SAT UPDATE: UFC tonight, Rock's moving doing great, lots of UFC notes for the weekend, watch Raw off-air Bret celebration on app, Impact rating irony, today in history, Lawler returns to wrestle tonight, 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 tonight's UFC 160 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 on tonight's WWE Raw brand house show in in Red Deer, Alberta and Smackdown in Regina, Saskatchewan.

The major weekend show is UFC 160 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. We'll be doing our regular post big-show polls on this show:

Facebook at 6:30 p.m.

Estevan Payan vs. Jeremy Stephens

Brian Bowles vs. George Roop

Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Stephen Thompson

Prelims on FX at 8 p.m.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Abel Trujillo

Colton Smith vs. Robert Whittaker

Dennis Bermudez vs. Max Holloway

Mike Kyle vs. Rick Story

PPV at 10 p.m.

Donald Cerrone vs. K.J. Noons

T.J. Grant vs. Gray Maynard

James Te Huna vs. Glover Teixeira

Junior Dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt

Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva for the heavyweight title

Sunday has Raw in Lethbridge, Alberta and Smackdown in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

New Japan has the second event in the Best of the Super Juniors tournament on Sunday in Numazu with Bushi vs. Jado, Titan vs. Trent Baretta, Tiger Mask vs. Alex Koslov, Jushin Liger vs. Rocky Romero, Hiromu Takahashi vs. Prince Devitt, Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Brian Kendrick, Alex Shelley vs. Taichi, and Taka Michinoku vs. Kushida.

Monday is Raw in Calgary. It will be Bret Hart Appreciation Night and Shawn Michaels will be appearing on the show. Not sure what will be on television in the U.S. as The Score has announced they will run long that night to cover the Bret Hart Appreciation Night.

Tuesday is Smackdown and Main Event tapings in Edmonton.

        A look at how decisions from television executives changed the entire history of pro wrestling over the last 30 years is the lead story in this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, that is on the web site today.
 
        The issue goes back to 2001, when wrestling changed with the death of WCW and ECW, and trace the rise and fall of both companies.  We look at the planned angle in 2001 that would have ended up with Nitro every week on Monday nights on the USA Network and how it was supposed to open, why the obvious angle didn't happen, and how abruptly everything changed and why.
 
        We also look at all the plans for that year that dropped, the most successful non-WrestleMania PPV that WWE ever did, the death of WCW, the time WCW came close to dying a decade earlier and why it didn't, the history of pro wrestling on TBS, what led to Vince McMahon's association with Ted Turner and why feelings ended up bitter, the decisions that led to the death of Mid South Wrestling, ECW and WCW going down the tubes and more.
 
        We also look at what contract WWF signed that killed their chances to greatly expand their TV network, the real story behind Vince McMahon's backing of ECW, the strange goings on regarding the sale of WCW to Vince McMahon, how much Vince McMahon paid for WCW, what it was a WWE decision that is the reason TNA is still in business and thoughts on what if ECW could have continued.
 
        We also have a look at the life and career of Mick McManus, the all-time greatest villain in British wrestling.  
 
        We also have a look at the Extreme Rules PPV, with background notes on the show, match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results on the show.
 
        We also look at HHH's angle, WrestleMania the next few years, Dwayne Johnson surgery notes, as well as Gina Carano talking about Rock, another writer gets fired, Lesnar's next program, repackaging of Joe Hennig, WWE donates to Sports Legacy Institute, WWE announcing, why the Colons aren't on TV, Linda McMahon at WWE headquarters, and more.
 
        We also look at Bruno Sammartion Day in Pittsburgh, the brunette dancer with Fandango as well as business notes.
 
        We also look at the situation with Nick Diaz, all the allegations against Bryan Caraway, why Diaz was fined, looking at suspensions of UFC fighters and more.
 
        We also look in depth at the recent WWE hirings and firings.  We look at who has signed, their backgrounds, who has been let go, and notes on why certain people were hired and fired.
 
        We also have coverage of the UFC show over the weekend, the Vitor Belfort controversy, the ratings and match-by-match coverage.
 
        We also have coverage of the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.  
 
        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.
 
       If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today.  With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today.  Just sent your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, card number and expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        You can also order by paypal by sending to www.paypal.com and directing the funds to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        You can also subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228. 
        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 pro wrestling reality show that combines NXT and American Idol
 
--A four-way legends battle at an anniversary show
 
--More notes on TripleMania this year
 
--Final four in this year's King of Gate tournament
 
--What is the best in-ring feud so far of 2013
 
--Update on Kenta Kobashi after his retirement match
 
--Terry Funk vs. Kevin Steen
 
--Jake Roberts in the news
 
--Tammy Sytch arrest, cancer and future
 
--Former wrestler arrested claiming business is a camouflage for illegal activity
 
--Notes on the ROH TV tapings from the last week
 
--Update on James Storm
 
--Zema Ion health update
 
--TNA scores one of its most high profile deals
 
--Reaction to TNA's lowest rating
 
--Hogan talks about wrestling again
 
--More on Renan Barao and new match added to Winnipeg
 
--Notes on Josh Barnett signing UFC contract
 
--Lineup notes on this week's UFC show
 
--A major change in drug testing may be happening in MMA
 
--Fighter John Cholish talks retirement
 
--Jacob Volkmann complains about UFC contracts
 
--More on upcoming Bellator schedule and upcoming title match signed
 
--Bellator signs former UFC star
 
--Former UFC fighter convicted of heroin trafficking
 
--Bobby Lashley's next fight
 
        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.
 
        Our most requested issues in our history are:
 
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
 
*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
history)
 
*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)
 
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
 
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
 
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
 
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
 
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
 
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
 
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
 
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
 
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
 
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
 
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
 
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
 
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
 
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
 
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
 
*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)
 
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
 
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
 
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
 
*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)
 
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
 
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bigelow)
 
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
 
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
 
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
 
*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)
 
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*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)
 
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
 
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
 
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
 
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
 
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
 
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
 
*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)
 
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
 
Rates are:
 
        For the United States, it is $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52.  In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52 .
 
        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

-- Dave and I will be back later tonight with another brand new edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, our weekend show, talking UFC 160, all the fights and the fallout, plus the latest news in pro-wrestling. We've already got a new After Dark Radio up on the site right now plus a brand new Todd Martin show with a great review of Bruce Buffer's amazing new book.

-- Rock's Fast & Furious 6 is expected to do really big box office numbers this weekend, the biggest opening for the franchise thus far. There is a story in USA Today with details here.

-- The Viva LA Lucha (LA as in Los Angeles) kickstarter that Kevin Kleinrock talked about on our show a few weeks back is now live here. They're under $1,000 so far towards their $60,000 goal but have 37 days left.

-- Dana White's latest media scrum is here, which includes a very animated rant about how people need to shut up about Pat Healy losing out on his win bonus for getting popped for weed.

-- Tons of UFC stories in USA Today here, including an interview with friendly Junior Dos Santos where he expresses great sadness that he was booed in his last fight. There's also a story about Bigfoot Silva which talks about how his manager (and Silva, his manager claims) never really knew that he had acromegaly (gigantism) or what it was or could potentially do to him (kill him), and it wasn't until he met with doctors in Japan that Bigfoot realized he needed to learn more about it and then subsequently get the tumor on his pituitary gland removed. I seem to recall knowing for years that he had acromegaly but maybe my memory is fuzzy.

-- Glover Teixeira says he wants Jon Jones next. Providing he wins tonight, of course. Mark Hunt would also like to be in line for a title shot.

-- Randy Couture, who has traditionally been great in picking fights, says he's picking Cain Velasquez vs. Bigfoot, but also says he knows from experience (his fight with Brock Lesnar) that you can't play around with this big strong dudes, and you have to be careful because they can be very dangerous.

-- New Shawn Michaels air gun here. He's also now sporting a pretty bushy beard. Based on comments on his Facebook page, the ladies find this to be NO BUYS.

-- Monday is Bret Hart Appreciation Night, and WWE is doing a deal where if you get their App you can watch the ceremony live after Raw goes off the air. It'll also be airing live in Canada on the Score.

-- Zema Ion is still at less than $6,000 of the $30,000 he's going to need for medical bills. The fundraiser page is here.

-- Fallon Fox's latest fight is here.

-- Today in history with Brian Hoops:

1957 - Verne Gagne and Edouard Carpentier defeated Nikolai and Boris Volkoff for the Chicago version of the NWA World Tag Team Title in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1959 - Kurt Von Poppenheim and Dan Manoukian defeated Nick Kozak and Al Kashey to win the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Title.

1976 - Bob Orton, Jr. defeated Jack Brisco to win the Florida Heavyweight Title

1980 - Skull Murphy and Gypsy Joe defeated Rocky Johnson and Jimmy Valiant for the AWA Southern Tag Team Title in Memphis, Tennessee.

1980 - Mark Lewin defeated Gino Hernandez for the WCCW Texas Heavyweight Title in Dallas

1980 - Perro Aguayo defeated Gran Hamada in Naucalpan, Mexico to win the UWA World Light Heavyweight Title.

1980 - The Great Hussan Arab (Iron Sheik) defeated Dewey Robertson (Missing Link) to win the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Title in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

1981 - Kevin Sullivan and Wayne Farris (The Honky Tonk Man) won the AWA Southern Tag Team Championship by defeating Bill Dundee and Dream Machine in Memphis, Tennessee.

1982 - Tiger Mask (Satoru Sayama) defeated Les Thornton to win the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title in Shizuoka, Japan

1982 - Steve Grey defeated Jim Breaks for the British Welterweight Title in Croydon, England,

1987 - Soldat Ustinov & Boris Zukhov defeated Marty Jannetty & Shawn Michaels for the AWA World Tag Team Title in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

1989 - Russian amateur wrestling great Salman Hashimikov defeated Big Van Vader for the IWGP Heavyweight Title in Osaka, Japan. On the same show, Jushin Liger defeated Shiro Koshinaka to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title.

1990 - Matt Borne defeated Kerry Von Erich to win the WCWA Texas Heavyweight Title in Dallas, Texas

1992 - Kenta Kobashi and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi defeated The Can-Am Express (Dan Kroffat and Doug Furnas) to win the AJPW All-Asia Tag Team Title in Miyaga, Japan

1997 - Shawn Michaels & Steve Austin defeated Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith for the WWF World Tag Team Title in Evansville, Indiana.

1999 - In Moline, Illinois Jeff Jarrett (w/ Debra) pinned WWF IC Champion the Godfather to win the title

-- Jerry "The King" Lawler - Returns to the Ring on !BANG! TV Tonight. !BANG! TV Taping - Tonight Saturday May 25th. Support Your Troops 91, "Royal Combat" !BANG! TV Sound Stage in Ocala, Florida. Showtime is 7:00pm with doors opening at 6:15pm. Tickets are now online at http://www.dory-funk.com or you may call for ticket information 352-895-4658

-- Whatever Happened To? British Wrestling Legends here.

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