April 24, 2006 Observer Newsletter: State of the US wrestling scene, UFC 59 recap

For almost the past year, it's been hard to write something on the state of the U.S. business because it was in a constant state of major television flux.

There was WWE Raw moving to USA, Smackdown moving to Friday, TNA getting on Spike, UFC having to live without the strong WWE lead-in, the two UFC/WWE Monday Night Wars, the return of Saturday Night's Main Event, and now, the move to Thursday night for UFC and TNA.

In addition, perhaps the biggest story, under the radar even though it was there, was hammered home by what will either be perhaps the most newsworthy show of the year, or else just a freak occurrence–the 3/10 Strike Force show in San Jose. While indie MMA without name fighters has drawn some good crowds in different parts of the country, the very suggestion of essentially an indy show with no television hype, using really only one major national name (Frank Shamrock) and a local draw on the kickboxing scene (Cung Le) being able to draw the largest U.S. crowd of the year and deliver a near $1 million house would have seemed like a suggestion by only someone with no perception of business and what sells tickets. But it happened.

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