THURS. UPDATE: Overeem files suit, WWE/Penn State connection, MMA fighters found dead
We're looking for reports on today's Raw show in Glasgow, Scotland, Smackdown show in Zurich, Switzerland, as well as yesterday's Raw show in Nottingham, England and Smackdown show in Brussels, Belgium at
Friday has Raw in London at the O2 Arena and Smackdown in Gdansk, Poland. The tour finishes on Saturday with Raw in Minehead, England and Smackdown in Frankfurt, Germany, before the crew returns for a three-hour Raw featuring The Rock and Mick Foley from Boston on Monday.
Impact tonight at 9 p.m. on Spike
Crimson vs. Pope D'Angelo Dinero
Garrett Bischoff vs. Gunner
Jesse Sorensen vs. Zema Ion
Gail Kim & Madison Rayne vs. Velvet Sky & Mickie James for tag titles
Ronnie from Jersey Shore & Eric Young vs. Robbie E & Rob Terry
A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels
Abyss & Mr. Anderson & Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett & Bully Ray & Scott Steiner
Bobby Roode vs. James Storm for the TNA title
Bjorn Rebney of TNA will be guest commentator during the Styles vs. Daniels match. A lot of short matches as you can tell by so many matches.
Alex Riley vs. Michael McGillicutty
Justin Gabriel vs. Curt Hawkins
Daniel Bryan vs. William Regal
The record setting first weekend gross for WrestleMania is among the lead stories in the newest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which also has a detailed preview of Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos and why it's one of the biggest fights in UFC history, the business of UFC on network TV, and the biggest money events in UFC and WWE history.
We also have our updated quarterly look at WWE business, looking at the quarterly report in every aspect. We look at the ideas for the WWE Network, talk about the planned launch time, reactions from those in the company and how many employees and how much money will be spent between now and the end of the year to get the network going.
We look at 2011 financially for both UFC and WWE so far, Vince McMahon calls another network a failure, his goals for the network, what shows will likely be on the network and what shows won't. We look at the two different concepts for WWE on PPV going forward. We look at Vince's reaction when it was brought up that WWE had a buzz over the summer and seems to have lost it.
We also look at the movie business, where WWE revenue is coming from as far as different parts of the world, live event business, PPV business including a chart of all the PPV numbers for the first nine months of the past three years. We look at what the average house show is bringing in, both in ticket sales, ticket revenue and merchandise sales. We've got updated numbers on how WrestleMania did, how Money in the Bank did, as well as SummerSlam and Night of Champions. We look at the prospects for Survivor Series and Rock's return, what the return of HHH meant on PPV and what figures are misleading due to new contracts.
We also look at the home video business, the toy business, the video game business, magazine business and the contract with the USA Network.
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.
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We also have more on Vince McMahon, why Smackdown and Raw are different these days, a songwriter suing WWE, update on Shane McMahon, UFC in Madison Square Garden, WWE drug testing, update on Survivor Series, Brock Lesnar vs. Steve Austin, Vince McMahon donates to presidential campaign, update on Averno in WWE, update on Great Khali and a tweet that turns a champion into a job guy.
We also note GSP's favorite WWE wrestler, more complaints about a new star getting pushed, return of Kane, a 2012 program, WWE back in Japan, WWE developmental notes, WWE business notes from the past week in the U.K. and highlights of all the European events.
We also have full coverage of UFC 138, including details on the ratings, how much each match gained or lost viewers, and the fallout of Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz and the emergence of Renan Barao as a bantamweight star and potential title challenger, plus what finish is now in the UFC record books.
We also look at the Japanese New Year's tradition, Antonio Inoki's attempt to keep it going, his idea of a show and where the networks' heads are at right now.
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:
--Death of a wrestler who had a very controversial gimmick in the 70s, to the point even the wrestlers protested it
--Second generation masked Russian roulette
--Two more wrestlers using the same name feuding similar to the WWE's Sin Cara feud
--An indie show draws almost the same in an arena as WWE did for its TV taping in the same building a few weeks ago
--Lots of injury updates
--Explanation for turn of Octagon and La Parka in AAA
--Notes on the upcoming Dragon Gate USA tour
--All Japan goes to Taiwan
--Pro Wrestling NOAH's Global League tournament starts, early matches and standings
--A look at the finish of New Japan's G-1 tag team tournament
--Lineup for the next New Japan PPV show
--Update on the health issues of Barry Windham
--Former WWE headliner wants to go back to promotion and why it won't happen
--Two former WWE stars in training to do MMA and update on how both are doing
--A look at longtime wrestling announcer Dave Brown of Memphis
--What former WWF star vows never to fly again and wants to move out of the country
--Former WWF star autobiography finished
--The surprising note on the biggest pro wrestlers of all-time, and they are names you would have never heard of
--ROH's first house show in a market with television and how much did television help business
--Notes on ROH TV ratings
--A look at change in ROH business and the realities of trying to compete in modern times
--Plans going forward for ROH television
--A look at the ROH TV tapings and highlights of all the shows leading to this year's Final Battle including go-home angle
--How ROH handles house show after TV is taped but before TV is played
--A note on how one of the main events on the next ROH iPPV is likely to go
--Update on A.J. Styles and Turning Point
--Details of Kurt Angle's latest court case
--TNA going to be cross promoting with MMA far more going forward
--Notes on TNA doing business with international group
--More on the TNA/OVW deal
--Notes on Jeff Hardy's legal status
--Rap record featuring Ric Flair
--Notes on all the TNA house shows of the past week
--Update on UFC PPV numbers
--Lorenzo Fertitta talks UFC business
--Notes on Gina Carano's movie premiere
--Notes on the next season of Ultimate Fighter
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Talk about the revival of K-1
--90s pro wrestling group looks to revive as a shoot promotion
--Latest on Bobby Lashley in MMA
--Another PPV show announced for November
--Nate Marquardt returns to fighting in the U.K.
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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. For the rest of the world, rates are $15.50 for 4, $41 for 12, $78 for 24, $126 for 40 issues and $163 for
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.
--Alistair Overeem has sued his former management company, Golden Glory, in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming that they owe him $151,000 in back pay based on their deal where they would get his money, but then he'd get 65% of the pretax money, and claimed that they misled him in signing the deal and is looking to get out of the deal. Overeem has split with Golden Glory and now trains in Las Vegas at Xtreme Couture.
--Some TV notes for tomorrow. The UFC weigh-ins will be airing live on Fuel at 7 p.m. Eastern time, followed by the Countdown show at 8 p.m.
--Phil Mushnick is expected to do a piece in tomorrow's New York Post on comparison in the current Penn State situation with that of the WWF 20 years ago.
--While no surprise, UFC officially announced that the 12/30 Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem fight is for the No. 1 contender spot in the heavyweight division. The show will be at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and tickets go on sale for UFC newsletter subscribers today, and to the public tomorrow at www.ticketmaster.com
Tickets range from $800 down to $75. Donald Cerrone vs. Nate Diaz is being pushed as the No. 2 fight on the show.
--Chuck Langerman's pro wrestling trivia today is about one of the greatest man vs. man sports rivalries of the last 50 years, Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier. In the early and mid 70s, both Ali and Frazier lived in the Philadelphia area. Ali lived in Cherry Hill, NJ in a 10,000 square foot home. Frazier lived in Plymouth Township, PA in a house that had a swimming pool shaped like a boxing glove. Jacqui Frazier went to Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School and was a major high school basketball star, and is now a lawyer. She once boxed Laila Ali in what is still the most successful PPV show ever headlined by a woman's bout.
--Two MMA fighters in Georgia were both found dead last night in Marietta, GA. Wilbur South, 28, who fights at Wild Bill's under the name Sonny South, was found dead with his girlfriend, Mary Ellen Cano, 32. No other details have been released. A story is at http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/couple-found-dead-inside-1221653.html
(thanks to Daren Husband)
--Sad to report the death of U.K. wrestler Danny "Oxman" Robinson, who passed away at the age of 33 from liver cancer. His funeral was held today in Sutton Coldfield, UK. (thanks to Lawan Hawizy)
--Will Saturday's UFC show create a new fan base of PPV buyers if the show is good?
Yes, considerable occasional buyers for big fights 33.4%
Yes, a small amount of occasional buyers 27.4%
Won't make a difference long-term 24.3%
Yes, will create a small amount of regular buyers 10.1%
Yes, will create a considerable number of regular buyers 4.7%
--Will Rock vs. John Cena set the all-time pro wrestling PPV record?
--Who would draw bigger numbers against Steve Austin in a singles match at Mania?
Brock Lesnar 68.2%
C.M. Punk 16.5%
Mind-boggling if you think about it.
--WWE is sending Hornswoggle to The Muppets movie premiere and will be doing a video feature on it.
--Felice Herrig, a former kickboxing champion, faces Carla Esparza, a female wrestler from Atherton, CA, face off on the 12/2 XFC show from Tampa, which airs on HDNet and will be the co-main event of the show.
--Spartan Fighting Championships tomorrow night from Ashland, KY headlined by Joe Blanchard vs. Dom Steele will be one of a number if GoFightLive.tv iPPVs this weekend. They also have a Saturday night at 7 p.m. show from Lowell, MA headlined by Rich Clementi vs. Ronnie Rogers, a free MMA show at 3 p.m. from the Rahway Rec Center in Rahway, NJ and a free show at 8 p.m. from Fresno, CA.
--They also have a CHIKARA show at 4 p.m. Eastern on Sunday and Impact Zone Wrestling show at 8 p.m. Saturday, the latter of which is free.
--Clay Guida talks his fight with Ben Henderson and what it would take to get him to accept a hair vs. hair match (which Henderson wanted) at http://bit.luy/vsGCEE
--Regarding Ted DiBiase Jr. and being on the U.S. national soccer team, that was quite the stretch. DiBiase Jr. was a good youth soccer player, but younger brother Brett DiBiase was a better player tha he was and the national team never considered him either.
--UFC is bringing Brittney Palmer back as a ring girl. Yesterday Dana White on his twitter account did a poll asking if he should bring her back. Well, you can imagine the response. At the end of the day, he said the people decided and she's back. As if. And here I thought she was never gone, and just wasn't appearing at the shows because she was attending art school. Next thing you know they'll be telling us that all the UFC fighters after the show do nothing but play video games over and over enough to where ESPN will report such a thing.
--3XW on 11/25 in Des Moines at the Barratta's Forte Grand Ballroom headlined by Mark Sterling vs. Jeremy Wyatt and featuring Arik Cannon, Mike Sydal, Devin Carter and more.
--Gunner from TNA headlines for GXW on Saturday night in Richmond, VA at Club Aurora.
--UCW on Saturday night in Cave City, KY at Caverna High School is headlined by Brian Christopher vs. Wolfie D, plus Doug Vines, the ICW wrestler from the early 80s appears.
--Crossfire Entertainment runs the Nashville Fairgrounds Arena on 1/14 featuring appearances by Mick Foley and Maria Kanellis, plus Chris Masters vs Carlito, Rhino vs. Hammerjack, plus Cassidy Riley, Kid Kash, Jerry Lynn, David Young and Brian Christopher.
--New York Wrestling Connection on Saturday night in Deer Park, NY at the Sportatorium
--Future Stars of Wrestling in Las Vegas and Elite Xtreme Wrestling from Phoenix have merged and will use the name Future Stars of Wrestling in both cities. They will have the same storylines and rosters, but run a Las Vegas television show and a Phoenix television show. Names that will be appearing are Val Venis, Johnny the Bull, Chuck Palumbo, Kenny King, Michael Modest, Roderick Strong, Brandon Gatson, T.J. Perkins and more.
--Great Sasuke was announced for the 1/27 to 1/29 WrestleReunion in Los Angeles. An update from yesterday. Maryse will not be wrestling on the show that weekend, but would appear on the show.
--CNWA on 11/26 in Red Deer, Alberta at the Red Deer College Main Gym.
--Pro Wrestling Blitz from Saturday night in Joliet, IL: Tony Rican b A.J. Smooth, Bobby Ryte b White Russian, Robert Anthony & Dysfunction & Machine b Tony Scarpone & Brandon Blaze & Willa da Bomb, Gilbert Lewis b Justin Dredd-DQ, Gringo Loco b Herroes, Rikishi & Mike Horning & Hardcore Craig b Ryan Slade & Matty Starr & Ashton Vuitton (thanks to Steve Stone)