We're looking for reports from tonight's Raw show in San Juan, PR, tonight's Smackdown show in Geneva, Switzerland and tonight's Impact show in Burton, OH at the Great Geauga County Fair (Kurt Angle vs. A.J. Styles for TNA title), Bully Ray vs. Mr. Anderson, Winter vs. Mickie James for Knockouts title, Mexican America vs. Devon & Pope for tag titles, Eric Young vs. Jeff Jarrett for TV title, Austin Aries vs. Alex Shelley vs. Robbie E) as well as last night's Smackdown show in Nimes, France.
Saturday night has Raw in Trenton, NJ and Smackdown in Paris, France, while TNA is in Woodstock, VA at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds.
Sunday has Raw in Wheeling, WV and Smackdown finishes its European tour with another show in Paris.
Raw on Labor Day Monday is from Columbus, OH. Smackdown and NXT will be taped on Tuesday in Toledo.
Has the WWE gotten rid of the brand extension? A look at the decisions that have been made, and haven't, is one of a number of lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The issue looks at the timing of the decision to put Raw & Smackdown talent together on television, the good, the bad, as well as how it worked out in every segment of Monday's show. We look at what led to the change, the good points of it and the bad points. We also look at why the brands were split in the first place.
We also look at the change to putting the first C.M. Punk vs. HHH match on Night of Champions, including what the original plans were, and attempting to decipher some decision making that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. We also look at the live Smackdown show on Tuesday and the importance of that.
The issue is available today on the site. 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 also have a lengthy feature on the trials and tribulations of Ric Flair, looking at his ups and down over the past few years, the recent article on his life and putting a perspective on the different stories. We talk about everything from his loans, his health, how he's viewed locally, family issues, tax issues, business, how he ended up in TNA, politics and his future.
We also have a lot more notes about the UFC/Fox deal, including more details on how the major shows will be presented, a new show idea being talked about, an e-mail sent by Fox to the people in charge at the various affiliates, what celebrity played a major hand in convincing Fox to make the deal, and who really is the No. 1 network in the U.S. right now.
We also have a feature on UFC's return to Brazil, including the business of the show, the return to Brazil, the unique crowd, MMA in Brazil as well as a comparison between Anderson Silva, GSP and Fedor Emelianenko on who really is the greatest fighter of the modern era. We look at all three with their overall record, their record against top opposition, finishing ratio and domination ratio.
We also look at early returns on PPV, TV ratings both domestically and internationally, as well as what people thought of the Edson Barboza vs. Ross Pearson decision. We also have match-by-match coverage along with poll results from the show.
We also have tons more regarding the future of the Sin Cara character. We look at everything that happened, from every vantage point as WWE has put a new person in the mask. We look at the potential future of the character, as well as the future of Mistico, where Mistico went wrong, the benefits and drawbacks of HHH in his corner and all the thing that really did him in and frustrations with him.
We also have an update on Rey Mysterio after surgery, Dwayne Johnson talks about why he returned and we note when he first seemed to be considering it strongly.
We also have a lot of WWE business notes, regarding the C.M. Punk angle an its effect on web site views and merchandise business.
We also have updated numbers from this past year's WrestleMania, including where it stands on the all-time list.
We also look at a philosophical change with a WWE character and why, a new signing, as well as HHH's real life business title and what he was just awarded financially.
We also have a number of current and one former WWE performer and twitter message issues.
We also look at why one major star of the past is not part of the WWE video game, as well as all the business notes from the past week in WWE and highlights from the live arena events.
We also look at a former American pro wrestler in Japan, actor and MMA fighter, and details of the gruesome crime he was just convicted of.
We also look at Japanese wrestling, with two major shows head-to-head over the weekend and 28,000 fans attending wrestling in Tokyo. We look at the different approaches, the big modern stars, and a look at "All Together Now" a joint product of All Japan, New Japan and Pro Wrestling NOAH, with all kinds of intriguing tag team matches. We also look at Antonio Inoki's IGF show, featuring legends of the past in pro wrestling, MMA and kickboxing as well as notes on who the new names are, in a promotion that has already picked up two former WWE performers as regulars.
We've also got a look at what the Money in the Bank buy rate tells, with comparisons from July of the past two years both foreign and domestic, the value of the C.M. Punk push at least initially, what it says about B PPV shows and comparisons with last year's Money in the Bank.
-- As noted on the front page, the main event – and only live televised match – scheduled for the first-ever UFC on FOX show on November 12th will be Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos for the UFC Heavyweight Title. There is currently no new main event for the November 19th PPV, but Dana is working on a few possibilities. Dave and I have a breaking news audio up already for members talking the decision, what the world heavyweight title means in 2011, plus a ton of news on the TNA Bound for Glory tournament.
-- And speaking of TNA, as noted on the front page last night, Ric Flair vs. Sting is not, in fact, taking place on PPV, but on free TV the Thursday after the PPV. What the new PPV match will be hasn't been determined yet. I suppose it could end up involving Mr. Anderson, who was the focal point of the final angle on TV last night, but God only knows who he'd be facing. The Bound for Glory tourney finals will also take place on that show with Bully Ray vs. James Storm and Gunner vs. Robert Roode. The winners won't face off. Seriously. Just whoever has the most points goes into the main event at Bound for Glory.
-- While we're talking this stupid tournament, to illustrate exactly how stupid it is, James Caldwell at the Torch has broken it down match by match here. Did you know that Gunner had 19 matches in this tournament while Scott Steiner only had 9? Indeed.
-- With all TNA stupidity aside, the last half hour or so of last night's show was really, really good, particularly AJ vs. Chris Daniels, which was awesome, and Sting vs. Kurt Angle, which aside from the usual goofy TNA finish was a much better match in ring than their PPV match. I'd go out of my way to watch those two. Please skip the first 90 minutes, for the sake of your own sanity.
-- Dana White says rumors that Brock Lesnar may have to retire are bullshit.
-- If you've never seen it, CM Punk on the Bozo the Clown show from 1986 is up here.
-- After a three-month hiatus, After Dark Radio returns tonight with myself and Karl Stern talking all the weird news of the week, followed by an interview with Dan Farren talking Area 51, as he's spoken to people who have worked there and has been as close to the facility as you can get without being shot. We've got archives of past shows, including a great interview with Dr. Jeff Meldrum, a phD who tracks Bigfoot, up at the website, afterdarkradioshow.com, plus we've got a brand new Facebook page up at facebook.com/afterdarkradioshow, so please check it out and click LIKE.
-- We're told Sami Callihan vs. Fit Finlay match from the July 26th EVOLVE show is one of the best and most realistic matches of the year. "Dave Finlay vs. Sami Callihan is a really special match," said Gabe Sapolsky. "This isn't just promoter's hype, it is the truth. Finlay might be the best worker in the world. He is in a class all his own and was able to show that here. I'm really proud of Sami in this one. He's a great story. He went from me paying no attention to him on ROH pre-shows to earning a spot in DGUSA and EVOLVE to growing into a top guy. That has to be respected. He was a perfect Samoa Joe to Finlay's Kenta Kobashi here. Yes, that is a huge statement. Yes, he deserves that accolade. This is as must see as it gets and one of my favorite matches ever and that includes my time with ROH and ECW. It is that good. I implore you to go www.WWNLive.com and watch it right now."
-- Gabe on rumors that WWE is looking at some of this guys: "The WWE rumors are no surprise. We have worked very hard to establish a homegrown talent roster over the last 18 months. The guys have delivered in the ring. They have all improved in every aspect- presence, charisma and of course in ring. This is one of the most talented locker rooms I've ever been a part of and that includes the entire histories of ECW, FIP and ROH. These aren't future stars, they are today's new generation of stars and they have arrived. I can't wait for the events in Indianapolis, Milwaukee and the live iPPV from Chicago. If you aren't watching, you are missing out. We hope you will sample DGUSA and be a part of this new movement. Just go to our www.Youtube.com/DGUSAdotTV channel and watch some free videos to see what I'm talking about."
-- Santino is out of action with a separated shoulder and other cuts and bruises after the car he was driving in coming back from a haircut was hit by another car, causing his car to flip over and hit a light pole. Based on that description, he came out of this super lucky. Best wishes to him.
-- Interview with a former Lance Storm student up here.
-- If you some times or often buy UFC on PPV and didn't buy UFC 134, why?
Streamed it instead, no longer buying PPVs 19.9%
Don't buy shows with Anderson Silva 19.0%
Had other plans 12.7%
Streamed it, only buy big ones now 12.2%
Didn't like the card 8.6%
Yushin Okami in the main event 8.6%
Hurricane, no power 8.1%
Show was in Brazil 5.9%
Didn't like the main event 3.2%
Didn't hear about the show 1.8%
Which of these matches would you most like to see as the Fox main event?
Machida vs. Rua 34.1%
Ortiz vs. Franklin 23.8%
Ortiz vs. Rua 13.7%
Ortiz vs. Machida 10.1%
Franklin vs. Rua 9.4%
Franklin vs. Machida 8.9%
Do you believe Kurt Angle will actually compete in the 2012 Olympic
-- Latest from Zach Ryder is up here.
-- The Chri$ Ca$h Memorial, 'Down With The Sickness 2011' returns Saturday, September 10 to The Asylum Arena, 7 W. Ritner ST in Philadelphia, PA with a 7:30 pm bell time.
-- Canada s Aggression MMA is extremely excited to announce the finalized card for its September 16th Unfinished Business event. This fight event will take place at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, and fill feature a main event of recent Bellator signee and top Canadian welterweight Ryan The Real Deal Ford taking on ultra-experienced 170-pounder Dave Hollywood Hulett. Also showcased on the card will be UFC veterans Tim Thrashing Machine Hague and Alvin The Kid Robinson, rising star Freddy Assuncao, and top Canadian up-and-comers Adam Lorenz, Nick Penner, Tim Chimelli, Stephen Beaumont, and former CFL star Rio Wells.
-- Clips from an Eddy Mansfield RF Shoot here, including some comments on our very own Dave Meltzer. To be fair, Dave Meltzer has, in fact, made more than one wrestler more than one dollar.