By Dave Meltzer
On Fuel TV, the Alexander Gustafsson vs. Thiago Silva show airs at midnight tonight.
We've got an update on WrestleMania numbers and what they mean, the legacy of Fedor Emelianenko, how Silva vs. Sonnen mirrors pro wrestling interviews from 40 years ago, an update on Ring of Honor and UFC after weekend shows, details on WWE's new TV, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, and tons more on John Cena among the highlights of the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
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 legacy of Atsushi Onita, a shoot tournament featuring a number of pro wrestlers and Rickson Gracie, and how the international economy changed wrestling at that time.
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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The legacy of Fedor Emelianenko is looked at with his announced retirement, career highlights, where he stands among the all-time greats, his skill set, biggest wins, when the chinks in his armor were first apparent and the legacy of dead promotions in his wake.
We look at the buildup of Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva with the latest interviews.
We also look at the good and the bad coming out of the ROH iPPV, including how much the misfires hurt the company, the problems ROH has in drawing and why, the audience reactions, the plight of Adam Cole and Michael Elgin being elevated, Kevin Steen's attempts to turn the crowd, as well as match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results on the show.
We also look at UFC's weekend, including judging Guida vs. Maynard, what happened after the fight, who blew a title shot, ratings and business notes from both shows, the story behind Franklin vs. Silva and the new stars in the Brazilian market. We've also got complete coverage of both shows.
We also look at the new WWE Main Event show on Ion, including where Ion stands as far as a network, WWE's return to Japan, the returns of Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio, the trend of the television business that most affects UFC and pro wrestling and where it stands, a WWE cross promotional effort, WWE video game pre sales, what major name who has been out of wrestling for eight years is at least thinking about returning for a big match, as well as Kenn Doane talks about why his WWE career faltered and a view of Doane from the outside.
We also look at new WWE hires, John Layfield's mountain climbing, update on the WWE Network, notes on how the business from May compared with last year in a number of categories, as well as sales of this year's Mania DVD compared to last year. We also look at a movie that will star one of the biggest stars in both pro wrestling and one of the biggest stars in MMA that will be filmed starting in a few weeks.
We've also got business notes from the weekend WWE shows and highlights from all the company's house shows of the week.
We also have a look at the famed Luchador Adorable Rubi, a landmark figure in the history of pro wrestling, where he came from, what American stars inspired him and his promoter, as well as his career highlights from his 70s heyday.
We also have notes on how Over the Limit did on PPV and the stipulation of John Laurinaitis' employment being at stake and if it sold PPV orders.
We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows and complete details on how every segment of Raw and Impact this past week did. We also look at how the time slot move and going live has affected TNA numbers.
We also have reviews of all the major television shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--Details on the new Mistico
--Multiple women risk their hair in a big match this week
--Hall of Famer undergoes eye surgery this week
--TNA prelim wrestlers that have gotten interest outside the U.S.
--Upcoming Dragon Gate shows in the U.S. and one of its biggest events in Japan
--TNA stars coming to Pro Wrestling NOAH and the political significance of that move
--A look at NOAH's next major show
--Two of pro wrestling's biggest stars each announce 20th anniversary events
--Huge ratings for a pro wrestling world title change
--A look at major matches in July from New Japan Pro Wrestling including its biggest monthly show
--Ric Flair update including contractual stipulation
--Update on Scott Hall and Lex Luger
--Notes on Kevin Nash movie role
--More on TNA's lawsuit against Scott Steiner
--Details of Steiner's contract with TNA
--Steiner's twitter war with Brooke Hogan
--Update on TNA international
--More on the payoff on Styles and Dixie Carter
--Why it made no sense to do it when they did it
--Update on Destination X PPV
--More on the Sting being attacked angle
--Update on the X Division title
--TNA wrestler wins bikini contest
--Background of Taelor Hendrix and the cancer story
--Why Gut Check with a woman brings up different issues than with a guy
--Notes on the weekend TNA house shows
--Update on Velasquez vs. Dos Santos
--How many people now can get Fuel
--Fighter issues a challenge to opponent for stricter drug testing
--More on Brock Lesnar, UFC and WWE, as well as who he is most interested in fighting
--Fighter talks about giving up testosterone replacement therapy
--Lots of new UFC matches
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.
Wednesday's News Update
--We've got two different Observer radios tonight. The first is with Jim Duggan as we talk his career, battling cancer, working in Mid South, his favorite opponents and more, and the second is with Josh Gross as we talk the idea of an MMA Hall of Fame, who belongs, Fedor Emelianenko and other major topics in the sport. You can always send questions in for the show to
--Jon Jones and Anderson Silva along with Andre Ward and Floyd Mayweather Jr. were the nominees for Best Fighter in the upcoming Espy awards. The voting on the Internet runs through 7/9 and the winner will be announced on 7/11.
--As has been expected, Brock Lesnar is booked on the 7/23 Raw in St. Louis.
--Want to send best wishes to David Steigman on the loss of his mother yesterday to cancer.
--For those coming to our annual convention in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Fight Shop has offered a 20% discount for all merchandise to anyone who is an Observer subscriber of web site member for next week. Also, for anyone coming to Las Vegas for the Silva vs. Sonnen fight, the shop, part of the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood has fighter appearances that are open to the public and free.
7/5 from 3-4 p.m. he'll have Sean Sherk
7/6 at 6 p.m. he'll have Rich Franklin
7/6 at 8 p.m. he'll have Chan Sung Jung
7/8 at 1 p.m. they'll have Michael Bisping, King Mo and Fabricio Werdum
--USA was No. 2 for the week in prime time on cable with a 2.7 average, behind the 3.2 of Disney. Syfy was No. 10 with a 1.3 prime time average. FX was No. 11 with a 1.2 average. Spike was No. 22 with an 0.8 average. Raw last week was No. 6 and No. 7, trailing monster numbers of Good Luck Charlie on Disney, Pawn Stars, Rizzoli & Isles and Spring Cup Racing from Sonoma. Raw did beat the second episode of "Dallas," which true to nostalgia form, fell greatly from the huge number of the first week. Raw was No. 3 and No. 6 in 18-34 and No. 3 and No. 5 in 18-49.
--Dragon Gate USA announced how they were going to fill their tag title vacancy. On 7/29 in Chicago, Cima and a partner of his choice will face Ricochet and a partner of his choice.
--Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday for the 8/18 Strikeforce show at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego headlined by Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman for the women's bantamweight title. Fight Club members can get tickets today and newsletter subscribers can get tickets tomorrow.
--ESPN The Magazine announced today that Ronda Rousey would be featured in their "Body Issue" on 7/13.
--Mark Henry, Zack Ryder, Lilian Garcia and Natalya from WWE will be appearing tonight in Brooklyn at MCU Park (Cyclone Stadium) for the Cyclones game promoting Be a Star. I suppose they are going to tell all the kids there what to do if uncaring assholes in school call them names like horse face and Secretariat or tease them about farting in class among other things, or try to humiliate them so badly in trying to get them to no longer hang out with the cool guys.
Who is the hottest of these WWE women?
Lilian Garcia 5.7%
Vickie Guerrero 5.2%
Alicia Fox 4.2%
Who is the hottest of these WWE women?
Eve Torres 33.2%
Kelly Kelly 23.7%
Rosa Mendes 12.7%
Beth Phoenix 11.2%
Tamina Snuka 1.7%
Which of these people should most be in the UFC Hall of Fame?
Frank Shamrock 35.9%
Brock Lesnar 24.4%
Bas Rutten 11.0%
Don Frye 9.7%
Mirko Cro Cop 6.8%
Tank Abbott 4.4%
Pat Miletich 3.8%
Maurice Smith 1.8%
Kenny Florian 1.1%
Mark Kerr 0.7%
Andrei Arlovski 0.2%
Murilo Bustamante 0.2%
Poll on Raw
17.1% of those responding didn't see the show
--Insane Clown Posse is releasing a song called "Chris Benoit." It's about a sudden loss of sanity.
--Fight Now TV has signed a deal with the Resurrection Fighting Alliance starting with a live show that will air on their network on Saturday from Kearny, NE's Viaro Event Center. The main event features former TUF winner Joe Stevenson facing Dakota Cochrane, who recently beat Jamie Varner. Former UFC champion and kickboxing legend Maurice Smith, at 50, faces Ryan Lopez of Oklahoma City, plus former NCAA champion Bubba Jenkins has his third fight facing Jesus Adame. The show airs at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time. If you don't get Fight Now TV, the show is also on iPPV for $7.95 through Ustream.TV
--For those asking, Vince McMahon made the call Monday night not to mention Fort Wayne, which was the city Raw was being taped in. Right now one of Vince's things, and these things change all the time is that if he doesn't think the city sounds big league enough, the name of the city is banned. A few weeks back when Smackdown was in Columbia, SC, he made the same call.
-- Ultimate Victory Challenge on 8/4 at the Ohio State Fair Coliseum featuring former TUF fighter Luke Zachrich vs. Nick Kraus, a former wrestling star at Trine University, as well as former Ohio State All-American wrestler, now a member of Team Alpha Male, Lance Palmer vs. Jon Washington..
--A match on the 8/4 UFC on FOX show is now off as England's Terry Etim was injured and his match with Joe Lauzon has been scrapped. A new match for the show is expected to be announced imminently.
--Today's is the 10th anniversary of John Cena's WWE television debut against Kurt Angle, which was Paul Heyman's idea to make him an instant star. It seemed to work, but then it didn't and Cena was losing on C TV shows until his career was resurrected when Stephanie McMahon had him do a rapper gimmick.
--Lucha Libre USA's Masked Warriors TV show debuts on 6/28 on Hulu Latino. All the season one episodes will air along with never seen before bonus footage. Season two stars on 7/11. There will be new episodes released at Hulu.com every Wednesday. Among those appearing are Marco Corleone, Lizmark Jr., Shane Helms and Halloween.
--Dream bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes was announced today as having signed with the One FC promotion. Fernandes was scheduled to debut on the 7/21 UFC show in Calgary, but then backed out of signing the contract after One FC made him a stronger offer. According to MMAfighting.com, Fernandes debuts on 8/31 in Manila, Philippines.
--Empire Wrestling on Friday night at the Academy Theater in Avondale Estates, GA.
--Knokx Pro Wrestling on 7/7 at The Domain in Sun Valley, CA at 3 p.m. has a show featuring Rikishi, Black Pearl and Thamiko Fatu.
--SOR Class Wars Wrestling on 10/27 in Lafayette, IN at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds Coliseum headlined by Billy Roc.
--ICP has Juggalo Championship Wrestling shows on 7/5 in Taylor, MI at the Town Center, 7/6 in Grand Rapids at the Orbit Room and 7/7 in Milwaukee at the Miramar Theater. Among those appearing are 2 Tuff Tony, Ring Rydas, Steve Corino, Colt Cabana, Madman Pondo and Necro Butcher.