THE LATEST NEWS
- NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12: Full card, start time, more
- WWE Raw ratings up despite going against college football playoffs
- Updated list of confirmed WWE Royal Rumble entrants
- Final WWE US title tournament first round match set for next week
- WWE Mixed Match Challenge: Amore out, Bliss teaming with Strowman
- WWE SmackDown video highlights: AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn
- WWE 205 Live results: Goldust & Alexander team up, TJP returns
- AJ Styles to defend WWE title in handicap match at Royal Rumble
- WWE SmackDown live results: AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn
THE LATEST AUDIO
- F4D: Smackdown, 2008 Royal Rumble, GEEK OF THE YEAR and more! 1/3
- WOL: THE 2018 WRESTLING OBSERVER LIVE PREDICTION SHOW! 1/3
- B&V&C: Retro Raw and Nitro from 19 years ago this week! 1/2
The road to WrestleMania took a not-entirely-unexpected turn last week when it was announced on Raw that the first-ever women's Royal Rumble match would be taking place next month. While there are still plenty of specifics to be worked out, the announcement itself made all of the sense in the world. The women's division shouldn't be an afterthought in the build to WWE's biggest show of the year.
WON NEWSLETTER: January 1, 2018 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: 2017 In Review
Our 2017 year in review issue of the Observer is up on the site, with full business coverage of the year as well as a breakdown of the biggest pro wrestling news stories of 2017, updating them with a lot of new information on them. There is a major feature on the history of New Japan Pro Wrestling at the Tokyo Dome, as well as an update on where John Cena at WrestleMania stands.
Have a look at the biggest crowds of the year, who has headlined the most major shows, where John Cena stands among the all-time biggest drawing cards as well as where other current WWE stars stand.
There is a PPV breakdown of the year, a breakdown of biggest live crowds and who drew the most, a look at the biggest gates of the year and an update on the ten biggest drawing cards in pro wrestling history.
Examine Vince McMahon's stock sale, thoughts on buying an NFL franchise or starting his own league and the stock price concerns.
In this issue, an update with the planned main event for WWE's PPV in March, update on Dean Ambrose, more WWE injury notes, T-shirt selling strong, Brock Lesnar's schedule, Daniel Bryan update, Ronda Rousey update, former member of WWE Board of Directors is the latest major executive having to step down, Angle talks Jordan angle, Gerald Brisco awarded, plans for March, Velveteen Dream update, what WWE is looking for in talent right now, and the most-watched shows on the WWE Network.
There is also a huge feature on the history of New Japan Pro Wrestling at the Tokyo Dome dating back to 1989. Look at why the first show took place, what legendary video game character came from the first show, why there were so few stadium shows before the Tokyo Dome opened, and a look at that first show. Check out the first main event and the move that came from another sport to pro wrestling that ended up as the finisher of one of the biggest stars ever years later.
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The WWF's final PPV event of its biggest year was sold as a one match card, and even after buying the show, most of the first two hours of the show came across more like an ad to buy a show already purchased. After a flat undercard, where nothing was terribly bad but nothing was particularly good, that dragged at times because of too much hype that would have best been served being on Sunday Night Heat, the main event finally took place.
WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE
- WWE announced that Bobby Roode & Charlotte Flair will be teaming together in the Mixed Match Challenge tournament. They’re the first SmackDown team officially confirmed. Braun Strowman & Alexa Bliss from Raw were announced earlier in the day.
- WWE uploaded promos where Roode & Charlotte and Strowman & Bliss reacted to being paired together.
- Daniel Bryan told Sports Illustrated that he assumes he won’t be wrestling with WWE at all if he doesn’t wrestle at WrestleMania. Bryan said about the process of potentially being cleared: "It’s not a black and white answer. There are a lot of issues with me getting cleared by WWE. They have a very strict protocol, which is a good thing, but the timeline of all that happening was not the best for me. It’s an interesting situation that will develop."
- Becky Lynch and TJP returned to WWE television last night. Lynch, who was back in the ring at WWE’s house shows last week, got revenge on The Riott Squad after being written off TV to go film “The Marine 6: Close Quarters” when they attacked her in November. TJP defeated Akira Tozawa on 205 Live after not wrestling since October.
- Cris Cyborg, who had been trying to start a feud with Lynch on Twitter last year, was excited to see her return to SmackDown.
- Jim Ross confirmed that he and Jerry Lawler are scheduled to be on the 25th anniversary episode of Raw later this month but wrote that their role is to be determined.
- Today is Ross’ 66th birthday.
- After being shown in the crowd on SmackDown, Basketball Hall of Fame member Karl Malone got into the ring and did the “Glorious” pose with Bobby Roode following last night’s post-show dark match. Malone was also interviewed by Dasha Fuentes and spoke about wrestling for WCW in 1998. Roode teamed with AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura against Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn & Jinder Mahal after SmackDown and 205 Live went off the air.
- There will be an announcement made about the NXT year-end awards on tonight’s two-hour recap episode.
- Maria Kanellis-Bennett wrote a blog post about her reaction to private photos of her that were leaked online.
- “WWEPC” is the pre-sale code for tickets to Backlash in Newark, New Jersey on May 6th. The pre-sale ends at 10 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow.
- It was announced at NJPW’s pre-Wrestle Kingdom 12 fan festival that the company is partnering with Spike Chunsoft, the development company behind Fire Pro Wrestling, in time for Fire Pro Wrestling World’s release on PS4. The game will be out on PS4 before the 2018 G1 Climax and the NJPW collaboration will include some licensed characters and a story mode where you start as a young lion with the goal of winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
- Also at the fan festival, Yuji Nagata revealed that there had been 32,600 tickets sold in the pre-sale for tonight’s Tokyo Dome show before walk-ups are accounted for.
- NJPW uploaded one final interview with Chris Jericho ahead of his match against Kenny Omega tonight.
- Don Callis appeared on today’s episode of Talk is Jericho to preview Wrestle Kingdom 12 and discuss how Omega vs. Jericho came to be.
- In a piece on the Players’ Tribune, Jericho named Ultimo Dragon, Dean Malenko, Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, and Kevin Owens as his five personal favorite opponents throughout his career and wrote about facing Omega.
- ESPN spoke to Jericho and Omega about their match tonight.
- ESPN also interviewed Cody Rhodes, Rey Mysterio, Bully Ray, Hangman Page, and Jay Lethal about Omega vs. Jericho. Mysterio called wrestling in the Tokyo Dome one of the final wishes on his bucket list.
- Jericho re-posted a fan-made drawing of Jericho with Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit behind him that said they're back in NJPW. Jericho, who has gotten criticism for posting the image, wrote that he really liked the fan art and that he's dedicating his match with Omega to "the fallen brothers."
- John Pollock and Wai Ting put out a primer for Wrestling Kingdom 12 on POST Wrestling.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi praised Hiromu Takahashi on the latest episode of his podcast: “Hiromu Takahashi made me realize I didn't do enough in 2017. The energy he has in his interviews, the thought he puts into getting over and hooking the audience in, I needed to be more like that.” Tanahashi also discussed wrestling Jay White and trying to avoid fans going to the bathroom before the double main event.
- Will Ospreay mentioned entering NJPW’s heavyweight division as a future goal of his.
- Emily Dole, who was Mt. Fiji on the original GLOW, passed away at 60 years old this morning.
- In addition to Mayu Iwatani, Hana Kimura, Kagetsu, and HZK from Stardom will be in ROH’s tournament to crown their first Women of Honor Champion.
- It appears that Ring of Honor’s upcoming streaming service will be called the “Honor Club.”
- The Crash Lucha Libre hyped that a collaboration with Dragon Gate is coming soon.
- Tickets for PWG’s Mystery Vortex show on January 12th sold out within minutes after night two of All Star Weekend last October didn’t sell out instantly.
- In a match that was originally scheduled for last month, Pete Dunne will defend his WWE United Kingdom Championship against Joseph Conners for PROGRESS Wrestling in Birmingham on January 14th.
- The Young Bucks, Marty Scurll, and Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Ranch were the top three merch sellers on Pro Wrestling Tees in 2017.
- Despite Cris Cyborg indicating that the fight is on, Ariel Helwani tweeted that Cyborg vs. Megan Anderson is a long shot for UFC 221 in Perth as of now: “Cyborg vs Anderson isn’t set for Perth. In fact, it’s a long shot at best at the moment. Anderson still not cleared. Hopefully soon, though.”
- The UFC stripped JacksonWink MMA staffer Mark Aragon of his credentials after he repeatedly called Cyborg a man in a post on Instagram.
- Khabib Nurmagomedov said he would fight Conor McGregor for free but McGregor doesn’t want a real fight.
- ESPN named Rose Namajunas as their Fighter of the Year for 2017.
- Joe Rogan said he tried to get former Bellator broadcaster Jimmy Smith hired by the UFC four years ago.
- Dooho Choi wants a title shot in the UFC before having to fulfill his mandatory military service for South Korea.
Today in Professional Wrestling History: Triple H wins WWF World title
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