FRI UPDATE: Packed weekend schedule including one of biggest shows of the year, WWE and CES, Weidman x Belfort odds, tons more



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

Loaded weekend of events headed by the New Japan Tokyo Dome show tonight. We're looking for your thoughts on the Tokyo Dome 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

We're also looking for reports tonight on the WWE Team Cena show in Fayetteville (John Cena, Randy Orton, Big Show , Ryback, Real Americans, Rhodes Brothers, Kane, Dolph Ziggler) and the TNA show in Batesville, AR at Southside High School (Bully Ray, Samoa Joe, Magnus, Ken Anderson, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Gunner, Bro Mans, Chris Sabin, Gail Kim and Austin Aries).

Smackdown tonight at 8 p.m. on Ion

Usos vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns\

R-Truth vs. Fandango

Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan for tag titles

Nikki Bella vs. Aksana

Big E Langston vs. Curtis Axel non-title

C.M. Punk & Usos vs. The Shield

Wrestle Kingdom at the Tokyo Dome tonight. The price is $35 at www.ustream.tv/channel/njpw1972 which may be for Spanish commentary. The Japanese commentary for 3,000 yen (closer to $30) is at www.ustream.tv/njpwjp The show starts at just after 2:30 a.m. Eastern and 11:30 p.m Pacific tonight

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tomoaki Honma & Captain New Japan & Bushi vs. Tiger

Mask & Jushin Liger & Manabu Nakanishi & Super Strong Machine (Liger and Machine were both on the first Tokyo Dome show 25 years ago)

Young Bucks defend IWGP jr. tag titles against Alex Shelley & Kushida,

Taichi & Taka Michinoku and Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov

Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer defend IWGP tag titles against Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows

Rob Conway defends NWA title against Satoshi Kojima - Harley Race at ringside

Yuji Nagata & Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Daniel & Rolles Gracie

Great Muta & Toru Yano vs. Minoru Suzuki & Shelton Benjamin

Togi Makabe vs. Bad Luck Fale - Can only end via knockout or submission

Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata

Prince Devitt defends IWGP jr. title against Kota Ibushi

Kazuchika Okada defends IWGP title against Tetsuya Naito

Shinsuke Nakamura defends IC title against Hiroshi Tanahashi with Stan Hansen at ringside

UFC's first card on Fight Pass is free at www.ufc.tv/page/fightpass starting at 6 a.m. Eastern and 3 a.m. Pacific from Singapore:

Russell Doane (135) vs. Leandro Issa (136)

Jon Delos Reyes (135) vs. Dustin Kimura (135)

Tae Hyun Bang (156) vs. Mairbek Taisumov (155)

Dave Galera (136) vs. Royston Wee (134)

Quinn Mulhern (155) vs. Katsunori Kikuno (156)

Will Chope (146) vs. Max Holloway (146)

Shunichi Shimizu (135) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (136)

Luiz Dutra (171) vs. Kiichi Kunimoto (171)

Sean Soriano (145) vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri (145)

Hung Gyu Lim (171) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (170)

We're also looking for reports on these Saturday shows:

WWE Team Cena in Greensboro (Cena, Orton, Show, Kane, Rhodes Brothers, Real Americans)

WWE Team Punk in Hampton, VA (Punk, Daniel Bryan, The Shield, The Wyatts)

ROH TV tapings in Nashville at the Fairgrounds (A.J. Styles vs. Roderick Strong, Kevin Steen vs. Chris Hero, Tommaso Ciampa vs. Silas Young for TV title, plus Roddy Piper)

TNA in Jonesboro, AR at the Earl Bell Community Center (Bully Ray, Samoa Joe, Magnus, Ken Anderson, Bobby Rode, James Storm, Gunner, Bro Mans, Austin Aries, Chris Sabin, Gail Kim).

We're also looking for reports from these Sunday shows:

WWE Team Cena in Roanoke, VA (Cena, Orton, Show, Kane, Rhodes Brothers, Real Americans)

WWE Team Punk in Fairfax, VA (Punk, Bryan, Shield, Wyatts)

TNA in Jackson TN at Northside High School (Bully Ray, Samoa Joe, Magnus,

Ken Anderson, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Gunner, Bro Mans, Chris Sabin, Austin Aries, Gail Kim)

Old School Raw is Monday in Baltimore. C.M. Punk vs. Roman Reigns is the main event. Besides the WWE regulars, also appearing are Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, Ric Flair, Gene Okerlund, DDP, Ted DiBiase Sr., IRS, New Age Outlaws, Roddy Piper, Booker T, Bob Backlund, Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty.

Smackdown will be taped on Tuesday in Philadelphia.

        A look at the history of pro wrestling at the Tokyo Dome, the injury and update on Anderson Silva, and the latest on WrestleMania and the Daniel Bryan turn are among the stories in this week's new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

        We look at Silva's injury, the surgery, have notes from the surgeon, Silva's reaction, the impact of Silva and Georges St-Pierre not fighting in 2014, the absence of superfights, the biggest fights on the horizon, the controversy over Vitor Belfort vs. Chris Weidman, early business numbers on UFC 168 from around the world and reaction in Brazil to Silva.
 
        We also look at the Daniel Bryan heel turn into the Wyatt family.  We look at WrestleMania, the turning of Bryan, the return of Brock Lesnar, the UFC rumors and Lesnar's contractual situation with WWE.  We look at last year when Lesnar did agree to return to UFC and why it didn't happen,and why even if he did agree, it couldn't happen.
 
        We've also got full coverage of UFC 168, with match-by-match ratings, business notes, how much everyone got paid, poll results and more.
 
        We also have a lengthy story on the history of pro wrestling and MMA, and how they intermix, at the Tokyo Dome, covering nearly every show from the last 25 years.  It's a history of the biggest events in Japanese history, the highs and lows of business, the most legendary matches and angles and how pro wrestling has evolved and changed.
 
        We look at the first show and how it changed wrestling, how the second show changed All Japan and New Japan, how Ric Flair led to a unique show, the night the three biggest wrestling companies in the world at the time worked together, Starrcade in Tokyo Dome, the January 4th tradition, future Olympic medalists doing pro wrestling first, a 10 1/2 hour long show, names who appeared at the Tokyo Dome before they were famous, the show with 14 different Hall of Famers on the same event, the story behind the biggest gates in pro wrestling history, what led to the formation of the NWO, the hottest periods of business ever in Japan, shoots, worked shoots, double crosses, a 90 minute MMA match, retirement shows, the worst show ever, dream matches that never took place and why, Brock Lesnar, NOAH's biggest event and the rise of Hiroshi Tanahashi.
 
        We also have more on the UFC Fight Pass channel, including more details on when it will be available around the world.
 
        We also look at WWE's annual holiday show in Madison Square Garden.
 
        We've also got details on the next few TNA PPV shows, what was taped, and what it does and doesn't say about the future.
 
        We also look at the latest Olympic gold medalist to win a pro wrestling world heavyweight title, and how this one won it in a non-predetermined fashion.
 
        We also have notes on Mae Young, Dwayne Johnson, Old School Raw, Chris Jericho, Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards and all as it regards WWE.  We also look at where the USA Network would be without Raw.  We also look at new classes WWE is instituting for its wrestlers and why, wrestlers who have talked retirement, Cole and Layfield in a contest and Cena vs. Rollins. 
 
        We also look at the entire holiday week in WWE, both the house shows and TV tapings with highlights from every night.   
 
        We also look at Japan's annual celebrity arm wrestling competition featuring MMA fighters, pro wrestlers, sumos, baseball stars and more and who emerged victorious.
 
        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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       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.

        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:
 
--Longtime Northern Mexico star passes away
 
--Notes on A.J. Styles and ROH 
 
--More on Styles final TV appearance for TNA
 
--When Styles was supposed to return to TNA
 
--Styles talks WWE
 
--Options for Styles
 
--Is Magnus the first British born world champion?
 
--Who TNA is really high on
 
--Notes from TNA weekend holiday shows
 
--When Jones vs. Teixeira is slated
 
Rates are:
 
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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

-- As most of you are aware, WWE has a live presentation at CES on Wednesday night. Most believe it's the announcement of the WWE Network, but WWE hasn't said anything officially.

-- WWE sent out a survey to certain people on their mailing list asking their thoughts on Hulk Hogan, Undertaker, CM Punk, John Cena, Ric Flair, Rock, HHH, Steve Austin and Warrior. Basically if the fans would like to see them back, what they'd like to see them do (wrestle, reality shows, commentary, etc.), or if they wouldn't like to see them back at all.

-- If you missed the UFC in Singapore weigh-ins and want to check them out, they're here.

-- Post-surgery video of Anderson Silva here, on crutches and smiling away.

-- TNA has a One Night Only PPV tonight featuring a tag team tournament. There is an Aces and Eights team along with guys like Petey Williams and The Hot Shots.

-- Chris Weidman has opened as a 2-1 favorite over Vitor Belfort. They're looking at having the fight take place in Las Vegas, which would likely mean Belfort would have to do so without the aid of TRT. I thought his health would be in grave danger without TRT?

-- Dylan notes: Quick tidbit, but at the beginning of the fourth quarter in the Sugar Bowl game between Alabama and Oklahoma they showed Toby Keith, and a couple of seconds later Jim Ross both on the sidelines. Ross was referred to as "WWE Hall of Fame Announcer."

-- If our Prediction Contest winners, Stevie J, Nick, Matt and John are reading this right now, please send your PayPal addresses to me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

-- Still a few days left for everyone to listen in our our free live stream. Every Bryan & Vinny, Observer Radio and Figure Four Daily that we've done over the past two weeks is currently streaming in order 24/7 through this link. You are welcome to spread the word to any of your wrestling/MMA friends to check it out. We're trying to test the capacity, and so far, pretty much zero problems. Our next live shows on the stream will be Sunday night for Wrestling Observer Radio and the Bryan & Vinny Show. In the meantime, tonight will be a new After Dark Radio which will stream live and free through this siteat 2 AM ET/11 PM PT, and Sunday's Wrestling Observer Live will air free and worldwide through a million different outlets (over-the-air radio, satellite radio, TuneIn Radio, this site, etc.) at 6 ET/3 PT. More details on all of these shows upcoming on the front page. If you love the live shows you should follow me on Twitter @bryanalvarez since it's used a lot, and use the hashtag #F4WLive when discussing the shows.

-- Andy writes: Not sure if you're aware of this or not, but in today's Boston Globe it was mentioned that New England Patriot reserve tight end Matthew Mulligan got a shout out from Hulk Hogan yesterday on Facebook, posting a video declaring Hogan's support of the Patriots. Mulligan apparently has ordered a replica title belt off of Hogan's website. Thought you'd like to know.

-- WHO WILL BE UFC'S BIGGEST DRAW IN 2014?

Ronda Rousey 70.5%

Jon Jones 16.5%

Chris Weidman 6.9%

Alexander Gustafsson 3.1%

Vitor Belfort 1.9%

Anthony Pettis 1.1%

WHAT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT TOKYO DOME SHOW EVER?

May 1, 2000 - Royce Gracie vs. Sakuraba 16.6%

October 9, 1995 - Keiji Muto vs. Nobuhiko Takada 14.1%

November 20, 1994 - Women's show 11.7%

April 13, 1990 - WWF, New Japan & All Japan combined show 10.2%

March 21, 1991 - New Japan & WCW, Flair vs. Fujinami 8.8%

April 2, 1995 - 13 promotion show 8.8%

April 4, 1998 - Inoki retirement show 7.8%

April 24, 1989 - New Japan vs. Russians 6.8%

January 4, 1996 - Second Muto vs. Takada, Inoki vs. Vader 5.4%

November 3, 2001 - Wanderlei Silva vs. Kazushi Sakuraba 5.4%

February 10, 1990 - New Japan vs. All Japan, US vs. USSR 3.4%

November 29, 1989 - UWF U Cosmos 1.0%

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST NEWS STORY OF AUGUST

Ric Flair & Jim Ross in trouble over 2K Sports symposium 26.2%

New Japan G-1 Climax tournament 17.4%

Darren Young comes out 14.8%

HHH turns heel on Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton gets WWE title 13.1%

UFC debuts on FS 1 leading station to first night ratings win 7.7%

John Cena undergoes elbow surgery 6.8%

Anthony Pettis beats Benson Henderson to win UFC lightweight title 5.3%

SummerSlam 4.6%

Kurt Angle arrested for DUI, goes into rehab 2.2%

Bellator announces PPV 1.2%

Eddie Alvarez/Bellator contract dispute settled 0.7%

-- Today in history with Brian Hoops:

1957 - Stan Mykietowich and Ted Stefanyk defeated Frenchy Champagne and John DePaulo for the Madison Wrestling Club Tag Team Title in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

1957 - Dizzy Davis defeated Jim Wright to win the Amarillo version of the NWA North American Heavyweight Title in Amarillo, Texas.

1964 - The Destroyer defeated Mad Dog Vachon in Portland, Oregon to win the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Title

1965 - Pat Patterson defeated Pepper Martin for the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Title

1965 - Johnny Valentine defeated The Sheik in Toronto, Ontario to win the Toronto version of the NWA United States Heavyweight Title

1977 - Bruiser Brody defeated Fritz Von Erich to win the World Class American Heavyweight Title in Atlanta, Georgia

1977 - Dutch Mantel and David Schultz defeated Danny Little Bear and Chief Thundercloud for the Mid-America version of the NWA Southern Tag Team Title in Memphis, Tennessee.

1978 - Randy Savage defeated Don Kent for the NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Title in Birmingham, Alabama

1980 - Jimmy Valiant won the AWA Southern Heavyweight Title in Jackson, Tennessee from Jerry Lawler.

1983 - The Great Kabuki defeated Al Madril in Fort Worth, Texas to win the World Class Television Title.

1983 - Tully Blanchard defeated Bob Sweetan in a tournament final in San Antonio, Texas for the vacant Southwest Championship Wrestling Southwest Heavyweight Title

1986 - The Fabulous Freebirds (Terry Gordy, Michael Hayes and Buddy Roberts) defeated Brian Adias and Kerry and Kevin Von Erich in Dallas, Texas, to win the World Class Six-Man Tag Team Title

1987 - Bill Dundee defeated Sam Houston to win the NWA Central States Heavyweight Title in Topeka, Kansas.

1988 - Moondog Spot defeated Tom Prichard for the NWA Alabama Heavyweight Title in Montgomery, Alabama.

1993 - The Tazmaniac defeated Flex Wheeler in a tournament final to become the first Century Wrestling Alliance Light Heavyweight Champion in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

1996 - Doug Gilbert and Tommy Rich win the USWA Tag Team Title, defeating Jesse James Armstrong and Tracy Smothers in Memphis, Tennessee.

1999 - Rip Rogers defeated Doug Basham for the OVW Heavyweight Title in Louisville, Kentucky

2000 - During an edition of WCW Monday Nitro from Greenville, SC; David Flair and Crowbar defeated Kevin Nash and Scott Steiner in the finals of a one night tournament to win the vacant WCW World Tag Team Title.

2000 - Triple H defeated the Big Show to win the WWF Title during an edition of Raw is War from Miami, Florida.

-- Former WWE ref Wes Adams has a new column up here

-- Former writer Andrew Goldstein also talks his wrestling pet peeves here.

-- Uproar Pro Wrestling: Collision Course Saturday 1/11/14 Verizon Event Center 8718 Trouble Creek Rd New Port Richey, FL Doors open 7pm, belltime 7:30pm Tickets: Front Row=$15, Adults=$10 & kids 12 and under=$5

-- New England Fights Mixed Martial Arts (NEF MMA) today announced the full card for the fight promotion's next event. The show, titled "NEF XII," will take place on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee with a start time of 7:00 pm EST. Tickets to the event are currently on sale at the Colisee box office. In the main event of the evening, Maine MMA legend Marcus "The Irish Hand Grenade" Davis (22-10) faces his former student "THE" Ryan Sanders (5-4) in a welterweight contest. Davis is a veteran of the UFC Octagon, and both Davis and Sanders have competed before national audiences on Spike TV with the Bellator promotion. The long-awaited showdown between the two has been brewing since Sanders' exit from Davis' Team Irish in 2011. Sanders now represents Young's MMA - Team Irish's chief rival in the Bangor area. The well-documented heat between the two camps is no secret to Maine MMA fans, and the rivalry is expected to come to a head in the February 8 bout. Sanders' recent Podcast interview regarding the bout can be heard at www.NewEnglandFights.com/Podcasts/.

-- The #NEWYEAR is HERE! Which means the #ProWrestlng School Beginners course is right around the corner. Do something you've always wanted. Keep the Dream Alive at @SantinoBros. Grappling, Suplexes, Slams, Ring Psychology, Character Development & more! #PROWRESTLINGSCHOOL Beginners start 7pm Monday January 6th, 2014 Call now! 323.896.3017 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

-- WWE-themed wedding in the Huffington Post

-- NEW NEW YEARS REVOLUTION Saturday, January 18, 2014 Boys' Club 710 South Miller Street Shelbyville, IN 46176-2406 Doors open at 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM Bell Time

-- In Your Face Wrestling www.iyfwrestling.com Presents: "Cold Snap". TV ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j99S2Qhcu3A Saturday, January 11, 2014 7:00pm Ballston Area Community Center 20 Malta Ave, Ballston Spa, NY Visit http://iyfwrestling.com/bacc.php for directions

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