Several big events this week with the final Strikeforce show, lots of TNA on Saturday and Sunday, and the 20th anniversary episode of Raw on Monday.
Lineup for Strikeforce from the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City:
Estevan Payan vs. Michael Bravo
Jorge Gurgel vs. Adriano Martins
Prelims on Showtime Extreme at 8 p.m.
Ryan Couture vs. K.J. Noons
Tim Kennedy vs. Trevor Smith
Roger Gracie vs. Anthony Smith
Pat Healy vs. Kurt Holobaugh
Main card on Showtime in the U.S. and Super Channel in Canada at 10 p.m.
Ronaldo Jacare Souza vs. Ed Herman
Gegard Mousasi vs. Mike Pyle
Josh Barnett vs.. Nandor Guelmino
Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring
Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine for the welterweight title
While not a hard and fast rule, the general theme of this show is the winners will go to UFC. Most of the losers will likely not.
TNA will be running two different PPV tapings at 1 p.m. and 7
p.m. in Orlando.
As things stand right now, these shows will air in April and May. The 1 p.m. show will be an all X Division themed show with an Ultimate X, and an X Division Escape from the cage match, plus what will likely be the last ever Jerry Lynn vs. Rob Van Dam match. Besides Lynn, announced for the show as returnees are Jimmy Rave, Petey Williams, Amazing Red and Matt Bentley.
The 7 p.m. show will be a Joker's Wild tag team tournament. It's a takeoff on the Lucha Libre Parejas Increibles concept, where feuding partners form a team with a series of matches. The winners then advance to a Battle Royal where it's every man for himself. Those appearing will be Bobby Roode, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Hernandez, James Storm, Samoa Joe, Ken Anderson, Matt Morgan, Joey Ryan, Rob Van Dam, Christopher Daniels, Robbie E, Robbie T, Zema Ion, Jessie Godderz and Doug Williams.
There is a Raw house show on Saturday in Laredo, which is one of the company's best secondary markets where they usually sell out. Smackdown on Saturday runs in Alexandria, LA.
TNA's first PPV of the year, Genesis, takes place live Sunday night in Orlando:
Sunday has a Raw house show in Corpus Christi, TX and a Smackdown show in Tyler, TX.
Monday is the 20th anniversary Raw in Houston. The only thing advertised is the return of Dr. Shelby. The Rock will also be there. As of a few days ago, Ric Flair was to be there although there have been names who were talked about for this show that were later told they weren't bringing guys from the past in. Another person who has been a frequent star from the past guest noted that they never let them know until usually two or three days ahead of time.
Tuesday will be Smackdown, Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam
tapings in San Antonio.
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.
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.
-- Mick Foley is the first inductee into this year's WWE Hall of Fame.
-- Today is the official 20th anniversary of the first-ever Monday Night Raw.
-- With Strikeforce dying their death tomorrow, check out the first-ever big-time main event for the promotion, Cesar Gracie vs. Frank Shamrock, here. It doesn't last long.
-- Dave has a great two-part article on Strikeforce up at MMAFighting.com:
-- I was entertained to read that Frankie Edgar was "already" only 10 pounds over the 145 pound limit for his February title shot against Jose Aldo. That would be news if not for the fact that he always walked around just a little over 155.
-- As noted yesterday, both Rousimar Palhares and Joey Beltran failed drug tests for the UFC TUF Finale in Australia. It should be noted that since the show took place outside the US, the UFC was in charge of conducting the drug testing.
-- DX did a reunion at the NXT tapings last night. They had Shawn Michaels out first, saying he'd like to have HHH come out with him but HHH was an exec now and too busy backstage. Of course, Hunter eventually came out followed by X-Pac, Billy Gunn and Kevin Nash (visiting in the area). They recreated Raw 1000 with Damian Sandow, except this time the big spot was that Sandow decided to impress DX with a cartwheel and upon completing it he got superkicked, which sounds like a great spot.
-- SHOWTIME Sports will offer a live stream of Friday’s weigh-in for the world championship showdown between Nate Marquardt and Tarec Saffiedine at sports.sho.com/live, Ustream, STRIKEFORCE.com and UFC.com. The stream will be hosted by Heidi Androl beginning at 5 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. CT from the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.
-- Smackdown tonight has Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio for the title in a last man standing match, Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton, Team Hell No vs. Prime Time Players, Dolph & AJ vs. Great Khali & Natalya (!), Sheamus vs. 3MB, and the return of Rock to the show that was named after him.
-- Broadcast team for tomorrow's Strikeforce show will be Frank Shamrock, Pat Miletich and Ron Kruck.
-- As noted on the front page, WWE's 2013 PPV schedule:
-- TNA History of the Bro Off here.
-- Lucha notes from Kris Zellner: Mistico II was cleared to return to action on Tuesday even though he was publically still showing pain from his left shoulder injury and he made it through his match that night okay but on a secret private show at Arena Mexico the next morning, while teaming with Atlantis & Marco Corleone against Euforia/Ultimo Guerrero/Volador Jr., he reinjured himself trying a springboard dive and hurting the shoulder again. Mistico II was supposed to be going to Japan next week for the Fantasticamania shows doing some early press and it looks like he may stil make the trip but who knows if he would wrestle.
The original Mistico aka Sin Cara returned to Mexico City last weekend where he was part of a grand opening for a gym which will open up a wrestling school in March where his father Dr. Karonte will be one of the maestros. He shot down rumors that he was leaving WWE next month saying that he is very happy in WWE right now as Rey Misterio Jr. is mentoring him which is like a dream. Sin Cara was also asked about what he thought about Dragon Lee taking over the Mistico gimmick and he said that he likes both he and his brother Rush but he hopes that the Mistico name doesn't hurt him in the long run because it's tough to live up to.
-- In Your Face Wrestling announced that on Saturday, March 16, IYFW's Memories, Moments and Mayhem convention will be attended by Sunny and Damien Darling. Oh boy.
-- New Era Wrestling presents New Year's Revolution on Saturday, January 19 at the Boys' Club at 710 South Miller Street Shelbyville, IN 46176-2406. Doors open at 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM Bell Time
-- Today in history with Brian Hoops:
1901 - Tom Jenkins defeated Dan McLeod in Cleveland, Ohio to win the American Heavyweight Title.
1954 - Wilbur Snyder defeated Mr. Moto for the NWA Beat the Champ International Television Title in Hollywood, California.
1957 - Buddy Rogers defeated Johnny Barend to win the NWA Eastern States Heavyweight Title in Akron, Ohio.
1957 - Jerry Graham defeated Chief Big Heart in Atlanta, Georgia to win the Georgia NWA Southern Heavyweight Title
1962 - Bob Ellis and Johnny Valentine defeated The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello and Roy Heffernan) to win the Northeast NWA United States Tag Team Title
1963 - Rip Hawk defeated El Medico II in Houston, Texas for the NWA Texas Heavyweight Title.
1965 - Don Leo Jonathan and Gene Kiniski defeated The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello and Roy Heffernan) for the Vancouver NWA Canadian Tag Team Title in Vancouver, British Columbia.
1968 - Ron Etchison and Klondike Bill defeated Bob Brown and Bob Geigel for the Central States NWA North American Tag Team Title in Kansas City, Kansas
1974 - Mr. Wrestling II defeated Ron Fuller in Atlanta, Georgia to win the NWA Georgia Heavyweight Title
1979 - Dale Valentine defeated Tully Blanchard to win the Southwest Championship Wrestling Southwest Television Title
1979 - Ron Bass defeated Ray Candy to win the NWA Arkansas Heavyweight Title in Little Rock, Arkansas.
1981 - Bruiser Brody and Kerry Von Erich won the World Class American Tag Team Title in Dallas, Texas, by defeating Gino Hernandez and Gary Young.
1984 - Mike Davis and Mike Rotundo defeated Ron Bass and The One Man Gang for the Florida NWA United States Tag Team Title in Tampa, Florida.
1985 - The Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey and Bobby Eaton) defeated The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers) to win the World Class American Tag Team Title in Dallas, Texas.
1985 - Ole Anderson and Thunderbolt Patterson defeated The Long Riders (Bill and Scott Irwin) for the NWA National Tag Team Title in Columbus, Ohio.
1987 - Jeff Jarrett and Billy Travis defeated The Rock 'n' Roll RPM's (Mike Davis and Tommy Lane) for the AWA Southern Tag Team Title in Memphis, Tennessee
1991 - Ric Flair defeated Sting to win the NWA/WCW World Title in East Rutherford, New Jersey
1993- Brian Christopher defeated Jeff Jarrett to win the USWA Title in Memphis, Tennessee.
-- Over the Top Radio with Mike Mondo tonight here
-- Video of Stevie Richards winning the Extreme Rising title here.
-- Jim Ross has NXT thoughts here.
-- Between the Ropes interview with Kofi Kingston here.
-- Dixie Carter interview here saying TNA has never been a better place...the same week they axed eight PPVs.
-- The newest Dragon Gate USA/EVOLVE news update is up here with tons of news and line-ups. Also there are notes on the next Shine iPPV including a price change.
DO YOU EXPECT WRESTLEMANIA PPV NUMBERS TO BEAT LAST YEAR?
Yes, by a little 33.1%
About the same 28.4%
Down a little 23.2%
Will beat last year significantly 10.6%
Be way down 4.7%
WILL BELLATOR BE A SUCCESS ON SPIKE TV?
IF YOU ARE NOT WATCHING NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING EVENTS, WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU INTERESTED?
Need the iPPV shows to be in English 41.8%
Need a regular U.S. television show in English 39.2%
I'm not interested in following another pro wrestling promotion, so nothing would make me interested 10.8%
Not interested in following a promotion where Japanese are the main stars 8.2%
WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT WWE MAIN EVENT?
59.3% of those responding didn't see the show