WED. UPDATE: Punk, ROH surgery, Tokyo Dome; Raw rating, Dixie Carter, Madden, ROH, UFC fights

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        We're looking for reports on tonight's Raw house show in Pittsburgh (Punk vs. Miz; Cena vs. Kane) and Smackdown house show in Detroit (Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry).
        Raw will be in Washington, DC on Thursday while Smackdown will be in Buffalo.  The tour ends on Friday with a Raw show in Hartford and a Smackdown show in East Rutherford, NJ at the Izod Center.
        TNA also runs Thursday in Albany, NY at the Times Union Center headlined by Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy for the TNA title, James Storm vs. Kurt Angle, A.J. Styles vs. Bully Ray, Austin Aries vs. Kid Kash vs. Jesse Sorensen for the X title, Gail Kim vs. Mickie James for the Knockouts title, Matt Morgan vs Crimson and Garett Bischoff vs. Gunner.  Ric Flair is also going to be on the weekend shows as the manager of Gunner.  They also run Friday night in Poughkeepsie, NY at the Mid Hudson Civic Center.
        UFC 141 is Friday night from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, while the annual Japanese New Year's Eve show airs live on HDNet from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. late Friday night and Saturday morning (10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Pacific time).     
        We've got our annual business year in review double issue of the Wrestling Observer out this week.  The issue, along with a back issue from 1994, are up on the site today and each month there are approximately 10 issues, both old and new up.
        We look at who the biggest money players were in 2011, with the biggest shows, the biggest headliners, the PPV numbers for every major WWE, UFC and boxing PPV, as well as where John Cena now ranks among the career drawing cards, who became draws, who fell out and more importantly, how the business changed over the past year.
        We also look at the biggest PPV players of all-time, how PPV habits have changed, the difference between how boxing, MMA and wrestling sell and is PPV flourishing or fading. 
        We have a look at UFC on PPV for the year, as well as UFC at the gate.  We look at whether this was an up year or a down year in PPV, ratings and big show attendance, and more, what the long-term patterns appear to be..
        We also have a chart of the most talked about and big 100 stars of 2011, who is up, who is down, who is new, who is fading and more.  We also look at some very interesting notes about popularity including big fish in a small pond vs. small fish in a big pond and which is better, value of the UFC title now as compared with a few years ago, as well as looking at the 2012 prospects for the various UFC belt holders.
        We look at popularity in the U.S., Canada and worldwide and how each region differs, including what country is the one where you can tell the rising stars the fastest and who those potentially marketable stars are. 
        We also look at UFC vs. WWE around the world, and in a number of U.S. states including what direction that trends have gone over the past year.  We look at the strongest cities for UFC and WWE as well as the countries with the most per-capita interest in WWE, UFC, boxing and even TNA.
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        We also have updates on a number of WWE injuries, the mystery man, WrestleMania and celebrities, changes in booking, WWE business notes from the past few weeks, PPV plans for 2012, Punk talks WWE announcing, as well as Steve Austin and Mania.
        We look at Brock Lesnar's comeback, coming back from his health issue, age illness, surgery, and power as well as a look at UFC 141 and the Dream New Year's Eve events. 
        We also update a look at Ring of Honor stemming from the Final Battle show.  We look at how the show did, frustrations with the product, the psychology of being a champion vs. being a challenger, the future of ROH, the effect of television on their business so far, the return of Kevin Steen and apparent direction for 2012, the New York crowd and how it affected the show and more.
        We also have match-by-match coverage with star ratings, flying chairs, tables and long matches.
        We also look at the WWE's traditional No. 1 house show of the year, the week after Christmas show in Madison Square Garden, including a lot of the extra things thrown out this yea.
        We also look at the late Korean dictator Kim Jong II, and not only his connection with pro wrestling, but a look at the two most attended pro wrestling events of all-time in North Korea, which included Ric Flair, Scott Norton, Muhammad Ali, Chris Benoit, Eric Bischoff and others.  We look at what the reaction was like at the time including from the worldwide media.
        We also have the history of the Japanese MVP award.
        We also look at the question of the fastest UFC fight in history and the debate over what should be he record.
        We also look back in history on a 70s star entering the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stllwater, OK this coming year, and go back at looking at someone who was a famous celebrity amateur wrestler who later became a pro, and other great athletes that Verne Gagne tried to recruit to be his top stars in the 70s, who made it and who didn't.
        We also have the final category list for the 2011 Wrestling Observer Awards with the updated ballot.
        We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past 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
         Also in this week's issue:
--Promotion leaving their fan base furious at recent finishes
--Top booker wrestler in Mexico talks rise of WWE in that country
--Notes on TNA wrestlers who have been appearing in AAA
--Japanese star looks like they are getting cut
--New Japan's last shows of the year
--More on the reaction in Japan to the death of Umanosuke Ueda
--Why major news commentators talked about Ueda's fame as a symbol of the country at large
--Ueda's most famous singles match
--His moving from company to company
--Death of a wrestling trainee
--Hall of Famer needs back surgery
--Sean Waltman's arrest
--WWE's big year beginning shows featuring some former WWE wrestlers
--What former WWE wrestler can now command $25,000 per appearance
--Former TNA Knockout member now on a reality show
--Update on Travis Tomko after his arrest
--Corporal Robinson talks about why he had to retire from wrestling
--Another former Olympian going into pro wrestling
--Notes on some books that will be released on pro wrestling in 2012
--Former well known wrestling television announcer inducted into a college Hall of Fame
--Why Karen Jarrett was fired by TNA
--Upcoming TNA PPV notes
--A look in depth at the TNA satellite promotion India, its prospects and angles
--Notes on ticket scalping at WWE and UFC shows
--Update on Pride fights airing on U.S. television
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Notes on some of the Bellator tournaments for the new season in March
--Fighter paralyzed trying a move
--Bas Rutten picks his 2011 awards
--Legends from the past return to fighting the past few weeks
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and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue. Our most requested issues in our history are:
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plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article
and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth, and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as
historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s,
Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and
Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund,
Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered
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*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world
wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the
history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings,
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*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
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*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him
tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart
signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original
Strangler Lewis)
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double
issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
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--Raw on Monday did another 2.9 rating.

--As far as this week going forward, Bryan and I have a new show up today talking with Jordan Breen about UFC going forward in 2012 as well as the New Year's Eve Dream show in Japan and UFC 141.  We'll be back Friday night after UFC 141 and then do our regular weekend show on Sunday night.
--For last week, the two hours of Raw were No. 12 and No. 14 for the week on cable.
--C.M. Punk talks comics and compares himself to Dr. Doom at
--Rhett Titus underwent surgery for a torn meniscus today.  He went into Friday's Final Battle with the injury and the angle they did on the show with the Young Bucks attacking the knee was to create a storyline for his surgery and recuperation time.
--Greg Oliver talks to former NFL star Ron Pritchard, who also worked as a pro wrestler and was good at it at  Pritchard, no relation to Tom and Bruce Prichard, who spelled their last name differently, grew up in Antioch, CA, but has lived most of his live in Phoenix after going to college there.  He has been friends with Superstar Billy Graham dating back to the 60s.  Several years back, when Graham needed a liver transplant, Pritchard volunteered to be the donor.  When getting checked out, they found a cancerous tumor so Pritchard could not be the donor, but his generosity may have saved his life by discovering the tumor early.
--Metro PCS has signed a deal with UFC to be its wireless sponsor with a presence at all live events, and PPV shows, and will also have UFC fighter endorsements and deliver exclusive video and mobile contest to fans including weekly highlights, personality profiles and specials starting on Friday.  They will also be involved in the UFC Octagon Nation Tour in conjunction with live events.    
--A story on New Japan Pro Wrestling celebrating its 40th year in business, its resurgence behind Hiroshi Tanahashi and Wednesday's Tokyo Dome show is at (thanks to Jose Gonzalez)
--The match order for the Dream New Year's Eve show that airs at 1 a.m. Eastern at 10 p.m. Pacific late Friday night, is:
Hideo Tokoro vs. Yusup Saadulaev (bantamweight Grand Prix reserve fight)
Antonio Baneulos vs. Masakazu Imanari (bantamweight Grand Prix first round)
Bibiano Fernandes vs. Rodolfo Marques Diniz (bantamweight Grand Prix first round)
Megumi Fujii vs. Karla Benitez
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Kazuyuki Miyata
Ryo Chonan vs. Hayato Sakurai
Masaaki Noiri vs. Kengo Sonoda (kickboxing rules)
Yuta Kubo vs. Nils Widlund (kickboxing rules)
Josh Barnett vs. Hideki Suzuki (pro wrestling)
Yuichiro Nagashima vs. Katsunori Kikuno (first round kickboxing; second round MMA rules)
Jerome LeBanner vs. Tim Sylvia (pro wrestling, non-title match)
Peter Aerts vs. Kazuyuki Fujita (pro wrestling)
Kazushi Sakuraba & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Shinichi Suzukawa & Atsushi Sawada (pro wrestling)
Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Lion Takeshi for the Dream featherweight title
Shinya Aoki vs. Satoru Kitaoka for Dream lightweight title
Dream bantamweight title match
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Satoshi Ishii
--WWE put tickets on sale for the Extreme Rules PPV on 4/29 at the All-State Arena in Chicago today on an Internet pre sale with the code word WWERULES
--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia concerns TNA president Dixie Carter.  Carter was born October 6, 1964 in Dallas.  She's 29 years younger but shares the same birthday as Bruno Sammartino.  She graduated The Hockaday School in Dallas in 1982, an exclusive college prep school for girls.  Barbara and Jenna Bush also attended The Hockaday School.  Carter went to the University of Mississippi where she earned a degree in Business Administration in 1986.
--ROH announced a limited sale for its 10th anniversary show on 3/4 in New York at the Hammerstein Ballroom.  The first 100 people who go to the web site can get $15 upper balcony tickets for $10, and $20 lower balcony tickets for $15.  Only 100 in each category will be discounted and they say that there will be no other discounted tickets for the show.
--Mark Madden has been in the news today for a tweet where he did an Andy Kaufman insulting a woman who was harassing him on twitter first and talked about woman should get in the kitchen and dance around a pole, which he later apologized for at and (thanks to Steve Khan and many others)\
--The first announced match for the ROH TV tapings on 1/7 at the DuBurns Arena in Baltimore has The Briscoes vs. Michael Elgin & Roderick Strong for the tag team titles.

--Ed Herman vs. Clifford Starks has been added to the 2/4 UFC show in Las Vegas in a prelim. 
--Aaron Rosa vs. James Te Huna of New Zealand has been added to the 3/3 UFC show in Sydney, Australia on FX.  
--Tomorrow is WWE Day on Sky Sports 3 in the U.K.  They will have WWE programming from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. including WrestleMania 27 highlights and edited documentaries of some of the recent DVD releases, most notably those of Big Show, John Cena and Rey Mysterio.  (thanks to Lee Wall and Matt Singh)
--There is a documentary on the life of Welsh wrestling legend Orig Williams that right now is only available in  the U.K. at  The 50-minute documentary includes interviews with Fit Finlay and Mason Ryan and covers the history of wrestling in Wales in the 70s and 80s.  The documentary includes clips of their television show, Reslo, including appearances on the show of Davey Boy Smith, Vader and William Regal.  It noted that one of his goals was to train a Welsh wrestler to become an international name and when he passed way, WWE had signed Ryan.  It also airs on TV on S4C on Sky 134 on Thursday at 1:25 p.m. (thanks to Stephen Lyon)
--Who do you think the mystery man will be?
Chris Jericho 60.2%
Undertaker 31.8%
Batista 8.0%
--Best Heel on Raw?
Dolph Ziggler 54.7%
Alberto Del Rio 20.1%
Miz 14.1%
Kane 11.1%
--Should John Cena be turned heel?
He should turn on the fans booing him but not on his fan base like Bret Hart in 1997 63.8%
Go full fledged heel 28.7%
Not turn at all 7.5%
--Poll on Raw
Excellent 5.9%
Good 25.4%
Average 37.6%
Fair 12.9%
Poor 18.1%
        19.4% of those responding didn't see the show
--What are your plans regarding UFC 141
Watching the show 51.6%
Would watch but too expensive 25.0%
No interest in seeing it 14.2%
Would watch but a bad night 9.3%
--Hoosier Pro Wrestling on 1/7 in Columbus, IN at the 4-H Fairgrounds headlined by Shawn Cook vs. Flash Flanagan in a loser leaves town match.
--Undefeated Marianna Kheyfets, who was up for some woman fighter of the year nominations, puts her 4-0 record up against Heather Clark on 2/10 in Knoxville at the Civic Auditorium-Coliseum for XFC 16 that will air live on HDNet.  The main event will be Jamie Varner vs. Drew Fickett.
--Laurence Holmes of 670 The Score, Chicago's top sports talk station, mentioned Lance Storm "If I Can Be Serious for a Minute" gimmick earlier today.  He compared Storm to Jonathan Toews, Captain Serious, of the Chicago Blackhawks, who is one of the team's star players and came from Winnipeg.  You can hear it at the 1:50 mark at
 (thanks to David Kaplan)
--Tasha Simone defeated Tiffany Roxx on Sunday night in Lebanon, TN to become the NWA women's champion.  It's the third time Simone has won the title.  The match lasted 24:00 in a cage with Simone bleeding.  Roxx had beaten Simone for the title on 11/6.
--NWA Anarchy has TV tapings on 1/14, 1/28, 2/11 and 2/25 in Cornelia, GA at the NWA Arena. 
--CWE on 1/27 in Winnipeg at the Polish Fraternal Hall. 
--Ed, Craig and Cutrer talk the TLC PPV, Daniel Bryan and more at
--UWC Championship Wrestling for this week is at
--An unseen comedy match featuring Matt Striker using the name Muscles Marinara at (thanks to Eric Stefanowicz)  

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?