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Daily Update: Being the Elite, Raw, Daniel Bryan promo


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We're looking for reports from Raw tonight in Sacramento with the second hour of tapings, the Smackdown house show in Stockton, the WWE show in Oakland and Sunday's Evolve show from Deer Park, NY to

Tuesday has a double TV taping for Smackdown live, plus one or two episodes of 205 Live, and the 12/25 Smackdown all in Fresno.

F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly: The revitalization of the new Daniel Bryan

When Daniel Bryan announced his emotional return to the ring, it was fairly inconceivable that he'd end up being a vicious and pompous environmentalist heel just eight months later. But the character change has revitalized Bryan and taken him to the highest points since the immediate aftermath of announcing his comeback. With Bryan completely buying into the change, "the new Daniel Bryan" has been far better in execution than it would have sounded on paper.

WON NEWSLETTER: December 17, 2018 Observer Newsletter: Fantastic Tokyo Dome card, death of Larry Hennig

A look at New Japan going into the Tokyo Dome, notes on lots of new television deals and a story on the life of Larry Hennig heads up this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Our lead story is a preview of the Wrestle Kingdom 13 show, with the lineup, storylines, tag team tournament rundown, this weekend's shows and full coverage of the tag team tournament finals with match-by-match coverage, star ratings and poll results.

Look at the glory days of the AWA with a story on the life of Larry Hennig. Start with his legit sports background, why he never wrestled or played football in college, how he got started in pro wrestling, and his rise to fame as a heel in the AWA.

Look at one of the 60s most successful tag teams, Harley Race & Larry Hennig, and their feud with Dick the Bruiser & The Crusher. Also look at the rest of Hennig's career all over the world.

Also look at the future of Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt, George Bush's connection to pro wrestling, WWE week on USA, WWE rules for what U.K. talent can do, injury and illness updates, John Cena talks on future, notes on and WWE tryouts.

Also look at ONE attempting to become a significant player on the U.S. scene with its deal with TNT, its big signings, but also a look at the company's real economic numbers.

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

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Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Raw, Being the Elite and the rest of the news tonight on Wrestling Observer radio. You can send questions for tonight's show to

The BTE stuff with the Young Bucks turning down the WWE offer is a play based on what actually happened. 

Tonight is a marathon Raw in Sacramento as they are also taping for the Christmas Eve show, so at 8 p.m. local time they will go another three hours. The same thing happens tomorrow in Fresno. Vince McMahon is back, plus Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler was announced.

Vince McMahon is supposed to shake things up as they have been suffering from record ratings lows the past two weeks. This week would be up anyway coming off the PPV. But Vince's return should lead to a significant increase. If not, that wouldn't be good.

Expect heavy promotion for the movie "Bumblebee" all week, with John Cena making the talk show rounds.

One of the best promos of the year was done by Daniel Bryan on WWE Now before TLC.

Vitor Belfort was on Ariel Helwani's show today and said he was looking at coming out of retirement to fight. Doesn't everyone do that?

There were 200,000 Google searches for TLC, good for 11th place last night. That's about what most WWE PPVs are doing these days. Aside from the Canelo fight, TLC was the only weekend thing to even track from combat sports, so it beat the UFC show on Saturday that did the best ratings for a UFC show in two years. 


  • Today's Hidden Gems from the AWA has Baron Von Raschke vs. Sgt. Jacques Goulet, Ken Patera vs. Steve Olsonoski, Rick Martel vs Bobby Heenan, Nick Bockwinkel vs Billy Robinson and Hulk Hogan & Tito Santana vs. Ken Patera & Bobby Duncum. (thanks to Paul Sosnowski)
  • WWE and Sky have reached a new deal for New Zealand. Raw will continue to air live at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and replay at 1:30 p.m. on Sundays. Smackdown will continue to air live at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and replay at 4:15 p.m. on Sundays. Main Event will continue to air at 6 p.m. on Sundays. The shows will also air on Demand. Additionally, Sky will be doing one hour highlights shows of Raw and Smackdown on Friday nights starting next year. Sky will also continue to air WWE big shows as PPV events.
  • Under Armour is pushing a lot of Dwayne Johnson merchandise through its Project Rock campaign, including a Fitness app to train like Dwayne Johnson while wearing his ear[phones. There will also be a Dwayne Johnson My Fitness App for counting calories. 
  • A story on Pete Gas, who returned on the Edge & Christian show.


  • OTT from yesterday in Belfast before a sellout of 550 fans: Sean Guinness b Charlie Sterling, The Mongrels won over Lads from the Flats & Session Moth Martina, Raven Creed b Valkyrie-DQ to keep the women's title, Jordan Devlin b Scotty Davis, Damien Corvin b Ilja Dragunov, Adam Maxted won three-way over Curtis Murray and Tucker, Walter b Bonesaw to keep the OTT title. David Starr was injured so his match with Dragunov was changed. Devlin vs Davis was the match of the night. Main event was good and there was a spot where fans were buying Walter could lose. (thanks to Tim Walsh)
  • Bein Sports will air an MLW marathon on 12/31 starting at 6 a.m. Eastern.
  • Davey Boy Smith came from Japan with a bad fever working the MLW tapings this past week. 
  • Bein Sports and MLW were filming a documentary on Tony Schiavone this past week built around his first live cable television wrestling commentary job since the end of WCW nearly 18 years ago. 
  • PWF from yesterday in Springfield, IL: Corey Roberts & Austin Hayes & Nick King b James Brady & Reilly McGuire & Harrison Kolmer, Aaron Williams b Jake Omen, Ace Perry b Stephen Wolf, Sophie King b Tootie Lynn Ramsey, Juntai & Gavin Quinn b Adam Slade & Kevin Giza, Jake Parnell won six-way over Bandolero, Paco Gonzalez, Golden Dragon, Gringo Loco and Orion Creed, Myron Reed b Mat Fitchett, Logan James & Jake Lander b Juice Robinson & Jimmy Jacobs. (thanks to Patrick Brandmeyer)
  • There was a scary moment at a show yesterday from the Head Drop promotion that debuted in London. During a match with Jinny vs. Laura DiMatteo, DiMatteo hit her head. EMTs came out and DiMatteo was rushed to the hospital. Rhia O'Reilly went with her and then said it was a miracle and they could find no concussion or injury of any kind. (thanks to Shannon Walsh)
  • KSW announced its next show is 3/23 at the Atla Arena in Lodz, Poland on DAZN.
  • Sendai Girls from Saturday in Sendai: Hiroyo Matsumoto b Manmi, Hikaru Shinda & Alex Lee & Mei Suruga b Kaoru & Cassandra Miyagi & Mikoto Shindo, Gabaijii-chan b Kyusei Sakura Hirota, Dash Chisako b Heidi Katrina, Meiko Satomura & Saree b Chihiro Hashimoto & Mika Iwata.
  • Sendai Girls from yesterday in Tokyo: Manami b Mei Sugura, Kaoru & Cassandra Miyagi b Heidi Katrina & Alex Lee, Chihiro Hashimoto & Mika Iwate b Takumi Iroha & Mikoto Shindo, Meiko Satomura b Kyuseu Sakura Hirota, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Dash Chisako b Hikaru Shida & Miyako Morino. (thanks to Shannon Walsh)
  • C4 Capital Combat on 1/25 in Ottawa, ONT at St. Anthony's Hall with Josh Alexander vs. Matt Angel.
  • NSW on 1/13 in Hamilton,ONT at the Lincoln Alexander Centre. 
  • A preview of the Windy City Classic that AAW is promoting on 12/29.
  • Bob Magee, who pushes Toys for Tots programs every year at this time, wrote this: Many of those promotions do Toys for Tots collections. There will be a major deficit in toys available to children owing to the closing of Toys 'R Us, which was a major donor to Toys for Tots nationwide. Toys 'R Us raised more than $50 millionand collected 4 million toys since 2004 according to the national office of Toys For Tots. If you're a fan at one of the remaining shows collecting through Toys for Tots or other related charities, PLEASE bring a new unwrapped toy for the collections there. 
  • Some of the promotions that have been doing charity drives and donations: Tri City Wrestling presented the fourth annual Cassidy Christie Memorial Cup event on October 6 in Bay City, MI. The show benefited the Cassidy Christie Memorial Scholarship and raised $3,334...well over $1,000 more than last year. PWA Canada raised $2,600 at their October 13 show for the Hunter Costello Memorial FUN-dation in Goderich, ON  which raises funds to build an accessible playground and to defer pediatric health care costs. Classic Championship Wrestling returned to Camp Hill, PA on October 14 for "It's Good To Be The Queen". The promotion will begin its yearly toy drive in conjunction with the local Elks Lodge, with collection barrels at the Lodge through December. They have already collected two full boxes of toys. Dynamo Pro Wrestling/Glory Pro Wrestling was part of the annual Eat and Treat event on October 19 at the Chesterfield Amphitheater in Chesterfield, MO, with Dynamo Pro Wrestling and Glory Pro Wrestling matches plus food all to benefit Maryville University's Kids Rock Cancer. The “Eat And Treat” event raised a little over $17,000 to support Kids Rock Cancer. Supreme Wrestling presented a fundraiser on October 19 at Christ's Way Christian Church, North Vernon, IN for Logan's Koala Heroes, to help bring warm clothes and blankets to pediatric cancer patients at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital. Showcase Pro Wrestling will hold food drives at its six scheduled shows from October 6 through December 15; in Woonsocket, RI (October 6, November 2, December 7) and Taunton, MA (October 13, November 3, December 15), collecting food for Harvest Community Church. 300 pounds have been collected this far. Appalachian Mountain Wrestling will hold their annual holiday shows to benefit The Gray Community Chest, with canned food items collected for the Gray Food Bank and new toys for the Johnia Berry Memorial Toy Drive at both their November 3 at Knox County Middle School, Barbourville, KY; and Miller Family Fun Center, Hazard, KY on November 10 Holiday Tour shows. 150 cans of vegetables, fruits, stews, 50-60 other non-perishables (peanut butter, beans, macaroni and cheese and noodles)  and numerous toys collected so far. Elk Mania Promotions returned to Beverly, MA on November 3 to benefit the scholarship initiatives of The Elks National Foundation, raising $2,098.21 for the Foundation at last night’s show. Hoosier Pro Wrestling held the first of their two annual Firemen's Cheer Fund Toy Drive shows on November 3 in Columbus, IN with nearly $2900 in toys, bikes, and cash donations raised. Canadian Wrestling's Elite came to Yorkton, SK on November 3 and helped raised nearly $3,500 for the Ronald McDonald House. Primal Conflict Wrestling collected canned and non-perishable foods at its November 3 Night to Remember show in Harper's Ferry,  WV. Live Pro Wrestling returned to Renfrew, ON on November 3 in a taping for Yourtv Ottawa Valley, non-perishable food and money were collected for the Renfrew Food Bank, raising $300. Cross Body Pro Wrestling presented Can You Handle This? (Special Olympics Fundraiser Show) on November 3 in Kitchener, ON featuring Rich Swann and Josh Alexander to benefit Special Olympics Ontario and has raised at least $4200 for Special Olympics Ontario. Timmy Takedown was held November 4 at the Incrediplex, Indianapolis, IN. Money raised served Timmy Global Health, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that expands access to healthcare and empowers students and volunteers to tackle today’s most pressing global health challenges in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Guatemala. 23 wrestlers signed up to participate this year, a lot of whom were former or current patients at Riley Children's Hospital. PWX Wrestling held Headlock 4 Hospitals on November 9 in Shelby, NC to benefit  Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, raising nearly $8000. Wrestling With Purpose took place at Pembroke Middle School in Pembroke, SC on November 9 in Wrestling For Eric to benefit Eric Woodell, currently battling heart failure and in need of a new heart with nearly $1,000 raised. Burlington Championship Wrestling and All About Roofing presented Crushing Cancer on November 11 in Burlington, NC, raising $1,853. UWE Pro Wrestling presented its annual Headlock for Hunger event on November 11 at The Wex, 1320 N Mitchell St, Cadillac, MI. The event benefited  local Cadillac service agency Shepherd's Table. The promotion and its talent collected 500 cans and non-perishable items for the charity. Benefit Championship Wrestling and All About Roofing presented Crushing Cancer on November 11 at the Positive Attitude Youth Center in Burlington, NC to benefit Relay for Life of Alamance County, raising $1,853. Pro Wrestling Magic presented We Rise Again: A Benefit for Joey Finnegan on November 11 in Ridgefield, NJ raising $1,715 for medical bills for local fan Joey Finnegan. xWe Entertainment teamed up on November 18 with the Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack program as part of the Annual Beat Back Hunger campaign and with the Salina Food Bank to give back to the community. A "truck bed full" was collected.  NOVA Pro Wrestling helped the Jewish Community Center of Fairfax, VA on November 23 with its FACETS Toy Collection in Fairfax, VA, collecting nearly 100 toys. All Star Wrestling/West Virginia returned to  Madison, WV on November 23. Santa collected bags of toys and cash donations for The Nice List. Power Pro Wrestling presented its "Toys For Tots" show on  November 24 at the Carlisle Fire Company, Milford, DE with three large bins of Toys for Tots collected, with more on the way. Vancouver Island Pro Wrestling presented "Headlocks for Hunger" on November 24 in Nanaimo, BC; collecting 4 food bank totes full (aka 500 pounds of food) for the local Loaves and Fishes food bank. Delmarva Wrestling Digest held its 4th annual Toys for Tots Drive on November 28 in Seaford, DE, with the Briscoe Brothers appearing. 4 Toys for Tots bins plus $300 were collected.  American Premier Wrestling presented BRAWL 40 on December 1 in Statesboro, GA, a fundraising dinner and wrestling show to benefit Toys for Tots. Classic Pro Wrestling returns on December 1 to Aylett, VA collecting new, unopened, unwrapped toys for Mason's Toy Box. Hoosier Pro Wrestling held the second of their two annual Firemen's Cheer Fund Toy Drive shows on December 1 in Columbus, IN, with nearly $1,200 (700 toys, $120 bikes, $410 raffle/cash donations) in toys, bikes, and cash donations raised  for a two show of $4129 total donated to Fireman's Cheer Fund! United Wrestling Coalition held its TWENTIETH ANNUAL Toys for Tots show on December 1 in Wrightstown, NJ, with 450 toys and 8 bikes collected. Empire Wrestling Federation returned to San Bernardino, CA on December 1 for its annual Toy Drive show, collecting nearly 5 trash bags full of toys. Total Wrestling Federation held its annual show on December 1 in Stockton, CA for its annual show to collect toys for children at Shriner's Hospitals, with one giant garbage bag full of toys.  MCW Wrestling held its annual "Season's Beatings" Toys for Tots show on December 1 in Joppa, MD, collecting around 250 toys. ECWA Pro Wrestling held its annual Toys for Tots show on December 1 at Asbury United Methodist Church, New Castle, DE, collecting three boxes of toys and a bike. Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling returned to New Westminster, BC on December 1 for Wrestling With Hunger, collecting 100 toys, 100 or more food items, and 20 blankets. Chinlock Wrestling returned to Kingston, ON on December 1 to benefit Youth Diversion Kingston and Kingston Military Family Resource Centre. Ontario's Crossfire Wrestling held its annual Jingle Bell Brawl on December 1, to benefit the Niagara Children's Foundation, raising $2200. Harley Race’s World League Wrestling presented their December holiday show on December 1 in Troy, MO to raise monetary donations for its local community food pantry, The Bread For Life Food Pantry. Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling presented Hardcore with a Heart on December 2 in Warren, MI, their annual show to feed the hungry in Detroit,  MO collecting 490 lbs of food and $550 contributions. Eastern Panhandle Pro Wrestling held its Christmas charity event, entitled Absolute Domination, on December 7 at Middleway Volunteer Fire Company, Kearneysville, WV to benefit Martinsdale Rescue Mission, collecting clothing and personal items for those served by the Mission,  including socks, underwear, soap, disposable razors, 2 blankets, gloves, shaving cream. Rex vs Cancer Again! took place on Friday December 7 at the Gulf View Event Center, Port Richey, FL with nearly $1,000 raised. Wrestling With Purpose returned to the Sapp Recreation Center. Lumberton, NC on December 7 for Heart of a Champion, to raise money for Robeson County Special Olympics. Brew City Wrestling presented Jingle Bells Bash on December 8 at the Elks Lodge in Waukesha, WI, a Toys for Tots event, collecting over 100 toys. PWX Wrestling Pure vs. PURE took place December 8, at Hebron Hall, 3 Charlotte, NC. This was a Toys for Tots show that took place despite heavy snow in parts of the Carolinas. That follows their Headlocks for Hospitals show, which had to be rescheduled after Hurricane Michael. PWX has helped their community this season despite some exceptional circumstances. Prestige Wrestling returned to Hermiston, OR on December 8 at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center with the first annual RISE OR DIE TRYING tournament! 100% of ticket sales were donated to a local children's charity. Border City Wrestling returned to Tecumseh, ON on December 8, raising $3000 for Adopt-a-Vet, plus canned goods to support Windsor Pantry. Supreme Wrestling presented "Bah Humbug" in Madison, IN on December 8. $637.42 was raised to buy Christmas gifts for children selected by Salvation Army Angel Tree. All Star Wrestling returned to Surrey, BC on Saturday, December 8 for Bodyslams for Toys to benefit the Surrey Christmas Bureau, collecting an estimated 300 toys.  The 2300 Arena collected new, unwrapped toys and gifts for Toys For Tots at the House of Hardcore December 8 "Indie Darlings" show, collecting a number of toys. Combat Zone Wrestling and DJ Hyde held the annual Toys for Tots collection (in conjunction with the Marine Corps Reserve) for the fourteenth year in a row at Combat Zone Wrestling's Cage of Death 20, on December 9 at the legendary 2300 (ECW) Arena in Philadelphia, PA, collecting more than last year's 600 toys. This includes again this year CZW fan Bob Manning (who posts online as Bane Wolfpac) from Maryland, bringing up four full Toys for Tots boxes himself. The toys will go to places such as Ronald McDonald House/Cooper Hospital, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as to other agencies and groups.  Zero1USA and Proving Ground presented CHRISTMAS CHAOS a benefit event for Chris Cunningham on December 9 at the Burgess Osborne Auditorium, Mattoon, IL featuring Jimmy Jacobs, raising over $1200. Demand Lucha returned to The Opera House in Toronto, ON on December 13 for the Merry Lucha Libre Christmas Show, in support of Variety Village Children's Charity toy drive, collecting 100 toys. Ohio Valley Wrestling returns to Louisville, KY on December 14 for OVW Christmas Chaos. A number of toys were collected for the kids of Norton Children's Hospital. 3xWrestling returned December 14 to the Hispanic American Legion in Des Moines, IA and collected a number of toys for the American Legion Toy Drive. Ring of Honor collected six boxes of toys for a Toys for Tots collection at the Final Battle PPV on December 14 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.

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