MON. UPDATE: Ratings, Hall of Fame inductions, Mania broken rib, Punk, Foley vs. Miz, Rock, Cena
Monday, 26 March 2012 14:00
By Dave Meltzer |
The Lead: Wrestlemania Go Home Show Tonight
Bryan and I will be back tonight with Wrestling Observer radio covering the final Raw before WrestleMania, with the latest thoughts and news going into the biggest show of the year, as well as talk Silva vs. Sonnen, and take your questions that can be sent to
We're looking for reports from Atlanta tonight with dark matches, Smackdown matches, Superstars matches if there are any, and anything else from Raw that wouldn't be evident from the live show at
It's the final show before WrestleMania with Undertaker, HHH, Rock and Shawn Michaels all scheduled to appear. In addition, the "Once in a Lifetime" Countdown show debuts on the USA Network tonight at 8 p.m. before Raw. There is no Smackdown taping tomorrow as the entire crew is leaving for Miami after the show. They will be taping matches for Smackdown tonight before Raw.
We're also looking for reports from yesterday's Smackdown show in Nashville, Saturday night's Smackdown show in Bowling Green, KY, Friday night's Raw show in Lakeland, FL, as well as Saturday night's TNA show in Indiana, PA and Friday night's TNA show in Elmira, NY.
HDNet's Inside MMA also runs at 8 p.m. tonight featuring Freddie Roach. The Diego Sanchez vs. Jake Ellenberger show from last month will be replayed at 8 p.m. tonight on Fuel. New Observer Alert: Wrestlemania looms, Developmental issues, sad Friday Night Wars
Between coverage of the build to WrestleMania, WWE developmental, the sad results of week two of the Friday night wars, and coverage of Victory Road, All Japan at Sumo Hall, Rey de Reyes as well as part two on the life of Doug Furnas, we've got a double issue of the Observer out this week.
The issue is up on the site today along with a back issue from early 1995 also up on the site this week.
Our lead story runs down the lineup and the promotion of The Rock vs. John Cena match and WrestleMania 28, including notes on the special as well as updates on the show.
We also look at the whole WWE developmental story, how it went down, blow by blow, a look at the FCW history as well as a look back at WWE pulling out of other territories and long-term goals of developmental. We look at the decision that have been made and experimental tapings that have been done, as well as changes in the current TV structure.
In our feature on Friday night wars part two, looking at Smackdown, Ultimate Fighter, Best of Ultimate Fighter and Bellator, we look at competition, the drop in each show from week one, which show is it worse for and more.
We've also got a look at the Victory Road PPV, looking at what made the show good, what made the show annoying, the Bobby Roode show-ending angle, a look at Lockdown and match-by-match coverage with both star ratings and poll results on the show.
We look at All Japan's biggest event so far in 2012, with the Sumo Hall show headlined by Jun Akiyama vs. Keiji Muto for the Triple Crown, as well as a look at the next Triple Crown match, and notes on the upcoming Champion Carnival tournament.
We also look at next year's WrestleMania, CFO George Barrios talking about company future plans in the TV and movie business as well as talks UFC. We look at the new WWE movie business strategy, John Cena's car accident, the debut of Lord Tensai and his background and Japanese tenure, a second WWE wrestler says he has gone vegan but won't say it on TV and an update on Ric Flair and the WWE Hall of Fame.
We also look at a new themed PPV, a show that is going to be on a UFC weekend and may suffer for it, Rock's training to get back in wrestling shape, Rock's movie gross, entertainment plans for Mania, Edge talking Hall of Fame and what he had envisioned when he would retire and who he would have been working with this year. We look at an example of why Undertaker is so respected, as well as Daniel Bryan's road to the world title starting in high school wrestling in his backyard, WWE stock, WWE gets commended by legislature, DVR watching on Raw and does Rock have an effect and more on introducing new characters. We also look at a WWE star appearing in a foreign movie, notes on more developmental talent and who William Regal says is the best pro wrestler he has ever seen, and it's a name that almost nobody in North America would have ever heard of. Plus we have notes on all the WWE weekend house shows and business notes.
We also have part two in our look at the life and career of Doug Furnas, talking to his wife, his brother, legendary powerlifter Ed Coan as well as some anecdotes of my own interaction with Furnas during the height of his career in the 90s. We look at him growing up, college football, powerlifting, WCW, WWF and especially All Japan Pro Wrestling with milestones achieved, why he never headlined Budokan Hall, what he was known for in Japan and the All Japan boom.
We look at the tragedies of that All Japan period, Furnas' life before and after wrestling. We look at his auto accident that doctors said would end his sports career, and his coming back. We look at the various choices he made about sports careers and life, whether it be bull riding, football, powerlifting and wrestling. We look at his training methods to become one of the strongest men in the world, how that hampered his attempts to play in the NFL and what he learned from that and changed to become a pro wrestler. We look at his foray into the World's Strongest man competition, and where he could have gone in powerlifting if he hadn't retired from the sport at the age of 27.
We look at a unique allergy that actually hurt him as a powerlifter, and why his philosophy on pro wrestling was so different from what pro wrestling was in the American market. We look at Jim Herd's idea for him, as well as the famous Furnas story from the 1994 Champion Carnival tournament. We have his career title history, why he left All Japan, what happened in WWE and his unique reaction to what happened at the 1997 Survivor Series.
We've also got a 2011 rundown of every wrestler who wrestled in WWE for the year, even if it was only one match, with win/loss records, who was the busiest, how many matches did everyone have, who was booked to win and lose the most and what two wrestlers worked the most with each other during the year.
We also look at what will be one of WWE's biggest house shows of 2012, the Madison Square Garden show from Sunday.
We've also got a look at the event that is likely to draw the second biggest wrestling crowd of the year in the United States, the NCAA tournament finals and why the names Kyle Dake and David Taylor both have a chance to go down in history as two of the best collegiate wrestlers of all-time.
We've also got coverage of the AAA Rey de Reyes match, featuring Jeff Jarrett, The Rey de Reyes tournament and the road to babyface of L.A. Park.
The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
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We also have our weekly features with the results from the major events held around the world over the past week, as well as reviews of the major television shows. This Week's Issue: Lawsuits, retirements, Vader returns
--One of the world's best wrestlers starts up in Mexico
--Funny winner of the new blood tournament
--More wrestlers moving promotions
--Something unheard of in response to a lawsuit with a legendary wrestler
--Yet another legendary star does a retirement stipulation
--More on independent shows over WrestleMania weekend
--NOAH's big show of the tour
--A look at the upcoming NOAH tag team tournament
--Big Van Vader returns to Japan
--Two Hall of Famers wrestle each other for the first time
--Tatsumi Fujinami's 40th anniversary as a pro wrestler
--The end of a promotion as it officially folds over the weekend
--K-1 legend and MMA star headline a major pro wrestling show
--Former opponents in a publicized MMA fight become a pro wrestling tag team
--Ultimo Dragon's 25th anniversary as a pro wrestler match
--Former WWE performer in negotiations to host a major network TV show
--Nigel McGuinness talks about his career, his documentary, his dreams, his frustrations and his successes
--Update on Oklahoma and its banning pro wrestling and what pro wrestling event is happening
--What's the real story behind the problems
--NWA promoters in court
--NFL star on one of the league's most legendary teams, who was also a pro wrestler, passes away
--Update on Jim Neidhart's legal troubles
--Lucha Libre USA running several major arenas and why this feels like a disaster happening
--Pro wrestler is hero as a knife wielding crazy man was attacking people
--Mike Tyson and Superstar Billy Graham
--Former WWF television announcer sues claiming he was bilked out of life savings by former NFL star
--Perhaps pro wrestling's most famous family feud has two members form tag team
--Bruno Sammartino to make a few appearances at pro wrestling events
--Former ECW star working on a children's book
--First-ever match between two different sets of WWF tag team champions from the first expansion era
--Son of a former champion set to debut in a few weeks
--More legal action involving Hulk Hogan
--Kevin Nash talks about where he'd like to be
--Ring Ka King notes for this week
--Tons of new UFC fights and thoughts on them
--UFC up for one national sports award
--Yet more on Nick Diaz's case with more details of the results of his drug test
--Lorenzo Fertitta talks UFC in Madison Square Garden
--More on UFC threatening to file suit against people who stream their shows
--Major health scare for Zuffa star worsens
--Statistical note on Jones vs. Evans
--Note on weight cutting and how it has changed in wrestling and the rules in place
--Dan Henderson talks his next fight
--Notes on the Ultimate Fighter TV show
--Bellator rundown and what is coming up
--Details on the debut of Super Fight League in India with Bob Sapp as well as plans for the next show
--What 80s WWF name is now the training partner of one of the most famous MMA fighters in the world The Most Popular Observers Ever
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories 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)
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*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)
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*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)
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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)
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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)
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*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
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*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
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*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)
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*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)
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*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)
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--A lot of UFC officials are going to have to be in two places at the same time as they've got an FX special on 6/22 in Atlantic City headlined by Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard -- the day before the just announced Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen fight
on 6/23 in Rio de Janeiro.
--Smackdown on Friday did 2.76 million viewers, down from recent weeks while Ultimate Fighter gained to 1.21 million viewers. The NCAA basketball games on TBS dominated all the top spots.
--As far as who is going to induct people into the Hall of Fame, WWE has released an album on iTunes called Hall of Fame 2012: The Music. Christian is getting a new version of his same song while there is also a new version of the DX theme. From this, it's now official Christian for Edge, DX for Mike Tyson, Dusty Rhodes for the Four Horseman (Jim Johnston has remade the Horseman theme), JBL for Ron Simmons, Usos & Rikishi for Yokozuna and Alberto Del Rio for Mil Mascaras. As it stands, that is also the reverse order of the lineup.
--WWE today announced the hiring of Brian Flinn as the company's new Senior Vice President of Marketing. He will be reporting to Michelle Wilson, who is the head of marketing. He had been Senior Vice President of marketing for the NBA where he was in charge of league marketing, internal communication and research groups.
--Maria Menounos suffered a broken rib in training for Dancing with the Stars. She is going to compete on the show with it, so she may still do Mania. Tonight's Raw should answer that question as well as answer who the last two members of the Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy match is. It's been noted Mick Foley and Miz have gone back-and-forth on Twitter of late so it could be them, which makes sense since Foley would be the kind of guy you could announce at the last minute.
--Here's an interview with Sheamus
. He predicted John Cena over Rock.
--C.M. Punk wrote on Twitter how the company had a meeting about tweeting and proper use of hashtags and then wrote "Shoot me." Chris Jericho tweeted a photo of himself looking bored, probably at the meeting, and you could see Titus O'Neil and Skip Sheffield in the back, which caused Skip Sheffield to trend. Jericho later deleted the photo.
--John Cena posted a photo of himself over the weekend talking about being drug tested with the idea he wants a clean fight. As if the results of a test could possibly cancel that match.
--Mick Foley on Twitter today said the new name for his next children's book is "A Most Miz-erable Christmas."
--In doing Atlanta media today, Punk noted that he saw Tony Schiavone. Today is the 11th anniversary of WCW's final show, held in Panama City, FL. Without question, absolutely nothing EVER has done more damage to the pro wrestling industry than WCW closing down.
--Last night, after the main event at the Raw show in Charlotte, C.M. Punk and John Cena called out Arn Anderson to congratulate him on being named to the WWE Hall of Fame.
--John Morrison does comedy
. What do you think was the biggest match in MMA history?
Lesnar vs. Mir II 23.4%
Griffin vs. Bonnar I 19.7%
Ken Shamrock vs. Ortiz II 12.1%
Sakuraba vs. Royce Gracie I 11.5%
Lesnar vs. Couture 8.4%
Ortiz vs. Liddell II 7.6%
Fedor vs. Cro Cop 7.6%
Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie II 5.0%
Lesnar vs. Velasquez 2.6%
GSP vs. Penn II 1.3%
Cro Cop vs. Sakuraba 0.8% What was the greatest pro wrestling family?
Von Erichs 9.7%
Mascaras/Caras/Del Rio 2.3%
Alvarado 0.2% Best TV show of the past week?
Ultimate Fighter 12.6%
MMA Uncensored 1.3%
--Mike Tyson talks WrestleMania
and other subjects.
--New names announced for The MMA Show Live on 5/12 and 5/13 in Birmingham, England are Mark Munoz, Alexander Gustafsson, Phil De Fries, Vaughan Lee, Diego Sanchez, Thiago Alves, Chris Leben, Alessio Sakara, Matt Mitrione, John Maguire, Neil Grove, Rob Sinclair, Marloes Coenen, Serge Kharitonov, Jon Chaimberg, Martin De Jong and Kenny Johnson.
--An article in the Wall Street Journal toady noted that the audience at 11 of the top 15 most watched cable channels declined over the past year (expected since fewer people have cable and satellite than a year ago) but the biggest loser of big-time networks were Nick, TNT and FX, all down more than 10%.
--Dimo's Pizza in Chicago has a WrestleMania special. The 100% vegan Anaconda Vice pizza (black beans, Upton's chorizo seitan, vegan bacon bits, dairy free cheese, chopped tomatoes, green unions, cilantro and parsley) will be available starting today as well as the GTS Pizza with turkey leg, sliced potatoes, Swiss cheese and French fried onions.
--Dragon Gate USA on 3/29 at the German American Society Clubhouse in Hollywood, FL for a show not on iPPV has Johnny Gargano & Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann vs. Akira Tozawa & BxB Hulk & Uhaa Nation vs. Sami Callihan & Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez, Pac vs. AR Fox, Low Ki vs Bobby Fish, Cima & Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Scott Reed & Caleb Konley, Masato Yoshino vs ? and Ricochet vs. Mike Cruz.
--Bending the Rules starring Adam Copeland/Edge will be released tomorrow on DVD.
--The Entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times has a Q&A with John Cena
. Cena said he's been pushing for this match since 2005. He talked about possibly wanting to face Steve Austin at Mania.
--Variety has a story on Dwayne Johnson
--An interview with Arn Anderson talking with Phil Strum
of the Poughkeepsie Journal.
--Here's a story on the Bella Twins
in the New York Post.
--I woke up this morning and there was a TV ad for Jeff Hardy appearing at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk as a celebrity guest for spring break.
--An interview with Cima is up here
--Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman have their second annual WrestleMania party with Billy Gunn, DDP, Rikishi, Headbangers, Tammy Sytch, Harry Smith, Rob Terry and Robbie E on 3/30 at Oceans Ten in Miami Beach at 8 p.m. Nash is also doing personalized videos
where he'll answer a question you ask him.
--Traditional Championship Wrestling and VPW are doing a show at the Cauliflower Alley Club on 4/16 (Monday) at the Gold Coast Casino with Greg Anthony vs. Zach Gowen, Michael Barry vs. Disco Inferno and Matt Riviera vs. Sigmon.
--Paddypower.com has these odds up for Mania:
John Cena -150
The Rock +110
C.M. Punk -187
Chris Jericho +138
Daniel Bryan +150
--Larry Matysik's book "The 50 Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All-Time" will be released in the fall by ECW Press. We will definitely be talking about this one later this year. It's absolutely impossible to do such a list in any sport when you talk about different eras, but in pro wrestling, it's even harder.
--Real Championship Wrestling from last night in Baltimore at the DuBurns Arena before 400 fans: Runaways b Alex Payne & Niles Young to win tag titles, Greg Excellent b Kindred, Robbie Mireno b Shane Strickland, Skull and Pat Anthony to win cruiserweight title, Marty Jannetty b Ruckus, Jay Briscoe d Derek Frazier, Mia Yim over Kimber Lee and Jenny Rose, Azrieal b Blk Jeez and Ryan McBride. Next show is 6/16 (thanks to Joseph Klunk)
--For those in San Jose, Ticketmaster has sent out notice you can now get two tickets for the price of one for the 3/30 Lucha Libre USA show at the HP Pavilion.
--World Pro Wrestling from yesterday in Santa Ana, CA before 150 fans: Lee Steele over Cianuro and Microbio, Amazona & Yumi b Sgt. Stryker & Frankie Segura, Genio & Wama & War Hog b Ramtha & Terremoto Jr. & Cyber Ram, Infernal & Red Rum b Mariachi Loco & Lil Cholo (thanks to Roy Lucier)
--WSU on 4/28 at the NYWC Sportatorium in Deer Park, NY headlined by Jessicka Havok vs. Mercedes Martinez
--Todos x Todos (El Hijo del Santo's group) on Friday night in Aguascalientes: Mascarita Dorada & Mascarita Sagrada b Mini Monsther & Mini Rockerito, Dandy & Solar d Fuerza Guerrera & Negro Navarro (great match, fans threw money in the ring), Rayo de Jalisco Jr. & Rayman b Cien Caras & Cien Caras Jr., El Hijo del Santo & Villano IV b Angel Blanco Jr. & El Hijo del Solitario-DQ
--This coming Friday night in Tijuana at the Auditorio has L.A. Park & La Parka & Super Parka vs. Psycho Circus and El Hijo del Rey Misterio II & Joe Lider & Mortiz vs. Pirata Morgan & El Hijo del Pirata Morgan & Pirata Morgan Jr. (thanks to Kris Zellner)
--Ted DiBiase and Rosa Mendes will be appearing at Walmart in Miami Gardens, FL, on Wednesday.
--Tommy Dreamer talks Jimmy Snuka
--EWA from Saturday night in Springfield, MA before 220 fans: Punk & Prep United b Capital Punishment, Dan De Man b Shane Marvel, Alex Cypher & Tapu & Scotty Slade b Jonny Idol & William King & Dr. Heresy, Vinny Marseglia b Sebastian Reese, Doug Summers b Zackary Pierre Beaulieu in a ladder match, Bobby Fish b Dalton Castle, The Purists b Taka Suzuki & Mikaze, I.M. Valor b Buddy Romano, Sean Burke b Antonio Thomas to keep EWA title
--Pro Wrestling Phoenix on Saturday night in Council Bluffs, IA: Darren Russell & Vic Victory b Buck Albright & Mad Dog McDowell, S.M. King b Jon West, Jeff O'Shea b Shawn Nautilus, Sean Cruz b Zac James, Paul Daniels b Joey Daniels, Brian Gott & Derek Cornell b Preston Maxwell & Branden Juarez, Bradley Charles b Abu Colossus. Next show is 4/21 at the National Guard Armory in Council Bluffs
--The Score in Canada already has Undertaker 20-0 desktop wallpaper.
--NYWC on Saturday night at the NYWC Sportatorium in Deer Park, NY
--NWF from Saturday night in Niagara Falls before 300 fans: Scotty Turner & Jay Moore b Nick Vickers in a handicap match, Cherry Bomb b Allysin Kay, Derek Wylde b Tony Carbonie, Cody Deaner b Shawn Spears-DQ in a chairs match, Anthony Darko & Jake O'Reilly b Tiberious King & Pepper Parks, Derek Wylde b Primo Scordino, Tiberious King & Pepper Parks & Crazzy Steve & Shawn Spears b Derek Wylde & Notorious TID & Cody Deaner & Andrew Davis. Bret Hart appears on the 6/9 show for this promotion as GM.