FRI UPDATE: What happened to the UFC video game, Dixie and Christian, new TNA TV deal, best champions in WWE over last decade, Jericho countdown gimmick, tons more



By Bryan Alvarez

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We're looking for your thoughts on today's UFC show on FX, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're also looking for reports on today's Raw show in Valencia, Spain (John Cena vs. Big Show & Tensai & John Laurinaitis; C.M. Punk vs. Daniel Bryan), the next to last event of the tour. Raw finishes up in Barcelona tomorrow before the crew flies home Sunday for the live three hour Raw on Monday Hartford. Raw features the return of Vince McMahon, who at 8 p.m. will be giving John Laurinaitis his job evaluation.

Today's UFC card:

Facebook fights at 5 p.m. Eastern

Sean Pierson (11-6, 170) vs. Jake Hecht (11-3, 171)

Bernardo Magalhaes (11-2, 155) vs. Henry Martinez (6-2, 156)

Fuel at 6 p.m.

Caio Magalhaes (5-0, 186) vs. Buddy Roberts (11-2, 185)

Justin Salas (10-3, 156) vs. Tim Means (17-3-1, 155.5)

Jared Papazian (14-7, 1 no contest, 133) vs. Dustin Pague (10-6, 136)

Matt Grice (14-4, 146) vs. Leonard Garcia (19-8-1, 146)

Lance Benoist (6-0, 171) vs Seth Baczynski (15-6, 170.5)

Carlos Eduardo Rocha (9-1, 170.5) vs. Mike Pierce (13-5, 171)

FX at 9 p.m.

Scott Jorgensen (13-5, 136) vs. Eddie Wineland (18-8-1, 135.5)

Josh Neer (33-10-1, 170.5) vs. Mike Pyle (22-8-1, 171)

Charlie Brenneman (15-3, 171) vs. Erick Silva (13-2, 1 no contest, 169)

Ian McCall (11-2-1, 126) vs. Demetrious Johnson (14-2-1, 125) in a five round fight where the winner faces Joseph Benavidez in a few months to determine the first flyweight champion

Besides the Raw crew finishing up, Saturday also has a Smackdown brand house show in Salisbury, MD with Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio for the world title and Christian vs. Cody Rhodes for the IC title.

The big pro wrestling event of the weekend in the U.S. is TNA's Slammiversary show in Arlington, TX on Sunday:

Bobby Roode vs. Sting for the TNA title

Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. A.J. Styles & Kurt Angle for the tag title

Joseph Park vs. Bully Ray

Gail Kim vs. Miss Tessmacher for the Knockouts title

Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe

Devon & Garett Bischoff vs. Robbie E & Robbie T

Crimson vs. ?

Kid Kash vs. Hernandez

Sunday is also the final day of New Japan's Best of the Super Junior tournament at Korakuen Hall.

There is also a Smackdown brand house show in Binghamton, NY on Sunday.

Smackdown and NXT will be taped on Tuesday in Manchester, NH. The major stars being advertised locally are John Cena (likely a dark match) and HHH (likely a non-televised cameo appearance).

       The most detailed look at the Randy Orton situation, as well as an update on Brock Lesnar when it comes to WWE, are among the major stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  We look at every report and every aspect of the Orton suspension.  We also look at the Frank Mir exemption for testosterone, the state of testosterone exemptions in MMA right now and some very strange goings on in that direction.
 
        We also have a ton of news regarding plans being made for the 1,000th episode of Raw, the folding of yet another major MMA company and sale of the oldest continually running MMA promotion in history.
 
        We also look at the PPV industry in 2012, including UFC, boxing and WWE and what kind of years it not appears all three are going to have.  We look at who looks to be up, who looks to be down, how the UFC's recent all-heavyweight show looks to have done and whether or not such a show will be done again next year.
 
        We also look at the behind-the-scenes of the DQ license for UFC moving to EA.
 
        We also have more on the WWE's legal issues with reporter Chris Powell, how the story has grown, the effect it has had on the Linda McMahon campaign, what it means in the big picture and how it is being covered.
 
        Plus, we look at the end of season 15 of the Ultimate Fighter, and how things have changed with the show, its popularity, and star making capability.
 
        The issue is already on the site today if you are a web site member.  We also have a new back issue on the site from 1995 which covers the two biggest shows of that year, WrestleMania as well as probably the show with the single greatest collection of talent in one night of any pro wrestling show in history, held the same day as WrestleMania at the Tokyo Dome.  There were 14 different Hall of Famers wrestling on the show, and two others part of the presentation and I would doubt there is a show in history that could boast a number that large.
 
        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.

        Our lead story covers Randy Orton.  We look at the various news reports and try and make sense over what seems plausible and what doesn't.  We look at WWE's reaction in the past to marijuana positives, how this suspension differs from some of the more recent ones like Rey Mysterio, Evan Bourne and R-Truth, and looking at various different reports on WWE's reaction and Orton's future with the company.
 
        We also look at WWE's star power going forward and where Orton would fit in, a look at the Smackdown main level stars, moves that have been made to bolster Smackdown attendance, what the writing team knew about Orton and why the booking for Orton on the way out made no sense.  We look at how Orton is viewed in general by the wrestlers.
 
        Plus, we look back, in detail, at all of Orton's major issues and suspensions in the past, and what does and doesn't add up about them.  We look at all the active talent on the roster with two strikes already, about how much money it is expected Orton figures to lose based on this suspension, and how this version of drug testing came to being and what incident was the black eye to the policy.
 
        We also look at Frank Mir's situation, when it got started and why it is so perplexing. 
 
        We look at plans for Raw No. 1,000 on 7/23 in St. Louis, and different ideas batted around, and what is already being advertised and planned.  We also look at what the writing team is under pressure to come up with this summer and how difficult that will be.
 
        We also have an update as to what is happening regarding Lesnar and WWE, why certain things have and haven't happened on television of late. 
 
        We also look at a story regarding the television industry, sports and bidding that will greatly affect UFC and possibly WWE when current contracts run out.
 
        We've got more on the next WWE video game, more on exactly what went down with Chris Jericho in Brazil, and the release of Tom Prichard.  We look at a notable Prichard story.
 
        We also have notes on Raw on Tivo.  We also look at Steve Austin's new TV show, run-throughs for the next PPV, Ted DiBiase talks about his future, the Million Dollar Man gimmick and why it didn't work for him like it did for his father.  We've also got all the WWE business notes from the past week as well as details from all the weekend house shows.
 
        We look at the rise and fall of Japanese MMA, including how it first got started from pro wrestling, the rise of Mirko Cro Cop, the celebrity fighters, and why it went down, as well as the folding of one promotion and sale of another longtime MMA group to a pro wrestling promoter.
 
        We've also got complete coverage of the Ultimate Fighter finals, with the business notes on the show, poll results and match-by-match coverage as well as earnings on the show.  We look at the great Michael Chiesa story and whether or not it will make him a big star, as well as what the future holds for the show.  We also look at the future of many of the fighters on the cast of the just completed season.
 
         We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows and complete details on the last two weeks of Raw with segment-by-segment numbers where you can see how each segment did, as well as what audience John Cena moved the most and least.

        We also have results from all the major arena events around the world over the past week, as well as reviews of all the major television shows.

Also in this week's issue:

--CMLL's biggest stip match in a long time
 
--New Japan star challenges for CMLL title
 
--Official TripleMania announcement of date and place
 
--Probable TripleMania main event
 
--Who was on the semifinal of the first ever AAA show 20 years ago and was in the main event in the return to that arena in Veracruz over the weekend
 
--Major international star shows up as a surprise for AAA
 
--Three former WWE stars headline in Mexico
 
--Major injury screws up major plans for Pro Wrestling NOAH
 
--NOAH holds matches against both All Japan and New Japan
 
--Longtime New Japan star talks about an injury and potential return
 
--Standings of the Best of the Super Junior tournament and all of the matches over the past week
 
--Former WWE star challenges for IGF title against former K-1 star
 
--Update on Genichiro Tenryu
 
--Return of the famous Great Kabuki
 
--The grandson of arguably the most influential wrestler of the 20th century talking about getting into pro wrestling
 
--One of wrestling's all-time greatest winning records hurt with loss this past week
 
--Update on Shane Douglas' Extreme Reunion group with a new name and new focus
 
--Major indie show headlined by WWE star against Luke Robinson
 
--Updated news on TNA's lawsuit against WWE, what the suit it about
 
--Lots of notes regarding TNA's live TV shoot and why everyone was so happy it went smoothly
 
--Plans going forward for live TNA shoots
 
--Dixie Carter talks about the optimum number of PPV shows per year
 
--Talk about the TNA Hall of Fame
 
--Update on Chris Sabin in TNA
 
--What TNA badly needs that has snuck up on them
 
--Who is behind TNA's recent successful angles
 
--Updates on Slammiversary
 
--Notes on the TNA big surprise
 
--Behind the Gut check segments and what is and isn't real about them
 
--Notes on the Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva fight
 
--Tons of new UFC fights announced and changed
 
--Notes on the next UFC Countdown show
 
--A look at the career of Kenny Florian
 
--Surprise of B.J. Penn returning
 
--More on the Jon Jones situation
 
--Behind all the talks when Thiago Silva got hurt over who to face Shogun next
 
--Two MMA documentaries just released covering major UFC stars
 
--A look at where Cyborg vs. Rousey stands
 
--Rousey's next title defense
 
--Lots of UFC cuts
 
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.
 

-- As noted on the front page, Dixie Carter tweeted today that Christian will be appearing at Slammiversary Sunday. It was surreal to see both TNA and WWE billing upcoming appearances from the same guy within the same one-hour period.

-- It is being reported that UFC Undisputed 3 only sold 1.4 million unitswith break-even being approximately 2 million, which presumably explains the sale of the title to EA Sports.

-- Jim Ross did an update on the FCW television situation on his blog today: When FCW's TV show runs its course on the Brighthouse Network in Florida, FCW will be replaced by NXT. I'm unaware if the rebranded NXT will air on WWE.com (doubtful) but will air outside the USA where NXT is currently airing. They've also released a full schedule of summer events up here.

-- TNA announced yesterday a deal with All Sports Network in Asia, which will make Impact available to Hong Kong, Cambodia, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam.

-- WWE has a list up of the ten best champions of the 21st century. They are, in order from number one, John Cena (shocker), Triple H (shocker), Edge, Undertaker, CML Punk, Randy Orton, Batista, Y2J, Kurt Angle and Booker T.

-- Chris Jericho is doing a gimmick on his Twitter where every day he finds a clever way to work in the number of days left until he returns to WWE.

-- Smackdown tonight has Sheamus vs. Kane, Alberto Del Rio vs. Great Khali, Sin Cara vs. Drew McIntyre, Jey Uso vs. the returning Antonio Cesaro, Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler, Brodus Clay vs. Derrick Bateman, Ryback vs. Two Geeks, and more.

-- WWE's newest film acquisition: WWE Studios (NYSE:WWE) announced today it has secured the rights to Interrogation, a suspense thriller by Adam Rodin. With a bomb set to go off in Las Vegas on one of the busiest betting days of the year, the story focuses on a brilliant interrogator called in to question the prime suspect. As time runs out, we soon learn there's an even bigger plan in place for both of them.

-- For those who are looking for THE BALLAD OF KEITH LARSEN, the video is up here.

-- Trailer for Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline ECW with the Sandman is up here.

-- Extreme Rising (former Extreme Reunion) tries to steer the ship straight with two shows coming up on June 29th in Queens and June 30th in Philadelphia. Queens has Jerry Lynn vs. Matt Hardy, Homicide vs. Devon Storm, Stevie Richards vs. Luke Hawx, Bestia 666 vs. Pesadilla, BLK OUT vs. Dramatics and more. The 30th in Philly has Lynn vs. Homicide, Gangstas vs. BLK OUT, Stevie Richards vs. Hawx, and more.

-- Latest line-up for ROH Best in the World on iPPV on June 24th has Kevin Steen vs. Davey Richards in a match where if Davey doesn't win he never gets another shot at Steen's title, Finlay vs. Michael Elgin, Haas & Benjamin vs. All Night Express, Roderick Strong vs. Tomasso Ciampa vs. Jay Lethal for the TV Title, Eddie Edwards vs. Homicide, and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Adam Cole in a Hybrid Fighting Rules match. According to ROH, this means you can win via knockout (10 second count), submission, TKO, Draw or DQ by fouls. Fouls resulting in immediate DQ include Deliberate eye-gouging, groin attacks, biting, and pulling the opponent's hair; Use of foreign object; Outside interference; Physical abuse to official. Minor fouls where you're only DQ'd if you accumulate three during the course of the match include Deliberately going out of the ring or throwing an opponent out of the ring; Deliberately holding and utilizing the ring ropes during the match for an advantage; Accidental eye-gouging and groin attacks; Holding or pulling the opponent's outfit. So basically, it appears to be a pro-wrestling match with no pinfalls. Or a pinfalls count nowhere in the building match.

-- Invicta Fighting Championships and Japan-based JEWELS announced yesterday that the two women’s Mixed Martial Arts promotions have formed a strategic partnership to cross-promote the world’s top female fighters on their respective fight cards in The United States and Japan. As part of the new alliance, JEWELS champion Akaya Hamasaki (7-0) of Yamaguchi, Japan will head to Kansas City, Kan. to square off with fellow undefeated star Jasminka “Impressive” Cive (5-0) of Graz, Styria Austria in a flyweight (115 pounds) matchup at Invicta FC 2: McMann vs. Baszler at Memorial Hall on Sat., July 28.

-- DGUSA announced that both the June 28th and 29th events, including this year's Style Battle tournament, will air on iPPV at WWNLive.com. You can check out the cards for both shows and more at the DGUSA website.

-- New interview with Joey Ryan up here.

-- A new episode of The Gunn Show with Billy Gunn

-- A great article on a great guy, Les Thatcher, up here.

-- Latest episode of DOA Main Event Wrestling is up here.

-- CHIKARA: King of Trios 2012 will be September 14th through 16th this year.

-- This blurb was in today's Philadelphia Inquirer: "Monster Jam Driver Madusa, whose real name is Debra Miceli, is expected to be the only woman competing at 7 P.M. Saturday in the Monster Jam Path of Destruction at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia. Madusa, a former model and professional wrestler, is the first woman to ever win the freestlye competition at the Monster Jam World Finals. The next year, she captured the racing title. The truck she drives, Madusa, is the first and only truck to be named after its driver." Thanks to Chuck.

-- John Laurinaitis and Alberto Del Rio are scheduled to be guests on the New Hampshire-based radio show "Greg and the Morning Buzz" early this coming week to promote the WWE Smackdown taping this Tuesday night at Manhester, NH's Verizon Wireless Arena. "Greg and the Morning Buzz" can be heard weekday mornings from 5:30-10AM eastern at www.wheb.com and www.rock101fm.com. Thanks to Bradley.

-- June 9 in a double header with HWA, Combat Zone Wrestling debuts with 'Prelude to Violence: Ohio Is For Killers' at the Great Miami Event Center, 327 South Second ST in Hamilton, OH. HWA at 3 pm, CZW at 7:30 pm.

-- Urijah Faber is a guest on Joe Rogan's podcast this week, which you can find with an iTunes search.

-- ROH has a sale this weekend at with all live event DVDs from 2005-2009 on sale for $5 each, all live event DVDs from 2010 and all HDNet DVDs at $10, and all Straight Shootin' DVDs for $1 (one dollar).

-- From the promoter: This Saturday night, the United Wrestling Coalition returns to the Browns Mills Fire House, the UWC Arena in Browns Mills, New Jersey for the third annual Browns Mills Rumble! This exciting event features a rare triple main event. First, former TNA Tag Team Champion and one half of The Naturals, Chase Stevens makes his debut in the state of New Jersey when he challenges "The Scottish Suplex Specialist" Ryan Haston for the UWC TV Title! Then, the UWC Heavyweight Championship will be on the line as Captain Justice Garrison challenges rival Big Rig for the title! And if that's not enough, the show will also feature the 20 man over the top rope Browns Mills Rumble, where the winner will be permitted to challenge for any title in the UWC whenever they want! All of this, plus the UWC debut of New England sensation Sean Burke this Saturday night! The Browns Mills Fire House is only a 45 minute drive from Philadelphia so if you're in the Philadelphia/south Jersey area, be sure to check us out!

-- Pro Wrestling Blitz, June 23rd, Joliet, IN, outdoor show with a steel cage match.

-- Who do you expect to win this fight?
Ian McCall 53.9%
Demetrious Johnson 46.1%

What rating do you expect today's UFC show to do?
0.5 or less 13.4%
0.6 8.6%
0.7 18.2%
0.8 12.3%
0.9 12.3%
1.0 13.4%
1.1 6.4%
1.2 4.3%
1.3 1.6%
1.4 0.0%
1.5 or more 9.1%

How will the next UFC show on FOX headlined by Shogun vs. Vera do in ratings?
Same as the last show 35.8%
Better than the last show 34.2%
Worse than the last show 30.0%

After July, what will be the most successful UFC show?
GSP vs. Condit 46.5%
Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 40.7%
Dan Henderson vs. Jones 8.6%
Penn vs. MacDonald 3.5%
Ben Henderson vs. Edgar 0.8%

Who was the greatest star in ECW history?
Rob Van Dam 39.2%
Sabu 16.6%
Terry Funk 13.0%
Taz 7.8%
Sandman 7.6%
Tommy Dreamer 7.5%
Shane Douglas 4.7%
Dudleys 2.8%
Public Enemy 0.7%

-- Ed and his crew talk tough guys in pro-wrestling here.

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If you live in the U.S. and have the WWE network, how did you watch Mania?

 

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