SUN. UPDATE: 2 more major shows in next 24 hours; Michaels vs. Hart DVD review, Raw Monday, Sonnen



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        We're looking for your thoughts on last night's UFC 136 PPV, 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 today's Raw house show in Colorado Springs, today's Smackdown show in Bossier City, LA, last night's Raw show in Loveland, CO, last night's Smackdown in Beaumont, TX, and tonight's TNA show in Trois Rivieres, Quebec.
 
        The biggest show tonight is Heroes Inmortales from Arena Monterrey with The Psycho Circus vs. Halloween & Damian 666 & Nicho in three masks vs. three hairs in a cage, a dog collar match for the Latin American title with Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Perro Aguayo Jr. and Sting vs. Mesias, plus a tournament for the Antonio Pena Cup with La Parka, Electroshock, Heavy Metal, Zorro, Joe Lider, Jeff Jarrett, L.A. Park, Silver Kain, Magnus (TNA) and Cibernetico.  Also from TNA, Velvet Sky will be appearing.  

        New Japan has a PPV on Monday from Sumo Hall in Tokyo with Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP title,
Togi Makabe vs. Minoru Suzuki, MVP vs. Masato Tanaka for the IC title, Yuji Nagata vs. Toru Yano, Satoshi Kojima vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Rocky Romero & Davey Richards for the IWGP jr. tag titles and Hirooki Goto & Tama Tonga vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Ultimo Guerrero.  We're looking for reports on this show.
 
        Raw is Monday from Oklahoma City.  Smackdown and NXT will be taped on Tuesday in Dallas.
 
        Our annual Hall of Fame issue of the Observer, the most talked about issue of the year, will be coming out in two weeks.  If you are a print subscriber and sign up for two sets you will be getting the issue.  It will be a double issue with bios of new Hall of Famers, complete voting records and a detailed story plus the updated list of Hall of Fame members.

        We've got two issues of the Observer out this week.  Both can be accessed by web site subscribers on the front page.  All issues after they leave the front page can be accessed in the Observer archives section.  We also have, for the second week in a row, one of the biggest back issues in our history.  This is the 1994 issue covering when Vince McMahon was put on trial in a steroid distribution case.  The issue has all the details of what happened, all the testimony, the legal technicalities, why McMahon was acquitted and a lot more.  From a history standpoint, this was one of the biggest news stories in pro wrestling history and this is the most detailed coverage of that story.

        This week's issues include a story on the business of Hell in a Cell.  We look at when Hell in a Cell was a PPV monster, the decline of Hell in a Call, reactions to this year's show and a chart of shows since 2005 so you can see when the declines came.  We talk about why the declines came and what decision that the company made that they need to evaluate when it comes to the PPV schedule.

        We look at the hard business numbers and tends for PPV early, and what lessons can be learned from the show. 

        We also look at WWE's big angle with HHH at the end of Raw, including the television audience reaction, did fans tune in or out as the segment was going on, and more about the angle.  We look at the follow-up to the Hell in a Cell closing angle as well, how plans for the PPV changed the week of the show, booking Mark Henry, the frivolous lawsuit angle and where it came from, as well as the who John Laurinaitis is texting angle.  We look at what aspect of the type of writers WWE employs led to the ending of Raw and how a wrestling person would have likely done it different than a Hollywood person and why.

        We also have full coverage of the PPV, with match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results from the show.

        We also have a feature looking back at the history of Kurt Angle's negotiations with several different MMA promotions over the years.  We've got details of his UFC talks from Dana White, as well as Angle's response, as well as response from those close to angle.  We look at the time that White thought he had an agreement with Angle for an exclusive contract including what pro wrestler White had called to be Angle's first PPV opponent.  We look at why that fell apart.  We look at the real story behind Angle as a participant in the 2009 season of Ultimate Fighter.  We look at the pitch Angle made to White to try to get into UFC as well as how talks with other groups fell apart over the years including what fights were on the table.  We look at Angle doing a 180 based on what he had said in the past and more.

        We've also got coverage of the final UFC event on Versus, including what a UFC championship match on TV for the first time in four years on free TV meant to ratings.  We also have full coverage of the event, with match-by-match coverage, as well as poll results for the show.

        We also have coverage of CMLL's 78th anniversary show that was held over the weekend at Arena Mexico.  We look at the business of the show, how it compares to the past, and full coverage.

        We also look at what could have been in impetus of the WWE lawsuit angle, and more notes on Devon Nicholson's lawsuit filed against WWE in Ottawa.  We look at his claims.

        We also look at HHH's way of thinking when it comes to stars, in an interesting look at the mind set of the future of WWE and looking at what makes sense and doesn't make sense in his line of thinking.

        We also have a look at one of the more underrated major names of the 50s and 60s, Handsome Johnny Barend, a New York native who headlined Madison Square Garden, Japan, and all points in between, and was one of the four biggest stars in the history of the Hawaiian pro wrestling scene.  We look at his glory days in a number of territories, his standing in wrestling and much more about a headliner around the world for more than two decades.  We look in particular at the scene in Hawaii and his being linked with legends like Peter Maivia, Dory Funk Jr., Mad Dog Vachon, Fred Blassie, The Sheik, Jimmy Snuka and many others.

        We also look at basic WWE plans for television through the end of October, the next two three-hour Raws and a story barely covered that is chipping away slowly and significantly each month at the audience that watches WWE, TNA and UFC.  We also look at Shawn Michaels and The Rock returning to WWE television over the next two months, plus more joint branded television shows.

        We've got background on the new Vice President of Talent Relations, Jane Geddes, who was actually a more significant sports star than almost anyone on the active roster.

        We look at Vince McMahon's latest fetish about the product.  We've also got an update on Rey Mysterio, the DUI arrest of Jimmy Uso and how it was mocked in storyline.  We also look at more WWE expansion plans, how Tivo is affecting WWE viewership, a former WWE performer who has signed on to a reality show, a new announcer hired, as well as what WWE stars have the most social media followers.  We look at a model who will be getting a tryout next month, a rock band who wrote a song about a famous 1980s wrestling angle that ended up running afoul of WWE legal, Steve Austin's next movie, Austin talking about a champion in WWE who he doesn't believe is ready to be on top, the status of John Morrison, one of the all-time great wrestlers becomes a grandfather, WWE stars working in FCW, plus the weekend business and house show report.

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        We also look at Hulk Hogan signing his new deal and a lot of thoughts about Hogan in TNA, as well as what his signing showed.  We also look at where Hogan got his retirement speech from, and a new Hogan business.
  
        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 issues:

--An update on the conditions, both physically and legally of both Matt and Jeff Hardy

--More on the last ROH iPPV show

--What those numbers say about iPPV shows

--Current plans for ROH Final Battle in December

--A look at the ROH TV tapings held this past week as well as why certain people weren't on the show

--A look at issues with the TVs in some markets
 
--Update on the TNA schedule

--A former WWE performer who is now free to come to TNA

--Dana White goes into more details of doing two shows on the same night in February and how it will be handled

--We also look at UFC flooding one market with show after show

--Update on Gilbert Melendez to UFC

--More on the Showtime/Strikeforce deal, when it expires and what may be next for both

--Update on UFC's return to Toronto

--Update on Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans

--More on this season's Ultimate Fighter show

--Boxer challenges Brock Lesnar

--Lots of new UFC fights signed 

--A look at the big picture of pro wrestling in Mexico today

--Pro wrestler charges in major arson case that made international news
--ROH title being defended in Mexico

--AAA final taping before big show

--Recently departed WWE wrestler gets a one year suspension from wrestling by an athletic commission and why

--What pro wrestling promotion is doing a television show based on Ultimate Fighter

--Why the show is already getting a backlash

--Dragon Gate U.K. update

--One of the best pro wrestlers in the world hospitalized for appendicitis and has to vacate his title

--Hiroyoshi Tenzan 20th anniversary show

--Hall of Famer talks returning for a show in January for first match in a decade

--Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Funk feud continues

--One of biggest indie shows of the year

--What WWE Hall of Famer in no shape to perform

--Luke Robinson returns to wrestling for main events against two long-term stars

--An indie promotion  does a live PPV featuring 90s stars

--Yokozuna Memorial show

--Hall of Famers to wrestle in CHIKARA at the end of the year

--90s pro wrestling star from WCW now doing MMA

--Notes on a wrestling reunion from a major promotion of the past

--Former WWE performer marries rock star

--Son of 70s star ranked nationally for upcoming college wrestling season

--Ben Askren's biggest pro fight

--Details of the weekend Bellator show and this week's matches

--Update on the heavyweight tournament

--Bobby Lashley returns to MMA to go after heavyweight title against former TUF heavyweight

--Notes on one of the most famous wrestling movies ever made
  
          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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--I got an advanced copy of the Michaels vs. Hart DVD last night.  It was pretty much awesome.  My feeling was that Bret Hart was being painstakingly honest.  Shawn Michaels was very readily admitting he was a dick a lot back in those days, tried to explain where he was coming from while always falling back to not handling situations well in those days, didn't really try and defend his actions past in certain cases thinking he took more heat than he thinks he should have.
 
Jim Ross was also excellent in his role, and in some ways surprising because in the discussion of Montreal, Ross was very clearly sympathetic to Hart, as was Michaels.  If you had told me even seven years ago that WWE would do a DVD, sold around Montreal (and they've been wanting to do that forever) and it would have Michaels and Jim Ross (representing the company) on it and all be sympathetic to Hart and give a pretty fair appraisal of his view without any "he was going to show up on Nitro with the belt" or "Vince had no choice," I'd have been surprised. 
 
There was no defending of Vince here other than if you view it in 2011 when wins and losses don't matter and the belt is a joke, the idea of either guy let alone both putting so much into who will agree to lose to who, who won't, and refusing to lose to a certain person on a certain day today comes off as silly.  In that sense, with 2011 eyes, there is a defense of Vince (and they didn't bring up the contract issue regarding creative control, but I won't knock that because they spent more than enough time on it).  But in the period from 1950-1997 at least, the vast majority of champions would not have put Michaels over in that situation.  Many would have just no-showed the match as opposed to walk into the hornet's den and trusting the words of a referee.
 
As much as they pushed that the match in Montreal should not be the focal point, and should not define it, it was that discussion, much to my chagrin, that was the most compelling from all three points of view.  Remember that Ross was running Talent Relations so he was very much in the loop and seemed to either have remembered things very well or studied them because he was right on with his questioning and where he was leading the discussion.  But there was a level of introspection that I've never seen in a WWE release before, and a level of real emotion. 
 
The reality is that because wrestling is so completely different today, when it comes to who can be on top, the value of the world title, etc. that both Hart and Michaels to someone who wasn't around at the time would come off as people who take angles and wins and losses and belts too seriously.  I think a modern fan would have a difficult time understanding why both would take these things so seriously when it's all fake, and it's rubbed in your face.  But in the context of the 90s, they were not that far away from what most of the main eventers would be reacting.  But it was kind of a full circle of two guys who gravitated toward each other in the late 80s because the common thought was no matter how talented they were, they were too small to headline.  Then when they both became headliners, their friendship turned to hatred over mistrust and jealousy, and eventually become friends again (and they really are, or at least when his was filmed, people who regularly keep in contact with each other). 
 
--Ric Flair postponed his scheduled surgery to reattach a torn triceps.  He told Mike Mooneyham he may not have the surgery.  He went to the hospital for the surgery, and like with his shoulder, decided against having it saying the doctor said it was healing.    
 
--Plans for Monday's Raw include a protest march outside the building by at least some of the wrestlers.  They may have to resolve the angle on Monday because they have to promote Vengeance plus they have to have it make sense that everyone goes to Mexico City for the next Raw taping. 
 
--Dana White was pushing the idea of matching Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo last night.  Chael Sonnen pretty much stole the show at the press conference with his talk about Anderson Silva.   
 
--Nothing, not even Chael Sonnen from last night's UFC trended in the top 20 searches either last night or this morning.  Lots of college football, pro football and baseball dominating the sports. 
 
--Our weekend radio show, covering UFC, TNA and answering questions is up on the site today.
 
--Wrestling Observer Live will be on the site today at 6 p.m. Eastern and 3 p.m. Pacifci on the front page as well as Sirius satellite radio Ch. 94   

--In staff picks for last night, Mike Sempervive and I were 4-1, Bryan, Oliver Copp, Mike Sawyer and Todd Martin were 3-2 and Josh Nason was 2-3.
 
--CWA from last night in Ripley, MS before 600 fans:  Tony Dabbs b LSD, John Saxon b Purple Haze, Jimmy Yang b Dabbs, Jay Lethal b Matt Riviera, Rodney Grimes & Doug Gilbert & Rick Steiner b Blaylock Boys, Shane Williams b Gary Valiant, Buff Bagwell b Big Bully Douglas, Carlito b Max Steele
 
--NCW Femmes Fatales from last night in Montreal before 175 fans:  Mary Lee Rose b Milouu, Angie Skye b Cherry Bomb, Sherbrooke Connection b Anna Minoushak & Missy, She Nay Nay b Xandra Bale, Mercedes Martinez b Tiana Ringer, Cheerleader Melissa b Yumi Ohka, Courtney Rush b Kellie Skater, Tomoka Nakagawa b Sweet Cherrie and Portia Perez, Kalamity b LuFisto to win NCW International title.  Next show is 3/10 in Montreal with Jazz and Serena Deeb. (thanks to Pat Laprade)
 
--What did you watch last night?
UFC 136 62.2%
Bellator 10.3%
        8.1% watched both, 35.7% watched neither.
 
--Best of the recent Zuffa fights
Ben Henderson vs. Jim Miller 27.5%
Matt Wiman vs. Mac Danzig 18.8%
Dominick Cruz vs. Demetrious Johnson 15.9%
Jon Jones vs. Rampage Jackson 13.8%
Nate Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi 9.4%
Josh Neer vs. Keith Wisniewski 5.1%
Luke Rockhold vs. Jacare Souza 4.3%
Rousimar Palhares vs. Dan Miller 2.9%
T.J. Grant vs. Shane Roller 1.4%
Edson Barboza vs. Ross Pearson 0.7%
 
--Poll on Smackdown
Excellent 11.9%
Good 34.3%
Average 28.4%
Fair 9.0%
Poor 16.4%
        43.7% of those responding didn't see the show             
 
--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia actually concerns original UFC television announcer Jim Brown.  Brown announced on the first six shows in UFC history.  While best remembered as one of the great running backs (some would say the greatest) in NFL history, he is one of the greatest athletes ever in the 20th century.  He is the only man in the NFL Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame and the Lacrosse Hall of Fame.  He also went to Manhasset High School, which would have been Chris Jericho's high school had his father not been sent to Winnipeg after being a star on the New York Rangers.  He averaged 38 points per game in basketball as a senior, which was the all-time Long Island record that held up until a Bridgehampton High School senior named Carl Yasztremski broke it.  Yes, Yaz was actually more of a basketball star, getting a scholarship to Notre Dame for hoops, before instead going to baseball and becoming the most popular player on the Red Sox of a generation.
 
--Instinct MMA, which debuted with a big show on Friday night, announced a 12/2 show in Quebec City featuring Phil Baroni vs. Martin Gramdont and Derek Gauthier vs. Jens Pulver.
 
--Phil Mushnick of the New York Post ripped on Hulk Hogan in his column today, and more Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America, for plugging Micro Championship Wrestling.  He wrote, "Micro Championship Wrestling was once called midget wrestling.  It died a natural death because it really was nothing better than a sad spectacle for desensitized lunkheads, an antiquated carnival side show, what we once indelicately called a freak show.  But it seems that's okay with Good Morning America."  (thanks to Jeff Sheridan)
 
--What promoter Devon Nicholson said was the final Great North Wrestling show from last night in Renfew, ONT before 350 fans:  Bruiser & Bumble Bee Man b Assassins, Quantom Force b Hunks, Serphantina b Shocker, Mercenaries b Mansours, Jeremy Prophet b Sexy Eddie, Spoiler b Mountie, Cecil Nix & Honky Tonk Man b Preston Perry & Chaz Lovely, Hannibal b Darko in his retirement match. 
 
--Mid Missouri Wrestling Alliance from last night in St. Louis:  Ace Hawkins b Max Archer, Lamarcus Clinton b Mephisto-DQ, Dave Osborne b Chase King, Lumberjack Gabe NC Big Texan, Gary Jackson b Brandon Espinosa-DQ, Ricky Cruz b Phil Blunt-DQ, Lumberjack Abe b Tony Raze (thanks to Patrick Brandmeyer)
 
--GOUGE from Saturday night in Raleigh:  Baron Von Rox b Redman, Otto Schwanz b Lou Marconi, Jimmy Jack Funk Jr. b Gluteus Maximus, Mickey Gambino & Frank Stalleto d Rob McBride & Seymour Snott.  Next show is 10/23 in Raleigh at Sadlacks Heros.
 
--Talk about short-lived tag teams is at http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/talkCast.jsp?masterId=112658&cmd=tc  ____________________________________________________________

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