SUNDAY UPDATE: TNA'S SURPRISES; CENA CHANGES TUNE; OWEN HART; FORMER WWF CHAMP ASKED TO BE AT RAW;
Sunday, 24 May 2009 08:11
We're looking for your thoughts on last night's UFC 98 PPV as well as tonight's TNA Sacrifice PPV, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
We'll have live coverage of Sacrifice starting at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time tonight.
We're also looking for reports on the WWE house show on Friday night in Boise, ID, last night in Rio Rancho, NM and tonight in Las Cruces, NM as well as the TNA house shows on Thursday night in Oklahoma City and Friday night in Amarillo.
Raw is live tomorrow night going head-to-head with the Lakers-Nuggets game. Matches announced are Vince McMahon against somebody who will be impersonating Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke, as well as John Cena & Batista & Jerry Lawler & MVP and a fifth person to be named later (they want you to think Ric Flair for ratings purposes although I wouldn't think they'd have Flair's comeback match unadvertised, but then again, a lot doesn't make sense) all wearing Lakers jerseys against the heels wearing Nuggets jerseys of Randy Orton & Big Show & Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase & The Miz. The show is live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, which will also include a couple of Superstars matches and two dark matches in a cage, Batista vs. Orton for the title and Cena vs. Show.
Tuesday is Smackdown & ECW at the Staples Center. Edge vs. Jeff Hardy in a cage match is the dark match.
TNA Impact will be taping four shows, likely out of order, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Orlando so the entire Slammiversary show will be clear by the end of the week.
A look at Ric Flair wrestling again at the age of 60, the Denver debacle, the UFC's own problems with an upcoming show, and some good news and bad news coming out of Judgment Day are among the lead stories in this coming Monday's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
The issue is available right now to premium web site members, and you can get the Observer delivered by mail with details below.
The lead story covers different negotiations Flair has had regarding wrestling again, and a frank discussion of the pitfalls of doing so that people aren't talking about. We look back at the retirement at Wrestlemania, thoughts regarding this year's Wrestlemania. We also look at his latest return to WWE television and why it happened, when it was first discussed and finalized.
We also update the Reid Flair situation, as well as what Flair has talked about regarding a lengthy tour and how WWE fits into all this.
We also update the returns and when they are scheduled involving HHH and Shawn Michaels, and more details on the Smackdown event that was rewritten on the fly as well as WWE's talks regarding probably the most valuable wrestling videotape collection they don't own, as well as tons of comments from Randy Orton regarding his match with HHH at Wrestlemania, why Manu didn't make it, and the schedule.
We also cover the double-booking incident in Denver, all the publicity that has come out of it, Vince McMahon's appearance with Jonathan Coachman, ironies about scheduling conflicts and other similar situations. We also look at experiences that happened on two occasions with PPV events that had to be moved, one about a week before the event and another literally the day before the event.
We've got full coverage of both the good and bad news coming out of Judgment Day. We've got early business notes, poll results, match-by-match coverage with star ratings and more.
We also have our updated business charts for WWE & TNA covering a two month period, looking at attendance, PPV and ratings to see what is up and what is down, including what TV show has taken the biggest hit, how has the WWE's lowering of ticket prices helped or hurt the gates, and whether TNA's ratings increases have led to increases in PPV or live attendance. We also look at the total viewing audience for all of the major shows, and what is a good sign for TNA with a WWE comparison.
We've also got an update on UFC's problems with its June PPV show in Germany, including the bad local publicity leading to the show, Dana White's comments on it, company goals, changes in the card, the return of Mirko Cro Cop to UFC and more.
We also have a feature on one of the biggest stars of the last 30 years and his return to television on a major show in a few weeks, at Triplemania. We've also got at least preliminary notes on the TripleMania card.
We also have more on a former WWF wrestler charged with plotting to kill as well as his wrestling and crime background.
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.
We also have more on Bobby Lashley's last fight and TNA's PPV show.
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Also in this week's issue:
--What freak show segment was a big ratings gainer this past week
--What comedy segment was a ratings killer this past week
--What hasn't come out about the Smackdown ratings for the improving shows
--Several new second generation wrestlers about to get in the spotlight
--Big controversy over name ownership of one of the most famous monikers in the world
--More on the Dr. Wagner Jr. contact situation
--Hart Foundation split up
--Update on pro wrestling in Puerto Rico and what Americans are working there now including a number of former ECW champions
--New Dragon Gate title matches
--New pro wrestling storyline where a world champion is teaming with two MMA champions for his next title defense
--Former MMA fighter debuts in main event and beats top star first match in
--Return from knee surgery of one of the best wrestlers in the world
--Notes on KENTA's first produced show featuring heavyweight champ vs. jr. champ in a singles match
--Upcoming junior heavyweight tag team tournament
--Early 80s Hall of Fame dream trios team debuts
--What was once one of the world's most famous wrestling arenas is once again being talked about for destruction
--Notes from the Amsterdam Hall of Fame
--More on the conviction of Dr. Phil Astin
--Wife charged in the murder of her husband, a former pro wrestler and early fighter
--Junior Hodge trophy winner from a famous wrestling family
--Jesse Ventura talks Hogan
--Hulk Hogan's latest story regarding this past Wrestlemania
--Former wrestling promoter and referee running for public office
--Another funny Billy Robinson update
--RVD talks about his time in WWE and the starting of the ECW brand
--Update on HDNet and Time Warner situation
--Full details on TNA PPV
--More on Kurt Angle doing a movie
--TNA Epics TV show
--Talks of TNA increasing house shows
--Notes on ticket sales to Faber vs. Brown
--Dana White on Tom Atencio challenging him to a fight
--White on the ESPN piece
--Fighter says he will refuse to fight in Nevada
--New fights and changed fights
--Japanese fighting star complains about his company using Canseco
--Behind the Arlovski signing by Strikeforce
--Where Gina Carano and Stacy Keibler finished in Maxim's hottest women on the planet
--The future of Kimbo Slice as he appears to get back in bed with his former promoter
--Notes on this past week's Strikeforce show
--Hatton vs. Pacquiao buys
--More thoughts on UFC scoring
--Celebrity father wants to start MMA promotion
--Former WWE wrestler goes to 7-0 in MMA
--Update on former WCW promoter in MMA
--Best U.S. college heavyweight in history fights this past week
--Former announcer nominated for major Hall of Fame
--Former Olympians doing a tag team in a shoot match
--Son of 70s and 80s pro wrestling star and former amateur great doing MMA
--Best selling pro wrestling and MMA DVDs
--More on WWE advertising house shows
--More on current model/actress training for WWE
--More on WWE overseas
--More on WWE PPV name change
--WWE house show report
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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*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
*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
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth, and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
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*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as
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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
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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)
*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,
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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
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*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the
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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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*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
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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)
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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
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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
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*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
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*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
*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)
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--Notes on tonight's TNA PPV from Orlando
*Mick Foley puts up TNA title vs. Kurt Angle putting up leadership in the Mafia, Sting putting up his career and Jeff Jarrett putting up his voting shares in TNA. Jarrett does have a hamstring injury but the onus will be on him and Kurt to keep the match going, with Sting going along and Foley contributing a spots at the right time.
*A.J. Styles vs. Booker T in an I Quit match for the Legends title. This is coming off the worst I Quit match in recorded history on TV last week.
*Samoa Joe vs. Kevin Nash. This match looks like it's actually going to happen.
*Beer Money vs. British Invasion for the No. 1 contendership for the TNA tag titles. From TV, it looks like either 3-D will cause Beer Money to win, and then feud with the Invasion later, or the Invasion will win and wrestle Beer Money on the next PPV or at TV
*Angelina Love vs. Awesome Kong for the Knockouts title
*Suicide vs. Daniels for the X title - This match is being counted on to carry the wrestling portion of the show
*Eric Young & Jay Lethal & Consequences Creed vs. Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley & Sheik Abdul Bashir
*Daffney vs. Taylor Wilde in a Monsters Brawl with Abyss managing Daffney
*Amazing Red vs. Kiyoshi in the pre-show match that airs live at 7:30 p.m. for free on the PPV channel
A hard show to read ahead of time. On paper, Joe vs. Nash is questionable although their last match wasn't too bad, Daffney vs. Wilde may be scary, Suicide vs. Daniels will probably be solid but the crowd in Orlando of late hasn't cared about wrestling matches. Key is how the British Invasion does with Beer Money, if they can put on a good I Quit match, and if the crowd isn't burned out before the main event comes out.
--Bryan and I will be doing the third of four straight nights of radio tonight covering this show which should be up very shortly after the show is over. We'll try and get to a few e-mail questions as well so you can send them here today.
--Want to make a note about the readers dinner that we had on Friday night in Las Vegas. It was a real pleasure for me to get to meet everyone and it was quite the turnout. We'll probably be doing another one in Las Vegas before UFC 100.
--A correction from the Saturday update. Jose Canseco is not a 50-1 underdog against Choi Hong-man. It's 50-1 that Canseco wins the tournament. Actually those odds are ridiculously good because it should be 125,000-1. Odds to win the whole thing (first round is Tuesday at the Yokohama Arena) from Bodoglife.com are:
Gegard Mousasi 11-5
Mark Hunt 3-1
Choi Hong Man 7-2
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou 7-2
Bob Sapp 7-1
Jan Nortje 9-1
A late sub wins 5-1 (thanks to Jeff Martinsen)
--Jim Ross has some remembrances of Owen Hart in his latest update on http://www.jrsbarbq.com
With Lawler wrestling in the main event tomorrow night, I wouldn't be surprised to see Ross announcing that match. With the new schedule, Ross will be at all the Raw tapings. I think he may mention something about Randy Savage and the WWE Hall of Fame
--The Portland-Press Herald yesterday mentioned it being the 10th anniversary of the death of Owen Hart (thanks to Andy MacConney)
--CHIKARA Pro from last night in Easton, PA before 144 fans: Hallowicked & Frightmare b Jagged & Shane Matthews, Grizzly Redwood b Hydra, Eddie Kingston b Create a Wrestler, Gran Akuma & Icarus & Chuck Taylor b Jigsaw & Helios & Lince Dorado, Delirious b Arik Cannon, Tim Donst b Stigma, Fire Ant & Soldier Ant & Player Uno & Player Dos b Ophidian & Amasis & Ice Cream Jr. & El Hijo del Ice Cream, Vin Gerard b Claudio Castagnoli
--The Wrestler debuted at No. 2 on the video rental charts in Australia this week (thanks to James Stanios)
--TNA lists two former TNA champions returning to the promotion on Monday night.
--The Iron Sheik is doing a show tomorrow night at the Legendary Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles. When WWE found out, they asked for Sheik to come to the show. At this point we don't know if he'll be used on the show but the plan is for him to be backstage if needed. He's performing at 10 p.m. and since it's a West Coast show, Raw ends at 8:05 p.m.
--Poll on Impact
38.8% of those responding didn't see the show
--Poll on Superstars
54.0% of those responding didn't see the show
--Poll on Countdown to UFC 98
48.1% of those responding didn't see the show. Those are some of the best marks for any TV show in the history of our polls.
--Upcoming Atlanta area MMA shows are 5/30 at Center Stage in Atlanta where the Sin City Fight Club has a 12-match show headlined by Dymond Jones from the Iron Ring show, plus Wild Bill's Fight Night is on 6/6. (thanks to Scott Decker)
--An update on the Serena Deeb WWE thing from last night. She has not signed the contract, but she has an offer and is expected to do so.
--Last Saturday, they did a poll on a NASCAR chat on Yahoo about who was better, Flair or Hogan, and Hogan got 60% and Flair got 40%
--International Wrestling Syndicate on 5/30 at the Medley in Montreal is billing the Kevin Nash vs. Pierre-Carl Ouellet match the biggest grudge match in Montreal since the Rougeaus vs. Garvins. The Rougeaus vs. Garvins was an awesome angle. Anyway, this is stemming from a 1995 house show where Jean Pierre Lafitte (Ouellet's wrestling name at the time) refused to do a job for Diesel in Montreal in a WWF title match. That was a bad political move as he push was dropped and he was gone from the company soon after.
--Next Bellator taping is Friday night at the Monroe, LA Civic Center for airing the next night on ESPN Deportes. Do you realize that I've never had one person e-mail us anything about the ESPN Deportes show?
--Premiere Championship Wrestling on Wednesday night in Winnipeg: JP Kaos b Nate Hardy, Joe Dixon over Ludicrous and Marty Labossier, Mike Angels b Adam Knight, Anderson Tyson Moore b Chris Marxwell, Robby Royce b Sabertooth, Kenny Omega b Antonio Scorpio Jr. Next show is 6/24 with a one-night tournament for the Premiere Cup featuring Kenny Omega and El Generico (thanks to Andrew Shallcross)
--Yujiro Kushida of Hustle, a protege of Yoshihiro Tajiri, will be in North America based out of Scott D'Amore's camp in Windsor, ONT and is looking for bookings. For info you can go to
--Mick Foley talks about seeing Danny Hodge, Jim Ross and Terry Funk and his family over the weekend, as well as Trina Michaels, who was in the same Rolling Stone article as Ashley Massaro and is now a California indie manager at http://blogs.myspace.com/officialmickfoley
--Newsday had a brief mention of the McMahon deal tomorrow night. Nothing much to it at all.
--Mark Lewin, who nobody could find for a long time, has apparently been found and will be the NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest weekend 8/6 to 8/9 in Charlotte at the Hilton University Place
--Mark Pavelich runs Heat XC3, which is a smaller event than the usual Maximum Fighting Championship events he has on HDNet. The show is 7/17 in Edmonton at the River Cree Resort and Casino.
--Promoter Johnny Diamond of the Dynamic Wrestling Alliance is looking for indie workers in the Cincinnati area, people who want to be trained to wrestle, plus groups in the area who want to work together, as well as a sound man or a DJ type person. You can contact him at 513-325-2065.
--Boxing ref Richard Steele's Steel Cage Promotions runs 6/11 in Frisco, TX at the Dr. Pepper Arena.
--Israeli Pro Wrestling Association in Tel Aviv has a TV show debuting on 6/14 of Ego Total and are looking for active and experienced Jewish wrestlers at
--Great Canadian Wrestling from Thursday night in Oshawa: Angel De Guerra & Sombra b Ryan Denim & Christopher Abel, Kiyoshi b Jamie D, Rico Montana b Sebastian suave, Awesome Kong b Lufisto, Shark Boy b Andrew Davis, Tiger Star b Sexy Eddy, Josh Alexander & Tyler Tirva b Otis Idol & Cody 45, Hayden Avery b Jake O'Reilly-DQ
--In Your Face Wrestling's Coronation Cup on 6/20 in Rutland, VT at the Holiday Inn has Alexxus vs. MsChif plus a free for all tournament
--Dory Funk wrestles again on his own show on 6/14 in Ocala, FL against Blain Rage
--Championship Wrestling Alliance on Saturday night in Kingspot, TN at the Civic Auditorium featuring Ricky Morton
--IWA from last night in Levittown, PR: Cuervo b Atomo, Puma Jr. b Kevin Punk, Barbie Boy b Reviel, Niche & Lynx b Eli Rodriguez & Balbuena, Bacano b Diabolico, Golden Boy & Chris Joel b Ravishing Richard & Rick Stanley, Noel Rodriguez b Blitz, Savio Vega b Joe Bravo-DQ (thanks to Manuel Gonzalez)
--Alex Anthony vs. Steve Corino headlines 5/31 in Morganville, NJ at the Langan Baseball
--NWA Charlotte is back in business with a show last night at the new home of the Metrolina Expo enter with 500 fans: C.W. Anderson b Jeff Lewis, Xsiris b Dylan Kage, Cameron Valentine & Michael Youngblood b Will Snapp & Abel Adams, Vordell Walker b Ricky Steamboat Jr., Iceberg b The Sheik, Chris Gray & Thomas Taylor b Nicky & Frank, Amber O'Neil b Jayme Jameson to win women's title, Josh Magnum b Malachi, Phil Shatter & Mikael Judas & Ryan O'Reilly b Timber & Kirby & T.J. Mack, Truitt Fields b Lodi. They announced a show on 8/8 going head-to-head with Greg Price's NWA legends convention, saying there is only room for one NWA in Charlotte. They have a tag team tournament on 5/30 brining in The Naturals and the Skull Crushers.
--Noah Thomas, who was one of the guys in the fight several seasons back on Ultimate Fighter who ended up being kicked off the show, and out of the UFC, returns to WEC in a prelim match on the Sacramento show on 6/7. Thomas was the guy who did an armbar in a fight in front of the house and got power bombed on the concrete for his troubles.