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
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 www.WWNLive.com 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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*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)
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*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)
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*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)
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*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)
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*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
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*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
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*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)
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*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
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*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.SATURDAY NEWS UPDATE
--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
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.