THURS. UPDATE: WWE business synopsis, PPV numbers, New Year's Eve show, New PPV announced for Nov.
We're looking for reports on today's Raw show in Nantes France, today's Smackdown show in Bilbao, Spain, tonight's TNA show in Mount Pleasant, MI and last night's Raw show in Dublin, Ireland at
The WWE European tour continues tomorrow with a Raw show in Amneville, France and Smackdown will be in Graz, Austria. Saturday has Raw in Manchester, England and Smackdown in Vienna, Austria.
TNA runs on Friday night in Battle Creek, MI, Saturday night in Toledo and Sunday in Windsor, ONT.
Impact tonight at 9 p.m. on Spike
Tara & Brooke Tessmacher vs. Gail Kim & Madison Rayne for Knockouts tag title
Austin Aries vs. Jesse Sorensen in a non-title match
Jeff Hardy & Mr. Anderson vs. Bully Ray & Jeff Jarrett
James Storm vs. Bobby Roode for the TNA title
Ronnie from Jersey Shore is on the show which was taped last Wednesday in Macon, GA.
The latest on Nick Diaz, Georges St. Pierre, Dana White and the aftermath of UFC 137 and build to the Super Bowl Saturday show headlines the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. We also have features on and health updates on Barry Windham and Jacques Rougeau and notes on Windham's career, full coverage of UFC 137 and a historical look at the first generation of UFC fighters who at one point or another crossed over into pro wrestling.
The issue is available today on the web site, as is a back issue from 1994 as part of ten issues of the Observer and Figure Four available to web site subscribers. We also have the Observer as a print newsletter available with details below.
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 look at how Dana White hyped the GSP vs. Diaz match, lots of comments from Diaz, retirements of B.J. Penn and Mirko Cro Cop and what happened next, contract talks, early buy rate and business info, how much all the fighters got paid on the show, poll results and repercussions. We also look at the ramifications of the show.
We look at the career of Barry Windham, his heyday, the second part of his career and his two most famous matches with Ric Flair as well the story behind his near miss of winning the world title for the first time.
We also have notes on Evan Bourne's drug test failure and the bigger picture message, as well as the tag team title.
We also have an update on the Strikeforce brand and negotiations between UFC and Showtime, and what types of things have been talked about.
We have a feature looking back at the stars of the early years of the UFC and those who either came from or went into pro wrestling from that era, from the ones you would know like Tank Abbott, Ken Shamrock and Don Frye, to those you may not know about.
We also have early notes on the WWE 12 video game, the story behind the release of Maryse and background on the Diva Search where she got her deal, what angle seemed to destroy her upward momentum and more. We also look at what there was unhappiness about at Raw this week, as well as a look at Raw and Smackdown on social media. We've got more on Mick Foley's return, the European tour, update ont he WWE Network, September business notes when it comes to DVD sales, web visitors and merchandise, PPV locations for 2012 and more on the Ross vs. Cole program. We also look at a wrestler who hasn't been on TV much of late after a quick push and a Fit Finlay WWE update.
We also have the first buy rate estimates for WWE Night of Champions headlined by C.M. Punk vs. HHH, how it compares with last year and if this is good or not.
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 look at the affect of The Rock, The Muppets, Halloween and the World Series on the shows over 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:
--The weekly Friday night show at Arena Mexico sets a new standard and it isn't good
--What is the main reason for the disastrous attendance
--Notes on the 35th annual Real World Tag League participants
--All Japan heads to Taiwan
--New Japan team defends NOAH titles
--Death of a U.K. celebrity who was once a pro wrestler
--Update on Killer Karl Kox
--Update on Travis Tomko
--Update on MVP
--Shocking allegation by messed up former WWE star
--Son of famous wrestling star talks going into the business
--Update on TNA Turning Point PPV lineup
--Spike talks about sending Impact on the road
--Notes on how the Bobby Roode vs. James Storm angle played out
--Notes on the wrestling debut of Garrett Bischoff and Ronnie from Jersey Shore
--More Hogan business projects
--Notes from the weekend TNA house shows
--Notes from the next two weeks of Impact television
--How they changed the title and injury angles
--Update on the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix finals
--Who is likely most affected by whether or not Showtime renews with Zuffa
--First international season of Ultimate Fighter
--Countdown to Dos Santos vs. Velasquez
--Lots of new UFC matches made over the past week
--Changing weight classes
--Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen update
--Next UFC show
--Ultimate Fighter update
--New UFC announcer
--Additions to the Lesnar vs. Overeem show
--UFC twitter bonus report
--Plans for Bellator on Spike
--What changes are being talked about
--Where Viacom is expected to put money into
--Notes on the last and next Bellator show
--Mayweather vs. Ortiz buy rate info
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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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.
--WWE announced its third quarter earnings today. We'll have a complete rundown on the business in next week's Observer. The major notes are that they took in $108.5 million for the quarter and profits were $10.6 million. That covers the quarterly dividend, which until they dropped the dividend they haven't been able to do. Most individual sectors were down. Live shows were even. PPV was up, but that's only because of late buys from WrestleMania, otherwise it's a slight drop even with the Money In the Bank show beating last year. Night of Champions was refigured at 161,000 buys, which given it was HHH's first match back and he and C.M. Punk did great promos building it, that has to be a disappointment as it was the second lowest of the year.
For a synopsis, the movie business is doing terrible as they lost $5.1 million this quarter alone. House shows were roughly the same, slightly down in per show average. Merchandise was down slightly. Home video, which shipped less units, is actually up because sell through rates were better. Toy sales were way down. A big plus was the WWE All-Stars video game, which didn't have a comparable product last year.
For comparison, the same quarter last year did $109.6 million in revenue and $14.3 million in profits.
Vince McMahon, who is usually pretty honest about things, said creative was doing great even and there is a big buzz on the company when someone said it appeared creative was good around Money in the Bank and has fallen flat since then.
Most of the talk was about the new WWE network. The company will be spending tons between now and the end of the year as start-up costs.
--Antonio Inoki and Keiichi Sasahara announced earlier today that they will be doing a New Year's Eve show at the Saitama Super Arena. They did not announce a TV deal for the show. They announced it will be a 20-match show that will include MMA, kickboxing, pro wrestling and women's fighting and run from 3 p.m. to midnight.
--We're looking for someone in the U.K. who can cover UFC 138 live for the site.
--John McCarthy is "99% sure" to be referee of the Velasquez vs. Dos Santos fight.
--Even though nobody is talking about it, Saturday night's UFC 138 in Birmingham, England headlined by Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz is already the largest grossing event in the history of the L.G. Arena.
--M-1 Global has announced a live PPV on 11/20 from Moscow, Russia with the Fedor Emelianenko vs. Jeff Monson fight. It's going to do huge business as it's airing at 7:30 a.m. Eastern and 4:30 a.m. Pacific time for a price of $29.95. The rest of the card has Jose Figeuroa vs. Daniel Weichel, Aleksander Yakoviev vs. Juan Manual Suarez, Mairbek Taisumov vs. Josh Thorpe and Arthur Gusinov vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokam.
--Superstar Billy Graham had to cancel an autograph appearance this weekend in New York when his liver doctor told him he could not risk flying.
--Ultimate Fighter last night did a 1.1 rating. The Velasquez vs. Dos Santos show on Sunday on FOX after football did a 1.3 rating, which is tons higher than Countdown shows on Spike have done (they usually do 0.3 to 0.4).
--Impact debuts in Belgium on CLUB RTL on 11/14 in a Monday night at 10 p.m. time slot. They will be pushing a house show on 1/24 in Brussels. Mr. Anderson does a promo for that market at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYyHNYglUe
--Markus Gronemann has ten tickets to give away for the upcoming WWE house show in Vienna, Austria. For info you can e-mail
--John McCarthy will be going on a trip to Hawaii with the winner of a contest that is raising money for prostate cancer research. For more info to go www.mmaadventure.com
--HHH, Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio. Sgt. Slaughter and Jimmy Hart are headed to Miami for promotion for the on sale for WrestleMania. Tickets are already on sale through the Internet and I'd advise getting them now. Info on the password is on the front page.
--Mick Foley hinted at going to WWE events on his days off during his comedy tour of the U.K. He is off on Monday when Raw is being taped in Liverpool. Foley returned to WWE yesterday in Dublin as the referee of a John Cena & John Morrison vs. Miz & R-Truth match.
--Maryland Championship Wrestling is doing a bull roast on 11/12 at the Heritage Parkville Gardens from 7 PM. to midnight with a DJ, a silent auction and admission is a donation of $35 in advance or $40 at the door.
--The Urban Wrestling Federation's Street King PPV will debut on 11/6 at 8 p.m. Eastern time. Homicide vs. Ricky Reyes vs. Rasche Brown vs. Bestia for the title headlines the show. It will be replayed numerous times throughout November.
--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia has to do with Larry Zbyszko, who at one point held the U.S. gate record for pro wrestling for his 1980 match with Bruno Sammartino at Shea Stadium which was the first show to top $500,000. Real name Larry Whistler, he graduated in 1969 from North Allegheny High School outside of Pittsburgh. He was 15-1-1 his senior year in wrestling and was going to Penn State for wrestling, but dropped out quickly to become a pro wrestler as Sammartino's protege, which led to big business when he turned heel on Sammartino. An interesting trivia note is that Vince McMahon Sr. was dead set against the feud, believing Zbyszko couldn't draw on top, but it ended up being the most lucrative feud he ever promoted. Another interesting note is that in 1969, when he went to Penn State, the football coach was Joe Paterno. In 2011, the football coach is still 84-year-old Joe Paterno.
--We've actually got a double dose as Eric Bischoff went to high school in Penn Hills, PA, from 1968-1971, before his family moved to Minneapolis. Probably the most famous graduate of the school was Bill Fralic, a former Atlanta Falcons football player who was a participant in a Battle Royal at WrestleMania II and would have been a great pro wrestler (he was a big fan, had everything going for him) had he so chosen. Fralic at one point dated Missy Hyatt, who Bischoff is not particularly fond of.
--Best NWA champion
Ric Flair 40.9%
Lou Thesz 28.5%
Harley Race 11.5%
Terry Funk 5.9%
Jack Brisco 4.6%
Dory Funk Jr. 2.8%
Buddy Rogers 1.5%
Dusty Rhodes 1.3%
Pat O'Connor 1.1%
Gene Kiniski 1.1%
Dick Hutton 0.7%
Whipper Watson 0.2%
Best WWF champion in the early period
Bruno Sammartino 49.5%
Hulk Hogan 18.4%
Randy Savage 13.4%
Bob Backlund 6.6%
Buddy Rogers 3.8%
Ultimate Warrior 3.0%
Superstar Graham 2.8%
Pedro Morales 1.6%
Sgt. Slaughter 0.8%
--What building housed the most great wrestling matches?
Madison Square Garden 34.1%
Budokan Hall 15.6%
Korakuen Hall 12.6%
Tokyo Dome 9.8%
Kiel Auditorium 7.2%
Mid South Coliseum 6.8%
Arena Mexico 3.6%
Maple Leaf Gardens 3.0%
Cow Palace 2.8%
Fort Homer Hesterly Armory 1.8%
Sam Houston Coliseum 1.4%
Tokyo Sumo Hall 1.2%
Have to say No. 1 here is almost mind blowing. Not a surprise at all, but still almost mind blowing.
--Greatest U.S. champion of all-time
Ric Flair 45.9%
The Sheik 15.4%
Ray Stevens 14.1%
Wahoo McDaniel 11.6%
Verne Gagne 6.5%
Pat Patterson 6.5%
--Friday night in Tijuana at the Auditorio has El Hijo del Santo & Latin Lover vs. El Hijo del Solitario & Marco Corleone in the main event.
--ONE HD in Australia airs Velasquez vs. Dos Santos on 11/13 at Noon and replays it at 8:30 p.m. (thanks to Tim Forge)
--Championship Wrestling Overload on 11/12 in Miledgeville, GA at the Centennial Center.
--Christopher Daniels appears on ESPN 1420 KKEA in Honolulu at 8:05 p.m. Eastern time tonight at http://www.espn1420am.com
Daniels will be appearing for Action Zone Wrestling on 11/21 at the FitCom Center in Waipahu, Hawaii.
--WWC on 11/12 in Aberdeen, OH at the Municipal Building.
--Meiko Satomura, who at one point was the best woman wrestler in the world, is doing a seminar for $120 on 12/2 in Philadelphia in conjunction with her appearance with CHIKARA Pro. Promoters of four different Japanese promotions that run women's wrestling, Oz Academy, Pro Wrestling Wave, JWP and Sendai Girls, will be there to scout. For more info go to
--NWA Rampage Pro Wrestling on 11/6 in Warner-Robins, GA at the Johnny G's with a TLC match
--IWC runs Saturday night in Clearfied, PA at the Clearfield County Fairgrounds with John McChesney vs. Jimmy DeMarco for the IWC title as the main event. They also run Night of Superstars on 11/19 in Meadville, PA at the High School gym featuring Mick Foley as a guest, plus Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Shiima Xion, Gail Kim vs. Traci Brooks, Carlito, John McChesney and Jimmy DeMarco.
--TIWF on Saturday night in Trenton TN