FRI UPDATE: Dana talks FS1 ratings, Mark Henry note, Hogan interview talking TNA and WWE, Miz marriage date, rare Sakuraba interview, tons more!



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

A lot of stuff happening this weekend and we're looking for reports on all of the shows.

We're looking for reports tonight on the TNA house show in Newark, DE (Bully Ray vs. Samoa Joe for TNA title, A.J. Styles vs. Bobby Roode, Magnus vs. Ken Anderson, James Storm & Gunner vs. Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian for tag titles, Manik vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Zema Ion for X title, Gail Kim vs. ODB) and tonight's ROH show in Chattanooga (Adam Cole & Tommaso Ciampa vs. Michael Elgin & Kevin Steen, Kyle O'Reilly vs. Cedric Alexander, Bobby Fish vs. Caprice Coleman, ACH & Tadarius Thomas vs. Mike Posey & Corey Hollis, Matt Taven vs. Davey Richards, Jay Lethal vs. Luke Hawx) 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

WWE opens up a major market touring weekend tonight with a show at the Bell Centre in Montreal (Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE title, Curtis Axel vs. C.M. Punk, The Shield vs. Mark Henry (not confirmed he's on the road although he was cleared yesterday) & Big Show & Rob Van Dam, plus the major arena WWE debut of Sami Zayn and the return to action of Tyson Kidd.

The same WWE A-team crew runs on Saturday night in East Rutherford, NJ at the Izod Center and Sunday in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center.

TNA has an all-women's taped PPV starting tonight:

Alissa Flash vs. Gail Kim

Ivelisse Velez vs. Lei'd Tapa

Tara vs. Mia Yim

Brooke Tessmacher (Brooke is still a babyface here) vs. Santana Garrett

ODB vs. Trinity

Jackie Moore vs. Taryn Terrell

Taelor Hendrix vs. Hannah Blossom vs. Sojo Bolt

Velvet Sky vs. Jillian Hall

Mickie James vs. Serena Deeb (James is still a babyface here)

All the winners of the matches go to a Battle Royal to determine the Queen of TNA

Tonight's Arena Mexico show airs live and free at http://www.terra.com.mx

Electrico & Astral & Bam Bam vs. Mercurio & Pequeno Olimpico & Nitrito

Delta & Triton & Guerrero Maya Jr. vs. Okumura & Sangre Azteca & Misterioso Jr.

Marco Corleone & Brazo de Plata & Maximo vs. El Terrible & Vangelis & Rey Bucanero (Isn't Bucanero in Japan?)

Shocker & La Mascara & Diamante Azul vs. Mr. Niebla & Negro Casas & Felino

Atlantis & La Sombra vs. Ultimo Guerrero & Volador Jr.

Rush vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the Universal championship

Saturday is Bellator from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT. There is a two-hour free Internet show starting at 6 p.m. Eastern time. Spike goes live at 8 p.m. with these fights:

Derek Anderson (9-0) vs. Patricky Pitbull Freire (10-4)

Jason Butcher (6-0) vs. Giva Santana (18-2) in the first round of the middleweight tournament

Brian Rogers (10-5) vs. Mikel Parlo (9-1) in the first round of the middleweight tournament

Jeremy Kimball (10-3) vs. Perry Fillkins (7-1) in the first round of the middleweight tournament

Justin Torrey (9-0) vs. Andreas Spang (8-3) in the first round of the middleweight tournament

Alexander Shlemenko (47-7) vs. Brett Cooper (19-8) for the middleweight title

The Joe Riggs vs. Mike Bronzoulis TUF final and the Joe Warren vs. Nick Kirk fights are both off due to an eye injury suffered by Riggs in training and a training injury suffered by Warren as well.

The WWE "B" crew runs on Saturday night in Windsor (Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian and Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston are the advertised top matches but we haven't heard officially that Christian is on the road due to his concussion) and Saturday night in Hamilton, ONT.

TNA runs Saturday night in Bethlehem, PA (Bully Ray vs. Samoa Joe for TNA title, James Storm & Gunner vs. Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian for tag titles, Manik vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Zema Ion for X title, A.J. Styles vs. Bobby Roode, Gail Kim vs. ODB, Ken Anderson vs. Magnus).

ROH also runs Saturday night in Birmingham at Boutwell Auditorium with Roderick Strong vs. Adam Cole, first fall pins only, second fall submissions only, third fall 15:00 Iron man match, Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish vs. Mike Posey & Corey Hollis vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. ACH & Tadarius Thomas--if anyone but Fish & O'Reilly win, they will get a title shot immediately, Matt Taven vs. Jay Lethal non-title (if Lethal wins he gets a title match on either 9/20 or 9/21), Michael Bennett vs. Davey Richards, Kevin Steen vs. QT Marshall, Michael Elgin vs. Raymond Rowe and Tommaso Ciampa vs. Luke Hawx.

The debut of Keiji Muto's Wrestle-1 promotion from the Tokyo Dome City Hall will be an iPPV for $20 at www.ustream.tv/w-1 starting at 3 a.m. Eastern time Sunday morning and midnight Pacific time on Saturday night.

Raw will be Monday night in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre featuring an appearance of Edge.

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped Tuesday night in Ottawa.

        Lots of news in the Observers this week.  This week's back issue on the web site is huge historically, as WCW had just taken the lead in the Monday Night Wars and WWF filed a lawsuit against them for the portrayal of Kevin Nash & Scott Hall.  It was big at the time, and ended up even bigger historically.  The wording of the lawsuit is almost hilarious when you consider how the booking turned out.

 
        Our new issue talks more about the biggest stars in WWE and UFC and their marketability.  We look at a  number of wrestlers on the WWE roster and look at when their popularity peaked, when it fell, and interesting notes including when wins and losses matter a ton, who benefits most when heels constantly beat down babyfaces, and what WWE headliner is so much more effective as a heel than a face, "but you already knew that."
 
        We also update Night of Champions and what key question will be answered about the WWE audience that weekend.
 
        We've got full coverage of UFC 164, including the story behind Anthony Pettis' rise to stardom, business notes on the show, an old story involving The Crusher in Milwaukee, early PPV estimates, the future booking of Pettis and Jose Aldo, as well as match-by-match coverage with star ratings.
 
        We also update UFC's move to Fox Sports 1 including many changes made over the past week, what the rating for last Wednesday's show said, a staggering note in the Condit vs. Kampmann two fight series and a TV analyst notes one reason Ultimate Fighter may be hurting this year as compared to the past. 
 
        We also look at the UFC roster when it comes to star power and compare it to three years ago and what type of star is missing.  We look at UFC on Spike compared to ESPN and why the traditional sports network goal would not have been the best thing for growth.  We look at the position UFC is in leading to its biggest four month period in years on PPV.  We examine the top stars in UFC today and where they stand as well.
 
        We also look at Konnan's interview where he talked about WWE attempting to buy AAA a few years ago.  We look at what was going on at the time and why WWE would have been interested.  We look at how things are different today.  We look at WWE expansion plans and why they fell through.  We look at why the deal didn't go through when it was proposed, as well as how it was proposed.
 
        We also have more regarding WrestleMania in 2015 and 2016, WWE injury updates, more new names of WWE wrestlers, more on the WWE tryout camp, Dolph  Ziggler update, more on Ted DiBiase Jr. leaving WWE and what his next plans are, Ted Sr. talks his son leaving, Mid South Wrestling DVD, Cody Rhodes wedding, Next wee's Raw, Total Divas, update on Shane McMahon, Memphis legends show as well as WWE weekend business note and house show highlights.
 
        We also look at the career of retired former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk.
 
        We've got coverage of the UFC show in Indianapolis, as well as an interesting note on UFC Fight Night business.
 
        We also examine the controversy regarding Bellator's Kong Mo vs. Emanuel Newton fight and calling it an interim title fight.
 
        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.
 
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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:
 
--Big foreign show weekly now being streamed
 
--Update on CMLL's Champion of Champions tournament
 
--What main event between Hall of Fame candidates this past week was canceled and why
 
--Update on an international group's plans for U.S. expansion
 
--Notes on the Dragon Gate tag team tournament
 
--Japanese star teasing dropping his gimmick
 
--Another Japanese star loses his ring name
 
--AAA high flyer headed to Japan to challenge for jr. title
 
--Notes on the New Japan PPV plans for the next three months
 
--New promotion debuting on iPPV this week and lineup
 
--Diamond Ring does one of its biggest shows in history
 
--Update on the fate of wrestling in the Olympics
 
--Battle of Los Angeles coverage
 
--Terry Funk doesn't stay retired
 
--More of Ric Flair on Steve Austin's podcast
 
--Lots of major stars head overseas for a prospective new promotion
 
--Update on the WWC Aniversario show build
 
--Notes on the Briscoe Brothers in ROH
 
--Update on A.J. Styles contract situation
 
--Story behind the Styles promo on Impact
 
--More about the craziness of the Bound for Glory series
 
--Notes on TNA's next major TV show
 
--Update on Wanderlei Silva
 
--Chael Sonnen's next fight ideas
 
--UFC making a move and spending big money
 
--UFC debuting in new markets
 
--Ticket sales for all upcoming UFC events, what is good and what isn't so good
 
--Lots of new UFC fights
 
--Dana White talks Eddie Alvarez and Ben Askren
 
--Fight Master finals  
 
 
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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..
 
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Today's News, Notes and Links

-- Dana White's statement to Ariel Helwani on this week's UFC on FS1 ratings:

"We were #1 on all of cable with M18-34 and M18-49. We also beat the US Open and the Detroit vs Red Sox MLB game. This is all part of the building process. We’ve made a commitment to work with FOX to build this network. If you look at all of the other networks we’ve ever been on we consistently pull strong ratings. The first time we put our prelims on FX we pulled 880K viewers and it grew, depending on the fight, up to 1.9 million viewers for UFC 156. Also, the TUF season with Carwin and Big Country averaged 822K viewers then Jones vs Sonnen averaged 1.3 million viewers. We currently hold the top 4 most watched telecasts on FS1 since the network launched. To be honest, our Prelim and Fight Night numbers weren’t bad considering we started on the west coast at 2pm in the afternoon on a Wednesday. The most important thing is last night’s fights were awesome and this season of TUF is great. Yes, we didn’t pull the 1 million + but we will. But, we also fucked up last night by not starting the main event later so that we could get a live lead into TUF. The bottom line is FOX couldn’t be happier with the UFC and the ratings we’re pulling. And we couldn’t be happier with the way we’ve been treated by the network."

-- Funny trivia: Apparently, creative found out the Mark Henry update by reading our front page. The communication within the company has been the source of comedy for awhile now.

-- Hulk Hogan interview here talking TNA, WWE, his career and more. He claims he has virtually no real input into anything in TNA outside of some last-minute tweaking (in other interviews he's admitted to changing entire storylines at the last minute), and also claims it takes TEN YEARS to develop a character. It's an interesting read.

-- So after last night, next week's Impact has Bully Ray vs. Mr. Anderson for the title (I love that Mr. Anderson got eliminated from the all-important Battle Royal to earn A CHANCE to get a shot at the title, and then 30 minutes later he's got a shot at the title anyway), Austin Aries vs. AJ Styles in a Bound for Glory Series semi-final, and Bobby Roode vs. Magnus in the other semi-final.

-- Miz announced that he and Maryse are getting married in February.

-- There is a House of Hardcore Behind the Scenes documentary here.

-- New interview with Gail Kim here. She's also the TNA Knockout of the Month, a video of which is available here.

-- Dana White behind the scenes video from UFC Fight Night on Wednesday here.

-- Great subtitled interview with all-time legend Kazushi Sakuraba here.

-- From the promoter: World Series of Fighting 5's two-and-a-half-hour NBCSN telecast airs live thirty minutes earlier than previously reported at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. The main card features a heavyweight slugfest between sambo master Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski (19-10) and AKA product Mike "MAK" Kyle (20-9-1) serves as the evening's main event.

-- Awesome Kong/Karma was on Double Divas this past Tuesday on Lifetime being fitted for a better sports bra. Thanks to Mike.

-- Paul writes: Not sure if it's been reported or if it's exclusive to BellTV subscribers in Canada but they are offering a "championship package", which includes UFCs 165,166,167 and 168 for the price of 3 PPVs. All in HD and the total cost is $179.97. If people are Bell subscribers, they can get details on channel 1450.

-- The Total Divas taping in Florida that took place a few days ago was for the REUNION SPECIAL which all reality shows do. You know, reuniting all the cast members who are on the road with each other four days a week all year round.

-- While I don't know this, my guess is that Tyson Kidd's in-ring return tonight in Montreal will be part of a storyline on one of the upcoming episodes of Total Divas.

-- Lots of great shows up right now including Awesome Kong from Tuesday, which has gotten great reviews, Bruce Mitchell and Dave last night talking the Crockett era documentary from highspots.com, a new Wrestling Weekly, a Bryan & Vinny Show, a Lance Storm show, and more. We're also up later on tonight with a new After Dark Radio. A list of news articles to discuss and more will be on the front page a little later on. We'll be taking 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, and phone calls at midnight Pacific/3 AM Eastern at 425-482-1686. The moment the phone lines open up I'll update my Twitter @bryanalvarez, so if you want to know when to call for this or any other show, follow me there.

-- For I think the first time ever, the Thursday Bryan & Vinny Show with Granny's segment and the full Impact review is a FREE DOWNLOAD here.

-- Want to work for Impact Wrestling? They're looking for a social media manager.

-- A few days ago we had a mailbag question about why Rock had never done anything for WWE Films. The answer was that WWE Films never had the budget to afford him. Well, only a few days later comes this.

-- Former Strikeforce star Lavar Johnson has signed with Bellator.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S ULTIMATE FIGHTER SHOW?
Excellent 18.3%
Good 52.1%
Average 15.5%
Fair 5.6%
Poor 8.5%
36.6% of those responding didn't see the show

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S MAIN EVENT?
Excellent 11.5%
Good 42.3%
Average 23.1%
Fair 11.5%
Poor 11.5%
69.0% of those responding didn't see the show

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THURSDAY'S NEW JAPAN IPPV SHOW?
Excellent 40.0%
Good 26.7%
Average 26.7%
Fair 0.0%
Poor 6.7%
83.7% of those responding didn't see the show

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF WEDNESDAY'S UFC FIGHT NIGHT?
Excellent 7.4%
Good 54.4%
Average 23.5%
Fair 8.8%
Poor 5.9%
42.9% of those responding didn't see the show

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST NEWS STORY OF AUGUST?
SummerSlam, Bryan wins title, Orton wins title 31.6%
Cena tears triceps 21.5%
G-1 Climax tournament 14.1%
UFC debuts on FS 1 12.3%
Darren Young comes out 10.9%
WWE profits way down for Mania quarter 3.2%
Kurt Angle enters rehab 2.8%
Dutch Savage passes away 2.4%
Eddie Alvarez legal battle ends, signs with Bellator 1.2%

-- On Sunday, October 6, wrestling will be headed to Centerville, Tennessee, for the Bulldog Brawl! This benefit is for the Centerville Junior Pro Football team. All proceeds from this benefit goes to help out the CJP! And any CJP player who attends in their jersey or uniform will be admitted for free! Tickets are $5.

-- This Saturday at The Ohio Theatre on 122 West North Street in Downtown Lima, Ohio as National Championship Wrestling Presents... "The Alpha", featuring for the first time in Lima in over 20-years, a "Texas Death Match"... pitting Samuel Farmer ("The "Legendary" Sam Farmer) vs. "The Hebrew Hammer" Joseph Schwartz with special guest referee Zachary BabySmooth Green from Lima Combat Sports.

-- New Jersey's premier amateur fight promotion, the Asylum Fight League, has found a new home at the Trump Taj Mahal. AFL president and CEO Carl Mascarenhas and Taj Mahal executives worked out a deal that will keep the Asylum Fight League at the Taj Mahal for the rest of 2013 and all of 2014.

-- Ryan Nemeth, the brother of Dolph Ziggler who spent some time in developmental as Briley Pierce before being cut, has a very wacky column up here. Not sure I would have made any reference to guys being on steroids, even as comedy, if I ever wanted to get a job there again.

Today in History with Brian Hoops:

1972 - The Sheik defeated Seiji Sakaguchi in Tokyo, Japan to win the NWA United National Heavyweight Title. That belt is now part of the All Japan Triple Crown.

1981 - Ron Bass defeated Greg Valentine to win the NWA Television Title in Ashville, North Carolina, ending Valentine's fourth, and final, run with the belt.

1993 - The Moondogs (Spike & Cujo) defeated The Dogcatchers for the USWA Tag Team Title in Memphis, Tennessee

1997 - Steven Dunn defeated Doomsday (Kane) for the USWA Southern Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee.

2002 - In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar defeated World Champion Triple H in a rare bout between the Smackdown and Raw champions. Before the match, it was announced that only Lesnar's title was on the line. Lesnar's home town of Webster, SD is about 150 miles from Sioux Falls.

2003 - Toshiaki Kawada defeated Shinjiro Ohtani in a tournament final to win the Triple Crown in Tokyo, Japan.

2003 - Nigel McGuiness defeated Chad Collyer for the Heartland Wrestling Association Title in Batavia, Ohio.

-- Five questions with Cheerleader Melissa here.

-- Squared Circle Live has their 3rd anniversary show on 11/13 at the Class Act Dinner Theatre (104 Consumers Drive - Whitby, ON) at 6 PM. 

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Which of these main events would draw the best?

 

What are you planning on watching on Friday?