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Daily Update: AEW notes, Royal Rumble, Conor/Khabib

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F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly: Looking at WWE's promise of change

After promising change, the challenge for WWE going forward is to make a real commitment to that instead of having it be a short-term ratings fix. Those vague promises of change were made during the opening segment of last Monday's episode of Raw. Following two straight weeks of record-low ratings -- with the first of them even being brought up on WWE television as Seth Rollins said Baron Corbin was the reason for the ratings dip -- it was advertised that Vince McMahon would return to "shake things up." Vince appeared and brought out Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, and Shane McMahon. WWE oddly blurred the lines between kayfabe and reality, with the McMahons also blaming Raw's issues on Corbin. 

WON NEWSLETTER: December 31, 2018 Observer Newsletter: Jon Jones testing controversy, more

The most in-depth reporting on the Jon Jones case is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

This article tries to break down the time line, what the realities of drug testing are, what is misleading, why the show was moved, why the show had no reason to be moved, the limits on what drug testing can detect and how many statements over the past week have been double-talk, & the fishy parts of the case.

Also look at previous Jones tests and the controversy prior to the first Cormier fight that nobody talks about and why it was controversial. Go through the Tom Lawlor and Tim Sylvia cases.

Look at the new Impact TV deal, what is Pursuit TV, what options Impact had, comparing the homes that the different wrestling TV shows are in, & why it's important for Anthem to keep Impact alive.

Read a rundown of WWE's biggest annual house show of the year, the holiday show at Madison Square Garden. This issue has match-by-match coverage with star ratings and business notes, as well as appearances by Vince McMahon and John Cena, and Ronda Rousey being put in the main event.

Look at discussions regarding what could be the main event at WrestleMania and different angles on the match, the future of the top of the women's division, more on Smackdown on FOX next year,

Look at Dragon Gate's Final Gate show, its last major show of the year. Run down the show and talk of the future and update business for that promotion.

ORDERING INFO: Order the print Wrestling Observer right now and get it delivered via mail, by sending your name, address, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to Dave Meltzer, or by using PayPal directing funds to Dave@WrestlingObserver.com

Rates in the United States are $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to moonsault@mediaplusint.com. For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52. 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.)

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can choose one free classic issue or two free classic issues with a 40-issue subscription.

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE

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(By Joseph Currier and Bryan Rose)

WWE

  • On behalf of everyone here at Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online, happy New Year! SmackDown will air tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern time, featuring the return of John Cena to WWE television. This episode was taped this past Saturday in Pittsburgh.
  • Sasha Banks, Bayley, Ember Moon, Natalya, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan have been officially announced for this year’s women’s Royal Rumble match. Carmella will also be in the match and will enter the Rumble at number 30 as a stipulation of winning Mixed Match Challenge with R-Truth. R-Truth will enter the men’s Rumble at number 30, and Drew McIntyre has also been confirmed for that match.
  • NXT UK’s Wolfgang and wrestler Molly Spartan got engaged at a Glasgow Clan hockey game.
  • Dustin Rhodes (Goldust) will be doing a talk show tour with Inside the Ropes in March. The dates are in Birmingham, England on March 5, Manchester on March 6, Glasgow, Scotland on March 7, Ireland (city to be announced) on March 8, and London on March 9.
  • Bayley talked to Metro Sport about the Royal Rumble and how satisfied she is in terms of where she is at in WWE.

Pro Wrestling

  • All Elite Wrestling’s rally for Double or Nothing at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida next Tuesday is taking place on the same day as SmackDown is being held at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The Double or Nothing rally is starting at 5 p.m. Eastern time.
  • Matt Jackson tweeted about the announcement of All Elite Wrestling: “Thank you for making the decision to do this a no-brainer. We cannot do it without you. #AllEliteWrestling”
  • All Elite Wrestling and Double or Nothing merchandise is already on sale at Pro Wrestling Tees.
  • BJ Whitmer, who recently resigned from his behind-the-scenes position with ROH, tweeted a picture of the logo for All Elite Wrestling
  • There is a new interview on New Japan’s English site with Kazuchika Okada where he talks about Jay White being the toughest foreigner, the current status of CHAOS and Bullet Club’s resurgence.  
  • The site also has an interview with Hiroshi Tanahashi, talking about his match with Kenny Omega ahead of Wrestle Kingdom 13.
  • Trevor Lee confirmed that he’s officially a free agent and no longer under contract with Impact Wrestling: “Today I am officially a Free Agent.  I want to thank @IMPACTWRESTLING for all the friends I have made and knowledge I have learned. #ZNA”
  • Jordynne Grace will defend the PROGRESS women’s championship she won this past weekend against Kylie Rae at Warrior Wrestling on January 5.
  • Ric Flair has a New Year’s resolution for 2019.
  • Happy birthday to Jimmy Hart, who turns 76 years old today.

UFC/MMA

  • Talking to TMZ Sports, Dana White expressed interest in a Conor McGregor/Khabib Nurmagomedov rematch in 2019. He says it depends on how the hearing with the NASC goes in relation to the brawl that happened after UFC 229.
  • Cat Zingano talked to ESPN about the damage to her eye following her loss to Megan Anderson on Saturday. "I have a damaged iris, damaged retina, hemorrhage in the back of my eye, increased globe pressure and of course the laceration," she said. "They want me back at the doctor every three to four days to make sure there's no detachment on the retina. Right now, they have to keep it dilated and on steroids for the next two weeks to keep the pressure down”. Zingano is considering appealing the ruling.
  • Jimmy Smith, who has done announcing for UFC in the past year and has previously worked for Bellator, announced today that UFC has declined to re-sign him.
  • A trailer for an upcoming documentary on Henry Cejudo has been released.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Sam Muchnick retirement show

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