Observer Newsletter - 8th April 2013
Wrestling Observer Newsletter)
8 2013 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Biggest show
in history of wrestling looming, a full look at this
weekend's shows, tragic death of Reid Flair, tons
PO Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228 ISSN10839593
April 8, 2013
wrestling, in at least some type of form, has existed
in the U.S. in some form for about 150 years. But
Sundays 29th rendition of WrestleMania, is expected
to be, from a financial standpoint, the biggest event
in its history.
notable is that almost every record setting event
was based on some form of an ultimate match, whether
it be Frank Gotch vs. George Hackenschmidt, Strangler
Lewis vs. Gus Sonnenberg, Lewis vs. Jim Londos, Lou
Thesz vs. Baron Leone, Pat OConnor vs. Buddy
Rogers, John Tolos vs. Fred Blassie, Bruno Sammartino
vs. Larry Zbyszko, Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff, Hulk
Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, Keiji Muto vs. Nobuhiko
Takada, The Rock vs. Steve Austin or even last years
Rock vs. John Cena record holder.
year, its not really about any specific match,
although Rock vs. Cena for the WWE title is clearly
the main event, and on paper, Undertaker vs. C.M Punk
and Brock Lesnar vs. HHH, with Shawn Michaels in his
corner, are all solid main event matches. But none
have come off as any kind of matches of the century
going in, with that special hype and buzz that leads
to record business. Even so, the WrestleMania brand
name and being in the New York market, even though
technically he event will take place across state
lines at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, was
strong enough that the show has already set the all-time
gate record, and pretty well did that with advance
sales before one match was officially announced.
even more so, it can be argued that this is the biggest
week in history, particularly in one geographical
location. With WrestleCon, a number of different independent
groups are all running on the same stage. In addition,
TNA is running in the area with one of its biggest
house shows to date, and ROH has what is likely to
be its biggest show of the year, and to set its all-time
gate record. Several other promotions are also expected
to draw their biggest crowds of the year as fans travel
from 34 countries and all 50 states for the week.
are also a number of MMA shows with national distribution.
And there are big international shows, as well as
a taped TNA PPV, a New Japan PPV and the 70th anniversary
of pro wrestling at Arena Coliseo in Mexico City.
Nearly every major living wrestling star of the past
30 years will be in the New York area, either performing,
or signing autographs.
29 legitimately sold out to the tune of 70,000 fans
about one month ahead of time. It was the hottest
WrestleMania ticket in several years, and the most
expensive in history. Last years all-time gate
record of $8.2 million has been shattered, as this
years gate has topped $11 million. There are
going to be a few more tickets released when production
moves in and sets up, so the real attendance will
be somewhere in the 70,000 to 75,000 range. That would
put it in the top four WWE shows of all-time, behind
the Pontiac Silverdome, the 1992 SummerSlam at Wembley
Stadium, and the 2007 WrestleMania at Ford Field in
Detroit, and it could beat Ford Field.
thought the announced number would be closer to 90,000,
maybe more. The stadium record is 93,000 and they
always want to announce a stadium record, but they
also dont want to announce a number that the
mainstream media will shit on (although local media
in Detroit never accepted the 2007 WWE number nor
was it considered the building record by anyone even
though they announced it was). Still, on the Raw go-home
show, they were using the 70,000 figure. One would
think theyll announce a number larger than the
building can hold for the Super Bowl in January, because
one of the talking points they like to claim is outdrawing
the Super Bowl in the same building, even though the
very idea of a comparison is a joke.
availability of tickets right now is minimal. As of
Easter Sunday, there were 2,307 tickets on the secondary
market. The average price for tickets was $402, way
up from last year in Miami where a week out, the average
price was $280. But Miami didnt legitimately
sell out, so unless you were looking for prime seats,
you didnt have to pay over market price. One
second row ringside seat would cost $5,500, but to
get two together would cost$8,500 per seat. There
were two front row seats available, one going for
$22,500 and the other for $50,000.
will be wider streaming availability this year, on
Apple, Android, Windows 8, Kindle Fire, Xbox 360 and
Samsung Smart TV.
officials this week are touting that the weeks
worth of activities will pump $100 million into the
area economy, with 125,000 tourists coming to New
York and New Jersey for events. Publicly, they are
predicting 1.3 million PPV buys, a figure that no
pro wrestling event has ever reached. Others in the
organization were shaken up by how the Elimination
Chamber show did with Rock vs. Punk noting it had
better promos than Rock vs. Cena and still did a disappointing
number. Plus, there is a price increase to $59.95
standard definition and $69.95 high definition in
North America. While many have complained, big prices
have never hurt PPVs in the past, and people paid
that in droves for Floyd Mayweather fights already
with no problems. Every year, the brand name WrestleMania
gets stronger, whether the lineup or the storylines
building up the matches do or not. But still, there
have been wide variations and have been disappointing
numbers, none of which people really foresaw ahead
of time. But the expectations are for this to do,
if not record buys, record revenues.
for the three hour shows during the period leading
up to the show were ahead of those for the two hour
shows last year. Live attendance, probably still the
best barometer of the strength of the brand, over
the last six weeks has been the strongest for WWE
in years, and thats with several of the key
Mania headliners not even on those shows. This is
also the first show with Rock and Lesnar, the two
biggest draws, both appearing.
to WWE figures, last year there were 45,000 fans who
came from outside the Miami area and purchased tickets
for last years WrestleMania. That doesnt
include those who came to town and didnt attend
the show itself. They averaged spending four nights
and spent almost $7 million at area restaurants. Many
of the hotels surrounding East Rutherford, NJ, have
been sold out for months.
is a major day of wrestling all over the world, with
not only WrestleMania and a Dragon Gate USA iPPV from
Secaucus, NJ, as well as a New Japan iPPV from Tokyo
Sumo Hall, and a live free stream from Mexico of the
70th anniversary of pro wrestling at Arena Coliseo
in Mexico City.
highlights include the WWE Hall of Fame, a Dragon
Gate USA iPPV, a live UFC show from Stockholm, Sweden,
and an ROH TV taping.
has a TNA PPV show, a TNA house show, an ROH iPPV,
and an Invicta all-womens PPV and more.
When: Sunday, 4/7, one hour pre-game show on the WWE.com
and selected other sites at 6 p.m., four-hour PPV
from 7-11 p.m. (All times listed as Eastern time zone)
Metlife Stadium Lineup: Wade Barrett vs. The Miz for
the Intercontinental title on the pre-show; PPV card
features The Rock vs. John Cena for WWE championship,
Undertaker vs. C.M. Punk with Undertakers streak
at stake, Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs. HHH
(with Shawn Michaels) in a no holds barred match with
the stipulations that HHH must retire if he loses;
Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Jack
Swagger (with Zeb Colter) for the World title; Randy
Orton & Big Show & Sheamus vs. Seth Rollins
& Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose; Ryback vs.
Mark Henry; Kane & Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler
& Big E Langston (with A.J. Lee) for the WWE tag
titles, Chris Jericho vs. Fandango, Brodus Clay &
Tensai & Naomi & Cameron vs. Damien Sandow
& Cody Rhodes & Bella Twins
As with other WWE events, it is possible they could
add matches, particularly the idea of one match in
an hour pre-game show sounds like it could drag badly.
shows over the weekend had Jericho and Fandango work
together in trios matches and reports were strong
on their interaction. A decision was also made to
put Mark Henry vs. Ryback in singles matches on house
shows to get them ready. That was a good idea, because
reports were they did not do well any of the three
nights and now theyve established there is a
need to work our the kinks.
of the weekend, these were the planned segment lengths,
not matches but the segments, and these times will
change up until the show, particularly the top three
matches. Rock, Cena, HHH and Undertaker have the star
power and seniority to get more or less time the day
of the show as they see fit, within at least some
limits: Del Rio vs. Swagger 15:00; Jericho vs. Fandango
10:00; Sean Combs concert 8:00; Hall of Fame introductions
7:00; Eight-man tag 8:00; six-man tag 15:00; Tag titles
12-15:00; Ryback vs. Henry 12:00 (thats one
Id change as the match, with the idea of Ryback
using the shell shock on Henry for the WrestleMania
moment, really doesnt need to go more than 7:00
bell-to-bell); HHH vs. Lesnar (20-30:00); Undertaker
vs. Punk (20:00) and Rock vs. Cena (25-30:00).
surprises since there have been a plethora of turns,
particularly faces to heel, rumored and talked about.
The original plan was for Jericho to have already
turned, but that was ditched several weeks back. There
are a lot of expectations that Orton turns on his
partners and costs them the match with The Shield,
since Orton vs. Sheamus was at one point scheduled
for this show. The word is the Ziggler, Langston and
A.J. group is supposed to get a big push coming off
the show. I dont know if that means Ziggler
& Langston get the tag titles, or that Ziggler
gets the world title. A.J. could also get the Divas
title. At this point, Kaitlyn, the champion, is not
scheduled for the show, although if she is added,
based on TV, A.J. would be the opponent. Or they could
save that match for a TV the week after. The keys
to the show are also setting up the post-Mania run,
which would mean getting a title contender for Cena,
which at one point was talked about for Ryback, and
theres always Punk for the spot in the old Orton
role as the match-up that seemingly never ends.
of the matches should be good, but unlike most years,
there is not the match that you look at and say, this
is going to be a show stealer. Rock vs. Cena in a
long match we saw last year and it was good. Most
likely, the combination of fans traveling in and being
in New York means the crowd will probably be about
90% pro-Rock, even though Cena is the full-time face
of the promotion. While Undertaker wont be booed,
Punk is likely to get a good split reaction or better.
Rhodes and Ziggler have been very popular in the New
York market for big shows over the past year.
acts who have the most to gain and lose are probably
Swagger and Fandango. Del Rio is getting pushed no
matter how he does because they need a Hispanic babyface
star. If it doesnt work, theyll keep trying
new ways. Swagger, on the other hand, with all his
TV and his big push, if hes not over, they may
say he didnt work out. If he does, it should
help him. Fandango is going to be pushed coming off
Mania, with his dancing extra and special ring entrance.
But if his match is good and gets over, it will make
a difference. He and Jericho is a sleeper match, but
the key for them is to go on early. If they go late,
particularly after the higher profile matches, itll
be harder to get the crowd, and also, if running late,
theyll be the guys who get time cut.
variable is the weather. No rain was being predicted
at press time, but it was expected to be a chilly
night, high 40s and low 50s. Bumps and chops hurt
a lot worse in cold outdoor weather, and its
tougher for crowd reactions as well.
CMLL 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF ARENA COLISEO
When: Sunday, 4/7 at 6 p.m. Live and free at www.terra.com.mx
Mexico Citys Arena Coliseo
Dragon Rojo Jr. vs. La Sombra for the CMLL world middleweight
title; Atlantis & Diamante Azul & Rayo de
Jalisco Jr. vs. Mascara Ano 2000 & Universo 2000
& Ray Mendoza Jr.; Shocker & Averno &
Blue Panther (Team CMLL) vs. Black Terry & Negro
Navarro & Villano IV (Team Independent); Goya
Kong & Estrellita & Marcela & Silueta
& Dalis la Caribena vs. Amapola & Princesa
Blanca & Princesa Sugei & Zeuxis & Tiffany;
Oro Jr. & Soberano vs. Espanto Jr. & Guerrero
Arena Coliseo, the original home of CMLL before they
were selling it out so frequently that the promotion
built the larger Arena Mexico, celebrates its anniversary.
The debut show was on April 3, 1943, where two of
the countrys all-time legends, El Santo and
Tarzan Lopez, met in a singles match on top, plus
Bobby Arreola faced Miguel Blackie Guzman,
who was later to become one of the biggest stars in
Texas during the 50s as the tag team partner of Rito
show, expected to sellout the now 5,500 seat arena
(it held 8,800 when it first opened), features the
companys hottest young wrestler in Sombra challenging
for the title, plus returns of seven former headliners
(Jalisco Jr., the two Dinamita Brothers, Mendoza Jr.
and brother Villano IV, as well as Black Terry and
Negro Navarro who are now famous teachers who were
headliners in the 80s). Princesa Sugei, one of the
more talented Mexican women wrestlers ever, also returns.
DRAGON GATE USA MERCURY RISING
When: Sunday, 4/7, 1 p.m., airs live on iPPV at www.WWNLive.com
Meadowlands Convention Center, Secaucus, NJ
Johnny Gargano & Ricochet & Rich Swann vs.
Cima & Eita & mystery partner; Shingo Takagi
vs. Akira Tozawa; Matt Jackson vs. Nick Jackson vs.
Samuray del Sol vs. Facade vs. Christina Von Eerie
vs. AR Fox vs. Uhaa Nation with staggered entrances
like a Rumble, eliminations via pinfalls, submission
or DQ and ladders legal; Brian Kendrick vs. Chuck
Taylor; Super Smash Brothers vs. Sami Callihan &
Arik Cannon; Tony Nese vs. Soldier Ant.
Expect a spectacular fast-paced flying show. As far
as simply spectacular and fast pacing, it will beat
the other much higher profile shows. Plus, for most
of the non-Japanese wrestlers, they will be performing
before an international audience much larger than
they are used to. If anything, that should raise their
games, at least as far as creativity and risk-taking.
With the ladder match in particular, that could be
good or bad.
NEW JAPAN INVASION ATTACK
When: Sunday, 4/7, 3 a.m. live (late Saturday night)
Live iPPV for 1,800 yen ($19.25) at www.ustream.tv/channel/njpw1972
(replays available for one week)
Tokyo Sumo Hall.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP
heavyweight title; Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Davey Boy
Smith Jr., for the IWGP Intercontinental title; Rob
Conway vs. Satoshi Kojima for the NWA heavyweight
title; Yuji Nagata & Hirooki Goto vs. Kazushi
Sakuraba & Katsuyori Shibata; Minoru Suzuki vs.
Toru Yano; Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Masato
Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi; El Terrible & Tama
Tonga vs. Valiente & La Mascara for the CMLL world
tag team titles; Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Manabu Nakanishi
& Super Strong Machine & Akebono vs. Bob Sapp
& Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi;
Alex Shelley & Kushida vs. Prince Devitt &
Ryusuke Taguchi for the IWGP jr. heavyweight tag team
Tanahashi vs. Okada matches New Japans two biggest
single stars in their fourth title meeting over the
past 14 months, and are probably the best bet to have
the top match of the weekend. All three previous matches
were well over four stars. Okada is the upcoming star,
who beat Tanahashi and ended his one-year plus run
on February 12, 2012, in Osaka. Tanahashi regained
the title in the rematch on June 16, 2012. Okada become
No. 1 contender by winning the G-1 Climax tournament,
but lost before 29,000 fans paid, the largest crowd
in years for Japanese pro wrestling, on 1/4 at the
Tokyo Dome. But Okada won the New Japan Cup tournament
on 3/23, beating Goto in the finals. There are strong
arguments for both men winning. New Japan has shown
tremendous growth under Tanahashi and they did shockingly
well on iPPV (more than 90,000 buys in Japan, second
most in history) for his 2/20 title defense against
Karl Anderson, a challenger nobody really believed
had a chance and someone who isnt a big drawing
card. On the other hand, Okada lost to Minoru Suzuki
and this would be his third loss in a row to Tanahashi.
Going on such a crowded weekend will probably hurt
U.S. buys, but those are minimal. In Japan, there
is no reason this show shouldnt beat everything
but the last Tokyo Dome show.
the exception of the G-1 Climax tournament or joint
shows, New Japan hasnt legitimately sold out
Sumo Hall (11,500 seats) in years, as even the spectacular
10/8 King of Pro Wrestling show with Tanahashi vs.
Suzuki did 7,000. The last one was October 12, 2009,
for Masahiro Chonos 25th anniversary show with
Keiji Muto & Chono & Kenta Kobashi teaming
up for the first time ever against Nakanishi &
Kojima & Jun Akiyama. It will be interesting to
see how close they can come with a Tokyo Dome rematch
of their biggest singles match.
vs. Smith Jr. is based on Smith Jr. beating Nakamura
clean in the New Japan Cup. They had a good match,
but this is a much bigger stage.
is a complete unknown and the value of the NWA title
in Japan in 2013 is questionable, but evidently the
promotion believes its still something by putting
it as one of the three main events.
Sakuraba & Shibata match so far has had great
heat, and Nagata & Goto are a better team in the
ring than anyone theyve faced so far.
vs. Yano will be a brawl and a style clash, and Lucha
Libre is hit and miss on a New Japan big show. The
eight-man tag should be what it is on every show,
a lot of familiar names, while the jr. tag title match
should be excellent.
WWE FAN AXXESS
When: Thursday 6 p.m., Friday 6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.,
1 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Sunday at 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ
These are a combination of autograph shows, special
attractions and merchandise stands. Every session
will feature a revolving group of stars, with everyone
in the promotion as well as legends from the past
involved. In addition, a ring will be set up at every
session and there will be a regular wrestling show
produced by HHH with the top stars in developmental
being brought in to work with the wrestles on the
main roster who arent working at WrestleMania.
WWE HALL OF FAME
When: Saturday, 4/6 8 p.m. (Airs on Tuesday, 4/9 on
USA Network 10 p.m.)
Madison Square Garden, New York
Bruno Sammartino, Donald Trump, Trish Stratus, Mick
Foley, Bob Backlund, Booker T
Billed as Bruno Sammartino 188th Madison Square Garden
sellout, which is the new 93,173, this is one of the
most star-studded Hall of Fame classes ever. The 77-year-old
Sammartino returns to the building he headlined legitimately
138 times, more than anyone in history, and also wrestled
in more times than anyone in history. The event is
not without late controversy due to the decision to
put Stratus as one of the three main eventers, ahead
of Foley, or at least that was how it was advertised
on Raw. According to a WWE source, they were not aware
of the commercial (it was a USA Network commercial)
and that they were 90 percent sure Foley will be part
of the broadcast. In the past, everyone gets cameo
time, but usually only two inductees, three max, are
featured. Stephanie McMahon wanted to induct Stratus.
As noted last week, Stratus had on her web site put
up a poll asking who should induct her, and the results
according to her, came up overwhelmingly for Lita.
She then said she agreed with the decision, meaning
she didnt know any better at the time. According
to those in WWE, a lot of the talent was upset when
the commercial aired, not at all as a knock to Stratus,
but just that Foley deserved better than to be treated
as a prelim guy in the Hall of Fame. Many were even
more upset about Trump getting top billing, but its
WWE tradition at the Hall of Fame to put the celebrities
ahead of all but the biggest star each year, and theres
no way Trump would appear if he wasnt featured.
We heard from a few people who were shocked when it
appeard Foley was relegated to the off-TV grouping,
and werent mincing words about it. Even I, who
have been told time after time that the Hall of Fame
is simply a vehicle to sell a DVD, felt Foley deserved
a lot better, but it does appear hell get at
least more than cameo time. With all due respect to
Stratus, her career was not in the ballpark of Foley
or Bob Backlund. Backlund headlined 67 times in Madison
Square Garden and sold out 41 of them, and was the
second longest reigning champion in history behind
Sammartino. At press time, it has been announced that
Sammartino will be inducted by Arnold Schwarzenegger,
who unlike some combinations in the past, the two
really were friends and had trained together dating
back to the 60s, although of the wrestlers, Schwarzenegger
was actually closer to Superstar Billy Graham during
that period. Foley will be inducted by Terry Funk.
Backlund will be inducted by Maria Menounos of the
TV show Extra, who has wrestled at WrestleMania before,
done well and is legitimately a big fan. It is rumored
Booker T will be inducted by his brother, Stevie Ray,
but WWE officials would not confirm that. Nothing
also was said about Trump, although one WWE official
suggested to us that Trump was going to insist on
Vince McMahon because nobody else would be considered
good enough for him.
DRAGON GATE USA OPEN THE ULTIMATE GATE
When: Saturday, 4/6, 8 p.m., iPPV live at www.WWNLive.com
Meadowlands Convention Center, Secaucus, NJ,
Johnny Gargano vs. Shingo Takagi for the Open the
Freedom Gate title; Cima & A.R. Fox vs. The Young
Bucks for the Open the United Gate tag team title;
Samuray del Sol vs. Jon Davis; Akira Tozawa vs. Ricochet;
Sami Callihan vs. Uhaa Nation; Brian Kendrick vs.
Rich Swann; Super Smash Brothers vs. Eita & mystery
partner; Chuck Taylor vs. Arik Cannon vs. Jigsaw vs.
Tony Nese vs. Fire Ant vs. Shane Strickland
Gargano, champion for more than 500 days, defends
against one of Dragon Gates biggest stars, plus
a lot of the best upcoming talent on the indie scene
today are on the show. The expectation is this show
will draw a crowd approaching 1,000 fans, making it
the most successful Dragon Gate USA event in the companys
When: Saturday 4/6, 7:30 p.m.
Boonton, NJ Elks Lodge
An All womens show takes place roughly a half
hour away from both Secaucus and East Rutherford.
LuFisto, the Montreal native who is currently making
a name for herself in Mexico, will be on the show
facing Sumie Sakai. The main event features one of
the greatest woman wrestlers of all-time, 43-year-old
Kyoko Inoue, who won five world titles during the
early 90s glory period of All Japan women, facing
When: Saturday 4/6, 4 p.m.
Meadowlands Convention Center, Secaucus, NJ
Eddie Kingston vs. Hallowicked for CHIKARA Grand Championship;
Mike Quackenbush & Mystery partner vs. The Shard
& Jigsaw; Amasis vs. Ophidian; Spectral Envoy
vs. The Throwbacks vs. The Batiri vs. The Devastation
Corporation; Archibald Peck vs. Tim Donst; The Colony
& Frightmare vs. Soldier Ant & The Colony
Xtreme Force; 3.0 & Gran Akuma & Marty Jannetty
vs. FIST; Saturyne vs. Kobald
The comedy-based promotion is also expected to play
before its biggest crowd of the year for a show taped
for DVD distribution.
ROH TV TAPINGS
When: Saturday, 4/6, 2 p.m.
Manhattan Center, New York
Karl Anderson vs. Michael Elgin; Bobby Fish vs. Eddie
Edwards; Kyle OReilly vs. Davey Richards, ACH
challenges for TV title, plus Kevin Steen, Matt Taven,
Mark & Jay Briscoe, Jay Lethal, B.J. Whitmer,
Caprice Coleman, Cedric Alexander, Steve Corino, Jimmy
Jacobs, Adam Cole and Roderick Strong
Four weeks of television, largely building up the
5/4 Border Wars PPV in Toronto, will be taped. Plenty
of tickets remain for the 1,100 seat building.
When: Saturday 4/6, Noon, live iPPV at www.WWNLive.com
Meadowlands Convention Center, Secaucus, NJ
Sweet Saraya Knight vs. Cheerleader Melissa in a cage
match for the Shimmer championship; Ayako Hamada vs.
Athena; Madison Eagles vs. Jessie McKay, Mercedes
Martinez vs. Ayumi Kurihara; Amazing Kong vs. Mia
Yim, Plus: Canadian Ninjas, Christina Von Eerie, Serena
Deeb, Kana, Allison Danger, Tomoko Nakagawa, Cherry
Bomb, Leva Bates, Veda Scott, Kellie Skater, Taylor
Made, Allysin Kaye and Rhia OReilly
A group known for pushing athletic based womens
pro wrestling, brings in wrestlers from all over the
world. Knight, the mother of WWEs Paige, comes
from the U.K. The soon to be retiring Kurihara is
one of Japans best woman wrestlers. Hamada,
a second generation star, has been one of the top
woman wrestlers for years. Kong and Melissa were both
stars in TNA and Deeb was a star in WWE.
UFC ON FUEL 9
When: Saturday, 4/6, 10:30 a.m. (thats 7:30
a.m. for those of you on the West Coast), Facebook
coverage from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; live on Fuel TV
from 2-5 p.m.
Ericsson Globe Arena, Stockholm, Sweden
Facebook fights - Papy Abedi vs. Besam Yousef; Michael
Kuiper vs. Tom Lawlor; Ben Alloway vs. Ryan LaFlare;
Marcus Brimage vs. Conor McGregor; Adlan Amagov vs.
Chris Spang; Adam Cella vs. Tor Troeng; Michael Johnson
vs. Reza Madadi. Fuel fights - Akira Corassani vs.
Robert Peralta; Diego Brandao vs. Pablo Garza; Mike
Easton vs. Brad Pickett; Philip DeFries vs. Matt Mitrione;
Ryan Couture vs. Ross Pearson; Gegard Mousasi vs.
A major soap opera evolved over the past few days
resulting in an unknown fighter headlining a UFC show
in his debut. The show had been built around Swedens
biggest fighting star, Alexander Gustafsson, the 6-foot-5
light heavyweight contender facing the former Strikeforce
champion and Japanese star. But on 3/28, in his final
wrestling practice, Gustafsson fell face first into
a cage, opening up a deep cut near his eye, which
was closed with three stitches at the hospital. Three
doctors looked at it and all suggested that Gustafsson
would not be cleared. On Easter Sunday, a major holiday
in Sweden, news of the injury was reported on the
countrys leading news channel. The Swedish Mixed
Martial Arts Commission strongly suggested the fight
was in serious jeopardy. Dana White that night, said
the fight was on, which, at the time, it was. But
on 4/2, the commission examined the cut, and made
the ruling Gustafsson could not be cleared. This was
a big problem in a number of ways. First, its
not exactly easy to get someone to take a fight with
no notice. Second, with the show being in Sweden,
where visas are needed, there was no time for anyone
to get a new visa, pretty well limiting options to
only European fighters since they are allowed to come
to Sweden. Due to Gustafsson, this show sold out 13,000
tickets (about 15,000 in all) for $2.3 million the
first day they were put on sale. Theres no word
on the refund policy. UFC signed Ilir Latifi, the
training partner of Gustafsson, who has a 7-2 record,
as the late replacement, and changed the main event
from five rounds to three rounds, given that Latifi
is already at enough of a handicap talking a fight
with no training. Mousasi agreed to the fight to save
the show, even though hes going from a 6-foot-5
striker to a 5-foot-8 Swedish national wrestling champion,
wrestling is his weakness and as his UFC debut, this
fight is gigantic for him. Latifis two losses
were to Emanuel Newton, back in 2011 via decision,
and Tatsuya Mizuno via TKO in 2009. Newton just won
Bellators light heavyweight tournament.
Couture, the son of Randy Couture, becomes the first
second generation UFC fighter in the semifinal when
facing Englands former Ultimate Fighter winner
Ross Pearson. Pearson has said that Couture was not
at his level.
vs. Pickett matches two top-ten bantamweights, with
Easton known for boring fights and Pickett for exciting
HULK HOGAN & FRIENDS
When: Friday 10 p.m.
Beacon Theater, New York
Hogan, Eric Bischoff and announcer Dave Penzer to
a question and answer show. They booked the 2,894-seat
theater and at last word, tickets priced from $30
to $300 originally, were not selling well and were
being heavily discounted.
COMBAT ZONE WRESTLING
When: Friday, 8 p.m.
Meadowlands Convention Center, Secaucus, NJ
Masada vs. Jun Kasai for the CZW heavyweight title;
Brian Kendrick vs. Sami Callihan; Eric Ryan &
Dustin Rayz vs. Ruckus & Blk Jeez for the CZW
tag titles; Greg Excellent vs. Colt Cabana; Shane
Strickland vs. A.R. Fox vs. Rich Swann vs. Chiva Kid
vs. Shane Hollister vs. Lucky 13; Jake & Dave
Crist vs. Tommy End & Michael Dante; Matt Tremont
vs. Joe Gacy; Drake Younger vs. Danny Havoc; Gulak
Campaign vs. The Front
Kasai comes back from Big Japan Wrestling while Dante
& End are from Westside Extreme Wrestling in Germany.
RING OF HONOR SUPERCARD OF HONOR
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m., iPPV live at www.rohwrestling.com
Hammerstein Ballroom, New York
Kevin Steen vs. Jay Briscoe for ROH title; Bobby Fish
& Kyle OReilly vs. Davey Richards &
Eddie Edwards for ROH tag titles; Matt Taven vs. Adam
Cole vs. Matt Hardy for ROH TV title; Jay Lethal vs.
Michael Elgin for the No. 1 contender spot; Karl Anderson
vs. Roderick Strong; B.J. Whitmer & Mark Briscoe
& Mike Mondo & Caprice Coleman & Cedric
Alexander vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Cliff Compton &
Rhett Titus & Rhino & Jimmy Rave, ACH &
Tadarius Thomas vs. QT Marshall & mystery partner
A strong lineup, in particular with the tag team title
match as Fish & OReilly face the team that
they won the titles largely to face in the first major
RedDragon vs American Wolves battle. Largely due to
so many fans coming into town, this show sold out
the 1,800 tickets weeks ago and will be the promotions
largest gate in its history. The Lethal vs Elgin winner
is likely to face Steen for the title in Toronto.
New Japans Anderson returns to ROH. He appeared
twice with the promotion in 2007, but this time he
comes in as a bonafide star, after headlining the
New Japan February PPV and having what may have been,
at least thus far, the best match of this year against
TNA HOUSE SHOW
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
NYCB Theater, Westbury, NY
Sting & Jeff Hardy vs. Team 3-D, A.J. Styles vs.
Austin Aries, Bobby Roode vs. James Storm street fight;
Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels; Velvet Sky vs.
Gail Kim for Knockouts title; Kurt Angle vs Wes Brisco;
Joseph Park vs. Robbie E
TNA has a house show 37 miles from the East Rutherford,
NJ, running the 3,000-seat theater that by all rights
they should sell out given the weekend, the lineup,
and it being the first house show in the U.S. theyve
ever done with both Hulk Hogan and Sting appearing.
The Aries vs. Styles singles match is believed to
have been their first singles match since Styles became
a TNA headliner.
When: Friday, 7 p.m., iPPV live at www.InvictaFC.com
Ameristar Casino, Kansas City
Jessica Penne (10-1) vs. Michelle Waterson (10-3)
for Atomweight (105 pound) championship; Vanessa Porto
(15-5) vs. Barb Honchak (7-2) for flyweight (125 pound)
championship; Cris Cyborg (10-1, 1 no contest) vs.
Fiona Muxlow (6-2), Zoila Frausto Gurgel (12-2) vs.
Jennifer Maia (6-2); Sarah Kaufman (15-2) vs. Leslie
Smith (5-2-1); Lauren Taylor (5-0) vs. Kaitlyn Young
(7-7-1); Bec Hyatt (4-2) vs. Jasminka Cive (5-0);
Julia Budd (4-2) vs. Moollie Estes (1-1); Jessasym
Duke (2-0) vs. Miriam Nakamoto (1-0); Katja Kankaanpaa
(7-0-1) vs. Juliana Carnerio Lima (5-0); Alex Chambers
(3-1) vs. Jodie Esquibel (3-0); Rose Majunas (1-0)
vs. Kathina Catrou (2-0); Cassie Rodish (4-3) vs.
Simona Soukupova (3-2).
The biggest all-womens MMA show in U.S. history
goes on iPPV (details in Shannon Knapp story elsewhere
in this issue), including the return of Cris Cyborg
after her one year suspension for failing a steroid
test. The Cyborg vs. Muxlow winner is expected to
headline the next show, in late June or early July,
getting a shot at featherweight champion Marloes Coenen.
This is truly an international show with fighters
from all over the U.S., as well as Brazil (Porto,
Cyborg, Maia, Lima), Australia (Muxlow, Hyatt, Chambers),
Canada (Kaufman, Budd); Austria (Cive), Finland (Kankaanpaa)
and England (Soukupova).
PRO WRESTLING SYNDICATE
When: Friday, 6 p.m. autograph signings, 8 p.m. wrestling,
iPPV at www.highspots.com
Sports Plex in Metuchen, NJ
New Jack vs. Necro Butcher, John Morrison vs. Jushin
Liger, Kevin Matthews vs. Anthony Nese for PWS title,
Alex Reynolds vs. Trent Barreta for Tri-States title,
Hurricane Shane Helms & Starman vs. Chris Chetti
& Nova, Pat Buck vs. Tommy Dreamer, Lance Anoia
vs. Sonjay Dutt, Drunken Swashbuckler vs. The Sheik
vs. Devon Moore vs. Cassidy Riley vs. Micah Taylor
A plethora of names besides those listed will be making
autograph appearances about 30 miles from East Rutherford,
NJ on this show, including a rare East Coast appearance
by Superstar Billy Graham, plus Bret Hart, Big Van
Vader, The Iron Sheik, Tom Prichard, Ricky Morton,
Robert Gibson, Lita, Paul Orndorff, Sabu, Carlito,
Eugene, Bill Apter, Shelly Martinez, Ray Apollo as
Doink the Clown, Amber ONeal, Kevin Sullivan,
Mike Knox and Doc from TNA. This is billed as New
Jacks retirement match.
When: Friday, 4/5, 4 p.m., live iPPV at www.WWNLive.com
Meadowlands Convention Center, Secaucus, NJ
Evolve title tournament plus Young Bucks vs. Super
Smash Brothers, Johnny Gargano & Brian Kendrick
vs. Orange Cassidy & Drew Gulak, Arik Cannon vs
Scott Reed no DQ.
Evolve crowns its first champion in a unique tournament.
There are eight seeds, based on record in Evolve competition
thus far. Top seed Chuck Taylor gets a first round
bye, and will meet the winner of a four-way with Rich
Swann, Samuray del Sol, Sami Callihan and Jigsaw.
Second seed Ricochet gets a bye, and meets the winner
of the first round AR Fox vs. Jon Davis match. The
winners of the two second round matches then meet
for the championship.
TNA X-DIVISION XTRAVAGANZA PPV
When: Friday, 4/5, $14.95 regular PPV, check local
listings for time
Taped January 12 in Orlando at the Impact Zone
Christian York vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Matt Bentley vs.
Puma vs. Lince Dorado vs. Alex Silva vs. Sam Show
in an X-scape the cage match; Anthony Nese & Rashad
Cameron (Jeez in CZW) vs. Doug Williams & Kid
Kash; Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Robbie E; Kenny King
vs. Zema Ion vs. Rubix (Jigsaw from CHIKARA) vs. Mason
Andrews (Scorpio Sky); Sonjay Dutt & Petey Williams
vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian; Rob Van Dam
vs. Jerry Lynn in a no DQ match; Samoa Joe vs. Austin
TNAs first taped PPV show is probably debuting
the worst weekend possible. The show features the
last-ever Van Dam vs. Lynn match. Reports on the three-hour
show is that it was nothing special, but Dutt &
Williams vs. Daniels & Kazarian and Joe vs. Aries
were both good matches.
ONE FC: KINGS AND CHAMPIONS
When: Friday, 4/5, 8 a.m. Eastern (thats 5 a.m.
West Coast), iPPV at www.onefc.livesport.tv
Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore
Kotetsu Boku vs. Shinya Aoki for lightweight title;
Melvin Manhoef vs. Brock Larson, Jens Pulver vs. Masakatsu
Ueda; Kevin Belingon vs. Thanh Yu; Arnaud Leponit
vs. Eddie Ng, Rene Catalan vs. Alex Silva, Leandro
Isse vs. Yusup Saadulaev, Bashir Ahamd vs Shannon
Asias leading MMA promotion used former Japanese
stars Aoki and Manhoef, plus former UFC fighters Pulver
and Larson as headliners from the site of one of the
1984 Ric Flair vs. Harley Race title changes.
BELLATOR SEASON FINALE
When: Thursday, 4/4, 8 p.m. prelims on Spike.com,
10 p.m. on Spike TV
Oration Hall at Revel in Atlantic City, NJ
Spike.com fights - Darrel Horcher vs. Phillipe Nover,
Shedrick Goodridge vs. Sam Oropeza; Carlos Brooks
vs. Tom DeBlass; Brien Kelleher vs. Jimmie Rivera;
Michael Hess vs. Will Martinez; Liam McGeary vs. Anton
Talamantes; Kevin Roddy vs. Brylan Van Artsdalen;
Lyman Good vs. Dante Rivera; Spike TV - Rick Hawn
vs. Karo Parisyan; Frodo Khasbulaev vs. Mike Richman
in the featherweight tournament final; Brett Cooper
vs. Doug Marshall in the middleweight tournament final;
Pat Curran vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev for the featherweight
The promotion finishes its first season on Spike TV
with two tournament finals and a strong championship
fight, as Shamhalaev has looked strong since coming
to Bellator. Bellator hasnt knocked them dead
as far as creating new interest or having new stars
really break through. The first season is notable
for huge upsets, most notably in the light heavyweight
division where big names Renato Sobral and King Mo
Lawal were primed to face off in the finals and both
were knocked out before they got there. Bellator has
finished ahead of most ratings projections (most were
650,000 to 675,000 per week, and the range has been,
after the first week, has been from 700,000 to 825,000),
and had good action fights. Its still unclear
how much of the ratings are based on interest in Bellator
and how much they are propped up from having Impact
as the lead-in.
the tournament championship fights thus far have not
seen ratings increase.
PRO WRESTLING SYNDICATE
When: Thursday, 4/4, 6 p.m. autograph show; 8 p.m.
matches, live on iPPV at www.highspots.com
Sports Plex in Metuchen, NJ
Kevin Matthews vs. Colt Cabana for PWS title, Alex
Reynolds vs. Starman for Tri-States title, Jushin
Liger vs. Davey Richards vs. Tony Nese, John Morrison
vs. Elijah Burke (formerly Pope DAngelo Dinero
in TNA); Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson vs. Mark
& Jay Briscoe; Trent Barreta vs. Sonjay Dutt;
Kevin Steen vs. Dan Maff; plus 30 man Battle Royal.
Others appearing on the show will be Big Van Vader
as commissioner, plus Superstar Billy Graham, Iron
Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff.
Its would be difficult for anyone who knew Ric
Flair to write or discuss the death of his youngest
son, 25-year-old Richard Reid Fliehr, who had been
wrestling and training the past few months with All
Japan Pro Wrestling.
dont think there could be anything worse in
this world than to lose a young child. In this case,
the tragedy can be magnified. In this case, father
and son had an unusual bond, as frequent training
partners and in son trying to emulate the father.
in the absolute worst nightmarish situation, it was
Ric Flair and girlfriend Wendy Barlow (formerly Fifi
the Maid), who had the door opened in Reids
room at about 10:35 a.m. at the Residence Inn in Charlotte
on 3/29, when Reid didnt answer a call as they
needed to head to the airport.
found him blue and unresponsive. Ric called 911 in
a panic. EMTs arrived within five minutes, but
he had already passed away.
and Reid were scheduled go to Maryland, where Ric
would do autograph signings for Big Time Wrestling
in Hagerstown, MD and Altoona, PA the next two nights,
while Reid would wrestle. Then they would head off
to WrestleMania, where Reid would see his older sister
wrestle at the Fan Axxess.
cant imagine how Ric Flair could ever be the
same, not just having to witness what he did, but
having to do so while being helpless to do anything.
Fliehr had a major problem, one that he never could
fully overcome, which came out publicly in 2009 when
he crashed his car and police found black tar heroin
inside. Heroin is arguably the most addictive drug
there is. Reid was not a typical addict in the sense
the belief was he was often clean from the hard drugs
for long periods of time, but then, the nightmare
would came back, often with dire consequences. Reid
had a best friend who overdosed and died. Reid himself
was lucky to be alive on more than one occasion. He
was sent to expensive rehab, but it remained a constant
battle. Hed win the daily battle more often
than not, but on the days he didnt win, he lost
would think that, given the track record of pro wrestlers,
particularly those whose fathers were big stars, that
the worst thing for someone who was already battling
those issues to do would become a pro wrestler. Many
who have never drank or did drugs before getting into
pro wrestling become messed up. And the general rule
is whatever vice people do come in with, becomes magnified
through the pro wrestling lifestyle. Ironically, this
was the rare case where it was the best thing for
him, or at least it was with All Japan, since he was
far away from his bad influences.
loved pro wrestling, his girlfriend and his family.
Ric arranged for him to be sent to All Japan, where
he was originally supposed to train in the dojo. He
did well enough the first night, in late January,
when he replaced his father, whose leg had swollen
badly from the blood clot, teaming with Keiji Muto,
against Seiya Sanada & Tatsumi Fujinami. From
that point on, they didnt just train him, but
also had him wrestle in prelims every night.
got nothing but positive reports as far as his behavior,
his training, and his progression in the ring. On
3/15, he was given a singles win over Yasufumi Nakanoe,
which showed how much All Japan felt he had progressed.
Two days later, in what ended up being his last match,
on the big show at Tokyo Sumo Hall, he wrestled in
the second match, teaming with Kenso against older
veterans Osamu Nishimura & Masa Fuchi, who were
there to help teach him. He was a good athlete, but
still raw. Even though it had been four years since
he had started, Japan was the first chance he had
to ever work on a full-time regular basis.
flew home on 3/24 for the Easter holidays, and WrestleMania.
Those close to him were very concerned about him coming
to Charlotte, because he had bad influences around
him, most notable being the son of a pro wrestler
who was the worst influence possible.
had talked of moving out of Charlotte with his girlfriend,
who had taken a job in Charleston, SC. He was looking
at starting up a personal training business there
while at the same time pursuing pro wrestling.
his first day after he arrived back in Charlotte,
he called up friend Jose Rodriguez, a local independent
wrestler, and they trained the next two days even
though it was supposed to be his down time. He told
friends he was worried about his father, who was hospitalized
with a blood clot that hed apparently had for
a couple of months. He took the next day off because
he wanted to spend it with his father, who was recovering
from a hospital visit for a blood clot.
and Ric were together on Thursday until about 1:30
a.m., when Ric went to sleep. Evidently, instead of
going to sleep, Reid evidently went back out. At this
point, the autopsy hasnt revealed anything,
other than no foul play was involved. It may be weeks,
or even months, before all the testing comes back,
and the actual answer of what happened later that
night will come out.
the past two decades, I would guess that 70 percent,
at least, of the conversations Ive had with
Ric Flair have included a discussion of how Reid was
doing. It was his favorite subject to talk about,
no matter how pressing issues were with him, the business
or the world.
Flair had four children. The two oldest, Megan and
David, were born and mostly raised in Minneapolis
by his first wife, while he was running around being
Ric Flair. It was a conflict, because he felt guilty
when he wasnt there for birthdays and holidays,
but in those days, being the top star in the Carolinas,
and later NWA world champion, was a 365-day a year
job of travel, main events and parties.
the time his two youngest children, Ashley, who is
now working for WWE, and Reid, were growing up, the
schedule was lighter and his kids were raised in his
house with him there. Ric Flairs life revolved
around his own wrestling, but just as much, perhaps
more, raising his kids and attending their sports
events. Ashley was a top athlete, particularly in
volleyball, while Reid was at one time among the best
wrestlers in his age group in the country.
Reid was 10, he won the national championship in his
age group in wrestling, at a tournament in Fargo,
ND . At about the same time, Ric was to take Reid
to another tournament, and at the last minute he was
called by WCW to do a taping of Thunder. He refused
to cancel his previous plans, and it resulted in him
being fired and sued by WCW, although it was settled
and he came back a few months later in one of the
more memorable moments in the history of Nitro with
the return of the new Four Horsemen. Ric had hired
T.J. Jaworsky, a three-time NCAA champion and 1995
Hodge Trophy winner, probably the best wrestler at
the time in the Carolinas, to coach his son.
was brought in twice by WCW for gimmick matches on
Nitro, once against Eric Bischoff and another time
teaming with Ric against Vince Russo & brother
loved to talk about how Reids weightlifting
and wrestling were going, and how some day hed
be a huge star in pro wrestling. It broke his heart
and frustrated him because Reid would be clean for
long periods, and then something bad, often very bad,
would happen. Reid blew his chance in WWE, and then
was arrested right before he was going to start in
ROH, ending his chances that they would start him
out, which was among the reasons Ric lost interest
in the promotion.
did well in high school wrestling but also had a temper.
There was an incident in the North Carolina state
tournament, where he lost in the finals as a junior,
and his opponent mocked him, going Whoo!
after winning and Reid attacked him.
later sent Reid to Blair Academy, a private school
in New Jersey, arguably the best wrestling high school
in the country. But that was tough for a 17 year old
who didnt want to be away from his friends.
After that, he spent a semester at the University
of Tennessee at Chattanooga trying to walk on at the
wrestling team, but that didnt work out.
goal for Reid was to go to college, wrestle in college,
and then start pro wrestling. Instead, at 20, Reid
started pro wrestling, by his own choice, working
independent dates in the Carolinas. Having the Flair
name would have got him into WWE immediately. In fact,
the deal was done, but WWE, recognizing there was
a problem, had to back off at the time.
On 4/5, The Invicta Fighting Championships continues
to try and answer the question of whether an all-womens
MMA promotion is financially viable as a business,
presenting what is probably the single deepest show
of its kind ever held in the United States.
companys fifth show features two championship
fights, with atomweight (105 pound) champion Jessica
Penne facing Michelle Karate Hottie Waterson
and a match to determine the first flyweight champion
with Vanessa Porto facing Barb Honcak.
the biggest names are on the undercard. The show features
the return to action of Cristiane Cyborg
Santos, who was considered the best female fighter
in the world before her drug suspension, and is back
inaction after 16 months. Santos facing a late replacement
in Australian Fiona Muxlow .
Kaufman, a UFC fighter who is that groups No.
2 contender at bantamweight, faces Leslie Smith. And
former Bellator champion Zoila Frausto Gurgel goes
against Jennifer Maia.
essentially the one-year anniversary, as Invicta ran
its debut show on April 28, 2012. The first year was
all about trying to get the promotion and its fighters
exposure through free Internet streaming of every
show. The most recent show was the first attempt to
run a pay-per-view through the Internet. There were
technical issues early, and Invicta President Shannon
Knapp decided quickly that rather than create bad
feelings, they would take down the firewall, let everyone
watch it for free, and refund everyones money
who purchased the show.
in the black cloud, there was a silver lining.
dont know how many people there were who told
us they didnt want their money back, said
Knapp. We still refunded all the money, but
that reaction makes you want to do the best you can.
they will try an Internet pay-per-view, for $9.95,
but this time using a much more expensive satellite
feed, instead of streaming the show. With them going
to that expense, the question becomes why not do it
on PPV. But there were issues, including TNA already
having that night booked. Knapp also said isnt
looking to rush things.
probably an old mindset, but Ive always been
of the understanding and the way of looking at it
that if you go to pay-per-view before youre
ready, you take a real gamble, Knapp said. And
I wasnt comfortable with it at this time. I
didnt want to push the envelope. I want to make
sure that if when we make that move, you get one shot.
I didnt want for it to be at this point in time.
I just think were in the process of building
and its a little premature for us at this point.
many circles, and Im constantly reminded of
this before every show, Invicta shows, even without
any television, draws more interest and hits on the
leading MMA news web sites than any promotion short
of the UFC. But being talked about a lot, and getting
lots of web hits is all well and good. But it doesnt
pay the bills, and ultimately, at some point, this
has to be viable economically or it wont exist.
And nobody has ever been able to make pay-per-view
of MMA viable over the long haul except UFC. And UFC
really wasnt making it until they had a regular
television deal with Spike.
weeks show at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in
Kansas City has, by far, the companys best advance
of its short history, but Knapp also makes clear that
even then, youre talking hundreds, not thousands,
of tickets sold.
the success or failure of this concept is going to
be determined by television. That is, both getting
a viable deal that pays enough and gives exposure
enough to open doors to sponsors and make the fighters
into stars, and once getting that deal, being able
to garner the ratings necessary to stay on the air.
has been proven is a womans fight can help ratings
on an otherwise all mens show. A night of nothing
but womens fights is uncharted waters. The advantage
Invicta does have over any other promotion in the
marketplace is that they will have much of the top
tier of womens fighters. While its inevitable
that the biggest stars will end up in UFC, the UFC
at this point is not going to run a lot of women fights,
just championship fights and fights to create a top
now the only ones on the schedule are Miesha Tate
vs. Cat Zingano on 4/13 in Las Vegas, to create the
next challenger for Ronda Rousey, and 2004 Olympic
wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann, who headlined
the last Invicta show, vs. Sheila Gaff on 4/27 in
Newark, NJ, to start building McManns name for
a title match.
since Invicta works with UFC, a lot of the challengers
for titles going forward are likely to be picking
up the wins that make their name on Invicta shows,
if the relationship continues the way its structured.
In addition, women who have been on UFC shows, likely
with the exception of the champions and two or three
biggest stars, are likely to also fight on Invicta
Knapp said its not just about getting on television,
as they probably could get some form of TV right now.
Its about having a deal where they would be
more than just filling time or being one of a group
of MMA promotions on a station, such as the Friday
night time slot on AXS which airs a number of different
having a lot of dialogue with a lot of people,
Knapp said regarding television. There hasnt
been the deal yet that I wanted and what Im
looking for. Im looking for a partner, not someone
who says you can be one of a number of shows on Friday
night. You want someone to help with the vision and
take an interest in promoting it, not be one of many
companies on the station.
are key meetings going on after the next show, and
the deal they are looking for may be on the near horizon.
think were going to surprise a lot of people
in 2013, she said. Nothing is concrete.
Something could fall through. But there are a lot
of good things happening with Invicta and a partnership.
I feel confident 2013 is the year well find
one that would make the most sense is Showtime. It
was well known that when Strikeforce folded, Stephen
Espinoza, who runs sports at Showtime, had spoken
of Invicta as someone they were talking about. There
was an attempt made by Showtime to get Ronda Rousey,
since Showtime felt they had created her as a star
on their broadcasts, once it was clear Strikeforce
was going down. If they had signed her, they would
have built an MMA promotion around her. Its
not a lock Invicta would have been that promotion,
but it would have made sense to be.
since then, Showtime has spent heavily on boxing,
including the contract to sign Floyd Mayweather Jr.
When it became inevitable Strikeforce was going down,
those close to the situation told us not to be surprised
if they just take the budget for Strikeforce and put
it into boxing, and clearly, with running so many
big boxing events now, some of that is what happened.
MMA was successful programming for the station. Backing
a mens group would be tough since World Series
of Fighting has signed with NBC Sports and Bellator
is owned by Spike. Virtually every marquee name is
in UFC, and the few that arent are in WSOF and
Bellator. The choices would be to work with people
who would start bidding for talent from those three
groups when contracts expire, which would mean a lot
of financial outlay, or go with Invicta but have it
be all-women. Then, you have the other issue where
Invicta and its UFC relationship could have issues,
as would Showtime want to promote fights and have
the top ones then go to UFC PPV shows to face Rousey
or whoever the champion is? But Invicta is running
five weight divisions, not one, and if they get a
broadcast deal for 8-10 fights per year, would have
five championship divisions.
now shes looking at doing four-to-six shows
a year until a television deal is in place. The plan
for the next show to be in late June or the first
week of July. The goal is to run on Saturdays
when there isnt a UFC show, but often thats
difficult with so many UFC events. This show is the
first one on a Friday, which has not been a good day
for MMA at least on television, because UFC has every
Saturday booked this month.
goal for now is also to stay in Kansas City, where
they know their costs and have familiarity with the
said the key of what theyre trying to do is
to allow women to fight at their best weight class.
The 13-fight card will have women competing from 105
to 145 pounds. She wants to create a venue to where
you dont see a natural 125-pound women trying
to bulk up to face someone at 145 simply because thats
the only way to get a fight, as has happened in the
past. That differs from UFC, where all fighters, regardless
of their natural size, are at this point going to
be fighting at 135.
being on the bill shows how, unlike most other promotions,
that have any kind of a following, UFC doesnt
consider Invicta as an enemy. Right now the sides
have a working relationship. UFC doesnt have
enough slots on its shows for women fighters to keep
all the women under contract busy. So, like in this
case, they offered Kaufman to Invicta. Its a
similar deal that was proposed for Santos, but things
didnt play out that way.
a good open relationship with them is positive for
both sides, said Knapp. I think were
moving forward in the working relationship. They respect
what Im doing and I respect what they have done.
Its easy to have that kind of relationship.
deal was such that Knapp told all her fighters that
if they were interested in trying out for the next
season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, that
they wouldnt stand in their way, nor would there
be any hard feelings.
now, she works with Sean Shelby, who is the matchmaker
for the UFCs womens division as far as
who would be available on what dates.
the idea when it comes to Santos was for UFC, which
had her under contract, to allow Invicta to use her
for a period of time, allowing her to get in some
fights while she tries to slowly drop weight since
UFC is only doing a 135 pound weight class. But Tito
Ortiz, Santos manager, decided against working
with UFC, at least for now, and asked for Santos to
be released from her contract.
(White) asked me if Id be interested if they
would pay the purse for Cyborg, and if wed put
her on our cards until they were ready to bring her
in, Knapp said. Its a no brainer,
of course. Part of the deal was also that they were
going to help promote the event. But the deal between
UFC and Cris fell through and it wasnt going
to happen. That was the end of the communication with
Zuffa regarding Cris. That happened on a Thursday.
I waited for one week and then reached out to her
to sign her to Invicta. It took me two hours to get
the deal done.
change their mind a lot, and out of respect for Cris
and to give her some time to think, I didnt
approach her right away. I gave them plenty of time
to think about the situation, but after a week, there
was no movement. But with Santos, the steroid
issue, which Knapp admits is a major one, faces the
company head-on. Knapp said that the Missouri Athletic
Commission will be testing some fighters before weigh-ins,
some after weigh-ins, and some more right after the
is a feeling that steroids are worse in womens
MMA because they make an even bigger deal of competitive
a double whammy and a double standard, no different
from the guy who sleeps around and how hes viewed
or the girl who sleeps around. Thats what you
see with the idea steroid use is so much worse with
the women. I think its the same across the board.
The commission didnt say you have to do this.
I went to the commission and said wed like to
implement this process and they were very supportive.
we brought Cris in, we made the decision she will
be tested more than any other athlete, and her opponent
will be as well, because we wont do one without
the other. Its a huge problem in the sport,
period. Were not in the position to do the things
the UFC does, but anything we can do to alleviate
these issues, we want to do.
had worked previously with the UFC, IFL, King of the
Cage and Strikeforce. After Zuffa purchased Strikeforce,
she decided in late October of 2011, to start the
all-womens promotion, something most were very
skeptical of one when she first started talking about
to a degree, luck was on her side with the rise of
Rousey coinciding with her starting up. While Rousey
was not involved with her organization, Rousey did
create interest in womens MMA, and made it suddenly
come across as a lot more credible endeavor. Knapp
said barriers against what she was trying to do were
a lot more existent even one year ago.
helped the whole sport for females, she said.
Anything that brings positive attention to the
sport helps. The fight that she and Liz (Carmouche)
had was a great performance by Ronda and a great performance
by Liz. If there were naysayers, I think this had
a very positive effect on the sport for females and
can to an extent view things from that point of view.
She came into the sport when it was a mens world,
and noted she can identify with people who dont
think women should fight, as well as those who think
its not a viable professional sport.
break down barriers every day, every time one of these
athletes puts on a great performance, we change more
peoples minds. Im old school. It took
me a long time to wrap my brain around the idea female
athletes were legitimate athletes, and were talented
at this, but they just hadnt had the opportunity.
I came from years and years of working with men. But
coming from that position gave me all the tools to
help with this promotion, to break down the barriers.
Its easier to identify with naysayers if you
were one and youve changed your mind.
on the heels of Rousey, a second major media issue
has surfaced with transgender fighter Fallon Fox,
a situation Knapp has been aware of long before almost
anyone else. But its an issue she struggles
knew about Fallon for quite some time and shes
not the only one, shes not the only transgender
athlete who has competed. Weve never had one
competing for us at Invicta, but there are others
out there who have been competing. Its such
an uncharted territory. Im not someone who ever
judges people. I just feel I need to know more. I
do believe the athletes competing have the right to
know if their opponent is transgender. But its
hard. Everything is so conflicting. If you listen
to people very much supportive of gay rights they
say theres nothing wrong with her competing,
shes a female. The other side says its
not right, and I feel like Im stuck in the middle.
I hear doctors say its okay, and other doctors
say, `Wait second. Its very confusing.
noted shes happy its not a pressing issue,
since Fox isnt with Invicta, but also realizes
its inevitable it will become an issue, and
at least for now, her answer for now is to say shell
abide by what athletic commissions say. She also admits
the issue is so touchy that since its not her
issue right now, whatever personal feelings she has
she doesnt want to talk about publicly yet.
dont have a decision to make, because Fallon
is signed with someone else, Knapp said. I
havent spent a ton of time trying to make a
decision because I dont have a decision to make.
Shes signed with someone else.
after a year, shes also noticed differences
in dealing with all women athletes instead of her
years dealing with mostly men.
said there has been a little more drama with managers
trying to poach talent from other managers, and a
lot of backstabbing from what which has created turmoil.
She noted shes spending more time settling fights
out of the cage.
between talent and management, between management
and management, theres been a lot of drama,
said. I dont know why that is but Ive
never dealt with that.
said for the most part its the same as a mens
promotion, with the main differences being she sees
women are more emotionally connected to what theyre
doing, that overall theyre better at promoting
themselves using social media, and on the flip side,
she said its harder for women to cut weight.
But she also said that overall, theyre more
grateful to be there.
think theyre just happy to be here, theyre
not divas yet, she said. Theyre
just grateful to have a shot. With men, there are
a lot more opportunities.
she also said that may be just because the sport is
in its infancy, as with experience, she said she can
recall when she started in the sport, back in the
90s, the men more like that as well.
sure itll change, she said. If you
talk to some of these women, one of the biggest setbacks
to their careers is that they didnt have the
for now, its all about keeping those opportunities
open until garnering the type of television that allows
them to be viable. Then its about producing
once they get there. And after that, there will likely
be others trying to enter the marketplace, and all
the issues that come from that. But for now, shes
either on the ground floor of creating the biggest
platform women have ever had in the sport, or, Knapp
will be in a situation she has familiarity with over
the years, putting her heart and soul into building
a promotion and a brand, and then, it goes away and
having to once again start from scratch.
Donald Gatson, better known as Don Carson, a major
star in smaller Southeastern territories and the answer
to a major pro wrestling trivia question, passed away
on 3/14, at the age of 77.
a top heel for years, mostly in the Gulf Coast territory,
Carson garnered his most national fame in 1970 and
1971, working in Southern California. He was first
the tag team partner of Fred Blassie, and was later
instrumental to Blassies babyface turn.
though he and Blassie were arch-enemies when he left
the territory to work for Roy Shire, after their blow-off,
in the first-ever Roman Gladiator Death match, he
returned to Los Angeles in 1971 as a babyface to avenge
the career-ending eye injury Blassie suffered
in the famous Monsels powder angle with John
Angeles wrestling was at a hot point in 1970, largely
behind the local legend of Blassie and the rise of
Mil Mascaras. The big shows, held every other Friday
night at the Olympic Auditorium, were selling out
with announced numbers often above 11,000 (in reality
the place held right at 10,000 in those days). Frequently,
for big matches, thousands of fans would be turned
had retained the Americas title that he won
from Blassie on May 4, 1971, selling out every two
weeks against a variety of babyfaces. Carson came
back for revenge for his good friend,
but Tolos avoided him for a few months until Carson
won the title on July 16, 1971, before another sellout.
led to the first closed-circuit pro wrestling show
in history, on July 30, 1971, headlined by Carson,
defending the Americas title against Tolos,
in a Roman Gladiator Death match. The Gladiator death
match had been done only once before in Los Angeles,
as the blow-off of the Blassie vs. Carson feud a year
earlier, producing a turn away sellout.
those days, the Texas death match was considered the
ultimate blow off match, because it was fought until
the loser could no longer continue after a pin fall,
and a rest period, if he couldnt answer the
Roman Gladiator death match took it one step farther.
In this match, there were no pinfalls, nor submissions,
only a knockout finish. When one man was knocked out,
his opponent would still have to administer the ultimate
humiliation, to drag the losers limp carcass
around the ring, and touch all four posts. This was
before creative minds tried to gimmick these type
of finishes to create fluke wins, and eventually,
destroy the drawing power of the match.
Walton, who worked in the Los Angeles office at the
time, created the Roman Gladiator death match in 1970
for the Blassie vs. Carson feud. The gimmick didnt
catch on in other territories other than it being
used for a major Peter Maivia vs. Paul DeMarco match
in 1971 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.
rules were that five fans who purchased tickets would
be ringside judges, which actually made no difference
because judging had nothing to do with the match.
There was no time limit, no disqualification, no doctor
stopping the match for any reason, no holds barred,
no pin falls, no referee inside the ring, no submissions
had seen `Swords of Sorcery, an old Hercules
type movie and I got the idea from that, said
Walton. I pitched it and they liked it. It was
the Texas death match with the gimmick added of dragging
the guy to all four corners. We didnt need judges,
but we announced fans would be judges. It wasnt
going to get that far, but we pushed that if you go
down and buy a ticket, you could be a judge.
Mike LeBell promotion rented several movie theaters
in downtown Los Angeles because of the demand for
the Tolos vs. Carson match, alerting fans turned away
at the door that they could see the matches there.
Tickets in those days were $3 and $1.50 for kids for
the closed-circuit, since it had only been done at
that point for the biggest boxing matches, like the
first Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier fight a few months
earlier. It was uncharted water, and as the announcers
broadcasted the shows, they had no idea if anyone
was even watching at the theaters.
had ended Tolos reign as champion on the previous
show, but had not gained enough revenge, because for
the fans, beating Tolos wasnt enough because
of what he did to Blassie.
few of our guys, we fed them to Tolos, and Tolos ate
them up, said Walton. Carson was the next
role in this match was simple. He was a top name in
the territory, a big enough star that on his previous
run he got a few wins over Mil Mascaras, and had just
won the title before a turn away crowd, and this show
was so big it sold out well in advance to the point
it was the talk of the town that night. But it was
not about him. It was about Blassie vs. Tolos, and
Carsons role was to be the best friend who came
for revenge, got a little satisfaction for the title
win, but ultimately couldnt do so. He wasnt
there to lose on some fluke finish like his trunks
got pulled with the idea the heel would get heat.
was there to get destroyed. There was no, both
guys struggling to get up at the same time, touching
turnbuckles behind the others back and lunging
for the fourth buckle, dramatic finish. Tolos
bloodied him up, left him on his back and unable to
continue, and then dragged him around the ring to
the ultimate humiliation. Even after that, Tolos continued
to beat on Carson, until, to the shock of the announced
11,104 in the building and 4,120 more at the theaters,
Blassie, with a patch over his eye and swinging a
chain, hit the ring.
whole promotion, from the time of the angle, until
the Coliseum was based on one guy after another coming
in to get revenge for Blassie, said another
major wrestling personality who grew up in Southern
California. You cant attribute the sellout
or the closed circuit theaters to anything other than
Blassie, even though he wasnt even supposed
to be on the card.
have never heard such a thunderous roar in my life,
wrote Walton, who did the closed-circuit announcing
of the show with Miguel Alonso, regarding Blassies
had been told Blassie was blind in one eye and his
wrestling career was over. Police grabbed Blassie
before he got to the ring, and Tolos escaped. On television,
Blassie said that he had regained 30% vision in his
bad eye, and against doctors orders, he was
returning to wrestling to get at Tolos, for their
match four weeks later at the Los Angeles Coliseum,
the night the promotion peaked, drawing 25,817 fans,
which to this day is still the all-time California
had to sneak Blassie into the building where nobody
would see him, said Walton. Fred brought
along a hidden chain. He started banging the chain
on the floor of the building to get attention. The
match itself wasnt too long. It wasnt
spectacular. The whole idea was the finish, Tolos
victorious and Blassie would surprise everyone and
get after Tolos, and three-quarters of the way down
the aisle, the police grabbed Blassie and held him.
Tolos ran out the back door, never went to the dressing
room, got in his car and sped off.
mentality behind the program was that Carson came
in to get revenge for Blassie and succeeded at first
by taking the title, making him stronger. That only
made it a bigger deal when Tolos was injuring him
as well. Carson was kept out of the territory for
several months after this match, almost like a repeat
of what fans remembered happened to Blassie in May,
and now, it was Blassies return for not just
himself, but now his best friend.
interesting thing about Carson is that even though
he was a headliner on numerous sold out events in
Southern California, when he was out of the territory
and waiting to return, he worked extensively for Roy
Shire. In Northern California, he was almost never
put over, usually working openers and doing television
was a respectable jobber, almost always as a bleached
blond heel, mostly doing struts and the Tennessee
teased foreign object in the trunks shortcuts, which
would explain why he didnt get over for Shire,
since Shire wouldnt allow any of that stuff.
Really, he was just a guy on the card, and while fine
in openers, clearly didnt have the in-ring talent
of most of the wrestlers in the area. Really, nothing
he did made him appear to be above the quality of
a first match guy.
part of it was that he never got the shot. He was
a good talker, with his raspy voice which made him
unique. In the ring, his Southern style shortcut heel
tricks had limitations in a top worker territory like
the one Shire ran. In addition, being tall and thin,
at least thin by the standards of the usually thick
wrestlers of that era, he didnt have the kind
of body people associated with tough guys. Wrestlers
in that era in the big territories were all about
the projection of being tough. In the smaller territories,
like where Carson spent most of his career, the bodies
were far less impressive or important. It was more
about talking, cheap heel heat, insulting fans, and
mentality is you had to be a good worker before hed
push you, said Walton. If you didnt
have it, hed relegate you to underneath. Without
being able to work at the top level, forget it. Don
was not a really good worker. He could work okay.
For Shire, working was first and foremost, and that
was unusual for the time. Here, you had to be a good
talker, Many guys, like Rip Hawk, guys who came here
at that time, werent tremendous workers, but
could talk. Really, his wrestling ability was nil.
made our money on him based on how he spoke, plus
working with Blassie, going against Tolos, in both
cases you had two good speakers, able to get themselves
over, and the Tolos feud, that was based on revenge
for Fred. He did well for us in that respect.
funny part of Gatsons career is that he started
as a bleached blond wrestler, Ted Blassie, for promoters
Tony Santos and Jack Pfefer in 1963 and 1964 in the
Boston area. They ran shows billing wrestlers with
knock off names of the biggest stars of the era, like
Bruno Samnartino, Bummy Rogers, Hobo Brazil and such,
trying to con unsuspecting fans into small-time shows.
The reality is they did produce a lot of people who
would go on to be top talent. As Ted Blassie, he held
the areas title for a time.
from Ooltewah, TN, near Chattanooga, Gatson became
Don Carson in Gulf Coast Wrestling in 1965. It was
the name he used, with a brief exception as a masked
man, Mr. C #1, for the rest of his career.
captured the Gulf Coast heavyweight title from Ken
Lucas on August 31, 1965, in Pensacola, losing it
two weeks later in Dothan, AL, to future tag team
partner Dick Dunn. He went to Georgia and captured
the United States junior heavyweight title. But he
worked mostly for Gulf Coast as a main eventer.
1967, his younger brother Ron Carson (a
20-year-old Dick Murdoch) was brought in, and they
captured the Gulf Coast tag team titles three times
that year. The Carson Brothers went to Tennessee and
won that areas version of the world tag team
titles from Jackie Fargo & Len Rossi on August
9, 1967, in Nashville, before losing them five weeks
later to the Hines Brothers, Billy & Jimmy, in
got heat by calling himself The Fabulous Don Carson,
and doing the strut, which infuriated fans of The
Fabulous Jackie Fargo, the master of the strut.
The Carson Brothers with their blond hair, came across
as the younger versions of the Fargos, who a decade
earlier became the hottest tag team act the area had
1968, after Murdoch went on to become a major star,
using his real name, and forming a tag team with Dusty
Rhodes, Carson started teaming with former rival Dunn,
who worked under a mask as The Red Shadow. The two
spent most of 1968 battling Dennis Hall & Lucas
for the Southern tag team titles in Tennessee, holding
the titles six times, including losing and winning
them back in a Memphis feud with Fargo & Lou Thesz.
worked with him in the Louisiana/Mobile territory
in 1966 and 1967, and in Southeastern in the mid-70s,
remembered Les Thatcher. In fact, he and I worked
an angle off my hosting TV there. He was great on
the mic, and an average worker but got great heel
& Dunn returned to the Gulf Coast area as a team,
winning the Gulf Coast tag titles twice before Carson
made a babyface turn, saving the areas perennial
babyface star, Rossi, from a beating by world tag
team champions Johnny Long & Tojo Yamamoto, starting
a feud. Carson & Rossi won the titles. Carson,
as a face, also held the Gulf Coast belts twice that
year with Lucas. Lucas & Carson lost the titles
on October 3, 1969, to Rocket & Flash Monroe,
in Dothan. Then, when Lucas & Carson had a match
with The Spoilers (Lorenzo Parente & Joe Corea),
The Spoilers manager, Saul Weingeroff, threw
a fireball at Carson, injuring him, and he left the
few days later, Carson was debuted on the live Wednesday
night Olympic Auditorium television tapings in Los
Angeles, billed as the Southern United States champion,
beating the Yucatan Kid. This is where he garnered
his most career fame since those shows aired nationally
on the Spanish International Network.
was brought in to the territory to form a tag team
with Blassie, who was not hot on the idea, still resenting
Carson for doing the Ted Blassie character for Santos
and Pfefer. Apparently, it was Pfefer who sold the
promotion on the idea on putting Blassie & Carson
together as a blond tag team, a Southern California
version of Ray Stevens & Pat Patterson, the countrys
hottest team at the time, although obviously without
the same in-ring ability. From the start, the idea
was to align them and them split them up, because
the decision was made to turn Blassie into the areas
top babyface. Although Carson was best remembered
as Blassies partner, because of the Tolos angle
a year later that was his career high point, they
actually only teamed together for a few months, and
were only there to have a heel for Blassie to feud
with when making planned his face turn.
his autobiography, Blassie still had resentment for
Carson, to the point he knocked the idea, saying he
didnt like the team, and how when they split
up, it never drew money anyway. In reality, the opposite
happened in their short program, which set Blassie
up as the areas top babyface, and a run of drawing
sellouts and near sellouts every other Friday. Blassie
vs. Carson would have hardly been classic wrestling
matches, but those in the era remember the feud in
great detail, in particular how much interest their
bloodbath matches, in particular the Roman Gladiator
death match, had.
wasnt in the territory at the time Carson arrived,
so they put him over strong, winning the Americas
tag team titles with The Great Kojika (the current
owner of Big Japan Pro Wrestling), in late 1969. Carson
& Kojika first beat Nick Bockwinkel & Dr.
Jerry Graham, then drew a near sellout 9,289 fans
as the main event on November 7, 1969, losing via
DQ against Mascaras & Rocky Johnson. They lost
the titles on December 4, 1969, in Bakersfield, to
El Medico #1 (Luis Hernandez, the stepfather who raised
Gino Hernandez) & Pepe Lopez, but that was after
Blassie had returned and the next step was set up.
& Carsons first major show match as a team
was December 19, 1969, losing to Johnson & Earl
Maynard (the former Mr. Universe winner who came off
placing third at Mr. Olympia to have a solid pro wrestling
career) on a sold out show, with Joe Louis as referee.
On January 16, 1970, Blassie & Carson beat Medico
& Lopez to win the tag team titles on the undercard
of the annually sold out Battle Royal show, which
was traditionally the companys biggest show
of the year.
champions, they beat Lopez & Medico, Johnson &
Seiji Sakaguchi, Johnson & Pepper Martin, The
Bavarian Boys and others.
won the TV title from Pepper Martin, and also held
the Pacific Coast title during that period. He got
his first singles main event on a major Friday night
show at the Olympic Auditorium on February 20, 1970,
drawing an announced 10,363 fans in losing in an Americas
title challenge to Johnson. The match that really
drew the crowd was Blassie putting up his hair against
the mask of Medico, with Blassie winning.
started a program with Johnson over the Americas title,
and Blassie was wrestling clean, much to the consternation
of Carson. Eventually, on March 25, 1971, they split
up after an argument in a television interview.
and Carson were extremely hot, remembered Walton.
Really, Carson was a little bit above a midcarder,
but teaming with Blassie gave him the impetus to get
him into the main events. With Tolos, it was all about
Blassies friend coming in to get revenge. Carson
was a terrific talker. That was his strength.
led to three straight sellouts. The first, on April
3, 1970, drew a reported 11,786 fans, with Carson
winning the bloodbath when Blassie was ruled too badly
cut to continue. Two weeks later, before an announced
11,147, they went to a double count out. The third
sellout, with an announced 11,989 fans, on May 1,
1970, ended the feud decisively, with Blassie winning
the Roman Gladiator death match. He worked two more
big shows in the territory, while he and Blassie took
their Gladiator death match blow-off to the smaller
cities. He lost to Mascaras on May 15, and his final
shot before going to San Francisco, was losing the
fall in a match where he teamed with The Sheik against
Johnson & Bobo Brazil, with Blassie as referee,
which drew 10,387.
the numbers may have indicated Carson as a big draw,
most in the area at the time chalk up his success
as being in the right place at the right time, working
with Blassie and Tolos when they were on fire. Anyone
who would have faced Blassie en route to his turn
would have sold out with him, and Tolos was so hot,
the story in the industry was how he even got
two sellouts on top with Don Carson.
last Los Angeles run was in 1972. It was the angle
where Black Gordman & Goliath, the areas
top heel tag team, split up, with Gordman going face.
Gordman & Carson became the face team for bloody
matches against Goliath & Kinji Shibuya. The feud
ended when Goliath beat Gordman in a match where the
loser would have to work for the winner, essentially
turning Gordman back heel, and after Carson with a
few partners lost to the revamped Gordman & Goliath,
his run was over.
was a real good jokester, planned all kinds of practical
jokes on people then, remembered Walton. He
was a nice guy. He wasnt a prima donna type.
He did whatever the office wanted him to do and got
leaving California in the summer of 1972 for his first
tour of Australia, he only came back once more, for
a major show on August 24, 1973 that was broadcast
into Japan, where Carson was the replacement for Pat
Patterson in a tag team match that was broadcast to
Japan, losing to Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi.
and Dunn went to Australia in 1972 for Jim Barnetts
World Championship Wrestling. In early 1973, the Austra
Asian tag champs were Dennis McCord (who later became
Austin Idol) & Jimmy Golden, but Golden was announced
as injured in the U.S., so Carson & Dunn beat
Golden & Danny Little Bear to become champions.
They lost to the Masked Medics (Bob Griffni &
Dale Lewis), and regained the belts a week later.
Australia, Carson & Dunn were best remembered
for being the heel tag team champions that established
locals Larry ODea & Ron Miller as the top
area tag team. ODea & Miller had spent two
years in the U.S. as an Australian team, but had never
actually teamed in their native country since ODea
was a career face and Miller was a heel. But they
first beat Carson & Dunn in a non-title match,
and followed with a title win on March 30, 1973, in
Sydney. He came back in 1974 as a singles wrestler,
not getting many main events, but still being high
on cards, and later worked as a manager, doing the
character he later did in the Southeast.
cut back on wrestling for a few years, taking a job
as a deputy sheriff in Cleveland, TN. Even when he
was wrestling, Carson talked about how he didnt
want to travel from place-to-place and was looking
for a steady job where he wouldnt get hurt,
and becoming a sheriff was his main goal. In California,
he was always hustling, as in Los Angeles, he was
one of the first people who would bring his pictures
to shows and sell them, which was out of Tennessee.
In those days, it was considered being too accessible,
so most stars didnt do it, even if there was
extra money to be made. In Northern California, Shire
forbade talent from being around the fans.
had a major feud with Ron Wright, the areas
heel legend, turning him face in Tennessee in 1976
for Ron Fullers Southeastern Championship Wrestling.
Carson didnt do much in the ring by that point,
but was a good talker, and relied on a loaded black
glove, which he called Peanut Butter,
using the claw as his finisher. Why putting an object
in the glove would strengthen the claw is one of those
mysteries of wrestling logic.
angle was memorable. The two argued while doing an
interview, and Carson sucker punched Wright, then
loaded his glove and proceeded to land hard way shots
on Wright. He punched Wright several times, shutting
Wrights eye. Wright coming out later in the
show with his eye swollen shut, and having photos
taken with it, led to a major program between the
continued to wrestle for a few more years, mostly
in Tennessee and Alabama, holding tag team titles
with The Assassin and Dennis Condrey. He also worked
in 1980 as part of the masked tag team called The
Big Cs, teaming with Jerry Brown.
a masked man, he started managing The Dream team of
Randy Rose & Ron Bass, and was eventually unmasked.
He remained in the business through 1983, managing
the likes of Jos LeDuc and The Mongolian Stomper,
the latter on national TV in Georgia. He did one last
run as a wrestler in 1982 in Southeastern Championship
Wrestling, forming a tag team with Punk Rock Wayne
Ferris (Honky Tonk Man).
manager role with the suits and puffy shirts was similar
to the role J.J. Dillon would take a few years later,
although Dillon was better at it.
career ended in San Antonio. He was managing The Grapplers
(Len Denton & Tony Anthony), who held the tag
team titles. When The Sheepherders came to the territory,
they had a heel vs. heel match with The Sheepherders.
Carson turned on his team to help The Sheepherders
take the titles, but after winning, The Sheepherders
turned on Carson and beat him down. That may have
been his final hurrah. He got a regular job in San
Antonio, and eventually returned back to Tennessee.
He wrestled Lucas in 1998 in Dothan, AL, but largely
lived the last 30 years out of the spotlight.
One of the early memorable moments in UFC history
was in the first round of the UFC 4 tournament in
Tulsa, Okla., on December 16, 1994, when 36-year-old
Dan Severn got behind the much smaller Anthony Macias.
dressed in black trunks and boots like the pro wrestler
that he was, sent Macias flying with three straight
belly-to-back suplexes, before choking him out in
who at the time was a part-time pro wrestler, whose
main job was working as a caterer. But he was the
first true world class wrestler to compete in the
went on that night to quickly submit Kung Fu master
Marcus Bossett. This put him in the tournament finals
against Royce Gracie, who by that time, after already
winning two of the first three UFC tournaments, was
the undisputed king of the sport.
was also a classic match for its time as Severn immediately
took down Gracie, who was nearly 60 pounds lighter,
and pinned him to the ground for nearly 16 minutes.
In his sport, wrestling, he won decisively, but this
was a different game. Unlike his previous opponents,
who put up little resistance to whatever rudimentary
submissions Severn had, Gracies defensive guard
was a different animal.
those days, the show was billed as style vs. style,
and Severns mentality was he was coming in to
use his style, wrestling, a rougher version and taking
leeway with tactics he knew, such as a choke or arm
triangles, that he saw as part of his game even if
they werent legal in a wrestling match. Mentally,
he found it difficult to start throwing punches, something
he had little training in, and something he didnt
think represented his sport.
was no such word as mixed martial arts, unless you
were talking about Japanese pro wrestling. It was
just Ultimate Fighting, an almost underground payper-view
cult phenomenon that was starting to gain traction
in the deepest corners of the sports shelves at Blockbuster
was a melting pot where guys from different sports
backgrounds would test their styles in almost-anything-goes
combat. Matches were fast, basically kill or be killed.
Aside from Gracie, who was way ahead of the curve
since he was taught from birth by his father, who
started competing in a Brazilian version of the sport
in the 1920s, and came from a family well versed in
the style, nobody knew any defense.
were no rounds, because, well, there didnt need
to be when matches usually ended in two or three minutes.
There were no gloves, with the mentality being that
in a real street fight, which this was supposed to
replicate, you dont have time to tape your fists
and put gloves on. There were no time limits in matches,
but there was no concern about the pay-per-view going
long. The problem, if anything, was the fights were
like a violent version of rushed sex. You get in,
quick adrenaline rush, go as fast as you can and its
Severn was still pinning Gracie, the show went past
the three hour mark. For most of the 120,000 or so
homes that purchased the event on pay-per-view, the
screen suddenly went blank with the last vision being
Severn still on top of Gracie.
you knew a friend in one of the few cable companies
where someone working for the company was actually
watching the show, and made the adjustments to allow
the show to continue until it was actually over, you
likely would have assumed Severn ended up winning.
locked a triangle on Severn, who tapped out at 15:49.
Without question, by surviving against a much bigger
and stronger man, while on his back, it was the match
that, more than any other, made Gracies legacy.
it was over, Gracie walked over to Severn, went to
hug him, and whispered in his ear, Youre
the toughest man Ive ever gone against.
all the stuff I was doing with the Ultimate Fighting
Championships, when I started it, I never knew how
long it would last, said Severn. I never
looked at this like a career. I took one match at
a time. If you told me then that Id be doing
this at 54, Id say, `Youre freaking nuts.
But it worked out that way. The key is, I havent
been seriously injured, and I havent been seriously
damaged. Ive got good health and been smart
in my matches, and it let me go out on my own terms.
Severn did lose to a smaller man, it was a lesson
he learned from. At the next UFC show, on April 7,
1995, in Charlotte, Severn, now called The Beast,
tore his way through three competitors in nine minutes
total time to win the next tournament on what was,
at the time, the most successful non-boxing sports
pay-per-view event of all-time.
night solidified Severn was one of the sports
big four early superstars. The other three were Gracie,
Severns biggest rival, Ken Shamrock, and the
popular David Tank Abbott, who fans loved,
but whose bark was far more dangerous than his bite.
age was working against him. Severn was competing
without an ACL in either knee, both done in by his
amateur wrestling career that left him with bone chips,
bone spurs, five knee surgeries and advanced arthritis
in the joints. Given those issues, after that fight,
he was only able to fight another, well, 17 years.
surgeon has photos of both of my knees on his wall,
autographed, Severn joked. He said that
I shouldnt even be walking, let alone competing.
went on to have more success in UFC after winning
the UFC 5 tournament. Relying on his wrestling base,
as a superbly conditioned heavyweight, he fought 52
minutes in one night without tiring in winning three
fights over Paul Varelans, Abbott and Oleg Taktarov,
to capture the 1996 Ultimate Ultimate tournament.
At the time it was the biggest tournament in the sports
followed that by beating Shamrock in a fight that
became legendary for how it was possible to have only
two minutes of action in a 30 minute borefest. He
became UFCs second singles champion, the title
that morphed into the current UFC heavyweight championship.
Eventually, he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame,
joining numerous other Halls of Fame hes been
inducted into between MMA, pro wrestling and for his
exploits in amateur wrestling.
publicly announced his retirement from MMA in an e-mail
correspondence sent out as the clock struck midnight
to end 2012. A year earlier, he had sent out a similar
e-mail announcing that this was going to be his last
year competing in the sport.
hadnt fought since April 28, when he defeated
Alex Roxman by decision in Davenport, Iowa. He had
no clue at the time it would be his last fight, but
by October, had told those close to him that he realized
was listed as his 101st professional victory, although
record keeping in the early days of the sport is hit-and-miss.
His listed final career record is 101-19-7. Some of
his listed wins may have been pro wrestling matches,
and there are likely a dozen or two dozen wins, and
possibly a loss or two, in fights that fell below
the radar. He is believed to be in second place on
the all-time wins list behind Travis Fulton, who is
listed as having 247 wins in 307 fights.
conservative estimate is there are 15 to 20 wins that
may not have been recorded, said Severn. I
was doing fights long before there was a Sherdog or
Full Contact Fighter data base. One day, when I have
nothing better to do, which Im hoping doesnt
come until Im 90 or 100, I may look back at
my planner to see how many fights I really had and
what my record really was. There were times when they
had recorded losses in fights I didnt lose.
Maybe, because of my age, Im not as in tuned
to looking at web sites.
were contacting me from all over the place. I had
a pager. Id get calls and have to be ready with
24 hours notice to get to the airport, to a destination
Id just found out about, transported to a location
to be determined, against an opponent I just found
out, with a purse I just found out. They were almost
all an underground type of thing.
I had an opportunity to fight in Mexico. It was in
a cockfighting pit. The idea of the show was to start
with rooster fights, then do dog fights, and finish
as the main event with human beings. This organization
wanted no rules at all, and you could wear jeans and
cowboy boots. I turned that one down. I thought, `I
may win, but I may not get out alive.
who turns 55 on 6/8, still hasnt retired from
competing and performing. He said he will do one more
year of pro wrestling, and retire from that genre.
Like what he just did, hell likely be sending
out an e-mail at the close of this next year announcing
his retirement there. He has a son, now in seventh
grade, competing in wrestling, so has considered the
idea of training with him, and perhaps entering age
group wrestling competition, given that competing
in sports is something that hes done since 1969
when he followed his older brother into wrestling.
his immediate goals are to work both in the industry,
whether its television commentary, working as
a commissioner, hes putting together a reality
show with young fighters in late February, and is
looking to up his business training law enforcement
personnel in ground fighting techniques.
taking the skills I acquired over all these years
and using them in a different principle, he
said, noting people can contact him at DanSevern.com
for seminars and other work of this type. All
kinds of things are somehow related, motivational
speaking, anti-bullying campaigns, different aspects
of my career will come into play with stories I can
tell and experiences Ive had.
has strong beliefs regarding how he was able to still
compete. While a decade removed from facing A
level competition, the ability to go on an 11-fight
winning streak between the ages of 51 and 53, against
competitors who werent even born when Severn
targeted his first sports retirement date in 1984,
is nothing to sneeze at.
there is a secret, Severn noted that his mentality
would be the opposite of that of Chuck Liddell, who
he noted was a guy who had a lot of spectacular knockouts,
and also got knocked out spectacularly on several
utilize an old saying, you live by the sword, you
die by the sword, he said. Liddell at
one point was close to two records in UFC, knocking
out the most people, and being knocked out the most.
Thats not a dual record you want to have. Every
time you get hit in the head, you will suffer some
type of damage, even if its superficial. You
can take blows to the body, but the head, no. The
little piece of Jell-O called the brain isnt
meant too be jostled around like that.
advocates doing something that many top fighters,
like Liddell, sneer at, which is, when in trouble
and getting punched in the head on the ground, instead
of taking the extra blows and having the referee stop
it, to tap first.
are guys 15 or 20 years my junior, and you try too
have a conversation with them, and its almost
inaudible. Some cant even complete a sentence
and make a point. Its a tough conversation.
In todays mixed marital arts matches, you dont
see actual tap outs from punches. You see one athlete
will turtle up, and the other guy on top is picking
angles and choosing his shots until the referee stops
it. The mentality is that its more honorable
to have a referee stop the fight than tap out to strikes.
I think if you take a half-dozen or a dozen unnecessary
shots, the problems may not show up right way, but
they will show up over time. Even the damage Ive
received, maybe five to 20 years down the line, it
may come to the surface.
key to my success is the theory of `duck,
he said. I havent really been hit that
often in the course of my career. I did have a crazy
number of matches but I wasnt getting damaged.
understand Severns MMA career, you really have
to go back to his amateur wrestling career. Growing
up in Coldwater, Mich., he was part of a sports family.
His father was a good athlete, although he never wrestled.
But he followed his older brother into the sport,
and the Severn family may have been the only family
where five brothers were all All-American wrestlers
in both high school and college.
all did so well the coaches tried to recruit my sisters,
who were big, strong farm girls, to go out for the
wrestling team, he joked.
Dan was the star, an absolute machine in high school.
As a senior in 1976, he was national champion at 191.5
pounds in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling,
as well as, long before the Junior Dan Hodge Trophy
existed, he was named the Outstanding High School
wrestler in the nation. Before his 18th birthday,
he was already ranked top six in the nation in the
open division and placed in the Olympic trials.
a freshman at Arizona State, he went 26-0, pinning
five of six previous national place winners that he
came across, and was ranked first in the nation, when
he suffered a torn ACL late in the season.
was setting the world on fire, he said, garnering
far more media attention locally than amateur wrestlers
in that era would normally get. Every Tuesday
morning, they would take me downtown to a press conference.
That was standard for football players and basketball
players, but not for a wrestler. I was 18 years old,
and all these microphones would be shoved in my face.
I wasnt looking for attention. But I went to
college for all the wrong reasons. I didnt go
for a degree. I was a high school wrestler who wanted
to find out how Id do at a Division I school.
I didnt think about school until I was injured
and the surgeon said, `You will never wrestle again.
came back two years later, minus one ACL. He was one
of the best wrestlers in the country, but never fully
regained the form he had at 18.
1980, he pinned three of four opponents in the NCAA
tournament, before losing in overtime to Neil Lohan,
in the finals. He qualified for the finals of the
Olympic trials, but with the U.S. boycotting, didnt
compete, not interested in being a team member that
would only be symbolic.
1981, he was part of one of the deepest heavyweight
fields in NCAA tournament history, included future
Olympic gold medalists Bruce Baumgartner and Lou Banach.
Baumgartner was seeded first, Severn second and Banach
third. Severn lost in a crazy semifinal, 20-10, and
Banach then pinned Baumgartner to win the title.
started coaching at Arizona State, preparing to end
his career with a run for the 1984 Olympic team in
the 220-pound weight class. Even decades later, those
in amateur wrestling talk about what happened. With
Severn, it led to a bitterness that wasnt ever
and Banach were the top two wrestlers in the country,
and were scheduled to meet in a best-of-three series
to determine the U.S. rep in the Olympics. Banach
won the first, Severn the second.
the third match, there was a point of controversy
as Severn was in control and put Banach on his back.
were three referees, and they were conflicted,
he said. One thought I pinned him. One gave
me points for back exposure. And one didnt give
me any points.
an intense debate, the referee who decided he hadnt
scored any points won out. With 50 seconds left in
the match, instead of being a few points up, he was
a few points down, and never caught up. He filed a
protest, hoping to, at the very least, get one last
match to solve the controversy. There was a precedent,
as several other protests from those trials led to
wrestle-offs for the Olympic team berth.
he was turned down. At the time, the feeling was that
Banach was the countrys best hope for a gold
medal even though, as the best-of-three series showed,
in a match between the two of them, there was no guarantee
Banach would prevail.
would have retired in 1984 from competition had everything
gone the way it should have gone, he said. I
should have been on the Olympic freestyle wrestling
team and I should have won the gold medal. Instead,
I went to Los Angeles as the alternate, and saw the
guy I thought I beat win the gold medal. It was really
tough for me to swallow that. Thats what kept
me going on.
was very good. Who is to say I would have won the
third match, but if they scored the match correctly,
I was winning at the time. Me, being a poor farm kid,
I didnt have the connections for attorneys.
You kind of hate that in a sport you love so much
that it would come down to politics, but thats
what it did.
result was Severn was more determined than ever. He
followed with the three strongest years of his career.
youd have to call it Dan Severn residue,
he said about himself at the age he entered the UFC,
nothing he was already eight years past his athletic
prime. If you wanted to see a real animal, you
should have seen me between 1984 and 1986.
had issues from being screwed over and I was never
going to allow it to fall into the hands of officials
again, he said. I hurt a lot of people
in matches. I wasnt doing anything illegal,
but I was being so intense. I was pinning people left
and right. I ended a number of peoples careers
with blown out limbs.
won a number of international tournaments and national
titles over the next three years. In 1985, he placed
sixth in the world championships. During his career
he won 13 different AAU national championships between
freestyle and Greco-Roman.
1988, he tore his other ACL prior to the Olympics,
but he proudly notes that from 1976 to 1992, he was
always in the top six in the nation every Olympic
entered pro wrestling before there was a UFC. As silly
as this sounds, until the early 90s, if an amateur
wrestler went into pro wrestling, they were considered
a professional athlete and thus disqualified from
eligibility. Severn had considered pro wrestling as
a way to make money, but after 1987 ruling by the
International Olympic Committee that barred Japans
freestyle champion, Yoshiaki Yatsu (who later fought
for Pride) from international competition due to his
pro wrestling background, Severn nixed the idea because
he still had the Olympic dream. After the IOC reversed
that position, Severn, who was still looking at doing
one last Olympic run in 1996 until he became a UFC
star, did some pro wrestling.
became something of a name in Japan, working for a
company called UWFI, that used a lot of American and
Russian amateur stars doing a more believable style
of worked pro wrestling. Severn actually appeared
on UWFI pay-per-view events in the U.S. before he
had ever heard of the UFC.
a lot of ways, it was a fluke, he noted about
being the first world-class amateur wrestler to enter
the UFC. At the time, a buddy of mine watched
some VHS dates of the first two UFCs. I was
living in Coldwater, Mich. We didnt even have
pay-per-view capabilities. He brought over some old
VHS tapes. I thought about doing it, but I saw people
getting soccer kicked in the face and stomped. But
then I saw Royce Gracie winning it as a grappler,
and thought if I applied what I knew, I could use
my skills to do well in this.
one of the martial arts magazines, UFC at that point
in time was taking out full page ads asking people
if they wanted to be a no-holds-barred fighter. So
I filled out an application and sent it in.
sent in his resume, which was impressive with all
of his amateur wrestling championships. There were
forces in the UFC at the time who werent keen
about bring in big amateur wrestlers, but Severn,
at his age, was thought to be past-his-prime. He arranged
a meeting with then-UFC matchmaker Art Davie, who
was based in Southern California.
was in Los Angeles, on a pro wrestling show, and wrestled
Hawk (of the Road Warriors tag team, one of the biggest
stars in pro wrestling of the time). Art Davie came
out, interviewed me, watched me in a pro wrestling
match, interviewed me again, and the first thing he
said was, `Do you realize what we do is real.
found out about his first competition, in Tulsa, a
few days beforehand. His training consisted of over
the course of a few days, five 90 minute workouts
in total, at the Lima, Ohio, pro wrestling school
run by one of his buddies from that world, Al Snow.
Snow and some of his proteges played a game called
`Lets try to hit Dan.
were in a pro wrestling ring. Snow, who had a marital
arts background, along with several of his pro wrestling
students worked out with Severn. They had one pair
of boxing gloves in the gym, so two of the guys would
each get a glove. The pro wrestlers came at him from
all angles, trying to punch and kick him. Severns
only training was to learn to avoid getting hit before
tying up and taking the guys down with his wrestling
trained some amateur techniques and some illegal moves
in amateur wrestling, but I was just a wrestler,
he said about the first show. It took me to
the finals, but it cost me the championship. What
I was doing wasnt working on Royce Gracie. I
kept thinking, `Im going to have to hit this
guy. I struggled more with my conscience than
with my opponent. But it taught me a lesson when the
before the Ultimate Ultimate show at the end of 1995,
he spent five weeks in the most intense training camp
of his life, getting down to 242 pounds enabling him
to out wrestle and outlast everyone in the competition.
avenged an earlier submission loss to Shamrock, winning
the UFC singles championship on May 17, 1996, at the
famed Cobo Arena in Detroit, in what in many ways
was the most successful and biggest UFC event to date.
They did 240,000 pay-per-view buys and sold out the
arena with 11,000 fans.
men had a game plan of to wait for the other to make
a move, and then counter. So they stood there. And
stood there. Unless you saw it, you couldnt
even imagine a fight like this. They circled. And
circled. Fans were furious, throwing things, chanting
for the Red Wings, and booing loudly.
Severn tried to shoot in, Shamrock countered, and
was on top in a mount position for about 90 seconds.
But he did no real damage while on top. Later, there
was a second scramble, this time Severn was on top,
in a guard, but threw down punches for about 30 seconds,
busting Shamrock up, before Shamrock escaped and got
back to his feet. There was no action the rest of
the fight. Judges somehow had to try and pick a winner,
and Severn got a split decision.
he lost the title in his first defense, against the
younger and stronger amateur wrestler, Mark Coleman,
on February 7, 1997.
relations with UFC fell apart a few months later.
Maurice Smith had shocked the MMA world beating Coleman
for the title, based more on superior conditioning
than anything else. He was scheduled to make his first
defense against Severn. Severn was the favorite, with
the feeling he could take Smith down, and unlike Coleman,
wouldnt get tired and Smith wouldnt be
able to get up. And if he could, hed be taken
right back down. As it turned out, it was the exact
strategy Randy Couture used on Smith to win his first
UFC heavyweight title.
agreeing to the title fight, in the days before exclusive
contracts, Severn took a booking for the debut show
of a fledgling Japanese organization, called Pride,
which booked the Tokyo Dome for the biggest event
of its kind in modern history of what would become
MMA. Severn was booked against UFC star Kimo Leopoldo,
as the No. 2 match on a show headlined by Rickson
Gracie vs. Nobuhiko Takada, which drew more than 30,000
goal was to make the big payday and avoid getting
hurt, and he half succeeded. UFC wasnt happy,
but Severn, who had never been seriously hurt in an
MMA fight, assured the company there was nothing to
worry about. During the 30 minute fight with Leopoldo,
he took so many low kicks that he was unable to face
Smith. It wasnt until three years later that
UFC would book him again, as a late injury replacement
against Pedro Rizzo, whose low kicks finished Severn
continued to fight and do pro wrestling all over the
world. He had a short run in the WWF, now WWE, and
even wrestled current acting star Dwayne The
Rock Johnson once on a pay-per-view show. He
garnered more fame as a pro wrestler in Japan, where
he once headlined by baseball stadium show that drew
his success in the early UFCs, Severn became a very
popular figure in the amateur wrestling world, as,
when Brock Lesnar was still in high school in North
Dakota, he became the hero to kids growing up in the
sport. He was the guy who first showed the world that
wrestlers were among the toughest, if not the toughest
fighters. Older pro wrestlers, particularly those
who started out as amateur wrestlers or had backgrounds
with submissions, hooking as it was called in that
trade, but had nowhere to apply their skills to make
money but pro wrestling, also revered him. He was
the guy who proved them right after lifetimes of arguing
with people about how wrestling isnt a real
guy like Lou Thesz (one of pro wrestlings biggest
stars in history), someone like him, hed have
done really well in this, said Severn. There
are a lot of guys in the circuit, Mike Rotunda, Kurt
Angle, very successful amateur wrestlers. The guy
who played at Oklahoma, Dr. Death (Steve Williams,
who beat Severn in college and was a legend in Japan),
hes a tough guy all the way. Gary Albright,
he was a collegiate wrestler from Nebraska. He was
legit nasty kind of guy I think would have done very
well at a different point in time. I think they all
would have been successful at this in their younger
and more competitive days.
many who were there from the start, Severn said hes
not surprised at the level of popularity the sport
has reached in its current very different form.
when I first saw it, I could see how big it could
get, he said. I was blown away that you
could do this type of competition in the first place.
After I got some old VHS tapes, I may have had it
on and a friend would drop by, see it in the background,
ask, `What are you watching, and Id say,
`This crazy thing called Ultimate Fighting, no holds
barred. Usually they were just dropping by to
say, `Hi, for a second. Two hours late, theyre
still sitting on my couch. I was watching them more
than I was watching the television. This happened
repeatedly, the sport was so captivating. But it was
a much different product than it is now. Now its
been around long enough and people accept it as a
sport. When it first began, it was more spectacle
than sport. Today, you can see a lot of people dont
even know about this era of NHB. They just know the
term MMA, and think it came from January 2005 when
The Ultimate Fighter show debuted on Spike TV.
the past half-dozen years, hes tried to go out
with nostalgia fights based on the early UFC days,
against Coleman, Shamrock and Gracie, but they never
did actually meet and speak with Ken and Mark face-to-face
because I wasnt going to let it fall through.
You learn as you go through life that you can handle
things better yourself than going through managers
and attorneys. I would have stopped a couple of years
ago if we could have pulled those matches off, but
it wasnt meant to be.
also notes that whats important for the sport
is having contrasting personalities, noting one of
his favorite fighters is Georges St-Pierre, and he
loves what he represents, but you cant have
a sport with nothing but GSPs.
like the way Georges St-Pierre presents himself, the
way his does his interviews, how he presents himself
from a pure athletic standpoint, I love all the things
he does and represents, said Severn. But
from a promoters perspective and a fans perspective,
I dont want everyone to be Georges St-Pierre
or it might be boring to watch. You need Rashad Evans
trash talking. You need Brock Lesnar frothing at the
mouth. You need different characters. A lot of these
guys are realizing this more-and-more.
when he came on the scene, was as quiet as a church
mouse. He wrestled at Michigan State and he came down
to my place way back when. He did some matches with
my promotion, Danger Zone. I helped him get his first
pro fights and helped him get into The Ultimate Fighter
show, and then he honed his skills more.
also helped start out Don Frye, who followed him as
one of the sports early stars.
Frye was one of my wrestlers at Arizona State. Randy
Couture was also wrestling when I was coaching. Don
came to me after he had seen UFC, asking if I could
help him get into it. Ive helped a few people.
I may have helped him get his foot in the door, but
hes fully to credit for his success. Don ended
up having much more success in his run in Japan in
Pride and pro wrestling.
hopes to maintain an affiliation with the sport in
a way that most of his contemporaries werent
able to. Hes had limited interaction with UFC.
He never worked for the current ownership group, and
but made a few appearances, once for a Hall of Fame
induction, and once when they went to honor the most
popular fighters of the past.
contacted me on a few occasions, he said. Theyve
let me know that if Id be in attendance at shows,
tickets will be waiting for me, and Ive taken
them up on it on a few occasions. Lorenzo (Fertitta)
and Dana (White) went out of their way to shake my
hand. Now that Im past my era of competition
and will still be involved in the sport, in a different
type of capacity, Ive always been a goodwill
got no axes to grind with anyone,
lived a charmed life, he said. I dont
look at this as sad. Its tough for any athlete
to be involved with something without having feelings
about it. Ive been very fortunate with my health.
The way Ive conducted myself, Ive won
over a lot of people. There were times after winning
major events, e-mails and phone calls would come.
That great positive support is something Ill
away cherish. Even in the last ten years, the amount
of positive e-mails have inspired me.
The first estimate for the 2/17 Elimination Chamber
PPV from New Orleans was 160,000 domestic buys and
52,000 foreign buys for 212,000 total. The good news
is that it would be the largest domestic number for
a B PPV in a number of years.
numbers were up 16% domestically from the 138,000
of last year, but down 7% internationally from the
56,000 of last years show, for an overall increase
bad news is that the main event was The Rock vs. C.M.
Punk for the WWE title. What is clear is putting Rock
and Brock Lesnar on B shows will help
their numbers. But it wont help their numbers
enough to justify a seven-figure main event payday.
The WWE revenue difference between the two shows
to be this years show being up $324,000 or so,
and the added expenses are likely way into seven figures.
But that isnt a surprise. Realistically, nobody
was going to expect Rock to pay for himself on this
show. At the Rumble, sure, you could go in expecting
it, but weve already seen with Survivor Series
last year what Rock on a B show does.
This was about telling a story and Chamber was a loss
leader in the story being told, for Mania, which is
where Rock and Lesnar are expected to pay for themselves.
2011 show did 145,000 domestic and 67,000 overseas,
and in 2010, the show did 160,000 domestic and 127,000
last time Rock worked a non-major, the 2011 Survivor
Series, the show was the least profitable WWE PPV
in years, and thats with doing 179,000 domestic
buys and 133,000 more overseas. This show is likely
to come somewhat close to the domestic number, but
is unlikely to reach half the foreign total. Plus,
Rock as champion defending against Punk should in
theory mean far more than Rock & John Cena as
a team, something nobody at the time wanted to see,
against The Miz & R-Truth, two guys that the public
didnt take seriously as opponents for them.
But it shouldnt have been a surprise given that
it was the m middle of the three shows Rock was working.
Everyone knew the big one was Mania. Its got
nothing in this case to do with Punk, although some
will jump to the conclusion that it shows Punk cant
deliver big numbers even with Rock. Its more
about the idea that with so much free television,
there are only so many people who are going to buy
a PPV, unless its Mania, Rumble or SummerSlam.
It doesnt matter if youve got a dream
match like Lesnar vs. Cena, nor Punk coming off momentum
of an interview everyone talked about, or Rock defending
the WWE title.
the flip side, there was a B show in October,
Hell in a Cell, headlined by Ryback challenging Punk
for the title. As of the latest numbers, that show
did 155,000 domestic buy and 49,000 overseas. When
you look at those numbers and these numbers, and February
should be a better month to draw on PPV than October
because its in season, it speaks
vs. Punk was clearly the draw this year, on a show
that also had The Shield vs. Cena & Ryback &
Sheamus, a Smackdown elimination chamber match with
Jack Swagger winning over Daniel Bryan, Kane, Randy
Orton, Chris Jericho and Mark Henry and Alberto Del
Rio vs. Big Show for the world title.
years show had Cena vs. Kane in an Ambulance
match as the main event, a Smackdown chamber match
with Bryan vs, Show vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Wade Barrett
vs. Santino Marella vs. Great Khali and a Raw chamber
with Punk vs. Miz vs. Jericho vs. R-Truth vs. Dolph
Ziggler vs, Kofi Kingston.
Raw on 4/1 did a 3.10 rating and 4.31 million viewers
for the WrestleMania go-home show, down a little,
even though it was the return of Shawn Michaels and
every major names, Rock, Undertaker, HHH and Brock
Lesnar were on the show. The night also had no major
cable competition, as only two show on cable, Bates
Motel and Dallas, even topped 2.5 million viewers.
Total number of people watching TV in the U.S. were
virtually identical with the week before.
years Raw before Mania did a 3.05 rating and
4.44 million viewers, and last year did the second
most buys in pro wrestling PPV history, so the idea
that the rating being down is a bad sign going into
WrestleMania isnt the case.
League Baseball opening day games on ESPN 2 did an
0.8 for the early game and 0.6 for the late game,
so that couldnt have hurt.
show did a 2.5 among male teenagers (up 19%), a 2.5
in Males 18-49 (down 7%), a 1.1 in Girl teens (up
22%) and a 1.1 in Women 18-49 (down 15%). The audience
was 67.7% male.
the segment-by-segment, the John Cena interview opened
at a 3.10. Randy Orton & Sheamus & Big Show
vs. Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre & Jinder
Mahal lost 95,000 viewers. Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph
Ziggler lost 43,000 viewers. The in-ring with Shawn
Michaels and HHH, with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman
later coming out, gained 585,000 viewers to a 3.42,
so very strong growth. Wade Barrett vs. Zack Ryder
lost 458,000 viewers. Mark Henry vs. Santino Marella,
the Ryback confrontation and the C.M. Punk interview
, gained 14,000 viewers. Alberto Del Rio vs. Zeb Colter
lost 108,000 viewers. The Rock interview at 10 p.m.
gained 275,000 viewers to a 3.22 rating. Antonio Cesaro
vs. Chris Jericho with the Fandango attack lost 168,000
viewers. A bunch of video features lost 212,000 viewers.
Cameron & Naomi vs. Bella Twins gained 288,000
viewers. And the final segment with Undertaker doing
the interview, the Druids, Paul Heyman and C.M. Punk
gained 599,000 viewers to a 3.58.\
on 3/29 with The Rock did a 2.00 rating and 2.85 million
viewers, which was actually down from the 2.11 rating
the week before. The difference was that it went head-to-head
with the NCAA basketball tournament on TBS which did
6.46 million viewers against Smackdown. Smackdown
was 10th for the night on cable.
on 3/28 did a 1.03 rating and 1.31 million viewers
for the second show from Chicago. Its what the
show has been doing for months, but its also
what they were doing against the NFL, and it has to
be a disappointment that they really havent
grown from that base when football ended except for
a few shows based around the wedding angle and a show
or two here and there.
on 3/28 did a 0.6 rating 713,000 viewers for the live
show (51,000 more watched via DVR over the next three
days) and 359,000 for the replay show. Live show was
at the lower end of the season range while the replay
was about where it always fits in.
Fighter on 3/26 did a 0.9 rating 1.09 million viewers.
The number was at the low end of what theyve
been doing this season. They were coming off a big
number and hyped the show hard with the idea that
one of the fights (Dylan Andrews vs. Luke Barnatt)
was great and Ronda Rousey and Mike Tyson were both
on the show, so youd have hoped it would do
better. UFC doesnt promote the show as hard
as it used to since the effort is now into promoting
all the live shows, so I dont think most fans
had any idea Rousey or Tyson were on. Both did quick
cameos, with Rousey demonstrating judo foot sweeps
and teaching them to the guys and Tyson showing up
in the dressing room to meet the guys who all freaked
out and then watched one of the fights with Dana White.
NCAA wrestling championships on ESPN on 3/23 did a
0.61 rating and 860,000 viewers, for a show built
around the Kyle Dake vs. David Taylor 165-pound final.
That would be the second biggest audience for the
NCAA finals of the last 25 years. It would have beaten
both Pat Smith and Cael Sandersons previous
attempts for four titles, the 1999 Brock Lesnar vs
Steve Neal, the 1992 Kurt Angle vs. Sylvester Terkay
heavyweight finals as well as Ben Askrens final
collegiate match in 2007. The biggest that ESPN has
on record was the 2004 tournament final doing 878,000
viewers. There was nothing remarkably special about
that year. The biggest star was Greg Jones, but it
was his junior year going for his second title and
not his senior year going for his third. For a comparison,
last years tournament did a 0.42 rating and
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3/25 Chicago (Dragon Gate - 650): Quu Quu Toyonoka
Dolphin b Mondai Ryu, Yamato & Shingo Takagi b
Masaaki Mochizuki & Kotoka, Naruki Doi b Super
Shenlong, K-ness b Jimmy Kagetora, Cima & Dragon
Kid b Masato Yoshino & Shachihoko Boy, Jimmy Kanda
& Jimmy Susumu & Ryo Saito & Quu Quu Toyonoka
Dolphin b Akira Tozawa & BxB Hulk & Mondai
Ryu & Uhaa Nation
Kanazawa (Dragon Gate - 500): Genki Horiguchi &
Ryo Saito b Yamato & Super Shenlong, Jimmy Susumu
b Kotoka, BxB Hulk b Shachihoko Boy, Naruki Doi &
Masato Yoshino b Quu Quu Toyonoka Dolphin & Jimmy
Kagetora, Cima & Masaaki Mochizuki & Dragon
Kid b Akira Tozawa & Mondai Ryu & Uhaa Nation
Jonesboro, AR (TNA Impact TV tapings - 4,000): Chavo
Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez b Christopher Daniels
& Kazarian, Wes Brisco & Garett Bischoff &
Doc b Kurt Angle & James Storm & Eric Young,
Ken Anderson b Jeff Hardy-DQ, Adam Pearce b Magno,
Joey Ryan ref: Gail Kim & Tara b Velvet Sky &
Taryn Terrell, Petey Williams won three-way over Mason
Andrews and Sonjay Dutt, Devon & Doc & Wes
Brisco & Garett Bischoff & Knox b Kurt Angle
& Samoa Joe & Magnus & Eric Young &
Tampa (Bellator MMA): Felice Herrig b Heather Clark,
Patrick Cenoble d Tony Fryklund, Edson Berto b Bruno
Carvalho, Joe Taimanglo b Ronnie Rogers, Jessica Aguilar
b Patricia Vidonic, Augusto Sakai b Rob Horton, Julien
Williams b Kenny Moss, Rodrigo Lima b Ronnie Mann,
Luis Melo b Trey Houston, Lightweight tournament final:
David Rickels b Saad Awad, Light heavyweight tournament
final: Emanuel Newton b Mikhail Zayats
Springfield, MA (WWE joint show - 6,700 sellout):
Tag titles: Kane & Daniel Bryan b Heath Slater
& Jinder Mahal, IC title: Wade Barrett won three-way
over R-Truth and The Miz, World title: Alberto Del
Rio NC Antonio Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio & Kofi
Kingston b Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro, Divas
title: Kaitlyn b Tamina Snuka, Over-the-top rope challenge:
Ryback b Mark Henry, John Cena & Sheamus &
Big Show b Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose & Roman
Mexico City Arena Mexico (CMLL TV tapings): Demus
3:16 & Pierrothito b Shockercito & Astral,
Starman & Triton & Pegasso Extreme b Nitro
& Escandalo & Arkangel de la Muerte, Diamante
& Rey Cometa & Fuego b Vangelis & Morphosis
& Sangre Azteca, Rey Escorpion b Mascara Dorada,
Averno & Mephisto & Ephesto b La Mascara &
Maximo & La Sombra, Mr. Aguila & El Terrible
& Volador Jr. b Shocker & Rush & Marco
Naucalpan (AAA TV tapings - 2,500 sellout): Jinzo
& Flamita & Atomic Boy b Lucky Boy & Gran
Apache & Nino de Ebano, Dinastia & Argenis
& Bugambilla b Argos & Mini Abismo Negro &
Black Mamba, Joe Lider & Willie Mack & Crazy
Boy b AR Fox & Eterno & Dr. Cerebro, Jennifer
Blake & Fabi Apache b Taya Valkyrie & Mari
Apache, Perro Aguayo Jr. & Daga b Cibernetico
& Dark Cuervo, Non-title: Blue Demon Jr. b El
Atlantic City (WWE joint show - 7,700) : Wade Barrett
won Battle Royal, Divas title: Kaitlyn b Tamina Snuka,
U.S. title: Antonio Cesaro b R-Truth, World title:
Alberto Del Rio b Wade Barrett-DQ, Alberto Del Rio
& Chris Jericho & The Miz b Jack Swagger &
Fandango & Wade Barrett, Handicap match: Big Show
b Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal,
Over-the-top rope challenge: Mark Henry b Ryback,
John Cena & Randy Orton & Sheamus b Seth Rollins
& Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose-DQ
Asheville (ROH - 600): Michael Elgin b Adam Page,
QT Marshall NC Darren Dean, Jimmy Jacobs & Jimmy
Rave b Grizzly Redwood & Mike Mondo, Rhett Titus
b B.J. Whitmer, Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards
b Cedric Alexander & Caprice Coleman, Jeff Neal
b Charlie Haas, Tag titles: Kyle OReilly &
Bobby Fish b Mike Posey & Corey Hollis, ACH won
four-way over Matt Taven, Jay Lethal and Roderick
Strong, ROH title: Kevin Steen b Mark Briscoe
Toyama (All Japan - 350): Minoru Tanaka & Koji
Kanemoto b Sushi & Andy Woo, Hiroshi Yamato &
Hikaru Sato b Kotaro Suzuki & Atsushi Aoki, Takao
Omori & Seiya Sanada & Ryota Hama b Masakatsu
Funaki & Masayuki Kono & Mazada, Jun Akiyama
& Go Shiozaki b Kai & Yasufumi Nakanoe, Suwama
b Kenso, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Masa Fuchi b Kaz
Hayashi & Shuji Kondo
Shimizu (Dragon Gate - 450): Jimmy Kanda b Mondai
Ryu, Yamato & Shingo Takagi b Masaaki Mochizuki
& Kotaka, Masato Yoshino b Quu Quu Toyonaka Dolphin,
BxB Hulk b Jimmy Kagetora, Cima & Dragon Kid b
Naruki Doi & Shachihoko Boy, Akira Tozawa &
BxB Hulk & Uhaa Nation b Jimmy Susumu & Ryo
Saito & Genki Horiguchi
Bayamon, PR (WWC - 1,000): Jr. title: Zion RT #1 b
Diabolico, Chris & Steve Joel b A.J. Castillo
& Jay Velez, Andy Leavine & Samson Walker
b Abbad & Chicano, Eddie Colon b ?, Savio Vega
b Invader I-DQ, Pole match: Super Fenix b Ray Gonzalez,
Tables and chairs match for tag title: Thunder &
Lightning b Sons of Samoa
Tlalnepantla (Luchas 2000): Steve Pain b Fulgore,
Centurion & Chico Che b Alan Extreme & Joker,
Carta Brava Jr. & Comando Negro & Micke Segura
b Dinamic Black & Freelance & Golden Magic,
Decnis & El Hijo del Pirata Morgan b Dr. Wagner
III & Oriental, Cien Caras & Mascara Ano 2000
& Universo 2000 b Jaque Mate & Sangre Chicana
& El Satanico, Atlantis & Blue Panther &
Brazo de Oro & Negro Casas b Fantasma & Shu
El Guerrero & Villano III & Solar, Black Terry
& Negro Navarro & Scorpio Jr. & Villano
IV b Brazo de Plata & Felino & Mr. Niebla
& Shocker, Atlantis b Villano IV
White Plains, NY (WWE joint show - 3,700): Wade Barrett
won Battle Royal, Divas title: Kaitlyn b Tamina Snuka,
U.S. title: Antonio Cesaro b Kofi Kingston, World
title: Alberto Del Rio b Wade Barrett-DQ, Alberto
Del Rio & Chris Jericho & The Miz b Jack Swagger
& Fandango & Wade Barrett, Handicap match:
Big Show b Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre &
Jinder Mahal, Over-the-top-rope challenge: Mark Henry
b Ryback, John Cena & Randy Orton & Sheamus
b Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose-DQ
Tokyo Korakuen Hall (Pro Wrestling NOAH - 1,200):
Mitsuhiro Kitamiya b Hitoshi Kumano, Super Crazy &
Atsushi Kotoge b Lance & Harlem Bravado, Kento
Miyahara & Taishi Takizawa b Shane Haste &
Bruiser Barry, Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone
b Mikey Nicholls & Jonah Rock, Naomichi Marufuji
& Takashi Sugiura & Yoshinari Ogawa b Kensuke
Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima & Satoshi Kajiwara,
No DQ: Maybach Taniguchi b Maybach Taniguchi Jr.,
GHC jr. title: Taiji Ishimori b Ricky Marvin, Toru
Yano & Takashi Iizuka & Yujiro Takahashi b
KENTA & Yoshihiro Takayama & Genba Hirayanagi
Hyogo (All Japan - 380): Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo
b Sushi & Andy Woo, Kenso b Hiroshi Yamato, Masakatsu
Funaki & Masayuki Kono b Takao Omori & Seiya
Sanada, Kai b Yasufumi Nakanoe, Jun Akiyama &
Go Shiozaki & Kotaro Suzuki & Atsushi Aoki
b Suwama & Ryota Hama & Hikaru Sato &
Mazada, Koji Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka b Yoshinobu
Kanemaru & Masa Fuchi
Mexico City Arena Coliseo (CMLL - 1,500): Bengala
& Leono b Apocalipsis & Inquisidor, El Hijo
del Signo & Hooligan & Nosferatu b Metalico
& Sensei & Soberano, Amapola & Comandante
& Tiffany b Dalis la Caribena & Estrellita
& Luna Magica, El Hijo del Fantasma d Tiger, Blue
Panther & Brazo de Plata & La Sombra b Averno
& Dragon Rojo Jr. & Olimpico, Diamante Azul
& Mistico & Valiente b Euforia & Niebla
Roja & Volador Jr.
Washington, DC (WWE Raw/Smackdown/Superstars/Saturday
Morning Slam TV tapings - 13,500 sellout): Great Khali
b JTG, Kofi Kingston b Justin Gabriel, Handicap match:
Ryback b Primo & Epico, Jack Swagger b Kofi Kingston,
Randy Orton & Sheamus & Big Show b Heath Slater
& Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal, Dolph Ziggler
b Daniel Bryan, Non-title: Wade Barrett b Zack Ryder,
Mark Henry b Santino Marella, Non-title: Alberto Del
Rio b Zeb Colter-DQ, Non-title: Chris Jericho b Antonio
Cesaro, Bella Twins b Naomi & Cameron, John Cena
& Ryback & Sheamus b Seth Rollins & Roman
Reigns & Dean Ambrose-DQ
Mexico City Arena Mexico (CMLL): Herodes Jr. &
Inquisidor b Bengala & Genesis, Mercurio &
Nitrito & Pequeno Violencia b Aereo & Mini
Fantasy & Shockercito, Diamante & Fuego &
El Hijo del Fantasma b Arkangel de la Muerte &
Namajague & Okumura-DQ, Marcela b Amapola, Euforia
& Niebla Roja & Ultimo Guerrero b Marco Corleone
& Mascara Dorada & Rush, Mexican national
trios titles: Mr. Aguila & Kraneo & Psicosis
b Angel de Oro & Shocker & Valiente
Fukuyama (All Japan - 400): Kotaro Suzuki & Atsushi
Aoki b Sushi & Andy Woo, Osamu Nishimura b Yasufumi
Nakanoe, Suwama & Takao Omori & Ryota Hama
& Seiki b Masakatsu Funaki & Kenso & Masayuki
Kono & Hanzo, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Masa Fuchi
b Hiroshi Yamato & Hikaru Sato, Jun Akiyama &
Go Shiozaki b Seiya Sanada & Kai, Kaz Hayashi
& Shuji Kondo b Minoru Tanaka & Koji Kanemoto
The 3/29 show at Arena Mexico was headlined by Mr.
Aguila & El Terrible & Volador Jr. over Shocker
& Rush & Marco Corleone, when ref Tirantes
went down and Aguila kicked Shocker low and got the
pin. Averno & Mephisto & Ephesto beat La Mascara
& Maximo & La Sombra when Averno pinned Mascara
and Mephisto pinned Maximo both with the Devils
Wings (pedigree) off the middle rope at about the
same time. The singles match with Rey Escorpion pinning
Mascara Dorada got rave reviews. The match only went
7:50 (the midcard single match at Arena Mexico is
called a lightning match with a 10:00 time limit)
but there were people saying it was the best CMLL
match so far this year.
4/5 show has Thunder & Shocker & Atlantis
vs. Aguila & Averno & Mephisto as the main
event, Stuka Jr. & Angel de Oro & Diamante
Azul vs. Dragon Rojo Jr. & Escorpion & Polvora
as the semi.
Casas defends the NWA welterweight title against Ultimo
Dragon on 4/14 in Mexico City for a Toryumon taping.
Funny, it was 23 years ago in Japan where I saw those
two in a singles match at Korakuen Hall.
Luchas 2000 promotion ran a legends show on 3/30 at
Arena Lopez Mateos, bringing back Cien Caras (63),
El Satanico (63), Sangre Chicana (61), Jaque Mate
(64) and others. They also had two eight-mans with
veterans where the two winners would meet in the finals
for the Copa Luchas 2000, with Atlantis getting the
win in the first match and Villano IV in the second.
Atlantis won, and then after, Villano IV challenged
him to a mask vs. mask match if Atlantis beats Ultimo
Guerrero in Septembers anniversary show.
This weeks TV tapings was 3/29 at Arena Naucalpan,
before a sellout of 2,500 fans, with people turned
away. It opened with Jinzo & Flamita & Atomic
Boy over Lucky Boy & Gran Apache & Nino de
Ebano, when Atomic Boy bloodied up and pinned Apache.
This was to start getting Atomic Boy over, since they
were teasing a mask vs. hair match against Apache.
Atomic Boy is so small he used to be a mini when he
started working at the age of 15 using the name Mini
Dizzy. He and Apache have been feuding for a few months.
Dinastia & Argenis & Bugambilla beat Argos
& Mini Abismo Negro & Black Mamba. Argenis
and Argos are both younger brothers of Sin Cara. Then
Willie Mack and AR Fox debuted on television. Mack
is a protege of Joey Ryan from Southern California
and has been working small shows in Mexico. Fox has
also been working small shows in Mexico. Mack &
Joe Lider & Crazy Boy beat Fox & Eterno &
Dr. Cerebro. Eterno is someone the promotion is said
to be high on. Match must have been good because fans
were throwing money into the ring. Fox in particular
was the standout. Jennifer Blake & Fabi Apache
beat Taya Valkyrie & Mari Apache. Perro Aguayo
Jr. & Daga beat Cibernetico & Dark Cuervo
when Aguayo Jr. pinned Cuervo with a tombstone piledriver
onto a table, which was on top of a beer rack. Aguayo
Jr. also powerslammed Cibernetico through a table.
Cibernetico later got a chair and cleaned house on
Aguayo Jr. & Daga. Main event saw Blue Demon Jr.
avenge his loss to Rey de Reyes by pinning AAA heavyweight
champion El Texano Jr. with a pedigree and Dragon
suplex. At one point, this was being advertised as
a title match, but they changed it to non-title, which
kind of gave away the finish.
taping is 4/6 in Tlalnepantla, headlined by Fenix
& La Parka & Electroshock vs. Chessman &
Pentagon Jr. & Parka Negra.
is also a 4/15 taping in Leon with a parejas increibles
main event with Mesias & Demon Jr. vs. Texano
Jr. & L.A. Park, plus the Black Family of Dark
Cuervo & Dark Escoria & Dark Espiritu &
Dark Ozz vs. Aguayo Jr. & Daga & Halloween
& Original Psicosis.
What will be a combination All Japan and NOAH show,
and likely the last time either group ever sells out
Budokan Hall, is the 5/11 Final Burning in Budokan
show, with the retirement of Kenta Kobashi, who will
become the PWF commissioner. They announced the main
event of Kobashi & Jun Akiyama & Keiji Muto
& Kensuke Sasaki as the veteran legends against
KENTA & Go Shiozaki & Yoshinari Kanemaru &
Maybach Taniguchi. With the exception of Muto, its
really a 2012 NOAH match, since Akiyama, Shiozaki
and Kanemaru were all in NOAH last year and quit at
the time Kobashid issues with NOAH came to a
2013 Champion Carnival tournament details were announced
this week. The Carnival is the oldest annual tradition
in pro wrestling, dating back to the Japan Pro Wrestling
World League tournament won by Rikidozan in 1959.
It was the biggest tour of the year most of the time
during the 60s. It became the Champion Carnival in
1973, when Giant Baba left Japan Pro Wrestling to
form All Japan and NTV wanted to keep the annual spring
tournament. From 1983 to 1990 it wasnt held,
for a variety of reasons, mostly notably Babas
mentality at that time was that top guys arent
supposed to lose, and thus didnt want a ton
of non-finishes. In 1990, when Baba changed his philosophy
to every match ends via pin or submission and everyone
at some point loses, he brought it back, and it was
a huge deal during the promotions heyday. It
hasnt been a very big deal lately,as the promotion
fell in popularity even though it annually has produced
some great matches. It opens 4/18 at Korakuen Hall
and ends on 4/29 in the same building with the semifinals
and finals. The A block has Suwama, Takao Omori, Seiya
Sanada, Masayuki Kono, Ryota Hama and Go Shiozaki.
The B Block has Masakatsu Funaki, Akebono, Kenso,
Kai, Joe Doering and Jun Akiyama. Opening night has
Suwama vs. Shiozaki, Omori vs. Sanada, Funaki vs.
Kai and Akiyama vs. Kenso. The biggest night is likely
the 4/27 show in Osaka, which will determine who makes
the final four. The A block matches are Suwama vs.
Omori, Sanada vs. Kono and Hama vs. Shiozaki. The
B Block matches are Funaki vs. Akiyama (good chance
this determines first place), Akebono vs. Kenso and
Kai vs. Doering.
had a ten bell salute at the 3/30 show in Toyama,
honoring Reid Flair at the start of the show.
Nobuo Shiraishi has created a lot of controversy of
late. Hes been talking about how they have to
get rid of match fixing from pro wrestling, accusing
New Japan of setting up fixed matches in their dojo.
Riki Choshu, 60, said Shiraishi has committed an unforgivable
act and challenged him to come to a Legend Pro Wrestling
show and try and slap him in the face (Shiraishi slapped
Kenso in the face at the last major All Japan show
a few weeks ago at Sumo Hall). Shiraishi responded
that hes not afraid of Choshu and brought up
how Choshu started his own company, World Japan, and
was out of business within a year.
Omori will be going to Big Japan to challenge their
World strong heavyweight champion Daisuke Sekimoto.
The date for the match hasnt been announced.
of 4/3, these were the junior heavyweight tournament
standings: 1. (Tied) Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo,
Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Masa Fuchi and Minoru Tanaka
& Koji Kanemoto 2-1; 4. (Tied) Hiroshi Yamato
& Hikaru Sato and Kotaro Suzuki & Atsushi
Aoki 1-1; 6. Sushi & Andy Woo 0-3.
tournament opened on 3/30 in Toyama before 350 fans.
Tanaka & Kanemoto beat Sushi & Woo; Yamato
& Sato beat Suzuki & Aoki when Yamato used
a cross-arm German suplex on Aki; and Kanemaru &
Fuchi beat Hayashi & Kondo in 18:53 when Kanemaru
pinned Hayashi after a brainbuster.
in Hyogo saw Tanaka & Kanemoto beat Kanemaru &
Fuchi in 19:55 when Kanemoto beat Fuchi with the ankle
in Fukuyama saw Kanemaru & Fuchi beat Yamato &
Sato when Kanemura pinned Yamato in 17:34 with a brainbuster
and Hayashi & Kondo beat Tanaka & Kanemoto
in 20:25 when Kondo pinned Kanemoto with a lariat.
ends 4/7 in Fukui.
PRO WRESTLING NOAH
They had a 3/31 show at Korakuen Hall which was headlined
by CHAOS, the heel group from New Japan, of Toru Yano
& Takashi Iizuka (who hold the GHC tag titles)
& Yujiro Takahashi beating KENTA & Yoshihiro
Takayama & Genba Hirayanagi, the lead heel group
from NOAH, in 13:43 when Takahashi pinned Hirayanagi
with a German suplex. This was done to heat up the
tag team tournament that starts on 4/13. The show
drew 1,200 fans, which is about what NOAH has been
doing of late for its Korakuen Hall shows. Taiji Ishimori
retained the GHC jr. title, pinning Ricky Marvin in
17:04. They also had a no DQ match with Maybach Taniguchi
pinning Maybach Taniguchi Jr. in 9:38 with a power
bomb. Taniguchi unmasked Jr. as Suwa, who had retired
in 2007 and just came back with the gimmick. It was
pretty well known thats who Taniguchi Jr. was.
Hell be going as Suwa from this point forward.
next title defense will be on the first day of the
tag tourney , on 4/13, against Hirayanagi. The tag
tourney matches on that show are Naomichi Marufuji
& Takashi Sugiura vs. Yoshihito Sasaki & Shinya
Ishikawa, Takeshi Morishima & Mohammed Yone vs.
Akitoshi Saito & Tomoaki Honma, and KENTA &
Takayama vs. Taniguchi & Yujiro Takahashi.
The All Japan/New Japan angle with All Japan owner
Nobuo Shiraishi claiming that New Japan fixes its
matches (seriously) is continuing as Shiraishi said
he would be coming to the 4/7 show at Sumo Hall, and
Takaaki Kidani (his friend for a long time who is
likely working this angle with him) said they would
have security guards keep him from entering the building.
Asahi Newstar satellite TV deal was renewed for another
year starting this month. Matches from the Best of
the Super Junior tournament on 5/24 and 6/9 (the finals)
will air live on the station.
Killer Elite Squad, Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance
Archer, will be working a Paul Boesch tribute show
put on by NWA Houston on 4/20, challenging NWA tag
team champions Scot Summers & Ryan Genesis. There
had been rumors of those teams wrestling in Japan
at some point so its possible this will set
that up. Rob Conway vs. Chris Masters for the NWA
title is the announced main event. In theory that
seems to mean Conway retained on 4/7 at Sumo Hall
against Satoshi Kojima.
Archer won the Traditional Championship Wrestling
heavyweight title on 3/30 in Springfield, MO, at that
groups TV tapings in Springfield, MO. The promotion
made him champion with the idea he would take the
title and defend it in Japan, and use that to make
the title seem more important.
years Best of the Super Junior tournament will
go from 5/22 in Nagoya and finish on 6/9 at Korakuen
OTHER JAPAN NOTES
Ayumi Kurihara, 28, a Japanese woman wrestler who
has worked all over the world, announced that she
would be retiring in August, with her ceremony at
an 8/4 show at Korakuen Hall. Shes coming in
this week for Shimmer at their WrestleMania weekend
show. Kurihara is also a former CMLL womens
champion. She has been wrestling eight years. She
suffered a broken clavicle on 2007, which never fully
recovered and needed major reconstructive surgery.
Shes retiring due to the accumulation of injuries.
Fujinami, 19, the son of Tatsumi Fujinami, will be
doing an exhibition match on the Dradition show on
5/29 at Korakuen Hall. The idea is this will introduce
him but his official debut will come down the line.
The younger Fujinami was training in the U.K. and
will debut officially before the end of 2013. That
show will have a top two matches of Tatsumi Fujinami
& Original Tiger Mask vs. Masakatsu Funaki &
AKIRA and Riki Choshu & Yukio Sakaguchi vs. Daisuke
Sekimoto & Kazuki Hashimoto.
wrestlers, including Daisuke Harada and Masamune,
have quit Osaka Pro Wrestling. They announced it at
a 3/30 show in Osaka, with Harada saying that he would
stay until the 4/14 show. Harada said he was moving
to Tokyo, so it appears hell be joining one
of the Tokyo-based promotions.
Hashimoto will be returning to Zero-One on 4/15 for
a match against Kota Ibushi on a Zero-One show.
ran its annual Yasukuni Shrine show in Tokyo on 3/31
with a main event of Shinjiro Otani & Masato Tanaka
& Choshu over Akebono & James Raideen &
HERE AND THERE
Sean Waltman on Twitter wrote about his injuries last
week: The turnbuckle wasnt covered and
my landing should have been 45 degrees. I ended up
landing hard and horizontal. The turnbuckle ripped
me another new a hole. I knew it right away. You can
see me tell the ref, `tore my ass! I went to
the after party briefly, but had to leave as blood
started gushing. Hotel room looked like a murder scene,
so much blood. Hotel security called an ambulance
and R. Morken at the Hennepin County Medical Center
performer sphincterplasty to save me from having to
have a colostomy bag. Its hard not to laugh,
so feel free to find it humorous. Waltman was
released from the hospital late in the week. He also
suffered a partially severed sciatic nerve.
Hall will be undergoing hip replacement surgery on
4/9 which is on the heels of the fund raising campaign
by wrestling fans. Hall has claimed to have stayed
sober for more than a month since moving in with DDP.
Last week, he did a four-and-a-half hour interview
where he was witty and coherent, so hopefully that
is a good sign. The campaign to fund his medical bills
raised more than $100,000.
the Extreme Rising group canceling its shows due to
weak advances, in particular the show scheduled for
Philadelphia, the feeling is they just cant
afford to be losing money on shows right now. Theyve
come to the realization that trying to run a group
that runs fairly often based on the live gate is impossible
and have gone over-budget booking too much talent,
even though they are generally drawing better than
either ROH or TNA in the markets theyve run.
Merchandise, DVD and iPPV business hasnt made
any difference. The goal is to get local television
in some markets and run angles to get over the younger
stars (Luke Hawx) and the ex-ECW guys who can still
go like Stevie Richards, and a few ECW vets sprinkled
in, and hope that selling TV ads and live show sponsorships
can be the way to go combined with hoping the TV will
increase merchandise and DVD sales. They had plans
of running a show at the ECW Arena over the next several
weeks, but the Arena wont be ready for a full-blown
wrestling show by that time.
Horne, 48, who wrestled as Mo from the former WWE
tag team champions, Men on a Mission, with Mabel (later
Big Daddy V and Viscera) in the 90s, is suffering
from end stage renal failure and undergoing kidney
dialysis as he prepares for a kidney transplant. His
stepdaughter is donating one of her kidneys. Recently,
Horne complained about how WWE will spend $100,000
to help a guy like Scott Hall over and over again,
and anyone who has problems based on drug or alcohol
addictions, but a guy like him who stayed clean but
was given a bad hand in a life threatening situation
and they dont help him out.
(Nelson Erazo, 36), told PWInsider.com in an interview
this past week that hes not happy with the way
wrestling is going and hes going to give it
one more year and then plans on leaving.
past week, Stevie Richards, the Extreme Rising champion,
put a photo of the belt on Twitter and offered to
defend it in a videogame this week since the shows
were canceled and he had no bookings. Danny Doring
then posted a photo of the ECW tag team title belt
that he still owned and offered to put it in the line
against him, saying they could battle, defunct promotion
vs. defunct promotion. The promotion then e-mailed
Richards and demanded the return of the belt by the
end of this week. They were mad at the idea hed
put it up in a video game (more of a joke of course)
and that the word defunct was used for the promotion,
although technically it was Doring who used the word.
Hennigan (John Morrison) is one of the main stars
in a movie called The Factory, which begins
filming next week in New York. The movie is about
a group of people looking to buy a factory, who get
trapped inside trying to escape from demons
from the factorys past.
more notes on the Joe Weider/pro wrestling connection,
mostly from the 50s, although Weider ads were all
over wrestling magazines in the 70s because pretty
much every wrestling fan I knew also knew of Dave
Draper, Larry Scott, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank
Zane and Zabo Koszewski (who briefly did pro wrestling)
from the ads in the back of the magazines. The photos
in the magazines of Joe Weider in the 50s had Weiders
face superimposed over the body of Clancy Ross, one
of the top bodybuilders from that era. The Weider
statue from the 70s that was in all the magazines
for years was the older Joe Weider with Robbie Robinsons
body. Weiders main wrestling magazine writer
was Charles A. Smith. A lot of the bodybuilders became
wrestlers, most notably Ray Stern, Pepper Gomez, Henry
Lenz, Seymour Koenig and Eric Pederson. Weiders
bodybuilding magazines in the 50s regularly featured
Baron Michele Leone, who was the big star and world
champion in Southern California. Lou Thesz appeared
in Weider ads. The Weiders also had a French language
pro wrestling magazine called Lutte, for a few
years. The main photographer for the magazine was
Tony Lanza, who was a pro wrestler who was also a
bodybuilding and wrestling magazine photographer.
Russ Warner was another pro wrestling and bodybuilding
magazine photographer. Weider also did some young
guy magazines like Young Physique, Adonis,
and Muscle Boy as well as once tried to
go after Hugh Hefner with a male skin magazine, a
big game magazine, and even did a baseball magazine.
Colon, on WWC TV this past week, announced he was
coming out of retirement. That was funny since he
just wrestled Savio Vega a few weeks ago. He said
that his doctors gave him the okay to return and he
was going to start training and believes hell
be back in shape in time for the anniversary show.
Yes, no acknowledgment that he just wrestled. He said
hes coming back to give Invader I the beating
that he deserves for what he has done. Without mentioning
the murder of Bruiser Brody, he said that there was
something that happened 25 years ago (Brody was murdered
by Invader in the dressing room in Bayamon in 1988)
involving Invader that was really bad and Colon talked
about how he helped him out at the time. Colon used
the WWC TV show, which got monster ratings, to try
and make Invader a sympathetic character and behind
the scenes helped in his acquittal. He also kept him
on payroll and kept him secretly working in the office
while telling everyone he was gone, and then brought
him back as booker after the trial. He said that after
all that, Invader betrayed him, saying that during
the war with IWA, Invader left for the other company
and went as far as to go on a non-wrestling TV show
and talked trash about him (Invader was on a gossip
show and buried Colon). He said that now Invader has
brainwashed his own son, Carlito, against him. Invaders
new gimmick is beating up prelim wrestlers and making
fun of them saying theyll never be as good as
him. Invader is now 66 and Colon is almost 65 and
they are building the big show around their match,
which tells you what a great job theyve done
in building the next generation. They had a big show
on 3/30 in Bayamon with about 1,000 fans, with Thunder
& Lightning winning the tag titles for the 26th
time over the Sons of Samoa in a tables and chairs
match. Super Fenix (who the crowd thought was Gilbert,
given they were chanting Gilbert at him
the whole match although they also chanted Fandango
at him) beat Ray Gonzalez to keep the Universal title
in what was billed as a ladder match but turned out
to be a pole match. There was a ref bump and a second
guy dressed in the same Super Fenix outfit grabbed
the Universal title belt off the pole. After the match
and the second Super Fenix left with the belt, Gonzalez
told the first Super Fenix to stop pretending, that
all the fans know hes Gilbert and Gilbert is
a good wrestler, but hell never be a great wrestler
if he keeps pretending to be Ray Gonzalez (who was
the original Fenix under a mask in WWC). Gonzalez
wanted a rematch and vowed to take his title and unmask
him. The Savio Vega vs. Invader I grudge match had
great heat, ending when Vega had Invader in the cobra
clutch and a bunch of heels hit the ring for the DQ.
They left Vega laying. Primo from WWE returned. As
part of his WWE contract, he has a few dates per year
hes allowed to work in WWC, and he returned
against a masked mystery opponent sent by Invader.
Primo beat him with the figure four. Former Tough
Enough winner Andy Leavine looks huge.
the 4/21 WWL show, the original Bobby Roode &
James Storm vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian
match, which makes no sense from TNA TV (Roode &
Storm as Beer Money had worked in Puerto Rico in the
past) was changed to Roode vs. Storm and Daniels &
Kazarian vs. Samoa Joe and a partner to be named.
Mooneyham in the Charleston Post-Courier ran a story
about Bob Caudle, the Carolinas announcer who is now
82 years old. Caudle will be attending the annual
Mid Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fan Fest from 8/1 to
8/4 in Charlotte. He said Ole Anderson calls him from
time-to-time. Caudle started broadcasting wrestling
when Jim Crockett Sr. taped his program at WRAL in
Raleigh in 1960 and remained until the promotion closed
in 1988. He then was with WCW for a few years before
being let go in 1991. He moved on to Smoky Mountain
Wrestling. Caudle did the local news and weather at
WRAL. In those days, the local wrestling announcer
in a lot of markets, like Lance Russell, Dave Brown,
Danny Williams (McGuirk), Walt Harris (San Francisco)
were local media personalities who worked for the
station where they filmed the studio wrestling show
at. He left doing the news in Raleigh in 1980, and
became a full-time legislative assistant to Senator
Jesse Helms of North Carolina, until retiring from
that post in 1996. He had known Helms from his news
work. He noted that one time in Raleigh that local
sportscaster Nick Pond was doing the 6 p.m. news when
Rip Hawk snuck onto the set, crawled on all fours
to not be see and tried to set Ponds script
on fire. Caudle had suffered a series of heart attacks
in 2007, but hasnt had any heart problems since
they put a stent in and it was noted hes now
been married for 64 years.
Singh, (real name Gadowar Singh Sahota), had his Calgary
home in a fire on 4/2 at about 1 a.m. The fire, which
destroyed two homes, is believed to have been started
at his next door neighbors house from a battery
charger from a remote controlled car. A battery was
being charged for a remote control car and the charger
overcharged the battery, it exploded and caught fire.
The fire spread from the neighbors home to Sahotas
home, which was badly damaged. . Stampede Wrestling
historian Bob Leonard noted this about the death of
Dennis Forsland, who passed away and in his obit was
called a former world heavyweight champion. Forsland
worked four different runs in Stampede Wrestling between
1958 and 1964. He was more of a manager of Joe Tomasso,
and also managed him in the U.S., probably in Texas
and Utah. Leonard said he was a passable worker by
the standards of the time, but a mid-carder at best
as a single. He did win a tag team title with Tomasso.
He worked in some places as Eric the Great, and claimed
to have been a former world champion. A different
wrestler, Eric the Red (Solvang Hansen), who was a
star in the 70s and passed away in 1978 after being
hit by a far, wore the same kind of a ring outfit,
and according to some records held the NWF world title
(for Pedro Martinez in Buffalo/Cleveland, this is
the belt Antonio Inoki bought and took to New Japan
as the major as the major singles title in the 70s)
briefly in 1973, and also had that promotions
North American title.
Britt, a Tennessee independent wrestler, passed away
on 3/24 at the age of 27. Britt wrestled as The Redneck
Kid and TRK Bubba for various different promotions.
Charlie Haas quit the promotion/was fired abruptly
after an incident on the 3/30 show in Asheville, NC.
Haas, 41, was reportedly belligerent backstage, and
there was also something of a chasm between Haas and
Shelton Benjamin with the regulars since they kind
of kept to themselves and how they didnt have
the same attitude toward the promotion. It would really
be impossible for someone from WWE to have the same
attitude toward ROH, and really Haas & Benjamin
came in because of Jim Cornette looking for some names
that would be better known to there was familiarity
to new fans on TV. The incident from internal accounts
appeared to start at the 3/3 TV tapings in Chicago
from a match with Haas vs. Grizzly Redwood. Redwood
was upset because he thought he was going to get more
offense in. It was supposed to be one-sided, but he
got only a few moves in. When Haas came in, he was
described as belligerent and worse, and was rubbing
people the wrong way. Redwood, who is the smallest
guy in the promotion, was said to have instigated
things in that he knocked Haas hat off and stomped
on it. Haas struck Redwood or got into a fight with
him. There are a lot of versions but the one we heard
was it was not a closed fist bunch but a hard backhanded
slap, hard enough that Redwood was bleeding from it.
It was immediately broken up but booker Hunter Johnston
was furious and he and Haas got into a loud shouting
match. This took place while the fifth match on the
show was in the ring but a lot of the fans at the
show could hear it going on. Kevin Kelly, who was
at the show and has known both Charlie and his brother
Russ dating back to when they worked for Jim Kettner
in Delaware, tried to diffuse the situation and talk
him into leaving. Haas refused to leave and eventually
they came to the conclusion it would be easier if
he just did his match since he was insistent on it.
He faced Jeff Neal, a local worker who is an area
radio personality who worked a radio angle with Haas
to set up the match. Haas was supposed to win, but
instead, Haas put Neal over with a roll-up clean in
the middle. Haas did some mic work but they cut his
mic off and he stayed in the ring and continued talking
loud enough for everyone to hear him. He said he was
retiring immediately, that its time for him
to be a husband and a father, and that next weeks
match with Shelton Benjamin on the iPPV wasnt
happening. He thanked the fans and a lot of the locker
room, but called Kevin Kelly an office stooge, ripped
on booker Johnston, as well as Nigel McGuinness (who
he doesnt get along with). He said he was trading
in his wrestling trunks for hospital scrubs. Apparently
Haas has just taken a regular well-paying job in the
medical profession at his home in Texas and even if
this blow-up didnt happen, was probably not
going to be around much longer.
show itself drew a healthy crowd of more than 600
fans. Asheville is one of the markets where they do
their best ratings. The show was said to be so-so
with the highlights being Eddie Edwards & Davey
Richards beating Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander
and the main event where Kevin Steen retained the
ROH title beating Mark Briscoe. The first part of
the show didnt get much reaction. Michael Elgin
pin Carolinas wrestler Adam Page, which nobody knew.
Q.T. Marshall vs. Darren Dean ended in a no contest
when SCUM attacked both guys. This led to Jimmy Jacobs
& Jimmy Rave beating Redwood & Mike Mondo.
Lots more SCUM interference, which led to Rhett Titus
beating B.J. Whitmer with more SCUM interference.
Richards & Edwards cleaned house on scum and then
had their match beating Alexander & Coleman. In
the second half of the show, Bobby Fish & Kyle
OReilly beat Mike Posey & Corey Hollis to
keep the tag title. This was presented with the idea
of the underdogs going for the tag title story. Next
was a decent match where ACH won over TV champ Matt
Taven, Jay Lethal and Roderick Strong. The winner
of the match, unless it was Taven, was to get a TV
title shot. Main was Steen over Briscoe to retain
in a very good match.
are reports that Sinclair Broadcasting is looking
at purchasing Titan Television Broadcasting group,
which owns 13 small and medium market channels. If
the deal goes through, ROH would get TV in markets
including Fresno, Omaha, El Paso and Sioux City.
Spike TV, which was down last year in both ratings
and ad revenue, has told media buyers and advertising
clients that it is going to make changes in the network
and try to compete with the top networks in general
entertainment. They are looking at adding scripted
television shows to go with the reality genre sports,
as well as looking to add more female viewers. For
the last two-anda-half years, we have sought
to expand the audience based with more gender balanced
shows, and have been successful with Ink Master, Auction
Hunters and Tattoo Nightmares (about 50/50 male/female),
said David Schwarz about the Broadcast & Cable
story. This does not affect Bellator/TNA. We
still want to serve our loyal male viewers, and ad
clients. Jeff Lucas, the head of ad sales for
Viacoms music and entertainment networks, said
the idea of changing the name from Spike is something
that were closely watching. As we transition
from mostly reality to the scripted side, were
looking at that. It takes a lot to change the name
of a network. If we dont have to change it,
we wont. But if we do, we will. Spike
was No. 24 overall in 2012, and dropped 10% in viewers
from 2011. It brought in $323 million in ad revenue
for the year, down from $330 million the year before.
Hogan on Twitter went out of his way to put over writers
David Lagana and Matt Conway after the Jonesboro show.
As far as pacing went, the show was excellent. It
looks like the new format, or at least this was what
was used in Jonesboro, was only three matches, but
all three matches were given time to play out. The
interview segments were also given time to play out
and when the show was over, it was easy to remember
everything that had taken place as opposed to the
blur. Plus, there is a feeling that everything on
the show leads to something. Im not sure how
much it matters. My feeling is TNA is going to be
doing a 1.0 to 1.1 rating every week no matter what
they do, although the 4/11 show is a real test to
see if its possible for them at this point to
hit a 1.2 short of another wedding since theyve
got essentially what could be top matches on a PPV
show. They are pushing that show, live from Corpus
Christi, like its almost a PPV with Bully Ray
vs. Jeff Hardy in a Full Metal Mayhem match for the
TNA title, Bobby Roode & Austin Aries vs. Chavo
Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez for the tag titles and
if Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez lose, they cant
get another title shot, plus the Gut Check evaluation
of either Adam Pearce or Magno, A.J. Styles vs. James
Storm (which may not take place) and Gail Kim vs.
Taryn Terrell. So the four PPVs a year looks to be
so they can do PPV main event style match-ups more
often on Impact, perhaps building to one big show
TV, and nobody has said anything definite, it sure
looks like Hulk Hogan will be wrestling against Bully
Ray in a big match, or a Hogan & Sting vs. Team
3-D, once Hogan and Sting get back on the same page.
Theyve got two months to tease the feud before
ending up on the same side (the idea of turning either
of them heel at this stage or feuding them past teases
wouldnt be good because if they did so, theyd
build everything around them even worse). They are
blowing off the Hardy rematch on television and I
cant see them coming back with a rematch from
a Full Metal Mayhem match unless Hardy wins. Its
probably not the right time for Hardy to win but with
limited options its not always about the perfect
when he was in the U.K. was asked about HHH running
WWE, and put him over, which is the smart thing to
do. Years back, after Hogan had left the company in
2002 over being told that he wasnt going to
get his win back from Brock Lesnar (which led to the
premature Lesnar face turn and feud with Big Show),
whenever the subject of Hogan coming back was brought
up internally, the entire family, Shane, Stephanie
and HHH were always united that Hogan shouldnt
be brought back, but Vince always brought him back.
Then again, when you are the promoter, you always
bring back the big attraction and the guy who once
drew money in the hopes he can again, especially with
Hogan, since the pops he will always get live are
intoxicating to a promoter and usually override when
he doesnt move the needle, like here.
E signed a new one-year contract.
was still wearing the TV title belt, even though virtually
all mention of it on TV has disappeared.
of Gut Check, weve seen no mention of Jay Bradley
since he won, nor Led Tapa, although she at
least aired on a few of the taped PPV shows. And shes
not ready. They passed up on Brian Cage for Bradley.
Cage is fairly new, looked very good in the ring and
the crowd took to him, and looked better than any
guy thus far in Gut Check.
6/2 Boston tickets went on sale this past week for
Slammiversary. We dont have numbers but it was
a good first weekend. They did 5,500 in 2008 for Lockdown
in the market and havent been back for a PPV
show since. Up until San Antonio, that was their record
for a PPV show.
interesting to note that on TV when they copied the
WWEs Did you Know, talking about
Lockdown attendance in San Antonio, they phrased it
as the largest attendance ever for a TNA PPV show
(which would mean more than 5,500) but not as the
largest attendance for a TNA show ever (which would
be about 8,000 for the Wembley Arena sellout from
a few years back).
from the 3/28 tapings in Jonesboro. Although it was
announced by the promotion as a sellout, a building
official said the crowd was 3,500 while someone in
the company said it looked to be more like 4,000.
Those there were responsive and theres no doubt
that these tapings are making the product look better
and are at least selling a decent amount of tickets.
This was a well-paced show, which I guess you can
get if you only do three matches in two hours. They
spent a lot of time building up the next two weeks
show started with Jeff Hardy out. He said hes
not 100%, but is feeling better and he did just beat
three guys to become the No. 1 contender. He said
he was going to call somebody. Before he could, Bully
Ray showed up with Aces and 8s. Ray asked Hardy why
hes calling Ray out since theyre not in
Corpus Christi so the title isnt on the line.
Crowd was into this segment. Ray talked about how
Hardy gets second chances, third chances, 100th chances
after screwing up because he can sell merchandise.
Essentially, without using the exact words, he insinuated
that Hardy has had problems people dont know
about covered up. He also made reference to burning
his house down. Ken Anderson was on the apron and
Hardy knocked down. Then Aces and 8s hit the ring
and were putting the boots to Hardy. Kurt Angle, Samoa
Joe, Eric Young and Magnus hit the ring. Bully then
called his team off and they backed off. Hardy grabbed
the mic and called out Anderson instead of Ray.
this, there was a Bring Back Ivelisse
sign with the exact same lettering and handwriting
from the one in front of the hard camera the previous
two weeks in Chicago. So theres a plant signs
in the crowd angle going on, or the same fan brought
his same sign from Chicago down to Jonesboro on a
Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez came out. Chavo tried
to talk more like Eddie, which came across fake because
people have heard Chavo do interviews on television
for nearly two decades and you dont suddenly
change your dialect in your 40s. They called out Christopher
Daniels & Kazarian, and it was noted that the
winners would become the top contenders for Austin
Aries & Bobby Roode (neither of whom were on the
Jr. & Hernandez won the match in 12:10. Kazarian
was out wearing a Yellow Hulk Hogan style lettered
Hulkamania T-shirt that read Kaz Mania.
Daniels & Kazarian worked in T-shirts, I guess
trying to get their merchandise over. Guerrero Jr.
backdropped Daniels over the top and Daniels accidentally
hit the back of his head on the ring steps. At one
point Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez ran on the ramp
and simultaneously dove over the top rope with shoulderblocks.
Mike Tenay called it Air Mexico, as a takeoff on Marco
Corleone doing the same move in Mexico, where its
called Air Italia. During the commercial break, there
was an All State commercial which featured Don Frye
on a motorcycle. Crowd was into this match. The story
is that Daniels & Kazarian were caught a few times
trying to cheat to win by ref Brian Stiffler. Daniels
set up the Angels wings on Guerrero Jr., but Hernandez
did a shoudlerblock into the ring knocking Daniels
down. Guerrero Jr. then pinned Daniels after a frog
splash. Good bout overall.
Terrell did one of those quick bumper promos where
she was holding her top on and talked about how she
was coming out next and teased what shed be
came out. All I can say is that you do have to watch
Impact at least once to see Taryn Tarrell. But I was
having ECW Tiffany flashbacks once she started talking.
She called out Gail Kim. As it turned out, the match
never happened. Kim came out and said that Terrell
wouldnt want to embarrass herself on national
TV by facing the greatest woman wrestler who ever
lived. Why, was Manami Toyota backstage? Kim said
that Terrell has rubbed a lot of people the wrong
way. She was accentuating rubbing people for those
who didnt see it and didnt realize that
was a double entendre. Kim said that Tara had actually
been planning to call Terrell out. Tara came down
with Jessie Godderz. Terrell was distracted and Kim
attacked her. Tara and Kim were beating her down until
Velvet Sky made the save. No match. However, Sky &
Terrell were doing an interview backstage after when
Terrell saw Kim and Terrell ran off the interview
set and attacked Kim in the hallway. I guess the idea
is that Terrell has a short fuse.
Borash was backstage to introduce Adam Pearce and
Magno as next weeks Gut Check competitors. Obviously
they didnt mention Pearce as NWA champion, only
as a 17-year veteran. They said Magno is from El Paso.
Hes a long-time regular on Lucha Libre shows
in that area.
went to see Hulk Hogan. Atlas Security wouldnt
let him in the room.
was backstage talking to Jeff Hardy. He told Hardy
that his rematch would be on April 11th in Corpus
Christi. Given that the announcers had been talking
about that for an hour, that was weird. He blamed
himself for what happened, saying he handpicked
Bully Ray and by locking him in a cage, they stole
the world title and he apologized to Hardy. Hardy
said that its okay, because hes made a
lot of mistakes in his life but he doesnt dwell
on the past and lives for the future. He told Hardy
that because of what happened, hed give him
the right to pick the stipulation for the title match.
Just then, Stings music started playing. Hogan
got mad, saying he never booked Sting on the show.
was in the ring and said how Bully Ray swerved everyone.
Sting said he needed to fix this problem, but the
only way he could was to be on the same page as Hogan.
He said Hogan hasnt listened to him so hes
calling Hogan out. Great, so that makes two challenges
in a row that wont lead to matches. Hogan came
out. Hes walking better and had a crutch with
him but can get around with it. Sting said he wanted
to apologize to Hogan, but that if Hogan doesnt
accept the apology, things could get nuclear. Hogan
said that he should have listened to his own gut and
instincts because he knew Bully Ray was rotten to
the core. But he said Dixie Carter and Sting kept
saying how hes changed. He said it was Sting
who pushed that we needed him on the team and it was
because of Sting that he didnt listen to his
gut and he made a decision that messed up the entire
company. Sting said that in the end, it was Hogans
decision and he had to take responsibility for it.
Hogan said he was willing to take being accountable
as the guy who made the decision, but now hes
tired of hearing crap about Bully Ray, hes tired
of Sting getting in his face and told Sting to get
the hell out of my ring. Fans booed Hogan for
that. Sting said, Make me. Security jumped
in as Hogan tore off his T-shirt. Crowd was into all
was leaving the arena and as he was on the way out
backstage, Matt Morgan talked about how it was yet
another Hogan mistake. Pretty clear theyre building
up something big for Morgan.
Storm came out and he called out A.J. Styles for Fight
Night. So that made the third challenge that didnt
lead to a match in a row. Styles was in the crowd.
Storm said that he understands what Styles is going
through because he lost a match last year and went
home, but he picked himself back up and came back.
Yeah, and came back way less over so its not
really the best path to copy. Storm said we could
do it one of two ways. I was dreading that hard way
or the easy way line. Actually, the choices were they
could drink a beer together and talk it out, or they
could fight it out. Aces and 8s hit the ring. It was
Doc & Brisco & Bischoff. They all attacked
Storm. Styles walked away rather than save Storm.
Young and angle instead made the save and Angle issued
a challenge for a match. We were 75 minutes into the
show and this was the second match.
& Young & Storm beat Brisco & Bischoff
& Doc in 14:28. Bischoff blew the first spot as
he was sent into the ropes, but got his signals crossed
and didnt go into the ropes. So they did the
spot again. After that, it was a standard trios match
mostly working over Storm. Angle hot tagged in and
gave a killer German suplex to Doc, a belly-to-belly
to Brisco and a German suplex to Bischoff. He then
gave an Olympic slam to Brisco. D-Lo Brown came out
and distracted Angle. Angle put the ankle lock on
Bischoff, but Brisco was the legal man and he pinned
Angle with a schoolboy. The big tag line is that when
youre with Aces and 8s, you never walk alone.
cut backstage where Bully, Devon and Anderson were
drinking beer. Anderson was going crazy backstage
and grabbed a hammer.
did mention the X Division PPV on 4/5 briefly, but
not in a way where anyone will buy the thing. They
announced Sonjay Dutt vs. Mason Andrews vs. Petey
Williams for an X title shot, and that the TNA title
and tag titles would be at stake in two weeks.
event saw Anderson beat Hardy via DQ in 10:49. Anderson
now just looks like some generic guy in a jacket.
Still, the crowd was hot for this, because they see
Hardy as a big star. Anderson knocked down ref Earl
Hebner accidentally on purpose. The idea was it was
supposed to look like an accident but done so obvious
so were supposed to think it wasnt, as
opposed to usual ref bumps, which are supposed to
look like they are accidental. Brisco came out and
gave Anderson the hammer. He went to hit Hardy, but
Hardy ducked and gave Anderson the twist of fate.
After Earl Hebner got up, he saw Hardy hit Anderson
in the gut with the hammer for the DQ. After the match,
Hardy hit Anderson in the back with a chair. Then
Hardy pulled out a table. Hardy then brought a ladder
into the ring. Anderson tried to suplex Hardy on the
table, but Hardy gave him a second twist of fate.
He put Anderson on the table. Hardy went to the top
of the ladder with the idea he was going to jump off
and put Anderson through the table. But Bully Ray
ran in and pulled Anderson off the table and outside
the ring. Hardy then announced his title shot with
Bully Ray would be no DQ, no rules, and Full Metal
Mayhem, basically a TLC match.
from the second show that will air on 4/4. The second
show from those live it was said wasnt nearly
as good as the live show. Adam Pearce pinned Magno
in the Gut Check match. To me, Gut Check should be
for young talent as opposed to Pearce, who is 17 years
in and has talked of retirement of late. Magno blew
a spot early bad and the crowd groaned. Itll
be interesting if they fix it in editing or go with
the idea its Gut Check and you see the misses.
They got the crowd back into it by the end.
& Tara beat Sky & Terrell with Joey Ryan as
referee. Ryan was there trying to come on to the women.
Kim pinned Terrell after Ryan gave a fast count. After
the match, Terrell and Sky gave Ryan a low blow.
X division qualifier saw the returning Petey Williams
with a shaved had, winning over Mason Andrews (Scorpio
Sky) and Sonjay Dutt. Andrews had been in some of
the early Kane & Daniel Bryan videos in WWE, but
he made a stupid remark on Twitter and that made WWE
cut all ties with him. Williams will be getting an
X Division title shot in a three-way against champ
Kenny King plus Zema Ion coming up soon. The idea
is, the guy who doesnt get pinned in the three-way
X title match will be in the next three-way with the
champion and the third guy will come from a three-way
did a contract signing ceremony with Aries & Roode
vs. Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez. The key to the segment
was the announcement that Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez
could never team up again in TNA if they dont
win the title. Given its in Corpus Christi,
that could mean a title change. Just the fact theyre
doing it in a contract signing segment makes it appear
someone writing the show saw the Ricky Steamboat &
Jay Youngblood vs. Sgt. Slaughter & Don Kernodle
was announced that Styles would have to wrestle Storm
on the Corpus Christi show. Aces and 8s tried to recruit
Styles. It was also mentioned that TNA had fired D-Lo
Brown from whatever the televised version of his role
& Devon & Knox & Bischoff & Brisco
beat Samoa Joe & Magnus & Joseph Park &
Eric Young & Angle. The match was said to be fairly
show ended with Bullys go-home promo for the
following main event. Ray said that Hardy had to be
the stupidest person in the world for challenging
him to a Full Metal Mayhem match. Bully also said
that Brooke Hogan (or should it be Brooke Bully, Brooke
Ray or Brooke Dudley?) is crazy. Brooke was there.
Ray said she was crazy because she got so upset and
insane after Lockdown when she should have been happy
because her husband had just won the world title.
Ray came out with an envelope, and said it was a front
row ticket (not sure if it was for Corpus Christi
or the Boston PPV) to see him defend his title. She
tore up the ticket and slapped him in the face. Ray
was laughing and said hes in Brookes head.
Hardy then attacked Bully. They teased Bully putting
Hardy through a table, but Hardy hit the twist of
fate. He then put Ray on a table, climbed up the ladder
and dove off, putting Ray through the table.
The first show on Fox Sports 1 will be on 8/17 from
the TD Garden in Boston. Given its not just
the companys first show on a new station, but
its the actual debut night of the station itself,
theres going to be pressure to put on a much
larger than usual television card. Plus, its
Boston, and Dana White has soft spot in his heart
for that city given he lived there for years.
Jones, 25, asked his longtime girlfriend Jessie Moses,
to marry him. This took place on Easter Sunday. The
two have been together since high school. They already
have three daughters together. Jones was expected
to wrestle at Iowa, where, if you watch how dominant
his wrestling has been in MMA thus far, he probably
would have been a major star. He first, due to grades,
had to go to junior college at Iowa Central where
he won the junior college national title, when Moses
got pregnant. He left school and was looking for a
job when he heard about MMA and started fighting.
He excelled at it quickly and was only in the sport
for 15 months, compiling a 6-0 record, before Joe
Silva brought him into UFC where hes essentially
an unbeaten world champion (his only career loss,
a DQ to Matt Hamill, was a fight where he destroyed
Hamill and the ref called a DQ for an illegal elbow
blow at the time Hamill was finished).
Neer, Caros Fodor, Jon Manley and Brock Jardine were
all reported a being cut by UFC. All lost on the 2/23
show in Anaheim. Neers loss to Court McGee was
his third in a row, and even if they werent
in a major cutting mode, he would have likely been
cut. Fodor lost a split decision to Sam Stout in his
first UFC fight on the same 2/23 show. For what its
worth, I had Stout taking the fight. Fodor had lost
to Pat Healy in his prior Strikeforce fight, but before
that, had won five in a row. Manley lost his UFC debut
on the show via decision. Jardine lost to Kenny Robertson
via submission and went 0-2 in UFC.
roster is, depending on how much you want to account
for leeway due to injuries, somewhere around 75-100
names larger than they have spots to allow guys to
fight regularly on.
announcer Jon Aniks wife expecting a girl at
any moment, hes taken off the 4/6 show in Stockholm,
and Mike Goldberg will be doing the show with Kenny
Florian. Anik is also scheduled for the 4/13 show
in Las Vegas for the Ultimate Fighter finals, and
it depends on whether or not she gives birth and what
her status is if he can do the show.
(Respect Your Universe), a clothing line and lifestyle
brand that sponsored a lot of fighters, announced
this week they were getting out of the MMA business
after losing a reported $2.6 million.
Hardy, having been diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White
syndrome, the same heart ailment that pro wrestler
MVP has, said he is not going to undergo heart surgery
because the ailment doesnt bother him. Without
the surgery, there is a question if he can get licensed
after California, on advice from the cardiologist
who examined him, would not license him for a 4/20
fight in San Jose with Matt Brown. Hardy had 36 pro
fights before there was an inkling of the problem
he was born with. MVP had surgery, recovered quickly,
and it had no effect on his career. Hardy, without
getting the surgery, his career is in limbo. Wolff-Parkinson-White
syndrome is not dangerous for roughly 99.5% of the
people who have it, but that tiny percentage unlucky
can suddenly drop dead from it. Surgery is not
an option, said Hardy, 30, who once headlined
one of UFCs biggest PPV events ever against
Georges St-Pierre. Ive never had any symptoms
or problems. Im of the opinion that if its
not broke, dont fix it.
Diaz, who officially helped draw Georges St-Pierres
biggest PPV number to date, is saying that hes
retired from fighting unless he gets either a rematch
with St-Pierre or a match with Anderson Silva. Neither
of those fights are likely to take place without him
coming back and scoring a series of wins.
Ultimate Fighter season is just about over, with the
semifinals airing on 4/9 with Uriah Hall vs. Dylan
Andrews and Kelvin Gastelum vs. Josh Samman. The two
winners face off live on the 4/13 FX show from Las
Vegas. Right about when the season started, we were
pretty much told Hall was going to come out of the
season as a star if he could win in the final. The
quarterfinals which aired on 3/26 and 4/2, saw Gastelum
(Team Sonnen) beat Collin Hart with a quick knockout
and Andrews (Team Jones) beat Luke Barnatt via overtime
decision. Andrews vs. Barnatt was notable because
Barnatt was the first person chosen, and Andrews was
the left guy left unchosen at the end of the picks.
Samman (Team Jones) beat Jimmy Quinlan (Team Sonnen)
by pounding him on the ground and Quinlan tapped late
in thee first round. In the other fight, Hall (Team
Sonnen) beat Bubba McDaniel by decking him with a
short right counter and finishing him on the ground
in :09. Hall already had one of the best knockouts
in UFC history earlier this season with his first
company signed its second Chinese fighter this past
week, a 25-0 bantamweight named Jumabieke Tuerxun.
Super cards in China doesnt necessarily mean
a lot since Teiquan Zhang came into WEC at 13-0 and
since then has gone 2-4.
Magazine Australia has folded. The magazine,
run by an Australian distributor and licensing the
UFC name, started in 2011 and the issue that hit the
stands last week will be the final issue.
to the 7/6 show in Las Vegas is Frankie Edgar vs.
Charles Oliveira and Dennis Siver vs. Cub Swanson.
UFC also, as wed reported months ago, officially
announced a Fan Expo for 7/5 and 7/6. I expect there
will be a Hall of Fame ceremony as well, not like
WWE, at least not yet, but at some point there probably
will be something at least somewhat like that.
Assuncao signed a new four-fight deal.
Bowles vs. George Roop and Dennis Bermudez vs. Max
Holloway were both added to the 5/25 PPV in Las Vegas.
Dollaway pulled out of the 5/18 show in Santa Catarina
with an injury, so Cezar Ferreira now faces Chris
The next-to-last show of the spring season on 3/28
in Tampa was built around two tournament finals. In
the main event, Emanuel Newton (21-7-1), followed
his huge upset win over King Mo Lawal, with a 29-28
decision win over Mikhal Zayats (21-7) to win $100,000
and this seasons light heavyweight tournament.
Newton was working for a choke late in the first round
and scored a knockdown in the third which clinched
it for him. Newton will face Attila Vegh for the title
on a date to be determined. The lightweight tournament
came down to David Rickels (14-1) beat Saad Awad (14-5)
on a somewhat controversial call. Rickels landed a
combination with about a second left in the round,
and then the bell sounded before Awad went down. Ref
Troy Waugh waved it off. The controversy was the round
had ended, but to me, it was a knockout based on the
way he fell and that he took a while getting up. The
argument was Waugh should have asked him if he was
okay before waving it off, but this wasnt a
knockdown and he was fine, he was down for several
seconds and not moving. Even if he can get up a minute
later, once a guy takes a blow like that and may be
knocked out, its not 20 years ago with saved
by the bell. When youre hurt enough to be done,
and Awad was, saved by the bell is fine for a submission
but not a knockout. Rickels is now in line for a title
shot, but it becomes tricky. Dave Jansen won last
seasons lightweight tournament where the finals
were delayed until 3/21, so he should get the next
shot. But if Bellator and Eddie Alvarez reach a settlement
on their contract issue and Alvarez signs, Bellator
has to put Michael Chandler vs. Alvarez on PPV as
soon as possible or breach the contract. At that point,
Rickels is going to be out of action a long time waiting
for Chandler. Even without an injury and no Alvarez
were talking the end of the year, if theres
an injury and/or Alvarez comes back, it could be well
into 2014. What would be interesting is if a challenger,
who wants to fight rather than wait, loses. In UFC,
theyd lose their title shot (unless they were
Nick Diaz or Chael Sonnen). Bellator has never had
that situation. The other two TV fights saw Rodrigo
Lima (11-1) beat Ronnie Mann (21-6-1) to earn a spot
in the upcoming bantamweight tournament, and Luis
Melo (29-11-3) beat Trey Houston (10-2) via third
round arm triangle to earn a spot in the next welterweight
tournament. Two interesting names were on the undercard.
Former UFC fighter Tony Fryklund, now 42, who hadnt
fought since 2007, went to a draw with Patrick Cenoble
in one. Edson Berto, the brother of boxing star Andre
Berto and son of Dieusuel Berto (a star in the Florida
territory in the late 80s, who did the worked shoot
stuff in Japan and later fought in UFC), used a heel
hook to beat Bruno Carvalho.
Ken Shamrock, 49, has signed to fight former UFC fighter
Ian Freeman, 42, on 7/27 in Doncaster, England. Its
been more than two years since Shamrocks last
fight, a 2:00 loss to Mike Bourke. Needless to say
Shamrock shouldnt be fighting at this stage
of the game, but you could have made that statement
for years now.
far as a comparison with the 210,000 audience figure
that the last World Series of Fighting show did on
3/23, the last two boxing matches on NBC Sports did
140,000 on 1/19 and 203,000 on 2/23. The peak rating
for the 3/23 show was 332,000 viewers, for the Andrei
Arlovski vs. Anthony Johnson main event.
some controversy out of the Arlovski vs. Johnson match,
apparently they started the official clock late in
the first round because it went eight seconds long.
The problem is that the punch that broke Arlovskis
jaw, and both knockdowns, came in the last five seconds
of the round, or after the 5:00 should have expired.
Johnson still would have won that first round. Its
not an issue with the promotion, because its
the New Jersey Athletic Control Board that is in charge
of timekeeping. Ironically, New Jersey and Nevada
are generally considered the two best state commissions.
Jones has accepted a match with Fallon Fox, which
would be Foxs first fight since it became public
knowledge she was originally a man. The fight is scheduled
for the Championship Fighting Alliance on 5/24 in
Sunrise, FL. The match still has to be approved by
the Florida commission. A number of women fighters
have said they would refuse a match with Fox. Interestingly,
Renee Richards, 78, the most famous transgender athlete
ever, said that she believes it is unfair for Fox
(and there is apparently at least one hour former
man competing on the womens MMA circuit) to
fight against women. Richards was a male tennis player
who became a doctor, who disappeared from tennis.
He came back several years later as Dr. Renee Richards,
and eventually it came out she was the former Richard
Raskind. It was a huge controversy in the late 70s.
The reality was even in her mid-40s, she had more
power than the women players did, but because of her
age, was far slower than any of the women competing
at that level. Still, she ranked as high as No. 20
in the world at the age of 45, as excelled in doubles
where she didnt have to cover as much ground.
The commission is expected to rule on the fight within
the next week. Former Strikeforce fighters Mike Kyle
vs. Valentijn Overeem is the main event on that show.
Markham, a former UFC and IFL fighter from the Pat
Miletich camp, was arrested in Iowa on a felony willful
injury charge on 3/27 before being released on $10,000
TV will be airing the comeback of Tank Abbott, 47,
(10-14) who takes on veteran Ruben Warpath
Villareal (21-25), 43, on 4/13 on a King of the Cage
show from Oroville, CA. Abbott was one of UFCs
most popular fighters during its early years, including
going to the finals in two different tournaments.
Dwayne Johnson did a ton of talk shows this week promoting
G.I. Joe. On several, he made no mention of wrestling.
When he was on some shows, he did talk about it and
others briefly. He was booked for G.I. Joe and I would
expect there were ground rules of what was to be discussed
in every interview beforehand. Given that hes
getting a percentage of the increase as part of his
deal, I would suspect he would have plugged Mania,
since its so big, when he could have. But some
shows may have rules of how much he can plug and G.I.
Joe is what got him booked. On with Jimmy Kimmel,
who is a wrestling fan, he brought his WWE title belt
with him and pushed WrestleMania hard. He joked that
if he won the match, then it was real. If he lost,
then it was phony. He also talked about his training.
One of his talking points on all the shows has been
about his training for the Hercules movie. Hes
been dieting strict and only gives himself one cheat
day every two months or so, but on that day, goes
crazy with pizza and pancakes and whatever he wants.
A normal day is seven meals with very low fat. He
does a 4 a.m. workout with no trainer and a later
workout with a personal trainer. The 4 a.m. workout
is cardio. He talked about his first match being in
1996 in Corpus Christi against Brooklyn Brawler, before
15,000 fans. Well, I dont know about 15,000
fans. He said he wasnt ready so he was sent
to Nashville where he worked at car dealerships and
barns with no security going to the ring (the Flex
Joe Retaliation, starring Johnson, grossed $40,501,814
over the three-day weekend, but actually had a five-day
open, so the first five days was $51,008,689. The
studio was predicting $40 million over the five-days,
but that was also going to be considered a disappointment.
It was No. 1 by a wide margin, and at press time had
topped $131 million worldwide. The movie had a $130
million budget, but that doesnt mean its
broken even at this point. But it is a definite success
as far as box office goes, as it was the second biggest
Easter weekend gross in the history of the U.S. movie
business. The movie did not get a good critical response,
as Rotten Tomatoes listed 29% favorable reviews. As
far as those who actually saw the movie, they had
64% positive comments. The Call, was No.
7 in its third week out at $4,925,675 which would
be a normal level drop. Its at $39,605,891 with
a $13 million budget (generally you have to do about
double your budget to break even because of all the
different hands in the pie, but this movie should
be a moneymaker for WWE). Spring Breakers (Jeff Jarrett
small role) was No. 9 at $2,774,146 and is at $10,074,433
on a $5 million budget. Snitch, another
Johnson movie, was No. 14 at $44,457 and is at $41,353,859.
Dead Man Down, the WWE movie in week four,
was down to $28,623, so its basically done at
$10,764,613, so its a loser.
in an IGN.com interview when talking about the match
with Undertaker, said, I expect the best from
myself, no more, no less. Dont know what anybody
else expects from this match given (his) year away
from the ring and possibly his physical condition,
or the fact that I dont have a Hell in a Cell
or all these different kinds of stipulations, like
no disqualification, to work with. But I like it when
they handcuff me. I always seem to find a way to make
it the best it can be, given the circumstances.
He noted when asked his dream opponent at WrestleMania,
unlike most, it would not be Undertaker, citing it
would be either Cena or Austin. When asked about mocking
Lawlers heart attack and Paul Bearers
death, he said, Im the bad guy theyre
supposed to hate me. I dont think there is a
line, and if there is, its my job to jump over
it. Well, theres a line between what works
and what doesnt work, and Punk if anyone should
have learned it based on how many people turned off
their TV sets during the Lawler deal last year. Taste
is something you can argue, but when you get turn
off the TV set heat or people groan, then you can
talk about all your theories of what youre supposed
to do as a heel but it only makes you dumb to the
goals of the business. That said, as far as the ratings
went, the final segment was strong, but thats
misleading in the sense the pouring of the ashes didnt
get a big reaction, and was in the last seconds of
the show and thus the rating really doesnt measure
if there was a negative reaction because the show
Moody, Pauls son, wrote, If anyone is
wondering, yes, WWE did come to us wanting approval
for tonights storyline. The way it was presented
to us was okay. Seeing it on the screen was a different
story. I dont even know what to say. Daniel
Moody, who wrestles as D.J. Pringle, said, Totally
different, but wouldnt say anymore. But
then WWE sent out a text that Michael Moody sent them,
which said, Hey, I woke up in time to watch
the tail end of the show. What you explained would
happen happened. Which is fine. Just it was a little
difficult to watch it play out. I put a message on
Facebook last night saying that we approved it but
it wasnt what I envisioned. That I didnt
have anything to say. Well, woke up this morning and
that quote is being used all over media outlets. For
the record, was fine with it. Was hard to watch but
yall are professional and I trust.
company was nominated for Six Shorty Awards, which
are Social Media awards. WWE was nominated for Best
Overall Brand Presence on Twitter, Best Use of a Hashtag
(#RiseAboveCancer for their partnership with the Susan
G. Komen for the Cure); Best Overall Brand Presence
on Facebook; Best Use of Social Media for Television
(a year ago Id have nominated them for worse
use of social media for television but theyve
toned it down and they make good use of it); Best
Use of Social Media for Video games; and Best Branded
YouTube channel. The award winners will be announced
laugh out loud quote of the week comes from WWE CFO
George Barrios, when asked at the Roth Capital Partners
meeting two weeks ago the one question the company
hates more than any other, the one about UFC being
competition and beating them on PPV. People
always ask me, `Well, what about UFC? Are they a competitor?
Are they taking a share? Look, UFC, Ive
been to an event. Its a lot of guys. Its
a lot of cigars, and a lot of smoke. Our age distribution
marries to the country. And if you go to a show, you
really see this live. I have three daughters, so I
go to a lot of Disney on Ice events. It looks like
our event. Its a lot of grandparents, parents
and kids. And thats why our composition is the
way it is. How he can even say that with a straight
face is beyond me. First off, every major arena in
the country has a smoking ban. The old smoky
arena bullshit hasnt been around since
the 80s anywhere for any event. Ive been to
God knows how many UFC events and have yet to see
my first cigar at a show. And I also have young kids,
which means Ive been to Disney on Ice every
year for a number of years. The comparison of the
audience with that of WWE isnt even close. For
a PPV or TV taping in particular, there is no comparison.
Because a lot of adults skip house shows, the smaller
groups do have more kids, but they are older than
a Disney crowd and far more male skewed whereas the
Disney on Ice crowd is tons of little girls. They
are completely different crowds. Disney on Ice has
very little in the way of teenage boys or 18-30 year
old men unless they are bringing their children. If
anything, the UFC live crowds in a lot of cities Ive
been to are almost exactly like the pro wrestling
crowds in those same cities except obviously way more
in the 25-40 age group range to make up for so few
under the age of 20 and almost nobody over 45, although
WWE really doesnt draw many over 45 these days
either even though that makes up more than 43% of
its TV viewership. In the old days of wrestling, yeah,
youd get people from 5 to 85 and it was a spread
out audience, I dont know about mirroring society
because even then it was far more male than female.
All wrestling audiences are different as are UFC and
MMA audiences, other than the cigar and smoky room
is as dishonest a statement as could ever be made.
UFC crowds in Las Vegas and San Jose are completely
different from a pro wrestling crowd. UFC crowds Ive
been to in Sacramento and Philadelphia in particular
were exactly like pro wrestling crowds Ive been
to in those same cities (not ECW at all, but WCW and
WWF in Philadelphia from the 80s, very similar). Smaller
MMA shows Ive been to in San Jose, Stockton,
San Francisco, etc. were almost exactly in makeup
like the pro wrestling crowds I grew up with, with
the exception of less kids and less older fans but
18-45 its almost the same as far as how they
look and how they dress.
other thing he noted is that both the Raw and Smackdown
U.S. TV contracts are coming due over the next two
years. I believe Smackdown is due in September. They
are hoping for huge increases in rights fees, noting
what has happened in the sports world with rights
fees. Their new pitch is that they are like sports
in the sense people watch live instead of on DVR.
Jerry Lawler Wrestling Museum opened up over the weekend
at the Wynn Automotive Dealership in Memphis. Wynn
Automotive asked Lawler if they could display some
of his memorabilia and put it on display, but one
thing led to another and they decided to turn it into
a museum at their dealership. Among the items were
the AWA heavyweight title belt that Lawler won from
Curt Hennig in 1988 (he never returned it to the AWA,
which started using a new belt after that point, because
the AWA never paid him for a subsequent Superclash
PPV and then stripped him of the title when he stopped
working for the AWA after that point). They also have
Lawler ring costumes, articles, Lawler art work and
more. They will also air on the screens old Lawler
matches from the heyday of Memphis wrestling. The
museum has free admission. Itll be open from
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Monday through Saturday.
Sheen, Jimmy Fallon, Larry King, Mike Tyson, Piers
Morgan and Gabriel Iglesias have signed on as Social
Media Ambassadors for WrestleMania.
company announced a partnership with the Special Olympics
of Connecticut. As part of the deal, WWE will make
an annual financial contribution, they will publicize
the cause throughout all of their platforms, WWE employees
will volunteer at Special Olympics events in the area
and in some cases work as coaches. They will also
be the announced sponsor of the annual Law Enforcement
Torch Run, Connecticuts largest Special Olympics
fundraiser and public awareness event in June, which
leads into the annual Special Olympics that take place
in early June at Southern Connecticut State University.
company hired Gerrit Meier as the new Executive Vice
President of International. Hell be in charge
of exactly what it says, reporting directly to Vince
McMahon, in one of the key jobs in the company. He
came from Spotify, the commercial music streaming
provider, where he was Global General Manager for
Distribution and Partnerships and he was responsible
for putting together partnerships with such heavyweights
as Coca Cola, Yahoo and Target. He also created the
iHeart Radio brand for Clear Channel. From someone
close to the situation, he was one of the key players
in digitization of the music industry, but has zero
knowledge of wrestling, the WWE brand, or marketing
the WWE brand at this point. Hes also coming
from a company with a very upbeat corporate environment,
that doesnt have the negativity associated with
working in the wrestling business. He wanted to change
directions in life and lived in Connecticut, so WWE
was suggested and they hired him, hopeful his knowledge
of the German and overall European market will help.
The feeling is that the U.K. is going to be a success
no matter what and doesnt need much more attention
than they give it, but other European markets, like
Germany, need a lot. He was described as very bright,
positive and energetic.
now been exactly ten years since Austin had his final
match at WrestleMania 19 in Seattle, losing to Rock.
Austin is now 48, and hes had a lot of injuries
since that time. There are always rumors of him coming
back at a WrestleMania, and obviously this one would
have been the wrong once since in theory it didnt
need him, but those close to him have always been
pretty negative when the subject comes up.
Steamboat is no longer a coach in developmental. He
is staying with the company in another role. The official
company word is that he is staying within the talent
relations department. Steamboat gave a speech on 3/28
in Tampa saying that the company felt that because
of his name value, they could use him better as a
goodwill ambassador, although others have said hes
taking a different spot because goodwill ambassador
doesnt fit into talent relations. A lot of the
guys in developmental were bummed, because of who
he is. He was said to be a very good coach overall
and most of the people grew up with him as the consumate
babyface worker. There was talk some of his ideas
didnt fit in with the current product but if
anything any negative said about him was very minor.
Theres always the paranoia in wrestling over
anyone leaving a position and a few months ago I was
told to watch out for this to happen and it did, so
either coincidence or more likely it was something
that people could see coming.
Ward, who is on the Raw/Smackdown writing crew is
very well liked by those at NXT, where he writes the
TV. In addition to his regular work on the main shows,
he wrote five different shows at the last taping and
it was said to be the best taping they had. In NXT,
hes gotten the reputation of being easy to work
with, and that hes got a good mind for understanding
why a lot of the angles from the past worked, had
a great knowledge of successful angles from the past
and a grasp of how to use them in a modern context.
hired a new strength and conditioning coach. He hasnt
started full-time but hes a guy who is a friend
of HHHs personal trainer, Joe DeFranco.
guys praised to me who didnt come from the independents
that are doing well in developmental and will probably
make it are Mojo Rawley (Dean Muhtadi) and Jason Jordan
(Nathan Everhart). Rawley, a big lineman type played
at Maryland, was noted for being a great athlete,
very strong and good quickness. When he was with the
Arizona Cardinals in 2010 (he was cut in preseason
after suffering an injury) he was lauded as the strongest
guy on the team. Jordan was a former Division I wrestler
at the University of Indiana who went to nationals,
but was never an All-American. Rawley has probably
had less than 20 matches but has a good look and great
natural charisma. Jordan, who has been out for a while
due to injuries, but has just returned, is the guy
weve written about because he looks a lot like
a young Butch Reed (a top star in the 80s), with the
physique and athletic ability. Im told hes
actually got a good personality and off TV is a charismatic
person, but needs to learn how to utilize that in
front of the camera. As far as in-ring working, he
picked the wrestling up remarkably fast.
Sebei, the former El Generico, has been doing great
on promos in practice which is something people questioned
since his indie gimmick wasnt talking.
Flairs daughter Ashley, known as Charlotte,
is the most athletic woman in developmental and probably
on the entire roster, but it was tough for her at
first because shed never done this. But shes
developed a passion for it.
Koloff is being brought to WrestleMania with his wife.
He hasnt done anything involved with the promotion
in more than 30 years. Hes being brought in
for some interviews for DVDs, likely including the
WWE 50 year history DVD they are working on for later
this year, and an individual Bruno Sammartino DVD.
In the pre-expansion era, one could make a case that
the biggest match in WWWF history, and certainly one
of the three or four biggest, was Koloffs January
18, 1971, win over Sammartino at Madison Square Garden
that ended Sammartinos seven plus year run as
champion. Koloff won the match clean with a kneedrop
off the top rope, with the only storyline out being
that they made mention that Sammartino was going into
the match injured due to a separated shoulder from
an attack by George Steele. What was notable about
Koloff, who had been a headliner in the territory
dating back to late 1969 when he was brought in from
Montreal, is that by beating Sammartino, he instantly
became the hottest heel theyd had since Buddy
Rogers. However, it was considered such dangerous
heat that they only had him stay a few more weeks,
and he left for the AWA after losing the title three
weeks later to Pedro Morales. There was no Morales
rematch in New York, nor another Sammartino vs. Koloff
match, both of which would have been easy sellouts
at the time. In late 1975, when Sammartino regained
the title he had many sellouts with Koloff based off
the result of that match. HHH called Koloff to come
in, and its said that Koloff is likely for the
2014 Hall of Fame.
the Fandango, Whats my name, gimmick,
aside from the obvious being Ric Flair doing it in
pro wrestling in the late 70s, and it coming from
Muhammad Ali, Alis opponent that he did it the
first time was more likely Ernie Terrell and not Floyd
Patterson. He changed his name from Cassius Clay to
Muhammad Ali in 1964, fought Patterson for the first
time in 1965 (they had a rematch in 1972) and fought
Terrell in 1967 at the Astrodome in Houston. He very
definitely did that the entire fight with Terrell,
who he beat up for 15 rounds and refused to knock
out. There are stories listing it was Patterson, but
that may be people mixing it up. I could find tons
of references to Terrells fight and coverage
stating it, and none brought up Patterson, which you
think they would have if it was the second time he
did it. There was stuff saying it was Patterson, but
it was stuff written many years after the fact. Every
time he hit Terrell hed say Whats
my name. In the 12th round, after taking a savage
beating, when Ali said Whats my name,
Terrell said Muhammad Ali. Flairs
version of it was saying, Whats my name,
tell em my name.
ran a story on Foley going into the Hall of Fame talking
about his high school days as the son of Jack Foley,
the longtime athletic director at Ward-Melville High,
where Foley and actor Kevin James were classmates.
The schools gym was named after his father,
the Dr. Jack Foley Gym. Foley played JV football and
basketball as a sophomore, but wasnt much of
a shooter. He was best at lacrosse, where he got some
college offers. He wrestled as a heavyweight, but
James was the schools heavyweight and Foley
was his understudy and workout partner. Foley was
the starting heavyweight when James suffered a back
is booked on the 4/23 Smackdown tapings in London.
Not sure if hell appear on the show or its
just hope that booking him in a short dark match will
help sell tickets, since its been difficult
on recent U.K. tours to sell a lot of tickets to the
Smackdown tapings since theyre running the same
building both nights, and the O2 in a large arena.
Every advance for the European tour was considered
good except for the London Smackdown tapings, which
is why he was added. Not everything is sold out, but
everything is good and markets are ahead of where
they were on recent tours, so its being taken
as a good sign.
Wee Herman on his facebook page on 3/31 wrote about
WrestleMania with the words, See you there,
indicating at the least hes there to help publicize
the show if not play a part in it.
Cara has been cleared to return after missing a few
weeks with a concussion. At one point there was talk
of him working with Cesaro at Mania which is why Cesaro
hasnt had any direction.
former Mascarita Dorada, who was probably the best
mini in Mexico, is in developmental. Its notable
because WWE doesnt use midgets and
I could see him being used more in a mascot role like
Hornswoggle, aimed at little kids. Im not sure
stylistically Hornswoggle would be a great foe for
him but Dorada would almost have to be a face and
I guess at this point going heel with Hornswoggle
could revitalize him since hes pretty much disappeared
of late. Hornswoggle is heavy enough that if he was
taught how to be a good base, they could probably
do some cool stuff. At the same time, WWE brought
in Mexican minis in the 90s including Tzuki, who was
incredible back then, and they made him more comedy
and it never really clicked.
from the go-home show on 4/1 in Washington, DC. They
taped a little bit of everything before another sold
out crowd of more than 13,500 paid. Most of the shows
will be filled this week with promotional videos and
replays with little in the way of new match content.
They opened with Khali pinning JTG in a match for
Superstars. For Saturday Morning Slam they had Kingston
pinning Gabriel in a good match.
Smackdown, they had Ryback win a handicap match over
Primo & Epico with Ryback had both guys up and
nailed them with the shell shock. They did a skit
where Rhodes & Sandow and the Bella Twins dressed
up as Clay & Tensai & Naomi & Cameron.
Rhodes was Tensai with the Japanese writing on his
forehead. Eventually, the faces came out. They had
a brawl with the heels bailing. Swagger beat Kingston
with the ankle lock. Thats all they taped as
the rest of Smackdown will be videos and stuff from
opened with Cena coming out. He was booed heavily.
He did a long promo, close to 15 minutes. He said
he was in the middle of a house divided, noting he
was in Washington, DC, and said the arena was filled
with Cenacrats and Rockpublicans. The line was definitely
more clever on paper because on the show it was a
groaner. He said that everyone in the dressing room
knows he and Rock dont like each other but he
respects Rock for being the global superstar that
he is. He said last year hed have made rude
remarks, question his passion and commitment to WWE
and then Rock would throw T-shirts into Fruity Pebbles.
He said the childish games are over and this is much
bigger. Rock is the defending WWE champion and over
the last year hes done everything he said he
was going to do. Cena called Rock the greatest WWE
champion of all-time. Then he talked about how people
thought it was impossible that he (Cena) would win
the Royal Rumble, that it was impossible that he would
beat Punk to get the title shot and now they say its
impossible for him to beat Rock and win the title.
Which all would be well and good if there was even
one fan who actually thought any of those things were
impossible. He talked about how the Rock had brought
out the new belt, which made for some really awkward
and tricky verbiage since he was describing a belt
without being allowed to use the word belt.
He said how Rock has said he will be champion for
as long as he pleases, but in his first defense, he
will lose it. Yes, his first defense was against Punk
in mid-February at the Elimination Chamber. I guess
the idea that its the first defense of the new
belt. But I sure thought it made no sense and got
a ton of reaction from people who thought Cena and
the writing team had forgotten the last PPV show.
He said that after Mania, Rock will have to wake up
every day and deal with the fact that the championship
(belt) intended for him is being defended by me. He
said he wont replace the belt and will defend
it as a symbol of beating Rock. At this point, there
were fairly loud boring chants. Cena paused
and actually waited until they were done, to make
them more noticeable, and wouldnt stop until
they died down. He said holding the belt made for
Rock will be a symbol that hes not just Rocks
equal, but hes better. Lawler then predicted
Rock would win.
& Sheamus & Show beat Slater & McIntyre
& Mahal in 3:03. Seeing McIntyre in this role
immediately set my brain back to Taryn Terrell on
Impact and the idea youve got this women who
is as hot as the surface on Antares who then opens
her mouth and sounds like youre being lectured
by a middle-age school marm. McIntyre did a missile
dropkick off the middle rope followed by a nip up,
which is pretty good for a guy of his size. Lawler
made a remark about how 3MB reminds him of a band
he was in called The Blank Checks but
we never got signed. Orton gave Slater the RKO, Sheamus
gave McIntyre the Brogue kick and Show pinned Mahal
after the knockout punch. The Shield once again came
out. Instead of going to the ring, they stopped and
cut a promo, with Ambrose saying that at WrestleMania,
they are going to leave them on their backs wondering
what went wrong. Reigns said about how Sheamus &
Orton & Show arent a team.
& Colter were doing an interview in front of the
Capitol Building. Swagger talked about how all great
empires crumbled when people became weak, and our
borders have become weak, our crime rates have exploded
and our resources have been robbed. He said the country
is suffocating and its time to say No
Rio was then interviewed by Striker who said that
they have Freedom of Speech. He said they have the
right to say what they want, but hes has the
right to do something about it at WrestleMania. He
called Colter a pinata with a mustache.
pinned Bryan in 10:58. Good match, but you really
cant get anything less than that from these
two. Langston at one point distracted Bryan and Ziggler
used a famouser for a near fall. At another point
A.J. was skipping around Kane and distracted him so
Langston could run him over like he was a human train.
Bryan gave Langston a sliding kick, but in doing so,
that allowed Ziggler to get the win with a schoolboy
holding the trunks. Bryan was bleeding from the top
of his nose. Langston then ran over Bryan and gave
him the big ending. Kane hit the ring and knocked
both down and was ready to give Langston a choke slam.
Langston powered Kanes hand off his throat and
then laid Kane out with the big ending. A.J. then
paraded around with the belts. Very effective segment
with the key point establishing Langston as a monster
because he overpowered Kane.
came out for a promo. Michaels said he had some serious
doubts and a lot of questions. This brought out HHH.
HHH said that he knew what he was doing and it was
the same situation as with Michaels a few years ago.
Michaels said that the two situations couldnt
be more different. Michaels said that when his career
was on the line, he looked across the ring at someone
he had and have the utmost respect for. He said he
lost and it was heartbreaking, but he knew my
opponent (for some reason it was like somebody
said using the name Undertaker was banned from this
conversation) was equally heartbroken. He said that
you never saw my opponent brag about the
fact he ended my career because he respected me that
much. Michaels said, he (being Lesnar)
doesnt have an ounce of respect for you, these
people, or anyone and I know you dont respect
him. He does this for money and to hurt people. Michaels
said that he used to think this job was his life,
and at one time it was, but then I met you and I realized
I didnt care about this job anywhere near as
much as you do. He told HHH that hes not just
putting his career on the line, hes putting
his life on the line. HHH told Michaels that he wasnt
going to let him talk him out of doing the match.
Michaels said he didnt come here for that, he
came here to tell HHH to kick Lesnars ass. He
said that unlike at SummerSlam, he will be in his
corner to watch him do that. There was no pop at all
for Michaels saying hed be in HHHs corner
at Mania which came off really awkward given he paused
for the pop that wasnt there. Michaels talked
about having two words for ya, when Lesnar and Heyman
came out. Heyman said that Lesnar would beat HHH into
retirement, and that HHH would disappoint his father-in-law
because hell show he cant fight his battles
for him anymore, hes going to disappoint the
Board of Directors because he wont be able to
fulfill hit duties as COO, hes going to disappoint
his wife, but hes used to that anyway. Hes
going to disappoint his best friend. Michaels took
off his jacket. Lesnar was in the aisle laughing and
Heyman said his client gets paid to fight. Heyman
said that HHH should have walked away like Michaels
walked away, because when the match is over, he wont
be able to walk away, hes going to crawl away,
a beaten, battered, emasculated retiree. He said Lesnar
will cause the cerebral assassin to commit professional
pinned Ryder in 3:50 with the bull hammer elbow. Miz
was on commentary for this match.
Guerrero and Brad Maddox were backstage. Marella came
out and said Vince McMahon had just shown up and he
was furious. It was pretty clear from the start they
were doing this as an April Fools deal. Marella
said how usually when McMahon is in this kind of a
mood, somebody gets fired. Then he said April
Fools. Vickie said that she never believed
him. Marella then went behind Maddox and said it smelled
like ca-ca. They really need to ban words that nobody
over the age of six uses, instead of banning words
pinned Marella with the worlds strongest slam
in :52. Ryback then came out looking for revenge over
the bench press angle on Smackdown. The deal is that
there is a no contact rule. Now, based on the rule,
you can shove a bar down a guys throat, probably
shoot him with a gun or hit him with a chair and its
okay, but you cant touch him body to body. There
was a Goldberg chant at this point. Henry brought
up the no contact until WrestleMania storyline (which
of course makes perfect sense since they wrestled
three times over the weekend). Henry said he wanted
to get his hands on him but tonight is not the night,
and he smiled and walked away. Ryback then picked
up Marella and rammed him into Henry from behind,
knocking him out of the ring. Ryback then pressed
Marella over head and dropped him over the top rope
onto Henry. Ryback then said how he never touched
Henry. As silly as the whole thing is, it came up
kind of clever in its own way. Lots of Feed
Me More chants.
came out for an interview. He was asked about disrespecting
the memory of Paul Bearer. Punk said the better question
is whether he gives a damn about disrespecting the
memory of Paul Bearer. He said hes trying to
get into Undertakers head, and hes fixing
to do what nobody else has been able to do, which
is end Undertakers streak. He said that Paul
Bearer used to have a streak of waking up every morning,
but his streak is now over. He made a point that he
would do whatever it took to win, and pushed the idea
that a count out win still ends the streak, so I guess
theyll tease a count out spot during the match.
Rio beat Colter via DQ in :49. Swagger went after
Rodriguez at ringside and took his crutch away and
gave it to Colter. Swagger put Rodriguez in the ankle
lock so De Rio jumped out of the ring to save him.
Colter than hit Del Rio with the crutch for the DQ.
Swagger then nailed Del Rio from behind with a chop
block and Colter and Swagger each had one crutch and
were beating on Del Rio with it. Rodriguez tried to
make the save and Swagger knocked him off the apron.
Swagger broke one of the metal crutches on Del Rios
back, which was left with welts. This was a good final
segment for their angle.
come out. Crowd was super hot for him. He almost did
the Hogan milk it face, but he cut that off. He talked
about how much he liked Washington, DC, and how some
day he might live in this town. He talked about maybe
living in a big white house. Then he talked about
going from President Barack to President The Rock.
He asked the fans if they could count on his vote.
There was a reaction for sure, but kind of a weird
one. They werent exactly thinking the go-home
promo for Mania would turn into a campaign speech.
But he worked the people into reacting big to him.
As for Cena, he said Cena was saying the same things
he said last year and last year he got beat, and last
week he got planted with a rock bottom. He said this
match is not about redemption and its not about
passing the torch. He said the only way Cena gets
Rocks torch is if he lights it on fire, Duraflames
it and sticks it right up Cenas candy ass. Big
reaction to that close.
beat Cesaro in 12:45. JBL this week said that Fandango
was a cross between Fred Astaire and Randy Couture.
Does that mean 2.5 marriages? He then talked about
how Jericho is the only WWE star on Dancing with the
Stars who didnt date George Clooney. Jericho
hit a Frankensteiner off the top rope, and then Fandango
came out to watch. He did a big entrance. Jericho
had to stop wrestling and watch it and poor Cesaro
had to lay there from that Frankensteiner for a good
45 seconds while Fandango danced around and the guys
in the ring were supposed to do nothing. Fandango
had scorecards like in Dancing with the Stars and
would give Jerichos moves scores. A springboard
drop kick got a 2. A sledge off the top got a 4 and
a quebrada got a 3. Cesaro was yodeling at one point.
Jericho ended up winning clean with the Walls of Jericho.
Fandango hit the ring and laid Jericho out again,
using a legdrop off the top, and then a second legdrop
off the top when Jericho was face down on the mat.
Loud You cant wrestle chants for
Fandango while this was going on. Fandango did the
Say my name, thing while beating up on
Jericho. This had a lot of heat.
Twins beat Naomi & Cameron in 4:43 when Brie pinned
Cameron after reversing a crossbody. Naomi is really
good and this match was fine.
ended with Undertaker out. The show was billed around
the idea that Undertaker would eviscerate Punk verbally.
Undertaker said that Punks title reign lasted
more than 400 days but his pain will last an eternity.
He said that Punk made this personal and beating Punk
is no longer good enough due to the disrespect he
showed to Paul Bearer. He said that will cause Punk
to pay the ultimate price. Does this mean he has to
listen to Tiffany interviews forever on a TV that
has no picture? Undertaker said that, in fact, the
streak may come to an end. That was supposed to be
the key line and nobody reacted to it. I dont
think anyone buys that its possible. A bunch
of druids showed up. The show grinded to a halt for
a while until Paul Heyman, dressed up as Paul Bearer,
showed up. Undertaker started attacking the Druids
who stopped him from getting at Heyman. Then Punk
came out of a druid costume to attack Undertaker.
Punk hit Undertaker over-and-over again with the urn.
He then dumped what we were supposed to believe were
the ashes of Paul Bearer all over Undertaker. Punk
also picked up some of the dust from the ground and
threw it on himself as well. I liked the deal where
Punk came out of the robe, but the attempt of shock
value of dumping the ashes came off so sleazy, even
by wrestling standards. People were quiet, not in
shock but in that Wow, did they really sink
that low quiet reaction. After Raw ended they
still had Cena & Sheamus & Ryback over The
Shield via DQ in the same match theyve been
doing for weeks after TV with Reigns hitting Cena
with a chair, and then the Attitude Adjustment, Brogue
kick and shell shock finish.
from the 3/29 Smackdown show from Hershey, PA. The
show opened with Rock coming out. He showed a clip
from Raw and pointed out the look of desperation in
Cenas eyes. He then hold up a wrapper of a Hershey
bar, since Hersheys come from Hershey, PA. Then
it was story time with the Rock. He brought up buying
a car from a crackhead when he was living in Nashville.
He noted that when he was 15, he and his family moved
from Nashville to Bethlehem, PA, which is about an
hour away from Hershey. He showed a photo of himself
at the age of 15. He looked like UFC fighter Phil
Davis. He talked about when he lived in Bethlehem,
he and his friends would go on the weekends to Hershey
Park and he would eat as much chocolate as he could.
He told a story about not being able to find a Hershey
bar anywhere in Hershey and when he finally found
one left, somebody grabbed it before he did, and he
said he looked at the person and said, If you
dont put that candy down, Im going to
kick your candy ass. He claimed the phrase candy
ass came from Hershey, PA. He joked it was an old
lady he said that to. He started cutting a promo on
his match with Cena when John Laurinaitis returned.
This gave Rock the chance to ask, Who in the
blue hell are you? Laurinaitis said that Teddy
Long had given him permission to talk to Rock. He
explained that Long figured that he would talk to
long and Rock would give him a rock bottom and thats
why he let him to out. But Laurinaitis told Rock,
Were like two peas in a pod. That
was the line about Rock being the peoples champion
and him being the guy behind People Power. Laurinaitis
said that he was the greatest General Manager in history
until he was ruined by Cena and Cena was the reason
he was fired. He said Cena is also the reason hes
back. He asked Rock if he could be in his corner.
The fans booed this suggestion. Laurinaitis said how,
They may not like it but do you want to be popular
or do you want to win? Laurinaitis said Rock
knows that winning is about doing whatever it takes,
at all costs. With me, youre guaranteed
to win. Rock then promised not to give Laurinaitis
the rock bottom. Rock offered to shake Laurinaitis
hand. They shook hands and Rock smiled and wouldnt
let go. Laurinaitis smiled back and tried to walk
away but Rock wouldnt let go, and gave Laurinaitis
a spinebuster and the peoples elbow. He told
Cena that at WrestleMania, his candy ass is going
pinned Barrett in 5:09 in a non-title match. The finish
came when Barrett confronted Miz, who was at the desk
doing commentary. Barrett then came back into the
ring and walked into a codebreaker for the pin. Jericho
noted with the way the stage was set up that Fandango
must be coming out. He gave him more names, including
Fandingbat, Fandoodle, Fannaki, Fandannydevito. When
Fandango came out, John Layfield called him a cross
between Baryshnikov (a famous Russian ballet dancer
from another era) and Ken Shamrock. He was dancing
his way to the ring, but instead of getting into the
ring, he backed off and smiled to get easy heat.
did a taped interview. He was talking about the stips
in the HHH vs. Lesnar match. He noted that if HHH
lost, hed have to retire as a wrestler but would
still be COO. Thats good because at least it
puts a thread of doubt in the ending as if he had
to leave his office job, nobody would buy Lesnar winning.
Im not sure anyone does now. Heyman said after
Lesnar wins, HHH will have to sit behind a desk and
get mad watching the guys wrestle because he wont
be able to do it anymore. So hell resent the
entire locker room, and wont be able to lead
them when he holds them in contempt and is jealous
of them. And then the locker room will rise up against
him and rebel. He said HHH made the two biggest mistakes
of his career. The first is he thought he could compete
with Heyman intellectually and he thought he could
compete with Lesnar physically.
was the bench press challenge. JBL said it was like
watching Arcidi vs. Kazmaier. I actually saw that
in Calgary once and Kazmaier was supposed to win but
he got light-headed lifting. Henry used smelling salts.
They had 225 on the bar and said the world record
was 51. Actually thats the record at the NFL
combine because there is no world record. Henry did
53. Ryback then did 53 when Henry shoved the bar down
his throat. Mark Henry is super strong, but hes
also in his 40s and while very good bench presser,
he was never a great bench presser let alone any kind
of record setter in that lift. In the 80s when the
gym I trained at housed some of the strongest men
in the world, and there were guys there who were a
hell of a lot stronger than Ryback (I dont want
to say stronger than Henry, because hes legitimately
super strong, but they were as strong or stronger
on the bench), Ive never seen anyone toy with
225 the way they were doing. So it didnt look
legit to me, particularly Ryback as the plates didnt
look thick enough and just didnt look like normal
45s and just the way they sounded hitting the ground
and how easily they were moved on the ground didnt
seen right. That is usual pro wrestling protocol.
When the Road Warriors and Powers of Pain did their
bench press deal in the 80s with Crockett Promotions,
those weights were real. They were going to be worked
weights but the guys insisted on real ones. When Ken
Patera and Superstar Graham did their stuff in the
AWA, even though both guys were super strong, they
used worked weights (obviously, since the climactic
scene of those weightlifting contests was Patera pressing
more than 500 pounds overhead).
& Kaitlyn beat Ziggler & A.J. in 3:16. Langston
interfered first. Kane then laid Langston out with
a high kick on the floor. Bryan and Ziggler also went
outside the ring and Bryan backdropped Ziggler over
the barricade. In the ring Kaitlyn pinned A.J. with
Shield did an interview for the Mania match.
& Colter came out for a promo. When talking about
breaking Rodriguezs ankle, Swagger said he broke
a bone to bind a country together.
went to a double count out with Khali in 3:02. This
wasnt good. Khali got most of the offense early
including a kick that missed bad that Swagger had
to sell. Khali set up his chop but Swagger jumped
out of the ring. When Khali stepped over the rope,
Swagger snapped the leg over the ropes. Then he did
a shoulderblock to the knee. They were fighting on
the floor when Swagger got the ankle lock on and both
were counted out of the ring. Swagger kept the move
on until Hornswoggle broke it up. Swagger threw Hornswoggle
into the barricade. That got heat. Rodriguez came
out. Even though he got his ankle broken a second
time a few days earlier, he was walking fine, even
though he had a cast. He challenged Swagger to come
down the aisle and try and break the other ankle.
This served as a distraction as Del Rio attacked Swagger
from behind and put him in the armbar. Colter broke
it up. Rodriguez hit Colter with a crutch and threw
the crutch to Del Rio. Swagger ran off. Good segment.
Young made her debut. She was interviewing Sheamus
& Orton & Show. Orton was acting way too much
like a babyface. It didnt fit his character
at all. Seems like hes turning, but with so
many peoples names in the hat to turn, who knows
what will happen. Sheamus said there were no problems
between the three. But then Show and Sheamus started
to argue and Orton was the peacemaker.
& Orton & Show beat Rhodes & Sandow &
Cesaro in 7:33 of the main event. Cesaro said, Our
opponents have nothing in common except that they
are common. Cesaro was yodeling, which is his
new gimmick. Makes him seem like a prelim heel, which,
admittedly, is the level hes at right now but
he seems to have the ability to be a whole lot more.
JBL called Rhodes Mark Spitz, because
of the mustache. Thats a 1972 Olympics reference.
Finish saw Show throw Sandow into an RKO by Orton.
Sheamus then nailed Rhodes with a brogue kick for
the pin. The Shield came out. Orton & Sheamus
& Show jumped into the stands after them. They
were brawling in the stands until The Shield ran off.
Luke Harper (John Huber) and his weight, he blew out
his knee while working in Japan some time back, had
surgery, couldnt do a lot of cardio, and thats
why he got so heavy. Hubers background was as
a hockey player. He got into WWE not because of his
Dragon Gate USA stuff, but because Kevin Nash saw
him on an indie show and Nash recommended him. According
to one friend of his, hes actually naturally
skinny and keeping weight on in most cases was a struggle.
WWE tried him out years ago and told him he needed
to get thicker and more muscular.
Bourne noted on Twitter that hes healed a lot
from all the foot problems from his car accident last
year, but even though he worked his first match last
week, he said he had a long way to go.
did an article for Forbes and described his team with
Bryan like this: For me as Kane its the
fact that, what I do with Daniel Bryan is a complete
contrast to everything else Ive done my entire
career. The fact that you have, the rest of my career,
the Kane character has been relatively dark. Every
once in a while youll see something pop out,
but for the most part, its been relatively dark
and very serious, the destroyer, the monster. With
Team Hell No, because of Daniel Bryan, Im able
to show a different side. Its like Abbot and
Costello, of course. Im generally the straight
guy, but you want to show a bit of what he does. By
being the straight guy, it makes it even that much
better. I would say that weve been able to do
what not a whole lot of people have done. We can take
completely contrasting things and accentuate the contrast
of going to where the whole thing works, as opposed
to the whole thing just falling apart.
viewership numbers went way up a few weeks ago, even
more than in proportion to the increase in ratings.
For 2/25, the 558,000 homes watching Raw on a delay
of more than one day, destroyed all old records. Only
85.4% of the viewers watched live or same day delayed,
the lowest figure in Raw history. Since the rating
was above average, thats not a negative. That
was the show with the Vince McMahon vs. Heyman fight
leading to the HHH vs. Lesnar angle and the show where
Cena vs. Punk for the right to wrestle Rock at Manis
was the main event. On 3/4, it was 465,000 watching
on a delay, meaning 88.0% live or same day delayed,
which is defined as finishing by 3 a.m. For the 3/11
show, it was only 159,000 meaning 95.6% watched live
which was the Bearer tribute show.
Hollys new book, The Hardcore Truth,
from ECW Press, which Im in the process of reading,
told a story about the Michaels vs. Razor Ramon ladder
match at WrestleMania X and how it was different from
an insider perspective. While the match, if viewed
by todays eyes, would be very, very good, on
the day the match took place, it was one of the greatest
matches ever because of how innovative it was. Everyone
in the business was talking about it like it was not
just the greatest match in WWF history, but among
the best matches ever, at least in the U.S. Holly
noted the two were having a great match and tearing
the house down and he was in the Gorilla position
and heard them signal the ref that its time
to go home. Michaels and Ramon (Scott Hall) ignored
the referees instructions and kept going. Backstage,
everyone was panicking and furious because they simply
wouldnt listen to instructions. As he was warming
up, he heard the word, that because they went so long,
a ten-man tag filler match Holly was in was pulled.
He said he wasnt personally mad because the
Michaels vs. Ramon match in his opinion was one of
the best in wrestling history, plus he knew the dumbest
thing he could do in his position on the roster was
to say anything. But he said Randy Savage was furious.
As they came back, Savage was swearing at both of
them, calling them every name in the book, saying
they were selfish and how they had disrespected all
the other wrestlers, particularly the ten guys in
the match that was canceled. As far as the book goes,
its a good read based on what Ive read
so far. He gives his opinions on a lot of stuff and
while you may or may not agree with his take, I believe
its his honest opinions, and lets just
say that with a lot of pro wrestling autobiographies,
when I read them, that is not the first impression.
was only one tour running this weekend, which is strange
since they ran smaller buildings and youd think
if they loaded the show with most of the stars that
theyd go for bigger arenas.
in Springfield, MA, drew yet another sellout, with
6,700 fans and $260,000. 3/30 in Atlantic City drew
7,700 and $320,000. 3/31 for an Easter Sunday show
in White Plains drew 3,700, which is a little shy
of a sellout.
opened with Kane & Bryan keeping the tag titles
over Slater & Mahal, who had McIntyre in the corner.
Kane pinned Slater after a choke slam. This was just
a showcase for Kane & Bryan to do the act where
they didnt get along, argued after winning and
hugged it out when it was over. Barrett kept the IC
title in a three-way over R-Truth and Miz. After the
match, The Shield hit the ring and laid out Miz and
R-Truth. Del Rio retained the world title beating
Cesaro via DQ when Swagger attacked Del Rio. Kingston
made the save. This led to Kingston & Del Rio
beating Cesaro & Swagger when Del Rio made Cesaro
submit to the armbar. Kaitlyn pinned Snuka with a
spear to keep the Divas title. Next was Ryback vs.
Henry in an over the top rope challenge. For whatever
reason, the house show booker (Michael Hayes) always
protects Henry and he never gets pinned. Hell
either lose via DQ or in this case, he charged at
Ryback, who ducked and flipped him over the top. There
was a major incident years ago with Hayes and Henry
where Hayes used the N word and got in a lot of trouble,
including being stripped of his Vice President position,
which he still hasnt gotten back. We got reports
the first two nights of the tour that this match didnt
click at all and needs a lot of work before Mania.
Main event was Cena & Sheamus & Show over
The Shield via DQ when Reigns used a chair. It finished
with Cena doing the Attitude Adjustment on one, Sheamus
the Brogue kick on one and Show the knockout punch
on one. Cena was really over here and they acknowledged
he went to Springfield College (where he was legitimately
a first-team Division III All-American center, and
its notable that as a lineman he was only 220
pounds at the time.
did a different show in Atlantic City. This one opened
with a Battle Royal with the winner to get a shot
at Alberto Del Rios world title. To show the
value of the world title, the names entered were Bryan,
Kane, Kingston, Miz, Barrett, Slater, McIntyre, Mahal,
R-Truth and Cesaro. In other words, Jericho, Fandango,
Swagger (of all people), Show, Ryback, Henry, Cena,
Orton, Sheamus and The Shield who were all on the
card thought so much of the world title that they
wouldnt even enter a Battle Royal for an impromptu
shot at it. It came down to Kane, Bryan and Barrett.
Bryan tried to throw out Kane, who blocked him. Then
Bryan started begging off to Kane and apologizing.
Barrett just stood there while they did their Yes/No
followed by their hug it out shtick. When they hugged
and everything was cool, it was Kane who double-crossed
Bryan and threw him out. As the crowd popped for that,
Barrett from behind threw Kane out to win. That was
the only appearance for Kane and Bryan on the show.
Kaitlyn pinned Snuka with a spear after a missed superfly
splash in the Divas title match. Cesaro pinned R-Truth
to keep the U.S. title with the Neutralizer. In a
comedy spot, R-Truth came out doing his old entrance
with Whats up. Cesaro said rapping
was pathetic and put over yodeling, which he then
did. Well, thats different. After the match,
The Shield destroyed R-Truth with the triple power
bomb. Usually they do that with the face going over
but you couldnt very well do that with a U.S.
title match and based on the lineup there was no other
option for that spot except doing it to Show, which
they figured Truth is a much better second match victim.
Del Rio beat Barrett via DQ when Swagger interfered
in a short match that was just there. Miz ran in for
the save, then interestingly, they sent Jericho out
to give the faces the 3-on-2 because they wanted to
save the big entrance for Fandango. Fandango started
dancing and the crowd reaction was not what they wanted.
People were laughing and it killed the brawl in the
ring. Vickie Guerrero then announced Del Rio &
Jericho & Miz vs. Barrett & Swagger &
Fandango. Fandango did a ton of stalling before locking
up. He also would do a move and then dance. But when
he did wrestle, he did looked good in hanging with
name guys. The finish saw Del Rio use the armbar on
Barrett. Show beat Slater & McIntyre & Mahal
in a quick handicap match. Show knocked one out and
choke slammed the other two for a simultaneous pin.
Ryback beat Henry in the over the top rope challenge.
This didnt get over except for Rybacks
Feed me more cheerleading that always
works. Main event was Cena & Sheamus & Orton
over The Shield via DQ when Rollins hit Cena with
a chair. Usual post match with the Attitude Adjustment,
Brogue kick and RKO triple post match ending.
White Plains show was the same as Atlantic City with
one exception, which was Kingston working with Cesaro
instead of R-Truth, with Cesaro winning with the Neutralizer.
Kingston also took R-Truths spot in getting
beaten down after the match by The Shield. R-Truth
was on the card, but only working the Battle Royal.
Heyman did his interview pushing that Punk would end
the streak of Undertaker. He turned heel by saying
the fans had no manners and thats why they were
doing Mania in New Jersey, and then talked about how
HHH was going to headline the 2014 Hall of Fame after
Lesnar retires him Sunday. Fandango got a lot better
reaction here than the night before. The Jericho-Fandango
interaction was very good and that could be the sleeper
match at Mania if they are given time.