TUES UPDATE: Tons from Raw and a look at the week ahead, behind the scenes with Punk, HOF, watch Kimbo KO, awesome list of drug test failure excuses, tons more



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

We're looking for reports from Sunday's Smackdown show in Nashville, Saturday night's Smackdown show in Bowling Green, KY, Friday night's Raw show in Lakeland, FL, as well as Saturday night's TNA show in Indiana, PA and Friday night's TNA show in Elmira, NY.

New Observer Alert: Wrestlemania looms, Developmental issues, sad Friday Night Wars

Between coverage of the build to WrestleMania, WWE developmental, the sad results of week two of the Friday night wars, and coverage of Victory Road, All Japan at Sumo Hall, Rey de Reyes as well as part two on the life of Doug Furnas, we've got a double issue of the Observer out this week.

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

Our lead story runs down the lineup and the promotion of The Rock vs. John Cena match and WrestleMania 28, including notes on the special as well as updates on the show.

We also look at the whole WWE developmental story, how it went down, blow by blow, a look at the FCW history as well as a look back at WWE pulling out of other territories and long-term goals of developmental.  We look at the decision that have been made and experimental tapings that have been done, as well as changes in the current TV structure.

In our feature on Friday night wars part two, looking at Smackdown, Ultimate Fighter, Best of Ultimate Fighter and Bellator, we look at competition, the drop in each show from week one, which show is it worse for and more.

We've also got a look at the Victory Road PPV, looking at what made the show good, what made the show annoying, the Bobby Roode show-ending angle, a look at Lockdown and match-by-match coverage with both star ratings and poll results on the show.

We look at All Japan's biggest event so far in 2012, with the Sumo Hall show headlined by Jun Akiyama vs. Keiji Muto for the Triple Crown, as well as a look at the next Triple Crown match, and notes on the upcoming Champion Carnival tournament.

We also look at next year's WrestleMania, CFO George Barrios talking about company future plans in the TV and movie business as well as talks UFC.  We look at the new WWE movie business strategy, John Cena's car accident, the debut of Lord Tensai and his background and Japanese tenure, a second WWE wrestler says he has gone vegan but won't say it on TV and an update on Ric Flair and the WWE Hall of Fame.

We also look at a new themed PPV, a show that is going to be on a UFC weekend and may suffer for it, Rock's training to get back in wrestling shape, Rock's movie gross, entertainment plans for Mania, Edge talking Hall of Fame and what he had envisioned when he would retire and who he would have been working with this year.  We look at an example of why Undertaker is so respected, as well as Daniel Bryan's road to the world title starting in high school wrestling in his backyard, WWE stock, WWE gets commended by legislature, DVR watching on Raw and does Rock have an effect and more on introducing new characters.  We also look at a WWE star appearing in a foreign movie, notes on more developmental talent and who William Regal says is the best pro wrestler he has ever seen, and it's a name that almost nobody in North America would have ever heard of.  Plus we have notes on all the WWE weekend house shows and business notes.

We also have part two in our look at the life and career of Doug Furnas, talking to his wife, his brother, legendary powerlifter Ed Coan as well as some anecdotes of my own interaction with Furnas during the height of his career in the 90s.  We look at him growing up, college football, powerlifting, WCW, WWF and especially All Japan Pro Wrestling with milestones achieved, why he never headlined Budokan Hall, what he was known for in Japan and the All Japan boom.

We look at the tragedies of that All Japan period, Furnas' life before and after wrestling.  We look at his auto accident that doctors said would end his sports career, and his coming back.  We look at the various choices he made about sports careers and life, whether it be bull riding, football, powerlifting and wrestling.  We look at his training methods to become one of the strongest men in the world, how that hampered his attempts to play in the NFL and what he learned from that and changed to become a pro wrestler.  We look at his foray into the World's Strongest man competition, and where he could have gone in powerlifting if he hadn't retired from the sport at the age of 27.

We look at a unique allergy that actually hurt him as a powerlifter, and why his philosophy on pro wrestling was so different from what pro wrestling was in the American market.  We look at Jim Herd's idea for him, as well as the famous Furnas story from the 1994 Champion Carnival tournament.  We have his career title history, why he left All Japan, what happened in WWE and his unique reaction to what happened at the 1997 Survivor Series.

We've also got a 2011 rundown of every wrestler who wrestled in WWE for the year, even if it was only one match, with win/loss records, who was the busiest, how many matches did everyone have, who was booked to win and lose the most and what two wrestlers worked the most with each other during the year.

We also look at what will be one of WWE's biggest house shows of 2012, the Madison Square Garden show from Sunday.

We've also got a look at the event that is likely to draw the second biggest wrestling crowd of the year in the United States, the NCAA tournament finals and why the names Kyle Dake and David Taylor both have a chance to go down in history as two of the best collegiate wrestlers of all-time.

We've also got coverage of the AAA Rey de Reyes match, featuring Jeff Jarrett, The Rey de Reyes tournament and the road to babyface of L.A. Park.

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.

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 sent your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, card number and expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can order at www.paypal.com and use the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it address.

You can also 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 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.

This Week's Issue: Lawsuits, retirements, Vader returns

--One of the world's best wrestlers starts up in Mexico

--Funny winner of the new blood tournament

--More wrestlers moving promotions

--Something unheard of in response to a lawsuit with a legendary wrestler

--Yet another legendary star does a retirement stipulation

--More on independent shows over WrestleMania weekend

--NOAH's big show of the tour

--A look at the upcoming NOAH tag team tournament

--Big Van Vader returns to Japan

--Two Hall of Famers wrestle each other for the first time

--Tatsumi Fujinami's 40th anniversary as a pro wrestler

--The end of a promotion as it officially folds over the weekend

--K-1 legend and MMA star headline a major pro wrestling show

--Former opponents in a publicized MMA fight become a pro wrestling tag team

--Ultimo Dragon's 25th anniversary as a pro wrestler match

--Former WWE performer in negotiations to host a major network TV show

--Nigel McGuinness talks about his career, his documentary, his dreams, his frustrations and his successes

--Update on Oklahoma and its banning pro wrestling and what pro wrestling event is happening

--What's the real story behind the problems

--NWA promoters in court

--NFL star on one of the league's most legendary teams, who was also a pro wrestler, passes away

--Update on Jim Neidhart's legal troubles

--Lucha Libre USA running several major arenas and why this feels like a disaster happening

--Pro wrestler is hero as a knife wielding crazy man was attacking people

--Mike Tyson and Superstar Billy Graham

--Former WWF television announcer sues claiming he was bilked out of life savings by former NFL star

--Perhaps pro wrestling's most famous family feud has two members form tag team

--Bruno Sammartino to make a few appearances at pro wrestling events

--Former ECW star working on a children's book

--First-ever match between two different sets of WWF tag team champions from the first expansion era

--Son of a former champion set to debut in a few weeks

--More legal action involving Hulk Hogan

--Kevin Nash talks about where he'd like to be

--Ring Ka King notes for this week

--Tons of new UFC fights and thoughts on them

--UFC up for one national sports award

--Yet more on Nick Diaz's case with more details of the results of his drug test

--Lorenzo Fertitta talks UFC in Madison Square Garden

--More on UFC threatening to file suit against people who stream their shows

--Major health scare for Zuffa star worsens

--Statistical note on Jones vs. Evans

--Note on weight cutting and how it has changed in wrestling and the rules in place

--Dan Henderson talks his next fight

--Notes on the Ultimate Fighter TV show

--Bellator rundown and what is coming up

--Details on the debut of Super Fight League in India with Bob Sapp as well as plans for the next show

--What 80s WWF name is now the training partner of one of the most famous MMA fighters in the world

Tuesday's News, Notes and Links

-- I will be tweeting all weekend from Miami, so follow me there for any scoops. Plus if you're going to the shows, I will be updating everyone as to where we will be for various get togethers as I think over 50 people from the site will be congregating down there and maybe more.

-- Last night's Observer Radio is a FREE download. If you like what you hear, there is literally no better week this year to sign up. We'll be doing radio shows every day with various guests, including perhaps some surprises down in Miami, along with our usual schedule. It's only $10.99 for the month and I guarantee if you like the free shows on the right-hand side of the front page, you'll LOVE a subscription. Over 3000 shows in the archives in addition to all the new stuff every day.

-- As noted on last night's show, CM Punk essentially challenged Steve Austin to WrestleMania next year. Austin didn't exactly accept but did seem open to the idea if the stars align.

-- From speaking to someone in WWE who is already in Miami, the place is all decked out and ready to go for this weekend, posters and signs and banners everywhere.

-- Amazed at the WrestleMania betting odds all over the place with another set up here. How about this: odds on Ring of Honor.

-- Last night's Rock vs. Cena one-hour special consisted of 90% Rock footage from his DVD and 90% new John Cena footage. (WO editor Josh's note: Bryan's math, everyone!)

-- There is a great interview with CM Punk here, a mix of largely fact and a little fantasy and a great look at his personality when not in the ring.

-- The full list of WWE Hall of Fame inductions is up here.

-- As noted on Raw last night, Monday's Hall of Fame TV broadcast at 8 PM before Raw will feature highlights of the Edge, Mike Tyson and 4 Horsemen inductions. Might be kind of wacky to see Hunter and Shawn up there playing DX for the Tyson induction if Shawn ends up somehow accidentally screwing Hunter in the Undertaker match at Mania.

-- They did a post-Raw angle where Miz came out and demanded the Rock apologize to him for giving him the People's Elbow at last year's WrestleMania. Rock's apology consisted of giving it to him again.

-- As announced last night on Raw, WWE's Hell in a Cell ppv is set for October 28th at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta.

-- My wife Whitney is doing a spring sale at itapboys.com. Spend $20 or more on women or kids BJJ merchandise and get a FREE rectangular patch and sticker (a $13 value). You can also LIKE her on Facebook here.

-- Clips of Kimbo Slice's LOL worthy knockout from this weekend are up here.

-- THIS ARTICLE IS AWESOME: 18 fascinating explanations guys made after failling drug tests.

-- Big article on The Rock in Variety here.

-- More on the death of Bert Sugar here.

-- Bellator was up to 175,000 viewers this week, still below the average from the last two seasons, but up substantially from last week. Ultimate Fighter did 1.2 million, up from last week, down from the debut episode.

-- Sad to report the death of longtime Michigan indie wrestling announcer Ron "Showtime" Stewart. There is a Facebook page up here with pictures and memories.

-- 13 questions with Kevin Steen here.

-- Historical look at Showdown at the Shea here.

-- Montreal, Mad Dogs, Midgets and Screw Jobs: The Untold Story of How Montreal Shaped the World of Wrestling will officially be released in February 2013.

-- After listening to Thursday's Bryan & Vinny Show's Granny segment, one of our readers made up a bunch of "Team Sanitation" shirts for him and his friends to wear on WrestleMania weekend. Be on the lookout and email us/tweet any pics!

-- Jaime writes: Not sure if anyone passed this along to you yet, but as I was perusing iTunes, I came across The Rock Concert from a couple of weeks ago from Raw. $1.29 for the live song.

-- Crossfire Entertainment, LLC Presents Crossfire LIVE Fundraiser Benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee LIVE Saturday, May 19, 2012 Nashville Fairgrounds Sports Arena 625 Smith Ave, Nashville, TN 37203 Belltime: 7:30 PM – Doors: 6:30 PM VIP Event Pre-Show: 5:30 – 6:30 PM www.crossfirellc.vze.com (Log on for all the latest news and live events that have been signed!). Matt Hardy vs. MVP headlines.

-- The Union of Independent Professional Wrestlers in association with Morpheous Productions and the Silver Snail Comic Shop presents WrestleStock on Saturday April 14th 2012 at the Todmorden branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (1083 Pape Avenue @ O'Connor) in Toronto. Doors open at 7:00pm. Bell time is 7:30pm sharp. Tickets are available currently available at the Silver Snail (367 Queen Street West) and $tretch Thrift Store (974 Pape Avenue) and via PayPal.

-- Florida Underground Wrestling promoter Dontay Brown is presenting his biggest show ever this coming Tuesday March 27th at Gasoline Alley, located at 14042 66th St, Largo Fl 33771. Doors open at 7:30pm, show starts at 8:30pm.

-- Hulk Hogan's Micro Championship Wrestling comes to Everett, MA, 47 Elm St. at the Everett Rec Center Saturday April 14th. Show starts at 6 p.m. Scheduled to appear are Trixie, Demo, Short Sleeve Sampson, Johnny G, Tanaka, Mr. ANC and more. Tickets are $15 for adults and only $10 for kids. Here's some additional info.

-- Lance and Johnny Gargano on Over the Top Radio here.

POLLS~!

-- Who would draw the biggest for a WrestleMania 29 match against The Rock?
Brock Lesnar 43.6%
Steve Austin 28.3%
Undertaker 13.4%
C.M. Punk 7.8%
John Cena 4.5%
Hulk Hogan 2.4%

Who do you expect to win this fight?
Anderson Silva 56.0%
Chael Sonnen 44.0%

What will be the biggest sports event of 2012?
Super Bowl 46.1%
The Olympics 31.0%
WrestleMania 11.4%
FA Cup 2.5%
Silva vs. Sonnen 2.2%
World Series 1.7%
Stanley Cup 1.7%
NBA finals 1.4%
BCS championship game 0.8%
Daytona 500 0.7%
NCAA Basketball Final four 0.6%

Do you think the Kimbo Slice fight was real?
Yes 20.4%
No 79.6%

Will Silva vs. Sonnen do 850,000 buys?
Yes 67.0%
No 33.0%