FRI UPDATE: Schedule for the weekend, FUEL getting first-ever title fight main event, Cena Fruity Pebbles box out, website video goes viral and hits WWE, Rock talks Bruno, tons more



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

We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE Raw show in Poplar Bluff, MO and TNA show in Bossier City, LA 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 John Cena is off this weekend so The New Age Outlaws are on tour at the Raw brand shows. Chris Jericho also makes his house show debut this weekend, but he may not be on tonight's show. TNA's tour features Austin Aries, Jeff Hardy, Bully Ray, Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Hernandez.

Saturday has Raw in Springfield, MO, Smackdown in Champaign, IL and TNA in Vicksburg, MS.

The biggest show of the week is Sunday's New Japan "The New Beginning" PPV from the Hiroshima Sun Plaza Arena. The show starts at 1 a.m. late Saturday night/early Sunday morning Eastern time and 10 p.m. Pacific time, since it's an afternoon show in Japan. The show can be ordered at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/njpw1972 Lineup has

*Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi & Tama Tonga & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi & Jado

*Alex Shelley & Kushida vs. Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov for the IWGP jr. tag titles

*Prince Devitt vs. Ryusuke Taguchi vs. the IWGP jr. title

*Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan for the IWGP tag team titles

*Togi Makabe vs. Yujiro Takahashi

*Hirooki Goto & Wataru Inoue vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Katsuyori Shibata

*Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kengo Mashimo in a non-title match

*Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki

*Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Karl Anderson for the IWGP heavyweight title

WWE has a Raw house show on Sunday in Cape Girardeau, MO and a Smackdown show in Louisville, KY.

Raw will be live from Nashville on Monday night. The Rock is scheduled on the show. Brock Lesnar is not at this point advertised for the show.

Smackdown, Saturday Morning Slam and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday night in Little Rock.

        Bruno Sammartino and the WWE Hall of Fame, a look at the deal and how it went down is the lead story of the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that will be up on the site today.  We look at how HHH put the deal together, the background of issues between Sammartino and the McMahon family going back more than 50 years.
 
        We look at the issues that were being worked on, the drug testing issue, what the deal includes, as well as Sammartino's role in company history, and two other honors that were bestowed upon him of late, one of which is significantly bigger long-term than the WWE Hall of Fame.
 
        We also look at how the results at UFC 156 changed the direction of UFC's main events.  We look at how the different divisions changed, the heavyweight division, the Pettis vs. Aldo fight, the flyweight division, as well as the business notes on the show.
 
        We also look at all the close decisions and have reaction to them, as well a match-by-match coverage and the listed payoffs for everyone on the show.
 
        We've also got a look at TNA's departure from the Impact Zone in Orlando.  We look at the plans for television going forward, the plans for taped PPV shows going forward, will the Impact Zone be used and for how long, what happened the last time they tried to do television outside Orlando and more on the plight of the company.
 
        We also look at New Japan's "The New Beginning" PPV and the story behind all of the matches.
 
        We've also got a look at the NBC Sports deal with the World Series of Fighting, the next show and when it airs with the main matches, and why it's going to be a difficult venture.
 
        We also have more on Vince McMahon's surgery, C.M. Punk at Mania, Elimination Chamber card, the story behind the change in Raw on Monday after the sow had already started, why Rock was a big TV winner this past week, more on TNA lawsuit against WWE ending and how it delayed a recent signing by seven months.  We look at El Generico in WWE, more business notes and lowest PPV numbers of the past 15 years, Bret Hart talks HHH, Chris Jericho talks HHH and my thoughts on HHH as a performer.  We look at a booking idea dropped,. an executive leaving, thoughts on breakup of Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow, WWE example of why UFC hasn't run in a market it could do well in, how people view Raw on DVR's, and wrestlers who have main evented the most shows, by year, in the modern history of WWE.
 
             We also look at WWE house show news, the return of a former TV announcer and his role, WWE injury updates and who should be coming up in the next few weeks.  We also look at WWE DVD releases, all the developmental news, notes on the recent tryouts, advertising changes in house shows, plus all the major business notes from the past week and highlights from all the WWE shows.
 
        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.
 
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        We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows as well as details of how every segment on Raw and Impact did and what 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:
 
--Notes on crowning the new CMLL light heavyweight champion
 
--Serious injury from a botched move
 
--King of Flyers three-week tournament in Mexico
 
--International group making plans for U.S. expansion
 
--A look at the weekend AAA TV tapings
 
--Gape Sapolsky talks working with John Morrison
 
--A look at the last Dragon Gate USA weekend
 
--Notes on Reed Flair in Japan
 
--All Japan rookies
 
--NOAH newcomers
 
--New Japan attempts international expansion and details
 
--A look at New Japan's biggest show of the year
 
--New title contender created and probable New Japan anniversary show main event
 
--Upcoming iPPV notes
 
--90s star retirement show attracts 90s shooters
 
--A look at the next strange Inoki Genome Federation lineup
 
--Legends gathering at Japanese show
 
--Grandson of Rikidozan training for pro wrestling
 
--Notes of the debacle that was the Hart Legacy promotion show
 
--Notes on people who hadn't been paid
 
--Who in the Hart family was involved and who stayed clear of it
 
--What international group was hoping to work with them to bring back the old days
 
--Pro wrestling legend just inducted into Sports Hall of Fame
 
--Notes on National Pro Wrestling Day
 
--Who were the standout performers
 
--Strange backstage goings on
 
--A look at the life of Tito Montez
 
--New promotion starting next month using old WWE and TNA stars
 
--Notes on Crossfire Wrestling and legal issues with promoter
 
--Possible biggest indie show of 2013 and politics behind the show
 
--A territory's all-time wrestling legend who retired years ago, now making a comeback
 
--Former pro wrestler and two twin sons of a former pro wrestler working together to market Vodka
 
--Notes on the next ROH iPPV show
 
--A look at the ROH TV tapings and angles shot
 
--Who wasn't at the tapings and why
 
--Build for the next iPPV show
 
--Jeff Hardy talks TNA vs. WWE
 
--TNA release
 
--Notes on weekend TNA show
 
--Update on Dana White post surgery
 
--Thoughts on UFC rankings and the first official list
 
--Why they are being done and why it makes no sense to do them
 
--Advances for all the upcoming UFC shows
 
--Future of fighters on this season's Ultimate Fighter
 
--Issues of current UFC booking
 
--What happened with Dana White and Randy Couture and how Ryan Couture fits in
 
--New UFC matches
 
--More on the Bellator reality show
 
--Talk about format and coaches and what the winner gets
 
--Unique method of booking fights for the season
 
--Notes on Couture deal
 
--Bellator champion signs with different promotion
 
--Business notes on the first Bellator show on  Spike
 
--Return of King Mo
 
--Women's boxing champ signs with Bellator
 
--Former WWE top level exec becomes CEO of new promotion
 
--Olympic gold medalist set to debut in MMA in a few weeks
 
--Another promotion folds
 

 
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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

-- Very sad to report the death of Dr. Keith Lipinski's father after a battle with cancer. His obituary is up here. He was a big wrestling fan and a funny guy and helped produce a great son.

-- For those gravely concerned about my marriage, don't panic. Whitney and I are both working on projects right now in the sun looking at the Pacific Ocean, with humpback whales breaching in the distance. I have, in fact, managed to get a lot done in between hiking the Na Pali coast, tanning, sightseeing, and everything else that goes along with taking a honeymoon trip to Hawaii. Whitney spent a lot of time and effort arranging all of this, and I spent a lot of time and effort mobilizing everything I do so that nothing would conflict. She has tons of pics up on Facebook if you're friends with her and I've got some pics and such up at Twitter (@bryanalvarez). I've also got shows up with Dave, Dave and Bruno, Dr. Lucha, Todd Martin, and even a Granny segment from last night. Also want to thank Vinny for taking over PDF creation of the newsletter, which is how I'll be able to get issues out the next two weeks as well. Having a great time and want to thank everyone for helping make it happen.

-- Also happy to note that as his recovery progresses, Doc Young is back doing producing for Figure Four Daily, booking guests, etc. Doc was responsible for all the great guests we got up until about a year ago (we have gotten a lot of great guests since that time as well, but he really made sure to get them booked on a consistent basis), so if you are a wrestler or promoter or manager/agent and are interested in doing the show, please email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

-- FUEL TV announced they are getting their first ever title fight main event: UFC® ON FUEL TV travels to Wembley Arena in London, live, on Saturday, Feb. 16 (3:00 PM ET) and marks the network’s first-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) title fight. The seventh installment of UFC® ON FUEL TV is highlighted by Renan Barao’s first interim title defense in the bantamweight division against top contender Michael McDonald. Barao is riding a 19-fight win streak (4-0 in the UFC, 31-1, 1 NC), while McDonald (8-fight win streak, 4-0 in the UFC) could become the youngest fighter in the UFC to win a title at the age of 22. The Barao vs. McDonald main event is preceded by five exciting undercard matchups, all televised by FUEL TV, while FOXSports.com live streams the six-fight Prelims.

-- The Ronda Rousey/Liz Carmouche UFC Primetime episode (first of three) that everyone is raving about is up on the front page right now.

-- OK, Liz is awesome: How was UFC prime time? I don't have cable.

-- The new Fruity Pebbles boxed with John Cena front and center taking over for Fred Flintstone are hitting store shelves this week. This is a much bigger rollout than even last year when Fruity Pebbles was central to the Rock/Cena storyline (well, a bigger talking point at least). Last year he was only on the box top, this time he's the main eventer.

-- Lyoto Machida currently a 2-1 favorite over Dan Henderson.

-- The two-year old doing WWE impersonations that was created as a contest entry for the Bryan & Vinny Show not only won the contest and went viral online, but was sent around as a mass email to WWE employees a couple of days ago. It's almost broken 50,000 views on Youtube, at least the version that we posted. May be others floating around as well.

-- As noted yesterday, Dixie Carter announced that Jeff Hardy had signed a new multi-year deal with the company, which has been expected for the last several months. Interestingly, WWE just added him to their Alumni section.

-- TMZ story here on CM Punk meeting the guy who got shot in the face and said Punk losing the title was actually a worse thing for him that week here.

-- Rock on Bruno going into the Hall of Fame: Congratulations Bruno Sammartino: 2013 #WWEHallOfFame You're the greatest WWE Champion of all time. Thank you for paving the way. #Hero

-- WWE is going back to South Africa July 30th through August 3rd. It's being billed as a "Smackdown Brand" show even though there really aren't Raw and Smackdown branded house shows anymore with everyone working everywhere.

-- Revolution Pro Wrestling have announced that Jushin Thunder Liger will be appearing for them in the UK for the first time in 25 years, and for the first time in that character, as he was Fuji Yamada when he wrestled on World of Sport. The show is being held at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London on June 15th, with tickets on sale from revolutionprowrestling.com from February 25th. Prince Devitt and Marty Scurll have already been announced for the show.

-- WWE Inbox with guys talking which moves hurt the most here.

-- DO YOU THINK ROUSEY VS. CARMOUCHE WILL OUTDRAW ALDO VS. EDGAR?
Yes 60.6%
No 39.4%

WHAT MATCH ON SUNDAY'S NEW JAPAN SHOW ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO?
Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki 50.0%
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Karl Anderson 24.7%
Prince Devitt vs. Ryusuke Taguchi 9.3%
Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan 6.7%
Alex Shelley & Kushida vs. Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov 6.0%
Hirooki Goto & Wataru Inoue vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Kazushi Sakuraba 2.0%
Togi Makabe vs. Yujiro Takahashi 1.3%

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF WEDNESDAY'S WWE MAIN EVENT?
Excellent 16.0%
Good 38.0%
Average 26.0%
Fair 6.0%
Poor 14.0%
56.1% of those responding didn't see the show

-- From the brains behind it: Wanna help Deaf and Hard of Hearing get subtitles on wrestling DVDs? Why not get behind Wrestling with Subtitles; a Seattle upstart organization who have amassed over 1100 followers on their Twitter and 1500 signatures on their petition on Change.org. They have also gained a ton of wrestling personalities' support including Dolph Ziggler, Gail Kim, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Goldberg. Help founder Max Zaleski make this a reality for wrestling fans all over the world! Link with more info up here.

-- Katie sent this in: Last Friday, I went to the opening of an art show called "Velvet Legends of Wrestling" at the Ltd. Art Gallery in Seattle (http://www.ltdartgallery.com/). All the art is pro-wrestling-themed and painted on black velvet. The show runs until Feb. 24th. While, "black velvet," and, "professional wrestling," in the same sentence might sound like next week's challenge on RuPaul's Drag Race, the combination makes for a rather thoughtful collection of paintings. If you get the chance, I suggest you check out this show just to see this riff on "the Kiss" by Gustav Klimt (http://www.ltdartgallery.com/product/macho-kiss-by-jonathan-cooper-original-30-x-30) in person.

-- Video clips of a Urijah Faber signing here

-- Attention vendors: We’d like to get the word out to any vendors that would like to set up during the WrestleCon live events. The deal is a flat $150 per show for up to 3 tables or $500 for all 8 live events. There is a a building charge of $25 per table, but that covers the entire weekend. Those interested can This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

-- Sneak peak of the Pearce vs. Cabana Seven Levels of Hate DVD here.

-- Today in history with Brian Hoops:

1917 - World Heavyweight Champion Earl Caddock defeated Wladek Zbyszko in Des Moines, Iowa.

1954 - Fred Blassie defeated Don McIntyre in Birmingham, Alabama to win the Florida NWA Southern Heavyweight Title

1957 - Don and Mark Lewin defeated Chief Big Heart and Red McIntyre for the Georgia NWA International Tag Team Title in Atlanta, Georgia.

1963 - Eddie Graham defeated Fred Blassie in Atlanta, Georgia to win Georgia's version of the World Heavyweight Title

1966 - The Destroyer (Dick Beyer) and The Golden Terror defeated Kanji (Antonio) Inoki and Duke Keomuka to win the Texas NWA World Tag Team Title in Dallas, Texas.

1967 - Dennis Hall and Roger Kirby defeat Frank and Jack Dalton for the Gulf Coast NWA United States Tag Team Title in Mobile, Alabama, ending the Daltons' second reign.

1971 - At Madison Square Garden in New York, WWWF United States Heavyweight Champion Pedro Morales pinned WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Ivan Koloff to win the title.

1973 - Bob Kelly defeats The Mysterious Medic for the NWA Mississippi Heavyweight Title in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

1975 - Ric Flair defeats Paul Jones for the NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Title in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, ending Jones' second reign. This was Flair's second-ever pro wrestling title.

1975 - Abdullah the Butcher defeated Bobo Brazil for the Detroit NWA United States Heavyweight Title in Detroit, Michigan

1980 - Stan Hansen defeated Antonio Inoki for the National Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Title in Tokyo, Japan

1985 - Chris Adams defeated Kerry Von Erich to win the World Class American Heavyweight Title in Dallas, Texas,

1986 -Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) pinned WWF Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana to win the title in Boston, Mass.

1988 - Max Pain (Daryl Peterson) defeats Jerry Lawler for the Continental Wrestling Association Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee.

1992 - Jushin Liger won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title by defeating Norio Honaga in Sapporo, Japan

1992 - Tom Prichard defeated Eric Embry in Memphis, Tennessee for the USWA Southern Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee.

1999 - Roddy Piper pinned WCW United States Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart to win the title during a WCW Monday Nitro event from Buffalo, New York.

-- JJ Dillon interview heresaying he's surprised TNA is still in business.

-- Good year for Sinclair Broadcasting, owners of ROH, who saw their stock go way up. ROH isn't mentioned, obviously, and a lot of the increase came from tons of new political advertising during the election season.

-- From the promoter: We hope you will plan to join us tomorrow, Saturday, February 9 for JONESBORO JAM. in Jonesboro, AR at the NE AR District Fairgrounds (7001 E. Johnson). Doors open for the VIP Meet & Greet at 4:30 p.m., all others at 5:30 p.m. This international TV taping will feature the legendary Jake "The Snake" Roberts andThe Hurricane! Tickets are still on sale and start at only $15. Kids 5 and under are free!

-- Ed and the crew talk Bruno going into the Hall of Fame and more tonight here.