TUES UPDATE: Foley raffle a huge hit, Gina Carano open to fighting return, Hogan and Arsenio II, Lita Hall of Fame, 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 Sunday's New Japan Cup finals from Amagasaki, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're looking for reports from Boston tonight for Smackdown as well.

        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.
        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.
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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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        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., $20 for shipping costs to Canada and $25 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
Today's News, Notes and Links

-- Mick Foley's WrestleMania raffle which he talked about on our show last week ended up raising over $100,000 for RAINN. That's so awesome.

-- Trish Stratus is inducting Lita into the WWE Hall of Fame.

-- Gina Carano told FOX Sports that if the circumstances were right, she'd be open to returning to MMA, and said she was a bigger fan of it now than she'd ever been. But, she reiterated the circumstances would have to be right (big money, right fight) because she's got a lot going on right now.

-- We are back tonight live with the Bryan & Vinny & Craig show at 9 PM PT/midnight ET, streaming through the front page or up at f4wlive.com. We'll be talking Raw, Smackdown and the ECW Hardcore TV episode 26 from 1993 up on the WWE Network.

-- We have also switched around some of our live show times so that more of them are in prime-time as opposed to the afternoon. You can see the live show schedule up at f4wlive.com.

-- This is better than usual I guess. After spending all last night talking about how Big E Langston would be defending the IC Title against Christian tonight on Main Event, instead of it just not happening, well, they actually announced in advance that it wouldn't be happening, and we have to tune in to see what's next.

-- Don't forget, Hulk Hogan returns to Arsenio Hall on Friday night. I'm pretty sure Arsenio has not aged since 1992.

-- CHRIS HERO vs. MASATO TANAKA is signed for Dragon Gate USA Open The Ultimate Gate on Friday night, April 4th at the WWNLive Experience. For info on all of the WWNLive Experience events, full line-ups for all of the shows WrestleMania weekend and more, click here. I'll be there for at least one of the shows, so stop by if you see us!

-- A preview for Thursday night's Impact show is up here.

-- No Holds Barred roasted on podcast here.

-- Fake Chuck Liddell commercial on Jimmy Kimmel here.

-- New interview with Gabe Sapolsky talking Dragon Gate, EVOLVE and his entire career here.

-- Bellas interview here where they are awkwardly asked about CM Punk.

-- Total Divas did 1.28 million viewers this week, up from last week's season opener.

-- JR has a new blog up here. Information on his podcast is up there as well.

-- Lawsuit storyregarding Shane McMahon and his family being forced to vacate their Penthouse due to serious issues related to flooding leading to respiratory ailments and such. That's really no good, though he is asking for tens of millions of dollars.

-- Ted DiBiase talks Undertaker's streak, Warrior in the Hall of Fame and more here.

-- Ozeki Kakuryu, will be promoted to Yokozuna after winning the March tournament in Sumo and coming in 2nd place in the January tournament. He will be the 3rd current Yokozuna and the 3rd current Yokozuna from Mongolia. He will become the 71st Yokozuna in history. He will also be the first Yokozuna since Akebono in 1993 to become Yokozuna without winning two consecutive tournaments. Thanks to Robert.

-- Bix has an interview herewith Joe Manganiello talking his pro-wrestling fandom, Raw and more.

-- Very rare interview clip herewith UFC bookers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby.

-- Story on the legendary Mr. Wrestling II up here.

-- Chris Bruno of Prison Break and more is the featured article on When We Were Bouncers this week here.

-- ROH State of the Art is out on DVD today with Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Cole for Briscoe's World Title here.

-- A correction from yesterday, the House of Hardcore website is houseofhardcore.net.

-- Official trailer for an upcoming Iron Sheik documentary here.

-- Trailer for Hercules starring Rock here.

-- Xtreme Fighting Championships is excited to announce the addition of Andy “The CrAsian” Nguyen, to its growing roster of female fighters. The South Carolina Ring Card Girl turned fighter debuted in May of 2010 and has stepped into the cage an impressive fourteen times; honing her craft and earning her stripes in route to a professional career. The XFC will afford Nguyen the opportunity to finally settle into her natural 115 pound weight class, as the striking beauty has bounced around divisions in order to stay active; competing as high as Bantamweight on a few occasions. Nguyen trains out of Fitness Edge in Myrtle Beach and under Hafez Hakim in Greenville, South Carolina.

-- Yes, the CRASIAN.

-- The weigh-in and pre-fight press conference for Bellator MMA will take place Thursday at 5:00 p.m. MST from the Fairborn Ballroom at the Embassy Suites (3524 S Market St, West Valley City, UT 84119). Bellator MMA will take place from the Maverik Center on Friday, March 28th with the first fight taking place at 5 p.m. MST and streaming LIVE on Spike.com. The televised portion of the night will begin at 7 p.m. MST and will air LIVE on Spike TV.

-- Brian Fritz is a guest on this week's Between the Ropes with Ed and company here.

Ultimate Warrior 60.2%
Jake Roberts 25.1%
Scott Hall 4.6%
Mr. T 3.9%
Paul Bearer 2.3%
Lita 2.1%
Carlos Colon 1.9%

Freebirds 34.5%
Danny Hodge 25.4%
Midnight Express 17.9%
Rock & Roll Express 12.3%
Dick Murdoch 3.7%
Steve Williams 3.2%
Magnum T.A. 2.4%
Skandor Akbar 0.5%

Excellent 34.2%
Good 49.4%
Average 8.9%
Fair 1.3%
Poor 6.3%
38.8% of those responding didn't see the show

Henderson vs. Rua 76.7%
Maldonado vs. Villante 23.3%

Getting it, like the card 35.9%
Would get it, but Mania day, too busy 19.0%
Would be interested, but other conflicts, not Mania, that weekend 13.1%
Would have gotten it if it had a world title match 9.8%
Don't like the card, not getting it 8.5%
No longer interested in getting New Japan shows 7.8%
Not a big enough show, not interested in getting it 5.9%

-- Today in History with Brian Hoops:

1936 - Frank Sexton defeated George McCloud in Columbus, Ohio to become the first Ohio Heavyweight Champion.

1965 - Buddy Gilbert and Ron Reed defeated Rocky Hamilton and Dutch Savage to win the Central States NWA North American Tag Team Title in Kansas City, Kansas.

1968 - Don Leo Jonathan and Ski-Hi Jones (Grizzly Smith) defeated The Assassins for the Vancouver NWA Canadian Tag Team Title in Vancouver, British Columbia.

1973 - Wahoo McDaniel defeated Superstar Billy Graham in an Indian strap match in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

1979 - In Toronto, Ontario, Canada, WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund and AWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Bockwinkel fought to a double-countout. Also on the card, NWA United States Heavyweight Champion Ricky Steamboat defeated Ric Flair.

1982 - Roger Kirby and Jerry Valiant won the NWA Central States Tag Team Title in Kansas City, Kansas, by defeating Steve Regal and Dewey Robertson.

1983 - Terry Gordy defeated The Great Kabuki for the World Class Texas Brass Knuckles Title in Dallas, Texas.

1983 - Terry Gibbs and Buddy Landel defeated Gran Apolo and King Tonga to win the WWC North American Tag Team Title in San Juan, Puerto Rico

1984 - Steve Regal defeated Buck Zumhofe to win the AWA World Light Heavyweight Title in St. Paul, Minnesota.

1988 - Iceman King Parsons defeated Kerry Von Erich for the World Class World Heavyweight Title in Dallas, Texas.

1989 - The Olympians (Ken Patera and Brad Rheingans) defeated Badd Company (Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka) to win the AWA World Tag Team Title in Rochester, Minnesota.

1996 - The Cyberpunks, PG-13 (JC Ice and Wolfie D wearing mask) defeated Doug Gilbert and Tommy Rich for the USWA Tag Team Title in Memphis, Tennessee.

1999 - The Tennessee Volunteers (Steven Dunn and Reno Riggins) defeated Brian Christopher and Spellbinder for the NWA North American Tag Team Title in Nashville, Tennessee.

2000 - Jerry Lawler defeated Bull Pain in a tournament final to become the first Memphis Championship Wrestling Southern Heavyweight Champion in Tunica, Mississippi.

-- Known as San Antonio's brand of professional wrestling for more than 12 years, River City Wrestling will host a night of spectacular action on Friday, March 28 at Sideliners Grill, 15630 Henderson Pass in San Antonio, Texas. The doors open at 7:30 p.m., event at 8 p.m. The event is family-friendly and all ages can attend.

-- Saturday March 29th, Professional Wrestling comes to the !BANG! TV Sound Stage in Ocala, Support Your Troops 101, “Combat Ready,” is a charity show with proceeds going to Veterans Helping Veterans.

-- Pinnacle Fighting Championships returns to Pittsburgh on March 29, 2014 with its biggest show to date, Pittsburgh Challenge Series 6. And for the first time in organizational history, the event will be available via Internet Pay-Per-View. The event will be broadcast on StandThemUp.org for a price of $14.99.

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?