TUES UPDATE: Hall domestic abuse update, ROH adds new TV station, Letterman talks WWE, stories on Stooges, great Sammartino in Toronto article, ratings notes, tons more

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Smackdown will be live on Syfy tonight at 8 p.m. from Hampton, VA. We're also looking for reports live from that show. Appearing on the show will be the cast from Legends House, including Roddy Piper, Gene Okerlund, Jimmy Hart, Hillbilly Jim, Jim Duggan, Tony Atlas, Howard Finkel and Pat Patterson, as well as Dusty Rhodes, Mick Foley and Sgt. Slaughter.

The WWE's annual post-Mania European tour will start on Wednesday with Raw in Moscow, with both Raw and Smackdown next week being taped shows from London.

Friday's Ultimate Fighter replays at 8 p.m. tonight. Evans vs. Jones Prime Time episode one (very good) airs at 9 p.m. UFC Champions Roundtable with Jay Glazer airs at 9:30 p.m. UFC Tonight airs at 10 p.m. and UFC Ultimate Insider (Evans and Jones together as guests) at 10:30 p.m.

This Week's Observer: Lesnar back, Wrestlemania, Overeem busted

We've got a monster issue covering in depth the Brock Lesnar signing, WrestleMania, the Alistair Overeem drug test failure, the ROH match of the year and all the major news from the past week.  It's our annual special double WrestleMania issue.

Our lead story concerns the WWE signing of Lesnar.  We look at the details of the new deal, how much he has to move business for the deal to be worth it, exactly how long the sides have been talking, how this ties into his fight with Alistair Overeem, the most top WWE stars are guaranteed on their deal and what the biggest names in WWE earn.  We look at how the big names get paid.

We look at the potential ups and downs of the deal, how this ties in with The Rock, Lesnar's potential opponents, the original plan for his debut, Lesnar's original WWF contract in 2000 and his second major contract in 2003 and details.  We look at when he left, why he left, his attempts at football, New Japan Pro Wrestling and MMA.  We look at his return angle, the Paul Heyman aspect of the question, what is currently being advertised for the next two PPV shows, the obvious matches, and a unique look at how this affects both WWE and UFC.

We also have full coverage of WrestleMania 28, notes on the Rock vs. Cena finish, what Cena demanded on the finish, the story behind Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan and how it backfired, plus a look at WrestleMania 28 as compared to the biggest shows in history.  We look at every WWE show in history that drew 60,000 fans as well as the biggest money shows in history, and who has drawn the most number of them.
We also look at how much this needs to do on PPV to be officially, the biggest money show in pro wrestling history.
We also have detailed coverage of every match, with star ratings and poll results.
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 have a look at a time line of Alistair Overeem over the last few months leading to his steroid test positive, what it means, the unique situation it puts things in, and how soon he'll be able to fight again, or if he'll be able to fight again in UFC.

We also include Dana White's reaction, and what is the probable new main event for UFC 146.

We also have an in-depth look at the WWE Hall of Fame, with the highlights from the speeches, notes about them, as well as a history of everyone that was involved.  This is likely the biggest feature out there on the show.
We also have part one of our career bio on Chief Jay Strongbow, looking at both his pre-Jay Strongbow days as Joe Scarpa, and his WWWF run where he spent years as the No. 2 babyface, including his style, his role and his most remembered matches.
We also look at Randy Orton getting dropped from "The Marine" movie, an update on the WWE television network, lots more on television shows planned for the network, more on Legends House, Terry Taylor in WWE and his background with HHH, updates on WWE injuries including Wade Barrett, a very interesting John Cena story dating back 11 years ago last month, more on WWE movies, HHH talks the difference between being a wrestler and an executive, newcomer set to start on WWE television this week and Cena talks about the last year of his life.  We also look at new WWE non-TV angles, what part of the company got a morale kick in the butt and Edge's future.
We also look at the ROH iPPV shows from the past week, talking about the technical issues, what was good and bad on the show, and coverage of both shows.
We also have a look at the Friday night ratings scoreboard.
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:
--One of the biggest independent crowds of the year as a gimmick that has drawn for nearly 30 years pulls another sellout
--Prince Devitt becomes a double champion
--An international promotion looks to syndicate TV in the U.S. and to run tours
--An interesting battle for Hispanic television in the U.S.
--Notes on the recent AAA TV tapings
--Coverage of the Dragon Gate USA shows over WrestleMania weekend
--Notes on the 2012 Champion Carnival tournament
--Open of the All Japan jr. heavyweight tag team tournament
--Notes on the upcoming Pro Wrestling NOAH tag team tournament
--Top worker fired for unique reasons
--Independent star signs contract overseas
--Notes on the open of this year's Japan Cup tournament
--One of the best high flyers and workers in the business set for a return in a few weeks
--More on the accidental death while watching WrestleMania
--NWA changes its leader
--Arrest of former Tough Enough winner Maven
--Notes on upcoming ROH shows
--Roderick Strong talks chair shots to the head
--Kurt Angle and his latest injuries and escapades, as well as his mother being scammed and his reaction
--Update on the Lockdown card
--TNA star gets his own TV series
--Victory Road PPV estimates
--Future of TNA twitter promotion
--Update on Ric Flair in TNA
--Changes in a major recent angle
--Update on Jeff Hardy
--A new No. 1 contenders fight in UFC
--Build of Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans
--Notes on the Atlanta PPV
--How many tickets have been sold for all the upcoming major UFC shows
--Update on King Mo's situation
--Update on the next Strikeforce show
--Name fighter says he will retire if he loses his next fight
--Who faces the Jones vs Evans winner
--Tons of new UFC matches
--Bellator future
--Bellator second television show
--Next Bellator card

Rates are:

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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

-- The Scott Hall domestic abuse story is up here. Quite the 180 from a week or two ago when we heard Hall was doing much better.

-- ROH has added KFDM in Beaumont, TX as an affiliate starting with the April 22nd show. It'll air around midnight.

-- The Daniel Bryan "YES!" shirts are already on back-order, so it's a good week for his pocketbook.

-- David Letterman last night, when talking about how Donald Trump told Rick Santorum to drop out of the presidential race "with dignity", said, "If anyone knows about dignity, it's Donald Trump." He then showed footage of Trump beating the crap out of Vince McMahon from several years back.

-- Just an awesome article on Bruno Sammartino and Toronto by Greg Oliver up here.

-- Eric Prindle suffered a hand injury in training, so his Bellator heavyweight title match with Cole Kondrad, which was scheduled for this Friday, has been moved to the end of May. This Prindle fella, one thing after another. First, his championship match with Thiago Santos last season went to a no contest when Santos gave him a blatant low blow. They tried to do the rematch several weeks back but it didn't happen, either because Prindle was sick or Santos couldn't make weight or both (we heard all stories). Then the next week Santos for sure didn't make weight, missing by 13 pounds, so the fight was scrapped and Prindle was given the tournament win via forfeit. He was scheduled to get his title shot this Friday but now that's off the table.

-- Although the ratings for TUF and the Jones vs. Evans Primetime debut (see front page for the full video) were dire, and Smackdown coming off WrestleMania and the return of Brock Lesnar also did nothing special (below the recent average, in fact), for whatever reason Bellator did the highest rating all season, 175,000 viewers, only slightly below the average for last season and way above average for this season.

-- Will Sasso, who played Hulk Hogan and Curly last night, is a huge pro wrestling fan and did an angle with Bret Hart way back in the WCW days, which you can check out here. He also did a Smackdown angle years back as well. WWE really likes him and the feeling is mutual.

-- Fit Finlay interview here.

-- ROH's new Nigel McGuinness career retrospective DVD is available here.

-- Jim writes: Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich was on Stern this morning and Howard asked him the story about Hogan being asked by Lars to join Metallica in the early 80’s. Lars started laughing, said he heard the story about 2-3 months ago and said he had ‘no recollection’ of it happening, but ‘anything is possible between 5am – 7am when your noses are bleeding.’ He said he wasn’t much of a wrestling fan, and perhaps Hogan auditioned under his ‘Christian name.’Thanks to everyone else who sent that in as well.

-- For UFC Tonight on FUEL there will be a 149 fight announcement, and also the crew will discuss Alistair Overeem and PED's in MMA. Hopefully they do a better job than then MMA Uncensored Live crew did.

-- Deadline New York talks the Three Stooges here.

-- Tickets for EVOLVE in Toronto this weekend can be purchased here. Gabe Sapolsky is on Figure Four Daily today to talk the show plus Mania weekend and answer your questions, which you can post here.

-- AAA matchmaker Konnan and MLW President/former WWE Creative Executive Court Bauer once again joined Mister Saint Laurent on MLW Radio presented by BarberShopWindow.com. Both spoke about Shawn Michaels' disdain for losing: "I remember that was a big thing with Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan. It was supposed to be three matches and it became one match, which was a cartoon match because of the sensitivity of who was going over," said Bauer. Konnan added, "Shawn told this to Rey Mysterio once and I couldn't believe it and I told Rey Mysterio, please don't follow that advice. He said that Shawn once told him, 'Do you like doing jobs?' and Rey said, 'I don't mind.' Shawn said, 'I don't. I don't like doing jobs and you shouldn't either.' I was thinking to myself, that's the worst advice you can give to a young guy. You just never know when a wrestler is going to go to Vince when nobody is listening and say I'd rather not do this. I don't want to put these guys over." You can listen to part 2 of the Konnan & Court Bauer episode of MLW Radio presented by BarberShopWindow.com for FREE at www.MLW.com and on iTunes (search: MLW Radio) and StitcherRadio.com

-- NWA Lone Star/Texas Stampede Wrestling present "Knuckle Up" this Saturday (April 14th) in Balch Springs (just outside of Dallas) Texas. On the card, NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion "The Modern Day Hero" Kevin Douglas defends against newly crowned NWA National Champion "The Tokyo Monster" Kahagas. This match was booked prior to Kahagas's title win, and has now turned into a rare match featuring 2 of the top NWA Champions facing off. Also on the card, GWT Indy World Champion Tim Storm defends against "Main Event" Mike Foxx (w/Lance Romance) with Texas legend Action Jackson as the special referee. All this and much more this Saturday at the Balch Springs Rec. Center in Balch Springs, Texas. More information can be found at TxStampedeWrestling.com

-- PWF Northeast returns to action Saturday May 5 at the Davey Lopes Recreation Center(aka PWF Northeast Arena) at 227 Dudley Street in Providence, Rhode Island with a 7 PM local bell time.

-- "Chikarasaurus Rex: How to Hatch a Dinosaur" Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 Live at the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia, PA! Streaming live, worldwide via GFL.tv! Doors = 6:00 pm :: Belltime = 7:00 pm Click to visit the official event page

-- 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!) VIP Seating: $15 (Reserved Seating: Includes Special VIP Event w/ Commemorative Ticket) General Admission: $10 (Bleacher Seating w/ Commemorative Ticket) $2 of each ticket goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation! Sponsored by: Red Rooster Bar & Music, Hollywood Tans, Free at Last Bail Bonding, Jonathan Augusta Attorney at Law, Advanced Financial, Doak Patton Attorney at Law, Lotus Energy, Exodus Health Center, Rent-A-Center

Will it be a black eye for MMA if Overeem is licensed to face Dos Santos?
Yes 53.4%
Depends on the evidence presented, but probably 33.1%
No, it's all a game with steroids anyway 8,0%
No, MMA is at the pro wrestling level where it's beneath media scrutiny and gets a free pass real sports won't 5.5%

Who was the biggest U.S. drawing card coming out of Lucha Libre?
Rey Misterio Jr. 50.3%
Eddy Guerrero 28.5%
Mil Mascaras 15.1%
Konnan 2.6%
El Santo 2.6%
El Hijo del Santo 0.7%
Perro Aguayo Sr. 0.2%

Who do you expect to win this fight?
Alexander Gustafsson 62.9%
Thiago Silva 37.1%

-- Ed, Craig and the crew talk WrestleMania weekend live here.

-- New wacky Daniel Bryan interview here.

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?