THURS. UPDATE: Major changes to how TNA does PPV, Impact preview, El Generico update, Bret Hart update, Several names at NXT tapings, Spike in talks with group that promoted New Year's Eve, Junior Seau, Eddie Alvarez, Mania weekend, WWE video game



By Dave Meltzer
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        We're looking for reports on tonight's NXT tapings in Winter Park, FL at Full Sail University.  Shawn Michaels is scheduled to appear as part of the show, as is Natalya.  Kevin Nash wrote that he was going to be there as well.
 
        Impact tonight at 8 p.m. on Spike
*Jeff Hardy & James Storm vs. Bobby Roode & Austin Aries
*Kenny King vs. Zema Ion - winner faces Christian York on Sunday's PPV and the winner of that match will face RVD for the X title later on the PPV show
*Gut check with Brian Cage vs. Jay Bradley
*Tara & Jessie Godderz vs. Robbie E & a mystery female performer
*Bully Ray and Hulk Hogan will likely have a confrontation about his suspension as well 
 
        On Fuel tonight, Top 50 Moments in UFC of 2012 is from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson at 10 p.m. and Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson at 11 p.m., plus Legends Roundtable airs at midnight.
 
        A quick note is that if everything goes as planned, the biggest issue of the year, the 2012 Awards issue, will be up on the site two weeks from today.  Anyone who subscribes today to either a print version of the Observer or the web site will get the issue as part of their subscription.  It's possible the issue will be in three weeks depending on the volume of news of the week, but given a Jan. 30 released issue would cover both Royal Rumble and UFC on FOX, having that be the awards issue is something that I'd like to avoid.  Balloting for the awards ends tomorrow night at midnight Pacific time.  The categories are covered in the Dec. 3 issue which is up in the Observer archives section.       
 
        We have a double issue of the Wrestling Observer this week, with part two of our business look back at 2012. 
 
        Our lead story looks at the road to WrestleMania, with coverage of Mania, the Royal Rumble, the direction things look to be going, the Dwayne Johnson schedule, lots of notes about the Rock-Punk confrontation and why it was booked the way it was.  We also look at the Alberto Del Rio world title win, the match with Big Show, and the reasons behind it.
 
        We also have complete coverage of what will almost surely be the biggest non-WWE pro wrestling event in the world of 2013, the annual Wrestle Kingdom show at the Tokyo Dome.  We look at New Japan Pro Wrestling today, the booking, why the turmoil took place behind the scenes the way it did, show business, New Japan plans for 2013, the next two New Japan PPV shows, TV numbers as well as match-by-match coverage with poll results and star ratings.
 
        We also have the 2012 chart with the wins and losses for every WWE performer over the course of the year.  We look at how many matches everyone of note worked during the year, who had the most matches, who won the most, who lost the most, the most frequent matchups, who headlined the most shows, as well as the winners and losers on the roster when it came to TV ratings.  We look at the most successful and least successful segments of the year.  We also look at WWE booking patterns.
 
        We also have a segment on the Iron men, the people who wrestled the most WWWF/WWF/WWE matches over the last 42 years, as well as the Iron men of the last 32 years.
 
        We've also got a feature on New Year's Eve in Japan, looking back at the original Inoki Bom Ba Ye show, the peak of New Year's Eve fighting, a look at the two competing major shows this year and the introduction to the business of Glory Sports, attempting to become the third big international player, along with the changes they've implemented and goals they're looking at.
 
        We also have more on the business of 2012.  We have our chart of WWE, Boxing and UFC on PPV and which companies had the most successful shows over the past five years. 
 
        We also look at the most popular personalities in boxing, wrestling and MMA for 2012, with a top 60 of the year in the U.S., along with rankings from the previous three years.  We look at the biggest new stars, who has fallen the most, and what promotions have gained or less traction in popularity over the past year.  We look at the people who hit the charts for the first time, as well as how the top stars differ worldwide and in Canada.
 
        We also have a feature on a variety of wrestling books that are out, or are coming out over the next few months.  We talk about the greatest babyfaces, the career of Bob Backlund, the most popular wrestler in history debate, Larry Matysik's top 50 wrestlers of all-time, the legacy of Lou Thesz, as well as a look at pro wrestling in Houston and the Paul Boesch era, the moves made in the 70s and 80s and what killed the local version of Houston Wrestling.  We also talk about the career of Jimmy Snuka, one of the biggest stars of the 80s all over the world.
 
        We also have a feature on The Amazing Zuma, and the night he and Argentina Rocca had one of the biggest pro wrestling matches ever held in Madison Square Garden.  We look back at his life, his big MSG run, and career after wrestling.
 
        We also have an update on the WWE Hall of Fame, the first Royal Rumble Fan Fest and group discussions, more on the Montreal screw job, major WWE marketing coup, more on WWE developmental, how the THQ bankruptcy affects WWE business and here things stand with it, notes on future Raw shows, update on Brock Lesnar, major WWE anniversary and the history of the originals of the WWE title, more independent stars getting tryouts, Ric Flair talks current product, and another WWE wrestler mad about a company graphic and why.
 
        We also have notes on all the weekend house shows and all the WWE business over the past week.
 
        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 www.paypal.com 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 as well as details of how every segment on Raw and Impact 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.
 
Also in this week's issue:
 
--More on Ric Flair's next match with back story 
 
--The rest of All Japan's first major show of the year
 
--Former WWE star headed to All Japan
 
--Longtime Japanese star has final matches for a while and unique reason he's leaving the business for now
 
--A look at Pro Wrestling NOAH's first big show of the year
 
--Title match main eventers first face off in non-title match
 
--Lineup for the 2013 Fantasticmania shows
 
--90s star announces his retirement show 
 
--More on Billy Graham's latest health scare
 
--Crazy Tammy Sytch story
 
--A look at WWC's Euphoria show and unlikely main event alliance
 
--Wrestler from the 70s still a headliner at 66 years old
 
--A look at the life and career of Luigi Macera
 
--Chris Jericho's upcoming schedule
 
--Return of Omega Wrestling
 
--Roddy Piper headlines Crossfire Wrestling TV taping
 
--Dave Bautista acting career
 
--The hardest wrestling tickets to get in 2013
 
--Terry Funk talks retirement again
 
--Notes on Extreme Rising show
 
--Final Battle iPPV notes
 
--Upcoming ROH schedule
 
--A look at the TV taping for ROH, as well as what big matches they are promoting and apparent direction for the anniversary show
 
--Notes on all the TNA tapings for this week
 
--Lots of wrestlers returning to TNA
 
--Notes on wrestlers who have been dropped by TNA
 
--Behind Hulk Hogan's latest lawsuit filing
 
--Hogan's restaurant notes
 
--TNA getting more international distribution
 
--Notes on TNA Genesis plans
 
--TNA weekend house show notes
 
--Huge UFC business move 
 
--More on Alistair Overeem being reinstated
 
--UFC schedule notes
 
--MMA's future on Showtime thoughts
 
--Notes on the April FOX show
 
--Update on Gilbert Melendez
 
--Advances for the upcoming UFC shows all over the world, what is hot and what is not
 
--Promotion notes for UFC on FOX
 
--Notes on UFC's preview show for the next FOX card
 
--Yet another Overeem vs. Sapp confrontation, this time in a tug of war, on Japanese network TV
 
--Story behind the Eddie Alvarez/UFC/Bellator issues
 
--Dana White talks Jon Jones
 
--Lots of new UFC matches announced
 
--Time and day change for a weekly TV show
 
        New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue.
 
        Our most requested issues in our history are:
 
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
 
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
 
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
 
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)
 
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
 
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
 
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
 
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our
history)
 
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
 
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
 
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)
 
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)
 
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
 
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
 
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
 
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)
 
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
 
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
 
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
 
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
 
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
 
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)
 
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
 
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)
 
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
 
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
 
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
 
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund, Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
 
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
 
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
 
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
 
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
 
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
 
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
 
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
 
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
 
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
 
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
 
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
 
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
 
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
 
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
 
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
 
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
 
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
 
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
 
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
 
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
 
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
 
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
 
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
 
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
 
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bigelow)
 
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
 
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
 
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
 
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
 
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
 
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
 
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
 
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
 
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
 
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
 
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
 
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
 
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
 
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
 
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
 
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
 
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
 
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
 
Rates are:
 
        For the United States, it is $12 for 4 issues, $29 for 12, $55 for 24, $91 for 40 and $118 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $13.50 for 4, $33 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 or 52.  In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   For the rest of the world, rates are $15.50 for 4, $41 for 12, $78 for 24, $126 for 40 issues and $163 for 52 .
 
        If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
 
        We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk, Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods..
 
        To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $10 for shipping costs to Canada and $12 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
 
Thursday's news update
 
--TNA is completely revamping how it does PPVs.  They are now going to cut back to only four shows per year as live PPVs, Genesis on 1/13, Lockdown on 3/10, Slammiversary on 6/9 and Bound for Glory on 10/13.  To fulfill contracts, they are going to tape three hour shows and air them as monthly PPV shows on the first Friday night of each month.  This lowers the expense, eliminating having to buy satellite time and other costs of a live production.  Basically it is an acknowledgment that the PPV business the way they've been doing it is not cost effective.  It's one thing to cut back from 12 shows to 10, but this is a major step backward as far as ability to compete at the major league level, but obviously one brought upon by financial realities.     

--PWInsider.com reported Tyson Kidd suffered a torn ACL and fractured knee at a recent house show and will be out 10-12 months.  We'll update this when we get more information.

--El Generico has not signed a WWE contract, but there is a verbal deal in place.  WWE protocol is to not actually offer written contracts until the prospective wrestler has passed all drug tests and medical tests.  Generico is back on this weekend's PWG show in Reseda, CA and is also booked on the show a week from Friday in Calgary that Kevin Nash, Bobby Lashley and others are on.
 
--Regarding WrestleMania ticket sales, a limited number of seats are available in a few different price ranges right now.  More seats are expected to be released after the company finalizes the staging and set for the show.      
 
--As of right now, Bret Hart won't be on the 20th anniversary of Raw.  There was talk about the possibility of him being brought in for the show, but he was given word they decided against it.  He will be next appearing for WWE in Phoenix for the Fan Fest with the Survivor Series 1997 topic of discussion the day before the Royal Rumble with Shawn Michaels and Jerry Lawler.
 
--Others who were at least told to keep the date of Monday open have said they were told the creative direction for Monday was changed and they were not going to bring stars back.  It may have just been told to cancel them or just give them word they weren't needed, it may be only one or two people are being brought back rather than a big number, or a fullscale change in direction.

--In an interview with Spike TV president Kevin Kay earlier today, he noted that plans for airing K-1 events this year were not going to happen.  They are in discussions with Glory, and there were Spike officials at the New Year's Eve show at the Saitama Super Arena.  No deal has been made but there is smoke.
 
--There will be two more hours of Bellator programming after Impact tonight, concentrating of introducing the champions and top stars in two more weight divisions.  One of them will be the welterweight division, where they'll focus on Ben Askren, top contender Karl Amossou and the participants in this year's tournament.  The other will be on the featherweight division, building up the Pat Curran vs. Patricio Pitbull Freire match on 1/17.
 
--ABC's Good Morning America today broke the story that testing on the brain of Junior Seau, the former NFL superstar, showed he had degenerative brain disease when he committed suicide in May.  The National Institute of Heath studiedSeau's brain and reported it was similar to the brains of people with exposure to repetitive head injuries.  I don't think anyone was surprised about this but it's more evidence of a huge contact sports issue that is only going to get even larger in time.  The family was told that all the head-to-head collisions he had playing football gradually deteriorated his brain and his ability to think logically.  The problem is that right now, the only real true test for CTE can be in autopsies on people after they have passed away, as opposed to testing when they are still alive to where they can be warned they are on the edge while still being active in sports.  Seau, like Dave Duerson and Chris Benoit, killed themselves and were later found to have significant brain issues, almost surely from their professions.   
 
--We talked about this a lot on the show last night, but the Eddie Alvarez lawsuit brought out a number of interesting things about the offer UFC made to him.  Among the notes is that UFC contracts prohibit their fighters from doing pro wrestling (we all knew that but it is specified directly in the contract) as well as boxing, kickboxing, or other martial arts competition or exhibitions unless with the consent of the company.  They need to add tug of wars in particular too that.  The contract stated an intention that Alvarez would come in and fight for the lightweight title in the first quarter of this year against either Benson Henderson or Nate Diaz (if he had won).  The contract stated Alvarez would get $1 for every buy between 200,000 and 400,000; $2 per buy between 401,000 and 600,000 and $2.50 per buy past 600,000.  This would be only in effect in his first PPV main event or if he held the championship, not for every show he appears on.  The challenge is that Bellator offered him the same clause, but if Bellator even does a PPV, it's not going to do 200,000, so Alvarez's side believes Bellator didn't match the UFC offer, while Bellator claims they matched it word-for-word.
 
--Invicta announced that its 4/13 show would not be held in Kansas City, which has been its home base.  They are targeting California, most likely the Bren Events Center in Irvine (the same place Bellator is running on 1/17), according to an interview with Shannon Knapp on MMAjunkie.com radio.  One match announced was Jessica Penne vs. Michelle Waterson, nicknamed The Karate Hottie.
 
--The UFC announced today a 4/13 show in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino which will be the finals of the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, which debuts on 1/22.
 
--Fox Sports Net will be airing a taped version of the World MMA awards show on 1/20 at 9 p.m. in most markets.  The actual show is going to be taped tomorrow night in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock co-hosted by Chael Sonnen and Molly Qerim.  Jerry Springer, Ricky Hatton, Steven Seagal, Freddie Roach, Ronda Rousey, Wanderlei Silva and others are among the presenters.  It's a fan vote award and Fighter of the Year top five in fan voting were Rousey, Jon Jones, Nate Diaz, Daniel Cormier and Benson Henderson.   
 
--The THQ bankruptcy situation is a major story and moves are being made by WWE as quick as possible.  All will be sorted out very soon but the decisions have tens of millions at stake.  One issue is that the value of the WWE license may not be worth as much today on the open market as it was a few years ago when an eight-year contract was signed, because as a general rule, the value of video game licenses has declined as business in that genre overall has dropped.
 
--Major League Baseball announced in season blood testing for HGH and stronger testing for testosterone.  With these changes, MLB's policy is now stronger than that of most sports, as well as that of WWE.  As far as UFC, it's not even in the ballpark, and I'm still someone very much skeptical on the HGH testing and its ability to catch anyone except those extremely unlucky.  Put it this way, at the Olympic level, I've never heard of athletes being afraid of the test and only a tiny number of people have been caught.
 
--Here is an update on the Pro Wrestling Syndicate shows in Metuchen, NJ at the Sports Plex over WrestleMania weekend.
4/4 has Elijah Burke (formerly Pope D'Angelo Dinero) vs. John Morrison, Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson vs. Demolition, Kevin Steen vs. Dan Maff, Davey Richards vs. Anthony Nese, Colt Cabana vs. Kevin Matthews and a Hardcore scramble match with New Jack, Tommy Dreamer, Apollyon, Lucifer Darksyde, Devon Moore The Sheik and Necro Butcher.  Terry Funk will be commissioner and Superstar Billy Graham is appearing there.
 
4/5 has Jushin Liger vs. John Morrison, New Jack vs. Necro Butcher, Hurricane Helms & John Walters vs. Nova & Chris Chetti plus Terry Funk, Superstar  Billy Graham and Bret Hart appearing.
 
--It is expected that TNA will add a women's gauntlet (Royal Rumble) match to its PPV on Sunday.  Most likely the winner will get a title shot at some point down the line.
 
--UFC has made a merchandising deal with Monster Headphones.
 
--Brian Hoops with a huge This Day in Pro Wrestling History
56 years ago:  Boris & Niccoli Volkoff (the WWE star took his ring name from this wrestler) beat Reggie (The Crusher) & Stan (Stan Holek aka Stan Neilsen) Lisowski in Indianapolis to win a version of the NWA world tag team titles
55 years ago:  The Mighty Yankee beat Ray Gunkel for the Southern title in Atlanta
52 years ago:  Buddy Austin beat Don Curtis to win the Southern title in Tampa
44 years ago:  Fred Blassie beat Bobo Brazil to win the Americas title at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles
38 years ago:  Mike George & Jerry Oates beat The Masked Interns, Tom Andrews & Jim Starr, in a loser leaves town match to win the Central States tag team titles
36 yeas ago:  Gene Kiniski beat Don Leo Jonathan in Vancouver to win the Pacific Coast title
34 years ago:  Tully Blanchard beat Dale Valentine (better known as Buddy Roberts) to win the Southwest TV title
30 years ago:  Nick Bockwinkel won the "held up" AWA world title beating Jerry Lawler in Memphis.  This was the match where Andy Kaufman and Jimmy Hart distracted Lawler costing him.  The title was only held up in Memphis based on a match two weeks earlier when at first it was announced Lawler had beaten Bockwinkel to win the title before later being announced as overturned.
26 years ago:  The Sheepherders, Luke Williams & Butch Miller beat Pat Tanaka & Paul Diamond to win the CWA International tag team titles in Memphis
21 years ago:  Rod Price & John Tatum beat Black Bart & Bill Irwin to win the GWF tag team titles in Dallas
19 years ago:  Ron & Don Harris beat Chris Michaels & Todd Morton to win the USWA tag team titles in Memphis
19 years ago:  Robbie Eagle beat Chris Candido to win the Smoky Mountain TV title in Chillhowie, VA
17 years ago:  Jerry Lawler beat Tex Slazenger to win the USWA title in Memphis
 
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME BALLOTING?
Agreed, you can't reward people who clearly cheated to set records 34.6%
A large percentage of votes are out of touch 24.0%
Guys are being singled out when a huge percentage were actually on something 15.2%
The guys being punished were the standouts in the game as it was played in their years and should be in 13.8%
Okay for now, the guys will eventually get in but shouldn't be on the first ballot 7.9%
The guys in question should have to wait a long time, but eventually they should get in 4.4%
 
WHO WAS THE GREATEST FIGHTER IN STRIKEFORCE HISTORY?
Gilbert Melendez 22.9%
Nick Diaz 18.2%
Dan Henderson 17.8%
Ronda Rousey 13.8%
Cung Le 11.3%
Alistair Overeem 6.2%
Jake Shields 5.8%
Cris Cyborg 4.0%
 
WHO WAS THE ALL-TIME STRIKEFORCE MVP
Frank Shamrock 24.2%
Gina Carano 22.4%
Cung Le 14.9%
Fedor Emelianenko 14.6%
Gilbert Melendez 9.6%
Nick Diaz 8.4%
Alistair Overeem 2.4%
Cris Cyborg 2.1%
Josh Thomson 0.9%
Fabricio Werdum 0.6%
 
WHO WILL BE THE BIGGEST MEXICAN FIGHTING SPORTS HERO IN THE U.S. OF 2013?
Cain Velasquez 43.6%
Alberto Del Rio 22,1%
Canelo Alvarez 14.0%
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. 10.6%
Rey Mysterio 7.7%
Sin Cara 1.9%
 
--Capital City Championship Combat on 1/19 in Ottawa at the Knights of Columbus Hall headlined b Josh Alexander vs. Christopher Bishop vs. Lionel Knight.
 
--The Fight Network will be launching a fantasy sports TV channel with a targeted start date of the summer. 
 
--Jerry Jarrett will be attending a 2/23 Nashville Pro Wrestling at a show at the Nashville Convention Center.  He will be signing autographs and talking to fans.  Matches will be held throughout the day and tickets are $5.
 
--Empire Wrestling Federation announced its awards at a dinner on Sunday night.  Brandon Gatson was named Wrestler of the Year, Watson vs. Joey Ryan vs. Mike Maze was named Match of the Year, The Von Dooms were tag team of the year, and Richie Slade was named Rookie of the Year.
 
--Resistance Pro Wrestling announced an alliance with BumpDrunk.com for a clothing line of athletic wear and other merchandise.
 
--UFC 156 airs in the U.K. on ESPN U.K. on early Sunday morning of 2/3 with the Countdown show at midnight, the prelims at 1 a.m. and the PPV show at 3 a.m. headlined by Jose Aldo Jr. vs. Frankie Edgar for the featherweight title.
 
--Speaking of that show, Edgar said today he's already under 155.  He has to make 145.  It's funny as he's the guy moving down, and  I'd be Aldo would be well over 155 at this stage.
 
--Over the Top Rope radio with Ed, Cuter and Craig talking about famous returns like Chris Jericho on Raw, John Cena at the Rumble, Bret Hart's return to WWE, Ric Fair's return to WCW, bad debuts, The Shock Master and more at http://www.blogtalkraadio.com/cutrer/201...uts-return
 
--Steeltown Pro Wrestling tomorrow night in Selkirk, Manitoba at Memorial Hall, headlined by Robbie McAllister.  They also run Saturday night in Winnipeg at the Casa do Minho Portuguese Center.
 
--WAR on 1/19 has its 10th anniversary show in Lima, OH with a two-ring War Games and inducting Al Snow, Jim Lancaster and others into their Hall of Fame. 
 
--A new pilot called "Borealis" airs on Friday and Saturday in Canada on the SPACE Channel.  It's a story set in 2045 revolving around a former pro MMA fighter.  It was at first scheduled for a series but ended up getting lost in the shuffle and the pilot is airing with minimal publicity.  Paul Lazenby choreographed and coordinated the climactic MMA death match scene battle between Ty Olsson (Battlestar Gallactica) and Darren Shahlavi (The Package, Ip Man). 
 
--Stemming from the pub after last week's Tokyo Dome, a number of readers have asked questions regarding people who sell authentic New Japan DVDs available in the U.S. market. 

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