MON. UPDATE: Elimination Chamber main event, Jericho plans, Rumble reaction, Steen vs. Lethal announced, New Japan ex-tag champs to ROH, White rips on District Court Judge



By Dave Meltzer
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        We're looking for your thoughts on Sunday night's Royal Rumble as well as Saturday night's UFC show on FOX, 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 Raw Roulette from Las Vegas.  We're looking for live reports on the show with dark matches, Superstars matches, attendance and other notes.  No matches have been announced with the big segment advertised being a Paul Heyman performance review by Vince McMahon.
 
        Smackdown, Main Event (a tournament for an IC title shot starts) & Saturday Morning Slam will be taped on Tuesday in San Diego.
 
        We're also looking for reports on all the Friday night Dragon Gate USA show in Santa Maria, CA.
 
        UFC 2012 in review airs tonight at 9 p.m. on Fuel.
 
        The biggest issue of the year, the issue covering the 33rd annual Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards as voted by readers is out on the web site today.  There will also be a back issue from November 1995 on the site today.  The issue features the winners in a variety of different categories, how many votes they got, the top finishes in each category, my comments on the placings as well as a complete history of the winner of every award dating back to our first awards in 1980.
 
        The awards are:
 
LOU THESZ/RIC FLAIR AWARD FOR WRESTLER OF THE YEAR
MMA MOST VALUABLE
MOST OUTSTANDING WRESTLER
MOST OUTSTANDING FIGHTER
BEST BOX OFFICE DRAW
FEUD OF THE YEA
TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR
MOST IMPROVED
BEST ON INTERVIEWS
MOST CHARISMATIC
BEST TECHNICAL WRESTLER
BRUISER BRODY MEMORIAL AWARD (BEST BRAWLER)
BEST FLYING WRESTLER
MOST OVERRATED
MOST UNDERRATED
PROMOTION OF THE YEAR
BEST WEEKLY TV SHOW
PRO WRESTLING MATCH OF THE YEAR
MMA MATCH OF THE YEAR
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
BEST NON-WRESTLER
BEST TELEVISION ANNOUNCER
WORST TELEVISION ANNOUNCER
BEST MAJOR SHOW
WORST MAJOR SHOW
BEST WRESTLING MANEUVER
MOST DISGUSTING PROMOTIONAL TACTIC
WORST TELEVISION SHOW
WORST MATCH OF THE YEAR
WORST FEUD OF THE YEAR
WORST PROMOTION OF THE YEAR
BEST BOOKER
PROMOTER OF THE YEAR
BEST GIMMICK
WORST GIMMICK
BEST BOOK
BEST DVD
 
        We also have notes on the major weekend shows.
 
        We also talk about the conclusion of the TNA lawsuit against WWE and what was accomplished, an update on Ric Flair in WWE and why he wasn't on TV this week, Rumble notes and business thoughts, former star being talked about as returning, Bob Backlund in the Hall of Fame and career notes, what wrestlers have closed the show the most often in WWE history, irony of a cause WWE is getting behind, new Dwayne Johnson movie, new Mania match being talked about, update on Rey Mysterio and Steve Austin, why Flair was linked with Miz and not the original idea, Stephanie McMahon talks why she's no longer on TV, notes on a new WWE signing and his ties to one of the biggest stars in UFC, UFC gets rid of former All-American football player, WWE market research and ideas for new TV shows more on WrestleMania weekend, updates on injured WWE stars, next European tour and business notes from last week along with highlights of all the weekend house shows.
 
        We've also got a story on Count Billy Varga, a major California wrestling star who dated back to the beginnings of wrestling on television.  Varga, a perennial champion, is looked at including what major star in the 70s emulated him and became one of the biggest stars of all-time, a look at the American heavyweight title, his television and movie work, how he got started, his days as a world champion and how he was booked.
 
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        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 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:
 
--Light heavyweight champion vacates title to go after heavyweight title
 
--Tournament to fill the light heavyweight title
 
--A look at AAA's first TV taping of the year
 
--Notes on Dragon Gate USA iPPV shows this weekend
 
--Major changes in All Japan Pro Wrestling signing a number of new stars
 
--Notes on Kenta Kobashi's retirement match including when and where
 
--Lineup for NOAH's big show this week featuring a lot of New Japan stars
 
--New contracts signed by New Japan wrestlers
 
--More on contract signed by Kazuchika Okada
 
--New Japan owner talks plans for starting several different promotions, how he wants to emulate WWE and what is and isn't viable
 
--Other New Japan changes talked about for this year
 
--Announcement of the next Tokyo Dome show
 
--A look at New Japan's Fantasticmania shows including a world light heavyweight title change
 
--Potential Hall of Famer returns after neck surgery in a few weeks, first match back announced
 
--Wrestler out of action for 19 months due to vicious assault is about to return
 
--Return of the Voodoo Murderers heel group
 
--Grandson of one of Japan's most famous athletes of the last 60 years is looking to get into pro wrestling
 
--Notes on the Hart Legacy Wrestling show in Calgary featuring stars from the 80s to the top indie guys around today
 
--Super Bowl coach John Harbaugh talks Brian Pillman
 
--Another attempt to revive one of the regional promotions of the past starts this summer and top name coming in
 
--Stan Musial pro wrestling anecdote
 
--Extreme Rising tries to take next step with TV
 
--National Pro Wrestling Day update
 
--Houston tape collection
 
--Update on Superstar Billy Graham
 
--Waterloo Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame 2013 induction notes including Ric Flair and Edge
 
--Yet another WrestleMania weekend show added
 
--A look at ROH's weekend house shows
 
--Interesting notes on TNA going forward
 
--TNA false advertising of Jeff Hardy looked at
 
--TNA Genesis notes
 
--Brooke Hogan channels Hulk Hogan
 
--Lots of indie names in TNA's Gut Check challenge
 
--Notes on TNA British Boot camp TV show and Spud winning
 
--Early notes on Lockdown
 
--TNA angle shot on King Mo TV special
 
--Daniel Cormier and pro wrestling
 
--Notes on TNA's first date in Europe
 
--Update on the Eddie Alvarez case
 
--Notes on how FX and the FOX networks are changing with the creation of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, and how that affects UFC
 
--The pluses and minuses of the shift short-term and long
 
--Notes on this week's UFC show
 
--Ultimate Fighter on FOX
 
--First notes on the return of UFC to Stockholm and main event
 
--UFC 155 on PPV update
 
--HBO doing a feature on a UFC star
 
--Rashad Evans talks move to middleweight
 
--What UFC fighters most consistently have the most exciting fights
 
--UFC cuts several fighters
 
--Lots of new UFC matches
 
        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.
 
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*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)
 
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history)
 
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*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
 
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*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)
 
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Monday's News Update
 
--Bryan and I will be back tonight with Wrestling Observer radio talking Raw as well as taking e-mail questions at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   Last night's show covering the Rumble has a lot of news regarding why things were done, the direction, some new Mania matches and more.
 
--The plan as of last night for Elimination Chamber was to have Rock vs. C.M. Punk in a rematch as the main event.  That should be put together on tonight's show unless things change. 
 
--Chris Jericho signed a short-term deal with WWE.  He's going to be on TV from now until Mania with the exception of 2/20 to 3/5 when Fozzy is part of a tour of Australia working under Metallica.  He will be at the Elimination Chamber PPV.  In April, Fozzy will be doing a European tour.
 
--The Royal Rumble led WWE to become the second most searched for term yesterday on Google, behind only the SAG Awards and ahead of Rajon Rondo.  There is usually a good correlation between that and a successful PPV number.
 
--The referee in the Antonio Cesaro vs. Miz match last night was Darrick Moore from NXT, having his first major WWE match. (thanks to Bradley Grover) 
 
--A note from yesterday before we corrected it.  Andre the Giant passed away 20 years ago yesterday.  We inadvertently had it as 30 years before it was corrected.
 
--The Kevin Steen vs. Jay Lethal ROH match that has been pushed for months, was announced for the 3/2 iPPV show, the company's 11th anniversary card, in Chicago Ridge, IL.  Also announced were The Forever Hooligans, former IWGP jr. tag champions Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov facing Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards.  Richards & Romero as a tag team held both the ROH and IWGP jr. tag titles.
 
--There was a story in today's New York Times on Tom Dempsey, a former NFL place kicker who still shares the all-time record for longest field goal, kicking a 63-yarder in 1970.  In the story, it said that during the off season, he was a pro wrestler, saying he was a good guy, working in Southern California.  I've never heard of this, but this would be in the 70s.  Does anyone have any knowledge of him doing any pro wrestling?  
 
--Dean Roll (Shark Boy) turns 38 today.
 
--Hard Boiled Haggerty, a former NFL player who later became an actor and was a significant pro wrestling star in the 50s and 60s, passed away at the age of 78, nine years ago today.  Victor Mar, who was Black Cat in Japan and Mexico, passed away at the age of 51 seven years ago today.  Victor Mar was one of the three really close friends (with Eddie Guerrero and Johnny Grunge) who died in the short period of time before Chris Benoit went crazy. (thanks to GeorgiaWrestling.com)
 
--This day in pro wrestling history by Brian Hoops
64 years ago today:  Wild Red Berry beat Dizzy Davis in Houston to win the Texas title
18 years ago:  Jerry Lawler beat Tony Anthony in Knoxville to win the Smoky Mountain Wrestling title  
 
--This has nothing to do with wrestling, but Dallas on TNT has a two-hour season premiere tonight at 9 p.m. and repeating at 11 p.m. that I'm going to miss.  I don't think this has the slightest effect on the Raw rating.  I only bring this up because people have speculated it's going to hurt Raw.
 
--Dana White lashed out at the judge Jose Linares, who ruled against Eddie Alvarez.  "The judge must not have done his homework if he's agreeing that Spike TV and FOX are the same platforms.  They're so fucking far apart, it's not even funny.  It's two different fucking universes."  He said the ruling was ridiculous.  He also warned all fighters and managers to think long and hard about negotiating their contracts with Bellator. Funny thing is, UFC has similar clauses in its own contracts.
 
--Hulk Hogan tweeted a photo of his daughter sitting down with a short dress and wrote "Brooke's legs," which has led to him being ripped, and VH-1 ended up putting Hogan on a list of the 6 Creepiest Father-Daughter Moments. 
 
SHOULD JOHN MCCAARTHY HAVE DOCKED DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON A POINT FOR THE KNEE TO THE HEAD?
Yes 50.4%
No 49.6%
 
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF SATURDAY'S ROH TV SHOW?
Excellent 21.3%
Good 42.6%
Average 14.9%
Fair 2.1%
Poor 19.1%
        63.3% of those responding didn't see the show
 
BEST TV SHOW OF THE PAST WEEK
UFC on FOX 32.0%
Raw 21.7%
Impact 17.6%
Smackdown 9.9%
ROH 8.5%
Main Event 2.9%
Saturday Morning Slam 2.9%
Bellator 2.6%
UFC prelims on FX 1.8%
 
--Millennium Wrestling on 3/9 in Melrose, MA at Memorial Hall.
 
--In a weird coincidence, FX aired The A-Team with Quinton Jackson at the same time FOX was airing the UFC live. (thanks to Sam Adams)
 
--Christopher Daniels has a cameo in a movie called "30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with The Devil Inside The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Daniels plays Bane in the movie and is on the cover of the video box. (thanks to Phil Greco) 
 
--PNPW from yesterday in Rainier, OR:  Christopher Ryseck won Battle Royal, MJ b Sunni Daze, Matt Farmer & Chris Del Sol b C.C. Poison & George Michael, Patrick Large b Chi Chi Poison, DeeVaa b Christopher Ryseck.  Next show is 2/24 in Rainier, OR at the Riverside Community Center (thanks to Charles Short) 
 
--Absolute Intense Wrestling on 3/1 in Cleveland has an all women's iPPV show at 7:30 p.m.
 
--Progress Wrestling from yesterday in Islington, North London, UK before a sellout 320 fans:  Danny Garnell b Sitxx, Jonathan Windsor b Mike Hitchman, Nathan Cruz b Rampage Brown (former WWE developmental wrestler Monty Lynch), El Ligero b Dave Mastiff, Darrell Allen b RJ Singh, James Davis & Rob Lynch b Marty Scurll (TNA) & Zack Sabre Jr. (NOAH).  Their first anniversary show is 3/31 in London at The Garage (thanks to Martin Bentley)
 
--Hoosier Pro Wrestling on 2/2 in Columbus, IN at the 4-H Fairgrounds with Rob Conway returning.
 
--Anarchy Wrestling from 1/26 in Cornelia, GA before 100 fans:  Brandon Parker & Kameron Kade & Tommy Penerelli & CB Suave b Jon & Trey Williams & Najasism & Vandal, Anthony Henry b Todd Sexton, Billy Buck b Jacoby Boykins, Slim J & Azreal b Tommy Penerelli & CB Suave, Strkynyn b Bobby Moore, Jon & Trey Williams b Joey Rhymer & BJ Hancock, Shadow Jackson & Nemesis NC Brodie Chase & Iceberg.  Hardcore Hell takes place eon 3/30. (thanks to Larry Goodman)
 
--CMLL from last night in Guadalajara:  Azteca de Oro & Meteoro b Relampago Azul & Thunder Boy, Sadico won a elimination match to become Western States welterweight champion over Virgo, Hippie, Xavier Cruz Jr., Divino, Brillante Jr., Sky Kid and Pirana, Barbaro Cavernario b Halcon de Plata to keep Western States middleweight title, El Terrible & Mephisto & Tiger b La Sombra & Rush & Maximo (thanks to Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims)
 
--Stevie Richards pulled out of the 3/2 Hardcore Roadtrip ECW reunion show in London, ONT.  Kid Kash will replace him.  Main event is Sabu vs. 2 Cold Scorpio plus Raven, Sandman, D-Von Dudley and Scott Steiner are booked.
 
--An interview with Jimmy Snuka is at http://www.newsday.com/sports/pro-wrestling/jimmy-superfly-snuka-wants-to-end-undertaker-s-streak-at-wwe-s-wrestlemania-1.4522599   He said he'd like to come back to WWE and end Undertaker's streak.  Don't think the odds are good of that one happening.
 
--Northeast indie wrestler Richie Rotten has said he is retiring from wrestling with his final match on 2/23 in Elmwood Park, NJ at the American Legion for the BWO promotion. 
 
--Hoodslam will be on 2/1 at the Oakland, CA Metro.
 
--J.T. King at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it is selling two tickets for the Mania weekend Dragon Gate USA show on 4/6 in Secaucus, NJ for face value ($25 each) 
 
--Tom DeBlass, who announced his retirement in November after being cut by UFC, was signed by Bellator and debuts in April.
 
--There was a story about Rick Hawn whose sponsor, HTFU, told him they would not pay him the $1,500 they sponsored him for due to his performance in the Michael Chandler fight last week.  Since that time, Bellator decided to pay him the $1,500 he lost, and then after being bombarded with angry phone calls, emails and Facebook messages, the sponsor paid him $1,500.  Hawn is donating the $1,500 to either an animal charity or homeless shelter.  

Who had the best show?

 

Who won the night?