FRI UPDATE: Tons of notes from Impact, Bound for Glory Series, AJ promo, his new deal, Chael's next challenge, weekend schedule, 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 reports on tonight's TNA show in Hagerstown, MD (Bully Ray vs. Chris Sabin for TNA title, James Storm & Gunner vs. Frankie Kazarian & Christopher Daniels for tag title, Mickie James vs. ODB for Knockouts title, A.J. Styles vs Ken Anderson, Bobby Roode vs. Joseph Park and Magnus vs. Austin Aries) at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

UFC 164 is tomorrow at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee

Facebook fights at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time

Magnus Cedenblad vs. Jared Hamman

Ryan Couture vs. Al Iaquinta

Soa Palelei vs. Nikita Krylov

On FS 1 at 8 p.m.

Chris Calum vs. Kyung Ho Kang

Pascal Krauss vs. Hyun Gyu Lim

Tim Elliott vs. Louis Gaudinot

Jamie Varner vs. Gleison Tibau

PPV at 10 p.m.

Erik Koch vs. Dustin Poirier

Ben Rothwell vs. Brandon Vera

Chad Mendes vs. Clay Guida

Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir

Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis for lightweight title

WWE only has one crew on the road because of Labor Day weekend, with Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan and C.M. Punk vs. Curtis Axel as the scheduled main bouts. They run Saturday in Boston and Sunday in Washington, DC.

TNA finishes up its tour on Saturday night in Woodstock, VA at the Shenandoah County Fair with Bully Ray vs. A.J. Styles for the THAN title, Chris Sabin vs. Bobby Roode, James Storm & Gunner vs. Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian for the tag team titles, Mickie James vs. ODB for the Knockouts title, Joseph Park vs. Ken Anderson and Magnus vs. Austin Aries.

Monday night is the live Raw from Des Moines.

Smackdown and Main event will be taped Tuesday in Minneapolis.

        It's a big week of Observers with a double issue on the site as well as the new back issue on the site which covers the life and career of Dick Murdoch, as well as one of WCW's best-ever PPV shows on its road to growth.

        It's kind of a West Texas week, with both the story of Murdoch, as well as the story of Don "The Lawman" Slatton, one of the most colorful figures of the 60s and 70s, known for being the greatest practical joker of his time with the classic story of Jack Brisco and the Governor.
        The lead story in the new issue looks at the biggest stars in boxing, MMA and pro wrestling, and thus far in 2013, comparing where they stand from 2012.  Who gained by losing.  Who lost by losing.  Who doesn't get pushed to the level of their popularity.  Some interesting notes in this one.
        We also talk about what will be one of the biggest shows in Mexican wrestling history, the CMLL's 80th anniversary show coming up on 9/13 at Arena Mexico.
        We look at the HHH interview in Grantland with comments on a lot of subjects, including Vince McMahon, Steve Austin, Wade Keller, Bruce Mitchell, Brock Lesnar, buffer matches, match orders, wrestling reporters, Mick Foley, chair shots to the head, Japanese death matches, developmental, Sly Stallone, a physical Hall of Fame, and even Damien Sandow.  A lot of different topics are broached here.
        We also have notes on WrestleMania 32, Bill Goldberg talks what he has and hasn't agreed to regarding WWE and his thoughts on Ryback and Undertaker, what wrestling movie project WWE has turned down, an interesting note on Night of Champions on PPV, update on the show, Ted DiBiase talks leaving WWE and his background and a look back at his WWE run, planned key house show programs, wrestlers appearing on USA Network show, lots of TV work by former WWE star, who was the mystery guy in Total Divas chasing Nattie Neidhart, SummerSlam gambling and what was different from recent shows, update on Rey Mysterio, Jerry Lawler's affinity for Batman, WWE NXT tapings notes, new signings, new names, return to Mexico, Best of MSG DVD, Jim Ross U.K. talk show stories, Samy Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro 2/3 falls, as well as business notes from the past week and highlights from all the house shows.  
        We also have a feature on the greatest heavyweight rivalry on the current MMA scene Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos as they prepare for their October match.  We look at what is holding both back from being considered all-time legends, their amazing records in fights not against each other, personality differences, MMA in the U.S. vs. Brazil, something Velasquez believes is a significant edge for him in fight No. 3.
        We also note the rosters for the new season of Ultimate Fighter.
        We've got a major feature on Don "The Lawman" Slatton, one of the most colorful wrestling figures of the 60s, including the questions regarding the night he either did or didn't try to steal the world title from Harley Race in a chain match, the story of that match that has gone down in wrestling folklore, West Texas wrestling, where he first gained national recognition, his most famous practical jokes, and wrestling in Abilene.
        We also look at the WWE July business notes including the big unanswered question involving the Money in the Bank numbers, as well as attendance, DVD shipments and more.
        Plus we've got an updated look on how Raw, Smackdown and Impact are doing as a trend as compared to a year ago.  We look at what is a notable continuing trend regarding viewership of pro wrestling in 2013 as compared to 2012.
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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 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:
--An interesting story to watch regarding an arena and which promotion they ally with.
--The latest from Arena Mexico
--A new member of a famous wrestling family makes his major arena debut
--A look at the first night of the Champion of Champions tournament
--Hiroshi Tanahashi in Mexico
--Major wrestling star gets sentenced to more than seven years in prison for assault
--Open the Dream Gate title changes again
--Company looks to have dropped iPPV after its biggest event
--All Japan's first major show after Keiji Muto era is over
--The reaction and changes on the way
--A look back at the first main event in All Japan history
--The end of the three-belt Triple Crown
--Upcoming big All Japan shows
--Naomichi Marufuji's 15th anniversary show
--What world title feud was teased at the show
--Okada vs. Ibushi notes
--Notes on the debut of Wrestle-1
--Legends promotion unique main event with stars of 80s New Japan
--A special show in December to honor the 50th anniversary of the death of one of the biggest wrestling names in history
--Sting makes his debut in Puerto Rico on the Anniversary show
--Ric Flair talks with Steve Austin and the real story of the night Bruiser Brody was killed
--Why Jose Gonzalez eventually worked for Bruiser Brody's best friend in Puerto Rico
--What wrestler was always against it
--Ric Flair's fondness for Wahoo McDaniel
--Flair talks greatest tag teams he ever saw
--Boxing champ and UFC Hall of Famer both talk about getting into pro wrestling
--A retirement match for one of the 80s best workers
--Update on former WWE star now playing college football this season
--Youngest U.S. Olympic wrestler passes away
--Damien Darling talks relationship with Tammy Sytch
--More notes on a wrestling movie that is being released in December for Academy Award recognition
--First local promotion to get TV in Quebec since International Wrestling
--Update on Jake Roberts
--Update on Gypsy Joe
--Changes talked about in ROH
--Next ROH shows and year's biggest show
--Update on A.J. Styles contract situation
--The mess that the Bound for Glory tournament turned into
--Tara talks leaving TNA and if she'll come back
--Departure of SoCal Val
--A look at Hulk Hogan's comments at his Q&A in Toronto
--Hogan and Bischoff talk 90s angles
--Hogan admits where he got his schtick from
--Bischoff says he's learned a lot
--Notes on next taped TNA PPV show
--Notes on Wanderlei Silva interview
--Update on the health of Stefan Struve
--Lots of notes on how FS 1 is doing
--How the first boxing show did
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Notes on Cerrone arrest
--Blow away notes on the first UFC on FS 1
--What this says about the UFC's fan base
--Boston politics regarding minors attending  MMA shows
--My thoughts on the new law
--UFC injury updates
--Bellator PPV notes
--Bjorn Rebney talks Ben Askren's contract situation
--Notes on Bellator's first few shows of he new season
--Former UFC fighter arrested twice in the same week in his attempt to beat Tammy  Sytch's records
--Cris Cyborg tries new sport on TV

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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

-- John Cena noted on his Twitter that he's 9 days post-op and still can't move his arm.

-- AJ Styles signed a three-month contract extension. The promo on Impact was something he came up with and wrote to explain his character change over the past year, and not something that TNA had any input into. We got reports from the building that the crowd turning on him was worse live than it sounded on TV.

-- If you haven't seen it, the promo is here.

-- Should note a pretty famous wrestler contacted me today about the promo and said they were friends with AJ Styles and had no idea his real name was Allen Jones.

-- Despite finishing up the Bound for Glory tournament without having done half the scheduled matches, the company still managed to tape a Joe Park vs. Jay Bradley Bound for Glory tournament match for Xplosion last night -- the SECOND TIME the two have worked in the tournament. This one is not AJ Styles' fault.

-- But WAIT! There's more! The guy in first place in the tournament (at least as of last night's Impact), Magnus, is also the guy with the least number of matches of anyone, just four.

-- AND EVEN MORE! On August 27th they did a house show where Joe beat Roode via submission and got 10 points. This must have been right around the time they decided to end the whole thing because on TV that match and those points were never acknowledged, because if they were Joe would have ended up in 2nd place and qualified for the No Surrender semi-finals. However, on TV they noted that Bobby Roode had lost four times in the Series -- which means they were acknowledging his loss to Samoa Joe, but not acknowledging the points Joe got by beating him.

-- For whatever it's worth, there are international partners with TNA who were under the impression that it was a round-robin tournament, everyone would be facing everyone else, and that was what was advertised during commentary for months.

-- I think the best course of action would be to not ever do a Bound for Glory Series again.

-- Also, as noted on the front page, the big disaster at the end of the show with Hulk Hogan inexplicably signing Sting to a title match despite the fact that earlier this year Sting lost a match where he would never be allowed to challenge for the title again was the latest in a string of problems involving Hulk and his memory. He was supposed to announce a non-title match, not a title match (not to mention saying it would take place next week, not this week). Also not something that TNA had anything to do with. They quickly went on Twitter and explained that it was not a title match. Bully also made sure to straighten it about before the match started, noting it wouldn't be a title match due to the PPV stipulation.

-- Since Wanderlei Silva won't be ready in time for UFC 167 , Chael Sonnen, who really wants to fight on that show, has now challenged Rashad Evans. Rashad pretty much already accepted but Dana hasn't made the fight yet. Chael even provided a mock poster which shows the two of them in the main event with GPS vs. Hendrix underneath as semi-main.

-- Sami Callihan debuted on NXT this week under his new name, SOLOMON CROWE.

-- This is one of the most factually inaccurate articles I have read in a LONG time, and worse, these "facts" are being used to explain why the author feels WWE stock is overvalued. It's impressive when you can write a history of WWE and get almost every single fact wrong.

-- Mick Foley has comments on his Facebook page hereabout AJ's promo on the Bellas and Total Divas this past Monday on Raw.

-- The former Derek Bateman worked a dark match for TNA last night, losing to Jay Bradley.

-- Very good article on Curtis Axel here.

-- Nigel McGuinness interview here.

-- New Chris Jericho video interview, which I don't think has been posted elsewhere yet, here and here.

-- There may or may not be an After Dark Radio tonight. Death of WCW deadline is this weekend so likely that's all I will be doing next few days.

-- Dave will be on the MMA Hour on Monday at 1 PM Eastern.

-- From Bellator: As anticipation continues to build around Bellator’s November 2nd Pay-Per-View, the promotion announced today the American Forces Network will air “Rampage vs. Tito” in its entirety in over 175 countries worldwide to nearly one million American service men and women stationed overseas. "Bellator means warrior, and the finest warriors in the world today are the brave American men and women who put their lives on the line every day to defend and protect our way of life -- they are the true heroes," said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “We’ve been airing on the American Forces Network since 2010 and the response from our service men and women has always been tremendous, and it’s an honor to be able to bring this PPV to those serving our country.” The American Forces Network Broadcast Center distributes more than 210,000 hours annually of radio and television programming to its well-deserving audience via an encrypted satellite signal that accommodates nine separate television services and 11 radio services. Bellator will continue to air on AFN throughout 2013 and beyond.

-- is having a 25% off sale for Labor day that starts now and ends on 9/3/13.

-- This is how Ticketmaster is advertising the September 8th WWE house show: WWE Live -- Alberto Del Toro vs. Christian -- Copps Coliseum. Meanwhile the poster itself has DEL TORO vs. Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler billed as main event.

-- New interview with Costa Phillappou here.

-- WWE in a legal battleover replica belts.

-- Lance Storm has a commentary on FUNNY STORIES, SERIOUS MEN here. Shockingly none include him putting on an elephant hat at the zoo.

-- You HAVE to read this story. RD Reynolds says it's the greatest thing to ever happen to him and his website. It's an awesome story.

-- Chris Jericho on Ring Rust Radio here.

-- Story on Austin Aries and TNA here.

-- Today in History with Brian Hoops:

-- 1969 - Mad Dog & Butcher Vachon defeated Crusher & Dick the Bruiser for the AWA World Tag Team Title in Chicago, Illinois

1996 - Sid Vicious defeated Jerry Lawler for the USWA Unified Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee,

1998 - At the SummerSlam PPV in Madison Square Garden, The New Age Outlaws defeated Mankind and Kane in a Falls Count Anywhere match to win the WWF World Tag Team Title and Triple H defeated Rocky Maivia in a Ladder match for the WWF Intercontinental Title

-- Over the Top Radio tonight talking news of the week here.

-- The Scottish Rites Masonic Center in Sacramento, CA on September 8th will be having a "Pro Wrestling/GI Joe/Toy Fair/Pop Culture" convention. Doors open at 10 am (early bird special at 9 am available as well.) Wrestlers signing autographs and doing photo opportunities will be Sgt. Slaughter, Marty Jannetty, Bushwhacker Luke, Leilani Kai, Angelina Love, Tatevik the Gamer, and much more. There will also be live wrestling with stars from both Pro Wrestling Bushido and Supreme Pro Wrestling. Plus Leilani Kai and Bushwhacker Luke will be doing a special Q&A with the fans at the event. Anyone needing more information regarding this event please contact co-promoter Roy Lucier at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Excellent 13.0%
Good 39.1%
Average 30.4%
Fair 4.3%
Poor 13.0%
72.3% of those responding didn't see the show

Carlos Condit 62.0%
Kelvin Gastelum 25.9%
Brandon Thatch 10.2%
Darren Elkins 0.9%
Rafael dos Anjos 0.9%

Condit vs. Kampmann 68,0%
Perez vs. Mizugaki 16.0%
McGee vs. Whittaker 8,0%
Elkins vs. Hioki 4.0%
Cerrone vs. Dos Anjos 3.0%
Abedi vs. Andrews 1.0%

Excellent 14.7%
Good 45.3%
Average 26.3%
Fair 5.3%
Poor 8.4%
34.9% of those responding didn't see 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?