SUN. UPDATE: CRO COP/UFC UPDATE; MORE HDNET ISSUES; ROH TAPINGS FEATURES GREAT BOUTS; KENNEDY;CENA
We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE Smackdown house show in Bowling Green, KY, as well as the TNA weekend house shows in Pueblo, CO on Friday night and Cheyenne, WY last night.
Raw and some Superstars stuff will be taped in Birmingham Monday with MVP vs. Kofi Kingston for the U.S. title as the only match advertised.
Smackdown and ECW will be taped Tuesday in Memphis. The only match advertised, likely a dark match, is Rey Mysterio & Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho & Edge in a cage match with Jerry Lawler as referee.
With several huge features including the background of Lyoto Machida that everyone covering MMA hasn't touched, as well as a look at the good and bad of the WWE publicity stunt as well as the real story, much of which has gone unreported, of what happened during the week, will be among the major stories in next week's two issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
For history buffs, we also have part three of our series on the greatest shooters to have ever gone into pro wrestling, looking at the biggest stars in U.S. college wrestling that became pro wrestlers, including details on the legends of Danny Hodge, Gorilla Monsoon, Tim "Mr. Wrestling" Woods, Big Bill Miller, The Destroyer and others who came out of college wrestling during the 50s and became top pro wrestling stars. This has been our most praised series so far this year and we plan on several more installments between now and the end of the year.
We also have full coverage of UFC 98, the Dream 10 show and its importance, TNA Sacrifice, including a lot of thoughts about TNA being on the treadmill going nowhere. We have a lot more on TNA's future direction, television tapings, newcomers and next PPV show.
Both issues will be available today to premium web site members, and the second issue will be available on the site tomorrow. You can also get the Observer delivered by mail with details below.
In the story on the Denver debacle, we've got lots of background as to the different stages of negotiations that went on during the week, the probable reasons McMahon made the moves he did, what KSE did to cause the final move . We also look at the various problems, selling tickets in Los Angeles and other background.
We look at the past, present and future of Lyoto Machida, including his sports background before being discovered by Antonio Inoki, what his role was expected to be and how he was groomed from day one to be a dominant world champion in something very different from UFC. We look at the back story behind his debut fight with New Japan Pro Wrestling. We also look back at Machida's matches with Stephan Bonnar, Rich Franklin and B.J. Penn earlier in his career and what the real story was at the time. We look at Machida's fight against a one-dimension past-his-prime fighter that most felt at the time he lost, and why Machida was directed away from the original goals for him. We also look at Machida's future as champion and questions regarding marketability.
We also look at Hughes-Serra, UFC business, very early PPV indications, poll results, future of Hughes and a record he set, the strange behavior of Sean Sherk both during and after his match, as well as match-by-match coverage including the listed payoff records for each fighter, including what undercard fighter took home in excess of $100,000.
We also have a look at the announced retirement of a Hall of Fame wrestler.
We've got notes on TNA Sacrifice, including questions regarding TNA and PPV, during ratings, a look at Slammiversary, plus for Sacrifice, match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.
We also have notes on two major WWE legal cases, a lawsuit they filed and lost in court, as well as a pending case against them by one of the biggest stars in company history and how that relates to the 2010 Hall of Fame inductions.
We've also got an update on Undertaker, his surgery and recovery, as well as more WWE injury notes.
Our series on the greatest shooters that went into pro wrestling looks at the decade of the 50s, which includes two eventual Hall of Famers, three strong candidates and two others who are up for discussion. The list also includes a surprising name including someone who played a big role as a manager at Wrestlemania, and a future major Alabama political figure, and another best known for a death scene in the original movie, "The Wrestler."
This feature also looks at such divergent topics a guy who came one match from being the first Cael Sanderson, the heyday of Southwest Championship Wrestling, Vince McMahon getting on the USA Network the first time, the doctor who became a pro wrestling star, as well as the athletic legends of Leo Nomellini and the most dominant U.S. college wrestler of all-time, Danny Hodge. We look at Nomellini's exploits in wrestling and football as well as wrestling and track, the legend of The Destroyer and the single most-watched pro wrestling match most likely of all-time, the boxing, wrestling and pro wrestling career of Hodge, the legend of Mr Wrestling and the most famous in ring shoot match of the 60s, the first pro wrestling sellout at the Omni in Atlanta, and the original Sammartino vs. Monsoon feud.
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.
Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sites and has the most complete look at the business as a whole anywhere. The Observer is now in its 27th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling industry as well as the MMA industry, from bookers, to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest current names, both on camera, and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and 30 countries subscribe. Many have subscribed as long as 20 years or more straight. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world and an accuracy from having the most inside sources that can't be found on the web. Everyone from Wall Street to the major offices to the TV networks in U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business. If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today. With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today. Just send your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to
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Also in this week's issues:
--Update on future of TNA video game license
--Notes on talent coming into TNA
--What the new Don West role is based on
--Update on Bobby Lashley in TNA
--Legends involved in weekend TNA house shows
--Notes on the next three weeks of TNA television
--Notes on the Extreme Rules PPV
--New WWE signing
--More on History of WCW DVD
--New WWE DVD being worked on
--Celebrity going to WWE press conference soon and her link to one of pro wrestling's all-time greatest stars
--WWE conducting a tryout for new wrestlers in a place you'd never belive
--John Cena talks Dwayne Johnson again
--WWE PPV expansion and a change
--WWE house show notes
--Every champion being put in a tournament to crown a new champion of champions
--Big hair vs. mask match being built up in Mexico
--Battle of top heel groups and where it is leading
--Nephew of Hall of Famer making debut
--Update on El Hijo del Santo and AAA
--Update on TripleMania
--Perro Aguayo Jr. unhappy with Konnan
--WWE stars working a major overseas show in July
--Pro wrestling star looking at leaving to become a heavyweight boxer
--Dragon Gate USA notes
--Next GHC heavyweight and tag title matches
--Daughter of long-time wrestling star, and Hall of Fame wrestler both trying to get into pro golf
--Gym owned by wrestling legend closing up
--Return of Steve Williams and Masked Superstar to Japan
--Linda Hogan buries her daughter in retaliation
--Future projects of Dwayne Johnson
--Former WWF star set to host a television show
--50th anniversary of Wrestling at the Chase
--Update on former WWE performer opening a restaurant
--Update on Bob Armstrong
--Former promoter sentenced to 22 1/2 years in jail for tax fraud
--Update on Time Warner/HD Net situation
--Nigel McGuinness returns to ROH
--Lots of new ROH big show matches
--How the UFC video game is doing
--Lots of new UFC matches
--Dana White talks Pat Miletich and where the relationship went wrong
--Next Dream show
--Next Affliction show
--A proposed new MMA television show for syndication
--An Olympic wrestler tag team in a shoot match
--WWE developmental news
--And much more
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
*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)
*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
*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.
For the United States, it is $12 for 4 issues, $29 for 12, $55 for 24, $91 for 40 and $118 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $13.50 for
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. For the rest of the world, rates are $15.50 for 4, $41 for 12, $78 for 24, $126 for 40 issues and $163 for
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.
--We've been flooded with e-mails on this one in the last 24 hours. The Mirko Cro Cop deal for the 6/13 UFC show is that Cro Cop has not yet signed his contract so the fight isn't being advertised, but everyone is still under the impression Cro Cop is fighting on the show in Cologne, Germany. They wanted Cro Cop to sell tickets to people coming in from Croatia, but the longer they wait to announce it, the harder it'll be to get people to travel in. They were hopeful it could be signed by tomorrow but there is a holdup that doesn't have to do with Cro Cop/UFC negotiations.
--We've got a report that at least some of the Bright House Networks have also removed HDNet. Ben Berbernitz wrote to say he called his local operator who said that it was not coming back. He said he's mad because he called when the Time Warner/HDNet squabble became public and asked if they were thinking of taking it off and was told specifically they were not removing the station. I'm really surprised how this all went down with so many people already switching to dishes.
--ROH TV tapings from last night in Philadelphia: Eddie Kingston b Andy Ridge (dark); Brent Albright b Claudio Castagnoli in a flag match, D-Lo Brown b Alex Payne, Jerry Lynn & Erick Stevens & Kenny Omega b Austin Aries & Kenny King & Rhett Titus, Roderick Strong b Jay Briscoe, Grizzly Redwood & Necro Butcher b Jimmy Rave & Ernie Osiris, MsChif & Sara Del Rey b Neveah & Daizee Haze, Tyler Black b Bryan Danielson, Nick & Matt Jackson b Silas Young & Bobby Fish, Delirious b Brodie Lee, American Wolves & Chris Hero b KENTA & Kevin Steen & El Generico. Danielson vs. Black said to be ****1/2 and the KENTA match said to be ****, probably the best matches since ROH started taping television
--Expect the Los Angeles Times to be doing a story on the death of John Tolos soon
--Mr. Kennedy twists his wrists around to show he isn't hurt at http://www.ken-kennedy.com
Matt Hardy also write how sad he was that Kennedy was fired, saying he was one of his closest friends in wrestling.
--Poll on Smackdown
--Best brother tag team combination
Von Erichs 6.1%
Tolos Brothers 0.2%
--Newsdays Kidsday has an interview with John Cena up. He said his best friend in the company is Santino Marella because he's so funny. He said he's trying to learn how to fish, but never catches any.
--Bryan and I will be back doing Wrestling Observer radio tonight. Check the site at about 10:30 p.m. Pacific time tonight for call-in information.
--Former Elite XC lightweight champion K.J. Noons won a six round decision over Enrique Gallegos (6-4 record) in a middleweight boxing match on Thursday night in Houston. Noons is now 9-2 in boxing. (thanks to Anthony Sullivan)
--NWA MSW TV tapings on 6/5 in Mullens, WV at the American Legion Building featuring Stro. Stro vs. Gypsy Joe headlines 6/6 in Union, WV at the Mountain View Middle School. Gypsy Joe, has to be in his early 70s, is likely the oldest regular wrestler still on the circuit.
--MavTV, which has replaced HDNet on Time Warner Cable, will be airing HWA from Peoria, IL soon. They also air women's Roller Derby called the Texas Shootout that will be airing at various times this week, and an MMA show called Ultimate Combat Experience (thanks to Leo Avila)
--ECCW from Friday night in Surrey, BC: Alex Plexis b Callos and Scott Steel in a three-way, Veronika Vice b Tenille Dashwood, Nicole Matthews b Ray Brooks, Nick Price & Tony Baroni NC Danni Deeds & Volt Vegas, Memphis b Bishop, Phantasmo over Manther, Billy Suede & Azeem the Dream, Scotty Mac b Freddy Funk, Sid Sylum b Kenny Lush. Next show is 6/6 in Vancouver with the annual Pacific Cup tournament (thanks to Mike Sweetser)
--Today in Mexico has Arena Coliseo TV tapings with Hector Garza & Hijo del Fantasma & La Mascara vs. Dos Caras Jr. & Yujiro & Tetsuya Naito. Guadalajara has Mistico & La Sombra & Volador Jr. vs. Felino & Negro Casas & Mr. Niebla. Arena Puebla tomorrow night has Hector Garza & La Sombra & Volador Jr. vs. Felino & Negro Casas & Mr. Niebla. Zumpango has Elegido & Marco Corleone vs. Electroshock & Zorro. Salina Cruz has Mesias & La Parka vs. Konnan & Kenzo Suzuki. IWRG in Naucalpan has Fuerza & Juventud Guerrera & Veneno vs. Black Terry & Cerebro Negro & Dr. Cerebro. Monterrey has Alex Koslov & Rocky Romero vs. Chessman & Silver King.
--NWA Empire Wrestling Federation from Friday night in Covina, CA: Freddy Bravo b Mercurio Jr., Extreme Loco b Johnny Paradise, Devon Willis b Brandon Gatson-COR, Chris Kadillak won cruiserweight cashout, Mando Hernandez b Black Metal, Liger Rivera b Ryan Taylor. Next show is 6/7 in Riverside at 5 p.m..
--EWA on 6/19 in Parkville, MD at Tall Cedars Hall in a benefit show for the family of Derek Wayne
--Gangrel headlines Old School Championship Wrestling on 6/7 in Goose Creek, SC at Weekend's Pub
--NWS from Friday night in Ridgefield Park, NJ: Boris Nobika & Blade Michaels b Joey Janella & Illegal Outer Space Alien, Mikey Pacifica b J.D. Smoothie, Keith Ramirez & Fuego Calderon b Manny Moore & Luchador #1, Nigerian Nightmares b Nikko the Monkey Man & Botchagalup the Banana Boy, The Patriot b Corey Havoc, Bob Holly b Danny Demanto. So Cal Val also appeared at the show.
--GOUGE from last night in Apex, NC: Chris Severan b Brawney Garvin, Luther Thesz b Thinley, Joseph Brooks b Jimmy Cicero, Frankie Fontaine DDQ Trailer Park Heat, Tater & Rob McBride & Tennessee Ernie Nord b Maj. DeBeers & Cueball Carmichael & Wrestling Superstar, Otto Schwanz b William Alexander Huckabee, Seymour Snott b Sean Alexander. Next show is 6/27 in Stem, NC at the Fire Hall