THURS. UPDATE: Diaz at press conference, Greatest feuds in wrestling history, UFC 158 betting, Foley, Sammartino, Rock wants in Star Wars, Abyss, What company will grow the most this year, heaviest wretler ever

By Dave Meltzer
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We're looking for reports from Chicago and tonight's TNA tapings, particularly the second show at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

TNA is taping two shows tonight, with the first show airing live at 8 p.m. on Spike.

There is no Bellator show tonight, although at 11 p.m. they will have a 30 minute season-in-review shot on Spike.  Spike moves to Ch. 241 on Dish today.

        On Fuel tonight, UFC Tonight airs at 8 p.m. Ultimate Insider at 8:30 p.m., GSP vs. Josh Koscheck at 9 p.m., Kenny Florian vs. Diego Nunes at 10 p.m. a replay of this weeks' Ultimate Fighter at 11 p.m. the Countdown to GSP vs. Nick Diaz is at midnight.  All times Eastern.    
        The newest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which is on the site today, is a rundown of WWE business going forward, with a complete look at the company's future plans when it comes to the two places they expect to have the most growth, how they are strategizing it, and a look at why so many are skeptical of it.  We also look at every aspect of company business.
        We also have our early 1996 issue up which runs down the 1995 year in WWF, WCW and UFC and thoughts on 1996 going forward, as well as coverage of the annual January 4th Tokyo Dome show and what was, up until that point in time, the biggest money program in wrestling history where the second big match had just taken place.
        The new issue looks at revenues and profit for the year, expenses of the network, how the company did if you factor our the network costs and the movie division, why the company itself going in says next year will be more challenging financially and why, after running away for decades of being called sports, they are smartly trying to do a reverse.
        We look at their predictions on the upcoming network and how it will be released, and their projections and how long they project it will take to get there.  We look at cannibalizing PPV with the network, why this could help WrestleMania a lot in the future, as well as the future of WWE in the movies.
        We also look at a new $35 million expense for the company this coming year, and what aspects of the company they are looking at increasing spending and emphasis on.  We also look at social media growth vs. company growth.
        We also look at fourth quarter comparisons in every category, from attendance, merchandise, PPV, licensing, magazines, web site, TV, movies and home video.
        We also have a chart showing how every PPV did, both within North America, and internationally, dating back the past three years.  We've got updated numbers for SummerSlam with Brock Lesnar, as well as more details on how the Royal Rumble with The Rock vs. C.M. Punk did.  We also look at big increases vs. more profitability due to the cost of having both The Rock and Lesnar on big shows. 
        We also factor out Lesnar and Rock on PPV and compare 2012 with 2011 year-over-year.  We also look at how the bankruptcy of THQ affects WWE business and WWE talks about the Take Two deal and where they are going with it.  We also look at the category with the biggest declines in revenue but how profits have gained in that category.
        We also look, by percentage, at which parts of the world carry WWE business the most.  We've also got the PPV revenue fro WrestleMania, average attendance for the past two years, how much the average customer spends on merchandise at a WWE live show, the Hulu deal, the You Tube deal, as well as how profitable every division in the company is right now and what are the most important divisions. 
        We also have a rundown of every WWE movie release and how much it lost, or in some cases, made a profit and the list of the stars who did well in movie leads and those who bombed.
        We also have our annual chart looking at the WWE business dating back every year from 1994 to the present, with both how much revenue the company brought in, as well as the annual profit by year.
        We also have a feature looking at the Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz fight.  We look at GSP complaints, how ticket sales are doing, GSP's responses, a look at both men's careers, the general predictions on the fight, criticism and pressure on GSP and how that can work against him, a look at the myths of GSP that don't hold up, and where Johny Hendricks fits into this scenario.
        We also update WrestleMania ticket sales, gate, and how the scalpers market is doing for tickets.  We update the lineup for the show including a match on the schedule not even being hinted yet on television.
        We also look at a lot of changes being implemented by HHH.  We look at the departure of Eric Pankowski from the VP of Creative position and the usual frustrations in that department.  We look at the difference between writing wrestling and writing regular television, and what WrestleMania main event program ended up getting him in trouble.
        We've got tons more on Paul Bearer, including more thoughts regarding Paul Bearer and the WWE Hall of Fame, where the name Paul Bearer came from when it comes to pro wrestling, the other Percy Pringles, Percy Pringle's final appearance as a manager, what WrestleMania finish that is expected makes no sense.
        We also have notes on El Generico in NXT, where Dwayne Johnson is, developmental changes expected, Zeb Colter material, return of the Bella Twins and how it happened and more people in talks about returning.
        We also have the January business comparison, WWE movie business, Chris Jericho talks working for Vince McMahon and coping with the Chris Benoit situation, plus John Layfield on mountain climbing, Gerald Brisco scouting new talent for WWE, former WWE star wants to come back for one last program, new arm wrestling champion signed, Miz gives surprising answer when asked the greatest wrestler of all-time, as well as Stephanie McMahon's claims on the value of social media.
        We also look at a lawsuit filed by a former wrestler against WWE, Mark Coleman talks what current WWE star is the strongest guy he was ever in the ring with, updated post-Mania plans, WrestleMania returning to Orlando, plus all the business notes from last week and highlights from all the WWE live vents.
        We also look at the rise to the title of Bully Ray, with full coverage of TNA Lockdown, including business notes, what angle the Bully Ray/Brooke Hogan angle came directly from, what TNA desperately needs and have cut off happening, the Russo-itis booking that kills storyline credibility, as well as an update on the Bobby Roode contract situation and if there was any talk from WWE. 
        We have poll results, star ratings for the matches, and match-by-match coverage, along with what did and didn't work.
        We also look at AAA's attempt to get a foothold in the U.S. market, including the key aspect of the story in whether or not it works out.  We look at the key player behind it and notes on plans.
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        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 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:
--Feuding former partners team up to take tournament
--A look at CMLL's first major show of the year
--All Japan owner claims he'll raid New Japan of top talent
--A look at this week's All Japan show
--A look at All Japan's junior heavyweight tag team tournament
--Pro Wrestling NOAH's big show of the week
--Lineup for NOAH's upcoming Global Tag League tournament
--New Japan owner unhappy about an aspect of business
--Biggest news coming out of the first round of the New Japan Cup tournament
--A look at quarterfinals and charting it out from there
--How two feuding wrestlers in ROH teaming elsewhere was handled on ROH television
--Lots of notes on the settlement of Shannon Spruill's lawsuit against TNA
--Why it was a given that TNA would settle right before a judge was set to rule on the case
--A look at Spruill's injuries in TNA
--Spruill comments on the closing of the case
--A look at when WWE was sued over the independent contractor issue and why the judge didn't rule against them
--Why there is locker room unhappiness in TNA
--TNA business notes for January
--Hogan gets hacked
--Bubba the Love Sponge talks Hogan
--Christopher Daniels talks the genesis of his promos
--TNA's biggest house show probably of the year coming up in a few weeks in conjunction with WrestleMania
--Upcoming TNA TV taping schedule
--Update on Jesse Sorensen
--Wrestlers turning down offers for next week's TNA PPV tapings
--What the actual paid attendance was for UFC's Japan show
--Updated ticket sales for all the upcoming UFC events
--Entire Dana White/Mark Hunt scenario
--Update on the fight to legalize MMA in New York
--Lorenzo Fertitta makes promises to New York on how many shows per year they will run in the state if legalized
--Update on Alistair Overeem and when he will be ready to return
--Sports Illustrates talks Dana White as one of the most powerful men in sports
--Talks of plans for next year's Super Bowl weekend show, including a show actually in conjunction with the Super Bowl
--Stephan Bonnar talks his drug test failure
--Lots of new UFC fights announced
        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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*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)
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*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)
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Thursday's News Update
--There seem to be a lot of tense people around UFC right now, in particular Dana White, GSP and Nick Diaz.  It appeared White blew up at Ariel Helwani on the first question at the press conference and then got really testy about questions on drug testing.  White noted that Vitor Belfort will be tested like crazy in training before his fight in Brazil against Luke Rockhold and that he wants to eliminate Testosterone use exemptions from UFC.  GSP slammed down the mic once after talking.  Nick Diaz kept talking about "wolf tickets" (basically claiming UFC was creating a fake feud between he and GSP and people are dumb for buying into it, which is exactly a subject you want at the pre-fight press conference).  Later White said that GSP told him he wanted to retire Diaz.
--Josh Nason is doing a great job with front page stories from UFC 158.  He's got a story on the Dana White scrum as well as notes on SWSX and UFC activities.
--Notes from today's press conference, which was another Nick Diaz show
*Diaz said it was either miss the workouts or the press conference and he chose the workouts because he had to catch up on sleep.  He got in at midnight Tuesday, had to sweat out the toxins from the flight and decided to sleep in instead of go to the workouts because he didn't want to be tired.  Luckily he was able to sleep and still be able to promote the fight, but I'm sure the rest of the fighters also would rather sleep.
*He talked about them using photos of him on posters where he has a mean face and they could have buttered him up and photo shopped better pictures.
*He talked about growing up and having people putting a gun to his head, friends being shot or stomped  into concussions and kids putting gum in his hair.  He said he doesn't think he's a violent person, but wants to be respected as a high level martial artist
*He essentially told everyone the feud is made up  "Georges is selling wolf tickets.  "Dana is selling wolf tickets"  "UFC is selling wolf tickets."  "You're eating it right up."  Wolf tickets means creating fake conflicts to sell tickets, essentially booking angles like pro wrestling.  This would be the equivalent of Cena going on Raw's go-home show and saying Vince & Rock have created a fake feud for all you people to buy PPVs and you're "eating it right up."
*On criticism he's been protected from wrestlers, he said, "I was fighting all the hitters.  I as fighting hitters the whole time.  I was the one risking brain damage.  These guys, you take these punches and start quitting."
*Complained again that if people take you down and keep you on the ground, they should be penalized for not fighting.  He said the strong guys on steroids love the rules but he thinks all marital artists agree with him.  He also wanted ten minute rounds.
*GSP was not happy with the insinuation he was on steroids, saying he had not used steroids.
*When the incident from October of 2011 was brought up where there was a confrontation at the hotel between Diaz and GSP, he admitted it happened, but that GSP shouldn't have come to his side of the hotel.  GSP responded, "You think I'm afraid of you.  You'll see Saturday if I'm afraid of you."
*Diaz said he's sorry if he doesn't pass the drug test, noting "I've passed plenty of them before.  I wonder how much they test people around here."
*Dana White said if Diaz fails the drug test, he's likely getting fired.
--Rob Van Dam is not at TV for TNA as they are negotiating a new contract with his current deal expired.
--Hulk Hogan talked about after all his surgeries, wanting to come back and win the title and become the oldest world champion ever.  
--In the upcoming Greatest Rivalries in wresting history DVD WWE is releasing on 5/28, this is their list:
Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan
Rock vs. HHH
Edge & Christian vs. Hardys & Dudleys
Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven
Randy Orton vs. HHH
Bruiser Brody vs. Abdullah the Butcher
Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar
Undertaker vs. Kane
John Cena vs. Edge
HHH vs. Mick Foley
Steve Austin vs. Rock
Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart
John Cena vs. C.M. Punk
Undertaker vs. Mick Foley
Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat
Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper
Freebirds vs. Von Erichs
Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon
Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair
Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage
Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker
Sabu vs. Taz
Magnum T.A. vs. Tully Blanchard
Verne Gagne vs. Nick Bockwinkel
Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero
        In other words, pro wrestling, with the exception of one AWA feud, started on December 25, 1982.  Of course it's all about what they have tape on, but they have tape on a lot of other stuff as well.     
Odds and how betting is going:
GSP - 500
Nick Diaz +425
        Vast majority of money coming in now on Diaz
Carlos Condit +115
Johny Hendricks -135
        Money split
Jake Ellenberger -165
Nate Marquardt +145
        Money split
Chris Camozzi -105
Nick Ring -115
        Money split
Colin Fletcher +240
Mike Ricci - 280
        Money split
--Jim Ross at noted that Diaz is actually doing UFC a favor because they get more press when he misses the workouts.  Well, they did this time because it put more interest in the press conference, which he did show up at.
--GSP dropped the first puck at the Canadians game on Tuesday night.  
--A story on the Phoenix Coyotes and them having a title belt at
--Ken Shamrock talks UFC, Bellator, Dana White, WWE and TNA at
--Mick Foley will be doing shows this coming Wednesday night in Sacrament at the Punch Line Comedy Club and a week from tonight at Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco.
--There is a kickstarter campaign going on to produce a documentary on the life of Baron Von Raschke at   
--The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today at has a story by Gene Collier about Bruno Sammartino going into the WWE Hall of Fame and how nobody would take the Hall seriously unless Sammartino was in.  By the way, the person who said that was HHH.
--For Dish Network subscribers, Spike TV is now on Ch. 241.
--Joseph Park will be working on 4/21 as Abyss for World Wrestling League for their show at the Juan Agrelot Coliseum in San Juan.  Abyss worked for years in Puerto Rico before TNA.
--A number of movie and comic book web sites have gotten the story from a press conference today in Australia where Dwayne Johnson said he wants to be in the next Star Wars movie.  He noted when he was a kid, he played with Star Wars and G.I. Joe action figures, and noted he used to shoplift them from stores.  He said he was going to call J.J. Abrams (the director of the next Star Wars movie) and that he's looking for help by people printing it.  Johnson is in Australia right now promoting the G.I. Joe open in that country.
--At today's All Japan house show in Aomori, there was a post-match attack by Suwama, destroying the left arm of Masakatsu Funaki, leading up to Sunday's Funaki Triple Crown title defense against Suwama that headlines the Tokyo Sumo Hall show.
--ROH runs 3/30 in Asheville, NC with Kevin Steen vs. Mark Briscoe for the ROH title as the main event. 
--Bob Backlund was at WWE headquarters yesterday. 
Excellent 7.8%
Good 41.2%
Average 35.3%
Fair 5.9%
Poor 9.8%
        59.5% of those responding didn't see the show
Excellent 43.9%
Good 36.6%
Average 9.8%
Fair 2.4%
Poor 7.3%
        63.7% of those responding didn't see the show
New Japan 32.9%
TNA 15.2%
Bellator 14.2%
UFC 13.3%
WWE 12.7%
ROH 3.8%
AAA 3.5%
All Japan 3.5%
Dragon Gate 0.9%
Nick Bockwinkel 37.8%
Fred Blassie 34.9%
Crusher 7.0%
Curtis Iaukea 5.2%
Buddy Rogers 4.7%
Bruno Sammartino 3.9%
Ray Stevens 2.1%
Fritz Von Erich 1.3%
The Destroyer 1.0%
Gene Kiniski 1.0%
Verne Gagne 0.5%
Killer Karl Kox 0.5%
Terry Funk 38.1%
Jerry Lawler 26.0%
Superstar Graham 20.6%
Harley Race 4.1%
Gorilla Monsoon 2.8%
Mad Dog Vachon 2.6%
Ernie Ladd 2.4%
Dick Murdoch 1.3%
Baron Von Raschke 1.3%
Billy Robinson 0.4%
Jack Brisco 0.2%
Wahoo McDaniel 0.2%
--Bryan  Clark, who was part of the tag team Kronik (yes, a pot reference) with the late Brian Adams, and wrestled as The Night Stalker, Adam Bomb and Wrath, turned 49 today.  Santino Marella turned 34.
--Happy Humphrey, who was one of the heaviest wrestlers ever (billed at 802 pounds), passed away on this day in 1989.  Antonio Baillergeon of the famous Montreal wrestling family was 68 when he passed away on this day in 1997.  Corsica Joe, of the Corsica brothers tag team, was 90 when he passed away three years ago today. (thanks to Georgia Wrestling
THIS DAY IN WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
126 years ago- Evan Strangler Lewis (the original Strangler Lewis) beat Joe Acton in Chicago to win the world catch-as-catch-can heavyweight championship
69 years ago - Babe Sharkey beat Ed Strangler Lewis in Baltimore to win the city's version of the world title
66 years ago - Vic Christy beat Orville Brown to win the MWA world heavyweight title in St. Joseph, MO
61 years ago - Len Hombre Montana & Leo Nomellini beat Mike & Ben Sharpe to win the world tag team titles in Oakland
53 years ago - Ivan & Karol Kalmikoff beat Ilio DiPaolo & Whipper Billy Watson to win the Canadian Open tag team titles in Toronto
45 years ago - Larry Hennig beat Kurt Von Brauner in Amarillo to win the Brass Knuckles title
43 years ago - Dale Lewis & The Missouri Mauler beat Bronko Lubich & Chris Markoff to win the Florida tag team titles in Tampa
36 years ago - Dennis Condrey & Phil Hickerson beat Ricky & Robert Gibson to win the vacant Southern tag team titles in a tournament final in Memphis
35 years ago - Dino Bravo & Domenic DeNucci beat Mr. Fuji & Toru Tanaka in Philadelphia to win the WWWF tag team titles
35 years ago - Tommy Rich beat Stan Hansen in the finals of a tournament for the Macon heavyweight title.  Nick Bockwinkel retained the AWA title over Mr Wrestling II in the main event on that show.
33 years ago - Jose Lothario & Tiger Conway Jr. beat Mr. Hito & Mr. Sakurada (Kendo Nagasaki) to win the American tag team titles in Houston
33 years ago - Junkyard Dog beat Ernie Ladd in Shreveport to win the Louisiana state title
33 years ago - Chavo Guerrero beat The Hood (Johnny Mantell) in Los Angeles to win the Americas title
33 years ago - Bruiser Brody beat Mark Lewin in Houston to win the Texas Brass Knux title
32 years ago - Killer Karl Krupp beat Pierre Martel (Rick's older brother) to win the North American title in Bayamon
31 years ago - A show in Madison Square Garden saw Bob Backlund keep the WWF title beating Jesse Ventura and Pedro Morales kept the IC title pinning Adrian Adonis.
31 years ago - Bobby Eaton & Sweet Brown Sugar (Koko Ware) beat Ricky & Robert Gibson in a tournament final in Louisville to win the vacant Southern tag team title
29 years ago - Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo beat Ron Bass & Black Bart to win the U.S. tag team titles in Miami
27 years ago - Brad Armstrong beat Robert fuller to win the Southeastern title in Mobile
26 years ago - Ivan Koloff & Dick Murdoch beat Ron Garvin & Barry Windham to win the U.S. tag team titles in Atlanta     
20 years ago - Ultimo Dragoncito beat Orito to win the CMLL minis title
20 years ago - Yamato (Kim Duk/Tiger Chung Lee/Tiger Toguchi) beat Canek in Puebla to win the UWA heavyweight title (that's when the UWA title was a big big deal)
19 years ago - Eddie Gilbert beat Brian Christopher to win the USWA title in Memphis
14 years ago - Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko beat Curt Hennig & Barry Windham in a lumberjack match to win the WCW tag tiles, Booker T pinned Scott Steiner to win the WCW TV title and Ric Flair beat Hulk Hogan in a first blood match in a cage to win the WCW title
--Maria Menounos was on the TV show "Better" today and talked wrestling.  She said when WWE called her to guest host Raw, she said she would only do it if they would let her wrestle on the show.  WWE didn't take her seriously, but she hired a trainer (Ric Drasin) and learned.  She noted she worked Mania with a ton of injuries from Dancing with the Stars and said it was the most amazing experience of her life and was crying after since she had been a fan and got to wrestle before 70,000 fans. She said she's friends with a lot of the wrestlers. (thanks to Jeff  Beecher)
--Resurrection Fighting Alliance on 3/22 in Broomfield, CO (Ed Soares' promotion on AXS) announced a new main event of Brandon Thatch (8-1) vs. Mike Rhodes (4-0).  Thatch was originally to face Leandro Silva, who suffered a leg infection in training.\
--New Era Wrestling on 3/16 in Shelbyville, IN at the Boys Club
--An interview with Rob Fee, a writer and producer for the Ellen DeGeneres show, who is a big wrestling fan is at
--David Marquez, the owner of Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, talks about the death of Bill Moody at
--Stars of Wrestling on 3/23 in the Alameda Point Gym in Alameda, CA with Boogeyman, Goldust and Gangrel.
--Chaotic Wrestling tomorrow night in Woburn, MA at the Elks Lodge with Brian Milonas vs. Brian Fury.   
--Boone's Tavern in Denver is having a party hosted by local fighter Brandon Thatch on Saturday night at 7 p.m. for UFC 158.
--Tom Prichard will be doing a seminar as part of the Mid Atlantic Memories convention 8/1 to 8/14 in Charlotte at the University Place Hilton.  Prichard will be working with Les Thatcher, Leilaini Kai and Gerald Brisco for a four-day seminar with more than 30 hours of training. 
--Ed and Cutrer talk TNA Lockdown at

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