By Bryan Alvarez
We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's UFC 141 as well as tonight's Dream show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
The weekend itself isn't that busy, but tonight is the biggest Friday night of the year.
UFC 141 is tonight from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. We'll have live coverage of the show on the site.
Facebook fights live at 7:15 p.m. Eastern time
Manny Gamburyan (146) vs. Diego Nunes (145)
Matthew Riddle (170) vs. Luis Ramos (171)
Jacob Volkmann (155) vs. Efrain Escudero (155)
Dong Hyun Kim (171) vs. Sean Pierson (171)
Live on Spike TV at 9 p.m.
Anthony Njokuani (154) vs. Danny Castillo (156)
Ross Pearson (145) vs. Junior Assuncao (145)
PPV at 10 p.m.
Nam Phan (146) vs. Jimy Hettis (145)
Vladimir Matyushenko (205) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (103)
Jon Fitch (171) vs. Johny Hendricks (170)
Nate Diaz (156) vs. Donald Cerrone (156)
Brock Lesnar (266) vs. Alistair Overeem (263)
Diaz missed weight by one pound but weighed in after cutting and did make 156, avoiding an athletic commission fine.
And if that's not enough, HDNet will be airing the Dream New Year's Eve show live at 1 a.m. Eastern for nine solid hours with this lineup:
Yusup Saadulaev vs. Hideo Tokoro (bantamweight tournament reserve match)
Masakazu Imanari vs. Antonio Banuelos (bantamweight tournament semifinal)
Bibiano Fernandes vs. Rodolfo Marques Diniz (bantamweight tournament semifinal)
Megumi Fujii vs. Karla Benitez
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Kazuyuki Miyata
Ryo Chonan vs. Hayato Sakurai
Masaaki Noiri vs. Kengo Sonoda (kickboxing rules)
Yuta Kubo vs. Nils Widlund (kickboxing rules)
Josh Barnett vs. Hideki Suzuki (pro wrestling)
Yuichiro Nagashima vs. Katsunori Kikuno (1st round kickboxing rules; 2nd round MMA rules)
Jerome LeBanner vs. Tim Sylvia (pro wrestling, IGF title is not at stake in this one)
Kazuyuki Fujita vs. Peter Aerts (pro wrestling)
Kazushi Sakuraba & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Shinichi Suzukawa & Atsushi Sawada (pro wrestling)
Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Lion Takeshi for Dream featherweight title
Earlier winners of the bantamweight tournament face off for the title
Shinya Aoki vs. Satoru Kitaoka for lightweight title
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Satoshi Ishii
We're also looking for reports from tonight's Raw show in Hartford (Punk vs. Miz cage match; Cena vs. Kane) and Smackdown show at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ (Bryan vs. Show vs. Henry in a cage match for world title; Sheamus vs. Barrett street fight), as well as tonight's TNA show in Poughkeepsie (Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy for TNA title, Kurt Angle vs. James Storm, plus Garett Bischoff vs. Gunner, managed by Ric Flair, and Gail Kim vs. Mickie James for the Knockouts title).
We're also looking for reports on last night's TNA show in Albany,GA.
There are no major U.S. shows either Saturday or Sunday.
Raw will be Monday night in Memphis featuring Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE title. Smackdown and NXT will be taped on Tuesday in North Little Rock, AR, with Bryan vs. Show for the World title and Cody Rhodes vs. Booker T for the IC title.
We've got our annual business year in review double issue of the Wrestling Observer out this week. The issue, along with a back issue from 1994, are up on the site today and each month there are approximately 10 issues, both old and new up.
We look at who the biggest money players were in 2011, with the biggest shows, the biggest headliners, the PPV numbers for every major WWE, UFC and boxing PPV, as well as where John Cena now ranks among the career drawing cards, who became draws, who fell out and more importantly, how the business changed over the past year.
We also look at the biggest PPV players of all-time, how PPV habits have changed, the difference between how boxing, MMA and wrestling sell and is PPV flourishing or fading.
We have a look at UFC on PPV for the year, as well as UFC at the gate. We look at whether this was an up year or a down year in PPV, ratings and big show attendance, and more, what the long-term patterns appear to be..
We also have a chart of the most talked about and big 100 stars of 2011, who is up, who is down, who is new, who is fading and more. We also look at some very interesting notes about popularity including big fish in a small pond vs. small fish in a big pond and which is better, value of the UFC title now as compared with a few years ago, as well as looking at the 2012 prospects for the various UFC belt holders.
We look at popularity in the U.S., Canada and worldwide and how each region differs, including what country is the one where you can tell the rising stars the fastest and who those potentially marketable stars are.
We also look at UFC vs. WWE around the world, and in a number of U.S. states including what direction that trends have gone over the past year. We look at the strongest cities for UFC and WWE as well as the countries with the most per-capita interest in WWE, UFC, boxing and even TNA.
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
We also have updates on a number of WWE injuries, the mystery man, WrestleMania and celebrities, changes in booking, WWE business notes from the past few weeks, PPV plans for 2012, Punk talks WWE announcing, as well as Steve Austin and Mania.
We look at Brock Lesnar's comeback, coming back from his health issue, age illness, surgery, and power as well as a look at UFC 141 and the Dream New Year's Eve events.
We also update a look at Ring of Honor stemming from the Final Battle show. We look at how the show did, frustrations with the product, the psychology of being a champion vs. being a challenger, the future of ROH, the effect of television on their business so far, the return of Kevin Steen and apparent direction for 2012, the New York crowd and how it affected the show and more.
We also have match-by-match coverage with star ratings, flying chairs, tables and long matches.
We also look at the WWE's traditional No. 1 house show of the year, the week after Christmas show in Madison Square Garden, including a lot of the extra things thrown out this yea.
We also look at the late Korean dictator Kim Jong II, and not only his connection with pro wrestling, but a look at the two most attended pro wrestling events of all-time in North Korea, which included Ric Flair, Scott Norton, Muhammad Ali, Chris Benoit, Eric Bischoff and others. We look at what the reaction was like at the time including from the worldwide media.
We also have the history of the Japanese MVP award.
We also look at the question of the fastest UFC fight in history and the debate over what should be he record.
We also look back in history on a 70s star entering the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stllwater, OK this coming year, and go back at looking at someone who was a famous celebrity amateur wrestler who later became a pro, and other great athletes that Verne Gagne tried to recruit to be his top stars in the 70s, who made it and who didn't.
We also have the final category list for the 2011 Wrestling Observer Awards with the updated ballot.
We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past 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.
-- Whitney and I want to send a huge thank you to the literally hundreds of people who have sent messages about the loss of our cat Gracie, who has been talked about on the show many times. She passed away after a battle with FIP. One of our favorite pictures of her is up here. It's been a very rough past few weeks but all of the kind words really help. Anyone who has lost a pet knows how difficult it is, particularly if you work at home and see the pet all hours of the day, every day. Also want to thank everyone at the Cat Clinic in Bothell, WA for all their help over the last several months. Gracie was the sweetest cat and we miss her very much. For those asking about Snorki, our other cat, the crazy one, she is fine, and in fact just tried to steal and escape my office with an empty box of Muscle Milk in her mouth.
-- A judge in Nevada ruled in favor of Golden Glory as far as a preliminary injunction to garnish 30% of his wages for tonight's fight. They have a suit against him but argued that he would get the money and never pay them. Overeem's purse listed is $264,285.71 to show and $121,428.57 to win. Brock is a straight $400,000 purse. Both get a substantial cut of the PPV (Overeem $2 per buy, Brock more than that).
-- Nate Diaz ended up making weight for his fight with Donald Cerrone so he will not be fined. He was one pound over and Cerrone said he'd fight him whether he made weight or not. An hour later, Nate tried again and hit 156.
-- Going to be interesting to see the buyrate for the show given it's taking place on a weird night, Friday. One of our readers, Paul from Ann Arbor, MI, was listening to a Comcast PPV preview commerical for the show, and the lady doing the voiceover actually said the event took place on "Saturday, December 30", a day that does not, in fact, exist. The show is tonight, not tomorrow, and Dana was working hard yesterday trying to remind everyone of this fact.
-- Everyone made weight for the DREAM show which airs tonight on HDNet. My DVR lists it as airing from 10 PM to 7 AM, or 9 hours. I went to record it and it alerted me that it was a live event and asked if I wanted to add more time in case the event ran long. Found that amusing.
-- Smackdown tonight has Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett in a falls count anywhere match which leads to Orton's storyline injury (he's really injured, but this is the storyline reason for him being out), Jinder Mahal vs. Ted DiBiase, Alicia Fox & Kaitlyn vs. Tamina & Natalya, Hunico vs. Justin Gabriel, Big Show vs. David Otunga, Zeke vs. Drew McIntyre in a doghouse match, Heath Slater vs. Sheamus and more.
-- Regarding Orton, there have been a number of different ideas about how to handle his injury since the original idea was for him to win the Royal Rumble in his hometown of St. Louis. They have discussed having him do a surprise return late in the Rumble, win the whole thing, and then take further time off leading into WrestleMania. They have also discussed keeping him off the Rumble and having his return take place around Elimination Chamber to set up his Mania match. My guess is that much will depend on how quickly he heals up from this injury.
-- Dr. Lucha Steve Sims has a busy day today as it's the last business day of 2011, so his show will be delayed, either until late today or perhaps even later this weekend.
-- Since people have asked, our call-in 2012 prediction show will probably take place around noon Pacific on Monday. Every year we take predictions from listeners, and then a year later we go back and see who was a prognosticator and who was, quite frankly, a fool. It's a fun show.
-- ROH has a great Davey Richards vs. Kyle O'Reilly match up here. LIKE the page and you can watch the match for free.
-- Ricky Legere vs. Chris Spang has been added to the January 7th Strikeforce show from the Hard Rock in Las Vegas.
-- Kris Zellner writes: EMLL sent out press releases on Tuesday shooting down the rumors that were going around about them selling Arena Coliseo calling them vicious lies with no validity and they also confirmed to the ones that didn't already know that Hijo del Texano & Toscano are no longer affiliated with them and their group "El Consejo" is a creation of another promotion (not mentioning AAA by name) and they are seeking legal action to stop them from using that name.
-- For those who listened to our interview with Ronda Rousey, video hereof her getting to train with Nick Diaz. She said her goal was to someday be someone that Nick Diaz liked. Manny Gaburyan and Nate Diaz are also on the video putting her over huge for her toughness.
-- Poor Vince, zero WWE mentions in this look at the top Twitter trends of 2011.
-- Story hereon New Japan Pro Wrestling turning 40.
-- Will writes: My sister picked up a pack of "Americana" trading cards from the Panini company as a gag gift. They feature various figures from different walks of American popular culture. On the very top of the first pack I opened was Ric Flair. The picture appears to be Flair from the late 1980s and on the back it talks about the arguments fans have over how many official title reigns he has had and makes mention that one of his robes was donated to the National Museum of American History. To illustrate how weird this really is, in the two packs that were opened last night, no other athletes from any sport or era were found. However, people such as Patty Duke, Tori Spelling, Barry Williams, John Hurt, and astronaut Walt Cunningham were.
-- Newest episode of JOE VS THE WORLD is up here.
-- Should Dana White have rehired Miguel Torres
What was the biggest news story in May?
Randy Savage passes away 82.0%
UFC gives fighters insurance 6.8%
Lesnar pulls out of Dos Santos fight, undergoes surgery for diverticulitis 4.7%
ROH sold to Sinclair Broadcasting 2.5%
Cena and Christian win titles at Extreme Rules 1.1%
Vince McMahon wants to expand past core wrestling business 1.1%
Nick Diaz moved from Strikeforce to UFC for champion vs. champion fight with St. Pierre 1.1%
TNA changes name of its TV show to Impact Wrestling 0.5%
Hirai suffers stroke after concussions and attack by Taru 0.2%
How many buys do you think UFC 141 does
Under 400,000 8.5%
More than 901,000 14.4%
-- Ed, Craig and Cutrer talk the year in review and more tonight here.