SAT. UPDATE: Warrior box office, WWE phantom face turn, Japan show live in U.S., Flair anniversary

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        We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's Strikeforce show on HDNet and Showtime so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
        We're also looking for thoughts on Bellator and Dragon Gate USA.
        We're looking for reports from tonight's Dragon Gate show in Chicago on iPPV at with Yamato vs. Cima for the Open the Freedom Gate title, Pac vs. Ricochet, Sabu & AR Fox vs. Arik Cannon & Pinkie Sanchez in a no DQ match, Masato Yoshino vs. Naruki Doi vs. Sami Callihan vs. Chuck Taylor in a four-way, Akira Tozawa vs. Johnny Gargano and Rich Swann vs. Jon Davis.
        We're also looking for reports on tonight's WWE Raw show in London, ONT and WWE Smackdown show in Halifax as well as reports from last night's Raw show in Barrie, ONT.
        Tonight's Strikeforce from the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati:
HDNet Fights at 8 p.m.
Chris Mierzwiak (185) vs. Dominique Steele (184.5)
Alexis Davis (135) vs. Amanda Nunes (134.5) - Nunes is a title prospect at either 135 or 145
Jordan Mein (170) vs. Evangelista Cyborg Santos (170)
Rafael Feijao Cavalcante (205) vs. Yoel Romero (205) - Romero won a silver medal at the 200 Olympics in freestyle wrestling
Mike Kyle (205) vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (205)
Showtime at 10:30 p.m. (Super Channel in Canada)
Maximo Blanco (155) vs. Pat Healy (155)
Roger Gracie (205) vs. King Mo (205)
Ronaldo Jacare Souza (185) vs. Luke Rockhold (185) for middleweight title
Daniel Cormier (247) vs. Antonio Silva (264.5) in heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals
Josh Barnett (261) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (256.5) in heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals

        Tonight's Bellator at 9 p.m. on MTV 2 at Caesar's in Atlantic City
Steve Carl (171) vs. Douglas Lima (171.25)
Dan Hornbuckle (170.5) vs. Luis Santos (171)
Chris Cisneros (171) vs. Ben Saunders (171)
Chris Lozano (170.5) vs. Brent Weedman (170)
        All four matches are first round bouts in this season's welterweight tournament
        Sunday has TNA's No Surrender PPV from Orlando with Kurt Angle vs. Sting vs. Mr. Anderson for the TNA title, Bully Ray vs. James Storm, Bobby Roode vs. Gunner, Mexican America defends the tag titles against Pope & Devon, Brian Kendrick defends the X title against Austin Aries, Mickie James defends the Knockouts title against Winter and Samoa Joe vs. Matt Morgan.
        Sunday also has a Raw house show in Kingston, ONT and Smackdown will be in Moncton, New Brunswick.
        Dragon Gate USA has its second iPPV of the weekend from Milwaukee featuring Pac & Yoshino vs. Cima & Ricochet with the Open the United Gate vs. Open the Twin Gate titles at stake, Yamato & Fox vs. Cannon & Callihan, Doi vs. Gargano, Tozawa vs. Jon Davis and more. 
        Monday has Raw live from Ottawa, while Impact will be taped in Orlando with the first Ric Flair vs. Sting match in 10 1/2 years, and possibly the last one the two will ever have. 
        Tuesday has Smackdown and NXT from Toronto with Daniel Bryan vs. Sin Cara announced, while Impact will again be taped in Orlando.
        The return of Brock Lesnar, the story behind the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos fight getting on FOX, more on the first two UFC shows on FOX and thoughts on the two big heavyweight fights is one of our lead stories in this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
        We look at the 12/30 date, Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem as a match, marketing of the fight and will UFC have its first hair vs. hair match.
        We also have the summer WWE & TNA business charts, so you can see what is up, what is down, and some people may be surprised at the one aspect of business that is up, and more on how television ratings don't seem to have much correlation to business.  We look at live attendance, TV ratings and PPV numbers for the last few months, what it all means, as well as television viewership of the various shows throughout 2011.

        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 look at a letter sent by the Culinary Workers union in Las Vegas to the Federal Trade Commission and their complaints regarding the business practices of UFC.  We look at the items they bring up on a case-by-case basis.
        We also have another in our series on this year's candidates for the Hall of Fame, with a look at the biggest drawing cards on this year's ballot.  We also have a lot of notes on Edge, Sgt. Slaughter, Atlantis and others.

        We also look at Rock at Survivor Series, the future of the Sin Cara character, lineup for Night of Champions, notes on Hell in a Cell matches, more on Santino Marella's auto accident, WWE injury updates, return to TV talked about for two legends, mystery G.M., the Divas take their feud seriously, and who is holding up the induction into WWE Hall of Fame of one of the greatest omissions.
        We also update Gail Kim, JBL's potential to return, new WWE signee, Mick Foley's return, Edge talks about life after leaving wrestling and what question he's getting frustrated about being asked.
        We also look at business numbers from the past week as well as details from all the major league house shows.  We also have SummerSlam numbers.
        We also look at the proposed return to wrestling of Bill Goldberg, as well as news regarding Batista and Chris Jericho, and proposals to run a bigger stadium show than WrestleMania.
        We also have more on the career of Little Tokyo, the top midget star of the 70s and 80s. 
        We also have tons more on Matt Hardy and Kurt Angle's last week.  We look at Angle's most recent arrest, his past arrests, his unique behavior as well as the writer and director of "Warrior" talks about Kurt Angle getting the role in the movie.
          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.   
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         Also in this week's issue:
--First week of CMLL's Champion of Champions tournament yields bad news
--CMLL honors one of its longest lasting wrestlers
--Atlantis vs. Ultimo Guerrero feud heats up
--Tragedy strikes a wrestler in AAA
--A look at Dragon Gate's upcoming weekend
--New Prime Minister of Japan and background as a fan as a wrestler
--Another wrestler looking at running for major political office
--Legends, freaks and fighters from other sports do major pro wrestling event this past week
--Major international star coming to U.S. promotion
--Another pro wrestler tests out MMA
--Another promotion claims they are doing PPV
--More on the Terri Runnels/New Jack court fight
--More on the arrest of Daffney
--More on death of Bill Kunkel
--Whatever happened to Steve Beverly
--Two former WWE female stars, one wants back in, the other has a major mishap
--A book on ESPN talks about the decision to get AWA wrestling
--Complete card for TNA No Surrender
--More on Styles vs Daniels program
--Bound for Glory series notes
--Ric Flair talks heath
--Former star hints returning to TNA
--More on the business of UFC 134 and UFC's PPV business this year
--A look at Anderson Silva as a draw
--Lots of injuries and new fights in UFC
--Olympic silver medalist debuts for Zuffa this week
--Notes on UFC's return to Japan
--Notes on Bellator's new season
--Fedor's proposed next fight
         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
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*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
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*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the
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*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
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*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
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*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,
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*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
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*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
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*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
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*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)
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*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
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*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
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*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
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*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)
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We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more
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America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
--Lionsgate's hopes MMA was a hot ticket item don't look good as "Warrior" opened at $1.8 million last year and is now expected to have a $6 million opening weekend.  It was No. 3 last night.  Last night was the worst Friday night for the movie business of 2011, even worse than the weekend with Hurricane Irene.  Bucky Larson:   Born to be a Star, which I saw a billion annoying commercials for in the last week did only $540,000 last night and is now expected to finish around $1.4 million.  That's a bomb as the first weekend projections were $4 million.  It still beat the pants off HHH's movie.    

--In the report on the Dragon Gate show up on the site and Chrisjen Hayme, who was working a pre-show Insanity Pro Wrestling match and cracked his head open when he landed on his head doing a moonsault off the top rope to the floor, Hayme suffered a concussion and needed some staples in his head, but said that he was going to be fine.

--UFC has scheduled a press conference on Thursday at Hotel Hollywood in Los Angeles to kick off ticket sales for the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos heavyweight title fight.  Fight club pre-sale actually starts Wednesday.  Tickets are $40 to $350.
--Bryan and I will be back late tonight on the site with the first of three straight nights of Wrestling Observer radio, talking a ton of news from the last few days including Rock's next return, Nick Diaz vs. B.J. Penn, Vitor Belfort vs. Cung Le, a TNA No Surrender preview and coverage of Strikeforce and Bellator.
--Also want to make mention of the Mick Foley show that we did on Thursday.  It's worth a listen as we got a lot of subjects in just about 30 minutes regarding WWE, TNA and such.  Foley after the show noted that he in fact does know my brother since they met when he was in WWF at a trade show.
--HDNet announced they will have four live MMA events over the next two weeks.  Besides tonight's Strikeforce show at 8 p.m., and Legacy Fighting Championships on 9/16, they will have a doubleheader on 9/23 with the Titan Fighting Championships from Kansas City followed by live coverage of Dream 17 from Saitama, Japan starting at 3 a.m. Eastern and midnight Pacific.  That's the shows headlined by Shinya Aoki vs. Rob McCullough.
--Spike has changed its listing for the 10/6 Impact.  It's now back to being listed as a two hour show. (thanks to Devin Cutting) 
--Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of Ric Flair's debut in the WWF as a full-timer (he had worked Madison Square Garden early in his career as a guest).  It was a Superstars TV taping from Ottawa where he beat Jim Powers and then did an angle with Vince McMahon and Roddy Piper to set up Flair vs. Piper during the week (they were doing Flair vs. Hogan at the weekend shows, this was when Hogan was working a limited schedule).
--A story on Cody Rhodes building up tomorrow's Smackdown house show in Moncton, NB is at  Rhodes said he's still doing the paper bag bit at the house shows but thinks its backfiring on him because he's a heel and it gets no heat.
--HHH talks the movie "Inside Out," the worst guest host (Al Sharpton) and WWE movies at  
--Smackdown weekend shows are listed for Randy Orton vs. Christian vs. Mark Henry three-ways for the title and Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase.
--Who do you think wins this fight?
B.J. Penn 62.3%
Nick Diaz 37.3%
--Strikeforce predicted rating tonight
Under 1.0 38.0%
1.1 12.4%
1.2 17.5%
1.3 9.5%
1.4 3.6%
1.5 8.8%
1.6 0.7%
1.7 2.2%
1.8 0.7%
1.9 0.7%
2.0 or more 5.8%
--What should have been done about Nick Diaz?
Should have been fined, still face GSP 36.4%
Needs professional help, should not be fighting right now 26.9%
Should have been fired 24.1%
Should have done exactly what they did 12.6%
--What do you think is the real main event for the show?
GSP vs. Condit 60.6%
Diaz vs. Penn 39.4%
--Poll on Impact
Excellent 17.1%
Good 19.8%
Average 18.0%
Fair 9.9%
Poor 35.1%
        55.1% of those responding didn't see the show.
--That Greg Valentine no-show last weekend is turning into an angle.  Valentine made a statement saying that was sorry he used the language he did and was stressed out about travel, but the reason he no-showed was because that morning he got a phone call that his mother-in-law had two days left to live (as it turned out she made a recovery), so he flew to Nashville and missed the show.  He said he called promoter Devon Nicholson about it.  Nicholson said Valentine called him at 1:30 p.m. that day, which would have been before the show.  So Nicholson probably shouldn't have buried him at the show the way he did.  Nicholson said Valentine called him later and said because of how it was announced at the event, he wasn't returning the money, which Nicholson claimed between the flight from Tampa, hotel, pay and photos he printed up to sell, it would come out to $2,000.  In Valentine's statement, he apologized for no-showing and said he would be returning the money and did say he was mad that Nicholson didn't tell fans he was sorry he couldn't make it and the reason why, instead of burying him and putting tapes of phone calls on the Internet. 
--This is going to turn into an angle with Lanny Poffo challenging Valentine to an MMA match on 12/30 in Gatineau.  The angle will be that Poffo will pay Valentine $1,000 if he can beat him.   Everyone can debate at which point the angle started.   
--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia.  On July 17, 1994, when ECW still stood for Eastern Championship Wrestling, they held a card in Wildwood, NJ, with a Battle Royal where the winner would get to face Shane Douglas for the title.  As a rib, Rockin Rebel (Chuck Williams) was told he was going to win the Battle Royal.  Before the match started, Williams bragged to his girlfriend that he was going to win and get the title shot.  The bell rang and you can guess what happened.  Everyone else in the match swarmed on Williams and threw him over the top as he was screaming, "I'm supposed to go over."
--Alex Marvez talks to Gunner about his military service and how he got into wrestling at
--Lance Storm talks about managers and why Michael Cole should be one (which was considered at one point not that long ago but it was one of those ideas forgotten pretty quickly) at
--For what this is worth, there is advertising for TNA house shows in a few weeks that list Winter as the Knockouts champion and Austin Aries as the X Division champion.  I figured Aries was winning tomorrow. 
--A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels and Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett are doing house show matches.
--In WWE, Mason Ryan is now working as a face.  Last night in Barrie, ONT, they did a deal where Jack Swagger called out anyone from the back to fight him. Ryan came out as a face and beat him. 
--MWF's 10th anniversary show on 9/17 in Melrose, MA at Memorial Hall features Carlito, Boogeyman (where did they find him?), Paul Bearer, Low Ki, Abyss, Tony Atlas and Tony Garea.      
--GOUGE Wrestling on Thursday night in Raleigh:  Leatherface & Andrea the Giant b Redman & Vector, Rob McBride b Mickey Gambino, Jimmy Jack Funk Jr. b Lou Marconi, Otto Schwanz b Seymour Snott, Rob McBride & Jimmy Jack Funk Jr. & Seymour Snott b Mickey Gambino & Lou Marconi & Otto Schwanz.  Next show is 9/24 in Butner, NC at the National Guard Armory.
--CMLL on Tuesday night in Guadalajara before 1,100 fans:  Divno & Javier Cruz Jr. b Relampago & Angel del Mal, Leon Blanco b Gran Kenut, Goya Kong & Estrellita b Amapola & Princesa Sugei, Bam Bam & Astral b Demus 3:16 & Pierrothito, Hiroshi Tanahashi & El Terrible & El Texano Jr. b La Sombra & Hector Garza & Black Warrior (thanks to Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims)
--Orlando Pro Wrestling from last night in Orlando:  Lince Dorado & J.D. Amazing & Brian Badical b Mike Reed & Jason Hanley & Bobby Adams, Bo Caliber b Chasyn Rance, Aaron Epic b Carl Allen, Carlos Rivera b Mike Cruz, Gus Money and D.Ramos, Luis Ruiz b Brandon Scherer, Hanley won Battle Royal (thanks to Al Haft)
--USWO from last night in Nashville:  Super Barney b Shawn Hoodrich, TNT Mottley b Damien Payne, C.J. Davis b Convict, Bully Douglas & Danny Copass b Nick Iggy & Mike Revick, Bryan Casey b Josh Crow, Allen Shephard (does he do an astronaut gimmick?) & Jeremiah Plunkett NC Gary Valiant & L.T. Falk, Jocephus b Chris Michaels.  Raven comes in next week to face Jocephus (thanks to Jimmie Daniel)
--Dave Musgrave and Dyan Hales talk this year's Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame voting at
--The issue will be coming out in a few weeks and the deadline for voting is actually today.    
--Trina Michaels debuts for the IWA in Orlando with LAX.  She does an interview at 
--Harvey Wippleman pulled out of the 10/15 Traditional Championship Wrestling show in Fort Smith, AR, citing his reason according to the promotion is that they booked Jay Lethal.  Have no idea what that is about.  Matt Osborne as Doink the Clown will replace him.  Harley Race is also appearing on the show. 

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?