We're also looking for reports from the weekend events including the Friday and Saturday night ROH tapings, TNA from Saturday in Paris, and WWE house shows from Youngstown and Hammond yesterday and State College and Kalamazoo on Saturday.
Tonight is the Smackdown and NXT tapings from Cincinnati, which is advertising Edge & Randy Orton vs. Miz & Dolph Ziggler as the main event, possibly a dark match, while TNA is in Berlin, Germany with Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy and RVD & Matt Morgan vs. Matt Hardy & The Pope.
The traditional biggest issue of the year, the 2011 awards issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter will be coming out this coming Wednesday. All subscriptions to either the web site or to the print newsletter, all subscriptions will include the double awards issue.
The Jan. 24 issue of the Observer, which is currently available on the web site, features a preview of the Royal Rumble, looking at the 2011 show, the changes, the participants, the likely other participants, who has the best chance of winning and what the changes will mean to the match. We look at what has been announced for the show, the build for those matches, potential other matches, as well as a look back at history.
We look at the show WWE labels as the first Royal Rumble, where the concept came from and what pro wrestling institution it was spawned from. We also look at the actual first Royal Rumble match, a show forgotten by history, with details of what happened and why it's best left forgotten. We also have notes on why the first national Royal Rumble actually took place and what record is still holds, as well as a look at all the winners and the finishes that didn't go exactly as planned ahead of time.
We also have a history piece looking back ten years ago, to three of the biggest news stories of the past ten years--the beginning of the end of WCW, the purchase of UFC by the Fertitta family, and the end of the original version of ECW. We look back at the press conference Turner Broadcasting held to announce its sale to Eric Bischoff, and what exactly happened, and how and why WCW wound up in the hands of Vince McMahon. We also look at how the dying UFC was purchased by Zuffa, how Dana White ended up in charge, what happened to the original SEG-made UFC stars, how the new UFC differed from the original and the key moments in the turnaround.
We look at the key moments that made UFC popular in 2005, as well a the story behind the death of the original ECW which ran its final show ten years ago in Pine Bluff, AR. We look back at the final weekend of the original ECW, what happened at that show, how Paul Heyman saw the landscape regarding the industry going forward and where he was right and wrong. We look at the lessons of all three of these stories and the real movers and shakers that make the industry, and look back at what it all meant.
We also look at the results of a poll that was released this past week of the greatest sports heroes in Japan, and the results showing just how culturally huge pro wrestling used to be.
We have notes on lineups in March and a couple of returns to the lineup, future of HHH and why 2011 is such an important year to WWE. We have notes on the WWE All-Stars video game, participation of Randy Savage, and names in the game, as well as notes on what is being talked in the media about Linda McMahon's next run for senate.
We've got notes on the background of Barri Griffiths, the new Batista clone that debuted on Raw and what the scouting report on him is. We also look at a name thrown out as a possible head coach on Tough Enough, more on the Hall of Fame, an incident with Punk getting his eye scratched at a house show.
We also have more notes on a talks of a UFC fighter who sent feelers to WWE recently and why Vince McMahon has soured on using anyone who was a star in the MMA world as a regular.
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
-- Rumble line-up as of this morning:
Alberto Del Rio
"Dashing" Cody Rhodes
David Hart Smith
-- The AP looks at Jesse Ventura's TSA lawsuit here. This one has gotten tons of press.
-- As noted on the front page, from Sky TV's official Facebook: TNA fans: Good news – TNA will be returning to Sky! From February, ALL TNA programming will be on Challenge (channel 125). Plus, we’ll be showing all the episodes you’ve missed. We’ll announce exact timings soon. The monthly PPV show will be shown as a recorded show as it was on Bravo. We plan to show these on a Wednesday night when they happen, in addition to the weekly Impact/Xplosion shows. Thanks to Paul.
-- The Wrestling Observer Newsletter 2011 Awards issue will be out tomorrow for subscribers. Dave and I will have a new show Wednesday night running down our thoughts on all the awards, taking your emails, talking the news and more.
-- Kyle adds: Quick note about your TNA in UK story. Potentially this is a huge deal as Challenge TV is about to be put onto the national free view system in February. Free view is available to most households in the UK as part of free non subscription system.
-- Rob, however, writes: Not sure how much you know about Challenge TV (new home of TNA in the UK), so I thought I'd give you a quick heads up. It comes as part of Sky's basic satellite package, so as far as I can tell it will reach exactly the same number of homes as Bravo did (Bravo being the previous home of TNA). However, the viewer demographic for Challenge is very different, as the vast majority of it's programming is repeats of old quiz shows and game shows, many of which date back from the early and mid 90s. To be honest, it would be difficult to think of a more unfashionable channel for Impact! to air on.
-- UFC in Seattle March 26th Fight Club pre-sale starts Thursday, and tickets go on sale to the public this Saturday.
-- ROH announced today that they've signed the Briscoes to new deals.
-- UFC announced a deal today with TV Bank Corp. In Japan which will provide an Official UFC Mobile site across all three major Japanese cellular networks - NTT Docomo, KDD AU and Softbank. They also confirmed an agreement with Hikari TV, the internet protocol television network (IPTV) operated by NTT Plala Corp. The digital network will air delayed live and archived UFC bouts, as well as classic fights from the famed PRIDE library. Hikari TV currently has more than 1.3 million subscribers in Japan. Both deals start up in February.
-- WWE sent out the line-up for the Road to WrestleMania tour at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. These things are usually comical because they change weekly, but this one is particularly interesting because they bill Rey Mysterio vs. Wade Barrett in "a three-on-one handicap match". No idea who the other two people are or which guy will be handicapped, though one would presume Rey. Or this was a ponderous mess-up. Edge will also be facing Kane in a streetfight. Thanks to Paul Begley.
-- Tons of Royal Rumble stats up here.
-- There is a preview of this weekend's WrestleReunion convention up here.
-- There is a sixteen minute interview with Bret Hart here talking a number of subjects including whether he'd induct Shawn Michaels into the WWE Hall of Fame.
-- WWE Monday Night Raw on March 28th, 2011 will be held at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, the site of Wrestlemanias 2, 13 and 22. Tickets go on sale February 5th, 2011. Thanks to Devin Cutting.
-- On Sky in the UK they have a Rumble preview show and host mentions 30 superstars entering instead of 40 and they cant have recorded it more than a couple weeks ago. Dolph Ziggler cuts a promo for a minute with Josh Matthews about winning the Rumble. Also, the host put over the HBK v Sid match from 97 as one of the best ever before they showed "highlights". Thanks to Shane Browne.
-- TNA from Paris on the 22nd at the Zenith before 2,000: Kazarian beat Chris Sabin and Mark Haskins in a triple threat to retain the X Title. Good match; Mickie & Angelina beat Madison Rayne & Tara with the usual Earl Hebner kisses Madison spot; RVD beat Matt Hardy. RVD was super over and Matt was super hated; Beer Money beat Doug Williams & Magnus. Beer Money was also super over; Dixie Carter did a promo in French thanking the fans for coming. Well, a little French; Matt Morgan & Shannon Moore beat Jeff Jarrett & Pope when Morgan pinned pope. Morgan didn't do much and appeared to be hurting. Jarrett said he was friends with French President Sakozy before the match and got a ton of heat; Mr. Anderson beat Jeff Hardy to retain the title in the main event. Jeff Hardy, the most miscast heel in wrestling in probably many years, got the biggest babyface pop of the night coming out. Said to be a really great show.
-- James Storm may have suffered a groin injury at the Dublin show but we don't have an update right now.
-- Who do you expect to win this fight?
Jose Aldo Jr. 85.6%
Mark Hominick 14.4%
Should TNA put the title back on Jeff Hardy?
Yes on 2/3 4.8%
No, not until after his sentencing but after that they should 30.2%
No, he shouldn't get the title back 65.0%
Which of these Hall of Fame pro wrestlers do you think would have done
the best in MMA?
Kurt Angle 50.7%
Lou Thesz 13.3%
Billy Robinson 12.2%
Frank Gotch 9.9%
Harley Race 2.8%
Masa Saito 2.3%
Farmer Burns 1.6%
Johnny Valentine 0.9%
Stanislaus Zbyszko 0.9%
Earl Caddock 0.4%
Wladek Zbyszko 0.2%
Which guy with 0.2% was the one who fought to a draw with Helio Gracie in Helio Gracie's prime?
-- For the rest of the week we have a new Figure Four Daily with Les Thatcher up today with a lot of historical insight plus thoughts on current WWE and the Miz; Todd Martin and Gabe Sapolsky up Wednesday, Lance Storm up Thursday and Mikey Whipwreck up at some point in the next few days. So yeah, good time to sign up. We'll also have radio shows with Dave on Saturday night after the Strikeforce show and Sunday night after the number-two wrestling PPV of the year, Royal Rumble.
-- Also, for After Dark Radio fans, we've got a new show this Friday with Chris Gilleski talking various conspiracies, and next week we'll have our biggest show yet with Jeff Meldrum, PhD, Associate Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology and Adjunct Associate Professor of the Department of Anthropology at Idaho State University among things, discussing his legitimate scientific investigations into the existence of Sasquatch. More info up at the website, bryanalvarez.com, where you can now comment on new stories and also download for free the most recent show every week. Subscribers to this site get full access to all past shows.
-- James writes: You said the Vince McMahon story about being interesting in buying the English Premier League team Newcastle United was a spoof. However, Amir Khan posted on this Twitter last night a picture of him and Shane McMahon at last night's game between Bolton and Chelsea. Here is the link.
-- Box y Lucha reported in their latest issue than an unmasked Sexy Star was seated in the front row at Arena Mexico last Tuesday and was also there last Friday. That's interesting. Thanks to Kris Zellner.
-- Just a reminder to check out spacecoreandspacemonkey.com for the latest on the Bob Holly/Space Monkey game which is in development. Seriously.
-- Championship Wrestling Overload presents Old Capital Clash 2011, taking place on Saturday January 29th 2011 at the Centennial Center, located at 180 South Clarke Street in downtown Milledgeville Georgia. Adult tickets are $6, Kids 6-12: $3 and kids 5 & under are free with a paid adult. ALL college students are only $3 with a valid college id.
-- Jimmy Korderas talks how the 40 man Rumble might lead to more roster cuts here. I'd be more concerned about the upcoming earnings report.
-- Billy Graham will be on 1wrestling radio Wednesday at 1wrestling.com.
-- Real Championship Wrestling returns Saturday, February 5 (doors open at 6 pm, bell time 7 pm) at The Du Burns Arena, 1301 S. Ellwood Ave in Baltimore, MD for “The Bash Before the Bowl” featuring international superstars of professional wrestling.
-- The New York Wrestling Connection is LIVE, this Saturday, January 29, 2011 with "the most incredible show of the year -- The 8th Annual Psycho Circus!" The event will take place at the NYWC Sportatorium, 435-13 Brook Avenue, Deer Park, New York 11729. Mikey Whipwreck is promoter and he'll probably appear on Figure Four Daily a little later this week to talk the show.
- RESPECT 6: Tracy Elementary School, 1243 Tatamy Road, Easton PA 18045
-- This Friday night January 28th, NWS returns to the Manville, NJ V.F.W. Hall (600 Washington Avenue, minutes from Routes 22 and 287) with a 7:45pm bell time.
-- The weigh-ins for Titan Fighting Championship 16 (www.TitanFighting.com) have been scheduled for Thursday, January 27 at 5:00 p.m. CT at the Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa in Kansas City, Missouri. Phil Baroni will appear.
-- Johnny Mantell is up with Craig, Cutrer and Ed here.