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
Today 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.
-- If you missed it on the front page:
Bryan Alvarez and RD Reynolds announced today on Figure Four Daily that they have signed a deal with ECW Press to write a newly-expanded 10-year anniversary edition of the 2005 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Book of the Year, "The Death of WCW".
The original manuscript was significantly larger than the final product, largely due to the wrestling book market being significantly smaller at the time. Nearly everything that was cut out will be included in the revised edition, plus it will feature tons of quotes from the major players, a look at the ten years following the death of the company, a section debunking criticisms of the first book ("WCW died because of the AOL/Time Warner merger"), THE WOLFPAC, and more.
The book, which will be released in a limited-edition hardcover version as well (Bryan made sure that was in the contract), is expected to be released in mid-2014.
Thanks so much to everyone for all of the support. We hope that this anniversary edition will be a book that can be looked back upon historically as the definitive, most factually-accurate book detailing the death of what was, for a brief period, the biggest wrestling company in the history of the world.
-- Stephen writes: I'm currently at the raw show in Houston and not sure if this came across on TV but one of the biggest negative reactions so far came when Flair didn't do the figure 4 on Cesaro but Miz did. This crowd does not like Miz.
-- Speaking of, from the promoter: WWE® Superstar The Miz® will make his first Wizard World appearance at Portland Comic Con on Friday, Feb. 22, at the Oregon Convention Center. The “Most Must See WWE Superstar” and reality TV star will be on site from 5-7:30 p.m.
-- As noted last night on Observer Radio, Dana White undergoes his surgery for Meniere's Disease today. It's a much-less complicated surgery than the one he'd originally talked about in that they don't have to cut a nerve and he won't have to re-learn how to walk. They will, however, "cut his ear off" (actually just peel it back) to insert a tube that will hopefully drain fluid and give him a 70% chance of never having an attack again. He'd been trying to control it with medication, but the chances of not getting an attack on medication are about 50%, and he was still having attacks. He says he's still trying to go to Brazil Saturday for the their next show, which would be nuts.
-- The final-ever Strikeforce event on Saturday night did just an 0.82 rating and 310,000 viewers, one of the lowest ratings of all time. Should be noted that even though it was was a free preview weekend and Showtime was available in 80 million homes, these numbers only include those who actually subscribe to Showtime. So the total number of viewers was higher than the rating indicates. It's the second lowest non-Challengers number of all time and about half of what the last Ronda Rousey show did.
-- HHH and Shawn Michaels were both in Vegas for a hunting convention last night, which was why they weren't at Raw.
-- Kazuchika Okada has reportedly re-signed with New Japan. There has been a lot of talk that WWE was interested in him.
-- UFC 158 tickets for St. Pierre vs. Diaz on March 16th in Montreal go on sale next week. Jones vs. Sonnen tickets also go on sale next week.
-- Although he was on the losing end Saturday night at Strikeforce, Kurt Holobaugh is heading to UFC. He lost a 30-27 decision but it was closer than the one-sided score suggested, plus he was 8-0 going into the fight.
-- Video of the Eve quitting WWE angle is here.
-- Add Javier Vasquez to the list of those who have retired from MMA in the last week.
-- Ronda Rousey has an interview here where she says GSP is a boring fighter, and that if he wasn't really good-looking and really Canadian, nobody would care about him.
-- TMZ has a look at the Hulk Hogan spinal surgery lawsuit here. He claims he missed out on a retirement match at WrestleMania 25 with John Cena that, when all was said and done, cost him $50 million between the match payoff and the "phase-out contract" he'd have gotten from the company to remain in a non-wrestling role afterwards.
-- Rick's Cabaret in New York announced that Bully Ray will be having his bachelor party there on Wednesday night, the day before his wedding to Brooke on Impact. That's actually hilarious. The press release includes this line: Mr. Ray said, "I'm looking forward to my bachelor party. Rick's Cabaret has the hottest women." Also, this one: Rick's Cabaret Girl Maya met Bully Ray on a previous visit to the club. "He is such a man! I wanted him all to myself, but Brooke Hogan must have won his heart," she sighed. I love every bit of this.
-- Chris notes: Chris Jericho appeared on the Nerdist podcast today. He was on for about an hour with only a couple mentions of Pro Wrestling regarding Lanny Poffo and his special trick and a brief mention of Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee.
-- Today in History with Brian Hoops:
1953 - Dave Sims defeated Bobby Lane to win the NWA Central States Heavyweight Title in Kansas City, Kansas.
1959 - Herb and Seymour Freeman defeated Reggie and Stan Lisowski for the Minneapolis NWA World Tag Team Title in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1962 - Larry Hennig and Duke Hoffman defeated Ivan and Nikita Kalmikoff in a tournament final for the vacant AWA World Tag Team Title in St. Paul, Minnesota.
1974 - John Tolos defeated Pak Song to win the NWA Americas Heavyweight Title in Long Beach, California
1974 - Norvell Austin and Rocket Monroe defeated Gunga Din and Kubla Khan to win the Gulf Coast NWA United States Tag Team Title in Mobile, Alabama.
1975 - The Brute defeated Peter Maivia to win the San Francisco NWA United States Heavyweight Title in San Francisco, California,
1977 - Buddy Rose and Jesse Ventura defeated Dutch Savage and Jimmy Snuka to win the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Title
1979 - Ron Fuller defeated Austin Idol to win the AWA Southern Heavyweight Title in Memphis, Tennessee.
1983 - Mike Graham defeated Kevin Sullivan to win the NWA Florida Heavyweight Title in Miami, Florida.
1984 - Arn Anderson and Jerry Stubbs defeated Jimmy Golden and Jacques Rougeau in a tournament final for the vacant NWA Southeastern Tag Team Title in Montgomery, Alabama.
1986 - Jesse Barr defeats Lex Luger to win the Florida NWA Southern Heavyweight Title in Tampa, Florida.
1989- Big John Studd won a Royal Rumble battle royal.
-- FUEL stuff upcoming:
On this week’s UFC TONIGHT, we break down this weekend’s UFC ON FX: BELFORT VS. BISPING fight. Plus, Tito Ortiz is in the studio and talks retirement, his new career as an MMA manager and if his client Cris “Cyborg” Santos will drop down to 135 for a chance to fight Ronda Rousey.
We have an exclusive sit-down with Jon Jones. The light heavyweight champ talks about the new season of TUF, whether he's a better MMA wrestler than Chael Sonnen, how his relationship is with Dana White and whether he's open to possible future fights against Dan Henderson, Daniel Cormier and Anderson Silva. We also have a huge announcement regarding the future of UFC TONIGHT.
This week on UFC ULTIMATE INSIDER, Vitor Belfort has found a new home with the Blackzilians in South Florida. Go inside his home and his training camp to see why the middleweight contender is so energized for his fight against Michael Bisping. A year after nearly losing his younger sister in a car accident, UFC bantamweight Urijah Faber’s family Christmas holds extra meaning, as he reflects on all that his family has to be thankful for.
The new season of THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER has Joe Rogan fired up and he provides a full preview of why he is so intrigued by the coaching matchup of Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones as only he can. Finally, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis is mic’d up Octagonside as his next opponent Donald Cerrone made quick work of Melvin Guillard at UFC 150.
-- What are you planning on watching Thursday?
Of those responding, 14.5% listed both and 44.5% listed neither.
Should Bruno Sammartino go into the WWE Hall of Fame?
Yes, it's an honor 17.5%
No, he shouldn't dignify it, it's not real 13.2%
It's not real but he should do it if it's the right business move 15.1%
He should do whatever he feels in his heart is the right thing to do 54.1%
Should TNA try to sign Josh Barnett in a dual deal with Bellator?
If TNA could make stars, sure, but they can't, he'll be expensive, they'll never get him over 43.4%
Yes, he's the one guy who can do both 40.5%
No, he couldn't make it in U.S. pro wrestling 16.1%
Will Raw top a 3.4 this week?
It will do exactly a 3.4 12.2%
-- Over the Top Radio with Mike Mondo here
-- Latest DGUSA/EVOLVE news update is here with info on a mystery wrestler coming to the promotion.
-- Final DVD trailer for the Pearce vs. Cabana Seven Levels of Hate series is up here.
-- Theclassical.org looks at New Japan Pro Wrestling and the Tokyo Dome show here.
-- Rock interview here where he gives the secret to success
-- Shane Helms talks Chinlock for Chuck, a wrestling show benefitting an old friend with cancer, here.
-- Clip of Borealis here. Paul Lazenby did the fight choreography for the final MMA fight scene.