SAT. UPDATE: Late UFC notes, Mania ticket notes, AJ Lee, Storm vs. Hero, New UFC bout, Foley

By Dave Meltzer

We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's UFC 167, 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 also looking for reports on tonight's WWE shows in Minehead, England and Vienna, Austria as they finish up the U.K. tour today, tonight's ROH show in Columbus, OH, as well as Friday's WWE shows in London at the O2 Arena and Merseilles, France.

We're also looking for reports on Thursday's WWE show in Rouen, France and Wednesday's WWE show in Zurich, Switzerland.

UFC's 20th anniversary show is Saturday from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

Prelims at 6:45 p.m. Eastern time (should be available on this web site at that time)

Gian Villante (205) vs. Cody Donovan (205)
Will Campuzano (135) vs. Sergio Pettis (135)
Jason High (170) vs. Anthony Lapsley (170)

FS 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern time

Erik Perez (135) vs. Edwin  Figueroa (135)
Brian Ebersole (171) vs. Rick Story (170)
Thales Leitis (186) vs. Ed Herman (186)
Evan Dunham (156) vs. Donald Cerrone (185)

PPV at 10 p.m. Eastern

Ali Bagautinov (126) vs. Timothy Elliott (125)
Tyron Woodley (171) vs. Josh Koscheck (170)
Rory MacDonald (171) vs. Robbie Lawler (170)
Chael Sonnen (206) vs. Rashad Evans (205)
Georges St-Pierre (170) vs. Johny Hendricks (170) for the welterweight title

Dragon Gate USA has an iPPV on Saturday night at 9 p.m. at from Elmhurst, NY at the Queensboro Elks Lodge:

Caleb Konley & Andre Everett vs. Biff Busick & Steven Walters
Trent Baretta vs Chuck Taylor
Jimmy Susumu vs. Anthony Nese
AR Fox vs. Shane Strickland vs. Mr. Touchdown vs. Fire Ant - If Fox is pinned or submits, the person
who beats him wins the Evolve title
Ricochet vs. Rich Swann for the Open the Brave Gate title
Johnny Gargano vs. Masaaki Mochizuki
Young Bucks vs. Bravado Brothers for Open the United Gate title

Dragon Gate USA also has an iPPV on Sunday at 7 p.m. from the Brooklyn Lyceum

Jon Davis vs. Steven Walters
Chuck Taylor vs. Mr. Touchdown
Jigsaw & Fire Ant vs. Caleb Konley & Andre Everett
? & Jimmy Susumu vs. Bravado Brothers
Trent Baretta vs. Rich Swann
Young Bucks vs. AR Fox & Masaaki Mochizuki
Ricochet vs. Anthony Nese
Johnny Gargano vs. Chris Hero for the Open the Freedom Gate title .

Raw will be billed as "Raw Country," live from Nashville.

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday in Atlanta.

        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.
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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
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*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
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*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
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--Some notes for tonight.  Dana White invited a lot of the people from the original UFC for a party after the show.  A lot of the older fighters have been around including Royce Gracie, Art Jimmerson, Mark Coleman and Dan Severn.  The one you wouldn' t expect to be here from that era, like Ken Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, Maurice Smith, Randy Couture and Frank Shamrock are not here.  Campbell McLaren and David Isaacs, who ran UFC during the early days, are also here.  Bob Meyrowitz is not here, saying he had a schedule conflict, but he was invited to be here.  McLaren and Isaacs have been to shows from time-to-time in the past.

--I'm in town for the show.  Mike Sempervive and I will be doing Wrestling Observer radio tonight after the show.

--The story on A.J. Lee is that she's fine.  I don't know if she wrestled today or not.  She collapsed and fell off the apron during a tag team match yesterday at the O2 Arena in London.  It was reported she was suffering from dehydration.  She had been out of action last month with a concussion.

--WrestleMania 30 tickets went on sale today to the public in New Orleans.  No word on how sales are doing, but the expensive seats apparently sold well.  I checked in the mid-level and down sections an hour ago and was able to get four seats together in any price range I wanted, so this isn't an immediate sellout like some of the Manias have been.

--WWE had about 5,000 people come live to an on-sale kickoff party yesterday in New Orleans where they sent many injured wrestlers who aren't on tour like Rey Mysterio, Sheamus and Mark Henry along with Jimmy Hart, Booker T, Kaitlyn and Alicia Fox.

--A.J. Styles beat Seiya Sanada with the calf slicer (calf killer in TNA lingo) in his TNA title defense on today's Wrestle 1 show at Tokyo Korakuen Hall.  Footage of this will naturally be appearing on Impact.

--Genki Horiguchi did not arrive from Japan for this weekend's Dragon Gate USA shows.  Tonight's show in Queens was rearranged slightly with a Ricochet vs. Rich Swann match taking the place of Horiguchi vs. Swann.  Masaaki Mochizuki and Jimmy Susumu did come from Japan for the weekend.

--Jeremy Stephens vs. Darren Elkins was the first fight announced for a 1/25 UFC show at the United Center in Chicago.  This will be a FOX show.  With all the top stars not fitting in timing wise, I'm really curious what kind of a card they can put on for that show. 

--Anthony Pettis at this point looks like he's going to need major knee reconstructive surgery, so he'll be out of action for six months, and really, probably longer than that, putting the lightweight title on ice.  I think maybe you've got at this point to go with Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson IV to determine the No. 1 contender.

--The band Florida Georgia Line put on twitter that they would be performing  at Raw on Monday, which is from Nashville and will have a country music theme.

--ESPN's 30 for 30 show is doing a show on the Von Erich family of Texas wrestling fame.

--Sorry to report that former Florida wrestler and promoter and kickboxer Al Hardimon is suffering from stage four colon cancer.  He would like to hear from people on his Facebook page.  We'll have more on this tomorrow.

--Smash Wrestling on 12/15 at the Can Lan Sports Plex in Mississauga, ONT for Lance Storm vs. Chris Hero in a 3 p.m. show

--Traditional Championship Wrestling has a TV taping in Fort Smith, AR, tonight at the Convention Center.  The main event features one team headed by Thomas Parker against a team headed by Matt Riviera with the control of the promotion at stake.  Also on the show is Tommy Dreamer, Lance Hoyt (Archer) and Vordell Walker.

--Freight Train from $5 Wrestling will be appearing on the 12/14 Cage of Death show from CZW at Flyers Skate Zone in  Voorhees,  NJ.

ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)

1955 - Tiger Jokinder & King Kong Czaya defeated Rikidozan & Harold
Sakata in Tokyo, Japan to win a tournament to crowd the first ever
All-Asian Tag Team Championships

1961 - Dale Lewis & Pat Kennedy defeated Hardboiled Haggerty & Bob
Geigel for the AWA World Tag Team Title in Rochester, Minnesota.

1984 - Crusher Blackwell defeated Harley Race for the Missouri State
Heavyweight Title in St. Louis, Missouri

1992 - The Sandman defeated Don Muraco for the ECW (at the time Eastern
Championship Wrestling) Heavyweight Title in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1994 - The Patriot & Marcus Bagwell defeated Paul Roma & Paul Orndorff
to win the WCW World Tag Team Title at the Clash of the Champions from
Jacksonville, Florida.

1996 - Jerry Lawler defeated The Colorado Kid for the USWA Unified
Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee

1998 - Juventud Guerrera defeated Billy Kidman for the WCW Cruiserweight
Title in Wichita, Kansas.

2000 - General Rection & Alex Wright defeated Mark Jindrak & Sean
O'Haire for the WCW Tag Team Title in Oberhausen, Germany,

2008 - Former WWE champion Brock Lesnar captured the UFC Heavyweight
championship, defeating Randy Couture in the second round via TKO in Las
Vegas during the main event of UFC 91.

--You want to know a good diet coach.  Mike Dolce, who has been living with Johny Hendricks of late as he's cut from 210 to 170, did the same dieting and cardio and weight cutting with him, cutting from about 193 to 170.  

--Bjorn  Rebney ripped on Dana White for saying he had no interest in signing Ben Askren, saying that how do you say you've got the best fighters in the world when you refuse to sign the No. 6 welterweight.  So says the guy who just released him, although Askren wasn't going to sign with Bellator.  Askren himself feels that he will be signed.

--Dana White yesterday on a talk show with Brendan Schaub talked about adding a 115 pound women's division.  He didn't give a timetable for it.  Right now that isn't necessarily what they need, although eventually we're going  to end up with every weight division in UFC.

--Marty Jones, one of the U.K.'s best wrestlers of the 70s and 80s, has been added to tomorrow's Johnny Saint tribute and retirement ceremony in Croydon, England at Fairfield Hills.  That's part of a show billed as World of Sport, featuring matches all in the old British rounds style.

--Mick Foley is doing a comedy show in Southhaven, NY tomorrow night that WWE is taping for either a television special, DVD release, or both.  

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?