TUES UPDATE: Tons from Raw, more on Evan Bourne, Jim Ross, Miz and Truth greatness you didn't see, former WWE star backstage, terrible UFC rating, tons more
By Bryan Alvarez
We're looking for your thoughts on Saturday night's UFC 137 PPV show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
Smackdown and NXT are taped tonight in Greenville, SC.
WWE, which had no weekend house shows, returns to Europe on Wednesday for a two week tour. Raw opens Wednesday night in Dublin, Ireland. Thursday has Raw in Nantes, France and Smackdown in Bilbao, Spain.
The return of The Rock at Survivor Series is the subject of the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The issue is up on the site today, and a back issue was put on the site yesterday. In addition, our most talked about issue of the year, the Hall of Fame issue is available on the site for web site subscribers, and you can still get the issue with a new print subscription if requested.
We also have a look at the Viacom purchase of Bellator and what it means for U.S. MMA going forward, as well as notes on two different sets of the leading wrestling companies in the world this past week in discussions to further working agreements and why.
Our lead story talks about the angle setting up Rock & John Cena vs. The Miz & R-Truth. We look at how tickets moved for Survivor Series when Rock was announced, as well as what the scalper situation of ticket sales based on anticipating huge demand. We also look at the unique effect the return of Rock has on the popularity of John Cena and why. We look at the match itself, whether Miz & R-Truth are the right opponents, notes on HHH vs. Kevin Nash, thoughts on the HHH angle, title matches and more.
We also look at the Vengeance PPV, including major notes on the show, thoughts on the creative, business notes and match-by-match coverage with star ratings.
We also look at the business of WrestleMania this past year, the value to a city, comparisons with the Super Bowl and Final Four, comparisons to UFC in Toronto and other UFC events, and a breakdown of who bought tickets to WrestleMania and from where. We also note why John Cena gets a different reaction based on different types of shows.
We've got notes on WrestleMania tickets, an update on Gerald Brisco, WWE fires announcer and tries to reprise Michael Cole character into Spanish, updates on the plans for the WWE Network, new positions WWE is looking to hire, a WWE policy change that was changed again bringing comedy to the commentary, Mick Foley's return, former WWE wrestler says he's going into MMA in 2012, update on Batista, lots of names having tryouts for WWE positions last week and why. We also look at the company's feeling on twitter, Heath Slater talks his suspension, Raw Canada numbers as well as what percentage of Raw viewers watch live and not live. We also look at the return of a wrestler that looks to be fairly soon with a new name, Legends roundtable shows filmed, WWE wrestlers working non-WWE stars, and the son of a wrestling legend doing a tryout camp. We also look at post-Christmas WWE lineups including a non-wrestler booked for an angle which at this point hasn't taken place. Plus we've got notes from the lone weekend house show and business notes.
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We also look at the Bellator purchase by Viacom and what that means to the company going forward. We look at the plans for 2013, why this is going to take so long to develop, how this changes thing for Bellator and comparisons made between Bellator and TNA.
We also look at ads aimed at major professionals by both UFC and WWE, what they claim, what is and isn't accurate about claims, the breakdown of who actually watches UFC and WWE on television and more.
We also have a look at All Japan's last major show of the year at Sumo Hall. We look at Jun Akiyama winning the Triple Crown, his background, why historically that result is significant, All Japan plans going forward, and where its business stands.
We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week. We also have a breakdown of Raw and Impact and what segments gained and lost viewers so you can see what segments and personalities people tune in and out from.
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:
--Trying to promote a major wrestling group when the TV is preempted
--Father of a wresting family passes away
--Update on Jushin Liger in Mexico
--Star quits CMLL
--Davey Richards defends the ROH title in Mexico
--Legendary brother team faces former WWE stars
--Updated ratings from Mexico
--Upcoming major shows
--Two reality show ideas that are being talked about in wrestling, one to have a star become the person playing a former top star and another based on Tough Enough
--Update on Dragon Gate USA's next tour
--More on the change in the hierarchy at Pro Wrestling NOAH
--How much money did one of the biggest shows of the year raise for charity
--Thoughts on New Japan's last major show
--Update on the New Japan annual tag team tournament
--Crazy Antonio Inoki statement
--Daughter of wrestling legend and her last Olympic dream
--One night revival of one of the 90s most popular wrestling companies with old stars coming back
--Update on Killer Karl Kox
--Two wrestling shows look to be on their last legs
--More on the ESPN story on Scott Hall
--Update on Travis Tomko after his arrest
--Thoughts on the AWE PPV show
--What former star gets the most money for doing personal appearances nowadays
--Jury convicts several in the murder death of a wrestler a few years back and the sick plot described
--Former pro wrestler says he's going back to amateur this year for Canadian Olympic trials
--More notes on Curtis Iaukea in Australia and the heyday of WCW
--Former Tough Enough personality turns down $50,000 to appear on a reality show and why
--Update on Bruno Sammartino movie
--Several wrestlers talking about doing autobiographies
--Notes on Memphis Heat, the DVD
--A famous wrestler cited in a song
--Wrestler and MMA star together in a movie
--A look at a reunion of wrestles from the Gulas territory
--Story behind a former indie wrestler killed by New York police in a fight
--A lot of where are they nows with 80s and 90s wrestlers
--Notes on the return to the ring of Nigel McGuinness
--Thoughts on ROH booking and the good and bad of the television show
--Lots of new ROH shows
--The push of Garrett Bischoff
--Eric Bischoff behind a new non-wrestling television show for Nick at Nite
--Update on Kurt Angle injuries
--More on latest TNA Jersey Shore angle
--Notes on next TNA PPV show
--Gail Kim talks about her departure from WWE
--Update on Georges St. Pierre's injuries
--More on UFC losses for GSP not fighting
--Notes on UFC going back into theaters for 3-D shows
--Why UFC PPV buyers say they aren't buying recent shows
--Ticket sales for all the upcoming UFC shows
--Update on Feb. 25 UFC plans
--Note on movie "The Hammer" about the life of UFC star Matt Hamill
--UFC donating money to a presidential candidate
--Kenny Florian talks his future
--UFC foes mobilize and jump on former statements
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Notes on the last Bellator show and the bantamweight tournament
--Boxing PPV numbers
--Harrowing weight cutting story
--Bobby Lashley's next MMA fight
--Former MMA names arrested this past week
--Notes on major indie MMA shows with name fighters
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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.
-- Regarding Evan Bourne and his 30-day suspension, I believe he has already been sent home, meaning he and Kofi Kingston will not be losing the tag titles at Smackdown. Why they retained last night is beyond me, and beyond many in the company. It wasn't like they didn't know about the failure before TV. Only thing I can figure is that maybe they are really upset with him and are going to announce the failure publicly on Smackdown and then strip them of the titles. Presumably we'll find out tonight, though of late, it's best not to presume anything with WWE.
-- The JR segment was cut in part because the Muppets were contractually guaranteed to get all of their segments on the show. It wasn't a last minute decision, though, as his segment was eliminated before Raw went live. And unlike what Cole claimed, Ross was in the building.
-- Miz and Truth cut a great promo on Rock last night. Of course, it's WWE in 2011, so instead of airing this promo on Raw they put it on the Internet, and on Raw they had John Cena beat up and lay out both guys like geeks. The promo is up here.
-- As noted on Wrestling Observer Radio last night, there was great concern from some backstage (not the wrestlers, obviously), that nothing from Raw was trending on Twitter last night. Really. In fact, based on what made air, some people were more concerned about Twitter trending than the fact that John Cena singlehandedly beat up both Miz and Truth in the main event.
-- Jim Ross on his Twitter said that Barry Windham is also dealing with issues with his liver. He suffered a massive heart attack last week and is still not out of the woods.
-- Story hereon the FOX/DirecTV settlement.
-- Lita was backstage at Raw visiting.
-- UFC Prelims did an awful number, an 0.8 and 1.1 million viewers. The UFC 136 prelims, which aired a few weeks back, were the only prelims to ever do worse (well, the Ion ones did worse, but those don't count). Bellator also had a miserable night, doing 154,000 viewers on MTV2.
-- Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson has been added to the UFC Brazil show on January 14th in Rio.
-- Statement from the Carlos Condit camp to Inside MMA: "We are obviously disappointed in the UFC’s decision to cancel its commitment with Carlos Condit to give another fighter an opportunity at the welterweight title based on emotional reactions from UFC 137. Contrary to what has been stated, Carlos did not step aside to allow this to happen and would not just hand over an opportunity for him to achieve his greatest career goal, one that he has earned through his strong performances in the octagon. No option was given to him. For the second time in less than two weeks, Carlos has had an opportunity swept out from beneath his feet."
-- Paul Lazenby writes about the Tank Abbott vs. Scott Ferrozzo match here.
-- The Reunion with John Cena, which got blistering negative reviews, is out on DVD November 8th.
-- WWE is planning a SportsCenter-style show for the new WWE Network and they're looking for a name. The five choices that fans can vote on are Power Center, Action Center, Event Center, Live Event Center, and InterAction Center.
-- We have a big interview with UltraMantis Black on Figure Four Daily today talking the Chikara High Noon iPPV on gofightlive.tv November 13th from Philadelphia. It's something else. The company also announced that Eddie Kingston, who is in the main event fighting for the title against Mike Quackenbush, has a knee injury and will know Wednesday whether he'll be able to compete. Quackenbush will be on our show one way or another next Tuesday as well.
-- Chikara is also doing a bus trip from New York City for the show, and you can get more info by emailing
-- Five years ago today Huracan Ramirez passed away at the age of 80. Thanks to Kris Zellner.
-- Sports Byline USA has been added to the Stitcher app, meaning you can now listen to Wrestling Observer Live on it every Sunday at 3 PM Pacific/6 Eastern.
-- FUEL TV (www.fuel.tv) announces the premiere of “Punk Payback” with Bas Rutten this Wednesday, November 2nd at 9:30pm ET / PT. “Punk Payback” stars Bas Rutten, former UFC Heavyweight Champion and three-time King of Pancrase World Champion, teaching FUEL TV viewers how to defend themselves in real life dangerous situations. The series is produced by Brentwood Communications International, Inc.
-- Who was the best pro wrestler to do MMA?
Brock Lesnar 46.9%
Ken Shamrock 13.3%
Jushin Liger 12.0%
Kazushi Sakuraba 11.4%
Bam Bam Bigelow 3.5%
Don Frye 3.3%
Josh Barnett 3.3%
Yuji Nagata 2.4%
Nobuhiko Takada 1.9%
Kensuke Sasaki 1.7%
Minoru Suzuki 0.2%
Masakatsu Funaki 0.2%
I'm at a loss for words
Who should fight Carlos Condit on Feb. 4?
Josh Koscheck 42.9%
Anthony Johnson 29.1%
Jake Shields 20.5%
B.J. Penn 7.5%
What show do you think will do better on PPV?
Survivor Series with Rock 63.8%
UFC 138 Henderson vs. Shogun 36.2%\
Who wins this fight?
St. Pierre 71.7%
-- Review of The Real Rocky on ESPN here.
-- Don Frye being nuts on Inside MMA last night here.
-- Fear Factor with Joe Rogan returns December 12th at 8 PM.
-- This past Sunday on Cartoon Network's "Robot Chicken" they had a skit where Lex Luger could be the newest villain to challenge Superman. You can watch it here.
-- Hogan's latest venture, a supplement site, is up here.
-- The TLC poster features CM Punk and, yes, a WWE ice cream bar.
-- WrestleReunion, which takes place January 27th through 29th in Los Angeles, has yet to finalize their guest list since there are several names they're still attempting to get confirmation from, including on former WWE star. It is believed the list will be finalized within the next two weeks.
-- Roger Huerta vs. War Machine with Phil Baroni on commentary takes place November 26th in Pharr, TX. A video promo is here.
-- W.A.R. WRESTLING Presents FANSGIVING Saturday, November 26th, 2011 At the UAW Hall 1440 Bellefontaine Ave. in Lima, OH Doors open at 6 pm, Bell time at 7 pm $5 Donation for General Admission $10 Donation for Reserved Front Row Seating
-- Friday night November 4th, NWS returns to Middletown, NJ's Thorne Middle School (70 Murphy Road in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown, just off Main Street, minutes from the Parkway and Routes 35 & 36) with a 7:45pm bell time.