TUES UPDATE: Tons of notes from Raw and WrestleMania weekend, Fandango, Cena's new shirt, Hall of Fame, TNA star returns, Sheamus is funny, tons more



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

We're looking for your thoughts on all the major weekend shows for our weekend Observer polls. The key ones we are getting responses to are WrestleMania, New Japan and ROH 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 .

Smackdown, Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam are taped tonight at the TD Garden in Boston.

        We've got a look at what may be the biggest weekend in the history of the industry as the main story in a double issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter which is on the web site today.  We also have a new back issue posted this week from early 1996.  We not only look at the latest on WrestleMania and the Hall of Fame, but all the piggyback shows, iPPV shows, as we go through all the major shows, look at who is on them, what is the goals, how you can see them and more.  This is a week where it's impossible to keep up with everything without a scorecard.
 
        We preview this year's WrestleMania, look at the business, how it compares with last year's record setting year, predictions by the company of how it will do.
 
        We look at plans for the layout of WrestleMania, thoughts on the results, what will steal the show, who has to be pushed and working in cold weather.
 
        We also look at shows from all over the world this week that you can watch on television or your computer, featuring the biggest names, legends and the best up and coming workers in the business, as well as perhaps the single best match-up in the business.  We've got a look at CMLL, Dragon Gate USA, New Japan, Evolve, WWE Hall of Fame, ROH, CHIKARA, Shimmer, CZW, UFC, TNA, Invicta and more.
 
        We also have thoughts on the death of Reid Fliehr, the youngest son of Ric Flair.  We look at his life, and the role wrestling played, a lot of notes on why there is literally nothing possible that could have been worse for Ric Flair, and circumstances of what happened.
 
        We also have a look at Shannon Knapp, who could become one of the major players in MMA and women's sports if the right deal comes to fruition.  We look at the Invicta show that takes place this week, the forming of the promotion, what they need to survive, the role of Ronda Rousey, television, PPV, drug testing and the world of transgender women trying to become fighters.
 
        We also look at Dwayne Johnson training, his first pro match, his movie business, as well as C.M. Punk talks Undertaker match and how he believes there is no such thing as going too far, his dream opponent, awards WWE was nominated for, WWE CFO says the most ridiculous thing possible about its crowd and the UFC crowd, more on the Jerry Lawler museum, WWE charity work, major executive hire an background, Steve Austin's retirement, major change in coaching, writing at NXT, scouting NXT for potential stars, who is coming to WrestleMania after not having been with the company for 30 years, more on where the Fandango "What's my name" gimmick came from and more.
 
        We also look at Mick Foley in high school, a major star from another country in developmental almost unnoticed, Evan Bourne's return, delayed viewership from Raw setting a record, Bob Holly gives background on one of the most famous matches in WWF history, plus all the WWE business notes from the past week and house show highlights.
 
        We also have a feature on 60s and 70s Southern star Don Carson, most notably the two years when he, by virtue of being in the right place with the right opponents, was drawing sellout business on type working in Los Angeles.  We look at his role in the Blassie vs. Tolos feud, the original Roman Gladiator Death match, Blassie & Don Carson team and why Blassie never liked it, the build to what is still the most attended wrestling show ever in California, why he clicked in some places but not in others, and the major international star who started out as Ron Carson, his little brother.  We also look at the Southern promotions and their star of the 60s, the Jack Pfefer/Tony Santos days in Boston, , his biggest Southern feuds and his managing career.
 
        We also look back at the wrestling and MMA career of Dan Severn, an amateur great who went into pro wrestling and ended up being one of the original UFC legends.  This is a major piece about the early days of a very different UFC, with tournaments, style vs. style, and no weight classes.  We go back to the days of Royce Gracie, the original stars of UFC, as well as still fighting at the age of 54.
 
        He look at the crazy days of MMA in its infancy, before it was even called MMA, reasons he credits for his longevity, and a philosophy very different from the mentality of most fighters as to the reason.  We go back to when Dan Severn was a wrestling machine in high school and his first year of college, his hopes and frustrations when it came to the Olympics.  We look at how wrestling politics and the Olympics paved the way for Severn to go another three decades in competition.
 
        We look at becoming a name in Japanese pro wrestling, how he got into UFC, the idea that UFC scouted him while he was doing a pro wrestling match, his early MMA training with Al Snow, winning the Ultimate Ultimate and the UFC title, and why his relations fell apart with UFC.
 
        Severn also look at who he thinks from pro wrestling could have done well in UFC.  He also talks about the current popularity of UFC, what he thought about it yeas ago, and the modern era.
 
        We also have a look at the Elimination Chamber buys, and what this said about Rock vs. Punk, how much extra money thus far did they bring in, does it pay for the costs, why in some ways looking at the show in isolation doesn't tell the complete story, what Rock and Brock Lesnar mean on PPV in revenue, and comparisons with last year.
 
         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:
 
--Match in Mexico that got rave reviews even though it was short
 
--Main event from 23 years ago still headlining today
 
--A nostalgia show featuring the return of a number of stars in their 60s
 
--A look at the weekend AAA TV taping and the next tapings
 
--What may be the last Budokan Hall wrestling sellout for a long time
 
--Details of this year's Champion Carnival tournament
 
--First night pairings and bracketing
 
--More craziness in Japan from Nobuo Shiraishi
 
--Update on the All Japan junior heavyweight tag team tournament
 
--New Japan stars going to NOAH for big matches
 
--Notes on NOAH's upcoming Global tag team tournament
 
--New Japan working with the NWA and other U.S> indie groups
 
--Japanese star announces retirement
 
--Son of Hall of Famer about to debut next month
 
--Sean Waltman talks injures when he tore up his ass, literally, wrestling Jerry Lynn
 
--Fund raisers for Scott Hall
 
--More on Extreme Rising canceling shows, wanting their title belt back and more
 
--Former WWF star fighting for life, questions why company helps other but not him
 
--Former ROH champion talks retirement
 
--Former WWE star in a movie role
 
--More notes on the Joe Weider pro wrestling connection
 
--What legendary pro wrestler used to appear in Weider barbell ads
 
--65-year-old territorial legend announces a comeback to build for his group's biggest show of the year and brings up a murder to build his angle
 
--WWE wrestler appears in foreign promotion based on contract clause
 
--TNA stars appearing in Puerto Rico
 
--Update on former wrestling announcer Bob Caudle
 
--A look back at the days when local station personalities handled the area wrestling
 
--Funny story about a wrestler playing a prank on a sportscaster
 
--80s star home burns down
 
--Story behind Charlie Haas leaving ROH, both the altercation and why people were so upset at him
 
--A look at ROH's show in Asheville
 
--More stations that could be getting ROH
 
--A look at changes in Spike TV and what they are looking at as far as changing image
 
--A look at TNA writing
 
--Hulk Hogan talks HHH taking over
 
--A title forgotten about
 
--UFC's debut on Fox Sports 1
 
--UFC champion getting married
 
--Lots  of UFC cuts
 
--Lots of new UFC fights
 
--Story behind Dan Hardy's ailment and his fighting future
 
--Nick Diaz's future as things stand
 
--Updating this season of Ultimate Fighter as the final episode approaches
 
--A look at the ending of the Bellator season
 
--Ken Shamrock coming out of retirement
 
--More notes on World Series of Fighting ratings
 
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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.
 
Today's News, Notes and Links

-- Hi everyone. Just wanted to quickly say thank you to everyone I met over WrestleMania weekend this year. This was the most fun time I've ever had over a WrestleMania weekend, by far, and I cannot wait to go to New Orleans next year. I know this will cause his ego to swell to massive proportions, but Edward Loredo, Ed in San Antonio, was the man this year, between arranging for the bus trip to and from the arena to answering every email from people wanting to know where we'd be to arranging get-togethers and keeping everything moving. Cannot thank him enough, and you can send him your kind words at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . No matter what kind of a numbskull he can be, and he can be quite a numbskull, Ed will always be a Figure Four/Wrestling Observer Hall of Famer.

-- I have so much weekend news to get into this week's Figure Four Weekly that it's not even funny.

-- Felix Pablo Elochukwu, 35, passed away shortly after an unregulated MMA fight in Port Huron, MI, over the weekend. It'll be awhile before a cause of death is known. He stood there for the decision to be read after the fight, and then a little later said he wasn't feeling well, and paramedics went to work on him prior to him passing away at a local hospital.

-- Story hereabout John Cena going into the WrestleMania match with Rock with a broken thumb and food poisoning. Show must go on.

-- Charles writes: It's not necessarily a new shirt. They put out the same design when they released the spinner belt in 2005.

-- Fans singing the Fandango song on the train after the show here. Heard they were also honking their horns to the tune as they were leaving the building. Was told it was mostly Europeans that started the entire thing and it took on a life of its own. Vince and Kevin Dunn both thought the crowd was awesome last night. Talked to people who said they had way more fun at Raw than at Mania. I will not miss the post-Mania Raw next year.

-- Don't forget a 75-minute edition of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony airs tonight on the USA Network. Will be an interesting telecast based on who they feature and don't feature, what clips they show, etc. The show was awesome live. I believe the entire ceremony will be out on the WrestleMania blu-ray which comes out next month, and I strongly recommend that purchase.

-- Sheamus sent out two awesome tweets last night: "Just wrassled Randy on RAW. Anyone notice??" Then, "I will be telling me grand kids: "I was there!""

-- Championship Wrestling from Hollywood starts on MavTV in May.

-- Scott Hall had hip replacement surgery today, which was part of what the recent fundraiser arranged by DDP was scheduled to pay for. He has dental work and more to be done as well. I should note that I saw Jake Roberts and WrestleCon over the weekend, and my God, by Jake Roberts standards at least he looked amazing.

-- Me doing a 1-minute Guest Booker with Sean Oliver here.

-- Dixie Carter said Chris Sabin returns from knee surgery this month.

-- The eight-person mixed tag was not only cut from WrestleMania, but also Raw on Hulu.

-- UFC this weekend did 236,000 viewers, the fourth-highest of all time and a hell of a number for a show that started at 11 AM on the west coast. Whatever it was, something happened in the last three months that has led to the station breaking record after record. Granted, it's still not great viewership compared to a station with more than 37 million viewers, but the growth in the last quarter has been tremendous.

-- Interestingly enough, despite Friday's EVOLVE show being plagued with technical issues, the very next night I believe they set their iPPV record.

-- Smackdown was down to 2.5 million viewers for the go-home show Friday. Trust me, means nothing.

-- John writes: The April 9, 1968 card at the Dallas Sportatorium (which was to feature the main event of Fritz Von Erich, Billy Red Lyons & Ernie Ladd vs. The Spoilers I & II and Gary Hart) was cancelled due to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

-- East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA) LIVE! 17th Annual ECWA Super 8 Tournament Sat, April 13, 2013 Greater Newark Boys' & Girls' Club 109 Glasgow Drive, Rt. 40 & #1 Positive Place Newark, DE 19702 (302) 836-6464

-- Christian Wrestling Federation Pro Wrestling at Tree of Life Church 4682 40th Ave North. St. Petersburg , Fl 33714 April 20th, 2013 Bell Time 2:00 pm Facebook @ CWF of florida (727) 417-5988 Admission is FREE

-- Today in History with Brian Hoops:

1917 - Earl Caddock defeated Joe Stecher by forfeit in Omaha, Nebraska to win the World Heavyweight Title. Stecher lost the first fall and refused to wrestle the second fall.

1953 - Buddy Rogers defeated Antonino Rocca in Cleveland, Ohio to win the Ohio version of the Boston AWA World Heavyweight Title

1960 - Ray and Roy Shire defeated Dick Afflis and Gene Kiniski to win the Chicago/Indianapolis NWA World Tag Team Title

1963 - Gino and Tony Calza defeated The Medics (Tony Gonzales and Donald Lortie) to win the Mid-America NWA Southern Tag Team Title in Nashville, Tennessee

1969 - Black Gordman defeated Alfonso Dantés for the vacant NWA Beat the Champ TV Title in Los Angeles, California.

1976 - Fishman defeated Blue Demon to win the NWA World Welterweight Title in Mexico, City, Mexico, y

1978 - Ric Flair defeated Mr. Wrestling to win the NWA United States Heavyweight Title in Charlotte, North Carolina.

1978 - Perro Aguayo defeated Ringo Mendoza for the NWA World Middleweight Title in Mexico City, Mexico

1981 - Bob Brown and Terry Taylor defeated The Kelly Twins (Mike and Pat) for the NWA Central States Tag Team Title in Kansas City, Kansas.

1981 - Buddy Rose defeated Jay Youngblood to win the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Title

1984 - Jerry Lawler defeated Randy Savage to win the NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Title in Lexington, Kentucky

1987 - Jim Crockett Promotions purchased Bill Watts' Universal Wrestling Federation.

1988 - Carlos Colón won the WWC Universal Heavyweight Title in Caguas, Puerto Rico, defeating Hercules Ayala.

1990 - Kenta Kobashi and Tiger Mask (Mitsuharu Misawa) defeated The Can-Am Express (Doug Furnas and Dan Kroffat (Philip LaFon)) for the AJPW All Asia Tag Team Title in Okayama, Japan

1995 - T. Rantula defeated Cactus Jack for the Steel City Wrestling Heavyweight Title in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2003 - Doug Basham won the OVW Heavyweight Title by defeating Nick Dinsmore in Louisville, Kentucky

-- How was WrestleMania compared to a usual WrestleMania?

Best ever 0.4%

One of the best ever 2.8%

Better than average 6.0%

Average 19.4%

A little worse than usual 43.5%

One of the worst 21.4%

All-time worst 6.6%

Which company produced the best weekend show?

New Japan 27.6%

WWE 25.7%

ROH 15.2%

TNA 9.2%

Dragon Gate USA 6.0%

CHIKARA 3.7%

UFC 3.1%

Invicta 3.1%

CZW 2.9%

Shimmer 2.4%

PWS 0.5%

Bellator 0.5%

Who was elevated the most at Mania?

The Shield 29.7%

Fandango 27.7%

C.M. Punk 23.0%

John Cena 7.8%

Undertaker 4.0%

HHH 3.3%

Daniel Bryan 2.3%

Miz 0.8%

Ryback 0.7%

Big Show 0.3%

Del Rio 0.3%

What is the biggest upcoming show

WWE Extreme rules 31.4%

UFC 159 29.3%

New Japan May PPV 17.5%

TNA Slammiversary 16.3%

ROH Border Wars 5.5%

If you do get WWE network, besides PPVs, what are you most interested in?

 

If you have stopped subscribing to WWE network, why?

 

What was the best TV show of the week?