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Daily Update: The Rock returning to WrestleMania, Rizin

We're looking for reports on tonight's Raw from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with the dark matches and Superstars matches and anything else not evident on the house shows, as well as reports on the house show tonight in Allentown (Kane vs. Bray Wyatt, Tommy Dreamer & Dudleys vs. Braun Strowman & Erick Rowan & Luke Harper, Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze, Charlotte vs. Page).

Raw tonight features both Vince McMahon appearing as well as the return of John Cena, as he faces Alberto Del Rio.  Santino Marella is also booked for TV so it looks like he'll be a more regular comedy figure going forward.  With the house show tonight in Allentown, the names listed on that show are not expected to be on Raw tonight. 

Bryan and I will be back with Wrestling Observer Radio tonight talking the latest wrestling and MMA news as well as taking your e-mail questions to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

RIZIN DEBUT SHOW ON LATE MONDAY/EARLY TUESDAY FROM SAITAMA SUPER ARENA (some matches air on U.S. TV on Spike Thursday morning at 10 a.m.)

Tsuyoshi Kosaka vs. James Thompson

Carlos Toyota vs. Kiril Sidelnikov

Yuki Motoya vs. Felipe Efrain

Hiroyoa vs. Wicky Nishiura under K-1 rules

Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Hinata with alternate rounds of MMA rules and K-1 rules

A.J. Matthews (Bellator) vs. Anatoly Tokov

Hideo Tokoro (Bellator) vs. Kizaemon Saiga

Hiroyuki Takaya vs. D.J. Taiki

Valentin Moldavsky vs. Yuta Uchida - heavyweight tournament reserve fight

King Mo (Bellator) vs. Brett McDermott - first round of heavyweight tournament

Teodoras Aukstuolis vs. Bruno Cappelozza - first round of heavyweight tournament

Goran Reljic vs. Vadim Nemkov - first round of heavyweight tournament

Satoshi Ishii vs. Jiri Prochoazka - first round of heavyweight tournament

Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Shinya Aoki

WWE is also running two shows on Tuesday, with the Smackdown tapings in Washington, DC as well as a house show in Providence (John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio for U.S. title; Rusev vs. Ryback, Kane vs. Bray Wyatt, Charlotte vs. Paige for Divas title, Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze).

Wednesday has a WWE show in Toronto at the Ricoh Coliseum (John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio, Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens) and Baltimore (Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus, Kane vs. Bray Wyatt, Brie Bella & Alicia Fox vs. Naomi & Sasha Banks).

RIZIN FROM THE SAITAMA SUPER ARENA (some matches air on U.S. TV on Spike Thursday morning at 10 a.m.)

Rena vs. Jlena Valentino - women's match

Heavyweight tournament semifinals

Brennan Ward (Bellator) vs. Ken Hasegawa

Takeru vs. Yang Ming in K-1 rules

Soo Chul Kim vs. Maike Linhares

Gabrielle Garcia vs. Lei'd Tapa - women's super heavyweight match

Akebono vs. Bob Sapp - Shoot boxing rules (boxing, kicking, takedowns, no ground work or submissions)

Andy Souwer vs. Yuichiro Nagashima

Jerome LeBanner vs. Baruto (sumo star)

Kron Gracie (Rickson's son) vs. Asen Yamamoto (age group wrestling champion, son of former women's world champion Miyu Yamamoto)

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Jaideep Singh

Heavyweight tournament finals


Figure Four Weekly

Figure Four Weekly (12/21/15): Hulk Hogan and Nelson Frazier Lawsuit Updates
Transcript gives new insight into the FBI/Gawker dispute, plus WWE gives us a peek at what their termination notices look like in the Nelson Frazier wrongful death lawsuit.



Wrestling Observer Newsletter

A look at the Slammy Awards, business of the show, who watched the show, suggestions made for improving the awards show idea, some history of where it came from and what happened at the show including injury updates.

We also have a story about both the California commission, doctors, and reps from the Association of Boxing Commissions talking about the problem of weight cutting in MMA as well as all the medical issues involved, win/loss records of bigger vs. small fighters, belief of how many fighters go into fights dehydrated, the dangers of fighting dehydrated, new weight class suggestions, the good and the bad of adding weight classes, the discussion of splitting up the heavyweight division and the ONE organization becomes the first promotion to take drastic steps in this subject with a look at their new regulations.

We also look at the life, career and significance of Lizmark, one of the biggest stars in the history of Lucha Libre, who passed away this past week.  We have his background, how he got into wrestling, his life before wrestling, why he first wore a mask, how he got the name Lizmark, his long run as a constant singles champion or top contender, his induction into the Hall of Fame, his run in the glory days of AAA, Lizmark Jr. and why he fell out of favor in WCW due to loyalty to his father, his biggest rivals, the wrestlers who emulated him and his title history.

We look at what is next for NXT, the upcoming tour dates, reaction to Roman Reigns internally, Notes on the video game, Mauro Ranallo updates, WWE injury updates, John Cena and Dwayne Johnson news, lots of WWE U.K. date business notes, Japan TV update, Two new wrestlers making main roster debut for one tour in January and why.  We also have notes from all the weekend house shows.

PLUS MUCH MORE! CLICK HERE FOR A FULL WRESTLING OBSERVER PREVIEW

The Latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter: December 28, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WWE Slammy Awards, MMA Weight cutting

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Check out the latest Online Wrestling Observer BACK ISSUE: November 9, 1998 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Jesse Ventura wins Minnesota Governor election, WCW trailing WWF, more
Jesse Ventura becomes the Governor of Minnesota, WCW begins trailing WWF, ECW November to Remember recap, plus tons of news.

TODAY'S DAILY UPDATE

Dwayne Johnson officially announced he would be at WrestleMania this year.  He said he was coming to set the all-time attendance record and make history.  Because of his filming the "Baywatch" movie, it was unclear if he could get the time off.  We had been told before it would be difficult, but not impossible, for him to wrestle on the show due to an issue related to insurance from one of the movies he's doing but we will check if that has changed.

Want to make mention of the sad news today of the death of Harry Simon, a longtime reader and huge fan who contributed trivia column for this site years ago.  Simon passed away on Friday due to suicide, a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had lost his father one year ago on the same day as well as another close family member and had battled depression along with other painful physical problems over the past year.  He was 40.  He used to love to tell people he thought he was the only person ever to write for both the Wrestling Observer and Pro Wrestling Illustrated.   Harry Simon had a wish that his friends could all get together on a date in January for a gathering.  If anyone is interested in attending the Harry Simon Memorial, please e-mail Joyce Katz at joyceworley1@cox.net  Simon was big into pro wrestling and comic books. 

John Cena was a guest host on The Today show this morning, and will be on the show again tomorrow.   His segments are HERE and HERE

Shinsuke Nakamura was announced today by ROH as appearing on its anniversary weekend shows on 2/26 and 2/27 in Las Vegas at Sam's Town.  The 2/26 show, which will feature a number of New Japan stars (Kushida and Gedo have been announced, the Observer has also listed several other names) will be on PPV.

A Wall Street Journal article on the year in review has Ronda Rousey in the headline of the story of 2015 as The Year of Ronda, The Royals and a Horse.

RIZIN

The press conference was held earlier today for the Rizin debut show which takes place tonight/tomorrow morning at the Saitama Super Arena.  We've got weigh-in weights at the top.  Sakuraba, who is 46, hasn't won a fight since 2009, but because of his fame, is the headliner.  Another ex-pro wrestling star, Tsuyoshi Kosaka, comes out of a nearly decade in retirement.  James Thompson, his opponent, weighed in at 291 pounds.  All the fighters on both tonight's show and the New Year's Eve show were at the press conference except Bob Sapp and Jerome LeBanner.  Sapp is in Japan and there are no problems indicated.  The word we got is that LeBanner is not in Japan and may not be showing up at all.   LeBanner is scheduled to face Baruto on the New Year's Eve show.  It's something to follow up on.
 

WWE

  • Paul Levesque today announced a 1/16 afternoon show at 1 p.m. for NXT in Chicago at the Portage Theater.  They had already sold the theater out for an evening show that night.  Tickets go on sale at Noon Central time on Wednesday.  They will probably go quickly.
  • Alberto Del Rio at yesterday's show in Hartford was wearing a completely new outfit and had new ring music.  His tights were described as looking like the old Demolition tights with fake spikes and long pants.
  • Ratings won't be out until Wednesday this week due to the holidays.  It should be noted that there is a strong NFL game tonight with the Broncos vs. the Bengals.  But WWE is loading the show up with returns of both John Cena and Vince McMahon.  It also should be the start of the build for the Royal  Rumble show.
  • WWE stock closed down 12 cents a share to $18.65 today.
  • Dwayne Johnson bought his "Uncle Tonga," the former Haku, a truck as a Christmas present this year.

UFC

  • FS 1 tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Eastern will have a special looking at the biggest fights of 2015.
  • Gegard Mousasi vs. Thales Leites will be the co-main event on the 2/27 Fight Pass card in London, underneath Anderson Silva vs. Michael Bisping.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Cleeng, the iPPV provider that aired, or at least tried to air the Christmas night CMLL show from Arena Mexico, has sent out a $5 coupon code for everyone who bought last week's show so they can get this coming Friday's show for half price. 
  • Jeff Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, Bobby Roode, Brian Myers, Karen Jarrett and Colt Cabana are announced for the GFW show on 1/22 in Poughkeepsie at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center.
  • There will be a 1/17 show in Upland, CA at the Grizzly Den with The Young Bucks, Doc Gallows, Amber Gallows, Karl Anderson and Rocky Romero.
  • Lio Rush was announced for the ROH Top Prospect tournament which starts on 1/9 in Concord, NC.
  • CBS Sunday morning in a Hail and Farewell segments on celebrities who had passed away this year, listed former Roller Derby star Annis "Big Red" Jensen, although none of the major wrestling names.  They also showed 15 seconds of black and white footage of her skating.  It's notable because while she was one of the top stars in the 50 and early 60s, the biggest Derby star ever, Charlie O'Connell, passed away a few months later and got shockingly little press, although in reality, we had a bigger story on Jensen than O'Connell, but that was because very quickly after O'Connell's death, huge wrestling stars had passed away.
  • AAW from Saturday night in Merrionette Park, IL:  Davey Vega b Louis Lyndon to win Heritage title, Kongo Kong b Russ Jones, Heidi Lovelace & Zero Gravity b Bucky Collins & Zack Braxton & Eddie Machete, Hooligans b Shane Hollister & Markus Crane to keep the tgag titles, Tommaso Ciampa b Michael Elgin, Chris Hero b Colt Cabana (subbing for Davey Richards), Sami Callihan b AR Fox, Eddie Kingston b Ethan Page in a cage match to retain the AAW title.  Next show is 1/15 in Merrionette Park, IL with Eddie Kingston vs. Trevor Lee, plus Hero, Callihan and Abyss appearing.(thanks to Qumar Zaman)
  • Orlando Pro Wrestling from yesterday:  Josh Parker b Chris Saint, Siniestro b Derick Jordan, Cousin Earl b Gabriel Black Santana Garrett b Tammy Lynn, Mike Reed b King Tony DaBlack, King Tony DaBlack won Battle Royal (thanks to Al Haft)
  • Maryland Championship Wrestling from Saturday night in Joppa, MD:  Stockade b Rayo & Chief Homeboy RD in a handicap match, Paul Jordane & Bill Collier b Punk Rock All-Stars (Shaun Cannon & Drake Carter), Dixon Line (Rob Locke & Joe Keys) b Fed Up (C-Fed & G-Fed), Sean Studd (John's legit son) b Fenix Fury, Oakley Woods & Bo Nekoda b Kai Katana & Sean Carr, Ethan Carter III b Brandon Scott, Lio Rush b Joey Janela, Renee Michelle b Kimber Lee to win the women's title with Mickie James as referee, Billy Gunn b Ken Dixon to win the TV title,The Ecktourage (Eric Chapel & Dirty Money managed by Kevin Eck b Hell Cats (Jimmy Starz & Sexy Steve) in a cage match to retain the tag titles, King McBride b The Bruiser to retain the MCW title in a cage match.  Next show in four weeks features the Hardys.
  • The Buffalo News had a story today about when Gorgeous George came to the city
  • NWA Smoky Mountain Wrestling on 1/16 in Kingsport, TN at the Civic Auditorium

Here is today's FULL Daily Pro Wrestling History including International history: Daily pro wrestling history (12/28): Sting defeats Hogan for WCW World Title