FRI UPDATE: TNA losing international TV deal, WWE vs. TNA battle coming, WWE talks phantom title changes, huge weekend preview, TLC card change, lots of videos and more



By Bryan Alvarez

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

@bryanalvarez

We're looking for your thoughts on a lot of shows this weekend, most notably the UFC show today and tomorrow, and WWE TLC and ROH Final Battle on Sunday, looking for thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

While there is little in the way of traditional house shows, exactly one this weekend, this is among the busiest next few days when it comes to television specials.

Today is the Ultimate Fighter U.K. vs. Australia The Smashes final episode from Gold Coast, Australia. It an early start, at 6 p.m. on Fuel for a five hour television broadcast on Fuel and FX. A lot of fighters off that show make their UFC live show debut today.

Fuel at 6 p.m.

Cody Donovan (7-2, 204) vs. Nick Penner (12-2, 205)

Mike Wilkinson (7-0, 155) vs. Brendan Loughnane (5-0, 155)

Manuel Rodriguez (10-3, 171) vs. Benny Alloway (12-4, 171)

Seth Baczynski (17-6, 170) vs. Mike Pierce (15-5, 171)

Joey Beltran (14-8, 204) vs. Igor Pokrajac (25-9, 205)

Yaotzin Meza (18-7, 145) vs. Chad Mendes (12-1, 145)

FX at 9 p.m.

Rousimar Palhares (23-4, 186) vs. Hector Lombard (31-3-1, 1 no contest, 186)

Norman Parke (17-2, 155) vs. Colin Fletcher (9-1, 155) for the TUF lightweight tournament final

Bradley Scott (8-1, 171) vs. Robert Whittaker (10-2, 170) for the TUF welterweight tournament final

Ross Pearson (15-6, 155) vs. George Sotiropolous (14-4, 155) in the coaches battle

Also tonight is the final episode of Bellator on MTV 2 from Hammond, IN on MTV 2 at 8 p.m.

Jack Hernansson (185) vs. Daniel Vizcaya (186)

Louis Taylor (185.8) vs. Joe Vedepo (185.6)

Marcin Held (155) vs. Dave Jansen (156) in the lightweight tournament final

Richard Hale (240) vs. Alexander Volkov (232.2) for the vacant heavyweight title in the tournament final.

We'll be looking for reports on Saturday's WWE house show from Wilkes Barre, PA. It's a joint show, in most cases to get everyone doing a run-through for the PPV, minus the stips. Matches are John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler, Big Show vs. Sheamus for the world title, Ryback & Kane & Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield, Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett for the IC title and Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio.

Saturday is also the U.S. version of the TUF Finale from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

Facebook at 5:30 p.m.

Reuben Duran vs. Hugo Viana

John Cofer vs. Mike Rio

Timothy Elliott vs. Jared Papazian

Fuel at 7 p.m.

James Head vs. Mike Pyle

Johnny Bedford vs. Marcus Vinicius

Rustam Khabilov vs. Vinc Pichel

Nick Catone vs. T.J. Waldburger

FX at 9 p.m.

Jonathan Brookins vs. Dustin Poirier

Jamie Varner vs. Melvin Guillard

Pat Barry vs. Shane Del Rosario

Mike Ricci vs. Colton Smith in the TUF tournament final

Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione

Sunday is the TLC PPV from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn:

Ryback & Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns in a TLC match

John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler in a ladder match for the Money in the Bank briefcase

Big Show vs Sheamus in a chairs match for the world title

Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow for the No. 1 contenders for the tag titles in a tables match

Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett for the IC title

Antonio Cesaro vs R-Truth for the U.S. title

Divas Santa's Helper Battle Royal for the No. 1 contender spot (pre-show match at 7:30 p.m. on the WWE web site, Facebook and You Tube)

Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern is the ROH Final Battle show from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York

Kevin Steen vs. El Generico in a ladder match for the ROH title

Adam Cole vs. Matt Hardy in a non-title match

Jimmy Jacobs & Steve Corino vs. Mark & Jay Briscoe vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander for the ROH tag titles

Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards vs. Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish

Jerry Lynn (final ROH match) vs. Mike Bennett

Michael Elgin vs. Roderick Strong

Jay Lethal vs. Rhino

Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin vs. B.J. Whitmer & Rhett Titus in a street fight

Prince Nana vs R.D Evans

Raw will be live Monday from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Smackdown will air live and commercial free on Tuesday at 8 p.m. on the USA Network, not Syfy. There will also be a taping for the Christmas Eve Raw show, as well as Main Event, with Kane vs. Cody Rhodes.

WWE Tribute to the Troops airs Wednesday night on he USA Network.

A note regarding Christmas season specials. We've got specials both on the web site and for the print Observer. If you order a gift subscription to someone new of four months for the web site or 16 issues for the Observer, you will get either one month free on the web site or four issues free of the Observer. There is no limit to the number of gift subscriptions you can order.

If you order 32 issues or more and you are not a current subscriber, you can get until Christmas a free copy of Tributes II. If you order a 32 issue gift subscription, you can also get a free copy of the book for yourself or the person you are ordering the subscription for.

A look at the C.M. Punk injury and the card changes for TLC is our headline story in a news-heavy week of the Observer. We update on the knee injury, the nature of the injury, the latest on recuperation time, and look at the original TLC card and all the different reasons it's changed including updating status on several wrestlers no longer on the show.

We also look at the John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler booking and the match.

We also update the situation with Pro Wrestling NOAH, the once powerhouse promotion that looks to be falling apart. We look at the reasons the promotion has gone down, what moves are being made and the status going forward of many of its biggest names. We also look at a record set by Kenta Kobashi that may never be equaled.

We've also got a story on three of the biggest names in history, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and Terry Funk, and in-ring wrestling. We look at Flair's comments about not wrestling again, what happened when Hulk Hogan was given a huge money offer for one last match, as well as what looks to be each man's last match. We look at changes in WWE, the chances right now of Flair going to WWE, The offers Flair recently turned down for a major match and the TMZ report on Flair and his impending divorce.

We also have a look at the plans for January with UFC and Bellator both getting new TV time slots. We look at why both spots are potentially strong, as well as when both are scheduled to debut.

We also have a long biography on the death of Buddy Roberts of the Fabulous Freebirds and Hollywood Blonds tag teams. We look back to one of the biggest wrestling angles of all-time and how Buddy Roberts fit in, we look at the heyday of Freebirds vs Von Erichs, we've got how the feud kicked off, how The Freebirds ended up in Texas, what Texas wrestling was like when they got there and the famous Christmas 1982 cage match with Ric Flair and Kerry Von Erich.

We look at how Buddy Roberts got started in wrestling, who was his first mentor, his career before the Hollywood Blonds, how the Hollywood Blonds came to be and the wrestling war in Montreal. We've got comments from a number of people who interacted with Roberts during his career. We look at his run with Johnny Valentine, we look at how The Freebird trio came to be. We look at The Freebirds days in Atlanta during the heyday of the Georgia Championship Wrestling TV show.

We also look at his feud with King Parsons, their run in WWF and why it was so brief, why his career ended and life after wrestling.

We also look more at a flood in a dressing room at a WWE event, an update on Martha Hart's lawsuit against WWE, Dolph Ziggler, a WWE release for legal reasons, a WWE employee who as recently as this summer was competing at a high level in a real sport, two new wrestlers WWE has its eye on and is scouting, Shawn Michaels talks the end of his career, and a former WWE performer rips on John Cena.

We also look at the fate of a WWE performer, DVR viewership of Raw, plus business notes from the past week and details from all the weekend house shows.

We also have a story on the injury to UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and look at how this impacts the division, with the various big fights coming up.

We've got a look at the last New Japan PPV show with the tag team tournament finals, plus preview the Tokyo Dome show. We look at the standings of the tournament, as well as match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.

We also look at the prospects of AAA expanding into the U.S., as well as look at its last big show of the year, Guerra de Titanes over the weekend including what legend got his head shaved and how it all went down.

We also have coverage of the finals of the 2012 Real World Tag League tournament.

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.

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We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows and complete details on how every segment of Raw and 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


-- Cannot put into words my sadness and condolences to everyone affected by the Connecticut elementary school shootings today.

-- TNA's German Facebook page announced that the company's current TV deal with SKY Deutschland expires on January 1st and will not be renewed. It is believed that TNA is looking at other possible broadcast options, but unless a deal is signed soon, no more Impact or PPVs in Germany following the first of the year. It should be noted that from talking to people in that market, there's no guarantee a new deal will be signed anywhere. Obviously a lot of German TNA fans are very upset since the news broke on pretty short notice. Thanks to Markus and many others.

-- In another era this would have been a big deal – today it's a curiosity if anything. Great Lakes Championship Wrestling has a show tomorrow featuring WWE's Billy Gunn versus TNA's Al Snow. Gunn signed with WWE as a trainer this week.

-- This also would have been a big deal: WWE.com article on phantom title changes.

-- CMLL's final big show of the year, Sin Pieded, takes place tonight.

-- Story here about Duane Ludwig taking a coaching role at Team Alpha Male and considering retirement. He said he is going to take a year off at least to see where his heart lies. With this announcement, it's guaranteed that nobody from UFC will call him to ask if he's interested in fighting Ronda Rousey.

-- WWE removed AJ from the pre-show battle royal on Sunday (winner gets a shot at the women's title) but added Naomi and Cameron. Naomi is actually one of the best female workers they have, but unfortunately for her she's also well-endowed and a good dancer so they put her with Brodus Clay.

-- Sara Del Ray was added as a trainer to the NXT website today, under that name.

-- TMZ article here about Miz breaking the sound barrier in a jet.

-- Awesome video with Big Show talking psychology in pro-wrestling and what annoys him:

-- Latest GI Joe trailer with the Rock:

-- Latest 1-3-13 TNA video package:

-- Last night's TNA Impact post-game show:

Alternative content

-- Joe Park starts his OVW training:

-- The unfathomable and perhaps criminal Joey Ryan holiday commercial:

-- PWG star Willie Mack cooking show "Cookn Shit in the Microwave", Christmas edition with Shad Gaspard and friends here.

-- WHAT DID YOU THINK OF WEDNESDAY'S MAIN EVENT?
Excellent 15.6%
Good 42.2%
Average 21.9%
Fair 6.3%
Poor 14.1%
65.0% of those responding didn't see the show\

WHO WAS THE BEST OF THESE HALL OF FAMERS?
Kenta Kobashi 88.4%
Tatsumi Fujinami 11.6%

COMPARING GSP VS. DIAZ TO GSP VS. HENDRICKS
Would buy either show 44.3%
Would only buy with Hendricks 9.5%
Would only buy with Diaz 21.6%
Wouldn't buy with either 24.5%

WHICH COMPANY HAS THE MOST MOMENTUM GOING INTO 2013?
UFC 68.0%
WWE 32.0%

SHOULD ROCK BEAT PUNK FOR THE TITLE AT ROYAL RUMBLE?
Yes 39.6%
No 60.4%

-- In character interview with Prince Nana here

-- New interview with reborn Jake Roberts here.

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