Impact will be taping tonight in Orlando for the show that airs 9 days later (no typo), plus Smackdown in is in Louisville.
A note that for all people who subscribe on-line to the Observer, you will get our 30th annual awards issue that comes out in late January, which is our traditional best selling issue of the year.
We have our first look at different plans for WrestleMania as well as more on Bret Hart's return to WWE as one of the lead stories in our annual Business Year in Review issue of the Wrestling Observer that comes out on Monday.
The issue covers the Monday Night Wars, what both sides need to do, how both sides are reacting, the return of Bret Hart and the different ways the angle can go, how the WrestleMania lineup is shaking out, the first week of the angle, a comparison to several major angles of the past, what idea should be saved for the final week, Bret Hart's previous effect on ratings, Impact, what is scheduled for the show and more.
We also have our annual business year in review. We have a rundown of the biggest live events of the year, the biggest live event draws of the year, a rundown of how every major PPV show did, the biggest money live events, just how badly UFC broke the all-time record and how much that record could have been had there not been an injury issue.
We also have a rundown on the biggest stars in pro wrestling, MMA and boxing and how they rank based on Internet interest, both in the U.S., Canada and worldwide. We look at the top 25 and breakdown by organization, UFC vs. WWE, who the most searched for wrestler, boxer and MMA fighter of the year was and why the worldwide top guy would likely surprise many.
We also look at a WWE vs. UFC comparison both domestically and worldwide and how it has shifted over the past year. We look at most states, provinces and several countries, as well as per capita, where WWE, UFC, TNA and boxing are the strongest.
We also have a look at MMA judging, talking with Nelson Hamilton and John McCarthy, talking about Hamilton's system he's trying to get implemented to change judging, McCarthy's thoughts on the drawbacks of the current judging methods and how fights aren't correctly being scored and its implementation in several fights.
We also look back at the career of the now retired early MMA star as well as major pro wrestling star Don Frye. We look at Frye's rise to stardom in the UFC, his moving over to Japanese pro wrestling including setting attendance records in three cities in Japan, his move back to Pride, his participation in what many call the greatest MMA fight in history, so good that it was later replayed in a movie.
We also have a look at how the Time Warner/FOX breakdown in talks will affect WWE television. We've got notes on another WWE injury, the daughter of a WWF legend gets signed, a funny backstage story, Bill Simmons talks about wrestling's problems and the death of Umaga, as well as a look at the Christmas week WWE shows.
We also have fan voting for the 2009 Japanese awards as presented by Nikkan Sports, as well as a 2009 awards ballot.
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.
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sites and has the most complete look at the business as a whole anywhere.
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
-- Impact last night did a 1.5 rating and 2.2 million viewers. We don't have a rating for Raw yet but the show averaged 5.6 million viewers over the two hours, so the rating will be up quite a bit from recent weeks.
-- Contrary to rumors, Jeff Jarrett did not go off script last night, although Hogan was surprised by how everything went down. He told Jeff to do a babyface promo because Jeff & Foley and Dixie & Hulk are both supposed to be babyface entities. His plan was to out-face him, and then was shocked when he got booed. The idea is not for Hogan to be a heel at this point.
-- Guess who got indicted today? Yes, Jeff Hardy, on all charges. Felony possession of cocaine, felony drug trafficking of opium, two counts of felony possession with intent to redistribute a Schedule III controlled substance, maintaining a dwelling for drug use and/or distribution and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
-- Hardy had a verbal agreement for a return date with WWE, so his appearance last night on Impact was a big surprise. Vince was no-selling it today. Hardy is believed to have signed a short-term contract, though no word on how short.
-- January 4th just happened to be the ten-year anniversary of the famous Fingerpoke of Doom episode of Nitro, where Nash took a phantom bump for a Hogan fingerpoke and Hogan won the WCW title again, which was one of many things that sped up the momentum of the death of the company. It was also the day that Mick Foley won the WWF Title on Raw (it was a taped show, but it aired that day), where Tony Schiavone mocked it on air, saying "That'll put asses in the seats", which resulted in fans switching from Nitro to Raw en masse to watch it.
-- The planned 20 minute overrun on Raw didn't happen because the movie people bought time from USA and would have been very upset to have to start at 11:20 after they bought time starting at 11:05.
-- Chavo on Danielson and their dark match last night: "Danielson was fun to work with! I wish we had more time. If we had 20 min, we would've torn the house down! Next time!"
-- William Shatner is Raw GM on February 1st.
-- Ken writes: I don’t know how common a problem this was, but on my cable system last night (Shaw Cable in Hamilton ON), we has a technical glitch that lasted over an hour. There was a constant repeat of the last 10-15 seconds of the Pope’s promo. This went on for at least an hour. No commercials, no matches, just the same 10-15 second clip. We didn’t get the live feed back until after the Angle/Styles match. I thought that I was watching a company go bankrupt live (maybe I did).
-- Dave writes: I took a stopwatch to it, Homicide was stuck up there for the longest 72 seconds of his life. After he fell, he ran over to the side of the cage and frantically tried to squeeze out of one of the little squares to escape.
-- Jeff writes: A side effect of Bubba appearing on TNA wrestling is that Howard Stern used the clips on his show this am (Tuesday). From marksfriggin.com: Howard said he heard about that and forgot to watch. He said Bubba was a guest interviewer on the show. Howard said Bubba was acting along with the bad acting wrestlers and it was pretty funny. Howard played some of the audio of Bubba talking about all of the guys who were injured on the show and he seemed to know them all. Robin said it's all fake and they're all acting. She was talking about Hulk Hogan turning into Mickey Rourke's character from ''The Wrestler.'' She said that he was on the floor covered in blood when she saw him recently. [I guess she saw the photos from the press conference in Australia. But she talked in the past about watching WM 3 and other PPVs, so does she really think blading in wrestling is new?] Howard played some more audio of Bubba talking to the guys in the back room and giving people updates on the attacks and how they didn't know who did the attack but they had an idea. JD said that they were doing some kind of bit with the other wrestlers. He didn't explain it very well so Howard had to play the audio. Bubba was talking to the guys backstage and doing bits with them. JD (a Stern staffer) said he thinks Bubba's going to be a new interviewer guy with them. Howard said he did a good job. Lisa G. talked about the big controversy over Bubba giving 1500 tickets to his fans. When they showed up they were told that the tickets were fake. Bubba got spit on and yelled at by the fans. Bubba had to apologize for what happened. Howard said it doesn't sound like it was his fault. Lisa said they have a call into Bubba to find out what went wrong.
-- The family of “Dr. Death” Steve Williams would like to thank you for all of your heartfelt condolences and stories of the memories he made with many of his friends and fans along his glorious journey to reach the Promised Land. The following is the funeral arrangements to celebrate this proud man’s life with us on earth. Steve "Dr. Death" Williams Memorial Service will be 2:30 pm this Friday, 1/8/2010 at: Mile High Church, 9079 W Alameda Ave., Lakewood CO. Donations will be taken in lieu of flowers: Steve Williams Memorial Trust c/o Jeff Williams, 2406 Fossil Trace Drive, Golden, CO, 80401. Funds collected will be used for Steve's life expenses and Wyndam's life and educational expenses.
-- Paul Heyman has "the real story" behind last night's head-to-head battle.
-- What was the best TV show of the past week?
K-1 Dynamite 13.2%
UFC one-hour pre UFC 108 show 3.1%
Countdown of UFC 108 2.6%
Inside MMA 0.3%
What shows did you watch?
Only Raw 19.4%
Only Impact 24.8%
Only ROH 1.0%
All three 4.0%
Raw & Impact 43.9%
Raw & ROH 0.8%
ROH & Impact 1.4%
What was the best of these matches?
Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson 26.6%
Cung Le vs. Scott Smith 19.0%
Sam Stout vs. Joe Lauzon 12.7%'
Clay Guida vs. Kenny Florian 10.8%
Roy Nelson vs. Brendan Schaub 8.2%
Masato vs. Andy Souwer 6.3%
Donald Cerrone vs. Ed Ratcliff 5.7%
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Scott Jorgenson 3.8%
Hideo Tokoro vs. Jong Man Kim 3.2%
Damarques Johnson vs. Edgar Garcia 1.9%
Alan Belcher vs. Wilson Gouveia 1.3%
Kid Yamamoto vs. Masanori Kanehara 0.6%
-- JR's latest blog is up here. The goofy rumors this poor man must address almost daily.
-- Brian writes: I don't know if this is the correct email to be sending this to. Mike Tenay said that TNA was the top trending topic on twitter. At the time, they were #4 and never were above #3. There were higher than WWE and Bret Hart all night though, and never bothered to mention that.
-- Tommy Dreamer was officially future endeavored yesterday.
-- From WEC: World Extreme Cagefighting announced today that MusclePharm will serve as the organization’s Official Sports Nutrition Company for 2010. Considered a leader in the sports nutrition industry, MusclePharm is committed to providing the best nutritional products to athletes and general consumers. MusclePharm’s commitment to athletes, in particular mixed martial artists, made the partnership attractive to WEC officials.
-- The Championship Wrestling Alliance presents "House Party 2010" on Saturday, January 23 at the Legion Street Rec. in Johnson City, TN. Bell Time is 8:00 PM.