FRI UPDATE: Weekend schedule with ROH and TNA PPVs, great Smackdown match tonight, Austin to NRA, what is happening with Eddie Alvarez and Bellator, Rickson's son to battle on iPPV, 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 today's New Japan Dontaku iPPV as well as tonight's TNA's Jokers Wild PPV 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

We're also looking for reports from last night's NXT tapings in Winter Park, FL, as well as tonight's Raw house show in Youngstown, OH (John Cena is advertised on the show) , tonight's TNA house show in Biloxi (Bully Ray vs. James Storm for TNA title, Chavo Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian for tag title, Devon vs. Joseph Park for TV title, Chris Sabin vs. Bobby Roode, Magnus vs. Ken Anderson and Velvet Sky vs. Gail Kim for Knockouts title) and tonight's NXT house show in Crystal River, FL 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

TNA has its second taped PPV tonight, called Jokers Wild. It's a show somewhat themed after the old WCW Battle Bowl concept. The idea is a group of tag teams are put together at random, and then the winning teams are put into a Royal Rumble at the end of the show. The tag matches end up being:

James Storm & Christian York vs. Gunner & Crimson

Douglas Williams & Kid Kash vs. Jessie Godderz & Ken Anderson

Chavo Guerrero Jr. & Rob Van Dam vs. Christopher Daniels & Samoa Joe

Bobby Roode & Joseph Park vs. Robbie E & Zema Ion

Hernandez & Alex Silva vs. Devon & Doc

Matt Morgan & Rob Terry vs. Joey Ryan & Al Snow

Gauntlet Rumble Battle Royal

ROH has its Border Wars iPPV on Saturday from the Ted Reeve Arena in Toronto:

Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Cole for ROH title

Taiji Ishimori vs. Eddie Edwards

Davey Richards vs. Paul London

Matt Taven vs Mark Briscoe for TV title

B.J. Whitmer vs. Rhett Titus I Quit match

Michael Elgin & Jay Lethal vs. SCUM (if Elgin & Lethal win, SCUM leaves

ROH, if SCUM wins, then Matt Hardy gets an ROH title shot and Steve

Corino becomes full-time TV announcer)

Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. Tadarius Thomas & ACH

There is also a Cage Warriors show from Cardiff, Wales on Saturday headlined by Jesse Taylor vs. John Phillips which airs live at 4 p.m. Eastern time in Canada on The Fight Network.

Saturday night has Raw in Wheeling, WV, Smackdown in Reading, PA and TNA in Baton Rouge, LA.

Sunday has Raw in Charleston, WV and Smackdown in Upper Marlboro, MD.

Raw is live on Monday night from Roanoke with Brock Lesnar returning.

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday night in Raleigh.

        A look at the business of WrestleMania is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that will be up on the front page today.  In addition, we've got a very interesting back issue talking about when Paul Heyman tried to ban blading in ECW in 1996, which is an amazing story in hindsight, the trials of Brian Pillman in his game changing approach to his career, and UFC faces the beginnings of the major problems that ended up nearly putting them down, but wound up with the new ownership group.
 
        This week's issue runs down the WrestleMania finances, where the extra money came in from, how much WWE took in of the money listed, how much WrestleMania has expanded in recent years, the usage of big money performers Dwayne Johnson and Brock Lesnar, early PPV number estimates and where the Rock vs. John Cena feud stands historically.
 
        We also have a look at the fan base of boxing, wrestling and MMA based on a major study done recently.  We talk about which group does the best and worst at engaging its fan base, the real demographics of each fan base, if what people perceive about the fan bases are correct, and the huge changes in the business structure of pro wrestling.  We look at the affluence of the audiences, the education of the audiences, the metropolitan areas with the most fans, age group of fans, annual income of fans and more.
 
        We've also got a look at the UFC 159 show, including the stories around the show, what is next for the stars of the show, rule changes UFC is interested in doing coming off the show, a look at Chael Sonnen's career, as well as the business notes on the show, match-by-mach coverage and how much everyone on the show earned in base salary.
 
        We also have a lot more exclusively on a WWE TV show they are looking at getting a U.S. broadcast home in the fall, details of it, why they are doing it and why it represents a change in a long standing philosophy.  We also look why the economy has changed leading to this philosophic change.
 
        We also look at the Undertaker-Shield program, more on Dwayne Johnson, his future in WWE and what those in the company believe.  We also look at Vince McMahon's reaction to the question of Johnson's future in WWE, changes in a major WWE broadcast partner and new WWE licensing deals.  We look at what is next for C.M. Punk, the company's new reality show, ratings for Saturday Morning Slam and Main Event, movies with wrestles and there business, an updated lineup for Extreme Rules and thoughts on the show.
 
        We also have notes on the return of a major star to WWE, a minor change in the Smackdown TV show that wouldn't be noticed and he Zack Ryder character.
 
        We also have all the business notes from the past week in WWE and highlights from the last week of the European tour.
 
        We also look at this year's All Japan Champion Carnival tournament, the changes in the hierarchy of All Japan, and where the booking goes from here.
 
        We also have a look at a number of the women who will be on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, from fighters who have been on national TV.
 
        We also have a look at the good and the bad of Twitter as a marketing tool and the reason it hasn't been as successful as those in the major wrestling companies expected.
 
        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:
 
--A look at the 57th anniversary of pro wrestling at Arena Mexico as well as the first main event ever.
 
--Another special show coming this week
 
--One of the legends of wrestling quits home promotion and why
 
--The real reasons AAA is splitting into two groups and who can appear on what show
 
--A look at the expected rosters after the split
 
--A look at Dragon Gate's biggest show so far this year coming up
 
--Notes on the next two tournaments on Dragon Gate shows
 
--Hottest tag team feud right now in pro wrestling and its next chapter
 
--A look at NOAH's Global Tag League tournament
 
--The biggest women's pro wrestling show in many years and what former TNA star wins a title
 
--Health update on stars from the past
 
--Another major international group moving its big shows to iPPV
 
--Another new pro wrestling DVD funded
 
--Notes on next year's Cauliflower Alley Club and why the changes
 
--City bans pro wrestling
 
--Book on 30-year-old wrestling death comes out next week
 
--Tommy Dreamer runs second House of Hardcore show
 
--Indie name retires due to injuries
 
--A look at ROH's shows this week
 
--How Sinclair Broadcasting is doing with finances
 
--Details on Hulk Hogan's legal battle with Gawker media
 
--What match is TNA building toward
 
--Thoughts on the current TNA product and main angle
 
--Who is responsible for TNA's main angle
 
--Why TNA is no longer going live on Spike even though they are pretending they are
 
--Notes on the next TNA taping
 
--A major hire from WWE comes to TNA
 
--Notes on next TNA PPV show
 
--Lots of UFC business notes
 
--Thoughts and lineup for the next UFC on FOX show
 
--Thoughts on the Matt Mitrione situation
 
--Jon Jones gets involved in Mitrione controversy
 
--Jones talks Sonnen
 
--A look at the UFC heavyweight division
 
--UFC meeting with major companies about possible deals
 
--How NASCAR did compared to UFC in same time slot
 
--New UFC endorsement deals
 
--New UFC matches made
 
--Idea batted around for the first UFC on FS 1 show in Boston
 
--Olympic gold medalist continue to rise in MMA ranks
 

 
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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

-- Make sure you check out the top of this update for info on all the shows this weekend, including TNA's Joker's Wild PPV that debuts tonight and plays all month long and tomorrow's ROH iPPV with Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Cole and Davey Richards vs. the returning Paul London. Also, make sure to catch Smackdown tonight as the Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback match is said to be really good. The two are good friends and travel buddies in real life.

-- Eddie Alvarez on Twitter updated his situation with Bellator: "Sorry I been absent lately guys. Here are some updates. I recently just sold an investment property in order to wait this trial thing out. I didn't want to sell, it was supposed to be a retirement thing but that's how shit goes, very happy it's sold and I'm packing now. I am taking the funds from the sale of the home and moving to Florida me and my family, I leave in a few days to search out a rental. I'll be training as if I have a fight no matter what the circumstances. We will be going to trial and there will be NO settlement. I want to see this thing through and let the truth come out in the end. I needed time to renovate and sell my home anyway in order to move to Florida, so this may have come as a blessing. My goal is to move to Florida, train with the best team and coaches in the world, beat this court case, become No. 1 in the world and keep it. I am in no hurry. This has always been a marathon for me, not a sprint, and time will only make me more dangerous when I fight, I promise. Since 18 I have fought at least every roughly 5 months so I have been learning a lot from this break. Thank you guys for [your] support. Every tweet positive or negative does help!! This is just a pit stop that's put there for a reason. Miami has unsanctioned fights somewhere for cash. Told my wife I might need to take the drive down there on the weekend, stay sharp."

-- Dave has a great article/interview with King Mo about his first OVW matches here. Mo reveals that, in fact, he had a secret debut in Holland over Christmas several months ago.

-- Steve Austin to attend the NRA National Convention.

-- A transcript of the entire WWE investors conference call from yesterday is available here.

-- At the NXT tapings last night John Cena promised that the next time he came to town he was going to wrestle on the show. They also start a tournament on May 23rd to crown the first NXT Women's Champion. The belt was on display during Axxess weekend.

-- Sweet Metamoris II promo video herefor the June 9th iPPV headlined by Kron Gracie, the son of Rickson, against Shinya Aoki. It's an all-BJJ pro tournament where there are no points and if nobody has gotten a submission after 20 minutes the match is ruled a draw.

-- Since it's a rare sunny beautiful hot afternoon in Seattle, my wife and I are going to the beach this weekend. Everything will continue on as normal on the site (Observer Radio, Observer Live, etc.) with the exception of likely NO call-ins for After Dark Radio. There will still be a show. The topic this week is part 2 of THINGS YOU FEAR, though, as always, you can email about any topic under the sun. Send emails for the show to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with "After Dark" in either the subject line or body of the email and I'll read as many as I can on the show. If we tape at a different time and I am able to take calls (it's possible, working on an idea), the best way to know what's up is to follow me on Twitter @bryanalvarez, because all the info will be there when it's time to call, the number, etc. Most likely it would be the usual call-in number, 425-482-1686. More info to come later today. But send your emails!

-- If you're a fan of MMA, watch this videoin as high a quality as your computer allows. It's amazing.

-- ARE YOU PLANNING ON WATCHING THE NEW WWE DIVAS REALITY SHOW?
Yes 20.2%
No 66.8%
Undecided at this point 13.0%

DO YOU THINK ANDERSON SILVA VS. CHRIS WEIDMAN WILL DO 500,000 BUYS?
Yes 37.0%
No 50.0%
Right at 500,000 13.0%

POLL ON MAIN EVENT FROM WEDNESDAY
Excellent 73.0%
Good 9.5%
Average 9.5%
Fair 0.0%
Poor 7.9%
56.6% of those responding didn't see the show

This would possibly be the best response for a television show in the history of our polls. If not, it's pretty close.

ARE YOU GETTING THE NEW JAPAN IPPV SHOW? Have never bought one before, not interested 40.0%
Watching it Friday on delay 23.1%
Not buying, waiting for matches to show up for free 16.4%
Would buy, but not for $25 9.2%
Watching it live 4.6%
Have never bought before, but am giving it a try 3.1%
Have bought before, no longer interested 2.1%
Have bought before, but not interested in the show because of the main event 1.0%
Have bought before but not interested in this show because of the card 0.5%

-- Ronda Rousey doing the splits.

-- Jon Jones' toe injury explained here.

-- Pro Wrestling Revolution on The Travel Channel! Pro Wrestling Revolution owner Gabriel Ramirez was in Tijuana,Mexico this past year, taking part in a project with the Travel Channel, filming a new show with Andrew Zimmern, called “The Border Check”. The premier debuts this May 5th at 5pm on Travel Channel. The Border Check - Andrew Zimmern discovers the food and fun that blur the line between the US and Mexico. He joins the Border Patrol for a day, he samples delicious, homemade cuisine. samples some of the best empanadas that he’s ever tasted, visits Hotel Caesar’s in Tijuana, birthplace of this famous salad and learns about a wrestling form called Lucha Libre.

-- Scott Kent, CEO of Lion Fight Promotions, today announced he is introducing a women’s championship division and that the undefeated rising star of women’s Muay Thai, Tiffany Van Soest, will face Lucy Payne for the first ever Lion Fight Featherweight title. Van Soest and Payne are set to fight each other at LION FIGHT 10 on Friday, July 26 live from the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and as part of the nationally televised card on AXS TV starting at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.

-- Lucha notes from Kris Zellner: Todos x Todos held a contract signing today with Dr. Wagner Jr. & L.A. Par-K for their upcoming match on 5/11 at Gimnasio Juan de la Barrera in Mexico City and both men yet again declared their intentions for having a mask match. Hijo del Santo has gone on record saying that such a match will have to take place at the Plaza de Toros in Mexico City which seats 41,000 and TxT reiterated that today by saying there will be another press conference soon announcing such a show. It was also announced at the press conference that Lady Apache will make her TxT debut in a female Ruleta de la Muerte match. UWE & LEGEND announced yesterday that the 6th annual Lucha Fan Fest will take place this year at Arena Lopez Mateos and will feature over 100 luchadores who will either work matches, sign autographs, or both. These shows used to take place at the Centro Banamex or Plan Sexenal in Mexico City so this is a smaller venue this year.

-- From the promoter: We invite EVERYONE to join us in NEW YORK this Saturday, May 4th for a live screening of BARBED WIRE CITY (with Q&A to follow immediately) at the GRAMERCY THEATRE located at 127 E. 23rdStreet in New York, NY 10010. Doors open 11am. Film at 12 noon. Q&A immediately following. Drinks and Food after that. Tickets available from Ticketmaster.com and Livenation.com and the box office at the GRAMERCY THEATRE. For more information click here

-- There are pro wrestling feuds. And then there's Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A.Their series of matches rank among the bloodiest and most intense programs of all time and set a new standard for brutality in the rough-and-tumble Mid-Atlantic territory in 1985. The two will come together once again, smack dab in the heart of Crockett territory, during the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest August 1-4 in Charlotte. This time, however, they will return as special guests for an opening night Q&A session that will help kick off the annual event. Magnum also will be inducted into the Hall of Heroes the following evening.

-- Very busy day in history according to Brian Hoops:

1884 - H.M. Dufur defeated James McLaughlin for the American Collar-and-Elbow Title in Chicago, Illinois.

1951 - Sonny Myers defeated Dennis Clary for the NWA Central States Heavyweight Title in Kansas City, Kansas.

1956 - Joe Scarpello defeated The Mystery Man to win his third Midwest Wrestling Association Junior Heavyweight Title in

1957 - Don McIntyre defeated Kurt Von Brauner to win the Georgia NWA Southern Heavyweight Title in Atlanta, Georgia

1961 - The Mysterious Medics defeated Jackie and Joey Fargo for the Gulf Coast NWA Southern Tag Team Title in Mobile, Alabama

1963 - Dick Steinborn defeated Tarzan Tyler to win the Georgia World Heavyweight Title in Atlanta, Georgia.

1963 - Lee Fields and Joe Scarpa (Jay Strongbow) defeated Tiger Tomasso and Pancho Villa for the Gulf Coast NWA Southern Tag Team Title in Dothan, Alabama

1967 - Paul DeMarco and Luis Hernandez defeated Jim Bernard and Tarzan Tyler to win the NWA Texas Tag Team Title in San Antonio, Texas.

1967 - Ripper Collins and Curtis Iaukea defeated Johnny Barend and Hans Mortier to win the NWA Hawaii Tag Team Title in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1968 - Ron Etchison won the NWA Central States Heavyweight Title from Harley Race in St. Joseph, Missouri.

1969 - Karl and Kurt Von Steiger defeated Tony Borne and Moondog Mayne for the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Title.

1974 - Buddy Colt defeated Bill Watts for the Tri-State NWA North American Heavyweight Title in Tampa, Florida

1976 - Big Bad John and Bill Dundee defeated Plowboy (Stan) Frazier and Jerry Lawler to win the Mid-America NWA Southern Tag Team Title in Memphis, Tennessee

1979 - Mr. Sato and John Tolos defeated Akihisa Takachiho (The Great Kabuki) and Ricky Romero) to win the NWA Western States Tag Team Title in Amarillo, Texas.

1980 - The Sheik defeated Mighty Igor in Detroit, Michigan for the Detroit NWA United States Heavyweight Title. At that same event, Frankie Laine and George Steele won the Detroit NWA World Tag Team Title from John Bonello and Randy Scott.

1982 - Jimmy Garvin defeated Mr. Wrestling II for the NWA Florida Heavyweight Title in West Palm Beach, Florida

1983 - Bret Hart defeated Leo Burke for the Stampede North American Heavyweight Title in Regina, Saskatchewan

1985 - Ted DiBiase and Steve Williams defeated The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton) to win the Mid-South Tag Team Title in Houston, Texas

1990 - John Tatum defeated Bill Dundee for the USWA Heavyweight Title in Dallas, Texas.

1991 - Eric Embry defeated Jeff Jarrett to win the USWA Heavyweight Title reign in Dallas, Texas.

1992 - The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) defeated WCW World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton in a steel cage match to win the title in Chicago, Illinois.

1993 - Papa Shango defeated Jerry Lawler in Memphis, Tennessee to win the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Title

1995 - IWGP Tag Team Champion Keiji Mutoh defeated IWGP Heavyweight Champion Shinya Hashimoto to win the title in Fukuoka, Japan.

1998 - Booker T defeated Chris Benoit for the WCW World Television Title at a house show in Savannah, Georgia

-- CTWE Pro Wrestling debuts LIVE on iPPV TOMORROW, Saturday, May 4, 2013, as CTWE Presents BriccoMania V!!! CTWE shows are FAMILY-FRIENDLY as always. For only $14.99 you get TEN big matches featuring former WWE Superstars Bobby Lashley and Trent Barreta plus all the stars of CTWE! $14.99 not only gets you the LIVE iPPV but also includes UNLIMITED FREE REPLAYS! The action starts at 7:00PM est. To order via iPPV visit here. BOBBY LASHLEY wrestles on this show.

-- Ed and crew look back at the WWF/WWE title on Over the Top Radio tonight here.

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