SUN. UPDATE: Elimination Chamber notes, UFC/Rousey press, One of Mexico's biggest stars says he's jumping, Bully Ray, Rock, Jericho, TNA PPVs, New Japan English language TV in Canada



By Dave Meltzer
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        We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's Elimination Chamber PPV so you can send a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        We're also looking for reports on today's TNA show in Morgantown, WV.
 
        Elimination Chamber is tonight from the New Orleans Arena:
*The Rock vs. C.M. Punk for WWE title, title can change hands via DQ or count out - Rock should end up the night as champion with the big question being how that stipulation plays into the finish.  It may lead to the natural overbooking of it.  The two had a strong match at the Rumble and no reason it won't be the same this time around.  Hopefully no tables break early.
*John Cena & Ryback & Sheamus vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns - Probably a wild brawl here.  The Shield's PPV debut was one of the better matches WWE had last year.  One would think The Shield would go over, and the question then would be who loses the fall.  Figure Sheamus is the best person, probably with a screw job coming from somewhere.
*Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show for world title - The question here is what happens with Dolph Ziggler, if anything, given he's not booked on the show.
*Elimination Chamber for world title match:  Daniel Bryan vs. Kane vs. Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton vs. Jack Swagger vs. Mark Henry - Not an easy one to pick a winner in.  Bryan and Kane probably not.  Jericho was a late add so at least he wasn't the original idea to win.  Swagger vs. Del Rio seems like a direction so that puts him in play.  Orton always has a chance, as does Henry. 
*Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz for the U.S. title - It is not the time for this title to change, but if they are going to keep this program going, Miz can't lose clean again.  Will be interesting to see who is in the new program. 
*Kaitlyn vs. Tamina Snuka for the Divas title - Don't think anyone expects Snuka to win, not that it matters
*Brodus Clay & Tensai vs. Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow in the pregame show match at 7:30 p.m. - Clay & Tensai as a gimmick comedy team shouldn't be losing this early in their run.  Rhodes & Sandow are a mystery, given there is clearly no reason to break them up, and both benefit from being in the unit.
        On paper, this looks like a strong show.  Chamber matches rarely disappoint and while there is probably less interest going in this year because it's really far from the real main event, there is enough talent there that it should be very good.  We've already seen Rock vs. Punk and they delivered the last time.  The Shield match could have a DQ finish like all their house show matches, but you know those guys are going to work and be given a lot of leeway because they are really in the No. 2 spot on the show.  With Rock involved, this also should do better on PPV than any Chamber match in a few years.
 
        The last two weeks of Ultimate Fighter air 9-11 p.m. Eastern tonight on Fuel, followed by yesterday's card being replayed at 11 p.m.
 
        Raw will be Monday night in Lafayette, LA where WrestleMania will start to take shape. 
 
        Smackdown, Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam will be taped on Tuesday in Biloxi.
 
        This week's issue of the Wrestling Observer will be up on the site today, as well as a back issue from late 1995.  The back issue talks about the legal issues that were going down at the time when there were attempts to ban UFC, as well as a preview of the first-ever Ultimate Ultimate competition, more details on the street fight that severely damaged Shawn Michaels, and the annual big tag team tournaments in Japan during the heyday of All Japan Pro Wrestling.
 
        The new issue has a final preview of the Elimination Chamber PPV, what changes were made over the past few weeks on the show, why the changes were made, a look at the new Zeb Colter character, where it came from, the card as it stands and more.
 
        We also have a major update on the WWE Network, with not just the plans, but what type of business it needs to do to be successful.  We look at the value of the U.S. PPV franchise that they are putting at risk, whether this will end up helping WrestleMania, how many subscribers they will need, and what percentage of non-PPV buyers do they need.  We also look at whether names like Brock Lesnar and The Rock pay off if the structure of PPVs besides WrestleMania changes, and how the wrestlers could come out the worst in this deal.  We also look at what is being planned for the network.
 
        We also look at the IOC's decision to get rid of wrestling as an Olympic sport.  We look at the politics of how it went down, how the voting went down, the real reasons wrestling was dumped, the slim chance wrestling has to survive, movements being done that may be too little too late, how this affects amateur wrestling after college in the U.S., as well as its potential effects on UFC and even WWE.  We also talk with Kurt Angle on what this means to him, as well as comments by Cael Sanderson and others.
 
        We also have an update on the Bruno Sammartino movie and how his deal with WWE may lead to the movie being done, the challenges of the movie, and an interesting thing about the movie if WWE ends up producing it.
 
        We also have more on WrestleMania ticket sales, an update on Undertaker, Changes in Raw, movie on former WWF star, more on the last WWE training camp, updates on Steve Austin, an Olympic medalist WWE is looking at, JBL missing some TV, as well as all the weekend UFC business notes and house show highlights.   
 
        We also have complete coverage of the New Japan New Beginnings PPV show, including the most important thing that came out of the show that shocked people and what it says about the future of the company on iPPV.  We've got business notes, thoughts on Tanahashi's run on top, New Japan's attempt to break Tanahashi out of the pack from being a current world champion to the business' legend in his prime, and where the company is going next.
 
        We also have match-by-match coverage on the show as well as poll results on the show
 
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        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:
 
--The King of the Air tournament in Mexico update
 
--Notes  from the major Arena Mexico show of the week
 
--Big matches that are being built up
 
--Next AAA TV taping
 
--Notes on Dragon Gate USA's WrestleMania week shows and who is coming from Japan
 
--Who is the major name returning after two years
 
--Notes on Dragon Gate's big show of the week and its latest top angle and title matches
 
--Notes on All Japan's big show of the week and new work rate belts
 
--How Reid Flair is doing in Japan
 
--Pro Wrestling NOAH's big show of the week and angles being shot
 
--Champions from NOAH capture a second championship
 
--Thoughts on Masato Tanaka vs. Tomohiro Ishii and if it's a match of the year candidate
 
--Jushin Liger coming to the U.K.
 
--Notes on the return of Kensuke Sasaki
 
--Hall of Famer getting surgery on both knees to keep from a possible life in a wheelchair
 
--Return of a wrestler after two years in exile
 
--Onita vs. Akebono in an explosive barbed wire match
 
--Notes on an FMW nostalgia show
 
--More on the Hart Family Legacy promotion in Calgary and attempts to start AAA Canada
 
--Names scheduled for the first show
 
--Thoughts on the death of Jim Jeffers of the Mod Squad tag team
 
--Jerry Lynn's final Northeast match against Lance Storm
 
--Notes on Pro Wrestling Syndicate
 
--One of the most famous local wrestling stars returns at the age of 66 for a major angle
 
--Former WWE stars involved in an independent feature
 
--Notes on Sinclair Broadcasting's financials
 
--Notes on Jeff Hardy's new contract
 
--Dixie Carter's announcements at the Bellator show
 
--A.J. Styles TNA update
 
--Notes on ticket sales for TNA in Chicago
 
--Hulk Hogan's latest comments on TNA and its changes
 
--Notes on the weekend TNA house shows
 
--UFC drug test positive
 
--A look at TRT and Vitor Belfort
 
--Michael Bisping talks TRT
 
--This week's UFC lineup
 
--Why American fighters aren't thrilled about fighting in the U.K.
 
--What happened with UFC and Josh Barnett
 
--UFC's Memorial Day show looked at
 
--UFC's next show in Sweden looked at
 
--The next UFC on FOX show looked at
 
--A look at the TUF finals
 
--Lots more on women in UFC
 
--Ultimate Fighter news
 
--Will the Rousey vs. Carmouche special help the buy rate of the PPV?
 
--What Rousey will no longer talk about and why
 
--Crazy UFC schedule as the year goes forward
 
--More on Eddie Alvarez lawsuit against Bellator
 
--Did Tito Ortiz make a big mistake in how he's handling Cris Cyborg's career
 
--Ronda Rousey talks Cyborg not coming to 135
 
--Lots of new UFC fights
 
--Coverage of Bellator's last show
 
--Champion from Bellator signs with new group    
 
        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.
 
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*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)
 
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*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
history)
 
*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)
 
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*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)
 
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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.
 
Sunday's News Update
 
--Bryan and I will be back tonight and tomorrow night, covering the Chamber, Raw, and anything and everything else major in the news.  You can send questions for the show to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
--Bryan and Mike Sempervive will have a new Wrestling Observer Live on Sirius 94/794 XM 208 and on the front page of the site as well as on the Sports Byline radio network at 6 p.m. Eastern, 3 p.m. Pacific, talking Elimination Chamber and UFC on Fuel.
 
--Time Magazine has a piece this week on Ronda Rousey that is now out on the newsstands.
 
--Today's New York Times has a lengthy article on the UFC vs. Bellator rivalry.  Lots of quotes from all parties and business notes on how the UFC deal went down with FOX (brokered by Ari Emmanuel), what Spike claimed UFC was asking to stay on the channel (which included a 50% ownership stake in the channel) and more.  Dana White compared the rivalry to a local high school football team against the NFL.  Nothing on the Eddie Alvarez case.  Dana White last night once again went after Viacom, saying Bjorn  Rebney (who he calls Bjork) has no power and that Viacom and Spike run the promotion and they should pay Alvarez what he's worth in the free market if they want to keep him, or let him go to where he can make more money.
 
 
--Today's Glendale News-Press has a story on Ronda Rousey and coach Art Hovhannisyan at http://www.glendalenewspress.com
 
--Another Rousey story is at http://bostonherald.com
 
 
--This is the kind of pub that will help her a lot with endorsements and future business, but I'm not sure it's going to translate into getting people to order the PPV.  But with UFC, you really can't tell until late the week of the show. 
 
--Dr. Wagner Jr. announced last night at Arena Lopez Mateos that he is starting back with CMLL on 3/15, saying he met with Paco Alonso on Friday and they put the new deal together.  Dorian Roldan of AAA then said that Wagner Jr. still has one year left on his contract with the promotion and they are planning on enforcing it. (thanks to Kris Zellner)
 
--Bully Ray worked the house shows for TNA the last two nights in tag team matches with Kurt Angle against Wes Brisco & Devon.  He's hurt, but it doesn't appear to be something that is going to keep him out of action.      
 
--Dwayne Johnson was nominated for Favorite Movie Buttkicker on the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards that air on 3/28.
 
--Chris Jericho will be doing a Q&A session with Scott Ian of the band Anthrax on 2/26 at the Oxford Arts Factory in Sydney, Australia.  The night is being billed as "An Evening of stories from 30 years of metal, wrestling and drinking," and you have to be 18 or over to attend. (thanks to James Stanios)
 
--TNA has changed around taping dates in Orlando.  They will be taping six different PPV cards that will be airing from July until the end of the year with the various themes on 3/17, 3/18 and 3/19.  These are the final wrestling shows scheduled for the Impact Zone.  Originally the six shows were to be taped 3/17, 3/23 and 3/24.
 
--A new TV show called Fighting Spirit Wrestling, which features matches from CMLL and New Japan, debuts today in Canada on The Fight Network.  It's a company from France that purchased international rights to those promotions, who contacted a production house in England to edit the shows and put on English language commentary for international distribution.  Stewart Allen and John Atkins are doing the commentary and it is believed to be the first New Japan English language broadcasts since the days of Gordon Solie and Sir Oliver Humperdink's Ring Warriors in Europe in the 90s.  They have 60 episodes in the can.  The first one, airing today, as Mistico vs. Volador Jr. from Arena Mexico and the 2011 Tokyo Dome match with Hiroshi Tanahashi beating Satoshi Kojima which started Tanahashi's big run as champion.
 
CAN INVICTA DO 20,000 BUYS ON PPV ON 4/5 WITH CYBORG?
Yes 15.1%
No 84.9%
 
SHOULD TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY BE ALLOWED IN MMA?
No, not at all 63.6%
Yes, but only in most extreme of circumstances where the athlete has to prove they never used steroids 17.7%
Yes, but only with constant year-round testing 8.5%
Yes, as long as a doctor approves it 5.4%
Yes, but never to anyone who has failed a steroid test in their past 4.8%
 
OVER WRESTLEMANIA WEEKEND, WHAT ARE YOUR PLANNING ON WATCHING?
Only WrestleMania 28.7%
Multiple pro wrestling events 17.0%
Multiple pro wrestling and MMA events 16.1%
Not planning on watching anything, including WrestleMania 13.2%
Only watching UFC from Sweden 10.7%
Only watching New Japan PPV 5.0%
Only watching TNA PPV 4.1%
Only watching ROH shows 2.5%
Only watching MMA shows, more than one 2.2%
Only watching Dragon Gate USA 0.3%
 
POLL ON SMACKDOWN
Excellent 13.6%
Good 35.2%
Average 23.9%
Fair 9.1%
Poor 11,4%
        36.9% of those responding didn't see the show
 
--TODAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Brian Hoops)
32 years ago:  Canek beat Tiger Jeet Singh in Mexico City to win the UWA world heavyweight title
27 years ago:  Hulk Hogan beat Randy Savage in a lumberjack match in Madison Square Garden
24 years ago:  Robert Fuller & Jimmy Golden beat Kevin & Kerry Von Erich in Dallas to win the World Class tag team titles
17 years ago:  Lex Luger beat Johnny B. Badd (Marc Mero) to win the WCW TV title
17 years ago:  PG-13 beat Jesse James Armstrong (Road Dogg) & Tracy Smothers to win the USWA tag tiles
16 years ago:  Sycho Sid beat Bret Hat to win the WWF title in Nashville
16 years ago:  Prince Iaukea (no relation to Cutis Iaukea past it being Kevin Sullivan's tribute to him) beat Steven Regal to win the WCW TV title in Tampa
15 years ago: The Headbangers beat the Rock & Roll Express to win the NWA tag team titles in Waco, TX
 
--An article that talks about former pro wrestler Derrick Dukes and the seedy world of fixed boxing matches is at http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/191552441.html  It comes with video of one of the worst looking worked finishes ever in a match with former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards on 2/9 in Fargo, ND.(thanks to Brian Hoops)
 
--ECWA on 3/2 in Newark, DE at the Greater Boys & Girls Club
 
--Resurrection Fighting Alliance on 3/22 from the First Bank Center in Bloomfield, CO live on AXS TV with Denver's Brandon Thatch vs. Brazil's Leandro Silva, plus Chidi Njokuani vs. Jeremy Kimball and Sergio Pettis vs Matt Manzanares. 
 
--Vendetta Pro Wrestling on 3/2 in Santa Maria, CA at the Fair Park with El Hijo de Rey Misterio vs. Bestia 666 as the main event.  Shelly Martinez will be on the show as a referee for Terra Calaway vs. Amber O'Neal.
 
--Matt Riviera of Traditional Championship Wrestling appears on Millionaire Matchmaker on 2/19 on Bravo.
 
--Mid Missouri Wrestling Alliance from last night in St. Louis:  Moondog Rover b Freddie Fury, Big Texan b Stevie K, Jimmy D b A.J. Williams, Brandon Espinosa b Brian James, Chase & Matt King NC Lumberjacks Abe & Gabe, Andrew Wilder b Drasco Verdadero, Dave Osborne b Gary Jackson (thanks to Patrick Brandmeyer) 
 
--Lucha Extreme from Fresno TV last night:  Matt Sparks b L.J. Summers, Brandon Groom b Crimson Plague (thanks to Jon Southerland).  They have a taping today at 3 p.m. at the Sierra Heath & Fitness Center in Fresno.
 
--Charity Appeal Wrestling on 2/22 in Luton, Bedfordshire, UK at The Hightown Club features Jonny Storm, Alpha Female and more.
 
--SCW from last night in Bremerton, WA:  Von Hess b Randy Zellers, Sonico b Poe Frog, Demarcus James b Kaos, Bedlam & The Fallen b Von Hess & Native Assassin-COR, Zapopan b X-Man, Victor Price b Rad, Native Assassin b Von Hess, Mean Mark b Graves, Avarice b Christopher Ryseck, Bedlam & Native Assassin b Mean Mark & Rad, Demarcus James & Ryan Rude and Poe Frog & Sonico in an elimination match.  Next show is 2/23 in Poulsbo, WA a the Suquamish Tribal Center featuring Tokyo Monster Kahagas. (thanks to Charles Short)
 
 

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