MON UPDATE: Raw tonight, Overeem skepticism, TV viewing down, PPV matches

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

The Lead: Three Hour Raw, Go Home for Extreme Rules With Cena/Lesnar

Bryan and I will be back tonight with Wrestling Observer radio, covering the three-hour Raw as well as the latest news.  After a hectic week, we should have time tonight to answer e-mail questions so if you've got questions on pro wrestling or MMA they can be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Also, if you have e-mailed me anything to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and it has bounced back, I'm not sure the problem but I am getting those messages.  I think the problem has been fixed.

We're looking for your thoughts on Saturday night's UFC 145, 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 .

Remember that tonight's Raw is a three-hour show starting at 8 p.m.

We're also looking for reports from Detroit tonight for Raw with any dark matches, Superstars matches and anything else not evident from the live show.  A tired crew after being on the road 15 straight days and flying to Europe and back, but for most (except the guys on Smackdown who work tomorrow as well), it's the final night of the tour and they are off until Sunday's Extreme Rules show.

Tonight's show is the go-home show for Extreme Rules, and most likely one or two undercard matches will be added to the four matches so far announced (Cena vs. Lesnar Extreme rules, Punk vs. Jericho street fight for WWE title, Sheamus vs. Bryan 2/3 falls for world title, Orton vs. Kane falls count anywhere).  The only thing announced for tonight's show is a contract signing with Lesnar and Cena.

We're also looking for reports on WWE shows from Saturday night in Antwerp, Belgium, TNA from Saturday night in Estero, FL, WWE from Thursday in Cardiff, Wales and Toulouse, France and Wednesday in Milan, Italy.

Smackdown and NXT are being taped on Tuesday in Grand Rapids, MI.

The prelims for Saturday's UFC 145 PPV will be airing again tonight on Fuel at 9 p.m.  The Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia fight airs tonight at midnight Eastern, while the Melvin Guillard vs. Jim Miller FX show airs tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m., UFC Tonight tomorrow at 10 p.m. and UFC Insider at 10:30 p.m.
This Week's Observer: The Business Of Wrestlemania 28

A look at the complete business numbers from WrestleMania 28 and how it compares with the biggest shows in wrestling history, as well as a look at past WrestleManias and how much mainstream interest there was, is the lead story of the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
The issue is up on the site today along with a back issue from early 1995 also up on the site this week.

The article look at the total gross revenue on the show, an update on PPV numbers on the show, early estimates of North American numbers, plans for next year's show in New Jersey, the possible main event and what will determine it, how TV ratings and pay-per-view numbers relate, a list of the seven biggest worldwide PPV shows in history, what things helped this year's number, comparing the number with a big boxing or MMA show, as well as record shows in boxing and MMA.

We compare the interest with the early WrestleManias and the difference in PPV interest in that era, Hogan vs. Andre, Hogan vs. Savage and more.

We also have more on the UFC and steroid testing, including Dana White's remarks regarding the company doing random tests, the usage of TUE's, the Alistair Overeem situation, Dos Santos talks about fighting Overeem, Dos Santos talks drug testing, and the comments by Ben Askren and Dana White.

We also have a look at TNA Lockdown, the lack of crowd heat, the Roode vs. Storm angle and finish, early look at interest, attendance, Kurt Angle's situation plus match-by-match coverage, poll results and star ratings for all of the matches.

We have an update on the WWE Network, the 1000th episode of Raw, the potential of a draft, the Extreme Rules card, Brock Lesnar's special deal, The Rock to host a TV show and the Mick Foley/Dean Ambrose angle. We look at other being brought to the main roster, Daniel Bryan talks the "Yes" chants, his thoughts on WrestleMania, admits where he got the chant from, WWE vs. Indies and more.

We also have developmental news, updates on Terry Taylor and Fit Finlay, notes on WWE's return to Japan, beauty queen says she's got a WWE project, DVR viewing of Raw, next European tour and a look at the highlights of the current European tour.

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.

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today.  With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today.  Just sent your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, card number and expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can order at and use the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it address.

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 look at UFC's debut in Stockholm, including ratings, attendance, what's next for Alexander Gustafsson, crowd reactions and match-by-match coverage with poll results.

We've got notes on where the Nick Diaz case stands as well as his lawyers argument on why Diaz should not be suspended.

We've got our weekly Friday night ratings notes and what the Smackdown rating says.

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:
--More on a huge indie show that sold out a major arena and what was the reason
--Latest from Arena Mexico
--Former WCW star will go back to his 90s identity
--Two proteges of Lance Storm debut in AAA
--Jeff Jarrett's return to Mexico against two former WCW stars
--Tell Joseph Park that Abyss has resurfaced
--All Japan jr. tag title tournament finishes
--Next big All Japan show
--NOAH title matches over the past week
--Update on the NOAH tag team tournament
--Members of the 2012 Best of the Super Junior tournament
--Update on whether pro wrestling will be allowed in Oklahoma
--What was the issue in it temporarily being shut down
--Sports Illustrated on Jay Strongbow and notes on him
--Shane Douglas tries to revive the spirit of ECW one more time and notes on his first show
--Autobiographies of two major stars have just come out
--Notes from WrestleReunion in Toronto
--Why WrestleReunion is closing up shop
--Update on Bruno Sammartino
--Jack Brisco teamed with Dory Funk Jr. at least twice
--Former UFC heavyweight making his pro wrestling debut
--One of the biggest stars of the 90s looks to be doing an autobiography
--Notes on the Border Wars ROH iPPV from Toronto
--More on Kurt Angle pulling out of the Olympic trials and the publicity it got
--Notes on TNA after the TNA and Spike meetings last week
--Some television changes
--What Dixie Carter would like to do differently
--Update on the Ring Ka King promotion and what TNA star is about to get married on Ring Ka King TV
--Notes on future TNA storylines
--Problems for the fighters training for the May 26 UFC show
--Problems with the UFC going to Rio de Janeiro in June
--Idea of UFC doing several developmental promotions
--Bad news for UFC when it comes to mainstream opinion in New York
--What age groups like and hate UFC
--More on the Jones vs. Evans fight
--UFC legend talks about wanting to try WWE
--Notes on court cases for pirating UFC being settled out of court
--New UFC fights
--Chael Sonnen starts a new business
--World champion may be leaving the promotion without losing his title
--The return of K-1 and Mirko Cro Cop fighting again
--Lots of notes from the Super Fight League in India behind the scenes including a brawl
--Why Frank Trigg was fired from HDNet
--A fighter worth paying attention to overcoming a handicap

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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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.

Monday's News, Notes & Links
--The trial of William Balfour, the husband of Julia Hudson (Jennifer's sister) who is accused of killing Jennifer's mother, brother and nephew, began this morning.  There has been a lot of publicity around it.  David Otunga, Hudson's fiance, was in the courtroom.  I don't know if he'll be on Raw tonight since he flew from Belgium to Chicago this morning.  If he's not at Raw, this would be the reason.  Otunga has worked with Hudson on the case. Tons of media for this story including the Chicago Tribune, E Online and Yahoo. In the Yahoo story, they mention that Otunga is best known for being on a VH-1 reality show with no mention of WWE. (Thanks to Jacob Burnett)
--As you can imagine, there is widespread skepticism regarding Alistair Overeem's contention that he tested positive because, unknown to him, an injection he took for a rib injury contained testosterone.  Although he claimed he withdrew from the fight, that is not the case, since Frank Mir had been contacted some time back and told he was the backup, but asked to keep it quiet until it was announced.

Unless Overeem sues the doctor for malpractice and if the story is true, considering what this has done for his career, giving an athlete a steroid without his knowledge and causing him to test positive and screwing up his career, color me more than just skeptical...particularly when this was the third different story UFC officials had gotten since this thing broke.

Overeem's hearing for tomorrow should start around 10 a.m.  We will be doing an audio show immediately after the hearing. While HDNet announced a few days ago they would be streaming the hearing, they have since announced that since it doesn't affect the 5/26 heavyweight title match, they are not going to be streaming the hearing.
--Tomorrow morning will also be the official announcement of the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen fight as far as location. Dana White and Sonnen have a press conference in Rio de Janeiro scheduled and there has been a lot of talk about a 7/7 date in Las Vegas.  At least on Friday, that was the plan and there were hints I got last night that indicated it still was.  They were in Brazil and White gave the impression they were trying to work something out for Brazil and mentioned the fight would either be in Brazil at a stadium, in Toronto at Rogers Centre or Las Vegas. 
--In major TV industry talk,  the New York Times today has a story on changes in prime time viewing.  Starting 3/19, there has been a noticeable drop in prime time viewing in the 18-49 age group.  All four networks were down with ABC down 21% and FOX down 20%.  Nobody had a really good reason for the declines, but it should be noted that all the major wrestling shows and Ultimate Fighter have also been affected by lower ratings than would be expected. One theory is that the weather has been better this spring and people are thus out more and watching less television. The overall television viewing isn't down.

--We'll have more on this later, but Ultimate Fighter had 1.05 million viewers on Friday and the Primetime Evans vs. Jones had 646,000, the latter being by far the largest of the three weeks.
--For the weekend UFC & Bellator main fights, myself, Josh Nason, Oliver Copp and Mike Sawyer all went 4-1, while Todd Martin went 3-2 and Mike Sempervive was 2-3.  Sawyer was the only one to pick Ben Rothwell over Brendan Schaub.

--John Cena is in a Make A Wish World Wish Day video that will be airing on 4/29 at Times Square in New York along with Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Jon Stewart, Tiffani Theissen and many others.

--Gina Carano is in talks to be in the cast of "The Fast and Furious 6" according to the Hollywood Reporter. This would mean she and Dwayne Johnson would be in the same movie.

--Eddie Alvarez said today on The MMA Show with Mauro Ranallo that he regrets his "show me the money" comment after his win Friday over Shinya Aoki for Bellator. He noted he has one fight and four months left on his current deal.  

--A note on an item from Saturday: UFC has a Fuel show scheduled for 7/14, not 7/11. Jon Fitch vs. Aaron Simpson may be on that show but over the weekend, we were told that fight is happening but the date is not finalized.
--James Storm is not on the road with TNA with the storyline that he's depressed and has gone home.  I think part of it is to give him time to rest his ankle which he had surgery on and has been working almost straight through the past month on it.

Bobby Roode and RVD will be working on their Sacrifice match this week at house shows on 4/26 in Kennewick WA, 4/27 in Kent, WA and 4/28 in Wenatchee, WA, which will also include Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy, Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian, Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky, Gunner vs. Matt Morgan and Austin Aries vs. Zema Ion.   
--There is a ton of stuff coming up this weekend, including the Chicago doubleheader with CHIKARA at 2 p.m. and ROH at 7:30 p.m. at the Frontier Fieldhouse.  CHIKARA has Eddie Kingston vs. Kevin Steen for the CHIKARA Grand Championship, while ROH has Briscoes vs. Jigsaw & Hallowicked for the ROH tag titles plus Davey Richards & Kyle O'Reilly vs. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas.  El Generico is working the ROH and CHIKARA shows.
--The Sunday World in Ireland had a mention of Sheamus, calling him Sheamus O'Shaughnessy (his original ring name) showing up at Lillie's Bordello this past Thursday when they were in town. He used to work there as a doorman.
--Don Frye was asked if Dan Henderson can beat Jon Jones and said, "He doesn't have a fucking chance."  He said nobody will touch Jones until he inevitably goes heavyweight and faces Junior dos Santos.  He also ripped on Dominick Cruz, saying how Cruz saying he's self taught is bullshit since one of his trainers originally trained Cruz.

As for Chael Sonnen, he said, "Chael is fun to listen to, but he doesn't write his own material.  Some homo in Queens living in his mother's basement in his underwear is writing Chael's material for him.  Chael is a good guy but he just isn't smart enough to do it himself.  That's why he's a felon. He wasn't smart enough to not get caught."
--The Ohio Athletic Commission fined Andreas Spang $6000 of his $30,000 purse for starting the fight with Maiquel Falcao in the cage while they were doing interviews on Friday's Bellator show. 
Poll on Friday's Bellator show?
Excellent 46.9%
Good 31.4%
Average 6.3%
Fair 3.1%
Poor 9.4%
*71.9% of those responding didn't see the show.  Alvarez vs. Aoki (arguably the biggest fight in company history) didn't seem to make a difference as far as getting our readership watching past the ones who already do so.
Poll on Ultimate Fighter?
Excellent 26.0%
Good 44.0%
Average 12.0%
Fair 6.0%
Poor 12.0%
*58.0% of those responding didn't see the show
Poll on Smackdown?
Excellent 9.9%
Good 48.4%
Average 31.9%
Fair 12.1%
Poor 5.5%
*27.4% of those responding didn't see the show
Poll on ROH TV show
Excellent 22.7%
Good 45.5%
Average 9.1%
Fair 2.3%
Poor 20.5%
*62.1% of those responding didn't see the show
Best TV show of the past week?
Raw 38.1%
Smackdown 10.5%
Impact 9.4%
Prime Time Jones vs. Evans 9.4%
UFC 145 prelims 8.8%
Bellator 8.3%
ROH 7.7%
Countdown to UFC 145 2.8%
Ultimate Fighter 2.2%
UFC Tonight 1.7%
MMA Uncensored 1.1%
--Sheamus and Beth Phoenix will be appearing at Chicago's Navy Pier on Saturday to help promote Extreme Rules.  They will be doing a 15 minute Q&A and a VIP autograph signing at the Pepsi Skyline Stage.  Admission is free, seating is limited.  VIP autograph session is $35 per person and doors open at noon.
--Davey Richards passed the 300 day mark as ROH champion yesterday, having won the title on June 26, 2011 in New York from Eddie Edwards.  That makes him the fourth longest lasting champion in company history behind Samoa Joe (644 days), Nigel McGuinness (545) and Bryan Danielson (463).  Don't think he's making No. 3. (thanks to Patrick Gronemann)
--After 23 years, No Holds Barred, the movie starring Hulk Hogan and Tiny Lister, will be released on DVD on 7/3 by WWE.  
--Evolve announced a 5/11 date in Charlotte at the Metrolina Trade Show Expo Building A featuring Fit Finlay vs. Jon Davis and AR Fox vs Sami Callihan plus Johnny Gargano & Samuray del Sol vs. Chuck Taylor & Silas Young, plus Low Ki, Jigsaw, Alex Reynolds, Bobby Fish, Mike Cruz, Jake Manning, Scott Reed and Caleb Konley.

Evolve also announced 5/12 in Concord, NC, at Cabarrus Arena with Johnny Gargano defending the Open the Freedom Gate title against the winner of Fox vs. Jigsaw vs. Del Sol earlier that night, Taylor vs. Callihan, plus Low Ki, Silas Young, Davis, Reynolds, Cruz, Manning, Kyle Matthews, Reed and Konley.
--Mauro Ranallo, King Mo and Julie Kedzie will be announcing this coming Saturday night's Invicta Fighting Championships show in Kansas City at Memorial Hall, an all-women's show.  It will air live online starting at 8 p.m. and Marloes Coenen vs. Romy Ruyssen of France as the main event. 
--Mickie James will be appearing Thursday night with Magnus at the Denny Hamlin Charity Event at the Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, VA.  They will be signing autographs from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  She's also working the WWC Anniversario events on 6/29 in Ponce, PR at Juan Vicens Auditorium, 6/30 in Bayamon at the Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum and 7/1 in San German at the Arquello Torres Coliseum, facing Melina.  John Morrison is also on those shows.
--The Lance Storm vs. Mike Bennett match already reported was now announced officially today by ROH after it was announced on TV Saturday for 5/12 at the Border Wars iPPV from Toronto.  Maria Kanellis will not be appearing in Toronto.
--Kevin Nash on Twitter:  "I will return to WWE when they call and tell me where to be.  Love working the indys and getting to know my fans."  (thanks to Cohen Morrison)
--The print edition of Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel had an article on Vladimir Kozlov, the former WWE wrestler, yesterday in a Fitness Profile section. The article talks about his eating and training, mentions his name as Oleg Prudius and that he lives in Bal Harbour, FL, with girlfriend Maria Smirnova, who was the 2002 Miss Moscow winner.
--As noted in the report on the show, at the TNA show in Fort Lauderdale on Friday night, there was a fan wearing a suit and sunglasses with a Ric Flair wig.  He stole the show and lots of fans wanted to get photos with him.  With the wig, he actually looked quite a bit like a circa 1988 Flair.  (thanks to Paul Kacprzak)
--All Pro Wrestling announced the first five competitors in their Young Lions tournament on 5/5 in Hayward, which has 16 wrestlers from California, Hawaii and overseas.  Round one will be four tag matches, then round two will have the winners of each match in round one face each other, and from that point it'll be single elimination.  Names so far are Damien Grundy of All Pro Wrestling, Shoop Shellhammer of Pro Championship Wrestling of Yuba City, CA, Sasha Daervko of Battle Ground Pro Wrestling of Los Alamitos, CA, Jeff Cobb of Action Zone Wrestling in Hawaii and Sledge of Vendetta Pro Wrestling in Santa Maria, CA.
--CWE from Saturday night in Winnipeg on a show called Psychotic Justice, named after Sid Vicious, who never showed up.  Shane Madison opened the show saying Sid was not there, that it wasn't anything to do with scissors or a softball game but he slept in and hurt his knees setting up bleachers the night before. Tommy Curtis b Ike Idol, Matt Fairlane b Bobby Sharp, Mystery man b La Sombra (not the CMLL wrestler), Darren Dalton & Spyder NC J.J. Sanchez & Rick Matthews, Moses Luke b Paul Arcidi, Danny Duggan b Mentallo, Nate Hardy & Jimmy Jacobs (replacing Sid Vicious) b Zack Mercury & The Axe, Vance Nevada b Tyler Colton, A.J. Sanchez & Kevy Chevy b Robby Royce & Anderson Tyson Moore in a TLC match.  They are saying the main event is the greatest match in the history of the promotion.  They have a 5/31 - 6/3 tour of Manitoba, including 6/1 in Winnipeg with Tatanka as the main star.
--Shane Douglas will be promoting Saturday's Extreme Reunion show at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory in Philadelphia on WHIP Temple Radio on J.J.'s Power Hour at 8 a.m. Eastern tomorrow.
--Scott Adams is promoting an MMA show on 5/4 in Orem, UT at the UCCU Center headlined by Sean O'Connell vs. Kip Ramos.
--WrestleForce from Saturday night in Columbia, SC:  Steven Walters b Caleb Konley, Zack Salvation d Marcellus King, John Skyler b Shane Williams, Chase Stevens b Vordell Walker, John Skyler b Steven Walters, John Skyler b Chase Stevens, Dany Only b Sick Boy (former WCW 90s wrestler who was managed by Lodi), Brady Piece & Hoss Hagood & Billy Brash b Brandon Paradise & Bradford Steele & Steven Stifler, Michael Frehley & B.J. Hancock b Jesse Windham & Derek Ryze, Jon Malus & Raven & Axl Rotten & Lodi b Timber & Jay Batista & Sinner Sixx & Dany Only in an Extreme Warfare cage match (thanks to Brett Wolverton)
--AAW from last night in Berwyn, IL:  Matt Fitchett & Davey Vega b Awesome Threesome, Dan Lawrence b  Markus Crane, Josh Raymond & Christian Able & T.,D. Thomas b The Clash, Arik Cannon & Jimmy Jacobs b Darin Corbin & Marion Fontaine, Mason Beck b ACH, Davey Richards b Shane Hollister, Danny Daniels b MsChif, Silas Young d Michael Elgin one fall each going to a 60:00 draw in the 2/3 fall main event.  Young retained the heavyweight title.  Next show is 5/19. (thanks to Mike Petkovich)    
--NWA Rampage Pro Wrestling on 4/29 at 3 p.m. in Warner-Robins, GA at Johnny G's.
--Empire Wrestling on Friday night at 10:30 p.m. at the Academy Theater in Avondale Estates, GA. 
--ECW press announced an e-book re-elease of Irv Muchnick's book Chris and Nancy about the Benoit murders.
--ABC last night had a Hallmark movie called Firelight starring Cuba Gooding Jr.  The character's name he played was Dwayne Johnson of all things.
--Pro Wrestling Phoenix from Saturday night in Council Bluffs, IA:  Mad Dog McDowell & Jon Weset b Preston Maxwell & Zac James, S.M. King b Paul Daniels, Joey Daniels b David Clark, Darren Russell & Vic Victory b Zach Thompson & Jimmy Rockwell, Ryan Slade b Jeff O'Shea, Branden Juarez b Abu Colossus, Bradley Charles NC Matty Starr.  Next show is 5/19 at the National Guard Armory for the 7th anniversary show.
--The almost legendary Pro Wrestling's Greatest Secrets show from about ten years ago with Harley Race, made up signs by the office and the stunt grannies airs at 7 p.m. tomorrow on the Biography Channel. Seriously, that show was a complete load of crap.
--CZW announced a 5/12 iPPV of its show in Philadelphia for $5. The Dragon Gate show doing so many buys at $1.99 convinced them to try this out.

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?