SAT UPDATE: Latest on Diaz, Joe Hennig on his father, another live Smackdown, Bret's DNA AS OLD AS TIME, Del Rio buries the Miz, Rock movie update, tons more



By Bryan Alvarez | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Lead

We're looking for reports on the WWE house shows in Abu Dhabi, in particular the Thursday show as well as tonight's show, along with the TNA house show last night in Norfolk. The Smackdown crew runs tonight at the Cow Palace in San Francisco with Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show, Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett in a cage match, Sheamus vs. the returning Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes vs. Booker T. They also have a show on Sunday in Bakersfield.

Sunday has two major PPVs.

TNA's Against All Odds from Orlando, Florida:

- Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray vs. James Storm for the TNA title with Sting as the outside the ring enforcer
- Matt Morgan & Crimson vs. Samoa Joe & Magnus for the tag title
- A.J. Styles vs. Kazarian
- Gunner vs. Garett Bischoff with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan in the respective corners
- Austin Aries vs. Alex Shelley for the X Division title
- Gail Kim vs. Tara for the Knockouts title
- Jesse Sorensen vs. Zema Ion

New Japan from Osaka, Japan

- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP heavyweight title
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tetsuya Naito
- Masato Tanaka vs. Hirooki Goto for the IC title
- Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson for IWGP heavyweight tag title
- Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue & Tiger Mask & Kushida vs. Minoru Suzuki & Yoshihiro Takayama & Lance Archer & Taka Michinoku & Taichi in an elimination match
- Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Davey Richards & Rocky Romero for IWGP jr. tag titles

Monday will be the live Raw from San Diego featuring the return of Shawn Michaels.  There will also be an Impact taping in Orlando. Tuesday has the Smackdown & NXT tapings in Fresno and the Impact tapings in Orlando.

This Week's Observer: Awards Issue


A note that if you order a new print or web site subscription to the Observer this week, you will get one of our biggest issues of the year, the 2011 awards double issue.

A look at WWE & TNA business from August to the present with monthly business charts, looking at attendance, ratings and PPV for those months is the lead item in this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

We also have a look at the total audience watching Raw, Smackdown and Impact over the past three years with the ups and downs by months and notes on the direction of all three shows including current perception that may be misleading.  We look at what categories are doing fine and what are struggling, as well as look at the difference between ratings and viewers, Smackdown on Syfy vs. Smackdown on MyNetwork, what Vince McMahon said about the switch at the time and what has come to fruition after the change was made.

We also look at the Monday Night Wars of 2010 as well as interesting notes on TNA in 2009 vs. TNA in 2010 and 2011.

We look at how WWE attendance has varied over the past 20 years, including what period really was the dark ages for WWE and where things stand historically right now.

We also have a look at the aftermath of Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz.  We look at the fight, the judging of the fight, the booking after the fight and all the confusion.  We look at the stats and the judges scorecards, as well as notes on the other controversial decisions at UFC 143.

We also look at if the business was positive or negative on the show.  We also look at the PPV buying patterns, Fabricio Werdum, the future of Ryo Nelson, the luck of Josh Koscheck as well as match by match coverage, how much everyone earned on the show.

We also have an update on the Japanese wrestling scene, with updates on New Japan under new ownership, the struggles of Pro Wrestling NOAH and the state of women's pro wrestling in Japan.

We look at what new New Japan owner Takaaki Kidami talked about regarding the future of the promotion, what will stay the same and what they are looking a changing, as well as how viable these things are today, including new audiences being looked at reaching and the television situation.  We also look at the international opportunities if they even exist.

Kidami also look at what part of the wrestling year he most looked forward to growing up, how he wants to bring that back to Japan, and what the problems are with the current realities of the business in doing so.

We also look at problems with Pro Wrestling NOAH and a shady situation that has gotten some publicity, as well as what has happened with women's wrestling in Japan and the state of it today.

We also look at plans for another supercard in Japan, with All Japan, New Japan, NOAH as well as top wrestlers who are both independents and from other companies all getting together for a show in just two weeks.  We look at the lineup of All Together Now II.

We also look back at the career of Mexican headliner MS 1, a major star in the 80s and 90s who passed away a few weeks ago in an auto accident.

We look at the start of his career, the creation of the national trios title and world trios title belts and the history of Los Infernales one of the best known trios of their era.  We look at his feuds and teaming with the other members of the group and many of the biggest matches and programs of his career.

We also look at Dwayne Johnson movie projects, how his next movie hasn't even opened in the U.S. and it's already a hit, talk about a political career, Hulk Hogan's ten best drawing opponents of his career, John Laurinaitis storyline, ratings for Undertaker's brief return, C.M. Punk talks DVD, John Morrison talks leaving WWE, more on Legends House and why it won't be on where you think it will at this point, changes in cable TV, WWE Hall of Fame update, a look at the career of Ron Simmons, Several new WWE signings and cuts, WWE responds to press attacks and what is and isn't fair, WWE injury updates, Miz being yelled at after Raw this week, match edited off television after it was taped, the hard travel schedule for the Raw crew, Miz in a movie, developmental notes, plus weekend business news and highlights from all the weekend house shows.

About The Observer

The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sites and has the most complete look at the business as a whole anywhere.  The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling industry as well as the MMA industry, from bookers, to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest current names, both on camera, and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and 30 countries subscribe. 

Many have subscribed as long as 20 years or more straight. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world and an accuracy from having the most inside sources that can't be found on the web.  Everyone from Wall Street to the major offices to the TV networks in U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today. With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today. Just send your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can order by faxing that information to 408-244-3402. You can also subscribe via paypal at www.paypal.com and using the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it address or subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card, by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.

We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week.  We also have how every segment on Raw and Impact did as far as gaining and losing viewers, as well as who did what in the key segments and who appeals to what. 

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 sets time for its first major show of the year
 
--CMLL new international television deal
 
--Latest from Arena Mexico
 
--Notes from the last AAA taping
 
--A first time ever match between two of the best wrestlers in the world set for Mania weekend in Florida
 
--Notes on a big All Japan show and how it sets up the first Sumo Hall show of 2012 plus the main events for that show, which may do very well
 
--Lots of former WWE stars get together for an overseas event, how did it do, and details on the show
 
--Dave Bautista gets a role in a major movie
 
--The possible final public appearance in conjunction with pro wrestling outside of the Pittsburgh area for Bruno Sammartino
 
--Anniversary of the death of one of the biggest stars of the early 80s
 
--Update on Matt Hardy legal issues
 
--Remake of a well received DVD documentary
 
--Sons of former WWE star playing college football
 
--Notes on the Lou Thesz Hall of Fame ceremony for 2012
 
--Legend recovering from ankle replacement surgery
 
--Details on ROH TV tapings as well as the big matches for the next three iPPV shows
 
--Sting's injury update
 
--Why Impact ratings are likely to go down in 2012
 
--Notes on Ring Ka King ratings
 
--Notes on the television shows and native talent
 
--Notes on weekend TNA house shows
 
--Lots of UFC business notes
 
--Update on many upcoming UFC shows including the next show on FOX and plans for the show after that no FOX
 
--Why the next show on FOX has concerns
 
--A look at some of the major fights on the agendas for the next few months
 
--Dan Henderson talks his short-term future
 
--Update on B.J. Penn
 
--Another UFC show where the main event falls out
 
--Lots of new UFC matches
 
--The UFC's twitter bonuses
 
--Injury issues at Team AKA
 
--Notes on the next Strikeforce show
 
--UFC cut
 
--Notes on the next live UFC event and how UFC may beat the next UFC's live event head-to-head, and in fact, it would be expected to happen
 
--Brother of UFC star listed as one of the top prospects in the upcoming NFL draft
 
--Chael Sonnen and his weight
 
--Jon Jones and moving to heavyweight
 
--Bellator's welterweight tournament
 
--Rulon Gardner's attempt to make the 2012 Olympic team and his weight issues
 
   
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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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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.
 
 



Saturday's News & Links

-- It appears the Diaz brothers are now trying to claim on Twitter that Carlos Condit only agreed to a rematch after he knew that Diaz was going to fail for marijuana, meaning he never intended to do the rematch in the first place. From everything I know, that's not the case but that's their story.

-- Tweets from Joe Hennig about his father:

"February 10th. A day I just can't forget... My dad, my best friend... He past away 9 years ago... I miss u dad. I miss u so much! I love you.Dear Dad. Hey man. I'm doin the bst I can. I doin everything you told me to do. I'm not supposed to cry but I can't help it. I'm tired of sitting on the sidelines. My name is Joe Hennig. And I'm the past, present and future.Today, I dont give a damn what u call me. Michael McGillicutty. I am Joe Hennig and I am apart of the greatest wrestling legacy of all time.I miss u Dad. And from here on out, I'm taking over! I love u daddy. RIP Curt Hennig"

-- Mikey Whipwreck is working hard to raise $500 for the March of Dimes. Anyone willing to help can do so by visiting this page. Every little bit helps.

-- Bret Hart's DNA traced back to THE DAWN OF TIME. Article is here. Bret is starting to look facially a lot like this father.

-- As noted a few days ago, the February 21st Smackdown will be airing live. That's a Tuesday, so it will replay in its normal time slot on Friday.

-- Alberto Del Rio is no fan of the Miz.

-- Derek writes:

"If you didn't hear it, I was in the middle of picking up my son from practice yesterday and caught (Alberto) Del Rio on Razor & Mr. T in progress but I think I caught most of it. It was clear during the build up that while Tom (co host Tom Tolbert) has very good knowledge from the Hogan-Orndorff-Piper era, he's rusty on the current and didn't know much about Del Rio going in. Del Rio was in studio, was not in character, and came off extremely well. Tom is familiar with the industry so could feed him good questions. Afterwards, they marveled how unbrute-like he was and how athletic his appearance was. This launched a bunch of post interview callers who wanted to talk wrestling.

Tom told a story of going to see a show in Oakland while he and teammate Chris Mullen were playing for the Warriors. They took a teammate's son because he didn't want to go and they were leaving through the entrance to the players' parking lot when they came across Bobby Heenan talking to the Bushwackers presumably going over their pending finish. Bobby Heenan, who Tom thinks is a god, told them what are you guys doing back here? They replied that they played there and this was their gym. Heenan replied, "Not tonight, you don't." He said Mullen replied something like blow me or eat me or bite me. As told by Tom, it was really funny. Ralph added his current knowledge by asking," Wasn't there a big guy named Haystacks Calhoun?"

-- The Rock's Journey 2: Mysterious Island 3D is estimated to pull in $21 million this weekend.

-- Brian Fritz has video interviews with Tara here and Crimson here.

-- There is a preview video for Urban Wrestling Federation's RUTHLESS REVENGE here.

-- Jim Ross talks Curt Hennig and more here.

-- What are your plans for Sunday?
Watching TNA at home on PPV 7.8%
Watching TNA at a friends house on PPV 0.9%
Watching TNA via illegal stream 9.7%
Not watching due to a schedule conflict 6.9%
Not watching because show doesn't appeal to me 25.8%
Not watching because I don't watch TNA 48.8%

What is the best promotion right now?
UFC 38.6%
WWE 26.1%
New Japan 8.3%
ROH 8.3%
CHIKARA 6.2%
Dragon Gate 4.1%
PWG 3.7%
All Japan 1.2%
AAA 1.2%
CMLL 0.8%
NOAH 0.8%
Bellator 0.4%

What was the best pro wrestling match of 2011?
Cena vs. Punk 7/17 Chicago 62.7%
HHH vs. Undertaker 4/3 Atlanta 15.0%
Edwards vs. Richards 6/26 New York 9.4%
Steen vs. Generico 12/18/10 New York 3.4%
Averno vs. Sombra 9/26 Mexico City 3.4%
Tanahashi vs. Nagata 4/3 Tokyo 2.8%
Tanahashi vs. Naito 10/10 Tokyo 1.3%
Akiyama vs. Suwama 10/23 Tokyo 0.9%
Taguchi vs. Ibushi 6/10 'Tokyo 0.9%

What did you think of Impact this week?
Excellent 18.2%
Good 37.5%
Average 22.7%
Fair 4.5%
Poor 17.0%
44.3% of those responding didn't see the show

-- From Steve Martin's Twitter: "Surprising trusting wife with wrestling tickets for Valentine’s Day. Can’t wait to see the look on her face."

-- From Chikara: "At the start of Season 11, we promised more of the CHIKARA content you love - and some new stuff to boot! Like our brand new web comic, which has just kicked off! A new page in "The Secret Origin of Frightmare" by writer Joey Esposito and artist Alex Cormack publishes every single Friday here."

-- For the upcoming Lucha Libre USA show in Stockton, radio for the show advertises it as "AAA vs. WWE", whatever that means. Probably won't bill it as that for long.

-- Adam Pearce has issued a statement about the upcoming Battle of the Belts show here.

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If you live in the U.S. and have the WWE network, how did you watch Mania?

 

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