WED. UPDATE: Former WWE star health issue, Mania star injury update, Ratings, CNN airs Countdown
By Dave Meltzer |
Bryan and I will be back tonight with Wrestling Observer radio talking all the latest news including the latest on WrestleMania, Ric Flair and the Hall of Fame, surprise drug tests, King Mo firing, the upcoming weekend as well as taking e-mail questions to
The Cena-Rock special, if you haven't seen it, airs at 8 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. tonight on Universal HD. It also airs at 6 a.m. tomorrow on Style, and 8 p.m. tomorrow on Mun2.
UFC 136 (Jon Jones vs. Rampage Jackson) will be airing at 8 p.m. Eastern tonight on Fuel.
New Observer Alert: Wrestlemania Issue No. 1 Is Here
The first WrestleMania issue of the Observer is out this week with a rundown of what the company believes will be the biggest money event in the history of pro wrestling. We look at the matches, the stories, the build, the Countdown show and what has and hasn't worked as well as the big questions leading up to the match. We look at who has headlined the most Manias, how many tickets have been sold and what the demand for tickets is like, how Miami got the event and what to look out for in every match.
We also look at next year's show, the Hall of Fame and the non-WWE events in South Florida.
We also look at the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen fight, will it set an attendance record, what is the Brazilian attendance record for something of this type, why they aren't really in an 80,000 seat stadium, what Dana White is saying about the show, how WWE got a break on this show and WWE going into Brazil as well.
We also look at the problems facing Pro Wrestling NOAH with the publicity of Yakuza involvement in the company, the meeting this week for all talent and workers and what happened, and how this dooms future growth of the company in many ways.
We also have a major history piece covering the glory days of Texas wrestling in the 70s and 80s and the death of longtime promoter Joe Blanchard.
We talk about Blanchard's role on television in his home town of San Antonio, the first big stadium show in Texas and Blanchard's role on the show and how to many it mirrored what would go down years later. We look at the angle which was copied 15 years later and popped the territory. We look at how Blanchard first knew Fritz Von Erich and how their friendship was instrumental in Blanchard becoming a promoter. We look at how Von Erich got the power when wrestling changed in Texas in the 60s.
We look at the heyday of the Texas wrestling office, the way it was structured and why the alliance of the big three promoters was really doomed from the start. We look at one of San Antonio's most famous pro wrestling stories involving Fritz Von Erich and sportscaster Dan Cook. We look at the Kiniski vs. Von Erich feud in San Antonio and how San Antonio changed when Von Erich stopped traveling there.
We look at how Texas wrestling changed in the late 70s and what led to the breakup of the once powerful conglomerate. We also look at the rise of Tully Blanchard as a star, Tully Blanchard & Gino Hernandez on top, the high and low points of Southwest Championship Wrestling and how the promotion went down.
We also look at the rise of the Von Erich brothers, the Von Erichs vs. Freebirds feud, Paul Boesch, the in-ring career of Joe Blanchard and his last match.
We also have a look at the Friday night ratings scoreboard for the past week, and how all the shows did.
We've got more on King Mo Lawal getting fired shortly after his hearing where he was suspended for nine months, including his hopes to get into WWE, his previous connection with WWE, what happened at the hearing, what got him fired and more.
The issue is up on the site today along with a back issue from early 1995 also up on the site this week,
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.
The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe. Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world. Everywhere from Wall Street to the major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.
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We also look at Linda McMahon's run for senate and the latest poll numbers as well as the unique way she's viewed that hurts her, John Cena building up the Rock match, how much WWE and UFC take in per year from television rights, Kevin Nash on why the feud with C.M. Punk fell dead in its tracks, two major new WWE hires, WWE's symposium for talent about twitter on Monday, Randy Orton movie role, who C.M. Punk bumped into in Atlanta, The Rock business empire, Evan Bourne update, Punk talks about the angle from last summer and new story on when he signed, and long-term goals.
We also have Punk talking more about Dwayne Johnson, Cult of Personality, children, marriage and his eating habits.
We also look at a new role for a wrestler formerly on the roster who is being considered to be brought back, more on the movie division, plus February business notes, PPV dates and places for the end of 2012 and a weird Cena and Ben Roethlisberger coincidence.
We also talk Arn Anderson in the Hall of Fame, WWE opening a new office, Layla's return, plus business notes from last week and highlights from all the weekend house shows.
We also have a look at how the Elimination Chamber PPV did this year as compared to years in the past.
We also have our in-depth look at the ratings of the national shows, including how every segment of Raw and Impact did, what gained in audience, and what lost in audience.
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.
More On This Week's Observer
--Prince Devitt starts at Arena Mexico to build the champion vs. champion match this week
--The latest new tournament in Mexico
--One of wrestling's biggest stars in a court case and the unique twists the case has had
--More on the Rey de Reyes show
--Wrestlers leaving Perros Del Mal
--Jeff Jarrett in Mexico
--The 2012 Best of the Super Junior tournament
--Update on Genichiro Tenryu after two surgeries
--A shoot tournament that involved both Vader and Fedor
--Battle of Hall of Famers
--Notes on Bert Randolph Sugar
--Bill Goldberg at wrestling shows this coming weekend
--Hodge Trophy winner announced
--Sputnik Monroe day in Memphis
--Two of the biggest indie shows of the year in the U.S.
--Whatever happened to Luke Robinson
--Debut of the third generation of Von Erich brothers announced
--Wrestling in Colombia featuring stars from ROH, AAA and a former WWE headliner
--Notes on Bruce Prichard
--Notes on a new non-wrestling television show Eric Bischoff is involved with
--Original plan for tag tam feud
--Update on the Ring Ka King promotion
--Notes on upcoming TNA television
--UFC Canadian plans
--Who will face Jose Aldo Jr. next
--Notes on the UFC/FOX deal
--Coverage of the debut of Ultimate Fighter Brazil
--Update on Alistair Overeem and his latest move
--Notes on why there could be some real problems at the end of the Ultimate Fighter season
--UFC star gets national TV spot
--Dana White gets ripped for comments on soccer
--A lot of new fights in UFC announced
--More on testosterone replacement exemptions
--Ronda Rousey update
--Why there was no Bellator heavyweight tournament final
--Notes on last week and next week's Bellator show
--Middleweight tournament winner in danger of not advancing 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)
*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 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.
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 4, $33 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to
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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.Wednesday's News, Notes & Links
--TMZ.com reported today that Kamala is facing the possible amputation of his right foot. His son today said that doctors will determine on Friday whether they need to remove the right foot, after he had his last foot removed last year due to issues with diabetes. Best wishes to him during this period.
--Maria Menounos today wrote that she is actually suffering from two broken ribs. At the WWE press conference, Beth Phoenix made a mention of it. She is still scheduled to wrestle on Sunday but it's likely she's going to be very limited in what she can do.
--The USA Network won the weekly cable race last week with a 2.5 prime time average to 1.9 for TBS and 1.7 for Disney. FX was No. 11 at 1.0. Syfy was No. 20 at 0.7. Spike didn't crack the 25. The two hours of Raw last week were No. 3 and No. 6 for the week. The second hour was No. 10 in 18-34. In 18-49 the hours were No. 2 and No. 4.
--HBO's 24/7 returns to build up the Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto fight with shows that will not only air on HBO, but will be replayed on CNN. The CNN airings are 4/14 at midnight, 4/21 at midnight, 4/28 at midnight and 5/4 at midnight.
--Lilian Garcia was singing tonight at The Gibson Miami Showroom in Miami.
--A story on Ata Johnson
, the mother of Dwayne Johnson, about WrestleMania.
--New Japan announced that Tomoaki Honma has been released. Honma had an incredible match, a match of the year candidate in December against Masato Tanaka for their Intercontinental title and he was one of the most underrated in-ring performers in the business.
--On Twitter, you can buy what is called a Promoted Tweet where you pay Twitter so that if someone searches for a specific item, your Twitter account will always be the first result. TNA this week bought the following terms: WWE, Wrestlemania, Wrestling, C.M. Punk, John Cena, The Rock, HHH, Undertaker, Chris Jericho, Kane, Randy Orton and Sheamus.
--Ramsey Nijem vs. C.J. Keith was added to the 6/22 UFC show in Atlantic City.
--King Mo Lawal talks about his firing yesterday
.Do you think WrestleMania will best the 2007 record numbers?
No 63.1% What are your thoughts on the WrestleMania buildup?
Didn't pay attention 3.1%
When do you think Rock vs. Cena peaked?
Last year 49.8%
Last month 36.4%
It is peaking right now 13.8% What did you think of the Rock vs. Cena 'Once in a Lifetime' special?
37.5% of those responding didn't see the show What did you think of Raw?
9.0% of those responding didn't see the show
--WWE is doing Be a Star anti-bullying rallies tomorrow at Hialeah Gardens Middle School and John F. Kennedy Middle School in Miami. James Durbin of American Idol, who is a big wrestling fan and friends with The Miz and Chris Jericho, will be joined by WWE performers at the rally.
--A promotional video for Friday night's Dragon Gate USA $1.99 iPPV
--Santino Marella talks WrestleMania
. He said if he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, the first person he would thank is Rip Rogers, one of his trainers.
--Chris Jericho was on Jeff Marek's Marek v Wyshynski hockey podcast talking WrestleMania, Winnipeg hockey and Nick Bockwinkel. (thanks to Mark Coale)
--Lance Storm gives his WrestleMania predictions
--Ariel Helwani noted that he just bumped into Vladimir, the 80s and 90s wrestling fan who was at ringside at all the Northeast events forever and got asked about on our show some time back. He's got proof.
--Steve Corino vs. Michael Elgin headlines WrestleStock on 4/14 at the Royal Canadian Legion Todmorden branch in Toronto.
--Strongman and Polish ratings draw Mariusz Pudzianowski headlines for KSW 19 MMA show at the Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland on 5/12.
--NWA Anarchy from Saturday night in Cornelia, GA: Anthony Henry b Andrew Pendelton, Tommy Daniels won Battle Royal, Shaun Tempers & Bo Newsome b Azrael & Seth Delay, Ambassadors NC Slim J & Johnny Dangerous. Next show is one of the biggest of the year, Hardcore Hell on 3/31 at the NWA Anarchy Arena.
) is looking for photos of Nancy Benoit.
--Delado Promotions on 6/17 in El Paso has Dr. Wagner Jr., Pirata Morgan, Cobarde, Marcela and Rossy Moreno.
--JACO announced an exclusive deal with Alistair Overeem. Overeem will air exclusively JACO clothing when he's in the Octagon.
--NWA Mountain State Wrestling on 4/6 in Baileysville, WV at the Unleashed Community Center features Shaun Tempers vs. Jason Kincaid for the North American title.
--Carlos Condit and B.J. Penn have been added to The MMA show on 5/12 and 5/13 in Birmingham, England at the NEC.
--NWA Smoky Mountain Wrestling on 3/30 in Kingsport, TN at the Civic Auditorium.
--Former NWF champion Johnny Powers has been added to the Charlotte NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest from 8/2 to 8/5 at the University Place Hilton.
--All Pro Wrestling Gym Wars
TV is up.
--A story on WrestleMania I from City Pluse News at 42:06 of this clip.
(thanks to Jason Hagholm)
--MEXPW on 4/14 at The Arena in Los Angeles
--The Score on 3/29 at 9 p.m. has a two hour show featuring fights from the 3/16 show in Hamilton, ONT.
--Jaynie Baker, who was a contestant on the Diva Search several years back (she was on the video but didn't make the finals), was involved in a high profile prostitution ring that has gotten a lot of New York pub in a story here
--A note on the NWA Ring Warriors show
in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow night.
--Comedian Johnny Loquasto's video on WrestleMania
--UWA on 3/31 in Boonton, NJ at the Darress Theater
--Sunday CMLL in Guadalajara: Azteca de Oro b Omega, Relampago Azul b Meteoro, Espectrum & Sadico b Divino & Esfinge, Barbaro Cavernario & Exterminador & Specimen b Gallo & Leon Blanco, Smaker, Solar I b Negro Navarro (fans threw money in the ring after the match), Halcon de Plata & Rush b Felino & Mr. Niebla-DQ (thanks to Kris Zellner)
--The all-women's Invicta Fighting Championships show on 4/28 in Kansas City at Memorial Hall will be streaming its debut show free of charge on its web site live at 8 p.m. Eastern at Invicta FC.com. The show is headlined by former Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen vs. Romy Ruyssen of France and Lisa Ellis-Ward vs. Jessica Penne.