San Antonio Texas Casinos

NBA Owners' net worth (Dan Gilbert's net worth rose from $7.5 billion to $45.3 billion this year)

...After his company went public. I had to include that in the title. Maybe now he won't be such a cheap bastard with his GMs. I had no idea Gilbert was now the second richest owner in the league.
Which made me wonder what other owners are worth (the title of this post was almost "why is Tilman Fertitta such a cheap bastard while Joe Lacob spends money like he thinks the shit's gonna rot?").
Which brings us to this handy Forbes list from March:
1. Steve Ballmer (Los Angeles Clippers): $51.4 billion
Ballmer scored a huge win this week for his dream of building a new arena. He bought the Forum for $400 million from the Madison Square Garden Company, which tried to block a new Clippers arena near the Forum in Inglewood, California.
2. Philip Anschutz (Los Angeles Lakers): $11.2 billion
Anschutz owns one-third of the Lakers, plus the arena in which they play, the Staples Center, in addition to the NHL’s Kings. \For those wondering, it's hard to find a reliable source on Jeanie's net worth but according to unreliable sources it's in the ballpark of $500 million*
3. Stanley Kroenke (Denver Nuggets): $10 billion
The real estate and sports mogul owns teams in the NBA, the NHL, the NFL, MLS and the Premier League.
4. Joseph Tsai (Brooklyn Nets): $9.9 billion
The cofounder of Alibaba Group completed his purchase of the Nets last year for $2.3 billion and bought the Barclays Center for an additional $1 billion.
5. Robert Pera (Memphis Grizzlies): $7.1 billion
Pera owns nearly three-quarters of wireless equipment maker Ubiquiti Networks. He was the lead investor in the Grizzlies purchase in 2012.
6. Daniel Gilbert (Cleveland Cavaliers): $6.2 billion
Gilbert made his first fortune from Quicken Loans, the largest online mortgage lender, which he cofounded in 1985 at 22 years old.*List is from March, before the IPO
7. Tom Gores (Detroit Pistons): $5.7 billion
Gores and his brother Alec are both private equity billionaires. The Pistons opened a new $90 million headquarters and training facility in September.
8. Micky Arison (Miami Heat): $5.3 billion
Arison’s net worth plummeted 33% over the past six weeks with the collapse in the stock price of Carnival Corp. The world’s largest cruise ship operator was founded by Arison’s father in 1972.
9. Tilman Fertitta (Houston Rockets): $4.4 billion
Fertitta furloughed roughly 40,000 employees at his casino and restaurant empire to curb the economic impact caused by coronavirus-induced shutdowns. His fortune is derived from his ownership of the Golden Nugget Casinos and Landry’s, a Texas-based restaurant and entertainment company.
10. Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks): $4.3 billion
Cuban was one of the first sports team owners to commit to paying hourly arena workers for games missed during the coronavirus crisis. He’s invested more than $20 million as a “shark” on ABC’s popular Shark Tank show.
11. Joshua Harris (Philadelphia 76ers): $3.7 billion
Harris cofounded private equity powerhouse Apollo Global Management in 1990 with fellow billionaires Leon Black and Marc Rowan. He remains a managing director there.
12. Gayle Benson (New Orleans Pelicans): $3.2 billion
Benson inherited the Pelicans and the NFL’s Saints when her husband, Tom, died in 2018.
13. Glen Taylor (Minnesota Timberwolves): $2.8 billion
His printing firm, Taylor Corp., generates more than $2 billion in revenue annually. Taylor also owns stakes in Minnesota’s MLS and WNBA teams.
14. Herb Simon (Indiana Pacers): $2.6 billion
The real estate mogul bought the Pacers with his since-deceased brother, Melvin, in 1983, for $10.5 million. Simon Property Group is one of the world’s largest real estate investment trusts, with 206 properties in the U.S.
15. Antony Ressler (Atlanta Hawks): $2.4 billion
Ressler cofounded private equity firm Ares Management in 1997. He owns a small piece of the Milwaukee Brewers, in addition to his controlling stake in the Hawks.
16. Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets): $2.1 billion
The NBA’s GOAT sold a minority stake in the Hornets in September in a deal that valued the team at $1.5 billion. Nike pays Jordan more than $100 million annuallybased on growing sales for the company’s Jordan Brand.
17. Marc Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks): $1.8 billion
Lasry, a hedge fund titan, joined Wes Edens to buy the Bucks in 2014 for $550 million. He was born in Morocco and moved to the U.S. at age 7 with his family.
18. Gail Miller (Utah Jazz): $1.7 billion
Miller transferred ownership of the Jazz in 2017 to a family legacy trust to deter her heirs from selling or moving the team. Gail and her since-deceased husband, Larry, bought the team for $22 million in 1986.
19. Jerry Reinsdorf (Chicago Bulls): $1.5 billion
Reinsdorf led a group of investors who bought a controlling stake in the Bulls for $9.2 million in 1985. Good timing. It was one year after the team drafted Michael Jordan, who led the Bulls to six NBA titles. The team is now worth $3.2 billion.
20. Theodore Leonsis (Washington Wizards): $1.4 billion
Leonsis initially built his fortune as a senior executive at AOL, before investing in sports teams like the Wizards and the NHL’s Capitals.
*Not included on the list but googled for your edification:
DeVos Family (Magic): $5.4 billion
James Dolan (Knicks): $2 billion
Joe Lacob (Warriors): $1.2 billion
Vivek Randive (Kings): $700 million
Robert Sarver (Suns): $400 million
Jody Allen (Trail Blazers): The sister of Microsoft cofounder, Paul G. Allen, took control of the team after his death. At the time her brother was worth $20 billion though he intended to give most of his fortune away...
Boston Basketball Partners LLC (Celtics): An American local private investment group formed to purchase the Boston Celtics
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (Raptors): The Raptors are a subsidiary of MLSE
The Professional Basketball Club, LLC (Thunder): A group of OKC businessmen "who represent a wide variety of local and national business interests" owns the Thunder
Spurs Sports & Entertainment LLC (Spurs): An American sports & entertainment organization, based in San Antonio, Texas owns the San Antonio Spurs
submitted by whoriasteinem to nba [link] [comments]

What a USL D1 league might look like

TL;DR: Man with too much time on his hands goes deep down the rabbit hole on a concept this sub already didn’t seem that enthusiastic about. If you really want to skip ahead, CTRL+F “verdict” and it’ll get you there.
Two days ago, u/MrPhillyj2wns made a post asking whether USL should launch a D1 league in order to compete in Concacaf. From the top voted replies, it appears this made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
But I’ve been at home for eight weeks and I am terribly, terribly bored.
So, I present to you this overview of what the USL pyramid might look like if Jake Edwards got a head of steam and attempted to establish a USSF-sanctioned first division. This is by no means an endorsement of such a proposal or even a suggestion that USL SHOULD do such a thing. It is merely an examination of whether they COULD.
Welcome to the Thunderdome USL Premiership
First, there are some base-level assumptions we must make in this exercise, because it makes me feel more scientific and not like a guy who wrote this on Sunday while watching the Belarusian Premier League (Go BATE Borisov!).
  1. All D1 teams must comply with known USSF requirements for D1 leagues (more on that later).
  2. MLS, not liking this move, will immediately remove all directly-owned affiliate clubs from the USL structure (this does not include hybrid ownerships, like San Antonio FC – NYCFC). This removes all MLS2 teams but will not affect Colorado Springs, Reno, RGVFC and San Antonio.
  3. The USL will attempt to maintain both the USL Championship and USL League One, with an eventual mind toward creating the pro/rel paradise that is promised in Relegations 3:16.
  4. All of my research regarding facility size and ownership net worth is correct – this is probably the biggest leap of faith we have to make, since googling “NAME net worth” and “CITY richest people” doesn’t seem guaranteed to return accurate results.
  5. The most a club can increase its available seating capacity to meet D1 requirements in a current stadium is no more than 1,500 seats (10% of the required 15,000). If they need to add more, they’ll need a new facility.
  6. Let’s pretend that people are VERY willing to sell. It’s commonly acknowledged that the USL is a more financially feasible route to owning a soccer club than in MLS (c.f. MLS-Charlotte’s reported $325 million expansion fee) and the USSF has some very strict requirements for D1 sanctioning. It becomes pretty apparent when googling a lot of team’s owners that this requirement isn’t met, so let’s assume everyone that can’t sells to people who meet the requirements.
(Known) USSF D1 league requirements:
- League must have 12 teams to apply and 14 teams by year three
- Majority owner must have a net worth of $40 million, and the ownership group must have a total net worth of $70 million. The value of an owned stadium is not considered when calculating this value.
- Must have teams located in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones
- 75% of league’s teams must be based in markets with at a metro population of at least 1 million people.
- All league stadiums must have a capacity of at least 15,000
The ideal club candidate for the USL Premiership will meet the population and capacity requirements in its current ground, which will have a grass playing surface. Of the USL Championship’s 27 independent/hybrid affiliate clubs, I did not find one club that meets all these criteria as they currently stand.
Regarding turf fields, the USSF does not have a formal policy regarding the ideal playing surface but it is generally acknowledged that grass is superior to turf. 6 of 26 MLS stadiums utilize turf, or roughly 23% of stadiums. We’ll hold a similar restriction for our top flight, so 2-3 of our top flight clubs can have turf fields. Seem fair?
Capacity is going to be the biggest issue, since the disparity between current requirements for the second-tier (5,000) and the first tier (15,000) is a pretty massive gap. Nice club you have there, triple your capacity and you’re onto something. As a result, I have taken the liberty of relocating certain (read: nearly all) clubs to new grounds, trying my utmost to keep those clubs in their current markets and –importantly--, ensure they play on grass surfaces.
So, let’s do a case-by-case evaluation and see if we can put together 12-14 teams that meet the potential requirements, because what else do you have to do?
For each club’s breakdown, anything that represents a chance from what is currently true will be underlined.
Candidate: Birmingham Legion FC
Location (Metro population): Birmingham, Ala. (1,151,801)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Legion Field (FieldTurf, 71,594)
Potential owner: Stephens Family (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Birmingham has a pretty strong candidacy. Having ditched the 5,000-seater BBVA Field for Legion Field, which sits 2.4 miles away, they’ve tapped into the city’s soccer history. Legion Field hosted portions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the 1996 Olympics, including a 3-1 U.S. loss to Argentina that saw 83,183 pack the house. The Harbert family seemed like strong ownership contenders, but since the death of matriarch Marguerite Harbert in 2015, it’s unclear where the wealth in the family is concentrated, so the Stephens seem like a better candidate. The only real knock that I can think of is that we really want to avoid having clubs play on turf, so I’d say they’re on the bubble of our platonic ideal USL Prem.
Candidate: Charleston Battery
Location (Metro population): Charleston, S.C. (713,000)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Johnson Hagood Stadium (Grass, ~14,700)
Potential owner: Anita Zucker (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Charleston’s candidacy isn’t looking great. Already disadvantaged due to its undersized metro population, a move across the Cooper River to Johnson Hagood Stadium is cutting it close in terms of capacity. The stadium, home to The Citadel’s football team, used to seat 21,000, before 9,300 seats on the eastern grandstand were torn down in 2017 to deal with lead paint that had been used in their construction. Renovation plans include adding 3,000 seats back in, which could hit 15,000 if they bumped it to 3,300, but throw in a required sale by HCFC, LLC (led by content-creation platform founder Rob Salvatore) to chemical magnate Anita Zucker, and you’ll see there’s a lot of ifs and ands in this proposal.
Candidate: Charlotte Independence
Location (Metro population): Charlotte, N.C. (2,569, 213)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (Turf, 15,314)
Potential owner: James Goodnight (reported net worth $9.1 billion)
Notes: Charlotte ticks a lot of the boxes. A move from the Sportsplex at Matthews to UNC-Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson stadium meets capacity requirements, but puts them on to the dreaded turf. Regrettably, nearby American Legion Memorial Stadium only seats 10,500, despite a grass playing surface. With a sizeable metro population (sixth-largest in the USL Championship) and a possible owner in software billionaire James Goodnight, you’ve got some options here. The biggest problem likely lies in direct competition for market share against a much better-funded MLS Charlotte side due to join the league in 2021.
Candidate: Hartford Athletic
Location (Metro population): Hartford, Conn. (1,214,295)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Pratt & Whitney Stadium (Grass, 38,066)
Potential owner: Ray Dalio (reported net worth $18.4 billion)
Notes: Okay, I cheated a bit here, having to relocate Hartford to Pratt & Whitney Stadium, which is technically in East Hartford, Conn. I don’t know enough about the area to know if there’s some kind of massive beef between the two cities, but the club has history there, having played seven games in 2019 while Dillon Stadium underwent renovations. If the group of local businessmen that currently own the club manage to attract Dalio to the table, we’re on to something.
Candidate: Indy Eleven
Location (Metro population): Indianapolis, Ind. (2,048,703)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lucas Oil Stadium (Turf, 62,421)
Potential owner: Jim Irsay (reported net worth of $3 billion)
Notes: Indy Eleven are a club that are SO CLOSE to being an ideal candidate – if it weren’t for Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf playing surface. Still, there’s a lot to like in this bid. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what current owner and founder Ersal Ozdemir is worth, but it seems like there might be cause for concern. A sale to Irsay, who also owns the NFL Indianapolis (nee Baltimore) Colts, seems likely to keep the franchise there, rather than make a half-mile move to 14,230 capacity Victory Field where the AAA Indianapolis Indians play and expand from there.
Candidate: Louisville City FC
Location (Metro population): Louisville, Ky. (1,297,310)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lynn Family Stadium (Grass, 14,000, possibly expandable to 20,000)
Potential owner: Wayne Hughes (reported net worth $2.8 billion)
Notes: I’m stretching things a bit here. Lynn Family stadium is currently listed as having 11,700 capacity that’s expandable to 14,000, but they’ve said that the ground could hold as many as 20,000 with additional construction, which might be enough to grant them a temporary waiver from USSF. If the stadium is a no-go, then there’s always Cardinal Stadium, home to the University of Louisville’s football team, which seats 65,000 but is turf. Either way, it seems like a sale to someone like Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes will be necessary to ensure the club has enough capital.
Candidate: Memphis 901 FC
Location (Metro population): Memphis, Tenn. (1,348,260)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Liberty Bowl Stadium (Turf, 58,325)
Potential owner: Fred Smith (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Unfortunately for Memphis, AutoZone Park’s 10,000 seats won’t cut it at the D1 level. With its urban location, it would likely prove tough to renovate, as well. Liberty Bowl Stadium more than meets the need, but will involve the use of the dreaded turf. As far as an owner goes, FedEx founder Fred Smith seems like a good local option.
Candidate: Miami FC, “The”
Location (Metro population): Miami, Fla. (6,158,824)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Riccardo Silva Stadium (FieldTurf, 20,000)
Potential owner: Riccardo Silva (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: Well, well, well, Silva might get his wish for top-flight soccer, after all. He’s got the money, he’s got the metro, and his ground has the capacity. There is the nagging issue of the turf, though. Hard Rock Stadium might present a solution, including a capacity of 64,767 and a grass playing surface. It is worth noting, however, that this is the first profile where I didn’t have to find a new potential owner for a club.
Candidate: North Carolina FC
Location (Metro population): Durham, N.C. (1,214,516 in The Triangle)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Carter-Finley Stadium (Grass/Turf, 57,583)
Potential owner: Steve Malik (precise net worth unknown) / Dennis Gillings (reported net worth of $1.7 billion)
Notes: We have our first “relocation” in North Carolina FC, who were forced to trade Cary’s 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park for Carter-Finley Stadium in Durham, home of the NC State Wolfpack and 57,583 of their closest friends. The move is a whopping 3.1 miles, thanks to the close-knit hub that exists between Cary, Durham and Raleigh. Carter-Finley might be my favorite of the stadium moves in this exercise. The field is grass, but the sidelines are artificial turf. Weird, right? Either way, it was good enough for Juventus to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara there in 2011. Maybe the move would be pushed for by new owner and medical magnate Dennis Gillings, whose British roots might inspire him to get involved in the Beautiful Game. Straight up, though, I couldn’t find a net worth for current owner Steve Malik, though he did sell his company MedFusion for $91 million in 2010, then bought it back for an undisclosed amount and sold it again for $43 million last November. I don’t know if Malik has the juice to meet D1 requirements, but I suspect he’s close.
Candidate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Location (Metro population): Pittsburgh, Penn. (2,362,453)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Heinz Field (Grass, 64,450)
Potential owner: Henry Hillman (reported net worth $2.5 billion)
Notes: I don’t know a ton about the Riverhounds, but this move in particular feels like depriving a pretty blue-collar club from its roots. Highmark Stadium is a no-go from a seating perspective, but the Steelers’ home stadium at Heinz Field would more than meet the requirements and have a grass surface that was large enough to be sanctioned for a FIFA friendly between the U.S. WNT and Costa Rica in 2015. As for an owner, Tuffy Shallenberger (first ballot owner name HOF) doesn’t seem to fit the USSF bill, but legendary Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Hillman might. I’m sure you’re asking, why not the Rooney Family, if they’ll play at Heinz Field? I’ll tell you: I honestly can’t seem to pin down a value for the family. The Steelers are valued at a little over a billion and rumors persist that Dan Rooney is worth $500 million, but I’m not sure. I guess the Rooneys would work too, but it’s a definite departure from an owner in Shallenberger who was described by one journalist as a guy who “wears boots, jeans, a sweater and a trucker hat.”
Candidate: Saint Louis FC
Location (Metro population): St. Louis, Mo. (2,807,338)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Busch Stadium (Grass, 45,494)
Potential owner: William DeWitt Jr. (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Saint Louis has some weirdness in making the jump to D1. Current CEO Jim Kavanaugh is an owner of the MLS side that will begin play in 2022. The club’s current ground at West Community Stadium isn’t big enough, but perhaps a timely sale to Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. could see the club playing games at Busch Stadium, which has a well established history of hosting other sports like hockey, college football and soccer (most recently a U.S. WNT friendly against New Zealand in 2019). The competition with another MLS franchise wouldn’t be ideal, like Charlotte, but with a big enough population and cross marketing from the Cardinals, maybe there’s a winner here. Wacko idea: If Busch doesn’t pan out, send them to The Dome. Sure, it’s a 60k turf closed-in stadium, but we can go for that retro NASL feel and pay homage to our nation’s soccer history.
Candidate: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Location (Metro population): Tampa, Fla. (3,068,511)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Raymond James Stadium (Grass, 65,518)
Potential owner: Edward DeBartolo Jr. (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: This one makes me sad. Despite having never been there, I see Al Lang Stadium as an iconic part of the Rowdies experience. Current owner Bill Edwards proposed an expansion to 18,000 seats in 2016, but the move seems to have stalled out. Frustrated with the city’s lack of action, Edwards sells to one-time San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who uses his old NFL connections to secure a cushy lease at the home of the Buccaneers in Ray Jay, the site of a 3-1 thrashing of Antigua and Barbuda during the United States’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign.
Breather. Hey, we finished the Eastern Conference teams. Why are you still reading this? Why am I still writing it? Time is a meaningless construct in 2020 my friends, we are adrift in the void, fueled only by brief flashes of what once was and what may yet still be.
Candidate: Austin Bold FC
Location (Metro population): Austin, Texas (2,168,316)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 95,594)
Potential owner: Michael Dell (reported net worth of $32.3 billion)
Notes: Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has some unexpected competition and it comes in the form of tech magnate Michael Dell. Dell, were he to buy the club, would be one of the richest owners on our list and could flash his cash in the new first division. Would he have enough to convince Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (I’m not kidding, that’s its actual name) to go back to a grass surface, like it did from ’96-’08? That’s between Dell and nearly 100,000 UT football fans, but everything can be had for the right price.
Candidate: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Location (Metro population): Colorado Springs, Colo. (738,939)
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Falcon Stadium (FieldTurf, 46,692)
Potential owner: Charles Ergen (reported net worth $10.8 billion)
Notes: Welcome to Colorado Springs. We have hurdles. For the first time in 12 candidates, we’re back below the desired 1 million metro population mark. Colorado Springs actually plans to build a $35 million, 8,000 seat venue downtown that will be perfect for soccer, but in our timeline that’s 7,000 seats short. Enter Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Seems perfect except for the turf, right? Well, the tricky thing is that Falcon Stadium is technically on an active military base and is (I believe) government property. Challenges to getting in and out of the ground aside, the military tends to have a pretty grim view of government property being used by for-profit enterprises. Maybe Charles Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network, would be able to grease the right wheels, but you can go ahead and throw this into the “doubtful” category. It’s a shame, too. 6,035 feet of elevation is one hell of a home-field advantage.
Candidate: El Paso Locomotive FC
Location: El Paso, Texas
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Sun Bowl (FieldTurf, 51,500)
Potential owner: Paul Foster (reported net worth $1.7 billion)
Notes: God bless Texas. When compiling this list, I found so many of the theoretical stadium replacements were nearly serviceable by high school football fields. That’s insane, right? Anyway, Locomotive don’t have to settle for one of those, they’ve got the Sun Bowl, which had its capacity reduced in 2001 to a paltry 51,500 (from 52,000) specifically to accommodate soccer. Sure, it’s a turf surface, but what does new owner Paul Foster (who is only the 1,477th wealthiest man in the world, per Forbes) care, he’s got a team in a top league. Side note: Did you know that the Sun Bowl college football game is officially, through sponsorship, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl? Why is it not the Frosted Flakes Sun Bowl? Why is the cereal mascot the promotional name of the football game? What are you doing, Kellogg’s?
Candidate: Las Vegas Lights FC
Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (2,227,053)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Allegiant Stadium (Grass, 61,000)
Potential owner: Sheldon Adelson (reported net worth $37.7 billion)
Notes: Sin City. You had to know that the club that once signed Freddy Adu because “why not” was going to go all out in our flashy hypothetical proposal. Thanks to my narrative control of this whole thing, they have. Adelson is the second-richest owner in the league and has decided to do everything first class. That includes using the new Raiders stadium in nearby unincorporated Paradise, Nevada, and spending boatloads on high profile transfers. Zlatan is coming back to the U.S., confirmed.
Candidate: New Mexico United
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Isotopes Park – officially Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park (Grass, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Maloof Family (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: New Mexico from its inception went deep on the community vibe, and I’ve tried to replicate that in this bid. The home field of Rio Grande Cr---I’m not typing out the whole thing—Isotopes Park falls just within the expansion rules we set to make it to 15,000 (weird, right?) and they’ve found a great local ownership group in the Lebanese-American Maloof (formerly Maalouf) family from Las Vegas. The only thing to worry about would be the metro population, but overall, this could be one of the gems of USL Prem.
Candidate: Oklahoma City Energy FC
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (1,396,445)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Grass, 13,066)
Potential owner: Harold Hamm (reported net worth $14.2 billion)
Notes: There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and it says it’s time to change stadiums and owners to make it to D1. A sale to oil magnate Harold Hamm would give the club the finances it needs, but Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (home of the OKC Dodgers) actually falls outside of the boundary of what would meet capacity if 1,500 seats were added. Could the club pull off a move to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma – home of the Oklahoma Sooners? Maybe, but at 20 miles, this would be a reach.
Candidate: Orange County SC
Location: Irvine, Calif. (3,176, 000 in Orange County)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Grass, 43,250)
Potential owner: Arte Moreno (reported net worth $3.3 billion)
Notes: You’ll never convince me that Rangers didn’t choose to partner with Orange County based primarily on its name. Either way, a sale to MLB Angels owner Arte Moreno produces a fruitful partnership, with the owner choosing to play his newest club out of the existing Angels stadium in OC. Another baseball conversion, sure, but with a metro population of over 3 million and the closest thing this hypothetical league has to an LA market, who’s complaining?
Candidate: Phoenix Rising FC
Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (4,857,962)
Time zone: Arizona
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): State Farm Stadium (Grass, 63,400)
Potential owner: Ernest Garcia II (reported net worth $5.7 billion)
Notes: We’re keeping it local with new owner and used car guru Ernest Garcia II. His dad owned a liquor store and he dropped out of college, which is making me feel amazing about my life choices right now. Casino Arizona Field is great, but State Farm Stadium is a grass surface that hosted the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal, so it’s a clear winner. Throw in Phoenix’s massive metro population and this one looks like a lock.
Candidate: Reno 1868 FC
Location: Reno, Nev. (425,417)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Mackay Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: Nancy Walton Laurie (reported net worth $7.1 billion)
Notes: The Biggest Little City on Earth has some serious barriers to overcome, thanks to its low metro population. A sale to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and 1.6 mile-move to Mackay Stadium to split space with the University of Nevada, Reno makes this bid competitive, but the turf surface is another knock against it.
Candidate: Rio Grande Valley FC
Location: Edinburg, Texas (900,304)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): McAllen Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Alice Louise Walton (reported net worth $45 billion)
Notes: Yes, I have a second straight Walmart heiress on the list. She was the first thing that popped up when I googled “McAllen Texas richest people.” The family rivalry has spurred Walton to buy a club as well, moving them 10 miles to McAllen Memorial Stadium which, as I alluded to earlier, is a straight up high school football stadium with a full color scoreboard. Toss in an additional 1,500 seats and you’ve met the minimum, despite the turf playing surface.
Candidate: San Antonio FC
Location: San Antonio, Texas (2,550,960)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Alamodome (FieldTurf, 64,000)
Potential owner: Red McCombs (reported net worth $1.6 billion)
Notes: I wanted to keep SAFC in the Spurs family, since the franchise is valued at $1.8 billion. That said, I didn’t let the Rooneys own the Riverhounds based on the Steelers’ value and it felt wrong to change the rules, so bring on Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. Toyota Field isn’t viable in the first division, but for the Alamodome, which was built in 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL franchise (and never did), San Antonio can finally claim having *a* national football league team in its town (contingent on your definition of football). Now if only we could do something about that turf…
Candidate: San Diego Loyal SC
Location: San Diego, Calif. (3,317,749)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) (Grass, 70,561)
Potential owner: Phil Mickelson (reported net worth $91 million)
Notes: Yes, golf’s Phil Mickelson. The existing ownership group didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to meet requirements, and Phil seemed to slot right in. As an athlete himself, he might be interesting in the new challenges of a top flight soccer team. Toss in a move to the former home of the chargers and you might have a basis for tremendous community support.
Candidate: FC Tulsa
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (991,561)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: George Kaiser ($10 billion)
Notes: I’m a fan of FC Tulsa’s rebrand, but if they want to make the first division, more changes are necessary. A sale to Tulsa native and one of the 100 richest men in the world George Kaiser means that funding is guaranteed. A move to Chapman Stadium would provide the necessary seats, despite the turf field. While the undersize population might be an issue at first glance, it’s hard to imagine U.S. Soccer not granting a waiver over a less than a 10k miss from the mark.
And that’s it! You made it. Those are all of the independent/hybrid affiliates in the USL Championship, which means that it’s time for our…
VERDICT: As an expert who has studied this issue for almost an entire day now, I am prepared to pronounce which USL Championships could be most ‘ready” for a jump to the USL Prem. A reminder that of the 27 clubs surveyed, 0 of them met our ideal criteria (proper ownership $, metro population, 15,000+ stadium with grass field).
Two of them, however, met almost all of those criteria: Indy Eleven and Miami FC. Those two clubs may use up two of our three available turf fields right from the outset, but the other factors they hit (particularly Silva’s ownership of Miami) makes them difficult, if not impossible to ignore for the top flight.
But who fill in the rest of the slots? Meet the entire 14-team USL Premier League:
Hartford Athletic
Indy Eleven
Louisville City FC
Miami FC
North Carolina FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Saint Louis FC
San Antonio FC
New Mexico United
Phoenix Rising FC
Las Vegas Lights FC
Orange County SC
San Diego Loyal SC
Now, I shall provide my expert rationale for each club’s inclusion/exclusion, which can be roughly broken down into four categories.
Firm “yes”
Hartford Athletic: It’s a good market size with a solid stadium. With a decent investor and good community support, you’ve got potential here.
Indy Eleven: The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is no reason to turn down a 62,421 venue and a metro population of over 2 million.
Louisville City FC: Why doesn’t the 2017 & 2018 USL Cup champion deserve a crack at the top flight? They have the market size, and with a bit of expansion have the stadium at their own SSS. LCFC, you’re in.
Miami FC, “The”: Our other blue-chip recruit on the basis of ownership value, market size and stadium capacity. Yes, that field is turf, but how could you snub Silva’s chance to claim victory as the first division 1 club soccer team to play in Miami?
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Pittsburgh sacrificed a lot to be here (according to my arbitrary calculations). Their market size and the potential boon of soccer at Heinz Field is an important inclusion to the league.
Saint Louis FC: Willie hears your “Busch League” jokes, Willie don’t care. A huge market size, combined with the absence of an NFL franchise creates opportunity. Competition with the MLS side, sure, but St. Louis has serious soccer history and we’re willing to bet it can support two clubs.
Tampa Bay Rowdies: With a huge population and a massive stadium waiting nearby, Tampa Bay seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up for the USL Prem.
Las Vegas Lights FC: Ostentatious, massive and well-financed, Las Vegas Lights FC is everything that the USL Premier League would need to assert that it didn’t intend to play second fiddle to MLS. Players will need to be kept on a short leash, but this is a hard market to pass up on.
Phoenix Rising FC: Huge population, big grass field available nearby and a solid history of success in recent years. No brainer.
San Diego Loyal SC: New club? Yes, massive population in a market that recently lost an absolutely huge sports presence? Also yes. This could be the USL Prem’s Seattle.
Cautious “yes”
New Mexico United: You have to take a chance on New Mexico United. The club set the league on fire with its social media presence and its weight in the community when it entered the league last season. The market may be slightly under USSF’s desired 1 million, but fervent support (and the ability to continue to use Isotopes Park) shouldn’t be discounted.
North Carolina FC: Carter-Finley’s mixed grass/turf surface is a barrier, to be sure, but the 57,000+ seats it offers (and being enough to offset other fully-turf offerings) is enough to put it in the black.
Orange County SC: It’s a top-tier club playing in a MLB stadium. I know it seems unlikely that USSF would approve something like that, but believe me when I say “it could happen.” Orange County is a massive market and California likely needs two clubs in the top flight.
San Antonio FC: Our third and only voluntary inclusion to the turf fields in the first division, we’re counting on San Antonio’s size and massive potential stadium to see it through.
Cautious “no”
Birmingham Legion FC: The town has solid soccer history and a huge potential venue, but the turf playing surface puts it on the outside looking in.
Memphis 901 FC: Like Birmingham, not much to dislike here outside of the turf playing surface at the larger playing venue.
Austin Bold FC: See the other two above.
FC Tulsa: Everything’s just a little bit off with this one. Market’s slightly too small, stadium has turf. Just not enough to put it over the top.
Firm “no”
Charleston Battery: Small metro and a small potential new stadium? It’s tough to say yes to the risk.
Charlotte Independence: A small new stadium and the possibility of having to compete with an organization that just paid over $300 million to join MLS means it’s best for this club to remain in the USL Championship.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: When a club’s best chance to meet a capacity requirement is to host games at a venue controlled by the military, that doesn’t speak well to a club’s chances.
El Paso Locomotive FC: An undersized market and a turf field that meets capacity requirements is the death knell for this one.
Oklahoma City Energy FC: Having to expand a baseball field to meet requirements is a bad start. Having to potentially play 20 miles away from your main market is even worse.
Reno 1868 FC: Population nearly a half-million short of the federation’s requirements AND a turf field at the hypothetical new stadium makes impossible to say yes to this bid.
Rio Grande Valley FC: All the seat expansions in the world can’t hide the fact that McAllen Memorial Stadium is a high school stadium through and through.
Here’s who’s left in the 11-team Championship:
Birmingham Legion FC
Charleston Battery
Charlotte Independence
Memphis 901 FC
Austin Bold FC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
El Paso Locomotive FC
Oklahoma City Energy FC
Reno 1868 FC
Rio Grande Valley FC
FC Tulsa
With MLS folding the six affiliates it has in USL League One, the league is a little bit thin (especially considering USSF’s requirements for 8 teams for lower level leagues), but seems definitely able to expand up to the necessary numbers with Edwards’ allusions to five new additions this year:
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Forward Madison FC
Greenville Triumph SC
Union Omaha
Richmond Kickers
South Georgia Tormenta
FC Tucson
Format of Assorted Leagues – This (like everything in this post) is pure conjecture on my part, but here are my thoughts on how these leagues might function in a first year while waiting for additional expansion.
USL Premier – We’ll steal from the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Each club plays the other 11 clubs 3 times, with either one or two home matches against each side. When each club has played 33 matches, the top six and bottom six separate, with every club playing an additional five matches (against each other team in its group). The top club wins the league. The bottom club is automatically relegated. The second-bottom club will enter a two-legged playoff against someone (see below) from the championship playoffs.
USL Championship -- 11 clubs is a challenge to schedule for. How about every club plays everyone else three times (either one or two home matches against each side)? Top four clubs make the playoffs, which are decided by two-legged playoffs. The winner automatically goes up. I need feedback on the second part – is it better to have the runner-up from the playoffs face the second-bottom club from the Premiership, or should the winner of the third-place match-up get the chance to face them to keep drama going in both playoff series? As for relegation, we can clearly only send down the last place club while the third division is so small.
USL League One – While the league is so small, it doesn’t seem reasonable to have the clubs play as many matches as the higher divisions. Each club could play the other six clubs four times – twice at home and twice away – for a very equitable 24-match regular season, which would help restrict costs and still provide a chance to determine a clear winner. Whoever finishes top of the table goes up.
And there you have it, a hypothetical look at how the USL could build a D1 league right now. All it would take is a new stadium for almost the entire league and new owners for all but one of the 27 clubs, who wouldn’t feel that their property would be massively devalued if they got relegated.
Well that’s our show. I’m curious to see what you think of all of this, especially anything that you think I may have overlooked (I’m sure there’s plenty). Anyway, I hope you’re all staying safe and well.
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PLACES TO VISIT IN U.S.A

1 The Statue of Liberty
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The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York, in the United States of America. The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, to celebrate the friendship the two endured during the American Revolution. Over the years, the Statue of Liberty has symbolized the freedom and the democracy of the United States. It serves as a popular tourist attraction, where visitors can learn about the history of Liberty Island and explore museums and exhibits on site. The best times to visit are Autumn and winter, if you want to avoid longer lines and waiting times. Depart on the ferry before 2 pm. The Statue of Liberty would take around 2-3 hours. If you want to visit both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, allow 5-6 hours for your visit. @Travel All Around The World
2. The Grand Canyon National Park
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The Grand Canyon National Park, in Arizona, is home to much of the immense Grand Canyon, with its layered bands of red rock revealing millions of years of geological history. Viewpoints include Mather Point, Yavapai Observation Station and architect Mary Colter’s Lookout Studio and her Desert View Watchtower. Lipan Point, with wide views of the canyon and Colorado River, is a popular, especially at sunrise and sunset. The best times to visit the Grand Canyon are March through May and September through November when daytime temperatures are cool. Five to seven hours according to park surveys, but if you really want to see the beauty of The Grand Canyon you should spend at least 2 day here. @Travel All Around The World
3. The Yellowstone National Park
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The Yellowstone National Park is a nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. Mostly in Wyoming, the park spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho too. Yellowstone features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests and gushing geysers. Yellowstone is known for its red-tinged canyon walls and awe-inspiring natural wonders like Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs. It's also home to hundreds of animal species, including bears, wolves, bison, elk and antelope. The best times to visit Yellowstone National Park are from April to May and between September and October. It takes longer than two days to really experience the Yellowstone area. @Travel All Around The World
4. The Golden Gate Bridge
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The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the one-mile-wide strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world, with a total length of 2.7km. You can see the Pacific Ocean on one side and the San Francisco Bay on the other. More than 10 million people visit the Golden Gate Bridge each year. The best time to visit it is either September or October. This is the best time to explore this place as the fog dissipates and the temperature becomes warm and enjoyable. 45 minutes to an hour, is good time to explore, enjoy and take some photo for your profile. @Travel All Around The World
5. The Glacier National Park
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The Glacier National Park is a 1,583-sq.-mi. wilderness area in Montana's Rocky Mountains, with glacier-carved peaks and valleys running to the Canadian border. It's crossed by the mountainous Going-to-the-Sun Road. Among more than 700 miles of hiking trails, it has a route to photogenic Hidden Lake. Other activities include backpacking, cycling and camping. Diverse wildlife ranges from mountain goats to grizzly bears. The best time to visit Glacier National Park is during the summer months of July, August, and September. June and October are also lovely times to go. To make a Glacier National Park trip worth it you need at least 3-5 days. @Travel All Around The World
6. The Niagara Falls
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The Niagara Falls is a city on the Niagara River, in New York State. It’s known for the vast Niagara Falls, which straddle the Canadian border. In Niagara Falls State Park, the Observation Tower, at Prospect Point, juts out over Niagara Gorge for a view of all 3 waterfalls. Trails from the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center lead to other viewpoints. The Aquarium of Niagara is home to Humboldt penguins, seals and sea lions. The best time to visit Niagara Falls is June to August. While summer is consider as a peak season. Based on this plan of the day, you should be spending anywhere between 8 to 10 hours at Niagara Falls and surrounding area. there is plenty of thing near to Niagara Falls. @Travel All Around The World
7. The San Antonio River Walk
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The San Antonio River Walk is a city park and network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of San Antonio, Texas, United States of America. Lined with bars, restaurants, biking trails, and museums, the Walk has become one of the most popular tourist spots in the state and is one of America's largest urban ecosystems. The San Antonio River Walk boat tour connects you to the city's culture, history, architecture, and timeless charm. The best time to visit San Antonio is from November to April, when the weather is comfortable and suitable to take a boat tour and Sightseeing. 2 days on the Riverwalk, ideally it will take 3-4 days. It is most beautiful decorated at time of Christmas, try to visit at that time too. @Travel All Around The World
8. The Las Vegas Strip
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The Las Vegas Strip also known as Las Vegas Boulevard,is the most recognizable street in Las Vegas. Lined with upscale casino hotels, the neon-soaked Strip is quintessential Las Vegas. As well as gambling floors, the vast hotel complexes house a variety of shops, restaurants, and performance venues for music, comedy and circus-style acts. Attractions like the soaring, choreographed Fountains of Bellagio and the High Roller observation wheel draw crowds.
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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Apr. 3, 2000

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE:
199119921993199419951996199719981999
1-3-2000 1-10-2000 1-17-2000 1-24-2000
1-31-2000 2-7-2000 2-14-2000 2-21-2000
2-28-2000 3-6-2000 3-13-2000 3-20-2000
3-27-2000

★★ READ THIS THREAD ★★

★★ Be The Match ★★

  • WCW has made the decision to bring back Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo in a last-ditch effort to save WCW. The decision has been in the works for about a month and people are already doubting whether or not the two can co-exist with each other. Dave recaps what led us to this point. First, the group of Bill Busch, Kevin Sullivan, JJ Dillon, and others pretty much pulled the coup last year that got Bischoff canned and Russo was hired soon after. But once it became clear that Russo desperately needs someone to filter his insane ideas, those people also pretty much forced Russo out in favor of Sullivan as the head booker. But the company continued free-falling under Sullivan. Bischoff and Russo had been in talks with Brad Seigel and pitched an idea where they would lead competing factions of older and younger wrestlers fighting over power for the company. Bischoff tried a similar angle to this last year but it never got off the ground because, aside from Ric Flair, none of the older wrestlers (like Savage, Hogan, Piper, etc.) wanted to be portrayed as "old" and didn't want to be forced to put over younger stars that hadn't established themselves. Bischoff was officially hired back into WCW as the head of creative on 3/22, but due to the company losing so much money on his watch last year, he was not given control over the business end of things. Bill Busch informed Siegel that he would quit if Bischoff was brought back, and he made good on his word and walked out when he was told. Bob Mould, a somewhat famous musician who has also been part of WCW's creative and management team, also quit when he heard the news. Kevin Sullivan has been told he's essentially being sent home to sit out the rest of his contract and he no longer has any power either. Sullivan has argued that he was handicapped after inheriting the mess Russo and Bischoff left behind, plus the injuries to Goldberg and Bret Hart, and while that's true, Sullivan never really made any major changes either and it was clear things weren't going to improve with him booking.
  • The initial idea was to cancel this week's TV tapings and shut down for a week and then return on 4/10 with a fresh start and new storylines. But they ended up not cancelling the tapings and as a result, this week's Nitro is expected to be the lowest rated in the show's history. There was also talk of shutting down for several weeks and cancelling next week's PPV, which Dave thinks might not be the worst idea so they can take the time to slap a fresh coat of paint on the company and basically reboot. But it doesn't look like that will happen either. On Nitro this week, the announcers played it up big, labeling Russo as the man who turned WWF around and Bischoff as the one who turned WCW around several years ago and literally calling them the geniuses responsible for the current pro wrestling boom. Dave says you can't argue with Bischoff's initial success. He took WCW, which was in the red for about $6 million per year and turned it into a $200 million dollar company by 1998. But even at their peak, it was clear WCW had no future because they built around stars who were past their prime and never had a focus on creating future stars to sustain that success. WWF capitalized on that failure and by the end of 1999, WCW was back in the red again, way worse than they were before Bischoff took over. After a series of dumb, expensive investments (KISS, Master P, Megadeth, Dennis Rodman the 2nd time, etc.), losing stars like Chris Jericho, and continuing to rely on old 80s relics, and blowing through millions of Turner's dollars with nothing to show for it, the company lost faith in Bischoff's business judgement. At one point, Bischoff just turned the whole thing over to Kevin Nash as the new booker, who seemingly had no interest in doing anything other than pushing himself and his friends, which sunk the company to even further lows.
  • As for Russo, it's true that WWF did pretty huge numbers during the time he became more involved in creative and when he left the company, he did a good job of convincing everyone that he was the genius behind WWF's turnaround. But within a few months of his departure, it became clear just which Vince deserved the credit for WWF's success. WWF never missed a beat when Russo left and TV ratings and house show business continued to increase (and keep in mind, WWF hasn't had Austin or Undertaker for the last 6 months either, plus McMahon has kept himself off TV until recently also). Meanwhile, in WCW, when Russo took over, the company just skidded further off the rails. Russo did play a major part in pushing WWF to move away from the failing family-friendly approach. But really, they pretty much just copied Paul Heyman's formula so...ya know. To be fair to Russo, he seemed to be the only person in WCW who realized how badly the company needed a drastic change and he really did try to push new people like Benoit, Bagwell, and Jarrett to the top. But then he brought back Piper, brought in George Steele and Jimmy Snuka, and booked dangerous angles like the one that got Goldberg injured. He came in with a lot of hype and ratings initially went up a bit out of curiosity, but they quickly plummeted again. He booked a tired rehash of the Montreal Screwjob finish at Starrcade, rendered all the belts meaningless, booked absurd screwjob endings to nearly every match on TV and PPV, and essentially booked the company like a monkey throwing his poop at random. As a result, WCW has now fallen behind ECW in both PPV buyrates and live show attendance and TV ratings have continued to plummet.
  • Here's some cold hard numbers for those Russo supporters out there who still, somehow, defend this guy 20 years later: when Russo took over WCW in Oct. 99, they were averaging 4,628 people per show. By January (his last month in power), average attendance was down to 3,593. Nitro's ratings in Oct. 99 were averaging 3.08. By January, the average was....3.10. Oh, you say! But that's higher! Yes, on paper, 3.10 looks higher than 3.08. But the reality is, during that time, Nitro went from three hours back down to two. On paper, that should have led to a significant increase in the average. If Nitro was still three hours, that 3.10 would be equivalent to a 2.9. So even though it looks like ratings slightly increased on Russo's watch, they actually went down. The loss of that third hour gives the illusion that they didn't. Oh and in Oct. 99, the Halloween Havoc buyrate was 0.52. In January, the PPV buyrate was 0.26. TL;DR - by literally every single metric, WCW business got worse under Vince Russo. But hey, it got even worse since he left, so...take solace in that?
  • Quick note just at press time, it's been reported that they will announce the XFL will air in prime time on NBC due to a deal between Vince McMahon and Dick Ebersol. The two men were business partners back in the 80s and put together Saturday Night Main Event. If this ends up being true, it would be huge for both the XFL and WWF and is expected to play a part in WWF's new TV deal. More on this next week.
  • With Wrestlemania just around the corner, Dave takes a long in-depth look at the biggest annual show in the business. He starts by talking about the 3 biggest annual events in wrestling. NJPW's Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show has been the biggest wrestling event in the world for much of the last decade since starting in 1992 because NJPW was the biggest and most successful company. But NJPW is struggling these days and WWF has surpassed them as the top company. WCW has Starrcade, but the only year that show was ever the biggest was in 1997 (Sting/Hogan) and never really reached the heights of Wrestlemania or the Tokyo Dome show. From here, Dave recaps the entire history of Wrestlemania. Risking it all on WM1, the Mr. T and Cyndi LaupeMTV crossover promotion, the 3-arena debacle of WM2 (where 2 of the 3 arenas weren't even sold out), WM3 which is the most historically famous wrestling event ever and all the folklore surrounding that ("While the 93,173 number is a work repeated so often even those who should know better believe it's the truth. According to Zane Bresloff, who promoted the event, the actual number in the building was 78,000, but the event did sellout weeks in advance and it is realistic to believe the potential if the building was larger could have been 100,000 tickets," Dave says and I'm sure that won't lead to a tired ass discussion in the comments.) The next 2 WM events at Trump Plaza, which were held because Trump paid for them, hoping to do the same kind of business that major boxing events usually do. But the crowds sucked because they mostly weren't wrestling fans, they were high rolling casino comps. Dave also takes a moment here to detail the history of WWF and Jim Crockett running shows against each other's major events to attempt to hurt them, like Vince creating Survivor Series solely to try to hurt the 1987 Starrcade buyrate, and how Crockett retaliated by airing Clash of the Champions on free TV against WM4 and so on and so forth for the next couple of years. Then there's WM6 with Hogan/Warrior, the WM7 drama with the venue being changed due to low ticket sales and turned out to be a huge flop on PPV. WM8 with over 60,000 fans except a LOT of them were papered and it flopped on PPV. WM9 with Hogan returning to win the title, but it didn't help business and he refused to put Bret over later that year. WM10 with 2 of the greatest WM matches in history, WM11 with Lawrence Taylor, WM12 with the ironman match, WM13 which had the Bret/Austin classic but was the moment WWF hit the bottom of the barrel with the lowest WM buyrate ever, WM14 with Mike Tyson and the crowning of Austin as the new top star which did record business, and finally WM15 which mostly sucked but ended up being the biggest money show in wrestling history...until next week when WM16 inevitably breaks that record. Anyway, Dave goes into more in-depth recap of each Wrestlemania here, but you already know the stories on most of this so I...actually have no idea why I just wrote this big ass paragraph.
  • Last year's Wrestlemania featured Austin/Rock main eventing and broke a bazillion records. This year's plan was originally to do a rematch, with the roles reversed (Austin as heel) but Austin getting injured screwed that up. This year's WM is still expected to become the biggest money grossing event in the history of professional wrestling. As for this year's plans, it's still up in the air. As of a few weeks ago, the plan has always been for Rock to win the title, essentially his coronation as the new top star and face of the company. But that may not happen anymore because Rock is scheduled to film The Mummy 2 movie and will be out for a couple of months soon after Wrestlemania. It's not in the company's best interest to build toward Rock's big moment for an entire year, only to have him win the title and then have to lose it again a month later. The company is pushing the idea that Foley will win and that's what they want everyone to believe, for the big feel good story. Dave thinks the only chance of Triple H retaining will be if Foley turns heel and helps cost Rock the match. Usually a heel retaining the title at Wrestlemania seems like something they'd never do, but Triple H (who was only supposed to be a transitional champion to begin with) has been a huge success as champion and has become a legit main eventer and top star. And Big Show pretty much isn't even in the discussion. Though for what it's worth, Dave says Big Show will probably become the tallest wrestler to ever headline a Wrestlemania, so hey, that's something! Of course, in kayfabe, Andre The Giant was billed at 7'4 (he wasn't) so even though Big Show is legitimately slightly taller than Andre was, they can't admit that without breaking the Andre mystique.
  • Despite all the huge paragraphs above, they're really only 2 stories. I guess this is a slow week because Dave writes huge pieces about a former WCW jobber turned boxer who was exposed for fixing his matches and all the legal issues with that. And then he writes a big historical piece about Frank Gotch that stems from a letter someone wrote the week before. All really interesting stuff, but none of it newsworthy at all.
  • Ratings news, Monday stuff is still the same. Thunder ratings reached a pretty horrible low and bottomed out with the main event of Hulk Hogan vs. Dustin Rhodes doing a terrible 1.91 rating. WWF Sunday Night Heat did a lower than usual rating because the Oscars were on. ECW did a pretty bad rating for the 2nd week in a row and was actually close to their all-time low, which isn't good news and kinda surprising since just a few weeks back, they were reaching all-time highs on TNN.
  • Dave recently ran a poll on the radio show, asking fans which was better*: Wrestling With Shadows or Beyond The Mat? With 37% of the vote, Wrestling With Shadows wins, compared to 21% for Beyond The Mat. The other percentages were people who haven't seen one or the other. What say we, Wreddit?
  • AJPW pulled a huge surprise in their annual Champion Carnival tournament. Jun Akiyama, who was expected to easily make it to the finals of the tournament, ended up losing to Takao Omori in a 7 second match in the very first round. It's the shortest match in AJPW history. It's a single elimination tournament, which means Akiyama has been eliminated. Dave isn't really sure what the plan is here, but it damn sure makes the tournament hard to predict now. He speculates that this means Steve Williams will probably end up in the finals against either Misawa, Kawada, Kobashi, or maaaaybe Vader (Williams didn't make the finals either. It ended up being Kobashi vs. Omori, because AJPW apparently decided to strap a rocket to Omori and try to make a main eventer out of him. Prior to this, it looks like he was just sort of languishing in the midcard).
WATCH: Jun Akiyama vs. Takao Omori - AJPW 2000
  • Oh hey, in the very next paragraph, Dave breaks down the next tournament matches and wonders whether AJPW may end up pushing Omori to the finals in order to try to make him a star (yup).
  • Speaking of Kobashi, he blew his knee out last week and doctors have told him he needs surgery. As anyone who follows AJPW and Kobashi in particular knows, he's naturally ignoring that advice and continuing to wrestle. Because Kobashi.
  • Shawn Michaels will be returning to the ring next week for his own TWA promotion in Texas. Michaels is billing it as his final match, coming out of retirement to face Venom for the TWA title. The match is said to be a "bunkhouse brawl" instead of a regular wrestling match because Michaels has said his back can't stand up to doing a normal match.
  • A website called TokyoPop.com is going to start airing live matches from FMW online (that seems like it would have sucked with 2000-era internet technology. Anyway, TokyoPop.com still exists. It's an anime/manga site).
  • Dave recently caught up on some Memphis Championship Wrestling and gives his thoughts on some of the people there. K-Krush has good charisma (that would be R-Truth). Bobcat looks like every other blonde valet (she's most famous for being the Godfather's ho that won the hardcore title). Blue Meanie has lost so much weight that he doesn't even look like the same person. Lance Russell is still an incredible announcer. So on and so forth. Anyway, Dustin Diamond (Screech from Saved By The Bell) appeared yet again, continuing his angle of being obsessed with the Kat which once again led to Screech getting beat down and doing a stretcher job.
  • ECW has a PPV scheduled for next month but have not yet picked a location. Heyman wants to run the show in a new market because the first-time crowds are usually the best. Heyman had negotiated with the Mandalay Bay casino and hotel in Las Vegas to do it there, but the talks fell through. Both Jerry Lynn and RVD are expected to be back from their injuries by then.
  • Notes from the most recent ECW TV taping: Dusty Rhodes came out with 2 strippers who flashed the crowd, but of course that won't air on TV. Cyrus made fun of Mick Foley's "retirement." And the show ended strangely. Sandman and Super Crazy were beat down after the main event and left laying. And....that was supposed to be the end of the show. But the crowd was expecting to be sent home happy and didn't leave and kept chanting for Sandman (who was helped out of the ring, selling an injury) and Raven (who was at the show but didn't work due to illness). Heyman called an audible and sent Mikey Whipwreck out to tell the crowd to leave, which led to Raven making an unplanned run-in to give him a DDT, which is about all he could physically do. Then, with Raven in the ring, the crowd began chanting for Sandman to come back out, so Raven went with it and called for him to come out. But by this point, Sandman was already in the showers and thought he was done for the night and he legitimately didn't want to come back out. Ultimately, he did and he caned Raven to send everyone home happy, but he was upset about it and he had words with Heyman and Raven immediately after backstage.
  • New Jack and Tommy Dreamer will be appearing together in a small role in the CBS TV drama Early Edition.
WATCH: New Jack & Tommy Dreamer on Early Edition
  • Every angle done on WCW TV this week was meaningless because the company is starting over with a clean slate in 2 weeks under Bischoff and Russo. Spring Stampede takes place on the 16th and there are no matches planned as of yet and there won't be until 6 days before the show when WCW resets. Word is Russo will be doing most of the writing. In an interview with 1wrestling.com, Russo said he hasn't watched a single second of WCW TV since he was relieved of his duties back in January.
  • Notes from Nitro: it was the spring break show, so the crowd at least seemed to be having fun which is a break from normal WCW shows. Someone in the front row had an "I wish I was at Raw" sign that somehow never got confiscated and was there for the entire show on camera. At the very beginning of the show, a woman in the front row flashed Gene Okerlund, leading to him saying, "Young lady, you're very proud of those, aren't you?" on TV. DDP made his big return and pretty much just plugged the Ready To Rumble movie. Sid Vicious missed the show due to a shoulder injury. Dave can understand not wrestling with an injury but Sid is the WCW champion, and Dave thinks he should at least show up and cut a promo or something. But then again, nothing in WCW matters right now until Russo and Bischoff reboot it anyway. Sting and Luger fought onto the beach all the way to the ocean. And to his credit, Hogan did a promo during the show where he really put over Vampiro as the wrestler of the future and later in the main event, he worked against The Wall and allowed Wall to no-sell the leg drop. So kudos to WCW for finally making an effort to push some new people, even if it all gets wiped away in 2 weeks.
  • Notes from Thunder: the show drew 1,700 paid fans. Literally 24 hours earlier, Raw sold out a different arena in the same city for Raw with over 12,500 paid fans. Lots of rumors were going around saying Bobby Heenan had been fired, but he was doing commentary on this show, so obviously that wasn't true. Chris Candido is already doing jobs to Chavo Guerrero so he clearly isn't getting any sort of push after debuting just a couple weeks ago. And no real storyline progression, just tons of hype about what the future for WCW holds under Bischoff and Russo. WCW is basically in a holding pattern right now and nothing matters until the reboot.
  • Hogan appeared on another radio station doing an interview where he buries everybody. He said Bret Hart is in Canada and "can't remember what WCW is." He said DDP was out injured with a broken fingernail and said WCW needs people who will crawl through broken glass with one arm in a sling to sacrifice and get in the ring. He said Kidman needs to start training like Torrie Wilson. He did praise Vampiro again though, so Hogan seems to like him. Anyway, WCW head Bill Busch was on WCW's live internet show and admitted that Hogan has full creative control in his contract and also said that he still has 6 guaranteed PPV main event matches in his deal.
  • Tammy Sytch is expected to make her WCW debut at the Spring Stampede PPV.
  • Variety ran a big story about some marketing changes that WCW is making. New hires to take over various marketing jobs, new marketing strategies and promotions that the company is planning to run, etc. Dave says that's all well and good, but nowhere in the article did it mention the idea of maybe putting on good shows that people want to see. All the marketing geniuses in the world can't save a product as terrible as WCW is right now.
  • Brad Armstrong will be out of action for several months with a knee injury suffered in the dumbest way possible. For some reason, before a show, Armstrong was goofing around in the parking lot with Juventud Guerrera and Psicosis and they decided--just for shits and giggles--to do the ol' famous wrestling angle of hitting someone with their car. You know, one of those dumb "you drive at me, I'll jump up on the hood like the stuntmen do in the movies" type of things. So.....they did it. And now Armstrong needs knee surgery because of course he does (that was pretty much it for him. He never wrestled in WCW again and in fact, he didn't wrestle anywhere for another 4 years before returning to the ring in 2004 and working indie shows periodically until 2011. Died a year later).
  • Les Thatcher's Heartland Wrestling Association have signed a deal with WCW to act as a developmental territory for them. Power Plant wrestlers will go work shows for him for a little while before debuting on WCW TV.
  • Various WCW notes: Mexican wrestlers Halloween and Damian are joining Sonny Onoo's racial discrimination lawsuit against WCW. Although with Bischoff returning to the company, Dave expects this lawsuit to ultimately disappear. Christopher Daniels starts with WCW next week. Dave thinks he has a ton of potential. Some people within the company are pushing for Shane Douglas to return. Konnan's suspension ends this week so he should be back soon.
  • The legal red tape behind the scenes on WWF's new TV deal is still being sorted out. The FCC is expected to allow the Viacom purchase of UPN to go through, which will mean Viacom will own 2 networks (CBS and UPN) which used to be against the law but that's being changed now. Those in the TV industry pretty much believe this to be a done deal. The news has boosted WWF stock up to $17.31 per share (as I write this, WWF just announced the new FOX deal for Smackdown, which boosted the stock up to damn near $60 per share)(10/24 update: currently $80.64).
  • The Rock was on Jay Leno's Tonight Show recently and movie critic Roger Ebert appeared also. Ebert told Rock that he has talent and told him to get into acting and get as far away from wrestling as he can. Rock laughed it off and said he was working on it.
  • Notes from Smackdown: it was in San Antonio and a tag team called American Force 2000 worked a dark match. The team consists of two trainees from Shawn Michaels' wrestling school, Spanky and American Dragon. Lots of cool high spots but they weren't very fluid and screwed some stuff up. They also hyped up the Shawn Michaels vs. Venom match next week in TWA for the live crowd.
  • A lot of the WWF wrestlers are using new entrance music right now to promote the new WWF Aggression CD. It's basically rap remixes of everyone's theme music and Dave thinks it sucks because the fans don't know these songs. So now even when the Rock is making his entrance, the crowd doesn't pop because it's an unfamiliar. Luckily it's temporary and they'll go back to the real versions eventually. Speaking of, WWF The Music Vol. 4, which was released 6 months ago, is still hanging on in the top 200 charts. It's at #152 this week and sold over 10,000 copies. In 2018, any album that is still moving 10k copies six months after it came out would be the best selling album of the year.
  • WWF claims they have enough money set aside to fund the XFL for at least 3 seasons. They're hoping to expand to 16 teams by 2005. WWF has once again emphasized that they will own all the teams and aren't interested in outside investors. They also again promised that this is going to be legit and the games won't be fixed. Advertisers are said to be hesitant, because they don't have a lot of hope that this whole XFL thing is going to succeed.
  • Shawn Michaels is said to be itching to get back on television in the WWF, but right now, they have no interest. Business is booming so much these days and they've attracted so many new fans in just the last year or two alone that Michaels isn't considered a top star anymore and WWF doesn't feel the need to use him in any way.
  • USA Today ran a story about Mick Foley's alleged last match coming up at Wrestlemania. Foley was quoted as saying, "I was much more successful and, going over my taxes now, obviously a lot more profitable being more of a comedy character in 1999 than I ever was being the King of Hardcore. If I'd known I could make more money making people laugh than making people wince, I'd have done it a long time ago." He also said that if it hadn't been for Austin getting injured, he would have retired last year. He said he hated going back on his word so soon after he retired and says he spent 20 minutes trying to talk Vince McMahon out of bringing him back for the match. But ultimately, he admitted that the money was too much to turn down. "It may take some people a while to forgive me, but not as long as it would take me to forgive myself if I didn't do this. Realistically, it's probably going to be the most money that I've ever made. So 15 years from now, when everyone has forgiven me, my kids' college will be taken care of." But Foley super duper swears this time that Wrestlemania will be his final match. "By leaving now, I'm probably giving up on the most profitable year in my career. But I was named after Mickey Mantle. I grew up hearing about how Mickey Mantle stuck around one season too long. I didn't want people to make the same comments about Mickey Foley."
FRIDAY: Wrestlemania 16 fallout, XFL/NBC partnership, Vince Russo gives interview full of bullshit, New Jersey attempting to ban extreme wrestling, and more...
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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Dec. 2, 1996

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
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  • WWF held a press conference in San Antonio to announce that the Royal Rumble next month will be held at the 72,000-seat Alamodome. The news actually got bigger coverage in Mexico than in the U.S. It will be the WWF's most ambitious live show since Wrestlemania 8 in 1992. The company hopes they can fill up the arena with hometown hero Shawn Michaels trying to regain the title and the final appearance of Jose Lothario, who was a big draw in San Antonio in the 70s. They also have gotten local sponsorships with San Antonio-area businesses and with Taco Bells throughout Texas and are selling low-priced tickets. The plan is for Sid to retain the title against Bret Hart at the next PPV (due to Shawn Michaels interference) which will leave Hart frustrated at Shawn. Then Shawn wins the belt at Rumble to build to Bret/Shawn at Wrestlemania 13. As for Sid, after just winning the title 4 days ago, he no-showed the big Rumble announcement press conference, claiming he'd overslept. Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and AAA's Pierroth Jr. all spoke at the event.
WATCH: Royal Rumble press conference highlights
  • It was confirmed that AAA stars will take part in the Rumble show. The relationship is just a trial basis for now and there are no plans for them to work together beyond Rumble. It's also believed that WWF stars will work a big AAA show in Mexico City later in 1997. The news wasn't lost on Eric Bischoff, who immediately began trying to sign all the Mexican wrestlers to WCW contracts (they've been working in WCW without them). AAA president Antonio Pena has openly said that all of the stars who left from AAA to jump to Promo Azteca are still under contract to him and that he would go to court to enforce it if necessary. So Bischoff is worried about all these new WCW names like Rey Mysterio Jr., Psicosis, Juventud, etc. showing up at the Royal Rumble. Konnan claims that all those guys had at one point been under contract to AAA but he claims AAA doesn't exist anymore as a business, only as a name, which is technically true. During all the business turmoil in recent months, Antonio Pena closed AAA as a company and opened a new corporation called PAP, which is the parent company of AAA (sorta like how Titan Sports is the parent company of WWF). Konnan's argument is that the contracts were voided when AAA closed as a corporation.
  • In one of the most shocking angles in history, EMLL star El Hijo del Santo turned heel this week. Santo is the son of the famous El Santo, arguably the most popular wrestler who's ever lived and had been a babyface his entire career. The angle had incredible heat (from what I'm reading elsewhere, the crowd nearly rioted).
  • WCW's World War 3 PPV is in the books and the 3-ring battle royal was once again basically unwatchable horse shit (Dave says it a little more elegantly, but that's the sentiment). But it was a legit sellout. Ultimo Dragon vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. stole the show in one of the best matches of the year in the U.S. The NWO/Roddy Piper contract signing angle where they attacked his surgically repaired hip was well-done. "Too bad they have to wrestle a match," Dave adds.
  • Antonio Inoki held a press conference announcing that he had received challenges from Dory Funk, Tiger Jeet Singh, and Willie Williams. It is believed Inoki will face Williams at the Jan. 4th Tokyo Dome show. Williams and Inoki had a famous martial arts match back in 1979 and Williams has made a career off the fame of that match. Inoki is then expected to face Dory Funk Jr. at some point later in 1997.
  • UWFI in Japan held what may be one of its final shows. They have 2 more shows scheduled before the end of the year and beyond that, the future is questionable (yup. Dec. 27th was their final show before closing up shop forever. We'll get there.)
  • Jerry Lawler made news in Mississippi this week, after testifying under oath that wrestling is entertainment. He was testifying before the gaming commission there, in order to get a promoters license to run shows in some of the casinos. Lawler said wrestling was "as real as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny." On USWA TV later in the week, Lawler explained it to the fans by saying he had to lie and say that under oath in order to get the license and not pay an $8,000 fee. Then he said he still believes Santa and the Easter Bunny are real and brought out 2 Hooters girls dressed in Santa and Bunny costumes. He then started shooting on the Memphis newspaper that reported it (The Commercial Appeal), saying that they weren't a real newspaper ("Fake news!") and held up a copy of the USA Today and said this is a real newspaper.
  • A strange incident took place at an ECW show this week involving a 17-year-old named Eric Kulas, who was put in the ring with The Gangstas and New Jack apparently used an Xacto knife to blade him. Kulas, who never had much formal training, moved as he was being cut and it sliced an artery and he began bleeding like a faucet. Kulas was using the name Mass Transit and was subbing for Axl Rotton who no-showed. Kulas needed 50 stitches to close the wound. The show was delayed for a long time after the incident because several people, including Kulas' father, were freaking out. His father was screaming about suing the promotion and wanted to press charges. After the incident, New Jack got on the mic and said something about hoping the guy would bleed to death. It took them 25 minutes to clean all the blood out of the ring (this is all Dave has for now, but bet your ass this becomes a bigger story).
  • They did an angle in ECW where Shane Douglas attacked and "injured" J.T. Smith. It's actually Smith's last weekend with the company and he has moved from Philadelphia to Virginia so this was how they wrote him out (yup, he pretty much retired after this).
  • At an IWF show put on by Killer Kowalski, a woman named Joanie Lee had a match facing a masked wrestler named Rain Drop, who was actually a male wrestler under a mask and was convincing enough that people thought he was a woman. (Joanie Lee is, of course, Chyna. First time I've ever seen her mentioned in here and it appears this was only her 4th match ever. Far as I can tell, she didn't wrestle again until 1998, when she was in WWF).
  • On Nitro, Chris Benoit and Nancy Sullivan cut a promo on Kevin Sullivan, with Nancy telling Kevin that it's over between them. Benoit has never been great on the mic, but this was the best he's ever come across as far as personality. Dave then adds, "Benoit and Nancy had really good charisma together."
  • Dave says Eric Bischoff's new heel gimmick is based on the character Gordon Gekko from the movie Wall Street. Umm...sure, let's go with that, why not.
  • Gene Okerlund is back doing the WCW 900 hotline. Dave says that since the "sleazemaster" was gone, hotline business had dropped significantly, so they brought him back.
  • The Giant has a cameo in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie "Jingle All The Way."
WATCH: The Giant in Jingle All The Way
  • Dave notes that WWF is trying to get Steve Austin over as a babyface while still keeping him heel. Basically doing the lone wolf gimmick with him where he just doesn't like anybody. (it worked out okay).
  • The latest on the Curt Hennig situation is this: Hennig was contemplating taking a huge lump sum from his Lloyd's of London insurance policy (anywhere between $150,000 to $300,000 depending on who you believe). But in order to get the money, Hennig would have to sign a letter saying that he was permanently disabled and would never wrestle again. During this time, Hennig was doing the angle where he would manage Hunter Hearst Helmsley and there had been talks of him returning to the ring. WWF apparently believed Hennig was going to resume wrestling, so their legal department sent a letter to Lloyd's of London to try to reach a settlement regarding the deal. This led to Lloyd's deciding not to pay Hennig the lump sum payment because they were under the impression that he intended to wrestle again. When Hennig found out he was, as you'd expect, absolutely furious. So he contacted Eric Bischoff with plans to go there and no-showed his WWF TV tapings. Later on in the week, Hennig and McMahon talked things out and McMahon offered Hennig a 5-year guaranteed deal worth $300,000 per year and Hennig verbally agreed to it. At this point, McMahon believed everything was all good, since the deal would pay Hennig far more than he would have made from the insurance payout. But Eric Bischoff apparently counter-offered with a 3-year deal for even more money, so Hennig decided to take WCW's offer, without informing McMahon, and no-showed the Hall of Fame, Survivor Series, and Superstars tapings. WWF now claims that Hennig has breached his contract by no-showing. Hennig's WWF contract expires in May and they are threatening to take the whole thing to court if Hennig shows up in WCW before then.
  • The latest on WWF's planned Shotgun Saturday Night show is for it to debut on Jan. 4th. The details are being kept secret for now, including the venue and and TV deal details, because there's fear that WCW will somehow try to sabotage it if word gets out before they're ready. They want to host the event in various New York City nightclubs and last week, Vince McMahon, Bruce Prichard, and ECW's Paul Heyman went out together to scout various clubs and to try to make deals to run shows for them. Heyman is not an official consultant for the show, but Dave wouldn't be surprised if he ends up having some sort of involvement in it. It's interesting because this will be WWF's first weekly live show (remember, Raw is still taped in advance most weeks) and McMahon has criticized WCW in the past for spending so much money to run live shows weekly. And now he's doing the same thing. On top of the weekly costs of going live, WWF will also be paying for syndication for the show to run in other markets throughout the country. And considering it's scheduled to air at midnight, there's no way it will draw big ratings and they won't be able to make as much money selling advertising. And furthermore, Saturday nights have always been the best night for house show business and now they'll have to pull big stars from the house show tours to work the Saturday night TV shows, so that will cost them money also. Overall, Dave just doesn't seem to get why Vince is doing this, since it looks like it might end up costing them more money than it's worth.
  • Early Survivor Series buyrate estimates look hugely disappointing, especially considering it was Bret Hart's first match back and was heavily promoted because of that.
  • WWF road agent Arnold Skaaland collapsed backstage at Survivor Series, apparently due to low blood sugar but was back at work a few days later.
  • Former SMW tag team The Headbangers debuted at the latest Superstar tapings and looked pretty good. Flash Funk (Too Cold Scorpio) also debuted on the show and looked awesome, both in the ring and with his entrance and gimmick.
  • They're doing an angle with Rocky Maivia where all the heel managers are trying to get him but he turns them all down. Dave says there's no doubt Maivia has potential, but he's still very green and fans tend to rebel when companies shove a green babyface down their throats rather than let them get over naturally and it's starting to look like WWF is planning to shove this Maivia kid rather than let him get over slowly.
  • Leif Cassidy (Al Snow) has changed his look and dropped his geeky persona, on his own (wasn't told to by the company) because his contract is due up soon and he realized he's going nowhere in the company. So with nothing to lose, he's changing things to try and get noticed.
TOMORROW: 24-hour wrestling channel launches in Japan, more on Mass Transit incident, Eric Bischoff trashes Vince McMahon in interview, and more...
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On the LV incident

Stephen Paddock's employment history was largely with government, and featured an unusual career progression. He started off with an entry level position in the Postal Service, then transferred to the IRS, then wound up working for Morton-Thiokol, a defense contractor that specialized in rockets and aircraft systems. He officially retired in 1988, but continued to earn millions of dollars in over the years (allegedly from gambling), owning numerous homes and at least two aircraft stored in two different locations.
One of the aircraft he owned, a Cirrus SR20 (a common medium range 4-seater), registration number N5343M, was Paddock's from 2006-2010, until the registration was changed to Volant LLC (headquarted in Roanoke VA or Chantilly, VA, a hop skip and a jump from Langley or the National Reconnaissance Office, respectively). From here, the waters get a little murky. Read the following passage and take its conclusions with a grain of salt:
"Many of the wounded and witnesses from the Route 91 Harvest Festival have expressed their dismay at online harassment from alter-universe trolls who claim that the shooting never happened in a stage play by so-called “crisis actors”. This absurd theory, stated in barbaric disregard for the families of the dead, is not the opinion of a mere few deranged individuals; it's a repressive tactic of state-sponsored psychological warfare. If anything the online psy-op proves once again the foresight of the founding fathers who drafted the amendments to the Constitution in warning against the lust for power of a centralized state attempting to impose absolutist tyranny on a sovereign society.
The federal muzzling of local law enforcement in Las Vegas is a strong signal of the untrammeled powers of the federal intelligence agencies, which are largely responsible for the influx of fanatic foreign elements loyal to ISIS, Al Qaeda and other anti-democratic forces, even to the point of recruiting them into the U.S. armed forces and police agencies. The slaughter in Las Vegas was the outcome of the thinly concealed immigration alliance with jihadist oil mongering Arab states against the core American citizenry, especially those so-called “fans of country music” who are the most versed of all in the Constitution and its underlying values (as opposed to the mindless and cynical book-waving by that Pakistani ally of terrorism Khizer “Kaiser” Khan of Charlottesville, Virginia).
To protect their power and privileges, the elitist politicians and high bureaucrats in Washington D.C. are acting in ways no different from King George III who unloosed Hessian mercenaries on the colonies, even forcing American families to quarter those armed foreign spies inside their own homes.
Today, the same is being done through the localization of cyber-espionage in every state by the political cabal that is eager to oust the populist-elected president and install instead the chosen successor of the Clinton regime, Virginia Governor Terence “Terry” McAuliffe, the would-be dictator in the eye of the destructive hurricane sweeping across the United States.
This essay in the continuing series on Las Vegas 10/01 explores the centrality of McAuliffe’s fiefdom in the Commonwealth of Virginia to the military contractor role of the fall guy Stephen Paddock, along with the governor’s support for NSA federalization of the state National Guards as the front-line surveillance force to quell citizen-based democracy in every town and village from coast-to-coast. The present military cyber offensive, as shown in the Vegas cover-up, is every bit as threatening as the Red Coat invasion force at Lexington and Concord, and therefore given the moral-ethical surrender of traditional journalism, it is up to the Minutemen of the online media, and perhaps soon by shortwave radio, to defend a democracy under attack and in danger of extinction.
Ownership Transfer of the Plane
Online attempts to probe the background to the ownership of the Cirrus SR20 aircraft, registered under the name of Stephen Paddock for covert ops, have met with obfuscation from Pentagon trolls, who point out that the plane was sold to Volant LLC, owned by one John W. Roberts of Roanoke, Virginia. The key point being raised is that the limited liability (private) company should not be confused with Volant Associates LLC, a defense contractor. To understand this odd matter of the two Volants, let’s jump into the devilish details of provenance or successive ownership as listed at the FAA registry, which has been altered from the original longer version, which I cite here.
That single-engine prop plane was acquired by a Stephen Paddock of Henderson, near Lake Mead in the state of Nevada, on 2 June 2006. The Henderson Executive Airport was opened in the mid-1990s for small private planes as a back-up for crowded McCarren International on the south end of the Vegas Strip, right by the Tropicana, Hooters, New York New York and the Mandalay Bay, directly adjoining the site of the Route 91 Harvest Festival (all of these venues were sites of shooting on October 1). Henderson, on the southern tip of Nevada, is the sort of nondescript quiet town that Paddock preferred whenever making real-estate purchases, indicating his operaton of a trading business that demanded no witnesses.
A year later, on 25 May 2007, Paddock switched the registration address to Mesquite, Texas, a suburb east of Dallas with its own small Mesquite Metro Airport. Fort Worth hosts the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base (JRB) and the Lockheed-USAF Plant 4, a center for tech security. Although at greater distance from the Mexican border, compared with San Antonio or El Paso, the Cirrus has a 700-plus mile range and parking it in Henderson would have attracted no notice from DEA agents and the U.S. Border Patrol.
Nearly three years later, on 13 February 2010, the plane ownership was transferred—apparently merely on paper—to a company called UHS in Los Angeles. The acronym stands for Universal Student Housing, which is something of low-cost AirBnB for young people from foreign countries to stay in homes or apartments owned by Latinos, no questions asked. Human trafficking questions aside, the business operator is named Emerson Farias Torres who operates out of his apartment.
This modest businessman who kindly shelters DACA illegals becomes even more interesting because until 2009 Torres was the U.S. license holder for Jesa Air LLC, the U.S. branch of the Panama-registered Jesa Air West Africa. The tiny airline was owned by the Rhodesia-born mercenary and apartheid South African Air Force pilot Neal Ellis. His colorful career included helicopter piloting in the CIA’s Bosnia war against Serbian armed forces, a stint with the UK-based Executive Outcomes in Sierra Leone, and George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq. In the air-to-ground combat against West African rebels, the legendary merc Ellis befriended retired Lt. Col. Brian Boquist, the CEO of International Charter Incorporated (ICI) of Oregon, which fought in Liberia under contract with DynCorp. Two peas in the pod, they were jolly good buddies.
At the moment of Paddock’s paper “sale” of the Cirrus aircraft to Torres’ youth hostels, Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder and the DHS-run Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau (ATF) were two years into the Fast and Furious gun-walking transfer to the Mexico drug mafia along the Arizona and Texas border. That little ole airport in Mesquite was getting as hot as a charcoal-fired barbecue pit. In Los Angeles (Paddock was a graduate of Cal State Northridge), a location for plausible deniability over a plane with paperwork in Panama. “You see, senor, I’m just flying in Panama hats to sell to touristas on Olivera Street, comprendez?”
In a similar vein, the London address of Jena Air international is 55 Prince’s Gate, Exhibition Road along with 208 other paper companies. To learn more on how to operate your own private air force, look up the documentary film “Shadow Company”.
Stop here a moment to ask: “How come nobody’s raised these issues before?” Answer: Mainly because your press corps are all crisis actors in role of the deaf and dumb.
Then on 10 December 2010, the same plane is registered in Chantilly, Virginia, under Stephen C. Paddock and a John W. Rogers. Then on 30 August 2013, following the gunshot death of ATF forensic expert Paul Parisi in Chantilly, the plane is relocated to Roanoke, Virginia, a distance of 220 miles (355 km), under sole ownership of Volant LLC owned by a John W. Rogers. Obviously, then, Paddock and Rogers must have had some acquaintance with each other.
Two John W. Rogers are listed in Roanoke:
the first is a cancer surgeon at several Virginia hospitals, notably the Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, which has a working relationship with the nearby Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center; and
the second John W. Rogers appears to be a fictitious identity created by a John J. Rogers, a newcomer to Virginia from East Palo Alto, a predominantly low-income African-American community “on the other side of Silicon Valley”, and he has since moved to a more affordable part of Virginia with several family members.
So what is a well-respected oncologist, who provides radiation treatment and chemotherapy for cancer patients, doing parking Paddock’s surreptitious aircraft on the tarmac at Roanoke for nearly three years until its sole flight just three weeks prior to the Las Vegas shootings?
To get at the answer, we must first probe into: What’s the difference between Volant Associates LLC and Dr. Rogers’ Volant LCC?
Do you have a credit card for a swipe? Because that’s how far apart these entities are, despite protestations to the contrary from the trolls in the employ of the Pentagon psychological warfare division. It’s called compartmentalization.
The word Volant has a nice ring to it, sounding like a contraction of “volunteers” but, alas, there’s neither connection nor connotation in this case of professional military operations. Translated from French, it means “flying”, although the term is closer to gliding. It is most frequently used for animals that glide despite their inability to sustain flight: for example a volant squirrel, those brave little creatures. “Volant” is also used to describe military airlift operations delivering troops and ground vehicles to the battlefield, such as Volant Solo and the many Volants combined with the names of trees, such as Volant Pine.
For our purpose of tracking down who and what killed Stephen Paddock and 60+ others in Las Vegas, there’s only one definition with any bearing to the case: Col. Adam Volant, a long-serving Army officer with the National Security Agency at its headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and present commander of Task Force Echo, which is deploying a massive National Guard-implemented domestic cyber-warfare and surveillance operation on American soil.
Col. Volant, who wears many hats, is a active service officer in the reserves, the head of the alumni association of Virginia Military Institute (VMI), a sponsor of a “non-profit group”, and a security adviser to U.S. President-in-waiting Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton loyalist who serves as governor of Virginia.
Volant Associates LLC, the now-infamous Pentagon network-systems contractor, which requires all its employees to have top-secret clearances is his “non-profit organization,” which has been awarded tens of millions of dollars in military contracts for network security of critical infrastructure and military facilities, a mandate that includes massive cyber-surveillance, which is now being deployed to an initial eight states by the newly hatched National Guard domestic spy organization. (The Guardsmen have traditionally been “weekend warriors” but at least since the Iraq War the so-called state militia has evolved into a full-time professional fighting force controlled by the Pentagon with most of its funding from the federal government.
What possibly could cancer surgeon John Rogers’ Volant LLC have to do with this watchdog program for militarization of the domestic civilian Internet and social media?
Unbeknownst to most of his civilian patients, Dr. Rogers is a military surgeon and a Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF Reserves. His caretaker role for Paddock’s plane is either based on a military arrangement or off-duty criminal activity as a favor for some past cooperation in the distribution of prescription drugs. Buying a plane only to park it makes no sense otherwise.
If the Roanoke Airport arrangement is indeed military, then Dr. Rogers must have some military-intelligence role. Advanced military systems including electronic warfare, X-band radar and chemical warfare exercises all entail exposure to cancer risks, so one question is whether a National Guard oncologist is supposed to act like a company doctor to explain away the consequences of occupational risks, as happened with Gulf War Syndrome. The Veterans Administration hospital system has been heavily criticized for negligence and mismanagement, and it is striking that the surgeon is so stretched between civilian and military hospitals, some of those sites quite distant from Virginia. Signing papers to park a plane is not much different than writing a prescription for a headache.
Although he’s never flown Paddock’s Cirrus, Lt. Col. Rogers may well be a pilot of military-operated aircraft since his Volant LLC has offices in six other towns, nearly all with or near Veterans Administration hospitals: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Delmar, New York; Naples, Florida; Randolph, Minnesota; Stoughton, Wisconsin; and Salt Lake City, Utah.
-Delmar, New York, near his alma mater of Hobart College in the Finger Lakes region, with its privately own Cross’ Farm Airport and the Cross Excavating Corporation, and nearby casinos, and Delmar is near Albany’s large VA facility.
-Randolph, Minnesota, a small town of 430 residents near Minneapolis, is located in Dakota County where the Rosemount National Guard Armory, home base of the 34th Infantry Division’s 634th Military Intelligence Battalion. VA hospital.
-Dane County, Wisconsin, which includes Stoughton, is home to the Truax Air National Guard base in and also “Ron Weyer” (real name: Ronald Van Den Huevel, Clinton-Bush-CIA money launderer) and Wally Hilliard, owner of the Huffman Aviation School, operated by Rudi Dekker in Venice and Naples, Florida, and Fort Worth Spinks Airport at Burlson, Texas. Ditto VA.
-Naples, Florida, is home of one of Rudi Dekker’s two flight schools, where Mohamed Atta learned to pilot aircraft. The VA is also there, perhaps to provide first aid to Saudi and Egyptian pilots who crash their planes.
-Baton Rouge, Louisiana, north of his medical school in his hometown of New Orleans, is surrounded by a massive number of heavily armed National Guard bases, that can overwhelm most of the world’s armies, including a chemical-weapons unit, where cancer is an occupational hazard.
-Salt Lake City, the Utah Air National Guard, as big as most air forces with VA center.
The questions arising from Lt. Col. Rogers’ far-flung business registrations are similar to the many properties owned by Stephen Paddock across the country. Could there be some covert military intelligence rationale behind the geographic spread? Volant LLC and Volant Associates LLC look to be paper planes in a much larger covert operation being sent aloft from the highest levels of the NSA. If the volant operation is regime change, Dr. Rogers and Col. Volant both risk elimination for knowing too much, as happened their associate Paddock in Vegas."
submitted by VictoriasSecretCEO to conspiracy [link] [comments]

Veteran's Day: Deals and Steals

If there is something you're aware of, that isn't on this list, mention it below. Make sure you call ahead to make sure the location in your area is participating in these offers.
It's not my fault if you go into a restaurant that isn't offering this deal, and you don't have enough money to pay your tab. Don't forget to tip your server.
The second half of this list is retail offers. There are even things to involve the families.
Food
Retail
submitted by LrankLcean to AirForce [link] [comments]

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