MON. UPDATE: Latest Overeem strategy, unique billing for WWE stars, Cyborg suspension, Punk talks



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

Bryan and I will be back tonight with coverage of Raw, the latest news, as well as answering e-mail questions that you can send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it If you send in questions that weren't asked last night, send them in again because you'll have a better chance of them getting answered.

We're looking for reports from Raw tonight in Washington, DC.  We're looking for the Superstars matches, dark matches, attendance and anything else that wouldn't be evident from the live show to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 
Brock Lesnar is scheduled for the show tonight and the Extreme Rules show on 4/29 will start to take shape.  The actors from The Three Stooges movie will be guest hosts. The dark match is John Cena & C.M. Punk vs. Kane & Chris Jericho. (Web Editor Josh note: Will Sasso plays Curly in the movie and did an angle with Bret Hart in WCW.)
 
Smackdown will be live on Syfy tomorrow night at 8 p.m. from Hampton, VA.  We're also looking for reports live from that show.  Appearing on the show will be the cast from Legends House, including Roddy Piper, Gene Okerlund, Jimmy Hart, Hillbilly Jim, Jim Duggan, Tony Atlas, Howard Finkel and Pat Patterson, as well as Dusty Rhodes, Mick Foley and Sgt. Slaughter.
 
The WWE's annual post-Mania European tour will start on Thursday and continue until the 21st, with both Raw and Smackdown next week being taped shows from London. 
 
For UFC on Fuel, The Edgar vs. Maynard II show airs tonight at midnight Eastern time.  Best of Pride airs at 7 p.m. tomorrow night.  Friday's Ultimate Fighter replays at 8 p.m. tomorrow.  Evans vs. Jones Prime Time episode one (very good) airs at 9 p.m.  UFC Champions Roundtable with Jay Glazer airs tomorrow at 9:30 p.m.  UFC Tonight airs at 10 p.m. and UFC Ultimate Insider (Evans and Jones together as guests) at 10:30 p.m.

Double Issue Observer Alert: Brock Lesnar is back, Wrestlemania recap
 
We've got a monster issue covering in depth the Brock Lesnar signing, WrestleMania, the Alistair Overeem drug test failure, the ROH match of the year and all the major news from the past week.  It's our annual special double WrestleMania issue.
 
Our lead story concerns the WWE signing of Lesnar.  We look at the details of the new deal, how much he has to move business for the deal to be worth it, exactly how long the sides have been talking, how this ties into his fight with Alistair Overeem, the most top WWE stars are guaranteed on their deal and what the biggest names in WWE earn.  We look at how the big names get paid.
 
We look at the potential ups and downs of the deal, how this ties in with The Rock, Lesnar's potential opponents, the original plan for his debut, Lesnar's original WWF contract in 2000 and his second major contract in 2003 and details.  We look at when he left, why he left, his attempts at football, New Japan Pro Wrestling and MMA.  We look at his return angle, the Paul Heyman aspect of the question, what is currently being advertised for the next two PPV shows, the obvious matches, and a unique look at how this affects both WWE and UFC.
 
We also have full coverage of WrestleMania 28, notes on the Rock vs. Cena finish, what Cena demanded on the finish, the story behind Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan and how it backfired, plus a look at WrestleMania 28 as compared to the biggest shows in history.  We look at every WWE show in history that drew 60,000 fans as well as the biggest money shows in history, and who has drawn the most number of them.
 
We also look at how much this needs to do on PPV to be officially, the biggest money show in pro wrestling history.
 
We also have detailed coverage of every match, with star ratings and poll results.
 
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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You can also subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O Box 1228, Campbell, CA  95009-1228. 
 
We also have a look at a time line of Alistair Overeem over the last few months leading to his steroid test positive, what it means, the unique situation it puts things in, and how soon he'll be able to fight again, or if he'll be able to fight again in UFC.
 
We also include Dana White's reaction, and what is the probable new main event for UFC 146.
 
We also have an in-depth look at the WWE Hall of Fame, with the highlights from the speeches, notes about them, as well as a history of everyone that was involved.  This is likely the biggest feature out there on the show.
 
We also have part one of our career bio on Chief Jay Strongbow, looking at both his pre-Jay Strongbow days as Joe Scarpa, and his WWWF run where he spent years as the No. 2 babyface, including his style, his role and his most remembered matches.
 
We also look at Randy Orton getting dropped from "The Marine" movie, an update on the WWE television network, lots more on television shows planned for the network, more on Legends House, Terry Taylor in WWE and his background with HHH, updates on WWE injuries including Wade Barrett, a very interesting John Cena story dating back 11 years ago last month, more on WWE movies, HHH talks the difference between being a wrestler and an executive, newcomer set to start on WWE television this week and Cena talks about the last year of his life.  We also look at new WWE non-TV angles, what part of the company got a morale kick in the butt and Edge's future.
 
We also look at the ROH iPPV shows from the past week, talking about the technical issues, what was good and bad on the show, and coverage of both shows.
 
We also have a look at the Friday night ratings scoreboard.
 
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.
Also in this week's issue:
 
--One of the biggest independent crowds of the year as a gimmick that has drawn for nearly 30 years pulls another sellout
 
--Prince Devitt becomes a double champion
 
--An international promotion looks to syndicate TV in the U.S. and to run tours
 
--An interesting battle for Hispanic television in the U.S.
 
--Notes on the recent AAA TV tapings
 
--Coverage of the Dragon Gate USA shows over WrestleMania weekend
 
--Notes on the 2012 Champion Carnival tournament
 
--Open of the All Japan jr. heavyweight tag team tournament
 
--Notes on the upcoming Pro Wrestling NOAH tag team tournament
 
--Top worker fired for unique reasons
 
--Independent star signs contract overseas
 
--Notes on the open of this year's Japan Cup tournament
 
--One of the best high flyers and workers in the business set for a return in a few weeks
 
--More on the accidental death while watching WrestleMania
 
--NWA changes its leader
 
--Arrest of former Tough Enough winner Maven
 
--Notes on upcoming ROH shows
 
--Roderick Strong talks chair shots to the head
 
--Kurt Angle and his latest injuries and escapades, as well as his mother being scammed and his reaction
 
--Update on the Lockdown card
 
--TNA star gets his own TV series
 
--Victory Road PPV estimates
 
--Future of TNA twitter promotion
 
--Update on Ric Flair in TNA
 
--Changes in a major recent angle
 
--Update on Jeff Hardy
 
--A new No. 1 contenders fight in UFC
 
--Build of Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans
 
--Notes on the Atlanta PPV
 
--How many tickets have been sold for all the upcoming major UFC shows
 
--Update on King Mo's situation
 
--Update on the next Strikeforce show
 
--Name fighter says he will retire if he loses his next fight
 
--Who faces the Jones vs Evans winner
 
--Tons of new UFC matches
 
--Bellator future
 
--Bellator second television show
 
--Next Bellator card

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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*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
history)

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Monday's News, Notes & Links
 
--The UFC has filed a license request for Alistair Overeem to be licensed to face Junior Dos Santos on 5/26 in Las Vegas.  The hearing will be on 4/24.  There is a lot at stake for everyone involved right now in this situation.
 
--The California State Athletic Commission today upheld the full year suspension for Cris Cyborg for testing positive for Stanazolol.  She, through her lawyer, claimed the substance she took was given to her by her coach as a weight loss aid.  One member of the commission, John Frierson, introduced a motion to cut her suspension to six months for her willingness to appear and take responsibility, but nobody would second the motion. That would have been one scary bad decision.  
 
--There is something to watch.  Brianna & Nicole Garcia, the Bella Twins in WWE, are doing an autograph show on 5/19 at Frank & Sons in the City of Industry, CA.  They are being advertised as "Brianna and Nichole, formerly The Bella Twins in WWE."  We also got word of a convention in New Jersey that has them booked although is not advertising it yet and WWE talent is not allowed at their events.  If they are not on television tonight, I'd read something into this. 

Given Nikki Bella just beat Beth Phoenix in a non-title match at Smackdown, it wouldn't seem that they would be quitting or being let go today.  There were rumors over the weekend that WWE had made some cuts but they wouldn't be announced until everything was finalized and everyone was contacted.  WWE did not confirm anything regarding the Twins.

Regarding the 5/19 autograph signing, besides the Twins, also advertised are Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Vader, Bob Backlund, Superstar Billy Graham, Road Warrior Animal and Koko Ware.  They have another one scheduled on 6/23 with Lex Luger, George Steele, Tito Santana and Rick Steiner. (thanks to Robb Block)
 
--C.M. Punk was on a TV morning show in Washington, DC, promoting tonight's show.  When Steve Austin was brought up and him challenging Austin was talked about, he said he was above challenging Austin and that he's the champion and Austin is retired, so Austin should be challenging him.  He was clearly working while saying that. 

He did say that Rock had proved him wrong about his return and that he has a wait-and-see attitude on Brock Lesnar, saying that he already walked out once because he couldn't handle the pressure of being world champion.  That's isn't why he walked out, but Punk could be angling for a potential match there as well, and quite frankly, Lesnar should be viewed as a wait-and-see given his track record.
 
--Smackdown did 2.72 million viewers on Friday, well below the pre-Mania numbers so no boost at all from Monday's Lesnar intrigue. Ultimate Fighter did 947,000 viewers, the lowest number for a first-run episode in the history of the show.

--Randy Orton retweeted something a fan sent in saying "Everyone knows about Randy Orton past, so you offer him the movie part and then decide to drop him?"  Unlike others, Orton is pretty much immune for the usual backlash when you say something on twitter that the company isn't happy with.
 
--Rashad Evans and Jon Jones were taped together for tomorrow night's Ultimate Insider TV show that airs at 10:30 p.m. tomorrow on Fuel.  Apparently they went back and forth as you can imagine.
 
--The 5/12 Border Wars show in Toronto will be headlined by the Davey Richards vs. Kevin Steen ROH title match with the piledriver legal that they've been building up since December.  Notable the match is in Toronto, as they clearly want Steen to be the babyface on that night. The match will be on iPPV.  Kevin Kelly wrote yesterday it would be on iPPV but not Go Fight Live.  We're told that some are unhappy Kelly put that out -- not that it isn't true, but that they haven't finalized a deal for a new carrier.    
 
--Here's an update on legalization of MMA in New York. The story notes how State Sen. Joe Griffin of Rome, NY, has sponsored a bill that he hopes will pass in the senate by the end of the month.  The senate has passed it before but it always gets hung up in the Assembly.
 
What rating to you expect Raw to get tonight?
2.8 or less 1.9%
2.9 1.1%
3.0 5.6%
3.1 16.2%
3.2 22.9%
3.3 16.9%
3.4 12.8%
3.5 11.3%
3.6 3.8%
3.7 3.0%
3.8 0.8%
3.9 or more 3.8%
 
What describes most accurately your feelings right now toward Overeem vs. Dos Santos? 
Overeem should be fired right now 40.8%
I hope Overeem's second sample comes up clean so we can have the fight 25.7%
He really should be fired, but I don't want him fired because of his marketability 14.8%
He needs to be out for at least one year 8.5%
He needs to be out for longer than one year because of how everything went down 7.4%
He needs to be suspended, but am hoping the suspension is short 2.8%
 
What was the best of these shows?
WrestleMania 63.0%
ROH night two 11.6%
UFC in Japan 8.6%
Strikeforce Tate vs. Rousey 5.1%
Dragon Gate night two 3.4%
Dragon Gate night one 1.7%
TNA Victory Road 1.7%
ROH Anniversary show 1.7%
WWE Elimination Chamber 1.0%
UFC Ellenberger vs. Sanchez 1.0%
ROH night one 0.7%
TNA Against All Odds 0.3%
 
What was the best TV show of last week?
Raw 69.6%
ROH 7.3%
Smackdown 6.2%
Impact 5.8%
Prime Time Evans vs. Jones 5.4%
Ultimate Fighter 3.5%
Inside MMA 1.2%
UFC Tonight 1.2%
 
Did you like the latest ROH TV show?
Excellent 25.3%
Good 41.3%
Average 21.3%
Fair 1.3%
Poor 10.7%
        52.2% of those responding didn't see the show 
 
--More notes on a seminar and tryout for All Japan Pro Wrestling on 6/2 in Deer Park, NY at the Sportatorium.  This is a onetime event from noon to 4 p.m. that day with cardio conditioning, in-ring drills, matches, promos and ring psychology being talked about.  You will be taught Japanese style wrestling from Keiji Muto and Kai of All Japan.  Bring your attire because some people from the seminar may be asked to do a match later that night on the PWS show.  Only 50 people will be allowed.  Registration fee is $199.  For more info go to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 
--The 6/2 show will feature Keiji Muto, Mil Mascaras and Vader all appearing.
 
--AAA booker Konnan and former WWE writer and MLW promoter Court Bauer are back on Radio MLW for free and Stitcher radio. In the latest show, they tell a story about Shawn Michaels not liking to lose.
 
--The funeral for pro wrestling announcer Miguel Alonso, made famous in the 70s on SIN which was syndicated around the country, and later in the 80s with WWF and 90s with WCW, will have the viewing on 4/13 from 5-7 p.m., the rosary from 7-9 p.m. and a service at 9 a.m. on 4/14 at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary at 4472 Lincoln Ave., in Cypress, CA.  For more info you can call 800-204-3131.  The public is invited. (thanks to Mike Lano)
 
--NWA Metro Pro Wrestling from Saturday night in Kansas City:  Dey Osyleyz b Ice Man, ACH b Sir Bradley Charles, Kahagus b Jeremy Wyatt, Dingo b Dan Walsh, Mark Sterling b Tyler Cook, Dey Oysleyz b Mad Dog McDowell, Jeremy Wyatt b Michael Strider, Santana Garrett b  Christina Von Eerie, Adam Pearce b Matt Murphy to retain NWA title. (Pearce lost the title to Colt Cabana last night). (thanks to Al Haft)
 
--Lion Fight Muay Thai VI on 5/12 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas headlined by WBC light heavyweight champion Joe Schilling vs. Simon Marcus.
 
 
--SoCal Pro Wrestling on 4/21 in Oceanside, CA at the Boys & Girls Club with a TLC match with Kid Caramba vs. Tommy Wilson as the main event.
 
--WSU has a DVD taping on 4/28 in Deer Park, NY at the NYWC Sportatorium with Jessicka Havoc vs. Mercedes Martinez as the main event.  There is also a mixed tag team tournament for the King & Queen of the Ring on 4/14 in Dunnellen, FL at the Knights of Columbus Hall with the NWS promotion.  Snitsky will be on that show.
 
--NWA Rampage Pro Wrestling on 4/15 at 3 p.m. at Johnny G's in Warner-Robins, GA for a TV taping.
 
--Traditional Championship Wrestling from Saturday night in Fort Smith, AR at the Convention Center before 600 fans:  Greg Anthony b X-Cal, Boink the Clown (Matt Osborne) b Les Mayne, Dexter Hardaway b Dustin Heritage, Genetic Perfection b Richie Adams & Les Mayne, Jon Michael Worthington b Sigmon, Mickie James b Cheerleader Melissa, Matt Riviera b Jeff Jett, Shane Williams b Richie Adams, Tim Storm b Killer Nikels.  Chris Cruise and Ken Resnick worked as announcers.  Bobby Eaton works as an agent for this group.  Next show is 5/5 in Pine Bluff, AR featuring Tammy Sytch, Ricky Morton, Boink and Eaton.
 
--GOUGE on 4/14 in Roxboro, NC at the National Guard Armory for a 7 p.m. show.
 
--NWS on 4/20 in Kearny, NJ at the Presbyterian Boys and Girls Club with Kevin Nash appearing as a referee.  4/27 in Manville, NJ at the VFW Hall has Fit Finlay, Danny Inferno and Mini Boogeyman.   
 
--IWA East Coast on 5/4 in Clendenin, WV headilned by Rhino vs. B.J. Whitmer plus Mad Man Pondo and Chance Prophet.
 
--Tulalip Championship Wrestling on Saturday night in Marysville, WA:  Calibur X b Ray Brooks, Kellen Raeth & Christopher Ryseck b Brickhouse Bereta & Dave Turner, Ethan HD b Exile-COR, Aaron Bolo & Damon James b Sid Sylum & Mike Santiago.  Next show is 4/14 in Marysville, WA at the Pacific Rim Restaurant  (thanks to Charles Short)