MON. UPDATE: WWE finalizes new TV deal; TNA signs deal; Record time in WWE surgery recovery; Hogan

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        We're looking for reports on tonight's Raw show from Baltimore with dark matches, Superstars matches and anything else not evident from the live show at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

        Monday is the live Raw from Baltimore with Verne Troyer as guest host featuring the lawsuit in Little People's Court of Hornswoggle vs. DX.    
        ROH on HDNet tonight:
*Mark & Jay Briscoe vs. Dark City Fight Club
*Eddie Kingston vs. Claudio Castagnoli
*Austin Aries vs. Colt Cabana for ROH title
        What the Hulkamania tour has shown about the pro wrestling business as it is today is the lead story in today's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  We look at both the positives and negatives of the first two shows, the promotion of the shows, and the end result of that promotion, as well as the shows themselves.
        The issue is available right now to premium subscribers on the web site.  You can also get the Observer mailed to your home with details below.

        We look at what this means for the idea of doing a long-term or even a short-term promotion, where the touring idea started and what has delayed it, promoters expectations, television coverage of the event, and what type of crowd the show drew.
        We've got a complete rundown of the first night, as well as the first Hogan vs. Flair match since 2000.
        We also have a look at WWE's attempts to elevate new talent, the philosophy behind who is getting the push, the track record and how the booking is going.  We look at the build for the TLC PPV, business of Survivor Series, updates on Rey Mysterio and Big Show when it comes to interviews, poll results of the show, and match-by-match rundowns with star ratings.
        We also have a look at the aftermath of UFC 106, including Tito Ortiz as a drawing card, Forrest Griffin as a drawing card, the many different things that hurt the buy rate of this show as well as the lesson of it.  WE also look at all the business numbers of the show.  We also look at the promotional mentality that WWE, K-1 and now UFC have done that has ended up hurting all of them in the long run.
        We also look at flaws in the scoring system as well as the end of Karo Parisyan in UFC.
        We've also got match-by-match coverage as well as how much everyone got as far as base pay for the show.
        We also look back at the old Southern California wrestling territory with the death of longtime promoter Mike LeBelle.  We look at how LeBelle got into wrestling, the heyday of the promotion, a look back at the Coliseum show and why Fred Blassie and John Tolos remained bitter about it until each man's death.  We look at LeBelle's feelings on pro wrestling.  We look at the glory period, as well as the 70s period and the two stars that carried the promotion to the Hispanic audience, how the promotion closed, and the relationship of LeBelle with Vince McMahon.  We also look at why LeBelle left the business bitter and never looked back, as well as the end of the WWA and its world title.
        We also have notes on the 2012 WrestleMania, Vince & Linda McMahon's personal finances, more on what Linda is willing to spend to win a senate seat, Tribute to the Troops show for 2009, Jim Ross contract update, dropping of a ring announcer, Mark Cuban's plans for Raw and what wrestler should be back at TV imminently.
        We've also got a feature on Jose Aldo Jr., the newest MMA superstar, who he is, his background, as well as business numbers on the last WEC show, the booking of WEC in early 2010 including building what should be the biggest match in company history of things go right, as well as a rundown of all the matches and payoffs on the most recent show.
        We also have a feature on an MMA fighter who is the suspect in multiple murders.
       We also have a look at the ratings for all the major pro
wrestling and MMA shows on television over the past week.
    We also have our usual weekly features such as the results of the
biggest matches of the week and rundown of the major television shows.
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Also in this week's issue:
--Main event for CMLL's year-end spectacular
--International stars coming to CMLL over the next few months
--Mexico ratings
--AAA's Guerra de Titanes top matches
--Rundowns of the recent AAA TV tapings and the big program they have started
--The latest Teddy Hart story
--Dragon Gate's last major show in Japan for the year
--Update on All Japan tag team tournament
--Update on all the injury and illness problems in Pro Wrestling NOAH and how the next Budokan Hall show looks to be in trouble
--Strange booking in the singles division of NOAH
--Notes on this year's Super J Cup tournament in December and 15 of the 16 guys in it
--Former ECW stars team up in New Japan
--New Japan copies Survivor Series format
--Former New Japan wrestler returns for his 15th anniversary of his debut
--One of the biggest multiple person matches in history scheduled for New Year's Eve
--ROH debuts Internet PPV
--More on Hulk Hogan's book and a new Hogan business venture
--Complete Turning Point lineup
--Update on Bobby Lashley's title shot
--Notes on Sting angle
--Updates on UFC main events for the next several months
--Updates on WEC shows
--Notes on Ultimate Fighter as it finishes season ten
--Update on the next major Strikeforce show
--More on Herschel Walker and his debut
--One of the traditional biggest shows of the year is now a joint event and why
--More on the Cotto vs. Pacquiao business and predictions for the next big boxing match
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*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the
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*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of
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--WWE officially announced today a five-year renewal of its television contract with BSkyB in the U.K.  It had been believed for a couple of weeks that the deal had already been finalized since they had wrestling listed on the January schedule and the contract expired at the end of the year.  The new deal has 10 1/2 hours of weekly first run programming, Raw, Smackdown, ECW, Bottom Line, AfterBurn, Vintage Collection, WWE Experience, Superstars and This Week in WWE.  The plan is to carry five PPVs as free specials on Sky and the other eight, including the big ones, as PPV events through Sky Box Office.
--Although this was already known, SouthPeak Interactive announced a deal to publish a TNA video game called TNA Impact for PSP.
--Since Smackdown and ECW were both taped last night, because many of the members of each roster are going to Iraq for the "Tribute to the Troops" show, with the flight leaving tonight after Raw, here is the lineup for both shows:
Goldust vs. William Regal
Trent Berretta & Caylen Croft debut in a squash tag match
Christian & Shelton Benjamin vs. Vladimir Kozlov & Ezekiel Jackson
R-Truth vs. C.M. Punk
Kane vs. Mike Knox
Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Natalya for the No. 1 contendership for Michelle McCool
Eric Escobar vs. Hart Dynasty
John Morrison vs. Drew McIntyre in a non-title match
Cryme Tyme vs. Chris Jericho & Big Show
--Believe it or not, Big Show did have arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday in Tampa and worked last night and was telling everyone his knee felt great.
--The first main event of the new Evolve promotion on 1/16 inn Rahway, NJ at the Rec Center is Davey Richards vs. Kota Ibushi.  Ibushi is one of the most spectacular wrestlers in the world today.
--UFC programming on Spike this week has nothing tonight, Unleashed from 7-8 p.m. tomorrow night headlined by Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson and Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett.  There are Ultimate Knockouts specials at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and another Unleashed at 10:30 p.m. headlined by Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin and Georges St. Pierre vs. Sean Sherk.  Wednesday has Unleashed from 7-9 p.m. and then the final two episodes of Ultimate Fighter from 9-11 p.m.  The final two episodes will be replayed on Thursday from 7-9 p.m. before Impact.  Friday night has Unleashed episodes from 7 p.m. to midnight, and then the June 20, 2009, live show with Clay Guida vs. Diego Sanchez in their match of the year candidate from midnight to 3 a.m.  Saturday will air the entire season of Ultimate Fighter starting at 9 p.m., ending with the live finale at 9 p.m. from Las Vegas.
--With the exception of Kimbo Slice, none of the fighters who lost in the first round of TUF competition are scheduled for Saturday night's show.  That's Wes Sims, Wes Shivers, Demico Rogers, Zak Jensen, Scott Junk, Abe Wagner and Mike Wessel.
--Planet 51 starring the voice of Dwayne Johnson was No. 7 for Thanksgiving weekend at $10.2 million in its second week out.  The movie opens in Australia on 12/10. (thanks to James Stanios)
--A hilarious Daily Star in the U.K. story featured a lead that read "Friends and family fear Hulk Hogan could die if he goes ahead with a return to the ring."  I wonder which friends and family those are.
--There is a Jesse Ventura interview up at talking about conspiracy theories.
--ECW last Tuesday did a 1.0 rating.  Due to the holidays, the ratings have been delayed.
--Best TV show of the past week
Raw 32.0%
TNA 23.0%
ROH 20.5%
Smackdown 12.7%
AAA 4.1%
ECW 4.1%
Superstars 1.2%
--Biggest star in the history of the Los Angeles territory
Fred Blassie 57.6%
Gorgeous George 8.9%
Roddy Piper 8.6%
John Tolos 7.9%
Mil Mascaras 6.3%
Chavo Guerrero 4.5%
Bobo Brazil 2.1%
The Destroyer 1.8%
Wilbur Snyder 1.3%
Black Gordman 0.8%
Enrique Torres 0.3%
--Who was the second best U.S. pro wrestling promoter of the past 50 years?
Jim Crockett Jr. 22.7%
Eric Bischoff 21.0%
Sam Muchnick 15.7%
Vincent James McMahon 12.2%
Verne Gagne 7.0%
Jerry Jarrett 5.9%
Fritz Von Erich 5.7%
Eddie Graham 4.4%
Jim Barnett 3.5%
Don Owen 1.5%
Roy Shire 0.4%
Mike LeBelle 0.0%
        That is some kind of embarrassing.  A guy who promoted two successful years and left the company losing millions by the month ahead of these guys who promoted for decades successfully.  
--Playboy's 2008 Model of the Year, Jillian Beyor, has signed a developmental deal with WWE.  She's starting at Florida Championship Wrestling and will be making an appearance with Ricky Steamboat at the 12/4 show in Punta, Gorda, FL.
--Jim Cornette's debut on ROH television will be a week from tonight on HDNet.
--WWE was shooting vignettes at TV last night and will be doing so again tonight with talent playing Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 to try and push holiday sales.
--Announced for the 1/23 Dragon Gate USA show at the Congress Theater in Chicago is BxB Hulk vs. Dragon Kid for the Open the Freedom Gate title, Cima, Naruki Doi, Jimmy Jacobs, Jigsaw, Brian Kendrick, Masaaki Mochizuki, Jon Moxley, Mike Quackenbush, Davey Richards, Shingo Takagi, Super Crazy, Matt & Nick Jackson, YAMATO and Masato Yoshino.
--Rey Mysterio vs. Batista in a last man standing match will be at the 12/8 Smackdown tapings in Houston for a TV match.     
--The movie "End Game" starring Kurt Angle and Jenna Morasca comes out tomorrow on DVD.  Hopefully they don't have a scene where the two of them have to do a pro wrestling match. (thanks to Roy Gibb)
--Jersey All Pro Wrestling on 1/23 in Rahway, NJ at the Rec Center for its 12th anniversary show just announced that there will be a CZW heavyweight title match on the show, which I believe would be the first time the CZW title would be defended on a JAPW show.   
--The Guardian in the U.K. has a story about Lou Albano's death at
--A benefit show for Matt Lowry, a wrestler who died a few months ago in training, will take place on Sunday in Lima, OH at the UAW Hall.  Lowry, who wrestled as Matt Riot, died two months ago.  Among those appearing are Ian Rotten, Mad Man Pondo, Irish Airborne, B-Boy, N8 Mattson and The Osirian Portal for a 3 p.m. show    
--Jim Neidhart appears for NWS on Friday night in Kenilworth, NJ at the Veterans Center and Saturday night in New Milford, CT at the High School Gym.  The Friday night show also includes John Walters.  The Saturday night features Matt Hyson, the former Spike Dudley.
--Lilian Garcia sang the national anthem yesterday at the New York Jets vs. Carolina Panthers football game.  They announced her as an international recording artist and former WWE ring announcer. (thanks to Andrew Nelson)
--Russia TV yesterday had a feature on Russian teenagers joining martial arts gyms after seeing Fedor Emelianenko's fight with Brett Rogers a couple of weeks ago.  They had a martial arts trainer say that teenage applications after the fight aired went through the roof (thanks to Jose Gonzalez)
--In a movie that will affect WWE wrestlers when they go to Boston, the town of Saugus is debating on whether to roll back the law on closing of selling liquor and food in the city from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m. at Kowloon's, the after-show hangout of WWE wrestlers when in town.  One of the owners posted an opposition to the movie saying that they attract celebrities and pro wrestlers, noting 70 came after the most recent show, and thus need to be allowed to serve liquor until 2 a.m.  The issue will be decided on 12/16. (thanks to Scott Wallask)
--Junie Browning's comments and his fight are on PPV at
--Shark Fight results from Saturday night in Amarillo:  Luis Luna b Severo Padilla, Eric Rodriguez b Joshua Milward, Josh Luna b Chase Watson, Jared Lopez b Tyler Dodson, Brandi Hainey b Yadira Anzaldua, Kyle Bracey b Steven Ray, Liam McCarthy b Tony Castillo, Trevor Prangley b Marcus Sursa in 4:40 with a rear naked choke to become the Shark fight light heavyweight champion
--Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling on 12/12 in Summerville, SC at the High School Gym featuring appearances by Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Buff Bagwell, Dennis Condrey, Bobby Eaton, Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson.
--Old School Wrestling on Sunday at 6 p.m. in Mount Pleasant, SC at the Omar Shrine Auditorium headlined by Jim Duggan
--FWA from last night in Nottingham, UK:  Marty Scrull & Jonny Storm b C.J. Banks & Rockstar Spud, El Ligero b Derice Coffee, Joel Redman & Sykes b Kartel, Andy Simmons b Bubblegum, Project Ego over Stixx & Malen, Retro Pop and Daredevil Dragons in four-way, Zack Sabre Jr. b Joey Hayes, Martin Stone b Johnny Moss.  Next show is 2/13 in Broxbourne at the Civic Hall (thanks to Michael Fitzgerald)
--A preview for the K-1 World Grand Prix (airs live on HDNet very late Friday night) is at  
--Last night at the RCW show in San Antonio, the main event was Alissa Flash vs. Hamada.  After 7-8 minutes, Flash brought out two male wrestlers and said it would be a three-on-one match unless Hamada got partners.  Hernandez wanted to join in but was told he wasn't allowed to because he was the ring announcer.  However, Hernandez then left and came back as The Masked Super Tex and joined in, leading the face team to win (thanks to Ed Loredo)
--M1 sent out a press release claiming 25 million homes saw Fedor vs. Brett Rogers worldwide.  Then they claimed it was 25 million viewers (very different) noting 5.46 million in the U.S. and 16 million in Russia on Ch. 1.  But then they claimed worldwide it delivered more viewers than any MMA show in history, which is ridiculous, because big Japanese events have delivered more than that in Japan alone.
--Joe Rogan, sponsored by MMA Expo, will be doing a comedy show on 3/6 in Toronto at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at the CNE.  Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.
--Liberty Wrestling Organization on Saturday night in Lodi, NJ at the Boys and Girls Club with a ladder match main event
--IPW from Saturday night in Auckland, New Zealand before 250 fans:  Vinny Dunn b Mischa Ivanoff, Kazuki b Liger, Danny Jacobs & A-Class b Pirates & Ninjas, Waipukurai Warrior NC Flashman, Britenay b Evie, Les West & Lil T b Ashe & Skhorn, Joseph Kinkade b Davey Deluxeo 2/3 falls, Dal Knox & Vinny Dunn & NZ Dream & Dils Deluxeo & Kazuki b Alfred Valentine & Brian St. James & Curt Chaos & Flagboy & Antagonist in a capture the flag match  (thanks to Steve Ogilvie)

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?