MON. UPDATE: Johnson media, Michaels returns for Mania build, Taker vs. HHH, Steen vs. Storm, Kos



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        We're looking for your thoughts on Saturday night'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 from Oklahoma City tonight from Raw, with Superstars matches, dark matches and anything else not evident from the live show.
 
        We're also looking for reports on the weekend WWE shows in Topeka, Wichita, Wichita Falls and Salt Lake City and the TNA show in Florence, SC.
 
        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 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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*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)
 
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*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)
 
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*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)
 
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*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
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*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
 
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*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,
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*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
 
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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)
 
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*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)
 
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*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
 
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
 
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--Dwayne Johnson is scheduled on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight as well as Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Friday.  He's promoting Journey 2:  The Mysterious Island, which opens on Friday in more than 3,400 theaters nationwide. (thanks to Jon Southerland)
 
--Shawn Michaels returns to Raw for the Mania build starting with the 2/20 Raw the day after the Elimination Chamber. 
 
 
--We're looking for reports from anyone who attended the UFC show at the theaters for the 3-D showing.  We're interested in how was the experience, and how did it draw.
 
--The Super Bowl did a 47.8 rating on the overnights and a 71 share, making it the third highest rated of all-time based on the overnights behind Super Bowl 15 and 21, which both did 47.9 ratings.  Because there are a lot more Americans now than there were then, there is a good chance this will be the most watched show in the history of American television.  Last year's game holds the record with 111 million viewers. 
 
--No real preview on tonight's show other than there should be Undertaker vs. HHH follow-up and it will be interesting how they follow up on the final segment in regard to John Laurinaitis.  I expect an above average rating just based off the way the show ended last week.  Maybe not as high as last week because the post-Rumble show usually does well and last week's did the big 3.9 first quarter.
 
--Josh Koscheck talks about why he left AKA. He pointed to a personality conflict with Javier Mendez, and noted that he is still affiliated with Bob Cook (who was in his corner for the fight) and Dave Camarillo (who had a business split with Mendez) and would be paying fighters to come to Fresno, where he owns two AKA Gyms (I would presume he would be changing the name of the gyms) to train with him.  Koscheck said that even though he's not training in San Jose, that he will still never fight Jon Fitch.
 
--UFC announced today that Tapout is now the official lifestyle apparel brand partner of the UFC.  They will continue to sponsor the television shows, and present the submission of the night on UFC shows.
 
--Regarding a question on last night's radio show, on Pat Miletich, apparently his Showtime contract allows him to work for HDNet because Miletich is listed as announcing the 3/3 Strikeforce show from Columbus, OH with Frank Shamrock and Mauro Ranallo.       
 
--Chuck Langerman's daily pro wrestling trivia concerns St. Edward High School, a wrestling powerhouse in Lakewood, OH.  The all-boys Catholic school has won 26 state championships and 11 national champions.  The 1998 team included Nick Nemeth (Dolph Ziggler), Gray Maynard, Andy Hrovat (2008 Olympian) and Matt Tolar (an independent wrestler).  Nemeth had 82 career pins, at the time the school record, although he was the only member of that foursome never to win a state title.  Nemeth went to Kent State where he had 121 career wins.  The first NCAA champion from the school was Alan Fried, which is notable because Fried is Jewish.  He went to Oklahoma State and was the 1994 champion at 142 pounds.
 
--In yesterday's list of people who both played in a Super Bowl game and also wrestled professionally, Teddy Wycheck noted we missed one: Frank Wycheck, who had wrestled a few matches for TNA and did very well for a celebrity wrestler.
 
--Maryse is interviewed here. She said the women in WWE deserve better, that when she signed, she could only speak ten words of English but they loved the way she spoke French.  "I developed a heel persona and everything about Maryse was presentation, facials, gestures, I believe the Maryse personality was the best female persona in years within the WWE."
 
--Lance Storm faces Kevin Steen on 5/26 in Quebec City for the NSPW promotion's biggest show of the year, Golden Opportunity IV.  The show is at the Centre Horizon.
 
--Stacy Keibler, minus George Clooney, got some gossip mentions and photos for her outfit at a Super Bowl party in Las Vegas that she hosted yesterday.  Story is here and here.
 
--For tomorrow on Fuel, The Best of Pride will air at 7 p.m. Eastern (4 p.m. Pacific), UFC 136 Jones vs. Rampage Jackson replays at 8 p.m., leading into UFC Tonight at 10 p.m. and the debut of The Ultimate Insider at 10:30 p.m.
 
--Best TV show of the past week
Raw 36.1%
UFC Prime Time Diaz vs. Condit episode 3 13.3%
UFC 143 prelims 12.9%
Smackdown 11.6%
Impact 11.6%
ROH 10.0%
CMLL 2.1%
Countdown to UFC 143 1.7%
UFC Tonight 0.4%
MMA Live 0.4%
        Pretty great week of TV looking back.  That Impact show would have been No. 1 most weeks.  
 
--Traditional Championship Wrestling from Saturday night in Booneville, AR before more than 500 fans:  Greg Anthony b Dustin Heritage, Tim Storm b Sigmon, Genetic Perfection b Good Ole Boys, Jim Duggan b Prince Al-Farat, Anthony b Dexter Hardaway, Jon Michael Worthington b Sigmon, Matt Riviera b Shane Williams-DQ, Tim Storm DCOR Killer Nikels.  Bobby Eaton and Harvey Wippleman were also there working as agents.  Chris Cruise works as the TV announcer for the group which airs on ME TV on Arkansas on Saturdays at 11 a.m..  Next show is 4/7 in Fort Smith, AR headlined by Mickie James vs. Cheerleader Melissa vs. Malia Hosaka.
 
--EWF on Friday night in Covinam, CA:  D.K. Murphy b Stryder, Dave the Bruiser b Joshua Dunbar, Ashley Hollywood b Nikki Hollywood, Roger Ruiz & Jeremy Jaeger b Eddie Mattson & Big Bad Maddix, Sugar Sweetz b Valiant, Brandon Gatson & Tommy Wilson DDQ Johnny Starr & Mike Maze, Adam Pearce b Joey Ryan to retain NWA title.  Next show is 2/11 in Lake Elsinore, CA at the Trevi Events Center.
 
--WPW from yesterday in Costa Mesa before 50 fans:  Platinum Players b Pantera Azteca & Frankie Segura, Lil Cholo & Cyber Ram b Red Rum & Stryker, Ramtha Jr. & Infernale b Amazona & Yumi-DQ, Mariachi Loco b Wama.  Yumi, a woman wrestler in her third match was said to have serious potential (thanks to Roy Lucier)
 
--This is the first episode of School of Roc: Class Wars, a pro wrestling show modeled after The Ultimate Fighter where students of Indiana's School of Roc compete in a tournament that will run as a 12 week Internet TV series and eventually for a DVD.
 
--Friday night results from Tijuana:  Super Astro (that guy has been around since the 70s) & Super Kendo b El Hijo del Espectro II & Zandokan (is this the same Zandokan from the 80s?), Cinico & Dr. Wagner III & Drago b Black Abyss & Electroshock & Fugitivo, Damian 666 & Bestia 666 & El Hijo del Rey Misterio I b Psycho Circus (thanks to Kris Zellner)
 
--Another show on WrestleMania weekend will be NWA Ring Warriors on 3/29 in Fort Lauderdale at the National Guard Armory headlined by Chance Prophet vs. Kahagas in a cage match, plus NWA champion Adam Pearce, an appearance of Jim Cornette, Billy Gunn, Head Bangers, Jesse Neal, Tammy Sytch, Christina Von Eerie and Vordell Walker.
 
--Mercedes Martinez vs. Jessicka Havok plus the WSU 5th anniversary show and Hall of Fame inductions are scheduled for 3/3 at the NYWC Sportatorium in Deer Park, NY.
 
--CHIKARA Pro has the three night JoshiMania shows featuring legends like Hall of Famers Aja Kong and Manami Toyota.
 
--Combat Zone Wrestling from Saturday night in Indianapolis:  Shane Strickland & Vu & Hollywood Dream & Kyle Maverick b Remi Wilkins & Tripp Cassidy & Sue Jackson & Dale Patricks, Alex Colon b Aaron McCormick, Naveah b Kimber Lee, Greg Excellent b Drake Younger, AR Fox b Samuay Del Sol, Sami Callihan b Tommy Dreamer, Dave Crist & Ricky Paige b Jake Crist & B.J. Whitmer, Scotty Vortekz won the CZW world title in a three-way over D.J. Hyde and Devon Moore, Danny Havoc b Matt Tremont in an Ultraviolent Rules match.  Next show is 2/11 in Voorhees, NJ.
 
--Empire Wrestling on Friday night in Avondale Estates, GA at the Academy Theater.
 
--BANG Wrestling on 2/18 in Ocala, FL at the Funking Conservatory.
 
--Colt Cabana vs. R.J. Singh, El Ligero vs. Noam Dar, Nathan Cruz vs. Colossus and Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Marty Scurll headline an eight-man tournament for the Progress championship on a 3/25 show in London, England at The Garage at 20 Highbury Corner.  They vow, no gimmicks, no foam fingers, no kids, no PG, and affordable tickets.
 
--Premiere Championship Wrestling "Die Hard" featuring Eddie Edwards, Grizzly Redwood, Rhett Titus and Cedric Alexander coming this Friday night in Lancaster, SC at the American Legion Building and Saturday night to Columbia, SC at the Solomon Blatt Physical Education Center.  The Lancaster main event is Titus vs. Alexander vs. Edwards.  The Columbia main event is Edwards vs. Caleb Konley.
 
--Rampage Pro Wrestling on 2/12 at 3 p.m. in Warner-Robins, Ga at Johnny G's Fun Center