SUN. UPDATE: Notes on WWE TLC tonight, post-UFC notes, Volk Han retirement cermony/match, reuniting of famous WWE trio and what secondary group will grow the most



 
We're looking for your thoughts on a lot of shows this weekend,  including Friday night's UFC show, Saturday night's UFC show, as well as today's TLC and ROH Final Battle shows.  We're looking for a thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match for each show at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . We're also looking for reports on last night's WWE house show in Wilkes-Barre, PA, which is something of a run through without the gimmicks for the TLC show tomorrow in Brooklyn.

Bryan Alvarez and I will be back tonight with Wrestling Observer radio talking TLC, ROH and taking your e-mail questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 
Today 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
        The main event is likely to be fantastic, and most matches should end up being good.        
 
        Today at 7:30 p.m. 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 - This is a big one on a lot of levels.  It has a shot at being an excellent match given Bryan and Rollins are both involved, and Ambrose is going to want to really step up to the plate.  Reigns, who is green, is likely to be protected and Ryback will definitely be protected.  With six guys under tornado rules it can be unwieldy but I'm guessing they'll be very careful.  Most expectations are for The Shield to win, with Bryan likely being the one who loses the fall, or possibly Kane.
*John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler in a ladder match for the Money in the Bank briefcase - Ziggler is on top of his game and with the ladder, I expect a stellar performance here.  Cena can win, but it really makes no sense since he doesn't need the briefcase and Ziggler does.   A lot of speculation regarding A.J. turning on Cena, because if Ziggler is going over, which makes the most sense, it makes no sense for him to win clean and Cena has lost enough to where you'd want something very significant in storyline if he is to lose.
*Big Show vs Sheamus in a chairs match for the world title - The match will be fine.  What put the first match over was kicking out of the KO punch and Brogue kick, and in a chairs match, there's no need for that.  Either result could work here and just the fact you have the world title at stake and no WWE title on the show and this really third from the top tells you about the title.
*Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow for the No. 1 contenders for the tag titles in a tables match - I see interesting crowd reactions as I can see the Brooklyn crowd cheering Rhodes & Sandow, with tons of Cody's mustache chants being the focal point.  From booking it would appear Rhodes & Sandow should go over, but when you look at the advertised matches, in every case a heel "should" go over so this match or the world title match would be the ones where either side could win.
*Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett for the IC title - Barrett should win.  These two are also in a spot where they've worked together a lot and should have a good match.
*Antonio Cesaro vs R-Truth for the U.S. title - In another arena, I'd say this match would be dead, and that's as a fan of Cesaro's work, but this is overshadowed by the rest of the show and Cesaro's matches don't get big reactions, plus once the bell rings, people don't like R-Truth that seriously as a single. But New York is usually ahead of the curve.
*Divas Santa's Helper Battle Royal for the No. 1 contender spot (preshow match at 7:30 p.m. on the WWE web site, Facebook and You Tube)
        They'll probably do a late add, maybe the Battle Royal winner against Eve Torres.  Just because of the gimmicks, TLC is a good show most years and this year this looks stronger than many on paper.

        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 the 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 lessons learned and full coverage of the UFC on FOX show, as well as notes of Dwayne Johnson's schedule both within WWE and elsewhere are among the items covered in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that will be on the site today.  It is one of two new issues today, with the other being a back issue from 1995 with coverage of what was, at the time, the biggest money pro wrestling live event in history, the Keiji Muto vs. Nobuhiko Takada match at the Tokyo Dome.
 
        We look at the significance of the rating and positives of the show.  We've got a list of the 15 most watched MMA television matches in U.S. history.  We look at how every match on the FOX special did in the ratings, match-by-match growth, the future of the lightweight champion Benson Henderson, ratings from Saturday and how they compare to what FOX usually does, the next FOX show, how the prelims did, the main event heat, the future of B.J. Penn, plus match-by-match coverage with poll results on the show.
 
        We also look at the retirement of Kenta Kobashi and Pro Wrestling NOAH's last big show of the year.  We give the background as to why Kobashi announced his retirement, his status in Japanese wrestling, what his career is a case study of, a look back at the formation of Pro Wrestling NOAH, some talk of Kobashi's last match and who they are looking to have involved, plus a rundown of Sunday's show at Sumo Hall in Tokyo and interesting notes regarding many of the losers on that show.
 
        We also look at Dwayne Johnson's first quarter schedule including a number of Raw dates, notes on the C.M. Punk vs. Ryback television match they talked about as upcoming, Randy Orton's injury, a major heel being talked about for a face turn and why, Slammy Awards notes as well as notes on all of next week's WWE programming, WWE video game sales, two WWE stars who recently have gotten engaged, notes on WWE talent development as well as an update on the best prospects including the first of the big football players to make NXT, Mark Henry update, notes on people leaving, and house show notes.
 
        We also look at the UFC's announcements regarding GSP vs. Nick Diaz, Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche and Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald and what they all mean.  We look at how the Rousey vs. Carmouche fight transpired and risks involved with the promotion of it.  We look at the decision-making leading to GSP vs. Diaz and Dana White's explanation.  We also look at the reaction of Johny Hendricks, notes on Rousey vs. Cyborg and how close that may be, comments from Rousey, Miesha Tate, White, Monte Cox and others on the first women's main event.  We also look at who will be in charge of the women's division, UFC's ticket selling in Anaheim, undercard and more.
 
        We've also got notes on the 2012 Tokyo Sports pro wrestling awards, plus a background on them and a list of every MVP dating back to 1974.
 
        We've also got coverage of TNA's Final Resolution PPV, including match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results on the show.  We look at the main event stories, injuries leading up to the show, and how the storylines did or didn't resonate with the live audience.
 
        We also have a story on the Spike TV and Bellator relationship, the debut of Bellator after Impact on Thursday, the first fights on the debut show as well as notes on week two, and other Bellator programming on Spike.
 
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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 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.
 
Also in this week's issue:
 
--CMLL's year end spectacular lineup
 
--Major benefit show in Mexico ends up with a strange result
 
--CMLL false advertising talent
 
--Arena Mexico title match this past week held up and why
 
--Former WWE star debuts with Dragon Gate in U.S. next month
 
--Former TNA wrestlers also becoming regulars on Dragon Gate USA shows
 
--Yuji Nagata worked as a guest in a Dragon Gate match
 
--Rundown of All Japan's last big show of the year, featuring Masakatsu Funaki putting the Triple Crown up against Manabu Soya putting up the future of his world tag team title duo
 
--Notes on the major matches in January in All Japan
 
--Vader returns to All Japan and teams with Keiji Muto
 
--Pro wrestling show this past week draws 25,000 fans to a stadium
 
--All Japan world tag champs defend in rival promotion
 
--Notes on the IGF New Year's Eve television deal and it's not nearly what it's cracked up to be
 
--Mirko Cro Cop appears on pro wrestling show doing shoot match against a pro wrestling star
 
--El Generico headlines major Japanese show against Kenny Omega
 
--Continuation of the feud between 80s junior heavyweight stars
 
--Notes on the life and career of Hippie Mike Boyette
 
--What part of the country was he best known in
 
--More on Ric Flair
 
--Supreme Court ends a case involving the family of a well known wrestling star
 
--More on the retirement of Jerry Lynn
 
--Legends of Stampede Wrestling return for a big show at the Pavilion in Calgary along with a number of major modern names
 
--A look at Puerto Rico's biggest rivalry of the past decade, Carlito vs. Ray Gonzalez, this time in a hair vs. hair match
 
--What other Americans are now working in Puerto Rico
 
--Notes on the 2013 class of the Amsterdam based Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame
 
--Notes on the CZW Cage of Death show
 
--Former WWF star writing autobiography
 
--Legendary talk show hosts talks about his favorite wrestlers, his 50 year association with the product and gives a sobering note about the current product
 
--WWE star from years back comes out of retirement after seven years away
 
--Notes on CHIKARA iPPV
 
--Dan Severn talks about his association with pro wrestling
 
--Notes on the ROH Final Battle
 
--Update on Jim Cornette
 
--Spike President Kevin Kay predicts big things for TNA in January
 
--Notes on the return of Sting, Velvet Sky and Eric Young to TNA
 
--Mickie James talks her surgery
 
--Bully Ray talks the elimination of two PPV shows
 
--Notes on major items at TNA television the next few weeks
 
--Notes on this week's UFC events
 
--Notes on the retirement of Mark Hominick and why
 
--Notes on who is and isn't being brought in from Strikeforce
 
--Who Anderson Silva says he is willing to defend his title against, but who he thinks will never get a title shot
 
--Strikeforce personality into a major sports Hall of Fame
 
--Ronda Rousey honored by men
 
--Update on Diego Sanchez
 
--Lots of new UFC matches made this week
 
--Anderson Silva contract talks
 
--What will be a very telling note regarding two money and talent decisions Bellator will have to make
 
--Notes on last week's Bellator show as well as the upcoming one
 
--Gate for Pacquiao vs. Marquez
 
--One-armed fighter captures championship
 
--Update on Gina Carano
 
--Lineup for the Dream New Year's Eve show at the Saitama Super Arena including one surprise name announced
 
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*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)
 
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*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
 
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*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)
 
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*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
 
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
 
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*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)
 
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*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)
 
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*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
 
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
 
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*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
 
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SUNDAY NEWS, NOTES AND LINKS
  
--This update is early so I can watch the ROH show. We won't have live coverage of ROH because I'll be somewhere that I can't update from, but we will have a report on it after the show.
 
--After the UFC TUF finale Saturday, Dana White said the Jamie Varner vs. Melvin Guillard fight is official for 12/29, but he doesn't know if it'll be on the PPV or FX.  He said that Varner wanted to fight last night, but he was "throwing up like The Exorcist" The commission saw him in that condition and wouldn't let him fight. Guillard cut a promo and acted like Varner tried to back out at the last minute.

White made it pretty clear they put so many of the top welterweights on the 3/16 Montreal show because they'll have a main event as a backup ready no matter what happens.  In the end, a lesson was learned regarding the Las Vegas show last year being canceled and the PPV cards are being booked a lot deeper. He also said he believes Anderson Silva before he retires, will face both GSP and Jon Jones.
 
--Jim Ross gives his thoughts on tonight's TLC show. The announcing team, as usual, is Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Layfield.
 
--They had the run-through card last night in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Expect a lot of different results tonight:

- Tyson Kidd b Darren Young via DQ when Titus O'Neil interfered. This set up Kidd & Justin Gabriel over the Prime Time Players
- Kofi Kingston b Wade Barrett to keep the IC title
- A.J. Lee & Kaitlyn b Eve Torres & Tamina Snuka when Torres walked out on Snuka
- Ryback & Daniel Bryan & Kane b The Shield when Ryback pinned Dean Ambrose after shell shock
- Rey Mysterio b Alberto Del Rio
- Sheamus b Big Show via DQ in a world title match when Show shoved down the ref to save the title. Booker T was on the screen in a taped message saying the no contact rule had been waived
- John Cena b Dolph Ziggler in a street fight by putting him through a table   
 
REGARDING THE UFC SHOWS THIS WEEKEND, WHAT DID YOU DO?
Watched both 49.5%
Watched neither 35.6%
Only watched Las Vegas due to other commitments on Friday 4.1%
Only watched Las Vegas, two is too many ha to pick one 3.1%
Only Las Vegas, liked the card and didn't like Australia card 2.8%
Only Las Vegas, didn't know about the Australia show until too late 2.6%
Only Australia, two is too many picked this one 1.0%
Only Australia, schedule conflict on Saturday 1.0%
Only Australia, liked the card but didn't like the Las Vegas show 0.5%
 
WHICH OF THESE GROUPS WILL GROW THE MOST IN 2013?
Bellator 39.9%
TNA 12.3%
ROH 8.4%
None of the three will grow 39.4%
 
WHAT WAS THE BEST OF THESE RECENT SHOWS?
UFC on FOX 43.8%
UFC 154 GSP vs. Condit 17.3%
Survivor Series 15.4%
New Japan tag tourney finals 9.6%
UFC Australia 7.1%
TNA Final Resolution 7.1%
 
DID YOU LIKE BELLATOR FRIDAY?
Excellent 15.4%
Good 30.8%
Average 19.2%
Fair 15.4%
Poor 19.2%
        73.2% of those responding didn't see the show
 
DID YOU LIKE SMACKDOWN FRIDAY?
Excellent 11.9%
Good 38.8%
Average 23.9%
Fair 9.0%
Poor 16.4%
        44.2% of those responding didn't see the show

--Volk Han had his retirement match earlier today in Yokohama, Japan, going to a 15:00 draw with Masakatsu Funaki.  Han was at yesterday's All Japan Korakuen Hall show building it up.  Han actually retired about a decade ago but earlier this year they announced a formal retirement card for Japan, where he was one of the top foreign stars of the 90s and one of the great technical wrestlers of all-time.  He also introduced his 13-year-old son and teased the idea of him going into MMA.
  
--Pro Wrestling Syndicate announced a 2/9 show in Meluchen, NJ at the Sports Plex featuring Jerry Lynn's last match ever on the East Coast.  Matches announced are Lynn vs. Lance Storm, Matt Hardy defending the PWS title in a TLC match against Kevin Matthews, Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell vs. Devon Moore, Star Man vs. Alex Reynolds, Dan Maff vs. Anthony Nese and more.  They will also have an all-women's afternoon show with Awesome Kong vs. Amy Lee, Sumie Sakai vs. Katarina Leigh (Winter), Shelly Martinez vs. Amber O'Neal i a bra and panties match and more.  
 
--I'm wondering if anyone purchased the Rolling Stones PPV. We only got one person who sent us anything about it and that was because he had problems with his cable company when it came to ordering the show. I have no idea what kind of numbers it was expected to do.
 
--Bjorn Rebney will be on AXS' Inside MMA Monday night.
 
--If you didn't see last night's UFC show, Fuel will replay the entire five hour TV card from 7 p.m. to midnight Eastern time tonight.
 
--We are told that there is a fake Lex Luger Facebook page that has 3000 likes, including a number of pro wrestlers who believe it's Luger. It is from someone who goes by the name 'Legendd Killaa'.
 
--For the 12/29 Extreme Rising show in Philadelphia, here are videos of Jay Bradley and Devon Storm.

--Future Stars of Wrestling High Octane TV show from Las Vegas with Disco Inferno announcing.
 
--There is a documentary called "Mansome" (directed by Morgan Spurlock) that focuses on Shawn Daivari and body hair in pro wrestling that also has cameos from Matt Morgan, Dixie Carter, Pat Kenney and Jeff Jarrett. (thanks to Michael O'Brien)
 
--"The Man with the Iron Fists", which features Dave Bautista and Cung Le, was No. 9 in the Australian box office charts this past weekend doing about $200,000. (thanks to James Stanios)   
 
--RF Video has a 20% off all merchandise sale this weekend.
 
--WAR has a 10th anniversary show on 1/19 in Lima, OH at the UAW Hall featuring a two ring War Games match and a Hall of Fame induction ceremony honoring Al Snow, Stevie Lee, Crusher Kline, Big Jim Lancaster and The Nightmares tag team.     
 
--Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling from last night in East Carondelet, IL before an overflow crowd of 325 fans:  Gary Jackson & Jimmy Douglas won tag team elimination match, Big Texan b Brandon Gallagher, Alexander Rudolph b Bobby D, Chris Hargas won three-way over Tony Raze and Waco, Dave Vaughn b Chas Wesson, Ron Powers & Ironman Kasa b Ricky Cruz & Sean Vincent, Gary Jackson won Battle Royal.  Barbara Goodish, the widow of Bruiser Brody, was a guest at the show.  Promoter Herb Simmons was given the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award at the show by Missouri Wrestling Revival.  He's been promoting independent shows in Missouri and Illinois for 30 years.  He's the fifth winner of the award after Larry Matysik, Harley Race, Mike Chapman (an amateur wrestling historian who wrote Danny Hodge, Earl Caddock and Frank Gotch biographies) and Bob Geigel.
 
--Knokx Pro Wrestling from yesterday in Sun Valley, CA:  Eyez in Disguise NC La Cara, Maverick & Zander Jones & Syko Stu b Pedro & Logan & Greyson, Jezette b Gabriela Cruz, Parker Greaves b Rapture #2, Ricky the Activist b Rex the Hillbilly Hero Gangrel & Jacob Fatu NC Black Pearl & TMD when Gangrel turned on Jacob Fatu.  Rikishi and Grandmaster Sexay made the save.  The show was built around the reuniting of Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay (Brian Lawler) as 2 Cool doing their dance together.

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