FRI UPDATE: Full weekend schedule with UFC 159 line-up, Jake the Snake wants one last run, amazing Nate Diaz interview, Punk to make 3rd straight UFC, 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 reports on today's Raw show in Moscow, Russia, Smackdown in Trieste, Italy, TNA in Erie, PA, and NXT in Palmetto, FL, as well as Thursday's Raw in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday's Smackdown in Bologna, Italy, Wednesday's Raw in Liege, Belgium and Wednesday's Smackdown in Amneville, France at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tonight is also the 57th anniversary of pro wrestling at Arena Mexico, with the top matches being Rey Escorpion & Bobby Zavala vs. Atlantis & Hombre Bala Jr. in the finals of the annual Gran Alternativa tournament (a star teams with the prelim guy, and the prelim guy on the winning team is brought up to main events), Mistico vs. Averno in the finals of the tournament for the new Mexican national welterweight champion, Rey Cometa vs. Namajague in a hair vs. hair match and La Sombra & Rush & Mascara Dorada vs. Ultimo Guerrero & El Terrible & Volador Jr.

UFC 159 takes place on Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

Prelims on Facebook at 6:30 p.m.

Steve Siler vs. Kurt Holobaugh

Nick Catone vs. James Head

Leonard Garcia vs. Cody McKenzie

Prelims on FX at 8 p.m.

Ruslam "Suplex Machine" Khabilov vs. Yancy Medeiros

Sara McMann vs. Sheila Gaff

Ovince St. Preux vs. Gian Villante

Bryan Caraway vs. Johnny Bedford

PPV at 10 p.m.

Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy

Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes

Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo

Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher

Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen for the UFC light heavyweight title

WWE Raw runs Saturday night in Lodz, Poland, while the Smackdown crew is in Mannheim, Germany.

Pro Wrestling NOAH's Global Tag team tournament ends on Sunday at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

Sunday has the Raw crew traveling home while the Smackdown crew finishes up the European tour with a show in Cologne, Germany.

Raw will be live on Monday night in Columbus, OH, at Nationwide Arena, headlined by John Cena & Ryback vs. The Shield.

The All Japan Champion Carnival finals are Monday night at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

Smackdown, Saturday Morning Slam and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday in Detroit at Joe Louis Arena.

        An update on Dwayne Johnson and thoughts on whether he will wrestle or not is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter which is up on the site today.  We also have a back issue from early 1996, when Vince McMahon took aim at WCW and WCW made contract offers to a number of WWF stars and who did and didn't come.  It's an interesting look at the mindset of McMahon just as the Monday Night Wars started heating up.
 
        The new issue looks at Johnson's attempts at rehab from his WrestleMania injuries, his surgery, doing WrestleMania next year, how it its into the movie business and more.
 
        We also have an extensive look at the UFC on FOX show, why two of the matches were more important from a legacy standpoint that most realize, the judging of the main event, Benson Henderson proposing, how close the scoring really was, poll on the scoring, UFC rankings, and more coming out of the fight.
 
        We also look at the other major fights on the show, a detailed look at the good and bad of the ratings, the ratings of every fight on the show, how many viewers tuned in for the main event itself, plus match-by-match coverage and how much everyone earned on the show.
 
        We also have more details on the WWE Divas show, including who will be on it, when it will start, its time slot, background of the new women on the show, the roles each of the women will take, what male wrestlers will appear and an interesting note about someone who was turned down for a spot on the show.
 
        We also have more on WWE's developmental program changes, how much they are spending to open the new facility., what is becoming of the coaching staff, and HHH's goals for introducing new talent.
       
        We look at why C.M. Punk was at recent UFC shows what an issue that took place over it, a look at his injuries, his scheduled return and more.
 
        We also look at WWE house show plans, more on Edge's post-wrestling future, the story behind how Take Two got the WWE video game license and how many millions WWE had to let slide to make the deal they wanted.  We also look at a new WWE hire who came from UFC, Ryback getting into trouble, Dwayne Johnson awarded, Shawn Michaels working house shows, Jim Ross at UFC headquarters, what happened with Rosa Mendes, Bret Hart talks HHH and more.
 
        We also look at the developmental program house shows, how they are put together, who is doing well, more on the careers of Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund, some very interesting numbers about WWE and DVR devices, as well as a detailed look at the WWE European tour including highlights from every show so far and how the shows have been doing business-wise.
 
       We also have a look at this past week's Cauliflower Alley Club banquet in Las Vegas, including notes on the background and history of the club, Jake Roberts, Molly Holly, Jim Ross, DDP, Adam Copeland (Edge) and others who were there, what was said and who was awarded.
 
        We also have a look back at the late Ella Waldek, a woman wrestling star who came in at the tail end of the golden age of women's wrestling, and her life in and out of the ring.
 
        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:
 
--Latest from Arena Mexico and the build to the Arena Mexico anniversary show
 
--A look at the different tournaments
 
--One of the most popular wrestlers ever with women says that he's retired
 
--Rival promotions both having matches on the same show and how this happened 
 
--AAA loses one of its most popular wrestlers
 
--Notes from the last and next AAA taping
 
--Update on Champion Carnival tournament
 
--Update on Global League tag team tournament
 
--Update on the next New Japan PPV show
 
--Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. become double champions
 
--A look back at the life of Houston promoter Paul Boesch
 
--A look at the attempt to start a new promotion with a blow out show in Puerto Rico
 
--Former regional wrestling promoter sentenced to eight years in prison
 
--Former WWF star complains about company's policies regarding helping former talent
 
--Bobby Roode talks his TNA contract issues
 
--TNA's next European tour
 
--New match for next ROH PPV
 
--TNA house show news
 
--Update on Georges St-Pierre and his next fight
 
--What event were WWE and TNA superstars both nearly in altercations
 
--What happened in these situations
 
--Advance ticket sales for all upcoming UFC events
 
--Future of Chael Sonnen
 
--A look at UFC 159 
 
--Jones goes for record
 
--Dana White's latest treatment over ear problem
 
--Update on the health of Dan Hardy
 
--Notes on next two seasons of Ultimate Fighter
 
--More on UFC trying to get into New York
 
--Lots of new endorsements for Ronda Rousey
 
--Nate Diaz talks moving up
 
--Name fighters cut from this next seaon of Ultimate Fighter
 
--Bellator moves tie slot, at least for one night
 
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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

-- John Cook of Gawker.com has a statement herewhere he notes that while they'll take down the actual video of the Hulk Hogan sex tape as ruled by Pamela A.M. Campbell, a circuit court judge yesterday, they're not taking down the written recap of the tape of the viewer comments on it, since those are covered by the First Ammendment.

-- Dana White yesterday said if GSP wasn't willing to do the Anderson Silva fight than he was facing Jonny Hendrix next, and it would be soon. "Soon soon," Dana reiterated, suggesting an August fight date. Considering the millions and millions they'd have to spend to make it worthwhile, probably zero chance this fight would take place on UFC on Fox Sports 1 1 (and yes, that's what the first show will be called).

-- The Amazing Nate Diaz talking about his fight with Josh Thompson -- which, keep in mind, he lost -- on BJ Penn's site: "The last guy I fought, Josh Thomson, he was scared shitless when I was fighting him. It's unbelievable how scared he was in there. He was running for his life. He was making women -- woman sounds when I was fighting him. He was making fucking bitch ass lady sounds and that's not bullshit. I'm not here talking shit on him, this is reality. He was making woman sounds. He was fucking running off, running out of the clinch. I hit him in the face and he was going, 'Oh, oh, ehh!', and makes fucking woman sounds I've never even heard out of a man before during a fight. And I hear his corner and they're telling him to smile at him, smile at him, and I'm like, 'Yeah, smile motherfucker," and there was not a single smile came out of his mouth, he had a look of panic the whole fight. And you have to be in there to fight these guys to know that. This is how it went. I see him in other fights, he smiles at the other guy, bouncing around. He didn't have no time for that against me. He was frantic and trying not to get his ass whooped." You cannot invent people like the Diaz brothers. You can listen to the entire thing here. It starts at 11:48. Warning -- once you start listening you won't be able to stop.

-- Regarding lifting Mike Mitrione's suspension after just two weeks, White explained that the suspension wasn't about punishment but rather about giving the company time to decide what to do with him. He said they fined him a huge amount of money, so big that Mitrione called him "40 times" asking him not to fine him so much. Dave has an article on it here.

-- Jon Jones said he was very interested in a future fight with Alexander Gustaffson, and if he could work out the logistics and finances with Dana White he'd love to bypass a PPV in order to fight on FOX TV.

-- Since he's off the road, CM Punk will be attending his third straight UFC event this coming Saturday night, and will be hanging out backstage with his buddy Chael.

-- New After Dark Radio tonight starting at midnight Pacific time. As always, it's open lines/emails, and you can call 425-482-1686 to get on the air starting at midnight Pacific/3 AM EST, or you can send emails on any topic to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with "After Dark" in the subject line or body of the email. The main topic of the week is WHAT YOU FEAR, since the other night we were talking about haunted dolls and people seemed intrigued by that. It can be anything, heights, snakes, being eaten by sharks, ghosts, etc. And again, if you don't want to discuss that topic, phone lines and emails are open for anything.

-- Bill Apter did an interview with Jake Roberts, who has completely turned his life around under DDP's tutelage. Roberts said his goal is to enter and win next year's Royal Rumble. Well, if he's lucky and stays on track, I think there's a decent chance he could accomplish 50% of that goal.

-- The documentary on Jim Crockett Promotions that was shooting for $16,000 on Kickstarter.com made its goal with minutes to spare last night.

-- Chael Sonnen talks about how he met his special lady here.

-- A look at Dwayne Johnson's new HERO TV show on TNT along with a trailer is up here.

-- Ed, Craig and Cutrer talk the news of the week here.

-- Katarina Waters, the former Winter in TNA, has a role in this web series.

-- HOW MANY BUYS DO YOU EXPECT UFC 159 TO DO?

Less than 350,000 14.1%

351-400,000 4.7%

401-450,000 5.4%

451-500,000 16.1%

501-550,000 20.8%

551-600,000 7.4%

601-650,000 9.4%

651-700,000 9.4%

701-750,000 2.7%

751-800,000 1.3%

More than 801,000 8.7%

WHO WAS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WRESTLER OF THE LAST 35 YEARS?

Hulk Hogan 32.6%

Ric Flair 23.0%

Superstar Billy Graham 10.0%

Steve Austin 9.2%

Shawn Michaels 8.3%

Dynamite Kid 5.8%

Original Tiger Mask 2.9%

The Rock 2.9%

Randy Savage 2.5%

HHH 1.3%

Roddy Piper 0.9%

Dusty Rhodes 0.7%

WHO WAS THE GREATEST PRO WRESTLING BOOKER?

Paul Heyman 30.6%

Vincent Kennedy McMahon 27.5%

Giant Baba 12.0%

Bill Watts 8.2%

Eddie Graham 6.7%

Jerry Jarrett 3.4%

Gedo & Jado 2.9%

Dusty Rhodes 2.4%

Vincent James McMahon 2.2%

Riki Choshu 1.9%

Roy Shire 1.2%

Antonio Pena 1.0%

WHAT WAS THE BEST ERA IN TNA HISTORY?

Scott D'Amore as booker 55.2%

Nashville weekly PPV era 17.7%

Current time with Bruce Prichard in charge of creative 13.6%

Dusty Rhodes as booker 8.2%

Vince Russo as booker 3.9%

Bischoff/Hogan in charge of Russo 1.5%

WHAT WAS THE BEST UFC SHOW THIS YEAR?

February 23 - Rousey vs. Carmouche 34.3%

April 20 - Benson Henderson vs. Melendez 31.9%

March 16 - GSP vs. Diaz 13.7%

March 2 - Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann 9.8%

February 2 - Jose Aldo vs Frankie Edgar 3.4%

April 6 - Gegard Mousasi vs. Ilir Latifi 2.0%

April 13 - Urijah Faber vs. Scott Jorgensen 2.0%

January 26 - Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson 1.5%

February 16 - Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald 1.0%

January 19 - Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping 0.5%

-- World Series of Fighting's second episode of Future Champs airs on NBC Sports at 7:30 p.m. Eastern and 4:30 p.m.Pacific time tonight.

-- Johnny Hendricks and Jamie Varner have signed sponsorship deals with Reebok.

-- Pete writes: I thought you might be interested, potentially for your daily update, that between innings at last night's Yankees/Blue Jays game in New York, a group Yankee players were asked about their favorite wrestler on the jumbotron. After Kevin Youkilis and several others answered Hulk Hogan, "Real American" was played over the public address system.

-- A bunch of Pain & Gain movie reviews out today including this one here.

-- 1976 - In Madison Square Garden, Stan Hansen defeated WWWF World Champion Bruno Sammartino when the referee stopped the match due to excessive bleeding. Sammartino retained the title. This was the match that Hansen broke Sammartino's neck with a body slam.

1988 - The Fantastics defeated The Midnight Express to win the NWA United States Tag Team championship.

1992 - Johnny Hotbody defeated Jimmy Snuka in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to win the ECW (Eastern Championship Wrestling) Title.

1994 - At a Monday Night Raw taping, The Headshrinkers, Fatu & Samu, defeated The Quebecers in Burlington, Vermont to win the WWF World Tag Team Championship.

1999 - On a Monday Nitro event, Sting won the WCW World Title from Dallas Page in the opening match, only to lose it back to Page in the final match of the show in a four way match. Also on the show, Rey Mysterio Jr. defeated Psicosis to win the WCW World Cruiserweight Title.

2009 - At the Backlash PPV, Christian defeated Jack Swagger to win the ECW Title. Also at the event, Randy Orton's tag team of Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes defeated WWE Champion Triple H, Batista and Shane McMahon. As a stipulation of the match, Randy Orton became new WWE Champion.

-- Todd writes: I have a pair of tickets for the May 4th ROH iPPV. Face value is $40ea, “yours” for half price. If anyone wants them they can contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Who is the strongest Hall of Fame candidate from this list?

 

Who is the strongest Hall of Fame candidate from this list?

 

Who should get the next featherweight title shot?