FRIDAY UPDATE: Huge weekend schedule and PPV previews, Sabin update, Bound for Glory tourney, update on FCW local TV, ECW chant at real life brawl, tons more

By Bryan Alvarez

Bryan Alvarez: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE joint branded house show in Augusta, ME at the Civic Center (John Cena vs. Big Show cage match, C.M. Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane street fight for WWE title, Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler for world title) , Christian vs. Cody Rhodes for IC title) and tonight's ROH show in Charleston, WV (Jay Lethal vs. Charlie Haas Texas death match, Roderick Strong vs. B.J. Whitmer vs. Kyle O'Reilly vs. Adam Cole, Davey Richards vs. Mike Mondo, All Night Express vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander) at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're also looking for reports on tonight's Titan Fighting Championships show from Fort Riley, KS, which airs live at 10 P.M. tonight on HDNet. The top fights are Jorge Santiago vs. Jay Silva, Brandon Bear vs. Nick Budig, Jordan Johnson vs. Jake Lindsey and Waymon Carter vs. Gregg Van De Creek.

There are two major shows this weekend, with a New Japan PPV (not available in the U.S.) and WWE's No Way Out.

The New Japan show is tomorrow from Osaka, which is actually very late tonight U.S. time, featuring the biggest possible title match as Kazuchika Okada, the current IWGP champion, defends against Hiroshi Tanahashi, the company's biggest star who has held the title for more than one year. Also:

Hirooki Goto & Tetsuya Naito vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Masato Tanaka -

Winner of the fall has a good shot at being the next contender

Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan for IWGP tag team titles

Low Ki vs. Ryusuke Taguchi for IWGP jr. title

Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga vs. MVP & Shelton Benjamin

Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Taka Michinoku & Taichi for IWGP jr. tag title

Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue & Captain New Japan vs. Yoshi-Hashi & Tomohiro Ishii & Rocky Romero

Prince Devitt & Kushida & Bushi vs. Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega & Daisuke Sasaki

On paper this looks to be one of the strongest PPVs of the year.

Saturday night has a WWE show in Lowell, MA at the Tsongas Center with the same lineup as in Augusta and same main events as the PPV. TNA runs Saturday night in Houston at the Bayou Music Center with Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy for the TNA title, Kurt Angle & A.J. Styles defend the tag title against Christopher Daniels & Kazarian, Tara & Velvet Sky vs. Angelina Love & Winter, Crimson vs. Matt Morgan, Kid Kash vs. Kazarian (yes, they list Kazarian twice which is probably a mistake on their part), Gunner vs. Garrett Bischoff and Rob Terry vs. Doug Williams.

Sunday is WWE's No Way Out from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ:

John Cena vs. Big Show cage match - If Cena wins, John Laurinaitis is fired; If Show wins, Cena is fired

C.M. Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane WWE title

Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler World title

Christain vs. Cody Rhodes IC title

Layla vs. Beth Phoenix for Divas title

Santino Marella vs. Ricardo Rodriguez non-title Tuxedo street fight

Brodus Clay vs. David Otunga (Facebook and You tube match at 7:30 P.M.)

Raw will be live Monday from the Nassau Coliseum.

Smackdown will be taped on Tuesday in Baltimore at the First Mariner Center.

        Is TNA on the rise, and if so, what is their ceiling?  A look at TNA with coverage of Slammiversary is the lead story in the new double issue of the Observer.  We look at the history of the promotion, its most valuable players, with our usual big show coverage.

        We also look in depth at UFC's issues with injuries, card changes, sorting it out, a look behind why the decisions that were made had to be made, who is unhappy, thoughts on the next FOX main event, why injuries are happening with such frequency and Dana White makes a plea to camps.
        We also look at WWE acquiring the Mid South Wrestling tape collection, including a look at the key things in wrestling in the 80s that, had they happened, the business could have looked far differently.  We look at the deal that was on the verge of happening that fell through, as well as the many factors that killed the UWF/Mid South. 
        We also look at the tape collections that aren't owned by WWE, a background of some of the things on them, and the value of such tapes.
        We also look at the Ultimate Fighter no longer going live, notes on the new season, when it'll be taped, when it'll air, as well as a number of new planned Ultimate Fighter seasons around the world expected to debut within the next year.
        We also have our annual WWE roster directory, with everyone's ages, years pro, real name and backgrounds of all the major roster talent and the top developmental talent.
        We also have a look at UFC's plans over the next year for international expansion and growth.  We look at a new TV deal, as well as plans for new reality shows, a huge show planned for November and how many shows and on the books for different parts of the world in 2013.
        We have coverage of this year's Best of the Super Junior tournament, and of the latest UFC show on FX.
        The issue will be on the site today if you are a web site member.  We also have a new back issue on the site from 1995 which covers the fallout of WrestleMania that year, Shawn Michaels turn details, Sabu being fired by ECW, as well as coverage of the legendary and boring second Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie fight.  Last week's back issue, in the archives, covers that year's WrestleMania as well as probably the show with the single greatest collection of talent in one night of any pro wrestling show in history, held the same day as WrestleMania at the Tokyo Dome.  There were 14 different Hall of Famers wrestling on the show, and two others part of the presentation and I would doubt there is a show in history that could boast a number that large.
        The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.

        The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world.  The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe.  Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively.  They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world.  Everywhere from Wall Street to the major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.

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        You can also subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O Box 1228, Campbell, CA  95009-1228.

        We look at TNA's improved product, is there evidence yet that it's a direction that will make a difference, business notes from Slammiversary, the good and bad of the show, who the real key people are in the survival of the company, what happened to Jerry Jarrett, who knew about Sting in the Hall of Fame, the background of Christian appearing on the show, and thoughts on Destination X.
        We also have our match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results from the show.
        We look in detail at all the various injuries in UFC, the motives for the changes, the message that Chael Sonnen sent to Michael Bisping and more.
        We look at the turning point of Mid South Wrestling, the period when it was the most watched wrestling television show in the United States, why that period was brief, the 1985 deal that fell through that would have changed the history of wrestling, what killed the promotion, as well as what the WWE acquired in the tape collection, who were the featured stars, and a list of still existing wrestling tape collections not owned by WWE.
        We also have an update on the TNA lawsuit against WWE, the move WWE made, what isn't going to happen any time soon because of it, and more on Ric Flair's contractual situation right now.  We also look at how Linda McMahon has risen in the polls and why, and how close the Connecticut senate race looks to be.  We look at who supports McMahon, who doesn't, and what role wrestling plays in it.
        We also have an update on Shane McMahon, what he's doing in business right now, and how the company is doing. 
         We also look at how the talent relations department in WWE has changed, who is in, who is out, and what the mentality is regarding new talent.  We look at how HHH has shaped the new department and changes that are expected to happen.
        We've got an update on Brock Lesnar, UFC and WWE and the reality of Lesnar's potential future as a fighter.  We also look at his schedule in WWE for this year and next.
        We also look at the WWE house show business.  We look at changes in who is going to be on what tour, who is going to be on television, why the changes are made, who is coming back, who isn't advertised as coming back and how the business is doing overall.  This covers the biggest names right now in the company.
        We've got more on Randy Orton, Chris Jericho's schedule, advanced orders for the video game, developmental plans, who they are looking at.
        We also look at a WWE tryout and who the company is scouting, and the thought process of recruiting college sports stars vs. independent wrestlers and the positives and negatives of each.
        We've also got updates on The Rock, Kelly Kelly, JBL's mountain climbing and Raw plans, Punk rips on an episode of Raw,  Vader and more.
        We also look at how major sports, TV and advertising executives right now perceive the value and interest in boxing, UFC and WWE now and as compared to five years ago.  This is actually very important, because that perception drives so much of the key decision making.
        We look at more WWE releases, a wrestler who quit, wrestlers who are doing enhancement work, the last FCW tapings, a member of a legendary wrestling family getting a tryout, Steve Austin's new TV show, the WWE tour of Spain and how business went, and notes on all the house shows from the past week.
        We look at the final two days of the Best of the Super Junior tournament as well as New Japan's next PPV show.  We also have a history of the championship matches in the tournament dating back to the first major New Japan junior tournament in 1984.
         We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows and complete details on the this week's Raw and the last two weeks of Impact.  We look at the Vince effect on the ratings, what segments gained and lost viewers and where the growth was.  We also look at how the time slot move and going live has affected TNA numbers.

        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.

Also in this week's issue:

--AAA teasing a Hall of Famer headed to this year's TripleMania
--One of the best wrestlers in the world announces his engagement to a TV star
--Update on a number of pro wrestling injuries
--Two Hall of Famers, an 80s legend vs. 90s legend, meet for the first time later this month
--Wrestler released from jail after arrest on drug charges
--Update on Sabu after his problems that kept him off the Extreme Reunion show
--Retired pro wrestler wins major TV reality show
--Pro wrestling legend honored in Canada
--The second annual wrestling Beat the Streets in Times Square
--Great Muta returns to U.S.
--Former NFL star vs. former WWE wrestler in MMA fight, what happened
--Boxer who fought the greatest heavyweights of his era does angle on indie show
--Newest member of one of the most famous wrestling families stars wrestling
--A book about the toughest wrestlers in history
--New all-women's iPPV promotion
--Coach talks about what Tough Enough winner she was against winning
--Former WWF announcer gets job as news anchor
--One of pro wrestling's best performers says he will retire next year
--Notes on the next ROH iPPV show
--Morale notes at TNA and why
--Notes on the A.J. Styles/Dixie Carter angle
--Notes on wrestlers who received TNA tryouts
--New TNA TV deal
--More on the background of TNA Gut Check
--Raw vs. Impact vs. Smackdown viewership in the U.K.
--More on the UFC video game license change and THQ says why it gave the license up
--A look at how the WWE & UFC games have been doing the last few years
--Official numbers for UFC 146
--Updates on UFC big show ticket sales
--The current UFC all-time record gate in the U.S. and can UFC 148 break that record
--More on the Nick Ring situation in Calgary and Ring's thoughts on the muggers he helped catch
--UFC star doing Dancing with the Stars
--How other sports are doing on Saturday nights right now
--More on the making of Rory MacDonald vs. B.J. Penn
--Problems with training partners being stars in the same weight class
--What New Yorkers feel about the MMA ban, latest poll numbers, and a breakdown by age and demos
--UFC star talks once again about doing pro wrestling
--Brock Lesnar as a UFC Hall of Famer
--New matches announced
--A look at Bellator's summer schedule 
--One of the most recruited wrestlers in history by colleges is now about to start an MMA career
--More on the Pacquiao-Bradley decision
        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.

Rates are:

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        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.
Today's News, Notes and Links

-- As noted on the front page, Chris Sabin suffered a torn ACL in his good knee last night during Ultimate X. That really sucks. Dixie tweeted that he's determined to come back ASAP.

-- Once the current run of FCW television ends, Bright House in Florida will begin airing the new NXT shows shot at Full Sail University. No word yet on whether they'll start with week one that was taped or start with the most current episode taped, which would be about episode three or four. One big upgrade is that the Full Sail shows are being shot in full HD, unlike the old FCW shows.

-- Speaking of FCW, on their next show: Florida Championship Wrestling brings its annual Father’s Day Salute to the Crystal River Armory tomorrow night, June 16th. As a Father’s Day treat kids 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by their father’s. The Father’s Day Salute is part of FCW’s 2012 Summer Slamarama Tour. This year’s summer outing has more than ever to offer for the FCW Universe. There are eight matches on the card featuring some of WWE’s NXT Superstars. The pre-show fan fest features autograph and photo stages, opportunities for fans to get in the ring during “Dancing with the Superstars” contests, and of course – the sizzling hot Diva swimsuit competitions! And, last but not least, the first 300 fans at each Summer Slamarama Tour stop will receive a pack of FCW Summer Slamarama trading cards! The current FCW roster includes the largest array of personalities ever, including 15 international superstars from countries all over the world, a handful of second and third generation superstars, and even the son of multiple-time Grammy Award winner Kris Kristofferson, Garret Dylan.

-- There is a video here of the Chris Brown vs. Drake nightclub brawl that took place Wednesday night at a club in New York City. At one point during the melee the patrons actually start an ECW chant. TMZ's story on the brawl.

-- Ken Doane on Twitter is going off on Randy Orton, talking about how when he was suspended the first time John Cena wanted him fired. That and much more up here.

-- After last night, the Bound for Glory tournament participants are: AJ Styles, Bully Ray, Christopher Daniels, James Storm, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Magnus, Pope D'Angelo Dinero, Rob Van Dam, Robbie E, Samoa Joe and Mr. Anderson Anderson. Scoring for the tournament:
10 points for a submission win
7 points for a pin
5 points for a count out win
3 points for a DQ win
2 points for a draw, double count out or double DQ
0 for a loss
-10 (minus ten points) for a DQ loss

-- If you haven't heard it yet, we have a FREE radio show interview with Joe Park, Esq., which has received some rave reviews, here.

-- Michael Bisping underwent minor knee surgery Wednesday in Los Angeles and expects to be back training within about three weeks.

-- Smackdown tonight has CM Punk & Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler & Daniel Bryan, Christian vs. Jack Swagger, Beth Phoenix vs. Alicia Fox, Brodus Clay vs. Heath Slater, Damien Sandow vs. Tyson Kidd, Ryback vs. Two Geeks, and more. We also get the firing stipulation added to Sunday's PPV main event between Cena and Show. Yes, another one.

-- Zack Ryder's latest Internet show.

-- There is a story in today's USA Today about the injury rate in UFC todaywith quotes from an exhausted Dana White and Rich Franklin. Franklin points to overtraining (absolutely true) and the fact that there are more killers than ever in MMA camps nowadays and people get beat up in practice far too frequently (also true).

-- Rock of Ages, which hits theatres today, features Kevin Nash in the role of a bodyguard for the character played by Tom Cruise.

-- Joey Ryan speaks to Generation Me about whether wrestling does, in fact, matter in TNA.

-- The August 20th Raw, which takes place the day after SummerSlam, will air live from the Save Mart Center in Fresno.

-- In regards to Raw Monday, John (not Cena) writes: McDonald’s does indeed have their Chicken McNuggets on sale right now– 20 for $4.99.

-- Highlights from stage 2 of the Adam Pearce vs. Colt Cabana best of seven series for the NWA Heavyweight Title is up here.

-- Brand new interview with DDP running Stevie J ragged up here.

-- West Virgina channel 5 local newscast featuring Ring of Honor

-- TMZ has a story on Maven Huffman talking about how WWE saved his life.

-- There is a Sensational Sherri tribute podcast up herefeaturing a bunch of big names including Bill Apter.

-- New York Daily News story on Raw going to three hours.

-- Over the Top Radio crew will be joined by Brian Fritz tonight

-- Davey Richards talks retiring from wrestling next August and his love for Gracie Jiu Jitsu here.

-- Jon writes: Just noticed that next week on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, CM Punk is a scheduled guest on the show. He is scheduled to appear this Monday (06/18/12). Joan Rivers is also scheduled for the show as well, interesting combination. Not sure why he is appearing on the show, but he is listed for this Monday.Would like to thank Jon for being a very long-time subscriber.

-- Mike Tyson talking about getting back into the ring. He says so on the Heyman Hustle website, so make of that what you will.

-- New Mick Foley interview herewhere he talks a bunch of different subjects including why Undertaker should never get on Twitter.

Who was the best Japanese wrestling star of the 90s?
Mitsuharu Misawa 39.6%
Kenta Kobashi 23.2%
Keiji Muto 19.3%
Antonio Inoki 3.5%
Toshiaki Kawada 2.9%
Genichiro Tenryu 2.3%
Tatsumi Fujinami 2.1%
Masahiro Chono 1.9%
Atsushi Onita 1.7%
Shinya Hashimoto 1.7%
Nobuhiko Takada 1.5%
Akira Maeda 0.4%

Best football/wrestling dual star
Wahoo McDaniel 35.8%
Ernie Ladd 30.0%
Dick the Bruiser 11.9%
Bronko Nagurski 9.8%
Gene Kiniski 9.0%
Angelo Mosca 1.5%
Leo Nomellini 1.0%
Gus Sonnenberg 0.6%

Best strongman in pro wrestling history
Bruno Sammartion 47.3%
Andre the Giant 15.5%
Mark Henry 8.8%
Ken Patera 7.0%
Superstar Billy Graham 6.0%
Doug Furnas 6.0%
Road Warrior Animal 4.0%
Scott Norton 2.1%
Ted Arcidi 1.2%
Ivan Putski 1.1%
Bill Kazmaier 0.9%
Yukon Eric 0.2%

What state/province has produced the best pro wrestlers?
Texas 31.1%
Minnesota 28.1%
Alberta 20.0%
Florida 5.5%
Ontario 4.3%
California 2.1%
Quebec 1.8%
Michigan 1.6%
Ohio 1.6%
Missouri 1.3%
Oklahoma 1.3%
New Jersey 1.3%

Which of these names should most be on the Hall of Fame ballot?
Ultimate Warrior 22.6%
Kerry Von Erich 19.0%
Rick Martel 11.3%
Blackjack Mulligan 9.9%
Baron Von Raschke 9.6%
Killer Karl Kox 5.2%
Archie Gouldie 5.1%
Chavo Guerrero Sr. 5.1%
Dave Brown 3.5%
Tiger Jeet Singh 3.5%
Dick Slater 3.0%
Johnny Powers 1.8%

-- Former WWE, TNA & Current NJPW Star Lance Hoyt Wrestling Clinic Sat June 23 12pm XCW Wrestlig Institute 3737 Mingo Rd Ste 505 Denton Tx 76201 $30.00 Fee Food & Water provided

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?