FRIDAY UPDATE: TNA axing two PPVs next year, WWE talent released, Raw two hours weirdness continues, Maria engaged, big weekend schedule and more!



By Bryan Alvarez

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

@bryanalvarez

After two weekends of limited activity, we're back to a full schedule of events starting tonight.

We're looking for reports tonight from the Raw house show in Asheville, NC and the TNA show in Bemidji, MN (advertised for this weekend's TNA house show tour are A.J. Styles, Bully Ray, James Storm, Jeff Hardy, Austin Aries, Christopher Daniels, Tara, ODB, Devon, Rob Van Dam and Zema Ion).

Bellator tonight from Mt. Pleasant, MI, airing on MTV 2 at 8 p.m.

Jason Fischer (159.4) vs. David Rickels (159.8)

Kala Hose (185.6) vs. Doug Marshall (185.4)

Tony Hervey (154.4) vs. Alexander Sarnavskiy (155.8)

Lyman Good (170) vs. Andrey Koreshkov (171) in the welterweight tournament finale

Another notable fight on the show in the prelims is the pro debut of Shawn Bunch, who just barely missed out on making the Olympic team this year in wrestling, as he faces Chad Coon in a bantamweight fight that will air on Spike.com

Saturday has Raw in Roanoke, Smackdown in Columbia, SC and TNA in Fargo, ND.

Saturday also has BAMMA from Birmingham, England headlined by Jack Marshmann vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokham and Alex Reid vs. Sam Boo that airs on TV in the U.K. as well as live in the U.S. on AXS starting at 4 p.m. Eastern time.

Saturday is also the final day of the round robin portion of the New Japan World Tag League tournament from Ishikawa, Japan. The results will determine who make the final four on Sunday's PPV show.

A block matches on Saturday

Hirooki Goto & Karl Anderson (3-2) vs. Kazuchika Okada & Yoshi-Hashi (3-2)

Yuji Nagata & Masaaki Mochizuki (3-2) vs. Minoru Suzuki & Kengo Mashimo (3-2)

Togi Makabe & Wataru Inoue (3-2) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Tomohiro Ishii (3-2)

Amazing how that works out. So unless there is a draw, the three winners of these maches will then have two advance based on how they did in matches against each other.

B block matches on Saturday

Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi (3-2) vs. Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. (3-2)

MVP & Shelton Benjamin (3-2) vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka (2-3)

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (3-2) vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Strongman (2-3)

New Japan's iPPV at www.ustream.tv/channel/njpw1972 takes place on Sunday in Japan, which is a Saturday night start tine of 2 a.m. Eastern and 11 p.m. Pacific. The first place finisher in the A block faces the second place finisher in the B block, and then second place in A faces first place in B. The two winners then meet for the championship. So no matches have been announced for the show other than Kazushi Sakuraba & Katsuyori Shibata will be doing a match as well.

Sunday also has Raw in Anderson, SC, Smackdown in Florence, SC and TNA in Grand Forks, ND.

Also on Sunday, check your local listings but in most places it will air after the NFL coverage, FOX will have a one-hour preview show for the 12/8 fight card in Seattle, focusing on Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz for the lightweight title, B.J. Penn vs. Rory MacDonald and Alexander Gustafsson vs. Shogun Rua.

Raw will be on Monday night from the Greensboro Coliseum. Smackdown, Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam will be taped on Tuesday in North Charleston, SC. IC champ Kofi Kingston vs. U.S. champ Damien Sandow headlines the Main Event show.

We have what is essentially a second Hall of Fame double issue of the Observer out today and already up on the web site. The issue features among other things, our Hall of Fame biographies on Lou Albano and Hans Schmidt, as well as a list of everyone in the Observer Hall of Fame. We also have the 2012 Wrestling Observer awards ballot.

We also update Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva, as well as the middleweight and welterweight division in UFC regarding what happens if that fight does take place. We look at St-Pierre's most recent comments on the fight, what he says about the size difference and how realistic it is, and why the weight of the fight is important.

We look at other alternates for both fighters and the risk of both doing and not doing the fight.

We also look at the Hell in a Cell buy rate, and what lessons it shows, whether it's about Ryback, getting a challenger ready, John Cena, and time between shows. We also look at the profitability comparison between one strong show and two weak shows, and why the most accurate read on what the number meant won't come for a few more weeks.

We've got the 2012 awards ballot along with the top place-winners in every category from last year.

We also have updates on The Rock returning to WWE and when, what he's doing, C.M. Punk's likely role at Mania, update on the WWE Network, Update on the TLC show, how atmosphere is different at Raw when Vince isn't there, lots of business notes in different categories and how they compare to a year ago, plus injury updates, a DVD update, Cena booking and merchandising and more and lots more from WWE.

We've got updates on three different pro wrestling tournaments that are going on in Japan right now with New Japan, Pro Wrestling NOAH and All Japan. We look at what the plans are for the winners of the Global League and the next two GHC title matches.

We've got our Hall of Fame bio on Lou Albano. We talk about his early life, the sports he played before pro wrestling and what sport he tried to go pro in first. We look at his early career as a wrestler, the hot period he was tag team champion during and why it abruptly ended. We look at the real story behind Albano's run as half of the WWWF United States tag team champions.

We look at how he switched over to being a manager and his first protege and how that set the standard for WWWF business for the next 15 years. We look at his most famous matches in the ring, the Jimmy Snuka turn and match, the Ivan Koloff vs. Bruno Sammartino program and story behind the 1971 title change.

We look at the Triumvirate of Terror and how the WWWF operated during the 70s, stories of Albano getting fired and rehired by Vince McMahon Sr., his tag team champions, and his original connection with Cyndi Lauper and how that changed pro wrestling.

We look at the first WWF shows on MTV and why they didn't continue. We look at Albano after WWF as an actor and media personality.

We also look at the first post-World War II German superstar in U.S. wrestling, Hans Schmidt. We look at the creation of Schmidt, why he became the star he did, the story behind his program with Verne Gagne, his glory years, his other big rivals, and his world title shots. We look at his run as U.S. champion, the period in the U.S. when pro wrestling had the most mainstream popularity (and it wasn't the 80s or the 90s), his main events in places like Madison Square Garden and Montreal, and the stars he influenced fro the next generation.

We also look at his retirement and life after retirement.

We also have an updated listing of the 25 biggest gates in pro wrestling and MMA of all-time, updated with the early figures from next year's WrestleMania.

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.

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 and complete details on how every segment of Impact this past week did. We look at what segments gained and lost viewers

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


-- Regarding Lockdown, TNA will not be setting up the AlamoDome for 70,000 fans obviously. The building will scale it down for an event the size of TNA's PPV. There is talk that since the show has been moved to March from April that TNA will, in fact, be cutting down the number of PPVs they run every year starting in 2013. Although this could change, as of this moment the only PPVs that are being axed in 2013 are the February and September shows. This means they'll get one month of extra build for both Lockdown and Bound for Glory, which should help both shows a lot.

-- Impact next week, which is the final live show of 2012, has Samoa Joe vs. Devon for TV title, Kurt Angle vs. Doc, and A.J. Styles & James Storm & Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode & Christopher Daniels & Kazarian.

-- Kenneth Cameron, real name Thomas Latimer, was released from his WWE developmental deal after a battery charge involving law enforcement from November 22nd.

-- Still no good explanation as to why, but Raw to two hours wasn't just an error on Comcast. The New York edition of TV Guide also had the show listed as only running from 9-11.

-- Manabu Soya & Takao Omori beat Suwama & Joe Doering earlier today at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo to win the 36th annuual Real World Tag League tournament for All Japan Pro Wrestling.

-- Dragon Gate USA/EVOLVE has a big article here looking at the positives and negatives of 2012 and what everyone can look forward to in 2013. Booker Gabe Sapolsky is also looking for feedback, and info on how to do so is in the article.

-- The new DGUSA.tv website has also been launched.

-- Congratulations to Mike Bennett and Maria, who are now engaged. Photos of the ring and more are up here.

-- Johnny Legend talks 60s California wrestling, Fred Blassie and more here.

-- New interview with Kharma where she discussed her WWE release, whether she'd return to TNA and more.

-- Since I got about 50 emails regarding the press release sent out by DNA Diagnostics claiming to have sequenced Bigfoot DNA, suffice to say, I wouldn't get my hopes up about this one.

-- Ronda Rousey talks sex before fights and more on Jim Rome:

-- Impact post-game show:

-- Kelly Kelly now a brunette:

-- Awesome must-see footage of a 22-year-old Cung Le being awesome:

-- Jeff Hardy on Inkmaster preview:

SPIKE
Jeff Hardy Tags In
www.spike.com
Spike Full EpisodesSpike Video ClipsSpike on Facebook

-- Awesome Bruno Sammartino STRONG MAN documentary from the 70s:

-- The Hogan/Bully/Brooke segment from last night's Impact:

-- I have no idea how Charade survived this, but they say he'll be back to normal in four months. This clip made Tosh.0:

-- Very insightful and honest interview opens "Impact Showdown Radio" as Elia Markopolous joins the show, 18 year old TNA Gutcheck contestant and opponent of Ryback on Smackdown. Click here to listen.

-- Dirty Dutch Mantell PRESENTS BATTLE IN MARYVILLE LEGENDS NIGHT Sunday, December 2nd, 2012 Alnwick Community Center 2146 Big Springs Rd. Maryville, TN. 6PM. 7 BIG MATCHES. Call 865-237-9747 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more info. Please sign our AMELIA'S LAW PETITION at www.ameliaslaw.com.

-- East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA) LIVE! ECWA TOYS FOR TOTS Sat, December 1, 2012 Greater Newark Boys' & Girls' Club 109 Glasgow Drive, Rt. 40 & #1 Positive Place Newark, DE 19702 (302) 836-6464

-- I Believe in Wrestling returns to the Team Vision Dojo this Sunday, 12/2 at 4pm. This will be a Toys of Tots event with Lince Dorado, Santana Garrett, Chasyn Rance, Cody Hall, Tim Zbyszko, Aaron Epic, Alex Pourteau, and many more. Larry Zbyszko and Scott Hall will also be there but more than likely, Hall will remain in the back during the event. Tickets are $10. www.ibelieveinwrestling.com

-- Over the Top Radio tonight talking Buddy Roberts here

-- Larry Matysik be on "Sunday Sports Extra" this Sunday at 7:45 p.m. over KPLR-TV, Channel 11 to talk about the new 50 Greatest Wrestlers of All Time book.

-- For Iron Week, Brutal Bob finally won a match last night versus Biff Busick on Thursday. He faces Antonio the Promise Thomas tonight. Very tempted to challenge Bob for an Iron Week match next year.

-- WHO WAS THE BEST OF THESE HALL OF FAMERS?
Tatsumi Fujinami 27.5%
Giant Baba 16.4%
Mad Dog Vachon 13.5%
Masahiro Chono 13.5%
Cowboy Bill Watts 12.3%
Riki Choshu 8.2%
Whipper Billy Watson 5.3%
Masakatsu Funaki 3.5%

WHO DO YOU THINK WILL BE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION AT THE END OF 2013?
Junior Dos Santos 43.9%
Cain Velasquez 24.4%
Alistair Overeem 20.3%
Daniel Cormier 5.7%
Stefan Struve 1.6%
Roy Nelson 1.6%
Bigfoot Silva 0.8%
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira 0.8%
Frank Mir 0.8%

IS C.M. PUNK BEING CHAMPION FOR A YEAR A NOTEWORTHY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Yes, hard to pull off, longest in two decades 59.8%
No didn't really even headline most PPV shows 15.9%
Time length wasn't noteworthy but promo and in-ring work made it a great run 14.0%
No, didn't draw ratings 6.6%
No, didn't draw on PPV 3.0%
No, didn't draw attendacne 0.7%

IS GSP VS. ANDERSON SILVA A FAIR FIGHT TO MAKE?
Doesn't matter what weight they agree to fight at, not a fair fight because of natural size difference 46.8%
A fair fight at 177 or 178 catch weight 26.6%
Yes, but only at 174 or lower 18.4%
Yes, at 179 of more 8.2%

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF WWE MAIN EVENT?
Excellent 23.5%
Good 40.7%
Average 13.6%
Fair 2.5%
Poor 19.8%
54.2% of those responding didn't see the show

-- I know everyone loves a good Dave Meltzer secret code, so here you go. When he sent me the polls, at the very bottom was this mysterious line:

100-LEVEL Miar fig eydOVILA

Who had the best show?

 

Who won the night?