MON. UPDATE: Punk/Heyman angle, Mark Henry notes, Payback competition, TripleMania, Al Green funeral, King Mo fights this week, new WWE dates, WWE vs. UFC this week, Gotch piledirver in MMA, Edge as bouncer

By Dave Meltzer
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        We're looking for your thoughts on Sunday night's WWE Payback and Saturday night's UFC 161, 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 live reports from Raw in Grand Rapids, with Superstars and dark matches, and anything else that wouldn't be evident from the live TV show.
        Smackdown and Main Event will be taped Tuesday night in Dayton.

        We've got a new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter up on the site today, as well as our back issue this week, which is the 1996 WrestleMania issue.
        Our lead story this week looks at the latest news stories as well as what came out in them which is new covering the 1983 case involving the death of girlfriend of Jimmy Snuka as well as a look back at the career of Snuka.  It's a story that has been covered before, but was front page news in two newspapers this past week and got tremendous response.
        We look back at the career of Snuka, his run in the WWF, who Nancy Argentino was, family reaction, Snuka's story, new information revealed, where mistakes were made in the handling of the case, how different things were 30 years ago and the reaction this got at the time, and Snuka's post-WWF run career.
        We also have a story covering this year's Best of the Super Juniors tournament, including trivia notes, what was unique about this year's show, how the final changed from original plans, more on New Japan's next PPV show, plus full coverage of the final night of the round-robin tournament and the final four night.  We also have a history of all the previous finals.
        We also have more on the reaction to the lower Raw ratings, update on Payback, changes in the TV show and why, and an update on WWE injuries to some of the biggest names in the company.
        We also look at new executives coming into WWE, notes on Dwayne Johnson's movies, John Cena reality show notes, a look at WWE's last training camp and what has been noted about the new class.
        We also look at Daniel Bryan and Dean Ambrose talking about their current situation, Lanny Poffo talks Randy Savage and the WWE Hall of Fame, more notes on new WWE signees, notes on recent Intercontinental champions, if the IC title and U.S. titles are effective in elevating talent, plus business notes from WWE over the past week and house show highlights.
        We look more at Bellator's move to Friday nights, the history of MMA shows on Fridays, Bellator's average on Friday vs. Saturday in the past, why the move was made, Bellator's Summer plans and notes on the new Bellator reality show.
        We also have full coverage of UFC's weekend show from Brazil, with the record night of submissions, the future of Fabricio Werdum, notes on the ratings, funny challenges and match-by-match coverage.
        We also look at the April and May ratings for WWE and TNA and compare them from how they were doing, including what have been the changes year-over-year in wrestling and what, in particular, has changed, consistent with every major wrestling television show.  Is WWE or TNA doing better than they were a year ago.
        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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        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 this past week 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:
--Notes on the CMLL trios tournament
--CMLL and AAA going head-to-head this week
--Notes on the 2013 DragonMania show
--TripleMania update
--UFC star will be part of TripleMania and how the deal was put together
--The next Dragon Gate USA tour of the U.S.
--More details of Dragon Gate shows from Japan airing live on iPPV in North America
--First lineup of such, as well as the second lineup
--This week's big Dragon Gate shows and all the title matches
--Update on All Japan problems including the future of several of the wrestlers
--What's next for Keiji Muto
--Shiraishi talks All Japan goals for the next year
--Former All Japan star set to return
--More on the pro wrestling debut of the son of the son of El Santo
--Notes on New Japan business right now and going forward
--New Japan owner talks UFC, WWE and where New Japan stands
--New Japan star training this past week with UFC big names
--Former name pro wrestling star, retired, now working as a model
--Notes on the death of Mark Ashford-Smith aka Mark Starr
--Update on a number of former 90s stars of WCW and WWF
--A look at a number of major indie shows on iPPV
--One of wrestling's oldest promotions moves to iPPV for big show in a few weeks
--Notes from the last ROH show
--Wrestler dropped by ROH
--Lots of notes on Rampage Jackson in TNA
--Notes on how first impressions are important, but also often don't tell the full story
--Thoughts on Rampage Jackson going forward
--Slammiversary numbers
--Bound for Glory series notes
--TNA cuts
--Sting talks potential of going to WWE
--The reason Sting has never gone to WWE
--Notes on TNA announcer Hector Guerrero
--Lots of notes and thoughts on upcoming UFC events
--When the biggest names will be ready
--More on MMA being allowed in different locales
--Is Chael Sonnen a liar?  What would he say if asked?
--Update on Nick Diaz as a fighter and as a promoter
--Lots of UFC injury updates
--Lots of new UFC matches
--A look at Bellator's U.K. TV deal
--Rampage Jackson Bellator plans
--Notes on upcoming shows for World Series of Fighting
--Jon Fitch talks extensively on UFC pay
--Bobby Lashley MMA update               
        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.
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*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
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
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*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)
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*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
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*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)
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*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)
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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.
Monday's News Update
--Bryan and I will be back tonight covering Raw, taking your questions and discussing the latest news on Wrestling Observer radio.  We have three new weekend shows up right now, a post-UFC 161, post WWE Payback and an hour plus show answering tons of questions about everything under the sun.
--The WWE web site has a video with Paul Heyman and C.M. Punk starting up the split between the two of them since Punk is now a babyface.  Punk makes it clear that Heyman is not his manager or his legal representative, and that Heyman should stick with Brock Lesnar and Curtis Axel, who need him.  Punk said he and Heyman are strictly friends.
--I guess we'll see what happens with Mark Henry tonight.  Could be a legit retirement, could be an angle.  As noted earlier today, people I checked with had heard nothing about Henry retiring so if he is, it's not something many were aware of ahead of time.
--Last night, in competition with Payback, the NBA finals did 14.16 million viewers.  Miss USA, where Nikki Bella was a judge, did 4.56 million viewers.
--Regarding TripleMania, that didn't air last night, Dorian Roldan said that UStream was sending out refunds to everyone that ordered and that the show would air for free at some point today at the web site (thanks to Des Delgadillo)
--Joe Bailey, the father of J.C. Bailey (who passed away in 2010), passed away due to complications from lung cancer at the age of 58 yesterday.  He promoted Bad 2 the Bone wrestling in Kentucky (thanks to Brian Wescott, Adam Lash and many others)
--WWE related searches were in 6th place yesterday, at about the same level as UFC searches were the day before.  That's not good for UFC, which usually beats WWE searches by roughly the same margin it wins when it comes to PPV numbers.  But nobody was expecting Saturday's UFC show to do any big numbers.  
--WWE returns to Ontario for TV with Raw being taped on 9/9 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and Smackdown on 9/10 in Ottawa.
--The next WWE show in Chicago will be Raw on 9/23.
--King Mo faces Seth Petruzelli on Wednesday night in the main event of Bellator's first show on Spike without the benefit of a TNA lead-in.  that makes for a very interesting rating.  Bellator's FightMaster reality show debuts on Wednesday night.  I've seen the first episode and it was very good, and most everyone else who has seen it has written the same thing.
--The funeral information for former WCW wrestler Al Dobalo (Al Green) is that there will be a viewing from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday at the Blount & Curry Oldsmar West Hillsborough Chapel in Tampa.  The funeral will be Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the same location. 
--Chael Sonnen and Kenny Florian will be judges at the annual Hooter's international swimsuit competition at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas on 6/27. 
--As far as the Fuel schedule goes, Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin is at 7 p.m., and the live show from last year headlined by Stefan Struve vs. Stipe Miocic is at 8 p.m.
--A few notes from yesterday's update.  Jackie Fargo remains in critical condition.  China Grove, the city Fargo has lived in forever, is in North Carolina, not South Carolina as listed yesterday.   Also, the Tony Martin listed in a Texas title change from the early 60s was later better known as Assassin #1, Tom Renesto. (thanks to Crimson Mask)
--Regarding the Fandango song being played at Saturday's Baltimore Orioles game, they actually did a wrestling themed day when it came to music.  Every Oriole player came out to a wrestling song, including themes from Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, HHH, Ted DiBiase Sr., Big show, Val Venis, Too Cool and Chris Jericho (thanks to Kyle Luce)
--FWE is doing an iPPV on Friday night at 8 p.m. Eastern at
Carlito Colon vs. John Hennigan (John Morrison) for FWE title
Tommy Dreamer vs. Rob Van Dam (this was made before RVD signed with WWE)
Paul London vs. Jimmy Akio Yang
Jigsaw & Tony Nese vs. Young Bucks
Angelina Love & Katarina Leigh (Winter) vs. Maria Kanellis & Ivelisse Velez
Brian Kendrick vs. Petey Williams
A Rumble
--Jerry Lawler's first match back on 5/25 is available now at by clicking on Jerry Lawler Returns to the ring.
--On Friday night's XFC show on AXS, in a lightweight match, Eric Reynolds gave Kevin Forant a Minoru Suzuki version Gotch piledriver right in front of ref Gary Copeland.  The piledriver is, in fact, illegal in MMA (and Jim Cornette did not write that rule).  It looked brutal.  The ref didn't call it.  But Mike Schiavello, a huge wrestling fan, was calling the action and went crazy, although he didn't reference Karl Gotch or Suzuki. (thanks to Michael Bernstein)
1934 - Mario Nunez beat Tony Canales in Mexico City to become the first-ever Mexican national welterweight champion
1957 -  Cyclone Anaya beat Tor Yamato to win the Southern jr. heavyweight title in Birmingham
1964 - Pat Patterson & Tony Borne beat Nick Bockwinkel & Buddy Moreno to win the Pacific Northwest tag team titles in Salem, OR
1965 - Bob Orton Sr. won a tournament for the vacant Souther title in Jacksonville
1972 - Dutch Savage & Lonnie Mayne beat The Royal Kangaroos (Jonathan Boyd & Norman Fredrich Charles III) to win the Pacific Northwest tag team titles
1977 - A huge show in  St. Louis saw WWWF champion Superstar Billy Graham retain over Big Bob Slaughter (later Sgt. Slaughter), NWA champion Harley Race beat Missouri State champion Jack Brisco, and AWA tag team champions Greg Gagne & Jim Brunzell beat Blackjack Lanza & Bobby Duncum
1982 - Pvt. Don Kernodle & Pvt. Jim Nelson beat Porkchop Cash & Iceman King Parsons to win the Mid Atlantic tag team titles in Roanoke
1983 - In front of the first-ever legitimate pro wrestling sellout crowd at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Kerry Von Erich & Bruiser Brody beat Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy to win the American tag team titles.  The main event saw Harley Race retain the NWA title in a match with Kevin Von Erich.  Fans expected Ric Flair, who had lost the title a week earlier to Race.
1984 - Jake Roberts apparently won the NWA TV title from Ron Garvin in Atlanta, but the title was held up because Roberts used a foreign object
1985 - Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo beat Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff to win the WWF tag team titles in Poughkeepsie
1985 - The Fabulous Ones, Stan Lane & Steve Keirn, beat Ron Sexton & Billy Travis in a tournament final to win the Southern tag team titles in Memphis
1987 - Villano III beat Perro Aguayo Sr. to win the vacant WWF light heavyweight title in Mexico City
1988 - Chris Benoit beat Johnny Smith in Calgary to win the British Commonwealth mid-heavyweight title
1989 - TNA beat Abbuda Dein (who I think was Curtis Iaukea's son Rocky) to win the WWC TV title in San Juan    
1990 - Suzuka Minami beat Aja Kong via DQ to win the All-Pacific title, but Minami declined accepting the title due to the nature of the finish
1990 - Manami Toyota beat Yumiko Hotta to win the annual Japanese women's Grand Prix tournament
1996 - Jushin Liger beat Dick Togo to win the British jr. heavyweight title in Tokyo and Shinjiro Otani beat Kazushi Sakuraba to retain the UWA jr. light heavyweight title
1996 - Flex Kavana (Dwayne Johnson) & Bart Sawyer beat Brickhouse Brown & Reggie B. Fine to win the USWA tag titles in Memphis
1997 - Kyoko Inoue beat Kaoru Ito to win the WWWA women's title in Sapporo
2007 - Kurt Angle won King of the Mountain to win the TNA title and Jay Lethal beat Chris Sabin to win the X Division title
Chan Sung Jung 78,0%
Ricardo Lamas 22.0%
Raw 27.0%
Impact 26.0%
Smackdown 18.9%
UFC 161 prelims 9.2%
ROH 7.7%
CMLL 3.6%
WSOF 2.6%
XFC 2.0%
UFC Tonight 1.0%
MMA  Live 1.0%
Main Event 0.5%
Countdown to UFC 161 0.5%
--Knokx Pro from Saturday in Simi Valley, CA:  Syko Stu b Maverick, Parker Greaves b Pedro, Parker Greaves b Jezette, Jacob Fatu & Hillbilly Hero b Greyson & Primal, EyeZ in Disguise b Money Money Montez, Ricky the Activist b Logan, Black Pearl b TMD in a lumberjack match.  Next show is 7/26 in North Hollywood at the NoHo Food Truck Fest. (thanks to Clint Mayher)
--Smash Wrestling from last night in Toronto:  Taylor Hayden b Shane Sabre, Urbdan Miles and Preston Miles, Gregory Ironb Buxx Bellmar, Jewells Mallone b Seleyzia Sparkz (one of ROH's Hoopla Hotties), John Greed b Shane Sabre, John Green b Urban Miles, John Greed b Preston Miles, John Greed b Tadarius Thomas, Brent Banks b Alex Vega, John Greed b Ginger Ninja, Josh Alexander & Sebastian Suave b Louis Lyndon & Flip Kendrick, Scotty O'Shea won a three-way over Tyson Dux and Player Uno, Matt Cross b Sonjay Dutt in a falls count anywhere match.  Dutt did a moonsault off a bike stand outside the building. (thanks to Dave Musgrave)
--A story on the House of Truth Wrestling school is at (thanks to Jeff Westfall and others)
--Honky Tonk Man headlines Friday night's Funkdafied Wrestling show in Union, NJ at the Elks Lodge.
--The Insane Championship Wrestling TV show at features Prince Devitt vs. B.T. Gunn.
--Andre the Giant was referenced during the TV show last night that Julia Louise-Dreyfus is on.
--An interview with Dan Severn is at at the 39:00 mark.
--Paul Lazenby has an interview with Adam "Edge" Copeland talking about his days when he was 17, and he worked as a bouncer in Orangeville, ONT at 
--NWA Florida Underground Wrestling from Saturday night in Kissimmee, FL:  T-Bone Funk b Josh Hess and Keannu, The Grease b Mitch Mitchell, Andreas Rossi b J.D. Maverick, Lince Dorado b Angel Santos, MDK & JB Cool b Joey Epix & Big O, Rosa Negra b Solo Darling & Cherry, Kahagas b Kenny Kendrick-DQ, Michael Tarver b Deimos   (thanks to Ron Niemi)
--The new ROH six-pack will be released by Filsinger Games this coming Saturday in Baltimore at the Best in the World iPPV show.  The new pack, called Future of Honor, has playing cards for Matt Taven, ACH, QT Marshall, Tadarius Thomas, BJ Whitmer and Bobby Fish.
--Matt Hardy made an announcement that he will not be appearing at Saturday night's New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame night.  He will be working on Friday night in Everett, MA for Big Time Wrestling doing a meet and greet before the show and wrestling on the show.

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?