We're also looking for reports on this past weekend's TNA house shows, Thursday night in Corbin, KY, Friday night in Pikeville, KY and Saturday night in Johnson City, TN, as well as the Friday night Dragon Gate USA show in Burlington, NC.
Smackdown and NXT will be taped tonight from Charlotte.
With WrestleMania upon us, we have two issues of the Observer out this week, and one of our big three issues of the year, the WrestleMania review issue covering not only the major WWE activities, the big show, the financial and backstage news, but also the ROH and Dragon Gate shows, will be out next week.
Both issues are up on the site right now in the Observer archives section listed as April 4 and April 6.
Among the major features in the issues coming out this week is a look back at the start of WrestleMania and the real history, the good, the bad, how the show changed the face of the industry in so many ways, as well as truths, lies, myths and more that have sprung up regarding 27 years of what in almost every year was the biggest show on the North American continent, and in most cases, in the world each year. We look at questions regarding the show, including arena vs. stadium, real main events, and the untold history, particularly from the first show and why it is still the most important of all of them.
We look back at the concept of the big show, problems doing the first one, the growth to WrestleMania III, the ups and downs of the 90s, and the new era starting in 1998 to the current show.
We also have a WrestleMania preview, looking at company goals, markets efforts, predictions on how the show will do, a match-by-match preview, what is the real key to whether this show does bigger than last year and more. We look at how and why matches changed, notes on the Hall of Fame, celebrity involvement, ticket availability and much more.
The first of the two issues will be up on the site today, and the second will be up tomorrow. A back issue from early 1994 was just put up yesterday. Between the Observer and Figure Four Weekly, we have about 14 issues put up every month and dozens of new audio shows for web site subscribers including coverage after the shows of every major pro wrestling and MMA event.
You can also order print copies of the Observer with details below.
We also have an interesting look at the controversial UFC plan for the next season of Ultimate Fighter and why it may or may not happen.
We've also got a bio on the great manager, Sir Oliver Humpderink, going through his career through the territories, his legend in Florida, the unique way he got into pro wrestling, his first night as a manager, his most famous roles, his time with WWF and WCW at the end of his career, an life after wrestling, including his own words about life and wrestling taken from lengthy interviews he's done before his death, and friends talk about him as well.
We also look more at the firing of Fit Finlay by WWE, more on the Elimination Chamber numbers, Lesnar talks Undertaker and going back to wrestling, a longtime WWE vet says he's retiring in 18 months, lots of news on the season of Tough Enough, a look at Sin Cara's house show debut, Chris Jericho talks Dancing with the Stars and does pro wrestling help him, an upcoming Dwayne Johnson movie as well as a new John Cena movie, what happened with Michael Cole on twitter and why, behind the greatest 50 wrestlers DVD and WWE sending 80s legends on the road after Mania.
We also look at a former member of The Ultimate Fighter cast known for doing pro wrestling interviews who is trying out for WWE, if the return of Rock has affected DVR usage when it comes to Raw, lots of background on who is David Otunga, pre-Mania publicity, notes on the Hall of Fame process and celebrates, Scott Hall on why he's not going to Atlanta for the Shawn Michaels induction, a former WWE star says he'd be insulted if asked to go into the Hall of Fame, Hall of Famer son wins first championship an more developmental news. Plus an interesting stat on Lay Cool, how WWE handles crowd mishaps, as well as business notes from the past weekend and a look at all the WWE house shows the last weekend before Mania and what the notes indicate.
We also run down the UFC Fight Night show, with our usual match-by-match coverage, how much everyone earned on the show, business notes, poll results, where the main fighters go and more. We also have some very interesting notes because the ratings for this show were very different than most UFC shows on Spike and we look at what that says about different variables including start time and matches. We also look at a couple of big matches and moments underneath that, because the show ran long, were not able to be aired on Spike.
We also look at the question marks surrounding the future of Bobby Lashley in MMA and pro wrestling.
We've got ratings of all the national shows including how every segment on Raw and Impact did and what viewers came and left. In particular this week we look at the WrestleMania go-home show, and how the key segments on the show did. . We also have our usual weekly features with results of the major arena shows from around the world, and the major TV show rundowns and reviews.
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
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.
-- I don't know the full extent, but apparently there was a massive last-minute rewrite of Raw yesterday. In the early afternoon the idea was that HHH vs. Undertaker would take place at SummerSlam, and Taker would likely be facing Cena at WrestleMania 28. Then a few hours later they made the Rock vs. Cena Mania 28 announcement, a quite substantial change in a few hours. There are people who believe the long-term plan was always to build Mania 28 around Rock, even if they didn't think they could get him to wrestle, and that's why Miami was chosen. Besides the match he'll likely also be getting the Ric Flair treatment. Vince was out of his mind all weekend changing match orders and such for Mania, far worse than usual. Which is ironic given that he's now announced a main event a year out that presumably he can't change. Well, he can, but he'll look goofy doing so.
-- Rock is on Leno tonight.
-- There is a lot of pressure on Sin Cara, and it doesn't help his case that he's on the live show.
-- Don't have a final rating yet, but Tough Enough did about a 2.2 rating and 3.3 million viewers. USA is wanting a network prime time average of a 2.5, which would be for the 8 PM showing starting next week. A 2.2 rating and 3.3 million viewers is good for 11 to midnight. Of course, you're also catching people who keep watching after Raw or who don't turn off the TV. There are more people watching TV in general at 8 PM, but my gut is that after a few weeks a 2.5 is going to be tough to maintain in that slot, largely because people aren't going to be in the habit of tuning into USA early. The first hour of Raw is always the lowest rated, usually by a wide margin, when they start an hour early, even with heavy promotion the week prior.
-- I will have a new issue of Figure Four Weekly up in a few hours – well, if we can get the website back up, and I guess if you are reading this it is – looking at WrestleMania, two ROH shows, Dragon Gate, the Hall of Fame and more from a live perspective over Mania weekend.
-- By the way, if you are reading this, you should go next year.
-- Harley Race and Larry Hennig were at WrestleMania.
-- The Miz's concussion is legitimate. He suffered it hitting his head on the cement going over the barricade at Raw. Doctor told him no to watch TV, read, etc. Or Tweet, so a total disaster.
-- Jim Ross doing Raw last night was a last-minute call.
-- The WWE.com Tough Enough page says Jeremiah Riggs "is trying to become the first legitimate MMA fighter to crossover into WWE." Hmm.
-- There were apparently hotel bar incidents this weekend with Matt Hardy as well as several of the Tough Enough cast. Wtih Matt Hardy it doesn't matter because he's a TNA guy, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were some repercussions for the Tough Enough crew. In fact, according to at least one report, if a main roster WWE star had done some of this, if they were low enough on the card they might have been released.
-- David writes: I'm just listening to your audio and thought of something - that girl on Tough Enough would have won a job on creative if she had given the same answer and shown a lack of knowledge of wrestling history.
-- That girl, by the way, Ariane, claimed on Twitter that WWE had signed her to a deal and she was heading to FCW to train. Don't know if that's true, but if it is, what's the point of the show?
-- Snooki, on the other hand, said she's finished with her WWE run. For what it's worth, the talk in WWE was that if she stayed sober and actually wanted to go here after Jersey Shore ends, they'd sign her. Obviously not for $30,000 a shot, though.
-- UFC today made official both 131: Lesnar vs. Dos Santos on June 11th in Vancouver plus 132: Faber vs. Cruz on July 2nd at the MGM in Vegas. Cruz opened a heavy favorite over Urijah.
-- There was a deal this weekend where actor Christian Cage (not the WWE guy) challenged Mickie James to an arm-wrestling contest where if he won he got to make out with her, but if she won she got to shave his head. I was told this was a bad bet for Cage. Turns out it was. Mickie, with one arm (her other shoulder is injured), beat him down and shaved his head. Contest is here and shaving is here.
-- As Shawn noted on his Twitter, the guy he was not allowed to mention on Saturday night was Vince McMahon, not Ric Flair.
-- Pretty good article about the former Mohammad Hassan here. It talks about his time in wrestling, walking away, whether he'd want to come back, what he's doing now, etc.
-- Rashad Evans signed a deal with Bodylastics International to promote their fitness system. They've got a video up showcasing the system here
-- Advance tickets for Chikara King of Trios weekend April 15, 16 and 17 can be purchased here. Show takes place at the former ECW Arena, 7 W. Ritner St. in Philadelphia, PA. The action starts at 7:30 pm on Friday, April 15th!
-- New Japan announced yesterday that Mascara Dorada would be coming back to Japan to face Jushin Thunder Liger on 5/3 in Fukuoka for his CMLL Middleweight Title. Thanks to Kris Zellner.
-- Jonathan Gresham of Chikara is interviewed here about his tour of Japan for DDT and CZW Best of the Best this weekend and more.
-- Very interesting article here on gambling on pro-wrestling. Yes, on pro-wrestling. Bodog actually had odds on WrestleMania and they broke even in the end.
-- Lance Storm might have ended up breaking even as well, as evidenced by his 48% success rate this year, up from 20% last year. His article is here.
-- Brian writes: On his morning talk show on Real Talk 1160 in Cincinnati today, Andy Furman mentioned WrestleMania, saying that it was sad to that more people were in the Georgia Dome for Mania than the NCAA men's championshp last night. Curt Hennig was among the leaders on Yahoo's Buzz Index yesterday. WrestleMania wa #1 trending topic on Yahoo! Jesse Ventura was among the top searches on Google tends today.
-- The Friday April 8 Pro-Wrestling:EVE event which takes place at Project Nightclub on the Riverside in Norwich will now open doors at 6pm with first bell at 6.30pm. The show will finish by 9.30pm. Although it's being held at a nightclub they said it'll still be a very family-friendly show.
-- German Stampede Wrestling (one of Germany's two major promotions, along with wXw) has an iPPV on Thursday, 4/7 at 9 PM CET (3 PM Eastern/Noon Pacific) called "Ultimate Spirit 2011". You can get the stream for 6,90 Euros (about 10 USD) in standard quality or for 8,90 Euros (about 13 USD) in DVD quality. The latter option also includes the download of the show. It's a taped show from 1/23 in Marburg, Germany.
-- CZW's tenth Best of The Best show heads to The Asylum Arena in Philly this Saturday with an 8 pm bell time. The action will broadcast LIVE on Pay-Per-Stream at HybridEnt.tv.
-- Tri-State Wrestling Alliance (TWA), Saturday, April 9, 2011 (outdoor show - raindate is Sun, Apr 10), Wescott Field, Fairview Drive & Burlington Ave, Sewell, NJ. Bell Time 1PM
-- This Saturday night, April 9, 2011, in Cave City, Kentucky, UCW Wrestling will be presenting “A Night of Legendary Honor” to benefit the family of Richard Paul Middleton, brother of UCW’s Rodney Middleton, who passed away on March 5, 2011. Middleton was one of the mainstays in the crowd at UCW. Always supporting each and every show that he possibly could, now the family behind the curtain wishes to help Middleton’s family with burial expenses. The action will take place at the Caverna Elementary School Gym at 1106 North Dixie Highway in Cave City, Kentucky.
-- Platinum Championship Wrestling at the Academy Theater on Friday! Bell is at 8 p.m. 119 Center Street. Avondale Estates, GA 30002. Marco Polo is debuting. That's impressive.