SUN. UPDATE: Latest from Rumble, Preview and odds on the show, Big guests this week on Arsenio, UFC predictions, Jim Ross Mania show

By Dave Meltzer | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @DaveMeltzerWON
        We're looking for your thoughts on both last night's UFC on FOX and today's Royal Rumble, 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 on last night's WWE shows in Canton, OH and Reading, PA.
        Tonight is the Royal Rumble from Pittsburgh, the WWE's second biggest event of the year.  Some notes on the show.
*30 man Royal Rumble - To show the depth situation or something, there are only a few genuine candidates to win, really being Batista, Daniel Bryan (who is not advertised for the match) and C.M. Punk as a long shot.  I suppose a giant surprise out of left field is possible.  If Bryan loses to Wyatt and goes in the Rumble, he should win.  If he's not going to win, he shouldn't be in it.  If Bryan does win, one would think that changes Mania plans though.
*Randy Orton vs. John Cena must be a winner for WWE title - The logical ending if they are going in the direction planned is for the Wyatt Family to cost Cena the match.  Few extent Cena to win.  These two have gotten strong reports from all of their house show matches.  I would suspect they do basically the same match, featuring RKO and Attitude Adjustment kick outs before working to the finish. 
*Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar - Lesnar should win decisively.  Hopefully quick, because in many ways in this situation, the "better" the match, the worse it is for the planned direction of Lesnar as a major force at the Mania show.
*Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt - This will be the most interesting match of the undercard, both when it comes to the results and how good the match is.  If Wyatt can't have a great match with Bryan, there will be questions on him as a singles headliner, although clearly with his promos, that's the plan.  Bryan winning means likely a strong Wyatt family angle later.  Wyatt winning may mean a Bryan Rumble win.
*Rhodes Brothers vs. New Age Outlaws for tag titles on pregame show at 7:30 p.m. - This program is continuing after this match so it could go either way but the Outlaws are betting favorites.  Will be interesting because it's hard to get people to boo legends, but they aren't likely to boo Goldust either.
        A.J. Lee vs. Naomi could be added depending on how the main show times out.  Another match could be as well.
        In the end, I think this show depends on the Rumble.  Bryan vs. Wyatt should be good.  Lesnar vs. Show can go a lot of different ways.  In the end, it depends on surprises in the Rumble, and the finish.  The match will be an hour with a lot of good wrestlers that nobody thinks can win.  No word on surprises at this point.  Hulk Hogan showing up wouldn't shock me, but more as a tease for WrestleMania which he is scheduled to be part of. 
        Raw is Monday in Cleveland.  Batista and Brock Lesnar are both scheduled on the show.  Neither are scheduled for Smackdown.
        Smackdown will be taped Tuesday in Toledo.
        The biggest Observer of the year is out today, the 2013 awards issue.  The issue features awards, as voted on by the Observer readership, in all of these categories, as well as all the top place winners in each category, details on the voting, notes on the winners as well as a listing of winners of every award dating back to 1980.
        The awards are:
Lou Thesz/Ric Flair award for Wrestler of the Year
MMA Most Valuable
Most Outstanding pro wrestler
Most Outstanding MMA fighter
Best Box Office Draw
Feud of the Year
Tag Team of the Year
Most Improved
Best on Interviews
Most Charismatic
Best Technical Wrestler
Bruiser Brody Memorial Award for 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 TV announcer
Worst TV announcer
Best major show of the year
Worst major show of the year
Best wrestling maneuver
Most disgusting promotional tactic
Worst TV 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 a feature on George Scott, the wrestling star of the 50s and 60s, who became the booker for Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling in the 70s and brought a regional company running in secondary markets to national prominence as the premier pro wrestling promotion in North America.  We look at how Scott influenced the building of people like Ric Flair, Jimmy Snuka, Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper and many others.
        We also look at his run as booker for WWF in the mid-80s during the national expansion.
        We look at how Scott changed the entire way wrestling was done in the Carolinas and brought in new talent.  We look at the big offer he turned down, why his run ended, as well as his various booking runs over the next decade including his short run as booker of WCW in 1989, and why that didn't last.
        We look at the Flair-Steamboat series, the 1989 Super Sunday and what major PPV draw got his first big break on independent shows booked by Scott.
        We also look at this past week's UFC show in Duluth, GA, and what this card showed UFC is dangerously close to becoming, notes on the ratings, as well as match-by-match coverage and how much everyone on the show earned.
        We also have an update on the Royal Rumble, thoughts on the show, Daniel Bryan's concussion issues, how the Ultimate Warrior deal got put together, plans on the network for WrestleMania week, more on WrestleMania tickets for this year, Hulk Hogan's return, Hulk Hogan legal situation and an update on WWE stock.
        We also look at WWE signing a multi-book contract, a wrestler leaves WWE and starts up on his own next week, a WWE legend whose will no longer be under contract when his deal expires, politics of this year's WWE Hall of Fame, Daniel Bryan talks his reaction to WWE booking, theories about superstar booking, how he got over and connected, who in UFC he compares himself to, a new marketing idea come up with for him and who was behind it and more.
        We also have more on a new WWE movie project, double booking, Dana White talks Brock Lesnar in UFC, and what announcers were told before TV.
        We also have more notes from developmental, next MSG show lineup, a weird radio deal involving a WWE major star, locations for two upcoming WWE PPV shows, as well as notes on all the weekend WWE house shows and business notes.
       We also have a look at the 2014 Fantastica Mania tour, looking at the concept, how Lucha Libre has changed over the past decade, as well as match-by-match coverage of this past weekend's two big shows and why the second show may end up as one of the most entertaining two hours of pro wrestling on a show this year.
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        We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows.

        We also have a look at the ratings of all the major television shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--CMLL's first major show of 2014
--Family feud being started among Mexican legends
--A look at AAA's first TV taping of the year
--First title matches of the year in Dragon Gate, as well as upcoming title matches
--TNA rumored to be part of a major show
--Wrestling promotion sues its rival for contract tampering
--A look at All Japan's upcoming junior heavyweight tournament
--More notes on the 2014 G-1 Climax tournament
--Lots of injury updates
--Notes on the life and careers of Luis Martinez and Don Chuy
--Big angle in WWC where longtime enemies join forces and tease of the beginning of career rivals also joining forces
--Health updates on a number of pro wrestling stars
--A new promotional gimmick
--Details on the 16 Carat Gold tournament
--More on the upcoming Mid South wrestling fan fest over WrestleMania weekend
--ROH's next show
--What U.S. promotion looking to bring in the best in the world
--More on current TNA angles
--What former WWE star is close to signing if not already in
--Update on Sting's status
--Why an original booking idea changed
--What contracts of major players in WWE and TNA are coming due and what do they mean
--Update on TNA TV tapings
--Kurt Angle talks his favorite matches and favorite cities to wrestle in
--Notes on TNA talent meeting
--Why TNA matches are going the way they did
--A look at TNA's house show weekend
--A look at TNA's upcoming TV show
--Notes on the last WSOF show
--Dana White responds to Georges St-Pierre and thoughts on the subject
--Chris Leben and his retirement
--This week's UFC lineup and notes on the show
--Next TV card after this week
--Notes on Dana White's new TV show
--Update on the health of Stefan Struve
--When Chris Weidman wants to defend his title next
--More on the looks to find a new head of the Nevada state athletic commission
--Another two TV show main events signed
--Lots of new UFC shows
--Details on Bellator shows from 2/28 to 4/18
--More on next Bellator PPV show
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*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
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--There is a ton of radio on the site tonight.  I'll be with Bryan very late tonight talking Royal Rumble, last night's UFC fallout and taking e-mail questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   I'd really like questions limited tonight to the two shows.  We can do questions on other subjects tomorrow night after Raw.
--Regarding the odds at (I couldn't find odds taken anywhere else) , it looks like WWE was able to curtail insider betting.  None of the odds are long showing tons of late betting, so I would not take these odds to guarantee anything.  The odds haven't been wrong in months for anything, but they've also had long odds.  For the Rumble, the betting favorite is Bryan at -163 which is not all that long and Batista at +163.  Punk is +400, Roman Reigns is +700, Sheamus at +1400 and everyone else longer.  You can actually make solid money on Batista if you think he's winning or Bryan if you actually know the finish.
Other odds
John Cena +450
Randy Orton -800
Daniel Bryan +350
Bray Wyatt -600
Brock Lesnar -5000
Big Show +1000
New Age Outlaws -450
Rhodes Brothers -275
--Daniel Bryan's first match since the concussion was last night in Canton.  He lost a cage match to Bray Wyatt in the main event. 
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1945 - Bert Assirati beat George Gregory in Manchester to win the British heavyweight title
1974 - Larry O'Dea & Ron Miller beat The Tojo Brothers (Great Kabuki & Samson Kutsuwada) in Melbourne to win the Austra Asian tag title on Australia Day
1987 - Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart beat Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid in Tampa to win the WWF tag titles.  Dynamite was actually crippled and had to be carried to the ring because of a back injury the previous month,
1996 - El Hijo del Santo beat Blue Panther in Tijuana to win the Mexican national middleweight title
1996 - Konnan beat Pierroth in Neza to become the first AAA heavyweight champion
1999 - Mankind beat The Rock in Tucson to win the WWF title
2007 - Masaaki Mochizuki beat Gedo to win the WAR Int. jr. title
Batista 55.0%
Daniel Bryan 22.9%
C.M. Punk 7.0%
Roman Reigns 5.0%
Undertaker 2.0%
Alberto Del Rio 0.5%
Sheamus 0.5%
Big E Langston 0.5%
Other 6.5%
Watched the show last night 62.8%
Skipped because I'm tired of the product 15.9%
Skipped because it was a weak card 9.1%
Skipped because of other plans 6.1%
Skipped because I didn't like the main event 6.1%
Elimination Chamber 66.8%
UFC 2/22 16.0%
UFC 2/1 7.2%
New Japan 2/11 6.9%
Bellator season opener 2.2%
New Japan 2/9 0.9%
Excellent 14.3%
Good 24.1%
Average 26.8%
Fair 9.8%
Poor 25.0%
        34.9% of those responding didn't see the show
--Thanks to Steve Juon for all the great coverage this past week for the site at the UFC show in Chicago.  Mike Coughlin also did play-by-play at the show.
--A couple of notable guests on the Arsenio Hall show this week.  Dana White will be on Monday plugging Saturday's UFC show or his The Fighters reality show.  Steve Austin will be on Thursday night. (thanks to Jon Southerland) 
--UFC was the No. 8 trend in the U.S. yesterday.  I suspect something from tonight's show to finish significantly higher for today.
--In predictions for last night, everyone did well.  Mike Sawyer was 5-0, the only person to go unbeaten.  Me, Josh Nason, Mike Sempervive, Oliver Copp, John Pollock, Front Row Brian, Todd Martin, Lance Storm and Steve Juon were 4-1.  Everyone got the main event, Donald Cerrone vs. Adriano Martins and Eddie Wineland vs. Yves Jabouin correct.  Everyone but Sawyer split on either Jeremy Stephens vs. Darren Elkins or Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Stipe Miocic.
--Tickets for Jim Ross' show "Ringside:  An Evening with Jim Ross" at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Thursday of WrestleMania week at the House of Blues in New Orleans are on sale now at
--Eastern Wrestling Alliance from Friday night in Parkville, MD:  Every match was in a cage:  Trent Barrell b Blood, Super Phoenix b Chris Burns and Desert Storm in a three-way, Shaun Cannon b Mike Atlas, SkullStrukk b Hellcats, Michael's Amyado b Pat Anthony, Wes Mercer b Greywolf Desert Storm b Wes Mercer (thanks to Joe Burrows)
--Nigel McGuinness was on Comics on Comics for almost two hours at
--Big Time Wrestling from Friday night in Newark, CA:  Marcus Lewis b Daniel Torch, Victor Sterling b Tony Vargas, Ryan Von Kool & Sinn & Sionne b Merro Merro Kaka Meng & L'Emperor & Jason Styles, Kimo b Vinny Massaro, Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian b Ballard Brothers, Brittney Wonder b Nicole Savoy, Ryan Von Kool won Battle Royal for the Roy Shire Battle Royal trophy.  Next show is 3/28 billed as a stop on the Honky Tonk Man retirement tour.  They also announced Wrestlefest at Newark Memorial High School in May with Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson and Viscera.  They said they were trying to get Ric Flair on that show. (thanks to Derek Sousa)  
--Christopher Daniels promoting this coming week's TNA tour of the U.K.and Ireland which starts on Wednesday night in Dublin at
--Premier has put the 30:00 draw with Jeff Cobb vs. Oliver John on its YouTube page at
--The next Premier show is 3/30 in Gilroy, CA at the IFDES Lodge-Portuguese Hall with Jeff Cobb vs. Sledge.
--GOUGE from last night in Fuquay Varina, NC:  Jimmy Jack Funk Jr. won Redneck Royal, Otto Schwanz b Ryan Miller, Jennifer Blaze b Mia the Valkyrie Warrior, Krazy Killer Klowns b Ulrich Von Vorse & Pat Powers-DQ, Seymour Snott b Masked Magician, Chaco & Nilo b Alas De Angel & Dragoon Quezal, Jimmy Jack Funk Jr. b Mickey Gambino to win GOUGE title.  Next show is 2/22 at the Flea Market.
--Absolute Wrestling League from last night in Bel Air, MD:  War Pigs b Chuck Lennox & Solo, Kylie Pierce b Brittnay Force, Greg Excellent b Kindred-COR, Alexander James b David Starr, Fed Up DDQ Mustafa Aziz Daniels & Desert Storm, Drolix b Tony Nese, Nui Tofiga b Apollyon (thanks to Joe Burrows)
--Florida Underground Wrestling from last night in Tampa:  Wayne Van Dyuke & Solo Darling b Leo Gold & Justine Silver, JB Cool b Fidel Sierra, Deimos & Kennedy Kendrick b JD Maverick & James Alexander, Jeff Boom & Mitch Mitchell and Aaron Solo & Jon Dvis, Wes Brisco b Mikey Batts, Jesse Belle Smothers & Sassy Stephie b Rosa Negra & Su Yung, Bushwhacker Luke Williams b Maxwell Chicago, Angel Santos & Romeo Rozel & Rich Swann b Los Ben Dejos & Lince Dorado, Sam Alias b Bruce Santee-COR, Angelina Love b Leah Von Dutch, Michael Tarver won three-way to be top contender for Florida Underground title over Matt Morgan and Trent Baretta (thanks to Alan Wojcik)
--NWA Ar-La-Tex last night in Gilmer, TX: Ashton Jacobs b Jamie Holley, Clayton Brooks b Manimal, Nobe Bryant b Jimmy Youngblood, Scott Putski b Lance Hoyt (Lance Archer), Tokyo Monster Kahagas b Killer McKenzie to keep North American title.  Next show is 3/22 with Kahagas vs. Alex Porteau in a bullrope match for the title (thanks to Rob Moore)
--Lucha Libre Xtreme from last night on Fresno TV:  Skitzo b Trap Johnson, Will the Beast b Zero, Suburban Commandos b Jesse Poole & Marcus Eriks
--Today's Crossword Cove on has a question "TV show featuring professional grapplers."   The answer was RAW. (thanks to Brian Henke)  
--The NWA women's title changed hands last night as Barbi Hayden beat Kaycee Carlisle at the NWA Houston show in Houston.  Carlisle held the title for 463 days.
--NWA Southern All-Star Wrestling:  Illuminati b LT and TNT Motley, Lods of Kais b Jocephus & Abriella-COR, Team IOU b Mayhem-DQ, Charles Alexander & Jason Kincaid b Tim Jernigan & Gregory McDaniels, Chase Owens b Jocephus Brody, Charles Alexander b Shane Smalls, Lords of Kais b Jason Kincaid & Charles Alexander to win the tag titles (thanks to Lekisha Oliver)
--On today's New York Rangers gameon TV, announcer Ed Olczyk talked about the name Yukon Moose Cholak when talking bout the physical style of play in the first period. (thanks to Richard Boone)

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?