THURS UPDATE: TNA tapes on road, Sonnen stays home, Night of Champions card, Raw on Monday



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        We're looking for reports from tonight's TNA TV tapings in Huntsville, AL.  They will be taping shows for 9/1 and 9/8, the final two shows leading to the No Surrender PPV.  Jeff Hardy returns on the show.  TNA wanted his return to be a surprise, but he announced it on twitter as soon as they called him a few days ago.  On the first show taping will be A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels.   

        Impact tonight is taped from the last set of Orlando tapings:
Velvet Sky & ODB & Jackie vs. Angelina Love & Rosita & Sarita
Jesse Sorensen vs. Kid Kash
RVD vs. Pope in the Bound for Glory challenge
A.J. Styles & Beer Money vs. Bully Ray & Gunner & Scott Steiner
Kurt Angle vs. Crimson in a non-title match
        Plus, your usual Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Sting all over the show.   
 
        Countdown to UFC 134 debuts tonight right after Impact on Spike.

        Superstar tonight:
Sheamus vs. Heath Slater
Daniel Bryan vs. Drew McIntyre
Brodus Clay vs. a wrestler whose name has not been mentioned
Justin Gabriel vs. JTG

        One of our biggest issues of the year and biggest historical pieces in our history with a look at the history of mixed martial arts from its inception with the first of what would be considered an MMA show nearly 80 years ago through the ups and downs in Brazil and Japan as well as its origins in the United States with the formation of the UFC is the big feature. 

        In addition, we've got the most detailed look at the UFC FOX deal, all the platforms it covers, what to look out for with all the major players involved talking about plans and goals.

        We also have a look at TNA bringing back Jeff Hardy while firing Matt Hardy.  We also have more on the WWE office cuts, injury to Rey Mysterio and the impending front office power play in WWE that many believe is inevitable involving the most powerful people in the company.      

        The issue will be up on the site later today.  If you can't find them on the front page, you can always access the latest issues of the Observer on the front page by clicking on the Archives tab at the top.  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 look back at the origin of mixed fighting, including before it became popular in Brazil.  We look at just how big the interest in Saturday's UFC show has been in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1930, the different heyday periods of Brazilian Vale Tudo, and the legends of that world like Helio Gracie, Carlson Gracie, Masahiko Kimura, Waldemar Santana and the forgotten tough guys like Euclides and Ivan Gomes.

        We look at the start of the Gracie family in Jiu Jitsu, their original fights and marketing of their art and how they became famous.  We look at the original Jiu Jitsu vs. Judo feud, and the similarities in career between Helio Gracie and son Royce, as well as each man's older brother, Carlos and Rorion, in the formation and popularity of the sport.
       
        We look back to what would be considered the first real MMA event of its type, and the emergence of Helio Gracie.  We look at Helio's big matches with pro wrestlers and giants and why he was so popular.

        We look at the second big period starting with the Jiu Jitsu vs. Judo/Pro Wrestling wars of the 50s.  We look at the program that led to the first fight at Maracana Stadium, Rio's big soccer stadium, and how big it was during the heyday.  We look at the legendary matches of that period like Helio Gracie vs. Kimura and Carlson Gracie vs. Santana, as well as myths about that period.

        We look at the real story behind the biggest feud that drew the biggest crowd, as well as the most famous match that almost nobody saw.  We look at how pro wrestling played a huge role in almost all of the really biggest fights of the era.

        We look at how Carlson Gracie followed Helio Gracie into being the big fighting star of the 50s and 60s.  We look at what pro wrestling legend grew up during this period and how he was influenced by the Vale Tudo angles, and how he used them to promote some of the biggest pro wrestling events of the 70s.

        We look at the differences between the fighting and teaching styles of Carlson and Helio Gracie, the mainstream national peak of the sport in Rio, as well as the regional promotion in Brazil that is historically forgotten but was actually the biggest the sport ever got, and some would say, featured the two best fighters of the era.

        We look at what killed the sport of Vale Tudo in most of Brazil, except its regional outpost where it thrived.  We look at what was billed as "The Match of the Century," and may have been the ultimate fight before 1990 in Vale Tudo history, yet almost nobody knows it existed and has been erased from history.

        We look at the street fighter who played heel that brought the sport back to soccer stadiums and the emergence of Rickson Gracie.  We look at more challenges to Olympic medalists and pro wrestling stars.

        We look at the fighter forgotten in history who some say was actually the best of the Gracie fighters, but was unfortunately that his prime came when the sport was banned.

        We look at Rickson Gracie's most famous gym confrontations, including Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz, Luta Livre heavyweight Hugo Duarte, and pro wrestler Yoji Anjo.

        We look at how Rickson Gracie played a part in killing one of the hottest pro wrestling companies in history.

        We look at Rickson Gracie and the birth of the Pride Fighting Championships with his matches with Nobuhiko Takada and what was going on behind the scenes.  We look at the second Gracie vs. Takada fight, what went on behind the scenes, and where Shinya Hashimoto fit into this equation.  We look at the realities of Takada as a fighter.

        We look at why Rickson Gracie never fought in UFC, and the emergence of Royce Gracie as the new Gracie star fighter and MMA's first superstar in the U.S.

        We look at the first UFC, Gene LeBell's feud with the Gracie family, LeBell's first MMA fight and Lou Thesz's thoughts on the early UFC, Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn.

        We look at the emergence of Kimo, the heyday of Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie's departure from UFC, Rorion Gracie selling his interest in UFC and why all this happened.

        We also look at Ken Shamrock's role as Pancrase champion, the fall of UFC and Ken Shamrock going into WWF and who was instrumental in the deal.

        We look at the role of Shamrock in the rebirth of UFC, and his three big matches that never took place.

        We look at Vale Tudo being banned in Brazil again and why, as well as Royce Gracie's fights in Japan and the emergence of Kazushi Sakuraba as a Japanese sports hero.  We look at how the cards had to fall into place for the Gracie vs. Sakuraba fight to even happen, and how that made the sport huge in Japan.

        We look at all the things leading to the fight and detail what was the biggest fight in Japanese MMA history, as well as the controversy over Sakuraba vs. Mezger to get there.  We look at the growth and death of Pride, as well as the final fight of Rickson Gracie's career and who was Masakatsu Funaki.

        We look at what Rickson Gracie said about the next generation stars like Fedor Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar, as well as what happened to all the major players in the early days of the sport, as well as what fighter brought in the resurgence of interest in Brazil.

        We also have a complete report on the UFC/FOX deal.  We look at the debut show, changes in mentality of the broadcast, how the negotiations went down, what Dana White said to the office, how the announcing will change on FOX, as well as the details of the change starting next year in The Ultimate Fighter reality show. 

        We've got talk about UFC vs. WWE and UFC vs boxing on Friday nights, as well as UFC vs. MMA on Friday nights.  We look at who UFC was negotiating with, what programming will be on what channel, why UFC is able to get so much money in rights fees that WWE can't get, reaction from Spike TV, chances of Bellator moving to Spike, Bellator & TNA cross-promotion, what Fox said in the past about UFC, the first UFC event on U.S. television, as well as Bob Arum and Dana White go toe-to-toe.  We also look at what may be the most important aspect of this deal that has not yet really been discussed anywhere.

        We also have a look at the Hardys and a history of their issues and Jeff bouncing from promotion to promotion.

        We've got more on Rey Mysterio, on WWE office shakeups including two Vice Presidents being let go and what is the story behind it.  We look at the return of the original Sin Cara, Mick Foley talks his future in WWE and how many more matches he thinks he has left, live Smackdown show, update on Linda McMahon's plans to run for senate, Edge Appreciation Night, Canadian ratings, Chris Jericho talks his WWE run, Bret Hart talks Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin talks C.M. Punk and will he wrestle him next ear, third generation WWE star leaving the company, Kevin Nash's reaction to being back, Longest reigning WWE champions, how Edge got his TV acting gig, Jerry Lawler wrestling two of his biggest rivals once again, the Steve Austin DVD, the departure of Todd Grisham, as well as business notes from the past week and house show highlights from the past week.   

          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.
 
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         Also in this week's issue:

--Special Arena Mexico show built around the minis

--Angle where wrestler turns on his father

--U.S. indie star headed to NOAH

--A look at the IGF show this week

--Well known indie star announces retirement

--A look at the Battle of Los Angeles tournament

--Death of a wrestler who was getting a monster push in another generation

--Wrestler dies in the ring

--Update on health issues of some major stars of the 80s

--Impact time slot change

--More craziness in the Hogan family

--Jerry Jarrett talks about TNA's problems and Vince Russo

--TNA star trying for a reality show gig

--Notes on weekend TNA house shows

--Dana White feuds with ESPN

--Government investigating UFC

--UFC star arrested just before he starts with a big TV push

--Dana White talks about one more international version of Ultimate Fighter coming soon

--Among those who are being considered for coaches

--Two fighters trying to push for their own big match on FOX

--How the age of UFC viewers has changed

--Update on Mike Swick injury

--Next fight for Gilbert Melendez

--Notes on the next season of Ultimate Fighter

--Lots of new UFC fights

--A look at the last Bellator show

--MMA Fighter kills someone in street fight

--Womens' freak show fight in Japan, daughter of a famous murderer vs. daughter of one of the most successful American in the entertainment world

--Return of Pro Elite this week   

         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:
 
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--Chael Sonnen did not go to Brazil to corner Yushin Okami against Anderson Silva even though he was planning on doing so and UFC had gotten him a ticket.  There was fear it would not turn out well had he gone given all the things he has said about Brazilians in his interviews.

--UFC is doing a promotional deal in New York, as the digital sign above the Doubletree Hotel in Times Square's Little Brazil section will air the two Spike fights from 8-9 p.m. on Saturday night for the public to watch. 

--The current plan for Night of Champions on 9/18 in Buffalo is to do six title matches plus C.M. Punk vs. Kevin Nash.  Most likely Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry, Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena, Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix (which at least was planned for the show a month ago but that's an eternity when it comes to plans) and maybe Cody Rhodes vs. Ezekiel Jackson.  Dolph Ziggler would face either John Morrison or Alex Riley and a tag title match.  Could be the shot for Miz & R-Truth just because it's the only slot left to get them on the show, and that makes more sense than putting Otunga & McGillicutty on the show.

--Smackdown top names are all scheduled for Raw on Monday in Tulsa, which is why the St. Joseph house show was canceled.  Plans are to shoot angles on Raw Monday to build the live Smackdown on Tuesday. 

--The next WWE movie release, "Inside Out," starring HHH and Michael Rapaport will have one weekend very limited release on 9/9. What is notable here is just how little WWE has promoted this movie so far on television. 

--Women's featherweight champion Cris Cyborg finally signed her new Strikeforce contract.  No date announced for her first fight back.

--WWE is opening an office in Istanbul, Turkey, which will be to augment attempts to expand business not only in Turkey but also Central Asia.  Emre Mumcuoglu was appointed as the office's General Manager.

--Maryse on twitter wrote:  "I am home now, an feeling good, still very tired from the anaesthesia, but its normal.  I will be posting pics of my tummy when they remove the bandages, my doctor did an amazing job and the scar should be very small in my belly button."  She had surgery yesterday for an abdominal hernia.

--Ted DiBiase interview at http://www.clarionledger.com/fdcp/?unique=1314305378083  He talks about returning to Jackson, MS, where he grew up, for a house show on Friday night.  He's working the Raw show because it's his home town, doing a singles match with John Morrison.

--Alberto Del Rio is off the Raw shows this coming weekend, as the current plans, at least as are being publicized, are John Cena vs. Miz, C.M. Punk vs. R-Truth, Kingston & Bourne vs. McGillicutty & Otunga and Ziggler vs. Riley vs. Drew McIntyre as the top matches.

--Harry Smith has been added to the VIP lineup for WrestleReunion on 1/27 to 1/29 in Los Angeles.  He'll also be wrestling on the Saturday night show and be part of the Breakfast of Champions.  Those also announced thus far are Rick & Scott Steiner, Tommy Dreamer, Kevin Sullivan, Carlos Colon, Charles "Godfather" Wright, Big Van Vader, Mikey Whipwreck, Molly Holly, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn. (thanks to Daniel Short)

--Strongest Hall of Fame candidate from the pre-1980 list:
Gene & Ole Anderson 48.7%
John Tolos 13.4%
Assassins 6.6%
Hans Schmidt 6.0%
Wilbur Snyder 5.7%
Pepper Gomez 5.4%
Red Bastien 5.2%
Dick Hutton 4.0%
Kinji Shibuya 1.5%
Ray Gunkel 1.4%
Von Brauners 1.1%
Enrique Torres 0.9%

--Will syndication make ROH more popular?
Small increase in popularity 64.1%
No increase 21.1%
Big increase 14.8%

--Current best talker
C.M. Punk 45.2%
The Rock 36.2%
Chael Sonnen 12.5%
R-Truth 2.7%
The Miz 2.1%
John Cena 1.3%  
 
--The Chicago Sun-Times has an interview with C.M. Punk today at http://www.suntimes.com/sports/cowley/  Nothing much to it other than saying Kevin Nash is "completely out of touch," which is halfway just working an angle. 

--Chuck Langerman's daily trivia.  Jim Duggan, a 1973 graduate of Glens Falls High School in New York, was both a football star and won the state heavyweight championship in his senior year in wrestling.  His father was the Chief of Police.  He got a scholarship to Southern Methodist University, where he met Fritz Von Erich, who had gone to the same college, and got him started in wrestling.  His father was the longtime Chief of Police in Glens Falls and until recently, Duggan was considered the best athlete to come out of the town under James "Jimmer" Fredette went to Brigham Young as a basketball star.   

--The ESPN web site at http://espn.go.com/ has a story on Robert Irvine, and talks about his upcoming marriage to Gail Kim.

--CHIKARA on 8/28 in Eatson, PA at the Palmer Center features Claudio Castagnoli vs. Icarus and Fire Ant vs. Vin Gerard.

--UWC weekly TV at http://www.youtube.com/UWCWrestlingVideos

--Brutus Beefcake will be signing autographs on 8/27 at Collector's Realm in Poughkeepsie to benefit the Rory McEloy Children's Cancer Foundation from 3-6 p.m.

--Jeff Katz announced Alex Zikos, who wrestles for the NYWC out of Long Island as Alex Reynolds, as today's member of the cast of his Wrestling Revolution Project.

--Sterling James Keenan, a longtime Pennsylvania based independent wrestler, has started in FCW under a WWE developmental deal.

--Dragon Gate USA is sponsoring a contest for fans to make a three minute video with DGUSA, Evolve, or footage of both, that has to have a graphic/text for 15 seconds listing DGUSA Untouchable 2011 Live iPPV, September 10th - Chicago, www.WWNLive.com or See Pac in action, DGUSA "Untouchable Live iPPV, September 10th - Chicago, www.WWNLIve.com  Submit the link to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by 9/4 at midnight.  The top five will be noted on.  The winner will get a $150 first prize.

--Jason Singh noted that today is the 24th anniversary of the show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco where they filmed the "Piledriver" video for Koko B. Ware and had him lip synching in the ring.  I remember that.  What a disaster.  They made Ware do it three times and the crowd didn't like it the first time, and downright hated it the second and third time.  I think Ken Patera tore his triceps that night.  This was a long night, more than 20 matches, I think they taped four hours of television and then Hulk Hogan beat Killer Khan in the main event.  The crowd was still hot for the main event after all that.   (thanks to Jason Singh)

--Mick Foley's November U.K. comedy tour is 11/9 in Manchester at the Dancehouse, 11/10 in Nottingham at Glee, 11/11 in Newcastle at the Newcastle Journal Tyne Theatre, and 11/12 in Leicester at the Leicester Square Theater

--Wahoo McDaniel was mentioned on the Phil Hendrie radio show in Houston today at http://www.philhendriesshow.com/home-wall/2011/8/24/im-just-saying-a-guy-named-wahoo-cant-be-all-that-bad.html  The mention is at the one hour 19 minute mark, (thanks to Bob Nowak)

--A new book called "Worst Ideas Ever:  A Celebration of Embarrassment" listed both the XFL and WBF.  Somehow David Arquette as world champion and WCW giving the book to Kevin Nash and then Vince Russo failed to make the list.

--Forbes has a Q&A with Hulk Hogan at http://tinyurl.com/3uhujo2 

--Lego has introduced a new masked wrestler toy.

--Alex Marvez talks to Sonny Siaki at http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/63745 talking about how he put his family, in specific his brother who needed a kidney, first, which ended his wrestling career.

--A TNA video from Hooter's in Huntsville to push tonight's show featuring Eric Young pretending to think it was Los Angeles (Huntsville, AL instead of LA) and James Storm acting like he was trashed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5zYT71Hq0s   Maybe not the best week to pretend a wrestler is trashed in public for comedy, particularly from a TNA standpoint. (thanks to Michael David).

--Evolution Fighting Championships 7 on 8/27 in Rahway, NJ at the Rec Center with a 6 p.m. show headlined by Ben Syres vs. Caleb Solano.

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