Fuel has a UFC marathon going pretty much all day, with one show after another. The big ones today are the last FOX show from Seattle at 6 p.m., the Australia show from last week at 8 p.m., Top 50 moments part two of 2012 at 10 p.m., and the debut of Countdown to UFC 155 airs at 11 p.m.
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.
-- Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you reading this, and here is to a great 2013!
-- Obviously a rather slow news day. Due to the holidays and travel schedule, no new radio shows will be produced in the next 18 hours or so. We do have a new Wrestling Observer Radio (a FREE edition for the holidays) as well as our annual two-hour Bryan and Vinny Christmas Show available for everyone to listen to, plus Alan and Karl Stern both posted new shows as well within the last 24 hours. We'll be back to semi-normal starting Wednesday, and back in full swing for the UFC PPV this weekend. The 10-Minute Afternoon Update should return Wednesday as well.
-- Thanks for all the nice words about the Christmas Show this year. If you want photos from the evening, they're up @bryanalvarez. Follow me on Twitter to also get updates on when we do call-in shows and other fun and wackiness.
-- Very famous day in history, as Brian Hoops notes:
1902 - Don McLeod defeats Tom Jenkins in Worcester, Massachusetts to win the American Heavyweight Title
1965 - In Indianapolis, Indiana, Dick the Bruiser defeats Gene Kiniski for the World Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title. Also, Moose Cholak and Wilbur Snyder defeat The Assassins (Guy Mitchell and Joe Tomasso) to win the WWA World Tag Team Title.
1968 - Toru Tanaka defeats Jim Hady to win the NWA (Hawaii) North American Heavyweight Title in Honolulu, Hawaii. Also, Nick Bockwinkel defeats Johnny Barend for the NWA Hawaii Heavyweight Title.
1968 - Alberto and Ramon Torres defeat Butcher and Stan Vachon to win the NWA Georgia Tag Team Title in Savannah, Georgia. Karl and Kurt Von Steiger defeat Johnny War Eagle and Billy White Wolf to win the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Title.
1977 - Bob Sweetan defeats Black Angus Campbell for the NWA Central States Television Title in Kansas City, Kansas
1978 - Kevin Von Erich defeats Bruiser Brody in Fort Worth, Texas to win the NWA American Heavyweight Title
1978 - Austin Idol defeated Jerry Lawler for the AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion in Memphis, Tennessee.
1979- Andre The Giant & Dusty Rhodes defeated Ernie Ladd & Stan Hansen to win a tournament finale fir the U.S. Tag Team Title.
1979 - Jack and Jerry Brisco defeat Austin Idol and The Masked Superstar to win the NWA Georgia Tag Team Title.
1979 - Bob Armstrong defeats Sterling Golden (Hulk Hogan) for the NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Title in Knoxville, Tennessee.
1979 - Jim Brunzell wins his second NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title in Charlotte, North Carolina, by defeating Ray Stevens.
1982 - Mike Rotundo defeats Bad Leroy Brown in Charlotte, North Carolina to win the NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Title.
1983 - Magnum T.A. & Mr. Wrestling II defeat Butch Reed & Jim Neidhart to win the Mid-South Wrestling Association Tag Team Title
1983 - - Jimmy Garvin defeated Chris Adams to win the World Class American Title.
1984 - The Rock N' Roll Express defeats Ted DiBiase & Hercules Hernandez to win the Mid-South Wrestling Association Tag Team Title in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1987 - Dave Peterson won the NWA Central States Heavyweight Title from Bob Brown in St. Joseph, Missouri.
1991 - Jushin Liger defeats Brian Pillman to win the WCW Light Heavyweight Title in Atlanta, Georgia.
1993 - Chris Adams defeats Iceman King Parsons in Dallas, Texas to win the Global Wrestling Federation North American Heavyweight Title. Black Bart & John Hawk (JBL) defeat Steven Dane & Chaz Taylor for the GWF World Tag Team Title.
-- Today is the also 30th anniversary of the Ric Flair vs. Kerry Von Erich cage match at Reunion Arena. Set up the Freebirds vs. Von Erichs feud, drew what was then the all-time record gate for the state of Texas and was one of the most famous matches of the era.
-- ROHwrestling.com has a huge sale for the next 12 hours or so on shirts, DVDs, etc.
-- New interview with me here on the END OF THE WORLD PODCAST talking wrestling, life, the website, and more! Very fun!
-- Full UFC 155 Velasquez vs. Dos Santos trailer:
-- Triler for the new Marine film starring Miz:
-- Raw Backstage Fallout:
-- Michelle McCool interview with an awesome story about Tara aka Victoria:
-- Teaser trailer for the Adam Pearce vs. Colt Cabana 7 Layers of Hate DVD:
-- Who do you perceive as the biggest drawing enduring star in U.S. history?
Hulk Hogan 55.3%
Bruno Sammartino 18.2%
Ric Flair 14.4%
Lou Thesz 4.9%
Jim Londos 3.8%
The Sheik 1.5%
Bill Longson 0.8%
Strangler Lewis 0.8%
Buddy Rogers 0.4%
What city had the best Christmas wrestling tradition?
Minneapolis/St. Paul 15.7%
Who loses their belt next?
Junior Dos Santos 37.6%
Demetrious Johnson 18.1%
Renan Barao 17.4%
Jose Aldo Jr. 10.1%
Benson Henderson 6.7%
Jon Jones 3.4%
Ronda Rousey 3.4%
Anderson Silva 0.7%
What does more North American buys?
UFC 155 49.3%
Royal Rumble 40.3%
UFC 157 Rousey vs. Carmouche 9.4%
UFC 156 Aldo vs. Edgar 0.5%
Who should win Fighter of the Year?
Ronda Rousey 32.7%
Anderson Silva 26.4%
Jon Jones 17.3%
Benson Henderson 13.3%
Johny Hendricks 4.8%
Nick Newell 3.4%
Alexander Gustafsson 1.0%
Renan Barao 0.5%
-- Over the Top Radio with KC Spinelli and more here.