FRIDAY UPDATE: Tons of notes on Diaz tweet and fallout, WWE cuts and what those cut have to say about it, BRUNO SAMMARTINO DAY, WWE working with Chris Nowinski, man who shot man sad that Punk lost WWE Title sentenced, tons more



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

Two big shows coming up this weekend with an otherwise light schedule.

We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE dual brand house show in Bowling Green, KY (top names appearing are John Cena, Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, Sheamus, Ryback, Big Show and The Shield) and tonight's NXT show in Leesburg, FL.

Saturday has a dual brand WWE show in Evansville with the same talent plus adding Randy Orton.

ROH will be taping television as part of a house show in Richmond, VA at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on Saturday night. Lineup has Jay Briscoe vs. B.J. Whitmer for the ROH title, Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish & Matt Taven vs. Jay Lethal & Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander, Kevin Steen vs. Jimmy Jacobs, Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards vs. SCUM, Roderick Strong vs. Mark Briscoe, Michael Elgin vs. Kyle Matthews and Adam Cole vs. Adam Page.

There is a UFC show on Saturday on FX and Fuel on Saturday.

Prelims on Facebook at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time from Santa Catarina, Brazil:

Jeremy Larsen vs. Lucas Martins

Chris Cariaso vs Jussier Formiga da Silva

Azamat Gashimov vs. John Lineker

Prelims on Fuel at 6 p.m.

Roger Hollett vs. Fabio Maldonado

Yuri Alcantara vs. Illarde Santos

Paulo Thiago vs. Michel Prazeres

Gleison Tibau vs. John Cholish

Mike Rio vs. Francisco Trinaldo

Nik Lentz vs. Hacran Dias

FX at 9 p.m.

Rafael Natal vs. Joao Zeferino

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham

Jacare Souza vs. Chris Camozzi

Vitor Belfort vs. Luke Rockhold

Sunday is WWE's Extreme Rules PPV from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis

HHH vs. Brock Lesnar in a cage match

John Cena vs. Ryback in a last man standing match

Sheamus vs. Mark Henry in a strap match

Randy Orton vs. Big Show in a no holds barred match

Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger in an I Quit match

Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns in a tornado match Kofi Kingston vs. Dean Ambrose for the U.S. title

Chris Jericho vs. Fandango

The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes (pre-show match at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on the WWE.com page)

Raw will be live on Monday night in Kansas City.

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped Tuesday night in Omaha.

        There are three issues of the Observer that are  on the site this week.  The back issue, from 1996, goes back to a period that changed the wrestling business, when Kevin Nash signed with WCW.  It's what went down at the time, and what was going on behind the scenes months before the NWO was formed.  We look at the state of both WCW and WWF, as well as all of the news from that period.
 
        We've also got two new issues of the Observer this week, both on the site right now as well.
       
        The lead story is a look at the end of the career of Kenta Kobashi.  We look back with memories of his 25 year career, the glory days of All Japan Pro Wrestling, how he got his start, the end of his career and what made him tick.  We look at him going from a young boy, how he got into pro wrestling, his rise to the top under in All Japan, glory days of All Japan, his big run with Pro Wrestling NOAH and how his career ended.
 
        We look at his biggest matches, his career breaks, the stories behind his career and more.
 
        We also have a Kobashi record book with title wins, awards, and Kobashi at Budokan Hall and Tokyo Dome career highlights.
 
        We also have our 2013 WWE roster directory.  This covers the entire roster of WWE as well as the most likely developmental wrestlers to be called up over the next year.  We've got everyone's real name, ages, years pro, as well as backgrounds of everyone on the roster with a legitimate sports or well known entertainment background.  We also look at those who came from wrestling families.    
 
        We also look at how ROH and TNA handled some controversial events this past week.  We look at the situation with Austin Aries and Christy Hemme, what went down with comments from both Spike TV, TNA as well as what Aries and Hemme said on Twitter.  We also look at how Jay Briscoe and ROH handled Briscoe's message as well as his apology.
 
        We also update the Dolph Ziggler concussion and how WWE handled the situation, and how this is a sign that pro wrestling has changed for the better.
 
        We look at the new plans going forward for UFC on television with the advent of Fox Sports 1 and 2.  We look at the first three shows on Fox Sports 1, how Dana White after more than a dozen years in charge of UFC came close to one of his original goals for UFC on television, and the basic framework of the TV schedule once the new network starts.
 
        We also look at TNA's time slot moving, the reasons why it moved before and why it's moving now, plus how it affects Bellator and thoughts on Bellator's TV situation.  We look at the ever changing history of Bellator on television, and if it's a good idea for Bellator and UFC to go head-to-head.
 
        We've also got monthly business comparisons for both TNA and WWE for the last few months.  We look at how both companies are doing, trends, including a very interesting one which played a part in TNA's time slot change and has changed the viewing patterns of Raw in a noticeable manner.  We also look at how live attendance is doing for both groups, as well as a number of other categories in WWE to measure popularity, as opposed to just revenue and profit changes as in he previous issues.
 
        We also have more thoughts on the proposed WWE Network, and how it may have to be tweaked outside of the U.S. due to contracts in place, what country is right now No. 2 for the product, thoughts on the Extreme Rules PPV show, notes on the cage match aspect of the main event and the reasons Paul Heyman and HHH approached the push of the match the way they did.  We also look at Bret Hart Appreciation Night, C.M. Punk, SummerSlam, a very telling look at roster changes by year and how HHH's plans have changed the way people are brought up.
 
        We also have Chris Jericho talking about Fandango and what he told Vince McMahon about the character, a new WWE merchandise deal, Dwayne Johnson update, other WWE injury updates, what have been the most popular WWE DVD's of the past nine months, how the former El Generico is doing, notes on next year's Hall of Fame, notes on how John Layfield's announcing has changed and reasons why, more on why Antonio Cesaro is not in main events, the upcoming Shawn Michaels Appreciation night, update on WWE's next video game release, and a huge powerhouse the company has on its radar.
 
        We also have an update on what appears to be a dead WWE project, how many people watch Raw live vs. watching it on delay, as well as business notes for the week and highlights from all the company weekend house shows.
 
        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:
 
--Update on Dragon Gate's annual King of Gate tournament going into the semifinals of each block
 
--NOAH has a match of the year candidate and a look at their next swing of title matches
 
--Update on this year's G-1 Climax series
 
--An interesting article on the death of a Japanese gangster who killed the legendary Rikidozan
 
--Zero-One's 20th anniversary of Masato Tanaka's career show
 
--Another territorial documentary being filmed
 
--Notes on Flair and Piper appearing on Wife Swap
 
--Notes on this week's Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions
 
--Wrestling stars who went to high school together
 
--This year's Danny Hodge trophy winners
 
--Former WCW & WWF wrestler becomes ordained minister
 
--The build to Carlos Colon vs. Invader in Puerto Rico and how they are building the angles
 
--A look back at the days when wrestlers would take on all comers in the audience and how a couple of people became pro wrestlers because they did well in those situations
 
--A look back at one of the most famous of those incidents where a wrestling legend got part of his finger bit off
 
--Schools to teach American style and Mexican style and for people to learn to bridge the gap
 
--Update on James Storm's injury
 
--A new TNA business deal
 
--Sting talks about how much longer his career will continue
 
--King Mo's first TV pro wrestling match
 
--Update on why Rob Van Dam is not on television
 
--TNA's biggest house show of the year coming
 
--Notes from the TNA house show
 
--A look at next week's Impact
 
--New UFC international TV deal and details
 
--Interesting notes on the next UFC main event
 
--How a change in drug testing outside of UFC for international sports may change things in MMA
 
--A look at one very expensive drug test failure
 
--Notes on the next UFC video game
 
--Notes on UFC's new You Tube channel
 
--Update on problems with Mark Hunt getting into the U.S. for the next PPV, where it stemmed from, and Hunt talks about the incident
 
--Lots of new UFC fights
 
--Update on Josh Barnett and his thoughts on UFC
 
--Dana White talks new gloves
 
--Lots of UFC roster cuts and thoughts on them
 
--Dan Hardy's medical update
 
--Why Shane Carwin retired
 
--Lorenzo Fertitta talks up the idea of doing a stadium show if they can get legalized in New York
 
--Former UFC fighter Nick Denis has concerns about future health of UFC fighters
 
--Denis also offers ideas for ads to legislation too get UFC in the state
 
--Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva continue talking
 
--Daniel Cormier talks future
 
--Update on Eddie Alvarez legal situation
 
--Ben Askren talks about Bellator drug testing
 
--MMA champion talks doing boxing this summer
 
--How PPV numbers are reported
 
--Notes on the business of recent big boxing fights
 
--Auto accidents in Mexico put one star out a long time, others not missing any time
 
--Shinsuke Nakamura heads to Mexico
 
--Details on the new Pierroth and why this seems to be a bad idea
 
--Some of Mexico's biggest stars may wind up in court fights with AAA, one is already in the middle of a big court fight
 
--A match that was talked about for a 100,000 seat arena by a major promotion and now both men have left the promotion
 
--Will the match proposed take place on an indie show in Mexico
 
--Update on TripleMania
 
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        If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
 
        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

-- As of this writing, Brandon Traven, Audrey Marie, Sakamoto, Derrick Bateman, Briley Pierce (brother of Dolph Ziggler who once wrote a fictional book called, "I can make out with any girl here"), Percy Watson and Anya have all been released from WWE developmental. Probably the only real surprises are Pierce and Watson. We had been told cuts were likely coming from the developmental side, but the good news for those in wrestling is that they're probably looking to hire as many as 30 new workers prior to the Performance Training Center opening up in July.

-- Pierce said on Twitter that he'd received the funniest and most entertaining "You're Fired" phone call in history. Sakamoto, on the other hand, had a very sad tweet: "my friend thank you for everything SAYONARA". His whole Twitter is sad now, as all he talked about was how sunny Tampa was, how he loved to train there in the park, and he'd constantly plug NXT events. Friendliest Twitter page I ever saw.

-- There's a very interesting article here about WWE's decision to donate over $1 million to Chris Nowinski's Sports Legacy Institute. This is really interesting since WWE and Sports Legacy Institute had not been on the same page for years following the Chris Benoit murder/suicide. Nowinski recently approached the company about making a donation and they said yes. Hunter noted that they've made changes to training (including trainees wearing headgear as they learn to take bumps in developmental), and they'd cut down on the number of concussions in the last year from 25 to 11, which is awesome. He talked about Dolph Ziggler's concussion, saying someone zigged when they should have zagged, which was, in fact, exactly what it looked like happened (total accident, nobody as fault).

-- There's an article in today's USA Today here talking Pat Healy losing $130,000 in bonuses for failing a pot test on the same week that Vitor Belfort is going into the cage on testosterone replacement therapy.

-- Here's more on the Nate Diaz story from the front page. Mike Kogan, Diaz's manager, has tried to claim that the slur Diaz used in the tweet that got him indefinitely suspended from UFC was not meant to reference homosexuals, but rather bitches, and that if you didn't believe him you could look it up in -- I can't believe I am about to type this -- THE URBAN DICTIONARY.

"For the record," Kogan said, "it was a bitch move" for Bryan Caraway to accept the $65,000 best fight bonus that had been stripped from Healy for this drug test failure. I guess Caraway was supposed to decline this money since, I don't know, he didn't really have the best submission on the show, even though he did have a great submission in a fight that he took on five days' notice, and the only reason it was a $65,000 bonus instead of $50,000 is because Caraway talked Dana White into raising it for the good of all the fighters on the card, including Healy.

-- Mike Chiappetta here argues that Healy's punishment doesn't fit the crime, since guys like Lavar Johnson and Rafael Cavalcante were fined less than $3,000 each for marijuana and steroid failures respectively and Healy is out $145,000 (win bonus plus best fight and best submission bonuses). The problem with the argument is that Healy wasn't fined $145,000 for a pot failure. He was fined $0. What happened was he lost his win bonus (since the fight has now been ruled a no-contest) and he lost his best fight and best submission bonuses since he failed a drug test.

The same thing would have happened to Johnson and Cavalcante if they'd gotten $130,000 in bonuses as well. Healy never even held for one second his two $65,000 bonus checks because, as in every case, those checks are held pending everyone passing their drug tests. It sucks that Healy, a guy who isn't a millionaire fighter, is out $130,000, probably the most he'd ever have received for fighting at any one time, but it's not like Healy was targeted or used to make an example of. The same rules applied to him as would apply to anyone else, he just ended up losing out on a lot more because he happened to also have the best fight and best submission on a given show.

-- Deadspin looks at the stupidity of it all here.

-- Jon Jones got the stitches out of his big toe today.

-- This is the guy who shot the fella who said that getting shot was the second worst thing that ever happened to him behind when CM Punk lost to the Rock at Royal Rumble.

-- Great documentary here on Paige of WWE NXT fame and her mother, Sweet Saraya, the scariest female wrestler in the world today. We'll need to watch this and review it for Bryan & Vinny soon.

-- Dixie Carter says she'd love to do a TNA/WWE crossover event but, get this, she doesn't think WWE would agree to it.

-- From Kris Zellner: Fuerza Mexicana de Lucha Libre promoter Rocky Roman who has promoted shows based out of Southern California but also in Illinois, Texas, and other states for well over 10 years passed away yesterday. He has been battling some health issues for the last few months and had to cancel a show that was supposed to take place last Friday night because of said issues. Rocky was one of the very few promoters who could book both EMLL & AAA talent on the same shows and was a great asset in the cause of bringing lucha libre to the United States.

-- There was a ceremony at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh, PA this morning celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bruno Sammartino's WWWF Title win, the first-ever title change in company history. Dave has the story behind the story on the front page here. The news story on BRUNO SAMMARTINO DAY is here.

-- The trailer for Queen of the Ring is here, featuring numerous divas including Eve Torres as well as CM Punk and others.

-- Ultimate Wrestling on 6/9 at the Troy Boys and Girls Club. Doors for the event open at 2:00pm and the action starts 3:00pm. Tickets are $15 Floor Seats and $10 for General Admission. Children 12 and under are FREE, with paid adult admission.

-- Smash Wrestling this Sunday at the e-Zone: 120 North Queen St. Toronto. Doors Open 4:30PM / Bell Time 5:00PM. Kevin Steen was booked for the show but had to pull out due to ROH commitments, so Michael Elgin will be replacing him.

-- DAVID LEE ROTH gives his take on pro wrestling here. This is not the first time he's discussed it.

-- Interview with Adam Cole here.

-- For those who saw the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, the complete list of names on Trish Stratus' Thank You scroll is here.

--There's a "Capital T" Todd Martin interview talking UFC 159 and more here.

-- Today in History with Brian Hoops:

1963 - Bruno Sammartino defeated WWWF World Champion Buddy Rogers in 47 seconds to win the championship at Madison Square Garden in New York City,

1981 - Tommy Rich won a tournament for the Georgia Heavyweight championship at the Omni in Atlanta, GA. Tommy Rich beat Greg Valentine to win the Georgia Heavyweight title.

1986 - Playboy Buddy Rose & Doug Somers defeated Scott Hall & Curt Hennig in Hammond, Indiana, to win the AWA World Tag Team Championship.

1986 - Dusty Rhodes & the Road Warriors defeated NWA Six Man Tag Team Champions Baron Von Raschke, Ivan & Nikita Koloff to win the titles in Baltimore, Maryland.

1987 -The Lightning Express, (Brad Armstrong & Tim Horner), defeated Rick Steiner & Sting to win the UWF Tag Team Titles.

1993 - During a Monday Night Raw telecast from Manhattan Center in New York City, Marty Jannetty defeated Shawn Michaels to win the Intercontinental Title.

1998 - At the WCW Slamboree PPV in Worchester, Mass., Dean Malenko defeated WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho to win the title and Sting & the Giant defeated WCW World Tag Team Champions Scott Hall & Kevin Nash (with Dusty Rhodes) to win the titles.

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?