MON. UPDATE: Raw tonight, Daniel Bryan reaction makes BBC, Problems with Rumble technically, Doctors talk TRT in boxers and MMA fighters, Kurt Angle, Brisco talent evaluation, WWE return to Pittsburgh



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 looking for reports on tonight's live Raw in Cleveland with dark matches, Superstars matches, anything not on the show, attendance, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        We're also looking for reports on the WWE shows on Saturday night in Reading and Canton. 
 
        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.
 
        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.

        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
 
        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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*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
 
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)a
 
*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)
 
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
 
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
 
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history)
 
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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)
 
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
 
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*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
 
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
 
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*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
 
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
 
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
 
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
 
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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.
 
MONDAY'S NEWS UPDATE
 
--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking more Royal Rumble, Raw and tons of other stuff.  If you've got questions for tonight's show, and again, for tonight, limit it to stuff related to the current scene (midweek we'll do more historical stuff), send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   
 
--A lot of tonight's show is being rewritten.  But I was told it's also par for the course.
 
--Daniel Bryan not being in the Royal Rumble was a lead story on the BBC web site.  It has been among the most read stories on the site all day.  The BBC almost never covers WWE.  The story is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/25911039?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter and http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/25911039  At one point it was the most read story of the day.  The story uses Bryan's twitter feed (which is storyline about how the machine wouldn't let him near the Rumble) and "they try to keep us down and away from the top spots, but they can't ignore the reactions forever.  Keeping voicing your opinions."  So the company is in fact behind the idea of wanting the fans to be outraged that Bryan isn't pushed more.  Don't get me wrong, they didn't plan on the reaction to the last two matches on the show, but Bryan not being in the Rumble played into the storyline that he's having to overcome them wanting to hold him down.    
 
--This probably wasn't the best time for this, but a number of people contacted us about streaming issues during the Rumble show and problems ordering it.  It's not the same system they'll have for the network so this doesn't mean they'll have those same problems for a far wider viewed show, but the timing wasn't the best.  I had time lags and jumps during the preshow, but had DVR'd it on television as well.  It wasn't too bad.  There were also some people, but we didn't get a lot, who had trouble with the picture in HD on some Northeast systems.
 
--WWE stock continues to rise, closing at $21.41 per share today.

--I believe Big Show won't be at TV tonight selling the injuries from last night. 
 
--Batista was acting like a heel when the show went off the air last night in Pittsburgh.  We'll see how that all plays out tonight.

--A note on tonight's rating.  Last year's day after Rumble show did a 3.7 rating, which ended up being the best number of 2013.

--The Association of Ringside Physicians released a consensus statement today against the usage of TRT.
 
It read:
 
The incidence of hypogonadism requiring the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in professional athletes is extraordinarily rare.  Accordingly, the use of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone in a professional boxer or mixed martial artist is rarely justified.  Steroid use of any type, including unmerited testosterone, significantly increases the safety and health risks to combat sports athletes and their opponents.  TRT in a combat sports athlete may also create an unfair advantage, contradictory to the integrity of sport.  Consequently, the Association of Ringside Physicians supports the general elimination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy."\
 
--"The Week" had an obituary on page 35 in the current issue for Mae Young. (thanks to Paul Guay)     
 
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1904 - Frank Gotch beat Tom Jenkins in Bellingham, WA to win the American heavyweight title
1916 - Joe Stecher beat The Masked Marvel to ratain the world title in Madison Square Garden
1960 - Hard Boiled Haggerty & Bill Savage beat Lord James Blears & Jerry Gordet for the Hawaiian tag team title in Honolulu
1965 - Fred Blassie & Tarzan Tyler beat Eddie Graham & Sammy Steamboat to win the world tag team title in Jacksonville
1967 - Paul Jones & Pepper Martin beat Tony Borne & Lonnie Mayne in Portland to win the Northwest tag title
1972 - Omar Atlas & Danny Little Bear beat Yasu Fuji & Chati Yokouchi in Kansas City to win the North American tag team title
1973 - The Sheik beat Bobo Brazil to win the U.S. title at Cobo Arena in Detroit
1976 - Wahoo McDaniel & Rufus Jones beat Gene & Ole Anderson in Columbia SC to win the world tag team titles
1976 - Bob Orton Jr. & Bob Roop beat Eddie & Mike Graham in Tampa to win the Florida tag team titles
1980 - Bobby Eaton & George Gulas beat Larry Latham (Moondog Spike) & Wayne Ferris (Honky Tonk Man) to win the Mid American tag team titles in Chattanooga
1980 - El Solitario beat Masanobu Kurisu to win the UWA jr. light heavyweight title.  I never knew Kurisu had a Mexican main event run.
1981 - Roddy Piper beat Ric Flair in Raleigh to win the U.S. title
1985 - Eddie Gilbert beat Jerry Lawler in Memphis to win the Southern title
1986 - Al Madril & Magnificent Zulu beat Paul Diamond & Shawn Michaels in San Antonio to win the Texas All-Star Wrestling tag title
1987 - Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty beat Buddy Rose & Doug Somers in St. Paul to win the AWA tag titles
1990 - Rex King & Steve Doll beat Brian Adams & The Grappler (Chael Sonnen's hero) in Portland to win the Northwest tag team titles
1996 - Raven beat Sandman to win the ECW title
 
--National Pro Wrestling Day is offering both free tickets to its event on 2/1 in Easton, PA at the Palmer Center as well as free live streaming at http://nationalprowrestlingday.com/watch  Colt Cabana, Hallowicked, Sonjay Dutt and Maria Kanellis are all on the show.  They are trying to raise money for the Against Malaria Foundation.  You can make a cash donation at the event or an on-line donation to the Against Malaria Foundation on their web site at http://www.againstmalaria.com/
 
--The Pro Wrestling Battlarts show scheduled for Saturday in Oshawa, ONT, postponed due to bad weather (they couldn't get into where the ring was stored) has been moved to Sunday at 2 p.m.
 
POLL ON ROH TV SHOW
Excellent 9.4%
Good 53.1%
Average 12.5%
Fair 4.7%
Poor 20.3%               
        45.8% of those responding didn't see the show
 
WHAT WAS THE BEST TV SHOW OF THE PAST WEEK?
Raw 33.0%
Impact 18.4%
UFC on FOX 17.0%
ROH 15.5%
Smackdown 5.8%
UFC prelims on FS 1 5.3%
Main Event 2.9%
Inside MMA 1.0%
UFC Tonight 0.5%
Ultimate Fighter 0.5%
 
--There is an interview with Kurt Angle at http://weightliftingpodcast.com  Another interview with Angle is at http://amplified.tv/kurt-angle-interview/
 
--For the fourth straight year, Gerald Brisco will head a talent evaluation camp in Waterloo, IA in conjunction with the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  It will be on 7/18, at Noon, at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.  Each wrestler will get a full match with a ring introduction.  When it's over, Brisco and other guest wrestlers will evaluate the talent.  Some talent may be used later that night at a house show.  Jim Ross is hoping to attend as well but that is not confirmed.  Several independent promoters will also be there.  The evaluation costs $200, with all money going to the Dan Gable Museum and Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame.  Last year's event sold out within weeks of the announcement.  Send a resume, with a photo, height, age, name of trainer and a list of career highlights to Troy Peterson at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   It's open to both men and women.  Among those scheduled in for the weekend as part of the Hall of Fame include DDP, Larry Matysik, Rick & Scott Steiner, Larry Hennig, Baron Von Raschke, Danny Hodge and Colt Cabana.
 
--Photos of Bret Hart signing and Harry Smith wrestling in Winnipeg from the weekend at PCW Mall Madness are at http://jordannepon.smugmug.com/Sports/Wrestling/PCS-20149125 including Bret meeting with the legendary Tony Condello of death tour fame.
 
--The return of WWE to Pittsburgh at the Consol Energy Center is a Smackdown taping on 6/24 with Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and Big Show headlining, plus The Shield, Kane, The Wyatt Family, Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston.  The presale is on right now with the password SMACKDOWN 
 
--CMLL from yesterday in Guadalajara:  Tapatio b Raycho, Brillante Jr. b Acertijo, Divino & Idolo b Ebola & Infierno, Demonio Rojo b Esfinge, Sky Kid & Smaker b Exterminador & Espectrum, Shocker (who actually helped the other team since he has turned heel) & Titan & Diamante Azul b Vangellys & El Terrible & Olimpico
 
--Progress Wrestling from Saturday in Islington, London before a sellout 350 fans:  Mark Haskins & Nathan Cruz b Dave Mastiff & Stixx, Flash Morgan Webster b Josh Bodom, Noam Dar b El Ligero, Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews b Paul Robinson & Will Osperay, Rampage Brown b Tommy End, Jimmy Havoc b Zack Sabre Jr. with Marty Scurll as referee.  Next show is 3/30 at the Electric Ballroom with Kris Travis & Martin Kirby vs. Mark Haskins & Nathan Cruz vs. Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews in a three-way for the tag title (thanks to Martin Bentley)
 
--NWA Smoky Mountain Wrestling on 2/1 in Kingsport, TN at the Civic Center.
 
--Prairie Wrestling Alliance from Saturday night in Calgary:  Priest over Travis Cole and Michael Richard Blais, Richie Rage b William Saint, Brandon Danielson & Marky b Chase Patrick & Kenny Striker, Sheik Akber Shabaz b Brody Malibu, Duke Durrango & Chris Steele DDQ Killer D's, Azreal b Deryck Crosse (thanks to Dwayne Soper)
 
--A correction from yesterday.  The crossword puzzle answer on the Grappling question was WWE not RAW (thanks to Brian Henke)

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Which of these main events would draw the best?

 

What are you planning on watching on Friday?