MON. UPDATE: WWE & TNA each lose one roster member, Angle, TNA cancels tour, Weekend show notes



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        We're looking for your thoughts on last night's TNA Final Resolution PPV, as well as Saturday night's Strikeforce Evolution show, Saturday night's ROH Internet PPV and Saturday night's WEC show so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match on all of these shows to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

        We're also looking for reports on the WWE weekend house shows, Friday night in Miami and Mobile, Saturday night in Albany, GA and West Palm Beach, and last night in Tallahassee.
 
        We're looking for reports on tonight's Raw show in Tampa, with dark matches, Superstars match and anything else not evident on the live show, as well as tonight's Impact tapings in Orlando.

 

'Tonight will be the final pro wrestling shows before Christmas from the major companies.  Raw will be live in Tampa and they are scheduled to do the Little People's Court segment with DX and Hornswoggle.  Johnny Damon is guest host.  Nothing else has been announced.
 
        Impact's New Year's Eve show (no Impact this Thursday) will be taped tonight in Orlando with an eight-woman tournament for a shot at new champion Tara either on TV or the January PPV.
 
        ROH tonight on HDNet:
*Chris Hero vs. Kyle O'Reilly
*Joey Ryan vs. Necro Butcher
*Colt Cabana vs. Claudio Castagnoli
 
        The Super J Cup at Korakuen Hall takes place very late tonight (Tuesday in Japan) and Wednesday sponsored by New Japan Pro Wrestling.  First night matches are YAMATO (Dragon Gate) vs. AKIRA (New Japan), Kota Ibushi (DDT) vs. Gedo (New Japan), Danshoku Dino (DDT) vs. Jado (New Japan), Atsushi Aoki (NOAH) vs. Prince Devitt (New Japan), Gentaro (free) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi (New Japan), Fujita Jr. Hayato (Michinoku Pro) vs. Koji Kanemoto (New Japan), Tiger's Mask (Osaka Pro) vs. Taichi (New Japan) and Jushin Liger (New Japan) vs. Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH).  The tournament winner faces Tiger Mask on 1/4 at the Tokyo Dome for the IWGP jr. title.  For more on the tournament go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=931IyAQ6_Iis

        Exclusive coverage on Bret Hart's return to the WWE is the headline story in today's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  The issue goes through the details of Hart's return, how long talks have been going on to build to this return, how much the return of the Monday Night Wars had to do with it, notes on the planned program and the times in the past Hart had been given offers to return to the company.

        We look back at what led to the infamous Survivor Series screw job in 1997, the ending of Hart's career as an active wrestler in 2000 and his WWE appearances since that time.  We look at different angles suggested over the years for Hart's return including a major one earlier this year that didn't happen.  We look at various incidents in 1997 that led to what happened in Montreal and the timetable of his return and how long he's staying.

        We also look at plans for WrestleMania up to this point, as well as a look at that disastrous Raw Slammy Awards show, which got the award for one of the worst episodes of the year.  We look at what went wrong, the inside rips, the silliness and plans going forward.

        We also have a huge story on how a major media business change that took place has already affected UFC, and how it may also affect WWE in a positive way, particularly in giving the company possible leverage in television negotiations.    

        We also look at the new Frank Mir in his quest to beat Brock Lesnar, as well as an update on Lesnar's health, the proposed Mir vs. Shane Carwin fight and the UFC vs. WrestleMania battle this year.

        The issue is available now to premium subscribers on the web site.  You can also get the Observer mailed to your home with details below.

        We also have a complete rundown of UFC 107, with business notes on the show, crowd reactions and match-by-match coverage with poll results.

        We also look at the biggest international pro wrestling event of the year, the annual Tokyo Dome show coming on 1/4, including the return of one of the biggest feuds in Japanese wrestling history, as well as notes on the negotiations to put the show together with the inter promotional theme.

        We also have full coverage of the WWE's Tables, Ladders and Chairs PPV, including a look at new champion Sheamus and his background, the announcing, WWE's new policy on blood as well as match-by-match coverage, poll results and star ratings on the show.

        We also have a story on how the WWE and pro wrestling is starting to affect Linda McMahon's campaign for the U.S. Senate, including reaction by those in political battles with her regarding the deaths in the business and were policy on health care and how that relates to pro wrestling.

        We also have some updates and clarifications on the WWE Wellness policy, and in particular how these changes relate to a potential return of Jeff Hardy, as well as why certain guys look like they are still on steroids, and an update on the company's treatment of marijuana test failures.                

        We also have major WWE business news including one of the leading owners of the company looks to be getting out, reaction to Umaga's death, future of Shane McMahon, Shawn Michaels and Bryan Danielson.

        We also look at the concussion issue in wrestling, update on the Little People's court segment on Raw, new WWE television deal, former world champion talks about returning to WWE next month and best selling DVDs of the year.   
        
        We also look at the 2009 Tokyo Sports pro wrestling awards, looking at who the press in Japan named MVP, Most Outstanding, Tag Team of the Year, Match of the Year, Rookie of the year and the other big awards. We also have a 36-year history of the Japanese pro wrestling MVP award, including what American was the only winner in history.

        We also have a rundown on AAA's final major show of the year, Guerra de Titanes.

        We also have a story from Europe on a pro wrestling gimmick that has transferred over to MMA this past week, drawing some of the best ratings in the history of that sport.  We look at a newcomer who is the type that would have done pro wrestling in another era, as well as look back on the famous strong men in pro wrestling history.

       We also have a look at the ratings for all the major pro
wrestling and MMA shows on television over the past week.
 
    We also have our usual weekly features such as the results of the
biggest matches of the week and rundown of the major television shows.
 
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Also in this week's issue:
 
--Wrestler copies 60s gimmick and gets national television exposure from it

--Ratings from Mexico

--Last AAA TV tapings of the year notes

--California star from the 70s gets honored

--What WWE star will face a world champion of an international promotion on a big show early next year

--A look at the major Dragon Gate shows this past week

--A look at the All Japan Fan Appreciation Day show

--A look at the big angle for 2010 in the All Japan promotion

--Big tag team tournament coming

--Bracketing for the upcoming Super J Cup

--Coroners report on the death of Edward "Umaga" Fatu

--Update on charges filed against Verne Gagne's granddaughter Gail

--New Hall of Fame inductees for 2010

--Updates on Bobby Heenan and Steve "Dr. Death" Williams

--Former WWE tag team champion to debut next month in a TV show featuring world's most downloaded model of the 90s

--What former WWE contracted wrestler will play Anna Nicole Smith in a movie

--Cage of Death notes

--More on Hulk Hogan coming to TNA

--Update on Ric Flair and TNA

--Notes on TNA's New Year's Eve programming

--Notes on the new TNA television show

--More on Bobby Lashley's signing with Strikeforce

--Plans for Lashley

--How the deal was put together and why it took so long

--More tales from Hogan, such as shooting on Inoki

--Notes on Mick Foley's next book

--An unbelievably bad angle not shot for television

--More on UFC injury situation

--A look at the UFC debut in Australia

--Lineup for the Australia debut

--What star in one of the most watched television matches ever was cut

--Why Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell were made coaches of the next season of Ultimate Fighter

--Steve Mazzagatti  defends himself against charges by Dana White

--More UFC international expansion

--Possible future matches for B.J. Penn

--Why Kimbo Slice chose UFC

--Judge in Rua vs. Machida fight now thinks Rua won

--Notes on the next CBS MMA event

--Updates on Fedor Emelianenko, Gina Carano and Frank Shamrock fighting

--Update on the EA Sports MMA video game

--Update on the New Year's Eve show

--Former Olympian signs contract

--Former gold medalist starts MMA training

 
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--The talk backstage in Tampa is that Tommy Dreamer has quit the promotion and his farewell was doing a job for Zack Ryder last night on the ECW show that will air tomorrow.  Dreamer was the last link between the original ECW and the current incarnation.  It was reported at pwinsider.com this morning that they thought he had left.  We checked and several have confirmed that it is the main topic of converation today.  The only real thing we've heard from Tampa is that there are little people running around everywhere backstage.  Mae Young was asked to fly in for tonight's show.
 
--The February TNA tour of Australia has been canceled.  They claim is was a scheduling issue.  Read that slow ticket sales.  They claim they will come back later in the year. (thanks to Blake Wolfson)
 
--From last night's TNA Final Resolution PPV, Sheik Abdul Bashir (Khozrow Daivari) gave notice so it will be him legitimately leaving the company.  He had asked if he could be the one to draw the fired briefcase.  And yes, that means we will have Amazing Red vs. Rob Terry in an X Division title match.
 
--Almost no UFC programming this week on Spike.  The only stuff is two hours tomorrow night with Unleashed hours headlined by Forrest Griffin vs. Quinton Jackson and Roger Huerta vs. Leonard Garcia.
 
--The New York Times over the weekend had a story on New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott, known as one of football's best talkers.  As expected, he got his inspiration from pro wrestlers, noting Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Roddy Piper.  He constantly says "To be the man, you've got to beat the man,  Whoo!"  He called that the most realistic line in the history of life.

 

--Nick & Matt Jackson, the Young Bucks, are at the TNA tapings in Orlando tonight.  They would probably work a dark match.  TNA is aggressively going after talent right now.

 

--Jersey All Pro Wrestling on 1/23 in Rahway, NJ at the Rec Center is headlined by Homicide vs. Masato Tanaka and Dan Maff vs. Eddie Kingston, plus Drake Younger vs. Ruckus.  TNA's Madison Rayne challenges Sara Del Rey for the women's title, and Steve Corino also appears.
 
--On the WFAN Mike Francesca reference from yesterday, apparently a bunch of callers were pranking him on Friday, starting with a caller who said the Giants needed to hire Ted DiBiase and Bob Backlund as coaches.  Francesca admitted to knowing who DiBiase and Backlund were.  He also said he met Mick Foley in the late 90s, since both are from Long Island, but had no idea who he was when he met him. (thanks to Brian Locke)
 
--During the Texans vs. Rams game yesterday, four pro wrestlers were mentioned.  They talked about the great rookie season James Laurinaitis is having with the Rams, and mentioned Road Warrior Animal, which happens al the time.  They also mentioned that Craig Null, the Rams quarterback played college ball at West Texas A&M and mentioned Terry Funk, Dusty Rhodes and Ted DiBiase all played there (along with Stan Hansen, Bobby Duncum Sr., Bruiser Brody, Dory Funk, Tully Blanchard, Tito Santana, Kelly Kiniski and others). (thanks to Ken Motley)
 
--On last night's radio show, a question was asked regarding issues with Kurt Angle and Eddy Guerrero.  The incident was on September 14, 2004.  Kurt Angle and Luther Reigns were getting a big heel push, and were supposed to beat down Big Show and Guerrero would make the save.  Guerrero came out too fast, before they had even gotten heat on Show.  Angle yelled at Guerrero backstage and Guerrero flipped out and attacked him.  Angle just grabbed a front facelock and held Guerrero in place, which made Guerrero even madder, except he couldn't do anything.  Guerrero complained at the time he thought Angle was disrespecting him in their matches and working too stiff with him, noting Angle slapping him in the head when Guerrero asked him to stay away from his head.  There were also troubles because in matches with both Angle and Reigns at the time, they'd try to pick him up off the mat to continue working and he wouldn't get up.  It blew over and it was blamed at the time on both guys being frustrated and they made up. (thanks to Justin Shapiro)
 
--Jim Ross talks Strikeforce announcing at http://www.jrsbarbq.com/ and some good suggestion for presentation improvements
 
--Regarding the question of the 12/30 WWE Carrier Dome show in Syracuse, they are blocking off most of the arena for the event.
 
--Best TV show on Saturday night
Strikeforce Evolution 36.3%
ROH Final Battle on Internet 25.2%
WWE Tribute to the Troops 25.2%
WEC 13.2%
 
--Poll on Smackdown
Excellent 10.7%
Good 49.3%
Average 17.9%
Fair 6.4%
Poor 15.7%
        31.7% of those responding didn't see the show
 
--Poll on Tribute to the Troops
Excellent 28.8%
Good 28.8%
Average 14.7%
Fair 8.3%
Poor 19.2%
        39.5% of those responding didn't see the show
 
--Best fight on Saturday night
Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson 39.6%
Cung Le vs. Scott Smith 35.5%
Donald Cerrone vs. Ed Ratcliff 17.2%
Scott Jorgenson vs. Takeya Mizugaki 7.7%

 
--Brian Fritz talks to Ted DiBiase Jr. about "The Marine 2" at http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/wrestling/2009/12/breakfast-with-ted-dib iase-part2.html
 
--Time Warner on Demand has the UFC 108 preview.  They push only the Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva main event.  The storyline is that both men need a win to avenge their losses to Lyoto Machida, and that Evans is going for revenge because Silva knocked out his best friend, Keith Jardine. (thanks to Suju Abraham)   
 
--Deadspin wrote about former UFC creator Art Davie's X-Arm concept, which is a cross between arm wrestling and hockey fights at http://deadspin.com/54306870/arm-wrestling--to-the-max (thanks to Ben Zani)
 
--WWE has another survey, looking at what type of merchandise fans are most interested in buying and what they own.
 
--NWA Anarchy from Saturday night in Cornelia, GA before 90 fans:  J.T. Talent & Drew Pendleton III b Anthony Henry & Corey Hollis, Melissa Coates b Crystal Rose, Dany Only (former rock star) & Strykyn b Don Matthews & Jessco Blue, Jay Clinton & Mr. Black b Hayden Young & J-Rod, Phil Shatter b B.J. Hancock, Adryan Hawkins b Azrael, Seth Delay b Billy Buck, Brodie Chase b Mikal Judas, Jeremy Vain & Orion Bishop b Shadow Jackson & Todd Sexton.  They return 1/2 for season's beatings (thanks to Larry Goodman)
 
--SoCal Pro Wrestling on 1/9 in Oceanside, CA at the Boys & Girls Club has Tommy Wilson vs. SoCal Crazy plus the Ballard Twins
 
--WAR on 1/16 in Lima, OH at the UAW Hall with Brian Beech vs. Steve Stone
 
--There is a benefit show for longtime promoter Bert Prentice, trying to raise money because of his expenses with cancer surgery.  What a horrible disease that is.  The show will be Saturday night in Carthage, TN at the Smith County Fairgrounds Ag Building with James Storm vs. Chase Stevens and Abyss vs. Eric Young as headliners, plus Jeremy Borash will be the ring announcer
 
--The Denton Record-Chronicle in Denton, TX, had a story about the folding of the local SCW promotion on Saturday night, noting it had run in the city for a decade.  "Wrestling is not what it was," said owner Nite Davis.  "The heart is missing, and the atmosphere has changed.  There are not enough bloodthirsty fans or bloodthirsty guys (performers)...The bland factor is disheartening."  They will continue to run a wrestling school
 
--CHIKARA opens next year on 1/31 at the Arena in Philadelphia