FRI UPDATE: WrestleMania seating notes, big stars on Good Morning America next week, Austin to New Orleans, Metamoris notes, 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 WWE house show in Raleigh (John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Wyatt Family, Kane, Big E, Rhodes Brothers) and tonight's TNA show in Lincoln, NE at the Pershing Center (Magnus vs. Samoa Joe for TNA title, Bro Mans vs. Wolves for tag title, Bully Ray vs. Bobby Roode, James Storm vs. Gunner, Madison Rayne vs. Gail Kim for Knockouts title.

Bellator tonight from Salt Lake City.

Prelims at 7 p.m. on Spike.com

Jose Rodriguez (184.4) vs. Eric Wahlin (186)

Gavin Sterritt (170.8) vs. Mike Estus (168.7)

Linton Vassell (205.1) vs. Trevor Carlson(205.6)

Bubba Jenkins (156) vs. Sean Powers (154.9)

Justin Wilcox (155.1) vs. Jason Fischer (155.7)

Rad Martinez (145.9) vs. Edson Berto (145.8)

Live on Spike at 9 p.m.

Kendall Grove (185) vs. Brett Cooper (185.5)

Daniel Weichel (145.9) vs. Matt Bossette (145.6) in the featherweight tournament semifinals

Desmond Green (145.8) vs. Will Martinez (145.5) in the featherweight tournament semifinals

Alexander Shlemenko (184.8) vs. Brennan Ward (184.4) for the middleweight title

Lion Fight 14 on AXS at 10 p.m. Eastern and 7 p.m. Pacific

Gaston Bolanos (142.5) vs. Brian Del Rosario (142.5)

Anthony Castrejon (123) vs. Victor Saravia (121)

Eddie Abasolo (154) vs. Jonathan Wyderko (153)

Malaipet (143) vs. Shane Oblonsky (145)

Cris Cyborg Justino (145) vs. Jorina Baars (144) to crown the welterweight champion

Gregory Chopin (164) vs. Marco Pique (162)

Saturday has WWE in Charlottesville, VA (Daniel Bryan, Kane, Christian, Wyatt Family, Miz, Rhodes Brothers) and TNA in Sioux City, IA (Magnus vs. Samoa Joe for TNA title, Bro Mans vs. Wolves for tag title, Bully Ray vs. Bobby Roode, James Storm vs. Gunner, Madison Rayne vs. Gail Kim for X title).

Saturday night has the World Series of Fighting on NBC Sports at 9 p.m. Eastern

Ozzy Dugulubgov vs. Johnny Nunez

Josh Burkman vs. Tyler Stinson

Yushin Okami vs. Svetlozar Savov

Marlon Moraes vs. Josh Rettinghouse for bantamweight title

Steve Carl vs. Rousimar Palhares for welterweight title

Sunday has WWE in Norfolk (John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Wyatt Family) and TNA in Spencer, IA at the Clay County Regional Events Center (Magnus vs. Samoa Joe for TNA title, Bro Mans vs. Wolves for tag titles, Bully Ray vs. Bobby Roode, James Storm vs. Gunner, Madison Rayne vs. Gail Kim for X title).

The final event before WrestleMania, a combined Raw and Smackdown taping it at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, with all hands on deck, including Hulk Hogan, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar.

New Japan has an iPPV late Tuesday night (4:30 a.m. Eastern, 1:30 a.m. Pacific) from Korakuen Hall as the retirement show for Wataru Inoue with Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomoaki Honma vs. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata.

        One of the biggest features we've ever done on a wrestler, a look in depth at the life and career of Billy Robinson, headlines the new double issue of the Observer that will be on the web site today.
 
        The issue has an update on WrestleMania, with the updated card, the gambling odds, behind the Dish Network decision to carry the show and what Elimination Chamber showed about the Dish Network's not carrying it.  We look at the power the cable companies have individually or as a group, as well as an update on WrestleMania ticket availability, as well as what the high priced tickets are going for.
 
        Our big feature looks at the life and times of Billy Robinson.  We've got his records, a look back at wrestling legends like Karl Gotch and Billy Joyce, Robinson's amateur career, why he didn't go to the Olympics, his rise to the top, his matches with Joyce and title wins, his economic problems and what caused them and life after wrestling.
 
        We look at his dark side, the heyday of the UWFI, how shoot style wrestling got popular in Japan, the explosion of the second UWF, the training of Kiyoshi Tamura and Kazushi Sakuraba and the famous Robinson temper.
 
        We've got comments from friends, family, what Robinson had been doing of late and the physical pain he had been living with.
 
        We look at his start in the sport of wrestling, his early infatuation with boxing, his first meeting with Karl Gotch, and how Robinson first linked up with Japan and why he became such a big star there.
 
        We look at Robinson's original run in Japan, how he got so popular, his firs run of famous matches, the first IWE world title tournament, the Japanese stars he coached.
 
        We look at the scene in the movie "The Wrestler," and how close to real life it was regarding Verne Gagne first hearing about Billy Robinson. 
 
        We look at Robinson's run in Hawaii, his first tour of Stampede Wrestling and all the havoc that came from it, as well as his legendary series of matches with Dory Funk Jr.
 
        We look at Gagne first discovering Robinson and what he originally had him in Minneapolis doing besides wrestling. 
 
        We've got comments from tons of wrestlers who trained under him and worked with him.
 
        We look at Robinson's thoughts on Japanese shoot style wrestling, UFC and Olympic wrestling, as well as the Gracies.
 
        We look at Robinson's run in Australia, his interaction with Dick Murdoch and Jack Brisco, as well as the legendary 1971 World Series of wrestling battles with Robinson, Gotch and Andre the Giant.
 
        We look at his AWA debut, his role in the company, his battles with Ray Stevens & Nick Bockwinkel over the tag team title, We look at the Gagne vs. Robinson feud, the creative finishes, and what angle was done to build for their match at Comiskey Park in Chicago.
       
        We look back at the Robinson vs. Inoki and Robinson vs. Baba matches and why they were considered so historically important, as well as the background of how the two matches happened.
 
        We look at how Baba secured Robinson away from Inoki, and how his reputation figured into the Inoki vs. Baba cold war.  WE also look at why Robinson never became one of the longtime top stars in St. Louis, looking at his only  main event, what he did that upset Sam Muchnick and his record from there.
 
        We look at his run in Florida, and his last years in the AWA, as well as his run as a headliner in Mexico and Quebec, as well as the tail end of his career.
 
        We've got full coverage of the New Japan Cup tournament, including the booking, where it looks to be headed, the next major shows, details of a big symbolic match coming to Tokyo as well as all three Tokyo shows for next week.
 
        We've also got more on Sting and WWE, this year's class of the WWE Hall of Fame, talk regarding next year and names being mentioned, Ted DiBiase talks Ultimate Warrior induction, SummerSlam ticket sales, Hogan talks sex tape and tells more tales about Metallica, the Rolling Stones and his restaurant.
 
        We also look at a movie about a former WWE champion, a lawsuit filed by Shane McMahon, someone expected to return to WWE within a few weeks, plans for the WWE Network, Christian's injury, the WWE TV situation in Germany, developmental news, Total Divas, DJ gets fired over actions at a WWE show, a new WWE investment, WWE wrestler starts new business, the last WWE tryout camp, what WWE is talking with Jonathan Coachman about, Dean Ambrose talks Jake Roberts, business notes from the last week as well as highlights from all last week's live events.
 
        We also look at this past week's UFC show in Brazil, what the business showed, and match-by-match coverage.
 
        We also look at the story behind the UFC firing of Will Chope over a domestic abuse charge from yeas ago,  We look at how the story got out, the gist of the story, why he said he pleaded the way he did, and the UFC decision.
 
        We also have a rundown of the Dos Leyendas show in Mexico City.
       
        We also have a detailed breakdown on the WWE's Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber PPV numbers, on what those numbers say about the product today.
 
        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, how the segments individually did on Raw and Impact, and results from all the major arena events.
 
Also in this week's issue:
 
--TNA title defended in Japan this past week
 
--Notes on this year's Champion Carnival series and the major show lineups
 
--A look at Pro Wrestling NOAH's Global tag league tournament for 2014, including who is in and matches announced
 
--A look at a major American star headed to New Japan
 
--What New Japan star is now in serous talks with WWE
 
--Legends barbed wire match
 
--NCAA tournament coverage
 
--Lots of notes regarding WrestleMania weekend
 
--Pro wrestler still competing in Greco-Roman wrestling with Olympic dreams.
 
--Wrestling fights and beats cancer
 
--Wrestling podcast rankings
 
--Arrests of wrestlers
 
--A movie about a legendary strongman and wrestler
 
--A look at the Canadian Hall of Fame wrestlers
 
--A look at TNA's weekend show and new competitors
 
--A look at the departure of Le'D Tapa
 
--What to do about UFC's 5/24 show with the Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida fight postponed
 
--Doctors weigh-in on weight-cutting
 
--Injury updates from UFC 171
 
--Notes on the next season of Ultimate Fighter
 
--Former Bellator champion trying out for Ultimate Fighter
 
--Retirement of a UFC fighter before he eve fought in UFC and why
 
--A look at last week's Bellator show
 
--Two big events coming this week
 
Rates are:
 
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        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

-- WWE is advertising "select seats still available" for WrestleMania next Sunday.

-- Steve Austin on his podcast said he's going to the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, so I wouldn't be surprised if he made a cameo on WrestleMania the next day as well.

-- Kevin Steen is off tonight's PWG show due to an illness in the family.

-- Diego Sanchez vs. Ross Pearson added to the 6/7 Albuquerque show on FS 1.

-- For those of you who have been here for awhile, you might recall many years ago on the Bryan & Vinny Show there was a young fellow, practically an infant, who Admin Tony recorded saying "VINNY IS A GOOBER". That kid, my nephew Cliff, is now a junior high doing his final varsity wrestling meet of the season as I type this.

-- New After Dark Radio tonight with a big-time guest, Dr. Joseph P. Farrell, talking all sorts of topics including Nazi technology and more. If you Google him you'll have a good idea of what we'll be talking about. Show start at 11 PM Pacific/2 AM Eastern and streams through ArtBell.com. We'll also be taking your calls and emails on a variety of different topics at 855-478-4478. Emails can be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it on any non-wrestling/non-MMA topics, and make sure you put "After Dark" in the subject line or body of the email. Should be an awesome show.

-- Great article here with Royler Gracie talking tomorrow's Metamoris jiu-jitsu event, headlined by his fight with Eddie Bravo. An official trailer for the show is up here.

-- UFC returns to Dave's backyard for UFC on FOX 12, July 26th in San Jose at the SAP Center.

-- All the details on ROH's next tryout/seminar dates on April 20th and 21st up here.

-- Johnny Gargano and Ricochet signed new DGUSA/EVOLVE contracts.

-- Weigh-in video for the former Mrs. Cyborg's fight on AXS TV tonight is up here. Dave has an article on Cyborg and her fight here.

-- Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels and John Cena will all be on Good Morning America this coming Tuesday talking WrestleMania.

-- WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING ON WATCHING THIS WEEKEND?
Bellator 26.8%
World Series of Fighting 20.1%
72.1% are watching neither. 19% are watching both.

ARE YOU PLANNING ON ORDERING THE ROH/NEW JAPAN IPPV SHOWS
Ordering both 30.9%
Ordering neither 19.1%
Up in the air, depends on lineup 17.6%
Would watch for free but not pay for it 12.7%
Would watch on regular PPV, but not on the Internet 7.8%
No interest in non-WWE pro wrestling 5.4%
No interest in current pro wrestling 3.4%
Will order one but not both 2.9%

WHO WAS ENGLAND'S GREATEST PRO WRESTLER
Dynamite Kid 41.1%
Billy Robinson 25.9%
Davey Boy Smith 14.6%
Johnny Saint 4.4%
Mark Rocco 4.4%
Dave Finlay 4.4%
Jim Breaks 1.5%
Bert Assirati 1.3%
Marty Jones 1.3%
Les Kellett 0.6%
Billy Joyce 0.3%

HOW HAS THE OVERALL PROMOTION FOR WRESTLEMANIA BEEN THIS YEAR?
Worse than usual 45.5%
Same as usual 40.8%
Better than usual 13.8%

-- Roman Reigns interview in the Boston Herald here.

-- Vendetta Pro April Cruel's Day, Friday, April 4, 2014, Radisson Hotel Santa Maria, 3455 Airport Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, Doors Open: 7:00 PM, Bell Time: 7:35 PM

-- New trailer for SADERMANIA featuring Hulk Hogan here.

-- New interview with Daniel Bryan talking all sorts of topics here.

-- Chikara has an advertisement for their movie "The Ashes of Chikara" on the back cover of Dark Horse Comics' Tomb Raider, Issue 2, which was released yesterday. This is the only comic book I've seen with this advertisement on it. Thanks to Bryan.

-- Slow day in wrestling history with Brian Hoops:

1963 - Dory Dixon defeats WWWF World Champion Buddy Rogers in Cleveland, Ohio to become the first World Wide Wrestling Alliance World Champion.

1977 - WWWF World Champion Bruno Sammartino defeated Baron Von Raschke via DQ at Madison Square Garden.

1981 - AWA Champion Verne Gagne pinned Nick Bockwinkel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

1999 - Steve Austin pinned the Rock to win the WWF World Title at Wrestlemania 15 in Philadelphia, PA.

-- Exclusive interview with Alex Shelley here.

-- ONE Fighting Championship, Asia’s largest mixed martial arts organization with a 90% market share, announced today the appointment of a new Senior Vice-President, Strategy and Business Development with the hiring of industry veteran Azhar Muhammad-Saul. Muhammad-Saul is a 25-year business development veteran with over 14 years in the business development industry. During his tenure at Bloomberg L.P, Muhammad-Saul held various senior leadership and business development positions in its European and Asian branches, including Bloomberg’s Asia-Pacific Enterprise business division. He brings a depth of valuable and diverse leadership experience across the Americas, Europe and Asia with a proven flair for consistently driving commercial partnerships, innovation and marketing initiatives.


What was the biggest news story in March?

 

What was the biggest news story in February?

 

What was the biggest news story in January?