SAT. UPDATE: HHH TV schedule, Behind what happened to Overeem and what may be next, Cena vs. Punk



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We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's Strikeforce show from Chicago, 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 on tonight's Raw house show up the road in Rockford, headlined by John Cena vs. C.M. Punk title vs. title, and tonight's Smackdown house show in Louisville, headlined by Christian vs. Randy Orton.

We're also looking for reports on tonight's TNA house show in Houston, with Hernandez as a babyface on top against Mr. Anderson, plus A.J. Styles vs. Bully Ray in the Bound for Glory tournament, Jeff Jarrett vs. Crimson, Gunner vs. Devon vs. Bobby Roode vs. Samoa Joe in the Bound for Glory tournament,  James Storm vs. The Pope and Mickie James vs. Sarita for the Knockouts title.

We're also looking for reports on last night's TNA house show in Tyler, TX.

Tonight's Strikeforce lineup:

Prelims (not available on television anywhere)

Gabriel Salinas Jones (260) vs. Bryan Humes (266)
Lumumba Sayres (184) vs. Derek Brunson (186)
Alexis Davis (136) vs. Julie Kedzie (135)
Tyler Stinson (171) vs. Edouardo Pamplona (170)
Bobby Green (155) vs. J.Z. Cavalcante (155)

Live fights starting at 10 p.m. Eastern on Showtime

Scott Smith (171) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (170)
Tyron Woodley (170) vs. Paul Daley (171)
Tim Kennedy (185) vs. Robbie Lawler (185)
Marloes Coenen (135) vs. Miesha Tate (135) for Strikeforce women's bantamweight title
Fedor Emelianenko (223) vs. Dan Henderson (207)

We'll have live coverage on the site starting at about 7:30 p.m. Eastern time

Tomorrow will have a Raw house show in Springfield, IL, while Smackdown runs in Terre Haute, IN.

Tomorrow is also AAA's second biggest event of the year,  their version of SummerSlam, called Verano de Escandalo (Summer Scramble).  TNA's Jeff Jarrett, Abyss, Samoa Joe and Mickie James are on the show.  Jarrett defends his AAA heavyweight title in a three-way against L.A. Park and Dr.  Wagner Jr. in one of the two main events.  The other main event as The Psycho Circus vs. Los Perros Del Mal in a cage match.  Abyss is in a four-way, Joe in a trios matach and James is in a multiple person match for the Reina de Reinas (Queen of Queens) title.

The live Raw is Monday night from the Canseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.  C.M. Punk will be explaining why he came back on the show.  They've also announced a Divas Battle Royal with all the Divas on the main roster.  The winner gets a title shot at Kelly Kelly's Divas title at SummerSlam.

Tuesday is the Smackdown and NXT tapings in Lexington.
 
        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. 

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        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.     
  
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         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

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--Destination X update

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--Former TNA star gets national network talk show

--RVD/Generation Me comments

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--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

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--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

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--Regarding Zuffa releasing Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem from his contract, that will also results in stripping him of his title, it was due to a negotiating impasse with Zuffa and Bas Boon and Golden Glory, Overeem's mangaement team.  With a lot of the teams, when it came to Strikeforce, Pride, Dream and other promotions, they would pay the management team most of the money and the team would pay the fighters.  Zuffa policy is to directly pay the fighters.  Obviously there is a lot more to it than that, but the Zuffa mentality is that there is a reason all the other groups were losing money and going out of business and they aren't going to at this point change how they do business.  Overeem is not the only fighter who falls into this category, as Fedor Emelianenko, whose fight tonight is the final one on his Strikeforce contract, also has similar terms.  These may not be exact numbers, but besides listing M-1 Global as co-promoters (I've seen and heard advertising listing this as a Strikeforce/M-1 Global show) Emelianenko may get paid a listed $300,000 or so,but there is also another figure, maybe $1.2 million or more, which goes to M-1 Global.

--Another thing to look out for involves Sergei Kharitonov.  Khartinov is being advertised for an October show in Moscow, Russia.  He's also in the semifinals of the Strikeforce Grand Prix on 9/10 in Cincinnati, facing Josh Barnett.  Now, if Barnett wins that fight, it's a moot point.  But if Kharitonov wins, and doesn't cancel the Moscow show, there is going to be trouble.  Neither Zuffa nor Showtime would want to start promoting Kharitonov in the finals given the chance he could get injured in an October fight and have to pull out.

--HHH is booked for all Raw and Smackdown TV tapings in his role as "COO" of WWE for the forseeable future.

--Last night was the first John Cena vs. C.M. Punk double title house show match in Peoria.  The finish they did was both men on the mat after a double clothesline spot, and Alberto Del Rio came in and hit both men with the briefcase and the match was ruled a double DQ.  Before Del Rio could get the match started, Cena gave him the Attitude Adjustment and then Punk gave him the GTS and he went running.  The show ended with Cena and Punk each holding their belts doing a staredown.

--Bryan and I will be back late tonight with Wrestling Observer radio.  We'll be talking more about the fallout of Overeem being released, directions that can go, as well as full coverage of tonight's show, as well as a lot more on the latest WWE and TNA news.  You can send in questions for tonight's show to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

--Fedor Emelianenko was the sixth most searched term on Google this morning, which would seem to indicate a higher than usual level of interest for tonight's show.

--Rey Mysterio and Alberto Del Rio are scheduled for both the Raw and Smackdown TV tapings when the tour hits California.  Mysterio and Del Rio are scheduled both on 8/9 in Sacramaento, the last show before SummerSlam, and 8/16 in Bakersfield.

--A lot of upcoming Raw house shows have Cena vs. Punk vs. Del Rio three-ways, so you can make of that what you wish.  Doesn't matter, since the direction will change multiple times before they get there.

--U.K. television ratings for the week ending 7/17:
Raw live did 162,000 viewers
Smackdown first-run did 125,000
Impact first-run did 211,000 viewers.
As we always note, Impact is on a station that is avaiable in tons more  homes than the stations Raw and Smackdown are on, so if you broke it down based on actual ratings, Raw and Smackdown are much higher rated.  Destination X, which, like all TNA PPVs, airs free in the U.K., had 180,000 viewers on a tape delay.  That's up 15% from 157,000 for Slammiversary (thanks to Ian Hamilton)

--There was a mistake here and on several web sites regarding TNA and the Bound for Glory tournament.  The Rob Van Dam vs. Crimson match on the 8/7 Hardcore Justice PPV is not the championship match.  It is just a tournament match.  The championship matches are scheduled for the September No Surrender PPV, where the top four point-getters will do two singles matches, and whoever ends up with the most points after those matches, will face whoever holds the TNA title, in one of the main events at Bound for Glory.

--There was a WCW-like advertising snafu in WWE this week regarding tomorrow afternoon's Smackdown house show in Terre Haute.  WWE bought a block of advertising on the CBS affiliate, but instead sent the ads for tomorrow's Raw show in Springfield, IL, which is three hours away.  Partially due to that, there are still fifth row ringside tickets left for Terre Haute (thanks to John Lawson)