WED. UPDATE: WWE responds on KENTA, Tito Ortiz plea, RVD & Flair in Florida, WWE financial info, new UFC fights, Kofi's record, tons more



By Dave Meltzer | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @DaveMeltzerWON

Ultimate Fighter airs tonight on FS 1 at 10 p,m. Eastern.

KENTA's leaving Pro Wrestling NOAH, what that means for the company and his WWE tryout is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that is up on the web site now.

The issue also has lots of news regarding upcoming WWE and TNA TV shows, angles on the horizon, potential title changes and more.

We've got full coverage of UFC 172, including where Jon Jones stacks up on the list of all-time greats, his issues with popularity, drawing, ratings, PPV and more thoughts coming off the show, as well as match-by-match coverage and poll results.

We also look at the always touchy subject of deaths in pro wrestling.  We look at the story in the ESPN satellite site, look at the numbers, the problems, how things have changed from the 80s and 90s, whether the problems are WWE problems or industry problems and where the issues were worse, including looking back at the 1992 rosters of WCW and WWE and what has happened to them.

We also look at wrestler deaths compared to the general public, and what periods are the worst.

We look at the WWE on PPV starting with Extreme Rules, how the satellite companies decisions have affected PPV numbers in the past, the lineup for the PPV show, Rumors on the timing of WWE's next big announcement, WWE worth, WWE major executive leaves, time frame for A.J. Lee, and Hulk Hogan goes to Japan for WWE dates.

We also look at Hogan's big Japanese matches, his standing in that country and why he was a star there before he was in the U.S.

We also have notes on Buddy Danielson, the father of Daniel Bryan, more on Undertaker losing to Brock Lesnar, the upcoming WWE European tour, the NXT women's title change and tournament, the upcoming NXT Takeover show, the story behind booking that doesn't appear to make sense, as record setting title reign goes unnoticed, , overseas TV notes, developmental notes, recruiting notes, what former TNA star had a WWE tryout, new WWE signing, and notes on all the weekend house shows with highlights.

We've also got full coverage of TNA Sacrifice from Orlando, with match-by-match rundowns, star ratings and poll results.  We look at the positives and negatives of where TNA stands right now and more.

We also look at Lee Marshall, the former AWA and WCW voice, who passed away this past week, what he was most remembered for, life after pro wrestling and outside of pro wrestling.

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:

--CMLL confirms one of its long-time main eventers is leaving and why.

--Latest from Arena Mexico

--CMLL does big crowd for kids day anniversary double special show

--A look at this week's Dragon Gate PPV show and one of the company's best shows of the year with multiple showcase matches

--Coverage of the 2014 Champion Carnival tournament

--Final standings

--Pro Wrestling NOAH's Global tournament final standings and rundown

--Notes on major New Japan shows coming this month and a full card for Wrestling Dontaku this week

--New Japan star autobiography notes turning down a seven figure offer to leave

--Tanahashi causes a stir in New Japan

--A look at the New Japan/Border City wrestling joint show

--Kenta Kobashi becomes a wrestling promoter

--Update on Bobby Heenan

--Update on the Nancy Grace show and pro wrestling

--Son of one of the most well known pro wrestlers of this generation about to debut

--One of the best in-ring workers of the past 25 years said he has one match left against the career biggest rival

--Hardys vs. Briscoes for the first time

--WWC does angle based on Carlos Colon in Hall of Fame

--TV station in Puerto Rico does a Colon TV special this past week

--Colon talks about his interaction with biggest stars, biggest matches and the biggest match ever in Puerto Rico

--Lucha Libre comes to Philadelphia with Masked Republic promotions

--Major issues with promoters on two different weekend events and background

--Longtime promoter passes away

--Famous TV icon talks about how his fight scenes were based on being a kid watching pro wrestling

--Terry Funk wrestles once again

--ROH lineups for the two New Japan shows this month

--Stories behind the matchmaking

--Eric Young and his title win and why it was done on TV

--Eric Young's non-wrestling TV show notes

--New TNA business deal

--Jessy Sorensen talks about why he didn't sue TNA

--Current TNA announcer now working road shows in a completely different world

--A look at TNA television for the next several weeks

--UFC officially announces Mexico debut

--UFC pay records for the FOX show from Orlando

--Cain Velasquez injury updates

--Daniel Cormier talks path to Jon Jones

--What WWE star played a behind-the-scenes role in Ultimate Fighter

--UFC signs Andrei Arlovski after years away

--UFC injury notes

--Notes on the next two seasons of Ultimate Fighter as well as a rundown of the strawweight tournament

--A look at the UFC TV network that airs outside of the U.S.

--UFC champ complains about pay

--New UFC fights

--Notes on Bellator

New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue.

Our most requested issues in our history are:

*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)

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*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)

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*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)

*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)

*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)

*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our history)

*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)

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*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)

*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)

*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)

*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)

*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)

*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)

*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)

*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)

*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)

*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)

*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)

*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)

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*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)

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*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)

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*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)

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*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)

*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)

* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)

* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)

* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)

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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.

WEDNESDAY'S NEWS UPDATE

--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Smackdown, TNA and taking your e-mail questions that can be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

--We also have a new show with Chael Sonnen talking about the pro wrestling personality that he called to save this season of Ultimate Fighter and why.

--Tito Ortiz changed his plea to a no contest and was sentenced to 36 months probation and ordered to enroll in an alcohol education program from a January arrest in Los Angeles.  Ortiz had crashed his 2012 Porsche and was not injured, but blew a .12 on the breathalyzer, after attending a party at the Playboy Mansion earlier that night.

--RVD and Ric Flair have been added to the NXT Takeover announced lineup.  Ric would be there because his daughter is facing Natalya for the NXT women's title on that show in the tournament final.

--The WrestleMania DVD will be released on 5/13, a week from Tuesday.

--The WWE official response regarding KENTA is:  

"Unfortunately, we do not have any further information to share at this time.  We will keep you posted if/when we have any news on him."

--Shareholders Foundation Inc. put out a release claiming they are investigating WWE on behalf of investors for potential securities law violations based on statements by some of its directors and officers in connection with financial statements.  They didn't release any information on anything in specific.

--WWE's response:  "The claim that Shareholders Foundation is allegedly investigating has absolutely no substance or merit."

--WWE reports the first quarter financial info which is expected to be a money losing quarter with the network start-up costs.  PPV numbers for Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber will be updated.

--One of our readers noted the new Best of Raw Off Air DVD was great, with all the never seen before content of post-Raw comedy antics.

--Global Force Wrestling sent out a press release stating they have reached a working agreement with AAA in Mexico.  This has been expected from the start since Jeff Jarrett has been working for AAA on-and-off for the better part of a decade.

--WWE stock dropped 25 cents per share today to $19.50 with below average volume.

--Conor McGregor vs. Cole Miller will headline a UFC Fight Pass show on 7/19 in Dublin, Ireland.

--Jason High vs. Rafael dos Anjos has been added to the UFC show on 6/7 in Albuquerque.  High moves down from welterweight to lightweight to face the ranked dos Anjos on an FS 1 show.

--Big John McCarthy on the AfterBuzzTV at http://youtu.be/5-zofkz43jQ

ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)

1979 - Alfonso Dantes beat Pak Choo (Kengo Kimura) in Mexico City to win the NWA light heavyweight title and Americo Rocca beat Mano Negra to win the NWA welterweight title

1983 - Greg Valentine beat Roddy Piper to win the U.S. title in Greensboro

1985 - Scorpio beat Canek to win the UWA title

1990 - Aja Kong beat Noriyo Tateno in Chiba to win the All-Pacific title

1992 - Jushin Liger beat El Samurai in Tokyo to win the Super Juniors tournament

1994 - Octagon beat Blue Panther in Veracruz to win the Mexican national middleweight title

1998 - Chris Benoit beat Booker T in Augusta, GA to win the WCW TV title

2000 - Hector Garza beat Sangre Chicana in Monterrey to win the Mexican national light heavyweight title

2000 - At the Backlash PPV, The Rock beat HHH to win the WWF title with Shane McMahon as referee

2004 - Meiko Satomura beat Ayako Hamada in Tokyo to win the AAAW title

2006 - Rob Van Dam beat Shelton Benjamin to win the IC title

--One of the most famous matches in pro wrestling history took place 37 years ago today, as Superstar Billy Graham beat Bruno Sammartino to win the WWWF title at the Baltimore Arena, the same building both WWE & UFC ran last week..

--World Series of Fighting on 6/21 in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has David Branch vs. Jesse Taylor for the middleweight title and Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Rick Glenklro for the featherweight title.  There will be a third title match added to the show.

--This weeks' famous bouncers story with Ray Sefo at www.facebook.com/FamousBouncers

--In Your Face Wrestling on 5/17 in Delanson, NY at the Duanesburg Area Community Center.

--Some more Mick Foley dates in this area.  He plays the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, CA on 8/9, and the Bob Hope Theater in Stockton on 8/10.

--Warriors of Wrestling on Saturday night in Staten Island, NY at Funstation USA features Chavo Guerrero Jr., Chris Masters and D-Lo Brown.  If you have tickets for the Extreme Rising shows in Philadelphia, you can use it for free admission to the show.

--Some big names on this Friday night show in Ford City, PA:  Danny Miles b Chis LaRusso, Todo Loco b Chris Taylor & Bandino Davis, Nasty Boys b TA & Bam, Flex Armstrong b Jeff Jarrett, The Patriot & Jake Roberts & Craig Costa b Gregory Edwards & Jimmy Preston & Ryan Mitchell, Sabu b Shane Douglas (thanks to Thomas Rude)

--Big Time Wrestling from Saturday night in Altoona, PA:  Craig Costa b Jimmy Morriss, Jake Roberts & the Patriot b Ladies Men, Nasty Boys b TA & Brandino Davis, Flex Armstrong b Jeff Jarrett, Sahne Douglas b Bam Shaw, Sabu b Crowbar (thanks to Thomas Rude)

--Interesting that after Jake Roberts made such a point about how he could not do another match because he's too old, that he's out there doing matches.

--Scott Hall appears Saturday night in Kalkaska, MI at the Chainsaw Pro Wrestling show doing a segment called Last Call with Scott Hall.  Jimmy Jacobs is also booked on the show.

--Bellator weigh-ins are tomorrow at Revel in Atlantic City starting at 5 p.m. Eastern time. 

--wXw ran some matches on Sunday in Antwerp, Belgium as part of a movie/comic/video game convention:  Robert Dreissker b Vincent Schlid, Bad Bones & Mike Schwarz b Karsten Beck & Carnage, Robert Dreissker b Kim Ray, Bad Bones & Melanie Gray b Karsten Beck & Svetlana Kalashnikova, Melanie Gray b Svetlana Kalashnikova, Davey Boy Smith Jr. b Bad Bones, Mike Schwarz won Battle Royal.  They next run 5/3 in Rinstein, Germany. (thanks to Markus Gronemann)

--CMLL from Monday night in Puebla:  Paris & Aguila Egipcia & Black Tiger Sr. b Super Comando & Artilllero & Rebelde, Sensei & Metalico & Asturiano b Siki Ozama II & Espiritu Maligno & Ares el Guerrero, Bobby Zavala & Polvora & Dragon Rojo Jr. b Fuego & Delta & Guerrero Maya Jr., La Mascara b Rey Escorpion, Marco Corleone & Rush & Diamante Azul b Shocker & Ripper & Negro Casas

--CMLL last night in Guadalajara:  Metatron & Leo b Infierno & Satara, Malefico & Demonio Rojo b Starman & Oro Jr., Amapola & Princesa Blanca & Zeuxis b Marcela & Lluvia & Vaquerita, Rey Bucanero & Vangellys & Rafaga b Diamante Azul & La Mascara & Stuka Jr., Mephisto b Valiente to retain Mexican national light heavyweight title, Mistico & Rush & Volador Jr. b Ultimo Guerrero & Euforia & Gran Guerrero (thanks to Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims and Kris Zellner)

--Maryland Championship Wrestling Extreme Measures on Saturday night in Waldorf, MD with Matt Hardy, Reby Sky and Christian York.

--An interview with the Iron Sheik about the documentary on his life is at http://t.co/amTOjlQyEp

--The New York Post today ran a story on the Iron Sheik, doing promotion for his documentary.  Apparently this morning when the story first came out, they had a photo of Ed Farhat from Detroit (the other famous Sheik) and thought they were the same person.  It's at http://nypost.com/2014/04/30/wrestling-legend-iron-sheik-hopes-fans-learn-from-his-mistake (thanks to Howard Begley and many others)

--In John Finnegan's compiling of TV records that date back to November 2006, when Kofi Kingston lost to Bad News Barrett on Main Event, that was his 100th televised loss.  The only two guys who beat him to that number of TV losses since Finnegan started keeping track were Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger.

--New England Championship Wrestling on 5/10 in Beverly, MA has the Iron 8 championship one night tournament with Antonio Thomas, Sean Burke, Brad Hollister, Damian Wayne, Dirty Money, Jay Freddie, Todo Loco and Scott Levesque.  The winner will become the NECW champion, since champion Slyck Wagner Brown will be out of action until the end of the year due to a major knee injury.

Who is the strongest Hall of Fame candidate from this list?

 

Who is the strongest Hall of Fame candidate from this list?

 

Who should get the next featherweight title shot?