THURS. UPDATE: Goldberg, Mistico, Angle, New pro wrestling company on US PPV, UFC enemies

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        We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE Smackdown house show in Nimes, France.  The European tour continues with a Friday night show in Geneva, Switzerland, and Saturday and Sunday shows in Paris.  France has been a huge market for WWE of late and Paris has been doing sellouts in a 15,000-seat arena every time out. 
        Impact tonight at 9 p.m. is the first show from the Huntsville tapings:
*Rob Van Dam vs. Gunner in the Bound for Glory series
*Brian Kendrick & Jesse Sorensen vs. Kid Kash & Austin Aries
*A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels
*Kurt Angle vs. Sting for TNA title
        Hulk Hogan is all over the show.  He's either referee or ringside enforcer for the title match.  
        Has the WWE gotten rid of the brand extension?  A look at the decisions that have been made, and haven't, is one of a number of lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  The issue looks at the timing of the decision to put Raw & Smackdown talent together on television, the good, the bad, as well as how it worked out in every segment of Monday's show.  We look at what led to the change, the good points of it and the bad points.  We also look at why the brands were split in the first place.

        We also look at the change to putting the first C.M. Punk vs. HHH match on Night of Champions, including what the original plans were, and attempting to decipher some decision making that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.  We also look at the live Smackdown show on Tuesday and the importance of that.

        The issue is available today on the site.  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 also have a lengthy feature on the trials and tribulations of Ric Flair, looking at his ups and down over the past few years, the recent article on his life and putting a perspective on the different stories.  We talk about everything from his loans, his health, how he's viewed locally, family issues, tax issues, business, how he ended up in TNA, politics and his future. 

        We also have a lot more notes about the UFC/Fox deal, including more details on how the major shows will be presented, a new show idea being talked about, an e-mail sent by Fox to the people in charge at the various affiliates, what celebrity played a major hand in convincing Fox to make the deal, and who really is the No. 1 network in the U.S. right now.  

        We also have a feature on UFC's return to Brazil, including the business of the show, the return to Brazil, the unique crowd, MMA in Brazil as well as a comparison between Anderson Silva, GSP and Fedor Emelianenko on who really is the greatest fighter of the modern era.  We look at all three with their overall record, their record against top opposition, finishing ratio and domination ratio. 

        We also look at early returns on PPV, TV ratings both domestically and internationally, as well as what people thought of the Edson Barboza vs. Ross Pearson decision.  We also have match-by-match coverage along with poll results from the show.

        We also have tons more regarding the future of the Sin Cara character.  We look at everything that happened, from every vantage point as WWE has put a new person in the mask.  We look at the potential future of the character, as well as the future of Mistico, where Mistico went wrong, the benefits and drawbacks of HHH in his corner and all the thing that really did him in and frustrations with him.

        We also have an update on Rey Mysterio after surgery, Dwayne Johnson talks about why he returned and we note when he first seemed to be considering it strongly.

        We also have a lot of WWE business notes, regarding the C.M. Punk angle an its effect on web site views and merchandise business.

        We also have updated numbers from this past year's WrestleMania, including where it stands on the all-time list.

        We also look at a philosophical change with a WWE character and why, a new signing, as well as HHH's real life business title and what he was just awarded financially.

        We also have a number of current and one former WWE performer and twitter message issues.

        We also look at why one major star of the past is not part of the WWE video game, as well as all the business notes from the past week in WWE and highlights from the live arena events.

        We also look at a former American pro wrestler in Japan, actor and MMA fighter, and details of the gruesome crime he was just convicted of.

        We also look at Japanese wrestling, with two major shows head-to-head over the weekend and 28,000 fans attending wrestling in Tokyo.  We look at the different approaches, the big modern stars, and a look at "All Together Now" a joint product of All Japan, New Japan and Pro Wrestling NOAH, with all kinds of intriguing tag team matches.  We also look at Antonio Inoki's IGF show, featuring legends of the past in pro wrestling, MMA and kickboxing as well as notes on who the new names are, in a promotion that has already picked up two former WWE performers as regulars.                

        We've also got a look at what the Money in the Bank buy rate tells, with comparisons from July of the past two years both foreign and domestic, the value of the C.M. Punk push at least initially, what it says about B PPV shows and comparisons with last year's Money in the Bank. 

          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 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 issue:

--Major challenges building to CMLL's anniversary show

--Two major international stars coming to CMLL this month

--Former WCW wrestler and star for more than 20 years tells promoters he's retiring shortly

--Sting's possible debut in Mexico

--Next Dragon Gate iPPV show

--Notes on All Japan's jr. tournament

--Matt Hardy's downward spiral

--Remembering 70s woman's wrestling star Donna Christantello

--Death of Mando Lopez and story of his match with Terry Funk when Funk was champion

--Shane Helms problems

--Pro wrestler was in the news in connection with a gangland style murder

--More on the return of Bill Goldberg, details on the dates and place and what is behind his return

--More on Wrestling Revolution, a new Internet based wrestling television series

--Notes on the in-ring death of an independent wrestler last week

--Promotion telling talent it'll be on U.S. national TV very soon

--Lance Storm talks his health scare

--Update on Scott Hall

--Former TNA knockout arrested

--Former TNA wrestler talks about past drug addiction and new line of work

--Update on ROH next iPPV show

--Lots of notes on the TNA taping in Huntsville

--Reaction to Jeff Hardy and his performance and demeanor

--Update on the next TNA PPV as well as Bound fro Glory

--More notes on the finals of the Bound for Glory series

--Who looks to be the favorite

--Hulk Hogan's new business and details of the presentation including some other pro wrestlers involved with the show

--Hogan talks why TNA is different from WWE

--Two more TNA cuts

--Eric Bischoff's latest court fight

--Kurt Angle discusses his plans to return to amateur wrestling

--NBC TV show featuring a TNA wrestler because of the connection to 9/11

--TNA performer gets outside gig because of a resemblance to an 80s entertainment star

--We also look at ticket sales for the upcoming UFC shows and what changes have been made

--What show is expected to be the biggest for the rest of the year

--More notes on the history of MMA piece regarding the 50s and the 90s and some famous fights

--More on the UFC/ESPN relationship

--Notes on Alistair Overeem

--Strikeforce heavyweight title

--A look at the career decision made by Marloes Coenen

--Quinton Jackson talks there being a spy in his camp for Jon Jones

--Lots of new UFC matches and card changes

--Bellator gets another TV outlet for the fall season and how much clearance it has

--What would be the biggest match in Bellator history being negotiated

--A look at the first round of Bellator's on-paper best ever tournament

--Kazushi Sakuraba fighting again, and his next opponent

--The return of Pro Elite

--Daughter of a famous American movie producer faces daughter of an infamous Japanese murderer and why it really was a mismatch         

         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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*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)

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*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
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*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
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--The 9/24 fight between Kid Yamamoto vs. Damacio Page in Denver has been canceled as both men suffered injuries in recent weeks.
--Help Me Ronda Rousey, the most talked about newcomer to women's fighting with all of her armbar wins in under a minute, faces Julia Budd on the 11/18 Strikeforce Challengers show in Las Vegas.
--Bill Goldberg appeared on the Fox station in Tulsa (where he grew up) promoting an MMA fight at the Hard Rock in Tulsa, saying his show in Congo is not 100%.  When asked about Vince McMahon, he said, "I can't really say anything positive about the man.  It's like working for a carny.  It's like working for a carny who is driven only by his ego. Business is out of the window as evidenced by what he did with  my character. So I don't have a positive thing to say about that guy."     
--Creative was told to turn Hunico heel because Mistico is coming back.
--Kurt Angle wants off the WWE Best 50 of all-time DVD that's been out for months.  I guess he just heard he was No. 34 and was not happy.  He did not have a problem with Shawn Michaels being No. 1.  "I have never been more insulted by WWE top 50.  No. 34 to me is a kick to the balls.  Take me out of ratings please.  U think fans will buy that crap."  There were several hilarious listings, only because of the clear motivations that made them a joke, but the rankings of people like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Lou Thesz and Bruno Sammartino were a lot funnier.  
--Awesome Wrestling Entertainment has announced its 10/15 show from Fisherville, VA will be on live PPV on InDemand, Dish and DirecTV.  Kevin Nash is billed on the show and it would shock me that WWE would allow Nash to appear on a PPV show.  Nash & promoter Marvin Ward (Doug Gibson) face Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson in the main event of a show that also includes DDP, Terry Funk, Jim Duggan, Fit Finlay, Tommy Dreamer and Tammy Sytch.  Maybe a taped PPV would work, and that's  
--The Briscoes vs. All Night Express match on the 9/17 ROH iPPV show from Manhattan is now confirmed as a ladder match.  From the build up, that made sense as to where they were going.
--Culinary Workers Local 226 sent a letter to the FTC complaining about the business practices of Zuffa.  The gist of everything is that Station Casinos, which Lorenzo Fertitta & Frank Fertitta are part owners of and operate, is a nonunion shop.  This letter was sent from a Las Vegas branch.  The Culinary Workers New York branch is also in some part responsible for lobbying to keep UFC out of New York.  They complain about the champions clause in contracts as well as bullshit arguments such as Zuffa not co-promoting with smaller groups, Zuffa's pay (claiming fighters get 5.7% of the total gross at the event which is ridiculous when some main event fighters all by themselves can get more than 10%) and get this one, complained about Zuffa refusing to co-promote with M-1 Global trying to insinuate by doing so they may have violated the Sherman Act.  
--A sort of correction from yesterday's report.  Jorge Gurgel, not Rich Franklin, threw out the first pitch at last night's Cincinnati Reds vs. Philadelphia Phillies baseball game.  Franklin was there as the catcher.  They used Gurgel since they are promoting a Strikeforce show in Cincinnati on 9/10.  Gurgel isn't fighting on the show, but he's a Strikeforce fighter (thanks to Jarrod Rollins)
--Ben Henderson and Carlos Condit have both signed new UFC contracts. 
--Chuck Langerman's wrestling trivia has to do with Shane McMahon.  McMahon was a 1988 graduate of Greenwich High School in Connecticut.  That school had a number of notable graduates including Steve Young, Matt Lauer, Olympic medal winning figure skater Dorothy Hamill (a former crush of Mick Foley's), Truman Capote and Pete Gasperino, who was a first-team All-State offensive tackle who later became Pete Gas.  Two others from his high school who became pro wrestlers were Rodney Leinhart, who was in the same graduating class as Gasperino and Shane, and the three were childhood friends, as well as Stephanie McMahon.
--Emil Sitoci is the latest name announced for Jeff Katz's Wrestling Revolution Project.
--Jeff Hardy will go back on the road with TNA on house shows starting mid-September.
--Alex Marvez catches up with Dan Spivey at  Spivey noted that his battle with substance abuse nearly killed him, but he's been clean for 2 1/2 years since going through three stints of rehab and is now running a counseling service for addicts.  Spivey said he started down the road while playing football at the University of Georgia, taking speed before games.  He said he was doing pot and cocaine before he started in pro wrestling.  He talked about driving 300 miles in each direction for $50 plus a six-pack payoffs.   
--If you were running Syfy, what night would you put Smackdown on?
Thursday 47.8%
Tuesday 44.9%
Friday 7.3%
--Should Punk vs. HHH been saved for Survivor Series
Yes, lesson has been taught about wasting something big on a B show 60.1%
Yes, match being done too early, should have been built more 32.9%
No, there was no other choice 4.5%
No, it's peaking now 2.4%
--Are you more or less interested in MMA than two years ago?
More 25.9%
Less 35.5%
Same 38.7%
--Poll on Tuesday's Smackdown
Excellent 10.2%
Good 36.1%
Average 33.2%
Fair 7.3%
Poor 13.1%
        16.5% of those responding didn't see the show.  Tons better than Smackdown does on Fridays on the site as far as people watching.
--Best WWE TV match this week
Orton vs. Ziggler 46.6%
Orton vs. Christian 26.1%
Bryan vs. Sin Cara 16.0%
Punk vs. Miz 9.7%
Cena & Sheamus vs. Christian & Mark Henry 1.7%
--A few notes from last night's radio show in the discussion of the AWA/WWF situation circa 1984.  The other announcer we were talking about was Rod Trongard, who was an AWA announcer that the WWF signed away, as they did Ken Resnick, Rodger Kent, Gene Okerlund and producers Al & Gary DeRusha.  (thanks to Brian Hoops)
--Regarding Hogan leaving, Hogan gave notice to the AWA in December and Verne Gagne knew about it.  The story he said where he thought the telegram from Hogan was a rib is B.s., because the first show Hogan missed was December 17, 1983, in Rockford, where he was to face Masa Saito.  He was also scheduled on December 18, 1983, in Chicago.  He missed both shows, because he scheduled his wedding to Linda Claridge in Los Angeles on December 18, 1983.  However, the first night, even though Verne claimed he gave no notice, appearing unadvertised on the show was the AWA's all-time biggest drawing card, The Crusher, who had not appeared with the promotion in more than two years after no-showing a card in his home town, which came the same night Hogan made his AWA arena debut. (thanks to Joel Kolsrud)
--John McCarthy's book "Let's Get It On" hit bookstores today.  If you are a UFC fan, you'll want this one.  McCarthy is brutally honest about the history of the sport and himself as well, talking in detail about bad calls he made as a referee and business decisions that in hindsight he wished he hadn't made.  Some book signing appearances:
9/15 at 6 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Tribeca in New York
9/16 at 7 p.m. at Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ
9/25 at 2 p.m. at Indigo Rideau in Ottawa
9/26 at 7 p.m. at Indigo Eaton Centre in Toronto
9/27 at 12:30 p.m. at Indigo Place Montreal Trust in Montreal
10/21 at 7 p.m. at Book Soup in West Hollywood, CA
10/23 at 2 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Pico-Westwood in Los Angeles 
10/26 at 7 p.m. at the Glendale Public Library in Glendale, CA
--Rulon Gardner, Ben Henderson and Chad Gilbert of the group New Found Glory will be the guests on tomorrow's Inside MMA.  Gardner talks about coming back for the 2012 Olympics.  In addition, Brett Rogers and Tiuana, his wife, talk about the assault charges against Rogers.  
--This week on has a show at 9 p.m. Eastern tomorrow from the Long Beach Convention Center which features the Muay Thai Premier League including Buakaw Por Pramuk from Thailand vs. Warren Stevelmans from South Africa.  Por Pramuk, who was one of Masato's big rivals in Japan, has a career record of 197-21-12.  He's got to be hurting with that many kickboxing matches.  Evolution Fighting Championship comes from Rahway, NJ on Saturday at 6 p.m. headlined by Ben Syers vs. Caleb Solano.  
--The Daily Telegraph in Australia had a story that Kimbo Slice may be boxing there soon.  Gary Shaw, Slice's promoter, said they may be someone from Australia as his next opponent and the story speculated on Australian heavyweights Kali Meehan or Alex Leapai.  If either of those two is any good, it would make them very unlikely to be in that spot.  Story was at
--Traditional Championship Wrestling on 11/19 in Pine Bluff, AR at the Convention Center with Bobby Eaton, Stacy Carter, Tommy Rich and even an appearance by Jake Roberts.
--CMLL starts back on TV in France tonight at 8:15 p.m. on MCS Extreme with weekly one hour shows. (thanks to Celian Varini)
--CHIKARA Pro comes to Manhattan at the Highline Ballroom on 9/18 featuring Eddie Kingston vs. Fire Ant, Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw vs. Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano as the top matches.  They also run on 9/17 in Brockton, MA at the Boys & Girls Club.
--PWP3 is an MMA show on 9/3 in Sydney, Australia at the University of New South Wales Roundhouse with Richie Vaculik vs. Justin Wong of Hawaii.    
--The Fight Network has a free preview for the entire month of September throughout most of Canada.  Check with your cable or satellite company for more details.  It'll be on Bell TV 388, Shaw 129 and Rogers 427.
--EWF on 9/2 in Covina, CA at the Knights of Columbus Hall with Ryan Taylor vs Shaun Ricker for the title.
--Gregory Iron, who has gotten a lot of pub since C.M. Punk endorsed him on an AAW show, debuts with Dragon Gate USA on the 9/10 show in Chicago.

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?