We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE Raw brand show in Doha, Qatar, the TNA show in Detroit at The Fillmore with a cage match, Jeff Hardy, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Velvet Sky and others, as well as yesterday's Raw show also in Doha, Qatar. We're also looking for reports on all the Dragon Gate USA shows this weekend in the U.K.
The big show of the weekend is UFC 157 in Anaheim, CA at the Honda Center
Facebook fights at 6:35 p.m.
- Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Yuri Villefort
- Neil Magny vs. Jon Manley
- Brock Jardine vs. Kenny Robertson
FX fights at 8 p.m.
- Caros Fodor vs. Sam Stout
- Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice
- Michael Chiesa vs. Anton Kuivanen
- Lavar Johnson vs. Brendan Schaub
PPV at 10 p.m.
- Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler
- Court McGee vs. Josh Neer
- Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar
- Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida
- Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche for the women's bantamweight title
Saturday also has the final stop of the Raw tour in Istanbul, Turkey, Smackdown runs in Waco, TX and TNA runs in Grand Rapids, MI at the DeltaPlex Arena. Sunday has a Smackdown brand house show in College Station, TX and a TNA show in Bowling Green, OH at the Stroh Center.
Raw will be live on Monday from Dallas. Brock Lesnar returns on the show which features John Cena vs. C.M. Punk with the winner faces The Rock at WrestleMania, plus Vince McMahon vs. Paul Heyman in a fight. Smackdown and Main Event are taped on Tuesday in Oklahoma City.
THE LATEST OBSERVER: THE WWE SITUATION LEADING INTO WRESTLEMANIA
We've got a giant news week with the Observer with two regular issues and one back issue up on the site. The back issue, which was up on the site Tuesday, covers the original Ultimate Ultimate tournament won by Dan Severn as well as the full story behind the end of women's wrestling in WWF in 1995, Madusa being fired and showing up on Nitro and throwing the WWF women's title belt in a garbage can on television.
The two issues will be combined as a double issue for print subscribers and both are now up on the site.
Our lead story updates the WWE situation leading into WrestleMania. We look at the matches planned, the match in jeopardy, and what the status is for a number of wrestlers who have had matches talked about but those matches haven't even been teased yet on television. We look at why there isn't any pressure on booking undercard matches, as well as talk about post-WrestleMania plans.
We've got more on Undertaker, Ryback, Brock Lesnar and The Shield.
We've also got full coverage of the Elimination Chamber PPV, including business notes, match-by-match coverage, poll results and star ratings.
We've also got the most detailed update on the status of wrestling going forward as an Olympic sport. We've got more on the background of how wrestling being eliminated happened, the decision-making process, the appeal process,what legendary attempt to set an all-time Olympic record in the sport is being thwarted, as well as what the U.S. wrestling community knew.
We also look at the history of sports voted out being brought back, why wrestling right now should not have been cut and why it does need to heed this warning and make necessary changes. We look at the country very strongly pushing for wrestling to be brought back. We look at why the future doesn't look bright even if wrestling is brought back.
We look at the major and minor moves that the world wrestling community has taken in the past week, who got the blame, as well as thoughts from Kurt Angle, King Mo Lawal and Ben Askren regarding how the loss of the Olympics would have affected all of their lives and their career decisions.
We also look at how this affects the entire infrastructure of the sport in the U.S. in ways most people haven't figured.
We also have comments from Bill Watts, a former amateur wrestler who became a pro wrestling star and later a legendary promoter, and his thoughts on the subject.
We've got a major feature on WrestleMania coming to the New Orleans Superdome. We've got how it came about, as well as exclusive first news on what the planned main event is for WrestleMania 30. We also look at the few WWE wrestlers who have worked the Superdome before, as well as The Rock talked about his only time in the building as an athlete, which was not as a pro wrestler.
We also go back to the days when the Superdome was arguably the hottest big show setting in the U.S. We have a history of pro wrestling at the Superdome starting in 1976 when Bill Watts and Leroy McGuirk took the gamble and what lineup they used to make the first show.
We have a history of pro wrestling in the building, including the all-time biggest shows, the biggest angles leading to the shows, and the greatest matches held in the building. We look at the story of one of the greatest matches of its era that bombed at the gate. We also look at the Nitro events at the Superdome and a rundown of the most successful shows.
We've got a feature on Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche in leading to the most important woman's MMA fight in history. We look at the unique dynamic of the fight, women's MMA on television, live ticket sales, previous women's fights on PPV, the UFC Prime Time shows building the fight, the reaction Rousey has received, background of Liz Carmouche and more.
We have a feature on the Jack Swagger arrest and how it affects WrestleMania, as well as Dana White's new stance on TRT and some UFC statistics about big guys vs. small guys that will in some cases confirm what is the general feeling and in others show the exact opposite of what people think, as well as an investigation of terms like ring rust, UFC jitters and weight cutting issues.
We also have notes on The Rock's schedule, what shows he is going to be appearing at and what shows he is going to be missing. We also look at the scheduled over the next several weeks of Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar. We've got a lot of news regarding how the WWE video game deal with Take 2 went down, and why it was so beneficial to THQ. We look at who the big losers in the deal were.
We also have more on Bruno Sammartino going into the Hall of Fame, who WWE wants to get to induct him, who Sammartino would pick and more.
We also have notes on two other candidates for the Hall of Fame this year, and why both are unlikely to go in the same year. We also look at the Zeb Colter character, a WCW character that this may be similar to, R.J. Brewer talks about his gimmick being used, as well as a very interesting statistic regarding children watching WWE that is the exact opposite of what everyone thinks.
We have a lot more on Tammy Sytch, as well as her apology to WWE, another WWE movie, El Generico in WWE, WWE going back to Japan, John Layfield talks the Public Enemy TV beating in the 90s, WWE injury updates, as well as new signings and people who have quietly left.
We also have a rundown on UFC's weekend event on Fuel headlined by Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald. We look at the show, the ratings, what happened with the fighters with the best records and the strange judging in spots.
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.
You can also subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.
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.
-- We'll be back later tonight with a brand new radio show covering this event plus all the news in wrestling and MMA.
-- Glenn Beck responded to WWE's invitation to Raw Monday by saying, "Unfortunately, I am currently booked doing anything else."
-- From the looks of things, it doesn't look like there will be any major fallout regarding Jack Swagger's DUI arrest a few days ago. I didn't see it, but apparently there was a five-minute uncut version of the Swagger/Zeb Colter video that WWE ended up pulling that was said to be very interesting. One person in WWE said he wouldn't be surprised if it was the Beck thing that saved Swagger and this angle. WWE is likely to go hard on it Monday with one person saying we may get a 2013 version of Vince McMahon challenging Eric Bischoff to a fight on Raw. For the moment, the uncut version is still up here, but probably not for long.
-- Emerson notes: For a brief while last night, Jack Swagger was the most searched topic on Yahoo. I was checking my e-mail around midnight and he was number 1, I came back about 15 minutes later and he had already dropped to number 2.
-- Dave Meltzer has a great article on Ronda Rousey's UFC debut tonight here, calling it one of the five most anticipated debuts in company history. I don't know what it means and we'll find out soon, but everyone I know with any interest in MMA is talking about this show tonight-- more interest than any show I can remember in recent history.
The media is all over this to a ridiculous degree as well, and at this point I can't even begin to make a buyrate prediction except to say if you're one of those Internet fans who thinks nobody wants to see this show because Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida is the semi-main and not the main event, well, you're gonna be pretty disappointed.
-- Jon Snowden writes about Rousey here here including her discussing her brush with bulimia.
-- Dana White last night noted that there are no plans to do a 145-pound women's division yet, but in addition to the eight 135-pounders under contract, they're looking to sign seven more.
-- One thing to watch for on this and the next several UFC shows is if the number of decisions skyrockets. White made it clear they need to cut about 100 fighters, which means aside from the very top stars, anyone who loses could conceivably wake up the next day reading on Twitter that they're out of a job (White, by the way, noted that he was really sorry some of the recent cuts found out they were cut by reading about it on Twitter and not from personal phone calls). So basically, everyone knows the deal now -- DO NOT LOSE. That may lead to guys playing it safe and fighting their way to safe, less risky decision wins.
-- The forecast for the weekend has Snitch with Rock finishing at number three with $11.2 million, behind Identity Theft at $13.5 million and Die Hard 5 at $12.1 million. Rock talks the film here.
-- Story on the doom of WCW with quotes from me here.
-- Not sure how he swung this, but former UFC fighter Sean McCorkle (Big Sexy) did Inoki's show today, losing to Satoshi Ishii.
-- Jeff Hardy beat Robert Roode in a TNA Impact cage match last night at the house show in Detroit. Show got decent reviews. I have always enjoyed TNA house shows when they've come to this area. One thing I've noticed of late in reports is that there are complaints, and I'm not sure if they're valid or not and whether anyone has actually time it, that it takes longer to set up the cage for the main event than the main event takes to finish up.
-- Teddy Hart ran AAA Canada last night in Calgary, basically Hart Legacy Part II, with John Morrison winning the world title in the main event. They shot an angle to set up Morrison vs. Hart vs. Jack Evans at their next show. Haven't heard much about how things were run, but it didn't draw as well as the last show in the same building last month.
-- ROH on Sinclair tonight has American Wolves & Michael Elgin vs. Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong, Matt Taven vs. Tadarius Thomas in the finals for the Top Prospect Tournament, plus appearances by Kevin Steen, Jay Lethal and more.
-- The Fight Network has a busy weekend of live fights in store with broadcasts of the International Judo Federation: Judo World Grand Prix from Dusseldorf, Germany, Cage Contender 16 mixed martial arts from Dublin, Northern Ireland and Frank Maloney Promotions boxing action from Liverpool, U.K., featuring David Price vs. Tony Thompson in a heavyweight showdown. It begins Saturday, February 23, at 11 a.m. ET with live coverage of the IJF’s Judo World Grand Prix.
-- Some international history from Graeme:
- On 1984, 2/23 Genchiro Tenyru defeated Ricky Steamboat in Tokyo to win the All Japan United National title left vacant by the death of David Von Erich
- On 1980, /2/23 Dick Murdoch defeated Jumbo Tsuruta in Kagoshima to win the All Japan United National title
- On 1946/2/23 Gory Guerrero defeated Tarzan Lopez in Mexico City to win the NWA EMLL Middleweight title
- On 1996/2/23 Los Brazos defeated Dos Caras & Villano 4 & Villano 5 in Mexico City to win the National Trios title
- On 1983/2/24 Dave Finlay defeated Ringo Rigby in a tournament final in Oldham to become Joint Promotions British Light Heavyweight champion
-- WAR wrestling in Lima, Ohio on Saturday March 9th at UAW HALL at 1440 Bellefontaine Ave.