WED. UPDATE: Ratings, Rock media, movies, DVD, Art "Love Machine" Barr, Finkel, MMA MVP, Michaels
By Dave Meltzer |
UFC Tonight will be replayed at Fuel at 7 p.m., with Ultimate Insider following at 7:30 p.m. Eastern (4 & 4:30 Pacific time). UFC 136, which is the third Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard show from 10/8, will air on Fuel at 8 PM with Best of Pride airing at midnight. This Week's Observer: Awards Issue
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.
A look at WWE & TNA business from August to the present with monthly business charts, looking at attendance, ratings and PPV for those months is the lead item in this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
We also have a look at the total audience watching Raw, Smackdown and Impact over the past three years with the ups and downs by months and notes on the direction of all three shows including current perception that may be misleading. We look at what categories are doing fine and what are struggling, as well as look at the difference between ratings and viewers, Smackdown on Syfy vs. Smackdown on MyNetwork, what Vince McMahon said about the switch at the time and what has come to fruition after the change was made.
We also look at the Monday Night Wars of 2010 as well as interesting notes on TNA in 2009 vs. TNA in 2010 and 2011.
We look at how WWE attendance has varied over the past 20 years, including what period really was the dark ages for WWE and where things stand historically right now.
We also have a look at the aftermath of Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz. We look at the fight, the judging of the fight, the booking after the fight and all the confusion. We look at the stats and the judges scorecards, as well as notes on the other controversial decisions at UFC 143.
We also look at if the business was positive or negative on the show. We also look at the PPV buying patterns, Fabricio Werdum, the future of Ryo Nelson, the luck of Josh Koscheck as well as match by match coverage, how much everyone earned on the show.
We also have an update on the Japanese wrestling scene, with updates on New Japan under new ownership, the struggles of Pro Wrestling NOAH and the state of women's pro wrestling in Japan.
We look at what new New Japan owner Takaaki Kidami talked about regarding the future of the promotion, what will stay the same and what they are looking a changing, as well as how viable these things are today, including new audiences being looked at reaching and the television situation. We also look at the international opportunities if they even exist.
Kidami also look at what part of the wrestling year he most looked forward to growing up, how he wants to bring that back to Japan, and what the problems are with the current realities of the business in doing so.
We also look at problems with Pro Wrestling NOAH and a shady situation that has gotten some publicity, as well as what has happened with women's wrestling in Japan and the state of it today.
We also look at plans for another supercard in Japan, with All Japan, New Japan, NOAH as well as top wrestlers who are both independents and from other companies all getting together for a show in just two weeks. We look at the lineup of All Together Now II.
We also look back at the career of Mexican headliner MS 1, a major star in the 80s and 90s who passed away a few weeks ago in an auto accident.
We look at the start of his career, the creation of the national trios title and world trios title belts and the history of Los Infernales one of the best known trios of their era. We look at his feuds and teaming with the other members of the group and many of the biggest matches and programs of his career.
We also look at Dwayne Johnson movie projects, how his next movie hasn't even opened in the U.S. and it's already a hit, talk about a political career, Hulk Hogan's ten best drawing opponents of his career, John Laurinaitis storyline, ratings for Undertaker's brief return, C.M. Punk talks DVD, John Morrison talks leaving WWE, more on Legends House and why it won't be on where you think it will at this point, changes in cable TV, WWE Hall of Fame update, a look at the career of Ron Simmons, Several new WWE signings and cuts, WWE responds to press attacks and what is and isn't fair, WWE injury updates, Miz being yelled at after Raw this week, match edited off television after it was taped, the hard travel schedule for the Raw crew, Miz in a movie, developmental notes, plus weekend business news and highlights from all the weekend house shows.About The Observer
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sites and has the most complete look at the business as a whole anywhere. The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling industry as well as the MMA industry, from bookers, to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest current names, both on camera, and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and 30 countries subscribe.
Many have subscribed as long as 20 years or more straight. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world and an accuracy from having the most inside sources that can't be found on the web. Everyone from Wall Street to the major offices to the TV networks in U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.
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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. More On This Week's Observer
--CMLL sets time for its first major show of the year
--CMLL new international television deal
--Latest from Arena Mexico
--Notes from the last AAA taping
--A first time ever match between two of the best wrestlers in the world set for Mania weekend in Florida
--Notes on a big All Japan show and how it sets up the first Sumo Hall show of 2012 plus the main events for that show, which may do very well
--Lots of former WWE stars get together for an overseas event, how did it do, and details on the show
--Dave Bautista gets a role in a major movie
--The possible final public appearance in conjunction with pro wrestling outside of the Pittsburgh area for Bruno Sammartino
--Anniversary of the death of one of the biggest stars of the early 80s
--Update on Matt Hardy legal issues
--Remake of a well received DVD documentary
--Sons of former WWE star playing college football
--Notes on the Lou Thesz Hall of Fame ceremony for 2012
--Legend recovering from ankle replacement surgery
--Details on ROH TV tapings as well as the big matches for the next three iPPV shows
--Sting's injury update
--Why Impact ratings are likely to go down in 2012
--Notes on Ring Ka King ratings
--Notes on the television shows and native talent
--Notes on weekend TNA house shows
--Lots of UFC business notes
--Update on many upcoming UFC shows including the next show on FOX and plans for the show after that no FOX
--Why the next show on FOX has concerns
--A look at some of the major fights on the agendas for the next few months
--Dan Henderson talks his short-term future
--Update on B.J. Penn
--Another UFC show where the main event falls out
--Lots of new UFC matches
--The UFC's twitter bonuses
--Injury issues at Team AKA
--Notes on the next Strikeforce show
--Notes on the next live UFC event and how UFC may beat the next UFC's live event head-to-head, and in fact, it would be expected to happen
--Brother of UFC star listed as one of the top prospects in the upcoming NFL draft
--Chael Sonnen and his weight
--Jon Jones and moving to heavyweight
--Bellator's welterweight tournament
--Rulon Gardner's attempt to make the 2012 Olympic team and his weight issuesThe Most Popular Observers Of All Time
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.
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*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)
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*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
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*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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*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)
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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.Wednesday's News
--In the weekly cable ratings race, USA won last week with a 2.3 prime time average to 1.6 for Disney. FX was No. 10 at 0.9. Syfy was No. 14 at 0.9. Spike did not crack the top 25. Last week's Raw was No. 5 and No. 6, plus No. 7 and No. 8 in 18-34 and No. 4 and No. 5 in 18-49. That's the day after Rumble show.
--The Rock will not only be appearing at Mania, but on the 4/2 Raw show from the American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Rock DVD will be released on 2/21, so expect heavy promotion on Raw probably starting next week. Matches include his debut at the 1996 Survivor Series, his ladder match at MSG with HHH in 1998 (the match that he lost but where it became clear he was going to be a huge star), Rock vs. Mick Foley vs. Ken Shamrock, Rock vs. Mankind I Quit from the 1999 Royal Rumble (the one with all the sick chair shots to the head in Beyond the Mat), Rock vs. Steve Austin at the 1999 Backlash, Rock vs. Kurt Angel vs. HHH at the 2000 SummerSlam, Rock & &Undertaker vs. Edge & Christian, Rock vs. Ric Flair (their only singles match), Rock vs. Brock Lesnar from the 2002 SummerSlam, Rock vs. Hulk Hogan from the 2003 No Way Out show and several guest appearances on Raw over the years.
--Among the names listed as contributing to the Linda McMahon for senate campaign are Donald Trump ($5,000), Paul & Stephanie Levesque ($2,500) and Jerry McDevitt ($7,500).
--We will be back tonight with our midweek version of Wrestling Observer radio, talking Condit vs. Diaz, Smackdown, Against All Odds as well as taking e-mail questions to
--Another note is that this week's back issue up on the site from 1994 is the issue covering the death of Art "Love Machine" Barr. A lot of modern fans may not know a lot about him, but at the time of his death, Barr was easily the best heel in pro wrestling and an amazing performer. It was really the success of the Love Machine & Eddy Guerrero tag team in AAA in 1993 and 1994 that paved the way for Guerrero breaking into the U.S. market in ECW in 1995 as Paul Heyman wanted to bring the two in as a team.
--A review of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
, not good considering this line: "The film is endurable owing solely to Johnson, a veteran of bad kids' movies whose sense of when to dial up the charm is such a generic, soulless entertainment remains impeccable."
--A story on Bruiser Brody vs. Abdullah the Butcher on Deadspin
(thanks to Jeff Bradley)
--There is a "Book it Gabe!" t-shirt available
until 9 a.m. tomorrow.
--Dragon Gate USA has added a 3/29 show in Orlando to its 3/30 and 3/31 shows in Miami for WrestleMania weekend.
--Chuck Langerman's daily pro wrestling trivia talks about one of pro wrestling's all-time greatest ring announcers, Howard Finkel. Finkel was a 1967 graduate of Carteret High School in Carteret, NJ. The most famous graduate of that school was Joe Medwick, a major league baseball Hall of Famer who played in the 1930s and who was friends with Sam Muchnick in that era. Finkel was the sports editor of the Annscott News, a local newspaper, before being hired by the WWWF in 1975. He is the company's longest lasting employee and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009. And to this day, nobody has ever explained why he isn't still doing ring announcing.
--Brian Gewirtz, the longtime WWE writer, had a photo of him on The Tonight Show on Monday. It was part of a deal where Dwayne Johnson talked about how at the Survivor Series he was going to sing "New York, New York," but he kept forgetting the order of two of the phrases in the song, so Gewirtz wrote them down on a piece of paper for him to look at while singing. Unfortunately, as he was singing, he again forget the order of the phrases, looked at the paper, and Gewirtz had the blank side of the paper facing Johnson. Here's the clip.
--ROH will be going on the CW affiliate in Albany, NY. The problem is Sinclair owns two stations, the CW and the CBS station, and the CBS station has a far greater reach, including Poughkeepsie and Newberg, NY, which are both traditionally strong secondary level wrestling markets. (thanks to Phil Strum)
--More notes regarding Monday's Chuck Langerman trivia. Johnny Gargano, the current Dragon Gate USA champion also attended St. Edward High in Lakewood, OH. Mike Tolar, mentioned in the update, has quit pro wrestling. Gray Maynard told me about how when he was in high school, how Nick Nemeth (Dolph Ziggler) and Mike Tolar, who were his teammates, were always talking about becoming pro wrestlers. Tolar, who was a state champion in high school, quit after it became clear he wasn't going to be able to get a WWE developmental deal.
--MMA MVP for 2011
Jon Jones 59.1%
Dan Henderson 6.4%
Chael Sonnen 5.3%
Anderson Silva 4.1%
Junior Dos Santos 3.8%
Nick Diaz 3.2%
Frankie Edgar 1.5%
Urijah Faber 1.2%
Jose Aldo Jr. 0.9%
Dominick Cruz 0.3% --Who do you expect to come out of Against All Odds as champion?
Bobby Roode 68.4%
Jeff Hardy 16.4%
James Storm 9.5%
Bully Ray 5.8% --Best tag team of 2011?
Beer Money 20.8%
Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin 15.9%
Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson 12.4%
Young Bucks 3.7%
Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi 3.5%
Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne 3.5%
Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi 1.9%
All Night Express 1.9%
Pac & Masato Yoshino 1.4%
Cima & Ricochet 0.9%
Manabu Soya & Seiya Sanada 0.2% --What show of the next week are you most interested in?
UFC on Fuel 44.5%
TNA Against All Odds 28.7%
New Japan PPV from Osaka 26.8% --Poll on Raw
14.8% of those responding didn't see the show
--The Nevada State Athletic Commission has approved of a winner-take-all main event where both the purse of the winner and loser will be combined and go to the winner for the 2/25 Joe Schilling vs. Simon Marcus main event on the WBC Muay Thai show at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
--"Superstar Billy Graham" has been released from the hospital and is on heavy antibiotics right now. He caught a virus, likely at a wrestling convention last week in Los Angeles.
--The Comcast home page had a story on the worst rappers of all-time. Those who cracked the auspicious list included Hulk Hogan for the song "Hulk Rules," Mr. T for the song "Mr. T's Commandments, Randy Savage for "Be a Man" and ICP.
--ECWA on 3/3 in Newark, DE, at the Boys and Girls Club.
--Chris Cruise, the TCW television announcer, noted that Saturday night's TV taping in Booneville, AR, not only sold out but turned 50-100 fans away. He noted how promoters talk about turn away crowds, but they rarely are true, but in this case, it really was.
--X8 tournament on 3/17 in Converse, IN at Borderman Gym with first round matches of Drake Younger vs. Flying Wondercat, Sugar Dunkerton vs. Troy Miller, Gregory Iron vs. Kyle Matthews an Bobby Steele vs. the winner of a Battle Royal earlier in the show. Matt Hardy will also be wrestling on the card.
--Shawn Michaels will be appearing at Big Game Forever's Booth #140 at the Western Hunting and Conversation Expo on Saturday from 10-11 a.m. in Salt Lake City at the Salt Palace Convention Center. (thanks to Carl Dantes)
--American Icon Autographs will be doing a show on Saturday at Frank & Sons in the City of Industry, CA. Signing for one hour each will be Tatanka at 10 a.m., Bobby Heenan at 10:30 a.m., Missy Hyatt at 11 a.m., Jake Roberts at 11:30 a.m., Bob Orton at Noon, Paul Orndorff at 12:30 p.m., Angelina Love at 1 p.m., One Man Gang at 1:30 p.m,, Debra Marshall (formerly McMichael and Williams) at 2 p.m. and Roddy Piper at 2:30 p.m. On 2/18, John Morrison and Melina Perez will be signing there from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on 3/3, Ric Flair will be there from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (thanks to Daniel Short)
--New England Championship Wrestling announced today that they have joined the NWA. The announcement, which includes comments from Bob Trobich, Howard Brody and current NECW champion Bobby Fish is here
. They seem to be building a Fish vs. Adam Pearce match.
--Footage of the Los Angeles historical wrestling celebration is here
--PWF Northeast Pro Wrestling has its 10th anniversary show on 2/18 in Providence, RI at the West End Rec Center. Among those appearing are The Nasty Boys and Steve Corino
--CMLL from Sunday in Guadalajara: Metalik b Alteno, Brillante Jr. b Acertijo, Infierno & Demonio Maya b Halcon de Plata & Esfinge, Stuka Jr. & Brazo de Oro & Gallo b Rafaga & Arkangel de la Muerte & Barbaro, Atlantis b Ultimo Guerrero (thanks to Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims)
--Mikey Whipwreck is trying to raise money
for the March of Dimes. Everything goes directly to the March of Dimes website.
--In a viewers poll on the Australian TV show "At the Movies," the movie "Warrior," which featured Kurt Angle and had an MMA theme, was voted the 61st best movie of the last year. No other movie featuring anyone in wrestling cracked the top 100 (thanks to James Stanios)
--Pro Wrestling Onslaught out of Dallas has its first iPPV, a taped show airing on Sunday
--Fight Card Entertainment on 2/16 at Joe's Sports Bar in Chicago.
for this week.