TUES UPDATE: Overeem vs. Lesnar odds, more from Raw, top five MMA stories of the year, developmental star switches house show brands, RING KA KING, tons more



By Bryan Alvarez

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We're looking for your thoughts on Friday night's ROH iPPV, 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 Smackdown and NXT tapings in Indianapolis as well as tonight's Raw house show in Madison Square Garden house show featuring Punk vs. Miz in a cage match and John Cena vs. Kane plus a Battle Royal for a U.S. title shot as the top matches.

Wednesday will be a Raw house show in Pittsburgh (Punk vs. Miz; Cena vs. Kane) and a Smackdown house show in Detroit (Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry).

Raw will be in Washington, DC on Thursday while Smackdown will be in Buffalo. The tour ends on Friday with a Raw show in Hartford and a Smackdown show in East Rutherford, NJ at the Izod Center.

TNA also runs Thursday in Albany, NY at the Times Union Center headlined by Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Jeff Jarrett (isn't he fired?), Bobby Roode and James Storm. They also run Friday night in Poughkeepsie, NY at the Mid Hudson Civic Center.

UFC 141 is Friday night from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, while the annual Japanese New Year's Eve show airs live on HDNet from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. late Friday night and Saturday morning (10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Pacific time).

        Two of the biggest Observers of the year will be out over the next month.  Our annual business year in review issue comes out this week.  The annual awards issue, the traditional best selling issue of the year, will be out at the end of January.

 
        We are crammed with news in this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer, which covers the title wins by Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder with a lot of exclusive news, including the background of the Bryan push, who was work it and who wasn't for it, and a shocking number that came out this past week.
 
        We look at the careers of Bryan and C.M. Punk since they started in WWE, a look at champions first created by Money in the Bank, what Punk legitimately overcame, notes on the first season of NXT, what happened that made NXT such a low priority besides the ratings, the story behind the Bryan title win, the Mark Henry injury, what winning the title does and doesn't mean, the difference between live crowd reaction and ratings, the dichotomy of the popularity of Zack Ryder, the possible end of the line of Kevin Nash plus our usual coverage of the TLC PPV show with match-by-match coverage, star ratings and more.
 
        We also look back at the legendary heel Umanosuke Ueda, what role he popularized, his heyday, what he's best known for in Japan, his role in big ratings and notes on his career.
 
        We also have a detailed look at what the Survivor Series buy rate said about WWE on PPV and the comeback of The Rock.  We look at comparisons with last years, domestic vs. international split, UFC vs. WWE on the same weekend and more.
 
        We also have a look at the 2011 Japanese awards, both by the sportswriters as well as by the fans for MVP, Match of the Year, Tag Team of the Year, Most Outstanding, and the strange nominees for Best Technical and more.
 
        We also have more on the Alistair Overeem drug testing fiasco with this week's update.
 
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        We also look at the new deal signed by Zuffa and Showtime for Strikeforce in 2012, plans for the brand, comments from Dana White and Scott Coker, the women's scene, ratings and more about the deal.
 
        We also look at the new twist in the Friday night wars with Ultimate Fighter Fridays being added, and what the end game from Spike TV really is, why they are programming so hard against UFC and what they would like to happen.
 
        We also look at Linda McMahon and the campaign and what she isn't and isn't talking about in her campaign literature.  We look at the "Cena sucks" T-shirts, a new Cena endorsement, more on one of the main events at the 2012 WrestleMania, more on WWE winning awards, return of Christian, Del Rio injury note, female performer quits, more on WWE network and the reality shows, Jim Ross on forgetting his lines, Notes on new wrestlers being called up to the main roster over the next few weeks and background, Rumble main event, a name batted about for Hall of Fame, Steve Austin movie project, Dave Bautista talks the current product, more on holiday house shows, new people signed by WWE and background, developmental notes and weekend house show highlights and business.
 
        We've also got coverage of the AAA and CMLL last major shows of the year.  We look at Guerra de Titanes, including several TNA wrestlers appear before bigger crowds than they ever would for TNA, who has jumped, the new NWO idea, and what TNA wrestler drew raves for being a world champion level performer.  We also look at the young wrestler from the U.S. who is feuding with a Mexican legend.
 
        We also look at the plight of CMLL with Sin Piedad featuring the Felino vs. Blue Panther hair vs. hair match and the terrible finish.
 
        We've also got complete coverage of Strikeforce, including the ratings, the surprising notes about the ratings, why they were what they were, comparisons with the Andre Ward numbers, the Cris Cyborg contract numbers plus match-by-match coverage with pay reports from the show.
 
        We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week, including the most details on Raw from this week, , who is and isn't watching and how each segment on the show gained or lost audience.  We also have the same for Impact including the change in the makeup of the viewership this week from normal levels and why.

        We also have our regular weekly features with results of all the major arena events around the world, as well as all the major TV show
reviews.   
 
         Also in this week's issue:
 
--Notes on the tournament for the vacant CMLL world title
 
--Upcoming AAA television
 
--Abdullah the Butcher returns to Japan and a surprising main event
 
--Update on knee reconstruction surgery of one of Japan's biggest stars
 
--More on NOAH's next big show
 
--Details on the Satoshi Kojima 20th anniversary show
 
--Return of Stan Hansen to Japan
 
--Update on Toshiaki Kawada
 
--End of an era with the ECW Arena
 
--Devon Nicholson and the Canadian Olympic team
 
--A former pro wrestler who left pro wrestling and won an Olympic silver medal and how he almost also got involved in the early UFC
 
--The story behind a WWE wrestler who trained with WWE talent and snuck out to the Olympic team trials a decade ago
 
--Latest on Linda Hogan and Chyna
 
--Notes on ROH  Final Battle
 
--Why Jeff & Karen Jarrett are gone from TNA
 
--Story on how long they are gone for
 
--What Jeff is now doing
 
--TNA wrestlers sent to OVW
 
--Update on the TNA Genesis PPV
 
--A look at the angles building up Genesis
 
--Notes on TNA's India satellite group
 
--Garett Bischoff update
 
--Song about a pro wrestler noted as one of the best songs of the year by Rolling Stone
 
--Who should get credit for the Jarrett/Sting vignettes on Impact
 
--A look at where Impact is headed and a new heel turn in TNA
 
--Former WWE wrestler expected to join TNA imminently
 
--Dana White gets awarded even during a down year
 
--Update on UFC 140 PPV number report
 
--The unique patterns of the show and what it says about Toronto
 
--Lorenzo Fertitta talks PPV business vs. FOX
 
--Fertitta talks drug testing
 
--Update on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira after Frank Mir broke his arm
 
--Another new MMA television show announced
 
--A UFC 24 hour TV marathon coming
 
--A look at the firing of Miguel Torres as well as Joe Rogan, Dana White and others
 
--Update on Fabricio Werdum's return to UFC
 
--Brock Lesnar talks about his guilty plea in hunting case
 
--Mirko Cro Cop asked to do pro wrestling
 
--Return of Gabriel Gonzaga
 
--Latest details of the annual Japanese New Year's Eve show including for the first time, Japanese pro wrestling airing on New Year's Eve special
 
 
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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
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-- Alistair Overeem is currently a -140 favorite over Brock Lesnar. Overeem vs. Lesnar promos aired at least twice during my Raw feed last night. They played up, shockingly, that both men are huge. The preview show, which is apparently excellent and debuts on Spike this Thursday after Impact (it debuted on FUEL last week but that doesn't really count given the limited FUEL universe) is up on our front page right now.

-- Dave has a look at the top five stories of the year in MMA here.

-- In case you missed it, Kane reveals his preposterous motivation for returning with a mask and attacking John Cena here. Everyone seems to be comparing this to Darth Vader and the Emperor. The difference is, Dark Vader and the Emperor was a great storyline. This one sucks.

-- Alberto Del Rio should be back in time for Royal Rumble, but that's not guaranteed, and he won't be in the ring before that.

-- Dark matches last night saw Alex Riley actually get a win, beating JTG, and Air Boom beat Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins. Punk also beat Miz in a cage match to end the show.

-- Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton falls count anywhere headlines tonight's Smackdown taping.

-- Seth Rollins, the former Tyler Black, has been moved to Smackdown house shows as opposed to Raw. Probably a vast improvement for him.

-- Impact did a 1.0 rating and 1.4 million viewers for last Thursday's show.

-- Speaking of, another awesome RING KA KING commercial is up here. After Thursday's Impact, I'd much rather watch this show.

-- Who do you consider the best of the current group of world champions?
C.M. Punk 49.8%
Daniel Bryan 23.6%
Hiroshi Tanahashi 7.9%
Davey Richards 6.8%
Bobby Roode 6.8%
Jeff Jarrett 2.5%
Jerome LeBanner 1.1
Go Shiozaki 0.7%
Jun Akiyama 0.5%
Masaaki Mochizuki 0.4%

Which match will do more domestic buys?
Rock vs. Cena 55.2%
Lesnar vs. Overeem 44.8%

-- Ed writes: During halftime of last night's MNF game, the ESPN studio crew gave out their "C'mon, Man!" of the year awards. Chris Berman gave his to the Joe Kapp/Angelo Mosca altercation at November's CFL alumni dinner. The segment included the video.

-- James writes: A minor point on late painter Harold Thornton. Monday`s Sydney Morning Herald article on Thornton did not mention he was a pro wrestler but I read in an other article years ago. I also met Thornton and asked him about his pro wrestling career. He saw impossible to miss with his bright colorful clothing.

-- PWG at WrestleReunion on January 29th has Super Dragon & Kevin Steen & Akira Tozawa vs. El Generico & PAC & Masato Yoshino, CIMA & Ricochet vs. RockNES Monsters, Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Roderick Strong, American Wolves vs. Young Bucks, Naruki Doi vs. Willie Mack, BxB Hulk vs. Jimmy Susumu, and Mascarita Dorada vs. TBA. Sounds like an awesome show.

-- Tasha Simone defeated NWA Womens Champion Tiffany Roxx on December 25 in Lebanon, TN in a steel cage match to begin her third reign as champion.

-- Empire Wrestling at Academy Theater on Friday (and every Friday). Bell is at 8:00 p.m. www.academytheater.org 119 Center Street Avondale Estates, GA 30002, $8 a ticket

-- NWA Smoky Mountain presents their First Event of 2012 on Friday, Jan. 6 at the Historic Civic Auditorium in Kingsport, TN. Front Row Advance Tickets are on sale at Ever More Comics on E. Center St. in Kingsport and online at www.NWASmokyMountain.com. Doors open at 7:15 PM and Bell Time is 8:00 PM.

-- WSU returns to Live Action with a Special DVD Taping Featuring Jillian Hall vs Traci Brooks w/Special Guest Referee Molly Holly January 21st, 2012 The Long Hill Community Center of Stirling, NJ 1229 Valley Rd. & S.Warren Ave in Stirling, NJ 07980 (USE 264 South Warren Ave if using a GPS), Just minutes from Interstate 78. BELLTIME: 7:35 PM, Doors Open 6:35

-- New Over the Top Radio here with Ed and his crew, which includes a Craig drinking game trivia contest.