Raw on Monday is in Columbus, OH, while Smackdown and NXT will be 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.
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:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series
plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but
everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article
and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
*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)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the
night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as
historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s,
Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and
Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund,
Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered
separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world
wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the
history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their
Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and
behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings,
Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a
double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher,
double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working
in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him
tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart
signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why
there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double
issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
For the United States, it is $12 for 4 issues, $29 for 12, $55 for 24, $91 for 40 and $118 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $13.50 for
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more
about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk,
Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods. To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best
Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $10 for shipping costs to Canada and $12 for shipping costs outside North
America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
--Updates on U.K. ratings:
Raw on 8/8 did 129,000 viewers live
Raw on 8/15 did 136,000 viewers live
Smackdown on 8.12 did 101,000 viewers for the first run
Smackdown on 8/19 did 120,000 viewers for the first run
Impact on 8/9 did 241,000 viewers
Impact on 8/16 did 218,000 viewers
Hardcore Justice on a three-day tape delay did 214,000 viewers, up from 180,000 for Destination X
As always it should be noted that Raw is on Sky, which is available in far less homes than the station TNA is on, so TNA should have tons more viewers, like comparing total viewers on Showtime with total viewers on USA. Doesn't stop TNA from bragging about being No. 1 on TV in the U.K. (thanks to Ian Hamilton)
--Also, today at 6 p.m. Eastern on this site will be Wrestling Observer Live with Bryan and Mike Sempervive, which also airs on Sirius Satellite Radio Ch. 94, XM Ch. 208, as well as Sports Byline affiliates around the country and on the Tapatalk app for mobile phones. It also airs live on the site.
--Thea Trinidad, who wrestles as Rosita in TNA, will be featured tomorrow night on NBC in their "Children of 9/11" show that airs at 10 p.m. Her father died when she was just 10 years old. The show will show highlights of her first match in TNA, a tryout match that never aired on television.
--Today is the 100th anniversary of the second Frank Gotch vs. George Hackenschmidt match in Chicago, obviously held on September 4, 1911 at Comiskey Park before 28,757 fans. At the time, it was one of the largest crowds ever to attend a sports event in North America, trailing only some horse races and big-time college football games, and maybe one or two other things. That's the one with the back story where Hackenschmidt was injured in training, and there have been a bevy of different stories regarding how, why and what it meant. Suffice to say he wasn't 100% and Gotch won, and the match, as big as it was, was not well received at all when it was over.
--There is a movie being put together called "The Bleeder," set for a theatrical release next year, about former boxer Chuck Wepner, who was the inspiration of the "Rocky" character and who did pro wrestling matches with both Andre the Giant and Antonio Inoki in the 70s. Live Schreiber will play Wepner. ESPN will also be doing a one-hour documentary on Wepner that will air on 10/25 called "The Real Rocky." An interesting note is that Wepner once sued Sylvester Stallone on the grounds that "Rocky" was based on him. Stallone settled out of court and admitted it. He kind of would have had to, given for years he had told everyone Wepner, a real character, was the inspiration for the first movie. Story is at http://www.nj.com/sports/njsports/index.ssf/2011/09/politi_chuck_wepner_t he_real_r.html
--Chris Jericho was on stage last night in Tampa with Avenged Sevenfold. You can see it at http://t.co/G1yB9mb
--Dave Batista noted that Cung Le will be coming to his Gracie MMA Gym in Tampa on 9/17 for a seminar.
--Who do you predict will win this fight?
Cain Velasquez 69.1%
Junior Dos Santos 30.9%
--What September show do you have the most interest in?
UFC 135 Jones vs. Jackson 52.2%
WWE Night of Champions HHH vs. Punk, Cena vs. Del Rio, Orton vs. Henry 27.0%
ROH iPPV 12.5%
TNA No Surrender 3.9%
Strikeforce Grand Prix 2.4%
UFC on Spike 9/17 Ellenberger vs. Shields 1.2%
Bellator on 9/17 0.6%
Bellator on 9/24 0.3%
--If you are watching less UFC than two years ago, why?
Too much product, too hard to keep up with 34.1%
No Brock Lesnar 17.1%
Things changed in life, just don't have the time to follow it 13.4%
Boring fights 11.5%
Favorites not including Lesnar no longer around 10.1%
Not into the newer stars 8.8%
Bad judging decisions 4.6%
New weight classes 0.5%
--Yet, with the new TV deal, when asked what company do you expect to grow the most next year it was:
Dragon Gate 2.1%
New Japan 1.8%
--Melina tweeted this to one of the Bella twins, I think after she was bothered by a fan on twitter saying the twins couldn't wrestle very well: "You know I love you but everybody needs to seriously clam down and think before tweeting. This is not worth it." (thanks to John Pollock)
--Bellator champion Hector Lombard fought last night in Melbourne, Australia, and ran in winning streak to 24, which I believe is the longest for any major fighter in the world. Lombard defeated Jesse "Little John McCarthy" Taylor via heel hook in the second round. Taylor was in Tough Enough season 7, reached the finals against Amir Sadollah, and was booted out before the championship fight after he made the unbelievably bad judgment call of getting wasted, going crazy, kicking the window out of the windshield in front of the hotel and going on a drunken rampage while telling everyone he was a UFC fighter and harassing women at a hotel owned by Lorenzo Fertitta.
--UFC announced today that Cub Swanson vs. Ricardo Lamas in a featherweight fight will be on the 11/12 show in Anaheim. That's the live Fox special and obviously this will be an undercard fight.
--Former WWE announcer Joe Fowler (who did the backstage interviews and control centers at one point) now hosts infommercials for the Nuwave Oven. (thanks to Justin Lollie)
--The University of MMA is doing an auction with a lot of memorabilia with all proceeds going to the lone Survivor Foundation. They have autographed gloves of people like Jason Miller, Dan Henderson, John McCarthy, Tito Ortiz, Bas Rutten, and many more and even private training lessons with both Jimmy Smith (Bellator announcer and fighter) and Mark Munoz (NCAA champion wrestler, UFC star and wrestling coach to people like Junior Dos Santos). They also have a Salute to the Service show on 9/11 at Avalon Hollywood at 4 p.m.
--Chuck Langerman's daily trivia notes that even though Veterans Stadium was the main stadium in wrestling-rich Philadelphia from 1971 to 2003, there was only one pro wrestling show ever in the stadium. That was the July 1, 1986, Great American Bash show headlined by Ric Flair vs. Road Warrior Hawk which drew 10,900 fans and $238,000. At the time that was the largest gate in the history of Pennsylvania wrestling.
--There is a Documentary Channel special on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern called "Luchadores: Fighting for a Dream" where they follow Aaron Aguilera, Nikki the New York Knockout and Super Gabacho, who are all trying to get into WWE. (thanks to Will Gregory)
--Hoosier Pro Wrestling from last night in Columbus, IN before 160 fans: Bobby Black b Fuji Brown, T.J. Powers & Joey Venom & Aaron Anarchy b Cousin Cooter & Stompin Steve & Daron Bostic, J.D. Marioni b Tom Van Zant, Niki b Camron Star-DQ, Cruel Intentions b Eric Draven & Ricky Ruckus, Donny Idol b Troy Van Zant, Diceman Ronnie Vegas b Damien Cole. Next show is 10/1. (thanks to Jerry Wilson)
--Mike Mooneyham looks at Jerry Jarrett's new autobiography with Mark James at http://www.postandcourier.com/ If anyone else has read the book, let me know what you think. That book and the Stan Hansen book are those I'm interested in seeing.
--World Wrestling Coalition on 9/10 in Aberdeen, OH at the Municipal Building.
--NAWA from last night in Waxahachie, TX: Joe Peace b Randy Wayne, Diva Debra b Fair Kitty, Mad Dog b Doberman, Li Fang & Keith Lee DDQ Cowboy Adam & Tim Storm (thanks to Rob Moore)
--GXW on 9/10 in Richmond, VA at Club Aurora. Among those appearing are Chris Harris and Earl & Brian Hebner.