The Smackdown crew continues tomorrow night in Cape Town, Friday night in Durban, and has Saturday and Sunday shows in Johannesburg before returning for TV on Tuesday at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT.
The aftermath of the C.M. Punk promo, where the situation goes next, Punk's best friend talks his situation in depth as well as WWE, and where this is all expected to go is the lead story of the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
This issue also has our 2011 WWE roster directory. We go through the entire roster with real names, ages, years pro as well as sports and entertainment backgrounds of all the roster members prior to joining WWE.
The issue also includes coverage of UFC 132, both inside the cage as well as all the business rundowns regarding the show. We also look at the close decisions, who people thought won the fights and where the bantamweight division goes next.
We also have more on the death of Randy Savage with the autopsy report. We also look at the arrest and firing of Strikeforce heavyweight Brett Rogers.
We also look at John Cena's comments about The Rock in Australia, more on the future of SummerSlam and attempts to turn it into a second WrestleMania. We have more on the deal involving Brock Lesnar that would involve WWE, UFC approval, and a non-wrestling aspect.
We also look at plans for the go-home Raw on Monday night for Money in the Bank, why Extreme Rules did so poorly, a wrestler who was told he was returning was then told plans have changed and he is talking giving up wrestling. We also look at an active roster wrestler getting a try as an agent, the theft of luggage of Smackdown stars on the trip to South Africa, Batista talks Finlay as well as Bloomberg TV's business report on WWE. Vince talks future of Tough Enough, HHH talks what his job is, and a look at what was really the most profitable year in WWE history.
We also look at the lengthy Randy Orton interview, his talk about his overdose, criticism of Rock, apologizing to Kelly Kelly and his concussion history.
We also look at the unlikely WWE star that Joe Rogan called a freak athlete, what happens to Nexus, an idea being batted around to make Zack Ryder a Raw regular on TV, Claudio Castagnoli talks WWE, Kevin Nash lands role in a major budget movie, more business notes from WrestleMania week, as well as the business notes and highlights from the WWE's tour of Australia.
We also have more on MMA judging as well as the early experiments in California using a new system and how it has worked out so far.
The issue will be up today for web site subscribers, and you can get a mail subscription to the Observer with information below. The Observer has the most detailed coverage of pro wrestling around the world, as well as insider UFC coverage not available anywhere else. We have about 14 new newsletters each month, usually six Observers, four or five Figure Four Weeklies and four or five back issues of the Observer each week.
Our lead story talks about the Cena vs. Punk match that took place this week, what was notable about the match, and how this leads to the PPV. We talk about different ideas regarding the finish and where things go from there. We also talk about the GLAAD controversy with Punk's remarks to hecklers in Australia, Punk's apology, and what WWE told GLAAD about Punk's future. We look at how WWE has viewed comments of this type, as well as interesting comments by Punk from the past that show his viewpoint.
We look at how Money in the Bank did last year, the promos on July 4th by John Cena and Vince McMahon as the next step of the angle, the role Punk could play that WWE needs, his return, as well as tons of comments by Colt Cabana regarding why he was unhappy, and thoughts on the entire WWE at this point.
We also look at the aftermath of UFC 132. We look at the fight, stats on the fight, the judging of the fight, crowd reactions and future bantamweight fights. We also look at the win by Tito Ortiz and loss by Wanderlei Silva. We look at the early show, what happened next , as well as the Matt Wiman vs. Dennis Siver judging.
We look at the business notes on the show, early PPV estimates as well as match-by-match coverage, injuries, commission disclosed payoffs and more.
We have an update on Bruno Sammartino after heart valve surgery, with the background of his surgery and his recuperation.
We also look back at years ago when July 4th was considered a terrible day in the wrestling industry and the tragedies associated with that day.
We have full details on the police report of what happened with Brett Rogers and his wife and the reaction by Zuffa to it.
We also have a look at MMA judging, the good, the bad, the acceptable, and the inherent problems. We cover the new California system, its application thus far in more than 300 fights and what it tells us.
We also have our usual weekly features including ratings for all the major national shows, broken down the segment-by-segment for both Raw and Impact, showing which segments gained and lost viewers and evaluated their performance from an audience level.
We also have results from all the major league pro wrestling and MMA events over the past week, as well as reviews of all the major television shows.
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
Also in this week's issue:
--Two major international superstars headed to CMLL
--Latest from Arena Mexico
--New promotion in Mexico using ex-WWE names
--What happened with Charly Manson being put back in jail
--More on TNA/AAA business relationship
--A nostalgia day with a late 80s main event brought back
--Several wrestlers returning to All Japan and first matches back
--Two of the great mat masters of all-time going at it
--More on the return of Kenta Kobashi
--This year's G-1 Climax tournament participants and rules
--Former WWE star change his look
--Update on current most decorated tag team in the world
--Next New Japan major shows
--Dick Togo's Japanese retirement show
--World champion vs. world champion dual title match has a clean winner
--Zero-One Fire Festival notes
--A look at DDT's biggest show of the year with veteran stars being brought in
--Early 80s legendary feud brought back for more matches this year
--Death of indie wrestler in Florida
--Wrestling marriage break up makes TMZ
--Former wrestling announcer passes away
--A look at the annual WWC aniversario event
--Urban Wrestling Federation PPV note
--How Jacques Rougeau is able to promote some of the biggest indie events in North America
--Update on Scott Hall
--More on the All Wheels Wrestling promotion, what the taping was for, who are the stars and how is behind it
--Update on the January WrestleReunion in Los Angeles with notes on the live events
--High NBA draft choice says he wants to go into WWE after his NBA career
--Carlos Colon in non-wrestling controversy
--Copy of C.M. Punk stunt
--Zach Gowen talks about his life, battling drug problems and recovery, and who from WWE never gets the credit they deserve in these situations
--Reality show stars training to be pro wrestlers
--Billy Gunn, life at 47
--New ROH matches
--What is going on with Ric Flair in TNA
--More on Linda Bollea trying to market her book
--Hogan tries to sell the mansion
--Character in TNA seemingly dropped
--TNA ratings in the U.K. and what is notable about their PPVs in that country
--TNA expands into new country in January
--Notes on TNA television
--Update Bound for Glory series points standing
--Notes on the weekend TNA house shows
--Announcer signs network deal to host a prime time show
--Injury to Strikeforce Grand Prix member may delay next round
--Result of match overturned by commission
--More on the Nate Marquardt situation
--Updates on Cris Cyborg and Chael Sonnen
--Dana White talks Spike using UFC tapes to counter-program UFC
--Next UFC PPV lineup
--UFC in Japan for live event
--Update on Edgar vs. Maynard match
--Fighter expected to be fined for TV rule infraction
--Lots of new fights either talked about or signed
--Notes on the Bellator bantamweight tournament which people are saying is the best tournament the company has done
--Title fight off
--Kimbo Slice returns to the ring in a new venue
--Interesting trivia regarding the biggest boxing PPV events of all-time
--Five-year TV contract signed
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major story (ies) of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue. Our most requested issues in our history are:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series
plus a 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 said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but
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
*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
*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 controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as
historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s,
Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*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 and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and
Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund,
Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered
separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world
wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the
history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their
Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and
behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings,
Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a
double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher,
double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working
in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him
tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart
signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why
there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double
issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
For the United States, it is $12 for 4 issues, $29 for 12, $55 for 24, $91 for 40 and $118 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $13.50 for
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.
--The Smackdown crews bags being opened with clothes and other items taken took place in South Africa on a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town yesterday. John Langford, the local promoter of the tour put together by Big Concerts promotions, said when the luggage came off the carousel, the bags had been broken into. It appeared it was luggage that had locks that was targeted, and they stole things that appeared to have financial value. Langford said this was an embarrassment to South Africa as a country for people to do such things and for the promotion. He said they've tried to get an explanation from the Airports Company of South Africa.
--A couple of people have noted that technically, there was no robbery, since that involves threat of force, but it was a theft and larceny. Although in Cape Town, the local paper story headline also used the word "robbed" at http://www.timeslive.co/za/local/2011/07/06/wwe-wrestlers-robbed-in-cape- town.
--No injuries on the Raw tour of Australia, or at least none of note.
--MMA Junkie reported the proposed Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida fight is not going to happen. The report said UFC considered the fight but decided against it.
--The prelims to UFC 132 on Spike on Saturday night did an 0.8 rating.
--A story on the Smackdown tour of South Africa is at http://www.iol.co.za/tv-radio/men-in-lycra-guarantee-a-big-show-1.1093401
--Thoughts on the Punk situation in Australia
Punk made a mistake, apologized sincerely, should be over 46.7%
What Punk did was fine, WWE is hurting itself trying to pretend to be what it isn't 19.0%
It's part of wrestling and wrestling shouldn't be aligned with GLAAD because one or both are being fake about the alliance 16.4%
It would have been fine in another era, but times change and it's no longer acceptable 9.2%
GLAAD and anti-bullying groups should not work with WWE because of the product and things that have always been part of wrestling 6.7%
Punk should be finished to send a message 2.1%
--Should the Rock not main event WrestleMania?
The very idea of asking this question is ridiculous 51.1%
Yes, he should because he draws and will bring more interest to the show 25.8%
No, not fair to the guys who work all year for their biggest show, they should all be happy making less money to prove a point about being on the road vs. not being on the road 7.9%
He should have to be on TV regularly to earn it, and this won't hurt the buy rate of the show 6.5%
He should be on TV regularly even though it'll hurt the buy rate of the show to earn a spot on the big show 5.8%
He should headline even if the PPV numbers aren't helped because he's an all-time great returning 1.9%
He won't draw so he shouldn't headline 1.0%
--Poll on Raw
19.6% of those responding didn't see the show
--Go Fight Live stuff this weekend. Friday at 9 p.m. is Ax Combat from Calgary, an MMA show that features Kim Couture vs. Sheila Bird. Friday at 10 p.m. is Quest for Glory Fighting Championships from Vancouver at the Vogue Theater. Saturday is Fight Night Entertainment from Bellevue, WA at 10:30 p.m. featuring TUF fighter Len Bentley vs. Rob Yundt.
--X-rays showed that Brian Bowles did not suffer a broken hand in his fight on Saturday night with Takeya Mizugaki. As noted that night, Bowles, who has a history of broken hands, thought he did that night, and the commission doctor listed a possible hand injury on the event injury report.
--Mattel has a promotion at all Toys R Us stores that if you buy four qualifying WWE figures from their Elite Legends or Defining Moments collection you can mail in for a Vince McMahon action figure. It's the Vince McMahon figure made by Mattel. For more info go to http://www.thecharimanfigure.com (thanks to Robb Block)[
--Drew Fickett is replacing an injured Williamy Freire (hand injury) in a fight on the 7/16 Dream show in Tokyo's Ariake Coliseum, against Tatsuya Kawajiri. Another fight announced today is Tatsuya Mizuno vs. Trevor Prangley.
--Playwright Noel Clarke is talking about writing an MMA based movie, saying he feels it's the right time and he loves MMA. He claimed MMA is more popular than football (soccer) which is something few people could say with a straight face.
--New Era Wrestling as the first annual Mark Kuhn Invitational on Saturday night in Shelbyville, IN headlined by Flash Flanagan vs Shawn Cook.
--Southern All-Star Wrestling on Friday night in Millersville, TN at 1214-B Louisville Highway
--Masked Republic has a Lucha Libre show on 7/22 in San Diego at the YMCA at 3601 Arey Dr. The main event has L.A. Park & Konnan & El Hijo de Rey Misterio vs. Adam Pearce & Sinn Bhodi & American Psycho, plus Solar, Black Tiger IV, Puma and TJP appear on the undercard.
--Brutus Beefcake will be a guest on Sunday at the Vermont Lake Monsters home game against the Staten Island Yankees.
--American Championship Entertainment on Saturday night in Union City, NJ at the Ace Arena headlined by Dan Maff vs. J.L. Rivera in a cage match, Tommy Dreamer vs. Jay Lethal and Eddie Kingston vs. Stockade.
--A benefit show for J.T. Lightning of Cleveland All Pro Wrestling, who has battled cancer with a tremendous amount of courage, will take place on the XICW show on 7/24 in Warren, MI at The Ritz. Already scheduled are Zach Gowen, Rhino, N8 Mattson and more.
--A video promoting the NWA show at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus on 7/31 featuring The Sheik vs. Adam Pearce is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE6GmHgWNal
--An interview with Brodie Lee talking wrestling in Japan and his knee surgery is at http://mikeandtompresent.com/2011/07/05/episode-42-manute-bol-on-ice-feat -brodie-lee/
--Vendetta Pro Wrestling Summer Sizzler on 7/16 in Atascadero, CA at the Colony Park Community Center headlined by Sean Waltman vs. Shannon Ballard for the VPW title.
--Lingerie Football League star Krista Ford appears for the Apocalypse Wrestling Federation on 7/17 in Whitby, ONT at the Class Act Dinner Theatre for a 2 p.m. show. She's the captain of the Toronto Triumph. Ford is the niece of Toronto mayor Rob Ford and councilman Doug Ford. Several other members of the team are also expected on the show.
--Texas All-Star Wrestling on Saturday night in Houston at the Kingdom Arena.
--Jim Duggan headlines for Impact Pro Wrestling on 7/22 in Waterloo, IA for a show that is part of the Lou Thesz/George Tragos Hall of Fame weekend.
--Jersey Shore Championship Wrestling on 8/6 in Seaside Park, NJ at the Funtown Pier will be a free show featuring Dan Maff Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Monsta Mack and more.
--A Muay Thai show featuring four championship fights takes place on 8/20 in Primm, NV promoted by Lion Fight, featuring five-time world champion Sakmongkol Sitchuchoke
--Millennium Pro Wrestling is doing an Iron Sheik meet and greet on 7/17 at the MWF Studios at 360 Main St. in Melrose, MA. Autographs and photos are $10 each.
--NWS on 7/16 in Dunellen, NJ at the Knights of Columbus Hall has the 2011 Captain Lou Albano Memorial J Cup tag team tournament. Appearing on the show will be Nikolai Volkoff.
--Porn star Trina Michaels wants to manage C.M. Punk at http://youtu.be/pBkpeAGHJF4 I'm sure everyone wants to be linked with him on the indies if he were to choose to do them