TUES UPDATE: Celebs at Raw, Evan Bourne talks his drug test failure, Zuffa drug-testing addition, Rousey vs. Tate tix, latest from Cyborg, Twitter war, tons more
By Bryan Alvarez
We're looking for your thoughts on Saturday night's UFC 142, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
We're also looking for reports Sunday's Raw house show in Oakland, Sunday's Smackdown house show in Prince George, BC, Thursday night's TNA show in Wallingford, CT, Saturday night's Evolve show in Philadelphia and Saturday night's TNA show in Reading, PA.
Today will be Smackdown from Las Vegas. Shawn Michaels will be at the show, but that doesn't mean he will be on the show.
A note that everyone who subscribes to the site this month will get the biggest issue of the year, the 2011 Wrestling Observer Awards issue that is coming out in a few weeks.
A look in detail at Cris Cyborg and performance enhancing drugs in women's MMA, Edge and The Four Horsemen in the WWE Hall of Fame, New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome event, plus big TNA and Strikeforce events and a WWE Network update are among the leading stories in this week's double issue of the Observer. The issue, as well as a new back issue, is currently on the site and print copies can be ordered with information below.
Our lead story looks at Cris Cyborg and her fall from being the biggest star in women's MMA to disgrace due to a positive steroid test. We look at her punishment, the future of the women's 145 pound division, what Cyborg has said publicly, Gina Carano, the realities of Stanazolol in supplements, the difference between the reaction to her failing and men failing, the difference in PED's when used by women and men and realities of the issue in the sport.
We also have comments from other women fighters in discussion of both Cyborg and the issues with drugs in the sport.
We also look at the unique situation of Ric Flair being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame a second time, and it being the first time a performer under contract with a rival promotion was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. We look at Edge, and have a history of the Four Horsemen and their many incarnations.
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We also have a look at New Japan's 1/4 show at the Tokyo Dome, including a history of every New Japan Pro Wrestling event held at the Tokyo Dome in history. We look at the main angle that didn't get over, match-by-match coverage, the stories behind the biggest matches and more.
We also have notes on the Royal Rumble show, Punk at the next UFC on FOX, a change in the 2012 PPV schedule, scalpers report on Mania tickets, Beth Phoenix vs. Chelsea Handler, John Cena Fruity Pebbles tie-in, Legends House, WWE signs second generation wrestler, first wrestler from the recent season of Tough Enough to make the main roster, using FCW guys on the house show tours, as well as business notes from the past week and highlights from all the weekend house shows.
We also have a feature looking back at the 30 year mark since the final show promoted by Sam Muchnick, the most powerful figure in the pro wrestling industry over a 25 year period. We look back at the rise of Muchnick, the difference between Muchnick and Vince McMahon, a look at his last show, and Larry Matysik, who was Muchnick's protege, talks about that final night.
We also have a look at one of the most unique pro wrestling events ever, the Bull Nakano retirement show held this past week in Tokyo, including the surprise ending to the show.
We have a rundown of TNA's Genesis PPV, with coverage of all the matches, star ratings and poll results.
We also have coverage of the most recent Strikeforce show, the unique position the fighters are in, why there are no bonuses at Strikeforce shows, match-by-match coverage, ratings and poll results, as well as pay records.
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 and Impact over the past two weeks gained or lost audience. We look at how the segments with Chris Jericho, Brodus Clay, and changing a tire during a wrestling show all did.
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
Also in this week's issue:
--One of world's top wrestlers came close to switching promotions, find out how close
--Hall of Famer hits 33 years for his active career and still a headliner
--Issues with AAA and U.S. television
--First AAA TV taping of 2012
--Update on Abdullah the Butcher in Japan
--ROH wrestlers headed for lengthy stint in Japan
--A look at the CMLL & New Japan joint shows coming next week
--What promoter is talking about Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor, and the rules they are looking to put it under
--A look at WWC's first weekend of the year and international names coming in
--John Morrison returns to wrestling in a few weeks
--More on the Kevin Nash/Ultimate Warrior front
--End of wrestling at the old ECW Arena
--Crazy Jesse Ventura story
--OVW sells out, what storyline does it
--Former WWE wrestler looks to start doing MMA in Japan
--The 1975 world championship discussion
--Huge match coming to TV next week
--More ROH TV outlets
--ROH TV taping notes and future storylines
--Notes on TNA taping in London
--Details of the taping schedule leading to Against All Odds
--Current Against All Odds lineup
--Jesse Neal talks about his post-military trauma issues, and leaving TNA
--Kurt Angle says different things about going to the Olympics
--Angle talks problems in TNA
--TV show character modeled after one of the most famous pro wrestlers returns in a few weeks
--Abyss talks losing his mask
--TNA new TV deals
--Notes on recent TNA house shows
--Lots of upcoming UFC notes
--UFC schedule through August
--A look at fighter pay in UFC and Lorenzo Fertitta talks to ESPN about the subject
--Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey
--Looking at the star power of women fighters
--One of the great fights in history may be rematched if one of the fighters wins his next fight
--A look at the next UFC show
--Dana White talks Brock Lesnar and WWE
--Notes on ticket sales to upcoming shows
--UFC kicks off on Fuel
--Update on B.J. Penn
--Tons of new UFC fights
--Story behind new MMA TV show
--MMA champion gets Hall of Fame induction at his college
--What happens in Japan after New Year's Eve show
--Former UFC title contender sentenced to 42 months in prison
--Former major woman's wrestling star faces daughter of movie legend in an MMA fight in Japan
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-- Dave and I will be back a little later this afternoon with a new show covering all the breaking news from this morning, drug test failures, etc.
-- GSP on Inside MMA last night said he hoped to be able to return to cage in November of this year, and said he'd prefer to fight Nick Diaz rather than Carlos Condit. He did say may the best man win in their upcoming title fight.
-- As noted on the front page, King Mo got popped for the steroid Drostanolone following his fight with Lorenzo Larkin at the last Strikeforce show.
-- Tickets for the Ronda Rousey vs. Meisha Tate title fight on March 3rd for Strikeforce go on sale this week. Rousey cut a Twitter promo on Mrs. Cyborg yesterday after Cyborg tweeted that Rousey was next and then posted a photo of Gina Carano after she'd handed her a beating. Rousey responded, "you don't just have a dick, you are a dick for posting that picture of Gina, you cheater " Cyborg, it should be noted, is planning to appeal her suspension with the California State Athletic Commission. Maybe she found that supplement she took that had Winstrol in it.
-- Zuffa announced today that anyone who is going to sign with the company (UFC or Strikeforce, and that includes Ultimate Fighter competitors) will have to pass a pre-contract drug test. You'd have to be pretty dumb to fail that one given it's hardly a random test. Kind of like pre-fight drug testing. "The health and safety of our athletes is our top priority," UFC president Dana White stated. "We've seen the issues performance-enhancing drugs have caused in other sports, and we're going to do everything we can to keep them out of the UFC and Strikeforce. Our athletes are already held to the highest testing standards in all sports by athletic commissions. Our new testing policy for performance-enhancing drugs only further shows how important it is to us to have our athletes competing on a level playing field." If UFC was really concerned, they'd pay to have legitimate random immediate (as in, tester shows up unannounced with cup, not fighter told he has 72 hours to produce sample and then not worry about it if the right sample doesn't show up for 27 days as happened with Overeem and the NSAC) drug testing throughout the year.
-- Lots of Hollywood stars backstage at Raw last night, including Dennis Haskins, aka Mr. Belding, who is a big wrestling fan and has actually appeared on Zack Ryder's Internet show. Maria Kanellis, who is dating Mike Bennett of ROH and working for that company as well, was backstage. Told there were also a number of rock stars and even some porn stars there. Raw moves to Las Vegas tonight with the Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry World title match, plus they're doing the roulette wheel gimmick where a bunch of "random" matches will be announced.
-- Evan Bourne on his Twitter apologized to his fans for his 60-day Wellness policy suspension (coming just weeks after he returned from a 30-day suspension), saying that sometimes we are our own worst enemy.
-- Another big article hereon Kurt Angle and his attempted shot at the Olympics in London. Thanks to Pete in Maryland.
-- Challenged Wrestler Teaches Sportsmanship By Example
-- JJ Dillon talks the Horseman going into the Hall of Fame here.
-- New JR blog up here.
-- The documentary Fight Life premieres Friday, January 20, 2012 at the Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco, CA. For tickets, visit www.fightlife.tv
-- WWE is working on a focus study targeting males and females aged 12 through 17. Among people I know with friends or children in that age range, pretty much none of them want anything to do with pro-wrestling.
-- Bischoff-Hervery Entertainment has a twitter page up at here. One of their big projects this year is a sitcom that was picked up for Nick at Nite titled "Daddy's Home." The show stars Scott Baio. Maybe Eric Young will do a run-in.
-- Gina Carano was on Opie and Anthony today promoting Haywire. It'll replay on Sirius throughout the afternoon. Thanks to Jeff.
-- Gene Okerlund told Arda Ocal that he's going to be involved with Legend's House. Audio of that show is up here.
-- The return to the ring of RIKI ATAKI vs. Vandall Drummond is up here.
-- Chikara's upcoming event schedule. More at chikarapro.com:
2.25.2012 - Goodwill Beneficial Assoc. in Reading, PA
2.26.2012 - NYWC Sportatorium in Long Island, NY
3.24.2012 - Trio Sportplex in Vaughan (Toronto), Ontario, Canada
3.25.2012 - Knights of Columbus Hall in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
4.14.2102 - Rahway Rec Center in Rahway, NJ
4.28.2012 - Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago, IL
4.29.2012 - The Lafayette Theater in Lafayette, IN
5.20.2012 - The Highline Ballroom in Manhattan, NY
-- Which of these names most deserves a Hall of Fame ballot spot?
J.J. Dillon 44.3%
Bob Armstrong 27.1%
Johnny Weaver 7.5%
Billy Red Lyons 7.3%
Yukon Eric 3.7%
Miguel Perez 3.2%
Ron Fuller 2.6%
Ed Francis 1.3%
Bobby Managoff 1.1%
Count Billy Varga 0.8%
Ron Miller 0.6%
Don Eagle 0.3%
Which of these names most deserves a Hall of Fame ballot spot?
Booker T 26.3%
Dr. Jerry Graham 16.4%
Kyoko Inoue 9.9%
Thunderbolt Patterson 8.7%
John Bradshaw Layfield 6.7%
Tommy Dreamer 5.6%
Don Curtis 2.9%
Medico Asesino 1.5%
Ricky Romero 1.0%
Blackie Guzman 0.4%
What is the UFC's biggest issue right now?
Inadequate drug testing 34.3%
Bad judging 24.6%
Weight cutting 19.6%
Inconsistent officiating 16.6%
Fighter pay 4.8%
-- Ed and co. talking the Four Horseman here.
-- Mick Foley appears Thursday January 26, 2012, 8:00pm at SLIM’S 333 11th St., San Francisco, CA 94103 ALL AGES. $15.00 (415) 255-0333. Comedy gig.
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