MON. UPDATE: Notes on tonight's Raw, Time change for a few TV shows, WWE injury note, Promotion bounces checks, Hardys team up again, Flair working 3 March shows, ROH doubleheader



By Dave Meltzer
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        We're looking for your thoughts on last night's TNA Genesis and Saturday night's Strikeforce show so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        Tonight is the 20th anniversary Raw in Houston.  Among the things advertised is a Rock Concert featuring The Rock, Eve Torres vs. Kaitlyn for the Divas title (more on that in the news section), and the return of Dr. Shelby.  There have been a lot of people talked with about being there.  Ric Flair was still scheduled as of a few days ago to be in an angle with C.M. Punk.  Jim Ross is in Houston.  Undertaker was expected to be there, but whether he's scripted onto the show is unknown.  We also know of big names who were first contacted to be there and then called and told they weren't bringing a lot of people in, but obviously they are looking at least a few surprises since Edge indicated he was asked but due to a family emergency wasn't going to be there.  There are also rumors of a King Kong Bundy Hall of Fame announcement based on a twitter post he sent.
 
        We're also looking for reports on these shows:
Raw last night in Corpus Christi (John Cena & Ryback vs. Dolph Ziggler & C.M. Punk)
Smackdown last night  in Tyler, TX (Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show)
Raw Saturday night in Laredo
Smackdown Saturday night in Alexandria, LA
 
        Tuesday will be Smackdown, Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam tapings in San Antonio.
 
        Fuel tonight has Pride's Greatest Knockouts at 8 p.m., UFC August FOX show prelims at 9 p.m.  and UFC 147 at 11 p.m.       
 
        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.
 
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        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
 
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Monday's News Update
 
--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Raw, the latest news and taking your questions that you can send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
--Tonight will be Eve Torres' final show with the WWE unless there is a last minute change of plans on her dropping the title.  Her leaving was something agreed on for a while but she was willing to work out however long they wanted to do her storyline with Kaitlyn and the title change.  There was the assumption it would go until the Royal Rumble but the decision was made this past week to do it here.
 
--Tonight's Raw was already sold out as of yesterday.  There has clearly been box office business momentum in WWE building of late for whatever reason you want to attribute it to, but the advertising for the Raw shows is all about The Rock appearing as the focal point.  
 
--We had a scary lack of feedback to last night's TNA Genesis show.
 
--Saturday Morning Slam is being moved to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings starting this week.
 
--The Rock is being advertised for the 3/4 Raw show in Buffalo.  They are promoting it as his first time at a WWE show in the city in 12 years.
 
--Santino Marella is getting an MRI today on his neck.  He injured it on Friday night in Austin, TX and was pulled from the weekend shows as a precautionary measure.  He was hopeful it would just be a strain and nothing serious.
 
--Very strange story regarding Crossfire Entertainment our of Nashville, which ran last week as a national TV taping for a station that was never released.  As it turned out, a lot of the wrestlers on the show weren't paid that night and checks later bounced.  Promoter Marcus Pastorious sent out an e-mail to talent saying it was unprofessional of him to come to the show with no cash.  He said he had made a $25,000 deposit which should have cleared, but was lost.  He talked about making an investment with a friend who then stiffed him , but claimed he would pay everyone for the show and pre-pay everyone for the next show in March where they are advertising appearances by DDP and Jake Roberts.  As you can imagine, everyone involved is now very skeptical regarding the future of the company.
 
--UFC Tonight returns to its normal format with tomorrow night's show.
 
--Inside MMA is no longer on Monday nights, and started this past week on Fridays on AXS TV.
 
--The Hardy Brothers team up for the first time in a long time tomorrow night for a benefit show for Chuck Coates, who started his career with them.  Coates is battling cancer.  The Hardys team with James Storm & Hurricane Helms vs. Steve Corino & CW Anderson & Lodi & Gunner in the main event.
 
--WrestleMania Fan Axxess tickets go on sale on 1/26 for New York priced from $45 to $135.
 
--Big Time Wrestling has shows on 3/15 in South Paris, ME and 3/16 in Malden, MA, both headlined by Kevin Nash.  They also have shows on 3/22 in Danbury, CT, 3/23 in Webster, MA and 3/24 in Augusta, ME all featuring appearances by Ric Flair.
 
--ROH announced that it will be doing a TV taping on 5/5 in Toronto at the Ted Reeve Arena.  It's a doubleheader where they will do an iPPV the night before and the TV taping at 2 p.m. the next day. 
 
--Don't forget National Pro Wrestling Day on 2/2 at the Derby Ink Gardens in Philadelphia.  There are two shows, both free, with independent wrestlers coming from all over the country.  More than 20 promotions will be represented and will be both airing live on iPPV.  CHIKARA announced on the evening show they will have Los Ice Creams & Icarus & Chuck Taylor vs 3.0 & Fire Ant & Green Ant.
 
--Mike Mooneyham at http://www.postandcourier.com did a big article on C.M. Punk's interview where he mentioned Bruno Sammartino, the reaction from Billy Graham and more.
 
--Adam Carriker of the Washington Redskins and Chuck Carroll on WNEW The Fan in Washington, DC gave away a series of belts to Redskins players for the season.  They gave a TV title belt to the Offensive Player of the Year.  They gave a Hardcore title belt to the Defensive Player of the year.  They gave a cruiserweight belt to the Special Teams Player of the Year.  They gave a Divas title to Newcomer of the Year (RG III got this belt).  And the team MVP got a World title belt.
 
--Matt Riviera of Traditional Championship Wrestling will be on the 2/14 episode of the TV show Millionaire Matchmaker.
 
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF SATURDAY'S ROH TV SHOW?
Excellent 30.6%
Good 33.3%
Average 8.3%
Fair 0.0%
Poor 27.8%
        65.4% of those responding didn't see the show
 
BEST TV SHOW OF THE PAST WEEK
Raw 36.0%
Smackdown 26.6%
Impact 14.9%
Strikeforce main card 11.3%
Strikeforce prelims 3.6%
ROH 3.2%
Saturday Morning Slam 1.4%
Inside MMA 1.4%
Main Event 0.9%
Bellator 360 10 p.m. 0.5%
Bellator 360 11 p.m. 0.5%
 
WHAT FIGHTER FROM SATURDAY'S STRIKEFORCE SHOW WILL DO THE BEST IN UFC?
Daniel Cormier 56.4%
Jacare Souza 16.4%
Josh Barnett 10.8%
Gegard Mousasi 8.2%
Ryan Couture 3.3%
Tarec Saffiedine 1.0%
Pat Healy 1.0%
Tim Kennedy 0.3%
 
--Today in wrestling history (thanks to Brian Hoops)
70 years ago - Lee Wyckoff beat Ed Strangler Lewis in Kansas City for the MWA world title
53 years ago - Yvon Robert beat Billy Wicks in Mobile for the Gulf Coast title
47 years ago:  Lorenzo Parente beat Danny Hodge in Tulsa to win the NWA world jr. heavyweight title
46 years ago:  In a battle of amateur greats, Dale Lewis beat Tim Woods to win the Nebraska title in Omaha
43 years ago:  The Missing Link, better known as Pampero Firpo, beat King Ripper Collins to win the Hawaiian heavyweight title in Honolulu
36 years ago:   Dory Funk Jr. beat Chavo Guerrero in Los Angeles to win the Americas title
36 years ago:  Mr. Wrestling (Tim Woods) & Mr. Wrestling II beat Gene & Ole Anderson to win the Georgia tag team titles
30 years ago:  Leu Burke beat Bret Hart in Calgary to win the North American title
22 years ago:  Arn Anderson beat Tom Zenk in Marietta, GA to win the WCW TV title
22 years ago:  Jeff Jarrett beat Brian Lee in the finals of a one-night tournament for the Southern title in Memphis
22 years ago:  Jerry Lynn beat  The Lightning Kid (Sean Waltman) in Fridley, MN to win the American light heavyweight title
21 years ago:  Ron Simmons & Big Josh (Matt Osborne) beat Steve Armstrong & Tracy Smothers to win the U.S. tag team titles in Columbus, GA
18 years ago:  John Hawk (John Layfield) beat Kevin Von Erich to win the North American title in Dallas
18 years ago:  Tommy Rich & Doug Gilbert beat PG-13 in Memphis to win the USWA tag titles  
 
--It was three years ago today when Bob Shamrock passed away at 68.  He was a very nice man, who saved a lot of kids, including Ken & Frank Shamrock, who he adopted and I hate to fathom where either of them would have been without him.
 
--Happy birthday to Jim Duggan, who turns 59 today.  Ernest Miller turns 49.  Gene Snitsky turns 43.      
 
--Mick Foley wrote a feature on Buddy Roberts of The Freebirds at http://www.realmickfoley.com/blog/2013/01/in-praise-of-buddy-roberts/
He wrote it yesterday, just a day or two after I e-mailed him talking about The Freebirds so maybe that struck a cord.  
 
--NWA Smoky Mountain Wrestling from Saturday night in Kingston, TN:  Jeff Connelly b Alex Avgerinos, Sigmon b Elliot Russell, Zac Vincent b Joseph Blackwell, Matt Conrad b Ricky Morton, Gavin Darring & Skylar Kruze won three-way over Tony Givens & Chris Richards and Josh Crawford & Daniel Mulligan via DQ, Alyx Winters b Keith Knox, Damien Wayne b William Huckaby, Jason Kincaid b Vordell Walker, Chase Owens b Vince Brent to retain NWA jr. title
 
--CWE on 1/18 in Winnipeg at the Southeast Collegiate has a TV taping featuring Billy Blaze vs Scott Steiner.
 
--I Believe in Wrestling  from yesterday in Orlando:  C.J. O'Doyle b Rafael Altair, Santana Garrett over Wayne VanDyke and Justine Silver, Aaron Epic b Gerso Sanchez, J.D. Amazing b Tim Zbyszko (managed by Larry Zbyszko), QT Marshall b Josh Hess, Donovan Terreell b Chico Adams, Chasyn Race b Lince Dorado.  Next show is 2/10.
 
--CZW from Saturday night in Voorhees, NJ:  Young Money b Latin Dragon & David Starr, The Front b Suger Dunkerton & Aaron Epic, Shane Hollister over Alex Reynolds, Chris Brookes and Chuck Taylor, Azrael & Bandido Jr. b Dalton Castle & Colin Delaney, Jesse Brooks b Ezeveul Zuena, Devon Moore & Danny Havoc b Drew Gulak & Alexander James to keep the CZW tag titles, Shane Strickland b Alex Colon, Matt Tremont won three-way over Tommy Dreamer (unadvertised surprise) and Rory Mondo, Jake & Dave Crist b Dustin Rayz & Eric Ryan, AR Fox b Lucky 13 to keep the CZW Wired title (TV title), Masada b Joe Gacy to keep the CZW title.  Christina Von Eerie attacked Masada with a barbed wire bat and challenge him to a death match at the next show on 2/9 in Voorhees at Flyers Skate Zone as the promotion's 14th anniversary show.  It'll be an iPPV.  There will also be an all-women's WSU show in the afternoon. (thanks to Tom Richards)
 
--TWA Wrestling on 1/25 in St Catherines, ONT at the Black Sea Hall headlined by Randy Vaughn vs. Cody Deaner.
 
--787 Pro Wrestling from yesterday in Troy, NY:  Robert Coleman won Battle Royal, Chris Envy b Chad Evans, Ron Falco b Kyle Badger, Este Tipo & Syanide & Viper the Ninja b Sgt. Dan Fury & Cpl. Jasin Saint & Randy Walker, Bert Williams b William King, C.J. Scott b Kyle Brad, Coconut Jones b Adam Badger, Dalton Castle b Cloudy, Nick Ando and Jordan Lennos, J.P. Black b Rick King, Bobby Fish b Roxx Vinyer, Vik Dalishus b Robert Coleman to win the title.  Next show is 2/17
 
--An update on Devon Nicholson and his battle with Hepatitis C at http://www.netnewsledger.com/2013/01/14/devon-nicholson-updates-hepatitis-c-treatment/  
 
--FWF on Saturday night in Stirling, NJ at the Long Hill Township Community Center features Tony Atlas and Hurricane Helms. 
 
--A video feature on former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard working on his career acting at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q11sdPdWcRg  
 
--Top Rope Pro Wrestling on 4/13 in Waynesboro, VA at the High School
 
--Michael at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it is looking for a Mistico mask.

Long-term, what are your thoughts on Lucha Underground?

 

What did you think of Wednesday's Ultimate Fighter TV show?

 

What did you think of TNA Impact?

 

What did you think of Lucha Underground last night?