WED. UPDATE: 3 televised weekend events, Bret Hart, TNA Impact replay, Promotion claims network

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        We've got coverage of all the major shows of the past week in one of the year's biggest weekends, from WWE, Strikeforce, All Japan, New Japan and AAA as the lead stories in the newest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
        We look at C.M. Punk and the intrigue for the Money in the Bank PPV, as well as coverage of WWE's Capitol Punishment, with star ratings and poll results.
        We've got full coverage of Strikeforce, including where the heavyweight tournament stands, what person's stock dropped the most, Josh Barnett and pro wrestling, polls and match-by-match coverage.
        We also look at the latest failure of MMA to get legalized in New York.
        We look at TripleMania, as well as the AAA/TNA relationship, an update on Perro Aguayo Jr., the timing issues that caused one of the biggest matches not to air on PPV, changes in the company and notes on all the matches.
        We also look at the situation where there was nearly a picket line before CMLL's Juicio Final show, and a look at the name of the next guy to hit WWE, after Averno lost his mask in the main event.
        We also look at the first tag team in history to hold two of Japan's major three companies tag team titles at the same time.  We also look at both the New Japan and All Japan major shows this past week.
       The issue will be up on the site tomorrow.  A new back issue from early 1994 was put up earlier in the week and another will be up today.  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 have notes from a conversation with Batista, including his thoughts regarding returning to WWE, his giving notice, his frustrations with the direction, his new goals, what happened with his contract negotiations with Strikeforce and why he opened up a gym.
        We have notes on a promo already cut for SummerSlam. 
        We've got notes on Shane McMahon who has been getting exposure in two different non-wrestling related ventures, as well as him talking about his leaving WWF, and why one of the business is on the ground floor of something that could be gigantic.
        We've also got more on the changes in the WWE drug policy, which is a major issue to a segment in the locker room, plus the return to TV of HHH, what wrestler company officials are saying they dropped the ball on and why, former tag champ returning to WWE, and what happened behind the scenes as John Laurinaitis read the riot act to one of the Tough Enough fighters. 
        We also have an update on what Bill DeMott is doing nowadays, as well as his comparisons of the 2004 and 2011 Tough Enough, and the future of Andy Leavine.
        We also note the funny things about the Little Jimmy line, as well as who got Kong pregnant, what WWE wrestler's father was a well known sportscaster and also was a former roommate in college with an old AWA star.  We've got notes on what percentage of viewers don't watch live anymore.  We also have a rundown of all the weekend house shows as well as business notes on the show.
        We've got notes on the Power to the People Raw and the screwed up voting, how it happened and what happens next.
        We also look at a law that is being discussed which will cost WWE and UFC seven figures in lost sponsorships.
        We've got ratings of all the national shows including how every segment on Raw and Impact did and what viewers came and left. 
       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:
--Update on CMLL referee Rafa El Maya
--NWA Historic light heavyweight champion decided
--52nd anniversary of pro wrestling in an arena that has multiple shows per week and a look at the first main event
--How the Mesias kidnapping story came to be
--Major nostalgia night with a main event that would have headlined big 22 years ago
--Juventud Guerrera resurfaces
--Former AAA star complains about the change in Mexican wrestling
--Dragon Gate title match weekend in Sapporo notes with a couple of changes
--Dragon Gate star has knee surgery
--Next title matches for All Japan and New Japan
--One of the world's most respected and famous referees is now a free agent
--One of the biggest head-to-head shows of the year coming in late August, and details of the major stars being brought in from other sports for a wrestling show.
--Dick Togo's one year retirement tour after he retires in Japan at the end of hte month.
--Hall of Famer having knee surgery this week.
--Notes on what should have been the final legal action related to the Benoit tragedy and why it still may not be done.
--Notes on Scott Hall going to jail
--Full details of the incident that led to Hall's conviction and jail time
--More on a major television station doing a feature on Hall
--Notes on a new pro wrestling television promotion and its goals
--Former member of WCW creative writes an autobiography, devotes a chapter to WCW including a story of a well remembered world title change and how the booker had a private conversation with one of the wrestlers in the match about the finish that nobody else was supposed to know about.
--Update on two of the 80s biggest stars and health issues
--A 90s star gets married for the third or fourth time
--And what No. 1 song from about 40 years ago inspired an indie wrestler's gimmicked name
--Notes on Sunday's Best in the World iPPV show
--Update on Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli, how their WWE tryout went
--More on ROH going forward
--TNA stars going overseas to different major shows for other promotions
--Story behind the Tuesday night replay of Impact
--Notes on the suspension of Matt Hardy
--Full details on the Bound for Glory tournament including who is in it and how the scoring works
--How the tournament is going to be done
--Notes on the next major episode of Impact
--Note on the X Division tournament in TNA
--Notes on an indie wrestler passing away
--Future of Jeff Jarrett in TNA
--Paul Heyman talks Dixie Carter
--Gabe Sapolsky talks about a booking plan of Heyman had he gone to TNA last year 
--Update on Desmond Wolfe 
--A look at TNA weekend house shows including the show in Buffalo with Hulk Hogan and some surprise weekend results
--Upcoming UFC does immediate sellout business
--Business notes from UFC 130 including early PPV estimates
--Best markets for UFC 130
--A look at the UFC and Strikeforce show this week
--Update on Cain Velasquez and his updated planned return date
--A look at many of the UFC champions
--Update on Strikeforce vs. UFC matches
--Drug testing in UFC looks too be getting tighter
--UFC cuts
--New UFC signing
--A hoard of new UFC matches
--Return of Bellator to TV this week
--Dream bantamweight tournament update
--More info on when Affliction folded and a back story behind it, which also includes aspects of Fedor Emelianenko's contracts
--What could be a major story to look out for at the latter part of this year
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--A quick note is that the Observer, which is usually up on Wednesdays, will be up tomorrow.  We have an extra back issue going up today from April 1994.
--There are three major televised MMA shows this weekend.  Friday night has Strikeforce Challengers on Showtime from Kent, WA.  Saturday has Bellator back on MTV 2 for a show in Hollywood, FL.  While UFC makes its debut as the Consol Energy Arena in Pittsburgh with Nate Marquardt vs. Rick Story and Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry.  Bellator's three summer dates are Saturday, then 7/23 and 8/20.
--Bret Hart is making an appearance in Victoria, BC on Saturday from 2-4 p.m. at the Jack FM parking lot on Broughton Street across from the Royal Theater.  Autographs are $25 each.  There is also a private dinner with Bret Hart with 30 people and you can call 250-380-1958 for more details.
--We will be back tonight with Observer radio.  This will be the first show in a long time where we'll have time to really get into questions, so you can send questions for tonight's show to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
--Last night's Impact replay did 609,000 viewers

--Kofi Kingston appears at tonight's FCW show in Orlando at the Armory which also includes Drew McIntyre vs. Justin Gabriel.  Kingston will be doing an autograph signing along with Mason Ryan, Jinder Mahal, Johnny Curtis, A.J. and Kaitlyn as well as Andy Leavine.
--Michael Schiavello has a one hour The Voice vs. Badr Hari interview on Friday night at 10 p.m. on HDNet.  Badr Hari is one of the best heavyweights in kickboxing, who missed most of last year due to being in jail.
--The Xtreme Knockout promotion in Arlington, TX, said that they will be taping the 7/23 show for a television show they claim will be on network television.  Of course, nowhere in the release does it say what network television means.
--HPW on 7/2 in Columbus, IN at JD Byriders has a show at 5 p.m. with admission being six cans of food per person and bring your own chair to watch the matches.  Ryan "Skidmark" Howe headlines, while Jessie Belle Smothers fights Mickie Knuckles.
--Last night, on the TNA show in the U.K. on Challenge TV, they had an ad for a replay of Capitol Punishment.  It was strange as WWE rarely advertises in the U.S. outside of sports stations (Challenge is a game show station but Impact is one of its top shows) and they also rarely push replay buys.  It looks like WWE advertised its show on TNA, which makes sense to me if you're going target advertise outside of your own show.
--CCW on Saturday night in Leamington, ONT before more than 400 fans:  Italianos b Big Money Titans, Derek Wylde b Ashley Sixx, Nikki Valentino b T.G. Skillz, Cherry Bomb b Evilyn, Matt Cross (Tough Enough) b Cexar, Michael Elgin b Davey Richards, Daemon Reznor b Bushwhacker Luke (thanks to Steven Ashe)
--Some late polls:
Impact from Thursday
Excellent 24.4%
Good 36.0%
Average 12.4%
Fair 9.6%
Poor 13.2%
        34.9% of those responding didn't see the show.  These are far better marks than TNA has been getting.\
Who did the better "Hard Times" promo?
Dusty Rhodes 87.5%
Josh Barnett 12.5%
Poll on Raw
Excellent 6.5%
Good 44.4%
Average 20.6%
Fair 9.3%
Poor 19.2%
        16.4 % of those responding didn't see the show
On the weekend shows
Only watched Strikeforce 22.0%
Only watched Capitol Punishment 8.3%
Didn't watch either show 36.1%
Watched both, Capitol Punishment was better 21.4%
Watched both, Strikeforce was better 12.2%
        With 33.6% watching both shows, it means 60% of those who watched Strikeforce also watched Capitol Punishment and 80% of those who watched Capitol Punishment also watched Strikeforce.
Best TV show of the past week
Raw 26.5%
Impact 24.5%
Smackdown 15.2%
Strikeforce on Showtime 15.2%
AAA 6.0%
Strikeforce on HDNet 4.5%
MMA Live 3.3%
Inside MMA 2.6%
CMLL 2.0%    
--Strikeforce announced this lineup for Friday night in Kent, WA:
Caros Fodor vs. James Terry
Ryan Couture vs. Matt Ricehouse
Lorenz Larkin vs. Gian Villante
Jason High vs. Quinn Melhern
Germaine de Randamie vs. Julia Budd
Prelims live in the arena
Derek Brunson vs. Jeremy Hamilton
Eduardo Pamplona vs. Jerron Peoples
Trevor Smith vs. Keith Barry
Sterling Ford vs. Charon Spain
--New Japan is currently doing a trios tournament with the finals and semifinals tomorrow at Differ Ariake.  The four teams left are Tomohiro Ishii & Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano, Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi & Hirooki Goto, Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe and Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson & Jushin Liger.
--The Urban Wrestling Federation's debut PPV, taped on 6/3, airs on Sunday featuring Homicide vs., Eddie Kingston as the main event, as well as Lowlife Louie Ramos vs. Murder One.
--ROH made a storyline announcement that Kevin Steen will not be allowed in the building for the show on Saturday night at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York on iPPV.  They said Steve Corino will be punished if he brings Steen to the show, but that Jimmy Jacobs is allowed in Corino's corner.  I guess that starts the build for Steen's return after losing a loser leaves town match to El Generico in December.    
--TNA has shows on 8/18 in Columbus, GA and 8/19 in Rome, GA at the Forum (thanks to Devin Cutting)
--The Lou Thesz/George Tragos pro wrestling Hall of Fame sent out a release noting that Mick Foley will be attending their Hall of Fame ceremony on 7/23 in Waterloo, IA at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.  Foley will be given the Frank Gotch award for a pro wrestler who makes a great contribution to society.  I have to say that he is very deserving of this award for his work over the past year.  Among the people attending the awards banquet will be Jim Ross, Dory Funk Jr. Terry Funk, Gerald Brisco, Jim Duggan, Larry Hennig, Mad Dog Vachon, Baron Von Raschke, Danny Hodge, Dan Gable, Pat Miletich, Bob Roop and Fritz Von Goering.  Brisco and Ross will also be doing a pro wrestling training session the day before the banquet.  Danny Hodge will be doing an MMA seminar   
--The Tuff N Uff Promotion is celebrating its 17th anniversary of promoting combat sports, noting it debuted doing a kickboxing show on June 18, 1994.  They noted among the MMA names that have worked for the promotion have been Shonie Carter, Ryan Couture, Rob Emerson, Jon Fitch, Jesse Forbes, Brad Imes, Sammy Morgan, Aaron Riley, Aaron Simpson, Jesse Taylor and Javier Vazquez.
--When Clint Dempsey scored for the U.S. against Jamaica in a Gold Cup soccer match on Sunday, he did the "You can't see me" hand gesture.
--NWA MSW on Saturday night in Mount Hope, WV at the Community Center Building. 
--In Your Face Wrestling on Saturday night in Ballston Spa, NY at the Community Center
--Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling from Saturday night in East Carondelet, IL before a full house of 280 fans:  Eric Allen b Max Archer, Tony Razed b Chase King, Chris Harges & Dave Vaughn b Big Texan & Waco-COR, Pete Madden b Dan Walsh, Chas Wesson b Sean Vincent, Gary Jackson b Kevin X, LMB b Ron Powers-DQ.  Ted DiBiase Sr. was there signing autographs at the show.
--C4 Wrestling from Friday night in Ottawa before 240 fans:  Lucky Sabiti won six way over Scott Parker, Lionel Knight, Christopher Bishop, Cecil Nyx and Jae Rukin, Mathieu St-Jacques b Adam Cole, El Generico & Beef Wellington & Twiggy  b MVP & Rahim Ali & Josh Alexander, Kevin Steen & Mike Bailey b Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards, Michael Elgin b Chris Hero, Sebastian Suave won four-way over Brent B, Mike Rollins and Tomasso Ciampa, Stupefied b Player Uno (thanks to Pat Laprade)
--MPW had a sold out show on Saturday night in Simi Valley, CA:  Liger Rivera b Espiritu Infernal, Tool b Madness, Sean Christian b Red Thunder, Spectre b Vandal Drummond, Billy Blade b Bo Cooper, Logan X b Under Pressure, Hellkid b Mario Banks, Whiskey Fists MacIntosh & Omar Slam Duncan b A-List, Nikki the New York Knockout b Chloe, Scorpio Sky won an elimination match over Peter Avalon, Brandon Parker, Freddy Bravo, Jarek Matthews, Fern Owens, Chris Kadillak and Ryan Taylor.  This was the Zoogz Rift Memorial match. (thanks to Dan Farren)
--Kevin Nash will be appearing for PWO on 8/7 in Cleveland at the Jacobs Pavilion.
--SoCal Pro Wrestling has a free show on Friday night at Escondido Sports & Fitness in Escondido.
--CWI wrote that its 6/27 show in Halifax has to be moved because "a Connecticut company" blocked them from the Forum on that date.  They are now looking for a new venue on that date.  WWE has an event in Halifax at the Forum in September, and WWE usually insists on a no other wrestling and in some cases no MMA events (when they can do so, obviously no arena is going to block a $2 million UFC show based on WWE pressure) in the building during a period before and after their shows.
--River City Wrestling on 7/2 in San Antonio at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
--NWA at the Ohio State Fair on 7/31 in Columbus, OH at the Coliseum with The Sheik vs. Adam Pearce for the NWA title, Cliff "Domino" Compton vs. Mike Mondo, Jimmy Rave vs. Chance Prophett (champion) for the NWA National heavyweight title, Team Mega defends the NWA North American tag titles against Murder 1 & A.J. Steele and more.
--Tijuana results from Friday night:  Clasico & Kenoe b Los Bengalies I & II, Cinico & Mr. Maldito b Platino & Viento, El Hijo del Fishman & Tony Casanova b Angel Metalico & Gallo Tapado Jr., El Hijo del Rey Misterio & Rubi Gardenia b El Hijo del L.A. Park & Cassandro, Cibernetico & L.A. Park b Mesias & La Parka (thanks to Kris Zellner)
--Pro Wrestling Eclipse on Sunday in Oshawa, ONT before 50 fans:  Alex Vega b Johnny Wave, Sebastian Suave b Josh Alexander, Phil Atlas and Mike Rollins, Tyson Dux b Christopher Bishop, Brent B b Kiyoshi, Scotty O'Shea & Alessandro Del Bruno b Ashley Sixx & Ethan Page, Davey Richards b Michael Elgin (thanks to Eric)
--EWF on 7/1 in Marion, IN
--Muay Thai Mayhem takes place on Saturday night in Denver at the Fillmore Auditorium
--Raw was No. 95 in the Pay TV ratings in Australia this pat week with 22,000 viewers.
--Dory Funk's BANG on Saturday night in Ocala, FL at the Funking Conservatory.
--GOUGE on Saturday night in Apex, NC
--70s and 80s British legends Johnny Saint and Johnny Kidd, who both have an incredible technical style that is kind of lost, on 7/30 in Reading, PA and 7/31 at the Arena in Philadelphia.  Also on the show from the Ice Ribbon women's group are Makoto and Tsukawa Fujimoto, both making their U.S. debuts, as well as Mima Shimoda, a veteran from the glory days of All Japan women.
--National Geographic TV on 8/24 will be doing a show on, in the words of their press release, "the seedy world of pro wrestling."  They will highlight independent wrestlers and promoters including ROH and NWS. 
--Eastern Wrestling Alliance on Saturday night in Feeding Hills, MA at the Springfield Turnverien.  There will be a storyline wedding between two managers on the show, presided over by John Cena Sr.

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?