SAT. UPDATE: Preview of Battleground, Cena sued, Spike reality show on former WWF star this week, Ratings, TNA ticket gimmick, UFC injury, Sonnen. WWE's biggest competition, Hall of Fame notes
By Dave Meltzer |
We're also looking for reports on tonight's WWE house shows with the A crew in Rochester (Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton) and the B crew in Albany, NY (C.M. Punk vs. Curtis Axel plus Paul Heyman, Alberto Del Rio and The Wyatt Family), as well as tonight's ROH show in Baltimore (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly vs. Jay Lethal & Michael Elgin, Matt Taven vs. Cedric Alexander for the TV tile, Michael Bennett vs. Jimmy Jacobs, Adam Page vs. Eddie Edwards, ACH vs. Kevin Steen, Tadarius Thomas vs. Caprice Coleman vs. Antonio Thomas vs. Roderick Strong, Eddie Kingston & Homicide vs. Josh Alexander & Ethan Page). Reports can be sent to
The weekend's big show is Battleground from Buffalo, NY:
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton for the vacant WWE title - On paper they should have a tremendous match. They seem to be building a finish where Big Show ends up leading to Bryan winning the title, or swerves and costs Bryan the title. Since the next show is Hell in a Cell, it's a better gimmick for a program ongoing as opposed to a first match of a program. In that regard, the title change could be better there. But I'm not sure they'll wait. For those keeping track, the plan as of Thursday was to have this go on at 10:25 p.m.
C.M. Punk vs. Ryback - Just like the last time they had their program, they're in a situation where neither should really lose right now and they could do an indecisive finish here. Whatever the situation, the program with Punk, Ryback and Paul Heyman will carry over past this point. Punk has numerous injuries and Ryback has limitations, so keeping it shorter would probably help this match, although last I heard that wasn't the idea.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam for the world title - If Van Dam hasn't signed a new deal, then Del Rio should go over. Plus, if Van Dam hasn't signed, they need to find a role for Ricardo Rodriguez. It's early to put him back with Del Rio, but that's the best place for him. Van Dam hasn't been built up well for this, as the understatement of the year. But Buffalo may be a good city for him.
Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins in a non-title match, if Rhodes & Goldust win, they get their jobs back, if Reigns & Rollins win, then Dusty Rhodes is fired and Cody & Goldust can never wrestle in WWE again - The Rhodes Family should win, and set up a title program. Goldust turning on Cody is also a possibility if The Shield has to go over, although it'll force them to violate the announced stipulation.
Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth for the IC title - The IC title feels like a complete filler match. Can't see a title change here but wouldn't matter either way.
A.J. Lee vs. Brie Bella for the Divas title - If Bryan is winning the title tomorrow, Brie Bella should as well. Makes for a good story.
Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt - Wyatt will win, and if it turns into a trios match (Kingston & Usos vs. Wyatt Family), the Family should win.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow is the preshow match at 7:30 p.m. - Ziggler doesn't win much. Sandow never beats anyone of significance now that he has the briefcase. Unless Ziggler is really being punished, he winning here. I also expect a very good match here.
This show isn't a sure thing, but you are guaranteed a good main event, and Del Rio vs. RVD and the Rhodes Family matches could be sleepers. Punk vs. Ryback won't be bad. Just hope we don't get the 20 minute opening monologue like last month.
Raw will be on Monday night in Pittsburgh at the Consol Energy Center.
Smackdown and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday night in Columbus, OH.
The situation with Hulk Hogan and updates on TNA, as well as a look at New Japan as it heads into the stretch drive for its biggest show of the year, are the lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that is up on the site today. We also have updated PPV information and a look at the best in-ring performers in pro wrestling over the past two plus decades.
Our lead story looks at Hulk Hogan and TNA, both the angle, the reality, and why everyone should be skeptical of almost anything that comes out. We look at the obsession with the swerve, the situation with Eric Bischoff, questions being asked by those in the company, the Hogan era of TNA, the successes and the failures. We look at the value in theory of Hogan and how much turned out. We also look at others who are gone from TNA and their situations.
We also have the Bound for Glory lineup for TNA and the goals for the matches as well as questions facing the company going forward.
We also have a look at New Japan going into one of its biggest shows of the year, the Kings of Pro Wrestling event at Sumo Hall. We look at how this show will affect the Tokyo Dome main event and what the arguments are for the various combination of matches that could headline. We look at the record of Hiroshi Tanahashi, the status of Kazuchika Okada as well as a rundown of all the matches on the show and their back stories.
We also have full coverage of the New Japan Destruction show, with match-by-match rundowns, star ratings and poll results.
We also have more on the build to WrestleMania, WWE makes a major office hire, the Bryan Danielson/Brie Bella engagement, Vince McMahon TV return, lots of injury updates, several new contract signings, as well as who hasn't been signed that tried out. We also have a look at the potential future of a character booked in a way he can't stay long-term, a look at the Battleground show, notes on the biggest match ever held at the Superdome in New Orleans and why Dusty Rhodes' interviews feel so much different than all but a few.
We also look at leaks, DVD sales, John Cena's return along with business notes from the past week and highlights from all the weekend house shows.
We also look at the career of Gene Petit, his background, how he got into pro wrestling, why he used the name Gene Lewis, who was Dale Lewis, how a one year run in WWF gave him more than a decade of indie bookings and his difficult life after wrestling ended.
We also have a look at the wrestlers who have had the most **** matches on major WWF, WWE, ECW, ROH, TNA and WCW shows over the past 27 years. We look at who is and isn't in the Hall of Fame from that list, and who isn't No. 1, but would almost surely be if many of their most prominent matches were counted.
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We also have results from all the major league arena events over the past week as well as a look at all the major television shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--A long time pro wrestling major network deal in a very difficult situation
--A second national TV deal also seems dead
--CMLL tag team tournament update
--Heat on wrestler likely for showing up at rival promotion show
--Major AAA stars robbed at gunpoint
--Lineup for AAA's Heroes Inmortales tribute to Antonio Pena show
--Identity of a new hot babyface
--Wrestler about to get biggest career push needs surgery
--Former WCW star getting another last chance to get his act together
--Dragon Gate tag team tournament notes
--Notes on NOAH's annual Global League singles tournament, including lineups for the tour's biggest shows
--Changes in the hierarchy at New Japan Pro Wrestling
--Notes on New Japan profits for this year
--Wrestler trying to gain weight to become a legitimate heavyweight
--What program that was set up involving a Japanese and U.S. title is up in the air due to a major injury.
--Grandson of one of the biggest stars in wrestling history about to debut on a major tribute show
--Antonio Inoki's latest promotion
--Movie on famous wrestling murder release date changed
--Note on WWC video tribute piece
--Attitude era star looking at returning for regular bookings
--What famous entertainer was inspired by Bam Bam Bigelow
--Update on the whereabouts of Maven Huffman
--How Pedro Morales got his first really big career break in California
--Story on the man chosen as the replacement for Haystacks Calhoun and why it never worked out
--Wrestler elected to parliament, but nobody knew he was a pro wrestler
--Notes on ROH's latest shows and next big shows
--More changes in TNA
--Jim Ross talks about TNA
--Update on Gut Check
--Update on Jeff Jarrett
--A look at the recent TNA TV tapings
--The decision to go with Glover Teixeira as the next light heavyweight title contender
--Looking at the arguments of Teixeira vs. Gustafsson for the next Jon Jones fight
--Why one of UFC's biggest events of 2014 looks to be a very difficult local sell
--Ticket sales for upcoming UFC events
--Promotion of Silva vs. Weidman
--Note on Ultimate Fighter China
--Lots of injury updates
--Update on Michael Bisping, Gegard Mousasi and others
--Lots of new UFC fights and card changes
--The cutting of Yushin Okami and what it says
--Update on GSP vs. Johny Hendricks drug testing battle
--Who Anderson Silva says he will retire before fighting
--Wanderlei Silva vs. Chael Sonnen angle at the Mr. Olympia
--Next UFC card
--Notes on this season of Ultimate Fighter and Tarverdyan vs. Hallman
--Rundown of last Bellator show
--Joe Warren health situation
--How Lavar Johnson got his suspension cut
--Story behind the first weight cutting death in modern MMA history
--What former Strikeforce fighter had a close call with weight cutting
--How much will Floyd Mayweather make out of his last fight
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories 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)
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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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*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 Hogan)
*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)
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*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)
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*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
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*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)
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*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
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*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)
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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.
SATURDAY'S NEWS UPDATE
--Spike will be airing a TV reality show special on Frank Shamrock and Ken Shamrock getting together to hash out their issues on Thursday at 11 p.m. after Impact. Spike will be airing a ton of fight programming over the next few weeks, both promoting the 11/2 Bellator PPV show, as well as the debut of Glory a week from tonight from Chicago.
--TMZ reported today that John Cena was sued by a construction worker who claimed he fell off of a defective scaffold in 2010 when working on Cena's home. He's suing the WWE star for more than $15,000 for pain, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life and more.
--TNA is offering all U.S. federal employees and military personnel one free ticket to Thursday's Impact tapings in Tulsa at the Cox Business Arena.
--USA had a terrible week in the ratings, finishing fifth and only averaging 1.58 million viewers in prime time. ESPN won the week at 3.09 million with TBS, with baseball, at 2.63 million. The three hours of Raw were No. 9, 10 and 14. Raw was overall beaten by NFL on ESPN and the NFL Network, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Sports Center after football, the Mississippi vs. Alabama game on ESPN and NASCAR. The third hour was No. 9 in the 18-49 demo.
--Jeff Jarrett appears on tomorrow's Wrestle-1 show at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, which is Keiji Muto's new promotion..
--Coming off their wins last night, the Mikkel Parlo vs. Brennan Ward fight in the finals of this season's Bellator middleweight tournament takes place on 11/8 in Thackerville, OK at the WinStar World Casino. The winner will get a title shot.
--Charles Oliveira of UFC suffered a leg injury and is out of his bout on the 10/19 UFC show in Houston against Jeremy Larsen. Oliveira is coming off a loss in a great match with Frankie Edgar.
--Mascara Dorada vs. Averno will be the Internet main event (third from the top) this coming Friday at Arena Mexico, airing free on the Internet live.
--Miguel Torres is back in action on the 10/26 WSOF show in Coral Gables, FL. The show is headlined by Josh Burkman vs. Steve Carl.
--Apparently Wednesday's Ultimate Fighter match with Jassimyn Duke vs. Raquel Pennington fight is the best of the season. Dana White liked it so much that he bought both women tickets to the Mayweather fight.
--Black Gordman (Victor Gonzalez), half of one of the greatest tag teams in wrestling history with the Great Goliath, turned 77 today. Gordman was also the father-in-law of the late Lance Cade. Terri Boatright Runnels turned 47 today.
--Brian Pillman was 35 when he was found dead in his motel room in Bloomington, MN on this day, a few hours before a PPV show scheduled in St. Louis. Dale Crybaby Edwards was 56 when he passed away on 2006. Antonio Pena, the Hall of Fame promoter who started AAA, was 55 when he passed away on this day in 2006.
--Brian Reid, better known as Brian Tannen, a Northern California independent wrestler, has signed a developmental deal with WWE.
--ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1971 - Jumbo Miyamoto & Aiko Kyo beat Marie Vagnone & Jane Sherrill to win the WWWA tag team titles
1980 - Vickie Williams beat Irma Gonzalez in Mexico City to win the UWA women's title
1982 - Judy Martin beat Yukari Omori to win the All Pacific title
1993 - Dandy beat Emilio Charles Jr. in Mexico City to win the CMLL middleweight title
1995 - Ultimo Dragon beat Gedo to win the WAR Int. jr. title
1996 - Bob Orton Jr. beat Tito Santana in Fort Lauderdale to win the AWF world title
1997 - Owen Hart beat Faarooq to win the IC title and The Godwinns beat The Headbangers to win the tag titles in a PPV show in St. Louis. This was also the night of the first-ever Hell in a Cell match and an incredible Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker match that included the debut of Kane.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER WWE'S BIGGEST COMPETITION?
Let's just say the man in charge feels very differently with 3.5% being the winner.
WHICH OF THESE WRESTLERS DO YOU SEE AS HAVING HAD THE BEST CAREER SO FAR?
C.M. Punk 38.4%
Hiroshi Tanahashi 25.5%
Randy Orton 19.1%
Daniel Bryan 9.9%
A.J. Styles 3.5%
Shinsuke Nakamura 1.3%
Alberto Del Rio 0.3%
WHICH OF THESE MEN SHOULD BE ON THE HALL OF FAME BALLOT THE MOST?
Junkyard Dog 26.8%
Kerry Von Erich 16.4%
Minoru Suzuki 11.5%
Big Show 8.8%
Booker T 5.9%
Kevin Nash 5.4%
Satoshi Kojima 4.3%
Scott Hall 4.0%
Naomichi Marufuji 3.8%
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 3.8%
Alberto Del Rio 1.6%
POLL ON IMPACT
41.4% of those responding didn't see the show
--Some more notes regarding Ryan Satin, who is on TMZ and is a big wrestling fan. He's a regular at the PWG shows in Reseda, CA and pops big for everything at the shows, buys stuff from the wrestlers and shows his support for the guys by wearing the merchandise on TV. Stand up comedian Ron Funches also goes to the PWG shows regularly.
--A replay of this week's Ultimate Fighter airs at 11 p.m. tonight on FS 2.
--OMEGA runs on 10/12 in Chapel Hill at the Margaret B. Pollard Middle School with Shane Helms, Matt Hardy and C.W. Anderson in a fund raiser for the school.
--John Cena will be appearing at the Wizard World Comic Con 11/22 to 11/24 in Austin, TX at the Convention Center. Cena is one of the headline acts with Stan Lee, Norman Reedus, William Shatner and Scott Bakula. The Bella Twins will also be appearing.
--Pro Wrestling Revolution on 10/26 in San Jose at the National Hispanic University campus. The event is free and open to the public. There will be a wide variety of Mexican entertainment. Wrestling shows will take place at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
--St. Louis Anarchy Wrestling from last night in Alton, IL: Shane Hollister won a six-way over Pete Dunne, Evan Gelistico Travis Banks, Christian Rose and Matt Knicks, Darren Dean & Aaron Solo b Alex Castle & Jeff O'Shea, Adam Raw b Dan Walsh, Dingo b Ricky Starks, ACH b Mark Andrews, Arik Cannon b Brandon Espinosa, Devin & Mason Cutter b Alex the Big Owl & Jordan Lacey, Michael Elgin & Kyle O'Reilly b Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett, Gerald James b Darin Corbin to win heavyweight title (thanks to Patrick Brandmeyer)
--CWE from last night in Fisher Branch, Manitoba: Danny Duggan b Mentallo, Kory Kinkade b Kevin Cannon, Darren Dalton b A.J. Sanchez, Matt Fairlane b Cannibal, Rick Matthews b Cliff Corleone-DQ, Tyson Moore over Brian Rich and Nate Hardy, Rick Matthews & Danny Duggan b Darren Dalton & Cliff Corleone.
--World's Best Wrestling on 10/12 in Sardinia, OH at the old school gym at 116 College AVe.
--TCW Autumn Armageddon tonight in Meridian, MS at the Frank Cochran Center for a TV taping headlined by Jim Duggan vs. Prince Al Farat plus Michael Tarver, Lance Hoyt and Bobby Eaton. They also listed a surprise debut from New Japan Pro Wrestling.
--NWA Southern All-Star Wrestling from last night in Millersville, TN: Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy b Hot Rod Biggs & Shane Smalls, Jocephus b Charles Alexander, Gator McAlister & Hammerjack b Jason Nation & Kevin Weatherby, Chris Michaels b LT Falk, Jeremiah Plunkett & Drew Haskins b Tracy Smothers & Hot Rod Biggs (thanks to Lekisha Oliver)