TUES UPDATE: Latest on Lawler, notes from backstage at Smackdown, video of Lawler this weekend in Aruba, UFC injury, Dreamer talks career birth and training new generation, tons more

By Bryan Alvarez | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @bryanalvarez

We're looking for your thoughts on Sunday night's TNA No Surrender PPV, 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 these shows:

*TNA from Thursday night in Dalton, GA, Friday night in Atlanta and last night in Gainesville, GA

*K-1 iPPV from the Los Angeles Sports Arena

Smackdown will be taped tonight in Ottawa.


We've got a double issue week of the Observer, with two major features.  We're looking at the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot, including a history of the voting.  We look year-by-year at who has come close, and how trends in the business have changed.  We look at the voting, how it's done, who does it, and who appear to be the strongest candidates.  We also look at the new candidates on the ballot this year.  We also have some research regarding Mexico, looking at who has won the Wrestler of the Year award in Mexico annually since the advent of Lucha Libre.  We examine a lot of the close candidacies, the effect of death of voters and who is on the ballot from each region.

        Our other lead story is a look at New Japan Pro Wrestling, which is probably right now the most successful non-U.S. pro wrestling group in the world, and arguably the No. 2 company overall.  We look back at the start of the promotion in 1972 and the politics that were going on at the time.  We look at how Japan changed in 1972 with All Japan and New Japan, what New Japan was forced to do to survive and the unique concepts they specialized in.  We look at how New Japan got into the NWA, its ties with the 70s WWWF as well as why they were at times, and not at others, able to get the WWWF champion to defend.
        We look at the early 80s peak, business problems, the Tokyo Dome sellout era and Antonio Inoki's mentality that built the company, and later nearly killed it.  We look at the downfall in the last decade, and the turnaround.  We look at how the Japanese industry is so much different than the U.S. based on technology, as well as the company's talent mix and why it leads to entertaining major events. 
        We also look at where things stand right now, as well as look at the June PPV show, treating it like it's a major show of the past week, the roles everyone played and themes of matches, which include the last chapter in Tanahashi vs. Okada, perhaps their last meeting until the Tokyo Dome.
        We also have an update regarding Steve Austin and any short-term plans to wrestle, why Punk going heel was a good idea for him, what other top WWE face wants to go heel, a match now scheduled for Mania in 2013, notes on the rise in WWE stock price and the funny reason it's going up.  We also look at two wrestlers who have good bargaining power because of it.  We look at C.M. Punk's cut, what we saw and what may not have happened.  We also have more on the arrest and suspension of Cameron.  We've got more on the Linda McMahon campaign, notes on Monday's Raw, Chris Jericho talks leaving and different talent and where they stand.
        We look at the funny story about how one of the PPV matches at Night of Champions got made.  We also look at a wrestler getting more mainstream ink in his home country, more on different wrestlers recently signed by WWE and their backgrounds as well as a top prospect gets a new gimmick and the debut of the Hollywood Express.  We've also got more on legends house and a second generation wrestler not getting off to a good start.
        We also have notes on the sensational business of the WWE Australia tour, as well as a look at all the house shows of the past week.
        Both issues are on the site now, as well as a new back issue from 1995. 
        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.
        We also have a note on the changes in television, most notably the decline in television homes while the population increases in the U.S., why this is happening, and the most important television markets.
        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.
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         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:
--World champion vs. world champion in two of the biggest international promotions, not one but two showdowns this past week
--Another legends show in Mexico and notes from the event
--Three different suspensions this past week
--Next AAA big show and an AAA vs. TNA champions program that looks to be put together
--Top ranked boxer's girlfriend is a pro wrestler
--A look at the next major Dragon Gate show
--More on the Funaki Triple Crown title win over Akiyama
--One of oldest titles vacated due to wrestler getting pneumonia
--A look at the third generation Von Erichs, as Kevin's sons start their careers
--Wrestling star out of action for almost a year and a half sets a target return date
--Kenny Omega on match with Kota Ibushi
--The first Olympic wrestler being talked about to go into pro wrestling instead of MMA, and a big show debut talked about
--Billy Robinson and Japanese pro wrestling stars looking at creating a new sport with details
--Zero-One jr. tournament featuring wrestlers from a number of different groups
--Current WWE employee is being allowed to wrestle in Japan
--This year's World masked man tournament
--Notes on the first father-son tag team match among Japanese ever
--More on Zeus being indicted and his brief pro wrestling career
--Reorganization of the NWA
--One of the best tournaments each year, annual Battle of Los Angeles report
--A number of health updates and obituaries of wrestlers
--Two former WWE wrestlers in different major brand TV commercials
--Wrestler apologizes for a bad idea photo
--More on Shelton Benjamin's heat with The Barbarian
--New pro wrestling comedy planned
--Former WWE wrestler and tag champ enrolls in college and will be playing football this fall
--ROH star out with knee surgery
--Story behind Devon leaving TNA
--What happened to the Dudleys name
--Update on Bully Ray
--More on the wrestlers who have recently left TNA
--Update on the Bound for Glory series
--Notes on TNA's new television show
--What Hall of Fame candidate will be featured on TNA's new show
--A look at the TNA weekend house shows
--A look at how much the cancellation of UFC 151 cost
--Dana White blames both Dan Henderson and Jon Jones
--White talks about making Jones vs. Sonnen
--What's next for Chris Weidman
--More thoughts on GSP vs. Anderson Silva
--Thoughts on Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo
--Why Edgar vs. Aldo is so important
--More UFC business figures
--A look at the new season of Ultimate Fighter
--Pacquiao going head-to-head with UFC
--Notes on the November Strikeforce show
--More on the arrest of Ian McCall
--UFC fighter talks about the pay scale and why it's so tough
--A look at just how frequently fighters are being injured
--Lots of UFC injury notes and returns
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Bellator updates including 2013 plans
--A look at a number of new MMA groups that will feature name fighters and Las Vegas planned events
--One of the best heavyweight wrestlers of the last decade makes MMA debut later this year
--Top kickboxer also set to make MMA debut
--Two Olympians in talks regarding MMA
--A look at the One Fighting Championship show, one of the most successful live crowds of the year
--A look at the "Here comes the Boom" movie starring Kevin James and its UFC theme
--Former UFC fighter a hero
--Canadian MMA pioneer stabbed

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        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.


-- We have tons of Jerry Lawler news and notes on the front page. Nothing new to report since the latest update. He underwent a coronary angioplasty and is resting at this point in an unnamed Montreal hospital which he checked into under an assumed name. The first 24 hours after a heart attack are critical and it seems that the news has been largely positive thus far, so that's a good time.

-- The only thing we've heard from Smackdown is that it's pretty quiet backstage and likely to be a tame show tonight. No word on who will do announcing yet.

-- The Lawler story got mainstream press all over the world. Too many to link here, but if you click hereyou can start culling through if you wish.

-- Video hereof Jerry Lawler's appearance in Aruba this weekend, complete with a piledriver on Chasyn Rance.

-- The Kickstarter page for John Philapavage's documentary that we discussed on today's Wrestling Observer Radio is here. They have eight days left and a fair amount of money to still raise.

-- Dana White noted today that Quinton Jackson is off UFC in Rio with an injury. He was scheduled to face Glover Teixeira in what was supposedly his final UFC fight.

-- As noted on the front page, Konnan and Mr. St. Laurant interview me about the history of the website and newsletter, Death of WCW, current events and a lot more here. I had a great time and hope to return to the show soon. Supposedly Konnan is going to read the book and a book review is coming.

-- Josh Nason and I also have a new FREE interview with Ariel Helwani on the main page, which is a lot of fun and a nice change of pace after a lot of bad news yesterday. Ariel is very passionate about MMA and pro-wrestling as well, and in fact was such a hardcore wrestling fan that he used to order the Wednesday night TNA PPVs. Seriously. A really fun show with a very nice guy.

-- Tensai beat Justin Gabriel and Santino beat Jinder Mahal in the Superstars matches last night in Montreal.

-- A pre-show battle royal was added to Night of Champions with the winner facing Antonio Cesaro for the US Title later in the PPV.

-- Tommy Dreamer has a very nice story hereabout his memories of his first day of wrestling school, which mean a lot to him today as he just opened the doors of his own school. He's got ten students so far.

-- Fun interview with Paul Lazenby, in full Steve Austin stuntman regalia, talking to Royce Gracie here. If Royce grew a mustache he'd look exactly like his father at the same age. He says if he could fight anyone one more time, it would be Matt Hughes. "I wasn't there that day," he said. That fight caused a big rift between him and his brother Relson, who essentially said Royce disrespected Helio in the fight by doing Muay Thai instead of BJJ.

-- ROH officially announced today that Matt Hardy would be in attendance for this weekend's iPPV, something we discussed on last night's Observer Radio.

-- The stars of Super Star Wrestling invade Blue Ridge Summit, PA this Saturday for "Slammin' Summit Spectacular". The location is Mountain Shadows Restaurant at 14945 Buchanan Trail E, Blue Ridge Summit, PA with a bell time of 5PM. Tickets are only $12 for front row and $10 for general admission. And you can save $2 if you bring your own chair! Call 1 (717) 794-2705 for tickets or get them at the door.

-- WWE NXT returns to Ft. Pierce, FL this Friday night at the Fenn Center with Cody Rhodes vs. NXT Champion Seth Rollins. The event is part of the WWE NXT Live Tour.VIP Ticket Holders will receive access to the autograph session featuring the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and Cody Rhodes at 6pm while all other ticket levels will receive access at 6:30pm. Eight big matches including Rhodes vs. Rollins will be featured on the card as well as divas action.

-- Among the biggest indy events of the year, CHIKARA's King of Trios 2012 starts this Friday and runs through Sunday in Easton, PA. We will try to get a guest on to talk the weekend later this week.

-- For Pro Wrestling Revolution: After 4 years as part of the National Wrestling Alliance, including having the NWA board ask us if they could dub the Pro Wrestling Revolution Minis Title the NWA World Minis Title back in 2009, Pro Wrestling Revolution says goodbye to the NWA as we look ahead to our bright future, including more joint ventures with Masked Republic. 2012 continues to be a banner year for us. Last weekend we performed in front of amazing fans at the San Jose Earthquakes, a Major League Soccer game. This coming Sunday we are “double booked” as we team up with the Oakland A’s of Major League Baseball for their Fiesta Day at 10:00 AM and later in the night we main event the Santa Cruz County Fair at 7:30 PM. Last month we drew over 1000 fans to our show in Watsonville which capped off an entire week of shooting a lucha themed episode of an upcoming 3Net (Sony/Discovery) series. It should be the 1st time wrestling appears in 3D on TV in the U.S. A number of our stars ended up in this year’s PWI 500 thanks in part to their exposure on Masked Republic’s Viva La Lucha PPV series and our relationship as the company’s exclusive developmental territory will be expanding over the next year as Viva La Lucha launches as a weekly TV series in international syndication and we work closely with Masked Republic on other television projects. Our championship belts are consistently defended across the United States and throughout the World. Our Heavyweight, Minis, and Women’s titles have been defended regularly in Mexico. Our women’s title was even defended on CMLL television and was most recently defended in Lebanon. So, we thank the National Wrestling Alliance and former member David Marquez for all of his dedication and support for Pro Wrestling Revolution over the past 4 years and we look forward to this coming weekend and then 2013, our 5th Anniversary year, which is surely to be our biggest and best yet!

-- For those who read Kris Zellner's column on the front page earlier this week, the Mr. Wrestling II/Assassins promo is up here.

-- IWA East Coast returns to the Kings Way Center in Nitro WV on Saturday, 9/29 at 8pm headlined by Matt Hardy vs Masada. Also appearing include Necrobutcher, BJ Whitmer, Mad Man Pondo, Irish Airborne and much more.

-- STEEL CAGE MAIN EVENT at SoCal Pro Wrestling THIS Sat Night Oceanside, CA, at the 2012
 Boys & Girls Club
 401 Country Club Way Oceanside, CA.

-- The newest member of the female independent wrestling organization SHIMMER is Davina Rose. She spoke with Robert Krupár from about various topics.

-- Craig and the crew talk the news in wrestling last week here.

-- Casting call for wrestlers here.

-- DREAMS Project presents "livE Your DREAMS-Face Your Nightmare" at the Birdsboro Community Center, 201 East Main Street, Birdsboro, PA, on Sunday, 9/23.

-- From Fuel regarding this week’s UFC Ultimate Insider: "Spend 12 hours inside the camps of Octagon veterans Michael Bisping and Brian Stann as they prepare for their UFC 152 bout. With a potential middleweight title shot on the line, see how both men are taking their training to another level. Then, the first UFC Flyweight Champion will be crowned at UFC 152, but the new division is stacked with talent. Joe Rogan introduces fans to the division and its many talented fighters in this entertaining riff. Finally, a fighter has to possess a specific mentality to achieve UFC success. Vitor Belfort details what it takes and the warrior code that he lives by. Go beyond the Octagon, as “UFC Ultimate Insider” delivers an all-access pass with unparalleled coverage of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, making it the hardest-hitting sports magazine show ever. Every week, tune in for unprecedented access, including in-depth profiles of the UFC’s biggest stars, tell-all features, and compelling backstage footage hosted by Jon Anik. New episodes air on Tuesdays at 10:30 PM ET/7:30 PM PT on FUEL TV."

Should Brock Lesnar be in the UFC Hall of Fame?
Yes 68.7%
No 31.3%

Should Jeff Hardy have won the BFG series?
No, should have been Storm, that was the obvious year long direction and shouldn't have dropped it 49.4%
No, they should have put over someone else, other than he or James Storm 24.4%
Yes, he's the most popular guy and would have the best drawing match with Aries 21.6%
Yes, he's the most popular guy and should be champion 4.6%

What is the biggest upcoming UFC main event?
GSP vs. Carlos Condit 44.9%
Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez 43.3%
Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort 7.0%
Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo 4.8%

Are you more or less interested in the upcoming TUF season?
Same 38.6%
More because of Roy Nelson 32.9%
Less because I'm not into these coaches as much as Faber and Cruz 10.5%
Less because it's taped 8.7%
More because it's taped 7.7%
More because of Shane Carwin 1.5%

What do you think of the job WWE is doing with new talent?
Bringing them up too slowly 51.7%
Bringing the wrong ones up 34.4%
Doing a good job getting new talent over 13.8%

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?