We're looking for reports on all three TNA weekend house shows, Friday night in Florence, SC, Saturday night in Greenville, NC and last night in Fayetteville.
All we know about ECW tonight is that Harry Boy Smith will be facing Fit Finlay in the main event.
The most in-depth look at the current WWE business results is the lead story in Monday's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The jumbo-sized issue is currently available to web site subscribers. The issue also contains a look back at Eric Bischoff, the revisionist history of WCW and the upcoming WWE DVD on the subject. We also have more on the retirement of Chuck Liddell and where that stands, plus the 2009 roster directory of both WWE and TNA, with all the contracted talent, their real names and ages.
The lead story looks at WWE revenue for the last quarter, and compares it in every revenue stream with both the prior quarter as well as where the company stood a year ago. We look at why things are down in most categories as well as what categories are up. We look at how much last year's Wrestlemania meant to the bottom line, more on how this year's show did, including a look at major marketing changes this year and how they may have helped and who inspired one of the biggest ones.
We look at the building of the new television facility, Vince McMahon's talk about changes being made when it comes to producing movies, as well as where the WWE income came regarding all points in the world.
We look at the changes in the house show business the company has made due to the economy, the goal of making those changes and whether it has worked or not. We also look at a marketing tag line that may have already been dropped. We also look at merchandise sales at the house shows and a real interesting note on them.
We look at one Vince McMahon now feels is the most important barometer of how the company is doing, and more thoughts on PPV declines. We also look at declines in aspects of the business that the company has little control over as well as the affect of currency changes internationally and its effect on the company's bottom line.
We have an updated PPV chart showing that the declines in domestic are actually more serious than they appeared to be, as well as an update on the most popular DVDs last year as compared to this year. We look at video game shipments and Vince McMahon talks more about the PG rating and why the company is in that direction, and more on the revenue stream he expects to increase markedly next year. We also have a breakdown of where WWE income is now coming from.
We also have a feature on the different sides of the retirement of Chuck Liddell. We look at the issues between Dana White and John Hackleman, as well as talk with all three including Liddell. We look at why this situation is different from virtually every other fighter at the same age. We look at the plight of aging fighters, Dana White's thoughts about it and the reality of why he has no control over it. We also look at Liddell's current drawing power and what he's worth on a UFC show.
We have an update on Undertaker's health issues and his return, more on WWE plans for a new television show, a funny note from a recent WWE internal memo, a heat magnet gets new heat from an interview, some new signings, notes on old tapes, JBL talks about what he'd have done if he was Brock Lesnar and funny notes about WWE ignoring its own storylines on a show it shot an angle. We also have notes on how the house show booking is done these days, FCW people getting tryouts on the road, business notes from the past week as well as highlights from the WWE live events this past week.
We also have more thoughts on the WWE's DVD on the history of WCW and what is guaranteed will be missing. We look at many aspects of the WCW run that are forgotten in history, including ideas that both Jim Herd and Bill Watts had that were no different than what Eric Bischoff did and why they didn't work out for them. We also look at the difference in the TV industry in those days and why the 1989 version of WCW would have been considered a major success had it come along now because of those differences.
We also have a look at the ESPN E:60 piece on Dana White, with thoughts on the piece as well as the editing of the piece, including some notes that if you saw it, probably are important to read.
We also have our usual weekly features including the most detailed look at the TV ratings of the national shows, major TV show reviews and results from the major league arena events held over the past week.
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
Also in this week's issue:
--Update on the swine flu and its affect on pro wrestling in Mexico
--Pro wrestler passes away due to swing flu
--Big mask vs. hair match canceled due to the swing flu
--TNA tag team starts in Mexico in a few weeks
--Veteran stars in Mexico frustrated with changes in business
--Promoter going after wrestlers using names the promotion gave them
--Renewed interest in wrestling in different parts of the world due to WWE has led to other promotions being contacted for shows
--Former WWE wrestlers forming a tag team
--All Japan wrestlers announces retirement
--Hall of Famer announces a show where he will wrestle four times under four different gimmicks
--Wrestling legend going back to full-time schedule
--More on this year's Super Junior tournament
--Lots of notes on the sentencing of Dr. Phil Astin including possible links to the death of a wrestler that has never been associated with him in the past
--More Hogan family craziness
--Pro wrestlers in college football Hall of Fame
--Who is the world's most dangerous man
--Update on Torrie Wilson appearing in NBC prime time series
--Four major wrestling names appearing in two movies that were shot over the past week
--50th anniversary of Wrestling at the Chase
--Update on Billy Robinson, Terry Funk and Bret Hart
--More on a backstage real fight involving a former WWE star
--Lance Storm coming out of retirement
--Wrestler who does an ROH show complains about it afterwards
--Former TNA stars debuting in ROH
--Rundown of ROH weekend events
--More on Konnan/TNA legal settlement
--More on Roxxi leaving TNA
--Update on TNA Sacrifice PPV
--Update on Dark Angel Sarah Stock in TNA
--Celebrity TNA is trying to get
--Notes on new TNA television show
--TNA star has a featured role in a movie playing an MMA fighter from Russia
--Update on Bobby Lashley in TNA
--Update on MMA sanctioning in new states
--Update on ticket sales to UFC shows
--Dana White talks Kyle Maynard, Jose Canseco and Roy Jones Jr.
--Plans for coaches for the next season of Ultimate Fighter
--Head-to-head TV battle this week
--Update on Strikeforce ratings
--Business notes on Pacquiao-Hatton and where it stands on all-time lists
--Notes on Shooto's 20th anniversary event
--Former pro wrestling promoter starting out as MMA promoter
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)
*September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
*September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
*September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
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.
-- Raw last night did a 3.6.
-- As noted on the front page, the latest on Raw this coming Monday is that they will likely be taping from the World Arena in Colorado Springs. They've been booking hotels like crazy there, though they still haven't told any of the talent about any change in plans yet. The original building, the Pepsi Center, which the company booked last August, is suddenly unavailable due to Game 4 of the Western Conference finals with the Nuggets vs. the Lakers.
-- There is an awesome article on the situation here, most notable for Vince McMahon's profoundly overdramatic claim that now they may have to hold Raw in a parking lot somewhere. He was in rare form yesterday. If you click here it's the same article, but you get a special bonus, Vince on ESPN no-selling Jonathan Coachman and talking about how ARRESTS should be made in this case.
-- Steve writes: the situation with Raw possibly losing its arena due to the basketball game next week was mentioned on Sportscentre on TSN in Canada this morning. Not much in the way of new information, just the host reading some of Vince's quotes and even throwing in a pretty decent "YOU'RE FIRED!" directed at Stan Kroenke. Other than sounding somewhat surprised that WWE had managed to sell over 10,000 tickets for Raw, it wasn't a bad little piece in the sense that the "real sports" journalists didn't make fun of wrestling or tell the WWE fans to stop whining. it wasn't very long, but it was enough to get people who don't follow wrestling up to speed on what's happening. It isn't worth going out of your way to see, but if you must, it should be running all morning since Sportscentre is on a loop between 6 AM and noon. Love the site, thanks for all of the work you all put in. I've been a member for a bit over 3 years and it's been more than worth the money. You would be well within your rights to charge more for everything you provide, not that I would endorse such a thing.
-- And Steve Khan writes: On Around The Horn, Woody Paige said the WWE should move their show because it’s an NBA Conference Finals game but also said Stan Kroenke screwed up by booking Raw during the playoffs. Kevin Blackistone said the NBA should have no problem fending off wrestling and mentioned that they wouldn’t fall victim like the NHL did (having the Caps-Pens play back-to-back days because of a Yanni concert in Mellon Arena). Bill Plaschke also said the Nuggets screwed up by not having faith in the team and it will cost them a lot of money to pay off WWE. Everyone but Plaschke made old school wrestling references. Paige just listed off all the wrestlers he could at one point and did a Ric Flair “Wooo!” Plaschke said Around The Horn jumped the shark after Paige did that. On Pardon the Interruption, Tony Kornheiser said that the NBA will get the date and will come up with enough money to satisfy WWE. He did say if he were the judge in this he would have to decide in favour of WWE since they booked this date in August and have already sold 10,000 tickets. He also agreed with McMahon’s criticism of Kroenke for not having enough faith in his team. Kornheiser also isn’t convinced the NBA game will automatically do better in attendance than wrestling. Michael Wilbon disagreed with that and thought it would only cost them $100,000 or so to make the WWE go away. Kornheiser called him crazy and said it would be in the millions.
-- Daniel Short writes: Bare with me for a minute on this. Names of a number of high-profile clients who paid for services from a Los Angeles escort agency under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were recently released. This prostitution ring called Nici's Girls, run by a Madam Michelle Braun, came to light after one of the girls was pimped to an undercover federal agent. She apparently pimped out supposed Playboy playmates such as Nicole Lenz, Alexandria Kalsen, and Victoria Silvstedt to the likes of names such as Charlie Sheen, Jose Canseco, and Mickey Rourke. So what makes this story interesting? This is the same prostitution ring Rolling Stone magazine claims, and continues to stand by, that former WWE Diva Ashley Massaro was a part of. The strange world we live in. More on the story is up here
-- Dave has an article here about UFC 99's latest problems, including kids under 18 not being allowed to attend. Seriously.
-- Even though the Palace of Auburn Hill is being massively scaled down for Slammiversary, the company announced yesterday that they were doing a special deal where a "limited number of tickets" would be sold for just $7 to commemorate the 7th anniversary of TNA as a company.
-- GAEA Girls will be screening this Friday at 4:00 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. More info is up here. There are some brutal, brutal scenes in this film, which is a documentary on Japanese women's pro-wrestling.
-- There is a new interview with Chris Daniels talking TNA and more up here.
-- The Dana White ESPN chat, focused mostly on the video game, is up here.
-- There is a trailer here for Bloodstained Memoirs, a new wrestling documentary starring Christian, Chris Jericho, Mick Foley and a number of others.
-- The cover of the new Irv Muchnick book on Chris and Nancy Benoit can be seen here
-- Lacey Von Erich, 22, who was under WWE developmental for awhile before being cut, was hospitalized with a severe migraine and diagnosed with meningitis.
-- The new issue of Figure Four Weekly, with notes on the return of Ric Flair, a full Judgment Day review, the latest on Dr. Phil Astin's sentencing, and tons more (19,000 words, to be exact) is available for a 99 cent Amazon Kindle/iPhone/iTouch download by clicking here. A bunch of past issues are available as well including the WrestleMania XXV edition.
-- There is an interview with Shelton Benjamin here talking about how he has very high standards. You wouldn't know that watching him get the heat.
Best TV show of the past week
Ultimate Fighter 6.6%
Maximum Fighting Championships 1.6%
Poll on Saturday's ROH TV show
65.1% of those responding didn't see the show
Who is UFC's all-time greatest heavyweight champion?
Randy Couture 61.8%
Ken Shamrock 11.0%
Brock Lesnar 8.5%
Dan Severn 5.3%
Mark Coleman 4.8%
Andrei Arlovski 2.2%
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira 2.0%
Frank Mir 1.3%
Maurice Smith 1.3%
Tim Sylvia 1.3%
Ricco Rodriguez 0.4%
Kevin Randleman 0.2%
-- Border City Wrestling on May 16th in Tecumseh, ON before 350: Bump n Uglies d John E Bravo & Sebastian Suave, Danyah d Haley Rogers, Xtremo & Crazzy Steve b Flatliners, Shark Boy d Conrad Kennedy III, Highlander Robbie d Jake O'Reilly, Tyson Dux d. Derek Wylde, Kizarny d Jon Bolen. They're back June 27 in Windsor with Jim Duggan and more.
-- Rubber Guard Radio has a Lucha Libre Spotlight show here
-- APW in King City, CA with a legit sellout of 900 on Saturday: Chicano Flame & Junior Morales d Dalton Frost & Larry Blackwell, Kid Omega d Vennis deMarco, Dan Danielson & Malachai d Matt Carlos & Dave Dutra, Jeckles the Jester d Corvus, El Chupacabra d Captain Calico, Christina Von Eerie d NY Nikki, Dylan Drake d Derek Sanders, Mr. Wrestling 4 & MPT & Adam Thornstowe d Ril Luxury & Oliver John & Vinny Massaro.
-- The FCW event in Melbourne this weekend was canceled without explanation.
-- FutureStars Of Wrestling will debut this Sunday, May 24th at the Rancho Swap Meet 4pm in Las Vegas, Nevada. Scheduled to appear Mike Modest, Young Bucks, Derrick Neikirk, Kenny King, GQ Gallo and more. Tickets just $12, Family 4 Packs Available for $35
-- NWA-MSW, Saturday May 23rd, Mt. Hope, West Virginia, Mt. Hope Community Building, Belltime: 7:30 pm est. Tickets: $5-Advance $6-At Door. Stro from WCW is headlining.
-- PWA on May 17 in Kitchener, ONT: Geza Kalman d Reggie Marley, Super Kamikaze d Mr. Atlantis, Warhed d Jessy Jones, Tommy Ryder d Eddie Osbourne and Ice, Rip Impact d Paul Wright, Juan Ortiz d Ryan Dennim. Next show is May 24th, Hamilton, ON, B.O.O.M.E.R.S., 229 Kenilworth North Ave
-- I Believe in Wrestling from May 16 in Orlando: Nooei Lee d Brett Thunder, Kentucky Jordan d Luis Matos, Heartbreak Express d Raymond Snow & Zoe--DQ, Larry Zbyszko & Glacier d Bums R Us, Nick Fame & Scott Davis d CNS Connection, QT Marshall d Gus Money, Chasyn Rance d Roderick Strong.
-- Independent Superstars of Professional Wrestling presents HIGHWAY ROBBERY on Saturday evening, May 30th, 2009 at the 3-2 Count Athletic Training Facility in Freehold, NJ with Bob Holly, Nunzio and more.