MON. UPDATE: Raw preview, celeb, title bout, ratings, Dana vs. ESPN, Upcoming WWE shows and returns



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        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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        Raw tonight is from Anaheim.  We're looking for live reports from the show with dark matches, Superstars matches, estimated attendance and anything not evident from the television broadcast of the show.  The show features Chris Jericho not talking, Kane and John Cena continuing their terrible angle, Primo & Epico defending the tag titles that they just won yesterday against Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne (provided that idea hasn't changed since last night), Brodus Clay actually being there and Zack Ryder being out with a worked injury most likely.  Perez Hilton will be there as a guest ring announcer for a Divas match, which I guess guarantees there will be a Divas match.  
 
        We're also looking for reports yesterday's Raw house show in Oakland, yesterday'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.
 
        Tuesday 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
reviews.   
 
         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
 
          New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major story (ies) of the past 11 years you are most interested in
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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)
 
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and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
 
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*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)
 
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history) 
 
*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
Hogan)
 
*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
separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
 
*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
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*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the
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*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,
Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a
double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
 
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
 
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*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
 
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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)
 
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
 
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We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more
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--Tonight's Raw should be more eventful than the previous two weeks because this is the first Monday with no major football competition and is traditionally when the January Raw ratings bounce back begins.  Numbers should increase by 10% from the previous levels based on previous years..
 
--Bryan and I will be back tonight for Wrestling Observer radio covering Raw and more on ESPN, UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta and more.  We'll also be taking you questions on pro wrestling or MMA and you can send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
--Friday's UFC show on FX and Fuel will also air in Spanish on Fox Deportes, as well as live in Canada on Sportsnet 1 and TVA Sports (French language), ESPN U.K. in the U.K. and One HD in Australia.  The prelims won't be airing outside the U.S.  The show begins at 2 a.m. in the U.K.  The 1/28 Fox show will also air on ESPN U.K. starting live at 3 a.m.
 
--For those interested, ESPN.com boxing writer Dan Rafael and Dana White went back-and-forth on twitter last night regarding pay for fighters and the ESPN piece.  Too few characters to have any meaningful discussion.  It was largely White talking about how the lowest paid fighters on the ESPN 2 boxing shows make far less than the lowest paid fighters on UFC shows, and Rafael noting that ESPN 2 isn't the promoter nor pays those fighters but only broadcasts the shows, and that would be like blaming Fox or Spike or low paid UFC fighters.
 
--UFC created its own video, using clips of Lorenzo Fertitta (including some that aired in the ESPN 2 piece) as well as from Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin and Matt Serra at http://www.youtu.be/O7neKshmjzl
 
--Muhammad Ali turns 70 tomorrow.   
 
--The updated Wrestling Observer Newsletter index, chronicling every issue from 1983 to 2011, 170 pages of listing of stories is available at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for $20 ($21 via paypal) which includes airmail shipping.  If you already have an index and want to update it with the 2011 update, you can either send $5 or get it free with a $30 back issue order.  There is also a special you can ask about with the issues covering the first 15 Royal Rumbles.
 
--Today's Chuck Langerman wrestling trivia concerns former Vince McMahon secretary Emily Arth.  Emily Arth was born October 18,1960 in Evanston, IL  She briefly attended Oberlin College in Ohio the same school Larry Sweeney (much later) graduated from and studied piano.  She left school to be a model and was the June 1988 Playboy Playmate of the Month.  She married Michael Feinberg.  Michael Feinberg became one of Vince McMahon's leading aides and Emily Feinberg was his executive assistant earning $63,000 per year, and later became a key government witness in the 1994 McMahon steroid trial.  Emotions hit a high point during her testimony including Linda McMahon breaking down and crying.
 
--Fuel is airing UFC 134 several times this week.  The 2006 Liddell vs. Ortiz PPV, still one of the biggest of all-time, airs tomorrow night at 8 p.m. on Fuel as the lead in for UFC Tonight at 10 p.m.
 
--WWE has announced a Toronto show in March at the Ricoh Coliseum, and not the ACC, with C.M. Punk vs. Miz as the main event. (thanks to Chris Cooper).
 
--At yesterday's Oakland house show, John Laurinaitis appeared, both making a Miz vs. R-Truth opener (same match that took place on the other shows) as well as doing a back-and-forth with C.M. Punk before his main event with Dolph Ziggler.  An interesting note is that during the show, they not only announced a 2/11 date at the Cow Palace but the top three matches as Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry for the world title, Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett in a cage match and Sheamus vs. Christian, so Orton and Christian should be back on TV very soon.
 
--No word on whether Orton will be at TV tonight.  Tonight was his original return date, but a few days back he was pulled from advertising for both tonight's show and tomorrow's show in Las Vegas.  He is scheduled starting this coming Monday's Raw. 
 
--Some huge rating numbers.  Based on the overnights, the portion of the Giants vs. Packers game that was in prime time last night did a 29.1 rating and 45 share, which is crazy.  The Denver vs. New England game that went against the UFC show on Saturday night did about 29.1 million viewers.
 
--Bob Sapp was in India last night promoting a fight against James Thompson for a new promotion in that country called the Super Fight League.
 
--Which of these guys most deserves to be on the Hall of Fame ballot?
Chief Jay Strongbow 25.2%
Haystacks Calhoun 18.6%
Boris Malenko 14.9%
Gino Hernandez 13.8%
David Shults 6.1%
Dino Bravo 5.8%
Leo Nomellini 4.8%
Lonnie Mayne 4.5%
Primo Carnera 3.7%
Bugsy McGraw 1.3%
Bull Ramos 1.1%
Dean Ho 0.3%
 
--Which of these guys deserves the most to be on the Hall of Fame ballot?
Larry Hennig 34.0%
The Spoiler Don Jardine 26.6%
Bob Orton Sr. 14.8%
Wild Bull Curry 6.3%
Cowboy Bob Ellis 4.1%
Luther Lindsay 3.6%
Lord James Blears 3.3%
Ilio DiPaolo 2.4%
Hardboiled Haggerty 1.8%
Missouri Mauler 1.5%
Hans Mortier 1.5%
Ron Etchison 0.3%
 
--Which of these names deserves the most to be on the Hall of Fame ballot?
Sputnik Monroe 36.3%
Sweet Daddy Siki 14.6%
Waldo Von Erich 9.5%
George Scott 9.1%
Mike DiBiase 7.3%
Sailor Art Thomas 5.5%
Pampero Firpo 5.5%
Ricky Romero 3.4%
Buddy Colt 3.4%
Dutch Savage 2.7%
Sammy Steamboat 1.5%
Duke Keomuka 1.2%
 
--Poll on ROH TV show from Saturday night
Excellent 42.2%
Good 35.6%
Average 6.7%
Fair 0.0%
Poor 15.6%
        64.0% of those responding didn't see the show
 
--Best TV show of the past week
Smackdown 34.2%
UFC 142 the prelims 16.3%
ROH 15.8%
Raw 12.2%
Impact 12.2%
Countdown to UFC 142 2.6%
UFC Tonight 2.6%
CMLL 1.5%
UFC 142 post game 1.5%
Inside MMA 1.0%
 
--Lance Storm talks about how he hates the word script when it comes to pro wrestling, and his own issues with doing promos at http://www.stormwrestling.com/011512.html
 
--At the San Antonio Spurs game over the weekend, they played Shawn Michaels music and he came out and did an angle.
 
--There is a Bay Area Roller Derby Reunion on Saturday night at the San Jose Radisson Hotel hosted by Alfonso Reyes and Dee Morrissey.  For more into you can call Delores Tucker at 510-562-6753.  No tickets will be sold at the door and if you are going, you have to pay by Thursday night.  
 
--Australasian Wrestling Federation on 1/20 in Penrith, Australia at the Panthers Evan Theater.  They also run 2/17 in Parramatta at the RSL for the OJ Fitzpatrick Tribute, and bring in NWA champion Adam Pearce on 3/4 in Blacktown at the RSL.
 
--Pro Wrestling Phoenix from Saturday night in Council Bluffs, IA:  Vic Victory b Zac James-DQ, Mad Dog McDowell & Buck Albright b Joey Anderson & Marcus Holiday, Joey Daniels b Paul Daniels, Jeff O'Shea b S.M. King, Ryan Slade b Abu Colossus, Matty Star b Shawn Nautilus, Branden Juarez & Preston Maxwell b Brian Gott & Derek Cornell, Vic Victory & Darren Russell and Zach Thompson & Jimmy Rockwell.  next show is 2/18 in Council Bluffs at the National Guard Armory with a cage match.
 
--TNA's Jessie Godderz teamed with  Marcus Anthony to win the OVW tag team titles this past week.  He will also be featured in the new issue of Men's Workout Magazine. 
 
--Action Zone Wrestling on 1/30 in Waipahu, Hawaii will be having qualifying matches to see who will compete against All Pro Wrestling stars on 3/3 in Hayward for the Pacific Challenge.  Among those wrestling on the show is 2004 wrestling Olympian Jeff Cobb.  APW will announce its four reps for the show on 2/20.  It will be a best of three series between the two promotions with two singles matches and a tag match.
 
--TNA's Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Traci Brooks will be doing an autograph session tomorrow in Palmdale, CA at the Palmdale Learning Plaza.  The wrestlers will be signing from 4-6 p.m. to raise money to send money to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.  They are asking for a $4 donation from people attending.
 
--CNWA on 2/4 in Edmonton at the Alberta Avenue Hall, 2/16 in Lacombe, Alberta at the Memorial Centre, 2/17 in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta at the St. Dominic School and 2/18 in Lethbridge, Alberta at the Legion Hall.
 



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Which of these main events would draw the best?

 

What are you planning on watching on Friday?