By Bryan Alvarez
The weekends are going to be crazy for the most part between now and the end of the year.
Saturday is a loaded day with three different live MMA events going on. The big show is the Strikeforce Grand Prix tournament from the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. The show begins at 8 p.m. on HDNet with Chris Mierzwiak vs. Dominique Steele, Alexis Davis vs. Amanda Nunes, Jordan Mein vs. Evangelista Cyborg Santos, Rafael Feijao Cavalcante vs. Yoel Romero and Mike Kyle vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima. Then at 10:30 p.m. on Showtime it continues with Maximo Blanco vs. Pat Healy, Roger Gracie vs. King Mo, Jacare Souza defending the middleweight title against Luke Rockhold, and heavyweight tournament semifinals with Daniel Cormier vs. Antonio Silva and Josh Barnett vs. Sergei Kharitonov.
The new season of Bellator begins with prelim fights starting at 7 p.m. on the Spike.com web site and the top matches, which are first round matches in the welterweight tournament, on MTV 2 at 9 p.m. The TV bouts have Steve Carl vs. Douglas Lima, Chris Lozano vs. Brent Weedman, Chris Cisneros vs. Ben Saunders and Dan Hornbuckle vs. Luis Santos.
Dragon Gate USA has the first of two iPPV shows at www.WWNLive.com with Yamato vs. Cima for the Open the Freedom Gate title, Pac vs. Ricochet, Sabu & AR Fox vs. Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez in a no DQ match, Masato Yoshino vs. Naruki Doi vs. Sami Callihan vs. Chuck Taylor in a four-way, Akira Tozawa vs. Johnny Gargano and Rich Swann vs. Jon Davis.
BAMMA runs at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham on Syfy in the U.K., The Fight Network in Canada and www.facebook.com/bammauk in the U.S. The show starts at 7:15 p.m. Greenwich time and 2:15 p.m. Eastern time live on Saturday. The top matches have Jack Marshman vs. Carl Noon for the British middleweight title, Paul Daley vs. Jordan Radev and Frank Trigg vs. Jim Wallhead.
WWE has a Raw show in London, ONT and Smackdown starts its tour in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Sunday has TNA's No Surrender PPV from Orlando with Kurt Angle vs. Sting vs. Mr. Anderson for the TNA title, Bully Ray vs. James Storm, Bobby Roode vs. Gunner, Mexican America defends the tag titles against Pope & Devon, Brian Kendrick defends the X title against Austin Aries, Mickie James defends the Knockouts title against Winter and Samoa Joe vs. Matt Morgan.
Sunday also has a Raw house show in Kingston, ONT and Smackdown will be in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Dragon Gate USA has its second iPPV of the weekend from Milwaukee featuring Pac & Yoshino vs. Cima & Ricochet with the Open the United Gate vs. Open the Twin Gate titles at stake, Yamato & Fox vs. Cannon & Callihan, Doi vs. Gargano, Tozawa vs. Jon Davis and more.
Monday has Raw live from Ottawa, while Impact will be taped in Orlando with the first Ric Flair vs. Sting match in 10 1/2 years, and possibly the last one the two will ever have.
Tuesday has Smackdown and NXT from Toronto, while Impact will again be taped in Orlando.
The return of Brock Lesnar, the story behind the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos fight getting on FOX, more on the first two UFC shows on FOX and thoughts on the two big heavyweight fights is one of our lead stories in this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
We look at the 12/30 date, Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem as a match, marketing of the fight and will UFC have its first hair vs. hair match.
We also have the summer WWE & TNA business charts, so you can see what is up, what is down, and some people may be surprised at the one aspect of business that is up, and more on how television ratings don't seem to have much correlation to business. We look at live attendance, TV ratings and PPV numbers for the last few months, what it all means, as well as television viewership of the various shows throughout 2011.
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 look at a letter sent by the Culinary Workers union in Las Vegas to the Federal Trade Commission and their complaints regarding the business practices of UFC. We look at the items they bring up on a case-by-case basis.
We also have another in our series on this year's candidates for the Hall of Fame, with a look at the biggest drawing cards on this year's ballot. We also have a lot of notes on Edge, Sgt. Slaughter, Atlantis and others.
We also look at Rock at Survivor Series, the future of the Sin Cara character, lineup for Night of Champions, notes on Hell in a Cell matches, more on Santino Marella's auto accident, WWE injury updates, return to TV talked about for two legends, mystery G.M., the Divas take their feud seriously, and who is holding up the induction into WWE Hall of Fame of one of the greatest omissions.
We also update Gail Kim, JBL's potential to return, new WWE signee, Mick Foley's return, Edge talks about life after leaving wrestling and what question he's getting frustrated about being asked.
We also look at business numbers from the past week as well as details from all the major league house shows. We also have SummerSlam numbers.
We also look at the proposed return to wrestling of Bill Goldberg, as well as news regarding Batista and Chris Jericho, and proposals to run a bigger stadium show than WrestleMania.
We also have more on the career of Little Tokyo, the top midget star of the 70s and 80s.
We also have tons more on Matt Hardy and Kurt Angle's last week. We look at Angle's most recent arrest, his past arrests, his unique behavior as well as the writer and director of "Warrior" talks about Kurt Angle getting the role in the movie.
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.
Also in this week's issue:
--First week of CMLL's Champion of Champions tournament yields bad news
--CMLL honors one of its longest lasting wrestlers
--Atlantis vs. Ultimo Guerrero feud heats up
--Tragedy strikes a wrestler in AAA
--A look at Dragon Gate's upcoming weekend
--New Prime Minister of Japan and background as a fan as a wrestler
--Another wrestler looking at running for major political office
--Legends, freaks and fighters from other sports do major pro wrestling event this past week
--Major international star coming to U.S. promotion
--Another pro wrestler tests out MMA
--Another promotion claims they are doing PPV
--More on the Terri Runnels/New Jack court fight
--More on the arrest of Daffney
--More on death of Bill Kunkel
--Whatever happened to Steve Beverly
--Two former WWE female stars, one wants back in, the other has a major mishap
--A book on ESPN talks about the decision to get AWA wrestling
--Complete card for TNA No Surrender
--More on Styles vs Daniels program
--Bound for Glory series notes
--Ric Flair talks heath
--Former star hints returning to TNA
--More on the business of UFC 134 and UFC's PPV business this year
--A look at Anderson Silva as a draw
--Lots of injuries and new fights in UFC
--Olympic silver medalist debuts for Zuffa this week
--Notes on UFC's return to Japan
--Notes on Bellator's new season
--Fedor's proposed next fight
For the United States, it is $12 for 4 issues, $29 for 12, $55 for 24, $91 for 40 and $118 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $13.50 for
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
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,
Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods. To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best
Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $10 for shipping costs to Canada and $12 for shipping costs outside North
America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
-- There is a story hereon the Jeff Hardy case that includes all the details about what happened to lead to his arrest. Allegedly, Hardy met with a fan after a wrestling show in September 2009 and the fan offered to send him drugs, which were mailed in a Maxwell House coffee can. The postal authorities found the package suspicious, opened the can, viewed the contents (262 hydrocodone pills), sealed it back up and delivered it as scheduled. As soon as Jeff signed to accept the package, cops raided his house and found all of the other drugs. The fan, Thomas Ray Cruz, from Florida, is out on $50,000 bond and is awaiting a November court date.
-- And Jeff Hardy is still employed.
-- Nick Hogan was in court today trying to get off his five-year probation stemming from the John Graziano accident early, but the judge denied him. Story is here.
-- If you bought a UFC 137 ticket and don't want it anymore because the main event got changed from GSP vs. Nick Diaz to GSP vs. Carlos Condit, you have until the end of the day today to get a refund. Diaz is fighting on the show, as noted on the front page, facing BJ Penn in a wild decision that Dana White made yesterday.
-- Kurt Angle is claiming he just signed a new three-year deal with TNA.
-- No Rich Franklin for the rest of the year as he tore his shoulder out and will be undergoing surgery on Tueseday.
-- Dragon Gate USA announced that both their Saturday and Sunday shows will air live on iPPV, only at WWNLive.com.
-- All of the UFC Fight Night 24 prelims will be airing on Facebook. Show takes place from New Orleans next week at the Earnest N Morial Convention Center. Jake Shields vs. Jake Ellenberger headlines.
-- Smackdown on Syfy tonight has Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes in a champion vs. champion match, Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett, Mark Henry vs. Ezekiel Jackson, Sin Cara vs. Tyson Kidd, Kelly vs. Natalya, and AIR BOOM vs. Great Khali & Jinder Mahal, because that's a match that definitely deserves to be seen twice.
-- John Makdessi fights at UFC 140 in Toronto against – Dennis Hallman, who was not, in fact, fired for wearing the smallest shorts in the history of combat sports at UFC 133, shorts so small that Dana gave Ebersole a $70,000 bonus for getting Hallman's shorts off TV as quickly as possible with a first-round TKO.
-- Shawn Michaels' hunting show returns this week. Tuesday's episode is part one of a two-part show that will feature HHH. Yes, middle-aged DX reunion with live ammo.
-- The Saints-Packers game that went opposite Impact did a 17.7 rating on the overnights. It would be extremely surprising if Impact did a good number. Of note, the 10-11 p.m. hour was significantly down from 9-10 p.m.
-- For those who listened to last night's Bryan & Vinny Show, where we gave away a WARRIOR SWAG PACK with a Warrior T-shirt, Warrior poster signed by Vinny, Granny and I, and an I Tap Boys sticker, that movie opens today nationwide. It's an MMA film that features Kurt Angle playing the role of Fedor. This was the role where he lost 30 pounds or so and was looking super lean on Impact many months back. Dave has a review of the movie hereand I'll probably be seeing it this weekend as well. We'll be giving away another swag pack on Bryan & Vinny next week as well, though it won't be in a joke contest. Listen to last night's show for more info on how to enter and win.
-- Roger Ebert gives Warrior three stars out of four here.
-- Also opening today is HHH's movie. It did not get good reviews. New York Times skewers it here.
-- AP story on Jeff Hardy charges here.
-- Also a story hereon Linda's next Senate run.
-- Lance Storm has signed on as a producer for Wrestling Revolution Project. We'll talk to him about that on his show next week.
-- Interview herewith female fighter Liz Trazy, who is getting her first title shot on September 24th at the Roseland Theatre in Portland, OR, a building I wrestled in several times. She just happens to have also graduated from the same high school I graduated from, Bothell High, albeit many years later.
-- In good news for ROH, Sinclair just cleared Salt Lake City, Austin, West Palm and Providence, RI. Thanks to Tom Taylor.
-- Cesar Gracie says Dana White should have fined Nick Diaz, not cut him. Story is here. This was published before Dana put him back on the show against BJ Penn, so it's kind of funny in hindsight.
-- Alex Marvez has a story on Gunner up here.
-- Josh Barnett talks PEDs and more here.
-- Bill Apter joins Over the Top Radio with Ed, Craig and Cutrer tonight here.
-- New interview with HHH heretalking the creative process, his critics and more.
-- Mike Saywer talks MMA with Jeremy Botter of Heavy.com here.
-- New interview with Jeff Katz talking Wrestling Revolution Project here.
-- AR Fox interview heretalking this weekend's DGUSA events.
-- Kyle O'Reilly interview heretalking next weekend's ROH iPPV.
Should TNA fire Jeff Hardy?
What was the most important show last month from a historical basis?
UFC Rio 50.6%
WWE SummerSlam 31.6%
All together Now 13.6%
G-1 finals 4.2%
What was the biggest news story of August
UFC Fox deal 73.8%
Money in the Bank buy rate 7.7%
Matt Hardy fired 6.1%
UFC goes to Rio 3.3%
Raw now includes Smackdown guys 2.3%
Silva-Okami buy rate 2.1%
Nakamura wins G-1 1.7%
Zuffa fires Golden Glory fighters, hires back Overeem 0.7%
-- Trish Stratus is doing a meet and greet to plug her new Yoga DVD in Langley, BC from 12-1 at London Drugs, 20202-66th Ave, and from 3-4 in Burnaby, BC at the Langley Drugs, 400-4567 Lougheed Hwy.
-- After Dark Radio returns tonight with New York Times bestselling author Leslie Kean talking UFOs afterdarkradioshow.com. You can also LIKE our page on Facebook at facebook.com/afterdarkradioshow. Got another huge guest lined up in the next few weeks, and there are free show archives of past episodes up on the site right now.
-- Steve writes: For anyone who has AT&T U-Verse and watches TNA on DVR, they finally changed the name to “Impact Wrestling” so “TNA Wrestling” isn’t going to record anymore.Doesn't sound so bad.
-- Newest Slammin Stan podcast talking the greatness of Prince Devitt is up here.
-- Reader TJ is behind this fundraiser driveand would really appreciate the support.
-- Terry "The Rocker" Lawler celebrates 22 years in the wrestling business by wrestling a protoge of his, "Do Or Die" Chip Day at tonight's Platinum Championship Wrestling show. Platinum Championship Wrestling at the Academy Theater on Friday! Bell is at 8 p.m. www.academytheater.org. 119 Center Street, Avondale Estates, GA 30002. $8 a ticket
-- Lance Storm interview on the Aftermath here. This is the former Right After Wrestling show.