FRI UPDATE: WWE survey on moving Mania to WWE Network, another wacky WWE show, Jones vs. Rampage odds, win a call from Jay Briscoe, new TNA girl identified, ROH affiliate list for this weekend's TV, full weekend schedule, tons more



By Bryan Alvarez

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A big weekend of MMA in particular with three different events on television tonight and two more tomorrow night.

We're looking for reports on tonight's Raw house show in Albuquerque and TNA show in Springfield, IL (Jeff Jarrett, A.J. Styles, Beer Money as the headliners) at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

In a nice secret, there is a Strikeforce show tonight at 11 p.m. on Showtime with these matches

Brian Malencon (170) vs. Felipe Portela (170.5)

Jason High (170.5) vs. Todd Moore (169)

Ryan Couture (156) vs. Maka Watson (155)

Lavar Johnson (249) vs. Shawn Jordan (238)

Lorenz Larkin (206) vs. Nick Rossborough (206)

Johnson is a knockout artist who has trouble if he doesn't finish people fast. Larkin is a very exciting stand-up fighter facing a guy taking the bout on short notice. Jordan was a college football star who has a win over legendary former wrestler and NFL star Carleton Haselrig. And Couture is the Ted DiBiase Jr. of MMA.

HDNet has a ton of programming today. The UFC 135 weigh-ins air live on HDNet at 6 p.m. and will be replayed at 9 p.m. At 10 p.m. will be the Titan Fighting Championships from Memorial Hall in Kansas City with a double headliner of former WEC champion Jamie Varner vs. Alonzo Martinez and Brett Rogers vs. Eddie Sanchez.

And at 3 a.m. (midnight Pacific) on HDNet is Dream live from the

Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

Baru Harn (253) vs. Minowa-man (191.4)

Rodolfo Marquez (134.2) vs. Yusup Saadulaev (133.8) in the first round of the bantamweight Grand Prix tournament

Masakazu Imanari (133.8) vs. Abel Cullum (134.2) in the first round of the bantamweight Grand Prix tournament

Bibiano Fernandes (133.8) vs. Takafumi Otsuka (133.8) in the first round of the bantamweight Grand Prix tournament

Antonio Banuelos (134.2) vs. Hideo Tokoro (134.2) in the first round of the bantamweight Grand Prix tournament

Kazuhiro Nakamura (184.4) vs. Gerald Harris (184.8)

Satoru Kitaoka (154) vs. Williamy Freire (152.7)

Kazushi Sakuraba (166.8) vs. Yan Cabral (167.2)

Caol Uno (142.8) vs. Lion Takeshi (143)

Tatsuya Kawajiri (142.8) vs. Joachim Hansen (143) Shinya Aoki (153.6) vs. Razor Rob McCullough (153.6) in a non-title match

The weird weights in the Grand Prix is because they were going metric and the limit was 61 kilos (134.2 pounds). Cullum actually first weighed in at 138 and had to cut. Sakuraba, Uno and Kawajiri are fighting considering lighter than they've fought in the past. Notable Sakuraba was at 166.8 because he fought, and won, in UFC as a heavyweight back in the 90s and fought in the 205 class (although undersized) during his heyday. Kawajiri and Uno used to fight at 155. Minowa-man opens doing his freak show fights against mediocre heavyweights.

We'll have live coverage of the show, at least through the first half or so, starting at 3 a.m.

The big show Saturday is UFC 135 from the Pepsi Center in Denver

Facebook fights starting at about 6:30 p.m.

Junior Assuncao vs. Eddie Yagin

Takeya Mizugaki vs. Cole Escovedo

James Te Huna vs. Ricardo Romero

Live on Spike at 8 p.m.

Tim Boetsch vs. Nick Ring

Tony Ferguson vs. Aaron Riley

Live on PPV at 9 p.m.

Ben Rothwell vs. Mark Hunt

Takanori Gomi vs. Nate Diaz

Travis Browne vs. Rob Broughton

Matt Hughes vs. Josh Koscheck

Jon Jones vs. Quinton Jackson for the light heavyweight title

Head-to-head at 9 p.m., Bellator has its deepest tournament in its history starting tonight in Canton, OH at the Civic Center, airing live on MTV 2 and EPIX (in HD, commercial free on EPIX): All fights are first rounders in a bantamweight tournament.

Chase Beebe vs. Marcos Galvao

Luiz Nogueira vs. Ed West

Wilson Reis vs. Eduardo Dantes

Joe Warren vs. Alexis Vila

Raw will be in El Paso on Saturday night, while Smackdown goes to Amarillo, which sometimes means a cameo from Terry Funk. TNA will be in Hammond, IN at the Civic Center.

Sunday has only one WWE show, a joint show in Lubbock. TNA runs in Hillsdale, MI at the County Fair.

Raw comes from Kansas City on Monday night.

Smackdown and NXT will be taped on Tuesday night in St. Louis.


        A look at the return of The Rock at Survivor Series, the fall of Matt Hardy, the fallout of Night of Champions, backstage at Raw and coverage of a number of major shows headlines this coming week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

        The lead story concerns the first match in seven-and-a-half years of The Rock, as we talk about ideas for the match, the good and bad from a business standpoint, his last match, his first major WWE match and the coincidences of that, the booking of the match and the Rock vs. Cena dynamic.  We also look at how much Rock's appearance likely meant for WrestleMania, what Survivor Series is coming off doing, the UFC competition that weekend and crowd reactions.

        We also look at all of Matt Hardy's legal issues, his latest arrests, details of the arrests, his girlfriend's claims of the story, what led to this latest arrest, his video saying he's going to rehab and a look at that.  We also look at the legal issues he's facing.

        We also look at the records set by John Cena at Night of Champions.  We look at the background of Mark Henry and how he got to where he now is over 15 years, looking at pre-wrestling, his WWE signing and when it actually took place, his days as an Olympian, his beginning in WWE, his near firing, and his title win.

        We look at the business of Night of Champions, a look at the decisions in he various title matches and story line ramifications.  We also have match-by-match coverage with star ratings, but polls on this show, the UFC show and the ROH show.

        We look at the final UFC Fight Night on Spike, what the Jake Ellenberger win means in the welterweight division, business notes on he show, how each match did in the ratings and the surprising ratings champ match for the night.  We also have match-by-match coverage from the show.

        We also look at ROH's Final Battle early notes, including head-to-head competition that day, and a rundown of the Death Before Dishonor iPPV show.

        We also have a feature on Brian Stann, and how 9/11 changed his life, the friends he lost, how it made him a fighter, what it was like in the Naval Academy on that day, the reactions and a lot of memories.  This is a really notable story about one of UFC's biggest stars, who fights in two weeks.   

        The issue will be available today on the site.  There is also a new back issue from 1994 up on the site this week.  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 more on WWE looking like it's going to start spending major money in what two directions and how its' going about doing so.  We also have details on Linda McMahon's run for senate and how she is polling, plus the unique poll results.

        We have more on backstage at Raw, the background of the table snafu, injury updates, Kevin Nash update, Dolph Ziggler update, HHH talks UFC and the reaction, UFC vs. WWE, and HHH talks Ric Flair.  HHH also talks Brock Lesnar, plus more backstage on the Edge Appreciation Ceremony and Edge DVD, more on Steve Austin, Claudio Castagnoli, why Castagnoli took five years to get to FCW after the company was first interested in him, another new WWE signing, new WWE movie, plus business notes from the past week and highlights of the weekend house shows.

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viewers on both TNA & WWE's A shows.

        We also have our regular weekly features with results of all the major arena events around the world, as well as all the major TV show
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         Also in this week's issue:

--CMLL's champion of champion tournament ends and who is the 2011 winner

--What Hall of Fame is in Mexico as a headliner right now

--Ceremony honoring the career of Atlantis

--Pro wrestler involved in a major holocaust

--AAA's Heroes en Inmortales lineup including a number of TNA names being on the show

--A look at the most recent TNA taping including a TNA star in the main event

--Storyline for All Japan 90s superstar facing the current top star in the group

--A look at the All Japan jr. tournament

--Brothers facing each other in Japanese ring

--Notes on New Japan's latest PPV show as well as the lineup for he next one

--ROH and CMLL world champions in Japan

--Notes on the upcoming New Japan annual tag team tournament

--Hall of Fame wrestler returns to New Japan for one night

--Retired wrestler wins tournament

--Two early 80s feuds back in the ring this coming weekend

--Notes on death of Johnny Barend

--News on the Devon Nicholson/Abdullah the Butcher lawsuit

--Bruno Sammartino update

--Jesse Ventura update

--Teddy Hart's latest crazy ideas regarding his version of pro wrestling

--Update on The Destroyer

--Notes on current ROH contracts

--Future ROH events

--Future of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair

--More on the Flair vs. Sting match and what didn't air on television

--Flair talks about his injury

--Reports on strong upcoming TNA matches

--More on the Rosita situation and who knew what

--Positioning of Bobby Roode before Bound for Glory

--More on movie "Warrior"

--Notes on Hogan's Micro Championship Wrestling

--How this show differs from most reality shows

--Documentary on a wrestling fan

--A look at the weekend TNA house shows

--More on the B.J. Penn vs. Nick Diaz situation and how UFC reacted to what Penn said

--UFC star hints at retirement

--More on Alistair Overeem's situation

--New UFC and Strikeforce fights

--Notes on the first several episodes of Ultimate Fighter this season

--Major Bellator fight postponed

--A look at the first round of the Bellator middleweight tournament

--Biggest tournament in Bellator history about to start

--Update on Joe Warren and the Olympics

--Major Japanese show this week on U.S. TV

--Sakuraba says how long he wants to continue fighting

--Fallout of the Mayweather fight

--Fedor fighting again is official, who when and what is says about the industry today

--U.S. has first world champion in real wrestling in years

--Notes on the return of Cael Sanderson

--Brett Rogers update

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-- WWE sent out a survey question yesterday that was pretty mind-boggling: Imagine a 24-hour cable network that was run by The WWE. It featured a mix of WWE-made programs, including new shows, repeats of Raw and SmackDown from USA and Syfy and "classic" or "historical" programs featuring shows from different promotions like classic WWE footage, WCW, ECW, NWA, AWA, etc. from years past. It would have two new weekly WWE live in-ring shows (wrestling), but not SmackDown or Raw. It would have a daily live in-studio viewer interactive show similar to SportsCenter. Additionally, this network would include WWE's "classic big 4" pay-per-view events including WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and Royal Rumble to the lineup at no additional cost. Rather than having to pay for them, they would now be specials with the same match quality you're used to seeing on pay-per-view for no additional cost. These 4 events would only be available on The WWE Network. In addition to The WWE Network, you would receive approximately 30 additional channels including NFL Network, NBA TV, Biography Channel, Fox Business Network and Fuel TV. How interested would you be in upgrading your service for an additional $7-$12 per month to a tier which would include the WWE Network described above?Dave has more on this on the front page, and we'll discuss it more on audio over the weekend.

-- WWE sent out a survey with an idea for a new concept show, presumably for the upcoming WWE Network: "How do you handle a hungry man? Just ask Bess Wight. Her husband is Paul “The Big Show” Wight, WWE Superstar and the world’s largest athlete! “Show” is seven feet tall and 425 pounds. Bess is bodacious, beautiful, and one big time cook! And if you think The Big Show is tough, you haven’t met his wife! Bess and Show are about to give viewers an all-access pass into the controlled chaos that is their kitchen. You’ll meet their friends, their families, and even some of Big Show’s fellow WWE Superstars – you never know who will stop by their house to whip up something delicious! Once you see this larger than life couple in the kitchen, we know you’ll be hungry for more!"

-- There are oddsmakers that have Jon Jones as high as -600 for tomorrow's fight, which Dana White called crazy. Odds that high in any MMA fight are pretty crazy.

-- A full list of affiliates for the new ROH on Sinclair show is up here.

-- Soul writes: I just wanted to give you a heads up. On the listing that is making it's rounds for when the ROH show premeres, The time for WGME does not seem correct, according to Dish Network's listings for WGME (Portland Maine), the show will be shown twice on Saturday. First at 4:00 AM and then again at 11:30 pm. I've heard from other that that list is no longer correct in other markets as well.

-- Charles writes: NBC NEWS Early Today ran more on the Hugh Jackman/Dolph Ziggler story this morning. This time it ran in the sports section of the show where they revealed it was a HOAX. Hugh Jackman did not really break Dolph Ziggler's jaw.

-- Drug tests for the Strikeforce Grand Prix semifinals came back this week, and everyone tested clean.

-- Hulk Hogan's MCW did 870,000 viewers this week, down from last week. Ratings around week three or four are the ones that matter.

-- Tommy Dreamer has been added as producer for the Wrestling Revolution Project. He joins Lance Storm.

-- The new girl with Ink Inc. on TV last night was Christina Von Erie, a California wrestler who recently attended the Team 3-D camp and is engaged to Jesse Neal. She's a pretty good worker.

-- Smackdown tonight has Mark Henry vs. Christian in a lumberjack match with the winner getting Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell, Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton (well, most of it, Rhodes got busted open hardway with the ring bell and bled a complete gusher, one of the deepest cuts in WWE history, and the segment is edited all to hell so you don't see almost any of it), Great Khali vs. Jinder Mahal, Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel, Beth Phoenix & Natalya vs. AJ & Kaitlyn, Sin Cara vs. Daniel Bryan again, and Air Boom vs. Usos.

-- Everyone made weight for tonight's DREAM show from the Saitama Super Arena, which airs live on HDNet starting at midnight Pacific (although for whatever reason it's not listed on my cable guide). The show features the quarterfinals of the DREAM Bantamweight Grand Prix tournament.

-- There is a trailer for Sadermania, the story of Hulk Hogan's biggest fan, who is probably going to be pretty sad in a few weeks, up here.

-- The new season of the Ultimate Fighter will be shown on the FX channel in the UK Thursdays at in 11, the day after the States. Thanks to Bob.

-- What did you think of Micro Championship Wrestling?
Excellent 13.6%
Good 3.4%
Average 11.9%
Fair 3.4%
Poor 67.8%
70.9% of those responding didn't see the show. Holy crap are those bad numbers.

--How many buys do you expect UFC 135 to get
Under 300,000 8.0%
301-350K 8.0%
351-400K 11.3%
401-450K 11.3%
451-500K 11.8%
501-550K 11.3%
551-600K 8.0%
601-650K 9.0%
651-700K 5.7%
701-750K 7.1%
751-800K 3.8%
More than 800,000 5.2%

Given Rampage's history in title matches, not a lot of confidence in Jon Jones as a draw here.

Poll on week one of Ultimate Fighter
Excellent 54.9%
Good 34.4%
Average 4.1%
Fair 2.5%
Poor 4.1%
35.1% of those responding didn't see the show.

-- Official Ric Flair robes allegedly being sold herefor $20,000. Not a typo. "Very Limited Supply. Available when available. Robe pictured is for marketing purposes only. Actual robe to be sold will differ and may actually not be at all similar." Available when available. Hmm.

-- TNA ad herebilling Desmond Wolfe for the 2012 UK tour. Hmm.

-- Steve Karel talks this weekend's upcoming Urban Wrestling Federation PPV here.

-- ESPN has a story on Kenny King of ROH here. Not only that, they reveal that he has a side job as a Chippendale dancer. Yes.

-- Speaking of ROH, click hereto enter to win A PHONE CALL FROM JAY BRISCOE. Now that's a prize.

-- A story on the Abdullah the Butcher vs. Devon Nicholson lawsuit is here.

-- Jim Ross has a new blog up heretalking all manner of subjects including the Bret/Shawn DVD that is apparently awesome.

-- Only a few hours left to get involved, but there is an MMA auction up herefor a very good cause, supporting Mia Hayes' battle with breast cancer, which has gotten worse of late.

-- Video promoting the upcoming Yokozuna Memorial Show is here.

-- Peachmachine and Semp are back on Off the Top Rope Radio this week here.

-- Dan wanted us to note that for those who are considering the VIP package for the Hulk & Friends show in Allentown, PA, he was told by the PR people that despite buying the VIP package he would not get any of his items signed by Hulk or even a picture with him. The $100 package includes only a group photo with everyone. He was very disappointed that this wasn't mentioned on the Hulk & Friends website.

-- Allen writes: Interesting side note to the Heath Slater trivia: Jamie Noble grew up a few towns over in the same county as Slater, meaning the only two wrestlers with West Virginia origins to ever compete on the WWE level -- as far as I know -- both came from the same sparsely-populated area.

-- The 2011 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup will take place over the course of 2 evenings, Friday October 28th, 2011 and Saturday October 29th, 2011 at the Brooksville, Florida and Crystal River, Florida National Guard Armories respectively.

-- Seth Rollins (former Tyler Black) lost the FCW 15 Championship to Damien Sandow at Thursday nightt's TV tapings, and Antonio Cesano (Claudio Castagnoli) made his TV debut in a match vs Mike Dalton. Thanks to Rob.

-- East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA), Sat, Sept 24th, 2011, 44th Anniversary Show, Greater Newark Boys’ & Girls’ Club, 109 Glasgow Drive, Rt. 40 & #1 Positive Place, Newark, DE 19702, Doors Open: 6:00 PM, Bell Time: 7:00 PM

-- Platinum Championship Wrestling honors someone within the wrestling industry that has made a positive impact on the sport. Last year, Gary Juster received recognition. This year, Thunderbolt Patterson will be on hand to receive a plaque and the fans in attendance will not only get to meet this legend, but a special video highlighting Thunderbolt's career will be shown. The narration of the video is by "The Revelation" Shane Marx, and the footage and pictures in the video were provided by Chuck Thornton. Sacred Ground: Chapter Two will take place September 24th at Sharon Baptist Church 536 North Ola Rd McDonough, Georgia

-- The Eastern Wrestling Alliance returns to action on Saturday night, October 8 at the Springfield Turnverein, located at 176 Garden Street in Feeding Hills, MA. The action kicks off at 7:30pm, with tickets available at the door for only $10 for adults, and $7 for children under 10 years of age.

Long-term, what are your thoughts on Lucha Underground?

 

What did you think of Wednesday's Ultimate Fighter TV show?

 

What did you think of TNA Impact?

 

What did you think of Lucha Underground last night?