TUESDAY UPDATE: More on FCW, Tito Ortiz retirement fight, new Mania superstars, Lord Tensai comedy, Tami Magnett, Bellator ratings, more Shane Douglas, tons more



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We're looking for your thoughts on Sunday night's TNA PPV, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

We're also looking for reports from tonight's Smackdown show in Newark, NJ as well as tonight's Impact tapings in Orlando.  Announced locally for the show, and this is likely dark matches, are John Cena vs. Kane in a cage match and a street fight with C.M. Punk & Sheamus & Randy Orton & Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan & Cody Rhodes & Dolph Ziggler & Mark Henry.  The TV main event advertised is Bryan & The Miz vs. Punk & Sheamus, so that may take the place of the street fight. 

We're also looking for reports on Thursday night TNA house show in Biloxi and last night's TNA house show in Pensacola.

This Week's Observer: Wrestlemania Nears, Cro Cop Retires, WWE Developmental Updates

The latest WrestleMania update, as well as a look in depth at the Friday night wars week one, along with features on WWE developmental and a career look at Mirko Cro Cop are among the lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

The issue is up on the site today along with a back issue from early 1995 also up on the site this week,

The lead story updates the lineup for WrestleMania, where every major star is figured in, looking at how the show looks on paper as well as the business of the show.  We look at the drawing power of Rock vs. Cena and Undertaker vs. HHH as the main matches, what ratings and ticket sales say and thoughts of the show as a whole.

We also look at what week one of the Friday night wars showed, looking at the ratings and the ratings pattern of The Ultimate Fighter debut, Spike's Ultimate Fighter rerun notes, as well as Bellator's season opener with a championship match all battling the incumbent Smackdown.  We look at how things can be spun positively for UFC, but the one stat that was significant and is not a positive, and what can be learned from it.  We also look at the different audience breakdown for UFC and WWE on Fridays, as well as what value, if there is any, of going live as well as the disadvantages of going live.      

We also have a feature on the WWE developmental system in Florida, looking at the top stars that have come out of it over the past decade, OVW vs. FCW, why OVW no longer exists in a relationship with WWE, why the glory days of OVW can't be brought back so easily, HHH's first major move as the head of the developmental system, and a scouting report on some of the key wrestlers in the system today.                    

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 look at changes in how WWE is doing house shows following up on notes we had on the subject a few weeks ago.  We also look at changes in PPV plans for post-WrestleMania including a match scheduled for Mania that has been set for post-Mania and changed once again.  We have notes on the wealth of Vince McMahon based on filings by Linda McMahon in her senatorial run.  We also look at major names who are supporting her and how much money she has spent so far on the new campaign.

We've got more business notes regarding Dwayne Johnson, as well as Edge talking about the final days of his career and what he did or didn't know going into last year's WrestleMania.  We also look at two very different names WWE has just signed and will be coming in next week, as well as someone on he verge of signing.  We've got more on plans for WrestleMania week, as well as business notes from all the weekend house shows and highlights of what was done at those shows.

We also look back on the glory days of Japanese MMA with a story on Mirko Cro Cop.  We look at the real story of how Cro Cop because such a popular star in Japan, and how pro wrestling plays a part in it, as well as Cro Cop's matches with famous pro wrestlers and the thoughts of why the Cro Cop vs. Yuji Nagata match took place and how devastating it was for pro wrestling and Nagata at the time.\

We also look at why Cro Cop never had success in the UFC, as well as a look back at how big a deal it was when he made the jump, and the real reasons UFC was able to put the deal together and why it signalled so much more in the grand scheme of things.

We also look at how Cro Cop got so popular and his chase and the build to the ultimate MMA match of its era, Fedor vs. Cro Cop in 2005.

We also have a report on the fighters who made it into the house for Ultimate Fighter coming off the live show on Friday night.

We also have an obituary feature on California wrestling mainstay Woody Farmer, who wrestled in the area for nearly 50 years.  We look at his background, how he got started in wrestling, the three generations of Farmers in wrestling and the sad story about why he always hated his birthday and Christmas.

We also have our in-depth look at the ratings of the national shows, including how every segment of Raw and Impact did, what gained in audience, and what lost in audience.

We also have our weekly features with the results from the major events held around the world over the past week, as well as reviews of the major television shows.

Also in this week's issue:

--Major promotion booking change

--AAA's last TV leading into Rey de Reyes

--Update on Dragon Gate USA on iPPV

--All Japan's first Sumo Hall show of the year preview including a Hall of Fame candidate wrestling in his first cage match of his career

--Late change to Pro Wrestling NOAH's main event title match

--Thoughts on Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada and their role in New Japan going forward

--IWGP champion vs. ROH champion

--Hall of Fame candidate announces his first match in more than 10 years, and the date of it

--Ultimo Dragon's 25th anniversary match

--Big Van Vader returns to wrestle in Japan

--Death of legendary referee Dick Woehrle and his role in the WWWF and WWF, as well as with other promotions, and how he got started in pro wrestling

--More on Paul Orndorff's battle with cancer

--Latest ECW reunion and who is and isn't going to be involved

--A look at the death of a famous Southern referee, Tommy Weathers

--More about the situation involving Chavo Guerrero Sr. in a match in Illinois this past week that was so strange

--Bill O'Reilly talks Jesse Ventura's incident over the alleged bar fight a few years ago

--Numbers from the last ROH iPPV show

--Latest on WrestleMania weekend ROH shows

--Kurt Angle gives a realistic look at his training and chances regarding the Olympics

--When he will be wrestling if he does the trials

--Lots of new stuff regarding Hulk Hogan sex tape

--Updates on Victory Road and an injury note

--Update on Ring Ka King

--Vince Russo marketing himself for seminars

--More on Eric Bischoff and Jeremy Borash

--Notes on the weekend TNA house shows

--Who is TNA's difference maker when it comes to house shows

--Business numbers from the last several UFC and Strikeforce shows

--What notable mark did Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate achieve

--How their match drew compared to the semifinal on the show

--Update on Miesha Tate's injuries

--Rampage Jackson's latest meltdown

--Jackson's last UFC match, and a look at what he said

--UFC's night of heavyweights update

--Health of Cain Velasquez update

--Nick Diaz and his legal case challenging his suspension

--More on UFC threatening to go after individuals who stream their PPV shows

--Update on UFC regulation plans

--Frankie Edgar talks future

--An interesting name tosses his hat in the ring for Jose Aldo Jr.

--Notes on UFC's promotion of the next two major PPV shows

--Speculation abounds regarding Gilbert Melendez's next opponent

--Two of UFC's most impressive young fighters and their next PPV match

--A UFC show where the lineup on FX may be better than that on the PPV as far as exciting fights

--A suspension of a UFC fighter that got no publicity and why

--A number of new UFC fights signed

--Rundown of the Bellator season opener

--Thoughts on the Joe Warren stoppage and his condition after the fight

Tuesday's News, Notes and Links

-- We've got a great interview with Nigel McGuinness up on the front page right now talking the end of his wrestling career, what happened with TNA and ROH, best and worst memories and more. The Kickstarter page for his upcoming documentary is up here and there is still plenty of time left to pledge. It's a great show, so make sure to check it out...another great reason to be a member!

-- Latest on FCW is that the company is claiming nothing is going on and that they're only canceling the TV. Why they would cancel the TV of their only developmental group is a question still to be answered. Here's what we reported Monday.

-- Cody Rhodes will be doing a meet and greet and autograph signing at the FCW show at the Orlando Armory tomorrow night.

-- Tito Ortiz says he's facing Forrest Griffin on July 7th at the UFC show during our annual convention weekend and he is teasing it will be his retirement match. The match will be their third, with the main event of the show the third fight between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.

-- As noted on Raw last night, Flo Rida and Machine Gun Kelly will be performing the entrances of John Cena and The Rock at 'Mania this year.

-- Lord Tensai ended up all over Japanese social media last night after the promo aired on Raw. What's funny is nearly everyone thought the videos were for KENSO (the former Kenzo Suzuki).

-- Want to send out condolences to the friends and family of Tami Magnett, wife of long-time Northwest wrestler Ritchie Magnett, who passed away in her sleep yesterday. Tami was the nicest woman. Buddy Wayne, Vinny, Matt Farmer and I (along with many others) would often stop by the house whenever there were shows in Portland and she'd always make the best meals, offering us the house if we needed to stay over for the night. There were many shows, and this is no joke, where I would have been just as happy, maybe more happy, sitting in the crowd laughing with her than actually being in the ring working. She was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed by all of us, and continued best wishes to Ritchie during this time.

-- Interview with Kevin Nash here where he talks about WWE, HHH, CM Punk, and, well, doesn't sound like he's all for sticking with his self-imposed retirement plan.

-- Bellator on Friday did just 108,000 viewers, the second worst in their history, coming on the heels of TUF dropping a quarter million viewers from last week's low debut number. Friday nights are a disaster for everyone other than WWE, and quite frankly Smackdown would probably do better numbers on Thursday night as well.

-- RVD is returning to TNA this weekend according to house show lineups. There was never a problem with him, but they just appear to be doing a deal where they rotate talent in and out, and this was an out period for him.

-- Shane Douglas has a Youshoot out today here. The description: "The Franchise" Shane Douglas found himself in the grips of perscription medication, and as it began to become more and more noticable to his family he knew he had to attack it head-on. His decision came while working for Dixie Carter and TNA, who seemed initially supportive. Douglas is one of scores of wrestlers who found themselves battling pills, and unlike many Shane doesn't turn his crosshairs on the business, promoters' demands, or doctors. Instead, Shane Douglas reserves a very potent fury for the pharmaceutical industry and their accused boondoggling of doctors and patients. into believing Oxycontin was a harmless, miracle drug. He unloads on the specific makers of the drug and the industry in general in this "YouShoot." Beyond the serious moments like this and education (his, as well as "state-of," general), you also have the more light-hearted topics that have become the staple of the uncensored and unpredictable shoot-DVD series produced by Kayfabe Commentaries. Shane Douglas is treated to the games you're familiar with as well as some news ones catering specifically to him, like "The Dean's Report Card," wherein he grades pro wrestlers in multiple categories.

-- Chael Sonnen and Matt Hughes are guests on UFC Tonight on FUEL this evening. Hughes talks whether he's looking to retire.

-- Rashad Evans will be on MMA Uncensored Live on Spike this Thursday, and they'll also tackle TRT.

-- This Saturday, March 24th, ROH Champion Davey Richards and wrestling veteran Tony Kozina (multiple time NWA Jr. World Champion) are going to hold a wrestling seminar. They'll work with you in the ring and talk about the ins and outs of wrestling. This is a once in a lifetime experience for the people in the area. March 24th, Saturday at 10 a.m. Stephen Platinum will be there at 9 a.m. Place: Academy Theater, home of the EMPIRE/PCW Friday night shows, 119 Center Street, Avondale Estates, Georgia 30002. $25 if you are an active wrestler, $50 if you are a fan or someone looking to break in to wrestling. Stephen Platinum will be on hand if you want to start training at the wrestling academy connected to Platinum Championship Wrestling. Call 404-217-9849 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to reserve your place! Space is very limited to make sure that everyone gets ring time and individualized attention.

-- Takao Omori & Manabu Soya beat Dark Ozz & Dark Cuervo to win the tag titles at today's All Japan show at Sumo Hall. Thanks to Andrew.

-- Jim writes: "The Golden State Warriors had ceremony last night to honor Chris Mullen, a former player. When the team's owner tried to speak to the crowd, the drowned him out with boos since he just traded a fan favorite. Afterwards, different participants in the ceremony were interviewed, and Tom Tolbert compared the reaction to Hollywood Hogan. Link below, and the reference is about halfway down in the article."

-- East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA) LIVE! 16th Annual SUPER 8 Tournament Sat, Apr 7th, 2012 Greater Newark Boys' & Girls' Club 109 Glasgow Drive, Rt. 40 & #1 Positive Place Newark, DE 19702 . Doors Open: 6:00 PM. Bell Time: 7:00 PM. All ECWA events are FAMILY FRIENDLY! TICKETS AVAILABLE IN ADVANCE, VIA PAY PAL & AT THE DOOR. For info and reserved seating call (609) 220-5598, buy tix here or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

-- Bret Hart talks Natalya's latest gimmick and more here. He says it's a test. I'll say.

-- What April match is the biggest to you?
Rock vs. Cena 52.9%
Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans 14.4%
Undertaker vs. HHH 13.3%
Punk vs. Jericho 12.1%
Bryan vs. Sheamus 2.7%
Roode vs. Storm 2.4%
Hogan & Garett Bischoff vs. Eric Bischoff & Gunner 1.6%
Eddie Alvarez vs. Shinya Aoki 0.7%

Who do you expect to grow the most in star power this year?
Ronda Rousey 30.5%
Daniel Bryan 26.4%
Dolph Ziggler 22.2%
Kazuchika Okada 11.6%
James Storm 4.9%
Rory MacDonald 2.4%
Renan Barao 2.0%

Do you believe Kurt Angle will wrestle next month in the Olympic trials?
Yes 72.4%
No 27.6%

What company do you expect will have the best match over Mania weekend?
WWE 70.9%
ROH 15.8%
Dragon Gate 13.2%

-- Over the Top Radio talking the WWE Hall of Fame here.

-- Adam Pearce featured in the Sun Sentinel newspaper here.

-- Greg Oliver has a wonderful article on the last Doug Furnas here.

-- Chris Daniels talks Hulk Hogan, wrestling and a love of comic books here.