by David Bixenspan | davidbix@wrestlingobserver.com | Follow @davidbix

Of course, the biggest combat sports event of the weekend, and perhaps all-time, is the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao boxing pay-per-view tonight, which starts at 6:00 p.m. ET with the main event earmarked for approximately 11:oo p.m. ET. HBO and Showtime are running a live countdown special at 8:00 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. PT) on both the east and west coast feeds. At $90 to $100 depeding on the cable system, it’s the most expensive boxing PPV ever, which has led to some reluctance in predicting how well it will do.

 

That said, one cable source told us that the volume of orders so far has been at record breaking levels. There’s a possibility that buyers are making sure to order early in case the cable/satellite companies’ ordering systems crash, but we have no way of knowing.

 

On that note, a lot of the talk in the last few days has centered around the price being charged to bars and restaurants and how it’s affcted the event’s footprint in commercial environments. For those who aren’t aware, bars and restaurants can’t legally buy and show srandard PPV events. They need to go through a separate distributor (like Joe Hand Promotions for the UFC) and pay a much higher fee, as they’re considered closed circuit TV venues. For tonight’s fight, the fees being charged are so high that a large number of businesses have elected not to carry the fight.

 

Here’s how it breaks down:

– The number floating around has been $30 per “customer” according to the business’s capacity, but some restaurants have been quoted as high as $42.

– For example, As of yesterday, due to price, only ten bars in the Twin Cities were showing the fight.  Also in Minnesota, only two Buffalo Wild Wings are showing due to price, in Bemidji and Moorhead.  Mystic Lake Casino is showing it with a $50 cover charge.

– Speaking of Buffalo Wild Wings, while they normally carries all of the major UFC and boxing fights, they have only 70 of their 1,080 franchises (and “a hanfful” of company wned locations) carrying the card due to a cost of approximately $5,100 per restaurant. The locations carrying the fight are requiring a $20 cover charge.

 

The big pro wrestling show of the weekend is seventh annual (since it became an annual event; the twelth overall since 1993) NJPW Wrestling Dontaku card from Fukuoka, which airs live at 4 a.m. ET on NJPW World:

 

1. Captain New Japan, Kushida, Manabu Nakanishi and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Máscara Dorada, Tiger Mask and Yuji Nagata

2. Kota Ibushi and Yohei Komatsu vs. Sho Tanaka and Tetsuya Naito

3. Bad Luck Fale, Cody Hall and Tama Tonga vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima and Tomoaki Honma

4. Roppongi Vice (Baretta and Rocky Romero) (c) vs. reDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

5. Kenny Omega (c) vs. Alex Shelley for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship

6. Amber Gallows, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Maria Kanellis, Matt Taven and Michael Bennett in a six-person tag team match

7. Kazushi Sakuraba, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Katsuyori Shibata and Togi Makabe

8. A.J. Styles and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi-Hashi

9. Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Hirooki Goto for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship

 

It’s expectedt that the Best of the Super Junior tournament participants and show lineups will be announced tonight during the show.

 

Please send all major event feedback to dave@wrestlingobserver.com, while reports from all of this weekend’s WWE house shows, those go to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com.

We’ve got more after these notes on what’s in this week’s newsletters…

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The newest issue of Figure Four Weekly is up on the site for subscribers (subscribe here) with a look at the 10th anniversary of the death od Chris Candido including what he meant to indie wrestling at the time, hy he was such a uniqu figure, and much more. Plus, as always, we have  all of the usual reviews and international news.

Also, now available for the first time on Kindle (meaning Kindle devices and anything with the Kindle app) is Fall Guys, the seminal 1937 book that has been described as being like the 1930s version of the Wrestling Observer. It was surprisingly not on Kindle already, so we put together a nice version with a full table of contents w/ chapter marks, proper formatting on everything, etc. Right now it’s available from the American, Canadian, and Australian Amazon/Kindle stores OR you can also buy it from anywhere in the world on PayHip, who will provide you with both Kindle and ePub (every other e-reader) format files, and you can either sideload them to your device or have them email it to your Kindle. 

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Part one of the life and times of Verne Gagne is the lead story on a jam-packed issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that is out today.  We’ve also got the most detailed look at the Jon Jones situation, the UFC light heavyweight title, as well as Ronda Rousey in WWE, Extreme Rules coverage, Payback notes, UFC 186, the life of Ashura Hara and four former wrestling personalities get elected to public office in one week.

Latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter: May 4, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Verne Gagne bio part 1, Jon Jones stripped of UFC title, bios of Ashura Hara & Rudy Reyna

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The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.

Our lead story looks back at the wrestling career of Verne Gagne, one of the most noteworthy pro wrestling of the 20th century.  We look at the booking of Gagne, the story of the promoter who promised Gagne an all-time attendance record for a title defense and he turned the match down and why, we look at the end of his career, Sports Illustrated ranking him as an athlete, his football career, his involvement in one of the biggest college wrestling matches of all-time, how Gagne spoiled the first Cael Sanderson record, Gagne and the Olympic games, starting as a pro wrestler, his rise to the top, his winning the world jr. title, and why he never won the NWA world heavyweight title.  We look at the creation of the AWA title, when the world title started getting fractured and why, the ironies of both Verne Gagne and Roy Shire as promoters, the expansion of the AWA, the AWA lifestyle, the biggest AWA angles, and Gagne vs Billy Robinson.

We also look at his training wrestlers, the Hogan era and the peak of the AWA.

We also have full details of the Jon Jones story, both why he got suspended and complete police records as to what happened this past week with his auto accident.  We look at his losing sponsors, Cormier vs. Rumble Johnson, UFC’s position, and Cormier talks his title shot.

We also have more on Dana White’s comments on Ronda Rousey in WrestleMania and the WWE’s reaction, as well as UFC fighters doing pro wrestling in recent years.

We’ve got a full rundown of the Extreme Rules PPV, a look at Payback, plus match-by-match ratings and poll results from the show.

We also look at the Daniel Bryan situation, who is being groomed for a unique babyface push to stardom, disappearing of the curb stomp, next NXT special, Samoa Joe and WWE, Furious 7 box office marks, NXT on tour, a TV documentary on one of the biggest shows in WWE history coming,  and notes on talent cut this past week by WWE.   

We also look at the Demetrious Johnson conundrum, the flyweight division, the business of UFC 186 and match-by-match coverage.

We look at the career of Ashura Hara, including his biggest matches, why his career at the top in All Japan suddenly ended, his appearance in G-1, his rugby background, his IWE start, some of his famous matches and the 1987 tag team tournament.

We also look at four pro wrestlers elected to public office this past week.

We also have a bio on exotico star Rudy Reyna, including his start in pro wrestling, how much of a shoot his act was, his health issues and career highlights.

The Observer is the world’s most detailed weekly pro wrestling publication, in its 32nd year of publication, and is read by the biggest names in the pro wrestling, industry, MMA industry, sports world and on Wall Street.
 
We also have our regular features such as the most complete look at ratings, plus results of the major house show events each week in pro wrestling and MMA, and complete inside rundowns of all the TV shows.
 
Also in this week’s issue:

–More on the World Cup tag team tournament

–New major AAA shows

–AAA & Lucha Underground notes

–Top promotion star breaks nose and gets teeth knocked out

–Dragon Gate builds to one of its biggest events of the year on iPPV

–Update on New Japan World

–Kidani talks New Japan pay

–How business is going with New Japan

–New Japan big show rundown

–Update on Jeff Jarrett and Global Force Wrestling

–Different names being talked about

–Jarrett and Eric Bischoff and Jarrett’s reactions to stories

–Bischoff history

–Missy Hyatt charges dropped story

–Bill Goldberg says he’ll wrestle again and more notes on the subject

–A look back at Bill Goldberg in WWE and why it didn’t work

–Why Goldberg’s career in Japan ended

–Funny note on Kevin Nash

–Japanese star looking at working indie dates in the U.S.

–More notes on the future of Lucha Underground

–How close are they to being No. 2 in the market

–Notes going into the second season

–Why there is a premium on guys who can wrestle well

–Update on Adam Cole in ROH

–Notes on the booking of the ROH/New Japan shows

–Notes on the broadcasting of the entire tour

–ROH final show before the New Japan tour

–Notes on Jeff Hardy’s injury

–ROH star returns from injury

–Lots on Billy Corgan signing with TNA and his thoughts on wrestling creative

–Wrestling stars get engaged

–Rampage Jackson talks TNA

–Another longtime performer out of TNA

–Taryn Terrell heel turn notes

–UFC on FOX ratings notes

–Notes on the Reebok sponsorship in UFC

–Reaction to those numbers

–UFC fighter sues another UFC fighter over a sponsorship deal gone bad

–UFC signs one of the best wrestlers in the world as a project

–Lots of new UFC fights

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Saturday Daily Update

— The New York Times’ obituary of Verne Gagne is up and in today’s print newspaper. Really good, respectful piece that does his ’50s network TV stardom justice and has some nice quotes from George Schire, the premier AWA historian. Terry Woster of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, South Dakota has a more personal Gagne rememberance as well.

— As noted earlier by Dave, TNA has officially announced that TNA will be running Slammiversary as a traditional pay-per-view event on June 28th. There’s a commercial/promo video on their YouTube channel.

— David Collins of The Day (a Connecticut newspaper) wrote an article this week about his interview with Linda McMahon being cancelled, with one of her staffers telling him that “She is working on a project she isn’t quite ready to unveil and feels she would give a ‘meatier’ interview at a later date when she has more she can say.” Between the company name (McMahon Ventures) and some of her most recent statements, it sounds like she may be open a ventura capital firm for funding businesses owned and run by women.

— It came out yesterday that former WWE Diva Jillian Hall was arrested on April 10 for a DUI. She had previously been arrested a few years ago for a domestic incident.

— The Ottawa Sun has a nice article about Tyson Kidd. The highlight is his discussion of his recent emergence as a promo and personality after years of being classified as primarily a great technician:

“You see people leave and put the blame on the company. Even though I know who I am, I had to find myself. I had to find a way to get people to see that. […] [Dusty Rhodes has] been a huge influence. He helped me find my voice and he’d critique my body language. He has a very special eye. It’s a lot of little things together. The speaking part was obviously a huge part, but it was all the little things.”

— The UK Daily Mail has an article/photo essay on Hulk Hogan visiting the Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital in Australia for Starlight Day, the biggest day of the year for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which seeks to make the hospital experience less scary for children.

— The Chicago Tribune has an article about The Freelance Wrestling getting a local broadcast TV deal on channel 26.2 (WCIU’s “U Too” subchannel). Kind of a pleasant surprised to see an indie get this kind of mainstream coverage given the relative ovscurity of digital subchannels even several years after broadcast TV went all-digital in the United States. The show airs Friday Nights/Saturday mornings at 2:00 a.m. local time.

— LuFisto is the latest name indie wrestler to have a Tough Enough audition video show up on WWE’s YouTube channel.

— Great Canadian Wrestling runs Game Over 15 at Harmony Creek Community Hall in Oshawa, Ontarioon June 8 w/ Tiberius King defending the GCW National championship against undefeated Kobe Durst, Jaxon Jarvis vs. Zakk Atticus in a 2 of 3 falls match, and Canuck Kid vs Pepper Jack in a midget match announced so far.