TUE UPDATE: Ric Flair/WWE status, more on Big E. Langston, UFC cuts, tons of ratings, MMA fighter injury no man wants, tons more

By Bryan Alvarez

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We're looking for your thoughts on the weekend shows, Friday night's UFC show, Saturday night's UFC show, and Sunday'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 Saturday night's WWE house show in Wilkes-Barre, PA, which was something of a run through without the gimmicks for the TLC show in Brooklyn.

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 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.

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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

-- Happy birthday to Steve Austin, who turns 48 today.

-- At the moment, Ric Flair is not signed to WWE and last night's appearance was a one-time deal.

-- As noted last night, Big E. Langston is the current NXT Champion. They put the title on him after they debuted Seth Rollins and needed to take the belt off of him. This should give you an idea of how long they've had this call-up in mind. And for those of you wondering, yes, his finisher is supposed to look like that.

-- MMA Junkie is reporting that 12 of the 16 cast members from this past season of Ultimate Fighter are being cut. No surprise, really, since UFC has a logjam of fighters as it is. We talked about this on the show a few weeks back and it's in the new Observer.

-- Smackdown did 2.6 million viewers this week, up slightly from last week. Smackdown, of course, is live tonight commercial-free, and if you're in the building live it'll be followed by a taping of next week's Raw show. The joke backstage at Raw is that Vince moved Smackdown to Tuesday because the world ends Friday.

-- CM Punk on the Nerdist Podcast here.

-- Story about WWE Tribute to the Troops honoring the Navy for the first time here. Interesting note: "The show is so popular that each branch of the military and bases within those branches compete against each other to host it, similar to cities vying to host the Super Bowl or a political convention."

-- Dave has a look at the MMA TV ratings this weekend here. Quickly, TUF US did 1.3 million viewers and TUF Australia did 972,000, both on FX. Bellator did 191,000, the second-highest rating of the season.

-- I saw the first four episodes of the upcoming TNA British Bootcamp show which will air in the UK on Challenge starting in January. It's very good and I've got a lot to say about it. I'll be speaking with Jeremy Borash about the series on Figure Four Daily today, so make sure you check that one out, and I'll have more to say in this coming week's Figure Four Weekly. Show is very similar to an Ultimate Fighter or Tough Enough.

-- Interview with MVP.

-- Over the Top Radio here talking the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards.

-- Kurt Angle talks Steve Austin here.

-- Oh my. Former TUF fighter claims he FRACTURED HIS PENIS. It's news, everyone.

-- Today in History with Brian:

1970 - Toru Tanaka defeats Fritz Von Erich in Houston, Texas to win the NWA American Heavyweight Title

1975 - Giant Baba won All Japan Pro Wrestling's 20-man Open Championship tournament in Tokyo with 11 points, beating out second place finishers Abdullah The Butcher and Dory Funk Jr. by one point.

1978 - Ricky Steamboat defeats Ric Flair in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to win the United States Title

-- UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz tickets officially go on sale January 19th.

-- ROHWrestling.com has a new two-disc Claudio Castagnoli (Antonio Cesaro) DVD set available now, which looks to be awesome.

-- If you check below in the videos section you'll see clips of when Cain Velasquez apparently blew out his knee prior to the first Junior Dos Santos fight for UFC on FOX 1 last year. Velasquez had tried to keep the injury a secret but word had slowly leaked out over the past year. Apparently he was filming a commercial when it happened.

-- Video of Cain Velasquez blowing out his knee during a commercial shoot just weeks before his first fight with Junior Dos Santos last year:

-- Rustam Khabilov of multiple German suplex fame looking like he nearly broke this dude's neck:

Punk 50.1%
The Shield 22.9%
Daniel Bryan 11.6%
John Cena 7.6%
Ryback 3.1%
Alberto Del Rio 1.9%
Sheamus 1.7%
Big Show 1.2%

WWE TLC 67.5%
ROH Final Battle 16.6%
UFC in Las Vegas 11.7%
UFC in Australia 3.4%
Bellator 0.8%

Shield vs. Bryan & Kane & Ryback 75.8%
Steen vs. Generico 18.0%
Cena vs. Ziggler 6.2%

Raw 32.2%
UFC from Las Vegas 25.6%
Impact 15.4%
ROH 9.7%
UFC from Australia 9.3%
Smackdown 4.0%
Legacy Fighting Championships 1.8%
Bellator 1.3%
MMA Uncensored 0.4%
Inside MMA 0.4%

-- On this week’s UFC TONIGHT SPECIAL EDITION, we’ve got part one of The 50 Moments of 2012. From one-punch knockouts to amazing submissions to come-from-behind victories, UFC TONIGHT’s Kenny Florian takes us through moments 50-26 in this week’s special. He’ll continue the countdown with the top 25 moments next week.

This week on UFC ULTIMATE INSIDER, experience UFC ON FOX 5 from a new perspective with exclusive never-before-seen moments and cinematic coverage of all the best action in Fight Flashback. Next, we’ve got the story of former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, who is now ready for a huge rematch that provides the opportunity to recover the distinction of being the baddest man on the planet. Randy Couture was a three-time UFC Heavyweight champion and his keen eye for evaluating match ups makes his opinion on the UFC 155 main event between Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez all the more significant.

-- East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA) LIVE! 17th Annual ECWA Super 8 Tournament Sat, April 13, 2013 Greater Newark Boys' & Girls' Club 109 Glasgow Drive, Rt. 40 & #1 Positive Place Newark, DE 19702

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?