THURS. UPDATE: Lesnar vs. Overeem, WWE 3, Carano, Biggest TNA star, Rumble winner, Yearbook



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        Impact tonight on Spike:

Tara vs. Brooke Tessmacher with Madison Rayne as referee

Eric Young & ODB vs. Shannon Moore & Anarquia in the Wild card tag team tournament

RVD & Christopher Daniels vs. A.J. Styles & Kazarian in the Wild card tag team tournament

Tony Nese vs Zema Ion in match two of the best of three series

Jeff Hardy & Sting vs. Bully Ray & Bobby Roode in a street fight

        I was told the main event is better than you'd think.  The show also includes Kurt Angle going to James Storm's home town bar looking for him.    

        Superstars tonight on the WWE web site:

Alex Riley vs. Michael McGillicutty

Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne vs. Tyler Reks & Curt Hawkins

Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater

Ezekiel Jackson vs. Hunico

        We have a number of holiday specials that will continue until Christmas for those of you looking at a wrestling present for family or friends, or even enemies if you wish.

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        For the print Observer, if you order a 16 issue subscription for someone who is not a current subscriber, you get four issues free for each 16 you order and there is no limit to that offer.  These are good until Christmas.
 
        We are crammed with news in this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer, which covers the title wins by Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder with a lot of exclusive news, including the background of the Bryan push, who was work it and who wasn't for it, and a shocking number that came out this past week.
 
        We look at the careers of Bryan and C.M. Punk since they started in WWE, a look at champions first created by Money in the Bank, what Punk legitimately overcame, notes on the first season of NXT, what happened that made NXT such a low priority besides the ratings, the story behind the Bryan title win, the Mark Henry injury, what winning the title does and doesn't mean, the difference between live crowd reaction and ratings, the dichotomy of the popularity of Zack Ryder, the possible end of the line of Kevin Nash plus our usual coverage of the TLC PPV show with match-by-match coverage, star ratings and more.
 
        We also look back at the legendary heel Umanosuke Ueda, what role he popularized, his heyday, what he's best known for in Japan, his role in big ratings and notes on his career.
 
        We also have a detailed look at what the Survivor Series buy rate said about WWE on PPV and the comeback of The Rock.  We look at comparisons with last years, domestic vs. international split, UFC vs. WWE on the same weekend and more.
 
        We also have a look at the 2011 Japanese awards, both by the sportswriters as well as by the fans for MVP, Match of the Year, Tag Team of the Year, Most Outstanding, and the strange nominees for Best Technical and more.
 
        We also have more on the Alistair Overeem drug testing fiasco with this week's update.
 
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        We also look at the new deal signed by Zuffa and Showtime for Strikeforce in 2012, plans for the brand, comments from Dana White and Scott Coker, the women's scene, ratings and more about the deal.
 
        We also look at the new twist in the Friday night wars with Ultimate Fighter Fridays being added, and what the end game from Spike TV really is, why they are programming so hard against UFC and what they would like to happen.
 
        We also look at Linda McMahon and the campaign and what she isn't and isn't talking about in her campaign literature.  We look at the "Cena sucks" T-shirts, a new Cena endorsement, more on one of the main events at the 2012 WrestleMania, more on WWE winning awards, return of Christian, Del Rio injury note, female performer quits, more on WWE network and the reality shows, Jim Ross on forgetting his lines, Notes on new wrestlers being called up to the main roster over the next few weeks and background, Rumble main event, a name batted about for Hall of Fame, Steve Austin movie project, Dave Bautista talks the current product, more on holiday house shows, new people signed by WWE and background, developmental notes and weekend house show highlights and business.
 
        We've also got coverage of the AAA and CMLL last major shows of the year.  We look at Guerra de Titanes, including several TNA wrestlers appear before bigger crowds than they ever would for TNA, who has jumped, the new NWO idea, and what TNA wrestler drew raves for being a world champion level performer.  We also look at the young wrestler from the U.S. who is feuding with a Mexican legend.
 
        We also look at the plight of CMLL with Sin Piedad featuring the Felino vs. Blue Panther hair vs. hair match and the terrible finish.
 
        We've also got complete coverage of Strikeforce, including the ratings, the surprising notes about the ratings, why they were what they were, comparisons with the Andre Ward numbers, the Cris Cyborg contract numbers plus match-by-match coverage with pay reports from the show.
 
        We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week, including the most details on Raw from this 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.   
 
         Also in this week's issue:
 
--Notes on the tournament for the vacant CMLL world title
 
--Upcoming AAA television
 
--Abdullah the Butcher returns to Japan and a surprising main event
 
--Update on knee reconstruction surgery of one of Japan's biggest stars
 
--More on NOAH's next big show
 
--Details on the Satoshi Kojima 20th anniversary show
 
--Return of Stan Hansen to Japan
 
--Update on Toshiaki Kawada
 
--End of an era with the ECW Arena
 
--Devon Nicholson and the Canadian Olympic team
 
--A former pro wrestler who left pro wrestling and won an Olympic silver medal and how he almost also got involved in the early UFC
 
--The story behind a WWE wrestler who trained with WWE talent and snuck out to the Olympic team trials a decade ago
 
--Latest on Linda Hogan and Chyna
 
--Notes on ROH  Final Battle
 
--Why Jeff & Karen Jarrett are gone from TNA
 
--Story on how long they are gone for
 
--What Jeff is now doing
 
--TNA wrestlers sent to OVW
 
--Update on the TNA Genesis PPV
 
--A look at the angles building up Genesis
 
--Notes on TNA's India satellite group
 
--Garett Bischoff update
 
--Song about a pro wrestler noted as one of the best songs of the year by Rolling Stone
 
--Who should get credit for the Jarrett/Sting vignettes on Impact
 
--A look at where Impact is headed and a new heel turn in TNA
 
--Former WWE wrestler expected to join TNA imminently
 
--Dana White gets awarded even during a down year
 
--Update on UFC 140 PPV number report
 
--The unique patterns of the show and what it says about Toronto
 
--Lorenzo Fertitta talks PPV business vs. FOX
 
--Fertitta talks drug testing
 
--Update on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira after Frank Mir broke his arm
 
--Another new MMA television show announced
 
--A UFC 24 hour TV marathon coming
 
--A look at the firing of Miguel Torres as well as Joe Rogan, Dana White and others
 
--Update on Fabricio Werdum's return to UFC
 
--Brock Lesnar talks about his guilty plea in hunting case
 
--Mirko Cro Cop asked to do pro wrestling
 
--Return of Gabriel Gonzaga
 
--Latest details of the annual Japanese New Year's Eve show including for the first time, Japanese pro wrestling airing on New Year's Eve special
 
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--A few notes on last night's UFC Countdown show.  Definitely worth seeing.  The show does a great job of getting Alistair Overeem and the match with Brock Lesnar over.  I'd expect a good number except the Friday aspect has me worried.  The rule of thumb is that if you present something people want to see, they'll make sure to see it, but the way ratings decline so bad for almost any TV show where the time slot moves, I don't know if that's the case today.  They cover that match and Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone which is built completely around Diaz snubbing a Cerrone handshake.  Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks wasn't even mentioned.  You see all the clips of Overeem as a 205 pounder in Pride and a 224 pound heavyweight in Strikeforce against Paul Buentello and today's version. 
 
--THQ and UFC Undisputed 3 ran 25 simulated matches with Lesnar and Overeem.  Overeem won most of them and the majority via first round knockout.  In the 25 matches, Lesnar won two via submission.  For more you can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VstRXJrQ2D8
 
--Figure Four Weekly will be up either today or tomorrow.  It's delayed because of the holidays and next week may be the case.  Next week's Observer will be the annual year in review issue.
 
--Bryan and I will be back for Observer radio late tomorrow covering Ring of Honor and we'll be doing our weekend show on Sunday night.
 
--A story on comparing Zack Ryder, Daniel Bryan and C.M. Punk to Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero is at http://www.grantland.com/search/_/query/the-masked-man
 
--C.M. Punk talks about his return to Chicago at http://www.redeyechicago.com/sports/ct-red-1222-cmpunk-20111221,0,7450125.story  He talks about winning the title in Chicago, his feelings on TV-PG, watching Royce Gracie, training with Dan Severn, Michael Cole, ice cream bars and more.
 
--A story on the most googled female athlete of 2011 is at http://www.totalprosports.com/2011/12/14/the-30-most-googled-female-athletes-of-2011/  Gina Carano, even though she didn't compete all year, was No. 13 on a list dominated by tennis players.  Michelle Wie as No. 12, Danica Patrick was No. 7 and the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova top the list with Serena at No. 1.
 
--Stephanie McMahon-Levesque was named to the Board of Directors for the USO Metropolitan Washington.  WWE was cited for all the work they've done for the troops over the years including the annual Tribute to the Troops show.
 
--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia concerns Melina Perez.  Perez is a 1997 graduate of Hesperia High School in Hesperia, CA.  In 2000, she competed in the Miss California beauty pageant.  Before getting into wrestling, she did modeling including Nike ads, but fell victim to the fact there wasn't a big demand for 5-foot-3 models.  She trained for wrestling at Jesse Hernandez's School of Hard Knocks and was one of the last people cut in the tryouts for the house for Tough Enough 3.  It was at the final audition for the show where she first met John Hennigan, who became John Morrison.
 
--Lance Storm looks at Starrcade 88 headlined by Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger watching it again 23 years later and noting how wrestling has changed at http://www.stormwrestling.com/122111.html
 
--Biggest star on the current TNA roster
Kurt Angle 32.9%
Jeff Hardy 20.9%
Ric Flair 12.0%
Sting 8.0%
Bobby Roode 7.3%
James Storm 5.2%
A.J. Styles 4.7%
Mickie James 3.8%
Velvet Sky 2.3%
Bully Ray 1.4%
RVD 0.9%
Eric Bischoff 0.7%
 
--Who do you expect to win this year's Royal Rumble?
Randy Orton 26.1%
Chris Jericho 23.4%
Dolph Ziggler 15.4%
Sheamus 10.7%
Other 9.4%
Miz 4.3%
Cody Rhodes 4.3%
Mark Henry 2.3%
Zack Ryder 1.6%
R-Truth 1.0%
Christian 0.8%
Alberto Del Rio 0.6%
 
--Who do you expect to win this fight?
Donald Cerrone 59.6%
Nate Diaz 40.4%    
 
--Another article on Devon Nicholson nearly making the Canadian Olympic team is at http://www.orleansstar.ca/Sports-7195 (thanks to Catherine Damico)
 
--Alex Marvez talks to Corporal Robinson about his retirement due to injuries at http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf/story/bc-prowrestling22sh/3b25289580fc4bb7bb6141f50c8a8d12 
 
--Police have issued another warrant for Larry Seth, 22, of Hamilton, in conjunction with the murder death of Joe Batten, which we've been writing about all week.  Batten, who won the no gi competition in the intermediate division at the UFC Expo in Toronto would have turned 23 today.  He was stabbed to death in the parking lot after a concert in Cambridge, ONT.   she w dd havedhave turned 23 todayging atakling on Canadian polioce has
 
--Fox News ran a piece with high school yearbook photos of The Undertaker, The Rock, Bill Goldberg and Hulk Hogan at http://entertainment.blogs.foxnews.com/post/14563893316/celebrity-yearbook-photo-smackdown-pro-wrestlers?test=faces
 
--Chyna talks about her time in the WWF as well as her future in the porn world at http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/columns/215870
 
--She's also hosting Vivid Entertainment's New Year's Eve party at the Ecco Ultra Lounge in Hollywood, CA which is open to the public.
 
--Got a lot of comments regarding last night's radio show on Vladimir, the front row regular fan at WWE and WWF events dating back to the 80s at least.  I'm told he hasn't been a regular since 2005 but was at the WrestleMania in Phoenix and has been at some of the indie shows in the New York area.  
 
--CMLL from Monday night in Puebla:  Akron & Ares b Black Tiger & Silver, Leono & Molotov & Starman b Disturbio & Artillero & Super Comando, Cancerbero & Misterioso Jr. & Raziel b Angel Azteca Jr. & Pegasso & Stuka Jr., Black Warrior & Blue Panther & Maximo b Mr. Aguila & Felino & Polvora-DQ, El Terrible & Rey Bucanero & Volador Jr. b Atlantis & La Mascara & Rush (thanks to Kris Zellner)
 
--An interview with Kenny Rice on the year in MMA is at http://angrymarks.com/?ArticleID=16416 and with Gabriel Gonzaga is at http://angrymarks.com/?ArticleID=16428
 
--Evolve has announced that Ahtu, coming off the VH-1 show "Why Am I Still Single" will be in the corner of Scott Reed & Caleb Konley for their bout with John Silver & Alex Reynolds on the 1/14 final show at the Asylum Arena.  The show will close with a ceremony to commemorate the last wrestling show in the building, at least as the building is for now.  We don't have any names announced, but a number of major ECW names have been contacted.
 
--Cima & Ricochet vs. Masaaki Mochizuki & Jimmy Susumu (Susumu Yokosuka) and Pac vs Akira Tozawa have been announced for the 1/27 show in Los Angeles.
 
--Rafaello Oliveira announced that he had to pull out of the 1/20 UFC show in Nashville due to a hand injury.  He was to face Reza Madadi. 
 
--Denny Brown was the latest person announced for the NWA Legends Fanfest from 8/2 to 8/5 in Charlotte, joining Magnum T.A. and Tully Blanchard.  
 
--A preview of a new DVD with Tommy Dreamer and Terry Funk talking together is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKa8E-n4Xno&feature=player_embedded
 
--Best of the Best Wrestling on 2/25 in Orlando at a venue to be announced with a four-way elimination tag team match and wrestlers like Francisco Ciatso, Chris Harris, Becky Bayless, Mikael Zaki (of the last season of Tough Enough), SoCal Val, Santana Garrett and Ron Neimi.
 
--Ed, Craig and Cutrer talk Starrcade at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cutrer/201...ade-part-3
 
--Trina Michaels was upset that she wasn't nominated for crossover star of the year in the porn industry when the 2012 AVN awards nominations came out.  She wrote, "Congrats to the AVN 2012 nominees, but I'm not surprised my name didn't make the 'cross over star' list.  I'd LOVE to know what these `stars' did this year to be nominated for CROSSOVER besides sleep w/Charlie Sheen!  Apparently being on a PAY-PER-VIEW for Dragon Gate and going through a table for Lucha Las Vegas didn't qualify me as 'crossover.'  Unlike porn, you can't just walk into wrestling and have a spot at the top.  You have to EARN it  I don't know too many spoiled porn princesses that would drive 3 hours one way to work a show for FREE!"