COMPLETE SUNDAY UPDATE: Legendary feud, ratings, long time champ drops title today, Reaction to UFC
We're looking for your thoughts on last night's UFC 125, as well as the K-1/Dream Dynamite show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
No pro wrestling shows today due to the holiday weekend. WWE goes back on the road with Raw tomorrow night from Phoenix, headlined by The Miz vs. John Morrison for the WWE title in a falls count anywhere match.
Tuesday will be the Smackdown tapings in Tucson, as well as the NXT tapings. There will be an elimination in NXT. Smackdown has announced Edge vs. Kane for the World title in a falls count anywhere match and Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio in a 2/3 fall match.
Early Tuesday morning U.S. time is New Japan's annual 1/4 show at the Tokyo Dome. The main event has Satoshi Kojima vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP title, plus Jeff Hardy vs. Tetsuya Naito for the TNA title, Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP jr. title, Minoru Suzuki vs. Yuji Nagata, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Go Shiozaki, Rob Van Dam vs. Toru Yano, Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson defend the IWGP tag titles against Beer Money and Manabu Nakanishi & Strongman, Yoshihiro Takayama & Takashi Sugiura vs. Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada and a lot more. This is the 20th anniversary of what is the traditional biggest event of the year in Japanese pro wrestling.
An update on the Jeff Hardy situation, including charges, his TNA situation and a look back at his career, the ups, downs and in the middle, is one of the lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that is on the site today.
We look at the situation with the TNA title, reactions, his departure from WWE and his legal case.
We also look in detail at the situation with the end of TNA Reaction. We look at the reasons for the show no longer existing, why the show wasn't as valuable from a Spike standpoint as most of their other programming, the strengths and weaknesses of the show and what the loss means to the promotion.
We also look at one of the most colorful and memorable characters in the history of pro wrestling, with a major feature on King Curtis Iaukea. We look at his history in wrestling, his heyday in Hawaii, his main events in Madison Square Garden, overseas travel, what ended his career, life after wrestling as well as talk to many of his closest friends. We've got funny stories from acting, the beach, football and wrestling. We look at his family history, how he got into wrestling, his football days including what pro football star quit with him on a day of practice. We look at his early career success, riots caused, main event opponents, how he caused a TV announcer to quit and much more.
This is one of the best historical features we've had this year, looking at the heyday of pro wrestling in Hawaii, the characters that made it, as well as one of the most influential wrestlers of that era.
We also look at the New York blizzard and the post-Christmas show in Madison Square Garden, with business notes.
We also have a look at the last three months of WWE and TNA business, looking at arena business, television ratings and PPV numbers for both companies for a look at where business stands compared to last year.
We also have a look at the annual New Year's Eve show in Japan, including a history of the heyday, the role of Antonio Inoki and a look at the fighters.
We also have more on Kaval's departure from WWE, his future prospects in pro wrestling, people leaving, one of the biggest stars in the world interested in going to WWE, why other top stars have shied away, Chris Jericho book release and more on WrestleMania. We also look at WWE business for the weekend and notes on the post-Christmas house shows.
We've got ratings of all the national shows including how ever segment on Raw did this past week.
We also have our usual weekly features with results of the major arena shows from around the world, and the major TV show rundowns and reviews.
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Also in this week's issue:
--Copa Junior tournament finals
--Christmas show notes
--70s star out of retirement in hair match
--Konnan talks about bringing some names into Mexico
--U.S. stars in Dragon Gate
--Party to commemorate the anniversary of Baba's death
--Major promotion heading to Europe for the first time in three years
--The last New Japan shows leading to the Tokyo Dome
--Japanese women wrestling update
--City looks at doing a statue of famous pro wrestling world champion
--Death from ring injuries at a show over the weekend
--Career of Hogan possibly ending
--TNA star out of action with beating
--Mick Foley talks concussions
--Update on St. Pierre vs. Koscheck show
--Update on Koscheck
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Some UFC cuts and why
--A major news story to watch in 2011
--Strikeforce with two interesting signings
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues can get free issues from the last 18 years. You can get 2 free back issues by ordering 40 or more
issues and one for 24. Let us know which stories you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've
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our history are:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous
wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a
history of in-ring double-crosses)*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation
right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was
said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural
broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but
everything that was said between the two about the match that was going
to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon
steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article
and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such
great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career
ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career
and life of The Sheik)
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people
who worked with him and where he stands historically)
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino,
Backlund and Backlund era)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally,
the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth, and the rise of fall of
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say
was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the
plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the
night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined
for a joint show and what happened)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the
controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as
historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the
seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s,
Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding
world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of
Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story,
Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the
company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best
and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and
Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his
background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on
Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year
with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund,
Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts
as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately,
due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details
of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in
pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle
and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the
history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a
look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW,
as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and
behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at
the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings,
Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental
territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized
issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul
Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double
issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on
its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New
Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller
Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class
Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame
inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and
Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from
the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working
in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of
Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him
tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how
the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How
Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro,
Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania
planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged
McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and
why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and
Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why
there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real
reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are
calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his
influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas
including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S.
women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at
the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks
of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on
its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers
and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
*September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8
overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)*September 15, 2008 (Life
and Times of Evan Tanner)
*September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our
most in-depth bios)
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We also have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more about
the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk,
Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods. To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $10 for shipping costs to Canada and $12 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
--For those in the U.K., until the Impact television situation is straightened out, TNA is offering Impact for free on its On Demand service to anyone from the U.K. I guess that means that Impact is not going to be available right away on Sky. As noted earlier this week, Sky said that they were picking up the show, but had not decided on what station and what time slot. It's a political deal. I don't think WWE has an exclusive on Sky, but they do have a long standing relationship with the station and it wasn't even easy for UFC to get TUF on the station. (thanks to Matt Casper)
--USA Network was the No. 1 network ad supported network on cable in 2010 for the fifth straight year. They averaged 3.1 million viewers in prime time. Raw was usually hovering between 4 million and 5.5 million. USA was down 4% overall. Raw was down more than 4% during the year. Mun2, which airs replays of WWE programming, was up 49% over last year to 67,000 viewers in prime time. Galavision, which airs wrestling on the weekends, was up 13% to 163,000 viewers average in prime time (AAA doesn't air in prime time). Spike was down 13%, averaging 922,000 viewers in prime time.
--Kaz Hayashi's long reign as All Japan jr. heavyweight champion ended earlier today at Korakuen Hall when Minoru (Minoru Tanaka) beat him for the title.
--We have our recap show up on the site from last night's PPV which pretty much goes through everything. I really don't have a big emotional reaction to the lightweight title decision, where Gray Maynard will be getting a rematch instead of Anthony Pettis getting his shot. After the draw, that was the decision I expected and was mildly surprised when the first decision went the other way. But either way, the other guy was getting the next shot. The only thing Dana White apparently said as a reason was that they were so fixated on Pettis getting the next show that it was the first reaction (it wasn't five minutes after the decision was read that I first heard the Pettis getting a shot story). It did make for a weird evening with White not at the press conference and Craig Borsari, filling in, saying the only message from White was that Pettis was getting the next shot.
--Gray Maynard was so completely bummed out on hearing that news, and was long gone when White changed his mind so not sure of his reaction.
--Most of my thoughts and Bryan's thoughts on the show are on the audio update. When talking about Raw, we didn't mention the Miz vs. Morrison match falls count anywhere for the title has been announced as the Raw main event.
--Both Maynard and Edgar received their win bonuses even though the fight was a draw and based on the contract, neither should receive that bonus. Both guys didn't hear that and were bummed because each thought they win and weren't getting their bonus. Both also received an additional $60,000 bonus for fight of the night. I had it 48-46 for Edgar. As best I could tell, there was no press consensus on the scoring, as there were 48-46's for both men and 47-47 draws. Actually I thought the judging was spot on the entire show. Not one bad round call by a judge all night. There were calls I disagreed with but all were in close rounds that could have gone either way.
--Other bonuses for $60,000 went to Clay Guida for best submission and Jeremy Stephens for best knockout.
--Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the first Jack Brisco vs. Dory Funk Jr. match in St. Louis at Kiel Auditorium. The two had wrestled numerous times for the world title in Florida, and had also wrestled in Texas a few times before either was champion, but this was big because they had a riot in front of Kiel Auditorium turning over the portable ticket stands (which led to permanent ones being built) because so many thousands of fans were turned away. This pretty much proved the match as a big draw outside of Florida and was a key in the feud. The match was a 60:00 draw, the first of many between the two in St. Louis over the next several years. Larry Matysik has rated one of their matches, along with a Lou Thesz vs. Pat O'Connor and a Ric Flair vs. Bruiser Brody match as the three best matches in the city during the Wrestling at the Chase (1959-1983) era.
--No other two wrestlers have wrestled more than 60 minute matches against each other over their career in the last 45 years than Brisco and Dory Jr.
--Awesome Kong's farewell appearance for the Millennium Wrestling Federation before she goes to WWE will be on 1/8 in Melrose, MA at Memorial Hall for a show that also includes Daniel Bryan's final indie appearance (WWE allowed him to do this one show because he was booked with the promotion when WWE brought him back and made him cancel the date because it conflicted with one of their bookings), Paul Bearer, Abyss, Jay Lethal, Homicide, Matt Borne, Eddie Edwards and John Cena Sr. Bryan faces Tommaso Ciampa, Slyck Wagner Brown faces Homicide in a cage match for the MWF title, Abyss vs. Brian Milonas in a cage match, Kong vs. J-Busta in a cage match, Edwards vs. Brian Fury and Lethal vs. John Walters
--CZW on Friday night in Philadelphia has announced Jon Moxley vs. Brodie Lee for the CZW title, Philly's Most Wanted vs. Briscoes, Devon Moore vs. Thurteen and Adam Cole makes an open challenge to defend the CZW jr. title.
--Poll on Impact on Thursday
42.6% of those responding didn't see the show
--Poll on Superstars on Thursday
67.5% of those responding didn't see the show
--Even though it was a very good show overall, it did not have the marquee value. When checking last night, in Google trending, nothing related to the show made top ten. UFC 125 itself cracked the top 20 hours after the fight. As I write this in the morning, Brandon Vera's broken nose was No. 10 and Maynard-Edgar fight was No. 15.
--Melina's twitter continues to be the source of news. Yesterday she mentioned that John Morrison broke up with her and said that she would rather be a babyface and with him than a heel without a boyfriend. Obviously someone got to her because she later claimed her twitter account had been hacked into and that she and Morrison were still together. C.M. Punk today made fun of her making a joke about a twitter account being broken into.
--In similar news, Taryn Terrell, the former Tiffany, was pissed in a Miami Herald article where she noted that the current angle WWE is doing with Drew McIntyre and Kelly Kelly is the angle that she had come up with for herself and McIntyre. She thought they were trying to mess with her. It's a funny deal. If you are a wife/girlfriend of an actor on a television show and you complain about an angle where your husband is in a storyline relationship or kissing and making out with a woman, it's considered really immature to do so (and by the way, in Hollywood, girlfriends/wives, particularly if they are not in the business themselves, complaining about these storylines does happen with some frequency, much more than you'd think). From the outside in wrestling, it's going to come across like that as well. That said, why things are booked in pro wrestling is often very mean spirited.
--Shawn Michaels will be doing an autograph signing on 2/27 at the Detroit Auto Show at Cobo Arena from 1-4 p.m.
--Lucha Las Vegas on 1/11 at the Crown Nightclub at The Rio featuring bands playing live on stage and after, plus L.A. Park, Blue Demon Jr., El Hijo de Rey Misterio and Octagoncito, plus Sinn Bohdi, Stacy Carter, Shelly Martinez and Lizzy Valentine appear.
--Another benefit show took pace last night in Powell, TN to help Bubba Vowell, a special needs child who is autistic and a huge wrestling fan, whose mother was shot in a robbery attempt in December while she withdrew money from an ATM machine. Tennessee Mountain Wrestling held an event to raise money. Vowell was a front row regular at promoter Terry Landel's shows. A man has been charged with murder in the case. The news story is at http://www.wate.com/global/story.asp?s=13796213
--Chris "the Skunk" Antal, an indie wrestler from Marlborough, MA, who once ran for mayor, was arrested on 12/30 and charged with assault for punching a 59-year-old woman. He was released without bail and was ordered to stay away from the alleged victim. Police claim Antal hit the woman when she tried to break up a fight between the 44-year-old Antal and someone else. She was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries. He had a prior assault and battery conviction in 1987, but said the pleaded guilty even though he didn't do it to avoid jail time. Story is at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com
--Maryland Championship Wrestling from last night in Dundalk, MD before 300 fans: Ruckus b Devon Moore, Jimmy Cicero b Bobby Shields, Ronnie Zukko b Cole Calloway, C-Fed b Ramblin Rich, Nui Tofiga b Earl the Pearl, James Anthony b Drolix, Mia Yim b Melissa Coates, Josh Daniels b Alexander James, Cobian b Tyler Hilton, Ryan McBride b Christian York. Next show is 2/26.
--GOUGE returns on 1/8 in Wake Forest, NC at the MVP Sports Factory Gym with a 20 man Rumble.
--NAWA from last night in Waxahachie, TX: Chris Cross & Jason Silver b Barrett Brown & Dr. Nemo Luv, Tim Storm b Russian Destroyer, Pablo Chuco b Doberman and Max Muscles, Storm won Battle Royal. Next show is 2/5. Killer Tim Brooks is the promoter (thanks to Rob Moore)
--SoCal Pro Wrestling on Friday night in Escondido, CA at 130 E. Lincoln Ave has a free show headlined by Tommy Wilson vs. Ryan Taylor
--CWE on 1/7 in Winnipeg at the Vince Leah Community Center
--AIWF from last night in Asheboro, NC: Alan Rage b Shawn Adams, Big Daddy Edwards & J.T. Smooth b Sheik Bullard & Jimmy Brisco, Jersey Kid b Alas de Angel, D.J. Hart b William Huckaby Chris Armstrong & Bobby Savage & Frankie Fontaine b Jim Love & Louis Moore & Dr. X (thanks to Bobby Yates)