FRIDAY UPDATE: Kurt Angle talks making the Olympics and offers guarantee, Nash vs. Warrior shoot challenge update, Smackdown, UFC prelims back on Facebook, huge weekend preview, funny Juventud Guerrera story, tons more



By Bryan Alvarez

Bryan Alvarez: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're looking for reports from tonight's WWE Raw house show in Jackson, MS and tonight's TNA house show at Westbury, NY at the NYCB Theater. The lineup has Bobby Roode vs. Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy for the TNA title; James Storm vs. Kurt Angle; Gail Kim & Madison Rayne defend the Knockouts tag titles against Velvet Sky & Mickie James, Austin Aries vs. Jesse Sorensen for the X title, Matt Morgan vs. Crimson and Gunner vs. Devon. Ric Flair will be in Gunner's corner. Funny, on TV last night, Bully Ray in his promo mentioned not only this card, but his match, saying it was against RVD. Reports can be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

There is a full weekend schedule for WWE as well as two major television events this weekend.

Tomorrow night has Strikeforce from the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. The prelims start at 8 p.m. on Sho Extreme with the main card starting at 10 p.m. on Showtime.

Prelims

Ricky Legere vs. Chris Spang

Trevor Smith vs. Gian Villante

Nah-Shon Burrell vs. James Terry

Alfonzo Martinez vs. Estevan Payan

Main show

Tarec Saffiedine vs. Tyler Stinson

Jordan Mein vs. Tyron Woodley

King Mo Lawal vs. Lorenz Larkin

Luke Rockhold vs. Keith Jardine for the middleweight title

ROH will be taping television tomorrow night at the DuBurns Arena in Baltimore with Mark & Jay Briscoe defending the tag titles against Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal vs. Mike Bennett for the TV title in a no time limit match, Kenny King vs. Matt Jackson (Rhett Titus and Nick Jackson in the respective corners), Davey Richards & Kyle O'Reilly vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander, Eddie Edwards vs. Mike Mondo and Tommaso Ciampa vs. T.J. Perkins. Also appearing are Kevin Steen, Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas, Adam Cole, Steve Corino and Grizzly Redwood.

WWE Raw will be on Saturday night in Tyler, TX. Chris Jericho will be on the show, although I've got no idea what capacity. Smackdown is in Montgomery, AL.

Sunday is TNA Genesis from Orlando, the first pro wrestling PPV of the new year, featuring Roode vs. Jeff Hardy for the TNA title, Kurt Angle vs. James Storm, Abyss vs. Bully Ray (if Ray wins, Abyss has to join Immortal), Matt Morgan & Crimson vs. Samoa Joe & Magnus for the tag titles, Pope vs. Devon, Austin Aries vs. Kid Kash vs. Jesse Sorensen vs. Zema Ion for the X title and Gail Kim vs. Mickie James for the Knockouts title.

WWE Raw on Sunday will be in San Angelo, TX. WWE Smackdown will be in Baton Rouge.

Monday night has Raw from Corpus Christi. You know what would be a great swerve, since they aren't advertising Brodus Clay coming in, maybe he can debut. TNA will be taping Impact on Monday in Orlando.

Tuesday has the Smackdown tapings in Laredo featuring Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal. Nevertheless, Laredo, a border town, has been one of WWE's strongest markets for many years, with very enthusiastic fans. TNA also tapes TV in Orlando on Tuesday.

        A look back at the MMA career and the debates over Brock Lesnar, as well as details on the return of Chris Jericho, is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that is on the site today.  We have usually six new issues per month and four back older issues as well as four or five issues per month of Figure Four Weekly on the site as well as all the radio content is part of a web site subscription.  In addition, both newsletters are available for print subscriptions.

       
        With Lesnar's MMA career having ended with the loss to Alistair Overeem, we look at his entire UFC career, we look at the divergent viewpoints on him, what is reality, what is silly, and more.  We look at the questions marks both he and Overeem faced going into their fight.  We look at Overeem's contract and what is shows about how much UFC main eventers actually earn, what has come out in court, why there is a court case regarding Overeem's deal and more.
 
        We look at Lesnar before, during the after the fight, why most are accepting Lesnar's retirement is legit even though nobody believes it when most fighters retire, Lesnar going to WWE, his prospects marketing wise, his legacy as a UFC fighter, realities of where he stands with former champions, as well as a look at the entire UFC 141 show.
 
        We look at what Dana White said to the fighters before the show and what materialized, how the title picture changed in a few weight classes based on results, business notes on the show, as well as early PPV numbers.
 
        The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
 
         Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sites and has
the most complete look at the business as a whole anywhere.  The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling
publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling industry as well as the MMA industry, from bookers, to
promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest current names, both on camera, and behind the scenes, along with thousands of
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        We have a look at the return of Chris Jericho, his previous returns to WWE, a funny reason why Eric Bischoff never pushed him in WCW, his WWE debut and his return and second return.  We look at the marketing plan for his return and whether it worked or not, the photos that surfaced of him, and the thought process behind what he did for his return.
 
        We also look at his Mania program and teases of his post-Mania work, when he starts back and more.
 
        We also look at the nine hour plus Dream and Inoki New Year's Eve show.  We look back at the debut of the New Year's Eve tradition in Japan on a show that featured a number of both pro wrestling and MMA legends and set an Osaka Dome attendance record, as well as the shoot fight between the top two finishers for Wrestler of the Year that took place on New Year's Eve many years ago.  We look at the peak of the New Year's Eve fighting tradition in Japan, and it's fall, as well as how the programming put in its place this year did.
 
        We have match-by-match coverage of a night of MMA, pro wrestling and kickboxing and which of the three got the best responses and what two matches stole the show.  We look at the storyline behind the matches and how they went.
 
        We've got more on the WWE network and 24/7 Classics on Demand.  We've also got an update on Randy Orton, what is wrong, his return and what unique status he has in WWE right now.  We've got an update on The Rock, reprising a 1998 angle very soon, PPV schedule for the year, plans for Brodus Clay, Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes feud, new name of a WWE performer, another celebrity talked with for Mania, where the ring collapsing spot in Show vs. Henry came from, shortest world title reign and a look at the return to Madison Square Garden.
 
        We also have a look at the week after Christmas in WWE, with business and show highlights from what is traditionally their best week of the year in the U.S. when it comes to touring.
 
        We also look at the pro wrestling angle regarding one of Japan's all-time biggest feuds.
 
        We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week, who is and isn't watching and how each segment on Raw gained or lost audience. 

        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:
 
--More on the new CMLL world champion
 
--Angle being dropped and wrestlers getting new characters
 
--Identities revealed of two decade long regulars
 
--90s star resurfaces as a new member of Perros Del Mal
 
--The retirement of Abdullah the Butcher and a Japanese ceremony to take place
 
--90s star returns to All Japan to try and bring back their world title
 
--All Japan's start of the year angle involving all of their championships
 
--Notes on the new shooter trio
 
--Notes on end of the year shows in Japan
 
--Controversy over world jr. title name
 
--Notes on A-Rod and Torrie Wilson
 
--Reports on death of Hall of Famer are exaggerated
 
--More on a new movie about one of pro wrestling's biggest stars and who will and won't be involved
 
--Two of the most famous tag teams of the past 20 years face off later this month
 
--Unique pro wrestling show set for Los Angeles
 
--More on Kim Neilson on "Biggest Loser."
 
--Anniversary of the end of one of the longest running weekly TV shows in U.S. history, an it was a pro wrestling show
 
--Update on Barry Windham
 
--Update on Luke Robinson
 
--A look back at 70s star Buddy Colt
 
--Famous evangelist's father was a 60s wrestling star
 
--Notes on next ROH TV tapings and future matches
 
--Notes on the Genesis PPV
 
--TNA's Christmas house shows
 
--Test of FX as a promotional vehicle for UFC
 
--State of UFC's welterweight division
 
--Behind the return of Miguel Torres
 
--Updates on Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos
 
--Notes on ticket sales for upcoming UFC events
 
--Notes on this week's Showtime event
 
--UFC debuts in Sweden
 
--More on UFC's fastest fight arguments
 
--Notes on the UFC return to Japan and how tickets are doing
 
--Fighter retires on camera, and then says he has no recollection of it
 
--Lots of new UFC fights announced
 
--30-year-old solid level MMA fighter passes away tragically
 
--Sapp signs to face a Gracie        
 
 
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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
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-- There is a story in the New York Post today about Kurt Angle and his quest to make the Olympic team in 2012. He GUARANTEED that he would either make the team or be an alternate. He said he's not in the shape he was in 1996 due to his age, but he thinks he's a smarter wrestler and he has a game plan to beat everyone. The guy he's most worried about, he said, is Jake Varner. Story is up here.

-- UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes on January 14th will air live in the UK on ESPN and ESPN HD.

-- Regarding the wacky Kevin Nash vs. Warrior "shoot" challenge, RF Video has offered Nash a venue in Miami on WrestleMania weekend. Rob Feinstein said he talked to Nash about it and Nash was all ready to go, but Warrior's people hadn't contacted him back yet. Keep in mind, both sides want the other to put up $100,000. So 2012 starts with a flashback to 1912.

-- Warrior will apparently have a response up later today. Can't wait.

-- Smackdown tonight has Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show for the title, Cody Rhodes vs. Booker T for the IC Title (two title matches to make up for no Randy Orton), Hornswaggle vs. Heath Slater in an OVER THE TOP ROPE CHALLENGE (battle royal, which you're not allowed to say on TV I guess, and no, this is not to see who can last the longest listening to Ed in San Antonio on his show), Hunico vs. Ted DiBiase, Air Boom vs. Epico & Primo, and Tamina vs. Natalya.

-- Tito Ortiz guest-stars on CSI: NY tonight.

-- Joseph writes: Kurt Angle appeared as a guest on the Curtis Sliwa radio show in NY this morning. He was first asked about politicians and wrestling in Iowa. He really didn't have anything to say. Then Curtis asked him about all the wrestling deaths over the last 10 years. He claimed in "the early years of wrestling, the late 80's/early 90's" many of the wrestlers abused themselves with drugs and alchohol. Now in both WWE and TNA7, 95 to 97 percent don't drink and drive. The play video games in their hotel rooms. He claimed both drugs have extended testing and you are "reprimaned" if you test positive. He then talked about his movie career and said he spent 4 months studying Russian for the movie the Warrior but it was then decided that he would be patterned after a Russian fighter ( I thought he said Pedro but he could have said Fedor Emelianko). Finally when asked about how to get tickets for tonight's TNA show in Westbury he said he is training for the Olympics. Curtis may post the audio later today.What an absolutely amazing statement about drinking and driving.

-- This week's NXT is here. Less than 3,000 viewers, and that's not a Youtube glitch.

-- So much for no more Facebook fights prior to UFC events. It was announced yesterday that prelims for UFC on Fuel 1 on February 15th will stream on Facebook from the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

-- Dave has a big Yahoo story on King Mo Lawal, who fights Saturday on Showtime, here.

-- Chelsea Handler totally blew off Beth Phoenix's Twitter challenge on her show last night. Chelsea had buried SummerSlam and women's wrestling several days ago and Beth took offense to it, essentially saying if she wanted to see what women's wrestling was all about she'd be happy to show her. "No thanks," said Handler, and blew it off in a way that suggests this is not and will not become an angle.

-- Story and video hereabout SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, who got a lot of press yesterday claiming that he decked Jesse Ventura in a bar in 2006 over him believing that Ventura told him the SEALs deserved to lose a few.

-- Interview with Abyss herewhere he says if the circumstances were right and it would lead to a bigger push in TNA, he'd be willing to drop the mask.

-- Story on Jack Swagger comin to town here.

-- RIKI ATAKI comes out of retirement for one night only (at least until we have our match) on Saturday, January 14th at the California Classic Battle Royal Show, versus Dr. Vandal Drummond, who made an appearance on our Christmas show this year. Bell time 6:00 PM. Show takes place at the Boys & Girls Club of Simi Valley (CA) on Jan. 14th with a benefit for the Club. El Hijo de Superboy will be in a Lucha match.

-- A look hereat Britani Knight, who has now debuted in FCW.

-- Kris Zellner reports: A&E Mexico which was very happy with the ratings and reviews that the reality show "El Luchador" got this season has renewed it for a new season and is giving it a full order of 13 episodes with taping set to start soon.

-- I also love this one: Juventud Guerrera is going around telling people that he is being forced to no-show bookings because he is going back to AAA which is funny because some of these shows feature guys affiliated with AAA in some form.

-- Dana White, President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, will be LIVE on the MMA Fight Corner this Saturday, January 7 at 4:00 PM. The MMA Fight Corner will be broadcasting LIVE from the Peacock Lounge next to the sports book in the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. This show will run from 4:00PM until 5:00 PM PST.

-- New RING KA KING promo herewith Scott Steiner, who unfortunately does not speak.

-- For anyone looking to lose weight or get in shape, check out Team Viggity. My wife did a three-month session and was ridiculously happy with the results. She's up on their front page right now, and there is a blog tracking her progress as well. Viggity also works with various WWE stars including Evan Bourne, Alicia Fox, Roderick Strong and Tyson Kidd. I make nothing off this plug (well, a happy wife), but I can tell you that if you do the program it works, and it's a lot easier than you'd think.

-- Daniel with notes on WrestleReunion LA: WrestleReunion has started to list the schedule for deluxe photo and video ops. Deluxe photo ops feature talent in ring attire, the ladies in bikinis, special groups, or others. Video ops allows those who participate to cut a promo at around 30 seconds with an available talent of their choice. These ops are subject to cancellation if not enough tickets for each are sold. Participating in the video ops will be The New Age Outlaws, Raven, Mick Foley, Scott Steiner, Kevin Sullivan, Vader, and Jimmy Hart. The deluxe photo op that will likely be the biggest draw this year is the Three Faces of Foley set that will run for fifteen minute intervals on Friday. First at 5:15pm will be Cactus Jack, then at 5:30pm will be Dude Love, and finally at 5:45pm will be Mankind. Prices are $30 for each individual personality, no price for getting all three. The deluxe photo op schedule also announces that Greg "The Hammer" Valentine will be at the convention, likely a guest of the RF Video vendor. He will be participating in a deluxe photo op of the Rhythm and Blues team along with Honkey Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart. WrestleReunion is promoting that Valentine will dye his hair black for the photo op. Other deluxe photo ops announced so far are The Godfather and his Hos, Scott Steiner by himself, The Steiner Brothers together, Rick Steiner and Kevin Sullivan as The Varsity Club in college jackets, Tommy Dreamer and Raven with hardcore accessories to play out their feud, and bikini photo ops with Shelly Martinez, Nitro Girl Spice, and Miss Tessmacher.

-- Should Brock Lesnar be in the UFC Hall of Fame?
Leaning toward no, but it's a close call because he was champion and did draw, but didn't have enough fights 34.1%
Absolutely should be in based on value to the promotion 31.3%
Probably, but I have reservations due to short tenure 18.2%
No, it would be a joke, not a good enough fighter and didn't last long enough 16.4%

Will the Jan 28 UFC on FOX show beat the Raw of all Raws in January?
Yes 58.9%
No, not being hyped like first, no title match, Raw will have some good
January numbers 31.8%
Would not have under any circumstances 9.2%

What was the biggest news story of October?
GSP injured, pulls out of Carlos Condit fight 16.7%
Viacom purchases Bellator 15.2%
Sonnen challenger Silva to loser leaves town match, then puts time limit on stop and it expires 11.4%
Hart vs. Michaels DVD released 10.1%
Hogan returns at Bound for Glory vs. Sting, tears down house but PPV number disappoints 9.3%
Nick Diaz beats Penn and talks his way into title match with GSP 9.3%
Vengeance with Del Rio vs. Cena and HHH & Punk vs. Miz & Truth does lowest domestic PPV number for fulll-WWE brand show 8.6%
Barry Windham suffers heart attack and stroke 7.4%
Hell in a Cell falls below 100,000 domestic buys for the first time 5.1%
Akiyama beats Suwama to win Triple Crown in one of year's best matches 3.4%
Edgar comes from behind and beats Maynard, but disappointing PPV numbers 2.1%
Cruz vs. Johnson, first UFC title fight on TV in years, does 0.7 rating 1.5%

-- Federation of Elite Wrestlers (F.E.W.) Presents "FEW Years Revolution" Saturday, January 7, 2012, The FIGHT House, 2250 Pennsylvania St, Fort Wayne. IN. Doors open at 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM Bell time. Tickets are $7.00 in advance, $10.00 at the door

-- Audio interview with Keith Jardine talking his Strikeforce fight this weekend here.

-- Luke Rockhold interview here.

-- King Mo interview here.

-- MEXPW presents "Los Angeles Occupied" Saturday February 25th. 2012 at The Arena in Hollywood Ca. 6655 Santa Monica Blvd. 2 PM. Confirmed so far: Supreme, Joey Kaos, The Almighty Sheik, Vinnie Massaro & Vintage Dragon. More to be announced in the following week.

-- On January 8, 2012, The Nasty Boys will make a rare appearance, meeting the public and signing autographs at CollectorFest Monthly - the only monthly sports cards and collectibles show in Western New York with free admission. The $10 autograph session ($20 gets you both) takes place at the Columbus Center, #70 Barrett Drive, Webster, NY. This signing session runs from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. while the show/sale runs from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

-- Pro-Wrestling: EVE is pleased to announce today its historic debut on Internet pay per view. EVE will present “No Man’s Land: Sjodin vs Alpha” live on iPPV on Saturday, February 18th, 2012 via Diva Dirt (http://diva-dirt.com), the number one female wrestling website in the world. The show will emanate from The Delphi Club in Sudbury, Suffolk.

-- NWA Rampage Professional Wrestling returns to Johnny G's in Warner Robins, GA on Sunday 1-8-12 with a 2PM belltime for another action filled television taping. Starting with the next TV taping on Sunday 1-22-12 belltime moves to 3PM, and show will be the 2nd & 4th Sundays of each month at least through April.

-- CWF Mid-Atlantic's 1st show of the new year tomorrow night in Burlington, NC. Details at http://www.cwf247.com

-- NWA Rampage Professional Wrestling returns to Johnny G's in Warner Robins, GA on Sunday 1-8-12 with a 2PM belltime for another action filled television taping. Starting with the next TV taping on Sunday 1-22-12 belltime moves to 3PM, and show will be the 2nd & 4th Sundays of each month at least through April.

-- Stirling, NJ's Long Hill Township Community Center (264 South Warren Avenue, just off Valley Road, minutes from I-78) will once again host all-star pro wrestling action on Saturday night January 21st at 7:35pm, as popular northeast promotion National Wrestling Superstars, and the nation's leading all-ladies promotion Women Superstars Uncensored, team up for a benefit fundraiser.

-- Ric Flair the topic on Over the Top Radio tonight. Lance Storm was on last week giving his Observer Awards pics. Info on that show at the same link.

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Which of these main events would draw the best?

 

What are you planning on watching on Friday?