WED. UPDATE; LESNAR-COUTURE TICKETS; WRESTLING COUPLE SPLITTING; FOLEY TNA NEWS; RATINGS NOTES
Wednesday, 17 September 2008 06:43
Tons of stuff going on tonight for a Wednesday. We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's Ultimate Fight Night from Omaha, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
Lineup from the Omaha Civic Auditorium:
Alessio Sakara vs. Joe Vedepo
Brad Morris vs. Jason Brilz
Drew McFedries vs. Mike Massenzio
Dan Miller vs. Rob Kimmons
Joe Lauzon vs. Kyle Bradley
Wilson Gouveia vs. Ryan Jensen
Houston Alexander vs. Eric Schafer
Ed Herman vs. Alan Belcher
Clay Guida vs. Mac Danzig
Nate Diaz vs. Josh Neer
We'll have live coverage of the show on the site starting at about 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.
Ultimate Fighter season eight debuts after the live special. I'm guessing, just from the lack of hype, that this will be the lowest rated debut. There will be highlights of eight fights in the hour as 16 fighters battle this week, and another 16 next week, to get into the TUF house. Ultimate Fighter's regular time slot will be 10 p.m. Wednesday for the premiere, a replay after Impact at 11 p.m. Thursday, and Saturday nights at 10 p.m.
We're also looking for reports on tonight's TNA Impact tapings from Orlando.
MSG Cable tonight at 8 p.m. has the final airing of 2008 of MSG Classics:
Bret Hart vs. The Barbarian
Kerry Von Erich vs. Mr. Perfect
Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty vs. Demolition (Bill Eadie & Barry Darsow)
Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake (John Tenta)
Pedro Morales vs. Don Muraco for the IC title
Bob Backlund vs. Superstar Billy Graham in a lumberjack match for the WWF title
Jimmy Snuka vs. Ray Stevens
This coming Monday's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter will be a special issue devoted to the career of Walter "Killer" Kowalski. It will be an in-depth look at 30 years of traveling all over the world, most of the time was one of the top attractions in the business. The issue is available online today if you are a premium member and you can sign up on the site. For a print subscription, there are details here.
We look at the beginnings of HHH's career, the scene at his funeral as well as a look back at how Killer Kowalski was thought of during his heyday. We look at the beginnings of his ring career, his complete title history and major awards, the first Bruno Sammartino vs. Kowalski match, Sammartino looks back at Kowalski, and his unique eating habits.
We look at his career ups and downs, his first retirement and why it happened. We look at his thoughts on the health problems of protege John Studd, his return to wrestling and the top stars of the late 50s in wrestling.
We look at his career in Montreal, including the famous match with Yukon Eric and what happened, the story behind it getting so much publicity as well as the first televised wrestling match in Canada, and his heyday as a national star. We look at his interaction with Jack Dempsey as well as him doing the remnants of one of the most famous wrestling angles in history but before the angle was famous.
We look at his various world championship runs as well as his international travel. We look back at the night he sort of won the NWA title and the embarrassing situation it put the alliance in. We look at his debuts in both Japan and Australia and why he was so important in both country's wrestling history.
We look at his matches with Giant Baba and Rikidozan, and his role in the angle that led to the most watched pro wrestling match in modern times.
We look at his various WWWF runs, including wrestling Sammartino, teaming with Gorilla Monsoon and John Studd, and traveling with Bill Watts.
We look at how he became a household name in Australia, and his eventual babyface turn. We look at his tag team with Sammartino, his run in Los Angeles, the promotional war in Montreal, his run as The Masked Destroyer, and his final WWWF tour.
We also have more on the Affliction/Golden Boy boxing/wrestling tie-in and what the plans are, and what the problems are as well as whether it's a good idea in theory and practice.
We have a look at No Mercy, an update on the WWE move to MyNetwork TV and other changes in the fall. We look at a situation that got major heat and shows how hard WWE, almost to the point of hilarity, that WWE is looking to protect a certain performer. We look at why probably the most talented of the younger wrestlers isn't succeeding. We look at how new characters are doing, as well as WWE misleading facts on its bumpers. We look at DVD releases for the rest of 2008, more on the championship Scramble, an update on Freddy Prinze Jr. as a WWE writer and Smackdown's writing. We also look at WWE signing Naofumi Yamamoto, a wrestler getting an award from a college and another opening a store. We've got a look at the best selling DVDs and two more potential third generation pro wrestlers, one of whom was signed and another of whom looks to be after finishing college.
We also have developmental notes including the company overhauling many names and why, an update on the next tour of Mexico as well as notes and highlights from all the weekend house shows.
We also look at the TNA No Surrender show, with poll results, match-by-match coverage and star ratings.
We also have a rundown on AAA's second biggest show of the year, as well as reaction to WWE getting on major network TV in the country.
We also have a blow-by-blow of Jake Roberts falling off the wagon including comments from the people who worked with him on what exactly happened.
We have our usual detailed look at the ratings of all the national shows, including segment-by-segment for Raw and TNA. We also have major TV 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:
--Update on CMLL's traditional biggest show of the year and possible negative signs going into the show
--How AAA is trying to deal with its locker room problems
--Vampiro talks about the problems and his things being stolen
--Head Hunter talks about AAA after leaving
--A look at the ROH Japanese tour
--Mick Foley talks about his value
--Kurt Angle talks more on Vince McMahon, deaths of wrestlers, injuries and being on the death watch list
--Angle predicts Lesnar vs. Couture
--TNA debuts in California
--Earl Hebner talks "You Screwed Bret" chants
--Wrestler who says he's the opposite of his gimmick
--Funny Sting story
--Contradictory stories on the death of Evan Tanner
--UFC plans to honor Tanner
--UFC fires fighter for a unique set of circumstances
--Mir and Nogueira predict Lesnar-Couture
--UFC star arrested
--Amir Sadollah's debut
--Updated Dream lineup
--Updated financial info on Elite XC
--Notes from Shamrock-Kimbo press conference and funny stories
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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If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
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.
--The actual rating for Raw was a 2.646, which rounds down to a 2.6 and not a 2.7 as listed yesterday. The difference is they've changed the number of homes USA is in from 96.4 million to 97 million for the new season so it would have been a 2.66 based on last week's number of homes.
--Tickets for Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Couture went on sale this morning and there was a ticketmaster snafu as they allowed non-Fight Club members to purchase tickets which wasn't supposed to happen. There were 4,800 people logged in at 10 a.m. when they went on sale, and all the $75 and $150 tickets were gone in minutes. Tickets at $1,000, $750, $500 and $300 were available as of Noon. Fight Club members, who pay $100 per year to have first access at tickets, are furious and there are those at UFC who are aware of the problem, but they don't know how you can go about making people who got tickets today give them back.
--Jim Ross wrote there is a huge main event on next week's Smackdown show that will be announced on the broadcast. I'm guessing Undertaker vs. Big Show but that's only a guess.
--For last week, ESPN was No. 1 in cable with a 2.6 prime time average and USA was No. 3 at 2.2. Sci-Fi was No. 13 at 1.0 and Spike was No. 20 for a week with 33 hours of UFC at 0.8. Raw was down to No. 16 and No. 17, and may not crack top 25 for this week. In 18-34, the second hour of Raw was No. 8 while in 18-49 it was No. 7.
--In the U.K. for the week ending 9/7, Unforgiven drew 74,000 viewers live, Raw that Thursday did 46,000 and Smackdown on Friday night drew 64,000 and then 45,000 on a Saturday replay. (thanks to Ian Hamilton)
--Mick Foley is not in Orlando today. He will make his first live appearance and do his first real interview on the show taped 9/29. He was in Orlando last night taping things. I was told the segment with Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle that ends the show that airs tomorrow night, was a tremendous verbal segment and was effective enough that when it was over, actually some fans were booing Sting's name when referenced. My impression is they expect the buys to be up significantly for the PPV.
--Bubba the Love Sponge reported today that he talked with Kurt Angle and Kurt told him he has filed for a divorce from Karen. So much for that Angle family reality show. Several in TNA have confirmed that as true. Both are in Orlando and getting along fine backstage.
--We will be running down all the news and covering tonight's show as well as answering any questions on the radio show late tonight after all the UFC stuff is over. You can e-mail questions on wrestling or MMA to us at
--Poll on will Sting and Jeff Jarrett wrestling help the buy rate for Bound for Glory
Yes, it will be the biggest buy rate of the year 11.2%
Yes, it won't be the biggest but up 10,000 or more from usual 10.2%
No, it won't be up from usual 78.6%
Pretty sure the majority is going to end up wrong on this one, as no way it won't be up at least 10,000 from No Surrender
--The Strikeforce show on Saturday night from the Playboy Mansion will air live on The Score in Canada, as well as stream worldwide at www.sherdog.com
Main event is Kazuo Misaki vs. Joe Riggs, plus Josh Thomson vs. Ashe Bowman and Mitsuhiro Ishida vs. Justin Wilcox
--New England woman wrestler Lexxus debuts tonight at the Impact tapings against Awesome Kong. She works for Chaotic Wrestling and was recommended by Roxxi (thanks to George Carroll Jr.)
--The St. Petersburg Times has a story about how the Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup on 9/26 and 9/27, that all the proceeds will go to benefit 2-year-old Devin Deschaine, who has a rare form of pediatric cancer. First round match-ups for 9/26 in Port Richey at the Regency Park Civic Center (9/27 is in Brooksville, FL at the National Guard Armory) have Jigsaw vs. Kenny King, Sal Rinauro vs. Chris Gray, Larry Sweeney vs. Tommy Taylor, Jaison Moore vs. Rhett Titus, Nooie Lee vs. Brad Attitude, Gran Akuma vs. Craig Classic and Jon Davis vs. C.J. O'Doyle
--The UFC 75 show headlined by Quinton Jackson vs. Dan Henderson will air on 9/26, from 9 p.m. to midnight
--There will be a minor Showtime Show XC card on 9/26 at 11 p.m. Eastern time from Santa Ynez, CA. As far as Show XC cards go, this has several exciting fighters:
Wilson Reis (5-0) vs. Abel Cullum (11-1) to determine the first Elite XC bantamweight champion
Shane Del Rosario (4-0) vs. Carl Seumentafa (4-0)
Malaipet (3-2) vs. David "Tarzan" Douglas (5-1)
Giva Santana (11-0) vs. Jaime Jara (19-5)
Erik Apple (9-1) vs. Matt Makowski (3-0)
--Because of all the problems with Hurricane Ike, Booker T and Sharmell have canceled tomorrow night's show in Pasadena, TX. The next show at the Convention Center in Pasadena will be 10/24. Booker and Sharmell were both back for the TNA tapings in Orlando last night after missing the PPV because the Houston Airport was shut down.
--MyNetwork TV is doing a block party on 10/3 from 6-10 a.m. at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan to push the Smackdown debut that night with Jeff Hardy, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder appearing
--The World Series of Poker was replayed Monday night with Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin. Announcer Norman Chad made fun of Liddell not knowing what he was doing (thanks to Chris Charboneau)
--USWO at the Stadium Inn in Nashville on 9/20
--There will be no old AWA on ESPN Classics late Friday night this week (thanks to Jeff Sheridan)
--Keystone Wrestling on 10/4 in Lower Burrell, PA at the Lower Burrell #1 VFD
--NAAFS MMA on Friday night in Columbus, OH at The Hoop Sports Complex features former UFC/Strikeforce fighter and former Ohio State wrestler Sean Salmon challenging NAAFS middleweight champ Mitch Whitesel in the main event
--Legends of the Ring on 10/11 in Monroe, NJ at the Crowne Plaza Hotel from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with Ric Flair, Jake Roberts, Howard Finkel, Scott Hall, Gene Okerlund, Don Muraco, Wendi Richter, Raven, Kevin Sullivan, Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Konnan, One Man Gang, Adnan Al-Kaissie, Glacier, Paul Roma, Jim Powers, Big Daddy V, Diana Hart, Mr. Fuji, Jimmy Snuka, King Kong Bundy, Shane Douglas, Steve Corino, Nova, Blue Meanie, Francine, Stevie Richards, Ron Garvin, Bruno Sammartino, Raymond Rougeau, Tully Blanchard, Nikolai Volkoff, Iron Sheik, Dawn Marie, Tammy Sytch, Col. DeBeers, Sean Waltman, Ashley Massaro, Marty Jannetty, Carl Oulette, Cherry, Giant Silva, Jason Knight, Justin Credible, George Steele, J.J. Dillon, Buff Bagwell an Virgil. For more info you can write to
--Stacy Keibler was referenced in today's New York Daily News gossip section. It said Jamie Foxx and Keibler were in Las Vegas Friday night at the Lavo nightclub. According to the story, Keibler was sent over his lap and he had his hands all over her body and said Jamie couldn't stop rubbing her. They said Keibler ended up wandering off, though. (thanks to Joe Puccio)
--NWA East 14th anniversary show on 9/20 in McKeesport, PA at Renziehauzen Park's Jacob Woll Pavilion with Sterling James Keenan vs. Chris Taylor vs. Scottie Gash
--Price of Glory on 10/12 at 5 p.m. at Dan Severn's Michigan Sports Camps in Coldwater, MI
--Seven of the 12 teams in the Tag World Grand Prix in Oberhausen, Germany on 11/8 and 11/9 have been announced including CHIKARA's Fire Ant & Soldier Ant, Ophidian & Amasis and Chuck Taylor & Icarus, 1PW's Jimmie James & Kid Fight and wXw's Doug Williams & Martin Stone, Lazio Fe & Adam Polak and Thumbtack Jack & Bernd Fohr
--Insanity Pro Wrestling on 10/4 in Indianapolis at the Fountain Square Salvation Army Community Center