Weekend mailbag: UFC on TV, Flair vs. Sting, Lesnar vs. Rock, UFC audio, Current wrestling scene


First Cruz is defending his title on Versus of all things and now they're putting a heavyweight title fight to Fox. I can understand the need for a huge, marquee fight for the first show on Fox but it seems one way to help keep the prestige of both the titles and the PPVs is to keep title fights exclusively on PPV. Title matches in pro wrestling on TV (along with everyone getting their turn with the belt) didn't seem to do those titles any favors as the titles seemed to be a much bigger deal when we could only see them defended on house shows or PPVs. Is there any indication that title fights on FOX will be the exception rather than the rule?

Chris Marullo

DM:  So much of the  Fox deal is a work in progress.  Whether title fights are regularly on the specials will be determined by a lot of factors such as what is available when FOX gives them dates and if they are the right type of  title matches for TV.  Cruz vs. Johnson isn'ta fight that would be a big deal on PPV and couldn't possibly headline a PPV so nothing wrong with it on Versus.  I think at the time it was to build up Versus as the new home for UFC programming but things later changed.  Cain vs. Junior is a call that will be the right call if things go well in the fight.  They're giving up some short-term money on PPV, although I  don't know how big Cain vs. Junior would have done.  The idea is to give more exposure to the winner and thus make them a bigger star when they next fight on PPV.  The key to the first show is to do at a good rating to start the series out with momentum,and even more, have a great fight that the masses watch and enjoy.  You never know with a fight, but I'd bet this will be a good fight.  Obviously UFC is betting on that as the key.


Without exaggeration I was preparing to buy the first TNA PPV in several years to watch Sting vs. Ric Flair for pure nostalgia reasons.  As for UFC, for money purposes, I only buy a few UFC shows in the year, and the next one I was planning on was Cain vs. Dos Santos.  I swear on my kids’ lives, I was going to buy both of these shows. As someone who is a definite casual PPV buyer, I wonder how many other PPV buys are being missed out on by TNA and UFC thanks to their decisions to move these shows to free TV?

Steve Te Tai


Hey Dave,
I never write, and I'm not a big TNA guy, and I know people may say Flair vs. Sting is old news, but really with how stale that product is, that was the only thing in a long while that gave me at least a hair of interest to see a TNA ppv. Like I know it's two old guys, but it's sadly the most fresh thing TNA has.  For them to put that on free tv now, especially in the impact zone is awful. I dunno , this makes the Nash/Punk/HHH situation seem like gold. Sorry just frustrating.
Josh Madden


Sunday Sept 4 I will turn the old age of 42. I first got into being a pro wrestling fan in the 80s, watching wrestling from Georgia, and then from NWA, and also AWA, then this led me to discover WWF. I had been hooked ever since. PWI magazine got me into WCCW with the Von Erichs, had to get a new mag every month. Biggest fan of Tully Blanchard, Larry ZbyszkoBaron von Raschke, and Roddy Piper back then. Then in the 90s I discovered indie pro wrestling and went to the local shows every time they had a show. Lately I found myself not watching Impact in over a year and a half, stopped watching Smackdown shortly before the last draft, and now I watch RAW when nothing else interesting is on. I am not burned out, it just is not interesting anymore. When Ring Of Honor was on HDNet I watch every show from episode 1, there was a show not to miss, I can't wait til they are back on television. I also recently upgraded my satellite package, and now I get to watch CMLL every weekend. Don't understand a word anyone is saying, but it is fun to watch and the ring girls before every match is pleasant on the eyes. I am still holding out hope for the wrestling industry, but they have a long way to go to make it something you want to tune in and watch each week, not just to tune in and hope for something halfway decent.
Been a subscriber to the website now for a whiles, love the radio shows, love the news and insight even tho I don't always agree with some opinions. But still listen to each side. Need to get Dutch Mantell on again soon. Keep up the good work, and hope everyone enjoys having a three day weekend for my birthday present to them LOL.
Daniel Beling


Hi Dave and Bryan, just wanted to offer a different opinion on the issue of UFC's audio mix for their shows.
I'm reading this week's Observer and F4W, and listened to Sunday's post-UFC Wrestling Observer Radio, and I have to roll my eyes at how you guys constantly harp on the audio mix. You realize the announcer/crowd mix is kind of a matter of personal opinion, right? I personally LIKE the mix just the way it is. I never have trouble telling a hot crowd from a dead one. If anything, I would have turned the crowd mix lower on last Saturday's show, as I found the singing and chanting annoying.
Compare the UFC's audio mix to the mix used during a NFL or MLB game. Do those announcers have to shout to be heard over the crowd? Of course not. You can hear the crowd in the background, but the announcers ride at the top of the mix, as they should. This fact in no way makes the NFL less exciting, or its players come across as lesser stars, as you seem the believe the UFC's audio mix does.
In a few years this won't be an issue anyway. We'll all be watching PPVs online, with audio sliders to create your own custom audio mix. So you guys can turn down the announcers so low you can barely hear them buried in the crowd, as you would seem to prefer.
Anyway, just my opinion. The view that UFC's audio is terrible isn't universal.

PS: Loved the Vale Tudo history in Brazil issue of the Observer.
Take care,
Jamie Aheam


Mr. Meltzer:
I hate to trouble you with this, but I've been reading Brock Lesnar's book, and there's a chapter in there that makes me think I'm going nuts.
It's the one about losing to the Rock in Miami. He talks about giving the Rock his win back "a year and a half" after their SummerSlam encounter. About how it made no sense for him to lose when he was the champion. About how Vince convinced him this would set up the Goldberg match the next month (Mania XX 2004).
The problem is... if I remember correctly, that Rock/Brock match in Miami was in March, 2003, or SEVEN MONTHS after their SummerSlam match (not a year and a half as Brock indicates), the Goldberg match was still a year away, not a month. More importantly, Brock would not have been champion at this time (he would go on to win it from Angle at Mania 19 the next month), so all these supposed backstage stories about it being a "non-title" match so he wouldn't lose the title make absolutely no sense.
Like I said, I think I must be going nuts. In his book, Brock seems to remember it in crystal clear detail, recalling stories with Lanza, Lesnar's indignation at losing as "the champion," etc. He also seems to gloss over the fact it was a house show, so I don't know why he was so upset in the first place.
So who's right? Brock Lesnar or me? I'm assuming he knows more about his own life than I do, but I had to ask. There's actually quite a few instances in the book where what I was reading didn't really jibe with my memory, but this is the one that jumped out at me.
Thanks for your help,
Chris Smith
PS: After a little research, I believe the match of which I'm thinking was March 15, 2003 (if that helps).

DM:  Rock pinned Brock Lesnar before 5,500 fans in Miami on March 15, 2003, so that much you're right about.  I don't know if there is another match between the two in 2004, but I'm pretty sure if there was, we'll know soon enough.  Amazing if you think about it.  that speaks of how weak WWE business was in 2003, because can you imagine a Rock vs. Lesnar match today and how it would draw?  


Hi Dave, just finished reading your piece on the history of MMA and was really informative and historical.  They way on how you present how MMA transitioned from Brazil to Japan to US was seamless. I’ll have to read it again due to the vastness of information presented, but it’s really a great piece.


Jeremy Rudometkin

Dave I just wanted to let you know the recent Vale Tudo issue of the Observer was incredible.  Far and away my favorite issue of Observer in a long time.  Maybe top three of all time.
Karl Stern

DM:  I just wish I had three more days on that story.  But I loved doing it.


       Dear Dave,
After seeing the snippet of Eddy Mansfield's shoot provided by your site, I'm simply flabbergasted. I had NO idea Eddy was that big of a draw, that he was that respected, and that he could've booked circles around everybody from Ole Anderson to Vince McMahon, Jr.
This should be mandatory viewing for all living pro wrestlers, especially those who had the honor of working with Mr. Mansfield. Can you imagine the shame Abdullah the Butcher must be feeling right now, after being called out in public? And even though Terry Bollea's failures as a human being have been well documented throughout the years, it's gotta sting to be called 'selfish' by The Great One.
I've been a wrestling fan since the mid-70's, but clearly my memory has failed me. Oddly, i have little in the way of Mansfield recollections. And even though I distinctly recall watching "20/20" when it originally aired, i must've watched it...wrong, or something. Because I always (incorrectly, it turns out) thought the most memorable part by a longshot was seeing Eddy blade himself. It turns out that part was 'no big deal'. Huh!
One more prop for my boy E to the M: The man is obviously an investigative journalist at heart. When he pulled out that document regarding the legal situation of the NWA in 1956, I wasn't sure if I was watching Eddy or a Mike Wallace shoot! Sure, that document was brought to light in Jim Wilson's tell-all, and is about as difficult to dredge up as a John Grisham paperback, but still....
Anyhoo, just wanted to shout out my awe of the E-meister. As for you, Dave, get out there and make some guys a dollar or 2, for once, ya crazy knucklehead! Get outta here, I mean it!
Derek Hamel
Tulsa, OK


Hi Dave,


You’re a humble guy, Dave, and you probably get enough feedback from everyone as to the quality of the content of your work, but as a longtime fan and subscriber I just wanted you to know how incredible the newsletter and the site have been lately (even more than usual), both in print and the audio shows.  I’m constantly impressed by your journalistic excellence and integrity, and the quality of your writing and work ethic are without peer.  Your work is the best value I can think of for my entertainment dollar by far, and every day I feel like I’m learning something new about this business I’m so emotionally invested in.  Take care Dave, you rock.




-Clinton Bernes

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