FRI UPDATE: Big interesting weekend schedule, Rey update, Jeff and Matt Hardy return, more wrestling personality DWI/DUI issues, tons more

By Bryan Alvarez

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A weekend of unique events is coming up.

We're looking for reports on tonight's Raw house show in Jackson, MS, featuring John Cena vs. The Miz and C.M. Punk vs. R-Truth, plus Ted DiBiase works the Raw show since he's from Jackson.

Saturday has a number of big events. UFC 134 comes from the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil The facebook fights starting at 5:30 p.m. have Yves Jabouin vs. Ian Loveland, Felipe Arantes vs. Yuri Alcantara, Erick Silva vs. Luis Ramos, Raphael Assuncao vs. Johnny Edouard and David Mitchell vs Paulo Thiago. At 8 p.m. on Spike is Dan Miller vs. Rousimar Palhares and Spencer Fisher vs. Thiago Tavares. The PPV has Luiz Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov, Edson Barboza vs. Ross Pearson, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Brendan Schaub, Forrest Griffin vs. Mauricio Shogun Rua and Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami for the middleweight title.

Saturday is also the All Together Now show from Tokyo Budokan Hall, a show featuring every major star from New Japan, Pro Wrestling NOAH and All Japan. The main event has the three world champions, Suwama & Hiroshi Tanahashi & Go Shiozaki, facing Kenso & Takashi Sugiura & Shinsuke Nakamura, plus Keiji Muto & Kenta Kobashi team together against Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka.

Also on Saturday is the IGF show at Tokyo Sumo Hall with Jerome LeBanner defending the IGF world heavyweight title against Kazuyuki Fujita and Mil Mascaras vs. Tatsumi Fujinami.

WWE has a Raw house show in Memphis while Smackdown runs in Cape Girardeau, MO.

In addition, Saturday is the return of the Pro Elite promotion in a show from Honolulu headlined by Andrei Arlovski, plus the debut of former NCAA heavyweight champion Mark Ellis.

Sunday has a Raw show in North Little Rock while Smackdown runs in Springfield, MO.

Monday will be the live Raw from Tulsa, which will feature the main stars of both Raw and Smackdown, as they shoot angles for a second live show on Tuesday night, a dual brand Smackdown episode, from Wichita, which has Randy Orton vs. Christian in a cage match for the World title plus Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara.

        One of our biggest issues of the year and biggest historical pieces in our history with a look at the history of mixed martial arts from its inception with the first of what would be considered an MMA show nearly 80 years ago through the ups and downs in Brazil and Japan as well as its origins in the United States with the formation of the UFC is the big feature. 
        In addition, we've got the most detailed look at the UFC FOX deal, all the platforms it covers, what to look out for with all the major players involved talking about plans and goals.
        We also have a look at TNA bringing back Jeff Hardy while firing Matt Hardy.  We also have more on the WWE office cuts, injury to Rey Mysterio and the impending front office power play in WWE that many believe is inevitable involving the most powerful people in the company.      
        The issue is on the site today.  If you can't find them on the front page, you can always access the latest issues of the Observer on the front page by clicking on the Archives tab at the top.  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.
        We look back at the origin of mixed fighting, including before it became popular in Brazil.  We look at just how big the interest in Saturday's UFC show has been in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1930, the different heyday periods of Brazilian Vale Tudo, and the legends of that world like Helio Gracie, Carlson Gracie, Masahiko Kimura, Waldemar Santana and the forgotten tough guys like Euclides and Ivan Gomes.
        We look at the start of the Gracie family in Jiu Jitsu, their original fights and marketing of their art and how they became famous.  We look at the original Jiu Jitsu vs. Judo feud, and the similarities in career between Helio Gracie and son Royce, as well as each man's older brother, Carlos and Rorion, in the formation and popularity of the sport.
        We look back to what would be considered the first real MMA event of its type, and the emergence of Helio Gracie.  We look at Helio's big matches with pro wrestlers and giants and why he was so popular.
        We look at the second big period starting with the Jiu Jitsu vs. Judo/Pro Wrestling wars of the 50s.  We look at the program that led to the first fight at Maracana Stadium, Rio's big soccer stadium, and how big it was during the heyday.  We look at the legendary matches of that period like Helio Gracie vs. Kimura and Carlson Gracie vs. Santana, as well as myths about that period.
        We look at the real story behind the biggest feud that drew the biggest crowd, as well as the most famous match that almost nobody saw.  We look at how pro wrestling played a huge role in almost all of the really biggest fights of the era.
        We look at how Carlson Gracie followed Helio Gracie into being the big fighting star of the 50s and 60s.  We look at what pro wrestling legend grew up during this period and how he was influenced by the Vale Tudo angles, and how he used them to promote some of the biggest pro wrestling events of the 70s.
        We look at the differences between the fighting and teaching styles of Carlson and Helio Gracie, the mainstream national peak of the sport in Rio, as well as the regional promotion in Brazil that is historically forgotten but was actually the biggest the sport ever got, and some would say, featured the two best fighters of the era.
        We look at what killed the sport of Vale Tudo in most of Brazil, except its regional outpost where it thrived.  We look at what was billed as "The Match of the Century," and may have been the ultimate fight before 1990 in Vale Tudo history, yet almost nobody knows it existed and has been erased from history.
        We look at the street fighter who played heel that brought the sport back to soccer stadiums and the emergence of Rickson Gracie.  We look at more challenges to Olympic medalists and pro wrestling stars.
        We look at the fighter forgotten in history who some say was actually the best of the Gracie fighters, but was unfortunately that his prime came when the sport was banned.
        We look at Rickson Gracie's most famous gym confrontations, including Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz, Luta Livre heavyweight Hugo Duarte, and pro wrestler Yoji Anjo.
        We look at how Rickson Gracie played a part in killing one of the hottest pro wrestling companies in history.
        We look at Rickson Gracie and the birth of the Pride Fighting Championships with his matches with Nobuhiko Takada and what was going on behind the scenes.  We look at the second Gracie vs. Takada fight, what went on behind the scenes, and where Shinya Hashimoto fit into this equation.  We look at the realities of Takada as a fighter.
        We look at why Rickson Gracie never fought in UFC, and the emergence of Royce Gracie as the new Gracie star fighter and MMA's first superstar in the U.S.
        We look at the first UFC, Gene LeBell's feud with the Gracie family, LeBell's first MMA fight and Lou Thesz's thoughts on the early UFC, Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn.
        We look at the emergence of Kimo, the heyday of Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie's departure from UFC, Rorion Gracie selling his interest in UFC and why all this happened.
        We also look at Ken Shamrock's role as Pancrase champion, the fall of UFC and Ken Shamrock going into WWF and who was instrumental in the deal.
        We look at the role of Shamrock in the rebirth of UFC, and his three big matches that never took place.
        We look at Vale Tudo being banned in Brazil again and why, as well as Royce Gracie's fights in Japan and the emergence of Kazushi Sakuraba as a Japanese sports hero.  We look at how the cards had to fall into place for the Gracie vs. Sakuraba fight to even happen, and how that made the sport huge in Japan.
        We look at all the things leading to the fight and detail what was the biggest fight in Japanese MMA history, as well as the controversy over Sakuraba vs. Mezger to get there.  We look at the growth and death of Pride, as well as the final fight of Rickson Gracie's career and who was Masakatsu Funaki.
        We look at what Rickson Gracie said about the next generation stars like Fedor Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar, as well as what happened to all the major players in the early days of the sport, as well as what fighter brought in the resurgence of interest in Brazil.
        We also have a complete report on the UFC/FOX deal.  We look at the debut show, changes in mentality of the broadcast, how the negotiations went down, what Dana White said to the office, how the announcing will change on FOX, as well as the details of the change starting next year in The Ultimate Fighter reality show. 
        We've got talk about UFC vs. WWE and UFC vs boxing on Friday nights, as well as UFC vs. MMA on Friday nights.  We look at who UFC was negotiating with, what programming will be on what channel, why UFC is able to get so much money in rights fees that WWE can't get, reaction from Spike TV, chances of Bellator moving to Spike, Bellator & TNA cross-promotion, what Fox said in the past about UFC, the first UFC event on U.S. television, as well as Bob Arum and Dana White go toe-to-toe.  We also look at what may be the most important aspect of this deal that has not yet really been discussed anywhere.
        We also have a look at the Hardys and a history of their issues and Jeff bouncing from promotion to promotion.
        We've got more on Rey Mysterio, on WWE office shakeups including two Vice Presidents being let go and what is the story behind it.  We look at the return of the original Sin Cara, Mick Foley talks his future in WWE and how many more matches he thinks he has left, live Smackdown show, update on Linda McMahon's plans to run for senate, Edge Appreciation Night, Canadian ratings, Chris Jericho talks his WWE run, Bret Hart talks Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin talks C.M. Punk and will he wrestle him next ear, third generation WWE star leaving the company, Kevin Nash's reaction to being back, Longest reigning WWE champions, how Edge got his TV acting gig, Jerry Lawler wrestling two of his biggest rivals once again, the Steve Austin DVD, the departure of Todd Grisham, as well as business notes from the past week and house show highlights from the past week.   
          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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         Also in this week's issue:
--Special Arena Mexico show built around the minis
--Angle where wrestler turns on his father
--U.S. indie star headed to NOAH
--A look at the IGF show this week
--Well known indie star announces retirement
--A look at the Battle of Los Angeles tournament
--Death of a wrestler who was getting a monster push in another generation
--Wrestler dies in the ring
--Update on health issues of some major stars of the 80s
--Impact time slot change
--More craziness in the Hogan family
--Jerry Jarrett talks about TNA's problems and Vince Russo
--TNA star trying for a reality show gig
--Notes on weekend TNA house shows
--Dana White feuds with ESPN
--Government investigating UFC
--UFC star arrested just before he starts with a big TV push
--Dana White talks about one more international version of Ultimate Fighter coming soon
--Among those who are being considered for coaches
--Two fighters trying to push for their own big match on FOX
--How the age of UFC viewers has changed
--Update on Mike Swick injury
--Next fight for Gilbert Melendez
--Notes on the next season of Ultimate Fighter
--Lots of new UFC fights
--A look at the last Bellator show
--MMA Fighter kills someone in street fight
--Womens' freak show fight in Japan, daughter of a famous murderer vs. daughter of one of the most successful American in the entertainment world
--Return of Pro Elite this week   
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America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.

-- Best wishes to everyone on the East Coast, particularly, obviously, those who have been evacuated.

-- Rey Mysterio was scheduled to have his knee surgery today.

-- Jeff Hardy returned last night for TNA at the Huntsville tapings. He came out at the end of the second show, which airs two weeks from now, and did a shoot-style promo apologizing for all of his issues, noting that he messed up an entire PPV in that match with Sting, and saying he didn't expect the fans to forgive him, but he just wanted to ask for one more chance. Of course, the fans were going nuts for him and chanting his name. This show airs, no joke, the day he goes to court to receive his next continuance on drug charges from over two years ago. It probably won't be up for long, but for now a fan cam video is up here.

-- Matt Hardy is around and tweeting like crazy again. He has lots of people to thank and call back. He's had a revelation. He's turned his life around. The usual.

-- Shane Helms went to court Wednesday and was officially charged with DWI and Serious Injury by Vehicle stemming from his motorcycle wreck in May. He goes to court on September 22. He was so badly injured in the accident that he essentially wasn't leaving home unless it was to go to the doctor, which he'd cleared with authorities. He finally got the OK to put weight on his foot, at which point he went in to have the charges filed. So this was not a new arrest for a new incident.

-- Daffney, however, formerly of TNA and WCW, was arrested and charged with a DUI on July 19th in Hillsborough, FL. Her mug shot has already appeared online.

-- Latest daily addition to the Jeff Katz Wrestling Revolution roster is Kenny Omega.

-- Weigh-in results for tomorrow's UFC Rio show are up on the front page, but suffice to say everyone made weight and the weigh-ins were pretty non-newsworthy with the exception of Brazilians chanting that foreigners were going to die.

-- For subscribers interested in history, Karl Stern has an AWESOME history series he's doing on his radio show, examining the "Pioneer Era" (1880s or so) through the famous Gotch-Hackenschmidt matches at the turn of the century. He's already recorded two hours of audio and he's only up to 1906. A must-listen. Just go to the audio tab, scroll down to Dragon King, and start listening.

-- Also, best wishes to Doc Young who has been having more health issues of late.

-- Anyone who loved Dave's article on Vale Tudo history in the Observer or the follow-up audio we did Wednesday night will love Todd Martin's look at the first UFC in Brazil, which covers tons of topics that weren't included in the Observer article as well as interviews with many of the participants. Check it out here.

-- We'll have two more audio shows up on the site at some point today, a new Observer Radio with Dave and I running down notes for Rio and also talking the Ric Flair arrest, the Hardyz, the film Warrior and more, plus the weekend Bryan & Vinny Show.

-- From Chikara: Due to the impending severe weather, please note these changes to the scheduled CHIKARA events this weekend: Our Saturday, August 27th card will now begin at 5:00 pm! Our Sunday, August 28th card is canceled! We will present as many of the weekend's scheduled matches as possible tomorrow at the Palmer Center. This will be an abnormally long card as a result. Please bear with us as we attempt to make the most of this unusual situation. We will honor all tickets for the August 28th card tomorrow night instead, or for those that require a refund for tickets purchased in advance, please e-mail us directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with a subject line "Easton tickets" and we will reply with information about obtaining a refund. Due to this unforeseen circumstance, our Open Challenge event for August 28th must also be canceled. We apologize to everyone for the inconvenience this represents. Thank you for your understanding.

-- Cookie is gone from TNA. What a bust that whole angle ended up being.

-- Smackdown tonight has Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase, Sheamus vs. Mark Henry, Great Khali vs. Zeke (no, seriously, someone booked that), Daniel Bryan vs. Christian, Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater, and Bret Hart acting as guest GM.

-- Next week's live Super Smackdown show features Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara and Christian vs. Randy Orton in a cage match for the title.

-- Who do you think is the No. 3 babyface on Raw?
John Morrison 64.3%
Jerry Lawler 16.0%
Kofi Kingston 13.9%
Evan Bourne 5.8%

Will doing TV on the road help TNA?
It will make no difference 72.8%
Will help ratings, not PPV or house shows 10.3%
Will help ratings, PPVs and house shows 9.9%
Will increase PPVs and house shows, not ratings 7.0%

-- Jeremiah Riggs talks Tough Enough and tons more in a new interview here.

-- Chris writes: Just saw a commercial advertising upcoming ROH wrestling coming to WTTA- MyTV Tampa Bay starting 9/24/11. Channel 15 for Bright House customers.

-- Tyler Black says he could outwork John Morrison any day of the week here.

-- Jimmy Rave has an interview here talking about how drug use severely hampered his career a few years back.

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?