SAT. UPDATE: UFC loses another main, WWE main for weekend, Lots of WWE cuts, WWE defends itself



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        We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's UFC 143, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
 
        We're also looking for reports on tonight's Raw show in Wichita, Smackdown from Spokane, TNA in Concord, NC (Jeff Hardy & James Storm vs. Bobby Roode & Kurt Angle), and ROH TV taping in Baltimore (Davey Richards vs. Jay Lethal for the ROH title, Kyle O'Reilly vs. Michael Elgin, Mike Bennett vs. T.J. Perkins, Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. Young Bucks) as well as last night's Raw show in Topeka and TNA show in Florence, SC.
 
        For tonight's show:
 
FACEBOOK FIGHTS AT 7 P.M.
Stephen Thompson (171) vs. Dan Stittgen (170)
Michael Kuiper (183) vs. Rafael Natal (186)
 
LIVE ON FX AT 8 P.M.
Henry Martinez (169) vs. Matthew Riddle (170)
Chris Cope (171) vs. Matt Brown (171)
Edwin Figueroa (135) vs. Alex Caceres (136)
Max Holloway (144) vs. Dustin Poirier (146)
 
PPV AT 10 P.M.
Clifford Starks (185) vs. Ed Herman (185)
Scott Jorgensen (135) vs. Renan Barao (136)
Mike Pierce (170) vs. Josh Koscheck (170)
Fabricio Werdum (246) vs. Roy Nelson (246)
Carlos Condit (169) vs. Nick Diaz (169) for UFC interim welterweight title
 
        Fuel airs the three Condit vs. Diaz prime time shows from 5 to 6:30 p.m.  Part two was excellent and part three also was excellent, particularly when they asked Nick Diaz who was going to win the Super Bowl.  Part three also airs at 6 p.m. today on FX.  Fuel will also have a post-game show at 1 a.m. tonight with interviews with the fighters.
 
        Sunday has Raw from Wichita Falls, TX and Smackdown from Salt Lake City.  They always told me never to book Salt Lake City on a Sunday.  The shows will be in the afternoon as WWE is not going to buck the Super Bowl. 
 
        Monday has Raw in Oklahoma City.
 
        Smackdown and NXT are taped on Tuesday in Tulsa.
 
        A note that if you order a new print or web site subscription to the Observer this week you will get one of our biggest issues of the year, the 2011 awards double-issue.
 
        The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
        The annual Royal Rumble issue of the Wrestling Observer is out this week, with coverage not only of the Rumble but of the UFC on FOX, with notes on what both shows meant in the big picture going forward, an update on the direction of both companies coming out of two of what will be the biggest and most important shows of the year.
 
        We look at the surprise element of the Rumble, the Elimination Chamber direction, poll results from both shows, star ratings for the wrestling show and the Mania direction.  We also have a chart on the Royal Rumble scorecard, how long everyone was in, all the eliminations, order in and out, etc.
 
        We also have a look at the sale of New Japan Pro Wrestling to Bushiroad.  We look at the particulars of the sale, surprises about it, reaction of the top wrestlers, who knew ahead of time, the new owner talks about his plans and his own background as a wrestling fan and running wrestling shows.  We look at the pro wrestling scene in Japan including notes on the historical highs and lows of New Japan, the type of money the top stars are making now as compared to the past and more.
 
        We also look at the UFC's second prime time show on FOX, what was good, what was bad, the fights, the Chael Sonnen interview, the build for the future, poll on who won between Sonnen vs. Bisping.  We look at the ratings, what they mean, how they compared with the first show, what the big differences were and the five most watched fights in U.S. television history when it comes to MMA.  We also look at how the competition of airing UFC against the special worked for Spike, and other business notes on the show.
 
        We also have match-by-match coverage.
 
        We also have an update on Dana White vs. The Hackers, a strange story as well as arguments regarding live streaming of WWE & UFC events.
 
        We also look at why WWE isn't panicking about the hackers, 2013 WrestleMania talk, notes on Rock's schedule for Raw leading up to Mania as well as promotional work, and the 1000th episode of Raw coming.
 
        We also have more on the WWE Network, as well as on a new WWE Senior Vice President, another 2012 PPV change, and lots of notes about Chael Sonnen, C.M. Punk and the show in Chicago.  We also have notes on the WWE's youtube channel, Mike Tyson in the Hall of Fame, an idea talked about for Mania, the anniversary of the origin of the WWE title and an update on the Legends House show.
 
        We also look at a former PPV main eventer who is interested in returning and why it's unlikely to happen, more on Mark Henry's injury, lots of business notes when it comes to web traffic, DVD sales and the Christmas merchandise season and how it did compared to last year.
 
        We also have notes on Zack Ryder's new-found success, an update on a former world champion and his life after wrestling, David Otunga going back to legal work, Mick Foley talks about potential in-ring and the lone weekend house show and business notes on it.
 
        We've also got coverage of the Dragon Gate USA iPPV show.
 
        We also have a look at the numbers of the WWE's TLC PPV with the company releasing first estimates this week, as well as a look at how UFC 142 looks to be doing based on early estimates.
  
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        We also have a look at TNA's tour of the U.K., and Hulk Hogan's media.
 
        Plus we've got the most detailed look at Ring Ka King, the new promotion in India, including notes on the first weekend of television and how the final episode of the season ends with a match involving famous athletes from both India and Japan.
 
        We also have notes on the next few weeks of Impact programming and how Against All Odds gets built.
 
        We also have notes on a federal investigation of the UFC, the sale to Strikeforce, the real money figures of the sale and what was ruled.  
 
        We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week.  We also have how every segment on Raw and Impact did as far as gaining and losing viewers, as well as who did what in the key segments and who appeals to what.  

        We also have our regular weekly features with results of all the major arena events around the world, as well as all the major TV show
reviews.   
 
         Also in this week's issue:
 
--Major attitude change in major company now looking at raiding big stars to rebuild
 
--Shocker talks about why he's been out of action
 
--One of the best wrestlers in the world is announced as coming to CMLL
 
--Update on business at Arena Mexico
 
--Annual King of Flyers match
 
--Plans for Jeff Jarrett's return to Mexico as AAA champion
 
--Latest New Japan vs. All Japan angle news
 
--New Japan opens tour and starts building the next PPV show
 
--Lineup for New Japan's next PPV show
 
--Pro wrestling world champion has MMA fight in a few weeks
 
--Disgraced former well known athlete faces Bob Sapp in a few weeks
 
--Two Hall of Famers battle for the first time ever
 
--A look at the WrestleReunion convention in Los Angeles
 
--More notes on Mike Tyson and Superstar Billy Graham meeting
 
--What Tyson remembers about pro wrestling
 
--Tyson appears at pro wrestling show
 
--Who was in this year's legends Battle Royal
 
--PWG has its biggest event of the year with many Dragon Gate stars
 
--Celebration of the Los Angeles territory
 
--Verne Gagne gets publicity as a Minneapolis theater has special showings of "The Wrestler" movie from 1974
 
--Other former AWA employees who were there
 
--How the event did
 
--Notes on a lot of lawsuits
 
--Former ROH star talks about why he's retiring in detail and looks back at his career
 
--Coach of one of pro wrestling's biggest stars passes away
 
--More on the death of wrestling trainee
 
--MVP talks the new Wrestling Retribution promotion and playing an all-new character
 
--How MVP got interested in being a pro wrestler
 
--Is he interested in returning to WWE
 
--Annual 16 Carat Gold tournament
 
--More on ROH vs. CHIKARA angle
 
--Hulk Hogan's return to the ring
 
--Ric Flair's new business deal and what does it mean
 
--Against All Odds PPV card
 
--Lots of crazy Hogan stories from his U.K. media work
 
--A look at the Bobby Roode and James Storm booking
 
--Why Hogan did the U.K. tour at the last minute
 
--How the U.K. tour did business-wise
 
--What angles didn't work in the U.K. and which ones did
 
--How TNA tried to save money on the tour
 
--Injury updates from the TNA tour
 
--What wrestling legend to Hogan invite to London
 
--TNA stars doing movies
 
--An update on  Haywire
 
--One of the best promos likely of the year for a match that still may not happen
 
--Two of UFC's biggest stars want one last match with each other
 
--A special on ordering UFC PPV events
 
--Matt Hughes talks his future
 
--Update on GSP and who and when he will likely fight
 
--Notes on the 3-D airing of UFC 143 and how often 3-D airings of UFC shows will be taking place in movie theaters
 
--What fixture of the UFC is gone as of now
 
--Notes on a movie about one of UFC's all-time greatest fighters
 
--What recently fired star is Dana White at least open about thinking about bringing back
 
--Another of Bellator's potentially biggest fights is not going to happen and why
 
--Fedor Emelianenko's plan for next fight
 
--Career of Olympic star turned MMA fighter now in jeopardy
 
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--Some notes for today's UFC coverage.  Bryan will be covering the undercard because I have a family commitment but I'll be back in time for the PPV.  We'll be doing our radio show later tonight with coverage of the show, as well as talking Impact, Smackdown, Rock vs. Cena and other notes.  We won't be doing a Sunday show unless there is breaking news and will be back with Monday with Raw coverage.
 
--U.S. prosecutors seized 307 web sites that illegally streamed live sports and PPV events before the Super Bowl.  It's not nearly as big a deal as it sounds, but they did shut down a guy from Michigan by claiming they were reps of WWE wanting to buy the site (there were a bunch of WWE names that he owned domains to) and he was willing to sell.  It's more of a headline grab before the Super Bowl than anything that is going to make major difference.
 
--UFC Undisputed 3 simulation has gotten a 5-1 record on main events since they started playing the fights ahead of time, which sounds impressive but a lot of people, including me, have gone 5-1 on those fights.  Both me and the game missed on Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos.  So the video game most likely result is Diaz via submission in round two.
 
--Malki Kawa yesterday on MMA Junkie radio said that if Carlos Condit wins, he is not going to wait until November to defend his interim title for Georges St. Pierre.  That's good news for Josh Koscheck, if he wins tonight, or the winner of Jake Ellenberger vs. Diego Sanchez, who would appear to be in line for a shot.  Nick Diaz is expected not to fight anyone until GSP returns.
 
--The just announced Brandon Vera vs. Thiago Silva main event for a 5/15 FX show in Fairfax, VA, is out as Vera pulled out due to an injury.
 
--There will be a new open for the UFC PPV's starting tonight.  No more Gladiator stuff.  This will be a historic deal starting with Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock and then using the more modern stars that helped build the Zuffa brand.
 
--C.M. Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler with David Otunga as the special enforcer at ringside is headlining the Raw house shows this weekend.
 
--The guy Santino Marella wrestled last night in Topeka and is on the road this weekend with the Raw crew is British wrestler Kenneth Cameron.  Some people thought it was Tyler Black.  There is a resemblance.  Then again, there are like ten guys in FCW who all look like that.   
 
--If you didn't see Celebrity Wife Swap with Mick Foley it's at http://tinyurl.com/6r3omo2  The star of the show was Collette Foley.
 
--War Machine is back in jail.  So much for Bellator.
 
--The movie "Bounty Hunters" starring Trish Stratus will be released on DVD on 2/28.
 
--The WWE movie "The Marine II" starring Ted DiBiase Jr. will air on Spike immediately after Impact this coming Thursday.  They've aired several Steve Austin movies in that time slot.
 
--Booker T is being advertised for WWE house shows today in Spokane and tomorrow in Salt Lake City facing Cody Rhodes.
 
--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia concerns Mark LoMonaco, better known as Bully Ray.  LoMonaco is a 1989 graduate of Half Hallow High School East in Dix Hills, NY, on Long Island.  The late Alex Rizzo, who played Big Dick Dudley, also went to Half Hollow High School.  LoMonaco was voted Most Spirited in his high school yearbook.  He played football in high school, and went to St. John's University in Queens where he was a shot putter and discus thrower.  He was trained for pro wrestling by Sonny Blaze and Johnny Rodz, and started his career using the name Mongo Vyle, doing a biker from Hell's Kitchen gimmick.  Mongo was his nickname in college, after the character that Alex Karras played in Blazing Saddles, and not after Steve McMichael, who didn't use the nickname until years after LoMonaco was out of college.
 
--Plans for tonight regarding UFC
Watching on PPV at home 17.8%
Watching via illegal stream at home 14.2%
Watching at bar or restaurant 10.0% 
Watching at friends house on PPV 6.4%
Watching in 3-D at a movie theater 1.4%
Not watching because I have other plans 15.6%
Not watching because card doesn't interest me 15.6%
Not watching because I don't watch UFC shows 18.9% 
 
--What Friday night show do you plan on most likely watching in a few weeks?
Smackdown 50.3%
Ultimate Fighter on FX 44.6%
Bellator 3.4%
Best of Ultimate Fighter 1.7%
 
--What are your thoughts regarding TNA taping outside of Orlando?
Makes for better shows, won't change ratings 34.3%
Will improve ratings 14.1%
Won't move ratings but will help house shows and PPVs 16.5%
Makes no difference 35.0%
 
--Poll on Impact
Excellent 32.7%
Good 47.6%
Average 8.2%
Fair 4.1%
Poor 7.5%
        45.6% of those responding didn't see the show    
 
--Which of these companies do you perceive to be in the most trouble right now?
ROH 24.3%
TNA 23.2%
Pro Wrestling NOAH 20.1%
CMLL 8.8%
All Japan 8.4%
Bellator 7.1%
New Japan 4.8%
AAA 3.3%
 
--Do you think Jim Miller vs. Nate Diaz as a main event on FOX will top a 2.0 rating?
Yes 41.7%
No 58.3%
 
--Who do you expect to win the Raw Chamber match?
C.M. Punk 55.0%
Chris Jericho 39.1%
Dolph Ziggler 2.7%
The Miz 1.5%
Kofi Kingston 1.2%
R-Truth 0.5%
 
--Peter Orlov (Alex Sherman, better known as Alex Koslov), Calvin Raines (Patrick Brink), Marcus Owens and Leroy Parks appear to have been cut by WWE.  No official announcement was made but all are off the FCW roster.
 
--The new National Enquirer has a story on Stacy Keibler and George Clooney, as does The Globe.  The Enquirer also has a photo of Hulk Hogan from the U.K. (thanks to Paul Kacprzak) 
 
--FWE on 2/25 in New York features Maria Kanellis, Brooke Tessmacher, Tara, Winter, Big Daddy V, Jay Lethal, Mike Bennett, Tommy Dreamer and Charlie Haas.
 
--Monday night in Puebla for CMLL:  Espiritu Maligna & Sauron b Black Tiger & Blue Center, Demus 3:16 & Pequeno Warrior & Pierrothito b Astral & Electrico & Ultimo Dragoncito, Diamante & Sagrado & Sangre Azteca b Misterioso Jr. & Okumura & Vangelis, Kraneo & Morphosis & Psicosis b Brazo de Plata & Metro & Rush, Negro Casas & Mr. Niebla & Rey Bucanero b Mascara Dorada & La Sombra & Valiente.
 
--Tuesday night CMLL in Guadalajara:  Angel del Mal b Virgo, Mr. Trueno & Rey Trueno b Artillero & Super Comando, Black Metal & Star Man & Triton b Evola & Okumura & Vangelis, Polvora b Titan to retain the Mexican national welterweight title, El Terrible & Rey Bucanero & Tiger b El Hijo del Fantasma & Rush & Valiente
 
--Tuesday night in Queretaro:  Brujo Maya & Von Draker b Electric Boy & Golden King, Boomerang & Los Monje Locos I & II b Alex Guajardo & Chica Yeey & Septimo Dragon, Hooligan & Puma King b Diamante Azul & Sangre de Dragon, Drabek II & Mephisto & Principe b Fuego Latino & Guerrero Maya Jr. & El Hijo del Pantera-DQ, Averno & Perro del Ring & Ultimo Guerrero b Atlantis & Marco Corleone & Ursus (thanks to Kris Zellner and Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims)
 
--Video preview for Ring Ka King this weekend.

--The debut of Ring Ka King did a 2.2 rating on Colors in India for the 8 p.m. show at 1.1 for the 11 p.m. replay.  India's ratings are only released once a month and the cutoff is Saturday night, so the Sunday rating won't be available until late this coming week.  A 2.2 for Colors in that time slot is considered very good, but not great.
 
--Robert Zimmerman of WWE sent out letters to the state's political writers criticizing Chris Powell for using the phrase, "maybe in time Connecticut will consider the pornography and mock violence of the wrestling business," by saying that all WWE programming is PG and that The Muppets recently appeared on Raw.  You can read the letter.
 
 
--All Pro Wrestling TV show featuring Jeckles vs. A.J. Kirsch (Tough Enough).
 
--Dragon Gate USA will be holding a seminar/tryout on 3/30 in Miami before the show there.  If you have been in a past Dragon Gate seminar or tryout you can sign up at half price.
 
--Wreck MMA on 4/20 in Gatineau, Quebec at Casino Lac Leamy headlined by former UFC fighter Mark Holst vs. Gideon Ray in a battle of former UFC fighters. 
 
--Journey 2: The Mysterious Island starring Dwayne Johnson was No. 4 at the Australian box office for this weekend. (thanks to James Stanios)
 
--Active and retired NFL players Eli Manning, Michael Strahan, Dhani Jones (who once did a Lucha Libre match), Kurt Warner, Jerry Rice, Von Miller and Warren Sapp (who is not related to Bob even though Bob used to say he was) talk Condit vs. Diaz.
 
 
--Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson have been added to the 2012 NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest weekend on 8/2 to 8/5 in Charlotte.
 
--USWO from last night in Nashville:  Josh Crow b L.T. Falk, Mike Revick & Josh Prada b The Saint & Tim Renesto-DQ, Bully Douglas b Danny Copass, Drew Haskins b Sigmon, Jocephus b Mike Jablonski, Damien Payne DCOR Gary Valiant (thanks to Jimmie Daniel)
 
--Former WWE writer Alex Greenfield talks the Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus feud.

--Tomorrow, besides being the Super Bowl, is the 28th anniversary of the death of El Santo.  CMLL has big shows in Guadalajara with Atlantis vs. Ultimo Guerrero and Arena Coliseo in Mexico City with CMLL trios champs Averno & Mephisto & Ephesto vs. Marco Corleone & Rush & Maximo.  
 
--IWF on 4/28 in Nutley, NJ at the Rec Center has Tito Santana, Marty Jannetty, Jim Powers and Kevin Knight. 
 
--Josh Nation talks to UFC 143 ppv opener Ed Herman and will be on Fight Network radio tonight after the event wraps.

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