FRI UPDATE: Another ridiculously packed weekend, TNA star done, Slammiversary travel packages, WWE Network potential series reel, tons more



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

A very busy weekend coming up with never ending MMA and pro wrestling events.

We're looking for reports on tonight's Team Cena show from Bridgeport, CT (Randy Orton vs. John Cena, Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio, plus Rhodes Brothers at dave@wrestlingobserver.comand This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Smackdown tonight on Syfy at 8 p.m. (all times here are Eastern)

Fernando vs. Fandango

Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow

Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal & Drew McIntyre vs. Curtis Axel & Ryback vs. Jack Swagger & Cesaro for tag title shot

Big E vs. Alberto Del Rio non-title

Bella Twins vs. Natalya & Summer Rae

John Cena vs. Luke Harper

Bellator on Spike.com at 7 p.m.

Israel Giron (155) vs. Cody Carrillo (154.5)

Daniel Gallemore (265) vs. Fredrick Brown (?)

Tory Bogguess (136) vs. L.C. Davis (135.9)

Donnie Bell (155.4) vs. Eric Wisely (155.4)

Marcio Navarro (157) vs. Bobby Cooper (158.4)

Brandon Girtz (155.6) vs. Derek Anderson (155.6) in lightweight tournament first round

Bellator on Spike at 9 p.m. Tin Welch (155.8) vs. Derek Campos (155) in lightweight tournament first round

Marcin Held (155.9) vs. Rodrigo Cavalheiro (154) in lightweight tournament first round

David Rickels (155.7) vs. Patricky Pitbull Freire (155.7) in lightweight tournament first round

Attila Vegh (204.2) vs. Emanuel Newton (203) for light heavyweight title

Frederick Brown is a late replacement for Maurice Jackson, who slipped on water at the hotel while eating breakfast this morning and his knee went out and he ended up in the hospital.

The semifinals of this year's NCAA Division I wrestling tournament from Oklahoma City are on ESPN at 8 p.m. tonight.

The Legacy Fighting Championships has a show at 10 p.m. Eastern from the Hard Rock in Tulsa featuring Leonard Garcia vs. Shane Howell for the featherweight title, Paul Buentello vs. Myron Dennis for the vacant light heavyweight title and former TUF winner Jonathan Brookins vs. Cody Fuller.

CMLL Dos Leyendas is at www.terra.com/mx at 9 or 9:30 p.m.

Brazo de Plata & Stuka Jr. & Titan vs. El Terrible & Rey Bucanero & Vangellys

La Sombra & Volador Jr. & Thunder vs. Mephisto & Ephesto & Negro Casas

Maximo & Rey Escorpion vs. Atlantis & Euforia in the finals of the Incredible partners tournament

Mistico & Mascara Dorada & Valiente vs. Ultimo Guerrero & Gran Guerrero & Niebla Roja

Rush vs. Shocker hair vs. hair

I'm not sure how much of this show will air. Usually they show either up to the semi or main event.

New Japan tonight at 4 a.m. Eastern and 1 a.m. Pacific has the quarterfinals of the New Japan Cup from Nagoya:

Sho Tanaka vs. Yohei Komatsu

Tiger Mask & Jushin Liger & Yuji Nagata vs. Yoshi-Hashi & Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano

Bushi & Kushida & Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Taka Michinoku & Taichi & Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer

Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows & Tama Tonga

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan & Desperado vs. Kazuchika

Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Yujiro Takahashi & Jado

Quarterfinals of New Japan Cup

Katsuyori Shibata vs. Shelton Benjamin

Tetsuya Naito vs. Bad Luck Fale

Hirooki Goto vs. Minoru Suzuki

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Prince Devitt

Saturday has WWE Team Cena at the Nassau Coliseum (John Cena, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rhodes Brothers) and Team Bryan in Atlantis City (Daniel Bryan, Kane, Christian, The Shield, The Wyatt Family and tonight's ROH show in Dayton at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds (A.J. Styles vs. Chris Hero, Mark & Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Cole & Michael Bennett, Tommaso Ciampa vs. Matt Taven for TV title, Kevin Steen vs. Bobby Fish, Michael Elgin vs. Cedric Alexander, Kyle O'Reilly vs. Silas Young vs. RD Evans vs. Romantic Touch).

The NCAA tournament finals are at 8 p.m. Saturday night from Oklahoma City on ESPN.

New Japan has the semifinals and finals of the New Japan Cup from Amagasaki at 3 a.m. Eastern and midnight Pacific time late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.

Sunday has WWE Team Cena in Trenton, NJ (John Cena, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rhodes Brothers) and Team Bryan in Binghamton, NY (Daniel Bryan, Kane, Christian, The Shield, The Wyatts).

UFC this week experiments with a Sunday show from Natal, Brazil

Fight Pass at 4 p.m. Eastern

Naod Lahat vs. Godofredy Pepey

Francimar Barroso vs. Hans Stringer

FS 1 at 5 p.m. Eastern

Thiago Pepetuo vs. Kenny Robertson

Jussier Formiga vs. Scott Jorgensen

Ronny Markes vs. Thiago Santos

Diego Brandao vs,. Will Chope

Rony Jason vs. Steven Siler

Michel Prazeres vs. Mairbek Taisumov

Fabio Maldonado vs,. Gian Villante

Norman Parke vs. Leonardo Santos

C.B. Dollaway vs. Cezar Ferreira

Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Shogun Rua

Yes, five straight hours on FS 1.

Raw will be Monday night from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with all the regulars plus both The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar scheduled on the show.

Smackdown and Main Event are taped Tuesday in Boston with John Cena back on Smackdown, as is Batista and HHH.

        We've got a jam packed issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter this week, with the changes in the WrestleMania card, almost a finalized card including two new matches, one of which has not been announced officially, and what went down and why for the minor changes over the past week.  We look at the Battle Royal, and changing angles.
 
        We've got full coverage of UFC 171, including some records set, business notes on the show, a look back at the previous Johny Hendricks vs. Tyron Woodley match, the difference in Hendricks from the GSP fight, the judging of the fight with Robbie Lawler and looking at each round, and looking at the various contenders including polls on who people thought won the close fights, and who they want to see get the next title shot.  We've also got match-by-match coverage of the show.
 
        We've got lots of updates on WWE TV talks and rumors including a new station thought to be in the game and how to make economic sense of  the bid, John Cena may be in a major non-WWE movie, lots of notes on international TV deals, Daniel Bryan wedding and booking, future of WWE on traditional PPV, how much top WWE executives including Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and HHH have earned, including HHH's total wrestling income from the past few years and how it's broken down, how much value in stock do the WWE bigwigs have and more.
 
        We've got notes behind the WWE animated series, what stars are on what pre-Mania TV shows, the Chael Sonnen prank on the McMahons, Sonnen when he trained for pro wrestling, Lesnar vs. Undertaker on PPV, update on Sting and WWE, thoughts on Carlos Colon and Mr. T in the WWE Hall of Fame, how Mr. T became famous and his importance to the WWE today, Study on WWE female portrayals, WWE workout videos, WWE gets awards and a look at the next several weeks of NXT.
 
        We also have a look at the Total Divas! show, as well as notes on all the weekend WWE house shows, with highlights and business.
 
        We also have a look at Georges St-Pierre talking PED testing, what he claims he said to Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta, what he is looking for to come back, and his thoughts on fighting Anderson Silva.
 
        We also look at AAA's first major show of the year, the Rey de Reyes show, the no-shows and the coverage.
       
        We also have notes on the first round of the New Japan Cup, with match-by-match coverage and star ratings as well as poll results.
 
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        We also have a look at the ratings of all the major television shows over the past week, how the segments individually did on Raw and Impact, and results from all the major arena events.
 
Also in this week's issue:
 
--A look at CMLL's first major show of 2014
 
--Bobby Bonales Cup
 
--A major legends show
 
--Update on AAA coming to U.S. television in 2014
 
--Two title changes in Dragon Gate
 
--TNA title up for grabs in Japan this week
 
--A look at the 2014 Champion Carnival tournament
 
--New Japan business update, how they are doing compared to last year, goals, iPPV, and where WWE is ahead of New Japan in ways they can't seem to catch up
 
--What major U.S. star is likely to be a New Japan regular very shortly
 
--Notes on the 2014 Best of the Super Junior tournament
 
--A Japanese wrestling news story that got a ton of national publicity
 
--Rikidozan's grandson continues in pro wrestling
 
--Notes on a unique show next month where a Hall of Fame pro wrestler faces a debuting sumo star, and a former K-1 fighter also debuts as a pro wrestler.
 
--Tons of news from WrestleMania weekend.  A look at all the non-WWE events scheduled with lineups
 
--A look at the career of Lorenzo Parente
 
--A must-see match of Parente that is on YouTube
 
--A look at the 16 Carat Gold tournament this past week
 
--First time ever battle of brothers tag team
 
--What to watch for in NCAA wrestling tournament
 
--More on New Japan wrestlers coming to ROH
 
--What star would like to come and why it's unlikely
 
--This coming week's ROH show notes
 
--ROH starting a new concept
 
--News on Jeff Jarrett's new promotion
 
--Why so many in TNA are talking about it
 
--What won't be happening
 
--Unique ideas
 
--Update on Kurt Angle
 
--Why TNA is looking at taping in New York
 
--Notes on the next TNA PPV
 
--TNA wrestler called sexiest woman in the world
 
--Other women wrestlers on list
 
--A look at the next month of TNA television and where everything is going
 
--Update on the UFC PPV business
 
--UFC international TV notes and one show doing great, another not as good
 
--More on Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva
 
--Notes on new shows
 
--Ronda Rousey latest legal action
 
--MMA announcer has health scare
 
--Notes on Rousey's next potential opponents
 
--What potential opponent has at least temporarily fallen out
 
--Rousey and C.M. Punk notes
 
--Rousey and WrestleMania notes
 
--More on the Thiago Silva arrest
 
--New UFC fights
 
--Crazy request of a fighter in public
 
--Bellator PPV gets major competition
 
--A look at last week's Bellator show and next week's show
 
--Boxing PPV update
 

 
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Today's News, Notes and Links

-- Lei'D Tapa is done with TNA after last night's show. She tweeted this: When One Door Closes another door opens! Thanks @ImpactWrestling for the opportunity to share with the world my passion for what I enjoy doing! To all of my fans I love you all & thank you for your Loyal support from day 1!! Forever grateful and blessed!! Looking forward to the future & great things to come!! Keep supporting Queen Of Rings we bout to takeover!! To the top we go!!! #BowDown. Suffice to say, I was not the biggest fan of her in-ring because she was very green and it's rather difficult to improve in the TNA system (no opportunities to work long matches in front of big crowds four days a week with good workers, etc.), but the idea that she was brought in for what was clearly a long-term storyline involving a turn and feud with Gail, and then all of a sudden out of nowhere they booked one singles match and now she's gone forever, well, that sucks.

-- TNA Slammiversary travel package info: TNA Entertainment, home of IMPACT WRESTLING, which is viewed by millions each Thursday night on SPIKE TV, is heading back to DFW to celebrate the company’s anniversary at Slammiversary XII, the epic summer showdown broadcast around the globe live from the College Park Center at the University of Texas at Arlington on Sunday, June 15. Fans can lock in the best seats at Slammiversary and experience an unforgettable TNA weekend by purchasing a Travel Package, available now at ShopTNA. All Travel Packages include: Premiere seating at the Slammiversary XII PPV event Sunday, June 15; 3 nights hotel accommodations (Friday, June 13 – Sunday, June 15); An exclusive Welcome Reception with TNA Superstars on Friday, June 13; VIP Weekend Pass, which includes; A full-day pass to Six Flags Over Texas on Saturday, June 14; Meet and greet sessions with IMPACT WRESTLING Superstars; A Slammiversary XII Anniversary Celebration inside Six Flags; An exclusive Breakfast Before the Bell with IMPACT WRESTLING Superstars on Sunday, June 15, before Slammiversary XII; A commemorative Slammiversary XII souvenir. A limited number of VIP Weekend Passes are also available at ShopTNA.

-- Teaser reel for BLACKMAN'S BOUNTIES, which has been pitched for the WWE Network, here. THIS IS NOT PG. But it's amazing. Also, is that Willow screeching at the beginning? Add Willow to this series and I'm sold.

-- This is amazing. Antonio Cesaro interviews Hulk Hogan, who is in pure crazy Hulk Hogan mode.

-- Chris writes: Mayor Rob Ford is being sued for $1.5 million. The lawsuit claims that Ford was behind a beating that his former brother in law received while in jail. There is a video of a drunk Rob Ford making threats against somebody, the lawsuit claims he was talking about his brother in law. Rob Ford defence is that he was doing a Hulk Hogan impression. The front page of the Toronto Sun is a photoshopped picture of Ford as Hogan. You can see the picture by clicking here.

-- Since it was discussed on the Todd show the other day, Kevin writes: I once heard an interview with the head of Fight Metrics on Sherdog and he defined a significant strike as a strike that hit the head or body as opposed to the extremities.

-- I don't know about today, but as of Wednesday ROH Global Wars in Toronto was nearly sold out, so if you want to go you better get tickets quick at rohwrestling.com.

-- The mystery of the stolen Hulk Hogan boot here. The husband of the woman who found it saw the report on TMZ and told her to come clean.

-- Really good interview with Bret Hart up here.

-- Local news story on Emma, talking coming up, training with Lance Storm, signing with WWE and more here.

-- UFC released Melvin Guillard yesterday. They also signed new deals with Jake Ellenberger and Johny Hendricks.

-- New Ultimate Warrior DVD comes out April 1st. Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection is a 3-disc collection of the Ultimate Warrior’s greatest matches along with never-before-seen interviews and footage not yet available anywhere else. He is one of the most colorful and intense Superstars of all time, the Ultimate Warrior! Now for the first time ever, WWE honors his illustrious career with this ultimate collection of bone-crunching matches. Feel the power of the warrior over 3-discs, featuring battles against all his biggest rivals such as Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts, Ravishing Rick Rude, Sgt. Slaughter and more! WWE fans have long awaited another Warrior DVD since the controversial release of 2005's The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. Finally, with over 7 hours of matches from this larger than life Superstar, the action on this home entertainment release is truly OUT OF CONTROL!

-- New article on Scotty 2 Hotty including quotes here.

-- After Dark returns tonight with special guest Nicholas DeLeon, one of my favorite somewhat-regulars, talking the latest in cutting-edge technology. We'll also take your phone calls and emails on all conceivable subjects. A preview will be up on the front page in a few hours, so check that out. It airs at 11 PM PT/2 AM ET every Friday night at darkmatterradio.net, or by searching Dark Matter or Art Bell on TuneIn Radio.

-- Fun new episode of the LuchaWorld podcast up here.

-- For those wondering why some of the PPVs disappeared on the Network recently, Chris writes: Over the past few days, WWE has been pulling WCW shows from the Network and re-uploading them about a day or so later without the generic music dubbed over themes done by Jimmy Papa, the Texas songwriter who was/is suing WWE. The music affected is everything from the WCW Slam Jam album as well the entrance music for 2 Cold Scorpio and the Freebirds (Badstreet USA and I'm a Freebird and What Was Your Excuse). WWE seems to be going through all the shows with Papa music and restoring it (even WrestleMania X-7, where Michael Hayes entered to Badstreet USA, is currently down). Beach Blast 1993 and Fall Brawl 1993 are two examples of WCW shows that went down and are back up with Papa's music now intact. In addition, several ECW PPVs (including Barely Legal and the last one, Guilty As Charged 2001) were briefly removed from the Network a few days ago and went back up without bleeps over the profanity (which WWE had put in for when the shows aired on the old Classics On Demand channel).

-- Today in History:

1972 - Billy Red Cloud defeated Art Thomas to win the WWA World Heavyweight Title.

1976 - El Audaz defeated Rey Mendoza for the UWA World Light Heavyweight Title in Veracruz, Mexico.

1979 - The Crusher beat AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkel by DQ in Stevens Point, WI

1981 - Tommy Gilbert defeated Medico II to win the WWC Caribbean Heavyweight Title in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.

1986 - Ron Ritchie defeated Kerry Brown to win the Stampede North American Heavyweight Title in Vancouver, British Columbia.

1991 - WCW World Tag Team Champions Rick & Scott Steiner defeated IWGP Tag Team Champions Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki to win the titles at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. Also, IWGP Champion Tatsumi Fujinami pinned WCW

World Champion Ric Flair.

-- Mike writes: During the NCAA wrestling, the announcers mentioned someone (I think the OSU Jones family) beating Johny Hendricks in the 2007 finals. Tim Johnson mentioned that Hendricks is doing all right… long pause… stammering… just winning a title… stammer… in MMA. I just pictured Vince screaming in his earwig to not under any circumstances mention UFC. Mike also added, And damn, David Taylor looked impressive and unstoppable. He could once again be the story of the tourney.

-- Upcoming AAW Events. TONIGHT Friday, March 21; Berwyn Eagles Club (6309 W. 26th St. Berwyn, IL); Doors: 7:00pm - Belltime: 7:45pm; Front Row/Front Row Stage: $20.00 SOLD OUT; General Admission: $15.00; Purchase Tickets Online at http://aawrestling.com/tickets.html; EPIC: The 10 Year Anniversary Event

-- The weekly San Bernardino City News Edition of March 13, 2014 published a front page story entitled "A Night Of Wrestling". The story was about an EWF wrestling card at the American Sports University in Downtown San Bernardino. The story was very positive about the fans having a good time watching the performers of this local promotion. On the front page Friar Juan Roman was featured in a Photo, and the story concluded with an interview of Promoter Jesse Hernandez.

-- WHO DO YOU EXPECT TO WIN THIS FIGHT?
Shogun Rua 67.5%
Dan Henderson 32.5%

WHAT BEST DESCRIBES YOUR VIEWING PLANS FOR WRESTLEMANIA?
Watched on PPV last year, this year on network 44.8%
Didn't watch last year, watching this year on network 25.0%
Watched last year on PPV, this year on PPV 15.1%
Watched last year, not watching this year, don't like card 5.2%
Watched last year, not watching this year, other plans 5.2%
Didn't watch last year, will watch this year on PPV 4.7%

WHAT COMPANY WILL BE NO. 2 IN WRESTLING IN 2015?
New Japan 55.5%
Jarrett's group 18.4%
TNA 14.7%
ROH 6.1%
AAA 5.3%

WHICH UPCOMING UFC SHOW DRAWS BEST?
Jones vs. Teixeira 57.5%
Weidman vs. Machida 42.5%

WHO WILL BE THE NEXT UFC CHAMPION TO LOSE THEIR TITLE?
Chris Weidman 22.5%
Johny Hendricks 21.4%
Antony Pettis 18.7%
Jon Jones 15.4%
Ronda Rousey 8.2%
Demetrious Johnson 4.5%
Renan Barao 3.8%
Cain Velasquez 2.7%
Jose Aldo 2.2%

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