FRIDAY UPDATE: More on three-hour Raw move, more on live Impacts, Brooke Hogan, huge weekend schedule of shows, Ashley Flair signs, NXT tapings, tons more



By Bryan Alvarez

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We're looking for reports from last night TNA show in Hattiesburg, MS, as well as tonight's ROH TV tapings in Baltimore at the Du Burns Arena (Roderick Strong vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the TV title, All Night Express vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander, Eddie Edwards vs. Brutal Bob, Michael Elgin vs. Matt Taven, Adam Cole vs. Mike Mondo plus a four-way elimination match for an ROH title shot) and tonight's TNA show in Jackson, MS (RVD vs. Bully Ray, Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson, Christopher Daniels vs. Kurt Angle, Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley vs. Samoa Joe & Magnus, Velvet Sky vs. Angelina Love, Garett Bischoff vs. Robbie E) 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

Tonight's Ultimate Fighter has two more quarterfinal matches with Chris Saunders (Team Faber) vs. Vinc Pichel (Team Cruz) and Andy Ogle (Team Faber) vs. Al Iaquinta (Team Faber). The two winners will have to fight again this coming Friday night.

Bellator tonight from Lake Charles, LA

Spike.com fights

Mark Holata (250.6) vs. Abe Wagner (248.8)

Josh Burns (206) vs. Richard Hale (205.5)

Andrew Koreshkov (170.8) vs. Derrick Krantz (170.8)

Booker Arthur (145.4) vs. Shannon Slack (146)

E.J. Brooks (156) vs. Kalvin Hackney (156)

Josh Quayhagen (158.2) vs. Cliff Wright (155.6) - Quayhagen failed to make weight

MTV 2 at 8 p.m. Eastern

Kevin Asplund (239) vs. Ron Sparks (264.6)

Jessica Aguilar (115.6) vs. Megumi Fujii (116)

David Rickels (170.6) vs. Karl Amoussou (170) in the welterweight tournament semifinals

Maiquel Falcao (186) vs. Andreas Spang (185.8) in the middleweight tournament final, winner faces Alexander Shlemenko for the vacant title later this year

Saturday we're looking for reports from the WWE dual brand house show in Florence, SC and the ROH house show in Richmond, VA (Jay Briscoe vs. Charlie Haas Uncensored match, Davey Richards & Kyle O'Reilly vs. Kevin Steen & Jimmy Jacobs, Briscoes vs. Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin, Eddie Edwards vs. Mike Bennett, Tommaso Ciampa vs. Adam Cole, Jay Lethal vs. Mike Mondo, Chris Silvio & Paredyse vs. Jeff Early & Zak Hilton).

Saturday's big event is Strikeforce from the HP Pavilion in San Jose

Dark match

James Terry (11-4) vs. Bobby Green (17-5)

Showtime Extreme at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific

Quinn Mulhern (17-2) vs. Yuri Villefort (6-0)

Gian Villante (9-3) vs. Derrick Mehmen (12-4)

Virgil Zwicker (10-2) vs. Carlos Inocente (5-0)

J.Z. Cavalcante (18-4-1, 2 no contests) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (12-3-1)

Showtime a 10 p.m. Eastern/10 p.m. Pacific

Nah-Shon Burrell (8-1) vs. Chris Spang (4-1)

Rafael Feijao Cavalcante (11-3) vs. Mike Kyle (19-8-1, 1 no contest)

Gilbert Melendez (20-2) vs. Josh Thomson (19-4, 1 no contest) for lightweight title 5 rounds

Josh Barnett (31-5) vs. Daniel Cormier (9-0) in heavyweight Grand Prix 5 rounds

The only major event on the agenda on Sunday is WWE's Over the Limit PPV from Raleigh:

Youtube match:

Zack Ryder vs. Kane

PPV

John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis, no DQ, no count out, if Laurinaitis loses he's fired

C.M. Punk vs. Daniel Bryan for WWE title

Sheamus vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Alberto Del Rio for World title

R-Truth & Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler for tag titles

Layla vs. Beth Phoenix for Divas title

Raw will be live on Monday in Richmond, VA.

Smackdown will be taped on Tuesday in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Bad things happen in Wilkes-Barre.

        We've got another double issue week, between a look at Ring of Honor, the bankruptcy proceedings of K-1, TNA Sacrifice, UFC on Fuel, Border Wars, Nick Diaz, Ric Flair, King Mo, the Hogan family, the John Cena divorce and so much more.
 
        Both issues are up on the site along with a new back issue put up earlier in the week.

        We look at an update on Ring of Honor, talking the current state of their business, the latest iPPV snafu, who could and couldn't watch it, what the problems were, and a reaction of those who stayed home on Saturday night to see Davey Richards vs. Kevin Steen and ended up not being able to see it.
 
        We've got notes from Joe Koff, as well as how well the show did, were they hurt by the problems with the iPPVs in March, ROH ratings, where Jim Cornette was, the idea of doing regular PPVs and television specials, plus a match-by-match rundown of the Border Wars show.
 
        We also look at the company which not that many years ago was considered a giant in the industry, looking at the peak moment in popularity of K-1, and its bankruptcy and where it stands.
 
        We look at TNA Sacrifice with our usual coverage of the show, match-by-match, star ratings and poll results.
 
        We've got more on the John Cena divorce, his ex-wife speaks, notes from the WWE Business Partners summit including ideas for new TV shows the company is looking at, why Dustin Runnels were fired by WWE, notes on the new tapings of NXT in Florida, current NXT storylines, Injury updates, Business notes at the past week's WWE shows and rundowns from all the house shows.
 
        We also have more on the FOX rating of UFC and Dana White's video blog on Dave Meltzer, promotion of the show and the first Saturday night sports comparison.
 
        We also have a feature on the history of the biggest WWE main eventers from 1963 to the present, the 50 men who have headlined the most shows and who is in both the WWE and Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame from the list and who isn't.
 
        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.

        We also look at what was one of the most successful ratings segments on a WWE television show so far in 2012, as well as the widest ratings variation for TNA in a long time.
 
        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 look at the Nick Diaz situation and his no-showing last week's match with Braulio Estima. 
 
        We also look at Spike TV's decision regarding King Mo Lawal as a two-genre star in wrestling and MMA at the same time.  We look at Lawal's introduction to pro wrestling, the press conference, cross promotional ideas with TNA and Bellator, what they do and don't have in common, the Bellator time slot, Lawal's background and things about his beginnings in pro wrestling that TNA and he are not yet aware of.
 
        We also look at where the idea came from, the questions coming out of this signing and more.
 
        We've also got full coverage of the third UFC on Fuel show, with ratings, business, and match-by-match coverage. 
 
        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 issues:
 
--New Japan Super Junior tournament
 
--Hall of Famer out of action with broken ribs
 
--Former ECW star announces retirement after car accident
 
--A look back at the career of Gorgeous George Jr.
 
--Wrestler convicted of sodomy with a 12 year old girl
 
--Movie doc covers a former WWE star in life after wrestling
 
--The Junior Danny Hodge Trophy winner
 
--Former WWE stars and stars of the Lucha Libre world converge
 
--Update on Ric Flair
 
--Daughters of legends thinking about going into pro wrestling
 
--TNA big surprise
 
--Gail Kim wedding
 
--Hulk Hogan sex tape details
 
--Notes on TNA's return to the U.K.
 
--Ric Flair Hall of Fame story
 
--Notes on weekend TNA house shows
 
--Notes on upcoming TNA television
 
--Dana White health update
 
--More on Nick Diaz's court case against the Nevada commission,  how it went and where it goes from here
 
--More on UFC Calgary ticket sales
 
--Another Ultimate Fighter series announced
 
--Notes on Ronda Rousey's return
 
--Former Ultimate Fighter winner retires
 
--Former UFC star runs for state senate
 
--Notes on UFC 147 in Brazil
 
--Lots of new UFC fights announced
 
--Social media with Ronda Rousey
 
--Mother's Day special at Arena Mexico
 
--DragonMania
 
--Future of La Parka
 
--AAA Night of Champions show
 
--Pro Wrestling NOAH big show of the month
 
--Misawa Memorial Show
 
--Evolve notes
 
--Notes on Bellator's last show and next show as well as summer plans
 
--Update on a lawsuit regarding WrestleMania 24  
 
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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.
 

-- TMZ is reporting that John Cena's wife is attempting to get his divorce petition thrown out.

-- While WWE is claiming the three-hour Raw switch is "permanent", there are people within the company who believe things will be back to normal by the end of the year, whether that be because the first hour is dropped or it moves to the proposed WWE Network or it becomes simply a recap pre-show to build to the 9 PM hour. All of this, obviously, is subject to constant change. But one important thing to note is that a permanent 5 PM start time would dramatically affect any west coast tapings, as Los Angeles shows, for example, would have to start at 4:30 PM on a work day, which would be a complete nightmare. Pretty much every single person we talked to in WWE over the last day or so has expressed complete dread at this move.

-- Ashley Flair, Ric's daughter, has signed with WWE. She's been training for awhile now. Not sure if one has to do with the other, but this comes on the heels of Ric Flair no-showing TNA house shows last weekend, and he wasn't at TV this week either.

-- Brooke Hogan, as noted on the front page, has been signed by TNA to take on the role that Karen Jarrett vacated, Head of Knockout Law or whatever it was. She's got a really tough act to follow aside from the obvious issues of being Hulk Hogan's daughter with no pro-wrestling experience to speak of. She debuts May 31st on the first of the new live summer series for TNA. So yes, no experience on live television.

-- Urijah Faber's opponent for July 7th will be announced live on Ultimate Fighter tonight.

-- Gabe Sapolsky on his Facebook after being sent a cease-and-desist from ROH lawyers: You stop yourself from saying something 1000 times, but the one time you take 30 seconds and write something out of anger it blows up beyond your imagination. If you are reading this the bottom line is all you really care about is great wrestling, good storylines and something compelling. We had two awesome EVOLVE shows last weekend. Jon Davis stepped up and put in the best weekend of his career. AR Fox showed why we called him the "#1 draft pick" last year with three very different, amazing matches. Low Ki proved why he is now an esteemed veteran. El Generico made his case for being among the elite in the world. Sami Callihan and Ricochet both proved why they are at the top of the list of today's new stars. Johnny Gargano was a Champion in every sense of the word, including giving a 5th grader and her family a memory they will always cherish. The list goes on and on with Samuray Del Sol, Jigsaw, Chuck Taylor, Silas Young all delivering and everyone on the undercard doing their part. Our staff of Ivan, Bryan, Sean and Brandon among others, led by Sal, worked tirelessly to put on those two memorable events and great iPPV streams. I took the attention away from all that by losing my cool for a moment and lashing out with profanity. I can't make any promises in the future, but I'll remember this lesson. I ended up doing the last thing I wanted to do - take the attention off the wrestling that we all care about.

-- We have full NXT at Full Sail University taping results on the front page. They taped a month's worth of shows and that was too long for fans to sit there with almost exclusively developmental talent. Tyler Black debuted on the show as Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose worked a dark match. Sean Waltman was backstage at the show and they announced Dusty Rhodes as new Commissioner.

-- Interesting, all the Memorial Day heavyweight fighters (Junior Dos Santos, Frank Mir, Cain Velaquez and Bigfoot Silva) are all picking Daniel Cormier to beat Josh Barnett in the Strikeforce World Grand Prix tournament tomorrow. Last I checked, Barnett is a very slight favorite. I'm picking Barnett but wouldn't be surprised at all if Cormier beat him.

-- The Dixie/AJ video from last night is up here.

-- Barnett today said, "I don't care what people say. I see my experience as being the biggest advantage in this fight. All that experience comes with all the years of training and all the fights I've had and all the different opponents, (basically) all the times I've been in the ring as a pro wrestler, as a fighter. Experience is a pretty easy word to throw around. But I don't think it’s as simple to just say experience. I have to believe ultimately in everything I do and everything I possess. So it’s the same as before and the same that it’s always going to be."

-- Smackdown tonight has Sheamus vs. Randy Orton, CM Punk vs. Kane, Santino vs. Cody Rhodes with neither title on the line, Daniel Bryan vs. Zack Ryder, Truth & Kofi vs. Titus O'Neil & Darren Young, and Damien Sandow booked versus Yoshi Tatsu.

-- Gunner signed a new three-year deal with TNA.

-- For those going to the Vegas Convention, our own Peachmachine will be competing in the Grappler's Quest tournament on Friday. I believe his weight class starts at 11 AM, and the open weight is at 1 PM.

-- House Appropriations Committee Passes Kingston-McCollum Amendment to Prohibit Taxpayer Funds for NASCAR, Pro-Fishing, Ultimate Fighting. Also, pro-wrestling.

-- "Chikarasaurus Rex: How to Hatch a Dinosaur", the company's next iPPV spectacular, takes place 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

-- Latest Zack Ryder Internet show

-- What do you think of Raw going to three hours?
Positive move 7.8%
Negative move 84.9%
Makes no difference 7.3%

What do you think of Impact going live?
Positive move 45.8%
Negative move 5.4%
Makes no difference 48.8%

Would you be more likely to watch Bellator if it airs after Impact?
Don't watch Impact, won't watch Bellator 28.5%
Will probably watch at the beginning more, pick and choose based on fights from there 20.1%
Won't watch Bellator no matter what the time slot 17.6%
Watch Bellator, will continue to 12.0%
Don't watch Impact, will watch Bellator in that time slot 8.1%
Watch Impact, but won't watch Bellator 7.5%
Rarely watch Bellator, would more often in that time slot 5.3%
Watch it now, will stop watching if it's on Thursday 0.8%

Can Brian Stann vs. Hector Lombard do a 2.0 rating?
Yes 13.3%
No 86.7%

If Ronda Rousey fights Cyborg, will it set the Showtime ratings record?
Yes 32.1%
No, because MMA has cooled off since Carano vs. Cyborg 26.4%
Not a record, but will come close to a record 23.5%
No, because Rousey won't have the drawing power Carano had 18.0%

-- Chael Sonnen dances and attempts to spell "Trina" with "TNA" here.

-- Sneak peek of a new Bella Twins interview

-- Front row tickets for the next SHIMMER - WOMEN ATHLETES events will go on sale at http://www.shimmerwrestling.com/ this Sunday, May 20th, at 6pm Central time. Front row seating typically sells out very quickly once the tickets go on sale (sometimes within a matter of hours), so be sure to pick them up on Sunday night if you are interested in front row seating for the events. Instructions to purchase front row tickets will be posted on the web site at that time.

-- Christian makes a guest appearance at the FCW show tonight, Orlando Armory 2809 S. Ferncreek Drive, Orlando, FL 32856.

-- MVP sat down with former WWE Creative Exec and MLW Exec Producer Court Bauer for part 1 of his conversation on MLW Radio talking about how his (almost) run in MLW, how he signed with WWE, Chris Benoit & Undertaker mentoring him and how that experience was, WWE's locker room, and a huge WrestleMania bump the office banned him from doing. You can listen to the show here.

-- Pro Wrestling Phoenix runs our 7th Anniversary show this Saturday 5/19 at the National Guard Armory in Council Bluffs, IA.

-- Brodus Clay did a fun interview with CBS Radio's Chad Dukes, of 106.7 the Fan DC. He tells an awesome story about John Cena helping him get on the show. Check it out here.

-- Inside MMA will talk exclusively to former UFC Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin live on Monday, May 21st in his first broadcast interview since back surgery last year.

-- Ed, Craig and Cutrer talk In Your House on Over the Top Radio this week

-- RF Video's May 18th newsletter

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Which of these matches do you think does the most business?

 

Who is the best of the current world champions in pro wrestling?

 

If you watched at least two major shows this weekend, what was the best?