MON UPDATE: RAW tonight, Valuable TNA talent leaving, retirements and second thoughts, Eddie Gilbert



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 covering Raw as well as taking your e-mail questions that you can send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

We're looking for your thoughts on Saturday night's UFC 146, 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 looking for reports from Raw tonight in New Orleans with dark matches, Superstars matches, attendance, etc.  The locally advertised matches are John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis & Big Show and C.M. Punk vs. Daniel Bryan for the title.  We're also looking for reports on yesterday's Smackdown show in Lake Charles, LA.

Tuesday has the Smackdown tapings in Baton Rouge.

NEW OBSERVER ALERT: RAW & IMPACT CHANGES IN-DEPTH

The changes in Raw and Impact, what is behind them, and an analysis of both decisions is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  The issue also includes a look at the Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing on Chael Sonnen and Nick Diaz, and what evidence presented led them to the conclusions they came up with.
 
        We've also got coverage of Over the Limit, what's on the docket for No Way Out, the Strikeforce show, wrestlers leaving TNA including Ric Flair and more.
 
        Our lead story is on the television changes, including what USA pays for Raw, the pluses and minuses of adding the extra hour at this time, the consensus reaction from the company, looking back at the Nitro era and when it went to three hours and what is and isn't applicable about that time period.  We also look at why USA would want it, concerns that would already be there about adding time, hints at the direction of both shows going forward and more.
 
        We also look at why Spike made the move it did at this time, and thoughts on what is the short-term experiment of Impact going live.
 
        We also look at the Nevada hearing, what Ross Goodman, Nick Diaz's attorney, says they are going to do next, the arguments that he posed, and the key testimony at the hearing and why the decision wound up being what it was.
 
        We also look at why Chael Sonnen got his TUE, and what has been consistent in three of the four approved cases of TUE's for testosterone in Nevada.  We also look at what could and couldn't be determined about Sonnen's low testosterone, results of two testosterone tests in the last few weeks.
 
        We look at why Big Show turned, and thoughts behind Over the Limit and where it leads the company.  We've got our normal coverage of the show with match-by-match rundowns, star ratings, business, and polls on the show.
 
        We also have a note on Dwayne Johnson's status in the entertainment world and his estimated earnings for this past year, Chris Jericho talking his return to WWE, as well as his schedule away from WWE and more on the C.M. Punk angle and a similar angle done decades ago that nobody knew about. 
 
        We've also got more on Rosa Mendes' injuries from an auto accident, changes in a character, a ruling that eliminates a tax WWE and UFC had previously had to pay, more on the contract situation of Rey Mysterio, and a note about every WWE PPV show this year.
 
        We also look at a story from 1991 that made a recent book regarding an unfavorable view of Vince McMahon.
 
        We've also got notes on why the Bella Twins decided to leave WWE and their thoughts having been gone, an idea for a movie made by Vince McMahon, a full rundown on the new NXT tapings, how they were done, and why they may not be seen as quickly as people think in the U.S.  We also look at the wrestlers who are likely to be brought up to the main roster and who impressed people from the taping.  We've also got more on the John Cena divorce, the C.M, Punk DVD, why there was surprising interest in Japan in WWE's last PPV, notes on WWE in Mexico and WWE & UFC former and current talent listed as the prettiest women in the world.
 
        We've also got an update on Ted DiBiase, Canadian ratings for Raw, and business notes and coverage of the WWE's weekend house show.
 
        The issue will be up on the site today if you are a web site member.  We also have a new back issue on the site right now.
 
        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 an update on Linda McMahon's campaign for senate, what she's running on, what her opponents are saying and what role pro wrestling may have on the campaign.
 
        We've got coverage of the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix finals and the Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson fight, along with a mixed bag when it came to ratings and tickets.  We also examine the judging in Melendez vs. Thomson to explain why it is the system of judging that caused the outcome and why, exactly, another system likely would have had Thomson winning.  We look at whether there should be a fourth match and more. 
       
        We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows as well as a look at how every segment on Raw and Impact did to see what stories and personalities are clicking and what are causing people to tune out.
 
        We also have results from all the major arena events around the world over the past week, as well as reviews of all the major television shows.
 
        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 www.paypal.com 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 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:
 
--All Japan world tag team title change
 
--Promotion working with two others to build two major shows in the next two months
 
--Update on Chyna after a weekend which saw her pass out three times in public
 
--Member of famous wrestling family arrested after fighting with his brother and police finding drugs on them
 
--Update on the Extreme Reunion promotion
 
--A look at the next several weeks of ROH television and the top matches for the next iPPV show
 
--Update on the Ric Flair situation and his future
 
--What the plans were for Flair
 
--More on the Flair going to WWE Hall of Fame
 
--Brooke Hogan coming to TNA and what that's all about
 
--TNA Sacrifice early PPV estimates
 
--Dixie Carter defends usage of Hulk Hogan
 
--More on Bobby Roode's record setting title reign, or what it?
 
--Update on Ring Ka King and the show that's now in the same time slot
 
--Details on new TNA contract signings
 
--New TNA idea on how to maximize buys of well received shows
 
--TNA star moving into acting
 
--Update on King Mo in TNA and The Four Horsemen
 
--Notes on the recent TNA house shows
 
--More on the arrest of Jon Jones and what that means as well as details of another incident
 
--Will this hurt Jones' drawing power?
 
--What will that do for his public image?
 
--How UFC on FOX did compared with baseball in the same time slot
 
--Dana White talks UFC ramping up drug testing
 
--Urijah Faber talks about his reaction to finding out Renan Barao was his opponent
 
--A look at who Renan Barao is and how his style matches up with Faber
 
--The story behind how Barao got the title shot
 
--Update on Michael McDonald
 
--Update on the health of Dana White after his suffering from Meniere's Disease
 
--Why Strikeforce's stars are not going to be in UFC and how long will this remain
 
--WWE and UFC may be losing one of their major sponsors if a bill being proposed goes through Congress
 
--Notes on UFC lobbying efforts in Congress
 
--Las Vegas police called due to threats left on Dana White's answering machine
 
--Former Ultimate Fighter announces retirement
 
--Lots more on the ratings of the last UFC show on Fuel, including some amazing stats
 
--Payoffs for the UFC on Fuel show
 
--A major role Gina Carano is up for
 
--Notes on the next UFC show on Fuel
 
--A look at a new MMA reality show that was just picked up and when it starts
 
--A look at lots of new UFC fights
 
--Fedor Emelianenko talks retirement 
 
--Bellator fighter coming back from a long coma after being stabbed in a bar fight  
 
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
history)

*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)

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*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)

*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)

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*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)

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*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)

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*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)

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*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)

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Monday's News Update
 
--I want to make a mention that everyone should for a moment today think about what today is all about, which is paying tribute to people who have given their lives for this country.  They are the real life heroes.
 
--In that vein, if you've got only a moment, if you visit the Call of Duty Endowment Facebook page and share their Memorial Day image, for each post, $1 will be donated to the Hire Heroes USA fund, a charity put together by UFC fighter Brian Stann.  This will be open until Friday night at midnight Pacific time.  Their goal is to raise $50,000 to provide military vet and spouses with assistances in transitioning to vicilian life and getting jobs.
 
--Don West has given his notice that he's leaving TNA. West was the head of the TNA merchandise department and was awesome in his role as a pitchman selling stuff at the live show.  This is going to be a major loss for the company, because merchandise was a huge reason the house shows were successful.
 
--Tonight's Raw will likely show where Randy Orton and Kane fit in on the No Way Out PPV. 
 
--The prelims from Saturday's UFC will be replayed tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern on Fuel.  UFC 92 from 2008 airs tonight at midnight.  The Jim Miller vs. Melvin Guillard UFC on FOX airs tomorrow at 10 a.m.  Best of Pride tomorrow at 7 p.m.  Saturday's episode of Ultimate Fighter airs at 8 p.m. tomorrow, with Unleashed at 9 p.m., UFC Tonight at 10 p.m. and UFC Insider at 10:30 p.m.
 
--Mayhem Miller announced his retirement today on Ariel Helwani's MMA Hour show, However, Mike Brown, on Mauro Ranallo's MMA Show, said that he felt so good in his fight that he's considering continuing.  He had announced his retirement on Saturday and planned on it, but felt so good that it's going to be a hard decision to think about. 
 
--Johnny Tapiai, a talented boxer who had a sad life which included cocaine addiction and legal problems was found dead yesterday in his home in Albuquerque.  He was 45.  Tapia held five versions of the world titles.  His tragedies included his mother being stabbed to death with a screwdriver when he was just 8.  In 2007, when he was hospitalized after overdosing on cocaine, his brother-in-law and nephew coming to the hospital to visit him, were killed in a car accident.  He held various world titles between 1994 and 2002, even after being suspended for years due to cocaine problems.  He was still active last having fought in June.
 
What did you think of Saturday's ROH TV show?
Excellent 49.0%
Good 33.3%
Average 7.8%
Fair 0.0%
Poor 9.8%
*55.7% of those responding didn't see the show
 
Poll on Friday's Bellator?
Excellent 10.5%
Good 52.6%
Average 15.8%
Fair 10.5%
Poor 10.5
*78.2% of those responding didn't see the show
 
Poll on Ultimate Fighter?
Excellent 15.2%
Good 54.3%
Average 17.4%
Fair 4.3%
Poor 8.7%
*54.5% of those responding didn't see the show
 
Poll on Smackdown?
Excellent 8.5%
Good 46.2%
Average 25.5%
Fair 13.2%
Poor 6.6%
*31.6% of those responding didn't see the show
 
Best TV show of the past week?
UFC 146 prelims 24.3%
Impact 21.1%
Smackdown 13.4%
ROH 11.3%
Raw 10.9%
Prime Time:  Mir vs. Dos Santos 6.9%
Ultimate Fighter 4.9%
Bellator 2.0%
Titan Fighting Championships 2.0%
Inside MMA 1.6%
MMA Uncensored 1.2%
Countdown to UFC 146 0.4%         
 
--Inside MMA tonight at 8 p.m. on HDNet has Roy Nelson and Dana White as guests.  White will talks about Nick Diaz, Jon Jones and performance enhancing drugs.   
 
--The Dothan Eagle newspaper has a story today about how 30 years ago, Dothan, AL, was best known worldwide for pro wrestling.  I don't know if that's the case, although I guess to me I'd have probably never even heard of the city if it wasn't for wrestling.  As a trivia note, the first Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant match was in Dothan, although he was Terry "The Hulk" Boulder at the time.  And it was actually that match, because it did a full house, that led to Terry Bollea getting his job with Georgia Championship Wrestling.  He didn't last there since booker Ole Anderson didn't think he was any good and let him go quickly. 

The story noted Hogan, Flair, Andre, Ken Lucas, The Fuller Brother and Bob Armstrong as among those who appeared regularly at the Houston County Farm Center and the WTVY studios, where Southeastern Championship Wrestling was taped.  Good story dating back to the Fields Brothers in the 50s, with quotes from former announcer Charlie Platt, who noted that there was a time when Dothan outdrew Atlanta every week.  Bob Armstrong was quoted saying that from 1945 on, all he wanted to do was be a pro wrestler and noted seeing Gorgeous George live as a six-year-old.  Armstrong bought 10% of the office in 1978 and was co-owner with the Fuller Brothers in the Southeastern Championship Wrestling era where they were the big stars.  He also talked heavily about his matches with Ric Flair in the 80s.
 
--Eddie Gilbert's final match ever in Memphis was on the 1994 Memorial Day Monday night show at the Mid South Coliseum beating Jerry Lawler, prior to the last time he walked out on the promotion. Here's a look back from Scott Bowden.

--In UFC 146, myself, Bryan and Mike Sempervive all went 5-0 in picks.  Josh Nason, Todd Martin, Mike Sawyer and Oliver Copp all went 4-1.  No upsets in the main card. 
 
--Arn Anderson is being advertised for next Tuesday's Smackdown taping in Columbia, SC.  The main event, a likely dark match, is billed as Sheamus defending against Kane and Alberto De Rio in a cage with Anderson as the ringside enforcer.
 
--Today's is the 62nd birthday of Kamala, who has had a run of bad health of late losing his feet due to diabetes.  Seth Rollins turned 26 today.  Charles Warrington of the Headbangers turned 41.  The original Randy Orton, who wrestled as Barry Orton (the uncle of the WWE wrestler) turned 54 today.
 
--Shawn Michaels was at the arena in San Antonio last night leading cheers for the Spurs against the Oklahoma City Thunder in NBA playoff action.  The Spurs won and I guess this week, Michaels and Jim Ross are on opposite sides of the fence since Ross is a big Thunder fan.
 
--Evolve will be announcing three house shows in June later today. 
 
--Tickets for the Dragon Gate USA show on 7/28 in Taylor, MI and 7/29 in Chicago go on sale Wednesday.
 
--Congrats to reader Mark Pickering who captured the gold medal at the Barleston Club judo championships.
 
--Dave Musgrave, who does the ROH reports, talks about the evolution of a wrestling fan.
 
--559 Fights from Lemoore, CA on Saturday night:
Able Garcia b Tanner Jordan guillotine 1:08 third round
Cisco Ortega d Edgar Loza draw
Tyrell Tucker b Jason Olivier guillotine :19 second round
Antonio Van Buren b Joseph Longoria TKO 1:34
J.J. Madrid b Andrew Skyers split decision
Cameron Ramirez b Geraldo Garcia split decision
Scott Flesher b Derek Baily unanimous decision
Anthony Martiez b Robert Vildosola choke 1:33 third round
Leo Qeuzada b Tyson Darn guillotine :50
Jose Aispuro b John Mathison unanimous decision
Alberto Arreola b Steven Juarez choke 1:33 second round
 
--Coastal Wrestling Association from Saturday night in Starke, FL:  Verde b Adam Zane, Lance Alonte b Kidd Hollywood, Santana Garrett b Chasyn Rance, Mike Facen b J.D. Amazing, Dagon Briggs b Bloodshot, Bill Weaver won three-way over Wade Daniels and Ghetto Superstar, Wildman Brodie b Hog Valley Nightmare (thanks to Al Haft)
 
--I Believe in Wrestling on Saturday night at the Team Vision Dojo in Orlando has Chasyn Rance & Mister Saint Laurent vs.  J.D. Amazing & Chico Adams for the AWA tag titles plus Santana Garrett and Tim Zbyszko in action.
 
--The original Ivory interview that Stacy Carter responded to is up.

--Florida Championship Wrestling on 6/22 in Winter Haven, FL at the Armory. 
 
--In 2007, the American Film Institute released a list of the top 100 American movies of all-time.  Only two had wrestlers in them.  No. 2 was The Godfather, which featured Len Montana, and No. 22 was Some Like It Hot, where Mike Mazurki had a role. (thanks to James Stanios)
 
--Pro Wrestling Federation and NWA Smoky Mountain Wrestling on 6/14 in Mount Carmel, TN at the Armed Forces Center has Davey Richards & Tony Kozina vs. Chase Owens & Ricky Morton as the main event.
 
--Knokx Pro Wrestling Academy has a free show at its gym in Sun Valley, CA, on 6/2 at 3 p.m.   Black Pearl, Rikishi and Gangrel will all be wrestling on the show.
 
--NWA Anarchy from Saturday night in Cornelia, GA:  Casanova & Seven b Jacob Ashworth & Skirra Corvus, Johnny Dangerous over John Skyler and Steven Walters, Jacob Ashworth & Joey Rhymer b Tommy Daniels & C.B. Gibson-COR, Anthony Henry b Brandon Parker, Andrew Pendleton b Billy Buck, Shaun Tempers b Slim J-DQ.  Next show is a TV taping on 6/9.
 
--Steeltown Pro Wrestling on 6/30 in Selkirk, Manitoba at the Friendship Centre.  
 
--Apex Sports Agency will hold an invitation only One Asia Summit 2012 from 6/1 to 6/3 in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands.