MONDAY UPDATE: KIMBO FIGHTS PRO WRESTLING STAR ON CBS; WRESTLER OF YEAR BREAKS ARM; HALL OF FAME
By Dave Meltzer
We're looking for reports from tonight's WWE Raw & ECW tapings in Wilkes-Barre, PA, where they will announce several new matches for the Unforgiven PPV most likely. Remember that Raw airs at 9 p.m. Eastern on Sci-Fi, not USA, tonight.
We're still looking for reports on the WWE weekend house shows in Erie, PA, Bethlehem, PA and Canton, OH as well as the TNA show in Wichita last night and NWA show in San Antonio yesterday at
TNA Impact on Monday night will feature Kurt Angle vs. Kevin Nash with the winner joining Samoa Joe and Booker T as part of a four-way at No Surrender. Sting also does his first interview on the show taped for Thursday night.
ECW & Smackdown are taped Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. It will be the Smackdown show for the 29th and the ECW show for 9/2 that will be taped in Pittsburgh. TNA Impact tapes Tuesday night as well with Christian Cage vs. A.J. Styles as the final of the four matches for the 9/14 main event. TNA also has a different taping schedule this week because they are taping three weeks worth of shows in two days.
Our annual SummerSlam issue comes out today and 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.
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
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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)
*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 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
Hall of Fame)
*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)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*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)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*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)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*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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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.
--Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock is expected to be announced officially either late today or tomorrow by CBS as the main event for the 10/4 special from Sunrise, FL. We have the fight confirmed from multiple sources today and will talk about the card and more after Raw tonight on our radio show report. It matches two of the biggest TV drawing cards in MMA history against each other. I don't really want to see it, but given the circumstances, I don't know that they had much of another choice.
--Mistico suffered a broken arm in a match last night in Guadalajara
--Smackdown did a 2.3 rating on Friday night on the fast nationals.
--UFC on Spike this week has two hours on Wednesday night, from 9-10 p.m. headlined by the Tyson Griffin vs. Frankie Edgar match of the year candidate, and 11 p.m. to midnight featuring Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Heath Herring. They also have one hour on Thursday after Impact with Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes vs. B.J. Penn. On Friday night from 9 p.m. to midnight they will replay the Best of 2007 special
--Tickets for the ROH debut in St. Louis on 12/6 go on sale at www.roh.com
--An interesting note about tonight's show in Wilkes-Barre is that the last time Raw was in the city, they did the Vince McMahon explosion angle.
--Hall of Fame candidate Ivan Koloff turns 66 today. Hall of Famer Earl Caddock passed away 58 years ago today in 1950, while 70s woman wrestling star Vivian Vachon died in an auto accident at 40, 17 years ago today.
--Signmania III in Fairless Hills, PA at Bucks High School on 9/27 from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. features Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, The Godfather, Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan, DDP, Bruno Sammartino, Stan Hansen, Harley Race, Afa, Sika, Steve Williams, Bryan Clark, Terri Runnels, Chavo Guerrero Sr., Tammy Sytch, Larry Zbyszko, Ted DiBiase Sr., Molly Holly, Madusa, Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Rob Conway, the Bashams, Stevie Richards, Bill Eadie, Barry Darsow, Dawn Marie and Bill Apter
--The expectation is there will be at least a couple of more changes in the main event matches by the end of this week. I think the goal should be like TNA to confuse you to where nobody buying the show knows what the stipulations are. We'll be back late tonight after Raw with our audio show covering hopefully Raw, TNA tapings as well as the ECW tapings.
--A sellout of more than 4,000 fans attended Rumble in the Park yesterday in Fresno. More than 1,500 were turned away at the door. Chuck Liddell made a guest appearance at the show and Shonie Carter was in the main event. The show had gotten a lot of press because a woman in the area felt MMA shouldn't be allowed at Woodward Park because it was a place families hung out at. Both Fresno mayor Alan Autry and Police Chief Jerry Dyer attended. Dyer said the bad reputation for MMA was unwarranted, saying it's a safe sport and refs are quick to stop fights. (thanks to Bryan White)
--For those of you into old-time history of pro wrestling, Steve Yohe and a collection of wrestling historians have put together a two-volume encyclopedia of results and newspapers clippings on Jim Londos. You can contact him at 660 S. Taylor Ave., Montebello, CA 90640. The two-volume set is $100 but they are gigantic.
--Poll on the strongest of the Hall of Fame candidates
Curt Hennig 19.6%
Rey Mysterio 17.8%
Fabulous Moolah 14.0%
Rock & Roll Express 11.0%
Gene & Ole Anderson 6.6%
Jesse Ventura 5.7%
Lou Albano 4.0%
Gary Hart 3.2%
--Kickboxers Patrick Barry (3-0) vs. Andre Walker (2-3) have been added to the 10/3 Strikeforce show in Broomfield CO. Barry beat Gary Goodridge and Rickard Nordstrand in K-1 matches
--GEAR Wrestling on Sunday in Orlando: Bruce Santee b Chip Day, Loggers b Lifeguards, Necro Butcher b Jon Davis, Erick Stevens b Chasyn Rance, Jerrelle Clark & Nooie Lee b Chris Gray & Tommy Taylor, Tyler Black b Sal Rinauro, Go Shiozaki won four-way over Chris Jones, Austin Amadeus and Kory Chavis, Roderick Strong & Austin Aries b Kenny King & Jason Blade (thanks to J. R. Shelby)
--Brooke Knows Best debuts on MTV in Australia on 9/5 at 5:30 p.m. (thanks to James Stanios)
--Askmen.com is doing a poll of the 49 most influential men in U.S. sports. With Michael Phelps, Tom Brady and others on the list, I don't see Dana White or Anderson Silva, the two MMA names in the poll, having much of a shot at winning. Nobody from pro wrestling cracked the 49, maybe because they didn't see that as a sport.
--Tennessee Championship Wrestling from Saturday night in Pulaski, TN: Johnny Gunz b 2-Bit, J.D. b Bobby Surge, Lee Cross b Shawn Hoodrich, Mike Jablonski & Anthony Wayne b Jason Starr & Norman Cross, Cody Whitehead & Jamie Dundee b J.T. Quest & Bobby Surge (thanks to Lekisha Oliver-Burdine)
--Rich Tate's Atlanta wrestling nostalgia
77 years ago today: Pat O'Shocker beat strongman Milo Steinborn
71 years ago: Milo Steinborn drew Orville Brown over 60:00
47 years ago: Ray Gunkel beat The Sheik via DQ
41 years ago: Mr. Wrestling I & Alberto & Ramon Torres beat El Mongol & Stan & Butcher Vachon in the main event
36 years ago: Dory Funk Jr. retained the NWA title over Argentina Apollo and Dick Steinborn (Milo's son) & Bob Armstrong beat Georgia tag champs The Assassins via DQ
30 years ago: Thunderbolt Patterson beat Ivan Koloff in a one-night tournament to determine who will face Harley Race for the world title. Also in the tournament included Mr. Wrestling I, Stan Hansen, Ole Anderson, Tommy Rich, Rick Martel, Dick Slater, Masked Superstar and others
29 years ago: At the WTCG studios, then prelim wrestler but future Hall of Famer Genichiro Tenryu lost to another Hall of Famer, Ernie Ladd
28 years ago in Augusta: Lars Anderson & Mr. Wrestling II beat Ole Anderson & Masked Superstar and Abdullah the Butcher beat Mark Lewin.
24 years ago: Hulk Hogan retained the WWE title beat David Shults and Andre the Giant beat The Spoiler, while Iron Sheik beat Sgt. Slaughter via DQ at the Omni
--Sylvan Grenier & Rob Conway, the former La Resistance WWE tag champs, team up on 8/30 in Montreal at the NDR Center
--Parade Magazine this weekend mentioned Kurt Angle's winning of the gold medal with a broken neck (thanks to Jim Robidoux)
--Osamu Nishimura returns to Dory Funk's dojo in Ocala, FL for shows on 9/6 and 9/7
--Colin Delaney returns to CHIKARA pro in a Lethal Lottery tag team tournament on 9/6 in Easton, PA at the Palmer Community Center that also includes Eddie Kingston, Claudio Castagnoli, Mike Quackenbush, Lince Dorado and Larry Sweeney
--Amazon.com today sent me a notice of a personal recommendation of various wrestling items, and one of them was the WWE DVD "Macho Madness" about Randy Savage that Vince nixed months ago. Something funny about being recommended a book by them to buy and the quote used to promote how good the book was (Pain & Passion: the History of Stampede Wrestling) was from me.
--Jay Lethal vs. Colin Delaney headlines for AWESOME on 8/30 in Toms River, NJ at the Pleasant Plains Fire Company
--Time Warner On Demand has Kurt Angle vs. Jay Lethal's X Division title match for free from the 2007 No Surrender show. That was a hell of a match. But in hindsight, how stupid was it for Lethal to go over given where both men are currently placed on cards?
--The APWF show on 9/20 in Palm Coast, FL at Matanzass High School has been canceled due to a death in the family of promoter Chris Lash.