SUN. UPDATE: UFC 129 follow-up, Rock rocks the record books, Obama channels Hulkster, GSP update



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        We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's Extreme Rules PPV as well as last night's UFC 129, 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 Friday night's TNA house show in Biloxi, MS.
 
        Tonight's Extreme Rules show from Tampa:
*The Miz vs. John Cena vs. John Morrison in a cage match for the WWE title
*Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio in a ladder match for the vacant world title
*Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross vs. Michael Cole & Jack Swagger in a country whipping match
*C.M. Punk vs. Randy Orton in a last man standing match
*Rey Mysterio vs. C.M. Punk in a falls count anywhere match
*Layla vs. Michelle McCool in a loser leaves WWE match
        It was noted there are rumors that a Sheamus defending the U.S. title against Kofi Kingston will be added to the show.  We have a preview of the show in the Saturday update.
 
        We'll have live coverage of the show starting at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
 
        Monday's Raw is from Miami, the site of next year's WrestleMania, with The Rock, fresh off being in what the biggest grossing opening weekend for a movie so far this year, being there for what they are billing as the biggest birthday party in television history.
 
        TNA will also be taping Impact tomorrow night in Orlando.
 
        Tuesday has the unique situation with WWE taping Smackdown and TNA taping Impact both in Orlando on the same night.
 
        A complete guide to the WWE 2011 draft is our lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  We have a depth chart looking at babyfaces and heels on both rosters, notes on the biggest stars not involved, part-timers, an update on C.M. Punk, and a rundown of all 28 performers who are changing rosters and which moves are good, bad or indifferent.
 
        We also have an interesting look at WWE's ability to create stars and upward mobility of talent in looking at every player on the roster and what it shows about the booking since WrestleMania 26.
 
        We also have the official numbers for WrestleMania 27, and what was and wasn't true about the announcements that night.  We look at where the shows stands in the all-time records and whether or not WWE really did or didn't set any kind of records in the Georgia Dome.
 
       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.
 
        You can also order print copies of the Observer with details below.
 
        With the biggest MMA show in North America this week, we take a look back at the previous biggest MMA show of all-time, the 2002 Shockwave show, looking back at the main event matches, the pageantry, the real numbers for the show, as well as talk with Royce Gracie, Don Frye, Stephen Quadros and Bob Sapp about their memories of a night that made a legend, a night one never forgot and the night one went into a match he couldn't possibly win. 
 
        We also look at the Cauliflower Alley Club banquet for 2011, and look back at my first CAC banquet in 1986, memories of moments from the past, how the club has grown, and update on honorees like Mick Foley, Awesome Kong, Rockin Robin, Honky Tonk Man, Rick Martel and Sgt. Slaughter among others.
 
        We also look at one of the biggest news stories of 20 years ago, but something almost unknown, the only major pro wrestling strike and what it said about unionization of pro wrestlers.  This was a news story at its time so big it was front page news in Mexico and even got wire service coverage in the U.S. at a time when there was little coverage of pro wrestling.  It goes back to Mexico, fears of Mexican wrestling becoming like U.S. wrestling, as we look back at the death of Manny Guzman, at one time one of the most powerful men in the industry, why a strike was called, what happened, as well as the end results of both the strike and the union, as well as the end of Guzman's power.
 
        We've also got an update on the planned WWE network, and more on why they have eliminated the word "wrestling" from the title. We look at this week's version of what they want the network to be, and how they want to emulate the business model of WWE on new properties an the type of properties they are looking for.
 
        We've got notes on Dwayne Johnson's movie career and early hints about how Fast Five will do, as well as information on how Chris Jericho fared behind the scenes on "Dancing with the Stars."
 
        We also look at how the laws in one of the countries on the recent WWE tour led to several performers not being able to perform on two shows.
 
        We also look at what the WWE booking direction was before the draft, more on what words can and can't be said in foreign WWE broadcasts, update on injuries to both Jim Ross and Michael Cole, as well as some very interesting notes about delayed viewing of two recent WWE television shows and what that says about the amount of people watching the go-home and post Mania Raw shows.
 
        Bret Hart talks about WWE eliminating the word "wrestling," John Morrison talks about what he needs to get to the top, lots more on Tough Enough including the wrestler on the show who needed crutches to walk but gutted it out on Raw a few weeks back, as well as the marketing of the retired Shawn Michaels by WWE,  PPV name change, some more people in negotiations with WWE, as well as the business notes from the European tour and a look at the highlights of most of the shows on tour.
       
        We also look at an update on Extreme Rules, a note on when Senator Richard Blumenthal was asked this week about the WWE independent contractor vs. employee classification of wrestlers,
 
        We also look at the serious aggravated assault charge against Charly Manson, what happened, and why he probably won't be wrestling for a while.
 
        We also look at one of the highest rated matches in the last 30 years and how the two participants, one retired, and the other under contract with UFC, are going to do a match to benefit the Japanese earthquake relief fund.
         
        We've also got a look at how one of the biggest UFC bouts of 2011, Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans, fell apart with notes on Jones' condition, why Phil Davis got the shot instead of others in the main event and more on UFC's second foray into Philadelphia and a look at the light heavyweight division. 
 
        We've got ratings of all the national shows including how every segment on Raw the past two weeks Impact did and what viewers came and left. We look at several troubling issues in the recent ratings. 
 
        We also have our usual weekly features with results of the major arena shows from around the world, and the major TV show rundowns and reviews.
       
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Also in this week's issue:
 
--Major anniversary of wrestling as one of the biggest wrestling arenas in the world coming this week
 
--Referee loses job over drug test
 
--Updates on the All Japan junior heavyweight tournament and NOAH tag team tournament
 
--New Japan vs. NOAH match added to next New Japan big shows
 
--Two former pro wrestlers this past week win election to public office, as well as the wife of a pro wrestler
 
--Updates on Scott Hall
 
--Another honor for Bruno Sammartino
 
--Update on Devon Nicholson Hepatitis story
 
--Notes on latest NWA title change
 
--Notes on the Urban Wrestling Federation, celebrity involvement, wrestlers signed and first PPV show
 
--A look at the Junior Hodge winner and what former WWE champion was his idol growing up because they shared the same high school coach and his remarkable high school record, one of the greatest in recorded wrestling history
 
--Former WCW and New Japan wrestler writes book about his experience and some funny notes of what he says and remembers and how he remembers things
 
--Baseball team channels pro wrestling for gimmick event
 
--70s star returns to wrestle in the city he had many of his most famous matches in
 
--New ROH matches
 
--More on TNA rebranding effort
 
--TNA hierarchy updates
 
--Ric Flair update
 
--Jeff Hardy update
 
--A look at the latest lawsuit filed against TNA
 
--Notes on the next TNA PPV show
 
--A look at TNA booking issues
 
--A look at what audience TNA is drawing well on television, but the other key audience it is doing poorly with
 
--Update on Desmond Wolfe
 
--Notes on major shows planned for the summer by TNA
 
--Update on health issues with a number of major UFC stars
 
--Thoughts on UFC 129 on PPV
 
--Why Mayhem Miller was the first Strikeforce fighter signed by UFC
 
--UFC requests Nevada commission to make changes regarding judging fights
 
--Update on Fedor vs. Henderson
 
--UFC adding new stations to its preview shows
 
--A look at the sport of wrestling in the U.S. and participation levels since the rise of UFC
 
--Lots of new UFC fights announced
 
--UFC ups marketing toward Hispanic audience
 
--Notes on this season of Ultimate Fighter
 
--Notes on the attempt to get Dream back together
 
--Bellator's last show and more on the championship weeks of this season
 
--Update on Ken Shamrock and Jens Pulver 
 
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*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous
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history of in-ring double-crosses)*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation
right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was
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everything that was said between the two about the match that was going
to take place that same night)
 
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon
steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article
and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
 
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner
networks)
 
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such
great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
 
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian
steroid trial)
 
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
 
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career
ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our
history)
 
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career
and life of The Sheik)
 
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people
who worked with him and where he stands historically)
 
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino,
Backlund and Backlund era)
 
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally,
the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk
Hogan)
 
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth, and the rise of fall of
Lex Luger)
 
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say
was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
 
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals
and friends)
 
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the
plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the
night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined
for a joint show and what happened)
 
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the
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historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
 
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the
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world title and much more)
 
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of
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*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
 
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*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock
Lesnar)
 
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the
company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the
business changed)
 
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best
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*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his
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*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on
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*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
 
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year
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*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details
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*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
 
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territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized
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*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul
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*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
 
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
 
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planned celebrity away)
 
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged
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why it didn't click)
 
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and
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*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
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*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his
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--Just got back in from Toronto for UFC.  Bryan is live from 6-8 p.m. on the site with Wrestling Observer Live on the Sports Byline network.  He and I will be back late tonight covering the Extreme Rules show.  We're also looking for a live report with the dark match or anything that takes place after filming will end.
 
--Last night, in a comedy spot at the White House Press Association Dinner, when President Barack Obama was introduced, they played Hulk Hogan's "Real American" theme with a video showing his birth certificate bouncing up and down to the music.  The video also showed Hulk Hogan.  Donald Trump was at the dinner along with tons of celebrities.  Video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9mzJhvC-8E&feature=player_embedded#at=69  (thanks to Jacob Koch Kelly Lucas and tons of others)
 
--The movie "Fast and Furious Five" is projected as being the biggest opening weekend ($83.63 million in 3,644 theaters) for any movie in history during the month of April, as well as any movie from Universal.  As noted yesterday, it soundly beat expectations and they are talking about a $500 million potential worldwide gross.  It had a big second weekend in the U.K. as well.   
 
--The movie "Dylan Dog Dead of Night" did $885,000 in 875 theaters  for No. 16.  Kurt Angle is in the movie.  No numbers available for "That's What I am"
 
--Dwayne Johnson on twitter was running contests to get a phone call from him at @The Rock
 
--A WWE facebook poll on what match do you most want to see tonight, results as of a few hours ago
12,520 - three-way cage match
3,748 - ladder match
3,211 - Orton vs. Punk
612 - Layla vs. McCool
405 - Country Whipping match
373 - Rhodes vs. Mysterio (thanks to Susan Johnson)     
 
--Not sure if this is related to Jose Aldo last night, but LeBron James got fouled hard, landed hard on the ground, and then quickly did some pushups on the ground, which is what Aldo did at the end of the fifth round trying to show that he was okay (thanks to Dan Cruickshank)
 
--On the TV broadcast, you can clearly hear GSP tell Greg Jackson several times that he can't see out of his left eye.  If the doctor knew about that, they would have to stop the fight.  In that sense, GSP's performance and being so cautious makes a lot more sense. (thanks to Chris Marullo)
 
--GSP was not seriously injured last night.  He posted:  "Hey guys just want to say that I am okay.  I'll need to see a doctor in the next days.  Yesterday I was told it was not a retina problem."
 
--Vince McMahon made a big donation to RAINN, which was the major thing Mick Foley on our show on Wednesday talked about that he would be releasing.
 
--We got a lot of feedback from the live arena.  Because of the huge screens, even the people in the 500 section could see well.  We got reports from everywhere how great the viewing was.  Some places did not have the greatest audio even with the 80 speakers.  UFC spent several million dollars on the show to make the viewing experience as good as possible.
 
--The only problem we heard was on the floor and in section 7 or 8 through 10, the area was cut off from the rest of the building for walkways for fighters.  This led to several hundred fans in the section being cut off from restrooms for most of the show.  You couldn't get through on the main area of the venue.  There were small pockets in time where they would remove the guard rails and let people get through, but it was unpredictable, and you'd probably have to miss a fight to do so, which many were unwilling to do given how expensive tickets in that section were.  And if you went, there was no guarantee you'd be able to get back into the section and to your seat any time soon.  Also, once you got through in an area where the guard rails were lifted, you had to walk back out in the main arena, then go up through the stands, to get to the rest room.
 
--Lots of talk regarding Cain Velasquez's title defense against the Brock Lesnar vs. Junior Dos Santos winner taking place on 10/8 in Houston.  I didn't talk with Velasquez, but those close to him said it could be pushing it that early but he's not the guy who will personally turn it down.  I'm not sure Brock Lesnar, should he win, would be happy about it being that early because in hindsight he thought last year going early July and then late October was too quick a turnaround.
 
--Dana White talked about Nick Diaz as a potential next opponent for GSP.  It's a political issue as the company was talking about not doing any interpromotional fights this early, but at the end of the day, if it's a fight people want to see that will draw, they are most likely going to do it.
 
--In its own way, the loss by Randy Couture last night was good because it convinced White that Couture's career was over.  Plus, if Couture had handily beaten Machida, he himself would have that lingering doubt about many he made a hasty decision. 
 
--White also talked of trying to make Jose Aldo Jr.'s next title defense against Chad Mendes on 8/6 in Philadelphia.
 
--There were changes made in the writing of the Smackdown show.  Originally they were going to make it a joint-brand TV show on Tuesday but now it appears it'll be Smackdown specific, or possibly with one exception but not a joint-branded show.
 
--It was incredible the amount of mainstream media coverage in Canada of last night's show.  There were several articles daily in the major newspapers and it was covered as the biggest sports event in the country except the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Just tons of coverage on the country's two major sports stations.  It's actually almost night-and-day between Canada and the U.S. as it is a major sport that is mainstream, that is the subject of regular conversation there, particularly under the age of 40.  It's far more of a popular but still niche sport in the U.S. 
 
--An article lots talked about by Stephen Brunt was http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/requiem-for-boxing-the-decline-of-the-sweet-science/article2004683/ (thanks to Mark Coale)
 
--A correction regarding Tuesday night.  At the show in Greensboro, when they were doing the Michelle McCool vs. Layla loser leaves match, in the building, they never said loser leaves Smackdown.  They just said loser leaves, and edited in "WWE" in post production.  WWE first released it as loser leaves Smackdown but then changed to loser leaves WWE.--  (thanks to Graham Cawthorn)
 
--The latest TV ratings from the U.K.  On 4/4, the day after Mania, Raw did 119,000 viewers live and Smackdown the next Friday did 160,000 for the first airing.  Remember Smackdown airs in a good time slot while Raw is at 2 a.m.  Impact on 3/31 did 174,000, but it's on a station with far more penetration as its freeview as almost everyone can see it.  Probably the equivalent to being on a cable station while Raw & Smackdown would be equivalent to being on HBO.  Not a perfect comparison, but comparing actual viewers is misleading.  For 4/11, Raw did 152,000 viewers live, Smackdown did 143,000 and Impact set its all-time viewership record with 192,000 viewers.    
 
--Poll on Countdown to UFC 129
Excellent 29.5%
Good 46.4%
Average 13.3%
Fair 2.4%
Poor 8.4%
        49.5% of those responding didn't see the show
 
--Predictions for UFC 129 buys
Under 500,000 7.0%
501-600,000 3.2%
601-700,000 5.1%
701-800,000 17.6%
801-900,000 25.4%
901-1 million 20.6%
1.0 to 1.1 million 11.2%
More than 1.1 million 9.8%
        I just don't feel numbers that big.  The show was gigantic in Canada, but I didn't sense a ton of interest above normal levels in the U.S.  Our feedback is well above average.
 
--Best on interviews from this group
Bobby Heenan 75.7%
Scott Steiner 13.4%
Road Warrior Hawk 4.9%
Jimmy Valiant 2.0%
John Tolos 2.0%
Pat Patterson 0.9%
Oliver Humperdink 0.7%
Bob Roop 0.4%
 
--Ring Wars Carolinas on 5/6 and 5/7 in Lumberton, NC at the Indoor Flea Market
 
--The NWA announced they will be doing a tournament for the North American title vacated by The Sheik when he beat Colt Cabana to win the world title.  First round matches announced are 5/5 in Nashville for NWA Main Event with Chrisjen Hayme vs Ace Rockwell; 5/14 in Cornelia, GA for NW Anarchy with Shaun Tempers vs. Caprice Coleman, and 5/15 in Warner Robins, GA for NWA Rampage with Corey Hollis vs. J-Rod.
 
--Some mainstream Canadian articles with an interview with UFC Canada head Tom Wright at http://bit.ly/1Xf5dv plus GSP at http://bit.ly/IDEKZo and Dana White at http://bit.ly/iQITBN
 
--In the article, White noted that people compare him the most to either Don King, Vince McMahon or Dr. Evil, and sometimes The Devil.
 
--Sir Henry Cooper, one of the country's most famous heavyweight boxers ever, who once knocked down Muhammed Ali, passed away at the age of 76.  Cooper competed in the 1952 Olympics, and knocked down Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, early in his career in a 1963 fight.  Ali cut him in the fifth round leading to a stoppage.
 
--For those who didn't read the report from last night, Judge Douglas Crosby did not score the Aldo-Hominick fight 50-43 for Aldo.  The score was misread, and it was 48-45 for Aldo.  We don't know which round Crosby gave Aldo 10-8, but he gave Hominick the fifth round by a 10-8 score and Aldo every other round.       
 
--Today is the 47th anniversary of Jimmy Valiant's first pro wrestling match.
 
--Friday night was the 16th anniversary of the largest crowd ever to attend pro wrestling in the world, when an estimated 170,000 people came or were ordered to attend a show in North Korea headlined by Antonio Inoki vs. Ric Flair.
 
--Pro Wrestling Eclipse from Friday night in Oshawa, ONT:  Sebastian Suave b Jason Alexander, Crazy Steve b Scotty O'Shea, R.J. City b Alessandro Del Bruno, Mike Rollins b Jake O'Reilly, Ashley Sixx & Ethan Page b Lionel Knight & Bishiop, Michael Elgin b Brent B.  Next show is 6/19 with Elgin defending the PWE title against Davey Richards.  They raised $400 to Battle Parkinson's Disease at the show.  
 
--A story in the Contra Costa Times noting three fighters from last night's show trained in the area at http://www.contracostatimes.com/sports/ci_17960929?source=rss&nclick_check=1  I believe the three would be Nate Diaz, Jake Shields and Daniel Roberts. (thanks to Jeff Gagaliardo)
 
--EWF from Friday night in Covina, CA:  Mercurio b Freddy Bravo, Terex b Red Thunder, Eddie Mattson b Ray Rosas, Brandon Gatson & SoCal Crazy b Rico Dynamite & Tommy Wilson, Jeremy Jager & Roger Ruiz b Joshua Dunbar & D.K. Murphy, Ryan Taylor NC Johnny Starr.  next show is 5/20.
 
--A promotional trailer for the 5/21 KSW show in Gdansk, Poland featuring world's strongest man competitor Mariusz Pudzianowksi vs. James Thompson (who fought Kimbo Slice on CBS) plus Mamed Khalidov vs. Matt Lindland is at http://youtu.be/2sY1qPoOjptQ    
 
--Alternative Pro Wrestling from Friday night in Ryston, GA before 120 fans:  John Skyler b Chris Mayne, Tommy Daniels & James Boulevard b Jamie Cruz & Chris Spectra, Chaos NC Carnage, Dustin Knight b Jeremy Vain, Jacob Ashworth & C.B. Gibson & Don E b Johnny Dangerous & Hexxon & Scotty Mayson, Jacob Boykins b Shadow Jackson, Anthony Henry over Skirra Corvus, Seth Delay and Brandon Parker (thanks to Larry Goodman)
 
--High Voltage Midwest from last night in Casevyille, IL:  Brandon Espinosa b Spirit Kid and David Vaughn, Hooligans b Lumberjacks, Karrington Casey b Adam Rich, Kast & Dash & Aiden b Makaze & Lyte & Urban, Rick Fuller b Alexander Rudolph, Jeremy Wyatt b Nation, Trent Stone and Jon Grisham, Jeremy Wyatt b Larry Zbyszko, Stacey O'Brien b Santana, Rick Fuller won Battle Royal (thanks to Al Haft and Patrick Brandmeyer)
 
--USWO from Friday night in Nashville:  Nick Iggy b Kid Dynamite, Pumbah b Toxic, Panther b L.T. Falk, Drew Haskins b Shane Smalls, Nick Iggy & Jamey Farrari b Saint & Tim Renesto, Steve O d Damien Payne, Chris Michaels b Bryan Casey, Shane Smalls won Battle Royal that ended up in a three-way (thanks to Jimmie Daniel)  
 
--A pictorial from Deadspin about old wrestling magazines at http://deadspin.com/#!5795981/old-pro-wrestling-magazines/gallery/1 (thanks to Mikey Lamont)
 
 

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