SUN. UPDATE: Royal Rumble update, TNA injury updates, UFC rating notes, Hogan, Gagne, GSP, Tyson



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        We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's Royal Rumble PPV, last night's UFC on FOX and Friday night's Dragon Gate USA show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match for each specific show to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        Today is the Royal Rumble from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, not the same building but the same city as the original and completely forgotten first Royal Rumble (yes, the Hamilton show was the second). 
*30 man Royal Rumble
*C.M. Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE title with John Laurinaitis as referee
*Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry vs. Big Show for the world title in a cage match - It should be noted Henry has both a knee and groin injury so isn't likely even close to ready to perform at usual levels. 
*John Cena vs. Kane
        Hard show to read.  The Rumble show is usually good and Punk vs. Ziggler may have an excellent match.  Bryan vs. Henry vs. Show is going to be likely more of a story with Bryan running away, getting killed, and trying to sneak around to win.  Cena vs. Kane will likely be similar to the match they've been doing at the house shows.  That match has Kane losing via DQ but I would think for PPV they would change up the finish. 
        The Rumble always has surprises.  Jim Duggan and Mick Foley are said to be definites.  Nick Dinsmore, rumored earlier today based on what he wrote on twitter, is said to have been a rib on his part and he at least wasn't there as of this afternoon.  Road Warrior Animal said on KFAN in Minneapolis yesterday that he was asked but that no deal was finalized and he's not going.  Road Dogg is definitely there, and he's been rumored as a surprise entrant.  But he would be there under any circumstances since he's working as a road agent.
 
        Live coverage on the site starts at 8 p.m. Eastern. 
 
        Monday is Raw from Kansas City, built around HHH returning to do a review of Laurinaitis as General Manager.  Smackdown and NXT will be taped on Tuesday in Omaha.
 
        Our traditional best selling issue of the year is out today on the web site, the 32nd annual Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards issue.  Our annual readers poll is out and the awards issue has the top place winners in every category along with stories on the winners and a history of everyone who has won awards dating back to 1980.
 
        The awards covered this year are:
 
LOU THESZ/RIC FLAIR AWARD FOR WRESTLER OF THE YEAR
 
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS MVP
 
MOST OUTSTANDING WRESTLER
 
MOST OUTSTANDING FIGHTER
 
BEST BOX OFFICE DRAW
 
FEUD OF THE YEAR
 
TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR
 
MOST IMPROVED
 
BEST ON INTERVIEWS
 
MOST CHARISMATIC
 
BEST TECHNICAL WRESTLER
 
BRUISER BRODY MEMORIAL AWARD FOR BEST BRAWLER
 
BEST FLYING WRESTLER
 
MOST OVERRATED
 
MOST UNDERRATED
 
PROMOTION OF THE YEAR
 
BEST WEEKLY TELEVISION SHOW
 
BEST PRO WRESTLING MATCH OF THE YEAR
 
BEST MMA MATCH OF THE YEAR
 
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
 
BEST NON-WRESTLER
 
BEST TELEVISION ANNOUNCER
 
WORST TELEVISION ANNOUNCER
 
BEST MAJOR WRESTLING SHOW
 
WORST MAJOR WRESTLING SHOW
 
BEST WRESTLING MANEUVER
 
MOST DISGUSTING PROMOTIONAL TACTIC
 
WORST TELEVISION SHOW
 
WORST MATCH OF THE YEAR
 
WORST FEUD OF THE YEAR
 
WORST PROMOTION OF THE YEAR
 
BEST BOOKER
 
PROMOTER OF THE YEAR
 
BEST GIMMICK
 
WORST GIMMICK
 
BEST BOOK
 
BEST DVD
 
        We also update plans for WrestleMania and plans for a match not yet announced.  We also look at this past week's changes in the 2012 PPV schedule.  We also look at the Royal Rumble, an angle planned for the Rumble that was put on hold, update on the WWE network, who watches WWE programming right now and more on the Legends House show.
 
        We also look at the latest from WWE Films, why nobody cares about storylines, former TNA wrestler looking at getting into WWE, the return of The Rock to television, and WWE inadvertently starts up the media story they most want to go away.
 
        We also look at this past weekend's house shows, the new formula tried, was it a success or not and business notes from the past week.
 
        We also have all the news from the past week including a rundown of UFC on FX, a look at ratings for both the FX version of the show and the prelims on Fuel.  We look at where both stand for the stations, in the key demos, how FX drew for a Fight Night compared to Spike, as well as how Spike's counter programming did for the night.
 
        We also look at the main stories coming out of the show, along with match-by-match coverage of the show.
 
        We also look back at Mid South Wrestling in the 80s, the attempt to replace the Junkyard Dog that led to the brief period of stardom of Savannah Jack, who passed away this past week.
 
        We look at how Jack got into pro wrestling, who he played college football with who became a major star, how he broke in and found his way to Mid South Wrestling and the UWF, the list of JYD replacements in that territory that never panned out, his moment in the Sun, why it ended so quickly and the health problems that ended his career and plagued the rest of his life.
 
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        We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week.  We also have how every segment on Raw and Impact did as far as gaining and losing viewers, as well as who did what in the key segments and who appeals to what.  

        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:
 
--CMLL's first major show of the year notes and what legends are being honored
 
--Star wrestler put out of action in an accident the likes of which you'll never believe
 
--Notes on AAA's first television taping on 2012
 
--What it looks like AAA is building for its first major show of the year
 
--Johnny Gargano injury situation
 
--A look at Dragon Gate's major show at Korakuen Hall this past week
 
--NOAH's first big show of the year, title changes and other big matches as well as two new title matches announced
 
--A look at New Japan's Fantasticmania, joint shows with CMLL
 
--More on the Jesse Ventura story
 
--Wrestling announcer whose career spans four decades in serious accident
 
--Pro wrestler sentenced to 32 years in jail this past week
 
--Pro wrestling promoter serving time in jail right now
 
--Behind the firing of Syd Eick from ROH
 
--A look at ROH angles going forward and the two shows this past week
 
--Early notes on TNA Lockdown and ticket sales
 
--Against All Odds main event situation
 
--Update on Jeff Hardy
 
--More people leaving TNA
 
--Notes on the India promotion and plans going forward
 
--Mr. Anderson talks leaving WWE
 
--More on Ric Flair in WWE Hall of Fame a second time
 
--Notes on all the TNA house shows this past week both in the U.S. and Europe
 
--Update on UFC PPV numbers
 
--Strikeforce ticket sales
 
--More on the box office results for Haywire and thoughts on the opening weekend
 
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--Stipulations on the UFC on FOX show this week
 
--Update on UFC doing its own drug testing
 
--More on King Mo Lawal's failed drug test
 
--Marc Ratner rules on Erick Silva vs. Carlo Prater fight from Brazil
 
--New UFC ad and what is behind it
 
--UFC millionaires
 
--Update on Mark Munoz after surgery
 
--More on the TUF Brazil show
 
--Notes on plans for TUF Australia vs. U.K, time frame, finals and a probable coach
 
--UFC banning more sponsors and why
 
--NFL star talks about wanting to do MMA after football is over
 
--Notes on the beginning of the next season of TUF U.S.
 
--UFC star in a Super Bowl commercial
 
--Lots of new UFC fights
 
--Early plans for April PPV in Atlanta and May FOX show
 
--Notes on the next Bellator show and its new time slot
 
--More on HDNet being sold and what that means for the MMA programming
 
--Details on new weekly MMA TV show on Spike that starts in March
 
--Former UFC and Strikeforce fighter sentenced to prison
 
--More on the grandson of a pro wrestling legend in MMA
 
--A new potential MMA star and opponent for the women's champion     
 
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--We will be back tonight with Wrestling Observer Radio covering the Royal Rumble, more on the TNA tapings in London, ratings for the UFC show last night and more late tonight.
 
--Tonight's Royal Rumble is an official sellout. 
 
--Some more notes from the TNA tapings yesterday in London.  There was originally going to be a big entrance and ramp but they stripped it down at about 2 p.m. for reasons that were never confirmed.  Sting was walking fine as he left the arena but he was banged up.  Others described him as limping and hurting.  He was going to see a doctor when he got home but he didn't think his injury was serious.  The event should look great on television because of the good crowd and super hot reactions.  The camera shooting around the arena looked great.  The hard camera shots didn't look any different from any other Impact I was told, but the big crowd made TNA look more major league.
 
--Mark Haskins suffered a concussion from a botched shooting star press.  He was back at the building after going to the hospital in an ambulance.  They feared a broken neck when he landed on his face landing short on a shooting star press against Austin Aries on the first Impact (that airs Thursday) that was taped yesterday.  A match on the second show taped, the go-home show for Against All Odds, was scheduled to be Aries & Haskins vs. Douglas Williams & Alex Shelley, and it became a three-way with Aries, Williams and Shelley.  Haskins was released from the hospital and was at the post-show party just to show everyone he was okay.  His pupils were dilated and it was said you could tell he had a concussion, but he was talking to people.
 
--While this got little pub, Mark "Rollerball" Rocco was backstage at the TNA show.  Rocco was the original Black Tiger in Japan who feuded with Tiger Mask.  Hulk Hogan, who worked for New Japan during the heyday of Tiger Mask, and teamed with Rocco on some occasions, specifically asked that he be brought in when he decided to come to the U.K.
 
--TNA already announced a return to the U.K. in January 2013 with shows in Nottingham, Manchester, London and Glasgow and will actually be selling tickets a year in advance starting on Monday.
 
--Bill Apter had an intestinal problem which resulted in him having to go to the emergency room (for the first time in his life) and was told it wouldn't be a good idea to fly to Los Angeles this weekend.  He was told to make some diet modifications but we've heard from him a few days ago and seems like he's doing fine.
 
--Another Hulk Hogan interview from the U.K. is at http://tinyurl.com/74gn6mu  
 
--No ratings for the UFC show past what is already up on the site will be available until tomorrow.  The original numbers are down 4% from the 11/12 show, but that doesn't figure in the final 18 minutes of the show, and with it, the number may end up almost exactly the same.  Based on what we have, which is half hour breakdowns, it grew solidly every half hour.  As noted, the final audience should be between 5.3 million and 6.0 million, probably very close to the number of the first show, which did 5.68 million viewers.  It more than doubled everything else on the networks last night in the 18-49 demo, although in total viewers would have been behind CBS crime dramas that appeal to older audiences.  The figure skating on head-to-head did 3.72 million viewers.  
 
--Bryan Alvarez and Mike Sempervive are previewing the Royal Rumble, talking last night's UFC from 6-8 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Ch. 94 and XM Ch. 208.  The show is streaming live now on the front page.
 
--ESPN Sports Center last night listed the Cub Swanson knockout of George Roop as one of its top 10 plays of the day.
 
--We don't have a URL past www.kare11.com but they did a story on Verne Gagne being at the Parkway Theater yesterday for several screenings of "The Wrestler."  They talked a lot about him in a TV news story pushing how famous he used to be locally.  The incident where he killed the elderly man a few years back was never mentioned in any of the stories.  Looked like a lot of older fans had a good time seeing him and seeing the movie that relived 1974 AWA wrestling during one of its hot periods.
 
--A New York Times story on Rulon Gardner, at 40, trying to qualify for the 2012 Olympic team is at http://nyti.ms/xTNv3i  Within the amateur wrestling community, the Gardner comeback is getting far more attention than the Angle comeback.  In fact, in amateur publications I read, the Angle story has never been mentioned.  Gardner is now 315 pounds.  He got to 289 on The Biggest Loser and has put weight back on. 
 
--Today's Walter Scott Parade Personality Q&A in Parade magazine included a question of how Gina Carano got her role in "Haywire."  Steven Soderbergh said he was tired of women action film stars who weren't believable doing stunts and fight scenes. (thanks to Jose Gonzalez)
 
--Announced for the 2/14 Smackdown tapings in Fresno are Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show for the world title and Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett in a street fight. (thanks to Bryan White)
 
--Who do you expect to win the Rumble
Chris Jericho 54.3%
Randy Orton 22.4%
Other 8.9%
C.M. Punk 3.6%
Sheamus 2.8%
Dolph Ziggler 2.8%
Daniel Bryan 1.3%
Miz 1.3%
John Cena 1.2%
Christian 0.7%
Big Show 0.5%
Mark Henry 0.3%
 
--Who was the best of these feuds
John Cena vs. C.M. Punk 33.2%
GSP vs. Josh Koscheck 14.7%
Kevin Steen vs. ROH 10.7% 
Randy Orton vs. Christian 8.7%
Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards 8.7%
Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 7.2%
Mark Henry vs. Big Show 4.0%
Blood Warriors vs. Junction Three 3.9%
Michael Bisping vs. Mayhem Miller 3.2%
Briscoes vs. All Night Express 2.3%
Averno vs. La Mascara 2.2%
Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya vs. Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi 1.2%
 
--Poll on Smackdown
Excellent 11.3%
Good 51.8%
Average 19.5%
Fair 5.6%
Poor 11.8%
        28.3% of those responding didn't see the show 
 
--The New York Times had nothing on last night's UFC show.
 
--Georges St. Pierre was the single most searched for item last night on Google.  UFC on FOX was around No. 12 last night and again this afternoon, behind both the Pro Bowl and NHL All-Star game.
 
--As noted earlier we had a typo last night on the judging story.  The cards in Chris Weidman vs. Demian Maia were incorrectly read and Weidman won a unanimous decision, not a split decision.  The cards were read correctly in the Michael Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen fight.
 
--Danshoku Dino beat Kudo yesterday at Korakuen Hall to win the DDT KO-D open weight championship.
 
--Johnny Valiant will be appearing at Gizzi's on 16 West 8th St. in Manhattan tonight at 7 PM. doing stand-up comedy with music.  There will also be a meet and greet at with Valiant and wrestlers from Family Wrestling entertainment at 7 p.m.
 
--HighSpots was filming the Los Angeles Celebration seminar yesterday so expect it on DVD soon.  Abdullah the Butcher was late for his appearance there because he was talking to Carlos Colon for a long time.  Abdullah arrived in a wheelchair but was able to move into a chair at the table where he was signing.  The most popular stuff was Mick Foley, who did whatever character people wanted, Brooke Tessmacher in a bikini photo shoot that had everyone's attention, and the Papa Shango gimmick photo opportunity.  (thanks to Daniel Short)
 
--Mike Tyson was there and last night Tyson and Superstar Billy Graham were together telling stories.  Tyson talked about how much he loved Graham and his interviews growing up.
 
--Another name not mentioned at the convention was Seymour Koenig, who was a famous weightlifter/wrestler in the days of Lou Thesz.  Dick Beyer said that when he was given The Destroyer gimmick by Jules Strongbow (a Southern California promoter, no relation to the former WWWF tag team champion who took the name in the 70s) that his first match under that name was with Koenig and the two hadn't seen each other in years.  (thanks to Mike Lano)
 
--CWE third year anniversary show from Friday night in Winnipeg:  Carter Mason b Tommy Lee Curtis, Rick Matthews & J.J.Sanchez b Tyler Colton & B. Brian Rich, Bubble McFly b Ike Idol, Zack Mercury & The Axe b Nate Hardy & Darian Karisma, Mike Mission & Cliff Corleone b Spyder & Darren Dalton, Moses Luke b Paul Arcidi, Matt Fairline b Val Venis, Robby Royce & Anderson Tyson Moore b A.J. Sanchez & Kevy Chevy , Dany Duggan b Mentallo to win the CWE title.  Next show is in Winnipeg at Cowboy's Roadhouse on 3/8 with Tommy Dreamer and Vance Nevada..
 
--A rematch of the great Evolve match between Sami Callihan and Fit Finlay was announced as a first round match in the 16 carat gold tournament in Oberhausen, Germany on 3/2.
 
--An interview with Dave Wishnowski, who created the new wrestling game Pro Wrestling X:  Uprising is at http://www.axebombermag.com/2012/01/interview-dave-wishnowski-of-pro-wrestling-x/
 
--This is an old story, but Ryan Gosling talked about when he was young and asked the Ultimate Warrior for an autograph and how it was the most disappointing experience of his life at http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ryan-gosling-thailand-oscars-only-god-forgives-285437
 
--A clip of Hulk Hogan from last night's TNA tapings in London is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dr4epwPNmrw
 
--Wrestlezone Scotland from 1/28 in Aberdeen, Scotland before 150 fans:  Davey Annan b Blue Thunder, Johnny Lions won four-way over Shawn Johnson, James Midas & Benjamin Steele, Crusher Craib & Sterling Oil b Zach Dynamite & Los Cystos, Scotty Swift b Mr. Malice, Aspen Faith b Chris Archer, Bryan Tucker b Damien  
 
--Pro Wrestling Xtreme from last night in Orlando:  Lince Dorado b Milo Beasley & Rocky Santiago, Christina Von Eerie b Santana Garett, Hegasus b Michael Ziak, Chasyn Rance b Chico Adams, Vordell Walker b 2 Cold Scorpio, Steve Corino b Sam Shaw, Masked Maniac & Maximum Capacity b Blue Weenie & Lizard Schlong, Jillian Hall b Leva Bates, The Sheik DDQ Jesse Neal, New Jack b Reggie Brown, Latin Assassins b Circle of Disrespect, Steve Corino b Vordell Walker to win PWX heavyweight title (thanks to Al Haft)   

Who is the strongest Hall of Fame candidate from this list?

 

Who is the strongest Hall of Fame candidate from this list?

 

Who should get the next featherweight title shot?