TUESDAY UPDATE: Election notes, more from Raw, brawl on Smackdown, Bonnar suspended, Armstrong family talks, Mania kickoff party canceled, tons more
By Bryan Alvarez
We are looking for your thoughts on Saturday night's World Series of Fighting show and all three Dragon Gate USA show so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
We're also looking for reports on these shows:
*TNA Saturday night in Laredo, TX (Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries)
*Dragon Gate USA iPPV from Sunday in Deer Park, NY
*Dragon Gate USA iPPV from Voorhees, NJ
*Raw on Friday night from Newcastle, England
*Smackdown on Friday night from Hamburg, Germany
*Smackdown from Thursday in Lyon, France
*Raw from Wednesday in Strasbourg, France
Today has a Smackdown/Saturday Morning Slam/Main Event taping from Birmingham, England. Two matches announced are Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio falls count anywhere as the Smackdown main event, and Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus for Main Event. The show will be airing at 8 p.m. on Syfy. They are billing it as live but it's actually tape delayed, like tonight.
Today is also a Raw show in Glasgow, Scotland.
Wednesday has Raw in Belfast and Smackdown in Brussels. Thursday has Raw in Dublin and Smackdown in Zurich. Friday has Raw in Lisbon and Smackdown in Malaga, Spain.
We look at the current WWE situation, including Hell in a Cell and the build for Survivor Series and Royal Rumble as the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that will be up on the site today. We also have a new back issue from 1995, talking about the build to the first Nitro and the building of what at the time was the biggest money live pro wrestling event in history in Japan.
Also, everyone who subscribes this month for either the print or web site version of the newsletter will get our most talked about issue, the Hall of Fame issue that comes out in less than two weeks. There will be six new entrants into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, voted on by those in the business, as well as reporters and historians in our annual balloting.
Our lead story looks at every aspect of the Ryback situation, the decision on who won, how the actual finish came to be, as well as looking back at the early career of a number of major names in wrestling including how Lou Thesz won his first world title, why Brock Lesnar wasn't involved in the finish at Hell in a Cell, why the traditional Survivor Series main event hasn't been done in nearly two decades, as well as full coverage of the PPV with poll results and star ratings for every match.
We also have a look at the life, wrestling career, announcing career and the influence of Jeff Blatnick on the sport of MMA. We look at the origination of the term Mixed Martial Arts, how it got popularized in pro wrestling before UFC, how Blatnick named the sport and when it happened.
We also look at the fight UFC had for survival in the late 90s and some amazing ironies about that period. We look at why Jeff Blatnick was used by UFC as its point man, including discussions Blatnick had with the most powerful people in the cable industry at the time. We look at why Blatnick was no longer associated with UFC and how he resurfaced as a key figure in MMA in the Northeast.
We look at how Blatnick first became involved in UFC, as well as his amazing career as a wrestler, from his beginnings not liking wrestling, to his college career including a match with Steve Williams that may have cost him an NCAA title. We look at his Olympic days, from the 1980 boycott year to his 1984 gold medal win, and his battles with cancer.
We look at his move into announcing, his offers from pro wrestling including one that few know about that would have involved him being in a major executive position with the No. 2 wrestling company in the world at one point.
We also have details and backgrounds on a lot of new talent that WWE has recruited and just signed, where they came from, ring names, who they were and more including the type of people WWE is now recruiting and why.
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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We also have a very strange story regarding the payment to Donald Trump for WrestleMania in 2007, as well as more on Linda McMahon's spending for the current senate race, the latest polls, where Linda is losing ground and the latest dirt spread by both sides. We also look at the media coverage of the campaign.
We also have more on the WWE's women's division, Brock Lesnar's future, what type of backgrounds have seemed to work in women's wrestling, the sales of C.M. Punk's DVD, notes on the WWE video game, a WWE movie project, promotion for WrestleMania, notes on he WWE Network, the European tour, Ric Flair coming to WWE, the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure and DVR viewership of Raw.
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:
--Title change at Arena Mexico
--Update on Hector Garza
--Next AAA tapings
--Lineups for Dragon Gate USA shows this weekend on iPPV
--Major Dragon Gate angles for Japan
--Notes on the build for the annual Real World Tag League event in Japan
--Bracketing and key matches in the tournament
--Combined All Japan and New Japan shows in Taiwan
--Battle of tag champs in a singles match
--GHC tag title change and where that belt is going
--Notes on final major NOAH show of the year
--Update on Tajiri's promotion in Japan using several top Americans
--A promotion lets the fans make the card
--Notes on tha attempted comeback of Jake Roberts
--How Mike Graham's pro wrestling career got started and his first major TV angle
--The angle that got Mike Graham out of Eddie's shadow and let to Dusty Rhodes being the biggest star in Florida wresting history
--Who booked the angle
--NWA title vacated and match to decide the new champion
--Extreme Rising runs in the Pittsburgh area and plans for WrestleMania weekend
--The History Channel doing a feature on an 80s wrestler
--Notes on this weekend's ROH TV tapings
--Notes on Hulk Hogan's quick settlement with Bubba the Love Sponge
--Bound for Glory PPV notes
--TNA star doing outside media work
--TNA wrestler hospitalized with kidney issues but already back
--The strange TNA announcing dynamic
--Lineup for Turning Point thus far and new matches likely added
--Notes on the weekend TNA house shows
--Notes on the ungodly hour the next UFC show will be airing at
--New UFC television specials over the next two weeks
--Story on UFC no longer running at The Palms in Las Vegas
--Lots of new UFC matches announced
--Plans for UFC light heavyweight division and how they changed
--Notes on the next season of TUF Brazil including a June main event
--UFC fighter nearly loses home in Hurricane
--Stephan Bonnar retires
--UFC PPV estimates
--Chad Mendes legal issues and sentencing
--A few UFC cuts
--The Eddie Alvarez contract situation
--Controversial officiating on Bellator show
--Lots of shows this coming weekend on TV
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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.
Today's News, Notes and Links
-- Don't forget to SMACKDOWN YOUR VOTE today. We've also got our F4W Election going if you've had your fill of Obama and Romney. Your candidates in this election are Bryan and Snorki, Granny and Lance Storm, and Vinny and Anchor. You can vote on the board by clicking here. Winning team gets $50. Although she is my opponent, you should check out votegranny.com. It's something else.
-- Stephanie McMahon campaign video for her mom speaking Spanish here.
-- Linda McMahon pulls WWE-style dirty tricks out of the bag.
-- A story on Brad Armstrong with quotes from his family is up here.
-- Stephan Bonnar has been suspended for one year for testing positive for steroids following his fight with Anderson Silva in Brazil last month. Since he retired after the fight, does that mean he's suspended from retirement for a year, and thus must fight in the meantime? Dave Herman hasn't had a suspension handed down yet, but Marc Ratner said they're thinking about suspending him and requiring something involving rehab. For marijuana.
-- WWE.com put a video up hereof a Ryback vs. Brad Maddox angle from OVW to set up their match on Raw this Monday night where Maddox attempts to win a ONE MILLION DOLLAR contract.
-- Video of the pub brawl that they shot for Smackdown tonight is available at this link. It actually plays off the angle from Raw where William Regal and Sheamus went out for a pint.
-- WWE put up a PDF herelooking at the unofficial chain of command hierarchy in the company. Yes, this is on the actual website.
-- WWE has officially canceled the WrestleMania ticket sale kickoff party scheduled for later this week. Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy on the NY/NJ/CT region, WWE and WrestleMania’s host partners in New York and New Jersey have decided to cancel the WrestleMania On-Sale Celebration previously scheduled for Friday, November 9 at Bryant Park in New York City. Our thoughts are with all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
-- Ratings report for the week. As noted last night on Observer Radio, Ultimate Fighter inexplicably drew 1.061 million viewers, up 57% from the week prior, with no special lead-in. People must have really wanted to see Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin do track and field. Bellator also did a remarkably high number, 220,000 viewers, the highest of the entire season, for a show containing no marquee match-ups or fighters. Maybe people were intrigued to see if Thiago Santos would illegally punt someone in the balls again. World Series of Fighting, unfortunately, bombed, doing just 198,000 viewers on NBC Sports, well below what WEC and UFC used to draw when NBC Sports was known as Versus.
-- Don't forget last night's Observer Radio is a FREE download off the front page right now. Sunday's Wrestling Observer Live with myself and Josh Nason is also a free download. If you like what you hear, we do anywhere from 10-15 shows every single week, and every show we've ever done dating back to 2005 is in the archive, all for only $10.99 per month. Observer Live is now part of the SBNation family as well.
-- Anthony Johnson in an interview with MMA Weekly said he'd be willing to move to heavyweight if the World Series of Fighting offered him a shot at Andre Arlovski.
-- Don't forget, Smackdown tonight is LIVE (not really) with Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton in a falls count anywhere match. They're also taping WWE Main Event with Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett.
-- Thiago Alves announced that due to a number of injuries he's taking a year off from the sport.
-- Video hereof Chris Weidman taking Ariel Helwani through his storm-ravaged city.
-- The Fandangoo vignette for the new Johnny Curtis character is up here.
-- TCW is Looking for the Stars of Tomorrow: (Memphis, TN) November 5 - TCW Wrestling is currently casting athletic and talented female models and actresses. Traditional Championship Wrestling (TCW) is in search of potential cast female members between the ages of 19 to 28 for the weekly national and international television programs. TCW will provide for travel, food, lodging and a stipend (dependent upon experience) once accepted. Wrestling experience is not necessary but the ability to take direction, work well with others and have a passion for fame is an absolute must. Please submit your resume and photo to
-- THIS SATURDAY, November 10, CZW World Heavyweight champion MASADA accepts an open challenge for the title from DAVEY RICHARDS at The Flyer's Skate Zone, 601 Laurel Oak RD in Voorhees, NJ with a 7:30 pm bell time
-- Total Gen-X'er interview with CM Punk here.
-- Review of the latest Steve Austin/Steven Seagal film up here. This fella didn't like it much.
-- Ed, Craig and Cutrer talk Brad Armstrong and monsters here.
-- On this week’s “UFC Tonight” Hosts Todd Harris and Kenny Florian conduct an exclusive interview with UFC Middleweight Cung Le on the eve of his historic battle against Rich Franklin at UFC ON FUEL TV 6: FRANKLIN VS. LE. Le discusses his recent foot injury, what it’s like to headline the UFC’s first-ever fight in China, and about the current movie “The Man With The Iron Fists.” In other news, Florian talks about the impact Stephan Bonnar's positive drug test will have on his legacy. Plus, we’ll have breaking news on an upcoming championship fight and much more.
-- What was the greatest feud in the AWA?
Verne Gagne vs. Nick Bockwinkel 53.2%
Michaels & Jannetty vs. Rose & Somers 12.3%
Cruhser vs. Mad Dog Vachon 6.1%
Bockwinkel & Stevens vs. Crusher & Robinson 4.7%
Crusher & Bruiser vs. Vachons 4.5%
Bruiser Brody vs. Jerry Blackwell 4.5%
Crusher & Bruiser vs. Harley Race & Larry Hennig 4.3%
Verne Gagne vs. Crusher 3.3%
Billy Graham vs. Wahoo McDaniel 2.4%
Verne Gagne vs. Billy Robinson 2.1%
Gagne & Brunzell vs. Adonis & Ventura 1.7%
Hogan vs. Blackwell 0.9%
Who was the best of these Hall of Fame candidates?
Gorilla Monsoon 21.4%
Lou Albano 17.6%
Jesse Ventura 17.1%
Bill Apter 13.8%'
Gary Hart 9.9%
Jerry Jarrett 7.9%
Jim Crockett Jr. 5.9%
Don Owen 3.4%
Dr. Alfonso Morales 1.8%
Mario Milano 1.1%
Which of these airings for Saturday's UFC are you most likely to watch?
Live 9 a.m. Eastern 6 a.m. Pacific 16.7%'
7 p.m. Eastern/4 p.m. Pacific 15.1%
1 a.m. Eastern/10 p.m Pacific 3.9%
Not watching because I don't get Fuel 23.6%
Not watching because not interested in this show 40.7%
Which show this weekend do you have the most interest in?
New Japan iPPV 39.9%
UFC Franklin vs. Le 31.6%
TNA Turning Point 28.5%
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