THURS. UPDATE: Ultimate Fighter, Former WWE/TNA wrestler released from jail, Ross, Angle update
TNA starts its Northern California swing with house shows tonight at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco, best known as the home of Bay Bombers Roller Derby, and will be running at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium tomorrow night. The Saturday night show scheduled for Reno was canceled due to a poor advance. Matches on this tour are Bobby Roode vs. Samoa Joe, RVD vs. Christopher Daniels, Gail Kim vs. Tara, Eric Young vs. Robbie E and Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray.
Tonight's Impact on Spike
Rob Van Dam vs. Christopher Daniels
Tara vs Gail Kim
Eric Young vs. Robbie E in a non-title match
Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray
Bobby Roode vs. Samoa Joe in the No. 1 contenders match
The main event segment this week is built around Eric Bischoff and son Garrett, who debuted as a wrestler at last night's tapings and looks to be getting a big babyface push. The show was mainly to push next week's show and the Roode vs. James Storm TNA title match that was taped last night.
The return of The Rock at Survivor Series is the subject of the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The issue is up on the site today, and a back issue was put on the site yesterday. In addition, our most talked about issue of the year, the Hall of Fame issue is available on the site for web site subscribers, and you can still get the issue with a new print subscription if requested.
We also have a look at the Viacom purchase of Bellator and what it means for U.S. MMA going forward, as well as notes on two different sets of the leading wrestling companies in the world this past week in discussions to further working agreements and why.
Our lead story talks about the angle setting up Rock & John Cena vs. The Miz & R-Truth. We look at how tickets moved for Survivor Series when Rock was announced, as well as what the scalper situation of ticket sales based on anticipating huge demand. We also look at the unique effect the return of Rock has on the popularity of John Cena and why. We look at the match itself, whether Miz & R-Truth are the right opponents, notes on HHH vs. Kevin Nash, thoughts on the HHH angle, title matches and more.
We also look at the Vengeance PPV, including major notes on the show, thoughts on the creative, business notes and match-by-match coverage with star ratings.
We also look at the business of WrestleMania this past year, the value to a city, comparisons with the Super Bowl and Final Four, comparisons to UFC in Toronto and other UFC events, and a breakdown of who bought tickets to WrestleMania and from where. We also note why John Cena gets a different reaction based on different types of shows.
We've got notes on WrestleMania tickets, an update on Gerald Brisco, WWE fires announcer and tries to reprise Michael Cole character into Spanish, updates on the plans for the WWE Network, new positions WWE is looking to hire, a WWE policy change that was changed again bringing comedy to the commentary, Mick Foley's return, former WWE wrestler says he's going into MMA in 2012, update on Batista, lots of names having tryouts for WWE positions last week and why. We also look at the company's feeling on twitter, Heath Slater talks his suspension, Raw Canada numbers as well as what percentage of Raw viewers watch live and not live. We also look at the return of a wrestler that looks to be fairly soon with a new name, Legends roundtable shows filmed, WWE wrestlers working non-WWE stars, and the son of a wrestling legend doing a tryout camp. We also look at post-Christmas WWE lineups including a non-wrestler booked for an angle which at this point hasn't taken place. Plus we've got notes from the lone weekend house show and business notes.
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 Bellator purchase by Viacom and what that means to the company going forward. We look at the plans for 2013, why this is going to take so long to develop, how this changes thing for Bellator and comparisons made between Bellator and TNA.
We also look at ads aimed at major professionals by both UFC and WWE, what they claim, what is and isn't accurate about claims, the breakdown of who actually watches UFC and WWE on television and more.
We also have a look at All Japan's last major show of the year at Sumo Hall. We look at Jun Akiyama winning the Triple Crown, his background, why historically that result is significant, All Japan plans going forward, and where its business stands.
We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week. We also have a breakdown of Raw and Impact and what segments gained and lost viewers so you can see what segments and personalities people tune in and out from.
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:
--Trying to promote a major wrestling group when the TV is preempted
--Father of a wresting family passes away
--Update on Jushin Liger in Mexico
--Star quits CMLL
--Davey Richards defends the ROH title in Mexico
--Legendary brother team faces former WWE stars
--Updated ratings from Mexico
--Upcoming major shows
--Two reality show ideas that are being talked about in wrestling, one to have a star become the person playing a former top star and another based on Tough Enough
--Update on Dragon Gate USA's next tour
--More on the change in the hierarchy at Pro Wrestling NOAH
--How much money did one of the biggest shows of the year raise for charity
--Thoughts on New Japan's last major show
--Update on the New Japan annual tag team tournament
--Crazy Antonio Inoki statement
--Daughter of wrestling legend and her last Olympic dream
--One night revival of one of the 90s most popular wrestling companies with old stars coming back
--Update on Killer Karl Kox
--Two wrestling shows look to be on their last legs
--More on the ESPN story on Scott Hall
--Update on Travis Tomko after his arrest
--Thoughts on the AWE PPV show
--What former star gets the most money for doing personal appearances nowadays
--Jury convicts several in the murder death of a wrestler a few years back and the sick plot described
--Former pro wrestler says he's going back to amateur this year for Canadian Olympic trials
--More notes on Curtis Iaukea in Australia and the heyday of WCW
--Former Tough Enough personality turns down $50,000 to appear on a reality show and why
--Update on Bruno Sammartino movie
--Several wrestlers talking about doing autobiographies
--Notes on Memphis Heat, the DVD
--A famous wrestler cited in a song
--Wrestler and MMA star together in a movie
--A look at a reunion of wrestles from the Gulas territory
--Story behind a former indie wrestler killed by New York police in a fight
--A lot of where are they nows with 80s and 90s wrestlers
--Notes on the return to the ring of Nigel McGuinness
--Thoughts on ROH booking and the good and bad of the television show
--Lots of new ROH shows
--The push of Garrett Bischoff
--Eric Bischoff behind a new non-wrestling television show for Nick at Nite
--Update on Kurt Angle injuries
--More on latest TNA Jersey Shore angle
--Notes on next TNA PPV show
--Gail Kim talks about her departure from WWE
--Update on Georges St. Pierre's injuries
--More on UFC losses for GSP not fighting
--Notes on UFC going back into theaters for 3-D shows
--Why UFC PPV buyers say they aren't buying recent shows
--Ticket sales for all the upcoming UFC shows
--Update on Feb. 25 UFC plans
--Note on movie "The Hammer" about the life of UFC star Matt Hamill
--UFC donating money to a presidential candidate
--Kenny Florian talks his future
--UFC foes mobilize and jump on former statements
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Notes on the last Bellator show and the bantamweight tournament
--Boxing PPV numbers
--Harrowing weight cutting story
--Bobby Lashley's next MMA fight
--Former MMA names arrested this past week
--Notes on major indie MMA shows with name fighters
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.
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We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more
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.
--We didn't get to talk about it last night, but the episode of Ultimate Fighter is worth going out of your way to see. Michael Bisping was just awesome as a heel, particularly when Ryan Parsons went up to him and said about how now he can see why he's the most hated guy in UFC and Bisping threw in his face how he makes so much more money than he does. Mayhem Miller has done a tremendous job as coach coming off as the babyface, with his guys mostly whipping on Bisping (winning five of seven so far) yet Bisping gloats and acts like they are teaching Miller's team a lesson. Some very good fighters as well, a very impressive featherweight win by Diego Brandao, who didn't listen to his corner and came out like a wild man finishing Steven Seiler, as well as tiny John Dodson beating John Albert. Dodson is very small even as a bantamweight but thus far has run through people.
--Tyson Tomko was released from jail last week and is checking himself in to rehab after his arrest for stealing Oxycodone pills from a CVS Pharmacy. Besides his drug addiction problems, Tomko is facing severe financial problems.
--Jim Ross tweeted that he will be in Atlanta on Monday. As if there was any doubt since that was the main thing promoted for the show, a Ross vs. Michael Cole challenge.
--Some WWE U.K. appearances:
11/5 in Manchester at The Entertainer Toy Store: Alberto Del Rio & Ricardo Rodriguez at 4 p.m.
11/6 in Sheffield at Smythe Toys: Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne at 3 p.m.
11/7 in Birmingham at Smythe Toys: Big Show at 3:30 p.m.
11/8 in Newcastle at Smythe Toys: Santino Marella and Kelly Kelly at 4 p.m
11/9 in Nottingham at HMV: C.M. Punk at 3 p.m.
11/10 in Glasgow at A1 Comics: The Miz & R-Truth at 4 p.m.
Advice is to get there early because all the talent is on a short time limit and they are only going to sign for the first 300 to 400, depending on the location, people who arrive.
--Kurt Angle wasn't at the TNA tapings last night and won't be at the house shows this weekend due to his hamstring injury.
--The Real Rocky ESPN show that aired on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. about Chuck Wepner, which featured a short interview with Vince McMahon and clips of the Wepner vs. Andre the Giant match from 1976, did a 1.19 rating in the metered markets. That is considered a very good number for that show.
--The Young Bucks vs. Briscoe Brothers has been added to the 11/19 ROH show in Chicago.
--Awesome Wrestling Entertainment, that did the PPV a few weeks back, sent out a release announcing they had signed Perry Saturn to a deal. They did an angle on TV where "promoter" Rick Garrison was scouting Saturn's match to see if he should be offered a contract.
--The NWA announced they were inducting Pat O'Connor, world champion from 1959 to 1961, into their Hall of Fame. O'Connor was considered an elite in-ring performer and one of the sports biggest stars in the 50s and into the early 60s, and remained a name star high on the cards in St. Louis until his retirement in the early 80s.
--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia talks about the XFL. While Vince McMahon's league was a one-season failure, the XFL did innovate the use of the Skycam during the 2001 season, the camera suspended above the field of play and enable viewers to see behind the offensive unit. The Skycam is now used on all NFL broadcasts.
--Kemper Arena in Kansas City, the site of probably the single worst in-ring incident in modern wrestling history, the death of Owen Hart in 1999, may be torn down and replaced with a 5,000 agricultural center built for rodeos and horse shows. R. Crosby Kemper Jr., whose father was who the arena was named after, said he'd be nostalgic about the arena being torn down but is behind it. Right now it's just a proposal and they would need to raise about $55 million to do so. The arena loses about $1 million per year because ever since the Sprint Center opened, all the major events in the city go there.
--Who do you think wins this fight
Matt Mitrione 64.8%
Cheick Kongo 35.2%
--What do you think about Bellator moving to Spike TV
Good for the sport as the No. 2 group gets more exposure 63.0%
Doesn't matter because they can't make on a Spike level network 20.4%
Good because talent now has more options 14.3%
Bad because talent now has more options 2.3%
--Poll on Countdown to UFC 137
63.3% of those responding didn't see the show
--Poll on Raw from Monday
19.7% of those responding didn't see the show
--CHIKARA Pro on Sunday in Williamsport, PA at the Campbell Street Center has Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano vs. Dasher Hatfield & Sugar Dunkerton, Sara Del Rey vs. Tursas, Eddie Kingston vs. Eddie Edwards and UltraMantis Black & Hallowicked vs. Delirious & Jakob Hammermeier.
--Ric Flair will be appearing on Saturday at the Panama Beach Raceway in Fountain, FL as the honorary race chairman.
--There was some drama today regarding the main event of the Pro Elite show on 11/5 in Moline. The Illinois Athletic Commission at first today turned down the main event of Tim Sylvia vs Andreas Karaniotakes (a replacement for the injured Pedro Rizzo) because of a lack of a sanctioned record. Karaniotakes has a 12-4 record that is confirmed, but since they were fights outside the U.S. not under commission auspices, he didn't have a record in "sanctioned" fights. But all was worked out and the match is still on.
--Pro Elite also announced today two new matches for its undiscovered talent heavyweight tournament, with Ed Carpenter (who hopefully won't be demonstrating the cannonball) vs. Jake Heun, a former University of Hawaii linebacker and running back; and Richard Odoms vs. Rodney Housley. Odoms is coming off a win over former TUF fighter Darrill Schoonover.
--WAR runs 11/16 in Lima, OH at the UAW Hall. A $10 donation to the West Ohio Food Bank will get you front row and a $5 donation will get you G.A. seating. You can also bring three canned goods to the door and get admission.
--On this week's episode of "Psych" on USA, Shawn & Gus, the main characters, were trying out new nicknames. One of the ones they used was Necro Butcher. They made several wrestling references a James Roday, one of the stars of the show, is a wrestling fan (thanks to Adam Lash)
--XFC announced its next live show on HDNet for 12/2 in Tampa at the St. Petersburg Times Forum featuring Eric Reynolds (13-5, formerly of Bellator) vs. Jonatas Novaes (9-3) as a headline fight.
--My Life, My Power, Daniel Puder's anti-bullying charity, is hosting a concert on 11/3 at the Good Hurt Night Club in Los Angeles featuring local rock bands.
--WWE planted a story where Hornswoggle is all excited about The Muppets coming to Raw on Monday showing he's gotten five temporary Muppets tattoos on his body to tmz.com
--UWC Championship Wrestling on Saturday night in Westampton, NJ at the Westampton Middle School with a 6:30 p.m. start time.
--Caryn Mower, who had a short run in WWE as Stephanie McMahon's personal fitness trainer (you can probably figure why that got dropped quickly) is now working as a stunt woman for the ABC series "Good Christian Belles."