Wednesday, 19 October 2011 15:53
Ultimate Fighter airs tonight on Spike at 10 p.m., featuring the coaches going at it for the first time this season.
The annual Hall of Fame issue of the Observer will be up on the sight today. It is a double issue, our traditional most talked about issue of the year.
We look at the three new entrants to the Hall of Fame with extensive biographies on all three. We look at the voting including not only the complete voting breakdown, how one gets in, who has been eliminated from the ballot and what huge names debut on the ballot next year which will make it the most interesting Hall of Fame election in years. We also have a breakdown of the voting by group, from active wrestlers, retired wrestlers, reporters and historians and who did well in what group.
For all the wrestlers who came close, we look at where their voting support came from and why they didn't get in.
We also have a rundown on the injury to Georges St. Pierre, how this changes UFC 137, business notes including an estimate on how much UFC revenues for the show will decrease by losing the main event. We look at this as a comparison of The Rock missing WrestleMania.
We also have a first estimate on the UFC 136 buy rate and the story that it tells. We look at the power of title matches on UFC purchases, fan reaction vs. selling, what matches were promoted and where UFC looks to be strongest. We also have more on the change in UFC start times. We also have a lot more on Chael Sonnen, licensing, and the second aspect of Sonnen being licensed. We look at Sonnen withdrawing his loser leaves town stipulation and likely why he said it in the first place.
We also have a lot of news regarding the WWE network and plans to launch it even sooner than you think. We look at ideas for new shows, a new concept when it comes to WWE and the PPV business, plus an update on Vengeance, more on Brock Lesnar in the WWE video game, next combined Raw & Smackdown taping for Smackdown, next live Smackdown, and more details on this year's Tribute to the Troops show.
We also look at two WWE executives profiled, behind the new nickname for John Laurinaitis, suspension of Heath Slater, what wrestler is getting strong reviews for his recent work, new concept of running angles off television, Vince's love/hate relationship with the divas on television, WWE going to Japan, the son of a Hall of Famer who just debuted with WWE, something the company did nice for its talent over the past week, Bret Hart talks more about his thoughts and what he says different from in the Hart vs. Michaels DVD, plus all the business notes and highlights from the house shows in Mexico.
We also look at two movies coming out based on UFC stars, one that will be in theaters in a few weeks.
We've also got full coverage of TNA's Bound for Glory show, including a look at Hogan stealing the show, the value of Hogan stealing the show, early business notes on the show regarding attendance and the debut of TNA as a theater product and comparisons to UFC's debut in the same marketplace.
We also have full details regarding what went down with the decision by Hulk Hogan to not have Bobby Roode win the title. We look at Roode vs. Storm, the prospective feud, having the title change on free television, the injury to Kurt Angle, the backstage reaction, why Hogan was able to make the call and the real decision making power in TNA right now no matter who tries to claim otherwise.
We've also got match-by-match coverage of the show, star ratings and poll results on the show.
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 have ratings for all the national shows for the past week.
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:
--Lots of wrestlers trying out for WWE spots this week
--Famous wrestler eliminate from reality show
--A look at the turns of La Parka and Octagon
--Major stip match involving brothers vs. brothers feud
--What former WWE star is now using the name of one of the most famous overseas wrestling stars
--Title change in Japan
--The next NOAH major show takes shape with two new matches
--NOAH's major singles tournament
--Thoughts on the Scott Hall E:60 piece
--Hall's past in rehab
--What Hall was telling his friends just this past week about his plans
--Lots of details on the Wrestling Revolution Project
--Why Prince Devitt wasn't there
--Characters and the idea behind the 13-week series
--Different wrestlers as their new ring names
--A look at some of the best matches that were taped
--Shakeup at Spike TV and where that stands for TNA wrestling
--Spike makes first hint at future in MMA
--Notes on the hiring of David Lagana by TNA
--A look at TNA's outside projects
--Why Eric Bischoff has so much power in TNA
--Kurt Angle inducted into yet another Hall of Fame
--Jeff Hardy talks about being sent home and his return
--TNA working with another promotion on a promotion vs. promotion angle
--Sting talks about Jeff hardy
--More on the case of John Graziano
--More thoughts on Hogan's burial of A.J. Styles and Bobby Roode
--New TNA front office exec hired
--Hogan video game reviews
--MMA names contacted by TNA
--Notes on upcoming TNA TV shows
--Surprising UFC cut
--Notes on the final Strikeforce show of the year
--Update on Gina Carano
--New UFC matches and new UFC injuries
--Bellator upcoming matches including what could be the most interesting of the season
--More on the end of an era, one of the biggest annual events of the year is no more
--Floyd Mayweather numbers update
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major story (ies) of the past 11 years you are most interested in
and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue. Our most requested issues in our history are:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series
plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article
and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth, and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as
historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s,
Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and
Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund,
Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered
separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world
wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the
history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings,
Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a
double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him
tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart
signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double
issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
For the United States, it is $12 for 4 issues, $29 for 12, $55 for 24, $91 for 40 and $118 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $13.50 for
4, $33 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more
about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk,
Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods. To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best
Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book
price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $10 for shipping costs to Canada and $12 for shipping costs outside North
America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
--Nick Diaz was 45 minutes late for today's UFC press call, but Dana White blamed it on a PR snafu. Geez, I got several e-mails about it and I'm not even in the main event, kind of hard to believe the guy in the main event never got the notice. When they finally got Diaz on the line, he said he never knew he had a call today. He said he woke up and his phone was dead, but his brother got a hold of him finally. Cesar Gracie, Nick's manager, said Nick never knew about the call and didn't answer the phone because he was training and nobody told him about it. Dana White claimed his side dropped the ball.
--Tonight's Impact tapings feature Ronnie from Jersey Shore making his debut and Bobby Roode vs. Samoa Joe with the winner getting a shot at James Storm's title.
--Bryan and I will be back for a loaded Wrestling Observer radio tonight, talking Hall of Fame, Memphis Heat, James Storm winning the TNA title, and taking your e-mail questions to
Our actual Hall of Fame show will be tomorrow.
--In a wrestling related story, Monday Night Football numbers are down this season, blamed on the quality of match ups. It also noted that both CBS and FOX rating are up on Mondays. Because football is down, ESPN is not running away with the prime time ratings race like it usually does this time of year.
--This past week saw TBS on the back of baseball playoffs in first with a 2.9 prime time average to 2.3 for ESPN and 2.1 for USA. The two hours of Raw last week, which was the terrible show from Oklahoma City, were No. 9 and No. 13. The only shows beating Raw were Monday Night Football, Jersey Shore, Walking Dead, the Michigan vs. Michigan State college football game and an episode of Sports Center as well as various baseball games. The first hour of Raw was No. 7 in 18-49.
--Playwright David Mamet, who wrote "Redbelt," has an opinion piece in today's New York Post pushing for the legalization of MMA in New York at http://www.nypost.com/Page/Uuid/2e32642c-f9f6-11e0-8239-883be32e018b
--Just a note on something we talked about on the show earlier this week. The John Minton III, who was an associate producer of the piece on Scott Hall that airs tonight on ESPN, is not the son of John Studd, nor related to John Studd. whose real name is also John Minton
--ROH has announced a policy with the ROH title involving non-title matches. Whenever an ROH champion is in a non-title match instead of it being called non-title, it will be called a "Proving Ground" match the stipulation is that if the champion loses a "Proving Ground" match, or goes to a draw, he will get an automatic championship shot within 60 days. They also announced ROH champion Davey Richards vs. Kyle O'Reilly in a Proving Ground match on 10/30 for Rampage Pro Wrestling in Warner-Robins, GA at Johnny G's Fun Center.
--A rematch of the Jay Lethal ROH TV title win over El Generico that aired a few weeks back was announced for the 11/5 TV tapings in Louisville.
--The main event on Monday's Raw with John Cena & Jim Ross vs. Alberto Del Rio & Michael Cole gained about 1 million viewers.
--The Los Angeles Times web site today noted that Channing Tatum and Steve Carell will be lead characters in Bennett Miller's movie "Foxcatcher." The movie will be about the 1996 murder of Olympic gold medal winning wrestler David Schultz by John du Pont of the du Pont family. "Foxcatcher" was the name of the wrestling team du Pont funded that many of the top U.S. wrestlers in that era were part of. Tatum would play Schultz, which will be a hard one for me since there is no resemblance whatsoever. The movie is still in the talking stages.
--The TV show in Australia, "At the Movies" reviewed "Warrior" last night with both Australia lead film critic David Stratton and the other critic giving it ***1/2 although Stratton said he did not like MMA after seeing the movie, thinking it was too violent. Well, yeah, I could see where he's coming from because I wouldn't like it much in the version in that movie. (thanks to James Stanios)
--A story on who are the leading supporters of candidates for president listed an interesting note. Jon Huntsman, a republican running for the nomination who is being given little chance, has as his top three political donors being Fertitta Entertainment ($32,000), The Ultimate Fighting Championship ($26,500) and Station Casinos ($26,000). Station Casinos are also run by the Fertitta family. The donations came from the Political Action Committee of each organization. Huntsman was an ambassador to China at one point, a market UFC covets, but I'm not sure if the two are related. (thanks to Whilden)
--Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff on the James Storm title win on twitter:
Bischoff: "Having a blast watching Internet marks react. Candy from a baby!"
Hogan: "Goodmorning Hulkamaniacs, can't wait for all the Rood (sic) fans that turned to haters to see the big picture, thank God we still have real marks."
--Should TNA have changed plans as they did regarding Bobby Roode winning the title at Bound for Glory?
No, no reason not to stick with the plans 82.7%
Even though Hogan was right about Roode not being championship material, Angle is hurt so Roode should have still won 8.7%
Yes, Roode isn't at that level 5.0%
Yes, Roode is at that level, but the timing wasn't right and he should win it later 3.6%
--Will Vengeance beat last year's Bragging Rights on PPV?
Yes, better show and would beat last year's numbers 25.4%
Yes, will beat it because last year's show went the same weekend as Lesnar vs. Velasquez and this year doesn't have that problem 23.9%
No, will do worse this year 50.7%
I really have a hard time believing it will do worse than last year.
--Greatest star in All Japan history
Mitsuharu Misawa 29.3%
Giant Baba 27.3%
Kenta Kobashi 14.3%
Jumbo Tsuruta 9.0%
Stan Hansen 5.8%
Bruiser Brody 5.5%
Terry Funk 3.5%
Toshiaki Kawada 1.7%
Abdullah the Butcher 1.2%
Genichiro Tenryu 1.0%
Mil Mascaras 0.8%
Dory Funk Jr. 0.5%
--Poll on Raw
33.0% of those responding didn't see the show
--Representatives Patricia Strachota and Mark Horadel and State Senator Glenn Grothman have introduced a bill is Wisconsin that would give individual communities the right to ban people from competing in, operating, marketing, attending or promoting MMA. It stems from the town of Polk, WI, which has enacted a local law because the town leaders didn't like a show that took place in 2009. It is notable that all three voted in favor of legalizing and regulating MMA when it came up last year.
--While Jamie Varner said he was retiring on twitter a couple of weeks ago, he is fighting on Friday night on HDNet in the main event of the XFC show from Orlando against Nate Jolly.
--Former Ultimate Fighter winner Efrain Escudero faces Cesar Avila on Saturday's Bellator show from Yuma, AZ as part of the fights that will take place on the Spike.com web site. Escudero, who is 17-3, was cut after his third UFC loss to Charles Oliveira.
--Saturday at 10 a.m. on MTV 2's Lucha Libre: Masked Warriors has Rellik (that's killer spelled backwards for all you Johnny the Bull fans) & Sydistiko vs. The PR Powers to become the first-ever LLUSA tag team champions.
--The final two events of the Independent Wrestling Federation based in West Paterson, NJ are 10/22 and 10/29 at the IWF Centre in Woodland Park, NJ.
--RF Video has announced they will be bringing Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Terri Poch (Tori/Terri Power) as vendor guests for WrestleReunion from 1/27 to 1/29 at the Los Angeles Airport Westin Hotel. Poch, who was in WWF for several years, and also had a run in Japan, currently runs a yoga studio in Portland, OR. (thanks to Daniel Short)
--In Your Face Wrestling on 11/12 in Ballston Spa, NY at the area Community Center.
--River City Wrestling on 11/5 in San Antonio at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
--C.M. Punk will be appearing on Friday night for FCW in Kissimmee, FL at the Osceola Heritage Park Expo Center. Also appearing at the show will be Mason Ryan, Jinder Mahal, Ricardo Rodriguez, Trent Baretta and Kaitlyn.
--Chaotic Wrestling on Friday night in Lowell, MA at the Lowell PAV features Tammy Sytch as the headliner plus a Trick or Treat Battle Royal.
--CZW on 11/5 in Indianapolis at the Salvation Army Gym headlined by Devon Moore defending his title plus first round matches for the CZW jr. title with AR Fox vs. Uhaa Nation, Dustin Rayz vs. Ryan McBride and Jon Gresham vs. Drew Gulak.
--Power Trip Wrestling on 10/29 in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England.
--Sara Del Rey vs. Serena Deeb headlines on 10/29 for CHIKARA Pro in Reading, PA at the Goodwill Beneficial Association. Eddie Edwards vs. Jigsaw and Eddie Kingston vs. Vin Gerard are also on the show.
--Platinum Championship Wrestling on Friday night in Avondale Estates, GA at the Academy Theater.
--The return of the Control Center, a fixture of WWE programming, featuring former WCW announcer Chris Cruise, is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgPIyBU0uU&feature=player_embedded
--State Farm Insurance is doing a TV commercial based on Aaron Rodgers holding a WWE title belt from the Super Bowl win earlier this year. You can see it at http://www.mediabistro.com/agencyspy/state-farm-steals-aaron-rodgers-titl e-belt_b24709
--A new web series called "The Gym" stars Canadian pro wrestler Brady Roberts at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q77CU8gtj8k Roberts was also featured in the second season of "World of Hurt," with Roddy Piper, and works for Tajiri's Smash Wrestling in Japan.
--Dave Prazak and K.C. Spinelli are on a podcast talking about the recent Shimmer tapings at http://ringbellesonline.com/2011/10/19/wow-podcast-29-with-kc-spinelli-da ve-prazak/