FRIDAY UPDATE: Big weekend ahead, UFC Japan, New FCW champ, Austin Aries speaks out, famous felines
Friday, 24 February 2012 14:43
By Bryan Alvarez |
The Lead: UFC Japan highlights packed weekend
We're looking for reports from last night's Smackdown show in Honduras and from the following shows happening tonight:
- Raw: Staples Center (Los Angeles)
- Smackdown: Panama City
- TNA: Upper Marlboro, MD, at the Show Place Arena. Card is Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy, James Storm vs. Bully Ray, A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels, Gail Kim & Angelina Love vs. Velvet Sky & Mickie James, Samoa Joe & Magnus vs. Matt Morgan & Crimson, Austin Aries vs. Alex Shelley, Robbie E & Robbie T vs. Eric Young & ODB.
As always, send reports to
Also tonight is the Legacy Fighting Championships from Houston on HDNet at 10 p.m.
- Rashon Lewis vs. Alex Morono
- Carson Beebe vs. Tim Snyder
- Jon Harris vs. Chidi Njokuani
- Rey Trujillo vs. Munil Adriano
- Gerald Harris vs. Eric Davis
- Pat Audinwood vs. Justin Reiswerg
The big show of the weekend is UFC 144 from Saitama, Japan:
Issei Tamura vs. Tiequan Zhang (Facebook at 7:30 PM)
FX at 8 PM EST
- Takeya Mizugaki vs. Chris Cariaso
- Riki Fukuda vs. Steve Cantwell
- Kid Yamamoto vs. Vaughan Lee
- Takanori Gomi vs. Eiji Mitsuoka
PPV at 10 PM EST
- Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon
- Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski
- Yushin Okami vs. Tim Boetsch
- Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields
- Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo
- Rampage Jackson vs. Ryan Bader
- Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson for UFC lightweight title
Saturday also has Raw from Ontario, CA, Smackdown from Guatemala City and TNA in Hagerstown, MD, while Sunday has Raw from Eugene, OR, and TNA in Charlottesville, VA. This Week's Observer: Road To Wrestlemania, Next Year's Event, Chamber Happenings
Monday has the live Raw from Portland, OR, featuring The Rock, Undertaker and HHH. TNA Impact also tapes Monday in Orlando. Tuesday has Smackdown and NXT being taped in Seattle with the supposed final NXT episode of the season, plus another Impact taping. There will also be an Impact taping on Wednesday in Orlando for the "go-home" show for Victory Road.
An update on WrestleMania, coverage of the latest twists and turns in the WWE storyline, coverage of the Elimination Chamber show and a look at the biggest drawing cards in wrestling history including top ten by decades and year-by-year dating back more than 100 years are among the lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
We also talk about WrestleMania 29 coming to New Jersey, UFC's first show on Fuel, the second All Together Now show, more notes on the last New Japan PPV show, an update on the Brodus Clay situation, WWE awards, post WrestleMania and more.
The new issue is up on the web site right now, as is a back issue from 1994.
We look at the Mania card so far, as well as updates on where the show is going from here, how the idea of this year's Mania has changed and why, more on Shaquille O'Neal, Rock vs. Cena build, booking of Cena, the injury fallout of the Raw Battle Royal, why there was a Battle Royal, as well as complete coverage of the Chamber show. We've got match-by-match coverage with star ratings as well as poll results from the show.
We also look at WrestleMania coming to New Jersey next year, the possibility of WrestleMania 30 in Madison Square Garden, how the concept of WrestleMania has changed in recent years, a look at why this is the riskiest Mania show ever, as well as a look at the history of major outdoor shows in the New York market, dating back to Roosevelt Stadium and Shea Stadium events of the 60s and 70s.
We also look at UFC's first major full card on Fuel. We look at the Jake Ellenberger vs. Diego Sanchez main event and how that impacts the lightweight division, three rounds vs. five rounds, the first Ellenberger vs. Carlos Condit fight, what the ratings meant, how Spike's counter programming did and match-by-match coverage.
We also have more on Dwayne Johnson's upcoming projects, updates on Journey 2 at the box office, C.M. Punk vs. Chris Brown, new WWE movies, injury updates, WWE draft, another WWE arrest, perceptions about a guy not working a full schedule due to frequent injuries and comparing how full his schedule really has been compared to sacred cows who get no flack, return of Wrestlefest, lots of WWE awards, Batista talks more about returning, why Kharma hasn't been on television, post-Mania shows, Trish Stratus talks Mania, lots of new signees, pop culture quiz with WWE stars and WWE wrestler wins national championship in another sport.
We also have a look at the biggest drawing cards in the history of pro wrestling. First, we look at who the biggest consistent over the course of the decade drawing cards were for pro wrestling for every decade of its major existence. Who is the only man in history who was the biggest drawing card in pro wrestling over two straight decades. Who was the only person to be the most consistent draw of their decade for the course of the decade who mostly wrestled outside the U.S? Who are the biggest drawing cards in history who are not in the Hall of Fame?
We also look back at forgotten historical names and where they stand, as well as a look at how the top draws of some periods are all in the Hall of Fame, yet the modern wrestlers are having a tougher time getting in, as well as why.
We look at what wrestlers broke all-time records for big show drawing over the course of the year, dating back to the original records of Jim Londos. We look at how Rock and Steve Austin completely differ from the legendary draws like Londos, Bill Longson, Bruno Sammartino, Rocca and others. We look at what wrestler was the biggest draw of his time period without ever winning the world heavyweight title.
We look at what wrestlers had the longest tenure of being major draws. We look at who actually had the biggest drawing year in history, as well as the top draw each year dating back 100 years. We also look at what wrestler was the biggest draw in the world for the most years, and the answer isn't Bruno Sammartino or Hulk Hogan. We also look at what four active wrestlers have had multiple years of being the biggest drawing card in the business, as well as what modern wrestlers seemingly have already cracked Hall of Fame threshold numbers. About The Observer
The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
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 and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe. Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world. Everywhere from Wall Street to the major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.
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We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week. We also have how every segment on 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.
We also hit on the following:
--CMLL builds its first major match of the year
--Two title changes in CMLL
--First week of latest Arena Mexico championship tournament
--CMLL competing with AAA's next major show
--Top wrestling star sentenced to 15 years in jail and why
--Raven and Tommy Dreamer in an ECW vs. Mexico main event
--Update on Dragon Gate WrestleMania shows
--A show worth going out of your way to see
--Upcoming All Japan major matches including a match of two legends for the first time highlights the early part of the year
--More changes being talked about in New Japan including a big one
--G-1 Climax tournament plans and how that relates to WWE's Japan plans
--Late 90s legends from another sport square off for pro wrestling world title
--Latest star from another sport being given a big push in his pro wrestling debut
--Another famous MMA star goes into pro wrestling
--The end of the SMASH promotion featuring two former WWE stars going at it in the main event
--Rex King is still alive and details of his career and what happened
--Stars from Mexico and former WWE stars converge for some major arena house shows in the U.S. next month
--A 25-year-vet announces immediate retirement, canceling all future bookings
--What ever happened to the original network representative character
--WrestleReunion on WrestleMania weekend
--Retired 63-year-old legend coming back for one last match
--Former WWE television announcer gets suspended from his new job
--Sinclair Broadcasting plans and how this relates to ROH television coverage
--More ROH upcoming iPPV bouts as well as coverage of its most recent show
--Update on Jesse Sorensen
--PPV numbers updated
--Changes in TNA with Vince Russo gone and what the atmosphere is like
--Kurt Angle with more realistic approach to trying out for the Olympics
--Why nobody is taking Angle seriously, including those closest to him
--Update on Ring Ka King, latest numbers and notes on the weekend shows
--Upcoming movies with TNA wrestlers
--Former TNA wrestler gets married
--TNA star does angle on the road with star of the WCW glory years
--A look at the TNA weekend house shows
--Notes on UFC 144
--Advance ticket sales to all the major upcoming UFC shows
--Update on Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen and why it may not be held at a stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil after all
--More on the return to Zuffa of Nate Marquardt
--UFC looking at heavily promoting Tate vs. Rousey
--Lorenzo Fertitta bids $1.1 million for sports collectible
--Update on the health of King Mo
--How UFC's audience average on Versus compared with car racing and the NHL
--Lots of new UFC fights announced
--Lots of former UFC names on indie scene including a rematch of a UFC championship
--Former champion pro wrestler at 45 does MMA fight against the daughter of a famous celebrity
--50-year old former UFC heavyweight champion coming out of retirement
--All women's promotion announces its debutThe Most Popular Observers Ever
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue.
Our most requested issues in our history are:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund, Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
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*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
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*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
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*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
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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.
Friday News & Links
-- Here's a story about the Rock being in talks to play HERCULES in an upcoming film.
-- If you want kayfabe t-shirts that are actually being sold by WWE.com ("HEEL", "JOBBER", "I GOT HEAT", etc.), click here. Kind of bizarre.
-- Amazon Pulls Thousands of E-Books in Dispute. This affects a number of pro wrestling books, including Death of WCW which at this point is no longer available for purchase as a Kindle e-book. You can still buy it at brick-and-mortar bookstores or you can get it through Barnes and Noble's website. A complete list of affected wrestling books is up here and a complete list of MMA books is up here (which, interestingly, lists Death of WCW as well). A statement from ECW Press along with information about how you can still get digital copies of the books is up here.
-- Seth Rollins, the former Tyler Black, is the new FCW Heavyweight Champion after last night's TV tapings.
-- WWE.com has a phone interview here with Shawn Michaels talking the HHH/Undertaker feud and whether Hunter is better than Shawn. HBK is great here.
-- Austin Aries on Twitter after Impact: I guess "I'm done" is code for "I'm booking myself in another PPV main event". Yet the X-Division champ can't sniff a main event... #Shocker
-- FORBES looks at THE IRON SHEIK ON TWITTER here. The mind boggles. It's quite the wacky Twitter, that's for sure, and supposedly it's really Sheiky Baby.
-- Rey Mysterio will be in Detroit signing autographs at Autorama inside Cobo Center this weekend and he phoned in to chat about meeting his many fans, when he'll be back from injury, Wrestlemania 28, Vickie Guerrero and more. Listen to it here.
-- Charly Manson update from Kris Zellner: Sobre el Ring reported earlier this week that Charly Manson was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the assault on two police officers last year.
-- For those who listened to yesterday's Dr. Lucha show, the mystery man who returned to AAA last night was, in fact, JUVENTUD GUERRERA. A juicy night had by all.
-- Dana White talks UFC in Japan here.
-- There is an article in Broadcasting and Cable about how UFC has turned to Levels Beyond's Reach Engine platform to manage its entire worldwide video production workflow. Through FUEL they are planning on expanding their original programming from 90 hours in 2011 to about 350 hours this year. THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY HOURS. Meanwhile, WWE is working on Legend's House for a Network that no longer has anything resembling a start date.
-- After the last one was hacked, the new NWA Facebook page is up here.
-- Some DGUSA notes: Ref Jason Harding, who has been with DGUSA/EVOLVE for a couple of years, has signed with WWE and is going to FCW. Tickets went on sale today for the 3/29 DGUSA show in Hollywood, FL, or 267-519-9744. This show will feature CZW death matches as a unique attraction. It is the only show CZW will be involved with on the triple shot.
Ricochet was also named today as the first member of CIMA's team for the annual WrestleMania weekend six man tag team match on 3/31 in Miami. The members of the other team are being picked by Akira Tozawa. They are doing an angle where the participants on each team are named throughout the weekend.
-- There is a 1977 World Class booking calendar up here. Pretty cool historical document.
-- Shark Boy interview here.
-- Chris Daniels talks his latest role in TNA and more here.
-- New Jack cuts a NSFW promo on Shane Douglas here. The dude can talk.
-- UFC Champ Rich Franklin Joins Jon Anik and Ariel Helwani for UFC on FUEL weigh-ins this weekend and Jay Glazer for the post-fight shows.
-- Marius Zaromskis of DREAM and Strikeforce has signed with Bellator.
-- What are your plans for Saturday?
Watching UFC at home on PPV 18.3%
Watching UFC at home via illegal stream 15.9%
Watching at someone else's home 9.1%
Not watching because I don't like the show overall 9.8%
Not watching because of other plans 9.5%
Not watching because the main event is going on so late 5.2%
Not watching because I don't like the main event 4.9%
Not watching because I don't watch UFC PPVs 27.4%
How many buys do you expect UFC 144 to get?
Less than 175,000 23.5%
More than 376,000 6.1%
Who do you expect to win this fight?
Jake Shields 74.4%
Yoshihiro Akiyama 25.6%
Who do you expect to win this fight?
Frankie Edgar 54.8%
Ben Henderson 45.2%
-- My cats are famous.
-- A new episode of MLW Radio featuring the legendary JJ Dillon is now available online and on iTunes by searching MLW RADIO. In part one of this two part conversation, Dillon talks about how he found out he was being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, the legacy of the Four Horsemen, being on the road with Ric Flair, working with Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson behind the scenes in the WWF, bringing Jerry Jarrett to the WWF and more. Dillon also offers his thoughts on Triple H, WWE's future after Vince McMahon steps down, what it was like in the company during Vince's trial, as well as his thoughts on the Stomper, growing up watching the Graham brothers at the Garden in the 1950s and more.
-- Former NWA Women's Champion Malia Hosaka comments briefly on her retirement after twenty five years in the wrestling business. Hosaka talks about changing careers, her final match, staying active in the business, what she will miss most about wrestling, opponents she didn't face, and what would have been her final match against Mickie James.
-- Ed, Craig and Cutrer talk CAR ANGLES in wrestling tonight here.