THURS. UPDATE: Sonnen, White & Evans press conference, Legend in public first time in years



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        We're looking for reports on today's TNA house show in Nottingham, England at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        Impact tonight on Spike:
Mickie James vs. Tara vs. Velvet Sky - winner faces Gail Kim at Against All Odds on 2/12 for the Knockouts title
Alex Shelley vs. Zema Ion - If Shelley wins, he gets a title shot at Austin Aries at the PPV
Eric Young & ODB vs. Angelina Love & Winter
Matt Morgan vs. Samoa Joe
James Storm & Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray & Bobby Roode
 
        TNA's European tour continues Friday in Manchester and has the TV taping on Saturday in London.  We're looking for reports on all of these shows at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        Superstars tonight on the WWE web site:
Beth Phoenix vs. Brie Bella
Kofi Kingston vs. Michael McGillicutty
Tyson Kidd vs. Jinder Mahal    
 
        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.
 
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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
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         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
 
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--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
 
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--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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--Our annual Wrestling Observer Radio awards show will be up later today.  If you've got any questions on this year's awards, you can e-mail for today's taping to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
--A Maryland man named Quinten Jackson, 25, was killed last week when he hit his head on the mat while doing wrestling training at Duane Gill's wrestling school in Severn, MD.  Story is at http://wbal.com/article/89519/3/template-story/Ruling-In-Wrestling-School-Death-
 
--Some notes from today's UFC press conference for Saturday night's show.
 
Dana White, on Sonnen's recent interviews saying that if he wins he's not facing Anderson Silva, but GSP or Jon Jones:  "Chael's nuts.  He says all kinds of crazy things.  He says he's the champion.  Listen to me, he's not the champion.  He will fight Anderson Silva if he wins.  He will not fight for the heavyweight championship or against Jon Bones Jones.  I have to have a separate press conference to stop all the stuff that Chael says."
 
Sonnen showed up with a replica UFC belt and put it in front of himself like he was champion.  He claimed he took it from Anderson Silva and that possession is nine-tenths of the law (a saying that used to be used regularly in belt stealing pro wrestling angles).
 
Michael Bisping saw the belt and said, "I think you can get it on ebay for $29.99."
 
Sonnen was out cutting Superstar Billy Graham promos.  Later, when asked about if he watched wrestling growing up, he said he came from a poor family and they didn't have cable so he never saw wrestling, and instead said he grew up watching Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran.
 
He made fun of people to do training camps:  "I don't do these camps.  I think fighters go to camp as a way to say, `My wife and kids are driving me nuts and I gotta get out of town.'  I practice every day.  I practice harder before a fight.  I don't run practice.  My coach runs practice.  My skills are my skills.  May the better man win, and I will."
 
Rashad Evans was trying to get into Phil Davis' head, saying he wasn't a very good wrestler, that his technique is lousy, that he only won the NCAA's because it was a down year and he guaranteed if they were in college at the same time he'd have beaten Davis in wrestling.  This is in response to Davis saying that he would beat Evans 100 times out of 100 in a wrestling match. 
 
Davis' response was:  "Cocaine's a hell of a drug... I encourage imagination, it's good that he has that, no he'll never beat be in any kind of wrestling, not thumb wrestling, not anything of the sort."
 
Davis later told the Illinois commission that they need to test Evans when he kept saying he would beat Davis in wrestling.
 
Evans also said that Davis looks like John Salley and Arsenio Hall had a baby.
 
--Since the injury angle was shot, Ted DiBiase today said that he has both a broken wrist and torn cartilage in his wrist, but that he can still work with the injury.
 
--A note about the airing of the original 1974 movie "The Wrestler" at the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis several times over the weekend.  Verne Gagne has not made a public appearance in many years but Greg Gagne is bringing Verne to the Saturday at 2 p.m. showing of the movie to see how well he can do.  If Verne is okay, he will attend other showings on both Saturday and Sunday.  Greg, now 63, who is doing a Q&A at the 6:30 p.m. tomorrow night showing, is currently working two jobs, selling insurance for Colonial Met, and also selling cars.  I wouldn't call it a good movie and the acting by the wrestlers of 1974 was certainly no better than John Cena's acting, but there is something very enjoyable about the movie, including the ridiculous bar fight scene with Dick Murdoch & Dusty Rhodes, and Sam Menacker played a fifth-rate gangster  Today's Minneapolis Star-Tribune has more at http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/movies/138064638.html
 
--There is a Dragon Gate USA PPV at 11 p.m. Eastern and 8 p.m. Pacific time tomorrow night at www.WWNLive.com with these matches:
Cima & Ricochet vs. Masaaki Mochizuki & Jimmy Susumu for the Open the United Gate title
Pac vs. Akira Tozawa
Masato Yoshino vs. Naruki Doi
AR Fox vs. Sami Callihan
Low Ki vs. BxB Hulk
Chuck Taylor & Rich Swann vs. Young Bucks
Jon Davis vs. Caleb Konley
 
--UFC weigh-ins will be airing live on Fuel TV and also on this site tomorrow at 5 p.m. Eastern.
 
--The second episode of the Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz Countdown show will air tomorrow night at 11 p.m. Eastern on FX.  Keep in mind that FX does not have a staggered feed so it's 8 p.m. on the West Coast.
 
--Tommy Dreamer today did an interview with www.radaronline.com claiming that WWE twice wanted to fire C.M. Punk early in his tenure but that he saved Punk's job.  "I saved his job two times when he was about to be let go, I was saying, `Ya gotta help this kid, ya gotta keep the kid.'"
 
 
 
--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia concerns 70s and 80s star George "The Animal" Steele.  Jim "Moose" Myers grew up in Madison Heights, MI, and graduated from Madison Heights High School in 1956.  Myers played football, track, basketball and baseball in school, and then went to Michigan State as a football player. But he blew out his knee.  He ended up earning both a B.A. and a Master's Degree at Michigan State. He started teaching and coaching both football and wrestling at Madison Heights High in 1961.  Looking at supplementing his teaching salary, he worked as a pro wrestler for The Sheik under a mask as "The Student," to hide from people in school that he was wrestling.  In 1967, while working in Pittsburgh during summer vacation, since he was out of his area, he wrestled without a mask, but didn't want to use his real name.  He used the name George Steele, partially because Pittsburgh was the Steel City.  However, the George Steele name came because one of Myers' rival football coaches was a man named George Steele, who coached at Warren High School.  Myers wrestled full-time in the summer, and in the area during the school year, until 1986, when he quit his teaching job because Vince McMahon Jr. wanted him full-time year-round touring.  A trivia note is that in Myers' early year as a football coach, when Madison Heights played Warren High, an all-state player on the Warren High football team coached by the real George Steele, was Frank Goodish, who later became a pro wrestling star as Bruiser Brody.
 
--The movie "Like Water," a documentary showing Anderson Silva training for his fight in 2010 with Chael Sonnen, was picked up by Cinedigm for a theatrical release sometime this summer.
 
--We'll have more on this later, but Bruce Tharpe, a Texas promoter with the NWA has sued the NWA as well as promoters Bob Trobich, Fred Rubenstein, Bill Behrens, Dave Marquez, Michael Porter, Ken Taylor and Michael Sircy on an insurance fraud claim, saying they misrepresented to the insurance company that their shows would all be gatherings of less than 100 people and claimed they got members by telling them they would have insurance for their events by joining the NWA.  One NWA member claimed the suit was a power play and Tharpe wanted to be Executive Director of the organization and claimed NWA bylaws required suits to be filed in North Carolina, and this was not.
 
--The Miz is currently in Abu Dhabi doing a promotional tour for the shows there next month. 
 
--ESPN in the U.K. is having a free preview weekend from 2/3 to 2/5, which means UFC 143 will be free to everyone in the U.K. with qa digital TV set (thanks to Lee Wall).  
 
--The filming dates for "Legends House" look now to be 2/12 to 3/17. 
 
--Who do you predict wins this fight?
Demian Maia 67.8%
Chris Weidman 32.2%
 
--Which of these shows do you think is more important?
Royal Rumble 51.9%
UFC on FOX 48.1%
 
--Which are you most interested in?
Royal Rumble 60.9%
UFC on FOX 39.1%
 
--Who is the biggest star right now?
The Rock 29.7%
Manny Pacquiao 17.2%
Muhammad Ali 17.1%
Floyd Mayweather Jr. 11.0%
C.M. Punk 8.2%
GSP 3.7%
Hulk Hogan 3.6%
John Cena 3.2%
Mike Tyson 2.3%
Jon Jones 1.6%
Anderson Silva 1.4%
Randy Orton 1.1%
 
--Best series of matches in modern wrestling history?
Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat 33.6%
Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Kenta Kobashi 15.2%
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin 12.7%
Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels 11.0%
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit 8.6%
Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada 6.7%
Tiger Mask vs. Dynamite Kid 5.4%
Jack Brisco vs. Dory Funk Jr. 3.1%
Tsuruta & Taue vs. Misawa & Kawada 1.8%
Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham 1.1%
Lou Thesz vs. Pat O'Connor 0.6%
Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Genichiro Tenryu 0.1%      
 
--CWE has its third year anniversary show tomorrow night in Winnipeg at the Polish Fraternal Hall.
 
--Tuesday night CMLL in Guadalajara:  El Hijo del Javier Cruz & Thunder Boy b Acertijo & In Memoriam, Arkangel de la Muerte & Evola b Black Metal & Starman, Triton b Rafaga, Titan b Polvora, Marco Corleone & Mascara Dorada & La Sombra b El Terrible & Rey Bucanero & Tiger-DQ
 
--70s and 80s star Enrique Vera is doing a farewell tour in Mexico this weekend with shows on 1/29 in Reynosa, 1/30 in Hermoso, 1/31 in Matamoros and 2/1 in Rio Bravo.  Vera worked for Roy Shire in California during the 70s with a push.
 
--There is a tribute to Los Angeles wrestling tomorrow afternoon at the Westin by the Airport which includes some hand held footage shot during the 70s, old audio, and a lot of wrestlers from the territorial era are scheduled including Gene LeBell, Billy Graham and Dick Beyer.
 
--I Believe in Wrestling on 2/4 in Orlando at the Team Vision Dojo featuring The Sheik defending the NWA title belt that he never gave back, against Larry Zbyszko, who defends his AWA title belt from the early 90s (he was the AWA champion when that promotion folded) in a match where somebody is getting two belts.  I was told there will be a winner and a loser. 
 
--Azrieal was named as the 5th entrant into the ECWA Super 8 tournament on 4/7 in Newark, DE at the Boys & Girls Club. 
 
--CHIKARA announced that for Saturday's show in Easton, PA at the Palmer Center, any fan who brings three paying customers can get one free ticket for their group.
 
--The wXw 16 Carat Cold tournament will be held 3/2 to 3/4 in Oberhausen, Germany.  It's the biggest event of its kind each year in Europe.  Announced for this year are El Generico, Fit Finlay, Karsten Beck, Jon Ryan, Axeman, Zack Sabre Jr., Doug Williams, Johnny Moss, Ricky Marvin, Tommy End, Drake Younger, AR Fox, Marty Scurll, Bad Bones, Yoshihito Sasaki and Sami Callihan. (thanks to Patrick Gronemann)
 
--If you are in St. Louis for the Royal Rumble, Sean Waltman and Billy Gunn have an after party at the Tigin Irish Pub in downtown St. Louis, a mile from the Scottrade Center, starting at 11 p.m.  They have dropped the age to get in from 21 to 18.  General admission is $10 in advance and VIP tickets are $50 for which you get an autograph and photo with Waltman, and Gunn, as well as drink specials and more time with the wrestlers.
 
--An interview with Jonathan Snowden is at http://angrymarks.com/?ArticleID=16810
 
--Another Legends of the Ring convention is 6/2 in Monroe, NJ at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  Names announced so far are Maryse, Bobby Lashley, Don Muraco, Lance Storm, Charles "Godfather" Wright, Larry Zbyszko, Judy Martin, Leilain Kai and Hugo Savinovich.  The first 400 ordering G.A. tickets can get them for $15.  For more info go to www.legendsofthering.com
 
 
--A story on John Layfield organizing Rugby League games with middle school students in Bermuda (where he now lives) and helping the local kids at the homework academy encouraging kids to graduate high school (dropout percentage among kids in that area is extremely high) at http://bermudasun.bm/main.asp?SectionID=8&SubSectionID=203&ArticleID=56390
 
--A Booker T interview with Brian Soscia is at http://bit.lv/wr21uc

Long-term, what are your thoughts on Lucha Underground?

 

What did you think of Wednesday's Ultimate Fighter TV show?

 

What did you think of TNA Impact?

 

What did you think of Lucha Underground last night?