FRI UPDATE: Weekend preview, WWE stars returning, Heyman MSG wrestling debut notes, Overeem applies for license, tons 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


We're looking for reports on tonight's WWE Raw show at the Nassau Coliseum (John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler), tonight's Smackdown show in Minneapolis at Target Center (Big Show vs. Sheamus) and last night's Smackdown show in Green Bay at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

UFC 155 takes place Saturday from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

Facebook fights at 6:30 p.m.

Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga

Max Holloway vs. Leonard Garcia

Philip DeFries vs. Todd Duffee

FX at 8 p.m.

Myles Jury vs. Michael Johnson

Jamie Varner vs. Melvin Guillard

Erick Perez vs. Byron Bloodworth

Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland

PPV at 10 p.m.

Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson

Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami

Tim Boetsch vs. Costa Philippou

Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon

Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez for the UFC heavyweight title

Saturday also has the Raw TV taping for Monday in Washington, DC at the Verizon Center and TNA has a house show in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Sunday has a Smackdown and Main Event TV taping in Richmond, VA featuring Antonio Cesaro vs. Great Khali for the U.S. title. TNA has a show on Sunday in Albany, NY.

Glory International runs the Saitama Super Arena on Monday with a 25-match marathon show featuring a 16 man kickboxing tournament, superfights with Yuichiro Nagashima and Jerome LeBanner, who both do pro wrestling in Japan, and MMA fights. The kickboxing fights will air later Monday night at 10 p.m. on CBS Sports. The MMA fights air Tuesday night at 10 p.m. on CBS Sports

MMA card has

Phil Baroni vs. Hayato Sakurai

Will Brooks vs. Satoru Kitaoka

Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Hiroyuki Takaya

Marloes Coenen vs. Fiona Muxlow

Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Michihiro Omigawa

Bibiano Fernandes vs. Yoshiro Maeda

Denis Kang vs. Melvin Manhoef

Shinya Aoki vs. Antonio McKee

The Inoki Genome Federation runs Tokyo Sumo Hall also on Monday night with a combined Pro Wrestling and MMA show

Masayoshi Kikutani vs. Prince Ali under kickboxing rules

Akira Joe vs. Kotaro Nasu pro wrestling

Kendo Ka Shin vs. Shogun Okamato pro wrestling

Bob Sapp vs Erik Hammer pro wrestling

Atsushi Sawada & Hideki Suzuki vs. Ray Sefo & Hiromi Amada pro wrestling

Naoya Ogawa vs. Kazuyuki Fujita pro wrestling

Minowa-man vs. Bor Bratovz MMA

Yusuke Kawguchi vs. Rolles Gracie MMA

Mirko Cro Cop vs. Shinji Suzukawa MMA

Satoshi Ishii vs. Tim Sylvia MMA

We have the first part of our annual Business Year in Review Observer, running down the biggest and most successful events of the year, with the biggest crowds, biggest arena headliners of the year, as well as a rundown of all the PPV numbers for 2012, the largest gates of the year and looking at the leading companies, a comparison to how many successful major events each one did as compared to every year dating back to 2008 so you can see where each company has gained and lost in popularity. We also have 2012 charts for UFC and WWE when it comes to the PPV business and big show business dating back too 2007. We also look at UFC and Strikeforce ratings for 2012.

Our other lead story is, taking the 2012 results into effect, the updated list of the 100 biggest drawing cards in pro wrestling history based on longevity at the top. We look at what milestone John Cena reached in 2012. We also have a note on everyone ranked No. 76 or higher who is not in the Hall of Fame right now, with background on all of them and whether they belong.

The issue is on the web site today, as is a back issue from 1995 which covers Shawn Michaels being beaten up in Syracuse as well as the preview of the first ever Ultimate Ultimate tournament.

With the Strikeforce promotion running its last show on 1/12, we've got a history of the promotion piece. We look at what killed the promotion, twice, the contract and what is said, and why it led to the death of the brand. We look at the rise of Ronda Rousey, the beginnings of Strikeforce dating back to 1992, Cung Le, the first Strikeforce MMA show, Frank Shamrock, Gina Carano, the biggest fights, signing of stars like Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson, and a look at the final show.

We also have more on Randy Orton's shoulder problems, the WWE issues with THQ and what it all means, a look at WWE's monthly business for November, with a look at house shows, ratings web hits and merchandise numbers. We also have an update on Sin Cara, notes on Tribute to the Troops, a story you wouldn't expect to find where it was about Sin Cara, more on Big E Langston's background, Tommy Dreamer talks his appearance on Raw, a former WWE star talks about possibly returning and more on Slammy voting and what it says.

We also have a look at the largest fan awards poll, the annual Nikkan Sports pro wrestling awards for 2012, including a look at who was the star in the balloting.

We have a major feature on the life and career of Rip Hawk, whose 33 year career saw it be around for the final days of Londos, Lewis and Pesek, as well as span the early career of Ric Flair and Ted DiBiase. We look at the never-ending Weaver & Beaver vs. Hawk & Hanson feud, Battles of the Bullies, who was Swede Hanson, how his tag team with Ric Flair started, how he claims Ric Flair saved his life, life after wrestling, what match convinced him he could make it in wrestling, his first championships, the first episode ever of Wrestling at the Chase and how that differed from every pro wrestling television show, before or after. We look at his interplay with Joe Garagiola which got him national pub, his St. Louis main events with the biggest names of the era, and his arrival in Mid Atlantic. We look at his run in Mid Atlantic as well as the end of his career.

We also have the ballot for the 2012 Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards.

We also have a look at Survivor Series numbers and the business of the show dating back the last few years.

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.

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today. With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today. Just sent your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, card number and expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

You can also order by paypal by sending to and directing the funds to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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 have a look at the ratings of all the major shows.

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

-- It's expected that Randy Orton (dislocated shoulder) and Sin Cara (minor knee surgery) will be back for the WWE TV tapings this weekend. No word on Rey Mysterio.

-- Some Dana White UFC 155 press conference notes from yesterday. He said Strikeforce 155-pound champion Gilbert Melendez will probably get an immediate title shot upon entering UFC. He said the company is working on casting and creating a TUF: Mexico season. He said the situation with Eddie Alvarez and Bellator was likely to get ugly, but wouldn't go into any further details. While he didn't outright say so, he said there was a good chance the winner of the Eddie Wineland vs. Brad Pickett fight Saturday night would be in line for a title shot. He also said he was thankful for awful weather in the Midwest and East Coast, because snowed-in people who couldn't travel were good for his PPV business.

-- Got reports from those in the building that the Paul Heyman wrestling debut in Madison Square Garden vs. Ryback last night was awesome. It wasn't anything resembling a match, at least not a Heyman vs. Ryback match, as they had the Shield immediately run in and destroy Ryback, then Daniel Bryan and Kane made the save, and then Paul, all cocky, jumped into the ring to pin Ryback and was immediately hit with a shellshock and then put through a table. Got over really big.

-- His drug test failure suspension up, Alistair Overeem officially submitted a request for a license to fight in Nevada. He has a January 7th hearing to discuss the situation and is tentatively scheduled to face Bigfoot Silva in his first fight back on February 2nd at UFC 156. If he wins he's likely in line for a UFC heavyweight title shot.

-- Michelle McCool talks working with Sharmell and more:

-- Zach Ryder's Best of Zack in 2012 video:

-- Stone Cold ET

-- Chael Sonnen talks the new Evan Tanner documentary and Evan's mental state near the end:

-- Trailer for Overtime starring TNA's own Al Snow:

-- Michelle McCool talks women's wrestling here.

-- Dr. Lucha on the Slammin' Stan podcast up here.

-- Audio interview with Ric Flair on Mark Madden's show here where he notes, shockingly, that he's dying to wrestle again. Says he basically wrestled Monday and hopes there more to come. Also claimed his TNA problems were behind him.

-- From ROH: 2013 is right around the corner and is helping our fans ring it in with our final sale of 2012! 

Starting @ Midnight (Friday, December 28th) and running through Tuesday January 1st at midnight, it's our New Year's Holiday Sale!!! For the next few days the following items will all be on sale:

- 20% off all Compilation DVD's & Games
- 15% off all Wrestler Shirts!! 

And don't forget, if you're a Ringside Member, then you will save an additional 15% off those already discounted prices! has more.

-- Michael writes: I went to see Django Unchained tonight and there was a preview for WWE studio's Dead Man Down with Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace, directed by the director of the original Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The movie easily looked like the best thing WWE has made or optioned, looking like a very smart modern noir movie, and it must be great exposure before a big release like Trantino's Django.

-- What did you think of Wednesday's Main Event?
Excellent 15.6%
Good 40.0%
Average 17.8%
Fair 8.9%
Poor 17.8%
61.5% of those responding didn't see the show

Who wins this fight?
Junior Dos Santos 69.1%
Cain Velasquez 30.9%

Who is the WWE's MVP for 2012?
C.M. Punk 70.2%
Daniel Bryan 9.6%
The Rock 6.1%
John Cena 5.9%
Brock Lesnar 3.7%
A.J. Lee 3.2%
Sheamus 0.5%
Randy Orton 0.5%
Big Show 0.3%

How many buys does UFC 155 do?
Under 300,000 13.8%
301-350,000 6.6%
351-400,000 7.9%
401-450,000 11.2%
451-500,000 14.5%
501-550,000 16.4%
551-600,000 11.8%
601-650,000 9.9%
651-700,000 0.7%
701-750,000 2.0%
751-800,000 0.7%
More than 801,000 4.6%

-- This day in history with Brian Hoops:

On this day in history in ....

1949 - Leroy McGuirk defeats Billy Goelz for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title in Des Moines, Iowa

1960 - Pancho Villa defeats Lee Fields for the NWA Gulf Coast Heavyweight Title in Mobile, Alabama

1961 - Whipper Billy Watson and Yukon Eric defeat Chris and John Tolos to win the Toronto version of the NWA International Tag Team Title in Toronto, Ontario.

1963 - Chris and John Tolos defeat Killer Kowalski and Gorilla Monsoon for the WWWF United States Tag Team Title in Teaneck, New Jersey.

1963 - Bob Orton Sr. defeated Eddie Graham in Jacksonville, Florida for the NWA Southern Heavyweight Title

1968 - The Crusher and Dick the Bruiser won the AWA World Tag Team Title and World Wrestling Association Tag Team Title, defeating Mitsu Arakawa and Dr. Moto (Tor Kamata) for both in Chicago, Illinois.

1970 - Gene Kiniski defeated Don Leo Jonathan for the Vancouver version NWA Pacific Coast Heavyweight Title in Vancouver, British Columbia

1972 - Rip Hawk defeats Jerry Brisco for the NWA Eastern States Heavyweight Title in Greensboro, North Carolina

1973 - Archie Gouldie won the Stampede North American Heavyweight Title by defeating Omar Atlas in Calgary, Alberta.

1975 - Bob Sweetan defeated Rip Tyler for the NWA Gulf Coast Heavyweight Title in Pensacola, Florida

1980 - Angelo Mosca defeated Hussein Arab (The Iron Sheik) in Toronto, Ontario to win the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Title

1980 - Kerry Von Erich (subbing for his injured brother Kevin) defeated Gino Hernandez in Dallas, Texas to win the vacant NWA American Heavyweight Title.

1984 - Ron Garvin defeated Bob Roop in Saginaw, Michigan to win the Georgia version of the NWA World Television Title

1984 - Terry Taylor defeats Eddie Gilbert to win the CWA International Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee

1992 - Ron and Don Harris defeated The Moondogs (Spike and Spot) for the USWA Southern Tag Team Title in Memphis, Tennessee

1997 - Sting defeated Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Title in Washington, DC

-- "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin is the 4th competitor to be entered into the 17th Annual ECWA Super 8 Tournament on Sat, Apr 13, 2013 in Newark , Delaware

-- Hollymood Entertainment is proud to debut a brand new online pro wrestling video platform for independent promotions, professional wrestlers and producers to display their matches, interviews, promos, documentaries and television shows. The website is called and anybody can upload footage and promote their name or brand to a large scale internet audience, but they must own the rights or have permission to upload the footage to the website.

-- To wrap up 2012, this week’s UFC TONIGHT premieres at a special time: Sunday, December 30 (4:00 PM ET). Kenny Florian gives his “Best of 2012” awards. Find out who Florian thinks was the fighter, comeback fighter, and breakthrough fighter of 2012, plus his awards for knockout and fight of the year. Then, our fighter Florian and our insider Ariel Helwani dissect what they think will be the biggest UFC fights and stories of 2013, plus who they think will be the upcoming year's fighter of the year and breakout star. Todd Harris and Florian reflect on the first year of UFC TONIGHT, giving you their favorite guests, moments and behind-the-scenes stories. All that plus, all the highlights from this weekend's UFC 155 pay per view, including the heavyweight championship fight between Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez.

-- Ed, Craig and Cutrer talk the year in review here.

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?