SAT. UPDATE: Notes on today's big shows, WWE France results, Scott Hall update, Henderson's weight, New WWE PPV match, Observer convention notes, Sonnen copies two 90s stars
Saturday, 24 May 2014 09:58
By Dave Meltzer
We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's UFC 173 and tonight's Back to the Yokohama Arena shows, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
UFC 173 takes place today at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas:
Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m.
Jingliang Li (170) vs. David Michaud (171)
Aaron Phillips (145) vs. Sam Sicilia (146)
Anthony Njokuani (155) vs. Vinc Pichel (155)
FS 1 at 8 p.m.
Mitch Clarke (155) vs. Al Iaquinta (155)
Chico Camus (135) vs. Chris Holdsworth (135)
Tony Ferguson (155) vs. Katsunori Kikuno (155)
Michael Chiesa (156) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (155)
PPV at 10 p.m.
James Krause (156) vs. Jamie Varner (155)
Takeya Mizugaki (135) vs. Francisco Rivera (135)
Jake Ellenberger (171) vs. Robbie Lawler (171)
Daniel Cormier (205) vs. Dan Henderson (199)
Renan Barao (135) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (135) for the bantamweight title
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
WWE finishes up its European tour with shows today in Rotterdam, Holland and Berlin, Germany. We're looking for reports on both shows.
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.
The electronic version of the newsletter comes with a subscription to the web site that also includes all the audio shows at your convenience, archives of issues from 1991-96 and 2008 to the presents and all members only breaking news stories.
You can also order the print Observer right now and get it delivered to your door via mail, by sending your name, address, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to
For the United States, it is $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to
For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52.
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
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
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.
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)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*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)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*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)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
*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)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
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.
SATURDAY'S NEWS UPDATE
--Scott Hall wrote that he had checked himself into Emery hospital earlier this week, has since been discharged, and is getting himself ready for a Tuesday interview with WWE when they come to Atlanta for the network and stuff they can put on future DVD releases.
--The WWE crew flies back today from Europe as today's show end the two week tour. They'll start back Monday's Raw in Knoxville for the go-home for for the Payback PPV.
--The Sheamus vs. Cesaro U.S. title match was officially announced for Payback.
--A press conference was held yesterday for UFC 175 with Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida, Ronda Rousey, Alexis Davis, Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen all there. Sonnen was doing stuff from both Scott Hall and Bret Hart. Wanderlei was said to have been turning purple.
--I was told to advice people regarding that show to get tickets early and also make hotel reservations early. We are doing our website convention in conjunction with that weekend and there are a ton of weekend activities including concerts, a Muay Thai show, a Sunday UFC on FS 1 show the day after the PPV headlined by Frankie Edgar vs. B.J. Penn, signings, pool parties and more all week. It's basically UFC's version of WrestleMania week.
--Results from yesterday's WWE house show in Strasborg, France:
Rob Van Dam & The Miz (babyface on this show) & Rhodes Brothers b Titus O'Neil & Tyson Kidd & Jack Swagger & Justin Gabriel
Rusev b Zack Ryder
Paige retained Divas title over Natalya and Tamina Snuka
Big Show b Kane last man standing
Santino Marella & Emma b Fandango & Layla
Bad News Barrett b Big E to retain IC title
The Shield b Randy Orton & Curtis Axel & Ryback
--Pat Patterson was there as the guest ring announcer for the Barrett vs. Big E match, given it was the IC title match and Patterson was the first champion.
--There was a really good interview this week on the I Am Jericho podcast with Bryan Danielson. Basically confirming that every single thing that happened to him in his career was because plans for others backfired and the crowd kept getting behind him. Even he questioned the late 2013 booking, noting the idea was to get Randy Orton over as champion and he didn't think it helped Orton either.
--The New Japan show tonight in theory is the company's biggest show since the Tokyo Dome. It doesn't appear to have interest at that level. It was actually part of Bushiroad, the New Japan parent company, booking the Yokohama Arena for two straight days as they had a regular company event scheduled.
--Dan Henderson came in light, but he was 196 a few days ago (for a 205 pound fight) when we weighed himself after a workout. It's his first fight off TRT, which could be a factor, especially at 43. Still, Henderson does have the one punch chance.
--Jim Ross debuts as a boxing announcer Monday night in the Monday night FS 1 Memorial Day Fight for the Troops like show. From the FS 1 standpoint, he's being brought in as a celebrity announcer.
--Dory Funk's BANG runs tonight in Ocala, FL, which includes a movie screening, an autograph sessions with Dory Funk and 70s and 80s rival Gerald Brisco, plus Dave Schlenker, the Entertainment Editor of the Ocala Star-Banner will be guest referee for one of the matches.
--Elijah Burke aka Pope D'Angelo Dinero turned 36 today.
--Rusher Kimura was 68 when he passed away on this day four years ago.
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Brian Hoops)
- Harley Race defeated Dory Funk, Jr. for the NWA World Heavyweight Title in Kansas City, Missouri. This ended a four-plus-year NWA title run
1976 - Ric Flair defeated Wahoo McDaniel for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title in Charlotte, North Carolina in a title vs. hair match.
1984 - Ric Flair defeats Kerry Von Erich for the NWA World Heavyweight Wrestling Title in Yokosuka, Japan in the third fall of their title match on an All Japan Pro Wrestling show. This ended an 18 day NWA title run.
1985 - Tatsumi Fujinami & Kengo Kimura defeated International Tag Team Champions Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch via count-out 18:27 to win the titles in Kobe, Japan.