Smackdown and Main Event will be taped tonight. Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler once again will headline the Main Event taping.
We're also looking for reports on these weekend shows:
*Raw Saturday in Columbus, GA
*Raw Friday in Pensacola
*TNA Friday in Salisbury, MD.
We open 2013 with a look at WWE and UFC going into the new year. We look at where WrestleMania stands right now as far as rumored matches, the network, key factors for the company in 2013, what major stories to look for, thoughts on how WrestleMania will do, post-WrestleMania, where the top stars are with the public right now and a historical look when it comes to three hour wrestling shows and long-term.
We also look at UFC business in 2012 and thoughts going into 2013. We look at PPV numbers, canceled shows, dream matches, major shows of 2013, UFC getting into New York and where things stand, the politics behind getting into Madison Square Garden, company plans for a Madison Square Garden debut, how things look in the New York legislature and a look at the key matchups, key competitors, and where things stand in every division as the new year starts.
We look at who is coming in from Strikeforce, and how they fit in, as well as a look at the women's division and the possibility of Rousey vs. Cyborg this year.
We also have complete coverage of UFC 155, with early business notes on the show, match-by-match coverage and listed payoffs for all the fighters.
We also look at the New Japan Tokyo Dome show, the stories behind it and what to look out for.
We also look at plans for the 20th anniversary Raw in a few weeks, the January ratings bounce back. We look at a chart Dwayne Johnson was on that is good, the returns of Randy Orton and Sin Cara this past week, Michelle McCool on Mickie James, Vickie Guerrero and Beth Phoenix, an openly frustrated WWE wrestler, gimmick crowd reactions, return of New Age Outlaws to WWE house shows and how long it's actually been. We also have notes on LeBron James talking Ric Flair, unplanned things that happened at some of the weekend house shows, C.M. Punk holding the tile for a calendar year and other wrestlers who have held world titles for a full calender year in the modern era.
We also look at a new prospect signed by WWE, as well as all the business notes from the biggest North American house show week of the year, as well as highlights from all the shows.
We also look at the life of Emilio Charles Jr., one of Mexico's best rudos of the 80s and 90s, looking at his recent death, his career highlights, title history, style, partners and gimmicks.
We also have an obituary on Big Bill Dromo, a star in Georgia during the 60s and 70s, talking about his background before wrestling, his amateur days and what pro wrestler he came across before both went pro, his days as Bill Zbyszko in WWWF, his biggest career wins and more.
We also look at one of Japan's New Year's Eve weekend gimmicks, an arm wrestling television show featuring major names from pro wrestling, UFC, K-1, gymnastics, Japan's most famous boxer, rugby player and several sumos. We look at who stole the show, as well as the Bob Sapp vs. Alistair Overeem showdown.
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 have a look at the ratings of all the major shows as well as details of how every segment on Raw did and what 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.
-- After much talk that it wouldn't happen like this, Alistair Overeem's license to fight in Nevada was rubber-stamped today. During his suspension he sent in five self-administered tests, and also passed two tests that the Commission arranged in November and December. There were no difficult questions and the entire thing was over relatively in 10 minutes. All five members unanimously voted to license him. "I think we've done everything we could to correct ourselves from the errors that were made, and I'm just ready to get my life back on track," Overeem said at the hearing. "I'm ready to get back to fighting." He fights Bigfoot Silva on February 2nd, and if he wins he'll get a shot at Cain Velasquez's UFC Heavyweight Title.
-- Raw with Rock last night was completely sold out, and the expectation is that tonight's Smackdown, which Rock is also appearing on, is sold out as well. He's doing far more dates this year than he did leading into last year's WrestleMania, virtually every show from now through at least mid-February.
-- Punk took two more Rock bottoms and a People's elbow after Raw went off the air on Monday night.
-- Regarding the Raw rating going head-to-head with the BCS Championship game Josh Nason noted it might not be so bad: This National Championship game is a blowout after one quarter as in 'Notre Dame has little to no chance to come back' blowout. We'll know in an hour.
-- Last night's Observer Radio with Dave and I running down that show in detail start to finish, is a FREE download this week here.
-- As noted on Raw, they'e experimenting with something new at the Rumble this year, a Shootin' Straight Fanfest panel discussion with Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Jerry Lawler discussing Montreal on January 26th at 3 PM, HHH, X-Pac and the Outlaws talking DX at 6:30 PM, and Nash, Booker T and Big show talking WCW at 9 AM Sunday the 27th. Nash is awake by 9 AM?
-- If you read this New York Times article, life doesn't look rosy for the future WWE Network.
-- Dragon Gate USA has a brand new news alert up here with all sorts of news including info on the crowning of the first-ever EVOLVE heavyweight champion this spring.
-- Madusa noted on Twitter that she'd be in town next Monday night and was considering going to Raw. Read that she planned on maybe being there as a spectator, and not as someone who would appear on TV during the 20th Anniversary show.
-- Hector Lombard vs. Yushin Okami has been added to UFC on FUEL 8 in THUNDER VS LIGHTNING match.
-- For those who thought I was crazy raving about it, UFC.com just released their Fight of the Year 2012 list, and at the very top was Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon from UFC 155.
-- Strikeforce is not airing in Canada this weekend - the regular broadcaster Super Channel is opting not to air it this weekend. Thanks to John Pollock.
-- For Shield fans, brand new ROH DVD set featuring Tyler Black, aka Seth Rollins, for sale here.
-- From Pat Healy on Twitter: Will anyone ever want to sign with Bellator other than a last resort after seeing the way they treat guys like @Ealvarezfight and @TysonNam?
-- Today in history with Brian Hoops:
1917 - Wladek Zbyszko defeated B.F. Roller for the American Heavyweight Title in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
1925 - Wayne Munn defeated Ed "Strangler" Lewis for the World Heavyweight Championship in Kansas City, Missouri.
1957 - Ivan and Karol Kalmikoff defeated Fritz Von Erich and Karl Von Schober in a tournament final to become the first Minneapolis NWA World Tag Team Champions in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1965 - Pepper Martin defeated Pat Patterson for the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Title
1966 - Tim Woods defeated Mad Dog Vachon in Omaha, Nebraska to win the AWA World Heavyweight Title
1971 - Karl and Kurt Von Steiger defeated Tony Borne and Moondog Mayne for the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Title
1984 - Don Kernodle and Bob Orton, Jr. defeated Dory Funk, Jr. and Jimmy Valiant for the vacant Mid-Atlantic NWA World Tag Team title in Charlotte, North Carolina.
1995 - Arn Anderson defeated Johnny B. Badd to win the WCW World Television Title in Atlanta, Georgia
Note: These polls were tampered with, but were were able to retrieve non-tampered results:
-- Favorite announcing team
Goldberg & Rogan 38.7%
Ross & Regal 26.6%
JBL & Matthews 9.5%
Lawler & Cole 7.2%
Keneley & Tenay & Taz 5.6%
Ranallo & Shamrock & Miletich 5.2%
Cole & Miz 2.3%
Anik & Florian 1.7%
If Showtime aired Invicta, an all-womens' show, would you watch regularly
Yes, and was a regular Strikeforce viewer 27.9%
No, and wasn't a Strikeforce viewer 21.3%
No, but used to watch Strikeforce 6.6%
Yes, and didn't use to watch Strikeforce 3.0%
41.1% responding said they don't get Showtime so it doesn't matter
Who should Rock wrestle at WretleMania
A second match with Punk 23.3%
Brock Lesnar 20.0%
John Cena 19.3%
Dolph Ziggler 5.0%
Randy Orton 1.4%
Big Show 0.6%
-- Mick Foley and Kevin Nash talk the Monday Night Wars here.
-- JR's latest blog is up here.
-- Chris Harrington has an awesome page on WWE 2012 stats here.
-- Story on the WWE THQ license being up for auction here.
-- Matt Hardy says he's still learning.
-- Free Shine 6 video of Leva Bates vs. Kimberly here.
-- Over The Top Radio with wrestling's greatest returns and debuts here.
-- A new scene from The Package featuring Steve Austin here.