SUN. UPDATE: Previewing tonight's NOC PPV, Flair update, Mayweather, Steen, Bret, Bruno,Rock & Cena

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        We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's WWE Night of Champions, as well as last night's UFC Fight Night and last night's  ROH Death before Dishonor iPPV show, 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 reports on the Thursday night TNA house show in York, PA and last night's TNA house show in Wilkes-Barre, PA, as well as any live reports from Buffalo tonight from Night of Champions with dark matches, and any other notes live like attendance and such.
        Night of Champions tonight:
*HHH vs. C.M. Punk - No DQ match and if Punk wins, HHH gives up his position as COO.  It's early for him to give it up, establishing HHH as the favorite here but anything can happen.  The no DQ stip may have been put in originally for an outside interference finish.  The key is a finish that allows the feud to continue.
*Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena for the WWE title.  The reports from the house shows have been good. They've been doing DQ endings there.  I can't see Cena losing after losing on the past two PPV shows, but now is not the time for him to regain the title either.  So a tough one to call.  They could do a DQ here which wouldn't be satisfying if they don't put the match on last.
*Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry for the world title.  This is a big one and they haven't done this match regularly on the house shows to get ready.  Orton has said Henry is his least favorite opponent.  WWE has done a great job with the Henry push and couldn't have done more to make him look like someone who can win the title.  The thing here, and this goes for all three of the top matches, is that it's only two weeks to Hell in a Cell, which means they need finishes that build for a return and don't have a lot of time to build new programs for the Cell match.  Orton could do the cell match with Christian, and in fact, that would be my call since neither Henry nor Christian is going to be a money match so you go with the best match.
*Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne vs. R-Truth & The Miz for the tag titles.  The tag titles haven't meant much, but for me, this is the match where you switch the belts and keep the program going.  Plus, Miz & Truth, particularly Miz, can elevate the belts and it also gets Miz on Smackdown to add to the star power there.
*Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase for the IC title.  For the wrestlers, this is the most important match.  In the top three singles matches, everyone is established in their position and are already over, with the exception of Henry, who if he has a bad match, it will be the same Henry track record from the past of monster push into a PPV main event with a top star, bad match and then back to being Mark Henry.  Rhodes and DiBiase are both talented and should be able to work a great match which on a PPV show would help both out.
*Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. Alex Riley vs. John Morrison for the U.S. title.  Ziggler vs. Swagger should be teased but it's early for it to be the focal point.  Anyone of the four can win and you also have the Vickie Guerrero dynamic.
*Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix for the Divas title.  The original idea was for Phoenix to win the title here.  She may be the babyface to the crowd since she grew up in the Buffalo area.  Kelly seems to have gained popularity since getting the title, but they need to get some steam on the Divas of Doom, or whatever their name is this week, so seems time for a switch.
        On paper, this should be a good show.  With the exception of Orton vs. Henry, and that has a chance to be good depending on the crowd and how it's booked, and the Divas, which should be kept short, on paper looks like a bunch of good matches.  HHH hasn't wrestled in months so will want to pull out the stops.
        Raw on Monday is from Cleveland.
        Monday also has a New Japan PPV from Kobe, Japan, headlined by Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP heavyweight title.
        Smackdown and NXT tapings on Tuesday are from Dayton.
        Wednesday night will be the final two weeks of Impact tapings before Bound for Glory, taking place in Knoxville.  Based on story line they would be having a Bobby Roode vs. James Storm match on one of the two shows, plus the Hulk Hogan retirement ceremony, whatever that is supposed to mean.  It's also the debut of the new season of Ultimate Fighter.

        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
         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
          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
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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)
*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
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*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
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*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,
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*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)
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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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*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
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*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
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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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--I did watch the Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz finish after doing the radio show.  Since most of you have already seen it since it's the talk of the sports world today, Ortiz had been outgunned, but hit Mayweather with a flurry moving in and threw a head-butt that looked far too deliberate.  Ref Joe Cortez docked Ortiz a point.  He called for the fight to resume, Ortiz hugged Mayweather and then a second time went to touch gloves and Mayweather threw a left hook and a right and Ortiz went down.  It was legal but it was under normal circumstances, bullshit.  I've seen that stuff happens when you sucker punch a guy trying to touch gloves in UFC a few times and the reaction of fighters has always been that it's a cheap shot.  The only justification is that head-butt looked too flagrant.  Ref Cortez is taking a lot of heat for having his back turned while this was going on.  Post-match was a circus with announcer Larry Merchant asking questions about it, and then Mayweather started calling him names and Merchant said if he was 50 years younger he'd kick his ass.  It's all on the front page.  In the big picture, Mayweather made himself the center of attention again.  Merchant claimed he thought Mayweather went after him in an obscenity laced tirade because he knew Merchant was going to grill him on fighting Manny Pacquiao. 
--Ric Flair's injury from Monday night was a broken bursa sac in his left elbow.  It's a lot less serious than originally feared.
--Bryan and I will be back tonight with Wrestling Observer radio covering Night of Champions.  If you've got any questions on wrestling or MMA you can send them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and we'll try and get to as many as we can tonight and tomorrow night.
--There is also a Kevin Steen promo on the front page.  Good stuff.  It was after the show with Steen saying he'd never go away, knocked Davey Richards for not defending his title on the show (he's on tour with New Japan) and said that Vince Russo could kick Jim Cornette's ass and got some fans to chant, "Let's Go Russo."  He then asked maybe Russo can't kick your ass, but you know who can?  And there was someone who yelled Pat Patterson.  He talked about coming to Final Battle in New York and wants a match with Jim Cornette, Delirious or Cary Silkin or anyone else.  You got the impression Final Battle on 12/17 at the Manhattan Center would be his return.
--Yesterday was Jim Cornette's 50th birthday and they off the air had everyone sing Happy Birthday to him.
--Apparently commentary went out briefly during the Eddie Edwards vs. Roderick Strong match because a fan accidentally knocked a wire loose.
--The All Night Express' title shot that they won last night to face Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin will be on 11/19 in Chicago. 
--Bret Hart will be appearing for the American Wrestling Rampage promotion on three shows in Ireland, working 10/6 in Derry at the Mellennium Forum, 10/7 in Mayo at the Royal Theater and 10/8 in Limerick at the University Concert Hall.  Hart will be the guest enforcer for cage matches with Rhino vs. Joe E. Legend to crown a new AWR world champion.
--Jordan Burroughs, coming off winning the NCAA title earlier this year and the Hodge Trophy, defeated Sadegh Goudarzai of Iran 3-2, and 4-1 to win the world championships at 163 pounds earlier today in Istanbul, Turkey.  Burroughs is the first world freestyle champion the U.S. has produced since 2006.  The U.S. placed third overall.  Jake Varner placed third at 211 pounds, which is the weight class Kurt Angle would be entering the trials at.  Okay, I'm not taking it serious either.  Cael Sanderson placed fifth at 185, which may disappoint some, but it's actually pretty damn impressive after a seven year layoff to walk back in and place fifth in the world.
--If you don't like Rock & Cena teaming at Survivor Series (earlier in week we had a question on this and a great number didn't like it), why?
Rock shouldn't wrestle before WrestleMania 65.8%
Rock & Cena shouldn't team at this point in their program even though you can run an angle off it 30.6%
If Rock wrestles before Mania, it should be at Rumble 3.6%
--Poll on Smackdown
Excellent 10.3%
Good 49.5%
Average 29.0%
Fair 6.5%
Poor 4.7%
        35.5% of those responding didn't see the show
--If you watched something last night, what was it?
UFC Fight Night 67.5%
ROH iPPV 34.2%
Mayweather fight 34.9%
Bellator 13.4%
        Most popular combination was UFC & Mayweather followed by UFC & Bellator.  However, we've gotten very light response for polls on last night's shows.
--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia.  Linda Miles, who played Shaniqua in WWE after winning Tough Enough season two, is the only pro wrestler who played in four NCAA Division I basketball tournaments.  Well, she played on the women's side of course.  She played from 1998 to 2001 at Rutgers.  Whatever happened to her?  Last I saw of her was in a movie on one of the years she was with Rutgers which was a very good movie, and heard she tried to be a sportscaster and that didn't work out.  Kevin Nash played in two Division I tournaments at Tennessee.  Dragon Master Gary Rich played in one at the University of Richmond.  Matt Morgan played in one at Monmouth University.  Rich also played for the 1986 Ohio State team that won the NIT tournament.  Karl Malone played in one.  Did Ron Reis ever play in one with Santa Clara?
--Bruno Sammartino is now way ahead in recovery from heart surgery.  He had been frustrated at one point but can walk 2 1/2 miles without stopping and is back lifting light weights and doing curls with 35s, which isn't bad for a guy who turns 76 in a few weeks.
--Coming off their wins last night, the semifinals in the Bellator middleweight tournament will be Bryan Baker vs. Vitor Vianna and Alexander Shlemenko vs Brian Rogers, which will take place on 10/15 in Atlantic City at Boardwalk Hall. 
--Regarding where Dick the Bruiser ever wrestled Killer Kowalski, when a college football announcer during a fight yesterday said it was like a Bruiser vs. Kowalski match (which says something about how enduring those two names were), the two teamed a lot but didn't have that many singles matches.  We've gotten records of Bruiser over Kowalski on March 25, 1961 in Detroit before 11,470 fans; Kowalski over Bruiser via DQ on November 10, 1966 in Milwaukee before 2,300 fans, a double DQ on August 29, 1957 in Ottawa before 2,000 fans, another double DQ in a cage match on September 5, 1957 in Ottawa before 3,000 fans and a Kowalski win via DQ on December 2, 1966 in Milwaukee before 2,431 fans.  There were also a couple of Bruiser & Crusher vs. Kowalski & The Alaskan (Mike York) matches in 1967 in the AWA.  (thanks to Dave Musgrave, Angelo Furlan and James Zordani).
--USWO from last night in Nashville:   Zack Zero b Convict, Mike Revick b Robert Frost, C.D. Thriller b Saint, L.T. Falk b Charles Jackson III-DQ, Johnny B b David Matthews, Super Barney b Kenny King (not the ROH wrestler), L.T. Falk & Mike Revick & C.D. Thriller b David Matthews & Robert Frost & Kenny King (thanks to Jimmie Daniel)
--Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling from last night in East Carondelet, IL before 250 fans:  Pete Madden d Johnny Couragous, Waco & Max Archer b Chase King & LMV, Ron Powers b Chris Hargas, Dave Vaughn b Tony Raze, Chaz Wesson b Eric Allen, Dave Vaughn b Ron Powers-DQ, Sean Vincent b Dan Walsh, Gary Jackson b Big Texan-DQ (thanks to Larry Matysik)
--There is an IWL iPPV from Mexico at 8 p.m. tonight on
--Newsday has a story on Jon Jones at,1091/can-jon-jones-stabl ize-ufc-division-1.3178783?qr=1
--Future Stars of Wrestling TV show at e-13-5560506
--Bellator announcer Sean Wheelock talks at ode-30-bellator-of-the-ball/

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?