FRI UPDATE: Important day for WWE and NBC Universal, Cormier vs. Cummins awesome byplay, new TUF season, John Cena talks Total Divas, weekend preview, tons more

By Bryan Alvarez | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @bryanalvarez

We're looking for reports on tonight's TNA show in Abilene, TX at the Taylor County Coliseum (Magnus vs. Samoa Joe cage match for TNA title, Bro Man vs. Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards tag title, Austin Aries vs. Chris Sabin X title, Madison Rayne vs. Gail Kim Knockouts title, Ethan Carter III vs. James Storm and Ken Anderson vs. Samuel Shaw) at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Saturday has a UFC show from Jaragua do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil

Fight Pass Fights at 7:30 p.m.

Douglas de Andrade vs. Zubair Tuhugov

Ildemar Alcantara vs. Albert Tumenov

Felipe Arantes vs. Maximo Blanco

Iuri Alcantara vs. Wilson Reis

Jesse Ronson vs. Francisco Trinaldo

Rodrigo Damm vs. Ivan Jorge

Cristiano Marcello vs. Joe Proctor

Live on FS 1 at 10:30 p.m.

Andy Ogle vs. Charles Oliveira

Viscardi Andrade vs. Nicholas Musoke

Takenori Sato vs. Erick Silva

Francis Carmont vs. Jacare Souza

Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi

Saturday also has a WWE house show in Phoenix with John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio, Batista (first house show) and Christian as the headliners.

TNA on Saturday is in Austin, TX at the Cedar Park Center with Magnus vs. Samoa Joe in a cage match, Bro Mans vs. Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards for tag title, Austin Aries vs. Chris Sabin for X title, Madison Rayne vs. Gail Kim for Knockouts title, Ethan Carter III vs. James Storm and Ken Anderson vs. Samuel Shaw.

Sunday as WWE at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas with the same crew as in Phoenix and TNA in Huntsville, TX at the Johnson Coliseum with the same crew as they've had all weekend.

Monday will be Raw in Denver headlined by Randy Orton vs. Sheamus as the go-home show for Elimination Chamber.

Tuesday is the Smackdown and Main Event tapings in Colorado Springs, CO.

        The new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, a double issue, will be up on the web site shortly.  Our lead story is more on C.M. Punk, from reactions during the week, house shows, TV, WWE cleverness and how quickly things have changed.  We look at different responses within the company, plus more comments on people regarding Punk and his reasons for leaving.
        We also have a detailed look at the arrest of UFC fighter Thiago Silva, the police report of what went down, what led to it, what his wife has said, what others have said and what happens to his career from here.
        We also have our look at who the most popular performers in wrestling, MMA and boxing were in 2013 with our annual chart including looking back at the last five years.  Who has broken through as someone people are interested in, who has broken through as a draw, who is and isn't underutilized from a personality standpoint, who are the new stars and who is falling. 
        We also look at FOX's ability to make new stars, has John Cena passed his peak, who never wins but is more over than those who win all the time, as well as a comparison of the last nine years between WWE, UFC and TNA.
        We look at what company did the best to create new stars, what company has the most stars, the difference between U.S and worldwide popularity, the plight of TNA and what is scary about it right now, and how market forces are changing greatly that have already led to both more revenue and less popularity for UFC and WWE.
        We've also got more on WWE television negotiations for a new deal, what Raw is going to be loaded up and why, update on the network launch, update on the Elimination Chamber PPV, update on Sting and WWE, lots of WWE injury updates, WWE movie updates, WWE stock updates, Jim Ross talks about the situation of his being let go, Mick Foley WWE update, Shawn Michaels DVD notes, pregame shows on the network, Flair deal and more.
        We also have notes on the career of Lita, developmental news, name changes, big show payoffs, indie stars on WWE's radar, business notes from the past week as well as details from all the weekend house shows.
        We've also got full coverage of both New Japan big shows over the past week, the New Beginning in Hiroshima and Osaka.  We look at what New Japan is looking at changing its business according to its owner, what were the keys to this weekend from a business standpoint, matches of the year, what appears to be future directions, the first round matches in the New Japan Cup, the 2014 anniversary show with a unique main event, poll results from both shows and a lot more.
        We also have more in a 2013 year in review, with the win/loss records of everyone on the WWE and TNA roster.  Who gets put over the most.  Who never wins.  Who are the workhorses in both groups.  Exactly how much more do WWE performers work than TNA performers. 
        We also have a look at with WWE pulling away from PPV, who is putting more emphasis on it and big shows planned.
        We also have an all-time list of U.S. world and Olympic medal winners in wrestling who have gone into either pro wrestling or MMA dating back to 1904.
        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 television shows over the past week and results from all the major arena events.
Also in this week's issue:
--Update on CMLL's Gran Alternativa tournament
--Wrestlers on TV weekly who want to go back to their gimmicks from years ago
--Jeff Jarrett goes to Mexico
--AAA star in a major reality show
--Dragon Gate big show coverage
--Notes on this year's Champion Carnival tournament
--Update on All Japan jr. tournament
--Outsider captures major world title
--Update on KENTA and Pro Wrestling NOAH
--Update on Prince Devitt
--Hall of Famer hints at retirement after putting over protege
--Pro wrestling world title put up in a shoot match
--IGF announces its plans for the next several months
--Adam Copeland (Edge) talks about leaving wrestling, growing up as a fan and more
--Chavo Guerrero Jr. talks Chris Benoit on Chris Jericho's show
--CZW has big show
--Pro wrestling trivia note as it relates to one of the biggest celebrities of the last 100 years
--Update on the original Sin Cara
--Someone does a pro wrestling and pro wrestling match on the same day
--Latest from  Puerto Rico
--Notes from the heyday of San Francisco wrestling
--Former TNA wrestler slowing down
--Whatever happened to???
--Notes on pro wrestling documentaries in discussion
--Former UFC fighter and former WWE star in international TV commercial
--ROH weekend show and what matches are being built for
--Vince Russo and TNA, an update
--How the TV has changed
--Notes on the next few TNA PPV shows
--What PPV show said to be really good
--Lots more backstage from the European tour
--A look at the TNA shows this past weekend
--More on Ronda Rousey in Hollywood
--Story behind her latest movie roles
--Details on the Jessica Eye situation
--More suspensions
--The situation with the fighter on Ultimate Fighter who will not be going to UFC no matter what happens on the show
--More on UFC changing its bonus structure
--A look at the next show
--Dana White's latest TV show
--More on UFC prosecuting those who steal their PPVs
--Update on Anderson Silva
--Tons of new fights
--What UFC fighter is a Roller Derby coach
--New Bellator title fight
--Update on three-way TV battle in two weeks
--New promotion with national TV about to debut and notes on who is involved with the show including UFC's first superstar and a major name in pro wrestling
--Update on Ben Askren
--What boxing champion is interested in MMA

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        If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
        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.
Today's News, Notes and Links

-- Want to wish everyone out here a happy Valentine's Day!

-- As many of you are aware, speaking of Valentine's Day, Vinny is getting married this summer. He and his beautiful bride-to-be Bridget will be heading to IRELAND for their honeymoon, and if you are interested, their registry is up here. I think I personally will buy him a second gift to make up for the epic disaster that was last night's live Bryan & Vinny Show. You can't win them all. But support the VIN MAN~!

-- Today is the final day that NBC Universal has exclusive negotiating rights to WWE television.

-- WWE and Mattel signed a new deal through 2019.

-- The main reason Daniel Cormier got Patrick Cummins as a replacement opponent instead of having to wait for Rashad Evans' knee injury to heel is because Rashad will, in fact, be out for longer than the initially expected four weeks.

-- Cormier vs. Cummins on Fox Sports Live here. This is the best thing ever. Cummins claims that when they used to train wrestling, he owned Cormier and made him cry. Cormier, is infuriated and cuts a promo on him. Meanwhile, Dana, the puppetmaster pulling the strings, is sitting there LOL'ing. This Pat Cummins guy is great.

-- The Jeff Jarrett video he teased yesterday is up here. He says a little but not much. Certainly no major announcement.

-- UFC announcement Ultimate Fighter LatinoAmerica, which will start filming this spring in Vegas.

-- John Cena interview with Zaptoit here. He talks briefly about CM Punk (he knows nothing) and said he did Total Divas because he wanted to show fans a more personal side of himself. Well, that failed. He's more of a robot on that show than he is on Raw. Warning: This interview is chock-full of buzzwords and WWE-speak.

-- Article hereon Shane McMahon and Maxim sale scam.

-- 3MB and TOOL here. Really.

-- The five-fight, NBCSN-televised main card for World Series of Fighting 9 is now complete with the addition of three new contests, including welterweights Josh "The People's Warrior" Burkman (26-10) vs. Tyler "The Evolution" Stinson (27-9), lightweights Ozzy Dugulubgov (5-1) vs. Johnny Nunez (4-0) and featherweights Mike Corey (12-3-1) vs. Shane Kruchten (11-2). The three new bouts join a pair of previously announced championship matchups at "World Series of Fighting 9: Carl vs. Palhares," which takes place March 29 at Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

-- Mike Sempervive on Over the Top Radio this week here. I don't know what he's thinking.

-- Dixie Carter's announcement of the all-steel-cage format returning for Lockdown this year.

-- Today in History with Brian Hoops:

1982 - Dutch Mantell defeated Jerry Lawler in Memphis, Tennessee to win the AWA Southern Heavyweight Title

1994 - Eddie Gilbert defeated Jerry Lawler for the USWA Unified Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee. On the same show, Brian Christopher defeated Doug Gilbert for the USWA Southern Heavyweight Title

1996 - Brian Christopher defeated Tommy Rich for the USWA Southern Heavyweight Title. On the same show, Jesse James Armstrong & Tracey Smothers defeated PG-13 for the USWA Tag Team Title.

-- Iron Sheik in a Budweiser commercial here. I need some behind-the-scenes footage.

-- The world's premiere amateur Mixed-Martial Arts promotion brings its top prospects back to the CasaBlanca Resort and Casino in Mesquite, Nevada for Mayhem In Mesquite IV on March 1. Over a dozen bouts are scheduled to showcase the very best in amateur talent from Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona and California.

-- Axl Rotten wants a SHOOT FIGHT with John Zandig here.

-- Davey Richards five-hour shoot video sneak peak here.

-- Jim Cornette on Ring Rust Radio here.

-- Pro Wrestling Phoenix runs this Saturday 2/15 at the National Guard Armory in Council Bluffs, IA with Arik Cannon.

-- Revolution Pro Wrestling have announced that Shinsuke Nakamura will wrestle on their show at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London on Sunday June 15th. Tickets go on sale on Friday February 28th from 6pm UK time at Revolution Pro Wrestling also has a show at York Hall on Saturday March 15th, featuring Ric Flair, The Young Bucks, Ricochet, Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt and Rich Swann.

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?