SUN. UPDATE: New promotion debut, Change in TNA main, WWE personality fights Friday in Bellator
By Dave Meltzer | email@example.com
The Lead: House show reports, RAW sing off Monday
Bryan and I will be back tonight with our usual weekend edition of Wrestling Observer radio. Since we just did a show yesterday, this will be mainly a questions show, so if you've got any questions or topics you'd like talked about, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're looking for reports from today's Raw show in Buffalo, Smackdown in Kalamazoo, last night's Smackdown show in East Lansing, MI and last night's TNA show in Pikeville, KY at email@example.com.
Raw will be live from Cleveland on Monday featuring a sing off between Rock and John Cena, plus a head-to-head confrontation between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. James Roday of USA show Psych will be on the show plugging an episode that Miz guest stars on later this week.
Smackdown and NXT will be taped on Tuesday in Columbus, OH.
New Observer Alert: Cena/Rock in-depth, Doug Furnas remembered, Rise of Rousey
A look at the John Cena/Rock program and the questions that have come up this week, plus part one of our look at Doug Furnas, the rise of Ronda Rousey, the first shots in the Friday night war, and a look at WWE profits in every division, a look at some of WWE's ancillary income, the movie division, Ring of Honor's iPPV, a look at what Rock has and hasn't meant to ratings and more on the build to WrestleMania is all in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
We look at the life of Doug Furnas, including how he got in the Can-Am Express, his career in Japan, his life after wrestling, his amazing powerlifting career, how Kevin Sullivan got him into pro wrestling and the way his debut was set up, football, leaving Japan for WWF and more.
We also look at what has and hasn't worked so far in the Rock-Cena program and the reason for the current battle plan, as well as its risks.
We also look at television viewing on Friday nights from this point forward, the likely winners and losers and who people say they will be watching.
We look at Saturday's Strikeforce show and the future of women's MMA. We look at the Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey feud, Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman and the future of the Strikeforce brand.
We also have more on WWE business, including total attendance numbers for the last three years, the unique way house show profitability has risen while attendance has gone down, how much the company spends for a television taping and a PPV show, the WWE business revenue streams vs. those of UFC, plus magazine, video division and movie divisions, and business increases and cutbacks, as well as how much income the company derives out of the U.K.
We also have more on the John Laurinaitis vs. Teddy Long feud, matches for Mania, updates on Kharma and Wade Barrett, the WWE Network, Dwayne Johnson's movie career and how that relates to future wrestling, what happened to Mark Henry's push, HHH's contract, plus for a number of wrestlers going forward, Edge talks Hall of Fame, twitter embarrassments, WWE tryout news, plus notes on all the WWE weekend house shows with highlights and business notes.
The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
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 and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe. Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world. Everywhere from Wall Street to the major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.
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You can also subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.
Also in the new Observer: Mexico, Japan, Russo talks
We also look at the UFC show in Australia, the controversy and behind the scenes regarding the judging of the Ian McCall vs. Demetrious Johnson fight, and match-by-match coverage.
We also update ROH, the direction of the company, and its last iPPV show from New York, the 10th anniversary show.
We've got notes on Josh Barnett's attempt to get licensed, as well as coverage of CMLL's first big show of the year, and notes on Royal Rumble PPV business. We also have our in-depth look at the ratings of the national shows, including how every segment of Raw and Impact did, what gained in audience, and what lost in audience.
We also have our weekly features with the results from the major events held around the world over the past week, as well as reviews of the major television shows.
--A look at the complete card for AAA's Rey de Reyes
--Notes on the big angle being set up and the L.A. Park possible turn
--Dragon Gate title change
--All Japan's major show of the week setting up the 3/20 card
--Update on Kenta Kobashi
--Ownership of New Japan
--Plans going forward for New Japan under new ownership
--Potential match of the year
--Lineup for the 2012 New Japan Cup tournament
--Zero-One's anniversary show
--ROH's latest TV tapings
--More on Hulk Hogan sex tape
--Vince Russo talks about his departure from TNA
--TNA star in movie role filming this week
--Brian Kendrick talks his TNA departure
--Eric Bischoff sells a new network show
--Ring Ka King update
--Samoa Joe & Magnus turn
--Lawsuit filed against TNA
--Changes in TNA on television
--TNA weekend tour notes
--More on upcoming television shows
--The decision to make Frankie Edgar the top lightweight contender
--Arguments for Edgar and for Pettis to get the next shot
--More testosterone therapy questions
--Chael Sonnen apology swerve
--More new UFC fights
--Schedule until the end of July
--More on the cast of this season's Ultimate Fighter
--Controversy over Michigan commission
--Mirko Cro Cop's retirement
***Sunday's News, Notes & Links***
--The WWE web site relaunched again today, seriously months after re-designing it. A major note is that the WWEGreatestMatches.com service which had been a subscription service is now free. They also sent notice to subscribers that they were not being charged for March. It makes sense as the new site is going to feature more history. WWE doing history is always fun, but it's kayfabe storyline history. The idea, which is sound, is to try and get its website fanbase more into history, and thus, they will be more interested in calling their cable companies to get the old matches that will be a big part of the new network. (thanks to Stephen Gray)
--On Fuel today, UFC Unleashed will air at 9:30 p.m. and the Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis FOX show replays at 12:30 a.m.
--James Thompson beat Bob Sapp in 1:48 earlier today in Mumbai, India, in the debut of the Super Fight League promotion. Thompson had reversed and gotten on top when Sapp clutched his thigh, indicating either a torn muscle or a knee issue and tapped out. The one thing you could see on production is that a ton of money was spent on the show. The show is available for free here.
--Phil Fulmer and Doug Matthews, both former coaches at the University of Tennessee and both now media personalities, spoke yesterday at the funeral of Doug Furnas, who played two seasons for the Volunteers before becoming a pro wrestling star in the 90s.
--The Bobby Roode vs. Sting TNA PPV match a week from today has been changed to a No Holds Barred match.
--Madusa has teased being in Miami for WrestleMania. Most likely, she's among the huge number of people being brought in for interviews for upcoming features on the network. They are scheduled to do a ton of filming during the week before Mania.
--Jeremiah Riggs of Tough Enough fame will be fighting Trey Houston this coming Friday night at the Bellator show in Bossier City, LA at the Horseshoe Riverdome. His match will not be televised, but will air on the Spike.com web site at roughly 7 p.m.
--Don't know what is and isn't legit about this and given it was Chavo Guerrero Sr., anything is possible. Last night in Elgin, IL, Guerrero Sr. & American Gigolo headlined in a tag team match against Ray Fuego & Jorge Paez. For you boxing fans, this is the same Jorge "Meromaro" Paez who was a big name boxer in the 80s and 90s, world featherweight champion and once seconded Rey Mysterio on a WWE PPV show.
The match started normally enough and Guerrero was getting heat from ringside fans. Something happened and Guerrero shoved a fan, who was the brother of Ray Fuego. The two started arguing and Chavo shot for a takedown which was stuffed and they were on the ground. Supposedly in the struggle, there was a legit punch thrown by Chavo, everyone came out and the match ended. Paez never tagged in as the match was over so quickly, and then posed for photos with confused fans. Paez was wearing a suit, which would appear to be an indication he never expected to tag in. Ray Fuego got dressed and left the building. It was on iPPV and probably an attempt at a worked shoot but who knows. (thanks to Geoff Murphy)
--Seth Rollins is working the Smackdown tour this week beating Drew McIntyre.
What did you watch Friday night?
- Only Smackdown 30.1%
- Only Ultimate Fighter 20.5%
- Only Bellator 1.2%
- Smackdown and Ultimate Fighter 9.6%
- Ultimate Fighter and Bellator 9.0%
- Smackdown and Bellator 2.4%
- All three 6.0%
- None 21.1%
That means 48.1% of those responding watched Smackdown, 38.5% watched Ultimate Fighter and 18.6% watched Bellator.
What did you think of Bellator?
- Excellent 34.4%
- Good 59.4%
- Average 0.0%
- Fair 0.0%
- Poor 6.3%
67.3% of those responding didn't see the show
Should commentary be added to fights on TUF?
What did you think of Ultimate Fighter?
40.8% of those responding didn't see the show
What did you think of Smackdown?
35.6% of those responding didn't see the show
--The last two weeks of APW are up on YouTube. The first show features Jody Kristofferson winning the APW title in his farewell appearance with his father Kris Kristofferson celebrating in the ring with him.
--On The Sunday Footy Show, a rugby league show in Australia, they showed ten seconds of an old John Cena vs. Wade Barrett match and one of the hosts talked about Mario Milano and Larry O'Dea, who were both big stars in the 70s for World Championship Wrestling in Australia. Another brought up wanting to see the Crippler Crossface brought back but they quickly moved on from there. (thanks to Tim Forge)
--The next UFC show isn't until a Fuel card on 4/14 from Stockholm, Sweden, which has been sold out for weeks. It will be a three hour live show preceded by probably three hours on Facebook. The TV fights are Alexander Gustafsson vs. Thiago Silva, Brian Stann vs. Alessio Sakara, Paulo Thiago vs. Siyar Bahadurzada, Diego Nunes vs. Dennis Siver, DaMarques Johnson vs. John Maguire and Damacio Page vs. Brad Pickett.
--The annual benefit Wrestlefest for the Deaf show at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Pittsburgh will be on 4/29. Advertised for the show are Bruno Sammartino (complete with a drawing of a circa 1975 Bruno), Domenic DeNucci (with a drawing of a 60s DeNucci), Bushwhacker Luke Williams, Zach Gowen, Shark Boy and Gregory Iron. For info, you can call 412-678-3287.
--EWF from last night in Highland, CA: Brute Barretto b Jeff Stone, Stryder b Chowder, Sugar Sweet b Valiant, Johnny Starr b Killa Gorilla, Jeremy Jaeger & Roger Ruiz b Eddie Mattson & Maddix, Vizzion b Terex, Sugar Sweet won Rumble Battle Royal. Next show is 4/14 in San Bernardino at the Sports Academy (thanks to Brandi Mendez)
--Mid Missouri Wrestling Alliance from last night in St. Louis: Chase King b Big Texan, Johnny Courageous b Andrew Wilder, Ace Hawkins DCOR Max Archer, Lumberjacks Abe & Gabe b Jimmy D & Frankie D, Ricky Cruz b Dave Osborne, Gary Jackson b Dave Vaughn, Brandon Espinosa b LaMarcus Clinton (thanks to Patrick Brandmeyer)
--Here's an article on Traditional Championship Wrestling.
--Platinum Wrestling from Friday night in Avondale Estates, GA: Joey Kidman b Eric Walker, Pandora b Warhorse Sexbomb, Dany Only & Phantom b Sylar Cross & Master Jae, Mat Sells b Tommy Daniels, Najasism Aesha & Bran Blaze b Mason the Witness & Fred Yehi, Simon Sermon b Vandal. Next show is Friday night at the Academy Theater.
--The Pro Wrestling Syndicate show from Friday night with Colt Cabana vs. Sami Callihan, Jerry Lynn vs. DanMaff, Matt Hardy vs. Jay Lethal and Balls Mahoney vs. Marty Jannetty is available as an iPPV for $9.99 right now.
--NCW Femme Fatales from last night in Montreal before 200 fans: Missy won four-way over Anna Minoushka, Mary Lee Rose & Milou, Sweet Cherrie b Portia Perez, Kellie Skater b Kira, She Nay Nay b Rhia O'Reilly, Cheerleader Melissa d HaileyHatred, Jessie McKay b Angie Skye, LuFisto b Jazz, Kalamity b Mercedes Martinez to keep the International title. Next show is 7/7. (thanks to Pat Laprade)
The Most Popular Observers Ever
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)
*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 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)
*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 Strangler Lewis)
*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)
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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.