SUNDAY UPDATE: NEXT HARDY ANGLE; MAJOR CHAMP COULD BE BANNED; PRAISED TNA SHOW



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        We're looking for reports on last night's Raw house show in Lake Charles, LA, as well as today's shows in Baton Rouge for Raw and Bossier City for Smackdown at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        Raw is live tomorrow night in New Orleans with both a series of elimination matches to determine berths in the Royal Rumble, as well as William Regal vs. C.M. Punk for the IC title.  There is a Monday night Smackdown house show in Alexandria, LA tomorrow.
 
        No TNA tapings this week, nor Smackdown tapings on Tuesday, so Raw is the last major event until next weekend.
 
        A note if you are not a subscriber, all both print and web site subscriptions will include our special awards double issue that is coming out in a few weeks, which is traditionally our best selling issue of the year.
 
        With a feature on WWE booking leading to Wrestlemania, including current Smackdown plans for two of the key matches penciled in and looking at both sides of the arguments as to the title situation as well as coverage of UFC 92 and the Japanese New Year's Eve K-1 and Hustle shows are among the features in the two issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that will be out next week.  We also have an article on the death of Justin Eilers and where every promotion is most popular both internationally and domestically. 
 
        The first issue is already available to web site premium subscribers today and the second will be available later this week.
 
        We also have an update on Batista and questions regarding the booking when he is ready to return.
 
        The story on the first house shows with Jeff Hardy as champion, how he's been received, what the current plans going forward are including the wrestler not yet under contract who is being considered for a major Wrestlemania match.  We look at how the booking at Wrestlemania always changes and what the key arguments on the Smackdown main event side are.
 
        We also talk about the realities of Darren Aronofsky's feeling that wrestlers should be part of the Screen Actors Guild and what steps would need to happen for that to be a reality.  We also look at how the difference in the type of people in wrestling today as opposed to 20 years ago also affects this process.
 
        We look at a newcomer who has been pushed on TV and is already being soured on, as well as future of MVP, and just how big John Cena is and why a heel turn isn't being considered.  We also have a look at a wrestler not yet in WWE who has told people he will debut at the Royal Rumble as well as what crackdown has been privately complained about by many in WWE and looking at the arguments on that crackdown.
 
        We also have full coverage of UFC 92, as well as what lessons and the long-term realities of MMA when it comes to generational stars.  We look at what happened with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, including what may have been the cause for his poor performance.  We look at what Frank Mir said to Brock Lesnar after his win and potential business of that match.  We look at how the crowd reactions at weigh-ins differed from the live event.  We look at plenty of other matches now being talked about coming off what happened at UFC 92.  We look at future matches for Quinton Jackson and Chuck Liddell.
 
        We also have business notes from UFC 92 including some early indications on how the show did overall.  We look at both the positives and negatives of the show, match-by-match coverage, base pay, bonuses and more.
 
        We also have a huge feature on the death of Justin Eilers, and the person that he was.  We look at the circumstances, what led to the circumstances, and what charges are against the person who shot him. 
 
        We've also got full coverage of the K-1 New Year's Eve show as well as notes on the biggest event in ROH history with the Final Battle card, including eye witness accounts of the Austin Aries incident with a fan.
 
        We've got a feature on the most popular performers in pro wrestling and MMA in 2008 based on web interest, which turned out to yield some very surprising results.  We look at old guard like Hogan, Flair, Austin and Rock compared with the current stars like Cena, HHH and more, including a few major surprises on the list and being as high as they were.  The story also looks at the differences in popularity level of wrestlers, boxers and MMA fighters in the U.S.
 
        We also look at UFC vs. WWE, where each is more popular when it comes to states and major cities, and how its similarities and lack of similarities with pro wrestling affect UFC's attempt to go national.  We also look at the value of network vs. cable in 2008, what three WWE stars are under pushed, and what major drawing cards are not near the top 25 when it comes to popularity.
 
        We've also got a look at WWE house shows in what is traditionally the best week of the year to draw, the week after Christmas.  In particular, we look at the Madison Square Garden show, and how it differed from other shows this past week.
 
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        We also have more awards including the biggest fan voting awards in Japan, so you can see who the Japanese audience felt was its MVP this year, as well as a listing of winners in previous years, as well as match of the year and other major awards.  We also have a look at MMA's biggest television show and its awards for this year.
 
        We've got full coverage of the craziest promotion in wrestling, with Hustle Mania, a network prime time New Year's Eve special that went head-to-head with the K-1 show.  We look at who were the key people on the network special, including how the two networks counter programmed their strong points against each other.
 
        We also have our regular features including all the TV ratings from the past week, results from the major league house shows and major TV show reviews.
 
        Also in this week's issues:
 
--Coverage of Dragon Gate's year-end show including a longtime unit breaking up and a new champion being crowned
 
--Winner of the Rikidozan award as Pro Wrestling NOAH's MVP
 
--Who is expected to get a major push in NOAH next year
 
--Update on Kenta Kobashi
 
--Death of a wrestler in training in Japan
 
--A look at the life of Rollin Hard
 
--The miracle experience of a member of one of wrestling's most famous families
 
--Update on trial of the doctor who treated Chris Benoit and which wrestlers he was said to be associated with
 
--Mick Foley complains to Sports Illustrated about what was written about him in the article on "The Wrestler"
 
--New match for Genesis
 
--TNA PPV schedule for 2009
 
--Update on the UFC 95 lineup
 
--Update on Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra
 
--Update on UFC fundraising efforts coming from The Fight for the Troops show
 
--Update on the next season of Ultimate Fighter
 
--UFC headliner complains about fighter pay
 
--Update on WEC plans for 2009
 
--Interesting idea Dana White has talked about for Satoshi Ishii
 
--What market that UFC was planning on hitting in 2009 that looks to be out
 
--What top star just did a fight while needing knee surgery and when he's getting it
 
--Best selling MMA and pro wrestling DVDs
 
--A look back at Hulk Hogan vs. Terry Funk
 
--ECW getting a replay showing
 
--Regal talks about a WWE star who needs work in the ring
 
--Lance Storm talks about why C.M. Punk's matches are sometimes considered inconsistent and his thoughts
 
--WWE signs some wrestlers let go in the past
 
--A look at the movie "Behind Enemy Lines 3"
 
--Promotion making a major ticket price change that could be a big mistake
 
--NWA and CMLL talk about the longtime NWA titles that have been based in Mexico
 
--Former WWE star and U.S. indie guys get a look by an international promotion this past week
 
--Two wrestlers miss AAA Christmas party in protest and their issues
 
--Puerto Rico wrestling awards for 2008
 
--Note on Team 3-D in Japan
 
--One of biggest indie events of the year
 
--Promoter claims Hogan came to him for an idea of promoting Hogan led house shows
 
--Update on Dwayne Johnson and his next movies
 
--Update on Perry Saturn
 
--Lots more on the Wrestler including WWE private and public reaction
 
--Business notes on the movie "The Wrestler"
 
--Former tag champs open a wrestling school
 
--Looking back at "Wrestling with Shadows"
 
--Several wrestlers filming a movie in China including four ex-WWE performers
 
--80s star talks boxing match he's scheduled in
 
--Future of MMA on CBS and Showtime
 
--Current biggest drawing fighter in Japan and it's a name virtually unknown in wrestling or MMA circles
 
        New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major story (ies) 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:
 
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plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
 
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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,
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*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
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*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their
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*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
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*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
 
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bam Bigelow)
 
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
 
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*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)
 
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We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more
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--Four title changes at the Tokyo Dome earlier today (results already up) with Hiroshi Tanahashi over Keiji Muto for the IWGP heavyweight title, Team 3-D over Togi Makabe & Toru Yano to win the IWGP heavyweight tag titles, Tiger Mask over Low Ki for the IWGP jr. title and Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley over Tetsuya Naito & Yujiro to win the IWGP jr. tag titles.  I would presume, but this is not confirmed, that the two tag title changes will air in the next few weeks on Spike as part of a Global Impact TV special.  Jeremy Borash was the ring announcer for several of the matches.
 
--We have up on the site already the Wrestling Observer Radio show talking about the Congressional interviews with Vince, Linda & Stephanie McMahon as well as Dixie Carter.  We answer tons of questions on the subject and it's probably the most newsworthy episode in some time. 
 
--There are reports of an angle inserted into Friday's Smackdown show where Jeff Hardy and fiance Beth are injured in a hit-and-run auto accident in Cameron, NC, most likely with Christian as the perpetrator.  Jeff will be okay but Beth will apparently be seriously injured in storyline.  That surprises me a little because she's always wanted to be out of the spotlight.    
 
--Another angle is that Great Khali won the auction for the nude Vickie Guerrero photos
 
--TNA Impact poll for Thursday
Excellent 40.6%
Good 30.7%
Average 6.9%
Fair 4.0%
Poor 17.8%
        49.5% of those responding didn't see the show.  For those who saw it, it was the best response to a TNA show in a long time.  For those who voted poor, man, can't imagine you could have really seen it.  A lot of TNA may be shit, but you've got to go in with the idea that the show is terrible beforehand to say a show with one of the best U.S. women's matches of the year, one of the best men's matches of the year, a very good new tag title match and two ****+ matches on free TV as a poor show.
 
--Poll for Smackdown
Excellent 12.5%
Good 35.0%
Average 25.8%
Fair 14.2%
Poor 14.2%
        33.7% of those responding didn't see the show
 
On the steroid issue in pro wrestling and sports in general do you think:
 
All sports are dishonest on the subject and wrestling is no more or less dishonest than anyone else 55.0%
Wrestling people in general are more dishonest 29.6%
Wrestling people are more honest, except Vince McMahon who is more dishonest 7.8%
Everyone in wrestling is generally more honest 3.8%
Wrestling people are more dishonest except Vince McMahon, who is more honest 2.5%
All sports as well as people in pro wrestling are honest when it comes to what they say on the subject 1.3%
   
--The California State Athletic Commission will be putting the issue of revoking Antonio Silva's license for fighting earlier today at the Sengoku show while on suspension for failing a steroid test on its 2/10 agenda.  There will also be disciplinary action coming on Monday for those who worked his corner.  Bill Douglas of the commission will be notifying all commissions tomorrow morning regarding Silva and those in his corner who aided and abetted Silva
 
--The much praised episode of Impact from Thursday night will be replayed after Impact this week from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on this coming Thursday (thanks to Joe Puccio) 
 
--Funny video on people let go from WWE this year at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GFnxdtuEbM
 
--Chuck Liddell is doing a book signing on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Barnes & Nobles in Huntington Beach
 
--Josh Koscheck has verbally agreed but hasn't signed the papers to be added to the 2/21 UFC 95 show in London.  Not sure of his opponent.
 
--The New York Daily News has a story on the Congressional interviews regarding drug testing in pro wrestling at http://www.nydailynews.com  Aside from this story and an AP story, I haven't seen any coverage of the story at all.
 
--Today's Philadelphia Inquirer has a front page of the entertainment section story on Mickey Rourke and "The Wrestler." (thanks to Paul Verlander)
 
--Amy Dumas' band the Luchagores play Thursday night at the Smith Olde Bar in Atlanta for a local Comcast on Demand taping 
--USWO on Friday night in Nashville:  Chris Norte won five-way over Traken Mathias, Travis Starr, Steven Green and Convict Clown, Jason Xavier b Lee Cross, Damien Payne & Josh Crowe b Psycho Medic & Shawn Hoodrich, Steven Green b Traken Mathias, Saint & Tim Renesto b Shane Eden & Derrick Neal, Mitch Ryder b Michael Jablonski to win USWO title, L.T. Falk b Jeremiah Plunkett in a loser leaves town match (thanks to Jimmie Daniel)
 
--Mexico stuff for tonight:  CMLL at Arena Coliseo for TV with Dos Caras Jr. & Toscano & Volador Jr. vs. Mr. Niebla & Rey Bucanero & Ultimo Guerrero.  Guadalajara has Hector Garza & Hijo del Fantasma & La Mascara vs. Atlantis & Dragon Rojo & Negro Casas
 
--Lethal Wrestling Alliance from last night in O'Fallon, MO:  Dorian Victor won six-way over Pierre Abernathy, Adam Rich, Shamus O'Flannery, Eric Allen and Shorty Biggs, XXX Jordan Lacey b Mephisto, Donovan Ruddick b Mark Sterling, Hunter Matthews b Shane Hollister, Gary the Barnowl b Nick Tyson, Steven Kennedy & K.C. Karrington b Brandon Espinosa & Mike Sydal, Mike Quackenbush b Evan Gelistico, Jeremy Wyatt b Tyler Black (thanks to Patrick Brandmeyer)
 
--IPW from last night in Indianapolis:  Jesse Emerson b Tommy Chill and Bret Havovk, Cyanide b G.T. Vega, Dave Crist b Louis Lyndon, Dave Davidson & Dave Allen b Aaron Scott & Flip Kendrick-DQ, Sassy Stephanie won three-way over Kimberly Kash and Nevaeh, C.J. Otis b Carlton Kaz, Carter Gray b Aaron Williams-DQ, Jake Crist b Dustin Rayz, Faith In Nothing DCOR Osyris & Jedd, Davey Richards b Billy Ric, Jon Moxley b Drake Younger in a dog collar match to win IPW title
 
--Hoosier Pro Wrestling from last night in Columbus, IN before a full house of 225 fans:  Fuji Brown b T.J. Kemp, General Lee b Shawn Cook, Troy Van Zant & Bobby Black b Average White Guy & Dylan Bostic, Ox Harley b Pastor Pain, Donny Idol b Brian Beech, Diceman Ronnie Vegas DDQ Tommy Ray Sands, Tom Van Zant b Cousin Cooter in dog collar match to win HPW title (thanks to Jerry Wilson)
 
--I Believe in Wrestling from last night in Orlando:  Gus Money b Austin Amadeus, Master Flesh b Dash Maverick, Bumz R Us b CNS Connection, Larry Zbyszko & Becky Bayless b Scott Davis & Jessika Haze, Nick Fame b Nooie Lee, Heartbreak Express b Raymond Snow & Demon Toro, Chasyn Rance b Orlando Jordan (thanks to John Michaels)
 
--NWF from last night in West Harrison, IN: Jeremy Hyde b Ice, Brian Jennings b Warlock, Sin D b Hellena Heavenly, Stamp Lickage over Horatio Sanchez & Malpractice, Jay Donaldson & Mikey Nicholls b Anthony Bryant & Scott Hayes, Sampson b Stewie Backlund, Roger Ruffen b Tiny Tim, Austin Meddler & The Thugs b Christopher Michael Lotus & Hippies, Ryan Stone b Muldoon in a ladder match.  On 1/17 in Fort Wright, KY  it'll be Chris Harris vs. Roger Ruffen in a hair vs. hair match
 
--Drake Younger vs. Devon Moore headlines CZW at the Alhambra in Philadelphia on 1/10 
 
--POWW from last night in Fox Lake, IL before 100 fans:  Trevor Blanchard b Marco Cordova, Melanie Cruise b Great Cheyenne, King Kanoa b Donnie Dynamite, Joey Cece b Sihnmates, Ruff Crossing b Tommy Capone, Chris Cairo b Great Malaki (thanks to Rob Myers)
 
--Chris Kanyon turned 39 today
 
--Today is also the 8th anniversary of the death of Villano I and 2nd anniversary of the death of famous 70s wrestler Cowboy Lang
 
--Rich Tate's Atlanta wrestling nostalgia
91 years ago today in Savannah:  Strangler Lewis and Wladek Zbyszko went to a 75 minute draw in a Greco-Roman rules match. Must not have gotten over as the promoter said he would never book a Greco-Roman rules match.  The newspaper ad for the story listed Lewis as world champion
80 years ago in Boston:  Gus Sonnenberg beat Lewis to win the world title
52 years ago:  Chief Big Heart beat Jerry Graham to win the Southern title
46 years ago:  Fred Blassie kept the world title going to a draw with Ray Gunkel
40 years ago:  A big Atlanta TV angle saw a battle of masked man as The Pro (Doug Gilbert) pinned Blue Destroyer and then unmasked him, revealing world champion Gene Kiniski
35 years ago:  Mr. Wrestling II beat Tim Woods and Bob Armstrong & Robert Fuller beat Bobby Shane & Stan Vachon.  I na prelim, Jerry Lawler beat Bobby Cash, who later became Porkchop Cash
32 years ago in Macon:  Ole & Gene Anderson kept the Georgia tag titles over Mighty Igor & Thunderbolt Patterson while Dick Slater & Abdullah the Butcher beat Bob Backlund & Mr. Wrestling II
  
--Sandman has said that despite what a company is Pennsylvania is saying, he is available for bookings in the state.

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