WED. UPDATE: New Rock movie, Great TV show, Cornette podcasts, TNA PPV matches, Hogan on OWN, Tokyo Dome show, Star of Raw, Eddy Guerrero, Tanahashi, DiBiase and original UFC
By Dave Meltzer |
We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE house shows in Zurich, Switzerland and Nottingham, England at
Ultimate Fighter tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern on FS 1 has Julianna Pena vs. Sarah Moras, winner goes to the live finals at 10 p.m.
Main Event on Ion tonight has:
A.J. Lee vs Natalya for Divas title
Justin Gabriel vs. Tyson Kidd
Titus O'Neal & Darren Young vs. Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre
Thursday has WWE shows in Leeds, England and Rouen, France. Friday night has shows at the O2 Arena in London and in Marseilles, France.
Coverage of UFC's decline in audience heading into its biggest shows in year is the lead story in this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. We've also got a new back issue from 1996 up which talks about a WWE jump to WCW more than one year before it happened and how close it came to happening at the time for an NWO surprise member. We also look at negotiations for what would have been some of the biggest matches in Japan that also never happened and how close they came.
This week's issues looks at the challenges MMA faces and its historical weaknesses in maintaining popularity. We look at the reason nobody's talking about for UFC's PPV increases this year, and the questions it faces with a declining television audience. We look at just how much of the audience has dropped and the reasons as to why. We also look at how pro wrestling differs from other sports when it comes to audience loyalty. We look back at the history of Vale Tudo in Brazil, the dark ages of UFC in the U.S., and look at the 20th anniversary show as well as the two shows last week.
We also look at where Hulk Hogan sits and thoughts on what his role would be in 2014 as well as optimum use for him if he can still go on the ring, more on John Cena and Big Show, Survivor Series updates, and a lot on the internal shakeups in WWE as well as how talent is paid. We look at the release of Kassius Ohno, why advertised matches haven't been taking place, what on paper looks to be great timing for WWE, and something surprising that has been talked about and whether it makes sense financially.
We also look at Miz's turn, who is being focused on in WWE advertising, coverage from developmental including hot prospects and injuries, notes on the upcoming season of Total Divas, a new WWE signing, and tons of news from the WWE European tour.
We also look at New Japan's Road to the Tokyo Dome with the first five matches announced, what they mean, background of the matches, what the expected rest of the show is, and coverage of the two big shows this past week.
We also have a look at the possible end of All Pro Wrestling with the death of Roland Alexander, a look back at his life, the controversies surrounding it, the attempts to make the promotion grow, Beyond the Mat, and thoughts on him, as well as a look back at the 2001 King of Indies and how it led to the formation of Ring of Honor.
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 and how every segment on Raw and Impact did as far as gaining or losing 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:
--Why two rival promotions are working together on a show this next week
--Why another promotion is having business issues
--A.J. Styles in Mexico
--A look at Masato Yoshino's second Open the Dream Gate title defense
--A look at Dragon Gate's upcoming U.S. shows
--All Japan adding a title
--NOAH planning its last big show of the year for Akira Taue's retirement
--A look at the top scheduled matches on the show
--Final standings and a look at the Global League singles tournament
--Details on this year's New Japan tag team tournament
--Who are in what blocks and what are the key lineups
--Lineup for New Japan's next iPPV on 11/23
--A look at the CMLL/New Japan FantasticMania lineups for January
--Why Fedor Emelianenko is attending a big pro wrestling show next month
--The return of a character from the 80s
--Former WWE star puts up his hair on major international show this week
--Lots of TNA PPV news
--A look at some upcoming PPV matches
--A look at Tommy Dreamer's House of Hardcore show
--A look at TNA tapings
--What wrestlers have been contacted by TNA
--A look at recent TNA house shows
--A look at next week's Impact
--UFC injuries and card changes
--Advance for the last major UFC event of the year
--Update on the TUF finales
--Notes on international dates
--Notes on UFC in Brazil
--More on Rousey vs. Tate and a last minute win by Tate
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.
Our most requested issues in our history are:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
*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)
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*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)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*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)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*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)
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
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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.
WEDNESDAY'S NEWS UPDATE
--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking UFC's 20th anniversary, Saturday night's show, Smackdown, as well as taking e-mail questions to
--In 2014, the annual April European tour will be in May, from 5/14 to 5/24.
--Dwayne Johnson has signed to star in "Not Without Hope," a movie inspired by a best selling book. The movie is about four friends, including two NFL players, who were on a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat capsizes and they are stranded at sea. It's about the men trying to survive and hoping to be discovered.
--The UFC Prime Time episode from last night on the front page is really good. One of the best they've done in, really since the Rousey vs. Carmouche season.
--Hulk Hogan will be appearing on Oprah's Where Are they Now TV show on Sunday at 10 p.m. on OWN. Hogan will be talking about the events that caused him to consider suicide (remember, when Laila Ali saved his life and she was totally unaware of it).
--TNA announced two matches for its Hardcore Justice PPV taping on 12/29 in Lowell, MA, as an escape the cage match with Austin Aries vs. Chris Sabin vs. Samoa Joe and Abyss & Eric Young vs. Chritsophter Daniels & Frankie Kazarian in a Full Metal Mayhem match.
--Even though Amazon UK is listing a Paul Heyman autobiography as being released on 11/30, there is no such book.
WHAT SHOULD BE THE TOKYO DOME MAIN EVENT?
Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito 54.2%
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 45.8%
WHO IS THE BEST OF THESE HALL OF FAMERS?
Ric Flair 74.8%
Ted DiBiase 7.5%
Dynamite Kid 7.5%
Dick the Bruiser 3.7%
Dory Funk Jr. 3.3%
Tatsumi Fujinami 1.9%
Jackie Fargo 1.2%
Alfonso Dantes 0.2%
WHO WAS THE STAR OF RAW?
Daniel Bryan 33.1%
Antonio Cesaro 17.8%
C.M. Punk 14.2%
Paul Heyman 11.4%
Big Show 6.4%
Brad Maddox 3.6%
Randy Orton 3.1%
John Cena 3.1%
POLL ON RAW
15.5% of those responding didn't see the show
--Jim Cornette has revamped his JimCornette.com web site, which will have a bio, his commentaries on wrestling, politics and currentevents, his Fighting Spirit Magazine columns, a look at his collecitibles, restaurant rviews and more. Cornette will also be doing a weekly Thursday morning podcast at MLW.com and bonus shows for subscribers to the site.
--Ted DiBiase appeared today on WJDX 620 AM in Jackson MS with hosts Doug Colon and Jay White promoting the WrestleMania on-sale and the Mid South Wrestling DVD. He talked about his son and his new ventures, talked about the Coal Miner's Glove tuxedo match in a cage loser leaves town with Jim Duggan, starting his career in 1975, wrestling in Jackson during his Mid South Wrestling days and said he was thrilled WrestleMania was at the Superdome because he had many matches there. (thanks to Glen Waddle)
--Lance Palmer (7-0) of Team Alpha Male will challenge Geori Karakhanyan (22-3-1) in a quest to become the first World Series of Fighting featherweight champion.
--Hiroshi Tanahashi turned 37 today. Sara Del Rey turned 33.
--Rufus Jones was 60 when he passed away on this day 20 years ago. Eddy Guerrero was 38 when he passed away eight years ago today. Tiger Conway Sr. was 74 when he passed away on this day in 2006.
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1967 - Mick McManus beat Clayton Thompson in London to win the British middleweight title
1972 - Johnny Weaver & Art Nelson beat Gene & Ole Anderson in Charlotte to win the Atlantic Coast tag team titles
1976 - Jan Wilkens beat Seiji Sakaguchi in Johannesburg to win that region's world title
1979 - Verne Gagne beat Rusher Kimura in Niigata to win the IWA title
1984 - Marty Jones beat Fit Finlay in Dartford to win the world mid heavyweight title
1992 - Rock & Roll Express beat Heavenly Bodies in Harlan, KY to win the Smoky Mountain tag team titles
1993 - Tommy Dreamer & Johnny Gunn beat Johnny Hotbody & Tony Stetson to win the ECW tag team titles in Philadelphia. Main event on the show was Sabu & Road Warrior Hawk over Terry Funk & King Kong Bundy
1994 - Perro Aguayo beat Konnan in Ciudad Juarez to win the AAA heavyweight title
1995 - Karula (Harley Saito) beat Eagle Sawai in Tokyo to win the LLPW title
1995 - Kensuke Sasaki beat Sting to win the U.S. title in Tokyo
1998 - Bestia Salvaje & Scorpio Jr. beat Dr. Wagner Jr. & El Satanico in Mexico City to win the vacant CMLL tag team titles
2002 - Brian Lee & Slash beat Chris Harris & James Storm to win the NWA tag titles in Nashville
2006 - Edge & Randy Orton beat Ric Flair & Roddy Piper for the WWE tag titles
2011 - At the TNA Turning Point show, Robbie E beat Eric Young to win the TNA title and Gail Kim b Velvet Sky'
--UFC Tonight airs at 11 p.m. tonight on Fox Sports 2. Nothing on FS 1 because of college basketball.
--There is an NXT show in Tampa tomorrow headlined by Adrian Neville & Sami Zayn vs. Billy Gunn & Bo Dallas.
--Bellator weigh-ins are tomorrow at 5 p.m. Eastern at The Social Bar inside The Revel Casino in Atlantis City. The main card has:
Joey Beltran (14-9) vs. Rampage Jackson (32-11)
Vitaly Minakov (12-0) vs. Alexander Volkov (19-3) for the heavyweight title
Justin Wilcox (13-5) vs. Patricio Pitbull Freire (19-2) in featherweight tournament finals
Tom McKenna (7-3) vs. Marcos Galvao (14-6-1)
--Sabu won the championship of Pro Wrestling Holland on Sunday night in Hillegom, Netherlands in a four-way match over Tengkwa, Gabriel Angelfyre and Big Beert.
--The band the Psychotic Turnbuckles, who released the song "Sudan Butcher" about Abdullah the Butcher in 1988, plays at the Annandale Hotel in Sydney, Australia on 11/30 (thanks to James Stanios)
--CMLL from Monday night in Puebla before a terrible crowd of less than 1,000): Super Comando & Artillero & Inquisidor b Tiger Rojo Jr. & Tiger Rojo Sr. & Meyer, Starman & Metatron & Super Halcon Jr. b Camorra & Siki Ozama I & Toro Bill Jr., Stuka & Delta & Guerrero Maya Jr. b Bobby Zavala & Virus & Misterioso Jr., Averno & Mephisto & Mr. Niebla b La Sombra & Blue Panther & Diamante Azul, Shocker won three-way over Negro Casas and Rush when Rush hit Shocker with a low blow
--CMLL from last night in Guadalajara: Smaker & Sky Kid b Malefico & Exterminador, Shockercito & Astral & Electrico b Mercurio & Pequeno Olimpico & Pequeno Halcon, Virus & Bobby Zavala & Sangre Azteca b Fuego & Sagrado & Pegasso Extreme, Ultimo Guerrero & Euforia & Niebla Roja b Atlantis & La Sombra & Titan, El Terrible b Rush to retain the CMLL heavyweight title (thanks to Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims an Kris Zellner)
--There has been a slight change in the lineup for Saturday night's Dragon Gate USA show in Queens, NY at the Queensboro Elks Lodge:
Young Bucks vs. Bravado Brothers for the Open the United Gate tag team titles
Johnny Gargano vs. Masaaki Mochizuki (Non-title)
Genki Horiguchi vs. Rich Swann for the Open the Brave Gate title
AR Fox vs. Shane Strickland vs. Andrew Everett vs. Fire Ant
Jimmy Susumu vs. Anthony Nese
Trent Baretta vs. Chuck Taylor
Ricochet vs. Biff Busick
Caleb Konley vs. Steven Walters
Mr, Touchdown vs. Jon Davis
--Vendetta Pro Wrestling on 11/23 at the Boys & Girls Club of Simi Valley, CA with Jimmy Yang, as well as stars of both Operation Repo and Storage Hunters would be making an appearance.
--Legacy Fighting Championships Friday night on AXS at 10 p.m. from Houston featuring 2008 gold medalist Henry Cejudo against new opponent Saul Elizondo, who replaces the injured Humberto De Leon.
Jorge Macaco Patino (30-13-1) vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira (8-0)
Jon Harris (8-3) vs. Artemas Young (9-6)
Jon Kirk (16-12) vs. Larry Crowe (6-3)
Kaileb Cummins (2-0-1) vs. Charles Ontiveros (3-1)
--Sunday in Tlanepantla, Mexico: Crazy Star & Ludark Shaitan b Anime & Star Fire, Las Traumas I & II b Apolo Estrada Jr. & Impulso, Dinmic Black & Freelance & Super Nova b Comando Negro & Puma King & Tiger, Blue Panther & Maximo b Villano IV & Cassandro, Dr. Wagner Jr. & L.A. Park b Atlantis & Ultimo Guerrero
--Atlantis vs. Ultimo Guerrero headlines on Saturday night in Queens at La Boom in a show promoted by Johnny Rodz.
--Covery Pro Wrestling on 2/15 in Frederick,MD with a Veterans Day weekend show
--Lucha Libre on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in El Paso at 711 Stiles
--Franklin Sade, a former wrestler at Eastern Michigan, who was described as an MMA fighter, passed away on Monday when he fell 70 feet while camping near a waterfall in Munising Township, MI. He was collecting firewood whe he fall according to U.S. Ranger Bill Smith. The terrain was described as steep and rough and covered with ice.