FRIDAY UPDATE: WWE brand split officially ends, packed weekend schedule, new Alvarez family project, Chikara rumors, ex-porn star vs. former UFC champ, UFC news, Viva La Lucha Kickstarter, tons more

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

This weekend starts a new era in WWE house shows. No longer are events billed as Raw or Smackdown events, but instead they are just "WWE live events." The reason is the company believed, and business has shown for years, that the "Smackdown" designation meant that even when charging lower ticket prices, fewer people would buy tickets to the event. Essentially, the crews are still split up kind of the same way. This weekend, we'll see if it makes a difference.

We're looking for reports on what would have been the Smackdown crew's show tonight in Glens Falls, NY, featuring Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio and The Shield 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 .

Saturday has WWE house shows in Bethlehem, PA (Smackdown without the name) and Manchester, NH (John Cena vs. Ryback, Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett), as well as ROH makes its debut in San Antonio at the Shrine Auditorium (Jay Briscoe vs. Davey Richards for the ROH title, ACH vs. Jay Lethal, Michael Elgin & B.J. Whitmer vs. Scum in a tornado match, Matt Taven vs. Eddie Edwards in a non-title match, Adam Cole vs. Roderick Strong, and Mark Briscoe vs. a member of SCUM. Saturday also has the Best of the Super Junior tournament in Kyoto (Hiromu Takahashi vs. Ricochet, Brian Kendrick vs. Jado, Titan vs. Taichi, Tiger Mask vs. Kushida, Alex Shelley vs. Trent Barreta, Kenny Omega vs. Alex Koslov, Bushi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi and Prince Devitt vs. Rocky Romero.

Sunday is headlined by TNA's Slammiversary show from the Agganis Arena in Boston on PPV with this lineup:

- Bully Ray vs. Sting for the TNA title in a no holds barred match

- A.J. Styles vs. Kurt Angle

- Chavo Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez vs. Austin Aries & Bobby Roode vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. James Storm & Gunner in a four-team elimination match for the tag titles

- Jeff Hardy & Samoa Joe & Magnus vs. Wes Brisco & Garett Bischoff & Doc

- Devon vs. Joseph Park for the TV title

- Kenny King vs. Chris Sabin vs. Suicide in an Ultimate X match for the X title

- Taryn Terrell vs. Gail Kim last person standing

- Jay Bradley vs. Sam Shaw - Winner goes into the Bound for Glory series

Sunday also has WWE house shows in Augusta, ME (Cena crew) and Poughkeepsie, NY (Orton crew).

Sunday's Best of the Super Junior show will be in Akashi, Japan with Takahashi vs. Barreta, Bushi vs. Kendrick, Koslov vs. Jado, Omega vs. Taka Michinoku, Ricochet vs. Titan, Jushin Liger vs. Shelley, Devitt vs. Taichi and Kushida vs. Taguchi.

Monday is Raw from Hartford, CT. There is also a Super Juniors show in Ehime, Japan on Monday with Takahashi vs. Romero, Bushi vs. Koslov, Liger vs. Barreta, Tiger Mask vs. Jado, Ricochet vs. Taichi, Shelley vs. Titan, Omega vs. Kendrick and Taguchi vs. Michinoku.

Tuesday is Smackdown and Main Event tapings from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. Tuesday's Super Juniors show is from Osaka with Shelley vs Takahashi, Tiger Mask vs. Kendrick, Barreta vs. Romero, Koslov vs Michinoku, Kushida vs Jado, Bushi vs. Omega, Titan vs. Devitt and Liger vs. Ricochet.


We've got a double issue this week of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that will be on the site today.  The main feature is a look at the life and career of Hector Garza, as well as the harrowing story of the recently arrested former AWA wrestler Buck Zumhofe, notes on TripleMania, Payback, the King of Gate tournament, a match of the year candidate and a lot more.
        We have a lengthy look at Garza's career, all over the world from the U.S., Mexico and Japan.  We look at what he's known for, his role in WCW, the political and economic reasons why Mexican wrestlers in other eras were so much bigger stars in the U.S., his father's role in wrestling, what current star he started out with and the lay of the land in early 90s Mexican wrestling.
        We look at the decisions regarding his push, his first major feud, his appearance at the World Wrestling Peace Festival, his tenure as part of the big four with AAA, his appearances on WWF television, his debut with WCW and the mentality of the Mexican wrestlers in WCW at the time.
        We look at his biggest matches, his first major heel turn and feud, his hair matches with Latin Lover and Perro Aguayo Jr., what killed his planned major push in TNA, his Perros Del Mal days and the cancer that ended his life.
        We also have a feature on the sex crimes related to former AWA star Buck Zumhofe.  This is one of the sicker stories we've ever reported.
        We also look at the WrestleMania numbers, how it compares to the biggest shows of all-time, a look at every pro wrestling show that has topped 1 million worldwide buy, and more from the show.
        We also have full coverage of UFC 160, including a hoped for plan for the biggest UFC show in history and what needs too happen to make it work, business notes on the sow, what was tough about selling the PPV, as well as match-by-match rundowns, how much everyone was paid for the show, and poll results on the show.
        We also look at the knee injury suffered by Cat Zingano and the Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate fight, including about when it is likely to take place and a story behind the Rousey vs. Tate feud.
        We also look at what WWE wrestler has a lot of heat on him and why he won't be around for a while, Jerry Lawler's return to wrestling and his thoughts on why he suffered his heart problem, lots more stuff on the WWE network and plans, lots of WWE injury updates, plans for the Payback PPV, Why Cena vs. Ryback changed and why it's going to hurt the PPV card, notes on the Wyatt Family and where they came from, The Flintstones movie, lots of new WWE signees including one that is appearing on a different TV show right now, Undertaker & Kane out of character, Fast and Furious box office notes, WWE's April business rundown and the NWA in another generation.
        We also look at an update on the makeup of the WWE audience, complete developmental coverage including the latest NXT tapings,  and name changes, new WWE hires, why Shawn Michaels was on the road this past weekend, who wasn't allowed in Canada, , plus the weekend business notes and highlights from all last week's house shows.
        We also have a look at the lineup and preview of this year's TripleMania show.
        We've also got a story on the late Buck Robley, as well as more on the death of Mick McManus.
        We also have a feature on Randy Savage, two years after his death, as well as the story of the arrest of UFC fighter Reza Madadi.
        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
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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 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:
--Top tier Mexican stars issue hair vs. hair challenge
--CMLL's Busca de Idolo tournament
--King of Gate tournament notes
--New president of Al Japan
--Match of the year candidate
--Pro Wrestling NOAH's next major show
--Full coverage of the Best of the Super junior tournament final
--Big show which featured shoot and worked matches together
--Why Madison Square Garden may have to move
--An update on wrestling in the Olympics and where it stands
--Update on Bobby Eaton
--Thoughts on what would have happened had ECW gotten on USA in 2001
--More on several matches Terry Funk will be working this summer
--Update on an attempt to bring back a territorial promotion from the 70s and what has happened since it started
--Another older promotion looking to come back
--Update on wrestling in Puerto Rico
--Current pro wrestling star wants to go into boxing
--Update on John Morrison
--Son of Hall of Famer arrested on gambling charges
--Update on recent WWE cuts
--Next ROH show
--TNA Slammiversary lineup
--Changes in Impact
--TNA Hall of Fame thoughts
--Updates on King Mo and Zema Ion
--A look at this week's TNA TV show
--Major retirements in UFC
--Advance ticket sales for upcoming UFC shows
--Update on the latest strange reason that makes no sense why UFC isn't likely to be legalized in New York this year
--Lots of new UFC matches
--Plans for the FS 1 main event
--Plans for what could be the biggest UFC show in history, and why the odds are against it
--Lots of matches being talked about
--More thoughts on Vitor Belfort and Fallon Fox
--What Georges St-Pierre is up to next
--Daniel Cormier's future
--Fighter donating all of his next fight purse
--How much it would cost UFC to raise minimums
--Famous boxer tries MMA
--The latest on Bob Sapp
Rates are:
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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

-- After Dark Radio returns tonight with part 2 of our WOULD YOU GO TO MARS NEVER TO RETURN series. Last week's show was a lot of fun, so check that one out and then call or email in to join the discussion. Phone lines will open at midnight Pacific/3 AM EST at 425-482-1686. You can also send emails 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.

As always, it's open lines and open correspondence on the phones and email so you can hit on any topic you'd like, local legends, ghost stories, etc. Try to keep wrestling talk to a minimum if possible. Remember, this is a listener-driven show, so prepare to call or write in tonight!

-- My wife Whitney launches her new non-profit organization, Whale Scout, tomorrow at 3 PM at Richmond Beach in Shoreline, WA. I'll be there along with a bunch of friends if anyone in the area wants to show up. There will be refreshments, exhibits, coloring contests and other educational stations for the kids, and more. The organization looks to connect the public with trained naturalists who can lead shore-based whale-watching experiences, help people understand what they can do in their lives to ensure the survival of the whales, etc. You can follow on Twitter, on Facebook or at the soon-to-be-more-active website.

Donations via PayPal are gratefully accepted to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Also want to send out a very big thank you to Kenneth Nida for donating earlier this week which is helping to pay for some of the launch party necessities. Thanks in advance to anyone who contributes!

-- I'll be live talking pro wrestling with host Jason Martin on THE ZONE 104.5 in Nashville, TN tomorrow morning at 12:30 PM EST (11:30 AM in Nashville, 9:30 AM on West Coast). You'll be able to listen live here. I should be appearing at least once per month.

-- Was told the last segment of Smackdown tonight is awesome.

-- Statement from Chikara on various rumors in advance of their iPPV Sunday: "There is no issue regarding ownership of the CHIKARA name, brand, its assets or intellectual properties. Any speculation to the contrary is 100% false." We have an audio interview with Mike Quackenbush up on the front page where he explains his theory behind how these rumors got going.

-- As noted on Impact and the front page, Bound for Glory, TNA's WrestleMania, is October 20th from Viejas Arena in San Diego, CA.

-- For the first time ever, a French announce team will be at ringside for Slammiversary on Sunday. In the most obscure trivia ever this week, one of them, Celian Varini, once found a $100 bill on the floor of an ice cream parlor in Las Vegas and gave it to Granny, who then proceeded to spend $5 of it on a Lotto ticket every week in an attempt to win $1 million dollars, a process documented on the Bryan & Vinny Show. I think she got to about $30 before she gave up on the process.

--Dixie Carter on Twitter is teasing that they've signed a big free agent.

-- Jenna Jameson is going nuts on Tito Ortiz on Twitter, ranting about their separation and now posting photos that she claims are drugs he took to prepare for his fights. Tito, of course, is denying all of this. It's as messy as it gets.

-- Tim Sylvia not only missed weight by five pounds for his One FC 9 fight Thursday, but he also lost in 3:25 of the first round to opponent Tony Johnson on a blood stoppage. Phil Baroni also fought and loss, getting knocked out and perhaps breaking his ankle as well.

-- In the note in yesterday's news update about how all the fighters at the UFC on FX 8 show tested clean for steroids and drugs of abuse, that list included Vitor Belfort.

-- Wanderlei Silva said he was open to taking a fight with Chael Sonnen later this year, and said he'd prefer if it took place in Brazil. I'm sure Chael would prefer if it took place in West Linn, OR.

-- The "Anderson Silva" name is a tough one to live up to.

-- The Viva LA Lucha Kickstarter still has a long way to go, but there are still 31 days left to attempt to raise $60,000 to shoot their shows. You can check it out here.

-- This Saturday - its your turn to ask the questions...and get the answers straight from the Bully's mouth live in front of the sold out TNA Fan InterAction VIP event crowd in Boston! Join hosts Jeremy Borash, Christy Hemme and Socal Val this Saturday, June 1st at 9/8 CST as we bring Fan InterAction LIVE to YOU via Twitter and web with our "Slammin' Celebration webcast! Ask your questions to Bully Ray himself with #AskBully!

-- A Facebook page for Paul Lazenby's upcoming When We Were Bouncers book is up here.

-- Bruce Buffer interview here. Bet it was golden.

-- Fandango cover story on here.

-- If you remember the old Youtube promo with Lex Luger where he flipped out, botched his interview, and then started screaming about how the t-shirts are too tight, here is an interview with the guy who interviewed him for that, the guy who went, "MR. LUGER, MR. LUGER!" Check it out here.

-- Dean Ambrose on ESPN Radio here.

-- Busy day in history according to Brian Hoops. Thankfully American pro wrestling is only 130 years old and not 530 years old.

1937 - Red Berry defeated Hugh Nichols to win the World Light Heavyweight Title in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

1940 - Jules Larance defeated Gil Knutsen for the Midwest Wrestling Association World Junior Heavyweight Title in Columbus, Ohio.

1944 - El Santo won the Mexican National Middleweight Title in Mexico City, Mexico from Tuffy Truesdale in a tournament final.

1965 - Pepper Martin defeated The Mad Russian for the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Title

1968 - Alberto and Enrique Torres defeated El Mongol and Hans Schmidt in Atlanta, Georgia to win the Georgia NWA Southern Tag Team Title.

1969 - In Boston, Massachussetts, Killer Kowalski defeated WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino in a Texas death match.

1971 - Tom Jones and Billy Red Lyons defeated The Spoilers for the Tri-State NWA United States Tag Team Title in Shreveport, Louisiana.

1972 - Karl and Kurt Von Brauner defeated Robert Fuller and Kevin Sullivan for the Mid-America NWA World Tag Team Title in Nashville, Tennessee

1972 - The Professional (Doug Gilbert) and Mike Webster won the NWA Florida Tag Team Title from Boris Malenko and Bob Roop in Miami, Florida.

1974 - Gene and Ole Anderson defeated Bob Armstrong and Robert Fuller to win the NWA Georgia Tag Team Title in Atlanta, Georgia

1975 - Ed Wiskoski (Col. DeBeers) defeated Jerry Oates for the NWA Central States Heavyweight Title in Kansas City, Kansas.

1979 - Great Kojika and Motoshi Okuma won the AJPW All Asia Tag Team Title, defeating The Kiwis (Butch Miller and Sweet William) in Noshiro, Japan.

1980 - Dick the Bruiser defeated King Kong (Bruiser) Brody in Indianapolis, Indiana for the World Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title

1981 - Jake Roberts defeated The Grappler to win the Mid-South North American Heavyweight Title in Shrevport, Louisiana.

1982 - In Memphis, Tennessee King Cobra defeated NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Champion Bobby Eaton to win the title

1986 - Ron Bass defeated Tyree Pride in Nassau, Bahamas to win the NWA Bahamas Heavyweight Title

1986 - Eric Embry won the WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Title in Bayamón, Puerto Rico by defeating Super Medico I

1991 - Los Villanos (I, IV and V) defeated The Hawaiian Beasts (Kokina (Yokozuna), Fatu and the Samoan Savage) for the UWA World Trios Title in Naucalpan, Mexico.

1991 - Bill Dundee defeated Tom Prichard (subbing for Eric Embry) for the USWA Texas Heavyweight Title in Dallas, Texas

1992 - Chi Chi Cruz (Corey Peloquin) defeated Gerry Morrow in Winnipeg, Manitoba to win the West Four Wrestling Alliance Canadian Heavyweight Title.

1999 - Bam Bam Bigelow and Diamond Dallas Page defeated WCW World Tag Team Champions Kanyon and Saturn (subbing for Raven) to win the title during a Monday Nitro event from Houston, Texas.

1999 In Moline, Illinois Jeff Jarrett (with Debra) defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion The Godfather to win the title and The Acolytes (Bradshaw and Faarooq) defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Kane and X-Pac to win the title during a Monday Night Raw event.

2002- In Louisville, Kentucky Flash Flanagan and Trailer Park Trash defeated OVW Southern Tag Team Champions The Lords of the Ring (Rob Conway and Nick Dinsmore) to win the title.

2003 - In Carolina, Puerto Rico, Carly Colón won the WWC Universal Heavyweight Title by defeating Sabu, and Alex Montalvo defeats Pablo Marquez for the WWC World Junior Heavyweight Title. Also at that show, Eddie Colón won the vacant WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Title by defeating Dominican Boy in a tournament final.

2004 - In Montreal, Quebec La Résistance (Robért Conway and Sylvain Grenier) defeated WWE World Tag Team Champions Edge and World Heavyweight Champion Chris Benoit to win the title.

-- Bret Hart issued an apology for his in-ring joke during WWE Appreciation Night here. The joke was that he was always nervous when Pat Patterson got down on his knees in front of him. Patterson thought it was funny.

-- Jon Fitch doesn't think PPV is a viable way to make money. Yup.

-- Bubba Jenkins, who beat David Taylor to win the 2011 NCAA title, signed today with Bellator.

-- Mikey Whipwreck on Off the Top Rope Radio with Ed, Cutrer and Craig here tonight.

-- American Icon Autographs June 8 at Frank and Son Collectible Show 19649 E. San Jose Avenue City of Industry, CA 91748 Royce Gracie Roy Nelson Lyoto Machida Nate Diaz Vida Guerra (Playboy Cover Girl) MORE INFO: WWW.AIASE.COM. Vida will have the longest line, guaranteed.

Josh Barnett 78.0%
Frank Mir 22.0%

John Cena 54.0%
Ryback 46.0%

Excellent 24.6%
Good 43.9%
Average 21.1%
Fair 3.5%
Poor 7.0%
58.4% of those responding didn't see the show

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