TUES UPDATE: More on Rock and Survivor Series, Lesnar vs. Overeem details, poor Impact number, Bellator and Spike, UFC Japan return, Kurt talks DWI, Smackdown ticket sales, tons more



By Bryan Alvarez

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We're looking for reports on the Saturday night Raw house show in Trenton, NJ, and the TNA house shows on Friday night in Burton, OH and Saturday night in Woodstock, VA.

Smackdown and NXT will be taped tonight 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. 
 
          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.   
             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 29th 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 www.paypal.com 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.
 
         Also in this week's issue:
 
--Major challenges building to CMLL's anniversary show
 
--Two major international stars coming to CMLL this month
 
--Former WCW wrestler and star for more than 20 years tells promoters he's retiring shortly
 
--Sting's possible debut in Mexico
 
--Next Dragon Gate iPPV show
 
--Notes on All Japan's jr. tournament
 
--Matt Hardy's downward spiral
 
--Remembering 70s woman's wrestling star Donna Christantello
 
--Death of Mando Lopez and story of his match with Terry Funk when Funk was champion
 
--Shane Helms problems
 
--Pro wrestler was in the news in connection with a gangland style murder
 
--More on the return of Bill Goldberg, details on the dates and place and what is behind his return
 
--More on Wrestling Revolution, a new Internet based wrestling television series
 
--Notes on the in-ring death of an independent wrestler last week
 
--Promotion telling talent it'll be on U.S. national TV very soon
 
--Lance Storm talks his health scare
 
--Update on Scott Hall
 
--Former TNA knockout arrested
 
--Former TNA wrestler talks about past drug addiction and new line of work
 
--Update on ROH next iPPV show
 
--Lots of notes on the TNA taping in Huntsville
 
--Reaction to Jeff Hardy and his performance and demeanor
 
--Update on the next TNA PPV as well as Bound fro Glory
 
--More notes on the finals of the Bound for Glory series
 
--Who looks to be the favorite
 
--Hulk Hogan's new business and details of the presentation including some other pro wrestlers involved with the show
 
--Hogan talks why TNA is different from WWE
 
--Two more TNA cuts
 
--Eric Bischoff's latest court fight
 
--Kurt Angle discusses his plans to return to amateur wrestling
 
--NBC TV show featuring a TNA wrestler because of the connection to 9/11
 
--TNA performer gets outside gig because of a resemblance to an 80s entertainment star
 
--We also look at ticket sales for the upcoming UFC shows and what changes have been made
 
--What show is expected to be the biggest for the rest of the year
 
--More notes on the history of MMA piece regarding the 50s and the 90s and some famous fights
 
--More on the UFC/ESPN relationship
 
--Notes on Alistair Overeem
 
--Strikeforce heavyweight title
 
--A look at the career decision made by Marloes Coenen
 
--Quinton Jackson talks there being a spy in his camp for Jon Jones
 
--Lots of new UFC matches and card changes
 
--Bellator gets another TV outlet for the fall season and how much clearance it has
 
--What would be the biggest match in Bellator history being negotiated
 
--A look at the first round of Bellator's on-paper best ever tournament
 
--Kazushi Sakuraba fighting again, and his next opponent
 
--The return of Pro Elite
 
--Daughter of a famous American movie producer faces daughter of an infamous Japanese murderer and why it really was a mismatch         
 
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We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more
about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk,
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-- Unless they lose their minds, despite the wording used in the Rock Survivor Series ad he's not scheduled to be wrestling on that show.

-- As noted on the front page, Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem takes place December 30th in Las Vegas in Brock's return fight. Overeem has been stripped of his Strikeforce Heavyweight title so this will not be a championship match. Dave and I will have a breaking news audio on this story up by the time many of you read this.

-- Spike officially announced that they will be streaming Bellator undercards for free on Spike.com starting Saturday at 7 PM. This, of course, strongly fuels speculation that Bellator will take UFC's spot when UFC jumps to FOX in January 2011. Bellator stars have appeared and will continue to appear in the future on Impact to plug their events, which currently air on MTV2.

-- Last night's Observer Radio is our free weekly downloadable radio show. You can check it out by scrolling down the right-hand side of the front page under LATEST FREE RADIO SHOW. If you like what you hear, we do 15-20 brand new radio shows every week in addition to 2-3 new and archived Observers, a new Figure Four Weekly, our board and more. If you like the free show I pretty much guarantee you'll love your subscription.

-- UFC officially announced their return to Japan for February 26th at the Saitama Super Arena. The show will air at 10 AM in Japan so it can take place at the normal time in the US. This is UFC's first return to the company in over a decade.

-- Miami vs. Maryland on ESPN (college football) did a 3.35 metered market rating against Raw. Raw numbers won't be out until tomorrow due to the holiday.

-- Impact officially did a 1.05 rating and 1.4 million viewers, a bad number for the first big show on the road in a few months.

-- Kurt's official public statement on his DWI: Recently, there has been a lot of attention related to the incident which occurred Saturday night in Virginia. I was returning from an iMPACT Wrestling show in an unfamiliar place, late at night and was trying to find the exit for my hotel. I did not believe my driving behavior was reckless or otherwise improper. Apparently law enforcement may have believed otherwise and pulled me over. I fully cooperated with the officer who clearly recognized me while performing his standard procedures. Subsequent to the stop, I was asked to submit to a breathalyzer test and passed. I do not believe that I broke any laws and will be entering a plea of not guilty in response to any pending charges. I hope that we can now focus on more important matters and move forward.

-- Flex Freeman, the current IWF Heavyweight Champion, was signed by WWE and will be reporting to developmental in November. He's the 4th IWF school graduate to sign with WWE or TNA in the last three years, others being Fady the Bull Rakman (WWE), Robbie E and Darren Young.

-- With the Diego Sanchez vs. Matt Hughes fight off following an injury to Sanchez in training, Josh Koscheck has offered to step in as replacement. At press time Hughes had no accepted the replacement yet, though I'd suspect he won't turn it down.

-- Regarding Smackdown in Toledo, Dan writes: As of 1 A.M. EST you still could buy 4 floor seats. Heavy papering has already been going on in this area.Shouldn't those Smackdown guys doing jobs to the Raw guys on Raw be helping Smackdown?

-- There is a story hereon TNA's Rosita, who was 10 years old during 9/11 and who lost her father when the Twin Towers went down. Her dad was a huge wrestling fan and actually called her mom after the plane hit the building and said, "I'm calling to say goodbye." Rosita was home from school that day and heard the whole conversation. She'll be featured Monday on an NBC special called Children of 9/11.

-- Part 2 of an Edge interview up here.

-- Interview with Scorpio Sky up here, talking PWG, NWA Hollywood, and even fighting MMA.

-- The newest signee to the Wrestling Revolution Project is Ben Muth, a former starting left tackle for Stanford where he majored in political science.

-- A story on Mick Foley doing stand-up comedy is here. Foley will be our guest on a special Thursday edition of Wrestling Observer Radio this week.

-- WrestleReunion in January in Las Vegas wil feature an appearance by Mick Foley, they announced yesterday. Not sure the logistics of that if he signs with WWE, which is expected. Especially since one of the things they're plugging is him working as a special referee for Saturday's wrestling show.

-- Mr. PEC-Tacular Jessie Godderz, who is signed with TNA, made a guest appearance on Celebrity Big Brother last night.

-- Words of wisdom for wrestlers (and other performers) from Tony Bennett: in music as in sports and entertainment, it's gonna take eight years in front of an audience before you learn how to perform properly. How to know the psychology of an audience, what they want."

-- Blue Demon Jr. will be on the Mexican edition of Dancing with the Stars, which starts September 11th on Univision.

-- Stan Hansen's book The Last Outlaw is available right now from Crowbar press here. Tons of stories from Japan, how that system worked during the glory days, and more.

-- Not sure how the hell this happens, but WWE developmental star and former FCW Champion Bo Rotunda will be out of action several months after sufferintg a lacerated kidney.

-- Jim Ross on Twitter claims he's going to ignore Michael Cole from now on and focus on the talent.

-- DGUSA wants to thank everyone who contributed to the Dragon Gate USA video editors contest using the DGUSA and EVOLVE creative commons reels. We received some great entries. We now have the five finalists, based on how many likes they received by 11am EST. on Monday. Please watch them and vote in the poll below to determine the winner, w ho will receive a $150 credit for DGUSA and EVOLVE merch. All video editors can still use the DGUSA and EVOLVE creative commons footage for any video needs. This is our way of working with you. You can use the footage for any videos you want, not just DGUSA and EVOLVE videos. We will keep releasing more creative commons reels in the future. Go here to see the videos and to vote on the winner.

-- ROH returns to the St. Louis area on November 6, 2011 at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, IL.

-- THIS SATURDAY, the Chri$ Ca$h Memorial, 'Down With The Sickness 2011', heads to The Asylum Arena, 7 W. Ritner ST in Philadelphia, PA with a 7:30 pm bell time.

-- WWE.com's story on Hugh Jackman coming in as a guest host is here.

-- Jason Agnews comedy show, The Conventioneers, took on the UFC Fan Expo in Toronto with a cameo by Bruce Buffer, and went up on Youtube this week. Part 1 is here and part 2 is here.

-- NWA DAWG will have a loaded Professional Wrestling show on February 18th, 2012 at the League Bound Sports Complex located at 366 Cross Keys Rd in Sicklerville NJ, 08081

-- Ed in San Antonio returns to his own radio show this week here.

-- Upcoming big Chikara events:
"Odyssey of the Twelfth Talisman"
Saturday evening - 9.17.2011
Live @ Brockton Boys & Girls Club
233 Warren Avenue in Brockton, MA!
The action starts @ 7:00 pm, Doors open @ 6:30 pm!

"Martyr Yourself to Caution"
Sunday afternoon - 9.18.2011
Live @ The Highline Ballroom
431 West 16th Street in Manhattan, NY!
The action starts @ 4:00 pm, Doors open @ 3:00 pm!

-- SHIMMER - WOMEN ATHLETES returns to live action on Saturday & Sunday, October 1st & 2nd, 2011, at the Berwyn Eagles Club (6309 26th Street) in Berwyn, IL, just outside Chicago. Bell time on Saturday, October 1st is 2pm. Bell time on Sunday, October 2nd is 1pm. Volumes 41-44 of the SHIMMER DVD series will be filmed during the course of the weekend, with two full length DVD releases taped each day. The events are suitable for all ages.