FRI UPDATE: Huge weekend schedule, New York Times falls for Kurt story, Rock's next film, UFC and TNA big shows, EVOLVE, Dreamer and Styles talk Barely Legal PPV, 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 on today's WWE shows in Stuttgart, Germany and Belfast, Northern Ireland at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're also looking for reports from yesterday's show in Dublin, Saturday's shows in Berlin, Germany and Manchester, England, and Sunday's show in Nottingham, England.

Here is the schedule for Fuel TV over the next day:

The weigh-ins for tomorrow's show in Stockholm replays at 6 p.m. Eastern

Best of Pride airs at 7 p.m.

For tomorrow

Pre-fight show at 2 p.m.

Live fights from Stockholm at 3 p.m.

Post-fight show at 6 p.m.

For those who don't watch live, there is a replay of the live show at 11 p.m. tomorrow night.

Ultimate Fighter tonight at 10 p.m. on FX has Joe Proctor of Team Faber vs. Chris Tickle of Team Cruz.

Part two of the Prime Time with Rashad Evans vs. Jon Jones building up their fight airs at 11 p.m. tonight.

Bellator tonight from Atlantic City:

Spike.com fights at 6 p.m.

Ailton Barbosa (169.6) vs. Kris McCray (170.6)

Lyman Good (171) vs. LeVon Maynard (171)

Emanuel Brooks (155.8) vs. Mikhail Malyutin (155.3)

Terrell Hobbs (155.4) vs. Will Martinez (153.8)

Lester Caslow (146) vs. Scott Heckman (146)

Duane Bastress (185.2) vs. Plinio Cruz (185A)

Kenny Foster (145.6) vs. Jay Haas (145.6)

Live on MTV 2 at 8 p.m.

Luis Alberto Nogueira (135.4) vs. Alexis Vila (136) in the bantamweight tournament first round

Marcos Galvao (135) vs. Ed West (135.8) in the bantamweight tournament first round

Mike Corey (145.6) vs. Daniel Straus (145.8) in the featherweight tournament semifinal

Zach Makovsky (134.4) vs. Eduardo Dantas (135) for the bantamweight championship

Smackdown tonight is a tape of the show that already aired on Tuesday night

UFC tomorrow from Stockholm, Sweden

Facebook fights at 12:30 p.m.

Eric Wisely (145) vs. Jason Young (145)

Simeon Thoresen (170) vs. Besam Yousef (170)

Reza Madadi (155) vs. Yoislandy Izquierdo (155)

Magnus Cedenblad (185) vs. Francis Carmont (186)

Tom DeBlass (206) vs. Cyrille Diabate (206)

Papy Abedi (171) vs. James Head (170)

On Fuel at 3 p.m.

Damacio Page (135) vs. Brad Pickett (136)

Damarques Johnson (171) vs. John Maguire (170)

Diego Nunes (146) vs. Dennis Siver (146)

Siyar Bahadurzada (170) vs. Paulo Thiago (170)

Alessio Sakara (185) vs. Brian Stann (185)

Thiago Silva (205) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (205)

Sunday is TNA's Lockdown from Nashville, the company's traditional No. 2 show of the year:. All matches in a cage

Bobby Roode vs. James Storm for TNA title

Team Eric of Eric Bischoff & Gunner & Bully Ray & Kazarian & Christopher Daniels vs. Team Garett of Garett Bischoff & RVD & Mr. Anderson & A.J. Styles & Austin Aries - Either Eric or Garett, depending on which team loses, has to leave town

Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle

Samoa Joe & Magnus vs. Motor City Machine Guns for tag titles

Matt Morgan vs. Crimson

Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky for Knockouts title

Devon vs. Robbie E for TV title

Raw will be taped on Monday earlier in the day from London, England, while Smackdown and NXT will be taped on Tuesday, also from London, England.

TNA will be taping TV on Tuesday and Wednesday in Orlando.

This Week's Observer: Brock Is Back

A look at Brock Lesnar in WWE is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which also looks at more on Alistair Overeem's situation and the situation with the next UFC heavyweight title shot, and a look at the glory days of Southern California wrestling in a biography of announcer Miguel Alonso, who passed away this past week.

Our lead story talks about the Lesnar vs. Cena match, the lessons and examples of putting on a major match on a "B" PPV show, looking at Cena vs. Punk, Steve Austin's planned coming out of retirement match and Rock & Cena vs. Miz & R-Truth.  We look at what makes Lesnar completely unique to the WWE main event scene on a business negotiating level, and being a former UFC champion is actually a tiny part of it.

We look at why the demands on Lesnar to succeed in driving business is completely different than for someone like C.M. Punk.  We look at what the first Lesnar rating showed, not just in the overall number but in the key opening quarter.

We look at the two matches and dates that have the best chance of moving business.   We look at the creative, and how UFC, unscripted, appears to have done a better job of bringing him in due to a boundary that even scripted, WWE has never allowed itself to cross.  We also look back at certain major programs WWE did that are similar to this and whether they worked or not.  We also look at why, given Lesnar's track record, doing the best thing for short-term Lesnar business may not be worth the risk, and why this approach is the more conservative.

We look at Lesnar's second week of television, as well a what is likely to happen in Chicago for the PPV.

We've also got a look at where the UFC 146 main event stands today.  We look at the Overeem situation, as well as look at the prospective other opponents and evaluate who should get the next shot, as well as who people want to see get the next shot.  We also look at the major issues involved in the hearing.

We also have a feature on Miguel Alonso and the heyday of Los Angeles wrestling.  We look at Alonso's death, how wrestling became a staple on Wednesday nights in prime time and when and why it moved into a Spanish affiliate.  We look at the national exposure of Los Angeles wrestling during the early days of what is now Univision.  We look at the wrestler who changed the face of Southern California wrestling in 1968 and became its biggest drawing card for most of the next 14 years, and how he differed from the previous Latin stars in the market.

We look at the stars from Mexico who headlined in California during the era, and the story behind the television show.  We also look back to the first closed-circuit pro wrestling show in history, as well as the decline of the territory, and how different promoters viewed its exposure into their markets.  We also look at how Alonso got his jobs in WWF and WCW after the closing of the local promotion.

We also have the first estimates of how WrestleMania did in 2012, more on the departure of the Bella Twins from WWE and a look at the cost of having Dwayne Johnson at Survivor Series.  We've got more on Daniel Bryan "yes" chants and signs, a rundown of the Extreme Rules show, notes on upcoming three hour Raw shows, will Undertaker return next year and more on Legends House.
We also have an update on the developmental in WWE and the latest moves that have been  made including a very strange television move.  We also look at a segment edited off the show, a look at Dwayne Johnson and the end of his football career, WWE gives awards on a television show, notes on Miz and Christian at WrestleMania, why Del Rio was pulled from the show, and Punk changes his tune on Rock.

We've also got our weekly Friday night ratings scoreboard, with Smackdown, Ultimate Fighter, Prime Time and Bellator and how they stacked up both in ratings, audience, and in the key demos and who was up and down and why.

We've also got a feature on the New Japan Cup tournament, including a detailed look at the second night of competition, as well as a look at the next New Japan PPV show.

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 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:

--Update on the Gran Alternative tournament

--Dragon Gate WrestleMania weekend rundown

--Two major promotions working together for a big show in July

--Update on the All Japan jr. heavyweight tag team tournament

--Former WWE performers starting up a new promotion later this month

--The most famous man ever to be a regular pro wrestling announcer and the name will shock most people

--Scott Hall's latest arrest details

--Update on Nigel McGuinness' fund raising for his documentary

--Notes on a big weekend in Toronto

--Change in the leadership of the NWA

--The end of one of the famous wrestling arenas

--More notes from the bio of Joe Blanchard

--More on the arrest of Maven Huffman

--Son of Hall of Famer released from baseball contract

--More on the ROH and Go Fight Live issues, as well as plans for ROH's biggest match so far this year, Davey Richards vs. Kevin Steen in Toronto on 5/12

--Update on the last iPPV numbers

--ROH and CHIKARA joint show notes

--Details of the next several weeks of ROH television and where angles are going

--Notes on the new Spike contract with TNA

--Why people were breathing a sigh of relief when the deal was announced

--Kurt Angle and the Olympics update

--Update on the Lockdown show

--Notes on the last few weeks of Ring Ka King

--Thoughts on someone under consideration to win first singles world title

--What happened at Cris Cyborg's hearing regarding suspension

--California looking to introduce new legislation

--Joe Rogan goes against the grain, claims marijuana is performance enhancing

--Nick Diaz's next match signed for a few weeks from now

--Notes on the Brazilian version of Ultimate Fighter being on U.S. TV

--Tons of new UFC matches signed

--UFC on FOX schedule for the rest of the year

--How UFC is part of FOX's major change in programming philosophy

--Notes on this past week's Bellator and next week's show

--Ultimate freak show match signed

--The supposed return to prominence of K-1, except as an American group

Friday's News, Links and Updates

-- Info on the Rock's next movie project is up here.

-- Dave Meltzer and I will be back tomorrow night after the show to run down the card in detail and talk Lockdown. We'll be back Sunday after the TNA PPV and Monday after Raw as well. There may be a Bryan & Vinny Show tonight based on Vinny's schedule. He was unavailable for last night's show.

-- New York Times talks Kurt Angle shockingly pulling out of the Olympics citing a hamstring injury so severe that he's working Lockdown Sunday here. The NEW YORK TIMES wrote about this, and also claimed Kurt was a WWE wrestler. Whenever things like this happen I find it cause for concern regarding the rest of the content of the most popular news website and the third biggest print news source in the entire country. The Kurt story also took precedence over Cael Sanderson, the greatest wrestler our country has produced in the last 30 years and who placed 5th in the world last year, announcing he's pulling out. Whole thing is preposterous.

-- Gary adds: Just got back from holiday in Tenerife, Canary Islands. This morning on BBC World News they ran a crawler at the bottom of the screen about two sports stories. One was a pretty major football/soccer story. The other said "Ex-WWE wrestler and Olympic Gold Medallist Kurt Angle admits defeat in his efforts to compete at London, 2012." I guess he's even worked the BBC!

-- EVOLVE 11 runs tonight in Toronto with Fit Finlay vs. Sami Callihan, Low-Ki vs. Generico and Johnny Gargano vs. someone who is not AR Fox headlining. It's available on iPPV at WWNLive.com. Fox posted on his Facebook that he wasn't being allowed into Canada, so I guess we'll see what happens. We have a great interview with Gabe Sapolsky up on Tuesday talking all the news in Dragon Gate and EVOLVE, including a lot of thoughts on the WrestleMania weekend shows, here.

-- Tommy Dreamer and Joey Styles talk the 15th anniversary of ECW Barely Legal. FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. Wow.

-- If you very badly need to see the Smackdown legend's show from Tuesday, it replays tonight on Syfy.

-- Kensuke Sasaki was announced today to be the latest star to appear at the big Lucha Fan Fest in Mexico City in May. Thanks to Kris Zellner.

-- The Viggity has an article on how to lose 10 pounds for life up here.

-- New Japan and Capcom putting out t-shirts together here.

-- A big preview of UFC on FUEL here.

-- Our Lady Peace talks Chris Benoit here.

-- Big Grantland article on Daniel Bryan here.

-- This Saturday, April 14th, The Union of Independent Professional Wrestlers, in association with Morpheous Productions and the Silver Snail Comic Shops, presents its most important event of the year: WRESTLESTOCK. The show will be held at Royal Canadian Legion Hall No.10 (1083 Pape Avenue @ O'Connor) in Toronto. Doors open at 7:00pm. Bell time is 7:30pm. Tickets are just $20 and are available at the Silver Snail (367 Queen Street West) and $tretch Thrift Store (974 Pape Avenue) or online at www.WrestleStock.com. Tickets will also be available at the door on the night of the show. Steve Corino vs. Michael Elgin headlines.

-- From the former MEXPW: MEXPW Changes Name to MEXPRO to Avoid Lawsuit. Today we announce that we have officially changed the name of our company from MEXPW to MEXPRO. As many of you know, we received numerous emails from an attorney representing XEG/XTV/Rick Mahr & Associates (parent company of the long-deceased XPW) notifying us that unless we change our name, they would file suit against us for trademark violation. We had until March 30th, 2012 to comply. "If the new XPW was ever serious about trying to relaunch it's dead brand, then they would have already produced something on their own. They obviously don't have any passion for pro wrestling." says MEXPRO owner, Mike Hartsfield. "They purchased the company from Rob Black back in 2003 and they did nothing with it for years. Kevin Kleinrock, Kris Kloss and myself spearheaded the "Cold Day in Hell" and XPW 10 Year Anniversary shows; we did it for the fans, not the money. Those two shows were the only events XPW has had since they purchased the name." "Seeing that our new company is off and running with people in place and diehard dedicated fans, the natural thing to do is what's best for business. One would expect everyone to work together and take advantage of a very special opportunity. Instead we were strong-armed into changing our name, while those with more money than us, more "power" than us, come in out of nowhere and try to take something very special away from us. Our legal council and trademark specialists agreeded with us, saying "their claim is frivilous and they don't have a case; they can't trademark "Pro Wrestling" (PW)." "MEXPRO is a very simple company with a true D.I.Y. attitude", Hartsfield continued. "I'm not here to teach these guys what it's all about. I'm also not interested in changing anyone's diapers. In any event, we are pushing on and pushing forward, considering we don't have the monetary resources at this time to disprove their case and we aren't interested in their bully mentality. So we move on, we move forward!" MEXPRO presents “Cease and Resist” set for April 14th at the Arena in Los Angeles, CA

-- Shelly Martinez will appear tonight (April 13) on KSAT-12's newscast during sports. Greg Simmons will interview her as she prepares for her River City Wrestling debut tomorrow (information on the show below). KSAT-12 is the ABC-affiliate in San Antonio, Texas, and the newscast begins at 10 p.m. CST. River City Wrestling -- San Antonio's brand of professional wrestling -- will hold its 10 Year Anniversary Show on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Activity Center, 1630 Goliad Road in San Antonio, TX. The event will begin at 8 p.m. and the doors open at 7:30 p.m.

-- Join Ed, Craig, and Cutrer this week for OTTR as they discuss all the news of the week in pro wrestling. Ed will say something dumb while purposely slurping on his bong right into his mic, Craig will say something factually incorrect and rewrite history, and Cutrer will say something knowledgeable and try and restore everyone's faith in the show. So everyone please join us for another uplifting edition of OTTR, if not go watch Fairly Legal and piss off. Link is here.

-- Who would draw the best as a new opponent of Junior Dos Santos?
Frank Mir 39.7%
Cain Velasquez 25.2%
Dan Henderson 17.9%
Mark Hunt 9.0%
Roy Nelson 4.8%
Bigfoot Silva 2.4%
Fabricio Werdum 1.0%

Will Lesnar vs. Cena beat the Chicago Cena vs. Punk or last year's Survivor Series on PPV?
It will beat neither 45.9%
Will beat both 32.6%
Will beat Cena vs Punk, behind Survivor Series 21.5%

Should UFC take action in regard to drug testing?
Should do Olympic drug testing 46.1%
Should do some random testing 25.3%
Should do a program like WWE 17.4%
No, leave it to the commissions 11.2%

Who should be champion after this match?
Bobby Roode 36.9%
James Storm 63.1%

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