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.
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.
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. ox 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.
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.
-- We can also confirm that KENTA was at the WWE Performance Center on Sunday.
-- Bryan & Vinny Show returns tonight live at midnight ET/9 PM PT talking Raw, Smackdown, NXT and ROH TV.
-- Our F4WLive radio station is now available on TuneIn Radio by searching "Wrestling Observer" or "F4WLive". Besides the live shows, the latest free shows air on a loop 24/7, so please spread the words to friends who might not have ever sampled the audio. TuneIn Radio is available on nearly every smartphone, every tablet including iPads and Kindles, Roku, connected TVs and connected cars, and more. For a complete list click here. If you miss a live show or any portion of a live show, or you just love to listen to replays, or you just love and want to support the shows, every episode dating to 2005 is available for members for as low as $9.99 per month by clicking here. Thanks so much for all the support.
-- Latest from the former Sin Cara is that WWE won't return his phone calls and he has no idea if he's still employed. Is he still getting checks? That's usually a good indicator.
-- Dana White on Roy Nelson applying to take Keith Kizer's job on the NSAC: "What a fucking moron."
-- Chael Sonnen comments on Wanderlei Silva from the set of TUF Brazil here.
-- Regarding the Arsenio Hall/Dana White videos on the front page, I'd just like confirmation that Arsenio Hall has, in fact, aged since 1990.
-- Latest Raw Backstage Fallout with Dolph Ziggler and Miz is here.
-- Michael writes: This could mean absolutely nothing but I did some freeze framing for the Elimination Chamber graphic that aired a few times during Raw, promoting the Tag Team Main Event and I noticed that they were using Superstars in the graphic. Now although in that graphic, eight guys instead of six are flashing on the screen, I think it's noteworthy that four of the already confirmed guys (Orton, Bryan, Cena and the returning Sheamus) are among those eight. That leaves the other four - Ryback, Big Show, Bad News Barrett (?) and Batista. Although two of those names seem to be unlikely, is it possible that Batista puts his Title Shot on the line with hopes of walking into WrestleMania as champion by going entering the chamber? And is it, AT ALL possible that Vince loves BNB so much that he thinks he worthy of being put in the Chamber (remember, Barrett was announced as an official Rumble participant but did not appear)?
-- For whatever it's worth, from talking to people in WWE, that doesn't appear to be the line-up. Would be shocked to see Ryback and Barrett both in there. It's looking likely that the real line-up will be Orton, Bryan, Cena, Batista (I guess putting his title shot on the line?), Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus.
-- For those asking, there is a typo on the ROH website listing the Anniversary show as an iPPV. They are not back in the iPPV business at this time.
-- Joel writes: Just a note regarding the "Cleveland Sucks" chant at Raw. I was watching the show and well, that is what I thought, too. However, my brother pointed out that there was a guy in the front row (seen in every shot from the hard camera side) with a Pittsburgh Steelers ball cap on and the crowd was actually chanting "Steelers suck". And if one goes back and looks, the guy actually stood up and pointed to his cap.
-- New AJ Styles interview here.
-- Keith Jardine featured in "When We Were Bouncers" this week.
--- WrestlingFigs has confirmed Wicked Cool Toys will be launching a series of 31'' giant size official WWE articulated figures celebrating both current and legendary WWE Superstars!
-- Shane writes: The new Triple H documentary, "Thy Kingdom Come" was just added to Netflix Instant Streaming in the US today. So it seems the Netflix deal will continue into the WWE Network phase as least in the US.
-- The move of Ultimate Fighter & UFC Tonight to FS 2 tomorrow is just a one week thing. TUF will be back on FS 1 next Wednesday and UFC Tonight will be whenever its next episode airs.
-- Justin Credible talks Royal Rumble and more here.
-- Kurt Angle video interview from FlavourMag in the UK here.
-- TridentCase announced that it has entered into a renewable two-year licensing and promotion agreement with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the popular professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, wrestler and actor, who is a former UFC light heavyweight champion, PRIDE middleweight champion, and current Bellator fighter.
-- WHO SHOULD GET THE NEXT UFC LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE SHOT AT ANTHONY PETTIS?
Gilbert Melendez 38.5%
TJ Grant 20.8%
Benson Henderson 15.2%
Khabib Nurmagomedov 10.0%
Donald Cerrone 6.1%
Josh Thomson 5.2%
Nate Diaz 4.3%
WHO DO YOU EXPECT TO WIN THIS FIGHT?
Renan Barao 60.5%
Urijah Faber 39.5%
WHO SHOULD DANIEL BRYAN FACE AT WRESTLEMANIA?
Randy Orton 14.6%
John Cena 9.4%
Brock Lesnar 8.8%
C.M. Punk 6.3%
Roman Reigns 1.7%
Bray Wyatt 1.6%
Seth Rollins 1.4%
Dean Ambrose 0.9%
WHAT WAS THE BEST RECENT BIG SHOW?
Royal Rumble 49.6%
New Japan Tokyo Dome 21.3%
UFC 168 11.7%
UFC on FOX 3.7%
Fantastica Mania 1/19 1.6%
Fantastica Mania 1/18 0.2%
-- EXTREME RISING PRO WRESTLING returns to Pittsburgh, PA to present “BLACK, GOLD, AND EXTREME” live on iPPV Saturday, February 8th 2014 – 7pm Bell time. Doors open 6pm at the IRISH CENTRE 6886 Forward Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15217 (in Squirrel Hill).
-- Over the Top Royal Rumble preview here.
-- NWA Smoky Mountain Wrestling returns to the Kingsport Civic Auditorium this Saturday (February 1) at 8:00 PM for “Encore 2014”!
-- Fight Network, the world’s premier 24/7 television channel dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports, presents live professional boxing action promoted by Golden Boy Promotions at Barclays Center in Brooklyn this Thursday, January 30, at9 p.m. ET, featuring one of the best matchups of the year as former world champions“Vicious” Victor Ortiz and Brooklyn’s own Luis Collazo collide in a pivotal showdown for the WBA International welterweight title.
-- Someone book something to happen today, because it's been a slow day historically otherwise. From Brian Hoops:
1949 - Wild Red Berry defeated Dizzy Davis to win the NWA Texas Heavyweight Title in Houston, Texas
1995 - Jerry "The King" Lawler defeated Tony Anthony in Knoxville, Tennessee to win the Smoky Mountain Wrestling Heavyweight Title