FRI UPDATE: More on Reid Flair, UFC cuts and signings, Rock talks lots of wrestling on Kimmel, new MMA controversy, lots of upcoming signings, more

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

We'll have the full weekend schedule and more updated here a little later on.

        The latest on WrestleMania, including examining who would be expected to win or lose the matches, and gambling odds for the top matches leads off this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
        We look at the story and angles building the show, potential match outcomes and why for everything on the card as well as matches not yet announced that are being built.
        We also have full coverage of the New Japan Cup finals, and how angles on the show build to two big shows over WrestleMania week in Tokyo including a major PPV show from New Japan featuring title matches from three different promotions.  We also have match-by-match coverage of the New Japan PPV show this past week, with star ratings and poll results.
        We also look at the question regarding the next move for the IWGP title as well as who was copying Ric Flair, what former TNA star is in two title matches next week and more.
        We also have an update on C.M. Punk, current notes on the Extreme rules show, Mick Foley's TV role, more on the death of William Moody including reaction from Kane.  We also have notes on TV gigs Dwayne Johnson is doing, the release of Jack Doan, how WWE movies are doing, ratings vs. twitter followers, a correction on a new WWE signing, Bruno Sammartion in the Hall of Fame and who are expected to be doing the inductions.  We also have an update on the two different Sammartino movie projects and where they stand, notes on a new WWE head writer, a new writing position that has opened up largely to get one WWE wrestler over as a mainstream star. 
        We also look at an Attitude Era star who wants to come back but it's falling on deaf ears, notes on Chris Jericho's current run and future, what happened with Ric Flair when it comes to Raw on Monday, how Jericho got his black eye and another WWE wrestler biography.
        We also have notes on Jane Geddes, the WWE's Senior Vice President of Talent Relations and how and why she got hired and her background.
        We also have lots of notes from developmental, including the last NXT tapings, who stood out, what were the best matches and angles.
        We also have the WWE business notes from the last week and highlights from all the weekend house shows.
        We also look at the life and times of Joe Weider, behind his marketing, his connection with pro wrestling, his battle with Vince McMahon and his role in creating Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as his major goal that he never was able to achieve.
        We also look back at Kyle Dake vs. David Taylor, the biggest NCAA championship match in years, with a look at why the match was so big, the background of both, as well as a look back at the biggest matches in college wrestling history.  We also look at two people from the tournament on the pro wrestling radar.
        We also have coverage of the second World Series of Fighting show from Atlantic City.  We look at the ratings, the strange reactions and the happy and sad of the show.
         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.
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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:
--Another nail in the coffin of the era of wrestling magazines
--Announcement of the biggest match in Mexico in at least a decade and a look back at the biggest matches of the last 25 years
--A look at major plans for the CMLL promotion
--A look at the 70th anniversary of wrestling at one of its legendary arenas
--Why a wrestler who just had his retirement show is returning
--Legendary Hall of Famer now in AAA
--Takeshi Morishima's 15th anniversary show
--Satoru Sayama's Real Japan Pro Wrestling card notes
--A look at the career and death of Bill Smithson, formerly Moondog Spike in the USWA
--Who was the original Moondog before pro wrestling?
--Who was pro wrestling's first Moondog
--A look at the creation of the Moondogs tag team
--How Smithson got started in pro wrestling
--Lots more on what happened with Chris Masters
--A look at al the publicity Masters has received
--What happened with the Extreme Rising shows this past week
--More on Sean Waltman's injury
--A look at the Jerry Lynn retirement show
--Another wrestler announces he's retiring next week
--Update on the movement to get wrestling back in the Olympics
--The return of Abyss and why
--More on Rick Bassman's autobiography project
--Cost of getting Hulk Hogan for an appearance
--Former WWE wrestler wants to try out for the NFL
--Pro wrestling's greatest announcing pair may be getting back together next month
--Latest on wrestling in Puerto Rico
--Notes on a wrestling tour of India
--Update on  Chyna
--Upcoming ROH cards
--More on Bully Ray apologizing for comments to a fan and what he said afterwards
--Cost of TNA taping on the road
--Thoughts on new X Division rules
--What happened to Jeff Jarrett
--Former WrestleMania headliner says he's in talks with TNA
--A look at what should be one of TNA's biggest house shows ever
--UFC fires Lavar Johnson
--Update on health issues with Dan Hardy
--A look at the next major FOX card and the date scheduled after that for FOX
--What is going head-to-head with the next FOX card
--The strange story of the UFC 158 weigh-ins in Montreal
--Why the Diaz camp is so upset
--GSP in the movies
--Nevada commission being questioned
--Latest UFC advances
--Notes on the UFC show in Newark next month
--Ronda Rousey signs endorsement deal
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Former UFC fighter blasts Dana White
--A look at the final two Bellator episodes of this season
--One of the craziest MMA stories ever
--Three successful boxing events coming this next month
--Olympic gold medalist scores another quick win
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        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.
Today's News, Notes and Links

-- We've got a lot of info up on the front page right now concerning the death of Reid Flair. All we know is that he was found by police in a hotel room early this morning. We'll have more in the coming hours, but for the moment there is a link on the front page with the first local news story on the death, plus Dave and I did an audio update earlier this morning with what we knew about the story and some insight from Dave into Reid's relationship with his father. This is a very sad story.

-- Reid had actually just turned 25 last month. The story is starting to get press everywhere. Police were called at 10:35 AM this morning to the Residence Inn in SouthPark, where Reid was found unresponsive. All we know is that authorities do not suspect foul play.

-- Ric's agent posted on Facebook: We are heartbroken to confirm that Ric's son, Reid Fliehr, has passed away today March 29, 2013 in Charlotte, NC. The investigation into the cause of death is ongoing. Reid was 25 and an incredible son, brother, friend, and professional wrestler. No words can describe the grief that Ric and his family are experiencing and they do request privacy during this devastating time.

-- As noted, the Baron Von Raschke show was postponed due to this news. We'll update on when we get it rescheduled.

-- We will have one more radio show later today, hopefully on a lighter note, After Dark, which will begin taping at midnight Pacific/3 AM Eastern. We'll have more on the front page later but the topic will be local legends, weird stories from your personal neck of the woods. You can email your stories with "After Dark" somewhere in the subject line of body of the email, or you can call 425-482-1686 starting at midnight Pacific to try to tell your story on the air. The show is a lot of fun and hopefully a good diversion. Emails and phone lines remain open to any topic, however if you call to talk wrestling, sports or politics, it probably won't be a long call.

-- Unlike on Jay Leno, Rock talked a ton about wrestling on Jimmy Kimmel last night. He was there with the WWE Title, plugged WrestleMania hard, and noted that if he beat John Cena at WrestleMania than the match was real, but if he lost it was all phony. He also talked about bodybuilding, his massive cheat days every eight weeks or so, plus the sixty movies that he's currently in the middle of shooting and promoting.

-- Andre Arlovski's camp is upset that Arlovski broke his jaw in the first round of his World Series of Fighting match with Anthony Johnson last Saturday night. Why are they upset? Don't things happen in a fight? Well, what happened was the timekeeper apparently forgot to start the timer on time, so Arlovski actually got his jaw broken in an exchange that came after the five-minute round should have ended. They actually fought for nearly six minutes. Arlovski was actually knocked down twice during that period.

-- It is being reported in the Chinese media that undefeated bantamweight Jumabieke Tuerxun has signed with the UFC. He'd be the second Chinese fighter the company has signed.

-- A healthier Scott Hall talks his road to recovery here.

-- Video of Mrs. Cyborg violently punching things in training here.

-- More on the Nick Diaz/GSP weigh-in controversy hereincluding text messages between Diaz's lawyer and Mike Mersch of UFC regarding the issue.

-- Josh Neer, Caros Fodor, Jon Manley and Brock Jardine were all cut from UFC.

-- Dave Doyle reports the felony assault arrest of former UFC star Rory Markham here. Markham hasn't fought in like 3 years.

-- Extreme Rising issued a statement about their WrestleMania weekend cancellations, noting they were due to low tickets sales and saying they didn't know why the sales were so low. The statement said that refunds could be made through PayPal or through the purchaser's credit card company.

-- Clips of Evan Bourne's return to action last night in Tampa up here.

-- WWE launched a WrestleMania channel on Yahoo! here. He faced the now-unmasked former El Generico.

-- It was announced that Maria Menounos will be inducting Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame. I know that sounds nuts but she's always claimed that she idolized Backlund growing up, and a few years ago they worked together on a comedy bit and have been close friends ever since. She does absolutely love pro-wrestling and at least for awhile there were discussions about having her do another match this year in a multi-person tag.

-- If you haven't seen it, Ed's page with everything you ever wanted to know about how to meet up with us for fun and excitement over WrestleMania weekend is here.

-- On the Australian PPV channel Main Event, if you look at the on screen guide for TNA's Unfinished Business PPV, they list Bobby Roode vs. Lance Storm instead of Bobby Roode vs. James Storm. Thanks to Jason for the hilarious screenshot.

-- PREMIER returns on Sunday, June 9th in Gilroy, CA. 9 Lives Club, 7430 Monterey St in downtown Gilroy will once again host this event. Signed to appear is Big Japan and Combat Zone Wrestling star, "The Psycho Shooter" Drake Younger. Stay tuned to for the announcement of the main event and the rest of the matches on our second event. Show starts at 5 PM and Doors Open at 4:15 PM.

-- Today in History with Brian Hoops:

1933 - Ray Steele won the California Heavyweight Title in Los Angeles, California, defeating Jim McMillen.

1939 - Steve Casey won the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title (no the Verne Gagne promotion) in Boston, Massachusetts, defeating Gus Sonnenberg.

1955 - Bulldog Curtis and Tommy Martinez defeated Kurt Von Poppenheim and Leo Wallick to win the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Title.

1956 - Pat O'Connor defeated Lord Athol Layton for the vacant Toronto NWA British Empire Heavyweight Title in Toronto, Ontario.

1960 - Karl and Kurt Von Brauner defeated Tex Riley and Len Rossi for the Mid-America NWA World Tag Team Title in Nashville, Tennessee.

1961 - Guy Mitchell defeated Skull Murphy in Columbus, Georgia for the Georgia NWA Southern Heavyweight Title

1962 - Don Curtis and Joe Scarpa (Chief Jay Strongbow) defeated Karl and Kurt Von Brauner to win the Florida NWA World Tag Team Title in Jacksonville, Florida

1969 - In Boston, Mass; WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino defeated The Sheik in a steel cage match.

1972 - Jim Barnett's Mid-South Sports changes its name to Georgia Championship Wrestling.

1973 - Ben Justice and Tojo Yamamoto to win the Mid-America NWA World Tag Team Title from The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello and Don Kent) in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1973 - The Brute (Bugsy McGraw) defeated Gene Kiniski to win the Vancouver NWA Pacific Coast Heavyweight Title in Vancouver, British Columbia

1976 - Buck Robley and Bob Slaughter (Sgt. Slaughter) defeated The Hollywood Blonds (Jerry Brown and Buddy Roberts) for the Tri-State NWA United States Tag Team Title in Tulsa, Oklahoma

1977 - Mr. Wrestling II defeated James Dillon for the NWA Macon Heavyweight Title in Macon, Georgia.

1979 - Salvatore Martino (Bellomo) defeated Gene Kiniski to win the Vancouver NWA Pacific Coast Heavyweight Title in Vancouver, British Columbia.

1980 - Ray Stevens and Greg Valentine defeated Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood for the NWA World Tag Team Title in Charlotte, North Carolina.

1980 - Austin Idol defeated Mr. Wrestling II to win the NWA Georgia Heavyweight Champion in Atlanta, Georgia.

1982 - Bugsy McGraw defeated José Lothario to win the NWA Texas Brass Knuckles Title in Fort Worth, Texas

1984 - Billy Jack (Haynes) defeated Kendo Nagasaki (Kazuo Sakurada) for the NWA Florida Heavyweight Title in Lakeland, Florida.

1984 - In Kansas City, Kansas; The Grapplers defeated Jerry and Ted Oates to win the vacant NWA Central States Tag Team Title.

1987 - At Wrestlemania III in Detroit, Michigan; Ricky Steamboat (with George Steele) pinned WWF Intercontinental Champion Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) to win the title and WWF Champion Hulk Hogan pinned André the Giant (with Bobby Heenan) to retain the title.

1993 - At the Mid South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee; Lauren Davenport defeated USWA Women's Champion Miss Texas to win the title and The Moondogs (Splat and Spot) defeated USWA Tag Team Champions Brian Christopher and Scotty Flamingo to win the USWA Tag Team Title.

1994 - Men on a Mission (Mabel and Mo) defeated The Quebecers (Jacques and Pierre) in London, England to win the WWF Tag Team Title.

1997 - Brian Christopher defeated Elijah to win the USWA Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee. At the same event, Flash Flanagan and Billy Travis won the USWA Tag Team Title from The Truth Commission (The Interrogator and Recon).

1998 - At Wrestlemania XIV in Boston, Mass; Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie defeated WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg) in a Dumpster match to win the title and Steve Austin pinned WWF Champion Shawn Michaels to win the title.

-- Eastern Canada’s MainStream Wrestling Entertainment embarks on the 12th Annual Spring Tour: 9 Nova Scotia events capped with two New Brunswick engagements. Certainly, this year’s host of talent from Canada, USA, Turkey, Jamaica, and Mexico promise to unveil exciting, character-driven action in the ring, but during the day they will educate children on how to enjoy fulfilling lives by developing self-empowerment methods. Wrestlers will draw upon their own varied experiences and educational backgrounds to deliver enlightening messages throughout the Region, continuing MSW Commissioner Kirk Starratt’s “Believe” Campaign, introduced in 2010.

-- NWA Houston Presents "Parade of Champions" … a tribute to Paul Boesch April 20, 2013 Houston Athletic Fencing Center Bell Time 7:30pm. Main event if NWA World Heavyweight Champion Rob Conway vs. Chris Masters.

-- New interview with Damian Sandow up here.

-- Phil Strum interviews Paul Heyman here.

-- From Legends of the Ring regarding an autograph signing with Edge:

We are excited to announce we have just signed Adam "Edge" Copeland to appear at LOTR 16 on June 8th at the Crowne Plaza in Monroe

Ticket packages as follows

RATED R VIP 250.00 (A 350.00 value save 100.00)

Only 20 of these tickets will be sold!

1 combo (1 photo op and 1 autograph or 2 autographs) and 5 extra Items you will be on of the first 20 in line.

Standard VIP Pricing:

1 autograph and 1 photo opp or 2 Autographs 100.00

Extra autographs 50.00 (limit 5 autographs per VIP Ticket)

A total of 200 extra autographs will be available

Tickets will go on sale at 9:00am TOMMOROW! SATURDAY March 30,2013

The quicker you purchase the lower number you get!

These will go quick so purchase as soon as they go onsale!

For more information, go to:

-- ROH also sent this:

All Star Autograph Signing In NYC

-13 of ROH's Elite Will Be Available For The Fans!

The tickets are sold-out, the anticipation for the iPPV broadcast is building, and now for the icing on the cake, Ring of Honor has finalized all the details on a huge autograph signing for "Supercard of Honor VII" on Friday April 5th! This one is so big we are kicking the doors open at 5:30pm to accommodate everyone!

From 5:30 - 7:00pm thirteen of Ring of Honor's stars will be available for the ROH faithful:

- ROH World Champion Kevin Steen

- Mark & Jay Briscoe

- Adam Cole

- the “Self Proclaimed Icon” Matt Hardy

- "Machine Gun" Karl Anderson

- “American Wolf” Davey Richards

- “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards

- "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin

- Roderick Strong

- Jay Lethal

- “The Outlaw” Charlie Haas

- "Buzzsaw" BJ Whitmer

You will be able to get an 8x10 or 1 personal item signed for $10 per person OR for the combo price of $100 you can get one from each! Any items beyond the first will cost an additional $10 each. Remember the doors open at 5:30 and the autograph signing will runs from 5:30 - 7:00pm so make sure you are there in plenty of time to take advantage of this rare opportunity to meet so many ROH stars in one place at the same time!

It's "Supercard of Honor VII" and we are celebrating honor all weekend long in NYC!

For more information go to

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