FRI UPDATE: Undertaker to do FCW meet-and-greet, new Observer Radio tonight, weekend schedule, Impact notes, FUEL Sonnen vs. Silva first airing, tons more

By Bryan Alvarez | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dave and I will be back late tonight with a brand new Wrestling Observer Radio covering tons of news since Monday, only for subscribers. If you sign up today, you get every radio show we have ever produced dating back to 2005 is archived and searchable on the site.

We're looking for reports tonight from the WWE joint branded house show in Monroe, LA (John Cena vs. Big Show, C.M. Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane; Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio), the ROH TV tapings in Baltimore at the DuBurns Arena (Lance Storm vs. Mike Bennett, Roderick Strong vs. Adam Cole for TV title, Kevin Steen vs. ? for ROH title, Steen & Jimmy Jacobs & Steve Corino vs. Kenny King & Rhett Titus & Jay Lethal, Tommaso Ciampa vs. Mike Sydal and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Matt Taven), and the Extreme Rising show from Corona, NY (Matt Hardy vs. Jerry Lynn, Homicide vs. Devon Storm, Bestia 666 vs. Pesadilla, Dramatics vs. BLK OUT, Stevie Richards vs. Luke Hawx) at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're also looking for reports on tonight's Evolve iPPV show from St. Petersburg at

*Johnny Gargano vs Chuck Taylor for the Open the Freedom Gate title

*El Generico vs. Samuray del Sol

*AR Fox vs. Jon Davis

*Bobby Fish vs. Tommy Taylor

*Colt Cabana vs. Cheech

*Alex Reynolds vs. John Silva vs. Jake Manning vs. Lince Dorado vs. Caleb Konley vs. Scott Reed

Saturday night features a WWE joint show in Lafayette, LA, which should be the same crew as tonight's show, plus ROH in Belle Vernon, PA at the Rostraver Ice Garden (Bruno Sammartino appears; Kevin Steen vs. Roderick Strong for ROH title; Briscoes vs. Michael Elgin & Rhino, B.J. Whitmer vs. Jimmy Jacobs, Charlie Haas vs. Rhett Titus, Eddie Edwards vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Kenny King vs. Mike Bennett vs. Mike Mondo vs. Mike Sydal, Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O'Reilly, Adam Cole vs. Pepper Parks), Extreme Rising in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory (Jerry Lynn vs. Homicide, Gangstas vs. BLK OUT, Stevie Richards vs. Luke Hawx, FBI vs. Dramatics, and Sabu and others), and Evolve has another iPPV from Jacksonville.

Sunday has a WWE joint brand house show in Hidalgo, TX, which is the company's best small market city, where they almost always sell out with a huge Hispanic audience.

Raw on Monday is from Laredo, where WWE has rarely done television from in the past, but is traditionally one of its best responding house show markets, again with a heavy Hispanic audience. Teddy Long will be guest General Manager on both Raw and Smackdown this week.

Smackdown will be billed as The Great American Bash, and air live on Tuesday at 8 p.m. on Syfy, from Corpus Christi. There will be four more Money in the Bank qualifying matches.

        We've got an update on WrestleMania numbers and what they mean, the legacy of Fedor Emelianenko, how Silva vs. Sonnen mirrors pro wrestling interviews from 40 years ago, an update on Ring of Honor and UFC after weekend shows, details on WWE's new TV, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, and tons more on John Cena among the highlights of the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
        The issue will be on the site today if you are a web site member.  We also have a new back issue on the site from 1995 which covers the legacy of Atsushi Onita, a shoot tournament featuring a number of pro wrestlers and Rickson Gracie, and how the international economy changed wrestling at that time.
        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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        The legacy of Fedor Emelianenko is looked at with his announced retirement, career highlights, where he stands among the all-time greats, his skill set, biggest wins, when the chinks in his armor were first apparent and the legacy of dead promotions in his wake.
        We look at the buildup of Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva with the latest interviews.
        We also look at the good and the bad coming out of the ROH iPPV, including how much the misfires hurt the company, the problems ROH has in drawing and why, the audience reactions, the plight of Adam Cole and Michael Elgin being elevated, Kevin Steen's attempts to turn the crowd, as well as match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results on the show.
        We also look at UFC's weekend, including judging Guida vs. Maynard, what happened after the fight, who blew a title shot, ratings and business notes from both shows, the story behind Franklin vs. Silva and the new stars in the Brazilian market.  We've also got complete coverage of both shows.
        We also look at the new WWE Main Event show on Ion, including where Ion stands as far as a network, WWE's return to Japan, the returns of Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio, the trend of the television business that most affects UFC and pro wrestling and where it stands, a WWE cross promotional effort, WWE video game pre sales, what major name who has been out of wrestling for eight years is at least thinking about returning for a big match, as well as Kenn Doane talks about why his WWE career faltered and a view of Doane from the outside. 
        We also look at new WWE hires, John Layfield's mountain climbing, update on the WWE Network, notes on how the business from May compared with last year in a number of categories, as well as sales of this year's Mania DVD compared to last year.  We also look at a movie that will star one of the biggest stars in both pro wrestling and one of the biggest stars in MMA that will be filmed starting in a few weeks.
        We've also got business notes from the weekend WWE shows and highlights from all the company's house shows of the week.
        We also have a look at the famed Luchador Adorable Rubi, a landmark figure in the history of pro wrestling, where he came from, what American stars inspired him and his promoter, as well as his career highlights from his 70s heyday.
        We also have notes on how Over the Limit did on PPV and the stipulation of John Laurinaitis' employment being at stake and if it sold PPV orders.
         We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows and complete details on how every segment of Raw and Impact this past week did.  We also look at how the time slot move and going live has affected TNA numbers.
        We also have reviews of all the major television shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--Details on the new Mistico
--Multiple women risk their hair in a big match this week
--Hall of Famer undergoes eye surgery this week
--TNA prelim wrestlers that have gotten interest outside the U.S.
--Upcoming Dragon Gate shows in the U.S. and one of its biggest events in Japan
--TNA stars coming to Pro Wrestling NOAH and the political significance of that move
--A look at NOAH's next major show
--Two of pro wrestling's biggest stars each announce 20th anniversary events
--Huge ratings for a pro wrestling world title change
--A look at major matches in July from New Japan Pro Wrestling including its biggest monthly show
--Ric Flair update including contractual stipulation
--Update on Scott Hall and Lex Luger
--Notes on Kevin Nash movie role
--More on TNA's lawsuit against Scott Steiner
--Details of Steiner's contract with TNA
--Steiner's twitter war with Brooke Hogan
--Update on TNA international
--More on the payoff on Styles and Dixie Carter
--Why it made no sense to do it when they did it
--Update on Destination X PPV
--More on the Sting being attacked angle
--Update on the X Division title
--TNA wrestler wins bikini contest
--Background of Taelor Hendrix and the cancer story
--Why Gut Check with a woman brings up different issues than with a guy
--Notes on the weekend TNA house shows
--Update on Velasquez vs. Dos Santos
--How many people now can get Fuel
--Fighter issues a challenge to opponent for stricter drug testing
--More on Brock Lesnar, UFC and WWE, as well as who he is most interested in fighting
--Fighter talks about giving up testosterone replacement therapy
--Lots of new UFC matches
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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., $10 for shipping costs to Canada and $12 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
Today's News, Notes and Links

-- The Undertaker of all people will be the special guest at the FCW show at the Dallas Bull in Tampa, FL, on Wednesday, August 1st, doing a pre-show meet and greet for those who buy $50 golden circle tickets.

-- As noted on the front page, Maxine quit WWE this week, unhappy with the lack of upward mobility. It's really something to see so many women depart the division of their own volition over the past year or so.

-- This Tuesday's Super Smackdown will air live on the Score in Canada.

-- Rashad Cameron, who beat the artist formerly known as Jigsaw on Impact last night (Rubix, who probably won't be the last Chikara star working TNA), is Jeez from Combat Zone and Urban Wrestling fame. And yes, he was on Smackdown a week ago being destroyed in a two-on-one squash by Ryback. Interesting how both companies chose to utilize him. He's working Extreme Reunion this weekend. Mason Andrews works as Scorpio Sky.

-- Beginning with the July 20th show, Bellator returns to MUN2.

-- Besides Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman, also signed for the August 18th Strikeforce show in San Diego are Jacare Souza vs. Derek Brunson and Roger Bowling vs. Tarec Saffiedine.

-- An early look at Rock in his new film, Empire State.

-- John Morrison will be a judge for TOURNAMENT OF NERDS, which is airing on The Nerdist Channel on Youtube Sunday. The Nerdist Channel. Speaking of, here's Morrison on Cut That Promo 2.

-- There is a video here of Rener Gracie sparring with a purple belt with both hands tied together.

-- As noted on the front page, FUEL TV airs “UFC Primetime: Silva vs. Sonnen” on Saturday, June 30 (7:00 PM ET).

-- Otis sent this in. I don't have the show recorded so can anyone confirm? If you listen closely on TNA tonight, when Taz introduces the show before the first match, I swear he welcomes everyone to Smackdown, but the production booth was able to cut off the "Down" of Smackdown. I suspect they might fix it for the west coast broadcast. Or not.

-- New Mistico update from Kris Zellner: Mistico II will be making his debut on 8/3 at Arena Mexico and said that he would be bringing his own style to the gimmick and won't rely on the old Mistico's famous moves to succeed. He will incorporate his moves from when he was Dragon Lee and said that he wouldn't use La Mistica as a finisher. He also wants to form a formidable tag team with his brother Rush which should fuel the flames of their detractors. Mistico II has been doing a media tour doing various interviews in print and television as the push for his debut has begun.

-- EVOLVE returns to iPPV tonight with EVOLVE 15: Gargano vs. Taylor. Florida Underground Wrestling Presents Legends Of The Bayfront Friday, June 29th The Wildwood Recreation Center 1000 28th Street South St. Petersburg, FL 33712. Doors: 7pm. FUW Belltime: 7:30pm. EVOLVE Will Follow FUW Show (Approximately 8:45-9:00pm). Tickets will be available at the door. EVOLVE Lineup: Open The Freedom Gate Title Match with Johnny Gargano defends vs. Chuck Taylor, El Generico (2-2) vs. Samuray Del Sol (0-3) in a rematch from the night before, Style Battle Tournament Match with AR Fox (4-2) vs. Jon Davis (2-3), Style Battle Tournament Match with Bobby Fish (4-4) vs. Tommy Taylor (0-1), Cheech (1-0) vs. Colt Cabana (0-1), Alex Reynolds (3-1) vs. John Silver (2-1) vs. Jake Manning (1-2) vs. Lince Dorado (0-1) vs. Caleb Konley (2-1) vs. Scott Reed (0-1), and Tony Nese (1-3) vs. Mike Cruz (0-2).

-- Since people were asking, my speculation about Metallica playing HHH's theme at SummerSlam instead of Brock Lesnar's (Enter Sandman was Brock's UFC theme and Motorhead plays Hunter's current theme), the reason I brought it up was because A) it's more likely they'd play the theme of the babyface, and B) they have played his entrance before, including at WrestleMania 27.

It's really all speculation on my part and the only thing confirmed is the company is trying to get Metallica to perform at SummerSlam.

-- Tommy Dreamer's new wrestling promotion, House of Hardcore, debuts this fall in the New York market.

-- The San Diego Comic-Con description of the Mattel/WWE display: 1:30-12:30 Mattel and WWE: Get in the Ring!— If you want to talk about Mattel's WWE action figures with some of the top WWE superstars, don't miss a minute of this exciting panel! Be the first to get a sneak peek at upcoming products and hear exciting announcements about the 2013 line. Join your favorite WWE superstars, along with Mattel toy designers Bill Miekina and Derek Handy, and Mattel's director of marketing Enrique Ruvalcaba for an action-packed Q&A. Room 24ABC.

Daniel, who is down there, notes: Randy Couture will once again participate in the Expendables panel. Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Terry Crews are also returning. They will be joined by Jean Claude Van Damme and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

-- TV episode 39 of Oregon's DOA Pro Wrestling promotion is now online.

-- East Coast Wrestling Association War Games on 7/14 at the Greater Newark Boys' & Girls' Club in Newark, DE. I love the street address: NUMBER ONE POSITIVE PLACE.

-- Ed and his crew will be talking Chris Benoit tonight.

Who was pro wrestling's best world heavyweight champion?
Ric Flair 39.9%
Bruno Sammartino 14.9%
Hulk Hogan 11.5%
Lou Thesz 11.4%
Steve Austin 9.9%
Bret Hart 5.6%
John Cena 4.1%
Harley Race 1.1%
Antonio Inoki 0.7%
Frank Gotch 0.5%
Dory Funk Jr, 0.3%
Strangler Lewis 0.1%

Who was the greatest champion in MMA history?
Anderson Silva 37.2%
Fedor Emelianenko 19.2%
Georges St. Pierre 15.8%
Randy Couture 14.3%
Tito Ortiz 5.9%
Frank Shamrock 4.5%
Matt Hughes 3.0%

Do you believe Anderson Silva is a clean fighter?
Yes 5.3%
No 94.7%

Should fighters who test positive for steroids not be allowed in an MMA Hall of Fame?
Yes 49.8%
No 50.2%

What was the biggest WrestleMania main event?
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant I 50.9%
Steve Austin vs. The Rock II 17.5%
Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior 7.5%
Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock 6.1%
Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage 5.7%
Rock vs. John Cena 4.8%
Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff 3.8%
Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels 3.4%
HHH vs. Batista 0.3%

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?