NEW YEAR'S UPDATE: Hogan's restaurant survives Flair unscathed, robbery thwarted with classic hold, Lauzon tweets in the New Year, lots of videos, MMA on CBS Sports tonight, tons more

By Bryan Alvarez | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @bryanalvarez

Tonight on CBS Sports at 10 p.m., you can watch the DREAM/GLORY MMA card:

- Phil Baroni (167.7) vs. Hayato Sakurai (168.6)
- Will Brooks (154.3) vs. Satoru Kitaoka (154.3)
- Georgi Karakhanyan (143) vs. Hiroyuki Takaya (143)
- Marloes Coenen (145.0) vs. Fiona Muxlow (144.8)
- Tatsuya Kawajiri (143) vs. Michihiro Omigawa (143)
- Bibiano Fernandes (138.4) vs. Yoshiro Maeda (136.9)
- Denis Kang (185.1) vs. Melvin Manhoef (184.3)
- Shinya Aoki (154.3) vs. Antonio McKee (154.3)


We have the first part of our annual Business Year in Review Observer, running down the biggest and most successful events of the year, with the biggest crowds, biggest arena headliners of the year, as well as a rundown of all the PPV numbers for 2012, the largest gates of the year and looking at the leading companies, a comparison to how many successful major events each one did as compared to every year dating back to 2008 so you can see where each company has gained and lost in popularity. We also have 2012 charts for UFC and WWE when it comes to the PPV business and big show business dating back too 2007. We also look at UFC and Strikeforce ratings for 2012.

Our other lead story is, taking the 2012 results into effect, the updated list of the 100 biggest drawing cards in pro wrestling history based on longevity at the top. We look at what milestone John Cena reached in 2012. We also have a note on everyone ranked No. 76 or higher who is not in the Hall of Fame right now, with background on all of them and whether they belong.

The issue is on the web site today, as is a back issue from 1995 which covers Shawn Michaels being beaten up in Syracuse as well as the preview of the first ever Ultimate Ultimate tournament.

With the Strikeforce promotion running its last show on 1/12, we've got a history of the promotion piece. We look at what killed the promotion, twice, the contract and what is said, and why it led to the death of the brand. We look at the rise of Ronda Rousey, the beginnings of Strikeforce dating back to 1992, Cung Le, the first Strikeforce MMA show, Frank Shamrock, Gina Carano, the biggest fights, signing of stars like Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson, and a look at the final show.

We also have more on Randy Orton's shoulder problems, the WWE issues with THQ and what it all means, a look at WWE's monthly business for November, with a look at house shows, ratings web hits and merchandise numbers. We also have an update on Sin Cara, notes on Tribute to the Troops, a story you wouldn't expect to find where it was about Sin Cara, more on Big E Langston's background, Tommy Dreamer talks his appearance on Raw, a former WWE star talks about possibly returning and more on Slammy voting and what it says.

We also have a look at the largest fan awards poll, the annual Nikkan Sports pro wrestling awards for 2012, including a look at who was the star in the balloting.

We have a major feature on the life and career of Rip Hawk, whose 33 year career saw it be around for the final days of Londos, Lewis and Pesek, as well as span the early career of Ric Flair and Ted DiBiase. We look at the never-ending Weaver & Beaver vs. Hawk & Hanson feud, Battles of the Bullies, who was Swede Hanson, how his tag team with Ric Flair started, how he claims Ric Flair saved his life, life after wrestling, what match convinced him he could make it in wrestling, his first championships, the first episode ever of Wrestling at the Chase and how that differed from every pro wrestling television show, before or after. We look at his interplay with Joe Garagiola which got him national pub, his St. Louis main events with the biggest names of the era, and his arrival in Mid Atlantic. We look at his run in Mid Atlantic as well as the end of his career.

We also have the ballot for the 2012 Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards.

We also have a look at Survivor Series numbers and the business of the show dating back the last few years.

The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.

The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe. Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world. Everywhere from Wall Street to the major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.

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We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows.

We also have results from all the major league arena events over the past week as well as a look at all the major television shows.

Today's News, Notes and Links

-- Wishing everyone a very happy 2013!

-- With 2012 in the books, this marks the first year since 1987 that the WWE/WWF title did not change hands for one full calendar year.

-- Not surprisingly, Hulk Hogan's new restaurant in Tampa, Florida was packed last night for New Year's Eve. Lots of names there including Ric Flair, Flair's current girlfriend Fifi the Maid (yup), Al Perez (yup), Brutus Beefcake of course, Austin Aries, etc.

-- Smackdown did 2.7 million viewers this week.

-- Not for the faint of heart: Joe Lauzon tweets the aftermath of his fight with Jim Miller this weekend.

-- Jim Ross' final blog of 2012 is up here.

-- We've got a special guest scheduled to appear on Figure Four Daily this coming Wednesday.

-- Andrew writes: Anyhow thought I'd pass along some info on the new series from IDW comics called Joe Palooka .I just read the 1st issue there's 5 more to come as it's a mini series. It's a decent by the numbers story written by 3 guys and the art is done by a fellow named Fernando Peniche .As noted before the original Joe Palooka was a boxing based series this is updated for MMA fans. The MMA coordinator/consultant is a guy named Phil Ross who's listed as the Master trainer for the RKC Team and an 8th degree black belt( sounds impressive) Don't know if you guys know anything about Mr.Ross or his credentials or not. The first issue focuses on setting up the story.Nick Davis is the name of the fighter who ends up earning the Joe Palooka moniker. He's an up and coming MMA fighter who ends up involved in a botched bank robbery where he tries to do the right thing and it back fires.Davis ends up fleeing the scene of the robbery and the police mistaken think he's involved with the robbery and murder of the banks security guard. He flees to Tijuana and ends up in a no hold barred cage fight against a monster known as the Great Aztec. The fights promoter dismissively tags Davis as Gringo Joe Palooka .After upsetting the much larger Aztec Davis adopts the Joe Palooka monicker and starts to look for more MMA action south of the border. Any readers who like comics and are into MMA may want to check out this series.The art is pretty good the fighting is drawn in a style that's not typical OTT comics style and the story isn't hard to follow.

-- Zack Ryder says WWE is dropping the ball. How apropos on New Year's.

-- I need crucial details on this story. A 28-year-old woman allegedly busted into a home and was in the process of stealing $720 worth of items. In the home was her former roommate and the roomate's 65-year-old mother. In the melee, the burglar hit the 65-year-old with her own cane (!!!), and then told the former roommate that if she wanted the items back, she would have to "fight her for them." So there was a fight. This is where the article gets muddy. The burglar apparently took down and mounted the roommate and was pounding on her. Then, "she was put into a choke hold" and rendered unconscious. The author, Tonya Alanez, did not bother to report the most pertinent information, WHO choked the burglar unconscious. I'm hoping it was the 65-year-old. I will try to get more details. There is a good chance the choker wasn't listed in the police report either, hence the vague article.

-- UFC's top moments of 2012:

-- Raw Backstage Fallout with a very happy Wade Barrett:

-- Today in history with Brian Hoops:

1959 - Billy Wicks defeats Lee Fields to win the NWA Gulf Coast Heavyweight Title in Mobile, Alabama

1961 - Rocket and Sputnik Monroe defeat Duke Keomuka and Mad Dog Vachon to win the NWA Texas Tag Team Title in Fort Worth, Texas.

1963 - Ivan and Karol Kalmikoff defeat Mr. High (Doug Gilbert) and Mr. Low (Dick Steinborn) for the AWA World Tag Team Title in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

1963 - Art and Stan Neilson win the American Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Title by defeating Karl and Kurt Von Brauner.

1970 - Stan Pulaski defeats Tarzan Tyler in Omaha, Nebraska for the AWA Midwest Heavyweight Title

1971 - Bob Geigel won the NWA Central States Heavyweight Title by defeating Roger Kirby in St. Joseph, Missouri

1975 - Rocket Monroe and Randy Tyler defeat Jackie Fargo and George Gulas to win the NWA Mid-America Tag Team Title in Nashville, Tennessee.

1978 - Blackjack Mulligan defeats Ricky Steamboat in Greensboro, North Carolina to win the NWA United States Heavyweight Title.

1979 - Jack and Jerry Brisco defeat Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk for the NWA Georgia Tag Team Title in Atlanta, Georgia.

1980 - Ricky and Robert Gibson won the AWA Southern Tag Team Title in Memphis, Tennessee, by defeating The Assassins

1982 - In St. Louis, Missouri, Dick the Bruiser defeated Ken Patera to wint he NWA Missouri Title

1985 - Jay and Mark Youngblood defeat Krusher Khrushchev and Jim Neidhart to win the Florida NWA United States Tag Team Title in Tampa, Florida.

1986 - Dick Slater defeats Butch Reed for the Mid-South North American Heavyweight Title in Tulsa, Oklahoma

-- Over the Top Radio looks at the Year in Review 2012 here.

What was the biggest news story of December (note, this question was asked before UFC 155)?
Emergence of The Shield 22.3%
Kenta Kobashi announces retirement 20.0%
Ric Flair returns to WWE 18.4%
Pro Wrestling NOAH implosion 10.8%
Announcement of Rousey vs. Carmouche as PPV headliner 10.2%
C.M. Punk knee injury 7.5%
Announcement of GSP vs Nick Diaz 5.8%
Benson Henderson beats Nate Diaz to keep lightweight title on FOX 1.6%
TNA & Bellator official for Thursday night block 1.6%
Dominick Cruz out for anther year 0.7%
A.J. turns on John Cena 0.7%
New Year's Eve showdown in Japan 0.3%

Who would you pick in a third Velasquez vs. Dos Santos fight?
Velasquez 82.4%
Dos Santos 17.6%

In your mind, what is UFC's potential biggest fight of 2013?
GSP vs. Diaz 28.6%
Rousey vs. Cyborg 25.1%
Jones vs Sonnen 19.7%
Velasquez vs. Overeem 16.2%
Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3.5%
GSP vs. Hendricks 2.3%
Benson Henderson vs. Melendez 1.9%
Jones vs. Cormier 1.2%
Aldo vs Edgar 0.8%
Barao vs. McDonald 0.4%
Rousey vs. Carmouche 0.4%

Will next Monday's Raw top a 3.0 rating?
Yes 41.8%
No 58.2%

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?