SAT. UPDATE: WWE nominated for several awards, Hart & Shawn together, Bet on Mania, TNA's biggest house show, Cormier throws out first pitch



By Dave Meltzer
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        Probably the slowest show weekend of the year leading up to the biggest next week.  We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE joint brand show tonight in Atlantic City (John Cena & Sheamus & Big Show vs. The Shield, Ryback vs. Mark Henry),  tonight's ROH show in Asheville, NC (Kevin Steen vs. Mark Briscoe for ROH title, Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander, Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly defend tag titles against Mike Posey & Corey Hollis, plus Matt Taven vs. ACH vs. Roderick Strong vs. Jay Lethal and Rhett Titus vs. B.J. Whitmer) and last night's WWE show in Springfield, MA.
 
        WWE also runs in White Plains at the Westchester County Center tomorrow.
 
        Both Raw and Smackdown will be taped on Monday in Washington, DC.  The show should be sold out.  Everyone is scheduled, Undertaker, Rock, HHH, Brock Lesnar, etc.  All the last minute stipulations will be announced.  That will be the last WWE show until WrestleMania.
 
        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
 
        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.
 
        Our most requested issues in our history are:
 
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
 
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
 
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
 
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)
 
*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)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
 
*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
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)
 
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
 
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
 
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)
 
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
 
*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)
 
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
 
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
 
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
 
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
 
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*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
 
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
 
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*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
 
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
 
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
 
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
 
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*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
 
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
 
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
 
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bigelow)
 
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
 
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
 
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*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
 
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
 
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
 
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
 
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
 
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
 
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
 
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
 
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
 
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
 
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
 
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
 
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
 
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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.
 
Saturday's News Update
 
--There's nothing new we are aware of in regard to the death of 25-year-old Reid Fliehr, the son of Ric Flair, who was found unresponsive yesterday morning at a Residence Inn in Charlotte.

--WWE was nominated for six Social Media awards called the Shortys.  These are the awards they are up for:
Best Brand Presence on Twitter
Best Use of Hashtags
Best Brand Presence on Facebook
Best Use of Social Media for Television
Best Use of Social Media for Video games     
 
--The Bret Hart & Shawn Michaels signing has been moved from Manhattan's Dave & Busters to the Hotel Pennsylvania Gold Ballroom across the street from Madison Square Garden.
 
--ROH will be doing an autograph signing at 5:30 p.m. on Friday with all of the stars of the promotion.  The ROH show on Friday night is sold out.  The Saturday show isn't sold out yet.
 
--For those looking to bet on WrestleMania, and who wouldn't want to bed on fixed sports, you can go to www.bit.ly/YlvWsB
 
 
 
--TNA has one of its biggest house shows ever on 4/5 in Westbury, Long Island with Sting & Jeff Hardy vs. Team 3-D and an Austin Aries vs. A.J. Styles singles match.
 
--Daniel Cormier threw out the first pitch at today's Oakland A's vs. San Francisco Giants game.
 
--On Fuel tonight, Ultimate Fighter is at 9 p.m. and the Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida fight is at 10 p.m.
 
--Celebrating birthdays today include Ron Garvin, who turns 68, Mike Rotunda (IRS), who turns 55 and Zach Gowen, who turns 30.
 
--Michael Cole will be hosting E Street Radio on Sirius on Friday at 4 p.m.  That's a Bruce Springsteen show.
 
ON THIS DAY IN WRESTLING HISTORY (Thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1870 - James H. McLaughlin beat Homer Lane to win the American Collar-and-Elbow championship in New York
1957 - Juan Diaz beat Black Shadow to win the Mexican national lightweight title
1957 - Antonino Rocca & Miguel Perez won the world tag team titles in Madison Square Garden beating Wildman Fargo & Don Stevens.  The two later become Jackie Fargo & Don Fargo in Tennessee where they became the area's legendary team.
1971 - World champion Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk beat Jack & Jerry Brisco in Tampa to win the Florida tag team titles
1976 - Ricky Gibson beat Duke Miller in Mobile to win the Alabama state title
1977 - Bob Roop & Alexis Smirnoff beat Pat Patterson & Pepper Gomez in Sacramento to win the world tag team titles  
1973 - Rene Guajardo beat Anibal to win the NWA middleweight title
1973 - Larry O'Dea & Ron Miller beat Don Carson & Dick Dunn to win the Austra Asian tag team titles
1981 - Eric Embry beat El Solitario in Puebla to win the UWA light heavyweight title
1981 - Masa Fuchi & Atsushi Onita beat Dream Machine & Bill Dundee to win the Southern tag team titles in Memphis'
1984 - Badnews Allen beat Dynamite Kid in Calgary to win the North American title
1984 - Cien Caras beat Rayo de Jalisco Jr. in Mexico City to win the Mexican national heavyweight title
1994 - Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda beat Yumiko Hotta & Takako Inoue in Tokyo to win the UWA womens tag titles
1995 - Blue Demon Jr beat MS 1 in Mexico City to win the Mexican national cruiserweight title
003 - At WrestleMania 19 in Seattle, Brock Lesnar beat Kurt Angle to win the WWE title
2008 - At WrestleMania 24, Undertaker beat Edge to win the world title
 
POLL ON THIS WEEK'S MAIN EVENT SHOW
Excellent 20.3%
Good 24.6%
Average 21.7%
Fair 14.5%
Poor 18.8%
        59.4% of those responding didn't see the show
 
CAN AN ALL-WOMEN'S MMA PROMOTION BE VIABLE ON TELEVISION
Yes 41.3%
No 58.7%
 
WHO WAS TORONTO'S BIGGEST WRESTLING STAR?
Bret Hart 35.4%
Whipper Billy Watson 18.3%
Hulk Hogan 14.0%
The Shiek 8.8%
Bruno Sammartino 8.1%
Gene Kiniski 6.5%
Ric Flair 3.6%
Steve Austin 2.5%
The Rock 2.0%
Gus Sonnenberg 0.9%
 
--Maryse Ouellet has been added to Sunday's Wrestlecon lineup
 
--Slammiverary tickets are now on sale in Boston.  Most expensive tickets are $177.
 
--Last night's show in Hagerstown, MD, that Kevin Nash headlined and that Ric Flair was to appear on (Ric canceled) drew about 500-550 fans.  They did a ten ball salute for Reid Fliehr at the show.  Reid was scheduled to be there as well. (thanks to Chris Cruise)  
 
--SCW tonight in Poulsbo, WA at 5 p.m. at the Suquamish Tribal Center featuring Tokyo Monster Kahagas, The Grappler and Kevin Sullivan (who last I was in touch with him was living in Seattle).
 
--New England Championship Wrestling on 4/6 in Abinton, MA at the High School Gym.  Elia Markopolous, who was on TNA Gut Check has Evan Markopolous, will be on the show.
 
--NWA Houston has a tribute to Paul Boesch show on 4/20 at the Houston Athletic Fencing Center featuring Rob Conway defending the NWA title against Chris Masers and Scot Summers & Ryan Genesis defending the NWA world tag team titles against IWGP tag champs Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer.
 
--Frankie Kazarian, Bobby Lashley and Adam Pearce have been added to the 2/21 debut of the WWL promotion in Bayamon at the coliseum.
 
--Rick Bassman is coming down to wire as far as dontations to his kickstater campaign to fund writing and autobiography.  He's at $42,560 and needs $50,000 or he doesn't collect any money. 
 
--Mainstream Wrestling Entertainment will be touring Nova Scotia and New Brunswick next month starting 4/19 in New Minas, NS at the Louis Millet Community Center, 4/20 in Digby, NS at the Arena, 4/22 in Yarmouth, NS at the Mariners Centre Arena, 4/23 in Liverpool, NS at the Queens Place Emera Centre and more.
 
--NWA Florida Underground Wrestling tonight in Tampa at the Sports Center Tampa Bay.  The meet and greet has X-Pac, Wes Brisco, Jesse Sorensen and Daffney.  Wrestling on the show are Michael Tarver and Trent Baretta.
 

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