DAILY UPDATE: TUF tryout details, Dave on Vince/Dana, Diaz tax drama, Mania updates, Anderson in ROH, hunt with Shawn Michaels, more



Last Edited: 3/19 - 6 PM EST

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

We're still looking for your thoughts on Saturday night's UFC 158, so you can leave 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 looking for reports on the latest TNA PPV tapings in Orlando, Sunday's Raw house show in Binghamton, NY and Smackdown show in Toledo. We're also looking for reports on Friday night's TNA show in Corbin, KY, and Saturday night's Smackdown in Hammond, IN and TNA in Pikeville, KY.

Tonight: Smackdown (Chris Jericho vs. Jack Swagger main event) Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam tapings in Cincinnati.

THE LATEST OBSERVER: A LOOK AT WWE BUSINESS IN THE MONTHS AHEAD

        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.
 
        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.
 
       If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today.  With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today.  Just sent your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, card number and expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        You can also order by paypal by sending to www.paypal.com and directing the funds to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        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.
 
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
 

 
Rates are:
 
        For the United States, it is $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $36 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52.  In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $84 for 24, $136 for 40 issues and $176 for 52 .
 
        If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
 
        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.

TUESDAY NEWS, NOTES & LINKS

-- Our guest scheduled for this morning was unable to make the show, so we're trying to reschedule for next week.

-- We have a new FREE Wrestling Observer Radio up. We always post two new free shows every week (Wrestling Observer Live on Sunday and another) and you can always find the latest ones on the right-hand side of the front page under the Newsletter graphics.

-- If you haven't checked them out yet, NEW Figure Four Empire T-shirts are on sale now by clicking here. Craig did an awesome job on them so check them out and order now, because when they're gone they're gone forever!

-- Our Dave Meltzer has a great story on what the hell happened with Vince McMahon wanting Dana White to fight him at WrestleMania.

-- Here's more info on the TUF tryouts on April 15th: they are at the Palace Station Hotel, 2411 West Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada 89102. They're looking for 135-pounders, both men and women, 18 and over, with three pro fights minimum and "a winning record" (this is underlined) that can be verified. You will be asked to grapple and hit pads. You need to bring the application with you, which you can download here. This is the season that will be coached by Ronda Rousey and the Cat Zingano vs. Miesha Tate winner from the April 13th TUF Finale.

-- Speaking of Tate, she said she has no problems with how anyone wants to live their life, but she would not accept a fight with transgender fighter Fallon Fox.

-- Regarding Nick Diaz and his claim that he's never paid taxes, trainer and manager Cesar Gracie said in a USA Today interview that while Nick says a lot of crazy things, he has paid his taxes -- over $100,000 in the past two years, in fact. Meanwhile, Jonathan Tweedale, a lawyer who works with Diaz (not sure if he's actually Diaz's lawyer or just a friend of his) said that Nick thought Cesar was taking care of his taxes but Cesar wasn't. Cesar said this wasn't true. One way or another, hopefully Diaz has talked to a CPA by now.

-- TNA's whirlwind of tapings continues today. They're putting together all the One Night Only PPV shows from now through February of 2014. We'll have a lot of details about what's going on during today's Figure Four Daily 10-Minute Afternoon Update. This is the final day of the tapings and then, they're out of the Impact Zone for the foreseeable future.

-- The updated WrestleMania after last night: Rock vs. Cena for the WWE Title, Del Rio vs. Swagger for the World Title, Bryan & Kane vs. Ziggy & Big E. for the tag titles, Taker vs. Punk for the streak, HHH vs. Brock with HHH's career on the line in a no holds barred match, Shield vs. Show & Sheamus & Orton, Ryback vs. Henry, and likely an eight-woman match.

-- Regarding a potential dent in the Raw rating, Josh Nason noted last night: Heat/Celtics are on national TV with the Celtics nearly snapping the Heat's 22-game win streak. Came down to final seconds and concluded at 10:53 EST.

-- Ever thought it would be cool to go HUNTING in AFRICA with SHAWN MICHAELS? Then click here because now's your chance.

-- Shane writes: Just wanted to share that I assigned my three Communication Theory classes the task of watching Raw last night (in order to talk about narrative development etc.). To say that last night's program was greeted with immense hostility would be an understatement. There was damn near mutiny in class since the show was so very awful. The inauthentic performances, the terrible finishes to matches, the horrible acting, the atrocious and insulting mode of address of the show, they just despised the program and questioned how anyone could watch it for three hours, much less every week. Not one of wrestling's finer moments.

-- SoCal Pro Wrestling this Saturday at 7 PM at the Boys & Girls Club 401 Country Club Way Oceanside, CA.

-- New Japan Cup 2013 is available on uStream now here.

-- Pete Gas (not that Pete Gas) writes: Not sure if anyone reported this to you guys or not, but there was a wrestling reference on Sunday night's episode of Family Guy. Subsequent to a series of misadventures, Peter Griffin became a Muslim. He was hanging around with a guy named Mahmood, who took him to a meeting with some friends. This being Family Guy, the Muslims of course turned out to be terrorists. They were skeptical about Peter's presence at their meeting and decided to interrogate him to make sure he wasn't a double agent. The interrogation consisted of exactly one question, which was "Who is better, Hulk Hogan or The Iron Sheik?" By responding that The Iron Sheik is better, all suspicions were dropped and Peter was welcomed into the group.

-- Undefeated Lauren Taylor (5-0) of Anchorage, Alaska will replace an injured Amanda Nunes in a bantamweight (135 pounds) matchup with Kaitlin Young (7-7-1) of St. Louis Park, Minn. at the Invicta Fighting Championships at Ameristar Casino Hotel Kansas City on Friday, April 5. Nunes was forced to withdraw from the bout due to a sprained elbow sustained in training camp.

-- As we referenced yesterday, Karl Anderson will return to Ring Of Honor for the first time since 2007 to face Roderick Strong at the sold out 4/5 Supercard of Honor VII event in NYC. He will also face Michael Elgin on the 4/6 afternoon TV tapings. You can get tickets for the latter at ROHWrestling.com. ROH also has a new Best of Samoa Joe DVD on sale, which sounds awesome.

-- John Cena and Daniel Bryan appear at Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con on May 30 – June 2 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

WHO DO YOU EXPECT TO WIN THIS FIGHT?
Georges St-Pierre 65.3%
Johny Hendricks 34.7%

WHO SHOULD GET THE NEXT SHOT AT GSP?
Johny Hendricks 95.4%
Jake Ellenberger 4.6%

ARE YOU MORE LIKELY TO WATCH THE NEXT SEASON OF TUF AS COMPARED TO THIS CURRENT SEASON DUE TO RONDA ROUSEY AND CO-ED TEAMS?
Watched this season, will watch next season 37.0%
Didn't watch this season, won't watch next season 31.2%
Didn't watch this season, will watch next season 24.3%
Watching this season, won't watch next season 7.6%

WHICH SHOW DOES MORE NORTH AMERICAN BUYS?
WrestleMania 60.1%
UFC 158 (GSP vs. Diaz) 39.9%

WHAT WAS THE BEST OF THESE RECENT MAJOR SHOWS?
UFC 157 - Rousey vs. Carmouche 29.0%
New Japan The New Beginnings 15.4%
WWE Elimination Chamber 13.7%
TNA Lockdown 12.6%
ROH 11th Anniversary 11.6%
UFC 158 10.2%
UFC Japan 4.1%
UFC 156 3.4%

-- The next part of Ed, Cutrer and Craig's Road to WrestleMania radio series up here.

Long-term, what are your thoughts on Lucha Underground?

 

What did you think of Wednesday's Ultimate Fighter TV show?

 

What did you think of TNA Impact?

 

What did you think of Lucha Underground last night?