TUES UPDATE: Punk vs. Lesnar plans, shoot finish on Raw, Daniel Bryan update, Boston and UFC, look backstage at Fight Master, Bryce talks Chikara future, 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 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 looking for reports on tonight's Smackdown tapings in Dayton.  Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose is the announced Smackdown main event.

        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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        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               
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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

-- At the moment, and things could change, Lesnar vs. Punk will likely take place at SummerSlam and not Money in the Bank.

-- Daniel Bryan was injured in his match with Randy Orton last night and the finish was essentially a shoot as they stopped a match that Daniel was scheduled to win. The story online that he suffered a stinger is legit. WWE has added the storyline that he went backstage and had a huge argument with HHH about the match being stopped, with him saying he'd worked through plenty of injuries in his career and Hunter took away his biggest-ever win.

-- The Boston Herald story on UFC and Boston that we talked about on last night's Observer Radio is up here. As noted on the front page, Marc Ratner is confident that the show will go on as scheduled. Dave has an article with quotes from Ratner here.

-- Last night's show, by the way, is a FREE download here, so feel free to post the link and spread the word about the show. We do anywhere from 10-12 brand new shows every week for members, plus every show we've ever done dating back to 2005 comes with your $10.99 monthly subscription as well. And that's not to mention the Observer and Figure Four newsletters that come out every week plus back issues and archives. So yeah, if you like this free show, guaranteed you'll love a subscription.

-- We also have a great interview with Colt Cabanaup now as well.

-- Ryback was at Raw last night and lost to John Cena in a tables match after the show went off the air.

-- USA Today story on Vitor Belfort wanting another shot at the title here. It's about work ethic, everyone.

-- Kenny Florian on Twitter noted that when he was a fighter he often requested that Steve Mazzagatti not ref his fights. He said he agreed 100% with Dana White that Mazzagatti was not fit to ref. Dana did a nine-minute tirade on Mazzagatti the other day, and said now that he'd bitched about it he was certain that due to ego the NSAC was going to assign Mazzagatti to referee the Anderson Silva/Chris Weidman fight.

-- The Bellator Summer Series, which includes King Mo fighting, debuts tomorrow night on Spike TV. Mo said he's been doing about two hours of pro-wrestling training a week and hopes to be in a TNA ring working by the end of August.

-- Jake Ellenberger and Rory McDonald are having a pretty LOLworthy back-and-forth on Twitter.

-- Randy Orton talks growing up here.

-- Jonathan Snowden writes about experiences on the set of Fight Master here.

-- Preview for a new life of Iron Sheik documentary here.

-- Jim Ross looks at WWE Payback and more here.

-- Bryce Remsburg talks the supposed death of Chikara here. He says it's done and he knows guys who are selling their old gear.

-- Dave Meltzer looks at UFC prelim numbers and how the World Series of Fighting did last week here.

-- While there is no official dress code like there is in WWE, UFC fighters were alerted that during press appearances they are not allowed to wear shorts and flip-flops any longer. Jeans are fine and shoes are a must. Ben Henderson is upset because he loved the shorts and flip-flops.

-- Kris Zellner with an update on the AAA iPPV: More on the UStream confusion from last night, people were getting letters for refunds this morning for not getting Triplemania last night and Marisela Pena tweeted today that UStream had a tech there from Germany who was working on the problem but he couldn't get it done so he was blamed while the tech has blamed AAA saying that they didn't help him at all. It doesn't really matter whose fault it was because the way it was handled by everyone was ridiculous. The show will be uploaded online soon for free for everyone who wants to watch it.

-- The full show is, in fact, online right now on Youtube, and Des has put together a start-to-finish playlist here.

-- Shawn Michaels on Ministry of Slam Radio here.

-- I MEAN! Productions is proud to present the world premiere of Breaking Kayfabe by Temar Underwood (The Brokenhearteds, The Lady Drug Dealer and the Heist) as part of the 17th annual New York International Fringe Festival – FringeNYC. This gripping drama about the rise and fall of a professional wrestling superstar premieres in North America’s largest multi-arts festival August 9th – August 28th, 2013.

-- Smackdown taping August 27th in Las Vegas.

-- New awards added to the Viva La Lucha Kickstarter, which still has a long way to go to reach its goal, up here.

-- Busy day in history with Brian Hoops:

1950 - Arjan Singh defeated Sandor Szabo to win the NWA Hawaii Heavyweight Title in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1951 - Miguel Guzman defeated Wayne Martin for the NWA Texas Heavyweight Title in Fort Worth, Texas

1968 - Dory Funk, Jr. & Terry Funk defeated Kurt & Karl Von Brauner to win the Texas version of the NWA World Tag Team Title in San Angelo, Texas

1971 - Bruno Sammartino and Dominic DeNucci defeated The Mongols (Geeto and Bepo) for the WWF International Tag Team Title in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1971 - The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Colstello & Don Kent) won the WWA World Tag Team Title from Wilbur Snyder and Moose Cholak in Indianapolis, Indiana.

1972 - Enrique Vera defeated Raul Mata for the Mexico National Light Heavyweight Title.

1977 - Jimmy & Johnny Valiant defeated Moose Cholak & Paul Christy for the WWA World Tag Team Title in Indianapolis, Indiana

1977 - Hercules Ayala defeated Huracan Castillo to win the WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Title in Caguas, Puerto Rico

1978 - Dusty Rhodes defeated Dick Slater to win the NWA Florida Southern Heavyweight Title in Miami, Florida

1980 - Bob Brown & Pat O'Connor defeated Takachiho (The Great Kabuki) & Pak Song for the NWA Central States Tag Team Title in Des Moines, Iowa.

1981 - Bob Sweetan & Terry Gibbs defeated The Fabulous Freebirds (Terry Gordy & Michael Hayes) to win the vacant NWA Central States Tag Team Title in Kansas City, Kansas.

1982 - Ringo Mendoza & Cachorro Mendoza defeated Satanico & Espectro, Jr. for the Mexico National Tag Team Title.

1983 - Jack and Jerry Brisco defeated Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood to win the Mid-Atlantic version of the NWA World Tag Team Title in Greenville, South Carolina

1984 - Davey Boy Smith defeated Bad News Allen in Vancouver, British Columbia for the Stampede North American Heavyweight Title

1984 - Phil Hickerson & The Spoiler (Frank Morrell) defeated Tommy Rich & Eddie Gilbert to win the AWA Southern Tag Team Title in Memphis, Tennessee.

1989 - The Marine Wolves (Suzuka Minami & Akira Hokuto) defeated Grizzly Iwamoto & Bison Kimura for the vacant WWWA World Tag Team Title in Tokyo, Japan.

1995 - Sting defeated Meng to win the vacant WCW United States Heavyweight Title and The Renegade defeated Arn Anderson to win the WCW World Television Title at the Great American Bash in Dayton, Ohio.

1997 - Mima Shimoda & Etsuko Mita defeated Tomoko Watanabe & Kumiko Maekawa in Sapporo, Japan to win the WWWA World Tag Team Title.

2002 - Doug Williams defeated Justin Starr for the British Heavyweight Title in Southampton, England

2004 - Dr. Wagner, Jr. defeated Canek to win the UWA World Heavyweight Title in Mexico City, Mexico

2005 - CM Punk defeated Austin Aries to win the ROH Heavyweight Title in Morristown, New Jersey.

2006 - A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels defeated America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm) to win the NWA World Tag Team Title and Jeff Jarrett defeated champion Christian Cage, Abyss, Ron Killings and Sting in a King of the Mountain match to win the NWA World Heavyweight Title in Orlando, Florida.

-- Josh writes: I'm not sure if you've received any reports on this, but Comcast is pretty heavily pushing WWE Classics on Demand right now. They have a repeating commercial on the On Demand channel, including a newly taped interview with Jerry Lawler. On the commercial, they're pushing the Monday Night Wars as the main selling point. They also have banner ads all over the guide menus. Keep up the great work! I've been a subscriber for almost 5 years now.

-- The WWE presale password for Anaheim is WWEFAN

-- Very good and also honest interview with Sting in the new Muscle and Fitness. Talks about his current condition, taking steroids when he was younger and why he's glad he stopped, his TNA run and how long he's got left, and more.

-- Ed and the crew talk misused pro-wrestlers here.

-- NWA Smoky Mountain returns to the Civic Auditorium in Kingsport, TN on Saturday, June 29 for Summer Bash 2013.

-- From WWE: WWE Superstar John Cena can add another notch to his WWE Championship title, this time knocking Fred Flintstone out of the ring, off of the box and out of TV commercials. Post Fruity Pebbles is expanding its existing partnership with WWE and Cena, through the launch of two new TV commercials, a photo app and an on-pack giveaway. Previously, John Cena appeared as a “Pebble-ized” character on special boxes of Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles, and now he’s back for more. “We’re thrilled to be expanding our partnership with John Cena beyond the cereal box and connecting him with fans both on TV and at play,” said Sharon Pupel, Marketing Director at Post Foods. “We hope kids enjoy virtually interacting with the ‘champ’ through the launch of the PebblesPics app and on-pack giveaway, and we want to make sure we continue to provide fans with fun and positive experiences, not only at the breakfast table, but throughout the day whenever and wherever they choose to play.”

WWE Payback 65.1%
TNA Slammiversary 9.2%
New Japan Dontaku 8.9%
UFC Nogueira vs. Werdum 4.9%
UFC Velasquez vs. Bigfoot Silva 4.3%
WWE Extreme Rules 3.1%
ROH Border Wars 2.8%
UFC 161 1.8%

Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart 36.6%
John Cena vs. C.M. Punk 30.0%
Pat O'Connor vs. Buddy Rogers 12.4%
Frank Gotch vs. George Hackenschmidt I 9.7%
Frank Gotch vs. George Hackenschmidt II 7.9%
Lou Thesz vs. Edouard Carpentier 3.3%

2.6 or less 6.3%
2.7 1.7%
2.8 8.7%
2.9 23.4%
3.0 25.2%
3.1 14.7%
3.2 8.4%
3.3 4.5%
3.4 1.0%
3.5 1.7%
3.6 or more 4.2%

Antonio Cesaro 40.2%
Jim Ross 20.4%
Tyson Kidd 9.5%
Christian 8.8%
Wade Barrett 7.7%
Drew McIntyre 3.0%
Ted DiBiase 2.7%
Zack Ryder 1.8%
Naomi 1.7%
Brad Maddox 1.6%
Kofi Kingston 1.5%
The Miz 1.3%

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?