FRI UPDATE: Tons of Wrestlemania news/media, Former diva expecting?, Brock Lesnar, HHH, ROH

By Dave Meltzer | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Bryan and Lance Storm will be doing a show tonight after the ROH show talking all the latest news.  Bryan and I will be back tomorrow night with notes on all the weekend shows and the latest WrestleMania news, as well as Sunday and Monday nights. Bryan is in Florida and hosting a get together today before the ROH show in Fort Lauderdale.
We're looking for your thoughts on the ROH and Dragon Gate USA shows tonight, tomorrow as well as WrestleMania on Sunday for our polls so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
We're also looking for reports on the Dragon Gate USA show tonight, the Lucha Libre USA show in San Jose at the HP Pavilion as well as last night's Dragon Gate USA show and last night's NWA Ring Warriors show, and tomorrow Tribute to Championship Wrestling from Florida show.                     
Tonight's ROH iPPV from the Fort Lauderdale War Memorial Auditorium at 8 PM:

Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Roderick Strong for ROH title
Lance Storm vs. Mike Bennett
El Generico vs. Kevin Steen
Mark & Jay Briscoe vs. Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls
Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O'Reilly for TV title
Kenny King & Rhett Titus vs. Young Bucks street fight
and more
Tonight's Dragon Gate USA iPPV from Miami Beach at 8 p.m. for $1.99:

Cima & Ricochet vs. Johnny Gargano & Chuck Taylor for the tag titles
Low Ki vs. Pac
Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Akira Tozawa
Sabu & Jon Davis vs. Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez street fight
Sami Callihan vs. BxB Hulk
AR Fox vs Uhaa Nation
Masato Yoshino vs Rich Swann
and more.  There will be an angle involving Christina Von Eerie on the show.

A note on the show is that Cima was injured last night and we don't have a confirmation whether he'll be on the show tonight.  We will update the site later today.
Smackdown tonight will have a lot of clips from Fan Axxess plus Chris Jericho vs. Kofi Kingston and Zack Ryder vs. Drew McIntyre.
The live Ultimate Fighter on FX is tonight with Myles Jury of Team Cruz against Al Iaquinta of Team Faber, who was Faber's first pick and two fighters who are considered two of the strongest out there.
Tonight's Bellator at 8 p.m. on MTV 2 with all fights in the welterweight tournament
Raul Amaya (170) vs. Ben Saunders (170)
David Rickels (168.25) vs. Jordan Smith (169)
Bryan Baker (169.25) vs. Carlos Pereira (171)
Karl Amoussou (170) vs. Chris Lozano (171)
Prelims on at 6 p.m.
Pete Rogers (145.25) vs. Brandon Fleming (145.75)
Marianna Kheyfets (126) vs. Munah Holland (126)
Dan Cramer (185.5) vs. Jeff Nader (184.75)
Audrey Koreshkov (170.5) vs. Taiwan Howard (171)
Saul Almeida (155.75) vs. Matt Bessette (154.5)
Ryan Quinn (165) vs. Marc Stevens (164)
Parker Porter (257) vs. Randy Smith (254.25)
The Rock vs. Cena special airs at 7 p.m. tonight on Syfy right before Smackdown, as well as 11 p.m tonight and Universal HD.  It also airs 9 a.m. on the USA Network tomorrow and 6 p.m. on Mun 2.
G-4 will be having a Tough Enough marathon from Noon to 10 p.m. tomorrow followed by the Rock vs. Cena special at 10 p.m.
Tomorrow at 1 p.m. has the second ROH iPPV show

Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin
Roderick Strong vs. Jay Lethal
Eddie Edwards vs. Kevin Steen
One of the above matches will be for the ROH title pending the results tonight
Mark & Jay Briscoe vs. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin for the tag titles
Kenny King & Rhett Titus vs. Young Bucks in a tornado match
Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly
T.J. Perkins vs. Fire Ant
and more
Tomorrow at 2 p.m. has a tribute to Championship Wrestling From Florida show at 2 PM. from the Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach.
Tomorrow at 8 p.m. is the second Dragon Gate USA iPPV show

Cima & Ricochet vs. Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Low Ki & Akira Tozawa & BxB Hulk
Johnny Gargano vs. Masato Yoshino for Open the Freedom Gate title
Pac vs. Rich Swann vs. Lince Dorado vs. others
Sami Callihan vs. Sabu no rules
AR Fox vs. Arik Cannon
Jon Davis vs. Bobby Fish
Saturday night is also the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony from the American Airlines Arena in Miami.
Sunday is WrestleMania from Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL
John Cena vs. The Rock
Undertaker vs. HHH with Shawn Michaels as referee in a Hell in a Cell match
C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho for WWE title
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus for World title
Randy Orton vs. Kane
Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show for IC title
Team Teddy (Santino Marella & Kofi Kingston & R-Truth & Booker T & Great Khali & Zack Ryder) vs. Team Johnny (David Otunga & Mark Henry & Drew McIntyre & Jack Swagger & The Miz) with the winner getting to run both Raw and Smackdown
Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres vs. Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos
The day after WrestleMania Raw, traditionally the highest rated episode of the year, will be Monday night from the American Airlines Arena in Miami.  Smackdown will be Tuesday night from Orlando.
TNA is also taping Monday and Tuesday night in Orlando, with Tuesday being the go-home show for Lockdown.  Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley return at the tapings Monday.
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

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*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)

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*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)

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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, 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)

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*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)

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*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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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.

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Friday's News, Notes & Links
--There were 2885 tickets available at Stubhub alone at this writing, almost all under market value and many under $15.  This is a buyers market and not a sellers market as we get down to the wire.  The event is not sold out, but the best bargains are not buying tickets at face value. There are not a lot of tickets left, but there appear to be more tickets than there is demand right now so today and tomorrow may be good time for real bargains.    
--Regarding Brock Lesnar, he had not agreed to a deal as of a few hours ago.  There are a number of issues, both financial and number of dates, that needed to be worked out.   
--We don't have a confirmation that Terry Taylor is officially with WWE but he was at developmental and his name has been rumored for two weeks as being part of the new developmental system.  Brian Wittenstein, who worked underneath Taylor and Bob Ryder in TNA, was also talked of already being in WWE, which was seen by some as a confirmation that Taylor was coming in.
--John Cena is hosting a Make-a-Wish Pizza Party for more than 40 children and their families at Jungle Island tonight.
--A story in the Palm Beach Post about Dwayne Johnson's college football career including quotes from him, me, his mother and John Cena.
--Mike Tyson talks WWE Hall of Fame with ESPN, talking about how as a kid he would steal money to buy wrestling magazines. What a charming story.     
--John Cena rips Dwayne Johnson for the same old why doesn't he show up every Monday. By the way, despite the title of the radio interview, it is scripted. (thanks to Chuck Carroll)
--Edge, Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson talk with Brian Fritz.
--Vickie Guerrero noted she had a surprise party for Michelle McCool and wrote "I'm so excited for her bundle of joy," which sounds like confirmation of the rumors that she is pregnant.
--Zack Ryder talks his strategy to get noticed in today's Miami Herald.
--Results from Fan Axxess yesterday were Ezekiel Jackson b Hunico, Seth Rollins b Dean Ambrose, Usos b Primo & Epico in a non-title match, Bo Rotunda b Antonio Cesaro (thanks to Ty Dawson)
--I don't know if that non-title win will lead to a dark match at Mania but at one point, Usos vs. Primo & Epico was slotted as a dark match on Sunday.
--Seven questions with HHH with the LA Times. He talks about the difference between begin a wrestler and an executive and said if he could wrestle anyone in history in their prime it would be Buddy Rogers or Ric Flair.
-- Brian Fritz has interviews with John Cena, Dwayne Johnson and Edge.

--The Monday through Thursday WWE interviews in the Los Angeles Times site were the most read blog posts on the site each day this week.
--Amy Dumas (Lita) is in for WrestleMania activities, as are a ton of former stars and pretty much everyone from the Legends House reality show.
--AAA Lucha Libre has inked a deal with Masked Republic to distribute a one hour weekly show.  People interested in the show can email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
--As expected, Hornswoggle will be starring in the WWE Studios movie sequel in the "Leprechaun" series that is being filmed soon.
How many North American buys do you expect WrestleMania to do?
Under 500,000 4.2%
501-550,000 0.9%
551-600,000 2.8%
601-650,000 3.3%
651-700,000 7.5%
701-750,000 9.1%
751-800,000 11.0%
801-850,000 12.4%
851-900,000 9.1%
901-950,000 10.1%
951-1 million 12.4%
More than 1 million 19.0%

That's really surprising to me.  The Trump show only did 825,000, last year's show did 679,000 and people are talking like this could to more than 900,000.
Which show does more North American buys?

WrestleMania 74.0%
Jones vs. Evans 26.0%
What was the best of these WrestleManias?

13 3.8%
14 2.9%
15 0.7%
16 1.1%
17 56.0%
18 5.6%
19 11.4%
20 10.6%
21 1.8%
22 0.9%
23 1.1%
24 4.2%
Best of these WrestleMania matches?

Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin 49.6%
Benoit vs. HHH vs. Michaels 10.5%
Austin vs. Rock II 8.2%
Bret Hart vs. Michaels 5.7%
Hogan vs. Rock 5.7%
Edge & Christian vs. Hardys vs. Dudleys 4.8%
Michaels vs. Jericho 4.7%
Angle vs. Lesnar 3.3%
Angle vs. Benoit 2.8%
Austin vs. Rock I 2.0%
Austin vs. Michaels 1.4%
Guerrero vs. Angle 1.2%
--Lots of John Cena fans at Miami Airport.  A big "Let's go Cena" chant when Lita landed.
--The WWE guys are all trying to pal around with Mike Tyson.
--WrestleMania odds from the U.K.'s William Hall Agency:

John Cena -125
The Rock -110
HHH +350
Undertaker -500
C.M. Punk -200
Chris Jericho +150
Daniel Bryan +225
Sheamus -300
Cody Rhodes +110
Big Show -150
Randy Orton -400
Kane +325
--Odds for tonight's Ultimate Fighter fight:
Myles Jury -285
Al Iaquinta +225
--Mike Tyson was on Piers Morgan on CNN last night talking about his Vegas one-man show. Morgan mentioned the WWE Hall of Fame in passing but neither talked about it.
--Results from last night's Dragon Gate USA/CZW show in Miami Beach:  Mike Monroe & Trevor Reed b Wayne Van Dyke & Maxwell Chicago, Johnny Vandal b Maxx Stardom, Joey Saint b Shawn Prime, Low Ki b Bobby Fish, Ricochet b Mike Cruz, Samurai Del Sol (who will be appearing tonight as well) b Masato Yoshino, Cima & Masaaki Mochizuki b Scott Reed & Caleb Konley, Pac b AR Fox, Akira Tozawa & Uhaa Nation & BxB Hulk b Johnny Gargano & Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann and Sami Callihan & Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez, Danny Havoc b Lucky Thurteen in an Ultraviolent death match, D.J. Hyde b Drake Younger in an Ultraviolent death match 
--There will be tons of WWE first-run video on Youtube today and for the rest of the weekend.
--The ESPN Radio station in Raleigh on Thursday talked about the 25th anniversary of WrestleMania III, doing lots of trivia from the show. They played audio of the Hogan vs. Andre finish and pushed that Andre was living in North Carolina at the time. Andre lived in Ellerbee, NC on a ranch at that time and until his death six years later.
--A tour of the Canary Islands this weekend by the European based Nu Wrestling Evolution promotion that included Bobby Lashley, Chris Masters and Carlito was canceled due to issues in Spain, because it would have been difficult due a transit strike to get from Spain to the Canary Islands for the show.
--It will be interesting to see if this can help the gate, but yesterday's San Jose Mercury-News ran a story on the Lucha Libre USA show on the front page of the paper, as did the Contra Costa Times.  I can't remember WWE ever getting a front page of the paper story except involving Owen Hart or Chris Benoit, let alone Roy Shire. 
--Bret Hart was on Newstalk 1420 WHK in Cleveland.
---Court Bauer and Konnan did a podcast talking Vince McMahon, Vince competing with UFC, Scott Hall, Rey Mysterio and politics in wrestling among other topics.
--Sting signing a new contract via Dixie Carter's Twitter yesterday was all storyline. The idea is he's no longer G.M. so has to sign a new contract to be a wrestler.  He has a contract in place until the end of the year and has not signed a new deal.
--Ken Resnick will be appearing on the Traditional Championship Wrestling show on 4/7 in Fort Smith, AR at the Convention Center headlined by Cheerleader Melissa vs. Mickie James plus Boink the Clown, Matt Borne, trying to avoid legal issues. Chris Cruise handles the announcing for this group.
--ICW tonight in Miami at the Polish American Club at 1250 NW 22nd Ave. in Miami for $15 starting at 8 p.m. tonight with Stevie Richards headlining a show that also includes Jesse Neal and Christina Von Eerie.  There will also be an after show meet and greet with Tammy Sytch, Kevin Sullivan and Gangrel.  
--DDP predicts who will win the upcoming major MMA fights. Ian McCall also talks about his next fight.
--DOA Curtain Call on 4/22 at 4 p.m. in Portland, OR at the University Park Community Center.
--Wild Bill's Fight Night on 4/7 in Duluth, GA, with a Combat Sports EXPO in the parking lot all day, a bikini contest at 5 p.m. and fights at 8:30 p.m.  Expo is open to all ages. Fights are open to those 18 and older.
--UWC TV is up on YouTube.

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?