WED. UPDATE: Punk schedule, interview, Foley to WWE?, Miz media, Ratings, Punk's return reaction



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        An update on C.M. Punk, SummerSlam, and the direction, if there is such a thing, of WWE going forward is the lead article on the newest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  The lead story talks about the past and present plans for SummerSlam, changes, the return of Jim Ross, behind the scenes regarding the returns of Punk and Ross, ratings, early indications on Money in the Bank on PPV, people second guessing the return, why Punk fans should be happy with how the angle played out, as well as what people knew what.  We also look at the period that could have doomed his career in WWE.

        We also look back on the Jim Ross run in WWE, the attempts at replacing him and what happened each time that has led him back to the main chair. 
 
        The issue will be up today on the web site for web site subscribers.  You can get a mail subscription to the Observer with information below.  The Observer has the most detailed coverage of pro wrestling around the world, as well as insider UFC coverage not available anywhere else.  We have about 14 new newsletters each month, usually six Observers, four or five Figure Four Weeklies and four or five back issues of the Observer each week.
 
        Our other lead story is our twice yearly look at who are the biggest stars in the industry.  Our top 50 in the U.S. power list based on Google searches yields some very interesting results, including a new No. 1 for thus far in 2011, a shocking No. 2, as well as who is stronger than their push, and who is the most noticeable person weaker than their push.  We also look at who left and became a bigger star, and who left and was forgotten.  It's a look at the biggest names in wrestling, boxing, MMA, as well as how 2011 has trended for WWE vs. UFC around the world.
 
        We also look at the value of the UFC championships, and a predictor of what will be a big PPV before the year is out.  We also look at an ominous sign regarding boxing, and what pro wrestling legend is gigantic on a worldwide basis that most wouldn't think of.
 
        We also look at the return to wrestling of Kenta Kobashi this past week, the scene in Osaka, the booking of the return, and a look back at Kobashi's previous returns.
 
        We also look at The Rock talking about his return, as well as talk about future plans, why Survivor Series under normal circumstances would not be expected to do well this year, more on Sin Cara, Mark Henry's new role, hints of a lawsuit, WWE star has a stalker and goes to court trying to put the person away, Randy Orton gets lucky, WWE's popularity in the Hispanic community, one of the hardest working men in the company, Fit Finlay talks more about his firing, star in another sport talks about quitting and going into WWE, notes on how much stock WWE execs like Kevin Dunn and Stephanie Levesque own, plus all the business notes from the past week and highlights from all the weekend WWE live events. 
 
        We also have a feature on the return of Chael Sonnen, looking back at the last year of his life, as well as his comments about his return.  You may like him or hate him, and some do both, but he's certainly among the most quote worthy athletes in sports today.
 
        We also look at DDT's biggest show of the year, and update Dragon Gate USA with a look at the Uprising PPV, and many of the new stars that appear on the show, plus strengths and weaknesses of this coming week's taped PPV offering.     
  
         We also have our usual weekly features including ratings for all the major national shows, broken down the segment-by-segment for both Raw and Impact, showing which segments gained and lost viewers and evaluated their performance from an audience level.
 
         We also have results from all the major league pro wrestling and MMA events over the past week, as well as reviews of all the major television shows.   
 
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--One match television show this past week and what a match it was
 
--One of the top heels in the world inside the ring that you may not have heard of
 
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--New battle of the high flyers program being set up
 
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--Legends trio returns in Japan
 
--Sad death of indie manager
 
--Statue being built to honor an 80s pro wrestling star
 
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--TNA star on another national TV show last week
 
--Former TNA star gets national network talk show
 
--RVD/Generation Me comments
 
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--Notes on TNA events this past week
 
--Notes on future TNA television
 
--First UFC title fight on television in four years
 
--Upcoming UFC show off to strong advance
 
--UFC's New Year's Eve plans
 
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--Another UFC main event nearly kaput in a near miss
 
--Thoughts on the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix
 
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--Frank Shamrock/Dana White feud
 
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--Update on Nate Marquardt and Marquardt says why he thinks his testosterone is low
 
--Update on Bobby Lashley in MMA
 
--Notes on MMA judging including stats so far regarding testing with a new system
 
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--C.M. Punk is scheduled for the Raw house shows this coming weekend.  Raw runs Friday in Peoria, Saturday in Rockford, Sunday in Springfield, IL and TV is Monday in Indianapolis
 
--The Punk interview with Bill Simmons at www.Grantland.com is up today.  He said his promo to start the angle was 100% real.  He said he was really planning on leaving, and well, changed plans in Chicago at the PPV.   
 
--Bryan and I will be back tonight for Wrestling Observer radio.  We'll talk Smackdown, Punk angle, Punk on Bill Simmons, PPV number updates, Saturday's Strikeforce plus take your questions.  You can send questions for tonight's show to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
--Hall of Fame wrestling announcer Gordon Solie passed away 11 years ago today.
 
--Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Dusty Rhodes beating Ric Flair at the Great American Bash in Greensboro in a cage match to win the NWA title before a sellout crowd. (thanks to Brian Wescott)
 
--Mick Foley on twitter when asked if he was coming back to WWE, said he was considering it right now.
 
--Cult of Personality has been in the top 200 in the iTunes hot singles the past two days in the U.S.
 
--The Miz on WOIO in Cleveland talking about C.M. Punk before throwing out the first pitch at the Indians game is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3ByySiomDc (thanks to Scott Isaacs)
 
--Miz will be on George Lopez Tonight on TBS and will be on the MTV.com post-show for Real World/Road Rules, a show he was on before wrestling.  He's also going to be doing a guest starring role on "Psych" on USA Network, a show other wrestlers have been on in the past, and whose stars have been on both Raw and Tough Enough (in one of the more lame segments of last season).
 
--USA won the cable ratings race last week with a 2.5 prime time average to 2.2 for Disney and 1.7 for TNT.  Syfy Was No. 9 at 1.0.  Spike was No. 22 at 0.7.  The Raw two hours from last week were No. 11 and No. 14.  No. 1 was The Closer at 4.9.  In 18-49, the two hours of Raw were No. 8 and No. 10. 
 
--What best describes your feelings on C.M. Punk's return
Too soon, will cost long-term money 34.3%
Had to be now, SummerSlam is too close and you can't expect him to not be on the show 17.1%
Okay bringing him back but the way they did coming out on stage killed the story 15.1%
Had to bring him back fast, would have lost momentum if he stayed off TV 10.4%
Hurts character long run by insisting he's leaving and not leaving 10.2%
Won't hurt character, but hurts WWE stips going forward if they drew a buy rate off it because people won't believe in stips going forward 9.1%
Match ado about nothing, he isn't a difference maker financially 3.8%
 
--Will SummerSlam beat last year's numbers?
Yes 66.5%
No 7.6%
About the same 25.9%
 
--Who do you believe is the biggest of these stars?
Rock 26.3%
C.M. Punk 25.2%
Manny Pacquiao 17.9%
Brock Lesnar 7.2%
John Cena 5.6%
Georges St. Pierre 5.3%
Floyd Mayeather Jr. 4.9%
Hulk Hogan 3.6%
HHH 2.0%
Jon Jones 1.1%
Randy Orton 0.7%
Anderson Silva 0.2%
 
--Poll on Raw from Monday
Excellent 28.3%
Good 53.0%
Average 8.0%
Fair 3.1%
Poor 7.5%
        8.3% of those responding didn't see the show
 
--The ROH Best in the World 2011 show from last month has been released on DVD, featuring the Eddie Edwards title loss to Davey Richards which is a match of the year candidate. 
 
--Juggalo Championship Wrestling has another PPV tomorrow night from Clutch Cargos in Pontiac, MI featuring 2 Tuff Tony vs. Adam Pearce, Jimmy Jacobs vs. Bill Martel, Amber O'Neil vs. Brittany Force and  Colt Cabana vs. Corporal Robinson for the JCW title.
 
--There will be another MMA PPV set for 8/13, called MMA Fight Pit:  Genesis from The Pit in Albuquerque, NM.  The show is headlined by Houston Alexander vs. Razak Al-Hassan and Jens Pulver vs. Coty Wheeler, plus former TUF stars in action with Junie Browning resurfacing against Lenny Lovato and Jamie Yager vs. Willie Parks.  Live PPV without television?  What's the percentage of success rate with that concept these days?
 
--Hulk Hogan talks C.M. Punk and Randy Savage at http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/blogs/2011/tv-news/hulk-hogan-on-c.m.-punk-% E2%80%98saints-row-%E2%80%99-and-his-reconciliation-with-randy-savage/
 
--John Morrison and Melina were on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto today and were doing the media rounds in the city. (thanks to Adam Lebow)
 
--A poster for 8/27 at the NBC Arena in Honolulu for the return of Pro Elite lists Arlovski vs. Lopez and Grove vs. Riggs as the two main events.  That's Kendall Grove, Joe Riggs and Andrei Arlovski.  It's either Tony Lopez, Ray Lopez or another Lopez, but not George or Mario, although if Ariel Helwani asked Mario, he'd probably say if MMA was around when he was breaking in, he'd have gone into it instead.  A press conference Friday will make it clear.
 
--Vaughan Lee (11-6-1) of the U.K., a bantamweight, has signed with UFC and debuts on the 11/5 show in Birmingham, England.
 
--CZW has an iPPV on 8/13 from the Arena in Philadelphia headlined by a 2 Ring Psycho Circus Death match with Drake Younger vs. Scotty Vortekz and Devon Moore vs. Blk Jeez for the CZW title in a lumberjack strap match.
 
--In the Pay TV ratings in Australia, Smackdown last wee was No. 44 with 64,000 viewers while in the Sydney metro area, Raw was No. 73 with 23,000 viewers.
 
--AIW Girls Night Out 4 All Women Pro Wrestling on Friday night at the AIW Arena in Cleveland.
 
--USA Championship Wrestling has three shows this weekend in Carthage, TN at the Smith County Fair.  They run Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. off the midway and admission is free to fairgoers. 
 
--Sunday afternoon's CHIKARA show in Philadelphia at the Arena at 4 p.m. features Johnny Saint & Mike Quackenbush vs. Johnny Kidd & Colt Cabana in a match you really want to see, I promise, especially if you don't know Saint and Kidd, plus Claudio Castagnoli vs. Sara Del Rey, Eddie Kingston vs. Jigsaw, Daizee Haze vs. Mima Shimoda and more.
 
--Tickets for UFC on 9/17 at the Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans go on sale to Fight Club Members tomorrow at 10 a.m., to newsletter readers on Friday at 10 a.m., and to the public on Saturday.
 
--Tickets for one of the biggest Strikeforce events ever, on 9/10 at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati with Josh Barnett vs. Sergei Kharitonov, Daniel Cormier vs. Antonio Silva in the Grand Prix semis, plus Ronaldo Jacare Souza vs. Luck Rockhold for the middleweight title, Roger Gracie vs. King Mo, Rafael Feijao vs. Yoel Romero and Maximo Blanco vs. Josh Thomson  go on sale to Fight Club members tomorrow at 10 a.m., Newsletter readers at Noon tomorrow with the password OHIO and to the public at Noon on Friday.
 
--NWS on Saturday night in Carteret, NJ at the Divine Mercy Holy Family Parish Hall featuring Nikolai Volkoff & The ECW Zombie vs. Monsta Mack & Danny Inferno on a night of tag team matches.
 
--The Bismark Tribune has a review of the Brock Lesnar book Death Clutch at http://bismarktribune.com/sports/  Reporter Lou Babarz has covered Lesnar since he wrestled as Bismark Junior College.
 
--Kelly Kelly, Alex Riley and Justin Gabriel appear for FCW tonight in Orlando at the Armory.  Riley and Gabriel with both wrestle.  Also appearing in an autograph session are Bill DeMott, Andy Leavine, Mason Ryan, Jinder Mahal and Bo Rotundo.
 
--Gunner & Murphy appear at EAW Wrestle War V on 8/26 in Wentworth, NC at the National Guard Armory.
 
--Jim Ross' speech when accepting the Lou Thesz award at the Wrestling Hall of Fame over the weekend is at http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Wrestling/2011/07/26/18473826.html
 
--Former WWE announcer Mike Adamle was promoted to head sports anchor on Chicago's NBC affiliate, Ch. 5.  He's worked part-time for the station for years (thanks to Rich Koz)    
 
--Trish Stratus on the set of Revive Magazine at http://youtube.com/watch?v=jraJFGpOZ51&feature=youtu.be
 
--Ted DiBiase Sr., Necro Butcher and Sid Vicious appear at Collector's Realm near Vassar College in Poughkeepsie on 8/21 from 1-3 p.m.
 
--Platinum Championship Wrestling on Friday night at 10 pm. a The Academy Theater in Avondale Estates GA.
 
--A documentary called "Fake It So Real," about an independent wrestling promotion out of Lincolnton, NC, plays in New York at the Crown Vic tomorrow at 8 p.m.  It's outdoors in the backyard at the Crown Vic in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at 60 South 2nd St at Wythe Avenue.  Actually, a band plays at 8 p.m. and the film will start at 8:30 p.m., plus a Q&A at 10 p.m., after which many of the wrestlers in the movie will then do a live Battle Royal. (thanks to Jeff Sheridan)
 
--C.M. Punk is in the Freeze Frame section of the 7/11 edition of Multi Channel News.  Punk is with some WWE office personnel in front of a mun2/USA Network background showing them together at the NBC Universal booth at the Cable Show in Chicago.  Punk was with Bill Hanley, Matthew Damicone, Melissa Seffens and Christine Pinzon (thanks to Charles Humphreys)
 
--An interview with Greg Iron, the wrestler with Cerebral Palsy that C.M. Punk talked about is at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/michaelbarton/2011/07/27/michael-barton-pres ents-an-interview-with-gregory-iron
 
--UWC Championship Wrestling this week is at http://www.youtube.com/UWCWrestlingVideos 
 
--NWA MSW on 7/30 in Mt. Hope, WV at the Community Building

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