THURS. UPDATE: Cena's main event replacement, Ratings, Rousey on Spike tonight, More on TNA announcement, Linda McMahon, Edge, Lawler talks probems and recovery, ROH iPPV debacle, Punk doc debut in theater

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

We're looking for reports on tonight's NXT tapings in Winter Park, FL.  Those scheduled to appear are John Cena (not wrestling but still scheduled for an appearance), Vickie Guerrero (whose daughter is a star on the show) and Antonio Cesaro as well as Jim Ross as an announcer.

Impact tonight on Spike at 8 p.m. features at least a tease for Bobby Roode vs. James Storm, plus the Evan Markopolous Gut Check segment and more fun with Aces and 8s. Spike begins the new one hour format of MMA Uncensored at 10 p.m., right after Impact, with Ronda Rousey as the guest.

Fuel tonight has UFC Tonight at 8 p.m., Ultimate Answers at 8:30 p.m., Best of Pride at 9 p.m., Countdown to UFC 152 at 10 p.m. and a replay of last week's Ultimate Fighter at 11 p.m. The weigh-ins for Friday's UFC 152 will be on Fuel tomorrow at 4 p.m. Eastern time.  


The rich history of the Jerry Lawler era in Memphis wrestling is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer.  The issue is currently up on the web site as well as a new issue from 1995 covering the first Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn UFC fight and the debut of Tank Abbott.  That issue looks back at a huge weekend where I attended UFC, AAA and WCW major events in a three-day period with notes on all the shows, as well as the build to the debut episode of Nitro.
        We update Lawler's health, his future wrestlers who have come back from heart attacks including one who was a major star in expanding the popularity of pro wrestling in a hotbed area within a year of suffering a heart attack.  We also look at WWE medical care, and look back at Lawler's career starting with his first major big arena headline role in his tag team with Jim White, through his multi-year world title quest, through the ups and downs of Memphis wrestling during its glory days.
        We look back at the Lawler vs. Fargo rivalry, Lawler's first sellouts as a singles star, the booking of Jerry Jarrett in building Lawler for his match with Jack Brisco and look back at the match.  We also look at how Jarrett and Lawler successfully were able to take the publicity from Ali vs. Inoki in 1976 and create a major box office success.  We also look at why such booking would be impossible today.  We also look back at the Lawler vs. Dundee years, the success of hair vs. hair matches, the creation of Jarrett Promotions and the end of Nick Gulas, Jimmy Hart getting into pro wrestling, Lawler's in-ring psychology and where it came from, as well as Hulk Hogan's first big box office program.
        We look at the story behind Lawler vs. Dundee and the most unique television pro wrestling show in history, as well as a rundown of the Andy Kaufman feud.  We look at the original match, Letterman, the classic angle in the Lawler vs. Nick Bockwinkel match, the Lawler vs. Austin Idol feud, the Curt Hennig win and the death of local Memphis wrestling.
        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.
        We also have a note on the changes in television, most notably the decline in television homes while the population increases in the U.S., why this is happening, and the most important television markets.
        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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        We also have a look at WWE's Night of Champions show, along with plans for Hell in a Cell, background of Cena's elbow and ankle injuries, updates on WWE announcing.  We've got a lot of notes on the show, as well as business notes, and match-by-match coverage with star ratings.
        We also have notes on how WWE edited Raw last week due to what happened to Jerry Lawler, but other edits taken out of the show.  We also have more of a reaction backstage when the Lawler thing happened.  Bret Hart talks his return to Montreal in a WWE ring.  He also talks Jerry Lawler and Vince McMahon.  We look at WWE removing clips from the Internet, the heated Linda McMahon senate campaign, update on Rock's schedule, indie talent getting tryouts, Eve Torres engagement, and funny "Did You Know" stuff on WWE television.  We also look at Paul Heyman's house show schedule and the role of Brad Maddox in WWE.  We also look at a recent business change, Ric Flair's daughter in WWE, former WWE star documentary on life after wrestling and business notes from the past week and WWE's house show notes.  
        We also run down the CMLL 79th anniversary show, regarding the oldest pro wrestling company in history and its biggest show of the year.
        We also look at the problems with Ring of Honor and iPPV, the company's reaction, where things screwed up, the next attempt, a better way to handle things, as well as a rundown of the Death Before Dishonor show.
        We also look at Pro Wrestling NOAH's major show of the month, which was the 20th anniversary of the debut of Jun Akiyama.  We look back at Akiyama highlights, as well as results from the show and where NOAH is going with its next big show.  We've also got notes on TNA talent returning to Japan to defend their tag titles.
         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 look at what segments gained and lost viewers
        We also have results from all the major league arena events over the past week as well as a look at all the major television shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--A bad sign regarding Shocker
--A look at AAA's last TV taping and latest interpromotional idea
--Dragon Gate has a Japan only PPV this week and a look at the card
--Updating NOAH's junior heavyweight tournament
--New Japan announces tag team tournament
--More on mentality of guys working when they are hurt
--Update on Tammy Sytch
--Former major league baseball player debuting this week
--Several contracts expiring in ROH
--Notes on next ROH TV tapings
--More on Impact schedule for the rest of the year
--Lots of news on Bound for Glory
--Why Jeff Hardy is getting the big push right now
--Devon talks leaving TNA
--More on Matt Morgan's return to TNA
--A look at the weekend TNA house shows
--A look at the remade UFC 153
--Update on Jose Aldo
--More fights falling apart in UFC
--Update on ticket sales to upcoming shows
--How UFC got a lucky sports break this week
--Update on Chael Sonnen
--DirecTV UFC discount package being offered
--Lots of new UFC fights    
        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.
Rates are:
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        We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk, Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods.
        To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $10 for shipping costs to Canada and $12 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
Thursday's news update
--Big Show will be back on house shows this weekend on the Raw brand, working main events against C.M. Punk for the WWE title, for shows at State College, PA tomorrow night, White Plains on Saturday and Worcester on Sunday.  Show replaces John Cena. That means Show will be working as a face since Paul Heyman will be in Punk's corner this week. 
--In the weekly cable ratings race, ESPN was first for the week at 3.18 million viewers in prime time, with USA second at 2.63 million.  FX was No. 11 at 1.31 million and Syfy was No. 15 at 1.12 million.  Spike didn't crack the top 25 last week.  The three hours of Raw last week were No. 8, No. 9 and No. 14 overall.  Of the top seven shows, three were NFL games, one was an NFL pregame show, there was a Florida vs. Tennessee game on ESPN (5.08 million viewers) as well as the Sons of Anarchy on FX (5.37 million viewers) and Major Crimes on TNT (4.96 million).  Due to football and Family Guy, Raw didn't make the top ten in 18-34, but was No. 8 and No. 9 in 18-49 behind mostly football, Sons of Anarchy and Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
--Regarding Spike's announcement of Impact being live for the rest of the year, the schedule in the new issue of the Observer is the current schedule.  There will be several taped shows due to holidays before the year is out, but it's mostly going to be live on Thursday.
--Shaquille O'Neal was backstage at the Impact tapings in Orlando.
--Santino Marella is currently in Dubai for a WWE promotional tour.
--Linda McMahon is getting a lot of publicity for publicly knocking Mitt Romney on his 47% remark a few days ago.  What's hurt her is she made this quote herself a few months back:  "I'd like to see everyone pay their fair share.  47% of the people today don't pay any taxes, so let's have a fair tax code where everybody pays their taxes."  Her campaign is saying that what she meant was the tax cod needed to be reformed. 
--Here's an Edge video talking an upcoming autograph signing.
--There is a story on Jerry Lawler from his press conference yesterday.  Lawler said his problem was too much cholesterol in his diet.  He said he will definitely go back to announcing and does expect to return to wrestling at some point, but not soon.  He said he will change his diet, get more exercise and take Plavix for the next six months to one year.  He said two wrestling matches a week is not enough exercise  
--Dolph Ziggler talks his WWE background and his reaction to Amy Schumer describing sex with him.
--Lyle "Fancy Pants" Beerbohm has signed with the World Series of Fighting. 
--Tennessee promoter Tony Givens is doing a Kickstarter program that began yesterday and ends on 10/19 looking for funding a 12-episode web TV series, that will include a free admission three day taping. They are looking for $10,000 in funding.
--Here's info from the ROH web site on Saturday's PPV debacle. Yes, I was very surprised reading this.  It makes them really come across badly even putting it out like this. 
--There will be a Raw taping on 12/10 in Newark, NJ at the Prudential Center.  They are listing a main event of John Cena & Sheamus vs. C.M. Punk & Alberto Del Rio.
--C.M. Punk's documentary from his DVD will debut on 10/4 at 7 p.m. at The Portage Theater in Chicago. 
--Sports Illustrated had a list of the 100 sports figures you should follow on Twitter. Among the combat sports related names on the list were Ariel Helwani, Kevin Iole, Floyd Mayweather, Jim Ross and Ronda Rousey.

--Dragon Gate USA runs on 11/3 in Voorhees, NJ at Flyers Skate Zone.
--Booker T is scheduled for a guest appearance at the NXT show tomorrow night in Punta Gorda, FL.  
--Among the birthdays today are Joel Gertner (37), David Lagana (I think 37) and Arn Anderson (54).
Who do you expect to win this fight?
Anderson Silva 90.2%
Stephan Bonnar 9.8%
Who do you expect to win this fight?
Joseph Benavidez 62.8%
Demetrious Johnson 37.2%
Who do you expect to win this fight?
Jon Jones 87.6%
Vitor Belfort 12.4%
Who has been the most valuable MMA fighter so far this year?
Ronda Rousey 36.7%
Chael Sonnen 28.0%
Anderson Silva 19.1%
Jon Jones 10.0%
Junior Dos Santos 4.0%
 Benson Henderson 0.8%
Cain Velasquez 0.5%
Carlos Condit 0.3%
Jose Aldo 0.3%
Daniel Cormier 0.3%
--CWE on 11/9 in Thunder Bay, ONT at the CLE Coliseum featuring Tommy Dreamer, Carlito, Tito Santana and Gangrel.
--Tuesday night in Guadalajara for CMLL:  El Hijo del Javier Cruz b Sadico, Halcon de Plata & Starman b Demonio Maya & Rafaga, Arkangel de la Muerte & Barbaro Cavernario & Escandalo b Leo & Metatron & Stigma, Olimpico b Diamante to win Occidental heavyweight title, Euforia & Rey Escorpion & Volador Jr. b La Mascara & Maximo & Prince Devitt.  Volador Jr. pinned Devitt after a low blow and Devitt wants a single match in Guadalajara.
--EWF on 10/14 in Bluffton, IN at 5 p.m. at the City Gym.
--Mike Sempervive and Les Thatcher talk with Tom Prichard, as did Ed, Craig and Cutrer.
--Battle Arts on 10/12 at the Royal Canadian Legion at 471 Simcoe St. South in Oshawa, ONT with Roderick Strong vs. Tyson Dux, Eddie Edwards vs. Marcus Marquez and Michael Elgin vs. Phil Atlas.
--Howard Finkel will be hosting Legends of the Ring 15 on 10/13 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Monroe, NJ. There are all kinds of ticket packages available for those wanting to go. Those part of the Superticket lineup are Kevin Nash, Jimmy Garvin, Barry Windham, Goldust, The Mountie, Hillbilly Jim, Wendi Richter, Afa & Sika, Fatu/Rikishi, Samu, Scotty 2 Hotty, Brian Christopher, Marc Mero and Bob Holly.  Also appearing as vendor guests include Tony Schiavone, Vader, DDP, Harley Race, Molly Holly, Michael Tarver, Iron Sheik, Paul Bearer, Butcher Vachon, Jimmy Hart, Tom Prichard, Tatanka, Slick, Armando Estrada, The Shane Twins, Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Nasty Boys, Danny Spivey, J.J. Dillon, Joey Styles, Tommy Dreamer, Jimmy Snuka, Matt Hardy, Larry Sharpe, Ivelisse Velez and more.
--Knokx Pro Wrestling on Saturday at The Domain in Sun Valley, CA with a 6 p.m. show.
--Crossfire Entertainment on 11/3 in Nashville at the Fairgrounds has Bob Orton Jr., Tito Santana and Paul Burchill added to a show headlined by Shane Williams vs. Carlito, Kid Kash vs. Jerry Lynn in a chain match, Shane Douglas vs. Arrick Andrews in a no holds barred match plus Shane Helms, Matt Hardy, Chris Adonis (Masters), Maria Kanellis, Jillian Hall, Cassidy Riley, Chase Stevens, Brian Lawler and more.  This will be a television taping for an as of yet not announced program.
--The Game Show Network last night replayed the Family Feud with TNA characters. Of the ten people, five are no longer with the company: Angelina Love, Lacey Von Erich, Velvet Sky, Mick Foley and Jay Lethal. (thanks to Ernie Santilli)

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?