It's as quiet as it's going to get this weekend. Raw for Monday was already taped in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Next week's Smackdown and Main Event were taped on Wednesday in Rochester, NY. No TNA stuff. Really not much of anything as far as new shows until the 26th. Don't worry, thing will be crazy come mid-January.
With so much news coming out of WWE this past week, as well as major shows from UFC and ROH, we've got two issues of the Observer coming out this week on the web site along with the weekly back issue from 1995. The back issue and the first issue are already up and the second issue is also up today. For mail subscribers, they are combined into one double issue.
Our lead story talks about the return of Ric Flair to WWE, with lots of exclusive details on the deal. We look at the ratings for his segment, ratings overall, why not advertising Flair ahead of time was done even though it probably hurt the potential rating of the show. We also look at what age group was the strongest to see Flair, an answer that will surprise people. We also look at Flair's status with WWE, what angle is talked about, and what he will or won't be allowed to do as of today, but how the original ideas were already changed.
We look at the biggest issue regarding him being signed, and a second potential issue. We look at what Flair was ordered to do in Philadelphia when he got there, who knew and why, as well as a look at the segment.
We also look at the situation with Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara and why the angles were shot. We also look at the return of Tommy Dreamer, how the ratings fell for his return, and what his situation is with the company.
We also look at the debut of Big E Langston, give background on him, and note how recently the plans were made to bring him in with this role. We also look at the talent most likely to follow him in from NXT. We look at his background and why Langston fit into so many things different people in the company like from talent.
We also have a look at the Raw Slammy Awards show, with a complete rundown of every segment on the show, stories behind them and how the audience came and went during each segment.
We've also got a complete rundown of the TLC PPV, with notes on the show, the business of the show, the finishes, match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results on the show.
We also have the same coverage for both UFC shows over the weekend.
We've got more on the implosion of the Pro Wrestling NOAH organization with the official word of five more major stars leaving the group. We look at their final matches, who they are, and what is next.
We also have an update on how Ring of Honor looks going into 2013. We look at the inherent problems with the group, attempts that have been made to expand the audience, the competition for Final Battle, the business for Final Battle, the farewell to Jerry Lynn, the Steen vs. Generico ladder match, the roles of Matt Hardy, Nigel McGuinness and what ROH star gave notice before the show started.
We also have match-by-match coverage with star ratings as well as poll results on the show.
We also have an update on Randy Orton, WrestleMania 2013, Punk vs. Ryback and why 1/7 is going to be a very tough night for WWE. We also look at a Hall of Fame wrestler who was in talks about returning to WWE for Mania and where it stands.
We also go into detail about the WWE's affiliation with Hire Heroes USA, a group run by UFC star Brian Stann. We look at how this happened, why it happened and what to expect from it.
We look at ideas that have at least for this week been dropped. We have surprising notes on the network, Punk's return, Big Show talks tag team philosophy, what you'll probably never see him do again, who he thinks are future stars and someone in developmental he's high on. Ryback talks getting to No. 1. Why JBL is getting hate reaction from a group of sports fans. We look at Mike Tyson talking WWE booking, DVR usage during Raw, new WWE signings and house show notes.
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.
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.
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 look at Twitter and Neilsen ratings with some interesting data about this week and thoughts of what can and can't be learned in theory, and why WWE and UFC already have the metrics in place as to what is and isn't working.
We also look at the career of Volk Han, who had his retirement match over the weekend.
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.
-- This year's Survivor Series, the first PPV show after WWE pinned Ryback and ended his undefeated streak, did 212,000 buys, down significantly from last year. The main event was WWE Champion CM Punk defending against John Cena and Ryback in a three-way, a match Ryback also did not win. This, by the way, led to a third match at TLC that he did not win, although they also booked themselves into a situation where The Shield really shouldn't have lost either.
-- We're sad to report the death of Rip Hawk, Ric Flair's tag team partner in the mid-70s when Flair was first breaking into the business. He was his partner for the first championship that Flair ever won: the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles which they won on July 4, 1974. He was best known as one half of the Blonde Bombers with partner Swede Hanson throughout the Carolinas in the 60s.
-- Impact did 1.3 million viewers this week, up slightly from last week's show.
-- It appears Kurt Angle won't be working next week's TNA house show swing. The company is off this weekend so now it a good time to take a break and let his groin injury heal up a bit.
-- Although his striking coach was outraged that Dan Henderson was fighting on the undercard of a show headlined by Ronda Rousey, Henderson himself said on Twitter Friday that he had no problem with it and would sit back and watch the battle after his fight. "I am perfectly fine as the co-main," he wrote.
-- Dana White will be on this Wednesday's Jim Rome Live on Showtime.
-- There is a story here on Celebrity Wish Lists and it includes what Hulk Hogan would like for Christmas if he could have anything. It's actually kind of sad. He wants, among things, one more title run, plus a new knee since after all the back and hip surgeries he says that's all that's left, and then he can make a run for the belt. He did note that if he could go back, he'd do it all again, including all the exact same matches that essentially left him the physical wreck he is today.
-- Pat Healy vs. Jorge Masvidal is off the final Strikeforce show after Masvidal hurt himself overtraining. That's two opponents Healy has lost so far, the first being Strikeforce 155-pound champ Gilbert Melendez.
-- Vale Tudo Japan will be on December 24th at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium live on SkyperfectTV. In the main event, SHOOTO legend Rumina Sato battles DREAM bantamweight favorite Hideo Tokoro.
-- Jim Ross has his latest blog up, talking Tommy Dreamer, Big E. Langston, answering Twitter questions and more.
-- Wade Barrett here talks about how furious he was after getting injured last year before WrestleMania trying to catch Dolph Ziggler on a dive with one arm.
-- Tommy Dreamer talks about how not furious he was to return to WWE Monday here.
-- Local Tomboy Does Good story about AJ Lee here. Her older sister, she says, was so girly that she made her want to puke. Bet that sister is thrilled to see that in the paper.
-- This day in history with Brian Hoops:
1917 - Wladek Zbyszko defeats Ed "Strangler" Lewis in a tournament final to win one version of the World Heavyweight Championship in New York City, New York.
1941 - Wild Red Berry defeats Billy Varga to win the NWA World Light Heavyweight Title in Hollywood, California, beginning his fourth reign.
1954 - Rikidozan becomes the first and only Japanese Heavyweight Champion in Tokyo, Japan, defeating Masahiko Kimura.
1956 - Enrique Torres and Ronnie Etchison defeat Ben and Mike Sharpe for the San Francisco version of the NWA World Tag Team Title in Fresno, California,
1979 - Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk defeat Invaders I and II for the WWC Tag Team Title in Puerto Rico.
1980 - Bill Dundee and Tommy Rich defeat Guy Mitchell and Roger Kirby for the AWA Southern Tag Team Title in Memphis, Tennessee.
-- Smackdown Backstage Fallout:
-- Zack Ryder's latest:
-- HybridEnt.TV will host FOR FREE, 'The Best of CZW 2012' LIVE on iPPV starting at 8 pm on New Year's Eve and lasting through the night. For access, just have or create a HybridEnt.TV account to watch for FREE. CZW returns Saturday, February 2 to the Ultraviolent Underground, aired LIVE on iPPV! You can see the announcement made on DJ Hyde's LIVE shoot interview, 'Reflections and Refractions', available NOW On-Demand.
Will the Royal Rumble top 400,000 domestic buys?
What company will have the biggest 2013?
What did you think of Impact?
41.0% of those responding didn't see the show