MON. UPDATE: More on Mania revenue, new WWE PPV match, TNA injury angle, Brock Lesnar's sweet deal



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

Tonight: Brock On RAW
 
Bryan and I will be back tonight for Wrestling Observer radio, talking the WrestleMania buy number, today's Raw, more fallout from Lockdown and more.  Another note is we will be doing the show live together on Wednesday night for the first time since December.

We're looking for your thoughts on last night's TNA Lockdown as well as Saturday's UFC show from Stockholm, 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 today's Raw from London, yesterday's WWE house shows with Raw in Nottingham and Smackdown in Geneva, Switzerland, in as well as Thursday night's show in Dublin and Saturday night's show in Berlin.
 
Raw is being taped right now in London a few hours before it airs worldwide at the O2 Arena in London.  There is no Smackdown house show today in Europe as the stars will be on Raw.  C.M. Punk vs. Mark Henry in a no DQ, no count out title match is the main event, plus Brock Lesnar appears.
 
Smackdown and NXT will be taped on Tuesday, also from London, England. 
 
Fuel will be airing a replay of Saturday night's show from Stockholm at 8 p.m. Eastern tonight. 
 
The Raw crew goes to Rome on Tuesday and Milan, Italy on Wednesday.  The Smackdown crew goes to Sheffield, England on Wednesday.  We're looking for reports on all the European shows. 

TNA will be taping TV on Tuesday and Wednesday in Orlando because today is a travel day.
 
This Week's Observer: Brock Is Back

A look at Brock Lesnar in WWE is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which also looks at more on Alistair Overeem's situation and the situation with the next UFC heavyweight title shot, and a look at the glory days of Southern California wrestling in a biography of announcer Miguel Alonso, who passed away this past week.

Our lead story talks about the Lesnar vs. Cena match, the lessons and examples of putting on a major match on a "B" PPV show, looking at Cena vs. Punk, Steve Austin's planned coming out of retirement match and Rock & Cena vs. Miz & R-Truth.  We look at what makes Lesnar completely unique to the WWE main event scene on a business negotiating level, and being a former UFC champion is actually a tiny part of it.

We look at why the demands on Lesnar to succeed in driving business is completely different than for someone like C.M. Punk.  We look at what the first Lesnar rating showed, not just in the overall number but in the key opening quarter.

We look at the two matches and dates that have the best chance of moving business. We look at the creative, and how UFC, unscripted, appears to have done a better job of bringing him in due to a boundary that even scripted, WWE has never allowed itself to cross.  We also look back at certain major programs WWE did that are similar to this and whether they worked or not.  We also look at why, given Lesnar's track record, doing the best thing for short-term Lesnar business may not be worth the risk, and why this approach is the more conservative.

We look at Lesnar's second week of television, as well a what is likely to happen in Chicago for the PPV.

We've also got a look at where the UFC 146 main event stands today.  We look at the Overeem situation, as well as look at the prospective other opponents and evaluate who should get the next shot, as well as who people want to see get the next shot.  We also look at the major issues involved in the hearing.

We also have a feature on Miguel Alonso and the heyday of Los Angeles wrestling.  We look at Alonso's death, how wrestling became a staple on Wednesday nights in prime time and when and why it moved into a Spanish affiliate.  We look at the national exposure of Los Angeles wrestling during the early days of what is now Univision.  We look at the wrestler who changed the face of Southern California wrestling in 1968 and became its biggest drawing card for most of the next 14 years, and how he differed from the previous Latin stars in the market.

We look at the stars from Mexico who headlined in California during the era, and the story behind the television show.  We also look back to the first closed-circuit pro wrestling show in history, as well as the decline of the territory, and how different promoters viewed its exposure into their markets.  We also look at how Alonso got his jobs in WWF and WCW after the closing of the local promotion.

We also have the first estimates of how WrestleMania did in 2012, more on the departure of the Bella Twins from WWE and a look at the cost of having Dwayne Johnson at Survivor Series.  We've got more on Daniel Bryan "yes" chants and signs, a rundown of the Extreme Rules show, notes on upcoming three hour Raw shows, will Undertaker return next year and more on Legends House.
We also have an update on the developmental in WWE and the latest moves that have been made including a very strange television move.

We also look at a segment edited off the show, a look at Dwayne Johnson and the end of his football career, WWE gives awards on a television show, notes on Miz and Christian at WrestleMania, why Del Rio was pulled from the show, and Punk changes his tune on Rock.

We've also got our weekly Friday night ratings scoreboard, with Smackdown, Ultimate Fighter, Prime Time and Bellator and how they stacked up both in ratings, audience, and in the key demos and who was up and down and why.

We've also got a feature on the New Japan Cup tournament, including a detailed look at the second night of competition, as well as a look at the next New Japan PPV show.

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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Also in this week's issue:

--Update on the Gran Alternative tournament

--Dragon Gate WrestleMania weekend rundown

--Two major promotions working together for a big show in July

--Update on the All Japan jr. heavyweight tag team tournament

--Former WWE performers starting up a new promotion later this month

--The most famous man ever to be a regular pro wrestling announcer and the name will shock most people

--Scott Hall's latest arrest details

--Update on Nigel McGuinness' fund raising for his documentary

--Notes on a big weekend in Toronto

--Change in the leadership of the NWA

--The end of one of the famous wrestling arenas

--More notes from the bio of Joe Blanchard

--More on the arrest of Maven Huffman

--Son of Hall of Famer released from baseball contract

--More on the ROH and Go Fight Live issues, as well as plans for ROH's biggest match so far this year, Davey Richards vs. Kevin Steen in Toronto on 5/12

--Update on the last iPPV numbers

--ROH and CHIKARA joint show notes

--Details of the next several weeks of ROH television and where angles are going

--Notes on the new Spike contract with TNA

--Why people were breathing a sigh of relief when the deal was announced

--Kurt Angle and the Olympics update

--Update on the Lockdown show

--Notes on the last few weeks of Ring Ka King

--Thoughts on someone under consideration to win first singles world title

--What happened at Cris Cyborg's hearing regarding suspension

--California looking to introduce new legislation

--Joe Rogan goes against the grain, claims marijuana is performance enhancing

--Nick Diaz's next match signed for a few weeks from now

--Notes on the Brazilian version of Ultimate Fighter being on U.S. TV

--Tons of new UFC matches signed

--UFC on FOX schedule for the rest of the year

--How UFC is part of FOX's major change in programming philosophy

--Notes on this past week's Bellator and next week's show

--Ultimate freak show match signed

--The supposed return to prominence of K-1, except as an American group

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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Monday's News, Notes & Links
 
--On the $67 million number for WrestleMania that WWE announced earlier today, that is the current estimate of all revenues derived from the live show itself (live gate, merchandise and worldwide PPV).  That is not a number that includes events like Fan Axxess, the Hall of Fame and such.  It will be, by a significant margin, the largest grossing single event in pro wrestling history.  That is not WWE's cut of the revenue because the vast majority of that income is PPV, which gets split with the cable companies.
 
--C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE title is now official for the 4/29 Extreme Rules PPV, as if anyone didn't expect that coming in.
 
--As far as TNA went, nobody had any explanation as to why the crowd was how it was, but people were very down about it. As far as the swanton off the cage, it was meant to be an injury angle for Kurt Angle to get some rest.  No time frame for a return other than he usually comes back way too fast.
 
--If you attended TNA at a theater, let me know the experience, attendance, and if there were technical issues as there were in a lot of places which led to cancellations and refunds.
 
Some interesting MMA tweets today:

Bellator 170-pound champ Ben Askren --

"The USOC random tests Olympic athletes in all sports.  Dana saying testing his fighters would be impossible is a bold face lie.  Just making a statement about a level playing field.  I didn't say it wouldn't be expensive, just that it is not possible."
 
Dana White's response is not to address what he said, but instead --

"When ambien can't sleep, it takes Ben Askren.  The most boring fighter in MMA history.  I would rather watch flies fuck. Ben makes Fitch look like Wanderlei Silva."
 
--And Victor Conte on the impossibility of UFC doing random drug testing:

"He means it's impossible to randomly drug test fighters without catching hundreds of them doping."
 
--Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal today has a story about Ryan Braun and Alistair Overeem.  He called UFC's drug testing policy a bad joke.  Not a good day to be Dana White in his hometown. 
 
--New matches announced for the 5/12 ROH iPPV from Toronto, called Border Wars, are Fit Finlay vs. Roderick Strong, Eddie Edwards vs. Rhino and Mark & Jay Briscoe vs. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas in a Fight Without Honor.  While not announced, Lance Storm vs. Mike Bennett will eventually be added. 
 
--Shane Douglas' Extreme Reunion promotion on 4/28 in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory at 7 p.m. has announced Shane Douglas vs. Sabu as the main event, billed cleverly as "The Night the Line was Erased.," plus Jerry Lynn vs. Justin Credible, Al Snow vs. C.W. Anderson, Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke & Tracy Smothers vs. Stevie Richards & Blue Meanie & ?, Raven vs. Gary Wolfe, Balls Mahoney vs. Axl Rotten, plus 2 Cold Scorpio, Sandman, New Jack, Mustafa, Danny Doring, Joel Gertner, Bob Artese, Stephen DeAnglis, John Finnegan, Mike Kehner and more. 

There will also be a Fan Fest from 9 a.m. to Noon with all the stars.  They are also looking for hot women (isn't everyone) to be the new Queen of Extreme Reunion so you can apply at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   The promotion noted that due to the configuration of the building, this show will not be offered as an iPPV.  They are also working on future shows as this is meant to be the start of a new ECW style promotion.
 
--Brock Lesnar's new ring gear is here. Yes, Lesnar is getting to wear clothing that has sponsors, which was a hell of a deal he cut for himself and he's the first person in history to have that right under a WWE contract.  
 
--Lance Storm talks WrestleMania weekend, his thoughts on his ROH match as well as his thoughts on the Hall of Fame. A good read. 
 
--For Fuel tomorrow night, the schedule is Best of Pride at 7 p.m., a replay of Friday's Ultimate Fighter at 8 p.m., a replay of the Prime Time show with Jones vs. Evans at 9 p.m., the Countdown show (debut) at 9:30 p.m., UFC Tonight at 10 p.m. and Ultimate Insider at 10:30 p.m.  
   
What did you think of Saturday night's ROH TV show?
Excellent 55.6%
Good 25.9%
Average 7.4%
Fair 4.9%
Poor 6.2%

54.2% of those responding didn't see the show
 
What did you think of Jones vs. Evans Prime Time 2
Excellent 42.6%
Good 42.6%
Average 4.9%
Fair 4.9%
Poor 4.9%

65.5% of those responding didn't see the show.  People are liking this, but not many are watching since the move to FX.
 
What do you think of the way UFC is handling the Overeem situation?
Bad, not wanting to expand testing at this point exposes an agenda 62.0%
Fine, they shouldn't do anything until the commission rules 23.4%
Fine, they should leave all testing and rulings to the commission 14.6%
 
Best TV show of the past week?
Raw 30.5%
UFC from Sweden 22.1%
Impact 20.5%
ROH 10.1%
UFC Prime Time Evans vs. Jones 5.8%
UFC Insider Evans vs. Jones 3.2%
Bellator 2.6%
Ultimate Fighter 2.6%
Smackdown 1.6%
MMA Uncensored 0.6%
UFC Tonight 0.3%
 
--Bruno Santos is out Bellator's middleweight tournament semifinals this weekend with a shoulder injury.  Andreas Spang will now be facing Brian Rogers on the show in Cleveland.
 
--Several WWE wrestlers are scheduled to appear at the 6/27 Brooklyn Cyclones game for Anti-Bullying Night at MCU Park.  The wrestlers will be there for a pregame rally at 5:30 p.m. to address the audience against bullying and to encourage fans to sign up for Be a Star.
 
--Mick Foley has said that he has written a blog about Dean Ambrose but will not publish it until his new book deal.  They are working an angle between the two to lead to Ambrose's having a television debut that means something right off the bat.
 
--Devon Nicholson has issued a grandstand challenge to Kurt Angle for an amateur wrestling match.  He ran down Angle for making a mockery of amateur wrestling and said that he tore his MCL in early November but is still competing and training and won't get surgery until after the Olympics in the event has can represent Canada, since he's first alternate.  Keep in mind Nicholson does want to work for TNA since he's unlikely to be in WWE since he's sued the promotion.

--Andrew Garvey of Fighters Only magazine noted that the note on BAMMA being on Ch. 5 in the U.K. which sounds like a big deal on paper, being on one of the few terrestrial channels, probably doesn't mean as much as you'd think.  UFC was on Ch. 5 until last year and it didn't seem to make a lot of difference.  Garvey also noted he never saw any ads for BAMMA and only found out about it when Michael Schiavello wrote something on Facebook about it two minutes before the show went on the air.  He said the only people who would have known about it were those who stumbled onto it switching channels around and much of the target audience would be out on a Saturday night.
 
-- UFC fighters Nick and Nate Diaz, as well as area independent wrestler Sir Samurai, competed in yesterday's Ice Breaker Triathlon in Granite Bay, CA.  It was a 1/2 mile swim, a 13 mile bicycle race and 4 mile run.
 
--Regarding Larry Zbyszko missing WrestleReunion, he had called promoter Sal Corrente five weeks or so ago and said his passport was expiring and was advanced $500 to renew and expedite the passport.  He was told to expedite it so he'd have it in a week and there would be no issue.  He called Corrente on 4/9 to tell him he still didn't have his passport and when asked why he didn't expedite it as he was told, said someone told him not to waste the money.

The passport is expected to come in this week, but unfortunately, that meant he missed the entire event.  Corrente was upset because they were looking at photo ops of Zbyszko with Bruno Sammartino as well as with Rick Martel (two former AWA champions together).  The advance money was given back out of Zbyszko's pay for the Miami WrestleReunion but they did lose money on the plane flight purchased to get him to Toronto.
 
--An interview with Edge from this weekend's Wizard World Comic Con in Toronto.
 
--TNA developmental wrestler Jessie Godderz & Rudy Switchblade won the OVW tag titles this past week.  Godderz, a bodybuilder described as way not ready when he did a house show tour with TNA, is currently in Planet muscle Magazine (pages 116-120) and Exercise & Health Magazine (pages 66-72).
 
--WSU's King and Queen tournament from Saturday night in Dunellen, NJ:  Jana & Johnny Knockout b Rich Michaels & Nikki Syx, Jennifer Cruz & Mike Dennis b Dixie McGuire & Austin Williams, Jenny Rose & Cannonball b Nicollette the Monkey & Nicky Oceans, Tina San Antonio & Jack Spade b Rick Cataldo & J.D. Smoothie, Jennifer Cruz & Mike Dennis b Jana & Johnny Knockout, Jessicka Havok b Marti Belle, Allisyn Kay & Sassy Stephanie b Alicia & Brittney Savage, Gene Snitksy b Vic Voorhees.  Next show is 4/28 in Deer Park, NY at the NYWC Sportatorium as a DVD taping with Jessicka Havoc vs. Mercedes Martinez for the WSU title.
 
--CWE on 4/20 in Winnipeg at the Maples Community Center has Sid Vicious & Nate Hardy vs. Zack Mercury & The Axe as the main event.
 
--Tulalip Championship Wrestling from Saturday night in Marysville, WA:   Calibur X b Dave Turner, Draven Vargas & Nate Andrews b Chase Helms & Brickhouse Bereta, Jonas Albert Robinson b C.J. Edwards, Mike Santiago over Demarcus James and Home Boy Quiz, Christopher Ryseck & Kellen Raeth b Aaron Bolo & Wildcard, Azul Angel NC Jorel Nelson.  Next show is 5/12 in Marsyville, WA at the Pacific Rim. (thanks to Charles Short)
 
--IWA East Coast on 5/4 in Clendenin, WV at the Middle School headlined by Rhino vs B.J. Whitmer plus Mad Man Pondo, Drake Younger, Chance Prophet and more.
 
--Empire Championship Wrestling on Thursday night at The Masquerade in Atlanta and Friday at the Academy Theater in Avondale Estates, GA..
 
--A spinal injury has forced Shana Nelson to pull out of her match with Sarah D'Alelio at the debut of the all-women Invicta Fighting Championships in Kansas City at Memorial Hall on 4/28.  Vanessa Marsical (2-0), a 38-year-old former Royce Gracie student from El Segundo, will now face D'Alelio.  D'Alelio's last fight was against Ronda Rousey which she lost quickly via armbar.  Marloes Coenen, the former Strikeforce champion who lost the title to Miesha Tate, will faced Romy Ruyssen in the main event.    
 
--Laredo Wrestling Entertainment in Houston on Friday night at the Funplex and Saturday night at Las Cumbres Club.  Both shows are headlined by Dr. Wagner Jr. & Hernandez & El Sicodelico Jr. vs. Damian 666 & Bestia 666 & X-Fly, plus Cinthia & Rossy Moreno vs. Alissa Flash & Jessica James.
 
--Trent Vandrisse does the first podcast interview ever with Dean Hill.
 
--Bobby Lashley talks to Mister Saint Laurent about training to be a boxer, alleged racism in WWE, WWE creative, Paul Heyman, Jim Cornette and more.
 
--559 Fights on 4/21 in Hanford, CA at the kings Fairgrounds featuring area local fighters with Fresno's Kristen Gatz vs. Gilroy's Brianna Van Buren as the main event.  Steven Juarez, a state high school champion in 2004 from Hanford High makes his debut against wrestler Gerardo Garcia.
 
--NWA Anarchy from Saturday night in Cornelia, GA before 120 fans:  Bobby Moore & Andrew Pendleton III b Jacob Ashworth & Skirra Corvus, Najasism NC Jerry Rhymer, Anthony Henry b John Skyler, Steven Walters b C.B. Gibson, Seth Delay b Brandon Parker, Seven & Bryan Casanova & Shaun Tempers & Bo Newsome & Jacoby Boykins b Azrael & Dany Only & Stryknyn & Shadow Jackson & Nemesis.  Azrael vs. Tempers headlines on 4/28. (thanks to Larry Goodman) 
 
--A promotion running East Texas and Louisiana is looking for Robert Fuller and Jimmy Golden as they are booking TV this week and would like one or both on their new show.  Contact Harry at 903-812-3347.