WED. UPDATE: More CM Punk/WWE updates, UFC expanding dates in Canada, WWE looking for new writer, Matt Hardy update, Total Divas premiere, UPW title, RAW main event, more

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 tonight's TNA show in Dublin, Ireland at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   Tonight's lineup has Magnus vs. James Storm for the TNA title, Bully Ray vs. Ken Anderson in a tables match, Austin Aries vs. Chris Sabin vs.  Samoa Joe (Love to see him weigh in at 225) for the X title plus two more title matches.
        Main Event on Ion at 8 p.m.
R-Truth vs. Alberto Del Rio
Natalya vs. Tamina Snuka
Usos & Big E Langston vs. 3MB
        Ultimate Fighter for this week only airs tonight at 10 p.m. on FS 2.  It'll be back to FS 1 next week.  UFC Tonight, building up Saturday's PPV show, airs at 11 p.m. on FS 2 tonight.
        The C.M. Punk story is covered in detail as the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that is up on the site.  There are more details on the story here than are going to be anywhere, including a lot of comments from people very close to the scene.
        We look at what happened, we look at the frustrations, we look at what happened on Monday at Raw, how the show changed, what he was booked for on the show, thoughts on him long-term with the company and why his situation is different from most. We look at WWE's plans for the shows he was scheduled on, and how this will change advertising of shows coming up.
        We have notes from people who spoke with him just two days before he left whe he did the Comic Con, a note on his schedule, his thoughts on Daniel Bryan and Batista, as well as notes on a long interview he did a few days earlier with Ariel Helwani.
        We look at what the situation with Batista showed both good and bad, as well as examples of other talent leaving.  We look at how Punk's decision making is very different from others who left while on top.  We look at Vince McMahon's M.O., Punk talks doing MMA, and we also look at a surprising company that has already tried to reach out to him.  We look at when he can do other projects in wrestling.
        We also look at Punk in MMA, if it's viable, risks involved, and his own talks about having an interest in doing it.  We also look at an idea Punk sent to Vince McMahon that is probably not happening, his thoughts on the WWE Network, the unanswered questions about the network, and a lot more on business.
        We also have full coverage of the Royal Rumble, with poll results, star ratings, business notes, a chart on how everyone did, how a booking idea backfired, the crowd hijacking the show and ruining what they expected to happen as far as where they are going for WrestleMania.
        We've also got updates on both WrestleMania and Extreme Rules, Mick Foley's comments, Royal Rumble records and more.
        We also have an update on WWE television negotiations with NBC Universal, the unique thing they are offering as part of the deal and reaction inside WWE, as well as what WWE is hoping for from the deal.  We also look at why the network can lose money early and it not hurt WWE at all.
        We've got an update on WWE's paper worth with all the stock price increases as well as Vince McMahon's status.
        We also update with the latest plans for Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania, notes on the Extreme Rules sow in Seattle, the plight of Daniel Bryan and being a top guy or the top guy.
        We also have a lot more on KENTA's tryout with WWE and what makes this story so interesting.
        We also look at a situation that has evolved in the San Jose area regarding the 2015 WrestleMania and the city limiting access of independent promotions and what WWE could have done and did do in New Orleans.
        We look at WWE Fan Axxess, Ric Flair in WWE, WWE on Hulu, Sting negotiations and where they stand, and tons of comments from the original Sin Cara about his frustrations with WWE, his thoughts on the new Sin Cara, the new Mistico, Alberto Del Rio, Dwayne Johnson, the WWE system as well as why his not making it big was inevitable.  We also look at the development of La Mistica, a key reason WWE officials soured on him and what he's said about the Sin Cara name and why he'll continue to use it.
        We also look at contract renewals, upcoming TV taping news, a WWE performer gets a network TV special apart from WWE, as well as business notes from the past week and highlights from all the house shows.
        We've also got more on the Association of Ringside Physicians and their consensus statement about TRT in boxing and MMA.  We look at an organization that has not come out and concurred, the comments Dana White has made about the statement, the different ways the TRT subject can be handled and a look at the issue from both sides.
        We also have full coverage of the UFC on FOX 10 show, including in depth on the judging, the ratings and what they mean, match-by-match coverage as well as how the television show was presented and a decision by FOX that left viewers flat. 
        We also have a bio on the life and times of Jake Roberts as he goes into the WWE Hall of Fame, including thoughts on other Hall of Fame candidates for this year, when it was clear Roberts was going in, notes on Roberts' father in pro wrestling, how he got started, his motivation to be a headliner and his career before WWF.
        We also look at what huge drawing card he was part of getting his big break, the origins and getting over the DDT, his biggest feuds and most famous angles of his major WWF run, including Ricky Steamboat, Rick Rude, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior and Ted DiBiase.  We look at Roberts quitting the company, his short runs in WCW and AAA, his return to WWF, and life after being in the wrestling spotlight.
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        We also have a look at the ratings of all the major television shows as well as segment breakdowns on Impact and who the biggest ratings movers on Raw have been.
Also in this week's issue:
--First big CMLL show of the year and first angles setting it up
--The beginnings of CMLL's major tournament
--More on AAA coming to the U.S.
--First two AAA tapings of the year
--Dragon Gate returns to iPPV very soon
--Tag title change in All Japan
--Big NOAH angel
--NOAH's biggest event of the week
--Two matches announced for next major NOAH show
--Jumbo Tsuruta Memorial show
--New Japan ads more iPPV shows including three in the next few days and lineups for all three events
--More notes on Tokyo Dome business
--How Tokyo Dome PPV business did compared to Sakuraba's heyday
--Update on New Japan contract signings for the new year
--Promotion looks to be on death's door
--Promotion loses its top two stars to surgery for the next several months
--More on the arrest of Matt Hardy and his Rebecca after alleged hotel altercation
--More notes on a Grand Jury investigation of the death of Nancy Argentino in 1983, the girlfriend/mistress of Jimmy Snuka
--Lots of details on the case
--Notes on Jim Ross' negotiations with FOX
--Notes on the new AGON promotion, what they are paying, what their goals are and what happened to the last company that tried something similar
--Notes on the arrest of Mike DiBiase, the son of Ted
--ROH weekend show notes and where things are going
--What the ROH attendance for the weekend show made clear
--Update on TNA television tapings going forward
--More notes on Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards in TNA including ideas that got changed
--More notes on the investor angle
--Notes on this week's TNA tapings and schedule
--Lots of Kurt Angle talk about WWE, TNA, Sting leaving and more
--Details on the Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva brawl while Ultimate Fighter was being filmed
--Dana White talks his views on WWE Network
--Dana White admits his company had a ton of UFC crossover but says no longer the case
--Update on Anderson Silva
--Silva says who he wants next
--Vitor Belfort says he'll apply for a TRT exemption, Nevada doctor and commissioner responds
--Dana White talks Ronda Rousey leaving to become an actress
--More notes on Sonnen-Silva season of TUF
--Anthony Pettis talks return and when
--UFC fighter talks drug addiction issues
--A look at a lot of new UFC fights including debut of Joe Ellenberger
--Update on Matt Grice
--Bellator negotiated second TV deal and how it went down as well as why it didn't come to fruition
--Update on Tito Ortiz
--Lots of new Bellator fights
--Ben Askren talks his One FC deal and what happened in talks with UFC
--World Series of Fighting signs former Olympian
--Notes on next WSOF show
--Notes on former Ultimate Fighter and his trial and conviction of spousal abuse
--Crazy story about an MMA fighter and a horrible brawl protecting his family
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--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking more about C.M. Punk, this weekend's UFC, WrestleMania direction and taking your questions that can be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
--Very little on the C.M. Punk story that isn't in today's Observer (another great reason to subscribe, btw). Regarding concussion stories that have been rumored today, Punk was banged up in the Royal Rumble and did take a test on Monday, but it showed that he did not have a concussion. The test had nothing to do with his leaving.

Also, Punk leaving had nothing to do with Batista getting a title shot at WrestleMania.  Punk made it clear in the Ariel Helwani interview on MMA Fighting that he had no problem with that. Also, the Punk 'Best in the World' doc being pulled from Netflix was planned beforehand.

--The C.M. Punk leaving story got some mainstream news in the U.K.

--Total Divas will start on E! on 3/16 in the 9 p.m. time slot.  It will air for ten weeks, through 5/18, with the final episode being the wedding of Bryan Danielson and Brianna Garcia-Colac.  It will also be built around one of the members of the cast winning the Divas title at WrestleMania.  They will also cover a John Cena/Nikki Bella teased breakup, a new love interest of Summer Rae (who replaces Jo Jo on the cast), the John Fatu/Trinity McCray wedding featuring Rikishi, who plays the father who doesn't like his son marrying someone who isn't Samoan (it's a work, folks) and how Eva Marie becomes a fan favorite. 
--TMZ reported that the fight with Matt Hardy and wife Rebecca started when she confronted him and asked if he had been drinking or using substances on New Year's Eve. 
--UFC has announced the following dates for 2014 in Canada:

4/16 in Quebec City at Colisee Pepsi (its debut in the market) which will be the season finale of the current season of The Ultimate Fighter.
6/14 in  Vancouver at the Rogers Arena for a PPV show
9/17 in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre for a PPV show
10/4 in Halifax for an FS 1 show at the Metro Centre (debut in the market)
12/6 in Montreal for a PPV show at the Bell Centre
--Also announced at the press conference besides the TUF finals on 4/16 will be the coaches fight with Patrick Cote vs. Kyle Noke, as well as Sam Stout vs. K.J. Noons.
--Frank Mir was approved for testosterone replacement therapy by New Jersey for this weekend's UFC fight with Alistair Overeem.  He had already been approved for TRT by the state of Nevada.
--WWE has posted for a job as a writer for the new network.  They are looking for someone who can develop storylines and collaborate with some of the writing staff to help with Raw and Smackdown stories as well, and to use consumer insights and social media to deliver the storylines.
--Johnny Gargano vs. Cima for the Open the Freedom Gate title has been announced for the 2/22 Dragon Gate USA show in Queens, NY. at the Queensboro Elks Lodge  Roderick Strong will then challenge the winner the next night in Brooklyn at the Lyceum.
--Yushin Okami went to Brazil to help coach Chael Sonnen's team in the currently filming season of The Ultimate Fighter.  He'll be there for two weeks as he debuts with the World Series of Fighting on 3/29.   
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops):

1989 - Lioness Asuka beat Chigusa Nagayo in Tokyo to win the WWWA title
1991 - Negro Casas beat Super Astro in Pachuca to win the UWA middleweight title
1995 - Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori beat Tommy Rogers & Bobby Fulton in a tournament final in Tokyo to win the All-Asia tag tiles
1997 - Octagon beat Fuerza Guerrera in Naucalpan to win the Mexican national middleweight title
2001 - Kennichiro Arai beat Yasushi Kanda in Tokyo in a tournament final to win the NWA world welterweight title
--Rick Bassman is selling the original UPW title belt that was worn by Christopher Daniels, John Cena, Adam Pearce and Samoa Joe among others on Ebay. Bassman will sign a personal message on the back of the belt if the buyer requests it.   
--Legacy Fighting Championships on 3/21 in Tulsa at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino features former TUF champion Jonathan Brookins, who returns to fighting after one year to face Cody Fuller.
--If anyone has contact information for Chyna, let me know.
--Famous bouncer stories this week featuring former UFC star Keith Jardine.
--A story on the last survivor of the XFL, Paris Lenon of the Denver Broncos, who will be playing in this weekend's Super Bowl. (thanks to Steve Feitl)
--Here's a story on the NFL not wanting any UFC presence at Super Bowl media day. Some UFC officials brought a championship belt and asked some Broncos to pose with it, and Dennis Kayser, the NFL's Senior Director of On Field Operations asked the UFC people to leave.  "We don't want this around here.  This is wrestling stuff, right?  Yeah, we don't want that associated with us and this event.  This its the NFL."  The UFC official noted that they were not pro wrestling, they were MMA, and they are corporate partners through FOX.  Kayser didn't believe that.  The UFC official then called over Jay Glazer, who told the NFL official that they were both on FOX and were not trying to step on the NFL's toes. Kayser then agreed to let them shoot pictures with players with the belt on the floor, but not on any podiums.
--A story on the UFC once again kicking off its year trying to get the Assembly in New York to pass a bill allowing them to run in the state. The same paper ran a story on the Grand Jury probe into the death of Nancy Argentino 31 years later. The paper has a gossip column note on Stacy Keibler, saying that she is now refusing to sign autographs of photos of her in lingerie.
--WWE stock was actually down today, losing 53 cents to $21.43 per share, but it's still booming of late.
--Who would have ever thought the UFC and John McCain would form a tag team?  But Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, McCain of Arizona, Lorenzo Fertitta of the UFC Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira are appearing together on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the Capital in Washington, DC to support a study of pro fighters and brain injuries at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.  McCain battled in the 90s to get UFC banned and led to it losing much of its PPV distribution that came close to killing the company.
--The New Age Outlaws vs. Rhodes Brothers in a cage match will headline Monday's Raw. (thanks to Rob McCarron)
--WWE has moved its scheduled tour of Saudi Arabia from 2/13 to 2/15 to 4/17 to 4/19.  The change was made due to schedule conflicts with one of the venues.  John Cena, Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry and Ryback are advertised.     
--Andre Fili vs. Max Holloway has been added to the 4/26 UFC 172 show in Baltimore in the featherweight division.
--Julianna Pena, the winner of the most recent season of Ultimate Fighter, suffered a very serious knee injury and is off the 3/15 show in Dallas where she was to face Jessica Andrade.  Pena is believed to need surgery.
--Insane Championship Wrestling from Saturday in Glasgow, Scotland for a sold out show:  Stevie Boy& Davey Boy d Chris Renfrew & Dickie Divers, Joe Coffee b James Scott in overtime of a 30:00 Iron man match, Jackie Polo b Andy Wild, Jack Jester b Prince Devitt (who dressed like Venom from Spiderman), Chris Renfrew won 30 man Rumble. (thanks to Michael Brown)
--CMLL from Monday night in Puebla:  Robin & Metalico b King Jaguar & Centauro de Fuego, Shockercito & Astral & Asturiano b Sauron & Demus 3:16 & Blue Center, Virus & Raziel & Cancerbero b Starman & Triton & Sagrado, Volador Jr. won a Cibernetico match over Morphosis, Mascara Dorada, Olimpico, Valiente, Kraneo, Mistico, La Mascara, Mr. Aguila and Reapper (who was DQ'd as the last man), Negro Casas b Atlantis
--CMLL from last night in Guadalajara:  Metatron & Leo b Akuma & Rafaga, Amapola & Zeuxis & Dallys la Caribena b Dark Angel & Silueta & Goya Kong, Gallo b Arkangel de la Muerte, Brazo de Plata & Maximo & Valiente b Rey Escorpion & Pierroth & Misterioso Jr., Averno & Mephisto & Ephesto b Rush & La Mascara & La Sombra
--Smash Wrestling on 2/23 at The Danger Zone in Etobicoke, ONT has its show prior to Elimination Chamber with Mickie James, Jay Lethal, Matt Cross and the Super Smash Brothers as well as Alex Vega vs. Brent Banks in a ladder match.  
--Larry Stone, a Roller Games skater with the Australian Kangaroos and Texas Outlaws during the 60s and 70s heyday suffered a stroke and is now in a nursing home.  (thanks to Tom Wersderfer)
--Squared Circle Live on 2/26 at Variety Village in Scarborough, ONT features The Young Bucks, Angelina Love and Taylor Wilde.
--A.J. Lee will appear at the Wizard World Comic Con on 2/7 to 2/9 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
--ECWA on 3/1 in Newark, DE at the Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club with Kekoa the Flyin Hawaiian vs. Naplam Bomb  
--The IWF had an American Cancer Society Relay for Life benefit on 4/12 in Nutley, NJ at the Parks & Recreation Center featuring Tommy Dreamer, Tito Santana and Marty Jannetty.  There will be both a Fa Fast at 6:30 p.m. and a wrestling show at 7:30 p.m.
--Joining the likes of Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts, Rocky Johnson and other fighters with the same names as famous pro wrestlers, Bellator will be debuting a fighter named Jake Smith (the name used by the giant member of the Kentuckians, who later was Grizzly Smith, as well as the original ring name of Jake Roberts) on its 2/28 show from the Mohegan Sun Casino.  

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?