TUES UPDATE: Lots of notes from Raw, more on Brock and Daniel Bryan, Mania weekend thank-yous, Graziano major accident, Oprah talks Network disaster, 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 your thoughts on WrestleMania, as well as both Friday and Saturday's ROH and Dragon Gate USA shows. You can send in your thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match for each specific show to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Smackdown is tonight from Orlando, meaning they will be going head-to-head with TNA tapings.

This Week's Observer

The first WrestleMania issue of the Observer is out this week with a rundown of what the company believes will be the biggest money event in the history of pro wrestling.  We look at the matches, the stories, the build, the Countdown show and what has and hasn't worked as well as the big questions leading up to the match.  We look at who has headlined the most Manias, how many tickets have been sold and what the demand for tickets is like, how Miami got the event and what to look out for in every match.

We also look at next year's show, the Hall of Fame and the non-WWE events in South Florida.
 
We also look at the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen fight, will it set an attendance record, what is the Brazilian attendance record for something of this type, why they aren't really in an 80,000 seat stadium, what Dana White is saying about the show, how WWE got a break on this show and WWE going into Brazil as well.
 
We also look at the problems facing Pro Wrestling NOAH with the publicity of Yakuza involvement in the company, the meeting this week for all talent and workers and what happened, and how this dooms future growth of the company in many ways. 
 
We also have a major history piece covering the glory days of Texas wrestling in the 70s and 80s and the death of longtime promoter Joe Blanchard.
 
We talk about Blanchard's role on television in his home town of San Antonio, the first big stadium show in Texas and Blanchard's role on the show and how to many it mirrored what would go down years later.  We look at the angle which was copied 15 years later and popped the territory.  We look at how Blanchard first knew Fritz Von Erich and how their friendship was instrumental in Blanchard becoming a promoter.  We look at how Von Erich got the power when wrestling changed in Texas in the 60s.
 
We look at the heyday of the Texas wrestling office, the way it was structured and why the alliance of the big three promoters was really doomed from the start.  We look at one of San Antonio's most famous pro wrestling stories involving Fritz Von Erich and sportscaster Dan Cook.  We look at the Kiniski vs. Von Erich feud in San Antonio and how San Antonio changed when Von Erich stopped traveling there.
 
We look at how Texas wrestling changed in the late 70s and what led to the breakup of the once powerful conglomerate.  We also look at the rise of Tully Blanchard as a star, Tully Blanchard & Gino Hernandez on top, the high and low points of Southwest Championship Wrestling and how the promotion went down.
 
We also look at the rise of the Von Erich brothers, the Von Erichs vs. Freebirds feud, Paul Boesch, the in-ring career of Joe Blanchard and his last match.
 
We also have a look at the Friday night ratings scoreboard for the past week, and how all the shows did.
 
We've got more on King Mo Lawal getting fired shortly after his hearing where he was suspended for nine months, including his hopes to get into WWE, his previous connection with WWE, what happened at the hearing, what got him fired and more.
 
The issue is up on the site today along with a back issue from early 1995 also up on the site this week.
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 look at Linda McMahon's run for senate and the latest poll numbers as well as the unique way she's viewed that hurts her, John Cena building up the Rock match, how much WWE and UFC take in per year from television rights, Kevin Nash on why the feud with C.M. Punk fell dead in its tracks, two major new WWE hires, WWE's symposium for talent about twitter on Monday, Randy Orton movie role, who C.M. Punk bumped into in Atlanta, The Rock business empire, Evan Bourne update, Punk talks about the angle from last summer and new story on when he signed, and long-term goals.
 
We also have Punk talking more about Dwayne Johnson, Cult of Personality, children, marriage and his eating habits.
 
We also look at a new role for a wrestler formerly on the roster who is being considered to be brought back, more on the movie division, plus February business notes, PPV dates and places for the end of 2012 and a weird Cena and Ben Roethlisberger coincidence.
 
We also talk Arn Anderson in the Hall of Fame, WWE opening a new office, Layla's return, plus business notes from last week and highlights from all the weekend house shows.
 
We also have a look at how the Elimination Chamber PPV did this year as compared to years in the past.
 
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:
 
--Prince Devitt starts at Arena Mexico to build the champion vs. champion match this week
 
--The latest new tournament in Mexico
 
--One of wrestling's biggest stars in a court case and the unique twists the case has had
 
--More on the Rey de Reyes show
 
--Wrestlers leaving Perros Del Mal
 
--Jeff Jarrett in Mexico
 
--The 2012 Best of the Super Junior tournament
 
--Update on Genichiro Tenryu after two surgeries
 
--A shoot tournament that involved both Vader and Fedor
 
--Battle of Hall of Famers
 
--Notes on Bert Randolph Sugar
 
--Bill Goldberg at wrestling shows this coming weekend
 
--Hodge Trophy winner announced
 
--Sputnik Monroe day in Memphis
 
--Two of the biggest indie shows of the year in the U.S.
 
--Whatever happened to Luke Robinson
 
--Debut of the third generation of Von Erich brothers announced
 
--Wrestling in Colombia featuring stars from ROH, AAA and a former WWE headliner
 
--Notes on Bruce Prichard
 
--Notes on a new non-wrestling television show Eric Bischoff is involved with
 
--Original plan for tag tam feud
 
--Update on the Ring Ka King promotion
 
--Notes on upcoming TNA television
 
--UFC Canadian plans
 
--Who will face Jose Aldo Jr. next
 
--Notes on the UFC/FOX deal
 
--Coverage of the debut of Ultimate Fighter Brazil
 
--Update on Alistair Overeem and his latest move
 
--Notes on why there could be some real problems at the end of the Ultimate Fighter season
 
--UFC star gets national TV spot
 
--Dana White gets ripped for comments on soccer
 
--A lot of new fights in UFC announced
 
--More on testosterone replacement exemptions
 
--Ronda Rousey update
 
--Why there was no Bellator heavyweight tournament final
 
--Notes on last week and next week's Bellator show
 
--Middleweight tournament winner in danger of not advancing

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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.

Tuesday News & Links

-- Just want to start off by saying how much I appreciate getting a chance to meet everyone from the website who came to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale for Mania weekend. I don't think I got a chance to meet everyone but I wish I had, and if I didn't hopefully I'll get a chance either next year or this coming July at the Vegas convention. As always, an awesome group of people, and if you are reading this and have never done a weekend Mania trip, it's really something you should consider doing.

Mania weekend isn't only the biggest WWE weekend of the year, it's the biggest for all of pro-wrestling when you factor in all the different shows, conventions, etc. It's really a great time. There is already a thread up here for people making plans for 2013. Thanks as well to everyone involved in getting blocks of tickets for various groups to various shows, and to Mr. Jai-A-Lai for making travel and lodging so easy for so many people.

-- Michael Graziano, the younger brother of John Graziano, is in critical condition after crashing into a dump truck in Largo, FL last night. Police said both Graziano and the driver were not wearing seatbelts when they attempted to pass the truck at a high rate of speed and collided with it. Story is here. Both Graziano and driver Cameron Bosley have a long list of driving infractions on their records.

-- Brock showed up at the building last night seconds before he had to go through the curtain.

-- Very interesting article here talking to Oprah about the difficulties in starting her own network. She said with the benefit of hindsight there is a good chance she's have done something different. "I didn’t think it was going to be easy, but I did not know — if I knew then what I know now, I might’ve made some different choices. I would say, if I were writing a book about it, I could call the book '101 Mistakes.'" Among the biggest mistakes? Get this: "Launching when we really weren’t ready to launch, and doing that because you’d announced that you were going to do it." She did note that she feels better about her network today than she ever has. The WWE Network, as most of you are aware, was, in fact, originally scheduled to launch Sunday. Now they'll be lucky to launch by the end of 2012 if they ever end up launching at all.

-- As noted on the front page, Randy Orton was dropped from the upcoming Marine sequel after complaints from the military over the fact that he went AWOL in his teens and was dishonorably discharged. WWE claimed they were completely unaware of this. Never mind the fact that it's been part of storylines and discussed many times on WWE DVDs.

-- From talking to those backstage, Daniel Bryan was the most popular wrestler overall in the building, beating even Brock and Rock.

-- Daniel Bryan gave a speech after the six-man dark match last night (where he dropped the fall to Sheamus, who was hated), saying Sunday was the worst night of his life, but thanks to all the YES chants he was probably getting a new t-shirt out of it. He told fans to buy it and then went YES YES YES! and they all went nuts. There were YES chants all weekend, tons of them at ROH and DGUSA, and also randomly at non-wrestling functions, similar to how people used to just randomly go WHOOO!

-- WWE was thrilled that Raw trended during the West Coast feed as well last night, something it has never done before.

-- There is a thread on Wrestling Classics here about a George Hackenschmidt film that has been found that may date all the way back to 1908. Hackenschmidt is listed as the winner so it's not one of the Frank A. Gotch matches. The film is in very bad shape and they're looking for funds to help restore it.

-- Jake writes: I watched the evening bloc of Access Hollywood, TMZ, and Extra last night. No mentions at all from AH or TMZ about WM. Extra showed quick highlights of Maria giving the stinkface with Kelly Kelly and then the pin on Beth. Nothing at all on Rock vs. Cena. They even promoted it like Maria was the big star of WM.. From there they brushed it off and went right to her backstage coverage segment of Dancing with the Stars.

-- I don't know how or why, but "F4W" briefly trended worldwide on Twitter during WrestleMania. I guess I should have some sort of celebration or something, or call a meeting with the staff.

-- The Vince Russo Youshoot will air live on iPPV through the World Wrestling Network (WWNLive.com, same place that does the DGUSA shows) on June 1st at 8 PM.

-- Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Final tickets go on sale next week for the May 19th show at the HP Pavilion headlined by Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier for the title and Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson for the lightweight title.

-- From FUEL. Very happy with UFC, obviously: FUEL TV, FOX Sports Media Group's dynamic sports network for males, is television's fastest-growing cable network this year, according to figures released by Nielsen Media Research. In both the Total Day and Prime Time, the network recorded the largest percentage increases of total viewers among all rated, ad-supported cable networks in the first quarter of 2012.

-- ROH has their 10th Anniversary DVD out for sale here. Also, a brand new Michael Elgin t-shirt.

-- Not sure what to make of this article. Pretty sure he's serious.

-- More on the rear-naked choke WrestleMania party death up here.

-- Not sure how long it will be up, but Epico is having a Twitter meltdown here complaining about the tag titles not being on the main WrestleMania show but they had enough time for a concert.

-- Brian Stann will be a guest on UFC Tonight at 10 PM Eastern on FUEL. Also Ariel Helwani with a Nick Diaz update.

-- Leonardo writes: Today in an afternoon radio show in Puerto Rico the host talk about that Maripily (a low-rent celebrity in PR) attended the show in Miami. They were making fun of the fact that she was sitting far away from ring side (where the real celebrities should be), that she was triying to do anything on her power to get recognised (the radio host say he post a photo of her triying to steal the spotlight on a red carpet; don't know what red carpet he was thalking about), and mostly they were making fun of the fact that she has claimed that her ideal man is The Rock! In Puerto Rico she is recognised as a stupid-gold digger-airhead. Or the combination of Paris Hilton, Snooky and the Kardashians, in the real bad way of it.

-- Kris Zellner with some lucha news: AAA announced today that due to the arm injury that El Mesias suffered yesterday at the hands of Perro Aguayo Jr. that he was out of action indefinitely. Alex Koslov has been visiting his buddies Marco Corleone & Prince Devitt at the EMLL shows recently so it's probably a matter of time before he comes back into the fold.

-- LIVE PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING returns to Lima, Ohio this Saturday night as W.A.R. Wrestling presents "FOOL'S GOLD" at the UAW Hall 1440 Bellefontaine Ave. 45804. Come out and witness the best professional wrestling around with 8 hard hitting, high flying, action packed matches that has thrilled thousands of fans over the years and Lima, Ohio's best kept secret for entertainment.

-- Only 25 VIP tickets remain for TCW Wrestling's Ft. City Showdown on 4/7 in Ft. Smith, AR at the Convention Center for a TV Taping. Ken Resnick will handling the backstage interviews and Chris Cruise is one of the commentators. Mickie James vs. Cheerleader Melissa is a match billed as the first time they have met in a singles match in the U.S. Also, Matt Borne will be appearing as Boink the Clown (they changed a letter) and Bobby Eaton will be backstage as an agent.

-- All Star Wresting presents "Friday the 13th" Fri April 13th., 8:00 PM doors open at 7:15 Cloverdale Fairgrounds

-- What was the best of these shows?
WrestleMania 74.1%
ROH second night 16.4%
ROH first night 3.8%
Dragon Gate first night 3.5%
Dragon Gate second night 2.2%

What show for the rest of April are you most looking forward to?
UFC 145 Jones vs. Evans 53.1%
WWE Extreme Rules 34.5%
TNA Lockdown 8.7%
Bellator Aoki vs. Alvarez 2.1%
UFC in Stockholm 1.7%

Will Brock Lesnar in WWE be a success?
Yes 36.1%
Booking will screw it up 31.4%
Not as big a financial success as people think 21.9%
Lesnar will get fed up 10.6%

Who would you most like to see Lesnar face at Mania next year?
Undertaker 40.8%
Austin 17.2%
Rock 16.0%
Cena 14.4%
Punk 8.1%
HHH 3.5%

Who is the strongest Hall of Fame candidate from this list?

 

Who is the strongest Hall of Fame candidate from this list?

 

Who should get the next featherweight title shot?