TUES UPDATE: Daniel Bryan and Batista updates, NXT Takeover preview, former WWE star in Jersey Shore film, TNA and the Manhattan Center, Backlund's book release date and 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 your thoughts on Saturday night's UFC 173 and Sunday's New Japan 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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped tonight in Atlanta and we are looking for reports on the show at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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

-- Supposedly, last night was Batista's last Raw for the time being. But you know how those things go.

-- Besides being advertised for upcoming house shows, the belief is that Daniel Bryan will be wrestling Kane when he returns, likely in a Buried Alive match.

-- HHH will be doing a conference call tomorrow talking Thursday's NXT takeover. As noted on the front page, Christian returns on that show to work as part of the pre-show panel.

-- There is a preview show for NXT Takeover Wednesday at 10 PM ET. Also, a half-hour pre-show Thursday night at 7:30 PM ET. The company's plug for the show: Adam Rose and the Exotic Express kick-off NXT Takeover, the two-hour action-packed special that will once again showcase the best and brightest from WWE’s Performance Center. NXT Superstars are center stage when Adrian Neville defends the NXT title against Tyson Kidd. WWE Legends Bret “The Hitman” Hart and the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair are in opposite corners when WWE Diva Natalya and NXT Diva Charlotte battle for the NXT Women’s Championship. The Ascension will defend the NXT Tag Team Championships and Sami Zayn battles “Prince Pretty” Tyler Breeze in a No. 1 contender’s match.The show, obviously, airs exclusively on the WWE Network.

-- Jim Ross talks his boxing commentary debut on FS1 last night here.

-- Regarding a discussion on the show last night (not Alicia Fox), we heard from someone who said they tried to get some friends to sign up for the Network through the free merchandise gimmick WWE ran a few weeks back, but their friends backed out over the belief that there weren't enough Raw shows from 1995-2000. Why, after three years of development, they launched the Network without the entire Raw and Nitro TV libraries from the boom period is beyond me.

-- Speaking of Alicia Fox, Raw Backstage Fallout with her here.

-- NBC Sports Group and World Series of Fighting (WSOF) have reached a multi-year agreement extending and broadening NBCSG’s exclusive rights to televise the Las Vegas-based mixed martial arts promotion's events through 2017, it was announced today. The multi-year renewal extends the partnership, which began with World Series of Fighting’s debut in November 2012, and includes multi-platform rights to the organization’s events, which will be televised on NBCSN and NBC and featured on NBC’s digital platforms. NBC Sports Group will televise live 14 World Series of Fighting events this year, including NBC’s first-ever broadcast of mixed martial arts when “World Series of Fighting 11: Gaethje vs. Newell” takes place July 5, followed by a year-end card on NBC on December 27. Additional events will be added to the NBCSG schedule in ensuing years. To date, NBCSN has televised all World Series of Fighting events live, as well as two World Series of Fighting Canada events and seven unique editions of “WSOF Future Champs” and “Unstoppable: Best of World Series of Fighting.”

-- The former Romeo Roselli plays one of the main characters in JERSEY SHORE MASSACRE, which hits theatres in late August.

-- Another look at EA Sports UFC here. It's Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate in this trailer.

-- More information on the game, including details on how the REAL TIME EXERTION and STRATEGIC SUBMISSION BATTLES work, up at this linkalt, plus ordering details. STRATEGIC SUBMISSION BATTLES sounds like something Rener Gracie should be screaming.

-- From TNA: n response to incredible demand from IMPACT WRESTLING fans, TNA Entertainment is adding three televised events in New York City August 5, 6 and 7 at the famed Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom. Tickets for the August New York City IMPACT WRESTILNG Live! events, which will broadcast on Spike TV in the U.S. and to millions of fans in more than 120 countries across the globe, go on sale this Fri., May 30 at 10 a.m. ET, and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at ticketmaster.com and by phone at 800.745.3000. Tickets start at $20 and elite front row ringside seats are available for $75. A pre-sale for the August events will start at 10 a.m. ET on Wed., May 28. For exclusive pre-sale codes follow TNA President Dixie Carter on twitter @TNADixie. A limited number of VIP Packages, which include premiere seating, a meet and greet autograph session with select TNA Superstars and a commemorative souvenir, are also available starting Wednesday at 10 a.m. via ShopTNA.com. TNA has now announced a total of six televised IMPACT WRESTLING Live! events this summer at The Grand Ballroom of the Manhattan Center; June 25 –27 and Aug. 5 – 7.

-- The History of Professional Wrestling: World Championship Wrestling 1989-1994alt, just released this week. Next to be released in terms of wrestling books is The All-American Boy: Lessons and Stories on Life from Wrestling Legend Bob Backlundalt, out July 1st.

-- Don't forget, our most recent free shows are always playing nonstop 24/7 at f4wlive.com. We've also got a channel on TuneIn Radio that you can access by searching "F4WLIVE". The shows are pretty fun to listen to in hindsight, particularly some of the pre-WrestleMania stuff previewing things like the Undertaker match. Subscribers have full on-demand access to over 5,000 shows covering every single show and news story dating back to 2005, plus full access to the Wrestling Observer, Figure Four Weekly, archives and more. Sign up today!.

-- Sin Cara/Mistico update from Kris Zellner: The original Mistico debuted last Saturday night at the TV taping in Tuxtla Gutierrez where he attacked Averno after the main event. Mistico was in classic Mistico gear but removed the mask to reveal an all-white mask with gold trim around the eyes. Whoever posts on the AAA Twitter feed posted the debut as Mistico but then quickly deleted although the poster for the Verano de Escandalo show lists him as Mistico. This is going to be highly interesting to follow to see how EMLL reacts to this.

-- Dave has a look at UFC 173 here.

-- PREDICT THE RAW RATING
2.4 or less 14.7%
2.5 12.4%
2.6 17.5%
2.7 20.3%
2.8 15.8%
2.9 6.2%
3.0 7.3%
3.1 1.7%
3.2 2.3%
3.3 0.0%
3.4 0.6%
3.5 or more 1.1%

WILL RAW DO ITS LOWEST RATING OF THE YEAR THIS WEEK?
Yes 57.9%
No 42.1%

WHAT WAS THE BEST OF THESE RECENT SHOWS?
ROH War of the Worlds 34.3%
WWE Extreme rules 17.7%
UFC 173 12.1%
ROH Global Wars 9.6%
TNA Sacrifice 7.1%
New Japan Yokohama Arena 6.1%
UFC Erick Silva vs. Matt Brown 5.6%
UFC 172 4.0%
Bellator PPV 2.0%
New Japan Dontaku 1.5%

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST TITLE MATCH UPSET IN UFC HISTORY?
Matt Serra over GSP 76.6%
T.J. Dillashaw over Renan Barao 19.3%
Frankie Edgar over B.J. Penn 4.1%

WHO IS THE BEST OF THE CURRENT WORLD CHAMPIONS?
Daniel Bryan 63.8%
A.J. Styles 18.2%
Adam Cole 5.8%
Eric Young 3.6%
Yuji Nagata 2.9%
Yamato 1.8%
El Terrible 1.8%
Akebono 1.3%
El Texano Jr. 0.7%

-- ROH has Supercard of Honor VIII plus Kevin Steen merch on sale right now here.

-- CZWrestling.com - This Saturday, May 31, Combat Zone Wrestling heads to Dayton, Ohio for 'Prelude to Violence' at the Rockstar Arena, 1106 E Third ST, Dayton, OH with a 7:30 pm bell time.

-- 1956 - Doug and Red Donovan defeated Herb Freeman & Larry Chene for the Pacific Northwest Tag Team Title. 1957 - Red Bastien ends the second NWA Texas Junior Heavyweight Title reign of Rito Romero in Fort Worth, Texas.

1959 - Eddie & Dr. Jerry Graham defeated Mark Lewin & Don Curtis for the WWWF Tag Team Title in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

1960 - Thor Hagen defeated Lee Henning to win the NWA Central States Heavyweight Title in St. Joseph, Missouri.

1967 - Billy and Jimmy Hines won the Mid-America version of the NWA World Tag Team Title by defeating The Blue Infernos in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1968 - Ken Lucas & Dennis Hall defeated Don Carson & The Red Shadow for the Mid-America version of the NWA Southern Tag Team Title in Memphis, Tennessee.

1974 - Mr. X (Guy Mitchell) & The Brute defeated Leo Madril & Dan Kroffat to win the Vancouver version of the NWA Canadian Tag Team Title in Vancouver, British Columbia.

1976 - Jackie West & Yukari Lynch defeated The Beauty Pair (Jackie Sato & Maki Ueda) for the World Women's Wrestling Association World Tag Team Title in Kawasaki, Japan.

1977 - Jimmy Snuka defeated El Gran Goliath in Houston, Texas for the WCCW Texas Heavyweight Title.

1978 - Carlos Colon & Chief Thunder Cloud defeated The Hollywood Blondes (Jack Evans & Larry Sharpe) for the WWC North American Tag Team Title in Bayamon, Puerto Rico

1988 - Owen Hart defeated Hiroshi Hase in Sendai, Japan to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title.

1989 - Steve Strong defeated Carlos Colon to win the WWC Universal Heavyweight Title in Caguas, Puerto Rico

1990 - Villano III defeated Sangre Chicana for the WWF World Light Heavyweight Title in Naucalpan, Mexico.

1997 - Kenta Kobashi & Johnny Ace defeated Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue to win the AJPW Unified World Tag Team Title in Sapporo, Japan

2001 - D'Lo Brown & Shane defeated The Starr Corporation (Chicky Starr & Victor the Bodyguard) and Los Boricuas (Miguel Perez Jr. & Jesus Castillo, Jr.) for the IWA World Tag Team Title in Puerto Rico

-- Greg writes: I ran across a new show on The Learning Channel called OMG! EMT!, which features real EMTs in reenactments of their most unusual cases. In the episode "Private Parts", one of the stories involved a man with a very nasty testicular injury (pixellated out, but one of the EMTs said they were the size of a grapefruit), which he got after getting kicked in the groin during a "backyard wrestling" match (with a ring consisting of four twin mattresses tied together). The guy who kicked him ended up with a broken foot, and a third guy was found lying in the backyard with his Mexican wrestling mask glued to his face.

-- Big Time Wrestling May 31 Belltime 7 pm Autographs 5 pm. Featuring" The Nature Boy " Ric Flair, Matt & Jeff The Hardy Boyz, " The Million Dollar Man " Ted Dibiase, Jimmy Valiant, The Barbarian, & more. May 31 Charleston S.C. Charleston Convention Center; June 1 Hickory N.C. LP Fran Stadium Home of the Hickory Crawdads

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