SUNDAY UPDATE: KOWALSKI COVERAGE, RATINGS, FORMER WWE STAR DEBUTS TV SHOW TOMORROW; TNA VIDEO GAME



By Dave Meltzer
 
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        We're looking for reports on tonight's Raw & Smackdown tapings in St. Louis at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , as well as reports from last night's WWE house shows in Peoria, IL and Jonesboro, AR.
 
        Nothing major live tomorrow due to Labor Day, or Tuesday.
   
        We will have two issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter coming out next week, which includes an update on injuries and recovery of John Cena and Mistico, another star hospitalized in serious condition and a look at a number of major stars whose contracts are expiring over the next few months and the decisions each will have to make.  We also have a look at WWE's key arguments in defense of the Raven independent contractors/employees lawsuit.  Both of these issues, which come out Sept. 1 and Sept. 3, are available today for premium members of the site.
 
        We look at what happened to Cena and Mistico, surgeries and recovery.
 
        We also have analysis of Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar, as well as Quinton Jackson's first public statements about why he did what he did, as well as losses by a promotion that have been over reported.
 
        We also have notes on WWE consideration a major change in marketing and why this would be.
 
        We also have more on the lawsuit against WWE regarding the independent contractor status of its wrestlers, including several interested parties thoughts on not just the merits of the case, but the financial implications to current wrestlers.
 
        With the signing of Gail Kim by WWE, we look back at her TNA run, the women's division and her first WWE run.  We also have a look more than a half-dozen major stars whose contracts expire shortly, and the questions each faces in regard to where they sign.  We look at an angle that would almost guarantee a major jump, whether heat over how someone left in the first place will affect them making a potential move, and the status of a couple of other free agents as both WWE and TNA try and make big roster moves for 2009.
 
        We also have a story behind Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock, why the match had to be made, the entire next CBS show as well as details on the future Elite XC cards and booking for that organization going forward. 
 
        We also have some early estimates on UFC PPV numbers broken down by region and hottest markets, as well as a look at UFC's 2009 expansion plans.
 
        We also have a story on Takeshi Morishima and his WWE tryout, and what went wrong from all sides, how the deal was put together and what moment it started having troubles.
 
        We have an update on the Unforgiven PPV, including a new main event that was under discussion, an update on another WWE star who will be undergoing surgery, a lot of backstage notes from television over the past two weeks, a look at the Smackdown move to My Network TV, what major networks just turned WWE down for a TV deal and the stories behind several of the uninspired debuts on recent WWE television.
 
        We also have a look back on a famous title run that only happened because the person first chosen was bad mouthed in creative by a top star, and the irony of how that story ended up.  We also look at some of the strongest men in pro wrestling history, the son of a WWE producer who is now talking about doing pro wrestling after graduating college, a couple of new books being released on pro wrestling, a competition bodybuilder who just signed a WWE contract, best selling DVDs, developmental notes, as well as business notes from the past week and house show highlights.
 
        We also have a story on the life and career of Tennessee gimmick performer Roughhouse Fargo, looking back at the heyday of when Nick Gulas ran one of the largest territories in the country, and looking back at the Fabulous Fargos and the first huge drawing feud in the career of Jerry Lawler.
 
        We also have our monthly WWE & TNA business charts to see how things are going in the major categories as well as economic changes and how they affect revenue.  We also look at an update on how WWE, TNA and UFC are doing when it comes to getting their television audience to purchase their monthly PPV events.  
 
        We also have notes on rule changes in MMA that are going to be discussed and debated starting in a few weeks.
 
        We also have a detailed report on the WWE's biggest grossing regular house show of the year in North America, held over the weekend in Madison Square Garden.
 
        We also have our usual weekly features including the most detailed look at the television ratings, including segment-by-segment ratings for Raw and Impact, comparing the Sci-Fi airing of Raw to last year's and what it says, as well as what viewers is TNA suddenly drawing and how last week's Raw audience changed.  We also have major TV show reviews, as well as results from the major league arena events around the world.
 
        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 issues:
 
--Undertaker's affect on ratings
 
--A look at the tournament that may see some of the best matches of this year
 
--More on Konnan/TNA lawsuit
 
--More on Sting's future
 
--TNA No Surrender lineup
 
--Frank Trigg's weekend fight and what former TNA star was in his corner
 
--House show and TV taping details for TNA     
 
--Ambitious prediction of a match promoters are claiming will break the all-time MMA buy rate record and beat any WWE event in North America
 
--Update on Brock Lesnar's next fight
 
--News on UFC scheduling between now and the end of the year
 
--News on WWE fighters getting major endorsement deal
 
--Update on a top star UFC is close to signing and what match that could build to
 
--Update on WEC and UFC changes over the next few months
 
--What UFC fighter has changed his name and how TNA wrestling caused it
 
--Many new UFC fights
 
--More on K.J. Noons turning down the Nick Diaz fight and his future with Elite XC
 
--Update on Antonio Silva's drug test failure, and his and Elite XC's reactions
 
--Lots of Kimbo business news
 
--TNA stars headed to Mexico and long-term plan talked about for a big stipulation match and where it stands
 
--Promotion racked by injuries going into its biggest show of the year
 
--New type of hair match gimmick took place this past week
 
--70s star retires in a legends match
 
--Update on AAA talent issues
 
--The return of the Juventud Guerrera stories
 
--The tease of a retirement of a Hall of Famer in a few months
 
--All Japan building a big event
 
--Lots of legends return for a New Japan show
 
--Japanese Olympians and both pro wrestling and MMA
 
--Two more top 90s stars talk retirement
 
--Update on Ric Flair
 
--What U.S. Olympian got into his sport because of pro wrestling
 
--More on U.S. Olympians and MMA
 
--Promoter talks dire straits of a do-or-die show
 
--TV network talking seriously about starting a promotion
 
--Two big matches on upcoming PPV events that are in question due to injuries
 
--What MMA clothing line is negotiating with what Hall of Fame pro wrestler
 
--Sasaki & Nakajima U.S. matches
 
        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:
 
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*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)
 
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*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
 
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*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)
 
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*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)
 
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*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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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.
 
 
--An AP story on the death of Killer Kowalski has been carried in newspapers all over the country, as well as on all the key sports web sites and news channels, and was even a lead top of the hour news story today on the CBS radio network.  I'd say of the guys from the 50s and 60s, I think because of his wrestling school and his name, he'd have ranked behind only Bruno Sammartino, Moolah (because she was on TV so long), and maybe Fred Blassie and Gorilla Monsoon (more because of the name and his later role as an announcer) as the most famous of them all on a national basis.  Realistically, Buddy Rogers, Lou Thesz and Gorgeous George were somewhat forgotten about and Verne Gagne's legacy remained strong mostly in the Midwest.  It was heavily covered in Japan because Kowalski was the first famous opponent of Giant Baba in 1963 when Baba got his major singles push, as well as being one of the last major opponents of Rikidozan.  The story going around, including Japan, is at http://msn.foxsports.com/boxing/story/8506176/Wrestling-pioneer-Kowalski-dies-at-81  A better story from the Boston Globe is at http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/obituaries/articles/2008/08/31/
The New York Times bio is at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/01/sports/01kowalski.html
 
--Once again, those close to Kowalski are looking to find Perry Saturn, who was one of Kowalski's students and who hasn't been heard from anywhere, including after the death of John Kronus. 
 
--We didn't get the number, but the Friday Smackdown rating was down this week.
 
--TNA Impact did a 1.1 rating 
 
--Smackdown poll
Excellent 17.9%
Good 42.1%
Average 21.4%
Fair 6.4%
Poor 12.1%
        33.3% of those responding didn't see the show
 
--Trish Stratus' TV show debuts tomorrow night in Canada and the Travel & Escape Network at 9 p.m. Eastern.  The first episode is Stratus in Kochi, India learning stick fighting.  It runs every Monday night on the station until  the first week of November.
 
--The weekend radio show with myself and Bryan Alvarez will be taped tonight.  We'll update all the major stories, including more on Randy Couture, Mick Foley as well as discuss the death of Killer Kowalski and probably discuss tonight's tapings in St. Louis as well.  If you've got any questions for the show, you can e-mail them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and we'll get to as many as we can

--The Chris Benoit documentary on E! Canada on Wednesday night will be an all-new piece that has never aired before. 
 
--Today's New York Times has a feature on Tapout clothing in the New York Times Magazine section (thanks to Jeff Cohen)
 
--Newsday at http://www.newsday.com/services/newspaper/printededition/sports/ny-spmixed315824095aug31,0,3407919.story has a story on Phillipe Nover, who is on the cast for the next season of Ultimate Fighter.
 
--There is a story on the TNA video game at http://uk.ps3.ign.com/articles/906/906229p1.html  Some of these questions and answers aren't exactly the best publicity for the game
 
--Dawn Marie is organizing a wrestling event on 9/14 at the Radisson in Piscataway, NJ as a fund raiser.  For info you can e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   Among those appearing are Torrie Wilson, Terri Runnels, Mick Foley, Tammy Sytch, Missy Hyatt, Iron Sheik, Jimmy Snuka, Greg Valentine, Lou Albano, Balls Mahoney, Nikolai Volkoff, Lanny Poffo, Brutus Beefcake, J.J. Dillon, Sandman, Manny Fernandez, Traci Bingham of Baywatch and Emile Griffith from boxing.  Dawn Marie is attempting to raise money to support health care needs of retired pro wrestlers
 
--Jeff Hardy turns 31 today and Mickie James turns 29
 
--Savio Vega is doing a seminar on 9/28 in Pennsauken, NJ at Devastation University.  The seminar is $25.  For more info e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
--Bill Behrens at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it is booking for indie dates:  Stevie Richards, Blue Meanie, Nova, Shannon Moore, Kevin Nash, Dustin Rhodes, Shawn Stasiak, Raven, David Taylor, Orlando Jordan, Joey Matthews, Chase Stevens, David Young, Luke Hawx, John McChesney, Rob Eckos, Delirious, Daizee Haze, Amazing Red and all the wrestlers of NWA Anarchy      
 
--Damian Demento is threatening to sue WWE.  He said they insulted him in the October WWE magazine. 
 
--AULL on Friday night in Tlalnepantla:  Rey Krimen & Sadico & Sepulturero b Cerebro Maligno & Epitafio & Herejia to keep the AULL trios titles, Negro Navarro & Rocky Santana & El Signo b Black Terry & Rambo & Hijo del Rambo, Fuerza & Juventud Guerrera & Intocable b Monsther & Solar & Ultimo Dragon   
 
--Thursday night in Puebla:  Estrella de Plata & Super Kiss & XXX b Black Panther & China Boxer & Dante, Mascarita Sagrada & La Parkita b Mini Cibernetico & Mini Histeria, Lady Apache & Martha Villalobos b Marcela & Rossy Moreno, Fuerza Guerrera & El Hijo del Solitario * Veneno b Groon XXX & Lizmark Jr. & Tinieblas Sr., Mil Mascaras & Tinieblas Jr. & Dr. Wagner Jr. b Atlantis & Rey Bucanero & Ultimo Guerrero
 
--AAA has TV tapings in Monterrey tonight with Chessman & Cibernetico & Silver King vs. Electroshock & Zorro & Teddy Hart on top.  CMLL at Arena Coliseo for TV tapings has Heavy Metal & Negro Casas & Mr. Niebla vs. Averno & El Terrible & Mephisto.  Guadalupe has El Hijo del Santo & Maya XXX & Siniestro vs. Blue Demon Jr. & Bobby Lee & Diluvio Negro I.  San Felipe has La Parka & Alebrije & Black Abyss vs. Pirata Morgan & Kenzo Suzuki & Polvo de Estrellas.  Tultitlan has a Cage of death with the last guy in losing hair or mask with Dr. Wagner Jr. (as if he's losing) Fantasma (the father), Hijo del Anibal, Intocable, Solar, Lizmark Jr., Mascara Ano 2000 Jr., Super Calo, Toscano and Zumbido.  Naucalpan has Wagner Jr. & Mascara Ano 2000 Jr. vs. Multifacetico & L.A. Park.  Martha Villalobos has a show in Iztapalapa with Zumbido & ? vs. Tarzan Boy & Intocable (thanks to Kris Zellner)
 
--IWF results from yesterday in Paterson Falls, NJ for three shows during a fair:  Tony Torres & Antonio Rivera b Justin Corino & Frank Scoleri, Franciz b Dan McGuire, Vik Voorhees & Dan Marques b Chris Steeler & Evan Schwartz, Biggie Biggs b Justin Corino, Damian Adams & Franciz b Kevin Knight & Dan McGuire, Torres & Rivera b Steeler & Schwartz, McGuire b Adams, Corino & Schwartz & Marques b Biggs & Voorhees & Torres, Kevin Knight b Franciz.  They run today and tomorrow at Overlook Park with shows at 4:15 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.  
 
--EWF from last night in Marion, IN:  Dakota Watson b Frank Stein, Bobby Black b Dylan Bostic, Matt Cavins & Kyle Cassidy & Dark Lion & Johnny Law b Hank Calhoun & Wildman Rogers & Gunner Hansen & Fallen Dragon, Osyris b Kharn Alexander, General Lee b Justin Dean, Dusty Bottoms b Mr. Main Event, Andy Santos won scramble over Jay West, Chip Daley, Troy Miller and Yellow Jacket, Just Justin b Nate Phoenix, General Lee won Rumble.  Next show is 10/4 at the Grant County Family YMCA in Marion with Jimmy Snuka and Nick Dinsmore 
 
--Kip James will be appearing on 9/13 for Universal Championship Wrestling in Hanford, KY (thanks to Devin Cutting) 
 
--Probably the most talked about thing on 24/7 in recent weeks was the episode of Stampede Wrestling where Makhan Singh (Mike Shaw) talks about steroid use, on a show featuring Ben Bassarab, Brian Pillman, Ted Arcidi and Bill Kazmaier (thanks to Jim Baker)   
 
--ECCW from last night in Vancouver, BC:  Collin Cutler & am Fedyk b Marty Sugar & Pink Panther, Kenny Lush b Azeem the Dream, Black Dragon b Adrian Walls, Gurv & Harv Sihra b Sid Sylum & Dropkick Murphy-DQ, Scotty Mac b Nelson Creed, Billy Suede d Kyle O'Reilly, Ice & Cole Bishop b Cremator & Moondog Manson in a hardcore match.  Next shows are 9/19 in Abbotsford, BC and 9/20 in Vancouver (thanks to Mike Sweetser)
 
--Sylvan Grenier & Rob Conway won the NCW tag titles from KBJP at a show in Montreal (thanks to David St-Martin)  
 
--Dragon Con Wrestling from Friday night in Atlanta before 400-500 fans:  Ace Rockwell over Adrian Hawkins, Sal Rinauro and Chip Day, Slim J b Scotty Beach, Shadow Jackson b Brodie Chase (Consequences Creed's coach on the TNA videos), Andrew Alexander & Kyle Matthews b J.T. Talent & Drew Pendleton in a TLC match, Todd Sexton & Murder One b Bob E & Tyler Smith, Gail Kim won three-way over Christy Hemme and Traci Brooks, Simon Sermon b ?, Truitt Fields b Simon Sermon, Consequences Creed b Johnny Devine, Shatter & Kimo & Mikal Judas b Azrael & Shaun Tampers & Iceberg
 
--Prime Time Pro Wrestling from Thursday night in Columbus, GA before 150 fans:  Elix Skipper b Chick Donovan, Rob Adonis b Frankie Valentine, Jake Slater b Dustin Powers, Southside Trash b Thomas Britain & David Tate, Bulldog Raines b PAIN, Colt Derringer & Deathrow DDQ David Young & Chris Stevens (thanks to Rich Tate)
 
--Rich Tate's Atlanta wrestling nostalgia:
63 years ago today:  NWA champion Wild Bill Longson beat Barto Hill in the main event.  The opener saw legendary women's stars Mae Young beat June Byers
52 years ago:  Eddie Gossett (Eddie Graham) & Art Nelson kept the world tag team titles winning a Texas death match over Fred Blassie & Zebra Kid (George Bollas)
46 years ago:  Freddie Blassie beat Dick the Bruiser
35 years ago:  Mr. Wrestling II beat Bill Watts to win the Georgia title and Tim Woods pinned Terry Funk
29 years ago:  Cowboy Bill Watts & Dusty Rhodes beat Ole Anderson & Ivan Koloff, while Georgia champ Killer Karl Kox beat Stan Hansen
27 years ago in Augusta:  Tommy Rich NC Masked Superstar and Michael Hayes beat Jimmy Snuka 

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