FRIDAY UPDATE: Huge weekend preview, Angle, Animal and Severn get Hall of Fame nods, Smackdown plan change, Foley on Wife Swap video, tons more!

By Bryan Alvarez

Bryan Alvarez: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're looking for reports from tonight's Raw show in Topeka and tonight's TNA show in Florence, SC at the Civic Center. The advertised top matches are Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy for the title and Kurt Angle vs. James Storm, but that is also what was advertised last night and they instead did a tag team match with the four of them.

Also today, the UFC weigh-ins air live on Fuel at 7 p.m. Eastern time and the final episode of the Prime Time Condit vs. Diaz airs at 11 p.m. tonight on FX.

Saturday is UFC 143 from Las Vegas:

Facebook fights starting at 7 p.m. Eastern:

Rafael Natal vs. Michael Kuiper

Dan Stittgen vs. Steven Thompson

Live on FX at 8 p.m.

Matt Brown vs. Chris Cope

Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres vs. Edwin Figueroa

Matt Riddle vs. Henry Martinez

Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway

Live on PPV at 10 p.m.

Ed Herman vs. Clifford Starks

Renan Barao vs. Scott Jorgensen

Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce

Fabricio Werdum vs. Roy Nelson

Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz for the interim welterweight title in a five round fight.

Saturday night also has Raw from Wichita, Smackdown from Spokane, TNA in Concord, NC at the Cabarrus Arena and ROH TV tapings in Baltimore at the Du Burns Arena with Davey Richards vs. Jay Lethal for the ROH title, Kyle O'Reilly vs. Michael Elgin, Mike Bennett vs. T.J. Perkins, Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. Young Bucks plus Briscoes, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin, Eddie Edwards, Kevin Steen, Roderick Strong, Jimmy Jacobs and Adam Cole.

Sunday has Raw from Wichita Falls, TX and Smackdown from Salt Lake City.

Monday has Raw in Oklahoma City.

Smackdown and NXT are taped on Tuesday in Tulsa.

        A note that if you order a new print or web site subscription to the Observer this week you will get one of our biggest issues of the year, the 2011 awards double-issue.


        The annual Royal Rumble issue of the Wrestling Observer is out this week, with coverage not only of the Rumble but of the UFC on FOX, with notes on what both shows meant in the big picture going forward, an update on the direction of both companies coming out of two of what will be the biggest and most important shows of the year.

        We look at the surprise element of the Rumble, the Elimination Chamber direction, poll results from both shows, star ratings for the wrestling show and the Mania direction.  We also have a chart on the Royal Rumble scorecard, how long everyone was in, all the eliminations, order in and out, etc.
        We also have a look at the sale of New Japan Pro Wrestling to Bushiroad.  We look at the particulars of the sale, surprises about it, reaction of the top wrestlers, who knew ahead of time, the new owner talks about his plans and his own background as a wrestling fan and running wrestling shows.  We look at the pro wrestling scene in Japan including notes on the historical highs and lows of New Japan, the type of money the top stars are making now as compared to the past and more.
        We also look at the UFC's second prime time show on FOX, what was good, what was bad, the fights, the Chael Sonnen interview, the build for the future, poll on who won between Sonnen vs. Bisping.  We look at the ratings, what they mean, how they compared with the first show, what the big differences were and the five most watched fights in U.S. television history when it comes to MMA.  We also look at how the competition of airing UFC against the special worked for Spike, and other business notes on the show.
        We also have match-by-match coverage.
        We also have an update on Dana White vs. The Hackers, a strange story as well as arguments regarding live streaming of WWE & UFC events.
        We also look at why WWE isn't panicking about the hackers, 2013 WrestleMania talk, notes on Rock's schedule for Raw leading up to Mania as well as promotional work, and the 1000th episode of Raw coming.
        We also have more on the WWE Network, as well as on a new WWE Senior Vice President, another 2012 PPV change, and lots of notes about Chael Sonnen, C.M. Punk and the show in Chicago.  We also have notes on the WWE's youtube channel, Mike Tyson in the Hall of Fame, an idea talked about for Mania, the anniversary of the origin of the WWE title and an update on the Legends House show.
        We also look at a former PPV main eventer who is interested in returning and why it's unlikely to happen, more on Mark Henry's injury, lots of business notes when it comes to web traffic, DVD sales and the Christmas merchandise season and how it did compared to last year.
        We also have notes on Zack Ryder's new-found success, an update on a former world champion and his life after wrestling, David Otunga going back to legal work, Mick Foley talks about potential in-ring and the lone weekend house show and business notes on it.
        We've also got coverage of the Dragon Gate USA iPPV show.
        We also have a look at the numbers of the WWE's TLC PPV with the company releasing first estimates this week, as well as a look at how UFC 142 looks to be doing based on early estimates.

       The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
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        We also have a look at TNA's tour of the U.K., and Hulk Hogan's media.
        Plus we've got the most detailed look at Ring Ka King, the new promotion in India, including notes on the first weekend of television and how the final episode of the season ends with a match involving famous athletes from both India and Japan.
        We also have notes on the next few weeks of Impact programming and how Against All Odds gets built.
        We also have notes on a federal investigation of the UFC, the sale to Strikeforce, the real money figures of the sale and what was ruled.  
        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
         Also in this week's issue:
--Major attitude change in major company now looking at raiding big stars to rebuild
--Shocker talks about why he's been out of action
--One of the best wrestlers in the world is announced as coming to CMLL
--Update on business at Arena Mexico
--Annual King of Flyers match
--Plans for Jeff Jarrett's return to Mexico as AAA champion
--Latest New Japan vs. All Japan angle news
--New Japan opens tour and starts building the next PPV show
--Lineup for New Japan's next PPV show
--Pro wrestling world champion has MMA fight in a few weeks
--Disgraced former well known athlete faces Bob Sapp in a few weeks
--Two Hall of Famers battle for the first time ever
--A look at the WrestleReunion convention in Los Angeles
--More notes on Mike Tyson and Superstar Billy Graham meeting
--What Tyson remembers about pro wrestling
--Tyson appears at pro wrestling show
--Who was in this year's legends Battle Royal
--PWG has its biggest event of the year with many Dragon Gate stars
--Celebration of the Los Angeles territory
--Verne Gagne gets publicity as a Minneapolis theater has special showings of "The Wrestler" movie from 1974
--Other former AWA employees who were there
--How the event did
--Notes on a lot of lawsuits
--Former ROH star talks about why he's retiring in detail and looks back at his career
--Coach of one of pro wrestling's biggest stars passes away
--More on the death of wrestling trainee
--MVP talks the new Wrestling Retribution promotion and playing an all-new character
--How MVP got interested in being a pro wrestler
--Is he interested in returning to WWE
--Annual 16 Carat Gold tournament
--More on ROH vs. CHIKARA angle
--Hulk Hogan's return to the ring
--Ric Flair's new business deal and what does it mean
--Against All Odds PPV card
--Lots of crazy Hogan stories from his U.K. media work
--A look at the Bobby Roode and James Storm booking
--Why Hogan did the U.K. tour at the last minute
--How the U.K. tour did business-wise
--What angles didn't work in the U.K. and which ones did
--How TNA tried to save money on the tour
--Injury updates from the TNA tour
--What wrestling legend to Hogan invite to London
--TNA stars doing movies
--An update on  Haywire
--One of the best promos likely of the year for a match that still may not happen
--Two of UFC's biggest stars want one last match with each other
--A special on ordering UFC PPV events
--Matt Hughes talks his future
--Update on GSP and who and when he will likely fight
--Notes on the 3-D airing of UFC 143 and how often 3-D airings of UFC shows will be taking place in movie theaters
--What fixture of the UFC is gone as of now
--Notes on a movie about one of UFC's all-time greatest fighters
--What recently fired star is Dana White at least open about thinking about bringing back
--Another of Bellator's potentially biggest fights is not going to happen and why
--Fedor Emelianenko's plan for next fight
--Career of Olympic star turned MMA fighter now in jeopardy
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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
about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk,
Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods. To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best
Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book
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America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.

-- The Superbowl commercial featuring Chuck Liddell has already been viewed almost 30 million times. That's ridiculous. Thanks to Jeff.

-- For whatever reason, a segment with Heath Slater and Brodus Clay that led to Drew McIntyre attacking and then getting laid out by Brodus, was cut from Smackdown this week. This usually happens when they either tape too much or they change their minds on a storyline between Tuesday and Thursday.

-- UFC made official that they'll run their 7th Fan Expo the weekend of July 6th and 7th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, meaning there will be an as-yet-unannounced UFC event on Saturday the 7th as well. That's the weekend of our annual website convention as well, also in Vegas.

-- The George Tragos/Lou Thesz Hall of Fame in Waterloo, IA announced that Joe Lauranitis and Dan Severn would be receiving the Frank A. Gotch (someone who brings positive recognition to wrestling outside the sport) and George Tragos (basically, shooters) Awards respectively. Kurt Angle and Don Curtis are the Hall of Fame inductees this year, John Layfield will receive the Lou Thesz Award, and Bill Apter will receive the Jim Melby Award (journalist). Hall of Fame takes place the weekend of July 13th and 14th.

-- Smackdown tonight has Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes, Justin Gabriel vs. Hunico, Epico & Primo vs. Santino & Jim Duggan, Beth Phoenix & Natalya vs. Aksana & Tamina, and Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett.

-- If you want to check out Mick Foley on Wife Swap, it's streaming here.

-- Legend's House starts filming this week and will go through WrestleMania.

-- Just a note from yesterday's update, Colt Cabana's podcast is Art of Wrestling, not Art of War.

-- OVW announced that Marcus Anthony, one of their students, has signed with WWE.

-- Mike Dalton beat Leo Kruger to win the FCW title last night in Tampa. Husky Harris & Bo Rotundo also beat Brad Maddox & Briley Pierce to win the tag titles.

-- Tom Lawlor vs. Jason MacDonald has been added to UFC on FX 3 on May 15th.

-- Journey 2 Mysterious Island, starring Rock, is out on IMAX on February 10th. The movie, which hasn't opened in the US yet, has grossed $20 million worldwide.

-- John Morrison and Tommy Dreamer on Curtain Jerks Radio here.

-- Great Canadian Wrestling at HARMONY HALL in OSHAWA, ONTARIO on February 4th, with Anthony Darko vs. Psycho Mike Rollins, and Shawn Spears appearing as well.

-- Chris M writes: Thought you and your readers would to know Bounty Hunters with Trish Stratus comes out this month. You can check it out here.

-- New Era Wrestling presents Headlocks and Heartbreak Saturday, February 18, 2012 Boys' Club 710 South Miller Street Shelbyville, IN 46176-2406 Doors open at 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM Bell Time

-- Former East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA) Unified Tag Team Champions Matt Saigon & Damian Dragon, known as FUSION DS, were recently featured in a music video, "Lucha Libre" by Italian rock band NUV. It's up here.

-- ESPN Grantland previews WrestleMania here.

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