By Bryan Alvarez
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.
-- 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.