WED. UPDATE: FORMER UFC CHAMP SIGNS FOR CBS SHOW; NICK HOGAN RELEASED SOON?; NEW CO-STAR WITH ROCK
Wednesday, 24 September 2008 08:51
By Dave Meltzer
UFC Unleashed at 9 p.m. tonight on Spike has Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia, Anthony Johnson vs. Tommy Speer and Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Serra (second match).
The new episode of Ultimate Fighter airs tonight at 10 p.m. featuring eight matches to get into the house including former Florida indie wrestler Tom Lawlor
A story with comments by myself and three ex-WWE writers on the state of the company as well as the writers discussing the problems on the writing side is one of two huge features in two issues of the Observer coming out next week. We have both a jumbo-sized issue available today on the site, and a regular issue, which has the history of Lucha Libre, coming out later this week.
The lead story talks about why the ratings are not the thing to be worried about right now, nor is pro wrestling in trouble, but how it is losing a valuable part of its audience.
We look at trying to predict the future. We look at comments from Paul Heyman as well as two other ex-WWE writers regarding the problems with the writing process and what is missing, and get a totally different take on the same story from me. We look at the lost audience, and how WWE acknowledges this audience and is trying to get it back, but why it's not working. We look at cycles of popularity, the ups and down of wrestling over the past 40 years.
We look at many elements missing from the product and examples in recent weeks of why this makes it so hard to build stories and create stars like in the past. We look at how the current top stars relate to problems, when the audience was lost.
We also look at Japan to see what we can learn about the decline in the product there. We look back at ECW, when it worked and when it didn't, how Paul Heyman made stars and how things changed to where it stopped working.
Our second major feature Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims' feature on the 75-year history of pro wrestling in Mexico. We look back to the real birth of pro wrestling in that country and how Mexican wrestling history has also been rewritten by the winners. We look at how the original birth of Mexican wrestling has ties to the birth of Gracie Jiu Jitsu because of a common thread at the start.
We look at the match between two of the most famous world champions of the era that took place in Mexico City before pro wrestling was supposedly ever even born in that country.
We look at Salvador Lutteroth, the original great promoter in that country and the beginnings of EMLL, and what lucky break was probably the difference between success and failure. We look at the first well-known promotional war in Mexico City, the first anniversary show and the introduction of what would be the trademark of Lucha Libre, the power of the mask.
We look at the rise of El Santo, the story of how and why commissions got so much power in that country and the original creation of champions. We look at the history of wrestling on television in Mexico and how it differs from the U.S.
We look at the second major promotional war and its ramifications, including the most famous match in Lucha Libre history and what major things came out of that, including the creation of the current Arena Mexico.
We look at the success of El Santo in the movies, as well as other Mexican wrestling stars who became movie stars, as well a the creation of the UWA and rise of Paco Alonso.
We also look at UWA's heyday and how it changed pro wrestling in Mexico as well as the lightweight title match that shocked the business. We look at the second TV created boom period, and the death that likely changed history and the balance of power. We also look at the rise of Antonio Pena, and how he changed the industry. We look at the heyday of AAA, and what caused the boom to end. We also look at the creation of the current boom period.
We also look at the economic situation of Elite XC and the ramifications of the next show in regard to the potential sale.
We also have a look at what happened behind the scenes, at the show and the future of the Dream promotion, and with it, the status of MMA in Japan at a network level.
We also look at Fedor Emelianenko being at the show, the story behind it, what the goal of the promotion was for his next match and where things now stand. We look at the business of Dream 6 as well as a show rundown.
We also have a look at the biggest upset when it comes to a major show in many years as Villano V beat Blue Panther for his mask. We have an interesting take of it, behind the scenes on the business aspect, as well as match by match coverage of the show that included TNA stars challenging for the CMLL trios title.
We have a look at the Jeff Hardy situation and the questions WWE needs to be thinking about because of what happened.
We also have updates on No Mercy and Bound for Glory, a significant upgrade coming with TNA, a top star talking about wanting time off, the return of Edge, the booking of WWE shows, early thoughts on the next Raw special, what young wrestler is being talked of as potentially one of the biggest star of al the newcomers. We also have an update on Tivo and tape viewership of WWE programming and what percentage of late watches Raw on tape. We have a look at the best selling wrestling and MMA DVDs, notes on house show business, upcoming DVD releases, Best of Starrcade and changes in the mentality when it come to angle pacing in WWE.
We also have a look at the Hall of Fame wrestler who was asked by a major party to run for high public office, and why he turned it down.
We also have an look at the last Ultimate Fight Night, including an interesting look at how the demographic of the UFC viewership has changed rapidly in just the last few months.
We also look at all the UFC events between now and the end of the year, the buy rate of UFC 87, and an updated look on where UFC 88 seems to be coming in.
We also have our regular weekly features including the most detailed look at TV ratings of the major shows from the past week, as well as the major TV show reviews.
Details on how to get the printed Observer with both of these issues mailed to you immediately are here, or you can get them as part of a premium web site package.
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Also in the issue:
--Talks about multi-promotional shows
--Ideas floating around for a dream 80s match and why it can't take place
--NOAH wrestlers tour the U.S.
--Early plans for the next Tokyo Dome show
--Japanese ideas for a wrestling World Cup
--ROH PPV taping notes
--TNA videogame sales updates
--Thoughts on new signing
--Kurt Angle talks more about TNA booking
--More on change in the front office
--Update on Anderson Silva and his UFC future
--Evan Tanner Memorial
--Chuck Liddell as a drawing card
--Best cities for interest in the last UFC show
--How the last UFC show ranked in interest with the other shows this year
--UFC thoughts on emulating the Wrestlemania concept
--Lesnar-Couture ticket sales update
--How Lesnar has been with UFC management
--Updated UFC ticket sales for the major upcoming shows
--What market UFC is even more strongly looking at after a public appearance does well
--Return of Shogun Rua
--Notes on next season's Ultimate Fighter
--WWE star at ringside but not shown at the last UFC
--Lots of new UFC matches between now and the end of the year
--Fights on Ultimate Fighter who have signed contracts with other promoters
--Behind K.J. Noons title being stripped
--New Elite XC signings
--Gina Carano weight news that may come back to bite the promotion
--New ideas for U.S. wrestling promotions floating around
--Update on Bischoff and Hogan's new project
--More on Sonny Siaki retiring to donate his kidney
--Ric Flair's overseas booking rate
--Where Flair lost a gig over his recent publicity
--More Jake Roberts stories
--History updates from the Kowalski issue
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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*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)
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*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth, and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
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*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)
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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)
*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)
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*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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*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)
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*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)
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*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
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*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
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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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September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
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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.
--Andrei Arlovski has signed a deal with Elite XC and has been added to the CBS special on 10/4, facing former IFL slugger Roy Nelson. Both had been scheduled on the Affliction show. According to MMArated.com, in an interview with Jared Shaw, Afflicition contacted Elite XC about getting work for guys that had been scheduled on the canceled 10/11 show. CBS is being talked with but that may cause the show to go long because five fights are airing live. Michael Cohen, COO of Affliction, was quoted in the CBS press release saying that "Mr. Trump and the Affliction Entertainment group are honored to be working alongside CBS, Showtime and Elite XC. It is without question that this event will exceed everyone's expectations and will continue to uphold Affliction's promise to promtoe the best fights for the benefit of the fans." Arlovski was very unhappy about his fight being canceled.
--Kimbo Slice will be a guest on Jimmy Kimmel live tomorrow night. He also appers tonight on David Blaine: Dive of Death, a two-hour network special airing tonight at 9 p.m. on ABC. Blaine is a magician and Kimbo appears in one of the sketches.
--Gina Carano is scheduled for Monday night on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (thanks to Matt Ratayczak)
--An update on the Sports Legacy Institute and Chris Nowinski getting brain donations by athletes at http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/8600024?MSNHPHMA (thanks to Cory Van Kleeck)
--What had already been reported in the newsletter, that TV Azteca and WWE have reached a deal for Raw live on Azteca 7 in Mexico starting on 10/6
--Stephanie McMahon turns 32 today
--People Magazine is reporting Nick Hogan will most likely be released as early as next month due to good behavior, serving about five months of his eight month sentence
--There will be 15 hours of UFC programming next week on Spike. Besides the usual stuff, next Friday, same night as the MyNetwork debut of Smackdown will be the UFC Fight Night from April with Kenny Florian vs. Joe Lauzon. A week from Saturday, head-up with the CBS Elite XC show, will be UFC 86
--New York Mag has a review of The Wrestler with ten things you need to know about it, including talking about how Ernest Miller shines in the movie at http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2008/09/10_things_you_need_to_know_abo
It said hardcore wrestling fans will appreciate the authenticity of the movie and of the crowd reactions. It also noted Nicholas Cage would have been awful in the role. It also said you're going to cry at the end
--Our Wednesday radio report is already up today. We did it early as it featured a lengthy interview with Chris Bell on his movie, "Bigger, Faster, Stronger," that will be released next week on DVD. We talk a lot of wrestling, as well as lots of talk about steroid use in sports and double standards.
--Poll on Raw from Monday
23.4% of those responding didn't see the show
Who is the best wrestler of these Hall of Famers poll
Dynamite Kid 46.3%
Original Tiger Mask 17.8%
Keiji Muto 15.4%
Killer Kowalski 10.0%
Gene Kiniski 5.1%
Mil Mascaras 3.9%
Earl McCready 0.7%
Kintaro Oki 0.7%
--Billy Crystal has been added to the cast of "Tooth Fairy," which begins shooting Monday in Vancouver. Dwayne Johnson stars in the lead role as the Tooth Fairy. He plays a hockey goon who knocks out teeth and then in fantasy is forced to become the tooth fairy to see the repercussions of his work
--TNA is pushing that if you wear a Halloween costume to the Bound for Glory show in Chicago, you can get upgraded to ringside seats and have a chance to meet the wrestlers
--Time Warner On Demand has the Samoa Joe vs. Christian Cage Bound for Glory match from last year free on their events section
--Rashad Evans of UFC is featured in a Microsoft TV spot (thanks to Timothy Hervey)
--U.K. wrestler/promoter Alex Shane is coming out of a three-year retirement for a match with Martin Stone on 10/26 at the Bromley Civic Hall. He said he is moving to India after the match to research a non-wrestling related book he is working on.
--ECCW from Saturday night in Vancouver: Manther won four-way over Marty Sugar, Alex Plexis and Dan Myers, Ray Brooks NC Danni Deeds, Rick the Weapon X b Azeem the Dream, Artemis Spencer b C.J. Strongheart-COR, Sid Sylum & Dropkick Murphy b Cremator & Moondog Manson-DQ, Randy Myers b Eddie Osbourne, Nicole Matthews b Veronika Vice, Nelson Creed & Kenny Lush b Chucky Blaze & Brandon Von Danielson, Scotty Mac b Phantasmo. Next show is Friday night. (thanks to Mike Sweetser)
--New England Championship Wrestling from Saturday night in Quincy, MA: Ryan Matthews b Ryan Eagles, Dan Frietas & Bran Nunes kept tag titles over Evan Siks & Nick Steele and Darling Damon & Jason Rumble, Jason Blade b Brendan Thomas, Handsome Johnny d Brandon Locke, Makoto b T.J. Richter, Lexxus & Jessie McKay b Madison Eagles & Portuguese Princess Ariel, Max Bauer b D.C. Dillinger. Next show is 11/1 in Quincy at the National Guard Armory
--Michael Carpenter at
is looking to get in contact with ODB
--Joel Hunt at
is looking to sell his Lou Thesz autobiography, his Bruno Sammartino autobiography and a tape of the Greatest Sports Legends with Bruno Sammartino and the 20/20 show with Eddy Mansfield and Jim Wilson
--BWO's Richie Rotten and Glenn Ulrich will be walking at Liberty Sate Park in Jersey City for the Make a Wish Foundation's Walk for Wishes on 10/5
--NCW will crown its first champion in a Four Corners match on Saturday night in Greenville, SC
--Time Warner Cable will host celebrity appearances at the State fair of Texas in Irving, TX, with Guy Mezger on 9/28, someone from TNA on 10/9 and Charlie Haas on 10/18
--Today's Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald ha a photo of Hulk Hogan on the front cover. No real reason, but it leads to an article in the sports section on former pro wrestler Chris "The Hammer" Haseman, who now teaches getting rough and physical to the Brisbane Broncos rugby team (thanks to James Stanios)
--Francisco Ciatso will be on FOX 13 in Tampa tonight at 11 p.m. to promote the Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup (thanks to Shannon Rose)
--Prince Iaukea, the former WCW wrestler who is not related to the famed Curtis Iaukea, appears 11/29 in Fort Pierce, FL at the PAL Center for Pro Wrestling Fusion
--Impact Zone Wrestling from last night in Tempe: Mike G b Marty Murphy, Lawrence Tyler b Piloto, Tyson Tyler & Paid Daily b Mike James & Dreaded Pirate Bernie, Erica D'Erico b Jacob Herzberg, John Williams & Toomiguci b Tommy Drake & Dean Radford, Jay Garland b Ryan Lynch
--Price of Glory Wrestling has the 8 man Glory Cup tournament on 10/12 at Dan Severn's Michigan Sports Camps in Coldwater, MI
--Adam Mingione is selling his ROH DVD collection at
--Steeltown Pro Wrestling on 9/27 in Selkirk, Manitoba at Memorial Hall
--Matt Serra appears on Friday at the Hotel Boutique Lounge in Downtown Toronto. You have to be 19 to get in. for more info call 647-268-CLUB
--Border City Wrestling's 10/4 show in Windsor has been moved from St. Clair College to Assumption Catholic High School. the show features Team 3-D, Jerry Lynn and Nunzio
--Lucha Libre Alliance from Sunday in Los Angeles: Estrella de Oro b Mike Violence, Piolin b Bomba Yan, Monje Maldito II & Commando b Chris Cadillac & Guerrero, Kayam b Sombra Infernal-DQ, Capitan Calico & Black Metal & Darkside b Forin Kazin & Vintage Dragon & Sexy Chino
--Rich Tate's Atlanta Wrestling nostalgia
67 years ago today: MWA world champion Lee Wyckoff beat Dorv Roche
54 years ago: Argentina Rocca beat El Toro via DQ
43 years ago: Lou Thesz kept the NWA title beating Buddy Fuller while Fred Blassie beat Bill Dromo
34 years ago: Carlos Colon beat Angelo Poffo on a show promoted by Ann Gunkel where Lanny Poffo won the opener beating Stampede wrestling star John Foley
32 years ago: Jos LeDuc & Dusty Rhodes beat Dick Slater & Pak Song while the Valiant Brothers lost to Mr. Wrestling II & Billy Roibinson
29 years ago in Augusta: Tommy Rich & The Cruhser beat Ole Anderson & Ivan Koloff to keep the Georgia tag titles
25 years ago in Chattanooga: Tommy Rich & Pez Whatley beat Paul Ellering & Buzz Sawyer in a cage match