The WWE tour continues with shows tonight in Lievin, France and Doha, Qatar.
The newest issue of the Wrestling Observer looks at the changes in the WWE business strategy. We look at the whys and the risks, as well as the attempt to rebrand pro wrestling, the stock price, debt operations, changes in the marketplace that have benefited both WWE and TNA, changes being planned by HHH, Vince McMahon's history outside of the wrestling industry as well as notes on other major sports franchises over the years that WWE had negotiations with about acquiring and how they fell through.
We also look at changes in the Board of Directors, the strategy of the movie division, how many have reacted to Vince's changes, and more.
We also look at the identity of the pro wrestling legend who was just immortalized with his own postage stamp.
We also have more on the TNA rebranding campaign and major changes the company is looking at making.
The issue will be up on the site today. A back issue from early 1994 will also be up this week. 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 look at the retirement of Randy Couture before what is scheduled as his final fight, records set by Couture as a fighter, Couture talks about his decision and downplays it.
We also look at the WWE draft going forward and have a career title history on Edge.
We also have a complete rundown of TNA Lockdown, including business notes, poll results, match-by-match coverage with star ratings, thoughts on Kurt Angle's big bumps, the story behind them, what screwed up on the show and how the crowd was.
We also look at the return of The Rock to Raw, more on the injury that ended Edge's career, more on exactly who watches WWE television right now, two new major hirings, Ziggler haircut reaction, WWE legend looking at getting into acting, lots of notes on Jericho's return and Dancing with the Stars, WWE Hall of Famer asks to be taken out of the Hall of Fame, and notes from the Eddy Guerrero funeral that he brought up. We also look at an idea for the next season of NXT, more on Tough Enough, former wrestler talks about how much company cares about the health of talent, notes on new talent signed, plus business notes so far in the European tour and a look at highlights from all of the European shows so far.
We also look at the first announcement of what will be one of the biggest pro wrestling events of 2011, as well as a look back at what this show is the anniversary of.
We've also got a rundown on the Champion Carnival tournament and a look at the history of the winners dating back to its inception as the World League tournament in 1959, including the legends that made it to the finals.
We've got ratings of all the national shows including how every segment on Impact did and what viewers came and left. We look at several troubling issues in the recent ratings.
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.
-- I haven't had a chance to do it yet and haven't been able to write back to everyone, but I want to deeply thank everyone who sent in nice words about the Larry Sweeney bio in this week's new Figure Four Weekly. I know a lot of people said that it must have been really hard to write, but the truth is that it wasn't hard at all. It was very sad at times, don't get me wrong, but at the same time I was really happy to be able to spend some time re-watching some old stuff, looking back and remembering some really fun times that we did get to have together while he was alive. It was also nice to hear people say that after reading it they were compelled to check out more of his stuff. His death was a real tragedy and he'll be missed by a lot of people.
-- Also want to personally thank everyone we got a chance to meet at Cauliflower Alley this year. Some really great people.
-- Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes Falls Count Anywhere has been added to Extreme Rules.
-- Kevin Nash on Scott Hall: spent the night with Scott tonight at the hospital,along with his son,He's lost a lot of weight,but the smile on his face was priceless. Not looking good.
-- I have to say, Georges St. Pierre has been pretty awesome in various media outlets putting over Jake Shields as perhaps the most dangerous opponent of his career. He's still listed as a 4-1 favorite, which he says is a trap that he's not falling into. The newest UFC Primetime is up on the front page right now if you haven't had a chance to see it yet.
-- Just want to say something about Zach Ryder. Zach has a Youtube show that is very popular among Zach fans. In fact, his videos are being watched by approximately 10 times the number of people who are watching NXT on the official WWE Fan Nation Youtube page. I've also been told that people are, and this is a direct quote, "spamming the WWE facebook and twitter accounts for days now", hoping that this will "help the Ryder Revolution grow". What I'm about to say is probably going to be construed as something against Ryder, but it's not, and in fact he's kind of in a lose-lose situation here. My advice is, stop doing this immediately if you're a Zach Ryder fan. If this was any other company maybe in the world, yes, all of this viral attention would probably serve him well. But this is WWE, and in almost EVERY case historically, if a guy gets over and it was not WWE's doing, then WWE has to prove that, in fact, he can't get over, and that he's really no good at all. There is a reason Bryan Danielson was given a new name and given Miz as his "mentor" on NXT. Same with Kaval and Laycool. Same with nearly every other guy who got over huge on the indy scene. You get over huge on the indy scene and it's WWE's "job" to prove that you are not, in fact, really any good at all, and if you do finally get over in WWE, like CM Punk, it's after a long period of having to suffer, do jobs, be booked in a ridiculous manner with ridiculous people, hear that you "can't work", etc. So, long story short, bombarding WWE's Twitter and Facebook pages with Zach Ryder stuff is FAR more likely to backfire than it is to get him a push on Raw or Smackdown. In fact, quite frankly if you want Zach to get a minor push, your best bet is to have Dave or I write in the newsletter that Zach is on the verge of being released and will never be seen on Raw or Smackdown again, at which point he'll probably get a win on one or both shows the following week.
-- The Prodigy Service Announcement part 1 is here.
-- Jim Ross has an article up here talking Cauliflower Alley, the Draft and more. Dave and I have got a show up from Wednesday night with out thoughts on the CAC banquet. Suffice to say, we'll almost certainly be going every year now. A really fun time.
-- Smackdown tonight has the tag team titles on the line with Kane & Big Show vs. Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater, Wade Barrett vs. Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio, Chris Masters vs. Drew McIntyre, Trent Baretta vs. Jack Swagger and more. Main event is Alberto doing a retirement ceremony for Edge, who does in fact appear on the show.
-- The main event of the JCW iPPV from earlier this week is up here. ICP sent this: Corporal Robinson was taken to the hospital and kept overnight for observation due to the impact on his head and back, and we are awaiting a formal updated on the outcome of concussion testing and spinal MRI results.. Despite being in immense physical pain, the former marine refused to go to the hospital multiple times, insisting that he had a main event title defense to get ready for against Richie Boy, which was troubling to his friends and JCW staff. Thankfully he finally agreed to go to the emergency room. More news as it comes in, but we wish a speedy recovery to the former Champion.
-- Ultimate Fighter did an 0.9 this week, but the same 1.3 million viewers as last week.
-- Samurai del Sol nearly killing himself. It looked worse than it was as X-rays came up negative, and although he will be in a cervical brace for a month to play it safe he hopes to be back shortly thereafter. Don't try this at home.
-- David Lagana has a look at the 2004 WWE Draft here.
-- Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz are on Inside MMA tonight.
-- Dennis Hallman vs. Brian Ebersole added to UFC 133.
-- We have someone looking for a tape of the June 15, 2007 edition of Smackdown, so if anyone has it email me and I'll send your contact info on to them.
-- Poll on Ultimate Fighter
39.5% of those responding didn't see the show
What did you think of Prime Time: GSP vs. Shields week two?
56.7% of those responding didn't see the show
Who will be the biggest star to switch brands?
Randy Orton 44.0%
John Cena 16.8%
Alberto Del Rio 13.6%
C.M. Punk 10.4%
John Morrison 7.8%
Rey Mysterio 1.6%
-- Showtime All-Star Wrestling this Saturday, April 23 at The Stadium Inn in Nashville, TN with "No Mercy" Tommy Mercer (TNA's Crimson) Chase Stevens, David Young, and more.
-- New Era Wrestling presents RISING STAR, Saturday, April 23, 2011, Boys' Club, 710 South Miller Street, Shelbyville, IN 46176-2406. Doors open at 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM Bell Time
-- Brawlin' Bo's Birthday Bash (& wrestling show). TONIGHT! Friday April 22, 2011 : 8:30pm start time, 9145 Deering Ave, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Admission $5.00
-- Lance Storm is on with Ed, Cutrer and Craig tonight. Ed says they'll talk his new reality show, World of Hurt, and promises that Lance will bury me. Little does Ed know that I'll have watched the show before Lance appears on my show next week, and that the world buries Ed on a daily basis. Show will be here.