MON. UPDATE: Lots of WWE media, movie news, live fallout from Survivor Series, Hall of Famer may retire, UFC show on Saturday notes, Richards cancels tour, UFC video game cover update, huge bodybuilder death, Best TV show of past week
By Dave Meltzer |
We're looking for your thoughts on last night's Survivor Series and Saturday's New Japan show so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match for each show to
Raw is live Monday from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. Michael Strahan will be guest host.
Smackdown and Main Event will be taped Tuesday night at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT.
The new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter is up, talking the launch of the WWE Network as well as an idea that was brought up that would almost guarantee a successful launch, but one that doesn't come without serious risks, and we look at the risk/reward ratio. We also look at the new hire, the economics of the network at different price points and other factors involved.
We also look back at all the controversy coming out of the UFC 20th anniversary show, including the judging of the GSP vs. Johny Hendricks fight, the reaction to the judging, the realities of the ten point must scoring system, a look at other scoring systems and each's flaws, GSP's comments after the fight, Dana White's comments after the fight, interesting poll results regarding the main event, stats regarding the effect of the half-point scoring system and Pride scoring, White's blaming the commission, GSP's issues, what cost Hendricks the fight, the 20th anniversary party, business on the show, match-by-match coverage, and how much everyone earned.
We also have a huge UFC history piece, on the period that shaped UFC, from its original show, talking with the people who were there from the start, their memories, what problems ensued, what went wrong, what went right and all the various luck that was involved in bringing the sport up, nearly killing it, and its successful second birth. We also look back at the beginnings of MMA in Japan with Pancrase, how quickly UFC became a hit, threats to the people running it, how Joe Silva first got involved, the UFC curse, the court fights, the politicians, the battle with John McCain, the battle in New York, the show in Dothan, AL, the turning point for the original UFC and more.
We also look at all kinds of ironies from the early years to the modern period, the changing of the rules, the first time back on PPV, the Shamrock vs. Ortiz feud, the Ultimate Fighter and the first time UFC hit 1 million buys on PPV.
We also look at WrestleMania ticket sales, secondary market reaction, economic impact of WrestleMania, locals vs tourists at WrestleMania and more.
We also look at this year's Survivor Series, ticket sales, return of Rey Mysterio, Dwayne Johnson's latest movie project, WWE doing PPVs in Europe and does it make sense, new WWE signee, new products, Sheamus talks favorite WrestleMania moments, who the company is high on for the future, what wrestler with no push is selling merchandise well, Mickie James training at WWE, and Pat Patterson.
We also look at the WWE European tour with highlights from all the shows.
We also look at Antonio Inoki and his future in the Japanese senate after his latest escapade.
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 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:
--What Atlantis said about the potentially biggest match in Mexico in years
--Welterweight title change
--Dragon Gate USA's New York weekend including Hero vs. Gargano
--Wrestle-1 preparing its biggest show
--A.J. Styles in Japan
--The earthquake that shook the ring
--TNA tag team in Japan
--The 37th annual World's Strongest Tag league tournament
--New matches announced for NOAH's big year-end show including title matches featuring an ROH star, and a match featuring a former MMA star
--Notes on Price Devitt and his New Japan contract
--Lineup for the next several New Japan iPPV shows
--80s wrestling figure returns
--Puerto Rico's big show and latest programs
--More on Devon Nicholson's ongoing lawsuit against Abdullah the Butcher
--Boxing champion starting pro wrestling
--Updates on Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards
--What Richards said that got ROH hot
--New idea for 2014
--Notes on ROH television tapings
--TNA sale update
--More on outside talent being contacted by TNA
--Notes on upcoming TNA PPV shows
--Notes on upcoming TNA TV shoots
--Notes on the new Impact Zone in Orlando
--Gail Kim storyline
--Why Jon Jones isn't fighting
--Update on Anthony Pettis
--Update on GSP vs. Hendricks II
--More on first FOX special of 2014
--Update on Nick Diaz
--More on opening up women's 115
--Lots of new UFC shows and new UFC fights
--A look at the return of Rampage Jackson
--Sports vs. entertainment in MMA
--Upcoming on the Bellator title picture with Askren gone and tournaments ending
--The story behind Matt Riddle being fired
--Son of pro wrestler debuts in Bellator
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)
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*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)
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*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)
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*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)
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*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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*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
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*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.
MONDAY'S NEWS UPDATE
--Bryan and I will be back tonight with Wrestling Observer radio, covering Raw and all the latest news, as well as taking e-mail questions that can be sent to
--Very little of note coming out of last night's Survivor Series. No updates on Luke Harper's knee. Vince McMahon was involved in the post-match as noted on the front page. He at one point was scheduled back this coming Monday but the way they change their minds, you never know.
--I will be on Steve Austin's podcast tomorrow for a show that clocked in at close to 100 minutes, much longer than we had planned. We just talk a lot of different topics, mostly pro wrestling, some MMA. We should have Austin on our show in a few weeks as well.
--John Cena will be on Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Channel tonight at 8 p.m. (thanks to Jeff Beecher)
--Cena was also on with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan this morning promoting Raw.
--El Hijo del Santo announced today that he will be out of action for seven months due to spinal surgery and he is calling it a temporary retirement. If, after surgery, he can't come back, he will then retire. (thanks to Kris Zellner and others)
--UFC announced today that the 11/30 show, this coming Saturday night in Las Vegas, will feature three women's fights, an all-time record. Sarah Moras and Shayna Baszler are both injured and not on the show. Jessamyn Duke vs. Peggy Morgan will be one of the fights. Julianna Pena faces either Raquel Pennington or Jessica Rakoczy for the championship. The loser of Pennington vs. Rakoczy, which airs on Wednesday, will face Roxanne Modaferri. The three winners will all end up on the roster. If any of the losers look impressive, they have a chance to be as well.
--Matt Grice, who was in terrible shape after being rear-ended several months back, needing emergency brain surgery, was a guest of Ariel Helwani today on the MMA Hour.
--Davey Richards canceled his NOAH tour that he was supposed to leave for today, including his 12/7 match for their jr. title against Taiji Ishimori at the Ariake Colosseum card. He said he suffered a neck injury.
--In the New Japan tag team tournament, tomorrow they are in Osaka with Tetsuya Naito & La Sombra vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima, Kazuchika Okada & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows and Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Prince Devitt & Bad Luke Fale.
--From someone backstage last night, at the 90 minute mark of the show, when the only thing trending was Bret Hart, there were a lot of people unhappy. Not necessarily the bigwigs who had bigger fish to fry at that point, but others were not in a good mood over the inability to get stuff to trend past the music awards and the NFL.
--The voting for the cover guy for the EA Sports UFC video game, along with Jon Jones, has come down to Alexander Gustafsson and Georges St-Pierre, which were the two expected as the finalists. Essentially it comes down to whether more Swedes or Canadians vote.
--WWE announced a new movie called "Incarnte" that they are working on with Blumhouse Productions. It will be a suspense movie. Mark Henry will have a role in the movie.
--Sheamus was visible to those there live watching the show behind a railing for part of the event.
--Very negative feeling leaving the building we're told. It never felt like a main event, the finish was flat and people were complaining on the way out.
--Chris Nowinski will be on the TV show "Katie" tomorrow talking about brain injuries.
--Greg Kovacs, a huge bodybuilder who was pushed hard in magazines from about 1995-2004, passed away earlier today from a heart attack at the age of 44. He was the biggest of the pro bodybuilders from 1997 to 2005, and while he never placed highly in contests, he was popular for the claims that he was 420 pounds with 25 inch arms and a 70 inch chest.
WILL SURVIVOR SERIES BEAT LAST YEAR'S NUMBERS?
About the same 9.8%
POLL ON ROH TV SHOW
62.7% of those responding didn't see the show
POLL ON GLORY TV SHOW
65.9% of those responding didn't see the show
WHAT DID YOU WATCH SATURDAY?
65.3% watched neither
BEST TV SHOW OF THE PAST WEEK
Total Divas 14.0%
Ultimate Fighter 11.3%
UFC Tonight 1.1%
Inside MMA 0.5%
Main Event 0.0%
--Progress Wrestling from yesterday in Islington, London before a sellout of 350 fans: Tommy End b Mikey Whiplash, Kris Travis & Martin Kirby b Grado & Mad Man Manson, Doug Williams b Nathan Cruz, Adam Cole b Mark Haskins, Darrell Allen & RJ Singh DCOR James Davis & Rob Lynch, Rampage Brown b Stixx, Mark Andrews b Paul Robinson, Mark Andrews b Rampage Brown to win the Progress title, Jimmy Havoc b Mark Andrews to win the Progress title. Zack Sabre Jr will challenge for the title on 1/26. Cole was a surprise. He was in England working for Tidal Championship Wrestling and had an off date. Allen & Singh vs. Davis & Lynch will be rematched in a street fight on 3/30, which is the company's second anniversary show. (thanks to Martin Bentley)
--AIW on Friday in Cleveland at Turners Hall featuring Kevin Steen vs. Johnny Gargano and Michael Hutter (Ethan Carter III in TNA) vs. Tim Donst.
--On the 12/7 World Series of Fighting show, Ryan Chiappe pulled out of his fight with Marcus Vinicius, and will be replaced by Ryan Dickson. Dickson, 24, from Hamilton, ONT, is 6-1 with five subs and one knockout. His biggest win, however, was over testicular cancer.
--There will be a head-to-head battle that night as Invicta will be running a PPV for $14.95 starting at 9 p.m. with three title matches from Kansas City.
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Brian Hoops and Graeme Cameron)
1982 - Stagger Lee, who was Junkyard Dog under a mask, beat Ted DiBiase at the Superdome in New Orleans to win the North American title
1985 - Fabulous Moolah beat Wendi Richter in Madison Square Garden to win the WWF women's title. That was a double-cross finish. Richter hadn't signed a new contract and she didn't know she was losing. Moolah was under a mask as Spider Lady and Moolah held onto a cradle and the ref counted three. Richter never wrestled again in WWF. Even though she was inducted into their Hall of Fame and appareled on Raw last year, she made it clear at Cauliflower Alley what she thought of WWF and Moolah.
1991 - Kamala beat Jerry Lawler to win the USWA title in Memphis and Robert Fuller & Mike Mitchell beat Doug Masters & Bart Sawyer to win the USWA tag titles.
--Insane Clown Posse tours Australia from 12/4 to 12/8 with shows in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle (thanks to James Stanios)
--CMLL from last night in Guadalajara: Yacqui & Relampago Azul b Indigo & Explosivo, Martin Escobedo & Tony Escobedo b Demonio Rojo & Joker, Rafaga & Exterminador & Demonio Maya b Leon Blanco & Virgo & Halcon de Plata, Stuka Jr & Leo & Back Metal b Magnum & Malefico & Espectrum, Rush & Valiente & Super Popular b Dragon Rojo Jr. & Rey Escorpion & Polvora. This sets up Escorpion vs. Rush for the CMLL light heavyweight title in the main event on Sunday.
--Dory Funk Jr.'s BANG on Friday night in Ocala, FL at the Bang Soundstage with a three way last woman standing main event and an intergender tag team match. They will open at 5:45 p.m. with two taped matches from the All Japan Sumo Hall show, The Funks vs. Osamu Nishimura & Masa Fuchi and Akebono vs. Suwama.
--EFC Gladiators on Saturday night in Parsippany, NJ at the Parsippany PAL features Robert Boden, 21-year-old a culinary arts student at Suffolk Community College, facing EFC light heavyweight champion Chris Vallaro.