FRI UPDATE: Weekend line-up, Smackdown, UFC, radio shows, Del Rosario, what is TLC main for?, pumphandle update, more!

By Bryan Alvarez | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @bryanalvarez

By Dave Meltzer | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @DaveMeltzerWON

In what used to be the biggest weekend of the year for business, there is little going on.

Smackdown tonight from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT:

Mark Henry vs. Curtis Axel

Los Matadores & Torito vs. 3MB (as the Plymouth Rockers)

R-Truth & Xavier Woods vs. Brodus Clay & Tensai

Antonio Cesaro vs. Titus O'Neil

Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins for tag titles

Rhodes & Goldust & C.M. Punk vs. Reigns & Rollins & Dean Ambrose

Rhodes & Goldust & Punk & Rey Mysterio & Usos vs. Reigns & Rollins & Ambrose & Erick Rowan & Luke Harper & Bray Wyatt

Pretty much everyone is off the weekend.

The only significant weekend show is the Ultimate Fighter final tomorrow from the Mandalay Bay Events Center

Facebook at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time

Ryan Benoit vs. Joshua Sampo

FS 1 at 8 p.m.

Drew Dober vs. Sean Spencer

Walter Harris vs. Jared Rosholt

Rani Yahya vs. Tom Niinimaki

Maximo Blanco vs. Akira Corassani

Roxanne Modafferi vs. Raquel Pennington

Jessamyn Duke vs. Peggy Morgan

Chris Holdsworth vs. David Grant for TUF men's finals

Julianna Pena vs. Jessica Rakoczy for TUF women's finals

Nate Diaz vs. Gray Maynard

The New Japan tag team tournament on Saturday in Marguma has Minoru Suzuki & Shelton Benjamin vs. Rob Conway & Jax Dane, Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Prince Devitt & Bad Luck Fale and Manabu Nakanishi & Strongman vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Tomohiro Ishii.

Monday is Raw from Oklahoma City. Locally they are advertising "The McMahons and HHH," for whatever that means, and it may not mean a thing given the last time Vince McMahon was advertised for Raw he didn't appear.

There is a New Japan iPPV from Hakata Star Lanes in Fukuoka on Tuesday morning/Monday night at 4:30 a.m. Eastern time and 1:30 a.m. Pacific time at

Yuji Nagata & Yohei Komatsu & Sho Tanaka vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka & Jado

Bushi & Kushida vs. Rob Conway & Jax Dane

Manabu Nakanishi & Strongman & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Taka Michinoku & Taichi

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Captain New Japan vs. Kazuchika Okada & Yoshi-Hashi

Tetsuya Naito & La Sombra vs. Minoru Suzuki & Shelton Benjamin

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows

Shinsuke Nakamura & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Prince Devitt & Bad Luck Fale

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday in Tulsa.

TNA Impact will be taping the Final Resolution show (for 12/19) on Tuesday night in Orlando with Bobby Roode vs. Kurt Angle 2/3 falls and Jeff Hardy vs. Magnus.

        We've got our holiday special for all newsletter and web site subscribers.  Anyone who orders a gift subscription for a friend who is a new subscriber for four months will get one free month added to your subscription.  Just make sure when you order to note it is the holiday special.

        A coverage of where WWE stands coming out of Survivor Series, as well as part one of a two-part series on the life and times of Mad Dog Vachon lead off this week's double issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  The issue is available on the site today.
        We look at the fame of Vachon, his extensive career title history from all over the world, and the legends of wrestling in Montreal.  We look at why Vachon was so famous mainstream and the major political leaders who spoke this past week about his death.
        We look at Mad Dog the wrestler, Mad Dog the fighter, Mad Dog the Olympian and more.
        We look at his start in wrestling, the start of the career of brother Paul the Butcher, one of the great practical jokes in the history of the Calgary territory, Mad Dog and Gorgeous George, Mad Dog in Hawaii and where he got the shaved head from.  We also look at the origin of the Mad Dog Vachon name, his multiple runs as AWA champion, his matches as AWA champion against rival world champions including the night the AWA champion faced the WWWF champion on an NWA show.
        We also look at his career in Montreal, his early tours of Japan, and one of the most famous angles in AWA history setting up the Mad Dog vs. Crusher feud.  We also look at the night Mad Dog set the North American gate record for pro wrestling, and the night he broke that card.
        We also look at the Vachons vs. LeDucs feud, the heyday of Grand Prix Wrestling and the biggest wrestling match ever in Quebec and how it was actually a late replacement idea, and how Mad Dog sold out Jarry Park.
        We also look at WWE's upcoming plans, the push of Roman Reigns, the betting on WWE matches, if Survivor Series is actually a big four show to wrestling fans and WWE hurting its PPV business.
        We also have match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results on the show.
        We also have more on WrestleMania ticket sales, Royal Rumble ticket sales, the WWE network, the Hulk Hogan latest suicide attempt story, stories that need to be watched by both those in WWE and UFC, as well as Bill Goldberg tells the real story about WrestleMania 30, would he wrestle there, if he's been approached, pro wrestling vs. NFL vs. MMA, wrestling Steve Austin and more.
        We've got more on Daniel Bryan, Chris Hero, Vince McMahon, Paul Heyman, Dwayne Johnson, WWE movies, a current WWE star talking about retiring, another giant from India, update on Christian and Maven, the world of developmental and who is looking good, Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards in WWE Cody Rhodes talks about a shoot on television, WWE employee makes news for indecent fro yeas ago, WWE title unification and more.
        We also look at New Japan's annual tag team tournament, standings, upcoming iPPV lineups, who has the best shot at winning and why, as well as full coverage of opening night from Korakuen Hall and highlights of the next three dates.
        We also have our 2013 Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards ballot.
        We've also go an overview of Bellator's completed season, including notes on business, Friday vs. Thursday, did the big show help, what were season highlights, plans for next year, Rampage Jackson, Tito Ortiz, as well as big title matches and what is upcoming.
        We also have notes on the punishment Antonio Inoki was given for going to North Korea a few weeks ago.
        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 31st 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 and how every segment on Impact did as far as gaining or losing 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:
--Why a lot of wrestlers are upset with CMLL management
--A look at recent Arena Mexico shows
--What top heel is turning face and what top face is being booed
--A look at CMLL's last big tournament of the year
--Results of the annual CMLL bodybuilding contest
--What former TNA star placed second
--Some big matches upcoming
--Full lineup for AAA's Guerra de Titanes
--A look at the last two TV tapings building up the big show
--What Hall of Famer got involved in an angle and looks to be coming out of retirement
--Main event for Dragon Gate's last major show of the year
--New gimmick match idea Dragon Gate is doing
--A look at the All Japan big show of the last week and where the angles are going
--All Japan's expenses
--New group being put together
--A look at the Akira Taue retirement show with the lineup
--What happened with Davey Richards and who is taking his place
--Debut of a son of a Hall of Famer
--80s legend suffers significant injury, will gut through one match but then take it easy
--Return to the ring of Genichiro Tenryu at 63 years old
--New Year's Eve pro wrestling events in Japan
--Update on Dynamite Kid after a stroke
--El Hijo del Santo talks injuries
--UFC fighters wrestling professionally at Madison Square Garden next week
--A look at the 2014 classes of two Halls of Fame
--Necro Butcher explains his side of domestic violence charge
--Thanksgiving tradition of wrestling returns to Greensboro with card and names involved
--WWC's year-end show notes
--Former wrestling magazine publisher passes away
--PWG's All-Star weekend noes
--Mid South Wrestling reunion at this year's WrestleMania weekend
--Former  TNA wrestler retires
--Loads of injuries to former WCW wrestler
--Celebrities doing pro wrestling
--Matysik celebrates 50 years in wrestling
--ROH notes on Final Battle for this year
--TNA's taping schedule
--TNA Final Resolution lineup
--Upcoming house shows
--Return of Madison Rayne
--Abyss/Joseph Park storyline ending
--Thoughts on Sports Illustrated story on Dixie Carter
--Carter's life growing up
--How she ended up running TNA
--New TNA plans
--Notes for the next month of TNA television
--Business of UFC 167
--What percentage of crowd came from Canada
--What records were set
--How much GSP really earns
--List pay vs. real pay
--GSP talks future
--Jon Jones talks retirement
--UFC schedule update for 2014 
--Ticket sales for upcoming UFC events
--Will UFC 168 set records?
--CSAC head Andy Foster addresses judging problems
--Dana White new TV show
--Cain Velasquez injury updates
--Anthony Pettis health update
--Who almost got into a fight with Bisping
--UFC fighter suddenly retires
--Another UFC fighter says he's one fight from retiring
--More UFC plans for New York
--UFC plans overseas
--Lots of injury updates
--Tons of new UFC fights made
--Notes on Invicta and World Seres of Fighting
--Next Glory show 

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        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.

Today's News, Notes and Links

-- No update on Shane Del Rosario, the UFC star who is clinging to life after a massive heart attack, but we are all wishing for good news.

-- So what the hell is up with TLC? Your guess is as good as mine. On Raw, John Cena said it was time for one champion, but nobody else, including HHH, said the words "unification match", and it sounded like a match where both belts would be on the line. Hunter, however, then went on Main Event and said THE GOAL IS TO HAVE ONE CHAMPION, which sure sounds like a unification match to me. However, the graphics team is working on graphics that read, "FOR BOTH THE WWE AND WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIPS", which would mean -- and for the record this is what I believe is the actual match -- that both belts are on the line, and if one guy gets both then it's a unification match, and if each guy grabs a belt then we are back at square one.

-- If HHH says the goal is one champion, shouldn't he just hang one unified belt above the ceiling instead of potentially muddying everything up by hanging two belts up there?

-- Warrior talks whether he'd go into the WWE Hall of Fame here. They have to tell the right story. Presumably that story is that he's not a crazy madman.

-- WWE is doing a Black Friday sale on their site where you can get as much as 80% off on selected merch here.

-- Since Lance and I were discussing it on our show last night -- which is FREE by the way, and you can download it here-- I have been told that Daniels and Kazarian do the pump-handle comedy spot at all of the house shows and it gets a great reaction every time.

-- Sad to report the death of Joyce Farhat on Wednesday night, the wife of the Original Sheik who also performed as his valet, Princess Salima. Sheik was such a stickler for kayfabe that since his character was not supposed to speak English, when they were out in public he'd often have her speak for him.

-- From Jim Ross' Twitter: Pass the word, major news coming Monday regarding my 1st, one man show ever in USA. NYC in 2014. Stories, Q&A'S, Meet/Greet. Tkt info Mon.

-- Based on tweets from their TV affiliate in India, TNA stars will be touring that country soon.

-- WWE is looking for a "Network Social Monitor", who I guess monitors Tweets and such during Raw. Hopefully, whoever gets the job is able to determine that calling a female wrestler a "rat" is not a positive thing, and that a tweet that reads "asdfsdafsdhfjhgdsf" probably shouldn't go on the air.

-- After Dark Radio returns LIVE AND FREE tonight (11 Pacific/2 AM Eastern) from Art Bell's website, It'll be two hours with your phone calls and emails, news, a discussion about EXPLODING WHALES and mysterious ocean sounds, and more. A full preview is here. Please spread the word if you love the show!

-- Wrestling Observer Live also returns LIVE AND FREE Sunday at 3 Pacific/6 Eastern. We'll have a full preview up on the site Sunday afternoon as well.

-- From this point forward, as you might have noticed on the front page, the phone number for ALL radio shows on this site (After Dark, Observer Live, Monday's open lines show, etc.) is now simply 855-478-4478. That one number, which is toll-free, will patch to all phone lines, so memorize it and be prepared to call. For taped shows, you can always find out when to call by following me on Twitter @bryanalvarez. Obviously, for live shows, just listen and I'll say, "Call now!"

-- If you are interested in sponsoring After Dark Radio or Observer Live, drop me an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Serious inquiries only please.

-- Randy Orton meets teen who was given two years to live.

-- Nate Diaz did an interview saying he's not mad at his brother for throwing in the towel during his fight with Josh Thomson (the referee was actually stopping it at the time). He said if a guy is taking a beating he should have people there to save him from ass-whooping, and he noted that all he could think when he saw Junior Dos Santos being obliterated by Cain Velasquez was, "What the fuck is going on? Does this guy have friends?"

-- New DDP interview on Totally Driven Radio is here.

Excellent 36.4%
Good 30.3%
Average 12.1%
Fair 3.0%
Poor 18.2%
60.7% of those responding didn't see the show

Excellent 9.3%
Good 37.0%
Average 29.6%
Fair 14.8%
Poor 9.3%
38.6% of those responding didn't see the show

Julianna Pena 75.5%
Jessica Rakoczy 24.5%

John Cena 37.8%
Steve Williams 35.0%
Curtis Iaukea 5.7%
Mick McManus 5.7%
Hans Schmidt 5.7%
Wladek Zbyszko 4.2%
Gus Sonnenberg 3.2%
Henri DeGlane 2.8%

Starrcade 83 35.5%
Survivor Series 1987 27.1%
Starrcade 85 12.5%
Starrcade 86 11.0%
1983 Dallas Reunion Arena 10.6%
1978 First Omni tag team tournament 3.3%

-- AAW Saturday, November 30th Berwyn Eagles Club (6309 W. 26th St. Berwyn, IL) Doors open: 7:00pm Belltime 7:30pm Front Row: $18.00 SOLD OUT General Admission: $13.00 $1.25 Beers at the bar

-- Today in History with Brian Hoops:

-- 1962 - Eddie Graham defeated Boris Malenko in Jacksonville, Florida for the NWA Southern Heavyweight Title

1980 - Killer Karl Kox defeated The Grappler for the Mid-South Mississippi Heavyweight Title in Shreveport, Louisiana.

1986 - Al Perez defeated The Mighty Igor in San Juan, Puerto Rico to win the WWC Puerto Rican Heavyweight Title.

1992 - The Rock N' Roll Express defeated The Heavenly Bodies (Stan Lane & Tom Pritchard) in a Steel Cage match to win the SMW Tag Team Championshipin in Knoxville, Tennessee.

1994 - Tito Santana defeated Cowboy Bob Orton Jr. in Chicago, Illinois to become the first American Wrestling Federation World Champion.

2003 - Gedo & Jado defeated Hiroki Goto & Ryusuke Taguchi in a tournament final to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship in Miyagi, Japan.

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?