WED. UPDATE: Barrios talks WWE network, TV negotiatiang leverage, Velasquez surgery update, Sheamus recovery, Hunt vs Silva replay, Lots of WWE on sales, New WWE book
By Dave Meltzer |
We're looking for reports on the Tribute to the Troops special in Fort Lewis, WA that is being taped today at
We've got our holiday special for all newsletter and web site subscribers. Anyone who orders a gift subscription for a friend who is a new subscriber for four months will get one free month added to your subscription. Just make sure when you order to note it is the holiday special.
We've got a very news-heavy issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter up on the site today as well as a new back issue from 1996.
We look at Daniel Bryan and the Slammy Awards show, and how this is an example of a rapidly changing business and why the mixed messages and changing economic structure make things so much different than any other time in history.
We look at the last time the market changed wrestling history in a huge way and whether this will or won't. We look at the angle at the end of the Slammys, how it did and didn't build TLC and if all, some or none if the matches it did build will even happen and if it matters.
We look at all the awards, matches and angles from Monday as well.
We also have a look at the proposed WWE Network and UFC Network. We look at the similarities, differences and most important long-term goals, both how they are similar and how they are very different. We look at costs of original programming, how many subscribers the network would have needed had it been a TV network if WrestleMania was on it this year. We look at the business of PPV on the Internet alone, the highlights of each package and chances of each.
We also look at the changes in the upper echelon of WWE, and what they mean for Stephanie McMahon, Michelle Wilson and George Barrios. We look at who answers to who, how things are the same and how they are different.
We also look at WrestleMania coming to Santa Clara, how the decision was made, what was unique about the decision, how many cities were after it, and looking at WrestleMania site decisions in the future. We also look at what former NFL star in the 70s played a part in WrestleMania coming to Northern California.
We've got notes on the death of UFC fighter Shane Del Rosario, more on what was believed to have been the heart condition that caused his death, what happened the past two weeks and more.
We also have a feature on the UFC show in Australia and the greatest heavyweight fight in UFC history between Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva. We look at the career turnaround of Hunt, judging the fight, why everyone accepted the draw, the potential of a rematch, business and ratings notes from the show and match-by-mach coverage.
We also look at Hulk Hogan and WWE, Stephanie McMahon's stock sales, Vince McMahon's WWE stock holdings, WWE's Tough pre-Christmas television taping schedule, what WWE star is their a name trademark issue with, a new WWE signing, Rock movie update and background on a new WWE announcing hire. We also have more on post-Christmas live shows, business from the past week as well as highlights from all the weekend house shows.
We also have the 2013 Japanese media awards for pro wrestling.
We've also got a look at the biggest non-WWE pro wrestling event of the year, the 1/4 show at the Tokyo Dome. We've got the complete lineup, an analysis of the card and recent history involving the headliners.
We've also got notes on the New Japan tag team tournament, as well as a look at the final night show.
We also look back at the career of Akira Taue with his retirement, as well as his farewell show report.
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.
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:
--A look at this year's All Japan Real World Tag League tournament
--Next New Japan iPPV notes
--New Japan tag tourney rundown
--Dos Caras' final match in Japan
--Unique wrestling attendance record set this week
--Jake Roberts and wrestling
--Biggest stars of the Pacific Northwest
--A look at ROH's Final Battle show
--Maria Kanellis talks heat with Bella Twins
--Why the A.J. Styles situation makes TNA look bad
--What happened behind the scenes
--What Styles will be doing next
--The world of indies
--Update on Sting
--A look at all of TNA's TV through January 9th and where the angles are going
--Tons of new UFC fights
--What's up with GSP
--Time Magazine lists Ronda Rousey as a game changer
--Full season ratings notes for Rousey vs. Tate TUF
--Update on UFC injures
--Ben Askren on what went down in UFC negotiations
--More on Dana White's new reality show
--Pacquiao-Rios PPV vs. UFC the next week
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 UPDATES
--Bryan and I will be back tonight covering Raw as well as all the latest wrestling news. If you've got e-mail questions for the show they can be sent to
--WWE's George Barrios spoke today at the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference. Among the things he noted:
*If WWE leaves USA, they'll to from No. 1 in prime time to No. 4 or No. 5 - beginning of leverage
*Said that any top 50 network could pick up Raw or Smackdown and they'd get them into the top ten
*Their viewer watch their TV show like a sports show - ie sports getting the big increase in rights fees
*Said they still may start the network on television and not the Internet. That logo I saw yesterday would seem to indicate they've made up their mind.
*He said that on the Internet, they still need 1 million subscribers per month to break even because there are additional costs they wouldn't have running a network on television
*They are hopeful of signing new contract deals with Raw and Smackdown by the end of April
*He noted that WWE gets one-fifth to one-tenth the money for their programming per viewer watching than NHL, NASCAR, NBA and MLB.
*They believe India will be gigantic for them long term.
*They believe their TV is more valuable than NASCAR (which gets six times as much money) because their viewer numbers are the same but NASCAR viewers are far more skewed over 40
*One year ago, their data showed doing a network on the Internet wasn't viable. Today they believe it is because of changing viewer habits.
--Sheamus has received setbacks in his recovery and can't give a timetable on his return in a WWE web site interview. He said he's leery of coming back too soon.
--Cain Velasquez underwent shoulder surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder yesterday. Estimates right now are that he won't be able to train on it for six months, so we're talking probably around nine months before he can defend the title. He got the injury in his September win over Junior Dos Santos and was hopeful of it being able to heal without surgery.
--The NCAA Division 1 wrestling tournament will be in St. Louis in 2015, New York in 2016, St. Louis in 2017 and Cleveland in 2018. Will be something if they can book it in Madison Square Garden and get six sellouts in a row.
--To what should be the shock of almost nobody, the first repeat on Saturday on the Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva fight was the most watched repeat of a UFC event thus far on FS 1, with 316,000 viewers.
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY
1953 - Sonny Myers beat Len Montana in St. Joseph, MO to win the Central States title
1971 - The Spoiler beat Wahoo McDaniel in San Antonio to win the American title
1975 - All Japan Pro Wrestling ran its first show ever at Budokan Hall, headlined by Giant Baba & The Destroyer beating Dory Funk Jr. & Jumbo Tsuruta
1980 - Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta beat Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk in more than 40 minutes to win the Real World Tag League tournament
1987 - Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu beat Bruiser Brody & Jimmy Snuka to win the Real World Tag League tournament at Budokan Hall in Tokyo
1987 - The Crush Gals, Lioness Asuka & Chigusa Nagayo, beat Bull Nakano & Condor Saito to win the All Japan women tag team tournament
1988 - Reuben Amada beat Manami Toyota in Tokyo to win the Japanese women's jr. title
1988 - Devil Masami beat India Azteca in Mexico City to win the UWA International women's title
1996 - The Gladiator (Mike Awesome) beat Wing Kanemura in Tokyo to win the FMW Independent world title
1996 - HHH beat Shawn Michaels to win the European title in Lowell, MA
2002 - Sonny Siaki beat Jerry Lynn in Nashville to win the TNA X Division title
--Presale for the 2/23 Elimination Chamber PPV in Minneapolis started today at 10 a.m. with the code CHAMBER
--Presale for WWE show on 2/16 in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center started today at 10 a.m. with the code WWEFAN
--Presale for WWE show on 2/15 in Phoenix at the US Airways Center started today at 10 a.m. with the code WWEFAN
--Presale for WWE shows on 8/7 in Melbourne, 8/8 in Sydney and 8/9 in Perth started today at 10 a.m. at Foxtel. Tickets go on sale to the public on 12/17. (thanks to James Stanios)
--Presale for the 2/25 Smackdown tapings in Milwaukee started today at 10 a.m. with the code WWEHOLIDAY
--Presale for WWE on 2/9 in Bakersfield at the Rabobank Arena started today at 10 a.m. with the code WWEFAN
--That's also the same code for the upcoming Ontario, CA show in February.
--For 2/9 in Fresno, the preshow has the code WWESMC and is on sale now
--WWE will be releasing a 50 year history of the promotion book that will be written by Kevin Sullivan, by DK publishing, some time next year. (the WWE book writer, not the wrestler)
--The Little Rock Arkansas Democrat/Gazette had a story on Billy Robinson, who lives in Little Rock and trains fighters.
WHO DO YOU THINK WILL WIN THIS FIGHT?
Demetrious Johnson 71.4%
Joseph Benavidez 28.6%
WHO WAS THE STAR OF RAW?
Daniel Bryan 81.6%
John Cena 7.7%
Shawn Michaels 3.1%
C.M. Punk 2.7%
The Shield 1.6%
Stephanie McMahon 1.5%
Bray Wyatt 0.6%
Randy Orton 0.4%
POLL ON RAW
12.1% of those responding didn't see the show
ARE YOU MORE OR LESS INTERESTED IN THIS YEAR'S TOKYO DOME SHOW COMPARED TO LAST YEAR?
More interested 40.3%
Less interested 26.9%
Don't follow Japanese wrestling 32.8%
--WWE returns to Jacksonville on 3/1 at the Veterans Memorial Arena
--In a correction from Monday, in the 1939 George Pencheff win over Tom Lurich to win the Australian heavyweight title, it was Pencheff who then held the title for 17 years, not Lurich losing it after holding it for 17 years. Pencheff lost it in 1957. Lurich held the same title form 1933 to 1939.
--K-1 will be running on 12/28 in Foshan, China on Epicentre.tv featuring Buakaw Banchamek vs. Zhou ZhiPeng and Andy Souwer vs. Enriko Kehl.
--Chaotic Wrestling Fan Appreciation night on 12/13 in Lowell, MA at the Polish American Veteran Club. They are asking fans to bring an unwrapped toy for the Lowell PAV Toys for Tots drive.
--Australasian Wrestling Federation from Friday night in Windsor, Australia: Ben Coles b Andy Rhodes, Massive Q b Diego Del Fuego, Apollo b Rob Barnes, Mighty Mei b Haley Summers, Dean Draven b Saxon Bruce, Michael Elgin b TNT
--Australasian Wrestling Federation from Saturday night in Windsor, Australia: Rob Barnes b Saxon Bruce, Ben Coles over Shaneshaw and Diego Del Fuego Gladiator Apollo b Massive Q, Dean Draven b Michael Elgin, Jay Lay b TNT-DQ, Mighty Mel b Leprendra & Rachel Rose, Gladiator Apollo b Dean Draven to win the OJ Fitzpatrick Memorial Cup. Next show is 1/22 at the Windsor Wrestling Arena.
--A.J. Styles is booked on 2/7 for Deep Southern Wrestling.
--CMLL Sunday in Guadalajara: Brillante Jr. b Samael, Angel Del Mal & Demonio Rojo b Martin & Tony Escobedo, Divino b Sadico, Espectrum & Infierno & Demonio Maya b Leon Blanco & Idolo & Esfinge, Solar & Gallo & Stuka Jr. b Negro Navarro & Barbara Cavernario & Rafaga, Ultimo Guerrero & Gran Guerrero b Atlantis & La Mascara
--CMLL Monday night in Puebla: Aguila Egripcia & Bengala b Malyo & Zayco, Espiritu Maligno & King Jaguar b Leono & Robin, Camorra & Cancerbero & Raziel b Hombre Bala Jr. & Sagrado & Stigma, Mr. Aguila & Kraneo & Olimpico b Delta & Guerrero Maya Jr. & Titan, Blue Panther b Averno, Atlantis & Mistico b Gran Guerrero & Ultimo Guerrero-DQ
--CMLL Tuesday night in Guadalajara: Black Metal & Leo b Exterminador & Malefico, Raziel & Mr Trueno & Rey Trueno b Magnus & Sky Kid & Smaker, Goya Kong & Marcela & Silueta b Amapola & Comandante & Tiffany, Negro Navarro & Olimpico & Reapper b Sagrado & Soar & Stuka Jr., Averno & Mephisto & Ephesto b Mascara Dorada & Mistico & Valiente in a non-title match to set up a CMLL trios title match next week
--ECWA on 1/4 in Newark, DE at the Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club
--The ICP TV show returns to the Fuse Network tonight. The show features Greg Valentine, ICP and Kevin Gill as regulars. The show airs at 11:30 p.m. Eastern and 8:30 p.m.Pacific time.
--Will Ferrell talks about imitating Ric Flair on Eastbound and Down on Marc Maron's podcast and even did a Flair imitation.
--Cage Warriors airs live on The fight Network on Friday at 1 p.m. from Amman, Jordan headlined by James Bruno vs. Marat Pekov.