THURS. UPDATE: WWE network note, Dwayne Johnston, Flair, Styles vs. Hero, Bellator fighter announces retirement, UFC fighter appendectomy, Bggest star of Tokyo Dome era



By Dave Meltzer | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @DaveMeltzerWON
 
        Taped Impact tonight at 9 p.m. on Spike
*Gail Kim vs. Madison Rayne non-title match
*Sam Shaw vs. Norv Fernam
*Kurt Angle & Gunner vs. James Storm & Bobby Roode
*Joseph Park vs. Bully Ray
        The show also features the angle building up next week's A.J. Styles vs. Magnus TNA title match.   
 
        A look at the history of pro wrestling at the Tokyo Dome, the injury and update on Anderson Silva, and the latest on WrestleMania and the Daniel Bryan turn are among the stories in this week's new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
 
        We look at Silva's injury, the surgery, have notes from the surgeon, Silva's reaction, the impact of Silva and Georges St-Pierre not fighting in 2014, the absence of superfights, the biggest fights on the horizon, the controversy over Vitor Belfort vs. Chris Weidman, early business numbers on UFC 168 from around the world and reaction in Brazil to Silva.
 
        We also look at the Daniel Bryan heel turn into the Wyatt family.  We look at WrestleMania, the turning of Bryan, the return of Brock Lesnar, the UFC rumors and Lesnar's contractual situation with WWE.  We look at last year when Lesnar did agree to return to UFC and why it didn't happen,and why even if he did agree, it couldn't happen.
 
        We've also got full coverage of UFC 168, with match-by-match ratings, business notes, how much everyone got paid, poll results and more.
 
        We also have a lengthy story on the history of pro wrestling and MMA, and how they intermix, at the Tokyo Dome, covering nearly every show from the last 25 years.  It's a history of the biggest events in Japanese history, the highs and lows of business, the most legendary matches and angles and how pro wrestling has evolved and changed.
 
        We look at the first show and how it changed wrestling, how the second show changed All Japan and New Japan, how Ric Flair led to a unique show, the night the three biggest wrestling companies in the world at the time worked together, Starrcade in Tokyo Dome, the January 4th tradition, future Olympic medalists doing pro wrestling first, a 10 1/2 hour long show, names who appeared at the Tokyo Dome before they were famous, the show with 14 different Hall of Famers on the same event, the story behind the biggest gates in pro wrestling history, what led to the formation of the NWO, the hottest periods of business ever in Japan, shoots, worked shoots, double crosses, a 90 minute MMA match, retirement shows, the worst show ever, dream matches that never took place and why, Brock Lesnar, NOAH's biggest event and the rise of Hiroshi Tanahashi.
 
        We also have more on the UFC Fight Pass channel, including more details on when it will be available around the world.
 
        We also look at WWE's annual holiday show in Madison Square Garden.
 
        We've also got details on the next few TNA PPV shows, what was taped, and what it does and doesn't say about the future.
 
        We also look at the latest Olympic gold medalist to win a pro wrestling world heavyweight title, and how this one won it in a non-predetermined fashion.
 
        We also have notes on Mae Young, Dwayne Johnson, Old School Raw, Chris Jericho, Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards and all as it regards WWE.  We also look at where the USA Network would be without Raw.  We also look at new classes WWE is instituting for its wrestlers and why, wrestlers who have talked retirement, Cole and Layfield in a contest and Cena vs. Rollins. 
 
        We also look at the entire holiday week in WWE, both the house shows and TV tapings with highlights from every night.   
 
        We also look at Japan's annual celebrity arm wrestling competition featuring MMA fighters, pro wrestlers, sumos, baseball stars and more and who emerged victorious.
 
        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 31st 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.
 
       If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today.  With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today.  Just sent your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, card number and expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        You can also order by paypal by sending to www.paypal.com and directing the funds to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
       You can also subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.
 
        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.
 
Also in this week's issue:
 
--Longtime Northern Mexico star passes away
 
--Notes on A.J. Styles and ROH 
 
--More on Styles final TV appearance for TNA
 
--When Styles was supposed to return to TNA
 
--Styles talks WWE
 
--Options for Styles
 
--Is Magnus the first British born world champion?
 
--Who TNA is really high on
 
--Notes from TNA weekend holiday shows
 
--When Jones vs. Teixeira is slated
 
   New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue.
 
        Our most requested issues in 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 networks)
 
*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 steroid trial)
 
*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
history)
 
*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 Hogan)
 
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
 
*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 and friends)
 
*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 Lesnar)
 
*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 business changed)
 
*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 week)
 
*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 overseas)
 
*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 overseas)
 
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of 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 Lewis)
 
*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 overseas)
 
*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)
 
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
 
Rates are:
 
        For the United States, it is $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52.  In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52 .
 
        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.
 
        We now 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.
 
THURSDAY'S NEWS UPDATE
 
--WWE has sent out a memo that Chris Benoit footage will be allowed on its new network broadcasts.  There will be an advisory played before every show he appears on 
 
--Dwayne Johnson just purchased a $4.5 million home near Fort Lauderdale.  The new home is scheduled to be finished in May.  It will be a 13,700 square foot home with five bedrooms and a six car garage on 2.5 acres.
 
--Today's Tampa Tribune at http://tbo.com has a story interviewing Ric Flair and Cody Rhodes on Ashley Fliehr, Ric's daughter, in developmental.  Interestingly, WWE would not allow her to be interviewed.  
 
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1959 - Fred Blassie beat Ray Gunkel in Atlanta to win the Southern title
1965 - Sonny Myers beat Tom Clark in Waterloo to win the U.S. title
1971 - Ripper Collins beat Johnny Barend in Honolulu to win the Hawaiian title and Ring Magazine Gold Belt
1979 - Dick Slater beat Jos LeDuc in Tampa to win the Florida title
1979 - Randy Alls (Randy Rose) beat Dick Murdoch in St. Joseph to win the Central States title
1980 - Ox Baker beat Bruiser Brody in a fictitious match to became the American champion
1981 - Mike Graham & Barry Windham beat Bobby Jaggers & R.T. Tyler in Orlando to win the Florida tag titles
1982 - Jimmy Valiant beat Ivan Koloff in Hampton, VA to win the NWA TV title
1983 - Jacques Rougeau beat Sabu (Cocoa Samoa) to win the Mid American title in Memphis
1987 - The Mod Squad beat Todd Champion & Dave Peterson in Kansas City to win the Central States title
1990 - Arn Anderson beat Great Muta in Gainesville, GA to win the NWA TV title
1991 - Danny Davis beat Joseph Magliano to win the USWA jr. title in Memphis
1997 - Brian Christopher beat Wolfie D in Memphis to win the USWA title
 
--A.J. Styles vs. Chris Hero headlines 1/26 in Toronto for Smash Wrestling at the E-Zone for a show at 4 p.m.  They will air the Royal Rumble on the big screens in he building right after the live show.  Also Michael Elgin vs. Johnny Gargano and Matt Cross vs. Scotty O'Shea vs. Kyle O'Reilly.
 
--Brent Weedman of Bellator announced his retirement today.  Weedman was 22-9-1, and has gone 8-4 in Bellator.
 
--A story on Hulk Hogan cutting a promo regarding Matthew Mulligan of the New England Patriots is at http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4756633/matthew-mulligan-talks-of-hulk-hogan-link?ex_cid=espnapi_public
 
--Jason High was forced to pull out of the 1/15 UFC show in Duluth, GA, due to his appendix bursting.  He had to undergo surgery.  Charlie Brenneman returns to UFC in his place and faces Beneil Dariush.  Brenneman was cut by UFC a little over a year ago, and then dropped from welterweight to lightweight.
 
WHO WAS THE BIGGEST STAR OF THE TOKYO DOME ERA?
Kenta Kobashi 23.8%
Keiji Muto 19.2%
Mitsuharu Misawa 14.6%
Shinya Hashimoto 12.1%
Antonio Inoki 11.4%
Bob Sapp 8.2%
Kazushi Sakuraba 5.3%
Genichiro Tenryu 2.1%
Andy Hug 1.4%
Nobuhiko Takada 0.7%
Riki Choshu 0.7%
Peter Aerts 0.4%
 
WILL WRESTLEMANIA BEAT UFC 168 ON PPV IN THE U.S.
Yes 48.4%
No 51.6%
 
WHAT'S THE BIGGEST UPCOMING UFC TITLE FIGHT?  
Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort 33.1%
Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann 27.1%
Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira 15.8%
Renan Barao vs. Dominick Cruz 6.0%
Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas 0.6%
 
WHAT COMPANY WILL GROW THE MOST THIS YEAR?
WWE 32.7%
New Japan 19.2%
UFC 13.1%
ROH 10.2%
TNA 8.4%
AAA 6.9%
WSOF 4.0%
Bellator 2.9%
Dragon Gate 1.1%
Wrestle-1 1.1%
CMLL 0.4%
 
--A feature on Pro Wrestling Revolution is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfE5NCvmmMg
 
--CMLL  from last night in Guadalajara:  Eboal & Sadico b Metatron & Divino, Amapola & Princesa Sugei & Zeuxis b Goya Kong & Silueta & Dark Angel, Disturbio & Acertijo & Arkangel de la MuTHerte b Triton & Xavier Cruz Jr. & Leo, Averno & El Terrible & Polvora b Titan & Brazo de Plata & Blue Panther-DQ, Volador Jr. b Rey Bucanero (thanks to Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims)
 
--Vendetta Pro Wrestling TV show at http://youtu.be/cEQgKufweSk
 
--Comedian Gabriel Iglesias, who plays tonight in Fort Lauderdale, mentions that he's lost 90 pounds and that doing yoga with DDP helped him.
 
--New Evolve matches announced are Chuck Taylor vs. Lince Dorado and Caleb Konley vs. Jon Davis in Ybor City, FL on 1/10, and the Bravado Brothers defending the Open the United Gate tag titles against Dos Ben Dejos on 1/11 in Orlando.
 
--Mark Munoz will be doing a fund raiser on 1/11 at the Treasure Island Event Venue in San Francisco at 401 California Ave. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m..  For $80, which will benefit Typhoon Yolanda Survivors, you can attend an MMA seminar from 9-11 a.m., plus he's doing a wrestling seminar for youth and college wrestlers from 1-4 p.m. for $40 and he's doing an autograph signing from Noon to 1 p.m.  For more info go to www.markmunozmma.com
 
--Author Paul O'Brien is teaming with Ringmaster for an iBook and there is a fundraiser at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bpmapps/ringmaster/posts/708159 

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