THURS. UPDATE: Impact & NXT lineups, Cena on NFL, AJ Lee's return, Severn vs. Cat, Punk's friend speaks out, tons more

By Dave Meltzer | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @DaveMeltzerWON
We're looking for reports on tonight's TNA TV tapings in Orlando at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   They are taping through 6/12 today and tomorrow, as well as taping a One Night Only PPV on Saturday.
Impact tonight at 9 p.m. on Spike:
  • Knux vs. Frankie Kazarian
  • Kurt Angle vs. Ethan Carter III
  • Willow vs. Magnus
  • Madison Rayne & Brittany vs. Angelina Love & Velvet Sky in an evening gown match
  • Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards vs. Bro Mans in a ladder match for TNA tag title
NXT tonight at 9 p.m. on WWE Network:
  • Kalisto (Samuay del Sol) & El Local (Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Sylvester Lefort & Marcus Louie
  • Camacho vs. ? (the guy in the superhero costume from the Adam Rose entourage)
  • Alicia Fox vs. Alexa Bliss
  • The Ascension vs. ?
  • Battle Royal for a shot at Adrian Neville

As the WWE business changes, we've got the most detailed look at the changes, how different divisions are doing, how they need to do, and a lot of stuff behind the scenes including who to expect to be top players down the line, as well as a rundown of every WWE performer with age, experience, real name and background, as well as a look at what background traits that seem to lead to success in pro wrestling nowadays.
Our lead story looks at the new WWE business, both long-term and short-term.  We look at what used to be important and what is now important.  We look at how things look to shake up for the rest of this year and into 2015.
We look at network projections, and where they have to be in three months to have a shot at those projections.  We look at credible stats vs. ridiculous stats.  We look at how much money the network is generating, its cost, how network/PPV together are doing, why WWE is losing money and what divisions are doing better and worse. 
We also look at cash on hand that the company had at the end of 2012 and 2013, and where it stands right now.  We look at when WWE projects it will start to make money again, a look at new television projects, firs details on plans for Tough Enough 2014, when they are looking at filming, where and what type of cast and how it's supposed to change.
We also look at key WWE departures, more detail on the network business than anywhere else and why the network should force a change in timing of big PPV shows.  We compare the revenue lost by WrestleMania not being on PPV with it being on the network.  We also look at what Extreme Rules needs to do on PPV to be a success in the new world.
WWE responds to questions about selling a stake in the network, plus wrestlers and pay and how this affects them greatly.
We also look, step-by-step on what the network needs to pull to reach break-even, company goals, and investor goals.  We also look at the latest WWE gimmick to attempt to garner new subscribers.  We also look at what numbers coming up will tell what stories.
We also have a breakdown on changes in geographic representation in WWE business, what places are more and less important and how they have changed over the past four years.
We also look not just at revenues, but at profits of every division.  We look at why talent pay is down and how much in different way.  We look at why WWE's increases in TV money has not filtered to the bottom line, how Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber did over the past three years and how much difference The Rock made.  We also look at the big surprises from PPV numbers so far this year.
We look at house show revenue and how its changed, merchandise, licensing, the video game and how much talent has earned from and financial notes on all the WWE movies from the past year plus.
We also look at what happened with Batista, the different directions the character had gone and was going, and why it happened.  We look at plans for the next WWE PPV show, how well the network feed held up, as well as business notes from Extreme Rules and the other WWE events.
We also look at the future of The Shield, who are in for big promotions, who sells the most merchandise, who is more successful then their push, WWE purchasing more old unique footage, Ric Flair future, what former WWE star was talked with about returning, more on the decision to end the Undertaker streak, update on developmental cuts and why, notes on a major WWE contract coming due, Mick Foley speaks out on creative again, scouting, Lana and more on WWE talent outside the ring.  Who spent last week training with MMA fighters, who is shooting a movie and changing their look, what executives are gone, as well as notes on upcoming DVD releases, what characters were talked about the most right after WrestleMania, WWE business and how show highlights from the past week.
We also look at A.J. Styles winning the IWGP title, what happened in the match, the next four New Japan iPPV shows and lineups as well as directions.
We also look at the Best of the Super Junior tournament with stars  from many different opponents.  
We also look at New Japan and Dragon Gate big shows from the past week. 
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.
If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today.  With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today.  Just sent your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, card number and expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
--Busca de un Idolo tournament
--A couple of wrestlers to watch out for when it comes to being superstars in a few years.
--A look at talent being talked with by AAA
--A look at the last two week's of AAA tapings
--Next Dragon Gate PPV shows, where and when
--TNA stars go to Wrestle-1
--What former WCW star of the early days and ECW star are now a team
--All Asia tag team tournament final
--More on KENTA
--Junior heavyweight star wants to be in G-1
--Notes on this year's G-1 tournament
--A look at the career of Joe Turner
--More on the death of Lee Marshall
--Update on David Benoit's pro wrestling and what has changed and why
--Liger vs. Demon
--Upcoming movie about amateur wrestling up for awards
--Tommy Dreamer's promotion update
--55th anniversary are a local pro wrestling institution
--More on a promoter who bailed on his show and didn't pay talent
--The return to pro wrestling of a notable character after 17 years
--Former ECW and TNA performer now competing in new sport
--An update on one of the most famous pro wrestling sponsors of the territorial era
--Former WWF star and his local promotion
--Former NFL player looking at pro wrestling
--Several whatever happened to's
--A look at the two New Japan/ROH shows with card updates
--More on how cards are put together
--Two name stars headed to ROH
--Direction for ROH down the line
--A look at TNA schedule for TV this summer
--More on new TNA talent
--A look at next TNA PPV show
--Interesting look at future regarding one of TNA's biggest stars
--A look at this past week's TNA house shows
--New main arena for UFC breaks ground
--Latest UFC PPV numbers
--Anderson Silva update
--A look at the next UFC show in Los Angeles
--Ronda Rousey upcoming potential fights
--How a religious holiday affected UFC lightweight bookings
--Tons of new UFC fights
--Idea of UFC regional and secondary belts
--Tons of information on how Fight Pass has done and what it says about UFC fan habits
--Information on UFC merchandise sales and TV revenues
--What numbers does UFC want to keep under wraps
--Return of Rashad Evans
--Fights UFC is interested in making
--Update on Team Alpha Male and coaching situation
--Glover Teixiera injury update after Jon Jones fight
--Update on Gray Maynard
--A look at UFC rankings
--Conor McGregor and why he can be a major star
--Miesha Tate talks Rousey vs. Carano
--Update on Tito Ortiz and DUI
--Bellator TV shows to build PPV
--Upcoming Bellator shows
--MMA fighter retires
--Former UFC stars fighting in other groups
--What fighter has the most fights
--Update on a current TV only promotion with national exposure
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)

*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)

*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)

*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)a

*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)

*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)

*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)

*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)

*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)

*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)

*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)

*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)

*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund, Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)

*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)

*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)

*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)

*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)

*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)

*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)

*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)

*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)

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*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)

*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)

*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)

*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)

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*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)

*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)

*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)

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*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)

*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)

*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)

*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)

*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)

*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bigelow)

*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)

*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)

*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)

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

*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)

*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)

*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)

*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)

*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)

*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)

*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)

*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)

*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .

*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)

*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)

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

*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)

*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.



--John Cena gives advice to NFL draft prospects.

--A.J. Lee is advertised as returning for shows on the WWE European tour.

--We will have Shayna Baszler as a guest tomorrow on Wrestling Observer Radio talking Four Horsewomen, Billy Robinson, pro wrestling and even Roller Derby. Questions can be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
--The TNA PPV being taped on Saturday in Orlando is an all-women's show.  Mia Yim is on the show, and Brooke Tessmacher is likely to return on it as well.
--Anthony Johnson, who used to live in San Jose, CA, will face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira on the UFC's 7/26 FOX show from the SAP Center in San Jose. Nogueira has only fought once in the last two-and-a-half years due to injuries, while Johnson returned to the Octagon last month and dominated Phil Davis in a unanimous decision.
--Yesterday's Beat the Streets event at Times Square in New York raised $1.6 million for New York youth wrestling and education programs.  Team USA won eight of 11 matches, four of which aired on NBC Sports:
  • 125 - George Vangelov (Bulgaria) b Nahson Garrett 5-4
  • 134 - Jimmy Kennedy (USA) b Aleksandr Bogomoev (Russia) 2-1
  • 143 - Jordan Oliver (USA) b Boris Novachkov (Bulgaria) 4-1
  • 143 - Haislan Garcia (Canada) b Logan Steiber 6-2
  • 143 - Brent Metcalf (USA) b Magomed Kurbanaliev (Russia) 11-8
  • Women's 121:  Helen Maroulis (USA) b Marcia Andrades (Venezuela) pin at 5:53
  • 163 - David Taylor (USA) b Yabrail Hasanov (Azerbaijan) 6-0
  • 189 - Ed Ruth (USA) b Taymuraz Friev (Spain) tech fall
  • 213 - Khadjimurat Gatsalov (Russia) b Kyle Snyder (USA) 6-3
  • Women's 152:  Randi Miller (USA) b Alina Makhinya (Ukraine) 11-5
  • 163 - Jordan Burroughs (USA) b Atsamaz Sanakoev (Russia) pin at 5:58

ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Brian Hoops and Graeme Cameron):
  • 1943 - Bern Tamplin beat Alf Vockler in Sydney to win the Australian middleweight title. Tamplin held the title for the next eight years.  Vockler became an elite swimming coach, training some Olympic medalists and there is an Alf Vockler pool in Sydney
  • 1971 - Albert Wall beat Gwyn Davies in Manchester to win the British heavyweight title
  • 1974 - Jimmy & Johnny Valiant beat Dean Ho & Tony Garea to win the WWWF tag titles in Hamburg, PA.  The Valiants were probably the best drawing heel tag team in company history; Antonio Inoki won a three-way playoff over Seiji Sakaguchi and Killer Karl Krupp to win the World league tournament
  • 1976 - Abdullah the Butcher beat Giant Baba to win the Champion Carnival
  • 1982 - Tony St. Clair beat John Quinn to win the world title in Hanley, UK
  • 1984 - Ivan Koloff & Don Kernodle beat Wahoo McDaniel & Mark Youngblood in Raleigh to win the NWA tag tiles
  • 1988 - Tatsumi Fujinami beat Vader in Tokyo to win the IWGP heavyweight title; Kerry Von Erich beat Iceman King Parsons at Texas Stadium to win the World Class title
  • 2000 - Chris Benoit beat Chris Jericho to win the IC title at the Nassau Coliseum
--Ric Flair will be coming to Newark, CA, for a convention and show at the Newark Memorial High School on 5/17.  Among those appearing on the wrestling show that night are Chris Masters, Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson, Gangrel, Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, Cody Hall (managed by Scott Hall), Molly Holly and Ezekiel Jackson.
--Miesha Tate will host MMA Live with Kenny Rice tomorrow night on AXS.  There will also be a Maximum Fighting Championships show on AXS tomorrow night at 10 p.m.
--Glory has its first PPV show on 6/21 from Los Angeles with Mirko Cro Cop vs. Sergei Kharitonov.  They also have a featherweight tournament and former WEC champion Miguel Torres has been entered.
--WWE stock fell again today, with a drop of 51 cents per share to $17.32.
--There is an Internet presale for the 7/12 show in Madison Square Garden by WWE at Ticketmaster using the code WWENYC
Excellent 2.7%
Good 43.2%
Average 32.4%
Fair 8.1%
Poor 13.5%
UFC Barao vs. Dillashaw 80.0%
Bellator Alvarez vs. Chandler 20.0%
UFC 5/24 35.5%
ROH 5/17 30.9%
New Japan 5/25 22.4%
Bellator 5/17 11.2%
-- Here's a column by one of CM Punk's friends talking about how celebrity is tough for him. It doesn't mention him by name, but it's about Punk.
--Here's a video look at UFC matchmaker Joe Silva's man cave.
--TMZ covered the death of Lee Marshall a breaking news story. They were a bit late on that one.

--Adam Cole talks the upcoming ROH/New Japan joint show.

--Here's a 13 minute interview John Pollock did with Jim Ross, talking his Toronto one-man show tomorrow night, as well as Frank Tunney and the WWE Invasion.
--Nik Lentz talks about Saturday's UFC fight with Manny Gamburyan.
--Daniel Bryan and Kane have had nine TV singles matches in the last two years. Bryan has won seven of nine.  Two of his wins, and one loss, were via DQ.  Bryan has won the last six.  Kane's last win was July 17, 2012. (thanks to Andrew Richards)
--Superstars of Wrestling on 5/31 in Pompton Lakes, NJ at the Elks Lodge with Nikolai Volkoff, The Patriot, Pat Buck, Sandman and Tyler Fullington.
--Danny Hodge will be headed to Japan for a seminar at the Snake Pit Japan gym.
--My Face on a Figure (the people behind Figures Toy Company and wrestling replica belts) have a 10% off per order using the code term MALIBU at checkout.  There are both wrestling and DC Comics options available
--Blast from the past: Dan Severn, 55, faces Ernest Miller, 50, on Saturday night in Mason City, IA, in a match promoted by former WCW manager Sonny Onoo.
--There is an Internet presale for an 8/17 Toronto show at the EZone with Tyson Dux vs. Kevin Steen and Super Smash Brothers vs..Young Bucks using the password SHOOTINGSTAR
--Here's a column on Best Wrestler of the Week.

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?