scramble match title bouts. They've added a Royal Rumble/War Games like stipulation. The champion and one challenger will start. The other challengers enter every five minutes. When a fall is won, the winner of the fall is called the temporary champion, but will not be recognized as a new champion in title histories. The last pinfall winner when the 20:00 expires leaves as champion.
--Takeshi Morishima, GHC champ, worked another dark match last night in Moline, IL, this time over Jamie Noble with them trying out Tony Atlas as his manager
--Ozzy Ozbourne has been signed to perform at the 10/11 Affliction show in Las Vegas
--Even though Dana White talked about him fighting in Chicago on 10/25, Mike Swick told MMAWeekly.com that he won't be ready after elbow surgery until December.
--Even though it has no cooperation from UFC, WAMMA, trying to be an organization to sponsor real world championships in MMA, has Fedor Emelianenko listed as undisputed champion (how can anyone be called undisputed in that business) as a heavyweight, which is their only title. They recognize Forrest Griffin, Quinton Jackson and Chuck Liddell as top three light heavies. They have Anderson Silva, Paulo Filho and Rich Franklin as the top middles. Georges St. Pierre, Jon Fitch and Jake Shields are listed as the top three welterweights. B.J. Penn, Takanori Gomi and Shinya Aoki are the top lightweights. Interesting that Joachim Hansen, who just beat Aoki, is not top five. Top featherweights are Urijah Faber, Kid Yamamoto and Masakazu Imanari.
--Poll on the Scramble match and this was before the new rules were announced
Terrible idea that devalues the title 54.1%
I will give it a chance, but I'm not sold 37.9%
Fascinating concept that will make me buy the show 8.0%
--WEC lineup for the 9/10 show live on Versus has Urijah Faber vs. Mike Brown for the featherweight title, Paulo Filho vs. Chael Sonnen for the middleweight title, Leonard Garcia vs. Jens Pulver, Danillo Villefort vs. 3-time NCAA champion Jake Rosholt and Donald Cerrone vs. Razor Rob McCullough as the live matches. Two-time NCAA champ Johny Hendricks debuts against Alex Serdyukov in an undercard match.
--For the cable ratings for last week, USA was No. 1 at 2.2 to Fox News at 1.6. Sci-Fi was No. 10 at 0.9 and Spike was No. 17 at 0.7, its worst week I can recall in years. Raw last week was down to No. 10 and No. 14. They had more viewers than the NFL game on ESPN, but less homes as the game was No. 6 with a 3.2 rating. Raw was still No. 2 and No. 4 in 18-34 and No. 1 and No. 4 in 18-49
--Bryan and I will be doing another radio show tonight, so if you've got any questions, we can answer as many a we can at
--Keith Elliot Greenberg has signed on to do the Iron Sheik autobiography for WWE and Simon & Schuster. He's looking to hear from wrestlers who have good Sheik stories, as well as fans who want to e-mail their favorite Sheik stories to
--ROH debuts on 12/5 in St. Louis at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, IL. Tickets to on sale Monday at 11 a.m. on www.rohwrestling.com
--Claudio Castagnoli vs. Brodie Lee in a cage match and Larry Sweeney vs. Icarus headline for CHIKARA on 9/7 at the Alhambra in Philadelphia
--Kenny Florian vs. Joe Stevenson is confirmed for the UFC show in November. The location is still not confirmed. If Florian wins, he'd likely face B.J. Penn for the title sometime in 2009. Don't know about if Stevenson wins.
--According to local radio ads, Ric Flair will referee a Bob Armstrong vs. Dan Sawyer match on 8/23 in Irondale, AL at the Zamora Shrine Temple for Global Championship Wrestling
--Rich Baker has signed an agreement with the NWA to put together national tour dates. Last I heard, Baker was working for TNA and everyone spoke highly of him there.
--Maria and Eve Torres appear on Magic's Greatest Secrets Revealed on 10/2 on MyNetwork TV at 9 p.m. Mr. Kennedy appears on The Tony Rock Project on MyNetwork TV at 8:30 on 10/8
--Amazon.com has sent out an e-mail to pre-order the WWE's Randy Savage DVD. Problem is, Vince McMahon canceled doing that DVD quickly after it was first suggested (thanks to Emerson Witner)
--The only tickets remaining for the 9/6 UFC in Atlanta are priced at $500. I've had more feedback this week because of Chicago about UFC live event tickets. If you want to go at a reasonable price, you pretty much have to join the fight club. But by doing that, they leave a bad taste with people in every city who would like to attend, but aren't willing to spend hundreds to see a live event. A lot of those Chicago people waiting for years for this show, will likely be home that night watching on PPV like they do every other show.
--EA Games has announced Randy Couture as part of the Command and Conquer Red Alert 3. Couture plays Warren Fuller, Commander of the Allied Forces to battle The Russians. Jenny McCarthy and George Takei of Star Trek doing Couture and Gina Carano in the game
--This is South Wales had a story on Rob Terry getting a three-year WWE contract. He's been working as Big Rob in FCW since October, billed as a 6-5, 285 pound natural bodybuilding champion.
--Patrick Miller of NWA Main Event Wrestling in Tennessee was killed last night in an auto accident. We don't have any more details.
--The latest Madden 09 uses a character, Gamma Bomb, as a masked pro wrestling agent, and the person playing the role is Florida manager The Bug. The Bug, Justin Farren, works for EA in the Madden department as his regular job.
--Mike Mondo of the Sprit Squad is looking for wrestling bookings, autograph shows, conventions or to do wrestling seminars on how to work WWE style and interact in WWE. For info you can go to
--A Verizon cell phone version of the TNA videogame is currently available
--Jeff Osborne has a HooknShoot show in Evansville, IN on 9/27 featuring guys off his reality show FightSkool with live TV elimination matches
--Kaiju Big Battell on 8/23 in Brooklyn at The Yard features Chris Hero with the troupe of strange characters
--EWA on 9/21 in Parkville, MD at Tall Cedars Hall
--Border City Wrestling on 10/4 in Windsor, ONT at St. Clair College featuring Team 3-D, Jerry Lynn and Little Guido for The Night of Extreme
--3K Wrestling Fighting Athletes on 8/22 in Limerick, PA at the Fighting Hall with Ricky Landell vs. King Kaluha plus Steve Corino
--LLA on Sunday in Los Angeles before a full house of 150: Rey Volcan & Super Mariachi b Estrella de Oro, Jaguar de Oro d War Child, Dark Side & Forin Kazan b Ponky Boy & Vintage Dragon, Black Metal & Capital Calico b Atomo & White Pork, Los Chivos & Plague b Espectro Jr & Sombra Infernal & Cyanide
--CZW has dates on 8/28 and 9/4 at the Kashmir Gentleman's Club in Vineland, NJ
--IWA Tri-State on 9/20 in Sewell, NJ at the Jersey Elite All-Stars and Recreation Academy
--World X-Treme Wrestling on 9/20 in Minneola, FL at the Rec Center featuring Afa's wrestlers
--ASW on 8/23 in Spring Hill, FL at the Spring Hill Outlet Mall
--Victory Pro on 9/6 in Centereach, NY at VFW Post 4927
--Booker T has a show on Friday night in Pasadena, TX at the Convention Center featuring ODB from TNA
--In Your Face Wrestling on 8/23 in Rutland, VT at the Holiday Inn
--RCW on 8/23 in Jackson, OH at the Memorial Building