The latest on C.M. Punk, his future, Money in the Bank as well as updates on contract situations involving some key people who are free agents in wrestling is among the lead stories as we've got two issues of the Observer coming out this week.
Our lead story talks about reactions in wrestling that surprised me to the Punk direction, why worrying about the ratings right now and even the PPV buy rate are only a small part of the story going forward and the pitfalls of how long you can go in this direction as seen by previous attempts and their self life. We look in depth at the ratings, and just as important, the ratings of Punk's segments compared to the rest of the show.
We look at PPV vs. TV, Punk's interviews and what is and isn't real regarding his contract talks as well as who he wants to face at WrestleMania and right now where that stands.
We also have a look at TNA's promotion of the X Division, with comments from wrestlers, and thoughts about the heyday of the Division vs. today and if Destination X did well and if so, what would it mean. We have a complete rundown of the show including poll results and star ratings for all of the matches.
The first issue will be available today for web site subscribers and the second is available tomorrow. 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.
We also have an in-depth look at the changes in the WWE writing team, both in structure, as well as notes on the new head writers for both Raw and Smackdown, what the new roles are for the old head writers, reactions from those with experience in creative about these changes as well as the basic depth chart regarding who answers to who, and how the writing process is changing. We also have notes regarding new writers being looked at.
We also have more on the future of WWE developmental, as well as what these moves mean regarding John Laurinaitis. We also look at some reactions we got to the Randy Orton interview before the European tour. We've got more on wrestlers belongings being stolen in South Africa as well as a story regarding something somewhat similar happening in the U.S. to one of WWE's biggest stars at the time.
We also have notes on what at least on paper could be a major potential hurdle to Randy Savage going into the WWE Hall of Fame at WrestleMania, a wrestler whose work is cause for concern and more on Tivo and tape viewership of Raw and how it's changing.
We also have a trivia note of a wrestler currently on WWE TV who got interested in wrestling when one of his friends who was a WWE star showed him something.
We've also got WWE business notes from the past week as well as highlights of all of the overseas house show events including a new angle about to be shot and its test marketing first overseas.
We also look at the future of women's MMA fighting and how several things in the past few months has put a lot of uncertainty into it on a major level, and why the next big fight is so important.
We also have the beginning of Hall of Fame season, looking at NWA world championship records during the heyday of the territorial record, looking at the biggest stars, their title shots and what people have been overlooked in Hall of Fame discussions. For those into history, you'll really enjoy this piece looking back at a different era of the business and what lessons about drawing and who draws that this period showed that seemingly have been forgotten.
We also look at UFC's problems with injuries, including a laundry list of main events that have fallen through this year.
We also look at Pro Wrestling NOAH's last major show, as well as its major upcoming jr. tag team tournament.
We also have a feature looking back nearly a century ago at one of the most famous matches in wrestling history, Strangler Lewis vs. Joe Stecher's nearly five hour match in Omaha. We look at the background of the match, as real a story of the match as can be ascertained including notes from Steve Yohe's research on both men. We look at the program, and how it shaped pro wrestling going forward including why Lewis and not Stecher became the era's icon, what didn't happen that likely hurt Stecher from becoming the better known legend, as well as how double-crosses changed the direction of wrestling in the Lewis era.
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 issues:
--More notes on plans for TNA to tape outside the Impact Zone over the next few months
--How the tapings are going to be done
--Why this is another experiment
--Morale in TNA right now
--Hogan's future role in TNA
--X Division wrestlers weigh in on what they hope the PPV will show
--Update on Ric Flair and TNA and what has happened in recent weeks
--More on the Flair situation on the New York house show tour
--More on the departure of Generation Me and Orlando Jordan
--Update on Chris Sabin
--More on the pilot and plans for All Wheels Wrestling and who is behind it
--Kurt Angle talks Olympics
--More TNA injury updates
--Notes on the next few weeks of TNA television
--Notes on business for upcoming UFC shows
--What this is saying about the UFC product and how it relates to the same issues with the WWE product
--Talk about what looks to be the next monster UFC show
--Lots of talk regarding new UFC fights
--Notes on a major year-end show
--Pay records for UFC in Vancouver
--Fighters cut by UFC of late
--Major movie role for a UFC regular
--Surprise result in title match regarding someone supposed to be headed to WWE
--Update on Arena Mexico
--Ratings from Mexico
--A look at AAA taping with Jeff Jarrett, Abyss and Mickie James
--More TNA stars at the next AAA TV tapings
--Notes on upcoming Dragon Gate USA shows
--Next major NOAH show including return of Kenta Kobashi, title eliminator and tournament matches
--Complete details of the upcoming G-1 Climax tournament, lineups of all the major matches
--Wacky IGF world title tournament goes to final featuring Zuffa current headliner vs. K-1 legend
--What unique match of a Zuffa star vs. an indie MMA name took place in pro wrestling this past week
--What is being talked about as the biggest nostalgia show of all-time featuring multiple Hall of Famers and tons of big stars of the past
--Details of the bus accident involving a recent WWE headliner and the eery coincidence regarding it of another famous bus accident that is well known in rock and roll history
--New book on the history of pro wrestling in one of its most important cities ever
--Update on wrestling reality show and its future
--Claim of an overseas show featuring some of the biggest non-WWE names in the world, as well as the legitimacy of it
--The fiasco that was the Randy Savage benefit show over the weekend
--New TNA signing
--Update on UFC 132 PPV numbers and where it was strongest
--Major lighter weight star set for UFC debut in Las Vegas
--More on the half-point system in MMA and its applications
--Former WWE star continues MMA career
--Freak show Ken Shamrock vs. James Toney match rules and thoughts
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.
--If you didn't see the Rock video, he strongly hinted that he would return to kick John Cena's ass at a major WWE PPV later this year. Based on the hints given, it would be Survivor Series on 11/20 at Madison Square Garden. He talked about it being the place where he first made his name and his WWE major show debut was at the 1996 Survivor Series in MSG.
--A funny story is that Good Humor, the ice cream company that worked with WWF in the 80s, has been flooded with requests about WWE Ice Cream bars since Punk made the reference on Monday night, and there were no plans for them. C.M. Punk is on twitter trying to push the idea saying Good Humor was stupid for saying they have no plans to reintroduce the bars after all the interest he said they now have. He's been able to mobilize people into e-mailing the company so it will be interesting to see how they react to all this.
--The annual music videos of the big moments of WrestleMania will air on 8/13 at 9 p.m. on NBC as one of the annual contracted WWE specials on the network. The feeling is these help push the DVD release, and WWE doesn't have to tape a new show for NBC because ratings for new shows on Saturday night on the network weren't good.
--Nate Marquardt's suspension was lifted earlier today at a hearing before the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission after he was able to produce a test showing his testosterone was within normal levels. We'll have more on this on the show tonight.
--Who do you expect to win the Money in the Bank match?
Alberto Del Rio 71.4%
Alex Riley 7.0%
Evan Bourne 2.8%
Rey Mysterio 2.8%
Kofi Kingston 2.3%
Jack Swagger 1.7%
--Will SummerSlam beat UFC 133 in North America on PPV buys?
This shows just how much things have changed in the last six months on PPV.
--What has been the best promotion over the last six months?
New Japan 7.9%
--What did you think of Raw?
--Chris Horodecki vs. Chris Saunders has been added to the 7/23 Bellator show in Rama, ONT which is their big monthly card of the month.
--James Durbin of American Idol fame, who is friends with Chris Jericho and The Miz, was performing at the American Idol show in Oakland last night wearing a C.M Punk T-shirt.
--Michael Cole will be a guest on next week's episode of Shawn Michaels' hunting show (thanks to Anne Licuz)
--For the week ending 7/3 in the U.K., Raw did 152,000 viewers (that the week of the Punk first interview), Smackdown did 96,000 viewers and TNA did 236,000 viewers. TNA is on a station that far more people have access to which is why it has more viewers of its first run Impact than Raw and Smackdown do. (thanks to Ian Hamilton)
--Kristoffer Diaz accepted the award for Outstanding Playwright of 2011 from the New York Times last night at their awards dinner for his highly regarded play, "Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity." The play is about pro wrestling and those who have seen it in its run in several cities including New York and Chicago say it really hit its mark as far as being a realistic portrayal of the business.
--Sylvain Grenier was backstage at the Mohegan Sun Casino last night for the Smackdown tapings as he came in with some Montreal students of his that were getting tryouts before the show started.
--Longtime correspondent Daniel Karlsson said there was a boxing documentary from 20099 called "After the Last Round" that was very eye opening when it comes to long-term effects and shook him up about boxing, MMA and even pro wrestling. It goes into detail about the damage of hard shots to the head, followed people who have been affected by brain trauma and he said he cried at the end and it left him shaken up. He felt all fans and competitors in boxing, MMA and wrestling really should watch this to see the long-term effects of brain injuries.
--A story on the fiasco that was the Randy Savage Memorial show over the weekend in Port Richey, FL is at http://www.tampabay.com/news/bizarre/article1180156.ece (thanks to Michael Rand)
--Kim Couture claims she had approval to fight in Calgary over the weekend even though she was on a medical suspension from her previous fight in New Jersey. This has caused a lot of controversy regarding suspensions and regulations in the sport. Story is at http://www.calgaryherald.com/fighter+claims+official+bout/5093700/story.h tml (thanks to Mike Jenkinson)
--Lineup for the 7/26 Evolve iPPV show from BB King's Blues Club in Manhattan is Johnny Gargano vs. Chuck Taylor, Sami Callihan vs Fit Finlay, Cheech & Cloudy vs. Jigsaw & Frightmare, Bobby Fish vs. Jon Davis, Shiima Xion (off the TNA PPV) vs, Pinkie Sanchez, Tony Nese (also off the PPV) vs. John Silver, Silas Young vs. Sugar Dunkerton and Facade & Jason Gory vs. Larry Dallas' mystery team.
--Matt Hardy on twitter said he had a bad case of food poisoning and was down to 204 pounds. Still no word from TNA on when Hardy will be brought back after being suspended.
--Bill Goldberg on twitter said he had just inked a deal for a new television show, but didn't elaborate further.
--Linda Bollea was on Showbiz Tonight on Headline News last night. She claimed Hulk cheated on her, feared for her life, and showed clips of Hulk saying she was delusional and anything about him laying a hand on her was a complete lie. She responded to that saying he's got his defense mechanism going and it's the only thing he can do. She also blamed it on testosterone use and painkiller use.
--An episode of "Leverage" on TNT featuring Urijah Faber is tentatively scheduled for 7/31. Faber has a fight scene on the show with star Christian Kane..
--Sean Waltman appears on Sunday in San Jose at Eastridge at Milo's Wide World of Sports from 3-5 p.m.. You can take photos for $15 that he will autograph. For more info call 408-532-0706.
--Tommaso Ciampa has signed an ROH contract. As noted, they want everyone possible under contract for when they start on television so that if someone looks good, they can't be lured away by TNA or WWE, at least right away.
--A story on Ron Waterman, who wrestled for WWF, got pushed by New Japan, was an early UFC name, fought in Pride and is unique because he's the only person in the world who is good friends with both Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin, is at http://www.greeleytribune.com/
--Arik Cannon will also be going over for the 8/13 and 8/14 shows.
--John Kay, a wXw regular who works as Bad Bones, has had some horrible luck. He's been out of action with a pec tear, and also got such a bad infection in his right leg that he could have lost the leg if he had gone to the hospital even a day later. He also has a documentary on himself coming out in November (thanks to Markus Gronemanm)
--EWA in Europe has shows on 9/10 in Hollabrun in Lower Austria and 11/19 in Vienna. (thanks to Markus Gronemann)
--Bushwhacker Luke Williams headlines for UCW in Elizabethtown, KY against Jocephus tonight at the Hardin County Fairgrounds.
--The latest All Pro Wrestling TV show is up at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKOQ0PwGtml&feature=share
--Larry Goodman and Trent Vandrisse talk with Bill Behrens about the NWA title situation at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/psp/2011/07/12/phoning-it-in
--Tammy Sytch and The Blue Meanie will be part on an 8/4 "Tribute to Pro Wrestling" promotion put on by the Reading R-Phils minor league baseball team at the First Energy Stadium.
--Haily Hatred, the first American to win the JWP title (which is actually the longest running women's title in Japan) talks about being there and how Manami Toyota still wants to learn new stuff and has been working on her Lucha Libre at http://ringbellesonline.com/2011/07/12/wow-podcast-25-with-hailey-hatred/
--Mark Haskins, who was on TNA's PPV on Sunday, headlines W3L Summer Fever on 7/17 in Kinghorn, Scotland (thanks to Devin Cutting)
--Baja Stars Promotions on 7/29 at Auditorio Municipal in Tijuana has Canek & Super Astro & Villano III vs. Ray Mendoza Jr. (who was Villano V) & Pirata Morgan & Sangre Chicana in a legends match on top.
--Juventud Guerrera vs. Super Crazy for the Super X cruiserweight title headlines Guerrera's show in Neza at Arena Azteca Budokan on Friday night. (thanks to Kris Zellner).
--Horizon Wrestling Alliance on 7/17 in Leonardtown, MD at the Leonard Hall Junior Naval Academy features Rhett Titus vs. Grizzly Redwood plus Adam Cole, Pelle Primeau, Alex Payne, the Bravado Brothers, Shane Hagadorn and Mike Sydal for a 3 p.m. show.
--Ed, Cutrer and Craig talk with T-Bone of World of Hurt Wrestling at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cutrer/