THURS. UPDATE: Hogan's latest twist; WWE goes into debt spending; PPV mishap; HHH controversy



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        We're looking for reports from tonight's TNA house show in York, PA at the Fairgrounds at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
The show has the return to TNA of Jeff Hardy, facing Jeff Jarrett, plus Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson for the title and Bobby Roode vs. Bully ray as the top matches.  TNA will also run Friday night in Rahway, NJ at the Rec Center, the home of Jersey All Pro Wrestling, and Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
 
        Impact tonight on Spike
Pope & Devon & Brooke Tessmacher & Tara vs. Hernandez & Anarquia & Rosita & Sarita
Velvet Sky vs. Angelina Love - winner gets into a Knockouts title match at Bound for Glory
Matt Morgan vs. Samoa Joe
Bobby Roode vs. Kazarian
Sting vs. Ric Flair
        Show is built around the first Sting vs. Flair match since 2001.  And you never say never, but it could be the last. 
 
        Superstars tonight
Mason Ryan (now a face) vs. Primo
Zack Ryder vs. Drew McIntyre
Brodus Clay vs. Mike Rollins
Usos vs Trent Baretta & Johnny Curtis
 
        With coverage of why this past week was a bad one for WWE business wise, the Hulk Hogan retirement speech, a crazy week from UFC with arguably its biggest fight of 2011 being changed and why, coverage of Strikeforce and the behind-the-scenes talk on that promotion, plus the fundamental issues wrong with TNA, and coverage of their PPV and television shows, we've got two issues of the Observer out this week.
 
        Both issues are available today on the site.  There is also a new back issue from 1994 up on the site this week.  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.      
 
        Our lead story looks at WWE's business week, in particular ratings against week one of football.  We look at how the show has done
in recent years against the first weekend of Monday Night Football, the expected drop, what kinds of ratings should be expected the next few
months as well as why, at least for a period this football season, things may not be so bad.  We also note problems that are actually more
significant then the ratings, as well as Smackdown guys on Raw, how every segment on Raw did including what point of the show a huge percentage of the audience tuned out.
 
        We also look at Hulk Hogan's latest retirement speech and look at the different types of games that may be being played here, regarding if he's gone, what would that mean, why it makes no sense for Bound for Glory and why it's so imperative right now for TNA to deliver ratings in a few weeks.  We look at Hogan's run in TNA, if anyone can care these days about any retirement speech, and what Hogan said in the final segment of Impact that airs on the 29th.
 
              The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
 
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        We also look at the situation with Nick Diaz, B.J. Penn, GSP and others after a week of change in the UFC's biggest show.  We look at
Diaz's punishment for missing the press conferences, Penn's long-term goals, how bad a financial hit Diaz is likely to take, the dynamic of the
show, the story behind the ticket sales of the show, and a look back at Diaz's track record in recent years.  There are comments from Dana White, talk about why GSP vs. Diaz would have been huge box office and looking at the Penn vs. Diaz fight, as well as where it currently stands.
 
        We also have a feature on Jeff Hardy, after pleading guilty a three felony distribution of drug charges. We look at why Hardy needed to
avoid a trial.  We look at the terms of his sentencing, how this may affect his career, things said in court, as well as Hardy's track record
from the last six years.  We look at Hardy's most recent WWE tenure, and why he ended up in TNA, and the incidents that WWE did and didn't ignore in his rise to the top of the business, and that TNA both did and didn't ignore.
 
        We also have an update on Kevin Nash's role in WWE, explanations he's given publicly, things said privately and more, as well as the story behind the Survivor Series immediate sellout and the return to the ring of The Rock in November.  We also have more on when Linda McMahon is expected to announce her running for senate and why, update on Night of Champions, HHH talks about changes they are looking to make when it comes to recruiting wrestlers as well as more changes to how creative in WWE is being structured.  We also look at a head writer who has left, more on the WWE Network, Edge talks about he end of his career, WWE returns to Japan, A date floated for Shawn Michaels returning to Raw, as well as business notes from the past week and highlights of the weekend arena events.
 
        We look at the fallout of the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals, both matches and business.  We've also got match-by-match
coverage and poll results.  We look at the shocking rating and put it into perspective as well as what it means, and a look at why the show did
so poorly on TV.
 
        We also have full coverage of TNA No Surrender, with match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results, as well as an
early look at where Bound for Glory seems to be going.
 
        We also have Mick Foley talking TNA exit, Raw ratings in Canada, what major changes have been made since February in viewing habits of Raw.
 
        We also have a look at one of the most historic pro wrestling events of the year, All Together Now, the joint venture of All Japan, New
Japan and Pro Wrestling NOAH.  We talk about the atmosphere of the show, notes about it, plus match-by-match coverage with star ratings, the good and bad and unique crowd.   
 
        We also have notes on CMLL's plans for its anniversary events over the next few weeks.
 
        We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week as well as how every segment did when it comes to gaining and losing
viewers on both TNA & WWE's A shows.
 
        We also have our regular weekly features with results of all the major arena events around the world, as well as all the major TV show
reviews.   
 
         Also in this week's issue:
 
--Update on Roddy Piper and his injury
 
--More on changes in the tour where Bill Goldberg is to return to wrestle and who right now is earmarked as his opponent, as well as the names on tour.
 
--Much more on Kurt Angle's DWI case, including what happened when he was pulled over and why he was pulled over.
 
--Hulk Hogan sticks his foot in his mouth talking about Angle.
 
--More on CMLL's Champion of Champions tournament
 
--Hall of Famer's 40th anniversary event including the return of many major 70s and 80s stars
 
--Chavo Guerrero Sr. returns to wrestling in Mexico
 
--Mexican promotion bringing in a number of U.S. stars
 
--Sting's Mexico debut opponent official
 
--TNA names going to Mexico this week
 
--A look at the Dragon Gate USA weekend
 
--Why some wrestlers are improving so fast
 
--New potential stars
 
--Lots of problems
 
--Update on attendance
 
--Four star matches
 
--90s wrestlers coming out of retirement to honor one of that era's biggest promotions
 
--Notes on All Japan's jr. tourney
 
--Former U.S. champion out with herniated disc
 
--Return to the ring of Marufuji
 
--NOAH big singles tournament
 
--Next major event at the Tokyo Dome
 
--Champion vacates title due to injury
 
--New Japan PPV show corning
 
--One of the greatest woman wrestling stars in history brings back her persona for one night and why she disappeared from wrestling 
 
--Daughter of pro wrestling legend makes her final bid for an Olympic gold medal
 
--Update on the Wrestling Revolution Project
 
--Controversy over the return of Stampede Wrestling
 
--Teddy Hart's latest insanity
 
--More on the Greg Valentine/Lanny Poffo/Devon Nicholson issues with a blow-by-blow
 
--Planned TV show featuring two former WWE stars
 
--Former WCW wrestler returns after nine years out of action
 
--CZW Cage of Death
 
--70s and 80s headliner starts promoting his autobiography
 
--Story on shooting death of former pro wrestler ad details behind it
 
--Sons of two major wrestling stars training for pro wrestling
 
--More stations to pick up ROH down the road and where
 
--Notes on ROH & Urban Wrestling Federation contracts
 
--Warrior movie talk and box office
 
--Lots of new UFC fights between now and the end of the year
 
--How UFC ticket sales for all the upcoming shows are doing
 
--What famous person is UFC inviting to a show early next year
 
--Former WWE star vs. former boxing champion fight falling through
 
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*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)
 
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*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
 
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*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth, and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
 
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*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)
 
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*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)
 
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*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)
 
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--Nobody is really talking about what the Hogan retirement speech was all about last night.  It was positioned like it was the end of Hogan in TNA.  If this is really the case, it would be pulling the rug out from under the company just weeks before a show they've spent months building up and leave Sting, who has been pushed as the biggest babyface, without a match.  Hogan being able to physically do a match has been questionable for some time as his last ditch back surgery came with the caveat that he absolutely couldn't take any falls. 
 
--WWE has taken out a $200 million line of credit with JP Morgan Chase Bank, so as Vince McMahon said a few months ago, they are willing to go into debt spending which they have avoided doing.  This isn't as bad as some will make it.  UFC financed itself through debt in a similar fashion.  They claimed they are doing it both because interest rates are so low now, which they are, and also to help finance their new television network.
Advertisement

--Pre-Order and see a preview video of THQ's WWE '12 HERE
 
--TNA's No Surrender PPV had a snafu last night in the Wednesday night U.K. airing.  After an interview with Austin Aries, it cut to a commercial.  When they came back, they only showed the finish of the Aries vs. Brian Kendrick match.  Then it cut to a commercial after the Rosita interview and never came back, meaning none of the main event (Kurt Angle vs. Sting vs. Mr. Anderson) aired.  Kevin Banks noted this was not the first snafu since TNA moved to Challenge TV. 
 
--Challenge TV noted they will air the show in its entirety tonight at 1 a.m. and Saturday at 9 p.m.  They said that was the earliest free time slot available.  They said there was a massive technical issue that caused the screw up and "We completely understand the frustration felt by fans."
 
--According to one bar owner who pays $1,000 for rights to play UFC PPV's in his establishment, Golden Boy is charging $4,000 for similar sized bars for Saturday night's Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz fight. (thanks to Suju Abraham)
 
--The big talk of today seems to be an interview with HHH at www.moviefone.com  He's gotten super heat from MMA fans for saying that he doesn't think WWE needs to evolve to what UFC does, and said some UFC fights are long and boring and some are over in five seconds, while if you watch WWE, you always get a good show and you'll never get a crap game.  He also said, "I think if anybody needs to evolve, it's them."  He said he thinks UFC needs more entertainment and said all the fighters come in wearing T-shirts and shorts and thank their sponsors.  While some of his remarks came off bad, particularly saying UFC needs to evolve, he also made a lot of good points, particularly on a lot of the UFC interviews and how all pro sports are entertainment.  He also talked Brock Lesnar, saying Lesnar didn't hate wrestling in the ring, but hated travel and dealing with people.   He did call Lesnar a country bumpkin but then said he didn't mean that in a bad way.  He talked about Floyd Mayweather being a big draw due to his personality and Lesnar as well.  He also kind of threw Ric Flair under the bus regarding his spending and said that Flair still thinks it's 1982 and he's the world champion, and Flair doesn't know when to walk away (very few in wrestling do) and can't afford to.  It also comes across bad for someone on the WWE board to knock UFC on the entertainment aspect, even though some of the points were valid, just because it's WWE knocking UFC and WWE has a lot of issues with being entertaining as well.     
 
--C.M. Punk responded, "UFC needs to evolve more than WWE.  RIDICULOUS!!!  Laugh out loud ignorance."   
 
--Punk then tweeted, "Unreal.  Out of touch.  If you don't evolve, you die."
 
--The Fayetteville Observer at http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2011/09/15/1123101?sac=Home has an article on Matt Hardy's arrest on Monday.  Hardy was going to the airport on Monday afternoon to pick up girlfriend Rebecca Reyes (Reby Sky).  Hardy was blood tested.  The story also noted Hardy was in another car wreck on 8/19, claiming a car ran him off the road and caused him to crash.
 
--Jim Ross noted he would be attending the Oklahoma vs. Florida State game in Tallahassee on Saturday.  No UFC for this man.  He also made his predictions for Night of Champions at http://www.jrsbarbq.com  He said he doesn't see the brand split going away nor does he see WWE having one world champion.  He also said he believes Brock Lesnar is returning too soon.  Ross had similar surgery to Lesnar and has suffered from diverticulitis in the past.
 
--Macleans, a major Canadian magazine, ran a story today on the Abdullah the Butcher/Devon Nicholson lawsuit.  Nicholson said that Abdullah has still not provided blood work regarding the suit.
 
--If you thought the frat boy in last night's Micro Championship Wrestling who got attacked by one of the little guys after stiffing them on pay looked familiar, it's because the role was played by Roderick Strong.  A lot of reality TV is worked to various degrees, but this was like a complete work in every way.  Another Florida indie wrestler, Amy Love, played the hot girl trying out for a spot in the promotion.
 
--Brian Fritz talked with Beth Phoenix at http://betweentheropes.com/337/episode-15-beth-phoenix/  She said that Natalya and her are best friends outside the ring and said she was really disappointed she didn't get her feud with Kharma.
 
--M-1 Global announced another Showtime event on 10/14 at 11 p.m. Eastern from the Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix.  The main event features the rematch between Guram Gugenishvili (11-0) vs. Kenny Garner (7-3).
 
--TNA is trying to get their fans to push for Velvet Sky to get on "Dancing with the Stars."  That is going to be tough but no reason not to try.
 
--For those who didn't hear, the UFC press conference in Anaheim at the West Hollywood Hotel that was scheduled for this week was moved to Tuesday at 1 p.m.  It will be in Great rooms 2 and 3 and is open to the public.  Tickets for the show will go on sale Wednesday for Fight Club members and Friday to the public for Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos heavyweight title fight at the Honda Center.
 
--Today's amusement is a different form of the usual "Meltzer said Brock Lesnar is leaving UFC for WWE," stuff when I say the opposite.  This one is "Meltzer said Diaz isn't fighting Penn," when I actually not only wrote the opposite but was handicapping the match in the new issue.  The only issue is Diaz wasn't happy he was fighting Penn and wanted to fight GSP.  He had to be talked into fighting Penn.       
 
--There is a story in the Los Angeles Times at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-jakks-oaktree-2011915,0,65501.story on Oaktree Capital trying to pull a hostile takeover over Jakks Pacific.  Oaktree Capital had tried a friendly purchase of the company, and now has put up $670 million for the hostile takeover.  They've been trying to purchase the company, which does UFC action figures, since March.  If it goes through, it would be the largest purchase of its kind in the toy industry in five years according to Bloomberg.
 
--Steve Austin's next DVD, "Born To Fight," will be released on DVD and Blu Ray on 10/3.
 
--Today's name announced for the Wrestling Revolution Project is Patrick Buckridge, who was Platinum Pat Buck in OVW and moved to New York since leaving OVW.  I believe he's now a trainer at Mikey Whipwreck's school and promotion on Long Island.
 
--What are your weekend viewing plans
Not watching anything 22.0%
WWE Night of Champions 45.0%
UFC Fight Night 41.0%
Bellator 12.0%
ROH 20.0%
The biggest crossover was WWE & UFC at 12.2%, followed by UFC & Bellator at 8.4% while WWE and ROH crossover was 5.8%
 
--Prediction for the main event on Saturday night
Jake Shields 76.1%
Jake Ellenberger 23.9%
 
--Reaction to the bodybuilder debate on Raw
Punk was right 52.1%
HHH was right 6.3%
Punk was wrong but did better in the argument 3.9%
HHH was wrong but did better in the argument 17.7% 
 
--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia is about Steve Corino.  Corino was born in Winnipeg, and like Bret Hart, is a dual U.S. and Canadian citizen.  He graduated from Perklomen Valley High School just outside of Philadelphia and played baseball in high school.  To this day he remains a big baseball fan, especially of the home town Philadelphia Phillies.  And before he was a wrestler, he worked as a milkman for one of the local dairy farms.
 
--HHH was reported backstage last night at Yankee Stadium for the Big 4 concert (thanks to Frank Carluccio)      
 
--GoFightLive TV this week on Friday night at 10 p.m. Eastern has MMA Xplosion from The Hard Rock in Las Vegas.  It's an all amateur show with teams coached by Tony Fryklund and Marvin Eastman.  There is also Ultimate Reno Combat 27 at 11 p.m. on Friday night.  The big GFL event of the weekend is of course the Saturday ROH show.  There is also an Impact Zone Wrestling show which has nothing to do with TNA, on Saturday at 8 p.m. billed as the Danny Hodge Invitational.
 
--Alex Marvez talks ROH's new TV deal at http://www.scrippsnews.com/content/marvez-roh-sinclair-broadcasting-group -new-saturday-night-tag-team 
 
--Saturday's ROH iPPV will also be available on iphone, ipad, roku and android devices.
 
--NWA on 10/7 in Charlotte at the Metrolina Expo with a tournament for the vacant NWA jr. title which will include Scorpio Sky from California, Tony Kozina, Chase Owens and ROH's Alex Payne.  The Dark City Fight Club also defend the NWA tag titles on the show.
 
--Josh Nason of our staff has a feature on Alan Belcher in this month's FIGHT! Magazine.  Belcher faces Jason MacDonald on Saturday night's UFC show on Spike.  I've also got a feature on Belcher at www.yahoo.com on the UFC page.
 
--Luis Palomino suffered a hand injury in training and had to pull out of Saturday night's Bellator show.  He was scheduled to face Edson Berto (whose father is one of the guys who both wrestled at the major league level in Florida in the 80s and later in the 90s fought in UFC).  At this point no new opponent for Berto. 
 
--With Virgil Zwicker injured, who was scheduled to headline the Strikeforce Challengers show on 9/23 (I'll bet most of you didn't even know there was such an event), the opponent for Lorenz Larkin has been changed to Nick Rossborough.  Rossborough is 18-13.  Larkin is 11-0 and a very entertaining fighter, especially if you're a fan of flying kicks.
 
--Right now they are advertising two for one tickets for the Strikeforce show at The Palms in Las Vegas.  The shows since they've gone to Las Vegas as a regular spot have only been drawing a few hundred paid.
 
--Awesome Wrestling Entertainment tomorrow night in Woodstock, VA at Central High school features Kevin Nash, DDP, Jim Duggan, Fit Finlay and Tully Blanchard.
 
--Steeltown Pro Wrestling's 4th annual Winnipeg Warfare show takes place Sunday at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 246.  La Sombra headlines, but it's not the famous La Sombra.
 
--Torrie Wilson and Maria Kanellis appear at the Chiller Theater convention 10/28 to 10/30 in Parsippany, NJ. (thanks to Joe Puccio)  
 
--NWA Rampage Pro Wrestling runs Sunday at 2 pm. at Johnny G's Fun Center in Warner-Robins, GA for a TV taping.
 
--The ECWA K-Cup tag team tournament takes place on 11/19 in Newark, DE.

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