SAT. UPDATE: TNA ratings, Spike hint re. Bellator, Angle, Goldberg's return, Fox promotes UFC



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We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE house show in Trenton, NJ and the TNA house shows tonight in Woodstock, VA and last night in Barton, VA at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

WWE runs its second show in Paris tomorrow for the end of the Smackdown European tour.  Raw will be in Wheeling, WV.

Raw on Monday is in Columbus, OH, while Smackdown and NXT are taped on Tuesday in Toledo.

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.

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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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--A note on the TNA rating from Thursday.  Obviously this week was very important because it was on the road, and it's important those ratings are up because Spike is paying a lot more for production.  It not being up wasn't a good sign, particularly given Jersey Shore was in rerun (Jersey Shore seems to have no Impact on TNA's rating, however, since even when Jersey Shore does monster numbers, TNA usually had its highest quarter of the show head-to-head and not unopposed), there was no national NFL game and the only college game on ESPN only did 1.9 million viewers.  If anything, the coast was clear to do an above average number.  And Hulk Hogan was all over the show, Kurt Angle vs. Sting was the main event for the world title.  While Ric Flair was not on the show, nobody watching the show would have known that until the show was over, since Sting was in the TV main and if he was running it, that would be where you'd expect him to.  And things aren't likely to get better later this year when you've got NFL games on Thursdays.

--Bellator's Eddie Alvarez will be on next week's Impact, pushing the opening of the new Bellator season.  Seems, well, interesting.  Spike
TV execs were with him the entire time.  It should be noted Joe Warren was on TNA in the past, the Bellator was plugging TNA even on MTV 2, virtually every week last season.

--They may be renaming Raw "Raw Supershow."  At least last night when they were plugging Monday's show, that was the same being used.

--Kurt Angle has changed his mind.  He's now happy about being ranked No. 34 in that WWE DVD from months back.  "I want to apologize to everyone that I disrespected with my comments about WWE's rankings.  I truly am proud to be in top 50. Thank U 2 WWE."  

--Alberto Del Rio is back, as last night in San Juan they did the deal where he wrestled both C.M. Punk and John Cena on the same night.

--Del Rio's father, Dos Caras, has his 40th anniversary of his debut show at Arena Naucalpan tomorrow featuring a reuniting of the famed 70s brothers, Mil Mascaras & Dos Caras & El Sicodelico facing Los Villanos III & IV & V.

--We've had people asking about this name for months.  John McCarthy will be a guest on Wrestling Observer radio on 9/28.  So start sending Bryan your questions for John.  There is nobody who is more of an authority on the early days of UFC and the history of the company than McCarthy, who was at UFC I, and started with the company at UFC II.  I've mentioned this before, but his book, "Let's Get It On," just came out earlier this week.  If you are a UFC fan and want to know the history, and a very honest look at the trials and tribulations of the early days, you'll want a copy.

--A press release has been sent out making a show official that we've written about for weeks in the newsletter.  The new promotion UAPWM (USA To Africa Pro Wrestling Mission) debuts in October with a tour to Congo culminating in "Rumble in the Jungle II" on 10/12 in Kinshasa, Congo.  That's the same city that hosted "Rumble in the Jungle," one of the legendary boxing promotions of all-time where Muhammad Ali beat George Foreman.  Shows are planned in Katanga, Mbujimayk, Goma, Bukavu, Lubumbashi and finishing in Kinshasa.  Three shows will be at outdoor soccer stadiums.  Announced for the big show at Martyrs Stadium is Bill Goldberg coming out of retirement in the main event, plus appearing will be George Foreman, Laila Ali and Jean Claude Van Damme.  There will be both a PPV and DVD releases of the show, as well as a feature film planned of the event according to the release.  We'll have a lot more on this in the next Observer.  There is material listing Goldberg

--Do you think Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez will set the all-time MMA ratings record for the U.S.?
Yes 58.7%
No 41.3%

--What do you think of Dos Santos vs. Velasquez as the first FOX main event?
Best choice given the options that were available 32.9%
Bad to give that fight for free during a period when you are trying to sell PPV with less attractive main events 26.9%
Best possible choice no mater what 18.6%
Not the best choice for ratings, but will be an awesome fight so it will be a good first impression of the sport 13.6%
Not a good choice because neither have a big enough name 6.2%
Not a good choice because I don't think they'll have a good match 1.9%

--Poll on Impact
Excellent 27.0%
Good 22.2%
Average 10.3%
Fair 9.5%
Poor 31.0%
47.1% of those responding didn't see the show.

--FOX is already into promoting not just 11/12, but during the fifth inning of the St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds game today, Kenny Albert read a 20 second promo with a graphic of Velasquez vs. Dos Santos, date, Anaheim, etc. and also mentioned the 9/24 PPV show with Jon Jones vs. Rampage Jackson. (thanks to Dan Atwood)

--Results from the debut of One FC in Kallang, Singapore (the site where Ric Flair won one of his 20 or so world titles, in fact, it's one of the ones erased from history):
Eddie Ng b Chun Bo Yuan via knockout :45
Yodsanan Sityodtong b Daniel Mashamaite via TKO from a knee in :14 of round two
Vuylsile Colossa b Xing Yu Ma via TKO from punches :49
Leandro Isssa b Soo Chul Kim via decision
Radeem Rahman b Susovon Ghosh TKO 3:18
Zorobabel Moreira b Andy Wang (TUF) via TKO 1:59 second round from punches
Eric Kelly b Mitch Chjilson choke 3:10
Yoshiyuki Yoshida b Phil Baroni via decision
Eduard Folayang b A Sol Kwon via decision

--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia.  Entertainer Jerry Lewis has been in the news since he was dropped as host of the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.  Lewis grew up in Irvington, NJ, the same home town as Larry Simon, who became Professor Boris Malenko, the father of Joe & Dean.  Also from Irvington High were Dana Owens, who became Queen Latifah, who was a power forward on a girls basketball team that won the state championship in the 80s, and Raheem Morris, the head football coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

--Notes on the three upcoming WrestleReunion shows
1/27 to 1/29 in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Airport Westin
There will be a Dragon Gate USA show on 1/17, Pro Wrestling Superstars on 1/28 and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla on 1/19.  Announced so far are The Steiners, Carlos Colon, Kevin Sullivan, Tommy Dreamer, Godfather, Big Van Vader, Mikey Whipwreck, Molly Holly, Billy Gunn, Road Dogg, Harry Smith, Kevin Von Erich and Fit Finlay.

3/30 to 4/1 in Miami for WrestleMania at the Miami Beach Deauville Resort
Dragon Gate on 3/30
Legends of Florida wrestling show on 3/31 in the afternoon
Dragon Gate on 3/1 in the evening
Appearing so far include Jake Roberts, Colt Cabana, Stan Hansen, Larry Zbyszko, Rick Steiner, Mike Graham, Carlos Colon, Kevin Sullivan, J.J. Dillon, Leilani Kai, Road Warrior Animal, Tito Santana, Big Van Vader, Lanny Poffo, Shane Douglas, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, Molly Holly, Paul Orndorff, Fit Finlay, Harry Smith and Bobby Heenan.

4/13 to 4/15 in Toronto at the Doubletree Hilton by the Airport
Appearing so far include Bruno Sammartino, Larry Zbyszko, Rick Martel, Tito Santana, Tommy Dreamer, Road Warrior Animal, Gene Okerlund, Shane Douglas, Big Van Vader, Terry Funk, Harry Smith, Roddy Piper and Fit Finlay.

--Former WWE wrestlers Harry Smith, Alexander Kozlov (Vladimir Kozlov) and Bobby Lashley worked earlier today for the IGF in Nagoya, Japan.  

--The 9/25 WWE house show in  Wichita Falls, TX has been moved to 2/5.

--Brett Rogers will face Eddie Sanchez in the main event of the 9/23 Titan Fighting Championship show in Kansas City at Memorial Hall that will air on HDNet. Rogers was fired by Zuffa after his domestic assault charge regarding his wife.        

--Wreck MMA on 10/28 at Casino Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec featuring Nathan Gunn vs. Nabil Khatib as the main event plus former UFC fighter Rolles Gracie faces Lee Mein.

--Another John McCarthy book signing is on 9/11 at Avalon Hollywood from 3-4 p.m.

--Orlando Pro Wrestling from last night in Orlando:  Carl Allen b Aaron Epic, Bo Caliber b Brian Badical, Santana b Chasyn Rance, J.D. Amazing b Mike Reed, Luis Ruiz b Brandon Scherer, Epic won Battle Royal (thanks to Al Haft)

--Monday night in Puebla for CMLL:  Blue Center & Centella de Oro b Ares & Centauro de Fuego, Starman & Stigma & Super Halcon Jr. b Hooligan & Kid Jaguar & Tiger, Metal Blanco & Palacio Negro & Sangre Azteca b Euforia & Loco Max & Nosferatu, Histeria & Olimpico & Psicosis b Delta & Guerrero Maya Jr. & El Hijo del Fantasma, Averno & Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ultimo Guerrero b Atlantis & La Sombra & Hector Garza  

--CMLL on Wednesday night in Pachuca:  Low Rider & Samuray del Sol b Astro de Plata & Astro Rey Jr., Delta & Metal Blanco & Palacio Negro b Euforia & El Hijo del Signo & Okumura, Black Warrior & Mascara Dorada & Valiente b Alebrije & Histeria & Mephisto, Hector Garza & La Mascara & La Sombra b Averno & Dragon Rojo & Negro Casas-DQ

--AAA on Thursday night in San Luis Potosi:  Chiva Rayada I & Fenix b Black Dragon & Tigre Cota, Joe Lider & Violento Jack b Ludark Shatian & Sexy Lady, Lolita & Mascarita Divina & Pimpinela Escarlata b Sexy Star & Mini Histeria & Polvo de Estrellas, Billy El Malo & Dark Escoria & Taboo b Aero Star & Argos & Laredo Kid, Dr. Wagner Jr. & Jack Evans & La Parka b Extreme Tiger & Chessman & Cibernetico (thanks to Kris Zellner)

--The IWL is doing a GoFightLive PPV on 9/12 from Tlalneplanta, Mexico, headlined by The Psycho Circus vs. Beast the Clown & Doink the Clown & Giant the Clown.  Also on the show will be Balls Mahoney, Jack Evans, Extreme Tiger, Tony Rivera, Electroshock, Craig Classic, Micke Segura and Mad Man Pondo.

--West Coast Wrestling on 9/17 in Lake Elsinore, CA at the Trevi Entertainment Center

--USWO from last night in Nashville:  Bryan Casey b Nick Iggy, Tim Renesto b Saint, L.T. Falk b Kliff Hanger, Chris Michaels b Shawn Hoodrich, Jeremiah Plunkett NC Gary Valiant, Jeremiah Plunkett b L.T. Falk & Bryan Casey, Jocephus b Chris Michaels, Gary Valiant & Nick Iggy & Fireball Roberts b Bully Douglas & Ox Harley & Damien Payne (thanks to Jimmie Daniel)  

--A wrestling video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?=ScpmH-ewLig

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