Monday: WWE vs. UFC, Wrestlemania main event, Cerrone dominates, & Lesnar on RAW
WWE vs UFC – SUNDAY NIGHT WAR
by Dan Velten
Last night, WWE and UFC went head to head in the SUNDAY NIGHT WAR! This has happened only a handful of times previously, and usually, UFC has fared better. This will be interesting as both shows are effectively free. UFC’s show aired for free on Fox Sports 1 from 7:00pm – 12:00am eastern, and WWE aired Fast Lane for free (9.99 per month or free if it’s your first month) from 8-11pm eastern. The main event for Fast Lane went to the ring at about 10:20pm which was well before any of the marquee UFC fights. Actually, the only real name on the card was Donald Cerrone, and his match didn’t start until 11:30pm eastern. Dave Meltzer will have the UFC ratings sometime this week, but we may not know the WWE “buy” number for a while.
The main event for the biggest WrestleMania of all time is now set.
Last night in the triple threat match for the championship shot against Triple H, Roman Reigns pinned Dean Ambrose after a spear for the clean victory. It was really quite the match. For a more detailed run down of the show, check out Dave’s coverage from last night. We are doing polls on Bellator and Fast Lane so please email Dave@WrestlingObserver.com with a thumbs up, down, or in the middle, and a best and worst match. Thank you to all who provide feedback.
Over on Fox Sports 1, Donald Cerrone decimated Alex Oliveira in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Cowboy from Pittsburgh.
Cerrone was able to take down and submit Oliveira using a triangle choke at 2:33 of round 1. The whole show was action packed and is worth a watch, especially the main card. Our own Ryan Frederick provides his live report.
Raw is tonight in Detroit. Brock Lesnar is scheduled for the show. We’re looking for reports with the Superstars matches and anything else that isn’t evident from watching the TV show to Dave@WrestlingObserver.com
Smackdown and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday night in Indianapolis.
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Wrestling Observer Newsletter
The Latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Feb 22, 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WWE 2015 Financial Report, Kevin Randleman passes
The 2015 business of WWE is the lead in a packed issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. We go through the keys to the current business: biggest revenue streams, why the stock was down, compare with the past, the truth about television ratings, house show business, social media effect, Vince McMahon talks ratings, what ratings mean right now and in the future, network numbers, both good and bad signs regarding those numbers, why numbers declined and will go up soon and what kind of seasonal gain can be expected.
The career of Kevin Randleman, his most famous matches, comments from Bas Rutten, comments he made about first getting into fighting, plus his career as a pro and college wrestler.
We also have a piece looking at matches that in one night changed promotions or made superstars, and how that fits in with this past week’s Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenny Omega match. A full rundown of the New Beginnings in Osaka and New Beginning in Niigata shows, with match-by-match coverage, story behind both shows, star ratings and poll results. We also look at the big shows coming up for New Japan.
Lots more about Daniel Bryan, details on his medical issues, lots of things not really put into perspective, Brie Bella;s retirement, Wade Barrett situation, Titus O’Neil suspension and fine, FastLane notes, the weirdness of the Fast Lane main event as it pertains to the company’s future, WWE injury updates, more on John Cena’s injuries, Cesaro talks his own injury and Bryan retirement, WWE Network notes, notes on wrestlers who received tryouts last week, Jericho vs. Styles notes, WWE star opening up a wrestling themed restaurant, plus highlights of all the NXT and WWE house shows over the past week and business notes.
WWE’s new Global Cruiserweight series concept, how the tournament will work, the schedule, the scouting of participants and more.
Bellator’s deal with Rampage Jackson and details of how it happened.
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MONDAY’S NEWS UPDATE
Bryan and I will be back tonight covering RAW as well as taking your questions on pro wrestling and MMA that you can send to email@example.com
The biggest story of the weekend was that the Kimbo vs. Dada fight did the peak rating at 2.5 million viewers, breaking the all-time Bellator record and most-watched cable fight since McGregor vs. Siver. More on that story here. Bellator set its all-time ratings record on Friday doing an average of 1,964,000 viewers. It broke the mark set on June 19 for the Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice fight by 24 percent. At this point we don’t have a match breakdown to see if it was Slice’s match or the Shamrock match that was the peak. Aside from Gold Rush, it beat everything on cable, and in Males 18-49, nearly doubled the NBA on ESPN.
Dada 5000 is still hospitalized coming out of Friday’s show, but he is doing better and reportedly walking around. There was a potential tragedy there that was averted and I hope that in the future when they schedule fights with non-fighters or older fighters, they cut the time back to maybe three minutes per round, and that is not an answer to a problem, only an attempt to lower the odds of something bad happening. Bryan and I talked about that at the beginning of last night’s show. Ken Shamrock is protesting the finish of the fight with Royce Gracie, asking it to be overturned to a no contest by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations. That would be the correct call. Shamrock is also asking for a rematch. That would be the incorrect call.
Lots of talk going around regarding tonight’s RAW. The only thing I know is that something big is happening. As of an hour ago it was scheduled for early in the show. It probably has to do with the Vincent J. McMahon award, since that award is definitely an angle to build a WrestleMania match, presumably the HHH vs. Roman Reigns main event. The McMahon award is also scheduled for early in the show. Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose is now on the schedule for WrestleMania. The company dropped the Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt direction for now, although it is still talked about for down the line. Lesnar and Paul Heyman are scheduled for tonight’s show.
WWE has announced Daniel Bryan Appreciation Night on 3/25 in Madison Square Garden, which is the show with the Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens 30 minute Iron man match for the IC title and the MSG debut of A.J. Styles.
Dave Meltzer is a part of this Sports Illustrated media roundtable on covering MMA.
The WWE web site is pushing that Shinsuke Nakamura has signed with NXT, using the term “WWE NXT” and not “WWE” and that he reports to Orlando in late March.
John Cena tweeted “Back to work. Putting in 12 hours a day for the past 6 weeks to try and defy science. It’s time to make or break.” That would certainly seem to tease he’s trying to get ready for WrestleMania, even though he shouldn’t be back that early.
NXT has announced shows on 4/7 in Charlotte at the Cabarrus Arena (same building TNA & ROH have used), 4/8 in Columbia, SC at the Township Auditorium (the old arena from the Crockett days) and 4/9 in Charleston, SC at the Convention Center. Tickets for all three shows go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.
It was a good day for the market and WWE stock, which was up to $16.35, a $1 increase from Friday.
A week from today will be the launch of a new print newspaper in the U.K. called “The New Day.” Editor Alison Philliips in an interview with the Huffington Post, did say they could be dealing with some confusion online because of the name. (thanks to Ian Hamilton)
A story on Roman Reigns as a college football player.
Paul “Ace” Fontaine’s article on the top 10 Wrestlemania performers statistically; this is a really interesting read.
UFC has announced a partnership with BBC 3, which is the BBC’s digital streaming service, which will begin this week with extensive coverage on Saturday of the UFC show in London headlined by Anderson Silva vs. Michael Bisping. They won’t be airing fights live, but will have coverage of everything, plus live blogs, clips and more.
Sherdog is reporting Fabricio Werdum vs. Stipe Miocic for the UFC 198 PPV main event on 5/14 in Brazil. UFC has not announced the match yet, but that has been expected for a few weeks.
Jeff Hardy has been added to WrestleCon over WrestleMania weekend in Dallas.
For those who want to say WWE’s declining numbers are just the market, here is evidence on that side. The Daytona 500 appears to be down 16 percent from last year, and while ahead of 2014 (that had a rain delay so it’s a fluke comparison), it’s down 39 percent from 2013.
Tomorrow night’s TNA Impact show is the annual Lockdown show, taped in London, so all cage matches.
Eli Drake vs. Odarg (Grado)
Gail Kim & Madison Rayne vs. The Dollhouse
Bobby Roode & James Storm vs. Bram & Eric Young
Tigre Uno vs. Trevor Lee for the X title
Matt Hardy vs. Ethan Carter III for the TNA title
Premier Wrestling returns on 3/6 in Gilroy, CA at the IFDES Lodge Portuguese Hall at 5 p.m. with JR Kratos (9-2-1) defending his title against Joe Graves (4-1-1). Graves is a student of Augusto Mendes, who lost to Cody Garbrandt last night in the UFC. Raze (2-2) defends the Women Athletes title against Nicole Savoy (3-2), plus former UFC fighter Shayna Baszler makes her Premier debut against Invicta’s Colleen Schneider, who makes her pro wrestling debut. Also Jeff Cobb (6-5-1) vs. Tyler Bateman (1-3), Marcus Lewis (5-4) vs. Buddy Royal (2-4) and Gabriel Gallo (4-0-1) vs. Dalton Frost (0-1).
The movie “Concussions” debuted at No. 10 on the Australian box office charts this past weekend. (thanks to James Stanios)
Game Changer Wrestling on 3/12 in Howell, NJ at Game Changer World featuring the finals of a tournament to become the first GCW champion.
Mick Foley headlines Winter Blast on Saturday night in Hollywood, MD at the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department for Maryland Championship Wrestling. He’ll be doing a meet and greet at 6 p.m.. Renee Michelle and The Ecktourage with Kevin Eck also appear.
AAW results from Friday night in Merrionette Park, IL (thanks to Qumar Zarman): Trevor Lee beat Joey Janel, Candice LaRae & Alex Daniels beat Eli Machete & Connor Braxton, AR Fox beat Matt Cage, Mat Fitchett & Davey Vega beat Zero Gravity, Abyss & Kongo Kong beat Ryan Boz & Russ Jones in a Monster’s Ball match, Chris Hero & Drew Gulak beat Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa, Sami Callihan beat Eddie Kingston to keep the AAW title thanks to help from Dave Crist. Callihan vs. Ciampa, who made a save, headlines the 12th anniversary show on 4/9. The next show is 3/18 in Berwyn, IL with Callihan, Fox, Ricochet, Jack Evans, Hero, Ciampa, Silas Young, Colt cabana, Drew Gulak and Dave Crist.
Chase Owens challenges Jason Kincaid for the Southeastern title on Spring Breakout on 3/24 in Kingsport, TN at the Civic Auditorium.
Bull Dempsey has been added to the 3/20 Smash Wrestling show in Toronto at the Franklin Horner Community Centre.
ON THIS DAY IN WORLD PRO WRESTLING HISTORY: The Outsiders win the WCW World tag team titles