FRI UPDATE: Analyst has high hopes for WWE Network, weekend schedule, Jericho talks his latest run including plan changes, Bound for Glory Series, TNA title belt theft update, tons more

By Bryan Alvarez

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 Raw show in Sydney, Australia and tonight's TNA show in Richmond, VA at the Verizon Wireless Arena 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

It's a quiet weekend with the UFC 151 canceled on Saturday.

Tomorrow will be Raw in Melbourne, Australia, ending the three-show tour. Smackdown opens up with a show in Des Moines with Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio vs Wade Barrett on top for the title plus Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler. TNA runs in Bowie, MD at Prince George's Stadium for a BaseBrawl event.

Sunday has Smackdown in Madison, WI.

The live Raw is Monday night in Chicago at the All-State Arena, so C.M. Punk will be the super babyface no matter what he did this past week.

Smackdown will be taped on Tuesday night in Moline, IL.

        We've got a number of major features in this week's Observer, with two lead stories, the entire Jon Jones/Dana White situation and why UFC 151 was canceled, and the History of SummerSlam dating back 25 years.  We also look at Masakatsu Funaki's winning the Triple Crown, including a look back at the Triple Crown history and the belts that form the crown.

        We look at the arguments for and against what Jon Jones did, why the show was canceled, the various different things that nobody talks about that led to cancellation, the actions of Dana White, the problems with Jon Jones, the role of Chael Sonnen, what really went down, who knew what based on what people are saying and the time line, comments from Jones and why he's lost so much popularity, the business effect on Toronto, the deception, Lyoto Machida, the realities of promoting this style of fighting, why Sonnen isn't getting the shot in Toronto, why certain things have been blamed that have nothing to do with the show being canceled and more and a look at short and long-term effect on both Jones and the UFC business and where this could have been even more disastrous.  We look at the fallacy of Jones and White defenders as well as those who blame Henderson.
        The other lead story looks at the history of SummerSlam, looking at the shows, the memories, the business, the greatest matches, the most enduring stars, a look at every main event and business behind the scenes at the time.  We look at Ultimate Warrior being fired at SummerSlam, why SummerSlam never returned to Wembley Stadium, the Hulk Hogan era vs. the Steve Austin era, the best and worst shows and how looking at matches changes with hindsight.  We also look at what went wrong with Lex Luger, the move that nearly killed the boom period before it started, the biggest match business wise in history, special guests and the background of the Hogan vs. Michaels match.
        The issue will be up on the site today if you are a web site member.  We also have a new back issue on the site from 1995 just put up going back in time and talking about one of the worst WWF PPV shows, the 1995 King of the Ring and all the news from that time period.
        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
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        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 look at the sale of WWE's Canadian broadcast outlet and what it means, secret blading, celebrities saying they are doing WrestleMania, Mysterio concussion note, more on Tyler Reks quitting and why, as well as what he's doing and his background.  We also have updates on injuries to both The Rock and Steve Austin, as well as what both are up to.  We have more on Austin at Mania this year, the arrest of Cameron, another WWE injury that has changed a lot of main events, WWE touring this week, TV skits, video game releases, and notes on the new TV show.
        We also look at the latest WWE camp for prospective wrestlers and the latest on a number of new WWE signees and their background.  We also have all the business notes from the past week and highlights from all the weekend shows.

        We also look back at the origins of modern MMA and how it came from pro wrestling, and how the man who was part of its beginnings in 1993 is now a pro wrestling world champion with Masakatsu Funaki's Triple Crown  win.  We look at how Japanese MMA got started, his role, and why he's back in wrestling and won the title.
        We also look at the business of this year's Money in the Bank compared with the previous two years, as well as a rundown of WWE's July business in a number of categories.  
        We also have an update on the Linda McMahon campaign for senate and a major turn over the past week.
         We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows and complete details on how every segment of Raw and Impact this past week did.  We look at what segments gained and lost viewers
        We also have results from all the major league arena events over the past week as well as a look at all the major television shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--More on a feud between members of one of the most famous wrestling families that wound up in court and story behind it
--Two world champions from different international groups have a singles match this week as a big show main event
--Major nostalgia show as 70s star continues retirement tour
--Notes on more All Japan and New Japan joint shows
--Tournament for newly created title
--For Japan MVP returns to the ring
--One of the best in-ring performers is injured and out the rest of the year
--Why the wrestling mentality may have made things worse in his instant
--New Japan stars come to the U.S.
--Alex Shelley returns to wrestling
--Ken Shamrock gets publicity he'd probably rather not get
--Why 80s star is in jail
--Update on TNA contracts
--Update on the Bound for Glory series
--Update on next TNA PPV
--Update on TNA's next U.K. tour
--Eric Bischoff has a new TV show
--TNA star opens restaurant
--More on Rousey vs. Kaufman and business
--Update on UFC advance ticket sales
--UFC star charged with battery
--George St. Pierre update
--Notes on U.K. vs. Australia Ultimate Fighter season
--What show UFC expects to draw well
--Lots of new UFC fights

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.

-- There is kind of a baffling story hereabout how Richard Ingrassia of Roth Capital Partners lifted his rating of WWE stock yesterday. It notes that PPV revenues were up in the second quarter of the year, which is true, but also has the completely mind-boggling line, "WWE also has plans to launch its own network, which Ingrassia projects could add $68 million to 2013 revenue." If this fella can find a way to crunch numbers in such a manner to come up with $68 million in 2013 revenue for the WWE Network than he needs to go to work for WWE immediately, because I have talked to several people in the company about the Network plans and have yet to speak to a single one who is able to come up with anything even close to this.

-- Chris Jericho did an awesome interview on the Busted Open radio show, a transcript of which will hopefully be up on the front page soon. He talked about everything, including the videos that set up his comeback (the girl was never supposed to represent anyone), the company changing plans at the last minute (he was originally told he'd feud with Daniel Bryan around SummerSlam, which we reported, then it got switched to Sheamus, then it got switched to Ziggler), and how they came up with the idea of briefcase vs. career about ten minutes before they shot the angle on Raw. He also talked about his favorite career period (2007 with Shawn Michaels, which he said he felt was one of the greatest storylines in wrestling history), his thoughts on HHH (great worker in the ring, also working his ass off behind the scenes), and more.

-- Latest Bound for Glory Series standings after last night:

1) James Storm 73 points (7-2-2) 11 MATCHES *DONE
2) Samoa Joe 68 points (8-2) 10 MATCHES
3) Rob Van Dam 55 points (5-5) 10 MATCHES
Bully Ray 55 points (5-5) 10 MATCHES
5) AJ Styles 50 points (4-6-1) 11 MATCHES *DONE
6) Jeff Hardy 49 points (7-3) 10 MATCHES
7) Kurt Angle 48 points (6-5) 11 MATCHES *DONE
8) Mr. Anderson 47 points (6-4-1) 11 MATCHES *DONE
9) Christopher Daniels 33 points (5-6) 11 MATCHES *DONE
10) Magnus 28 points (4-7) 11 MATCHES *DONE
11) Robbie E 12 points (2-9) 11 MATCHES *DONE
12) The Pope 7 points (1-7) 8 MATCHES *INJURY

So Joe still has a chance to finish in first place. The first-place winner gets to choose his opponent in the semi-finals. The Series wraps up next week on Impact and we'll find out who faces off in the semi-finals on the September 9th PPV.

-- If you didn't see it, Impact last night was really good. In particular, since the matches were bringing guys down to the wire after months in the tourney (Angle vs. Jeff, for instance, saw the winner in the final four and the loser locked out of the running), the fans were super into them. Very good matches given the time allotted.

-- TMZ's story on the attempted theft of the TNA Title and a replica is up here.

-- The main event has been announced for the LEGEND show featuring the Mexico vs. The World theme on 9/30 at Arena Lopez Mateos as The Psycho Circus will be defending their national pride against Alex Koslov/Chris Masters/Rocky Romero. Thanks to Kris Zellner.

-- Matt Hardy vs. Sami Callihan for the first time ever takes place September 22nd at the huge Northeast Wrestling stadium show in Fishkill, NY, that is bringing in Hulk Hogan for an appearance, plus Roddy Piper, Vader and a host of others.

-- Extreme Rising in Philly on November 17th features Gangstas vs. BLK OUT in a cage match, Bestia 666 vs. Pescadilla and a match to determine the first-ever Extreme Rising Champion.

-- What was the best of these SummerSlam matches?
Undertaker vs. Edge Hell in a Cell 2008 34.5%
C.M. Punk vs. Jeff Hardy ladder match 2009 32.1%
Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton 2004 21.2%
Randy Orton vs. Christian no holds barred 2011 8.8%
John Cena vs. Randy Orton 2007 3.4%

Could Cyborg vs. Rousey as a main event with an average undercard do more than 250,000 buys?
Would easily top that number 28.9%
Would do that or a little more 20.4%
Would do right about that number 27.6%
No, without a men's main event a women's match on top will cause the show to not do well 17.5%
A women's match on top will cause the show to bomb 5.7%

Which of these PPVs would have done better?
Sonnen vs. Jones 86.8%
Jones vs. Henderson 13.2%

Which show will be hurt more by the NFL in the ratings?
Raw 79.4%
Impact 20.6%

-- MMA veteran Frank Trigg will be making an appearance at the Central Pacific Youth Athletic Club in Hilo, Hawaii on Saturday, September 1. In addition to speaking to the at-risk youth about overcoming adversity, staying out of trouble, and the importance of finding positive outlets to occupy their free time, he will be accompanying them to the ‘Toughman Hawaii’ event. The MMA event will take place at the Hilo Civic Center in Hilo, HI this Saturday night.

-- Interview with James Guttman of World Wrestling Insanity is up here.

-- FUEL TV airs “UFC 101: The Fundamentals,” Monday, September 3 (11:30 PM ET.) Hosts Kenny Florian and “Suga” Rashad Evans lead viewers through the fundamentals of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in this FUEL TV original 30-minute special. Learn everything from fighting styles and submission moves to rules of the Octagon. This show is a viewer’s one-stop shop to becoming a more informed UFC fan.

-- On that note we have an interview with Kenny Florian up right now in the Audio section talking his UFC and broadcast career, his new gym, who was tougher between him and his brother growing up, Jon Jones and more.

-- Craig, Cutrer and Ed talk to AJ Kirsch on Over the Top Radio tonight.

-- NWA Hollywood heading to Glendale

-- An extended story from the same newspaper about the promotion is up here. It's a very good story.

-- And finally, a review of the show.

-- Very sad commentary by Lance Storm hereabout the death of his stepfather Mike, who he was very close to and who in some ways helped facilitate him getting into the wrestling business in the first place. At one point when Lance first spoke of wanting to be a pro-wrestler, Mike actually called WWF figurehead president Jack Tunney and asked him what the process was for breaking into the company. Seriously. It's a great, though very sad read.

-- Interview with John Philapavage, who is trying to raise money for another ECW documentary, up here. We're going to get him on the show next week so if you have questions we'll post a thread on the board for them in a few days when we have a date.

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?