THURS. UPDATE: WWE making changes, looking to acquire companies, Silva license revoked,Angle movie



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        We're looking for reports on all the weekend TNA shows, with the tour headlined by Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett with Mick Foley as enforcer and Kazarian vs. Matt Hardy starting tonight in Erie, PA.  They also run tomorrow in Cleveland at the Agoura Theater, Saturday just outside Pittsburgh at the Rostraver Ice Arena, as well as a Sunday show in Moundsville, WV at the John Marshall Fieldhouse.
        
        Tonight's Impact show:
Tommy Dreamer & Devon vs. Hernandez & Anarquia
Samoa Joe vs. Gunner
Sarita & Rosita vs. Angelina Love & Velvet Sky for Knockouts tag title
Christopher Daniels vs. Bully Ray
Sting vs. Rob Van Dam in a non-title match with Mr. Anderson as referee
 
        Tonight's Superstars TV show (final WGN America broadcast, show will no longer air in the U.S. after tonight)
Yoshi Tatsu vs. Tyler Reks
Santino Marella vs. Ted DiBiase
JTG vs Drew McIntyre
 
        As far as the weekend goes, no WWE house shows and there is good reason for that.  They start a monstrous tour which begins with the Raw taping Monday in Bridgeport, PA and Smackdown on  Tuesday in Albany, and then fly to Europe for a tour from 4/13 to 4/24.
 
        The other major shows this week are Maximum Fighting Championships from Windsor, ONT airing Friday night on HDNet; Strikeforce with Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley for the welterweight title, Gilbert Melendez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri for the lightweight title, Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine and Shinya Aoki vs. Lyle Beerbohm in a battle of the fancy pants from San Diego on Saturday night at 10 p.m. on Showtime; and Bellator with Ben Askren vs. Nick Thompson headlining on MTV 2 at 9 p.m.
  
        One of the year's biggest issue, our annual WrestleMania issue of the Observer is coming up this week.  This covers the big show of the year, as well as both ROH shows, both Dragon Gate shows, the debut of Tough Enough and Hall of Fame detailed coverage.
 
        We also look at the business records for WrestleMania, looking at where the show stands including a list of every WWE show in history that has topped 60,000 in attendance, which numbers were real, faked or papered, as well as the 25 biggest gates in North American pro wrestling and MMA history including figures that have never been reported up to this point.  We also look at who has drawn the most top 25 gates in history.  We also have a listing of the wrestlers who have had the most match time in the history of WrestleMania.
 
        We have a number of lead stories including the announcement of the WWE name change, the political issues and announcements for Rock vs. John Cena at next year's WrestleMania, looking at the announcement, and trying to keep the issue from cooling off while not burying John Cena at the same time.
 
        We also have a full report of the year's biggest show, including reaction, poll results, match-by-match coverage with star ratings, the story of Undertaker vs. HHH and it stealing the show, what went wrong in John Cena vs. Miz, creative, gambling, celebrities and more.
 
       The issue will be up on the site today.  A back issue from early 1994 will also be up this week.  Between the Observer and Figure Four Weekly, we have about 14 issues put up every month and dozens of new audio shows for web site subscribers including coverage after the shows of every major pro wrestling and MMA event.
 
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        We also look at the Hall of Fame ceremony, including changes for television, as well as a look at all the inductees and the speeches.
 
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Also in this week's issue:
 
--Gran Alternative tournament
 
--Coverage of the Dragon Gate USA weekend
 
--A look at iPPV for the company and why it may save the promotion
 
--We look at the storylines and explanation of the Austin Aries deal
 
--Biggest Japan show of the week
 
--Brother of one of the biggest stars of this generation passes away
 
--One of the big feuds of 1988 returns in a match in a few weeks
 
--A look at "Don't Bleed on Me" and the hepatitis issue in pro wrestling
 
--Chris Jericho on Dancing with the Stars update
 
--The largest attended pro wrestling show in history
 
--The legend of a show that drew 110,000 fans
 
--Former WCW PPV draw goes into a different Hall of Fame
 
--More on Sir Oliver Humperdink
 
--Wrestlers and unionization
 
--Annual King of Trios tournament
 
--Swerve gets caught
 
--Larry Zbyszko on Chris Jericho
 
--German promotion comes to the U.S. with its best workers
 
--CZW Best of the Best notes
 
--First man in history ever named to the Lou Thesz and Glen Brand wrestling Halls of Fame
 
--Ric Flair at WrestleMania
 
--Kurt Angle's latest weekend on twitter
 
--Updated Lockdown lineup
 
--Sting talks WWE offer and update on it
 
--What person is now two people in TNA
 
--Major stipulation match with Mickie James involving someone else's hair
 
--More on Chael Sonnen and being a TUF coach in the fall
 
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--Update on B.J. Penn
 
--A lot of new UFC matches
 
--UFC fighter announces retirement
 
--Gina Carano update
 
--Strikeforce show coverage
 
--Bellator show coverage
 
--Another promotion closes up
 
--Who is best known to public
 
--NCAA tournament news and who took the Hodge trophy
 
--MMA debuts in Ontario 
 
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--WWE announced, besides the first public acknowledgement of the name change, that the company is going into a heavy acquisition mode when it comes to buying new properties.  They are looking at purchasing entertainment companies and outsourcing their own television, film production, live event production and licensing.  The new business model will focus on development of new non-wrestling related television shows, scripted, non-scripted an animated, as well as their WWE television station that they expect to start in 12 to 18 months.  They want to be viewed as a global entertainment company where pro wrestling, or whatever they want to call it, is just one of their properties, as opposed to a pro wrestling company that may dabble in other entertainment things.  They also, in their press release, noted they are changing the talent development department under Paul Levesque, with more international recruiting of talent, and tabbed Sin Cara has Levesque's first recruit.  That's kind of not true since Mistico had been in talks with the company for many years through John Laurinaitis, but HHH is the one who put the idea of a major push behind him with the press conference in Mexico and push to near the top right away plan.  It's risky given the company's lack of success whenever it gets away from the wrestling model. 
 
--Vince McMahon spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the changes at http://www.latimes.com/business/la=fi=ct-wwe-20110407,0,4350644,print.story  "I want everyone to look at us in a vastly different way than they have."  He talked about taking on a lot of debt, something he has been against doing since he took over the company in 1982.  He claimed that nobody knows how to produce television better than they do.  "It's damn near the Olympics," he said.  McMahon said he learned his lesson from the XFL, bodybuilding and the restaurant, saying they are going to stick with the entertainment business.     
 
--The Nevada State Athletic Commission had its hearing regarding Thiago Silva after he cheated on his drug test in his 1/1 fight with Brandon Vera, which he won via three-round decision.  Silva said he purchased something from the Internet, his a vial of the sample in his shorts ,and poured it into the collection cup while an inspector the commission stood behind him.  He had his license revoked for one year, effective 1/1, and was fined $33,750.  Keith Kizer tried to get the suspension to be one year from today as opposed to one year from the fight.  In the past, Nevada has suspended fighters for nine months for a failure, so this is upping the usual penalty, and it was a license revocation and opposed to a suspension, which is also a harsher penalty.     
 
--For those looking at attending WrestleMania next year in Miami, James Varsallone of the Miami Herald has a tourists sports and entertainment guide at http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/07/2154985/the-rock-south-beach-sports-ready.html 
 
--Odds for Saturday night's Strikeforce matches
Nick Diaz -214 to -250
Paul Daley +175 to +199
 
Gilbert Melendez -225 to -270
Tatsuya Kawajiri +175 to +205
 
Lyle Beerbohm +180 to +191
Shinya Aoki -200 to -250
 
Gegard Mousasi -389 to -600
Keith Jardine +300 to +400 
 
--Who do you expect to win this fight
Nick Diaz 69.0%
Paul Daley 31.0%
 
--Which show remaining this month are you most interested in?
UFC 129 St. Pierre vs. Shields 67.1%
WWE Extreme Rulez 13.3%
TNA Lockdown 10.3%
Strikeforce 4/9 Diaz vs. Daley 9.2%
 
--Best recent major show
WrestleMania 30.7%
ROH 4-1 iPPV 23.4%
UFC 128 16.9%
TNA Victory Road 7.3%
Dragon Gate 4-2 iPPV 6.5%
UFC Sanchez vs. Kampmann 5.9%
ROH 4-2 iPPV 3.4%
Strikeforce Henderson vs. Feijao 3.4%
UFC Fight Night Davis vs. Nogueira 2.5%
 
--The trailer for the movie "Warrior," which comes out this fall, an MMA movie about two brothers going for a world championship, with Kurt Angle playing the Russian middleweight champion is at http://www.firstshowing.net/2011/  The trailer looks really good.
 
--TNA is releasing a Mick Foley DVD called "Hardcore Legend," which will have him talking about his career, as well as some TNA matches and a few old matches (Cactus Jack Foley & Gary Young vs. Bill Dundee & Todd Morton; Cactus Jack Foley vs. Chris Adams).
 
--Latest visit from the Twitter IQ police was WWE's own Maryse, who posted "ur so gay" as her status.  She received a phone call and took it down (thanks to Stephen Haynes and others).
 
--There was a question on last night's show regarding Shawn Michaels and Dwayne Johnson and I didn't know if they had crossed paths over the weekend.  On the Michaels video diary, they did show them talking and smiling at each other.  As best I can tell, whatever heat they had from the past was smoothed over the year Johnson came back to induct his father and grandfather into the WWE Hall of Fame.
 
--"Fast and Furious 5" opens in Australia on 4/20 (thanks to James Stanios)
 
--Jennifer Wenk, UFC's longtime head of Public Relations, announced she's signed an agreement with Authentic Sports Management to represent fighters like Jon Jones, Rashad Evans, Kenny Florian, Carlos Condit and Alan Belcher.  Wenk, who left UFC about two weeks ago, started her own public relations firm, StarPR Las Vegas.  She did P.R. for New York Gov. George Pataki before coming to UFC.  Caren Bell, who came from Nike, was hired as VP of Communications for the UFC several weeks back.        
 
--ESPN in the U.K. announced for 4/30, it will air the UFC 129 Countdown show at 11:30 p.m., MMA Live at 12:15 a.m., One of hour of prelims at 1 a.m. and the main card from Toronto at 2 a.m.  Remember worldwide, this UFC starts one hour earlier.
 
--Presale for the 6/18 WWE Supershow at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ started today and ends tomorrow at midnight.  The password for the presale is "Access." (thanks to Mike Omansky)
 
--A couple of very entertaining segments on last night's Tonight Show regarding WrestleMania.  Among those featured are Steve Austin, The Miz, John Cena, Big Show and John Morrison as Rove McManus, the former Australian talk show host who has now moved to Los Angeles (who did angles with Jeff Jarrett in Australia), at http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/video/rove-at-wrestlemania-part-1-4611/1318613/ and http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/video/rove-at-wrestlemania-part-2-4611/1318539  (thanks to Mike Barton)
 
--Steve Austin did an interview saying that he thinks if he wanted to, he could come back full-time for two years and be 90-95% of what he was, but he hopes he never has to do that at http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/blogs/2011/tv-news/wwes-stone-cold-steve-austin-on-tough-enogh-wrestlemania/ (thanks to Gary Shafer)  
 
--Regarding stories on Scott Hall, all we can say is Scott Hall told Top Rope Promotions about an hour ago that he was sick all day yesterday, is fine today,and woudl be appearing at their show tomorrow night in Fall River, MA which is an iPPV event.
 
--Chris Jericho talks Dancing with the Stars at http://www.tvsquad.com/2011/04/06/
 
--Alex Marvez talks with Honky Tonk Man about his WWE run, not doing the job for Randy Savage and why, as well as being honored at Cauliflower Alley and more at http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/60820
 
--On today's Cincinnati Reds baseball broadcast, they were talking about Vince McMahon, as well as Linda McMahon's run for senate.  They put it over like it was a close race and she did well.
 
--GoFightLive.tv MMA events this weekend:
Ring of Combat from Atlantic City tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. including former UFC fighters Chris Liquori and Sean Salmon
Tuff N Uff' from Las Vegas at 10 p.m. featuring welterweight champion Eddie Jackson vs. Lee Henry Lilly
Gruesome MMA from Pikeville, KY at 8 p.m. with 14 fights
 
--Juggalo Championship Wrestling's iPPV from last night in Southgate, MI:  Jimmy Jacobs b Man of 1,000 gimmicks, Rob Conway b Peeping Tom, Rob Conway b Dik Hummer, Rob Conway b Harry Balls, Zack Gowen b Sexy Slim Goodie, Weedman b Isabella Smothers (Weedman was then attacked and beaten by Officer Colt Cabana), Kongo Kong b Bill Martel, Mad Man Pondo & Necro Butcher b Bump N Uglies, Rhino & Corporal Robinson & 2 Tuff Tony b Haters & Breyer Wellington.  Next iPPV show is 4/20 with Weedman vs. Cabana
 
--Tough Enough debuted today on Fox8 in Australia.  The Thursday lineup has Tough Enough at 3 p.m., NXT at 3:30 p.m. and Vintage Collection at 4:30 p.m. (thanks to Graeme Cameron) 
 
--Reader Lou Pickney at http://www.loupickney.com/comm/2011/452011.shtml looks at going to WrestleMania in Atlanta.
 
--CSI Miami will have a show with an MMA theme airing Sunday night at 10 p.m. on CBS.  Horatio Caine protects an MMA fighter from his brother who has just escaped prison.
 
--Pierre Morrison, a former pro wrestling referee from Montreal, passed away on 4/1 at the age of 52.  He was best known as a referee for International Wrestling in the 80s.
 
 
--Jesse Hernandez is producing a web series on the EWF in San Bernardino at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NozVTKgYUEs 
 
 
--Platinum Championship Wrestling at The Masquerade in Atlanta on 4/27
 
--NWA Main Event tonight at the NWA Arena in Nashville at 1056 E. Trinity Lane
 
--Southern Heritage Championship Wrestling on 4/16 in Gastonia, NC at Forestview High School has a 2 p.m. fanfet and 8 p.m. show with B.G. James vs. Trevor Murdoch as the main event, plus Eugene, Jim Duggan, Bill DeMott and Traci Brooks appearing.
 
--In the item yesterday about Jason Ellis and Chyna, the Jason Ellis talked about was the famous skateboarder Jason Ellis.  Well, I guess he's not that famous given that another Jason Ellis, who is not a skateboarder, said he has been getting both hilarious and annoying e-mails from people who read the item.
 
--AWF All-Star Memories, a Tribute to Mad Dog Rex takes place on 5/29 at 2 p.m. in Whitby, ONT at the Class Act Dinner Theater.  Mad Dog Rex, real name Neil Carr, was one of the first trainees on Ron Hutchison.  He passed away in December from cancer.   
 
--M-1 Global will be airing worldwide at http://www.M-1Global.com from St. Petersburg, Russia on 4/28 at 11 a.m. Eastern headlined by Andrew Semenov, a former UFC fighter, against Luigi Fiorvanti, another former UFC fighter.  Vinny Magalhaes, the former runner-up in Ultimate Fighter, faces Vikor Nemkov for the M-1 light heavyweight title.
 
--HDNet tomorrow night at 10 p.m. from Windsor, ONT airs Maximum Fighting Championships with Douglas Lima putting his welterweight title at stake against former UFC fighter Terry Martin, and Ryan Jimmo faces Zak Cummings for the light heavyweight title.  The other TV fights feature former UFC star Marcus Davis vs. Curtis Demarce, former UFC title contender Hermes Franca vs. Robert Washington, Pete Spratt vs. Demi Deeds and Ali Mokdad vs. Andreas Spang.
 
--Fight Card Entertainment on 4/6 in Melrose Park,IL at SporsZone has an MMA show headlined by Maurice Green (wasn't that the name of a manager in OVW?) vs. Jeremy Moore.
 
 
 

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