HUGE FRIDAY UPDATE: Weekend schedule, everything you need to know about F4W convention, McMahon shareholder meeting notes, Impact new start time, Rock is huge, FCW new taping location, 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 last night's TNA house show in Kennewick, WA and tomorrow night's show in Wenatchee, WA 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

No Bellator tonight. Ultimate Fighter on FX tonight has Sam Sicilia of Team Cruz vs. Chris Saunders of Team Faber.

No WWE house shows this weekend. Besides TNA, the biggest events on Saturday night are CHIKARA and ROH doing a double-header in Chicago Ridge, IL at the Frontier Fieldhouse, with Eddie Kingston vs. Kevin Steen headlining the 2 p.m. CHIKARA show and Brsicoes vs. Jigsaw & Hallowicked for the tag tiles and Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. Davey Richards & Kyle O'Reilly headlining the ROH show at 8 p.m. There is also the Extreme Reunion show Saturday night in Philadelphia at the National Guard Armory. There is also the all-women's Invicta Fighting Championships show from Memorial Hall in Kansas City headlined by Marloes Coenen vs. Romy Ruyssen that will be airing live at http://www.Invictafc.com starting at 8 p.m. Eastern time. We're looking for reports on all of these shows.

The weekend's biggest event is Extreme Rules on Sunday from Chicago's All-State Arena.

*John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar in an Extreme rules match

*C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho in a Chicago street fight for the WWE title

*Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan 2/3 falls for the world title

*Randy Orton vs. Kane falls count anywhere

*Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes for IC title

*Nikki Bella vs. Beth Phoenix for Divas title

*Santino Marella vs. The Miz for the U.S. title (on You tube)

ROH also runs Sunday in Dayton at Hara Arena with Davey Richards vs. Adam Cole for the ROH title and Briscoes vs. Haas & Benjamin for the tag titles.

Raw will be live on Monday night also from Dayton. Smackdown & NXT will be taped on Tuesday night in Toledo.

TNA will be taping on both Monday and Tuesday night in Orlando this week.

        A look at booking Brock Lesnar from Extreme Rules and into WrestleMania, the most in-depth look at the Alistair Overeem hearing and the decision made by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the changes in major UFC shows over the past week including, full coverage of UFC 145 and the Cauliflower Alley banquet are just some of the major stories packed into the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.   

 
        The issue will be up on the site tonight along with a back issue from early 1995 also up on the site this week,
 
        Our lead story concerns Brock Lesnar's return to PPV with WWE this week.  We look at the buildup, a comparison with last year's biggest "B" show, numbers "B shows have been doing and how well Lesnar's return can perform.
 
        We also look at why the goals of the wrestlers in this match should be completely different from a usual WWE PPV main event, and why.  We also look at the difference between this Brock Lesnar and the one that was in WWF in 2002-2004.  We look at the Extreme Rules show, keys to the show, the decision to put prelims on You tube and the flaw that was shown by another organization with the same idea. 
 
        We also look at ideas for both SummerSlam and WrestleMania and one idea currently floated for SummerSlam.
 
        We also have full coverage of the Overeem hearings and decision by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.  We look at how the decision went down, the testimony, the background of Dr. Hector Molina and media criticism of the decision.
 
        We also look at how the UFC shows have changed with the Overeem and Chael Sonnen situation evaluating the new main events, update on the Brazil show, and what show company officials are talking like they expect to do a monster number with.
 
        We also have full coverage of UFC 145 from Atlanta, with the business notes including early buy rate info, the key parts of the show, match-by-match coverage, payoffs and poll results on the show.
 
        We've also got a look at the 2012 Cauliflower Alley Club banquet and the speeches by people like Steve Austin, Jim Ross, Ricky Steamboat, Wendi Richter, Sgt. Slaughter and others.  We look at the awards, we go back to the famous Slaughter & Kernodle vs. Steamboat & Youngblood mach in Greensboro, how Steamboat started as a pro wrestler, where he got his name, his altercations with Verne Gagne and more. 
 
        We look at Jim Ross talking about his friendship with Steve Austin, while Austin talked about breaking in as a wrestler and the psychology of doing a match, as well as the possibility of wrestling again.
 
        We also look at Chris Jericho's tenure in WWE, the story behind Nikki Bella winning the Divas title and where it goes, more on the current planned start date of the network and a show they are working on, the release of Andy Leavine, David Otunga, the new philosophy in the WWE movie division, why Edge was on Raw, WWE business numbers, Austin talks Mania, change in a finishing move and why WWE champs defending in another promoting, next show in New York, new signing, as well as a look at the final shows of the recent European tour.
 
        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 what material caused Anheuser-Busch to come down on UFC and what UFC's response was, as well as the originators of the situation and why it was inevitable.
 
        We've got our weekly Friday night ratings notes.
 
        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:
 
--Yet another new idea for a pro wrestling tournament
 
--Arena Mexico 56th anniversary show
 
--Update on All Japan Champion Carnival tournament
 
--Update on NOAH tag team tournament
 
--Tatsumi Fujinami 40th anniversary show
 
--A look at highlights of Fujinami's career
 
--Two Japanese sports legends meet in the ring for the first time
 
--President of one of the biggest wrestling companies in the world works as a heel manager on a minor show
 
--Former MMA heavyweight champion signs to make pro wrestling debut next month
 
--Update on Buff Bagwell's injuries
 
--Famous anniversaries in recent weeks
 
--The latest ECW revival attempt
 
--U.S. Olympic trials
 
--New books coming out
 
--Former WWE wrestler now fighting MMA
 
--ROH back on the road
 
--Lockdown PPV estimates
 
--PPV main event being tried out on the road
 
--The last episode and the future of Ring Ka King
 
--Looking at taping TNA television on the road
 
--Update on James Storm
 
--Notes on upcoming TNA television
 
--TNA house show notes
 
--Update on Nick Diaz
 
--UFC signs a champion from Bellator and details behind it
 
--Update on MMA legalization in New York
 
--A look at the next Fuel live special
 
--Update on B.J. Penn
 
--In hindsight, what actually killed Strikeforce as an independent group
 
--Decorated wrestler who once beat Ben Askren signs with UFC
 
--Lots of new UFC fights
 
--Coverage of one of the biggest fights in Bellator history
 
--Fedor's next fight updated
 
--Gina Carano tag teams with The Rock
 

Rates are:

For the United States, it is $12 for 4 issues, $29 for 12, $55 for 24, $91 for 40 and $118 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $13.50 for 4, $33 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 or 52.  In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For the rest of the world, rates are $15.50 for 4, $41 for 12, $78 for 24, $126 for 40 issues and $163 for 52 .

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.

-- Deepest condolences from everyone here at the website to Mike Coughlin and his family on the passing of his father last night.

Notes from Dave Meltzer on today's WWE shareholders meeting

Vince McMahon spoke for 7-8 minutes off the cuff. He said that the only two things in life that are guaranteed are death and taxes. He said there are actually three things because he guarantees that one year from now, the company will be in way better shape than it is now. He said there were two reasons, the film department and TV licensing, why revenue and profits were down.  He noted that they, by choice, kept two hours (NXT & Superstars) off the air and thus didn't get any U.S. rights fees for those two hours. He claimed ratings for Raw were up 3% and Smackdown up 15%, I know you can look up the numbers and compare them to last year and come up with different results.  Vince was said to have looked really old without makeup, his voice was hoarse and he looked tired.

CFO George Barrios talked about the financials, saying that 95% of what was wrong this past year was the film division and TV licensing. He said the film division would be changing. They will be doing PG-13 and money movies, more action, crime, sci-fi and thriller movies. He claimed for for every WWE fan who watches a WWE movie, there are four people who aren't WWE fans who watch WWE movies. Hey, he said that, explaining how the movies expand the audience.

They said that the new movies would be 50/50 partnerships with existing movie studios and they would be doing more movies that either had no wrestlers in them, or the wrestlers would have light support roles.

No talk about The Rock, Brock Lesnar, storylines, or anything.

They took questions for about 45 minutes.

When asked why they think they could pull off a network when Oprah couldn't, Vince said that Oprah was about her TV show and she didn't put her TV show on her network. Why would anyone care about her network if she doesn't put her show on? He said the start date of the network was delayed because they didn't want to make the mistakes Oprah made. He said he couldn't tell you when the network would launch because we don't know for sure, hopefully by the end of the year, that's the plan.

When asked if they were dropping Classics on Demand, Vince said "Most likely."

When asked about PPVs moving to the network, he said they may or may not be.

When asked about developmental, they said a big announcement would be coming soon.

When asked if they would switch from PG programming on television, Vince said "Absolutely not."

The falling stock price wasn't talked about much, but Vince said that if he had the money, he'd be buying shares at this price. Actually, he does have the money. He said the price was down because of the uncertainty about the network.

In the comedy part of the show, an older guy asked Vince if he had received his letter of a few weeks ago suggesting he work with or emulate other web sites, in particular mentioning kinky.com and also if they'd work with Go Fight Live. Yes, if I was WWE, I'd be putting my big shows on Go Fight Live as well.

Another person asked, since they always say WrestleMania is their Super Bowl, to follow the lead of the Super Bowl and put it on free television and make money from the ad revenue. "Why would we do that? That makes no sense to our bottom line to do that." Vince noted they just came off their most successful money-making WrestleMania and said that the Super Bowl would move to PPV if they were allowed to do so.

They also said they would be announcing the new star of "The Marine" shortly.

-- Dave and I will be back later tonight with a brand new radio show talking the McMahon shareholder's meeting, Impact, TNA in Kent, Ultimate Fighter and Smackdown, only for subscribers. We're also back Sunday night after Extreme Rules.

-- Tonight's show at Arena Mexico is the 56th anniversary of wrestling in the building.

-- Spike TV announced that Impact is moving to 8 PM Eastern/Pacific starting May 31st. The official explanation is that there are more available viewers from 8-10 and less sports competition in the 8 PM hour. The NFL starts at 9 Eastern, but that begins in the fall, and this earlier start time is probably going to hurt them a lot most of the year, particularly in the summer.

-- Um, look at the Rock.

-- Ronda Rousey will apparently guest-star on Ultimate Fighter on FX tonight.

-- Marc Ratner of UFC was appointed chairman of the new International Mixed Martial Arts Federation. The organization is based in Sweden.

-- FCW announced that they will begin taping in Orlando at Full Sail University starting on May 17th. They are still scheduled to run at the FCW Arena in Tampa as well, at least for the time being. They have signed for shows in Orlando through at least September and Tampa through October.

-- I will be attempting to out-tweet Jeremy Borash at the TNA house show in Kent, WA tonight at @bryanalvarez, so follow me there for updates. If you're in the area, I'll put up on Twitter where we are going to meet up if such a thing happens before or after the show. I've been to two TNA house shows before, both at the Showare Center, and they've both been a lot of fun. The advance for tonight is apparently pretty good as well, at least in comparison to the numbers TNA drew on the road last weekend.

-- I am quoted herein an article on Eight Steps to Creating a Better Podcast. Thanks to Anna Harris for the interview.

-- Although he is billed as appearing, Kurt Angle is off the weekend house show loop.

-- Full line-up for UFC 148 in Las Vegas over July 4th weekend has:
Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen for the middleweight title
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber for the bantamweight title
Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le
Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz
Michael Bisping vs. Tim Boetsch
Renan Barao vs. Ivan Menjivar
Fabricio Camoes vs. Melvin Guillard
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Gleison Tibau
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Demian Maia
Riki Fukuda vs. Constantinos Philippou

-- That's a really big show. Tickets go on sale next week, and I believe they are the single most expensive tickets to a show in UFC history. They start at $125 and range all the way up to $1200. That should probably give you an idea of what Anderson Silva requested to take the fight in the United States instead of Brazil. Fight Club members can purchase May 2nd, newsletter readers May 3rd and general public May 4th.

-- Some notes on the July 4th weekend in Vegas, which is our annual convention this year. If anyone would like to sit in one of the Empire groups for the UFC event, post in in this thread as soon as posible since people are going to attempt to buy blocks of tickets Wednesday: UFC ticket blocks thread

General info about the trip/convention can be found here.

There is also a Facebook page set up here.

Ed in San Antonio, who created the Convention concept back in 2006, is also raising money for this year's F4W suite party. He says if you would like to donate, please send "10 to 20 dollers" to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and "please leave name and what it is for~!"

-- We're looking to get 100 people to the Convention this year, so check out the following links above and make your plans. It's grown every year and is an awesome time!

-- Honky Tonk Man interview from the SCORE is up here.

-- Smackdown tonight has Sheamus vs. Mark Henry, Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio non-title (what does it take to get an IC title match in WWE?), Nikki Bella vs. Alicia Fox, Titus O'Neill & Darren Young vs. Ezekiel Jackson & Yoshi Tatsu, Antonio Cesaro vs. Tyson Kidd, Great Khali vs. Cody Rhodes, Ryback kills a local jobber, and more.

-- There is a video here which does a much better job than Hulk Hogan does in explaining Open Fight Night and Gut Check.

-- Chandler Jones, Jon's younger brother, was drafted in the first round by the New England Patriots, who lost in the Super Bowl. They traded up for a shot to get him. He was the 21st pick overall.

-- Damien Sandow debuts live on Smackdown on Tuesday.

-- Nash's full Twitter rant: HOF means nothing to me,If I Die before it I,ve asked my wife to pass.Nothing against it or WWE,but if Pete Rose ain't in cooperstown....Just don't need it to validate my life.I wake every morning to the sight of the ocean. for a Detroit boy I'm already in....I watched it this year from up close,just don't need the stress,I love the WWE,just love me more.90% of my shout outs are gone.Not cool....Don't worrie some stooge at WWE;who's job is to read all this s--t will as of tonight'make sure it never comes up,let alone happens

-- There is a great interview with William Regal here talking all sorts of subjects including being influenced by British comedians. Also some really cool exclusive WWE photography here.

-- Kevin writes: Imagine you already know this – but last night during the prime time NFL 1st round draft, each time the NFL Commish would pause in announcing the draft pick, he was met with very loud “What” chants all night.

-- Scott writes: Thought you might be interested to know that Bellator and the Friday night show is ranked 7 on Entertainment Weekly's Must List for the next issue. This weekly list ranks new movies shows bands songs etc and never have I heard of any MMA being on this list let alone Bellator. Included a screen shot from the iPhone app. List goes up there first and is printed in the upcoming issue which most people get early next week. Was shocked to see this. It's rare to see any sport let alone MMA. It's the number one Entertainment and pop culture weekly magazine in the country.

-- If you haven't seen it yet, James Storm's music video is up here.

-- Latest TCW Championship Wrestling TV show is up here. Excellent production values.

-- Adam Pearce challenges Colt Cabana to SEVEN LEVELS OF HATE here.

-- Zack Ryder's latest show is up here.

-- Tanguy writes: Christophe Agius has announced on Twitter earlier this week that he had left his job. He was, along with Philippe Chérault, on the French announce team since 2002 and his act was part of the reason wrestling got big in France a few years ago: he played the heel announcer. His departure is bad news for professional wrestling in France (which is becoming, in fact, a dead territory).

-- WrestleMania 28 out on DVD and Blu-Ray May 8th.

-- UFC on FUEL 4 takes place on July 11th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose with Chris Weidman vs. Mark Munoz headlining.

-- Quick correction from yesterday: the Press-Enterprise is the newspaper in Riverside, CA, which is in Riverside County, not San Bernardino County. (Thanks to Joey)

-- What was the best of these matches?
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin 1997 Chicago 46.1%
Flair vs. Steamboat 1989 Chicago 33.8%
Undertaker vs. Michaels 2009 Houston 20.2%

Who do you expect to win this fight?
Junior Dos Santos 83.7%
Frank Mir 16.3%

Biggest news story of March?
Ascension of Ronda Rousey 32.3%
Rock vs. Cena build for Mania, ratings don't rise 30.2%
NOAH admits Yakuza ties 11.1%
Death of Doug Furnas 9.5%
WWE Hall of Fame ceremony 6.9%
King Mo fired 3.6%
Death of Joe Blanchard 2.3%
Friday Night Wars 1.3%
WWE almost sells out MSG for house show 1.3%
AAA Rey de Reyes show 0.8%
All Japan Sumo Half show 0.7%

Who is WWE's biggest star?
Rock 55.5%
Austin 23.8%
Cena 10.8%
Lesnar 9.9%

-- The newest episode of DOA Championship Wrestling from up here in the Northwest is up.

-- Masked Republic is looking for editors for upcoming television and other media projects and is allowing potential candidates to show off their skills by each editing their own take on a promo reel for which the company is providing footage, graphics, and music. No wrestling editing experience necessary, as they are specifically looking for editors with other backgrounds or wrestling editors who have also edited non-wrestling products before. The best reels will be featured on the Masked Republic website. Those interested can email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

-- Shane Douglas joined Mister Saint Laurent on MLW Radio this week to discuss his upcoming ECW reunion show and how Dixie Carter's treatment of former ECW stars led to his decision to hold his own reunion show.

-- Peachmachine returned to the Drunkcast this week.

-- The 2012 Young Lions Cup takes place on Saturday, May 5th in Hayward, CA at the famous APW Garage. This years tournament will feature 16 competitors from California, Hawaii and overseas. This years tournament will have a unique format. Round 1 will consist of four tag team matches. The winning team will face off against each other in Round 2. From then on, the tournament will be single elimination.

-- El Generico has just been confirmed for EVOLVE cards on May 11th in Charlotte, NC and May 12th in Concord, NC. Tickets for both events are now on sale by calling 267-519-9744. Both cards will be broadcast on worldwide live iPPV with three pricing options. You can pre-order now.

-- Indy promotion Pro Wrestling Syndicate has recently been on fire since coming off its massive Super Card 2012 event this past March 9th in Rahway NJ which made headlines across the wrestling world for the infamous no show of Psycho Sid. PWS has now assembled not one, not two, but three even bigger events to follow up its Super Card 2012 which drew close to 950 fans at The Rahway Rec Center.

Next Friday, May 4, PWS returns to Rahway NJ with Refuse To Lose 2012 featuring WWE Hall Of Famers Bret Hart and Rocky Johnson. Sami Callihan defends the PWS Heavyweight Title against Jay Lethal, Colt Cabana collides with Matt Hardy, Jerry Lynn battles Marty Jannetty for the first time ever, and lots more including Maria Kanellis, Demolition, Jillian Hall, Reby Sky, The Young Bucks, Samuray Del Sol, Zema Ion, Adam Cole, and the return of Teddy Hart.

-- A look back at when Austin Idol, Tommy Rich and Paul Heyman shaved the head of Jerry Lawler in one of the most heated angles ever in Memphis (and that covers a lot of ground).

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