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Daily Update: Hero returns, NJPW on AXS schedule, Velasquez surgery

THE ROUND-UP

The Latest from the F4W Staff

NEWS

AUDIO

We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE Raw house show in Columbus, GA (Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens) and NXT show in Largo, FL to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com.

Today is the last day for our poll on New Japan Wrestle Kingdom, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

TNA LIVE ONE NIGHT ONLY PPV AT 8 P.M. TONIGHT

  • Eddie Edwards vs. EC3 for World title
  • Bobby Lashley vs. Davey Richards
  • Jeff & Matt Hardy vs. Eli Drake & Tyrus for tag team titles
  • Moose vs. Michael Bennett anything goes for Grand championship
  • Rosemary vs. Sienna for Knockouts title
  • DJ Z will defend the X title  

NEW JAPAN ON AXS TV AT 8 P.M. EASTERN

  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP heavyweight title

        This is the match from last year's Tokyo Dome, as a prelude since next Friday will be the Okada vs. Kenny Omega match from Wednesday's show.    

CMLL THREE KINGS DAY SPECIAL FROM ARENA MEXICO AT 9:30 P.M. EASTERN TIME TONIGHT

  • Marcela & Estrellita & Vaquerita vs. Dallys & Zeuxis & Amapola
  • Rey Cometa vs. Cavernario
  • Blue Panther & Blue Panther Jr. & The Panther vs. Negro Casas & Puma & Tiger
  • Volador Jr. vs. Mephisto
  • Rush & La Mascara vs. Marco Corleone & Maximo Sexy
  • Valiente vs. Ultimo Guerrero
  • Mistico & Caristico & Atlantis vs. Euforia & Gran Guerrero & Niebla Roja

Saturday has WWE Raw in Montgomery, AL and Smackdown in Bossier City, LA, along with NXT in Ocala, FL.

STYLE BATTLE ON FLO SPORTS FROM YBOR CITY, FL ON SATURDAY NIGHT

This is an eight-man tournament promotion with first round matches of:

  • Darby Allin vs. Dave Crist
  • Dezmond Xavier vs. Sammy Guevara
  • Fred Yehi vs. Anthony Henry
  • AR Fox vs. Austin Theory

Sunday has WWE Raw in Mobile, AL and Smackdown in Lafayette, LA.

There is a big Raw episode Monday night in New Orleans with Roman Reigns vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens in a handicap match for the U.S. title, plus appearances by Shawn Michaels and Undertaker. Smackdown has a house show on Monday in Lake Charles, LA.

Smackdown and 205 Live on Tuesday are from Baton Rouge, LA. Matches on Smackdown will be John Cena vs. Baron Corbin, Jason Jordan & Chad Gable vs. The Wyatt Family for the tag team titles and Nikki Bella vs. Natalya.


FIGURE FOUR WEEKLY: WWE's transformative 2016

Though the malaise of three-hour Raws and seemingly constant content often made it difficult to appreciate in the moment, 2016 was a transformative year for WWE that featured high points in diverse in-ring action. Some of the same problems that have long existed still remain as we enter the New Year. Raws are, indeed, too long... Subscribers click here to continue.


WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER: January 9, 2017 - Ronda Rousey loses potential final fight, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 review

Coverage of Wrestle Kingdom at the Tokyo Dome and the legacy of Ronda Rousey are the lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. There are updates on the WWE WrestleMania situation, coverage of the Japanese New Year's Eve Rizin show and its mix of fighting and pro wrestling theatrics.

The lead story talks about Amanda Nunes’ win over Rousey, the lack of promotion by Rousey, how the show did on PPV and television numbers, what happened in the fight, the coaching of Rousey, the Rousey fan base, Rousey in WWE, Rousey's legacy in MMA, how the history of MMA could have changed greatly by different matchmaking, the myths of Rousey's career and the reality, all the numbers, as well as the Cody Garbrandt title win over Dominick Cruz, plus match-by-match coverage, poll results and how much each fighter made on the show.

Inside, coverage of Wrestle Kingdom 11, when the main event airs on U.S. TV, Kenny Omega, the future big shows of the year, the business of the show, all the tile changes along with match-by-match coverage with star ratings.

Check out the plans for the 2018 WrestleMania and the big announcement coming, new inductee into WWE Hall of Fame, notes on WrestleMania activities, strange WWE injury story, notes on upcoming Raw episodes, some comedy regarding top WWE stars, WWE value, most watched shows on WWE Network, plus notes from all the holiday week house shows and business notes.

Finally, this issue contains full coverage of the Rizin weekend shows, as well as the business notes on the show and the different storylines, including who they are pushing as stars for the future as well as what they are looking at doing next.

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.

Subscribers click here to continue.


ORDERING INFO: Order the print Wrestling Observer right now and get it delivered via mail, by sending your name, address, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to Dave Meltzer, or by using PayPal directing funds to Dave@WrestlingObserver.com
 
Rates in the United States are $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 moonsault@mediaplusint.com. 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.)

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can choose one free classic issue, or two free classic issues with a 40-issue subscription.

WON BACK ISSUE: December 12, 1999: WWF slightly tones down product, Vince Russo on WOL, more - After a week of bad publicity which sent sponsors running and sent its stock plummeting, the kinder, gentler WWF came back with a toned down Smackdown and a slightly toned down, although you'd have to examine to closely to notice, Raw show... Subscribers click here to continue.


FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE

We will have live coverage on the site tonight of both the TNA PPV show and the CMLL show. The expectation for the Arena Mexico show tonight is one of the biggest crowds of the year.

For this weekend, it's basically the usual Raw and Smackdown crews. Chris Jericho is only advertised for Mobile and television, but not the other shows. Randy Orton has the weekend off but will be at television on Tuesday. All the other top stars, including John Cena, are booked for all of the shows.

Chris Hero returned to WWE as Kassius Ohno at the NXT tapings in Winter Park, FL last night. I don't know if this was taped or not, as it appeared to be dark, but he did have a confrontation with Shinsuke Nakamura.

Nothing new on Kenny Omega past that he isn't on the February New Japan tour.

Wrestlecon has announced a 3/30 WrestleMania launch party with Ric Flair, Jim Ross and Sting together at 4 p.m. There will be a fan Q&A with Matt Striker as the moderator.  Ross and Flair will also do a meet and greet on 3/31 and Ross ad Sting will do a meet and greet on 4/1.

This is the AXS schedule for the Tokyo Dome matches:

  • 1/13 the entire show will be the Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega match
  • 1/20 will be Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito and the three-way with Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano
  • 1/27 will be the Never trios gauntlet match and Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hirooki Goto for the Never open weight title
  • 2/3 will be Cody vs. Juice Robinson, Young Bucks vs. Rocky Romero & Baretta and Kushida vs. Hiromu Takahashi

        Obviously to fit into one hour, many of the matches are going to have to be edited for time.

WWE

UFC

  • Cain Velasquez had minor back surgery Wednesday and it went well. MMA Fighting reported that Velasquez should be back training in one month. This is the second time he's had the same surgery.
  • Ronaldo Jacare Souza vs. Tim Boetsch was added to the 2/11 UFC 208 PPV show from Brooklyn.
  • MMA Fighting is reporting that Shogun Rua vs. Gian Villante is being negotiated with for the 3/11 show in Fortaleza, Brazil. 
  • Rafael dos Anjos reported on Twitter that he's moving to welterweight.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • The latest in concussion research is a blood test that is said to be 90 percent accurate already in determining concussions.
  • What Culture Pro Wrestling from yesterday in Liverpool for a show called KirbyMania, because Martin Kirby was the General Manager. This show streamed live on the WCPW YouTube Channel. Doug Williams b Prince Amin, BT Gunn b Zack Gibson. The show opened with Martin Kirby out. Bully Ray Dudley was out next, followed by Drew Galloway who saved Kirby, which set up Galloway defending against Bubba for the WCPW title. But then Paul Robinson & Scotty Wainwright attacked Galloway and Liam Slater & Johnny Moss made the save, setting it up a six-man. Drake NC Joe Hendry when Joseph Conners attacked Hendry to set up a no holds barred match later. Marty Scurll b Gabriel Kidd. Ivelisse b Lana Austin. Joe Coffey b Trent Banks. Lukas Archer & Alex Gracie b Martin Kirby & El Ligero when Kirby walked off on Ligero who got pinned in a comedy match. Cody Rhodes b Zack Sabre Jr. to retain the Internet title. Crowd was 50/50. Rhodes came out to the Bullet Club theme. Rhodes won clean with crossroads and said that he flew 17 hours from Japan to make this show and doesn't want to be an American part-time import but wants to be a regular at every WCPW show. Best match on the show and the crowd went wild for him making that statement. Paul Robinson & Scotty Wainwright & Bully Ray Dudley b Drew Galloway & Johnny Moss & Liam Slater when Bully Ray hit Galloway with a chain and pinned him. This set up today's match in Manchester, UK where Galloway defends against Bully Ray. Joe Hendry b Joseph  Conners in a no holds barred match. This appeared to be Conners' last match or one of his last matches as WWE is not allowing him to work WCPW after next week. (thanks to Nicklas Fechtmann)
  • Notes on the Go Fund Me for Adam Geller.
  • On the show a few nights ago, the deal with Geller is it was Lennie Hardt who did the announcing at his wedding. Howard Finkel did the ring announcing for the birth of his daughter Sydney in 2015. The Finkel announcement is here.
  • A story on Hamilton, ONT comedy rock musician B.A. Johnston starting an on-line petition asking the city to have a statute of Mike Sharpe. This would be the WWF's Mike Sharpe Jr., not the father, who was also from Hamilton and a far more noteworthy star, but from another generation. 
  • Speaking of Mike Sharpe Sr., we've got a really good show up on the site talking to Rock Rims who wrote the book "When Wrestling Was Big Time," about the history of pro wrestling in Northern California.
  • Announced for the 1/15 Stardom show at Korakuen Hall is Io Shirai vs. Viper for the World of Stardom title and Yoko Bito & Kairi Hojo vs. Nixon Newell & Kay Lee Ray for the Goddess of Stardom tag team titles. 
  • Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Ethan Page has been added to the 1/27 Evolve show in San Antonio, as has Dustin vs. Jason Kincaid. Laredo Kid debuts with Evolve on 1/28 in San Antonio.
  • They are pushing 1/27 and 1/28 as Chris Hero's final shows with Evolve. Hero's last match will be with Sabre Jr. on 1/28. 
  • NWA Smoky Mountain wrestling House party tomorrow night in Kingsport, TN at the Civic Auditorium with The Heatseekers defending the NWA tag team titles against Lance Lude & Rob Killjoy, plus Chase Owens vs. Jordan Kage.
  • Megan Anderson (7-2) vs. Charmaine Tweet (9-5) for the Invicta interim featherweight title has been added to the company's 1/14 show at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City. The featherweight champion is Cris Cyborg, although with her suspension due to a drug test failure, she should be stripped of the title, but that hasn't happened yet. The show airs live on Fight Pass.
  • The NWL debuts tomorrow night at 7 p.m. also at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City. They have spent more money than most indies when it comes to signing talent and promoting shows with the idea of running Kansas City and St. Louis regularly this year.      
  • Former pro wrestler, actor and bodybuilder Ric Drasin talks Ronda Rousey in WWE.
  • XICW Best in Detroit on 1/14 in Clinton Township, MI at the Imperial House with the Headbangers Zach Gowen, Gregory Iron, Cody Deaner and Johnny Devine.   

Today in Professional Wrestling History (1/6): Lance Storm & William Regal win tag team gold


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