THURS. UPDATE: Ross back announcing, WWE vs. TNA head-to-head now, Injury foils probable UFC title match, Johnson one of most influential celebrities, Shamrock book, TNA release, Bruno annviersary
The story of the show are qualifications to be one of the four people that Hulk Hogan would choose from to get a shot at Bobby Roode on next week's show.
- Rob Van Dam vs. Bully Ray
- Battle Royal
- Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky vs. Brooke Tessmacher for the Knockouts title
- Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson
- Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe
UFC Tonight airs on Fuel tonight at 8 p.m., followed by the Mir vs. Dos Santos Prime Time week one at 8:30 p.m., Best of Pride at 9 p.m., Unleashed at 10 p.m., last Friday's Ultimate Fighter at midnight and a replay of UFC Tonight at 1 a.m. All times Eastern, three hours earlier on the West Coast and Fuel isn't staggered.
For tomorrow, the Thiago Alves vs. Martin Kampmann show from earlier this year airs tomorrow at 2 p.m., the FOX special from 5/5 with Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller airs at 4 p.m., and Ultimate Fighter is on FX at 10 p.m., followed by week two of the Mir vs. Dos Santos prime time.
Two Issue Observer Week: ROH, K-1, Sacrifice, Tons More
We've got another two issue week coming out with the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, between a look at Ring of Honor, the bankruptcy proceedings of K-1, TNA Sacrifice, UFC on Fuel, Border Wars, Nick Diaz, Ric Flair, King Mo, the Hogan family, the John Cena divorce and so much more.
The issue will be up on the site shortly. We also have a new back issue on the site that was put up today and a third issue that will be up on the site tomorrow.
We look at an update on Ring of Honor, talking the current state of their business, the latest iPPV snafu, who could and couldn't watch it, what the problems were, and a reaction of those who stayed home on Saturday night to see Davey Richards vs. Kevin Steen and ended up not being able to see it.
We've got notes from Joe Koff, as well as how well the show did, were they hurt by the problems with the iPPVs in March, ROH ratings, where Jim Cornette was, the idea of doing regular PPVs and television specials, plus a match-by-match rundown of the Border Wars show.
We also look at the company which not that many years ago was considered a giant in the industry, looking at the peak moment in popularity of K-1, and its bankruptcy and where it stands.
We look at TNA Sacrifice with our usual coverage of the show, match-by-match, star ratings and poll results.
We've got more on the John Cena divorce, his ex-wife speaks, notes from the WWE Business Partners summit including ideas for new TV shows the company is looking at, why Dustin Runnels were fired by WWE, notes on the new tapings of NXT in Florida, current NXT storylines, Injury updates, Business notes at the past week's WWE shows and rundowns from all the house shows.
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.
We also look at what was one of the most successful ratings segments on a WWE television show so far in 2012, as well as the widest ratings variation for TNA in a long time.
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
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We look at the Nick Diaz situation and his no-showing last week's match with Braulio Estima.
We also look at Spike TV's decision regarding King Mo Lawal as a two-genre star in wrestling and MMA at the same time. We look at Lawal's introduction to pro wrestling, the press conference, cross promotional ideas with TNA and Bellator, what they do and don't have in common, the Bellator time slot, Lawal's background and things about his beginnings in pro wrestling that TNA and he are not yet aware of. We also look at where the idea came from, the questions coming out of this signing and more.
We've also got full coverage of the third UFC on Fuel show, with ratings, business, and match-by-match coverage.
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 issues:
--New Japan Super Junior tournament
--Hall of Famer out of action with broken ribs
--Former ECW star announces retirement after car accident
--A look back at the career of Gorgeous George Jr.
--Wrestler convicted of sodomy with a 12 year old girl
--Movie doc covers a former WWE star in life after wrestling
--The Junior Danny Hodge Trophy winner
--Former WWE stars and stars of the Lucha Libre world converge
--Update on Ric Flair
--Daughters of legends thinking about going into pro wrestling
--TNA big surprise
--Gail Kim wedding
--Hulk Hogan sex tape details
--Notes on TNA's return to the U.K.
--Ric Flair Hall of Fame story
--Notes on weekend TNA house shows
--Notes on upcoming TNA television
--Dana White health update
--More on Nick Diaz's court case against the Nevada commission, how it went and where it goes from here
--More on UFC Calgary ticket sales
--Another Ultimate Fighter series announced
--Notes on Ronda Rousey's return
--Former Ultimate Fighter winner retires
--Former UFC star runs for state senate
--Notes on UFC 147 in Brazil
--Lots of new UFC fights announced
--Social media with Ronda Rousey
--Mother's Day special at Arena Mexico
--Future of La Parka
--AAA Night of Champions show
--Pro Wrestling NOAH big show of the month
--Misawa Memorial Show
--Notes on Bellator's last show and next show as well as summer plans
--Update on a lawsuit regarding WrestleMania 24
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)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*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)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)
*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)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*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)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)
*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)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*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)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*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)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*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)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*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)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*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)
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
For the United States, it is $12 for 4 issues, $29 for 12, $55 for 24, $91 for 40 and $118 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $13.50 for 4, $33 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to
. For the rest of the world, rates are $15.50 for 4, $41 for 12, $78 for 24, $126 for 40 issues and $163 for 52 .
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
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.
Thursday's News Update
--B.J. Penn announced today that he is not accepting the offered fight with Josh Koscheck. UFC tried to put the fight together but it seems Penn in his mind is still retired.
--On Twitter, Jim Ross confirmed the story in today's Observer that he would be the lead voice on NXT going forward with the first taping tonight.
--Devin Cutting noted that there will be a local wrestling war all summer long since the NXT tapings are in Winter Park, FL, which is right outside of Orlando, and are going to be done at this point every few Thursdays, and TNA will be taping every Thursday at Universal Studios starting on 5/31.
--Michael McDonald is out of action with an injured hand. According to Dana White, the hand was messed up but he wasn't clear of what the actual injury was. While nobody has officially confirmed this, McDonald was, according to one source, the leading choice to face Urijah Faber on the 7/7 show that was going to be announced on Ultimate Fighter tomorrow night. He was the choice I'd have made had he not been injured. So the announcement tomorrow is most likely Plan B. (B is not a code for Barao, who in theory would be one of the names under consideration.)
--Some notes on the Tuesday night UFC Fuel ratings. While it was the lowest rated of the three shows so far, it was the highest in the 18-34 age group by 1,000 viewers (102,000 compared to 101,000) compared to the last show and the highest in that demo in the station's history. It was way down from the last show in the 35-49 age group. It also was the most watched on DVR of the three UFC shows on Fuel to date.
--Dwayne Johnson on Twitter noted that "I had $7 in my pocket. Today I'm on the Forbes 100 list." Forbes listed the 100 biggest names in entertainment and for the first time, Johnson cracked the list
. The $7 reference (and Johnson's company named Seven Bucks Entertainment) is because he had $7 to his name when he started as a pro wrestler in 1996.
(thanks to James Stanios)
--WWE signed a deal with D-Smart in Turkey to air a one hour edited version of Raw and a one hour edited version of Smackdown in that country airing from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday night on Ch. 77 in that country.
--Strikeforce weigh-ins are 4 p.m. tomorrow at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.
--The autobiography of Frank Shamrock is scheduled to be released in October.
--Anthony Nese, who was never being used, was released by TNA. He asked for permission to wrestle on 6/2 in a tag match against Great Muta & Kai on iPPV, which he wouldn't be allowed to do based on his contract. They denied him permission, so he asked for a release and since they weren't using him anyway, it was granted.
--Mark Hunt will not be facing Stefan Struve on the 5/26 UFC 146 PPV in Las Vegas due to an injury. Lavar Johnson will now be facing Struve.
--Bellator weigh-ins for tomorrow's show in Lake Charles, LA:
Prelims on Spike.com
Mark Holata (250.6) vs. Abe Wagner (248.8)
Josh Burns (206) vs. Richard Hale (205.5)
Andrew Koreschkov (170.8) vs. Derrick Krantz (170.8)
Booker Arthur (145.4) vs. Shannon Slack (416)
E.J. Brooks (156) vs. Kalvin Hackney (156)
Josh Quayhagen (158.2) vs. Cliff Wright (155.6) - Quayhagen missed weight and forfeited 20% of his purse
Live on MTV 2 and Epix
Kevin Asplund (239) vs. Ron Sparks (264.6)
Jessica Aguilar (115.6) vs. Magumi Fujii (116)
Karl Amoussou (170) vs. David Rickels (170.6) in the welterweight tournament semifinal
Maiquel Falcao (186) vs. Andreas Spang (185.8) in the middleweight tournament final, winner meets Alexander Shlemenko for the vacant title
--Mick Foley and Rev. Bob Levy were live in-studio guests on WMMR in Philadelphia's Preston and Steve Show, promoting a comedy show they are doing together tonight in Williamstown, NJ. I was told the appearance is worth listening to when it's replayed on podcast.
Will Sunday's Over the Limit top 100,000 domestic buys?
Who was the best of these second generation wrestlers?
Bret Hart 37.3%
Randy Savage 20.8%
Terry Funk 13.4%
Eddy Guerrero 8.0%
Nick Bockwinkel 5.9%
Curt Hennig 4.3%
Barry Windham 2.9%
Dory Funk Jr. 2.4%
Owen Hart 2.0%
Ted DiBiase Sr. 1.6%
Kerry Von Erich 1.3%
Dick Murdoch 0.3%
--Today's is the 49th anniversary of the date Bruno Sammartino beat Buddy Rogers to win the WWWF title in 47 seconds in Madison Square Garden.
--WWE has a Raw house show on 7/28 at Rupp Arena with an Internet sale starting at 10 a.m. tomorrow using the password WWERAW. The show is headlined by C.M. Punk vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE title and John Cena vs. Lord Tensai in matches that will change weekly from now until then. (thanks to Terri Bey)
on Saturday night at Fitchburg (MA) Memorial Middle School headlined by Honky Tonk Man vs. Chase Del Monte.
--With the name George Gordienko coming up a few times this week, a 50s and 60s international star who was one of the all-time tough guys in wrestling history, here is a story
talking about meeting Pablo Picasso, a wrestling fan, when he was working in Paris. He said it was one of the highlights of his life going out for coffee with him since Gordienko was also an avid painter. (thanks to Dave Musgrave)
--In yesterday's report, The Heartthrobs were not reunited over the weekend with manager Mo Greene. In actuality, they were managed by someone else and as a spoof, the new manager was called More Greene.
--APWA on Saturday night in Shinnston, WV headlined by Onyx vs. TNA's Brutus Magnus, plus Santana Garrett vs. Marti Belle and Christian York vs. Damon Divine.
--Vendetta Pro Wrestling on Saturday night at the Salinas Valley Fair in King City, CA, with Gangrel, Zach Gowen, Nikki the New York Knockout and The Almighty Sheik. Entrance is free with a paid fair admission.
--ECWA on 6/2 in Newark, DE at the Greater Newark Boys and Girls Club.
--Josh Thornton, a wrestler at Plymouth State University that won two state titles in Maine in high school, makes his MMA debut on 6/16 for Fight Night III at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, ME. Tim Sylvia makes his Maine debut against Randy Smith in the main event.
--wXw has two of its biggest matches of the year on Saturday night in Oberhausen, Germany with El Generico vs. Big Van Walter, with Generico challenging for the wXw title, plus Jon Ryan vs. Johnny Moss in a cage match, as well as Yoshihito Sasaki vs. Axeman.
--Earl Hebner turned 63 today. I guess that means Dave Hebner also turned 63 today.
--C.M. Punk will be appearing at the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Com which takes place form 5/31 to 6/3. Not sure yet on what Punk's schedule is for appearing.
--MVP talks to Court Bauer
for part one of a conversation talking WWE, Chris Benoit, Undertaker, the WWE locker room and the move he was banned from doing at WrestleMania.
--New Revolution Wrestling
out of Denver has Boogeyman coming on Friday night, plus Rob Terry in February, Robbie E in March and Eric Young in April.
--Tammy Sytch no-showed a radio appearance with VOCNation yesterday in Philadelphia. They put out a release saying they had confirmed the appearance with her hours beforehand, but when they sent a car to her home to pick her up, she never answered the door and nobody was inside.
--Sean Waltman went off on Dixie Carter on Twitter, ripping them for hiring Bruce Prichard, saying he was "one of the biggest lowlifes in the business." He also was mad at how it was positioned at the 2010 Lockdown show that he had no-showed when it was actually that he couldn't get licensed in Missouri because of being Hepatitis positive.