Impact tonight on Spike:
*Rob Van Dam vs. Gunner in the Bound for Glory series
*Crimson vs. Bully Ray in the Bound for Glory series
*Tara vs. Winter
*Bryan Kendrick vs. Abyss in an Ultimate X match for the X title
*Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson in a cage match with Fortune as lumberjacks around the cage (don't ask)
Never fear, Hogan's also here.
*Michael McGillicutty & David Otunga vs. Chris Masters & Santino Marella (the match Marella gets the broken nose in)
*Alex Riley vs. Jack Swagger
*Trent Barreta vs. Heath Slater
An update on C.M. Punk, SummerSlam, and the direction, if there is such a thing, of WWE going forward is the lead article on the newest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The lead story talks about the past and present plans for SummerSlam, changes, the return of Jim Ross, behind the scenes regarding the returns of Punk and Ross, ratings, early indications on Money in the Bank on PPV, people second guessing the return, why Punk fans should be happy with how the angle played out, as well as what people knew what. We also look at the period that could have doomed his career in WWE.
We also look back on the Jim Ross run in WWE, the attempts at replacing him and what happened each time that has led him back to the main chair.
The issue will be up today on the web site for web site subscribers. 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 other lead story is our twice yearly look at who are the biggest stars in the industry. Our top 50 in the U.S. power list based on Google searches yields some very interesting results, including a new No. 1 for thus far in 2011, a shocking No. 2, as well as who is stronger than their push, and who is the most noticeable person weaker than their push. We also look at who left and became a bigger star, and who left and was forgotten. It's a look at the biggest names in wrestling, boxing, MMA, as well as how 2011 has trended for WWE vs. UFC around the world.
We also look at the value of the UFC championships, and a predictor of what will be a big PPV before the year is out. We also look at an ominous sign regarding boxing, and what pro wrestling legend is gigantic on a worldwide basis that most wouldn't think of.
We also look at the return to wrestling of Kenta Kobashi this past week, the scene in Osaka, the booking of the return, and a look back at Kobashi's previous returns.
We also look at The Rock talking about his return, as well as talk about future plans, why Survivor Series under normal circumstances would not be expected to do well this year, more on Sin Cara, Mark Henry's new role, hints of a lawsuit, WWE star has a stalker and goes to court trying to put the person away, Randy Orton gets lucky, WWE's popularity in the Hispanic community, one of the hardest working men in the company, Fit Finlay talks more about his firing, star in another sport talks about quitting and going into WWE, notes on how much stock WWE execs like Kevin Dunn and Stephanie Levesque own, plus all the business notes from the past week and highlights from all the weekend WWE live events.
We also have a feature on the return of Chael Sonnen, looking back at the last year of his life, as well as his comments about his return. You may like him or hate him, and some do both, but he's certainly among the most quote worthy athletes in sports today.
We also look at DDT's biggest show of the year, and update Dragon Gate USA with a look at the Uprising PPV, and many of the new stars that appear on the show, plus strengths and weaknesses of this coming week's taped PPV offering.
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:
--One match television show this past week and what a match it was
--One of the top heels in the world inside the ring that you may not have heard of
--Notes from the annual Lucha Libre expo
--What longtime star is being positioned for a face turn
--Complete Verano de Escandalo lineup with several TNA stars appearing
--Why AAA lost U.S. TV
--New battle of the high flyers program being set up
--Notes on NOAH's jr. heavyweight tag team tournament
--Legends trio returns in Japan
--Sad death of indie manager
--Statue being built to honor an 80s pro wrestling star
--PWG's 8th anniversary show
--Former WWE performer places in national contest in another sport
--Destination X update
--Kurt Angle vs Sting program
--Lineup for TNA's Hardcore Justice PPV
--Lots of Hogan news
--TNA injury updates
--TNA star on another national TV show last week
--Former TNA star gets national network talk show
--RVD/Generation Me comments
--Generation Me talk leaving TNA, plans they were told, and why they decided to go
--Notes on TNA events this past week
--Notes on future TNA television
--First UFC title fight on television in four years
--Upcoming UFC show off to strong advance
--UFC's New Year's Eve plans
--Tons more UFC card changes
--Another UFC main event nearly kaput in a near miss
--Thoughts on the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix
--Dana White and Vince McMahon
--Thoughts on Fedor's future and the Strikeforce show
--Lorenzo Fertitta talks testosterone replacement therapy
--Frank Shamrock/Dana White feud
--Olympic silver medalist signs with Zuffa
--Tons of new UFC fights
--Coverage of the Strikeforce Challengers show
--Lots of upcoming Bellator plans for big matches the rest of the year
--Update on Nate Marquardt and Marquardt says why he thinks his testosterone is low
--Update on Bobby Lashley in MMA
--Notes on MMA judging including stats so far regarding testing with a new system
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.
--There is a very interesting Dana White interview at http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com with Tim Marchman. White talks about overtraining, overexposure, Strikeforce and more.
--Devon "Hannibal" Nicholson filed a $6.5 million lawsuit against Larry "Abdullah the Butcher" Shreeve in Superior Court of Ontario. The suit alleges that Nicholson contracted Hepatitis C, which has damaged his liver, due to a double juice match with Butcher where Butcher bladed him with the same blade he used on himself. He claimed the disease caused WWE to lose interest in him and also caused TNA not to use him.
--Michael Tarver on twitter claimed that John Cena purposely fractured his arm with a chair shot and laughed at him about it. He claimed Cena felt threatened by Tarver's promos and then got Tarver released.
--Jesse Neal and girlfriend Christina Von Eerie recently got engaged and are planning a Las Vegas wedding. Best of luck to both of them.
--Rashad Evans will be appearing tomorrow night on Jimmy Fallon.
--The Miz was tremendous last night on George Lopez on TBS. He came off like a major star, but a complete babyface.
--The current Pro Wrestling NOAH jr. heavyweight tag team tournament finals are Saturday night with KENTA & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Kotaro Suzuki & Atsushi Aoki.
--There is a really good story on Colt Cabana in today's Chicago Reader at http://www.chicagoreader.com where Cabana talks about his frustration about being cut by WWE without being given a chance and C.M. Punk mentioning his name on Raw.
--The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a feature on Adam Pearce at http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jul/28/family-guy-and-pro-wrestle r/
--Impact will air tonight in Australia because the show was preempted out of its regular time slot.
--The Trish Stratus cover of Revive Magazine is at http://tinyurl.com/3ozwyj4
--Jimmy Hart will be appearing on ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition that will air in October.
--The "Hulk and Friends" show goes to Allentown, PA at the Agri-Plex (formerly the Ag Hall, where Hogan worked a lot in the late 70s) on 10/8. Hogan gets to bring and hang out with his friends including The Nasty Boys, Greg Valentine, Koko B. Ware, Jim Duggan, Brutus Beefcake and Eric Bischoff.
--Double E Pictures has optioned the idea of doing a move called "American Fighter" based on the life of Rich Franklin, how a high school math teacher taught himself to fight and became a UFC champion.
--Anderson Silva has signed a sponsorship deal with Burger King in Brazil.
--What are your thoughts of Jim Ross being brought back to Raw?
Good move, but they should get rid of Michael Cole as he'll only detract from the presentation 84.9%
Good move, but keep Cole for a three man booth 9.7%
Bad move 5.4%
--Prediction for Saturday's Strikeforce rating
Under 1.0 30.8%
More than 2.0 7.5%
Lots of people are going to be very surprised here. Fedor's last two fights have done a 1.5 and 2.1 so this under a 1.0 is ridiculous when Challengers shows can do 0.7 or 0.8.
--Best masked man ever?
Jushin Liger 27.0%
Rey Mysterio 22.6%
Tiger Mask 11.8%
El Santo 11.6%
Mil Mascaras 5.6%
The Destroyer 5.3%
Mr. Wrestling II 4.5%
Blue Demon 1.4%
Mr. M 0.5%
Mr. Wrestling 0.3%
--Where was the best Flair-Steamboat match of 1989?
New Orleans 26.4%
--Nick Hogan was on a magic show in the U.K. called "Dynamo Magician Impossible" with Travis Barker of Blink 182. Dynamo did a trick where Hogan easily lifted him, but the next time, Hogan couldn't lift the 110 pound Dynamo off the ground. He also read Nick's mind. Nick said he wanted to learn how to do the lifting trick so he could do it to his dad. (thanks to Gary Mehaffy)
--Dragon Gate USA announced some new matches. For 9/9 in Indianapolis, added is Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano vs. Yamato & Masato Yoshino. 9/11 in Milwaukee has Yamato & AR Fox vs. Sami Callihan & Arik Cannon.
--Juggalo Championship Wrestling has an iPPV tonight at 8 p.m. at Clutch Cargos which is free for all venue attendees. It's $5 for a show with Colt Cabana vs. Corporal Robinson for the JCW title, U-Gene & Zach Gowen vs. Ring Rydas, plus 2 Tuff Tony, Amber O'Neal, Racy Smothers, Jimmy Jacobs and a tag match with Raven & Sabu vs. Mad Man Pondo & Necro Butcher.
--Judy Sowinski, a major star in the Roller Derby and Roller Games in the 60s and 70s, passed away last night at 10 p.m. from lung cancer. She was 71. Sowinski was a member of the Roller Derby Hall of Fame. She hadn't been feeling well since the fall and was diagnosed with the cancer, and was told it was incurable and inoperable. She was in a medically induced coma at the time of her death. Sowinski started with the Bay Bombers, was a babyface No. 2 star in the 60s on the Los Angeles Thunderbirds and then turned heel and was the top woman on a variety of heel teams, most notably the New York Bombers, before replacing Judy Arnold as the top woman star for the Eastern Warriors out of Philadelphia. She was also one of the few people who bridged into the modern version of Roller Derby as she coached teams in the Philadelphia area in recent years. (thanks to Tom Wersderfer)
--Green Ant, doing a Flex Express gimmick, got words from Lex Luger at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJXc9zop8Jg
--NWA at the Ohio State Fair on Sunday at 3 p.m. features Adam Pearce vs. Chance Prophet vs. Shaun Tempers for the vacant NWA title, plus Cliff Compton (Domino) vs. Mike Mondo, Jimmy Rave vs. Ace Rockwell and more.
--Alex Marvez talks to Gregory Iron at http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/63132
--TMZ reported that Jessie Godderz, who was on Big Brother a few years ago, has signed a developmental deal with TNA. He's been training at the Team 3-D Wrestling School for some time.
--Lots of wrestling on Go Fight Live iPPVs this weekend. Alpha 1 Wrestling from Hamilton, ONT is at 8 p.m tonight for a sow that includes Michael Elgin, Sonjay Dutt and Jimmy Jacobs. IWL Lucha Libre takes place on Sunday from Tlalneplanta, Mexico at 6:30 p.m. with a show with Mad Man Pondo & Necro Butcher & Low Rider vs. Angel o Demonio & Leon Rojo & Ovett, plus Craig Classic & Oriental vs. Super Crazy & Heddi Karouli. West Virginia Championship Wrestling is Sunday at 5 p.m. and there is a Death match tournament on Saturday at 7 p.m.with Necro Butcher vs. Masada and Corporal Robinson vs. Mad Man Pondo.
--The WWE 12 pre-order trailer is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rYk6JtTNb8&feature=channel_video_title (thanks to Cohen Morrison)
--Mike Sawyer talks Strikeforce this coming Saturday at http://blogtoughtalkmma.com
--Wild Bill's Fight Night on Saturday night at Wild Bill's in Duluth, GA.
--Tri-State Wrestling Entertainment presents the 44th anniversary of ECWA show on 9/24 in Newark, DE at the Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club
--Chyna canceled her 8/27 appearance at the K&S Wreslte Fet because she's now listed as appearing at EXXXOTICA that weekend in Los Angeles.