FRI UPDATE: Huge weekend schedule, tons of UFC news from Dana in Vancouver, new TNA wrestling project, Skip Sheffield update, tons more

By Bryan Alvarez

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Busy weekend with two PPV events and a three-hour Raw on Monday.

We're looking for reports tonight on the WWE Raw house show in Syracuse, NY, the Smackdown house show in Florence, Italy and the TNA house show in Marion, IL outdoors at Rent One Park (Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett, Matt Hardy, A.J. Styles, Bully Ray, Scott Steiner Devon, Matt Morgan, Eric Young, Tommy Dreamer, Kazarian, Angelina Love, Winter, Robbie E and Cookie advertised).

We're also looking for reports on yesterday's WWE Smackdown show in Turin, Italy.

HDNet tonight airs Maximum Fighting Championships 30 from Edmonton at 10 p.m. with these bouts:

Drew Fickett vs. Brian Cobb

Marcus Davis vs. Pete Spratt

Sheldon Wescott vs. Thomas Denny

Robert Washington vs. Curtis Demarce

The big show of the weekend is UFC 131 from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver:. We'll have tons of coverage starting with weigh-ins today and live coverage during the show:

Prelim fights on facebook starting at 5:50 p.m.

Michihiro Omigawa (12-9-1) vs. Darren Elkins (12-2)

Joey Beltran (12-5) vs. Aaron Rosa (16-3)

Dustin Poirier (9-1) vs. Jason Young (8-3)

Nick Ring (11-0) vs. James Head (7-1)

Krzysztof Soszynski (25-11-1) vs. Mike Massenzio (12-4)

On Spike TV at 8 p.m.

Jesse Bongfeldt (21-7-1) vs. Chris Weidman (5-0)

Sam Stout (16-6-1) vs. Yves Edwards (40-16-1)

PPV at 9 p.m.

Donald Cerrone (14-3) vs. Vagner Rocha (6-1)

Demian Maia (14-2) vs. Mark Munoz (10-2)

Jon Oliv Einemo (7-1) vs. Dave Herman (20-2)

Kenny Florian (14-5) vs. Diego Nunes (16-1)

Junior Dos Santos (12-1) vs. Shane Carwin (12-1)

Saturday also has a major TNA house show at AutoZone Park in Memphis featuring a rare TNA house show headlined by Sting, plus Mr. Anderson, Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett, Matt Hardy, A.J. Styles, Bully Ray, Scott Steiner, Devon, Matt Morgan, Eric Young and more, including what is now scheduled as Tommy Dreamer's final TNA show. Raw on Saturday runs in Rochester, NY, while Smackdown will be in Barcelona, Spain.

Sunday is TNA Slammiversary from Orlando with Sting vs. Mr. Anderson for the TNA title, Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett with Angle's gold medal at stake and for the No. 1 contendership, Alex Shelley & James Storm vs. Douglas Williams & Magnus for the tag team titles, Mickie James vs. Angelina Love for the Knockouts title, Abyss vs. Kazarian vs. Brian Kendrick for the X Division title, Matt Morgan vs. Scott Steiner, A.J. Styles vs Bully Ray in a last man standing match, Crimson vs. Samoa Joe and more.

Sunday has Raw in Bethlehem, PA and Smackdown in Madrid, Spain.

Monday has a three-hour Raw with all the top names from both Raw and Smackdown at the Nassau Coliseum, featuring Steve Austin as the guest General Manager. Monday also is a TNA taping in Orlando.

Tuesday has Smackdown and NXT from Providence, RI, and another TNA taping in Orlando.

Randy Savage: The Early Years is the theme for the lead feature story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which also details the resignation of the president of one of the top wrestling companies in the world, the fallout from the stroke suffered by Super Hate, the most detailed look at the Tough Enough decision making, the stardom of Clay Guida, the Ultimate Fighter finals, plus the latest PPV notes on boxing, wrestling and MMA including some new numbers that are both good and not so good. We also have our quarterly business charts for both WWE and TNA, so you can see how both companies right now are shaping up in all the key categories.

The issue will be up on the site today. A new back issue from early 1994 was put up earlier in the week and another will be up in a few days. 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.

Our story on Savage includes a look at his death, funeral, his days in baseball, the Randy Savage-Vince McMahon issues, the end of his career in WCW, negotiations in the last decade for him to return, his connecting with baseball friends after being in wrestling and using baseball players on television to put him over.

We look back at the start of Savage's career, how long he worked under a mask, the first match he had under the name Randy Poffo, as well as the first match as Randy Savage and the first match and debut of the Macho Man name.

We look at his run from territory to territory during the 70s, as he worked his way up the ladder, and the places where he got his first breaks.

We also go into the history of the infamous ICW promotion, including the unique way it started, the first grandstand challenge, the feud with Ronnie Garvin, The Slapowitz Syndicate, the unique departure of their TV announcer, the beginning of the career of Elizabeth, and more on challenges made to the stars of other promotions and how they were viewed at the time.

We look at the war between the ICW and Jarrett Promotions, including police having to take action, Savage's bragging about beating up one of the Jarrett top stars on television, what wrester Vince McMahon asked him to shoot on, the downfall of the ICW, and the night he took on the police and a police dog.

We also look at the Tough Enough finale, the background of Andy Leavine and why he won. We also look at the qualities that killed Luke Robinson, the advantages Leavine had going in and the bizarre "it" factor remark. We also look at the clever way Vince McMahon handled the ratings, talks about season two, where the rating peaked on Monday's show and what the final segment meant.

We also look at how Leavine got into pro wrestling.

We also look at Clay Guida and the Ultimate Fighter finals, with business notes, poll results, how every match did in the ratings, the Kingsbury vs. Maldonado decision, plus match-by-match coverage and the announced purses for all the fighters.

We look at attendance, ratings and PPV for WWE and TNA and how business is faring, as well as what areas are strongest for UFC and WWE on PPV right now.

We also have more on Linda McMahon running for office, a new member of the WWE Board of Directors, lots of WWE injury notes, Changes in WWE magazine being tackled about, video game name change and why, New WWE developmental, Capitol Combat notes, SummerSlam activities, why WWE is bullish on India, Dwayne Johnson's movie career and Kharma talks Jim Ross. We also have Bret Hart's return, news on Batista, why a current WWE performer hasn't been on television, what percentage of Raw viewers watch live vs. tape, as well as business notes from the past week and main stuff on the house shows.

We've got ratings of all the national shows including how every segment on Raw and Impact did and what viewers came and left.

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.

Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sites and has the most complete look at the business as a whole anywhere. The Observer is now in its 28th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling industry as well as the MMA industry, from bookers, to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest current names, both on camera, and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and 30 countries subscribe. Many have subscribed as long as 20 years or more straight. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world and an accuracy from having the most inside sources that can't be found on the web. Everyone from Wall Street to the major offices to the TV networks in U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business. 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. Just send your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can order by faxing that information to 408-244-3402. You can also subscribe via paypal at and using the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it address or subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card, by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.

-- Lots of news coming out of UFC in Vancouver this weekend. Dana White yesterday said the winner of Junior Dos Santos vs. Shane Carwin tomorrow night will get a title shot against champion Cain Velasquez in four or five months. Velasquez is currently recovering from rotator cuff surgery. Dana announced that starting this summer, all UFC main events that aren't title fights will be five round affairs. This will only apply to anything signed after today, meaning the currently scheduled matches, such as Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis, are still three-rounders. He said he had a meeting with Roy Nelson and felt it was a positive, but that he didn't know what was next for him. Wait and see, he said. Apparently the crux of the meeting was that Dana thinks Roy is too fat, and Roy says that if you look at his career he's performed pretty damn well at his weight, and you can't jump on him for one bad performance in a fight that he went into with walking pneumonia and had no cardio for. Dana said they were looking to add a 125-pound division before the end of the year. He said the fights to get into the house for the new season of TUF happened this week and he was going to do all he could to make sure they ended up on TV. He pretty much buried the last season, saying the show open of season 14 was better than all the fights on season 13 put together. The season, for the first time ever, consists solely of 135- and 145-pound fighters. He also said UFC 135 was likely taking place in Denver at the Pepsi Center on September 24th and would probably be headlined by Jon Jones vs. Quinton Jackson for the 205-pound title provided Jones gets clearance from his doctor to get back into training coming off his hand injury.

-- Nick Diaz has also vacated the Strikeforce welterweight title and will fight exclusively for UFC from now on, starting with his title match versus Georges St. Pierre coming up in October in Las Vegas.

-- We are hearing that on the secondary market there are lower floor seats available for tomorrow's UFC in the $200 range, and even some upper bowl tickets for as low as $14. Thanks to Carl.

-- Devin sent this in: All Wheels Wrestling debuts June 29th at Universal Studios. This made for television event will appeal to both wrestling fans and motorsports enthusiasts alike. Come witness the high flying moves of some of the greatest pro wrestlers in the world as they battle it out in the ring in front of a live audience. Doors open at 6:30PM. Taping begins at 7:00PM. Taping held at Universal Studios' Soundstage 21. This is a non-ticketed event and seating is based on a first come first served basis. It is recommended to arrive one hour prior to doors open. Video cameras and audio recording equipment is not allowed. Show may cancel and schedules and/or audience requirements may alter at any time. TNA is involved in this promotion somehow. More in the next few days.

-- The former Jon Moxley, now DEAN AMBROSE, debuted at the FCW TV taping last night.

-- Kota Ibushi beat Ryusuke Taguchi in a 20-minute match that was said to be awesome to win this year's New Japan Best of the Super Juniors tournament.

-- Smackdown tonight has Randy Orton vs. Sheamus in a no-DQ match, Corre vs. Ezekiel Jackson & Usos, Ted DiBiase vs. Sin Cara and Tamina vs. AJ.

-- Skip Sheffield on his Twitter announced that he was going in for his third surgery soon, and that he hoped it would be his last. Will be having a third surgery this Tuesday and it will be the last," Sheffield wrote. "There are a lot of people who are far worse off and this is all happening for a good reason. I wish I was back right now and doing what I love, but things are not right and they have to be fixed. I will be 100 percent very soon and back on WWE TV and I thank all of you for your support. I have kept my head held high and I cannot thank WWE enough for their support in this time. I have worked too hard too long to just give up and while it has been difficult it has only made me a stronger better person so please be patient and I will be back I promise.

-- For those following the Embassy vs. Homicide ROH lawsuit, Todd Martin and RD Evans discuss the suit on David Lagana's podcast here.

-- DGUSA's 2nd year anniversary show is available for ordering right now on

-- Speaking of DGSUA, the latest on Brodie Lee: Thank you all for your concern. The doctor thinks the ACL and MCL are partially torn. Pending an MRI, surgery may be neccessary. Currently I am laid up for the next 4 weeks. I believe he blew it out at the show this weekend and then just drove all the way home, which had to suck.

-- Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Joe Ray, Mike Bronzoulis vs. Todd Moore and Brian Melancon vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg have all been added to the HDNet prelims special for next weekend's Overeem vs. Werdum Strikeforce event.

-- KJ Noons is guest on Inside MMA tonight.

-- WWE returns to the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington on August 20th, 2011 at 7:30 PM. Thanks to Devin Cutting.

-- Full line-up thus far for ROH Best in the World in iPPV from the Hammerstein in New York has Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards for the ROH Title, Chris Daniels vs. Generico, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. Kings of Wrestling vs. All Night Express vs. Briscoes in a four-way for the tag titles, Mike Bennett vs. the returning Jay Lethal, and more.

-- German wXw mainstay Bad Bones (real name John Kay) was injured during his match at the wXw "With you, Japan!" benefit show for the Japanese earthquake/tsunami victims on 6/4. He tore his chest muscle during a six-man tag (2Face, Bad Bones & Jay Skillet vs. Aaron Insane, Chris Rush & Tommy End, which ended in a no contest), and at first it was feared that it would be an injury that would keep him out for several months. Turned out it was only a slight tear which will keep him out only for about four weeks until he can take up training again. Thanks to Markus.

-- 9th Annual Commissioner's Cup Tag Team Tournament Live Event Day 1, Saturday, June 11, 2011, 7:30 pm, IWF Centre, 32 Willow Way, Woodland Park, NJ

-- NWA New Jersey Presents "Bragging Rights" Saturday, June 18 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm, Watering Hole Cafe, 6494 Weymouth Road, Mays Landing, NJ

-- Showtime All-Star Wrestling this Saturday, June 11 at The Gallatin Civic Center in Gallatin, TN, with Tammy Sytch, Crimson, Kid Kash, Chase Stevens, David Young, Byron Wilcott,and LT Falk (son of Tony). More info at

-- From the promoter: On Sunday afternoon, August 7th at 3:00 pm Eastern time, PWO Wrestling presents "PWO Wrestlelution 4: Overdrive" from the Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica in downtown Cleveland. But if you cannot join us live, for the first time ever, you can witness the action live on internet pay-per-view. PWO Wrestling is proud to join forces with GoFightLive to bring you the most emotional and adrenaline-fueled three hours of the PWO calendar year. GoFightLive is now synonymous with presenting the absolute greatest live events in independent wrestling, boxing, and MMA, and GFL and PWO is a perfect partnership. PWO Wrestlelution 4 will be available LIVE for only $14.99 and can be ordered today at the following link.

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What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?