FRI UPDATE: Big new details on Matt Hardy arrest and rehab, WWE release, big weekend schedule, Belfort talks injury tonight, tons more



By Bryan Alvarez

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While there are a few major shows this weekend, it's not an extensive weekend schedule.

Tonight's biggest event is the CMLL's 78th anniversary show from Arena Mexico.

Saturday has a UFC live show on Versus, a ten-fight show with Facebook fights starting at around 6 p.m. Eastern with Joseph Sandoval vs. Walel Watson, Josh Neer vs. Keith Wisniewski, Shane Roller vs. T.J. Grant, Michael Johnson vs. Paul Sass and Yves Edwards vs. Rafaelo Oliveira. Live fights on Versus at 9 p.m. have Mac Danzig vs. Matt Wiman, Anthony Johnson vs. Charlie Brenneman, Stefan Struve vs. Pat Barry and Dominick Cruz vs. Demetrious Johnson for the bantamweight title.

ROH is doing four weeks worth of television on Saturday night in Louisville at the Davis Arena. Among the TV main events will be Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards vs. Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal defends the TV title against Mike Bennett, Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander, and Young Bucks vs. Bravado Brothers.

Also on Saturday will be Bellator on MTV 2 at 9 p.m. Eastern, going head-to-head with UFC on Versus. It will be the first round of the heavyweight tournament with Ron Sparks vs. Mark Holata, Neil Grove vs. Michael Hayes, Blagoi Ivanov vs. Thiago Santos and Eric Prindle vs. Abe Wagner.

WWE's only house show of the weekend is a joint brand show in Mobile, AL.

Sunday has the WWE Hell in a Cell PPV from New Orleans, with John Cena vs. C.M. Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio for the WWE title, Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton for the World title, Sheamus vs. Christian, Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix for the Divas title and Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara.

Raw will be life from Lafayette, LA on Monday night. Smackdown and NXT will be taped on Tuesday night in Biloxi.

Our annual Hall of Fame issue of the Observer, the most talked about issue of the year, will be coming out in a few weeks. If you are a print subscriber and sign up for two sets you will be getting the issue. It will be a double issue with bios of new Hall of Famers, complete voting records and a detailed story plus the updated list of Hall of Fame members.


        The new issue of the Observer talks about plans for the WWE network going forward.  We look at what it appears WWE wants out of the network, notes on the survey they have taken for the network, the idea of WrestleMania and the other big four shows on the network as well as a look at how those shows would have to change if they were removed from PPV.
 
        We also look at the future of PPV, the Mayweather fight and what it said about PPV today, the irony of what Vince McMahon told me about PPV many years ago and how it appears he was completely right, but he's doing it completely different.    We also look at the wrestling on TV, the success and subscriber base for WWE 24/7, money spent on WrestleMania, UFC's talk of its own network and how WWE and UFC are taking opposite approaches in a similar situation when it comes to business.
 
        The issue is available today on the site.  There is also a new back issue from 2006 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 look at one of WWE's biggest television partners being for sale, more on the Hell in a Cell show, WWE angle gets a lot of mainstream pub, a look at the background of Dolph Ziggler in wrestling, Vince McMahon's bad mood and the story of how it went down.  We also look at the big angle in WWE, more on the health of Rey Mysterio, HHH talks the movie business, Dana White talks at length about Vince McMahon, angle to bring Booker T back gets pitched, front office shakeups, DVD sales, web site traffic and  a big surprise in that number, best selling DVDs of this year and a surprisingly up stat for WWE business.
 
        We also have an update on both Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli when it comes to WWE.
 
        Plus we've got notes from the Rumble, an idea pitched for Vengeance, Raw ratings in Canada, future of Superstars, FCW news, Chris Jericho talks, Mick Foley non-wrestling appearances, next WWE movie, plus business notes from the past week and highlights from the weekend house shows.
 
        We also look at Jon Jones, UFC's brightest young star, with coverage of UFC 135.  We look at Jones' win over Rampage Jackson, business notes from the show, early PPV numbers, as well as Dana White's thought on certain champion vs. champion dream matches.  We also look at Josh Koscheck, Nate Diaz, Matt Hughes and the other stars of the show, along with match-by-match coverage and poll ratings.
 
        We also look at the debut of Ring of Honor on syndicated broadcast TV, mentality behind the early shows, the questions regarding the shows, good and bad and what the shows reminded me of.
 
              The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
 
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        We also look at the Japanese MMA scene as Dream ran a show with its biggest mainstream stars, Sakuraba, Aoki, Kawajiri, Uno, Minowa-man and the bantamweight tournament.  We look at the match-up of pro wrestlers, former UFC stars and more.
 
        We also have your scorecard for this season's Ultimate Fighter, which opened to some of the most exciting fights and finishes in the history of the show just in the first episode.  We look at the favorites, what happens with Jason Miller and Michael Bisping, and more.
 
        We also have a look at the SummerSlam buy rate, with a look at the card,  how it did compared to the past few years, and mistakes made in the promotion of the show that hurt things.  We also look at how the card compared with those of previous years.
 
        We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week as well as how every segment did when it comes to gaining and losing
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
reviews.   
 
         Also in this week's issue:
 
--CMLL draws its largest crowd in months
 
--Ceremony to honor one of CMLL's oldest full-timers
 
--Notes on the 78th anniversary shows in both Mexico City and Guadalajara
 
--Indie tries running a 14,000 seat arena using former WWE stars vs. Mexican legends
 
--Return of Arturo Rivera
 
--Lineup for Heroes Inmortales, one of AAA's biggest shows of the year including the debut in Mexico of Sting
 
--Notes on a crazy story involving a former WWE star working in Mexico
 
--All Japan's junior heavyweight tournament ends, with standings, winner and where the title is going
 
--One of All Japan's top stars returns and is put into the top mix
 
--The latest edition of the oldest annual tradition in pro wrestling is announced
 
--NOAH building a number of title programs
 
--This week's update on Matt Hardy
 
--More on Greg Valentine no-showing the Randy Savage show
 
--Indie worker pleads no contest on sex charge
 
--Trial begins regarding the murder of an 80s wrestler that is largely forgotten about
 
--Former WCW star and a DUI charge
 
--Update on Dave Bautista and his thoughts on wrestling again
 
--Update on Bobby Heenan
 
--Another promotion gets TV in the U.K.
 
--Notes on the move on the ROH Final Battle show
 
--A look at the next few TV tapings
 
--More on the philosophy of ROH going forward
 
--Update on Ric Flair's injuries
 
--Unique promotional activity for Bound for Glory that is going to bomb and is almost a secret
 
--Complete Bound for Glory card
 
--Notes on the TV in Knoxville behind the scenes and crowd reactions
 
--More on the TNA time slot change in the U.K.
 
--More international for TNA including notes on future tours and new TV shows being produced
 
--The story behind the Kurt Angle vs. Kimbo Slice fight, how real was it, and what role Kurt Angle was called for by Dana White
 
--Notes on weekend house shows
 
--A look at the next few weeks of television
 
--The story on Spike going to war with UFC next month
 
--Dana White talks a lot of 2012 plans including markets they are going to run live shows in, and markets they are planning on taped market specific shows in
 
--The story behind the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos match being put on TV and is it a financial winner
 
--Future of Strikeforce
 
--Future of women in UFC
 
--What all-time legend has his back against the wall in his next match and needs a win or won't be booked again in UFC
 
--Update on the San Jose UFC debut
 
--Another Golden Glory fighter returns to UFC
 
--Notes on Cris Cyborg's first fight in more than a year, when and against who
 
--What building UFC will attempt to break its all-time attendance record in
 
--Update on Vitor Belfort
 
--This week's UFC show
 
--UFC star wins a shoot tournament in another sport against people from MMA and pro wrestling
 
--Lots of new UFC matches
 
--A major contract clause that will prevent a major television move from taking place
 
--When that expected move will likely take place
 
--Bellator bantamweight tournament notes
 
--Fighter linked to three different rapes
 
--TV show is going to switch dates and go live starting very soon
 
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-- Big update hereon Matt Hardy. The gist of the story is that Matt was only released from custody because he agreed to go to rehab, and had he not he'd been held in a detention center with bail set at $1 million. So this is a much bigger legal issue than I think a lot of people figured when the story first broke.

-- Dave has a great article on Dominick Cruz, who faces Demetrious Johnson on Versus tomorrow night, here. Besides talking about his fighting style and that of Mighty Mouse, he also has a lot to say about the level of media attention he's getting today as compared to when he fought Urijah Faber. A real eye-opener for him.

-- Tim writes: There has been a change for airing UFC Live Cruz vs Johnson in Australia. The event will now be shown on Thursday 6th October at 10.15pm. The event was originally going to be shown live this Sunday morning.So if you don't want spoilers, best bet is not to come to the site for a week.

-- Inside MMA tonight will have Vitor Belfort discussing for the first time what the injury was that caused him to have to pull out of the fight with Cung Le.

-- Line-up for Bound for Glory at this point has Hogan vs. Sting (well, unless Hogan retires), Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode for the title, Winter vs. Velvet vs. Madison vs. Mickie for the women's title, RVD vs. Jerry Lynn in a full metal mayhem match, Anderson vs. Bully, Austin Aries vs. Brian Kendrick for the X-Title, and Mexican America vs. Ink Inc. for the tag titles.

-- If anyone is interested in donating to help Doc Young offset what will be ridiculous medical costs, his Paypal address is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Doc, the producer of Figure Four Daily and co-host of Wrestling Weekly with Les Thatcher, has been hospitalized for nearly a full month now with a variety of ailments. Some days the doctors think they know what the problem is and other days they don't. He's ranged from doing OK to being in very, very bad shape depending on the day. It's going to be a very long, slow recovery process. You can also use that email to send him any best wishes. He wanted to thank everyone who has sent in letters so far, they've made some really rough days go by a lot easier. Our continued best wishes to a really, really great guy who has done more for the website than most people are aware.

-- We've got great interviews with both John McCarthy, talking his new book and the history of MMA and UFC, and Jerry Jarrett talking the death of WCW, birth of TNA, Memphis Wrestling history and so much more, up right now on the main page for subscribers.

-- Tonight's Smackdown has Mark Henry vs. Great Khali, Cody Rhodes vs. Sheamus, Randy Orton vs. Christian for the 805th time, Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger, Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater, another big Sin Cara angle, Kelly vs. Natalya, and Zack Ryder vs. JTG.

-- Speaking of Zack, the latest Z! True Long Island Story is up here. By the way, his Internet title was created by wildcatbelts.com, same people who created the famed ICW/ICWA Texarkana Television Title, and a number of other belts.

-- Just as a reminder, the way it works is that you can watch the new ROH tomorrow night if you have a Sinclair affiliate. If you don't, you can sign up at the ROHwrestling.com website for $7.99 per month and watch the show online on Monday. You also get a full library of past matches and more. If you don't want to sign up, you can watch the show free online on Thursdays, but you have to register for the site to do so, which is free.

-- Lucha Libre USA is back on MTV 2 tomorrow at 10 AM Eastern (Saturday morning cartoon) with Lizmark Jr. & Marco Corleone vs. RJ Brewer & Charly Malice (Manson) to crown the first-ever Lucha Libre USA Champion, Mini Park & Rosetta Park in a lumberjack match, and Oriental & Tinieblas Jr. vs. Rellik (Killer spelled backwards) and Sydistiko.

-- Antonio Inoki made his pro debut 51 years ago today.

-- Markus writes: Effective today, Sky Austria (basically Sky Germany with some additional Austrian sports stuff) is finally available on the single largest cable provider in Austria, UPC. Sky's predecessor, Premiere, was on UPC, but when they were bought by Sky, that business relationship ended (the channels, under the new Sky banner, still were available to existing Premiere subscribers, but other UPC customers could not subscribe to Sky). UPC basically has a cable monopoly, mostly in Vienna, but also some other Austrian cities. They are in 520,000 households (out of 3.6 million in Austria, but their main market is Vienna, which has 845,000 households). Of these 520,000 currently 280,000 are on digital cable. Sky now has, via cable or satellite, a theoretical reach of 95% of all Austrian tv households. Sky shows show RAW live at 2.00 am CET (with repeats over the next few days), SmackDown airs Fridays at 10:00 pm CE (so before it's on in the U.S., also has reruns throughout the week), NXT (Thursdays 5 and 10 pm, plus reruns), plus WWE Afterburn (SmackDown highlights) and Experience (RAW & SmackDown highlights). They also show Impact (Tuesday after the Thursday airing in the U.S, 11 am, 5.30 pm and 11 pm). All the wrestling is on the Sky Sports package, which costs EUR 26,90 (about $36.50) a month. The problem is, that as of now, Sky Anytime/Sky Select, which is Sky's own on-demand service, where you can also order live WWE and TNA PPVs (among movies and sports stuff) is not available, as it would probably conflict with UPC's own on-demand service. I've made inquiries with UPC's and Sky's press department on wether UPC costumers will at some point be able to order the PPV shows.

-- Siyar Bahadurzada, the Shooto light heavyweight champion, said on his Twitter today that he'd signed a deal to come to the UFC.

-- ROH signed Mike Mondo, formerly Mikey of the Spirit Squad.

-- Peachmachine has a new article up about warming up, stretching and cooling down for athletes here. Basically, what you absolutely should do if you are rushed for time and what is most and least important.

-- New After Dark Radio tonight with Jefferson Davis talking his book WEIRD WASHINGTON. Should be an awesome show. You can check out the show plus past episodes, all free, at afterdarkradioshow.com, or at the Facebook page, facebook.com/afterdarkradioshow.

-- Josh Nason did an audio interview with UFC bantamweight title challenger Demetrious Johnson here. Josh and I did an in-depth 30-minute talk with Stephan Bonnar this week here.

-- Perhaps inspired by the recent success of the re-release of The Lion King, Fast Five starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is among three films that numerous AMC Theaters will be playing again for one week (Today through Thursday, October 6) on IMAX screens. The other two films are Inception and Star Trek. Times will vary depending upon the theaters, but it is being advertised that all showings of the three films will be $7. Thanks to Daniel Short.

-- Johnny Stamboli, Big Vito and Chuck Palumbo will all be at EXW Adrenaline Rush on Tuesday October 4th at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix AZ. Also appearing will be Val Venis. This is also EXWs first TV Taping so everyone will also be appearing back on TV on AZTV starting Saturday October 15th at 11:00pm.

-- Whitney of itapboys.com has an audio interview here talking experiences training with Rickson Gracie and other high-level black belts, what it's like being a girl training jiu jitsu with a bunch of sweaty dudes (including Admin Tony), and tons more. She also has a Facebook page up at facebook.com/itapboysand is looking for LIKES.

-- Junior Horseman reviews HOOD JUSTICE, which he watched with me, here.

-- There is a great story hereabout how Raymond Rougeau saved the life of his buddy who had been lost in the woods for two days.

-- Next two big Chikara events:
"Small But Mighty"
Friday evening - 10.7.2011
Live @ Mid-Atlantic Sportatorium
1813 Frank Holt Drive in Burlington, NC!
The action starts @ 7:30 pm, Doors open @ 7:00 pm!

"Klunk in Love"
Saturday evening - 10.8.2011
Live @ The Kingsport Civic Auditorium
1550 Fort Henry Drive in Kingsport, TN!
The action starts @ 7:00 pm, Doors open @ 6:30 pm!

-- Absolute Intense Wrestling presents "They Live" 10/2/2011 (This Sunday) 6:30 Pm Bell Time At our brand new location Puritas Lutheran Church 13812 Bellaire Rd Cleveland, OH. All Tickets are just $15 and seats are first come first serve. Davey Richards works this show.

-- Who do you think wins this fight?
Dominick Cruz 85.2%
Demetrious Johnson 14.8%

What show this weekend do you have the most interest in?
UFC on Versus 45.0%
WWE Hell in a Cell 44.4%
CMLL anniversary show 8.9%
Bellator 1.7%

What did you think of this week's Ultimate Fighter TV show?
Excellent 33.3%
Good 65.3%
Average 6.9%
Fair 0.0%
Poor 8.3%
37.4% of those responding didn't see the show

-- Saturday, October 15, 2011 Vendetta Pro Wrestling presents "TERROR RISING" Lakeview Jr. High School 3700 Orcutt Rd. Santa Maria, California 93455 Doors Open 6 pm Bell Time 7pm

-- The 2011 GB Judo World Cup takes place Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October at Echo Arena Liverpool. 38 countries and 192 will be in action. Full story here.

-- Ed Craig and Cutrer talk the Top 50 Incidents in WWE history here.

-- The old wrestling book I was talking about on the Todd Martin show yesterday is up here.

-- New JR's blog up here.


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