FRI UPDATE: What's the latest in New Orleans?, huge line-up for the weekend, all the shows, notes from JR's event, Austin update, Carano, Interviews with Batista, Bryan, Heyman, Emma 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 ROH Supercard of Honor from the Alario Events Center in Westwego, LA

*Happenings, Q&As and other news from today's Mid South Fan Fest

*The wrestling show at tonight's Mid South Fan Fest in Chalmette, LA (Angelina Love, Tommy Dreamer, Bill Dundee, Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson, Elijah Burke, Lance Hoyt (Archer), Chris Adonis (Masters) and stars of Traditional Championship Wrestling

*Tonight's Dragon Gate USA Open the Ultimate Gate show from the McAlister Center in Tulane University

*Tonight's TNA house show in Macon, GA (Magnus vs. Bobby Roode, Bro Man vs. Wolves for tag titles, Madison Rayne vs. Gail Kim for Knockouts title, James Storm vs. Gunner. Ken Anderson vs. Samuel Shaw and Manik vs. DJ Zema Ion)

*A Wrestling Odyssey at www.wwnlive.com

All reports can be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're also looking for reports from last night's TNA show in Augusta, GA.

Tonight's ROH lineup

Adam Cole vs. Jay Briscoe ladder match for the ROH title

Kevin Steen vs. Michael Elgin - winner to get an IWGP title match with

Kazuchika Okada on 5/17 in New York

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jay Lethal for TV title

Mark Briscoe vs. Michael Bennett no DQ

Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly vs. Hanson & Raymond Rowe vs. Rocky Romero &

Alex Koslov - winner face Young Bucks for ROH tag titles 5/17 in New York

Matt Taven vs. ?

Silas Young vs. RD Evans

The card for tonight's Dragon Gate USA show at 9 p.m. Eastern at www.wwnlive.com

Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet for Open the Freedom Gate title

Chris Hero vs. Masato Tanaka

Low Ki vs. Trent Baretta

Bravado Brothers vs. Anthony Nese & Caleb Konley

Chuck Taylor & Drew Gulak vs. Fire Ant & Green Ant

AR Fox vs. MR. A

Rich Swann vs. Biff Busick

Fan Axxess at 6 p.m. at the New Orleans Convention Center has Big E, Trish Stratus The Miz, Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, Ricky Steamboat and Titus O'Neal .

Smackdown tonight is mostly a recap and features show

Dolph Ziggler vs. Titus O'Neil

Los Matadores vs. Jack Swagger & Cesaro

Bellator tonight from Reno, NV

7 p.m. on Spike.com

Benito Lopez (125.9) vs. Oscar Ramirez (126)

Jason Powell (155.2) vs. Sinjen Smith (155.1)

Freddie Squitania (238) vs. Josh Appelt (242.9)

James Terry (170.3) vs. Rick Reeves (170.1)

9 p.m. on Spike

Johnny Cisneros (192.6) vs. Mikkel Parlo (193.5)

Volkan Oezdemir (205.6) vs. Kelly Anudsn (205.8)

Herman Terrado (170) vs. Justin Baseman (170.9)

Vitaly Minakov (253.4) vs. Cheick Kongo (232.8) for Bellator heavyweight title

Legacy Fighting Championships from tonight in Albuquerque at 10 p.m. Eastern on AXS

Lenny Lovato vs. Kamaru Usman

Clint Roberts vs. Martin Sano

Enrique Briones vs. Adrian Cruz

Ray Borg vs. Nick Urso

Flavio Avaro vs. Donald Sanchez

Holly Holm vs. Juliana Werner for women's bantamweight title

Saturday is headlined by the WWE Hall of Fame on the WWE Network, WrestleCon all day at the Sugar Mill in New Orleans, ROH TV tapings at 2 p.m. at the Alario Center in New Orleans (Adam Cole & Matt Hardy & Michael Bennett vs. Kevin Steen & Mark & Jay Briscoe, Tommaso Ciampa vs. Roderick Strong for TV title, Rocky Romero vs. Michael Elgin, Alex Koslov vs. Jay Lethal, BJ Whitmer vs. Cedric Alexander, Andrew Evans vs. ACH), TNA in Dalton, GA, Dragon Gate USA Mercury Rising at 9 p.m. at www.wwnlive.com, and Shimmer at 4 p.m. on www.wwnlive.com with Cheerleader Melissa vs. Lufisto in a 2/3 falls match with a 90 minute time limit.

New Japan's Invasion Attack iPPV starts at about 2:30 a.m. Eastern and 11:30 p.m. Pacific late Saturday night from Sumo Hall in Tokyo, the company's biggest show since the Tokyo Dome at www.ustream.tv/njpw/1972

Young Bucks vs. Kota Ibushi & Desperado for IWGP jr tag titles

Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata & Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Minoru Suzuki & Taka Michinoku & Taichi

Rob Conway & Jax Dane vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan for NWA tag titles

Daniel & Rolles Gracie vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka

Prince Devitt vs. Ryusuke Taguchi loser leaves town

Kazuchika Okada & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito for Never title

Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata for IWGP tag titles

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for IC title

And the biggest pro wrestling show of the year is WrestleMania on Sunday on PPV and the WWE Network with a preshow at 5 p.m. and matches from probably 6:30 p.m. Eastern time to 11 p.m.

Usos vs. Los Matadores vs. Jack Swagger & Cesaro vs. Curtis Axel & Ryback for tag titles

30 man Andre the Giant Battle Royal

14 Divas one fall everyone in the ring match for Divas title

New Age Outlaws & Kane vs. The Shield

John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

Daniel Bryan vs. HHH

Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Bryan-HHH winner for WWE title

Raw will be Monday at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.

Dragon Gate has an iPPV Tuesday morning at 5:30 a.m. EST, 2:30 AM PST at  http://www.ustream.tv/DragonGate
 
Super Shisa, Shachihoko BOY vs. Kenichiro Arai, Chihiro Tominaga
Gamma, Ryotsu Shimizu vs, CIMA, Kotoka
Falls Count Anywhere Match: Don Fujii vs. Yosuke?Santa Maria
2 Count & 3 Escape Rules: Masaaki Mochizuki vs. U-T
Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!, Jimmy Susumu vs. Mondai Ryu, Kzy
Special Singles Match: YAMATO vs. Uhaa Nation
4 Unit Battle 4 way 6 Man Tag Team Match: Masato Yoshino, Akira
Tozawa, Shingo Takagi vs. Naruki Doi, BxB Hulk, Cyber Kong vs. Jimmy
Kanda, Jimmy Kagetora, Mr. Quu Quu Tanizaki Naoki Toyonaka Dolphin vs.
T-Hawk, Eita, Flamita

Smackdown and Main Event will be Tuesday in Lafayette, LA at the Cajun Dome.

        What is the not just the biggest week but the most important week for the business in years is coming.
 
        We discuss not only the shows inside the ring that take place in New Orleans, as well as other big events of the week, WrestleMania, but also even more far-reaching stories, such as the WWE Network, what the subscription number would mean, and how this also can affect decision making in other sports and entertainment.
 
        We also look at how the network can adapt if things aren't high, how not just pro wrestling but the entire sports world will change if the number is really high, and why, ultimately, this is something that will be a staple of pro wrestling and sports going forward.
 
        We also look at Jeff Jarrett's announcement, what is known about his new promotion, what has been done so far, and what little has come out.
 
        We also look at how this year's WrestleMania show is different from any other, the big lure, thoughts on the matches and show overall, winners, losers and what to expect.
 
        We also have a rundown of every major event of the week, when, where, what are the key things, ticket sales, and more.  It's your complete guide to New Orleans if you're there or a complete guide of what is available to watch, who is involved, and when if you are staying home.
 
        We also look at a recent WWE web site article on matches that never happened at WrestleMania.  We look at the matches discussed, with more details on the ones that didn't happen, including what wasn't exactly accurate in the story, how things could have changed, what matches were seriously discussed, what stories don't add up, as well as a look back at the 1991-92 first Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan program.
 
        We also look at the Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar match and promotion of the match, more notes on the WrestleMania show, Punk & A.J., WWE company value, investors talks on a WWE potential sale and things to worry about, interesting future WWE network plans, legend planning a WWE book, notes on two different tape libraries of major promoters that exist but aren't owned by WWE at this point, Chris Jericho explains why he didn't come back this year and how he sees the C.M. Punk situation, a major contract coming due in a few weeks, an update on Randy Savage and the WWE Hall of Fame, Batista talks leaving and coming back to WWE, Daniel Bryan, what next for Heyman, Total Divas, and a major front office change.
 
        We also look at late 1991 and early 1992 and things that happened that shaped the business, as well as the payoffs for the 1991 SummerSlam show.  We also have notes from developmental, and notes on all the weekend house shows and how business is doing.
 
        We've also got a look at one of the most important fights to MMA, that wasn't even in MMA, the weekend's Cris Cyborg vs. Jorina Baars kickboxing match.  We look at who Baars is, and tackle the big question, what does this mean for the potential of a future  Ronda Rousey vs. Cyborg match.  We look at what it should mean, and what it may mean, and how the two in the eyes of a lot of fans are completely different. 
 
        We look at the potential of the match, how many people saw the Cyborg fight, why you don't see boxers fighting in MMA and UFC fighters doing boxing matches very often.  We also look at Cyborg's plan to get to 135, her fight schedule for 2013 and how to build the fight.
 
        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:
 
--Notes on the deaths of three key personalities in Mexico, including a regional star who had huge matches but wasn't well known nationally
 
--CMLL's biggest tournament of the year, the search for a new idol, all the details, how the matches all can be seen in the U.S.
 
--A rundown of the wrestlers and schedule
 
--Notes from the biggest shows of the weekend in Mexico
 
--Major title matches next week
 
--Many of the biggest stars of the 70s, 80s and 90s are back this coming week
 
--Latest angles in AAA
 
--Jumbo Tsuruta Memorial show
 
--Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial show
 
--Chris Hero faces one of the best technical wrestlers in the world in Japan
 
--Notes on the first of the major Tokyo shows from New Japan
 
--Son of Hall of Famer in big match against current top star
 
--New reality TV show on wrestling being considered
 
--New promotion starting out
 
--One of the biggest indie shows of the year
 
--A great book about regional territorial wrestling from a promoter who worked from the ground up
 
--How this book differs from other books by promoters
 
--Most popular podcasts involving wrestlers
 
--Major show in Puerto Rico
 
--Carlos Colon's first Hall of Fame induction ceremony just took place
 
--Former wrestling show host on major sports show
 
--Upcoming retirement of one of the 80s biggest stars
 
--More on A.J. Styles and price of a top wrestler on the indie scene
 
--Plight of former top stars going on indies
 
--Jeff Hardy and Willow
 
--TNA Knockouts division notes
 
--A big surprise regarding someone talking about returning to TNA
 
--Notes on the weekend TNA house shows
 
--More on GSP, Chris Weidman and Johny Hendricks' surgeries
 
--New PPV main event and thoughts on it
 
--Lots of new fights
 
--Fights for title shots expected 
 
--Unique reason why fighter was pulled from TUF
 
--Last week's Bellator show
 
--Last week's World Series of Fighting show
 
--Upcoming WSOF shows
 
--Notes on a big grudge match that was 11 years in the making and the hostilities that came out of it
 
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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

-- I went to JR's one-man show (well, two-man show as there was a surprise appearance by Stone Cold Steve Austin) last night at the House of Blues. It was a really fun show, and if he comes to your area you should check it out. The venue was just PACKED, like almost literally -- LITERALLY -- people hanging from the rafters, and they all appeared to be having a great time. First part was Ross telling stories and then they did a long Q&A with the fans. Austin, and this should shock nobody, is a really great public speaker, was hilarious, was having a ton of fun, and all I could think when it was over was that Ross and Austin as a duo need to be doing more shows like this, or Austin needs to be doing his own shows as well. Everyone there seemed to be having a great time and went absolutely nuts when they brought out Austin even though I don't think it was much of a secret that he was there for that show. Jim Cornette was also there for the first show as well and people said he was great too.

-- Been running into everyone everywhere. It's awesome to see so many people here. Please stop and say hi if you see me. For all the info on where we're all going to be as part of the WON/F4W empire, check out Ed's Facebook page here.

-- Latest on Kenneth Nida, aka Barrock on the board, is that he's been moved to a normal room and is out of the ICU, so things are looking very good. He's doing therapy to help with his speech and we're going to hopefully get a bunch of people out there to see him this weekend. Check the Facebook page for more info.

-- As far as wrestlers, everyone and their mother is here.

-- Variety bullish on WWE.

-- All of the WWE Hall of Fame rings are up here. Scott Hall's ring says "SCOTT HALL" and not "RAZOR RAMON", which should soothe some of your souls.

-- Article on Austin in the Boston Herald here.

-- Daniel Bryan daily journal leading to WrestleMania up on WWE.com here.

-- Dave has a good article up about Brock Lesnar and the what-ifs of his career here.

-- I've got tons of stuff up on my Twitter, including the photo that everyone was talking about today where some kid saw Randy Orton washing his hands in the bathroom and decided now was a GREAT time to snap a photo. I'll be tweeting throughout the week all sorts of things @bryanalvarez

-- Hoping to have the first of many audio shows up this afternoon. At least one a day until I come home is the plan, so follow me on Twitter @bryanalvarez for live show times. They'll all be up on the front page for subscribers to download as well.

-- Clips of Gina Carano on Arsenio Hall claiming she's ready to make her return to the Octagon here.

--Dave Batista talks his return to the Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/batista-is-fine-with-getting-booed-heading-into-wrestlemania--at-least-most-of-the-time/2014/04/04/0cd228c4-bbfc-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html

-- UFC is paying to have both Jon Jones and Glover Texeira randomly tested for drugs leading up to their 205-pound title fight. Both guys have already been tested at least once. Jones said he's wanted this for a long time.

-- For those who love Lewis' songs on the Bryan & Vinny Show, I have been alerted that HE SHALL RETURN.

-- Masato Masuda, creator of both "Pro Wrestling" and "Fire Pro Wrestling" video games, died at 48 yesterday. Big story on it here, and this is one a lot of people are talking about since they loved the games. I don't play video games anymore, but when I was 11 I LOVED the Pro Wrestling game on the Nintendo. Masuda created that game from scratch apparently all by himself at the age of 20.

-- Cowboy Bob Kelly talks Paul Bearer and more here.

-- Leonardo writes: Thursday night (well technically Friday) on Comedy Central's @Midnight there was a WM plug. The show has a section called "hashtag wars" in which the host names a theme and the participants (celebrities, mostly comedians) made hashtags about it. In honor of the 30 years of WM they did a "#WorseWrestlers" deal. Among others they mention: "Andre The Giant Pussy", "Reasonable Roddy Piper", "Bret The Shitman Hart", "The Iron Deficiency Shiek" "The Jizz" and "Brooke Hogan" (that was the funniest). From the host, to the participants, to the fans, everyone seemed to knows what they were talking about and enjoyed it. Also of note is that Comedy Central is pushing hard their App which is free and have all their shows. It's like they copy WWE way of promoting.

-- For those who want to help Adam Pearce in his goal to become a Padres announcer, here's the info: Starting at 3pm pacific TODAY and running through 5pm pacific on MONDAY, fan voting will be open and will narrow the field from thirty to ten. The ten moving on will call more games next week. There are TWO ways to vote. 1. ON THE PADRES WEBSITE: Go to http://padres.com/announcer and select #23 Adam Pearce. 2. ON TWITTER: Using the hashtag #PadresPA23. Example: "I vote for #PadresPA23 @ScrapDaddyAP".

-- Daniel writes: Finally got word from tech support that people trying to use Samsung tablets and a few other Android tablets to view the WWE Network are going to be disappointed, seems they are having a hard time getting the network to play correctly on these devices. The main issue people are having is when the TV rating screen plays, something happens and you will just see a black screen and hear the audio. The few items that do not have the TV rating appear in the beginning seem to play fine, but unfortunately that is very few items. Figure let you update the subscribers.

-- WHICH OF THESE WAS THE BEST WRESTLEMANIA MATCH?
Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat 29.7%
Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels 17.7%
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart 16.8%
Edge & Christian vs. Dudleys vs. Hardys 7.0%
Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock 5.0%
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels 4.6%
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit 3.9%
Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior 3.9%
Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior 3.7%
Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho 3.3%
Undertaker vs. C.M. Punk 2.4%
Edge vs. Mick Foley 2.2%

WHICH OF THESE WAS THE BEST WRESTLEMANIA MATCH?
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin 50.4%
Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels I 20.1%
Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon ladder match 6.1%
Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. HHH 4.9%
Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels II 4.5%
Rock vs. Steve Austin II 4.3%
Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage 4.3%
Undertaker vs. HHH II 2.0%
Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar 1.6%
Money in the Bank WM 21 1.2%
Undertaker vs. Edge 0.4%
Undertaker vs. HHH I 0.2%

WHO WINS THIS FIGHT?
Daniel Cormier 84.6%
Dan Henderson 15.4%

WHAT UFC FIGHT WOULD DO THE MOST BUSINESS
Ronda Rousey vs. Gina Carano 54.9%
Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg 29.8%
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson 8.1%
Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort 3.9%
Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier 3.6%

-- IWF returns Saturday, April 12 in Nutley, NJ with our 17th Annual Spring Event to benefit Relay For Life. Tickets ON-SALE now as WWE Legends Tommy Dreamer, Tito Santana,Marty Jannetty & Jim Powers unite for charity. Also, the new IWF Centre in Nutley hosts birthday parties, and the next IWF Wrestling School beginner class starts May 1.

-- Interview with Rosita on Smartasses Radio here.

-- Today in history with Brian Hoops:

1969 - The Assassins (Jody Hamilton & Tom Renesto) defeated El Mongol & Louie Tillet in Atlanta, Georgia in a tournament final to win the NWA Georgia Tag Team Title.

1984 - Jack & Jerry Brisco defeated Wahoo McDaniel & Mark Youngblood for the NWA World Tag Team Title in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

1993 - Wrestlemania IX is held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yokozuna, with Mr. Fuji pinned Bret Hart to win the WWF championship then lost the title to Hulk Hogan in an impromptu match.

1994 - Tatsumi Fujinami defeated Shinya Hashimoto for the IWGP Heavyweight Title in Hiroshima, Japan.

1998 - Rob Van Dam defeated Bam Bam Bigelow for the ECW World Television Title in Buffalo, New York

1998 - Tatsumi Fujinami defeated Kensuke Sasaki for the IWGP Heavyweight Title in Tokyo, Japan

Here are interviews done with Brian Fritz of BetweenTheRopes.com with Paul Heyman, Emma and Natalya.
* Paul Heyman talks to Brian Fritz of BetweenTheRopes.com about WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans, comparing it to last year in New York, CM Punk leaving the company, been a hustler since he was a teenager, how he watches wrestling and his general mood on an early morning of media.
*  WWE Diva Natalya talks with brian Fritz about the Divas Championship match at WrestleMania 30, being on Total Divas, getting slapped by Summer Rae, being married to a wrestler, advice she has shared to Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan before their wedding and more.

-- Chris Jericho's band Fozzy WEDNESDAY, MAY 7 at the CHAMELEON CLUB in Lancaster, PA. Doors open at 6:30 pm. All ages admitted / 21 to drink.

-- PAID Promotions Wrestling presents Aftermath Sunday, April 13, The Globe Arena, Christie Way, Westgate, Morecambe, Lancashire 4.30pm start, 4pm doors

Which of these shows are you watching this week?