By Dave Meltzer |
A lot of stuff going on this weekend. We'll be doing polls Saturday and Sunday as well as radio shows after both PPVs.
Tonight is the ROH 12th anniversary show from the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory. The show is not on iPPV, but will be available tomorrow on Video on Demand:
Adam Cole vs. Chris Hero for ROH title
A.J. Styles vs. Jay Lethal
Matt Hardy vs. Michael Elgin
Kevin Steen vs. Cliff Compton Street fight
Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish vs. ACH & Tadarius Thomas for tag title
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Hanson for TV title
Silas Young vs. Matt Taven
Roderick Strong & B.J. Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Mark Briscoe & Adam Page & Cedric Alexander
TNA runs tonight in Huntington, WV with Samoa Joe vs. Magnus cage match for the TNA title, James Storm vs. Gunner, Bro Mans vs. Wolves for tag team title, Bobby Roode vs. Ken Anderson, Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky and Zema Ion vs. Eric Young.
Legacy Fighting airs tonight on AXS at 10 p.m. from Arlington, TX with William Bush vs. Roger Narvaez for the middleweight title.
World Series of Fighting is tonight from Edmonton's Expo Centre headlined by Ryan Ford vs Joel Powell for the Canadian welterweight title and Steve Mocco vs. Smealinho Rama. This show will air a week from tonight on NBC Sports Net.
Saturday is UFC 170 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas:
Fight Pass at 7 p.m.
Ernest Chavez vs. Yosdenis Cedeno
Erik Koch vs Rafaello Oliveira
FS 1 at 8 p.m.
Zach Makovsky vs. Josh Sampo
Cody Gibson vs. Aljamain Sterling
Pedro Munhoz vs. Raphael Assuncao
Alexis Davis vs. Jessica Eye
PPV at 10 p.m.
Steven Thompson vs. Robert Whittaker
Mike Pyle vs. TJ Waldburger
Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia
Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins
Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann for the women's bantamweight title.
ROH will be taping television tomorrow at 7 p.m. with A.J. Styles vs. Michael Elgin, Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jay Lethal for the TV title, Romantic Touch vs. R.D. Evans, Roderick Strong & B.J. Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs vs. ACH & Tadarius Thomas & Andrew Everett and the return of Eddie Kingston & Homicide.
Dragon Gate USA has an iPPV at www.WWNLive.com
at 8 p.m. from Elmhurst, NY at the Queensboro Elks Lodge. As noted yesterday, Cima is off the show due to his back problems and the belief two long flights will set him back, so there are no Japanese wrestlers on this tour. Here is the new card:
Johnny Gargano vs. Trent Baretta for the Open the Freedom Gate title
AR Fox vs. Drew Gulak
Bravado Brothers vs. Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor
Rich Swann vs. Anthony Nese
Jigsaw vs. Shane Strickland
Ivelisse vs. Su Yung
TNA runs Saturday night in Beckley WV with Magnus vs. Samoa Joe for the title, Ken Anderson vs. Bobby Roode cage match, Gunner vs. James Storm, Bro Mans vs. Wolves for tag title, Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky and Zema Ion vs. Eric Young.
WWE Elimination Chamber takes place Sunday in Minneapolis:
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Christian vs. Sheamus vs. Antonio Cesaro vs. John Cena Elimination Chamber for world title
The Shield vs. The Wyatts
Alberto Del Rio vs. Dave Batista
Big E vs. Jack Swagger for IC title
New Age Outlaws vs. Usos for tag title
Darren Young vs. Titus O'Neil
Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Curtis Axel & Ryback preshow match at 7:30 p.m.
Dragon Gate USA on Sunday at 7 p.m. from the Brooklyn Lyceum with this new lineup
Gargano/Baretta winner vs. Roderick Strong for the Open the Freedom gate title
AR Fox vs. Chris Hero for Evolve title
Fire Ant vs. Jigsaw
TNA runs Sunday in Morgantown, WV with Magnus vs. Samoa Joe cage match for TNA title, James Storm vs. Gunner, Bro Mans vs. Wolves for tag title, Bobby Roode vs. Ken Anderson, Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky and Zema Ion vs. Eric Young.
Raw will be Monday in Green Bay with one of the biggest shows of the year, as Hulk Hogan returns to WWE, as does Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Plus it's the lead to the network.
Smackdown and Main Event will be taped Tuesday in Milwaukee.
The new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter is up on the site today.
A lot of major things going on behind the scenes in pro wrestling and MMA this week and we've got the most detailed coverage. We've got a lot on the WWE negotiations for a new television deal, what WWE wants, why the ceiling for NBC Universal may not be that high, the value financially of the WWE programming to USA and Syfy, as well as the value from a ratings standpoint. We look at other suitors, as well as those who have appeared to express no interest in the product. We look at the most interesting aspect of the talks, which is that the place WWE should want to be the least may be the key to them getting the most.
We also look at the lessons of UFC this year and how they apply to WWE negotiations.
We also look at the situation with the WWE and the cable companies, including the threat of The Dish Network not carrying Elimination Chamber, how much this will cost Dish Network, it's affect on WWE, the domino theory, as well as previewing the Elimination Chamber show.
We've got a story on the wrestling career of Nelson Frazier Jr., better known as Big Daddy V, Mabel and Viscera. We look at his 21 year career in the ring, from WWE to Japan to the indies, as well as his biggest career run.
We also have more on the WWE Network, Promoting Raw, why certain things aren't being pushed, Hulk Hogan's latest legal action, a major contract set to expire, WWE 2014 Hall of Fame notes, NXT special notes, New WWE hires, Naomi's injury, top star getting WWE tryout, WWE injury updates, WWE movie updates, as well as business notes from the weekend shows and highlights.
We've got a huge Hall of Fame feature on 2013 inductee, the recently retired Kensuke Sasaki. We look at his life inside and outside the ing, what he's best known for in Japan outside of pro wrestling, his start in the business, rise to prominence, the pro wrestling scene in Japan when he was growing up, the All Japan vs. New Japan war, and how it all built to his biggest career matches.
We've got his career title history, awards as well as a look back at his biggest matches, his complete Dome record, his in and out of the ring feud with Shinya Hashimoto, his relationship with Riki Choshu, his marriage to Akira Hokuto, his tag team with Hawk, his U.S. title run in WCW and why it changed, his run to his first IWGP title win, the career of his wife, the two biggest crowds in pro wrestling history, his matches with the Steiners, his MMA fights and much more.
We also have a feature on Gilbert Melendez and his signing a provisional deal with Bellator, including exactly what this means to the business, how this changes the business, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney talking about how things have changed, will UFC counter, the back story on Melendez and Rebney's original meeting, how negotiations went down, and the Melendez'Thomson Strikeforce era.
We've also got full coverage of UFC Fight Night from Brazil, the longest show in UFC history, with all the match-by-match coverage.
We've also got notes on C.M. Punk with the Chicago Raw looming.
We've got a story on the death of Ryu Nakata and his role in Japanese wrestling over the last 35 years, the rise and fall of Pr Wrestling NOAH and the politics behind the scenes after the financial bottom fell out.
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:
--The end of a 61 year era in pro wrestling
--Several title changes in Mexico
--A look at what appears to be the direction for CMLL's first big show of the year
--Two major stars being talked with by AAA
--More on TNA's One Night Only PPV show being taped in Tokyo with the Japan vs. TNA lineups
--Rundown of All Japan's junior heavyweight tournament and final standings
--Notes on the next major All Japan show
--Talks of an interpromotional angle for early April
--New Japan business notes including advances for upcoming shows
--Notes on the champion vs. champion match at New Japan's anniversary show
--Notes on New Japan coming to the U.S.
--Update on Prince Devitt
--Rundown of the New Japan Cup tournament
--Kenta Kobashi's latest ideas
--Promotion that got killed by the injury bug
--A look at ROH's Anniversary show
--Joe Koff issues apology for an interview
--Notes on Jeff Jarrett's latest moves
--Update on Kurt Angle
--New TNA signing
--TNA business notes
--Notes on the TNA weekend house shows
--Build to UFC 170 and attempting to create a new storyline in two minutes
--What happened after Rashad Evans got hurt
--Update on Rashad Evans
--Georges St-Pierre updates on his thoughts about returning
--Dana White talks Rousey's pay
--Thoughts on UFC 170 on PPV
--White talks Rousey vs. Cyborg
--Advances for all the upcoming UFC shows
--Update on Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva
--Dana White blasts Alistair Overeem and Overeem responds
--White talks the future of PPV
--Update on Anthony Pettis
--Lots of new UFC fights
--UFC suing people who illegally watch their PPVs
--Nate Quarry talks financial treatment of fighters
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.
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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)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)a
*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)
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*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)
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*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)
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*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)
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*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
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*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
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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.
FRIDAY'S NEWS UPDATE
--Lots of competition last night and TNA did not finish in the top 100 shows on cable in the 18-49 demo. Among the sports programming were The Olympics at 19.93 million viewers, NASCAR on FS 1 with 3.12 million viewers (second biggest viewership for a show in station history), NBA on TNT (3.84 million) and College Basketball on ESPN (2.29 million).
--Regarding Brock Lesnar, Kane did morning radio today in Minneapolis saying that Brock Lesnar would be at the Elimination Chamber show, sparking a lot of fantasy booking. WWE stated today that Kane misspoke and Lesnar would be starting back on Monday. I do know that as of a few weeks ago I was told specifically no Lesnar on this show even though it's in Minneapolis and if Christian does get taken out of the Chamber, it wouldn't be for Lesnar.
--I should have a story on at MMAFighting.com on Dan Hardy being hired as a new UFC announcer for the European market.
--DDP is on ABC's Shark Tank tonight. Did he really see Daniel Bryan was the most over wrestler ever?
--For those who follow the NCAA wrestling tournament, every single match this year will be available. The Thursday first and second session on 3/20 will air on ESPN U and ESPN 3. The entire tournament will be on Watch ESPN. ESPN 1 will be airing the Friday night semifinals as well as the Saturday night finals from the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City. We'll have more on that as it approaches.
--No date is official for the funeral of Nelson Frazier Jr. but they are tentatively planning for 3/2. His wife, Cassandra Frazier, is understandably distraught. If any of you have any nice thoughts of Nelson (Big Daddy V/Viscera/Mabel) and would like to tell her, it would probably cheer her up. Please be respectful as this is a horrible time in her life. The address is Cassandra Frazier, 3820 Lakehurst Dr., Memphis, TN 38128.
--Time Inc. and MLBAM announced today 120 Sports, a live streaming service that will include the NHL, NBA, MLB.com, NASCAR and Campus Insiders. It will launch in the spring and offer original content and will be a 24 hour live network looking at all sports. Bob Bowman, who was involved in the deal to get the WWE Network and MLBAM, was behind putting this together.
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Brian Hoops and Graeme Cameron)
1969 - Spyros Arion beat Killer Karl Kox in Sydney to win the IWA title and Don Leo Jonathan &Antonio Pugliese (Tony Parisi) beat Brute Bernard & Skull Murphy to win the tag titles
1973 - Paul DeMarco beat Spyros Arion in Brisbane to win the Austra Asian title
1983 - Sweet Brown Sugar (Koko Ware) beat Bobby Eaton to win the Mid American title and Adrian Street & Jesse Barr beat The Fabulous Ones to win the Southern tag titles in Memphis
1993 - Barry Windham beat Great Muta in Asheville, NC to win the NWA title and Big Van Vader beat Sting in a leather strap match
1999 - Hulk Hogan beat Ric Flair in Oakland, CA on a PPV that saw Scott Hall beat Roddy Piper for the U.S. title and Barry Windham & Curt Hennig beat Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko in the finals of a tournament for the tag team titles
--WWE stock closed at $24.49 per share, down 25 cents from yesterday.
--The Miz and Maryse were married earlier this week. I think it was yesterday.
--Celebrating birthdays today include Carlito (35) and Wes Brisco (31)
--Luther Lindsay, one of the most underrated wrestlers and tough guys of the 50s and 60s passed away on this day in 1972 at the age of 48.
--Superstars of Pro Wrestling on 3/22 in Luray, VA at the Luray High School Gym with for a fund raiser for the senior class with Shane Helms, Kid Kash, Christian York, C.W. Anderson, Ricky Morton and The Barbarian.
--Maximum Fighting Championships 40 on 5/9 in Edmonton at the Shaw Conference Centre features Smilin Sam Alvey defending his middleweight title against Wes Swofford. The show airs live on AXS.
--Anthony Pettis is doing a vacation in Vallarta, Mexico from 6/2 to 6/8 with a seven night air plus hotel package for $2,000 at the Hard Rock Vallarta. For more info e-mail
or call 888-588-6654. If that date is correct, that would seem to make a 7/5 UFC fight pretty difficult.
HOW MANY DOMESTIC BUYS DOES ELIMINATION CHAMBER DO?
Under 100,000 28.7
More than 200,000 5.5%
HOW MANY DOMESTIC BUYS DOES UFC 170 DO?
Less than 200,000 11.9%
More than 451,000 12.6%
POLL ON COUNTDOWN TO UFC 170
75.9% of those responding didn't see the show
POLL ON MAIN EVENT
58.8% of those responding didn't see the show
POLL ON ULTIMATE FIGHTER
78.4% of those responding didn't see the show
--Premier Wrestling on 3/30 at the IFDES Lodge Portuguese Hall in Gilroy, CA at 5 p.m. with Jeff Cobb (3-0-1) vs. Sledge (3-1) for the Premier title, JR Kratos (3-2) vs. Dave Dutra (3-2) for the No. 1 contender spot, Julio Pedroza (1-1) vs. Marcus Lewis (1-2) and four more matches. Presale tickets for $10 are at http://www.showclix.com/event/3804133
--NWA Houston on Saturday night at the VFW Hall in Cypress, TX with Byron "Big Daddy Yumyum" Wilcott vs. Jax Dane.
--Oliver Grimsley was announced for the Super 8 tournament on 4/5 at the Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club in Newark, DE.