Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yuji Nagata for the IWGP title and Tajiri vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi headline New Japan's latest big arena event of the year in Nagoya tomorrow.
The finals of the All Japan Real World Tag League tournament will be Sunday in Gifu. Also on Sunday is Pro Wrestling NOAH's final major show of the year at Budokan Hall headlined by Go Shiozaki vs. Takashi Sugiura for the GHC title and Takeshi Morishima & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Takeshi Rikio & Mohammed Yone for the GHC tag team titles and Atsushi Aoki vs. Naomichi Marufuji (return after knee surgery).
Tonight also includes a WWE house show in Bossier City, LA, a TNA house show in Amherst, MA (Styles vs. Daniels; Angle vs. Wolfe) and ROH in Chicago Ridge, IL (Austin Aries vs. Colt Cabana in a cage match for the ROH title and if Cabana loses, he can never get another title shot in Chicago, Roderick Strong vs. Kenny Omega, Briscoes vs. Dark City Fight Club, Tyler Black vs. Kenny King and Kevin Steen vs. Claudio Castagnoli).
Sunday has a WWE house show in Monroe, LA and a TNA house show in Glens Falls, NY with Styles & Angle vs. Daniels & Wolfe, plus Amazing Red vs. Homicide for the X division title.
Monday is the live Raw in Dallas with Mark Cuban as guest host, and a main event of DX vs. Chris Jericho in a handicap match. At this moment, the Little People's Court segment is scheduled to be filmed Monday as well. There is also a Smackdown brand house show in Beaumont, TX on Monday night with a Battle Royal and the winner facing Undertaker for the title in the main event.
Tuesday is Smackdown & ECW tapings in Houston.
UFC has Unleashed from 7 p.m. to midnight and then a tape of the June 20, 2009, Las Vegas show headlined by Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida in a match of the year contender starting at midnight.
UFC also has the entire season of The Ultimate Fighter starting at 9 p.m. tomorrow, leading into the live finale from Las Vegas.
With a ton of news this week, as well as our Hall of Fame bio of Masa Saito, we've got two issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter coming out next week. Among our lead stories is a look at the highest rated matches in history, including what and why drew a record setting boxing audience in Japan through use of pro wrestling marketing concepts. We also look at the most-watched pro wrestling, MMA, boxing and kickboxing matches in the history of Japan.
We also have the ballot for the 2009 Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards along with the top three finishers in every category in the 2008 awards.
We also have more on the New Year's Eve show, as well as some surprises about WrestleMania, as well as business numbers of WWE major live shows of 2009, including real numbers vs. announced numbers, one of which is an interesting surprise.
We also have updates on UFC PPV numbers as well as early returns on Survivor Series. The numbers on UFC 106 and Survivor Series on the same weekend tell a story. We also look at why the UFC 106 number is more important and significant than other shows that have done similar numbers.
We've also got an update on Dragon Gate USA after three shows, where it stands from a business standpoint and its future.
Both issues are now available to premium subscribers on the web site. You can also get the Observer mailed to your home with details below.
We also have more details on War Machine's brawl at the porn birthday party in Las Vegas, with several live reports.
We also have more on ECW on Syfy and why there is a movement to change, WWE signing a new television deal, updates on the knee injuries of Big Show and Rey Mysterio, and the dangerous situation facing Mysterio. Mysterio also talks about his feelings about training younger wrestlers, an update on plans for the TLC PPV, Jesse Ventura speaks out on WWE just days after doing Raw and the story behind his dealings in the past with Vince McMahon.
We also look at the most popular television shows for teenagers and where WWE, TNA and UFC fits in. We also look at a lot of WWE misleading statements regarding who is watching their shows and the WWE public story on why PPV numbers are down, and why WWE has not embraced Twitter.
We also have an update on Dwayne Johnson and his WWE return, and when it most likely won't be based on his thoughts and his schedule.
We also have notes on what happened to Little People's Court in WWE, an independent woman star who got a recent tryout, a segment on WWE television edited off in the U.K., the latest WWE bikini model signing, as well as notes on all the weekend WWE house shows.
Our biggest story is the bio of Saito, a 2009 Hall of Fame entrant. We follow Saito's career path, including a look at the legitimate Japanese wrestlers who became big stars in the U.S. over the past 40 years, the biggest runs of Saito's career, how he got into the Hall of Fame, the brawl in Waukesha, WI, with the police, the exaggerations of his Olympic success, the so-called Golden Trio of the JWA and the politics of Japanese pro wrestling when his career started.
We look at who was running Japanese wrestling, why the biggest star of the time got kicked out and how it affected Saito's career. We look at why Saito wrestled most of his career in the United States instead of Japan, how he was one of the youngest company presidents at the age of 23, his favorite wrestlers growing up and his arrival in the U.S.
We look at his first major career break and how the role he played limited his wrestling. We look at the heyday of the tag team of Kinji Shibuya & Mr. Saito in California, as well as what pro wrestling legend was boosted into being the top contender for the NWA title with a program with Saito and why.
We look at Saito's role in the Golden Age of Los Angeles wrestling, the political upheavals in Japan and why it took Saito so long to start with New Japan. We look at Saito's role in the career of Riki Choshu, the Saito challenge on Georgia Championship Wrestling and the run of Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito as WWF tag team champions with Lou Albano.
We look at how the success of a protege vaulted Saito to main event status in Japan, as well as his big money drawing feuds with Hulk Hogan and Antonio Inoki, including one of the most famous matches in Japanese history that didn't draw a dime.
We look at Saito being in another of the most famous wrestling matches of all-time, his run as AWA champion, his role in the 1990s New Japan dynasty, his last major match at the Tokyo Dome, his retirement ceremony, and what Saito is doing today.
We also have a look at the ratings for all the major pro wrestling and MMA shows on television over the past week.
We also have our usual weekly features such as the results of the biggest matches of the week and rundown of the major television shows.
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sites and has the most complete look at the business as a whole anywhere.
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.
-- John Morrison vs. Drew McIntyre for the IC Title has been added to the TLC PPV, apparently in a straight singles match.
-- A couple Hogan notes. Hulk and Dixie Carter are reportedly in Las Vegas tonight to watch the UFC show and talk about his deal. Bubba the Love Sponge on his radio show, for whatever this is worth, said Hogan would be appearing on the January 4th TNA taping. Of course, that's a Monday and there are a lot of rumors that the show will be going live head-to-head with Raw, but nothing is set in stone as of right now.
-- Line-up and weights for tonight The Ultimate Fighter Finale:
1. Roy Nelson (263) vs. Brendan Schaub (240) in the finale
2. Matt Hamill (206) vs. Jon Bones Jones (206)
3. Houston Alexander (208) vs. Kimbo Slice (212) in a catch-weight fight
4. Frankie Edgar (155) vs. Matt Veach (155)
5. Marcus Jones (262) vs. Matt Mitrione (255) in a grudge match
6. James McSweeney (235) vs. Darill Titties Schoonover (254)
7. Jon Madsen (247) vs. Justin Wren (251)
8. Brian Stann (205) vs. Rodney Wallace (203)
9. Dennis Hallman (169) vs. John Howard (170)
10. Joe Brammer (155) vs. Mark Bocek (156)
A few of these fights are pretty much unofficially loser leaves town matches.
Aside from the TUF season, which is the highest-rated in history, UFC for a number of reasons, not the least of which is all the injuries and the schedule, is coming off a string of disappointing ratings and even a shockingly low buyrate for Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin. Because this season has done so well and because Kimbo is fighting I expect this show to do a pretty good number, but we'll see. As much as people talk about UFC running the same number of shows as last year (which is true, 19 in 2008 and 19 in 2009) there was no period last year where they ran four shows in five weekends (and that's not counting WEC events and Strikeforce on CBS, the latter of which a lot of people watched), which one would presume is teetering on the brink of overexposure.
Dave is at the show live, so he'll be doing running play-by-play on the front page starting later this afternoon. We'll also be up very late tonight with a new Wrestling Observer Radio running down all the news from the show, post-show press conference notes, and tons of news.
-- Dave looks at the success of former TUF winners here.
-- The WWE crew is already back in the US after filming Tribute to the Troops.
-- TNA is doing a deal where if you show up at Universal Studios for the TV tapings on December 7th, 8th or 21st, they'll give you a free TNA DVD when the show is over.
-- Umaga got as high as number 4 on Twitter yesterday, and his death also made the front page of CNN.com
-- From Charlie Haas' Facebook: At 4:20 pm I lost my brother, my uso, my business partner Edward "Umaga" Fatu. He passed into God's hands, and is looking down on us. I love you UCE and will take care of your boys as if they were my own. LT will have all the support in the world. We miss you. Forever USO's. Tell Russ Hi for me.
-- We're going to try to get Court Bauer on the show next week to talk about his life and times, as he booked him in MLW and was good friends with him from before he even got into wrestling.
-- It was just announced in Japan that BxB Hulk will make the first defense of the Open The Freedom Gate Title tomorrow against Susumu Yokosuka in Hokkaido, Sapporo at Teisen Hall. If Yokosuka wins he will come to Chicago on 1/23 to defend the title. Currently scheduled for Chicago is Hulk vs. Dragon Kid for the title. This is on the same show Davey Richards defends the FIP Title against Masaaki Mochizuki.
-- Less than one day left to bid for an Awesome Kong ring outfit with the proceeds going to charity. Check it out here.
-- As expected, Texano and Terrible beat Yujiro and Naito in a double hair vs. hair match at Arena Mexico's year-end show last night. Steve Sims will be on Figure Four Daily next week talking all about the show, and has also promised an answer to the question "Why the Psycho Circus?" which we discussed last time on the program.
-- I will be wrestling TONIGHT at the Tulalip Championship Wrestling show at the Pacific Rim in Marysville, WA. Show starts at 5:00 PM with the doors opening at 4:30. More info and directions at tulalipchampionshipwrestling.com. I'll have copies of Death of WCW there if anyone wants to meet up and grab one while they're at it.
-- Although Vinny's laptop is broken, this wasn't him.
-- Grant Zwarych has a Royal Rumble Observer special up here
-- Batista talks his new energy drink here.
-- Insanity Pro Wrestling Proudly Presents "HARDCORE HOLIDAY", Saturday, December 5, 2009, The Fountain Square Salvation Army Corp, 1337 S Shelby St, Indianapolis, IN 46203. Hardcore Holly appears.
-- USWO/ATL Nashville, TN on December 4th before 76: Dyron Flynn b Shane Smalls, Lee Cross b Bryan Casey, LT Falk b Crusher Eric Hodge and Dyron Flynn & Bad Boy Dixon in a 4-way when he pinned Dixon, USWO Tag Team Champions Josh Crowe & Damien Payne b Saint & Psycho Medic when Crowe pinned Medic, Nore Havoc b Chic Canyon, ATL Southern Champion Tommy Mercer b Shawn Shultz, Tim Renesto b Jeff Daniels in a last man standing match
-- 2009 Toys for Tots Holiday Show TONIGHT, December 5, 2009 (Doors Open 6:30 PM; Bell Time 7:30 PM). Saint Matthew's Baptist Church, Route 322, 246 Glassboro Road, Williamstown, NJ 08094. (856) 629-4614