FRI UPDATE: Today's latest law firm investigating WWE, when was Shawn Michaels at his best?, weekend schedule is packed, Wrestling at the Chase memories, 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 yesterday's WWE house shows in Dublin, Ireland and Liege, Belgium, as well as Tuesday''s WWE house shows in Orchies, France and Belfast, Northern Ireland.

We will be doing polls this weekend on both the UFC and New Japan shows.

Friday has the Cena crew in Oberhausen, Germany and the Orton crew in Strausborg, France. The European tour ends Saturday has the Cena crew in Berlin and the Orton crew in Rotterdam, Holland.

We're looking for reports on all of these shows.

Smackdown on Friday night from London:

Dolph Ziggler vs. Batista no DQ

Nikki Bella & Eva Marie vs. Naomi & Cameron with Summer Rae as referee

Sin Cara vs. Bo Dallas

Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio non-title

Usos vs. Erick Rowan & Luke Harper

UFC 173 takes place on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas:

Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m.

Jingliang Li vs. David Michaud

Aaron Phillips vs. Sam Sicilia

Anthony Njokuani vs. Vinc Pichel

FS 1 at 8 p.m.

Mitch Clarke vs. Al Iaquinta

Chico Camus vs. Chris Holdsworth

Tony Ferguson vs. Katsunori Kikuno

Michael Chiesa vs. Francisco Trinaldo

PPV at 10 p.m.

James Krause vs. Jamie Varner

Takeya Mizugaki vs. Francisco Rivera

Jake Ellenberger vs. Robbie Lawler

Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson

Renan Barao vs. T.J. Dillashaw for the bantamweight title

New Japan's Back to the Yokohama Arena takes place late Saturday night at 1:40 a.m. Eastern and 10:40 p.m. Pacific

Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask & Desperado & Mascara Dorada vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Bushi & Kushida & Alex Shelley

Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi & Tomoaki Honma & Captain New Japan vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows & Tama Tonga

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Wes Brisco & Rob Conway for NWA tag titles

Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka vs. Shelton Benjamin & Minoru Suzuki

Tetsuya Naito vs. Bad Luck Fale

Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Rolles Gracie

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kota Ibushi for Never Open weight title

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto - winner gets a title shot at

Anderson & Gallows for IWGP tag tiles

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Daniel Gracie for IC title

A.J. Styles vs. Kazuchika Okada for IWGP title

Raw will be Monday night from Knoxville with Daniel Bryan advertised on the show. While not official, as of yesterday, they were planning on a Randy Orton vs. Dean Ambrose match.

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday from Atlanta.

We go into detail on WWE finances with the new television deal, the new WWE prospectus, exactly what the company needs out of the network to break even for 2015, to make up for lost PPV in 2015, to make profits back to 2010 levels, and how many subscribers it needs over the next five years to actually break even to actually cover all the start up costs.  We also look at the new TV detail with more information as to where it looks to fit, why they didn't get what they wanted, why the number may be actually less than anyone is indicating, the conference call, vague numbers and why Wall Street threw them for a loop.

We also have an update on Daniel Bryan, WWE booking without Bryan, what has changed since the surgery, and the title situation.
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The lead story goes into the stock fall, how much WWE gets paid per viewer compared to the latest sports deal and it will blow your mind, lots of unanswered questions, how much money Vince McMahon has lost in the last six weeks, what happened in negotiations, why WWE is expected to lose more money than any pro wrestling company ever has in the course of a year with the exception of one company in one year, and how many network subscribers will they need to restore themselves to pre-network profitability.
We also look at the investigations claimed into the company, and an equity firm that has ownership that wants changes.
We look at company departures up to this point, why certain questions not being answered is troubling, the perception of pro wrestling in the real world, how many subscribers they need by July to not lose money next year and how many they need from 2016 to 2020 to make up for expenses already incurred.  We look at how many subscribers they need to have by December 2014 to be positive in money out vs. money in and why current WWE projections remain as flawed as at the start.
We look at the one big surprise in projections and estimates of Raw & Smackdown revenue for the next three years.
We also update the Daniel Bryan situation, the neck problem, the television storyline, choices the company has, ideas from those in wrestling regarding Daniel Bryan tweaking his style to avoid further problems and more.
We also have a complete rundown on ROH War of the Worlds, where the company is going next from a booking standpoint, plus match-by-match coverage, poll results and star ratings.
We've got an update on the Payback PPV, including several matches that have been talked about yet to be announced.  We've got more on the WWE video game for next year, how close Shawn Michaels was to wrestling Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, notes on a lot of wrestlers at the recent WWE tryout camps, Lots of new talent signed including a cousin of one of the biggest stars in company history, the return as a regular character of one of pro wrestling's all-time greats, Total Divas season end, who watches Total Divas, Sting, Tough Enough and a major tape library WWE doesn't own but wants.
We also have notes on the European tour and business from the tour, plus highlights from every show.
We also have coverage of the Bellator debut on PPV, including business notes, what comes next for the headliners, thoughts on judging, polls on judging, should Bellator do PPV, the upside of PPV if they didn't make money on the first one, plus match-by-match coverage and poll results.
We've also got more on KENTA's departure from Pro Wrestling NOAH, more on why he made the move, why this is such a major move, as well as coverage of his farewell to NOAH show this 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.
The Observer is the world's most detailed weekly pro wrestling publication, in its 32nd year of publication, and is read by the biggest names in the pro wrestling, industry, MMA industry, sports world and on Wall Street.
We also have our regular features such as the most complete look at ratings, including who are the big movers in WWE & TNA, plus results of the major house show events each week in pro wrestling and MMA, and complete inside rundowns of all the TV shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--Talk of a government investigation into the working plight of pro wrestlers and questions about independent contractor status
--Former WWE personality in talks with AAA
--One of top workers jumps promotions and debuts
--King of Gate tournament update
--Next New Japan PPV show lineup
--What wrestler from Japan did WWE want a few years ago
--New Japan crew in Thailand and news from those shows
--More on Antonio Inoki wanting to do shows in South Korea
--What former UFC star challenges for a pro wrestling world title in a match announced for August
--Update on Scott Hall
--A new national pro wrestling TV show has been announced
--Foxcatcher movie and what pro wrestling superstar was in that camp and reactions
--More bad news for TNA when it comes to television
--Why Vince McMahon never took Kurt Angle back
--Notes on this week's UFC show
--What show is going to test the baseline bottom UFC PPV number
--Update on ticket sales to upcoming UFC events
--Notes on Urijah Faber's return to UFC and a surprise
--Notes on MMA star being robbed and having his money and clothes taken
--Notes on TUF Latin America
--Can Ronda Rousey beat male bantamweights?
--Pro wrestling and MMA women in Maxim's 100 hottest women
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Renzo Gracie's arrest

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

-- And yet another law firm says it's launching an investigation into WWEfor "possible breaches of fiduciary duty".

-- Dave has a look hereat the Bellator ratings from Saturday night.

-- So after all the talk for months by the original Sin Cara that he had the rights to the Sin Cara name in Mexico, lo and behold now he says he thinks he should have a new name to break free from his past characters.

-- Dana White said yesterday that if Ronda Rousey faced Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match he'd chew her up, but in an MMA fight or a street fight she'd destroy him. This has been a talking point in MMA for at least a week now.

-- Uhaa Nation re-signed with EVOLVE/DGUSA.

-- Was Shawn Michaels' first run better or worse than his second run in terms of match quality? A statistical look here.

-- The Thursday night Bryan & Vinny Show is up right now with Granny IN STUDIO~! for I believe the first time, at least for a normal Bryan & Vinny program. I got a role in a film and due to the shooting schedule we'll probably have to do next week's show on Friday morning as well. After that, I'll be finished up. My call time tonight is 6:30 PM, so it's possible I won't be home in time to do After Dark as scheduled. I will tweet out updates through the evening. If the show doesn't air tonight it'll air next week as normal. One way or another, my guest will be Mark D. Levitz, the director, producer and writer of the documentary film I Survived BTKalt, which follows Charlie Otero, whose family was the first victim of the BTK serial killer. BTK was actually captured during the making of the documentary. Besides Amazon, it's also available on Netflix streaming right now if you want to check it out. After Dark airs most Friday night at 11 PM Pacific/2 AM Eastern on the Dark Matter Radio Network at, or through

-- A look at the most famous character in the history of Wrestling at the Chase here.

-- This video has gone viral. Amatuer MMA fighter taps out to avoid having to beat up his opponent anymore.

-- ROH is doing a Memorial Day sale, 20% off DVDs and 10% off apparel.

-- Story on Dave Millican, who makes championship belts for a number of promotions most notably WWE, here. Yup, he made CNN.

-- Mike Quackenbush the special guest on the ChikaraCastat this week.

-- On that topic, I was unaware of this until today but you can actually buy WWE title belt finger rings, including a Winged Eagle ring. Check them out here. alt

-- If you are going to Vegas for the Figure Four/Wrestling Observer Convention in association with the two big UFC shows over July 4th weekend, Ed is constantly updating the Facebook page with new information here.

-- JR's barbecue sauce is heading to Canada: The Belly Buster Submarines is proud to announce the partnership between legendary wrestling announcer Jim Ross and his family owned BBQ sauce. JR’s BBQ Sauce is expertly handcrafted using only the finest ingredients, passed down through family generations. The Belly Buster Submarines, Toronto’s most delicious sandwich franchise, is pleased to offer JR’s BBQ Sauce and its unique and distinct line up of flavours, including JR’s Original and new JR’s Hot BBQ Sauce. After being one of the top sellers of BBQ sauce in the US and the UK, JR’s BBQ Sauce will finally be made available in Canada.

Not any one reason, combination of things 35.3%
The PPVs 28.6%
Older footage of the territories 14.3%
Library of old PPV 9.9%
Old WCW footage 4.8%
Old WWF footage 3.6%
NXT TV show 1.6%
Other weekly TV shows 0.8%
Main Event weekly 0.4%
Legends House 0.4%
Older World Class footage 0.4%

Yes 47.3%
No 52.7%

Not watching because I don't watch UFC shows 30.3%
Not watching, not interested in the card 20.6%
Watching via illegal stream 11.5%
Would buy this as a PPV at a lower price 10.3%
Watching at a bar/restaurant 7.3%
Buying the PPV 6.1%
Watching prelims on TV, not the PPV 6.1%
Watching with friends 4.2%
Not watching, weak main event 3.6%

Not watching because I won't get an iPPV 15.5%
Not watching because I'm not interested in foreign wrestling 15.0%
Not watching, card isn't strong enough 12.5%
Will wait for reviews after the show, then decide 12.0%
Would have watched, but a bad weekend for a show 10.5%
Watching on iPPV, not live 10.0%
Not watching because I won't watch any non-WWE wrestling 8.5%
Would watch at a lower price 8.5%
Watching iPPV live 7.5%

-- Pinnacle Fighting Championships today announced that its upcoming event,PinnacleFC 7: Pittsburgh Challenge Series, will be streamed via Internet Pay-Per-View via GoFightLive this coming Saturday night, May 24th. The broadcast will begin at 7 p.m. ET live from the Greentree Sportsplex in Pittsburgh.

-- Bill Goldberg is now a part of Podcast One: Former WWE Star, NFL Lineman and motor sports enthusiast Bill Goldberg premiered today with Who’s Next with Goldberg on, the leader in audio on-demand programing and a division of Courtside Entertainment Group. Who’s Next with Goldberg launched today with racing legend Tony Stewart. Goldberg and Stewart talk shop as they take you behind the scenes of professional racing and share the adrenaline filled experience with his legion of followers. As a former NFL lineman, actor and undefeated Pro Wrestler, Goldberg talks to his celebrity friends every week as they share the real stories behind some of their real life adventures.

-- Speaking of Goldberg, a story hereabout why he chose UGA.

-- Today in History with Brian Hoops:

1906 - Frank Gotch defeated Tom Jenkins to regain the American Heavyweight Championship in a three fall match that lasted 57 minutes.
1961 - Wilbur Snyder & Leo Nomellini defeated Hard Boiled Haggerty & Gene Kinisky in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the AWA World Tag Team Championship.
1992 - Steve Austin defeated Barry Windham for the WCW Television Title in Atlanta, Georgia.
1996 - Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama defeated Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue for the All Japan Tag Titles in Sapporo, Japan

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?