TUES UPDATE: Raw notes, CM Punk update, Billy Robinson, Xbox and the Network, Main Event live, 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 your thoughts on Thursday's NXT Arrival show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're looking also looking for reports on these shows from the weekend:

WWE Team Bryan in Bloomington, IL

WWE Team Cena last night in Jacksonville

TNA Sunday in Knoxville

TNA Saturday night in Johnson City

TNA Friday night in Columbia, SC

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday night in Detroit at the Joe Louis Arena.

        We've got one of the biggest issues of the year out, another double issue with in-depth notes on the WWE Network launch, full WWE annual financial figures and an analysis of what is good, what is down, what matters, what doesn't, and the whys in every category.  This is the most in-depth look at the business of WWE in the sense of the past, present and future, including a rundown of WWE business dating back to 1994.  We also have coverage of two PPVs, early notes on the business of UFC 170 and what is and isn't true about Ronda Rousey marketing and drawing.
 
        Our lead story runs down the launch of the WWE network.  We look at the problems from a technical standpoint, complaints and what was and wasn't a surprise about how things were handled.  We look at the big questions going forward, responses from WWE and MLBAM, overseas viewing, and even a look at early orders.
 
        We also look at some shocking stats about early orders and how they pertain to possible future gains in viewers down the line, both domestically and internationally.  We look at polls on viewer responses so far, their satisfaction, lack thereof, how well it's worked for them and more.  We also look at what this now seems to mean for the PPV business.
 
        We look at the first NXT special, what content advertised to be there was and wasn't there, what the weekly TV schedule will be, what old shows are up, Chris Benoit on the network, Over the Edge, why things weren't working, what PPVs are there but hard to find and what PPVs aren't there and why, expected and unexpected edits and more.
 
        We've also got full coverage of WrestleMania and how the card stands, what is being teased for the show, what stars don't have matches, as well as full coverage of the Elimination Chamber show from the Target Center in Minneapolis, with match by match coverage, poll results and star ratings.
 
        We also have the annual WWE financial look, with profits, expenses, losses, gains and losses in very aspect of the WWE's business.  We look at the movie business and changes, hidden costs, places where expenses went up, how revenue was among the best yet profits were among the worst for any year in company history.  We look at cash flow, cash on hand, the stock price and why it has started to fall, the upcoming TV deal, why the company already expects major losses for the first quarter of 2014, and when everything will be a lot more clear about the future of WWE's business and why.
 
        We look at how the changes will change the very fabric of how pro wrestling has been since its inception, and what aspects of creative will lessen greatly in importance.  We look at network subscriptions, UFC Fight Pass and its goals, , television talks, C.M. Punk, Vince McMahon talks company business, who will and won't carry PPVs going forward, why television viewership of WWE shows is guaranteed to drop, maybe in more than half by the fall, as well as social media and value.
 
        We also look at, by percentage, where WWE's revenue came from in 2013, and how it has changed over the last year.  We also chart where the revenue comes from, as well as the value of the U.K. to WWE.
 
        We look at the WWE's movie business, house show business, profits, merchandise, licensing, home video, magazine and web site business as well as an update on profits and losses of movie releases.
 
        We also look at the best selling DVDs from the year, a PPV chart covering every show over the past three years as well as an analysis of the PPV business and what lessons it tells us about what and who draws, including the value of a promo, value of a title belt, and crowd response vs. money drawing.  We look at what PPV shows were surprisingly successful, the surprising best B show performance of the year, what shows didn't do well and the No. 1 disappointment on PPV.
 
        We look at the value of the title unification match, look at TV revenue numbers, Christmas season selling,  and a year-by-year look at revenue and profits, and key factors going back 20 years.
 
        We also have more on Hulk Hogan's return to WWE, why the rating wasn't as high as it should have been, notes on developmental, WWE editing footage, Steve Austin talks backstage in WWE, how the business  is changing for characters, RVD talks WWE future, what WWE T-shirt may have a legal issue, Internet interest in various characters after the last few TV shows, what WWE stars have the most and least twitter followers, Indie stars getting WWE looks in a few weeks and latest on house show directions.
 
        We also have a feature on the retirement of Hall of Famer El Hijo del Santo.  We look at him, his famous father, his awards, his biggest feuds, the Santo name, problems with his family and with other promoters, the start of his popularity, and his biggest feuds and mask match record.  We also look at his most famous match ever in the U.S., the feud his family killed, his singles match with Rey Misterio Jr. and his final match with AAA.
 
        We also have a look at what the Gilbert Melendez deal was about, how it's a landmark deal and what is says about the future for top fighters.  We look at his schedule going forward, the lightweight division, if this hurts Bellator, the featherweight division, UFC contracts and Eddie Alvarez.
 
        We've also got coverage of UFC 170, who is Patrick Cummins, what happens next for Daniel Cormier, Sara McMann and Ronda Rousey, the controversies on the stoppages and more.
 
        We look at the business of UFC 170, the push of Rousey as UFC's biggest star and if that's true or not.  We look at the two big matches for Rousey, neither of which may ever happen, and in particular, Rousey vs. Cyborg, risks and rewards.  We look at Cyborg's latest spin on the situation and her challenge to Rousey, as well as match-by-match coverage, announced pay for all fighters and more.
 
        We also look at an interview Kurt Angle did talking about his battling drug addiction.
 
        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.
 
       If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today.  With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today.  Just sent your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, card number and expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        You can also order by paypal by sending to www.paypal.com and directing the funds to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
       You can also subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. ox 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.

        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 Legends honored at this year's Dos Leyendas show
 
--The biggest match ever in Mexican wrestling
 
--Former WCW wrestler health issue
 
--Title vs. title program being looked at
 
--TripleMania
 
--AAA's big show at Juan de la Barrera Gym and angles coming from it
 
--Dragon Gate USA weekend
 
--Big title matches for Dragon Gate
 
--Former Pride star and UFC fighter makes surprising pro wrestling appearance in an impromptu match
 
--More on this year's Champion Carnival tournament
 
--New Japan vs. NOAH program notes including big matches coming shortly
 
--Legendary rivals from 1990 form a tag team
 
--Notes on a Pro Wrestling NOAH big show
 
--A new match-up in New Japan being teased
 
--Prince Devitt talks WWE offer
 
--Promoter and wrestling star in trouble over serious fiscal allegations
 
--Jake Roberts update
 
--Pro wrestling legend in a national TV reality show
 
--A look at how pro wrestling podcasts are doing
 
--Canadian Olympic medalists in pro wrestling
 
--Retirement mach for a 90s star coming in April
 
--Amazing win streak in wrestling ends
 
--Big ROH weekend and a look at the New Japan tie-up
 
--Coverage of the ROH anniversary show and television taping
 
--How WWE's TV negotiations affect the smaller promotions
 
--More on Jeff Jarrett's goal to start a new promotion and what he's said
 
--Notes on TNA's PPV taping from Japan, with the complete lineup and how it came about
 
--Notes on TNA's Lockdown PPV, including what match is in jeopardy
 
--Why the TNA tag title change happened at a house show
 
--How UFC's Machida vs. Mousasi show did, and what was and wasn't misleading about the rating and what it showed
 
--Update on Thiago Silva after his arrest and being jailed
 
--Update on UFC Fight Pass
 
--A look at the next UFC show
 
--UFC new broadcast team
 
--Cult hockey player signs with UFC
 
--Tons of new UFC fights including almost a complete card for April
 
--Notes on Bellator's season opener
 
--New TV show about to air featuring former UFC legend
 
Rates are:
 
        For the United States, it is $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52.  In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52 .
 
        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

-- WWE.com story on Billy Robinson here.

-- Pray for Dave as he attempts to get a Billy Robinson bio completed with over 100,000 pages of notes.

-- Want to thank everyone for a gigantic milestone we hit yesterday in terms of subscribers. We can't do this without your support, and since we've gotten so much support of late we've been able to invest in some new improvements and we've got more to come!

-- From WWE this morning: The WWE Network login issue for Xbox 360 users has been resolved, and we apologize for any inconvenience.I'm not sure the extent of the fix since I know that as of last night there were people who could log in and watch the live stream, but were having tons of problems with OnDemand (including there being no OnDemand library for a lot of things, including many PPVs).

-- As far as Punk is concerned, while some believe that he'll show up next week as a swerve (largely due to Paul talking so much about him on Raw and nobody burying him at any point), the feeling is that at this point, he's probably not coming back. You can never say never in wrestling, but there is a feeling among many that he's mentally finished with wrestling.

-- And yes, it was pitched at some point to have Barrett come out and say he had some BAD NEWS -- CM Punk is not here tonight.

-- Live, the booing for Stephanie and Hunter was so loud that most fans in the building couldn't hear anything they said.

-- No post-show dark match.

-- As noted by many, the Dave vs. Bryan match on Raw last night was not, in fact, a first-time-ever match as they wrestled on Raw in May of 2010.

-- The Total Divas cast will be on Arsenio Hall's show this coming Thursday night.

-- Don't forget, WWE Main Event is LIVE on the Network tonight at 7:00 PM ET/4 PT, and will remain live every week until at least WrestleMania.

-- If you listened to yesterday's Figure Four Daily call-in show, I was surprised that there was so much negativity directed at Punk and his potential return. As it turns out, on the WWE side, despite the crowd reactions in Chicago on Raw, the vast majority of Punk tweets coming in last night to the company's social media department were also negative, mostly fans upset that he "walked out".

-- Chris Jericho was a contestant on last night’s episode of Comedy Central’s new late night series @midnight. He ended up “winning” the game and trended worldwide on Twitter during his appearance. You can check it out here.

-- We've got a new interview with CHAEL SONNEN up on the front page for subscribers right now talking his upcoming season of Ultimate Fighter with Wanderlei Silva and more. Our next live show will be tonight at 9 PM PT/Midnight ET, Bryan & Vinny & Craig talking Raw, Smackdown, and tons more. Tomorrow will be Figure Four Daily with Lance Storm in the afternoon and Observer Radio with Dave Meltzer in the evening. Of course, every show is added to the front page/OnDemand library within 5 minutes of the live show concluding for subscribers. It's an awesome audio complement to the WWE Network, and the same price if you subscribe for a year or more ($9.99/mo).

-- We've added several new shows to our FREE 24/7 stream at F4WLive.com. The stream is available as a channel on TuneIn Radio (app available for all smart phones). Search "F4WLIVE" and favorite it and you can listen in anywhere in the entire world where you have cell service or Internet, including in the car.

-- ROH has added a new Adam Cole: Making of a Champion DVD here.

-- Five-second MMA KTFO.

-- There is a great promo herefor a Conor McGregor documentary which is debuting in Ireland next week.

-- New Titans of Wrestling podcast looking at classic WWF Philadelphia Spectrum action here.

-- The weigh-in and pre-fight press conference for Bellator MMA will take place Thursday at 5:00 p.m. CST from Mist Nightclub at WinStar World Casino.Bellator MMA will take place from WinStar World Casino on Friday, March 7th with the first fight taking place at 6:00 p.m. CST and streaming LIVE on Spike.com. The televised portion of the night will begin at 8:00 p.m. CST and will air LIVE on Spike TV.

-- Scott Kent, CEO of Lion Fight Promotions, today announced Thai fighting legend and World Muay Thai Champion Malaipet Sasiprapa has renewed his contract with LION FIGHT signing an exclusive multi-fight deal with his Las Vegas-based Muay Thai promotion. Malaipet competes only for Lion Fight and will return to the ring against Shane Oblonsky at LION FIGHT 14 taking place Friday, March 28 live on AXS TV and from the Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

-- Big day in history with Brian Hoops:

1954 - Emil and Ernie Dusek defeated Al and Tiny Mills for the NWA Canadian Open Tag Team Title in Toronto, Ontario

1958 - Frenchy Champagne and George Eakin defeated John DePaulo and Bobby Jones for the Madison Wrestling Club Tag Team Title in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

1962 - Don Leo Jonathan defeated Killer Kowalski in a tournament final to become the first American Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Champion in Denver, Colorado.

1970 - Bing Ki Lee and Pedro Morales defeated Johnny Barend and Ripper Collins for the NWA Hawaii Tag Team Title in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1971 - Bill Miller defeated Thunder Sugiyama to win the International Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Title in Kokura, Japan.

1974 - WWWF World Tag Team Champions Tony Garea and Dean Ho defeated Larry Hennig and Stan Staskiak and WWWF World Champion Bruno Sammartino and Nikolai Volkoff fought to a draw due to the 11 pm curfew at Madison Square Garden.

1975 - Ken Lucas defeated Duke Myers in Mobile, Alabama to win the NWA Gulf Coast Heavyweight Title.

1977 - The Islanders (Afa and Sika) defeated Bobby and Ricky Fields for the NWA Gulf Coast Tag Team Title in Dothan, Alabama.

1978 - Dominic DeNucci and Wilbur Snyder defeated The Valiant Brothers (Jimmy and Johnny) for the World Wrestling Association World Tag Team Title in Indianapolis, Indiana

1984 - Wahoo McDaniel and Mark Youngblood defeated Don Kernodle and Bob Orton, Jr. to win the NWA World Tag Team Title in Charlotte, North Carolina.

1984 - The Sheepherders (Butch Miller and Luke Williams) defeated The Fabulous Ones (Steve Keirn and Stan Lane) for the Southwest Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Title in San Antonio, Texas.

1985 - Austin Idol defeated Lord Humongous (Jeff Van Kemp) for the NWA Alabama Heavyweight Title

1986 - Tully Blanchard defeated Dusty Rhodes to win the NWA National Heavyweight Title in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

1987 - The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers) defeated Brian Adias and Al Madril to win the WCWA World Tag Team Title in in Lubbock, Texas.

1989 - The Batten Twins (Bart and Brad) defeated Dan Kroffat and Tama for the WWC World Tag Team Title in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. At the same event, TNT (Savio Vega) won the WWC Caribbean Heavyweight Title from Jason the Terrible, and Chris and Mark Youngblood won the WWC Caribbean Tag Team Title from The Ninja Express (Kensuke Sasaki and Mr. Pogo).

1989 - Gary Young won the World Class Texas Heavyweight Title by forfeit from Brickhouse Brown in San Antonio, Texas.

1990 - Invader I defeated Harley Race for the WWC Caribbean Heavyweight Title in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

1991 - Tatsumi Fujinami defeated Big Van Vader to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Title in Hiroshima, Japan

1992 - Akira Taue and Jumbo Tsuruta defeated Terry Gordy and Steve Williams for the AJPW Unified World Tag Team Title in Tokyo, Japan

1995 - Stan Hansen won the AJPW Triple Crown Title from Toshiaki Kawada in Tokyo, Japan.

1996 - Jerry Lawler defeated Mabel in a tournament final for the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee.

2000 - Mike Awesome and Raven defeated Tommy Dreamer and Masato Tanaka to win the ECW World Tag Team Title.

-- Perennially top-ranked middleweight Yushin "Thunder" Okami (29-8) makes his World Series of Fighting debut on March 29, as he battles Svetlozar Savov (12-4) on the NBCSN-broadcast main card of "World Series of Fighting 9: Carl vs. Palhares."

-- Steve O'Neill of Extreme Rising posted this on Facebook: Thanks to Joe Bellini of Warriors Of Wrestling for allowing EXTREME RISING ticket holders for 3/1 ANOTHER FREE BONUS (doesn't affect your exchange of refund --just a bonus!). EXTREME RISING is proud to offer ANOTHER extra bonus for ALL 3/1 Ticket holders. This offer comes from WARRIORS OF WRESTLING (W.O.W.) in Staten Island, New York. STEVIE RICHARDS has been booked on their event, and W.O.W. has reached out to help Extreme Rising by offer ALL persons with tickets for the 3/1 event in Philly (now rescheduled to 4/25), FREE ADMISSION to THIS Saturday's Warriors of Wrestling event at FUNSTATION in Staten Island, NY. This is an added bonus and in no way effects your exchange or refund. FREE BONUS TO ALL EXTREME RISING TICKET HOLDERS LIVE SATURDAY, MARCH 8th at Warriors of Wrestling!!! AS AN EXTRA BONUS, which does NOT affect your exchange or refund -just an EXTRA BONUS FREE in good faith to our passionate and loyal fans. You will still get your Extreme Rising ticket exchange or refund, but can attend this event FREE. ANYONE with an EXTREME RISING TICKET for 3/1 event at the Arena, can use their ticket Saturday, March 8th at Warriors of Wrestling (W.O.W) FREE. All you have to do is show your ticket. You will then KEEP and retain your ticket for your exchange or refund from Extreme Rising. This is a FREE bonus to all our valued EXTREME RISING fans whom purchased tickets for the show this week that has now been rescheduled.

-- BIG TIME WRESTLING PRESENTS WRESTLEFEST 2014 Saturday, May 17, 2014 Newark Memorial High School 39375 Cedar Blvd Newark, CA 94560 Join us for a great day and evening of professional wrestling! From 10:00 am-4:00 pm, check out the 40 dealer tables with all types of wrestling memorabilia and have the chance to meet wrestling stars such as The Nature Boy Ric Flair, Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall, The Godfather, Gangrel, Chavo Guerrero, The Rock and Roll Express, Molly Holly, and more TBA!

-- WHAT RATING DO YOU EXPECT RAW TO DO?
Less then 2.8 6.7%
2.8 1.0%
2.9 2.5%
3.0 11.9%
3.1 13.3%
3.2 19.3%
3.3 16.0%
3.4 8.4%
3.5 7.4%
3.6 1.7%
3.7 1.7%
3.8 or more 10.1%

WHO DO YOU EXPECT TO WIN THIS FIGHT?
Rampage Jackson 76.5%
King Mo 23.5%

IF A THIRD PERSON WAS TO BE ADDED TO ORTON VS. BATISTA, WHO SHOULD IT BE?
Daniel Bryan 69.7%
C.M. Punk 30.3%

IF JIMI MANUWA BEATS ALEXANDER GUSTAFSSON, WHO SHOULD GET THE NEXT LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE SHOT?
Daniel Cormier 73.3%
Winner of Phil Davis vs. Anthony Johnson 13.8%
Jimi Manuwa 12.9%

Send us a news tip: newstips@wrestlingobserver.com

Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news from this site or from our newsletters, please include a link to www.wrestlingobserver.com

For the most in-depth and detailed news and analysis on pro-wrestling and MMA, always turn to Wrestlingobserver.com/Figure Four Weekly Online, the #1 website of its kind on the Internet. Members receive online access to both the Wrestling Observer and Figure Four Weekly newsletters and growing archives, Wrestling Observer Radio with Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer three times per week, the popular Bryan and Vinny Show three times per week, additional radio shows including Figure Four Daily with Alvarez, Mike Coughlin's Five Star Radio, the Dr. Keith Lipinski Show, The Adam and Mike Big Audio Nightmare, Tough Talk and the Karl Stern Wrestling History Show, the infamous BOARD, and more! Members also have full access to the thousands of hours of audio in our radio show archives which date back to 2005. For your convenience, we offer secure online payments using your VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover card or PayPal account. Don't miss out on the fun, sign up now! Don't miss out on the fun, sign up now!

Want full access? QUICK AND EASY SIGN-UP, AS LOW AS $9.99 PER MONTH!