THURS. UPDATE: Undefeated and unwanted, Mania seating, Lawler on Kaufman's death, Sonnen on WWE offers, First UFC Vegas 2014 main event off, WWE European schedule, UFC buys for Saturday



By Dave Meltzer | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @DaveMeltzerWON
 
        We're looking for reports on today's WWE shows in Leeds, England and Rousen, France, yesterday's show in Zurich, Switzerland, as well as tomorrow's shows in London, England and Marseilles, France at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        Impact tonight at 9 p.m.
Ken Anderson vs. Knux
Ethan Carter III vs. Dewey Barnes & Norv Ferman in a handicap match
Joseph Park vs. Christopher Daniels
Gail Kim vs. ?
Kurt Angle vs. Austin Aries in a submission match in the TNA title tournament  
 
        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.
 
        The Observer is now in its 31st 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 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)
 
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history)
 
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*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
 
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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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*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)
 
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*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)
 
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*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)
 
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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.
 
THURSDAY'S NEWS UPDATE
 
--Dana White at a press conference earlier today said that he's got no interest in signing Ben Askren, the Bellator welterweight champion, who was released by Bellator since he made it clear he didn't want to stay with the promotion.  White said that Askren barely beat Jay Hieron, who couldn't hang in UFC, which is true, but that was also several fights ago, and Askren is 12-0.  This is the first time you can outright say UFC isn't signing someone based only on having a boring style.  They fired Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami, but both were coming off losses and were no longer in title contention in their divisions.  Antonio McKee never beat anyone of note and was already old, more boring than Askren, and still eventually had a shot in UFC.  Askren isn't boring to people who are into wrestling, but that's not the majority of the public.  However, he does have a strong personality, more than 95% of the UFC roster, and could be the best wrestler in the entire company.  When you're arguing if UFC is primarily sport or entertainment, and the answer is both, this sways things in the direction strongly of entertainment.  That's not a dirty word, either, although some may feel it is.  The reality is most of its fans watch it for entertainment and don't obsess over the sports aspect, but it does want to portray itself as sport.  I'm not sure what sport doesn't hire a winning player with a big rep in the sport because they are considered boring in style by those who don't really care about wins and losses.
 
--Although the released seating chart that was out last week says differently, there will be a stage and lots of seats blocked off at WrestleMania.  There is a presale going on right now for the show.
 
--Jerry Lawler said, in response to the story where Andy Kaufman's daughter thinks he's still alive, that if he is, he'd like to wrestle him at WrestleMania.  Actually, the daughter was a hoax.  Kaufman's brother introduced a woman as Kaufman's daughter, born in 1989, a few years after his believed death, who claimed he was still alive and just wanted a secret life.  But the woman was found to be an actress.
 
--Chael Sonnen did an interview today saying he had received offers from pro wrestling but he made a decision a long time ago to be loyal to Dana White.
 
--After it being announced last night that Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira would headline the UFC show on 2/22 in Las Vegas, Dana White at the press conference today said that it wasn't happening.  The fight would still happen, but it wouldn't be on that date.
 
--Lorenzo Fertitta has a story at http://sports.yahoo.com in the MMA section on what it means for UFC to be turning 20.     
 
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1963 - Killer Kowalski & Gorilla Monsoon beat Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard to win the U.S. tag team titles (which later became the WWWF tag titles sort of)
1973 - Tony Garea & Dean Ho beat Toru Tanaka & Mr. Fuji to win the WWWF tag team titles in Hamburg, PA
1990 - Etsuko Mita & Mima Shimoda beat Mike Takahashi & Kaoru Maeda to win the Japanese women's tag team titles in Yokohama.
1999 - Big Show, who subbed for an injured Steve Austin, beat HHH and The Rock in a three-way main event at Survivor Series to win the WWF title in Detroit. 
 
--Some dates for the next WWE European tour
5/14 Glasgow, Scotland
5/15 Newcastle, England
5/16 Leeds, England
5/17 Nottingham, England
5/18 Cardiff, Wales
5/19 London O2 Arena (Raw taping)
5/20 London O2 Arena (Smackdown taping)
5/20 Sheffield, England
5/21 Belfast, Northern Ireland
5/22 Dublin, Ireland
        Tickets for all these shows go on sale Monday at 9 a.m. (thanks to Stephen Lyon) 
  
--Brendan Schaub announced today that he's signed a new six-fight contract with UFC, coming off his recent win over Matt Mitrione.
 
HOW MANY BUYS DOES UFC 167 DO?
Under 450,000 13.6%
451-500,000 6.8%
501-550,000 4.0%
551-600,000 5.1%
601-650,000 7.4%
651-700,000 6.3%
701-750,000 15.3%
751-800,000 8.5%
801-850,000 14.8%
851-900,000 3.4%
904-950,000 6.3%
More than 951,000 8.5%
 
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF GSP VS. HENDRICKS PRIME TIME PART 3
Excellent 43.9%
Good 36.6%
Average 7.3%
Fair 0.0%
Poor 12.2%
        65.3% of those responding didn't see the show (missed a good one, especially the last 4 minutes)
 
WHO WAS THE BEST OF THESE HALL OF FAMERS?
Terry Funk 59.4%
Verne Gagne 11.5%
Gorgeous George 10.6%
Frank Gotch 9.0%
Karl Gotch 4.8%
Dry Funk Sr. 3.5%
Cavernario Galindo 1.2%
 
WHO WAS THE BEST OF THESE HALL OF FAMERS?
Bret Hart 62.2%
Stan Hansen 16.3%
George Hackenschmidt 8.5%
Billy Graham 8.1%
Eddie Graham 2.7%
Stu Hart 1.6%
Gori Guerrero 0.4%
 
--A story on Johny Hendricks is at www.metro.us/newyork/sports/mma/2013/11/14/johny-hendricks-honored-to-fight-on-ufcs-20th-anniversary-card   
--Tonight on Fox Sports 2 at 8 p.m. is Ultimate Fighter, Best of Pride at 9 p.m. and UFC Prime Time episodes two and three (three is great) from 10-11 p.m., followed by the UFC 20th anniversary special at 11 p.m. (also great) and UFC Tonight at 1 a.m.
 
--Jessie Godderz from TNA will be co-hosting the College Arm Wrestling League Championships.  The filming takes place Sunday and Monday in Asbury Park, NJ at the Stone Pony.  It will be taped for airing as a series of TV shows in 2014 on both ESPN U and ESPN 2.
 
--There is an article at www.wzronline.com/wrestling-news/excluive-ddpjake-robertsscott-hall-screw-over-fans.html  The story claims some people who donated money to Hall and Roberts, including some who essentially gave up their rent money to get a phone call from them, never got what was promised.  Honestly, it's a sad story all the way around. 
 
--Paul London has been announced for the 1/25 ROH show in Pittsburgh, which is the night before the Royal Rumble in the same city.
 
--Johnny Gargano has now hit the two year mark as the Dragon Gate USA Open the Freedom gate champion.
 
--The Fight Network announced a doubleheader with One FC Warrior Spirit from Kuala Lampur, Malaysia at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time followed by Final Fight Championships kickboxing at 1:30 p.m. from Ljubljana, Slovenia.  The shows will air on the Fight Network in Canada, ZON in Portugal, D-Smart in Turkey and ZAP in Angola and Mozambique.  Vitor Pinto vs. Nobutatsu Suzuki headlines for One FC.  James McSweeney, a former UFC fighter from TUF season 10, will be fighting on the Slovenia show against Stefan Traunmuffler.\
 
--Traditional Championship Wrestling Saturday night in Fort Smith, AR at the Convention Center for a TV taping.  Many of the performers will be at World of wireless at 8500 Phoenix Ave., in Fort Smith from 4-6 p.m. pushing late ticket sales.  The match features a battle for control of TCW with Thomas Parker's Posse of Tommy Dreamer & Scott Phoenix & Americos & Shane Williams against The Empire of Matt Riviera & Steve Anthony & Greg Anthony & Tim Storm.  Lance Hoyt and Vordell Walker are on the undercard.  
 
--A story on Robbie E is at http://www.nj.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2013/11/robbie_e_tna_wrestler_impact_wrestling_spike_tv_new_jersey.html