WED.UPDATE: WWE announcement, WWE wrestler Twitter issue, Jones says Sonnen used steroids his whole career, MMA ref busted, Ratings, Star of Raw, Punk

By Dave Meltzer
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        We're looking for reports from today's WWE Raw show in Rotterdam, Holland at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
        Main Event tonight at 8 p.m. on Ion TV
10 man Battle Royal with no stars for a shot at the IC title
Wade Barrett defends title
        Today's show opens the annual post-WrestleMania European tour.  The Raw crew also runs tomorrow night in Belfast and Friday night in Dublin.  The Smackdown crew, which flew out after television last night in Knoxville, starts tomorrow in Glasgow and runs Newcastle, England on Friday. 
        One of the year's biggest issues, the annual WrestleMania issue of the Observer is out and up on the web site.  You can also order the print version.  It's a double issue that covers Mania and most of the other major events that took place over the past week.  Because there is so much, even with a double issue we couldn't cover every major show, so we'll have more next week.  In addition, a new back issue is up from 1996, including coverage of one of the great pro wrestling shows of all-time, the second Super J Cup.
        Our lead story looks at WrestleMania, including business records, attendance, where it stands on the all-time WWE list, legit attendance at the biggest WrestleManias of the past, live gate records, what WWE claimed as records, the 25 biggest pro wrestling and MMA gates in history in North America, a listing of WWE's biggest PPV shows to date, and how many buys on PPV does this show need to get to break the all-time revenue record for a single pro wrestling event.
        We look at the problems associated with the show, why one early indicator points to huge numbers, why different people loved and hated it live, the ordering problems on PPV, the Internet issues, how that changed aspects of the show, as well as a rundown of the entire show.  We look at the complaints about the show, why writing wrestling is so difficult, what the plans were for Raw for The Rock, questions about his future, his potential Mania matches and what is planned, why  Brock Lesnar and C.M. Punk weren't at Raw, the Dolph Ziggler title win, the Fandango craze, what happened in Boston, the two IC title changes, WWE plans for post-WrestleMania including an angle shot backstage.
        We also have match-by-match coverage with star ratings on WrestleMania the New Japan Invasion Attack show and ROH Supercard of Honor.
        We've also got coverage of where New Japan goes next on PPV after this past weekend, look at the title change to Kazuchika Okada, what next for Hiroshi Tanahashi and a complete look at the show.
        We also look at how ROH did with its show, as well as a look at the Border Wars card and future of talent like Maria Kanellis and Karl Anderson.
        We also have a look at WrestleCon, which looks to no become an annual part of WrestleMania weekend.
        We also look at news regarding the new developmental facility for WWE, an announcement made by Stephanie McMahon that blind sided WWE's partners, Stephanie McMahon talks the future of the company, why there is a business reason for Dwayne Johnson to return to Raw long before he does his next match, new Monday night sports programming against Raw, Owen Hart lawsuit settled, John Cena talks Dwayne Johnson and other WWE stars when it comes to ambition, HHH talks about getting Bruno Sammartino and Vince's reaction, a look at Sammartino's stadium matches in Jersey City and New York, Daniel Bryan talks current wrestling and what frustrates him, C.M. Punk talks about his theory regarding the WWE title and why Rock shouldn't have been champion, his thoughts on their matches, thoughts about dream opponents and more.  Also, Dwayne Johnson talks why he came back, the storyline, plus we look at updates on movies with wrestlers, Shane McMahon, newcomers and returnees to WWE, and more.   
        We also look at the records set over the weekend in UFC's Fuel card from Sweden, including a look at the firsts of the main event, how viewership habits have changed greatly over the past year, business notes on the show and the creation of a new potential superstar.
        We also have a lot more on the life of Reid Fliehr, Ric Flair's involvement in his life, his issues with drugs and the law, his trip to Japan, the funeral and more.
        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.
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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 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:
--Former WWE star in serious auto accident
--One of AAA's biggest stars claims he's going back to CMLL
--Notes on the 70th anniversary of pro wrestling at Arena Coliseo in Mexico City
--Notes on the person who was there for the 70th show as well as the first show
--Notes on the upcoming Gran Alternativa tournament
--Update on Hector Garza
--Notes on TripleMania
--A look at new AAA stars
--All Japan's junior heavyweight tag team tournament
--New trainees from North America coming to Pro Wrestling NOAH
--One of the best workers in the world about to return form knee surgery
--A look at the big show preluding the New Japan PPV
--Talks about a major show for December
--Updates on Scott Hall
--The first closed circuit pro wrestling show anywhere in the world and who was on top
--Update on Dave Bautista
--Strange situation with Sabu at a weekend show
--Sean Waltman talks his issues
--Update on Rick Bassman's book
--An iPPV this coming week featuring stars from all over the world
--More on the termination of Grizzly Redwood
--More cities will be getting ROH programming
--A look at the next several weeks of ROH television as well as the next PPV top matches
--Rob Van Dam's future
--More Hogan mythology
--Hogan talks Cena going heel
--Upcoming dates and places for TNA tapings
--TNA star set to return
--More on Ivelisse Velez
--Notes on TNA's show in New York over WrestleMania weekend
--Updated PPV numbers for St-Pierre vs. Diaz
--More on UFC television in the U.K.
--Notes on this week's UFC show
--Notes on final episode of Ultimate Fighter
--Notes on the suspension of Matt Mitrione
--Lorenzo Fertitta talks expanding drug testing
--Lineup for UFC's debut in Winnipeg
--Notes on upcoming UFC PPV events
--New UFC fights
--A look at Bellator's reality show
--Live Bellator events going forward
--When King Mo fights again
--Bellator first season notes
--Notes on Bellator's season finale show
--Notes on the last Invicta show and main event for the next show
--Shinya Aoki captures championship
--Notes on one of Canada's major sports stars debuting in MMA
--Japanese MMA star may compete for U.S. in the Olympics
--Notes on the fighter who passed away this past week
        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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*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
*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)
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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)
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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)
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*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)
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*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)
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*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
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*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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Wednesday's News Update
--Bryan and I will be back tonight for Wrestling Observer radio live from Las Vegas at the site of the Cauliflower Alley banquet.  This is the all-time rushed trip as tomorrow I'll be back here for the press conference for Saturday's UFC show in San Jose.
--WWE has a press conference tomorrow at Noon in Orlando.  This is likely the announcement of the new campus and training center for developmental since Paul Levesque (using that name) is there along with the Mayor of Orange County Teresa Jacobs, and Garry Jones, the president of Full Sail University.
--Ryback got into Twitter trouble yesterday.  He posted a bunch of anti-John Cena stuff, obviously in character, to build the match.  One read "Watching the pain on Cena's face was worth standing back for.  Funny the 2 things he says I lack his ex-wife seem to love."  Mr. Ryback since deleted all his Cena stuff.
--Jon Jones on UFC Tonight last night said that Chael Sonnen has done steroids his entire career and that's probably why his testosterone level is so low.  He said he doesn't think Sonnen has the heart or attitude to be a champion.  I guess he decided to promote the fight.
--Josh Rosenthal, one of the best known refs in MMA, pleaded guilty on charges of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute.  In a story at, last year, the feds raided a warehouse in Oakland that Rosenthal was part owner of, and found 1,356 marijuana plants and drugs estimated at having a street value of $6 million.  The government is willing to broker a deal with him for 37 months in jail and five years probation.  Rosenthal pleaded guilty in January.  He hasn't been an MMA shows in a while.
--In cable ratings for last week, Disney was No. 1 with 2.62 million viewers on average in prime time to 2.17 million for USA.  FX was No. 14 at 1.04 million and Syfy was No. 19 with 957,000.  Spike fell out of the top 25.  The post-Mania Raw has No. 3, No. 3 and No. 5.  Duck Dynasty blew away everyone last week (7.82 million viewers).  One of the hours was No. 10 in 18-34.  The hours were 5, 6 and 8 in 18-49.
--Atsushi Kotoge will replace the injured Naomichi Marufuji (torn right knee ligaments) in the current Global Tag League tournament put on by Pro Wrestling NOAH.  No word yet on who will replace Marufuji on his ROH tour in May, which includes a 5/4 iPPV match from Toronto with Davey Richards. 
--The World Series of Fighting's 6/14 show will be at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  That's the show on NBC Sports headlined by Jon Fitch vs. Josh Burkman and Tyrone Spong vs. Angel Deanda.  Very interesting location since UFC had been running there.   
Brock Lesnar 55.6%
Paul Heyman 10.5%
Ryback 9.0%
Fandango 8.6%
John Cena 3.8%
Dolph Ziggler 3.6%
Zeb Colter 3.4%
JBL 3.1%
Kofi Kingston 2.5%
Excellent 5.9%
Good 17.9%
Average 29.0%
Fair 13.0%
Poor 34.2%
        10.8% of those responding didn't see the show
--C.M. Punk will be appearing on 6/28 with a signing and Q&A at the Wizard World New York convention.
--A story on the UFC Code of  Conduct and its attempt to get the bill passed again this year to be legalized in New York is at
--I guess this is the wave of the future.  I got an e-mail from the producers of the proposed reality show Warrior Island, which is sending MMA fighters to an island.  They've set up an account to "help give fighters a bigger payday."
--USA wrestling is working with 20 different states looking to help get wrestling back into the Olympics.  Kentucky, California, Minnesota, Indiana and Pennsylvania have all passed resolutions.   They expect another 18 more states to do so shortly.   
--There is a presale starting today and going on now for the 6/3 Raw show in Hartford at the XL Center with the password XLCENTER
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1941 - Lee Wyckoff beat Orville Brown in Kansas City to win the MWA world title
1959 - Gene Kiniski beat Whipper Watson to win the British Empire heavyweight title
1965 - Pat Patterson & Ray Stevens won the world tag team titles for the first time beating The Destroyer and brother-in-law Billy Red Lyons at the Cow Palace in San Francisco
1969 - Boris Malenko beat The Gladiator (Ricky Hunter) to win the Florida Brass Knux title in Jacksonville
1970 - Nick Bockwinkel beat Assassin #1 (Tom Renesto) to win the Georgia heavyweight title
1972 - Jackie Fargo & Jerry Jarrett beat The Interns in a hair vs. title match in Memphis to win the Southern tag team titles
1972 - Lonnie Mayne & Tony Borne beat The Royal Kangaroos (Jonathan Boyd & Norman Fredrich Charles III) to win the Pacific Northwest tag team titles for the 11th time
1974 - Gene Kiniski & Mr. X (John Hill/Guy Mitchell) beat Flash Gordon (George Gordienko) & Leo Madril (Al Madril) to win the Canadian Open tag team titles in Vancouver
1976 - Carlos Colon beat Cowboy Bob Ellis in Caguas, Puerto Rico to win the North American title
1976 - Jack Brisco beat Pak Song in  St. Petersburg to win the Southern title
1976 - Mike George beat Bulldog Bob Brown in Wichita to win the Central States title  
1982 - Gran Hamada beat Perro Aguayo in Tokyo to win the WWF light heavyweight championship
1983 - Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta beat Stan Hansen & Ron Bass in Nagasaki to win the International tag team titles
1984 - Adrian Adonis &  Dick Murdoch beat Rocky Johnson & Tony Atlas to win the WWF tag team titles in Allentown, PA
1987 - Owen Hart beat Makhan Singh in Calgary to win the North American title
1987 - Mike Graham & Steve Keirn beat The Mod Squad to win the Florida tag team titles in Daytona Beach
1992 - Earthquake & Typhoon beat George & Shunji Takano in Yokohama to win the SWS tag team titles
1992 - Stan Hansen pinned Mitsuharu Misawa to win the Champion Carnival tournament
1994 - Sting beat Rick Rude in Chicago to win the WCW International title
1995 - Brian Lee beat Brian Christopher in Memphis to win the USWA title 
--On Fuel tonight, UFC Tonight replays at 7 p.m., Ultimate Insider is at 7:30 p.m., and UFC 144 (Edgar vs Benson Henderson) is at 8 p.m.
--The Crash promotion on Friday night in Tijuana:  Tirano won three-way over Bufalo Ayala and Star Dragon, Mosco Negro & Pensmiento Negro & Sargon b Black Boy & Eternus & Venum Black Jr., Silver Star & Spyder Black b Animal & Mr. Maldito, Star Boy won Torneo for Copa Rafaccionarias de Valle, El Texano Jr. & Parka Negra b La Parka & Ricky Marvin when Negra broke a light tube over Parka's head. (thanks to Kris Zellner)
--C4 Capital City Championship Combat on 4/27 in Ottawa at the Knights of Columbus Hall
--Dave Gagnon, in reference to something written a few days ago, noted to us that the French language TVA Sports feed of UFC shows all the TV ring entrances like in Australia.  I believe Fox Sports Espanol does as well in the U.S.  Gagnon noted that's why he stopped watching the shows on the English feed.
--Carlito is booked for the Pure Wrestling Alliance on shows 4/26 in Holland Landing, ONT at the Holland Landing Community Center, 4/27 in Kitchener at the Alpine Club and 4/28 in Clinton at the Royal Canadian Legion.
--Announced for a show on 5/4 at Tennessee Tech University's gym in Cookeville, TN are DDP, Jake Roberts Rikishi, Kevin Sullivan, Tommy Dreamer, Melissa Coates, Al Snow, Shane Williams and David Young.
--CHIKARA on 6/2 has its anniversary show at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. 
--New England Fights on 5/18 in Lewiston, ME at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee has announced a 35 fight show for $25, headlined by former UFC fighter Marcus Davis facing Darrius Heyliger.  Lots of guys are having their first or second fights.  Another former UFC fighter, Henry Martinez, is on that show. 
--Smash Wrestling on 7/21 in Bowmanville, ONT at the  Clarington Beech Centre.
--Hulk Hogan's Micro Championship Wrestling on 4/24 in Holiday, FL at Slim's Sports Bar and Grill.
--CMLL from last night in Guadalajara which drew a near sellout at their Arena Coliseo, which would be four to five times the usual crowd, largely based on the singles main event:  Ebola & Demonio Maya b Virgo & Idolo, Raziel & Nosferatu & Cancerbero b Metatron & Black Metal & Sky Kid, Estrellita & Silueta & Goya Kong b Zeuxis & Amapola & Comandante, Marco Corleone & Rush & Diamante Azul b Mr. Niebla & El Terrible & Rey Bucanero, Ultimo Guerrero b Mistico 
--CMLL on Monday night in Puebla:  Black Tiger Sr. & Tigre Rojo Jr. b Siki Ozama I & Malayo, Escandalo & Hooligan & El Hijo del Signo b Stigma & Starman & Metalico-DQ, Vangelis & Morphosis & Misterioso Jr. b Sagrado & El Hijo del Fantasma & Diamante, Atlantis & La Mascara & Mascara Dorada b Mephisto & Psicosis & Ephesto, La Sombra & Angel del Oro & Mistico b Dragon Rojo Jr. & Rey Escorpion & Polvora-DQ (thanks to Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims)
--AXS will be airing the Championship Fighting Alliance 11 show on 5/24 from the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, FL featuring the national TV debut of transgender fighter Fallon Fox, as she faces Allanna Jones on a show headlined by Mike Kyle vs. Valentijn Overeem.  Former Bellator star Alexis Vila is also fighting on the show.  Tickets for the show are on sale now.  
--NWA DAWG on 4/20 in Clayton, NJ at the High School Gym with Biggie Biggs vs. Matt Cross and Anthony Nese vs. Papadon as the two main events.
--Prime Wrestling on 4/19 in Cleveland has a TV taping at the Agora Ballroom headlined by Johnny Gargano, Zach Gowen, Matt Cross and Gregory Iron.

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?