SUN. UPDATE: Cena vs. Punk finish, match, promos, talks contract, Rock, best pro wrestler in MMA



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        We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's Money in the Bank PPV, 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 from last night's WWE house show in Milwaukee.
 
        We've got a preview rundown for tonight's Money in the Bank show in the Saturday update.  Lineup is:
*John Cena vs. C.M. Punk for the WWE title in Punk's final match
*Randy Orton vs. Christian for the World title
*Raw Money in the Bank match with Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Miz, Alex Riley, Evan Bourne and R-Truth.
*Smackdown Money in the Bank with Sheamus, Kane, Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Cody Rhodes and Sin Cara.
*Big Show vs. Mark Henry
*Kelly Kelly vs Brie Bella for the Divas title
        We will have live coverage on the site at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
 
        The live Raw will be Monday night from Green Bay.  Smackdown and NXT will be taped on Tuesday night in Minneapolis.

        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.
 
         Both issues are up today on the web site 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.
 
         Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sites and has the most complete look at the business as a whole anywhere.  The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling industry as well as the MMA industry, from bookers, to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest current names, both on camera, and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and 30 countries subscribe.  Many have subscribed as long as 20 years or more straight. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world and an accuracy from having the most inside sources that can't be found on the web.  Everyone from Wall Street to the major offices to the TV networks in U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business. If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today. With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today. Just send your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can order by faxing that information to 408-244-3402. You can also subscribe via paypal at www.paypal.com and using the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it address or subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card, by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.
 
         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
      
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--We will be doing our post-game show immediately after Money in the Bank so it should be on the site roughly an hour after the completion of the show.
 
--Some notes regarding tonight's match and the finish possibilities:
*Cena wins clean - Would be a disaster of a finish and not happening..
*Punk wins clean and then stays - Also unlikely, particularly the latter.
*Cena wins with outside interference and goes heel - If Punk leaves, then who does that leave as the top face on Raw?  Rey Mysterio?  Big Show?  Not happening either.  Now Cena winning with outside interference that Cena isn't aware of is possible.  It would be better for Cena is to use that finish, but Cena gets a 1-2-3, and refuses the win with the idea that he risked his career after already winning the match.
*Punk wins and then loses to the Money in the Bank winner - This is the finish most seem to expect, and there are a number of ways to do this.  He could beat one MITB winner by overcoming the odds and be easy pickings for the second.  Or he could lose to the first with lots of outside interference including from Vince McMahon, who screws him at the end.  Or he could beat both, and Vince sends a third guy out there.  The latter finish would be the best if the third guy would be someone like Chris Jericho or Batista who is a big name but hasn't been on TV.  As best we can tell, that is unlikely.  Or someone other than Alberto Del Rio could win MITB (Miz would be the best to win in this situation), lose, and then Del Rio is put in again since Del Rio earned the title shot in the three-way.  Either way, Del Rio would be the most logical guy to win if you don't have a surprise guy.  First, he's not as over as his push yet and this is a show that a lot of people care about so it's a show you can make a heel in.  Plus, Del Rio vs. Cena has been the SummerSlam plan all along, and this gets you there, and SummerSlam would be stronger with Cena as challenger and Del Rio as champion.
*The main thing working against some offshoot of the latter is the feeling that people would be predicting it.  It may make the most sense, but there is the feeling that you have to surprise the audience, particularly tonight with the idea you're getting a high concentration of Hardcore fans (although if this angle really is to work, the highest concentration should be casual fans who aren't thinking much past Cena vs. Punk, who wins, as opposed to a bunch of shenanigans after the main event ends).
 
--Cena and Punk did their planned match on July 5 in Brisbane, Australia.  They are doing a different finish tonight but the same body of the match, which involves kicking out of each others' finishers and the like, and went about 30 minutes.  With Punk not wrestling for a while, he's going to leave everything out there because it's the biggest match of his career.  

--It was described as almost a WrestleMania vibe at the hotel.  Lots of very passionate fans there, which isn't allowed at Mania since the talent is kept sequestered.  The impression we were given is very few people know tonight's finish in the company. 
 
--As you would expect, quite frankly, even if he's returning shortly, C.M. Punk is not advertised for any WWE events between now and the end of the year.  As best I can tell, nobody knows (and if a few do, they are keeping it quiet) when he'll be returning although internally everyone is talking as a given he'll be back by early next year.
 
--Mike Mooneyham calls tonight's show the most anticipated wrestling show in quite a while (well, by far in the last 3 1/2 months) with a story on Punk's promos and noting if this isn't a good argument for not having at least the headliners do scripted promos at http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/jul/17/tonight-punks-wwe-swan-son g/
 
--Colt Cabana and C.M. Punk were together on Sirius/XM promoting tonight's show.  He said he's been offered a five year new deal and turned it down.  He also said that The Rock does not deserve to be in the main event at WrestleMania.
 
--Money in the Bank will be airing on Sky Sports 1 in the U.K. live at 1 a.m., not on PPV, so that should take away anywhere from 35,000 to 75,000 buys from the worldwide total. (thanks to John Howell and others)
 
--Who do you expect in Maynard vs. Edgar III
Edgar 54.6%
Maynard 32.6%
A draw 12.8%
 
--Best pro wrestler who ended up in MMA
Brock Lesnar 63.0%
Ken Shamrock 10.6%
Kazushi Sakuraba 8.7%
Dan Severn 3.3%
Josh Barnett 3.3%
Kiyoshi Tamura 3.1%
Minoru Suzuki 2.8%
Bob Sapp 2.6%
Don Frye 1.4%
Masakatsu Funaki 1.2%
 
--Poll on Smackdown from Friday
Excellent 9.8%
Good 47.1%
Average 21.6%
Fair 8.8%
Poor 12.7%
        44.3% of those responding didn't see the show. 
 
--As expected, all the prelim fights for UFC 133 will air, with facebook coverage of the early fights, followed by two live fights on Spike and the big five on PPV.
 
--King Mo says he wants the fight with Rich Franklin that is open for 8/6, with the injury to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.  As of a week ago, both UFC and Strikeforce people were saying no cross-promotion fights at all, likely due to the insistence of Showtime.    
 
--A story in New York that has gotten a lot of attention revolves around John Giuffrida, 43, a firefighter who retired with an annual tax-free $74,624 in disability pension, and is now competing in grappling matches and the story also said MMA matches.  Basically, if he's fit enough to fight, should he be on a retirement pension.  The Fire Department Pension Fund Board was deadlocked in a review and the city of New York decided against taking it any further.  All city officials voted he should have to return to his job.  All fire union officials voted he shouldn't.  Last year, he said he didn't want to retire, but FDNY doctors told him he had to.  St. Francis Hospital put him through a physical and he passed, so he should be able to return to work.  The union said he should be retested.  It should be noted that he would be immune from the city stopping his pension on 8/11 based on union rules regarding it being the 20th anniversary of his hiring, so challenging his retirement was about to run out of time.         
 
--Some non-WWE stars at the San Diego Comic Con next weekend:
7/21 5-6 p.m. - Solar, El Hijo de Rey Misterio, Konnan
7/22 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. - L.A. Park
7/22 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. - Black Tiger, Puma
7/23 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. - Adam Pearce, Sinn Bohdhi, Stacy Carter
 
--For those in town, there will be a Lucha Libre show on 7/22 in San Diego at the YMCA with Konnan & L.A. Park & El Hijo de Misterio vs. Pearce & Bohdi & American Psycho plus Famous B vs. T.J. Perkins for the PWR title.  
 
--2CW from Friday night in Watertown, NY before 500 fans:  Matt Taven b Jason Axe, Isys Ephex b Muscle Marcos, Claudio Castagnoli b Cheech, Jimmy Olsen & Colin Delaney b Super Smash Brothers-DQ, Sara Del Rey b Portia Perez with Sunny as ref (Sunny gave Perez a stunner), Jay Freddie b Slyck Wagner Brown to win 2CW title, Killer Steves & Loca Vida b Zachary Springate II & Kevin Graham & Mike Van Sluke with Mick Foley as the special ringside enforcer. (thanks to David Rude)
 
--A story on the ten most intimidating athletes in sports, which lists Undertaker ahead of Manny Pacquiao and the only other fighter on the list is Brock Lesnar, is at http://www.perfectingtheupset.com
 
--That web site also has a feature on C.M. Punk leading to tonight's match.
 
--Main Event Wrestling California Cup from Friday night in Fresno before 75 fans:  Brian Cage b Ryan Taylor, Joey Ryan b Rik Luxury, Adam Thornstowe b Johnny Goodtime, T.J. Perkins b Tim Thatcher, Brian Cage b Joey Ryan, T.J. Perkins b Adam Thornstowe, Suburban Commandos & sheik Kahn Abadi b Mike Rayne & Wiseguy & Tapout Kid, Brian Cage b T.J. Perkins to win California Cup (thanks to Bryan White)
 
--The second highest rated show on Pay TV in Australia last week (excluding sports) was the movie The Expendables, which included Steve Austin and Randy Couture among others, doing 118,000 viewers (thanks to James Stanios)
 
--XKO on 7/23 at The Gym in Arlington, TX, featuring a bantamweight title fight with Seven Peterson defending against Alex Russ headlining a 10-fight card.
 
--Pro Wrestling Elite from last night in Arlington, TX:  Nacodoches b Chris Cross, Scotty Masterblaster b Dr. Knuckles, Mace Malone NC Manimal, J.T. LaMotta b Wally Darkmon, Kevin Douglas b Ken Carson, Tim Storm b Seth Shai (thanks to Rob Moore)
 
--Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling from last night in East Carondolet, IL before 250 fans:  Ron Powers b Chas Wesson-DQ, Mark Sterling & Sean Vincent b Gary Jackson & LMC, Lucy Mendez b Stacy O'Brien, Big Texan b Pete Madden, Dave Vaughn b Max Archer, Waco d Sir Bradley Charles, Kevin X b Chase King, Pete Madden b Ryan Drago in an arm wrestling match.  Larry Matysik said that O'Brien and Mendez, both trained by Harley Race, blew away any women's match he's seen on WWE this year.
 
--I Believe in Wrestling from last night in Orlando:  Naphtali b Brandon Scherer, Simon Sez & Jason Hanley b Nuyoricanz, Jack LeDuc b Mike Reed, Santana (with Scott & Cody Hall in his corner) b Aiden Altair, Latin Assassins (with Cookie) b James Boys, Aaron Epic b Danny DeManto, Francisco Ciatso & Shooter Storm b Carl Allen & Wayne Van Duke, Ray Beez NC J.D. Amazing (thanks to Al Haft)
 
--Josh Nason talks to Bas Rutten at http://wgamthegame.com/2011/07/14/thw-wgam-mma-show071411/ 

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