Tuesday, 18 October 2011 12:15
By Bryan Alvarez
We're also looking for reports on Saturday's Smackdown house show in Veracruz.
TNA will be taping Impact on Tuesday and Wednesday this week in Orlando. Tomorrow's taping will include Tara & Brooke Tessmacher vs. Angelina Love & Winter for the Knockouts tag titles and Scott Steiner vs. Abyss.
Our annual Hall of Fame issue of the Observer, the most talked about issue of the year, will be coming out in next week. If you are a print subscriber and sign up for this set, 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.
WWE's most heavily hyped DVD release of the season, the Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels face-to-face with Jim Ross as moderator, is the lead story in this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
The DVD looks back at the career of both men, with a heavy emphasis on one of the most famous matches in history, the 1997 Survivor Series match. In our new issue, we look back at the careers of both men, their legacies in the sport, the events leading to the double-cross and looking back 14 years, perspective on how it went down and a key, perhaps the key person involved, in what ended up leading to Vince McMahon making the call that he did.
We look at the DVD, comments from both men, historical accuracy, the Vince McMahon viewpoint, how Jim Ross directed traffic, the emotion from both men and why this DVD will be tough to top in future releases.
We look at what has been said that makes sense and a key thing said that to this day still doesn't make sense. We look at who knew, and the key phone call with Vince McMahon, Michaels and HHH, in Michaels own words about how it went south.
We look at how much wrestling has changed and how something that was so big then looks so silly now. We look at both men's career before WWE, what frustrated Shawn Michaels so much when his WWE career started and how something that was considered a positive for him in the ring in the AWA was such a negative in WWE. We look at the unique perception of size in pro wrestling in those days, as well as the days of The Rockers and The original Hart Foundation in the 80s and early 90s.
We talk about the night The Rockers won the tag team titles, only to have it erased from history, and the reason why given publicly as well as the real reason. We look at Bret Hart talking about one of his worst matches ever in the company.
We look at Hart winning the IC title, and why Hart thought it was a breakthrough, as did Jim Ross, and why Michaels did not, but what Michaels saw that Hart did that was a breakthrough for him. We look at why the Hart Foundation and Rockers would often close shows while being considered mid-card acts. We look at the reasons WWE on house shows used to put the main event in the middle of the show instead of at the end.
We look at Hart talking about the main event scene before he headlined, and a person he said was a friend, and was also a friend of Michaels, who he said was not successful as champion and pointed to the specific match where he knew the man's reign was going down.
Both men talk about their friendship when they were starting, and how it fell apart in the last two years they were together. We also look at the brief period when Bill Watts came in as booker, and how this affected both men because of his opinions of them.
We look at business, as well as Hart talking about one of his title reigns that in his heart he said felt like it meant nothing, and what famous title reign it can be compared with. We look at Hart having one of the better matches in company history but it being one of the least purchased PPV shows.
We look at different statements made by Michaels in 1996 and 1997 and how Hart took them badly, and Michaels response. We look at the first time WCW approached Hart and the unrest in the WWE locker room.
We look at Hart and Michaels attempting to work everyone into believing they were shooting and ended up working themselves into ruining what could have been a major program.
We look at why the 1997 WrestleMania was not headlined by the Michaels vs. Hart title match return as originally planned. We look at Hart saying he believes Michaels was faking his knee injury that caused a brief retirement and Michaels response to that accusation.
We look at the incidents that caused the two to mistrust each other, attempts at working things out, and why they kept falling apart. We look at why the two never wrestled in a major singles match for a year-and-a-half when they were the two top guys in the company, and both admitting blame.
We look at what caused the Survivor Series double-cross to take place, including a number of important matches where the finishes were changed that led to hostility and why the dynamic was what it was.
We look at what Vince McMahon had said for years and was never said in this DVD. We look at where Eric Bischoff fit into everything, whether Hart ever refused to drop the title, the buy rates of the big shows of that year and how telling they were, and what happened when Vince McMahon decided to have Bret Hart win in Montreal and why it didn't happen.
We also look at the dynamic between Bret Hart and HHH in 1997, and where The Rock fit into the equation. We also look at the one thing WWE feared most could have happened in the ring in Montreal. We look at Michaels' reaction in hindsight on Montreal, as well as the original plans for a double-cross finish and why it didn't happen the way McMahon envisioned it.
We also look at why Hart even came to Montreal and why he could have easily skipped it contractually. We look at what Michaels regretted, and what he didn't regret, about what happened. We also look at the fight with Bret Hart and Vince McMahon, the scene in Wrestling with Shadows with Julie Hart telling off HHH, and Michaels attempting to get closure from Hart, taking a first step, but then never taking the next step and why.
It's one of the most talked about, perhaps the single most talked about controversy in pro wrestling and the first time the participants were together answering questions on it.
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 have full coverage of UFC 136 from Houston, including where the big matches go from here, business notes on the show, poll results on the show, and match-by-match coverage.
We also look at the framework and how far in advance when it comes to big shows that WWE creative is talking about. We look at ideas that have been thrown around this past week, and almost for sure aren't going to happen. We've got more on Brock Lesnar in the WWE video game, as well as Lesnar talking about the two matches he's most interested in doing if he were to come back for a big show. Lesnar for the first time comments about how he probably will do something in the ring with WWE again.
We look at Rock's return and what is being advertised. We also look at a lot of backstage stuff in WWE with the current storyline. We look at show changes from what it scripted to what ends up, as well as a look at Jim Ross being taken off Raw as an announcer. We also look at where Vengeance seems to be going, the Sin Cara feud, Mil Mascaras in a WWE ring, the Mexico tour, Road Dogg's return to WWE and C.M. Punk turning down a WWE movie role.
We also look at a new WWE signing, more twitter tales of a guy whose career is not looking healthy right now, as well as business notes from the weekend and notes from all of the WWE house shows.
We also have notes on UFC changing the PPV starting time, and different reasons why this may have happened.
We also have a look at one of AAA's biggest events of the year, Heroes Inmortales, how it did, what the problems were, the shocking turns of two of the company's biggest babyfaces as well as Jeff Jarrett, Magnus, Abyss, Sting and Velvet Sky all appearing on the show.
We also look at the real story about the sad state of former WWE and TNA star, Travis Tomko. We look at the particulars of his arrest, and his drug addiction.
We also look at New Japan's latest PPV show, its booking going forward, and its next PPV show.
We also look at the former UFC name who went into pro wrestling who is accused of killing a cell mate in prison.
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
Also in this week's issue:
--More details on the shooting death of Dr. X this past week and a look back at his career
--Why his CMLL career ended
--What famous wrestling character is being brought back and if it is a good idea
--The Leyenda de Plata tournament
--All Japan's next major show and the build up
--Story behind Kenta Kobashi being out as Vice President of NOAH
--Next NOAH title match
--A look at New Japan's annual tag team tournament
--The 40th anniversary show of Mil Mascaras going to Japan
--Ric Flair, Edge and Mick Foley work on the Shane Hems fund raiser, a look at his injuries and comments on what happened including the stars who gave private donations
--A look at the indie wrestling PPV show this week
--What former WWE wrestler was at UFC this past week and is talking about going into MMA, wanting to be a star there, and then return to pro wrestling
--Notes on ROH television and thought son the show
--Notes on Bruce Prichard as head of creative in TNA
--More on Bound for Glory
--Notes on Hulk Hogan's video game, as well as the first night he was called Hulk Hogan
--Update on Ric Flair
--Who deserves the praise for the Bobby Roode videos
--Update on charges against Kurt Angle
--A look at TNA's tour of Quebec
--UFC's primary sponsor on FOX
--A look at the Toronto UFC show and the announcement of Jones vs. Machida
--Jones talks Rashad Evans
--Evans talks about being replaced as the next contender
--The last Strikeforce show of the year
--Fighter who isn't Chael Sonnen says he'll retire if he loses
--Bellator welterweight tournament update
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
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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,
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.
-- Yesterday's Observer Radio, with a detailed look at Raw Monday night, fallout from Bound for Glory including why the Robert Roode finish was changed, and more, is a FREE download on the front page of the site. If you like the show and only get to hear one free program a week, you're missing out as we do radio shows pretty much every single day on the site, often several per day. You also get our full archive, every show we have ever done dating back to 2005, with your subscription. If you like the free stuff I guarantee you'll love a subscription. Check it out for a month and you won't regret it.
-- In an update from last night, Mil Mascaras doesn't make Smackdown TV. But Sin Cara Azul faces Sin Cara Negro in a mask vs. mask match, not that you'd have any idea of that if you watched Raw on Monday. It's a new style of promoting for WWE this week, push everything on WWE.com but not on TV. You think I'm joking.
-- Mania tickets go on sale November 5th. Hope they don't keep that one a secret.
-- So the line-up for Vengeance after last night's show has Alberto del Rio vs. John Cena for the title in a last man standing match, Mark Henry vs. Big Show for the World Title, Triple H & CM Punk vs. Miz & Truth which is being pushed harder than almost anything since it's Hunter's match, Beth vs. Eve for the women's title, Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes, and – maybe – Air Boom vs. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger for the tag titles. It appears that match is being changed on Smackdown.
-- Check out WWE '12 demo HERE
-- Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets game last night did a 9.17 on the metered markets. Okay number, nothing special.
-- Official TNA press release on Bruce Prichard heading creative:
NASHVILLE, TN (October 18, 2011) TNA Entertainment, home of TNA IMPACT WRESTLING, one of the top-rated programs on Spike TV announces the appointment of Bruce Prichard as Senior Vice President Programming and Talent Relations. Prichard is one of the most storied professionals in the world of pro wrestling. His 30+ years in the business includes an extensive list of achievements.
“TNA is gaining such a wealth of knowledge and insight as we continue to grow our business with the addition of Bruce to our senior management staff,” states TNA President Dixie Carter. “This appointment is another indication to the community that TNA¹s IMPACT WRESTLING is gaining ground across all platforms; we are thrilled that Bruce is bringing his knowledge in television production, writing and talent relations to TNA.”
Prior to joining TNA Entertainment, Prichard managed production of live domestic and international television programming for WWE Inc./Titan Sports where he also served as a writer and on air talent for the wrestling organization. Based in Houston, Texas, Prichard will oversee talent relations, talent scouting and development, as well as, overseeing the creative direction of the company.
“I am looking forward to working with the exemplary talent both in front of the camera and behind the scenes at TNA. There are some exciting new ventures in progress as we speak involving the tremendous roster of current TNA superstars, as well as, development for the TNA superstars of the future,” says Prichard. “We are expanding our roster and looking for new and adventurous additions to our television product. I welcome the challenge and am invigorated by the endless opportunities this company provides. Our fan base for our brand continues to grow and I am proud to be a part of it.”
-- Speaking of TNA, there is an interview with Bjorn Rebney, head of Bellator, here. What does this have to do with TNA, aside from the fact that Bellator is going to end up on Spike at some point in the next two years? Well, Rebney follows Impact closely enough that he knew that Dixie's company was on the line during the Sting vs. Hogan match at Bound for Glory.
-- For the record, in the last week or so Chael Sonnen has done interviews suggesting that he no longer wants to put his UFC career on the line in a rematch with Anderson Silva.
-- Official Cena vs. Rock WWE.com website up here. Plus a countdown clock to Mania.
-- More from ESPN on Scott Hall, the subject of tomorrow's E:60, here. There are comments from Stephanie talking about how WWE has spent more money on putting Hall into rehab than any other person to date.
-- According to http://www.parisgamesweek.com , Edge will be at the event to introduce the WWE12 video game. He is doing an autograph session there on October 22, 2011 from 17:00 to 18:00 which translates to 5 to 6pm, and he is also making some other appearance for an interview on that day as well. The weekend lasts October 21-25th. Thanks to Terri.
-- Kris Zellner with news out of Mexico: There were rumored up to be 7 EMLL wrestlers that tried out for the WWE yesterday before their Smackdown taping in Mexico City with AAA and independent guys trying out the day before at the RAW taping. According to Super Luchas, Edgar Noriega who is a referee, booker, and nephew of EMLL President Paco Alonso was among other EMLL directors in attendance at last night's taping as well.Those guys better hope their identities are kept secret.
-- Pro Elite 2 (well, the new Pro Elite) takes place November 5th in Moline, IL with Andreas Kraniotakes vs. Tim Sylvia in the main event (Pedro Rizzo pulled out due to injury), Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Fulton, Mark Ellis vs. Ryan Martinez, Jason Bosler vs. Richard Odoms, Chris Birchler vs. Jake Huen, and Walter Harris vs. Esteves Jones. This and all future Pro Elite events will be airing on HDNet.
-- Quick note that the Observer 2011 Hall of Fame issue is out tomorrow. Bruce Mitchell will be back on the show Thursday to talk about the inductees and the people who might have come close but didn't make it in. Also on the line-up this week is Dr. Lucha talking WWE in Mexico and more tomorrow, Todd Martin on Thursday, and Rich Franklin with Josh Nason and I on Wednesday, plus two more Bryan & Vinny Shows. To get back on the normal schedule Lance Storm will return next week.
-- Smackdown did a 2.23 this week, another great number.
-- TNA's Best of Jeff Hardy Volume 2 – Enigma is out on DVD today.
-- Gail Kim returns to TNA at the tapings tonight.
-- Photos of Stacy Kiebler and George Clooney out on the town as a couple in the New York Daily News here. She just turned 32 this weekend.
-- On Saturday night January 21, 2012 Ring of Honor comes to The Scope Arena located at 201 E. Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23510 with a 7:30 PM Belltime.
-- "Wrestlemania Rewind" won the fan voting for the Mania recap show on the WWE Network that does not, in fact, currently exist.
-- Dana White number 38 in Ask Men's list of 49 Most Influential Men.
-- Interview with Bret Hart talking a number of subjects, including what he really thought about working in WCW and the Survivor Series format (sucked) here.
-- What was the best TV show of the past week
Ultimate Fighter 12.5%
Inside MMA 2.0%
When was pro wrestling at its best worldwide
15 years ago 38.4%
10 years ago 21.2%
25 years ago 16.8%
20 years ago 12.0%
30 years ago 5.1%
35 years ago 2.0%
More than 40 years ago 1.7%
40 years ago 0.9%
5 years ago 0.4%
OK, who voted "now"?
What was the best promotion of all-time
WWF 1998-2001 33.3%
All Japan 1990-1995 18.5%
Jim Crockett Promotions 1984-1986 16.0%
WWF 1985-1988 10.8%
WCW 1997-1998 5.7%
Jim Crockett Promotions 1980-1983 3.6%
Mid South Wrestling 1984-1985 2.7%
World Class Wrestling 1983-1984 2.7%
New Japan Pro Wrestling 1993-1996 2.6%
WWWF 1975-1977 2.1%
AWA 1981-1983 1.1%
New Japan 1981-1983 1.0%
-- Upcoming Chikara events:
"No Safety in Numbers"
Saturday evening - 10.29.2011
Live @ The Goodwill Beneficial Assoc. Hall
100 Madison Avenue in Reading, PA!
The action starts @ 7:00 pm, Doors open @ 6:30 pm!
"Maiden Flight of the Great Condor"
Sunday afternoon - 10.30.2011
Live @ The Campbell Street Center
600 Campbell Street in Williamsport, PA!
The action starts @ 4:00 pm, Doors open @ 3:30 pm!
-- Great North Wrestling TV show up herewith Honky Tonk Man on commentary, who was apparently pretty entertaining.
-- New I Believe in Wrestling in Orlando this Saturday. Info is up here.
-- Over the Top Radio with Bushwhacker Luke here