SAT. UPDATE: Mania notes, Mania ticket updates, bargains galore, Best Mania, Michaels & Barrett
Saturday, 31 March 2012 09:27
Bryan and I will be covering all of the weekend news, including the show, any Hall of Fame notes, latest updates from WrestleMania and more late tonight on Wrestling Observer radio. We will have shows tonight, tomorrow night after WrestleMania and our usual Monday night show after Raw and go back on the regular schedule from there.
We're looking for your thoughts on both last night's ROH and Dragon Gate USA shows, as well as today's ROH and Dragon Gate USA iPPV shows, as well as for Mania tomorrow. You can send in your thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match for each specific show to
We're looking for reports on the WWE Hall of Fame, the Dragon Gate USA show tonight and the Tribute to Championship Wrestling from Florida show along with Thursday night's NWA Ring Warriors and Dragon Gate shows.
G-4 will be having a Tough Enough season marathon from Noon to 10 p.m. today followed by the Rock vs. Cena special at 10 p.m. The Rock vs. Cena special is also today at 6 p.m. on mun2, 8 a.m. tomorrow morning on Oxygen, 10 a.m. tomorrow morning on G-4 and Noon tomorrow on CLOO.
Fuel has Ultimate Insider tonight at 7 p.m., UFC Tonight at 7:30 p.m., Best of Pride at 8 p.m, UFC Unleashed at 9 p.m. and UFC 135 at 10 p.m. as well as UFC on Fuel, the Sanchez vs. Ellenberger show at 1 a.m.
Today at 1 p.m. has the second ROH iPPV show
Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin for the ROH title
Roderick Strong vs. Jay Lethal
Eddie Edwards vs. Kevin Steen
Jay Lethal vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the TV title
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
Today at 2 p.m. has a tribute to Championship Wrestling From Florida show at 2 PM. from the Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach.
Tonight 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
This is the listed lineup, however Cima has a neck injury, didn't work last night and isn't expected to be working tonight, so the card will be changed around somewhat.
Tonight is also the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony from the American Airlines Arena in Miami.
ROH TV tonight:
Kyle O'Reilly vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Davey Richards vs. Ryan McBride
Eddie Edwards vs. Mike Bennett
The first and third match are part of the March Madness tournament they are doing. Kevin Steen also is interviewed on the show.
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
Primo & Epico vs. Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd vs. Usos for the tag titles - This will air at 6:30 p.m. as part of a Youtube pregame show.
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.
This Week's Observer: 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.
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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:
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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)
*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)
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*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)
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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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*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
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*April 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)
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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)
*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)
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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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*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
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*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
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*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
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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.
Saturday's News, Notes & Links
--We're doing an early update due to the ROH show in the afternoon. We will probably update with more later today after the show.
--There were still 2159 tickets available at Stubhub for WrestleMania. You can get in for as little as $6 now, although that's just for one person. If you are going in a group, you can get it with a decent sized group sitting together for $10 or $11.
--There is a huge story regarding the Nassau Coliseum regarding an investigation whether asbestos in the walls at the Coliseum are a cancer threat. Nassau County has admitted to asbestos problems in he walls, but of late there is a threat of a 75-person class action suit regarding workers at the arena because several of them have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and lung cancer. They claim they've sent bulk samples to three different labs which have all come back with dangerous levels of asbestos.
--Sad to report the death of Johnny Diamond, who helped start the career of Abyss and Chris Harris in Northern Kentucky, who passed away last month due to a heart attack. He wrestled in the 60s and 70s.
--Nothing new to report on the Brock Lesnar front. The proposal appears to be an angle that would lead to the announcement of a match on Monday for next year's show if the deal is done.
What was the best of these WrestleManias?
What was the best of these WrestleMania matches?
Undertaker vs. Michaels I 47.5%
Angle vs. Michaels 24.0%
Undertaker vs. Michaels II 13.0%
Flair vs. Michaels 5.0%
Undertaker vs. HHH II 4.2%
Undertaker vs. Batista 2.4%
Undertaker vs Edge 1.67%
Cena vs. HHH 1.0%
Cena vs. Michaels 0.6%
HHH vs. Batista 0.6%
Poll on MMA Uncensored for this week
81.9% of those responding didn't see the show
Poll on Impact for this week
60.7% of those responding didn't see the show. That's the highest percentage for a TNA show I can recall. Not good.
Greatest wrestler in San Antonio's territorial history?
Terry Funk 32.1%
Kerry Von Erich 13.2%
Wahoo McDaniel 9.8%
Tully Blanchard 9.6%
Fritz Von Erich 9.1%
Gino Hernandez 7.9%
Jose Lothario 6.2%
Mil Mascaras 5.7%
Johnny Valentine 4.8%
Red Bastien 1.7%
--Some more interviews:
Shawn Michaels talks his role
, why the winner of the main event is important and hinting that the finish leads to an announcement on Monday (for next year's main event, which at least was the plan).
--WWE announced these rules for the Hall of Fame tonight for fans: no chants or catcalls from the audience during the show (yeah, like they'll listen to that one) and dress nice, business casual.
--Big Show and Miz will be appearing on tomorrow night's Kids Choice Awards on Nick.
--Bellator from last night in Uncasville, CT in welterweight tournament action:
Ben Saunders b Raul Amaya 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 decision
David Rickels b Jordan Smith :22 knockout
Bryan Baker b Carlos Pereira 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 decision
Karl Amoussou b Chris Lozano choke 2:05
--The next Tachi Palace Fights are 5/10 at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, CA headlined by Casey Olsen from Fresno vs. Joe Soto from Porterville and Francisco Rivera vs. Chad George.
--While the ROH show last night was a complete disaster if you watched it on iPPV, we only got one complaint on the Dragon Gate show from someone who logged in, paid for it and got an error message for 20 minutes and then asked for a refund. But that was the only complaint. However, we got very little feedback so I don't know that the $1.99 price tag made that much of a difference.
--A group called Worldwide Mixed Martial Arts is running tonight in El Paso at the Don Haskins Center with a show featuring a lot of name fighters:
Lionel Lanham (185.4) vs. Brad Peterson (184.5)
Deutsch Pu'u (264) vs. Esteves Jones (236.5)
Frank Gomez (145.8) vs. Chris Gruetzemacher (145.2)
Darrill Titties Schoonover (247) vs. Paul Buentello (260)
Rodney Wallace (204) vs. Derrick Mehman (204.8)
Jamaine Facey (170) vs. Willie Parks (169.8)
Drew Fickett (155.8) vs. Kevin Knabjian (155.8)
Lyle Beerbehom (170) vs. Cleburn Walker (170)
Thomas Denny (170) vs. Karo Parisyan (169)
Sean McCorkle (312) vs. Brian Heden (287)
--Eddie Farhat Jr., the son of The Sheik, or as Mike Tyson would say, the real flame throwing Sheik, is doing a tribute to his father show on 4/14 in Jackson, MI at the AWWL Event Hall in he rear of Avenue Billiards. The show will be built around crowning a United States champion with the belt Sheik wore during the 70s.
--All Pro Wrestling has the Young Lions Cup on 5/5 in Hayward at the APW Garage, a 16-man tournament that will include young wrestlers from not only Northern California, but Southern California, Hawaii (Action Zone Wrestling) and U.K. The 16 men will be announced on 4/16. Round one will be four tag team matches. The winners of the tag team matches will face each other in round two and from there it's a traditional single elimination tournament. They also have a Gym Wars show on 4/14. Always the nights of UFC live events.
--Smoky Mountain Wrestling from last night in Kingsport, TN: J.B. Prime & Mountain Goat Jack & Cody Blade b Lukas Angel & Donovan & Shane Daniels, Zac Vincent b Jeff Connelly, Chase Owens b Matt Conrad, Sigmon b Alyx Winters, Shawn Shultz b Shane Andrews, Menace b Lance Erikson, Jason Kincaid b Eric Darkstorm, Keith Knox & Wayne Adkins b Bryan Kyle & Thorn, Sigmon over Chase Owens, Shawn Shultz, Menace, Jason Kincaid and Zac Vincent, Beau James & Josh Crawford b Tony Givens & Chris Richards in a barbed wire cage match.
--Local Town Wrestling drew 300-400 in Staunton, VA last night. Matt Hardy was cleaning up at the gimmick table which delayed the start of the show by 45 minutes: Logan Leroux b Jason Blade, Reby Sky b Fate, Ricky Morton b Gregory Vercetti, John Kermon & Zema Ion b J-Sinn & Lance Lude, Matt Hardy b Sonjay Dutt (thanks to Tim Noel)