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Daily Update: Raw lineup, DJZ, Daniel Cormier


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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.

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(By Joseph Currier and Bryan Rose)


  • Here’s the non-spoiler match lineup for tonight’s New Year’s Eve episode of Raw: Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre in a steel cage match “Fresh start” battle royal for an Intercontinental title shot later in the night Sasha Banks, Bayley & Ember Moon vs. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan) Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose defending his title against the battle royal winner Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. Jinder Mahal & The Singh Brothers Ronda Rousey & Natalya vs. Nia Jax & Tamina
  • Tye Dillinger appeared to respond to Nia Jax’s tweet where Jax called out WWE for not including any pictures of women of color in a post about the success of the women’s division in 2018: “ALL the WWE ladies had a great year but these ones had some very captivating moments in 2018!  And, if you’re all #BooBoo face about being left off the list despite being on TV ALL the time....maybe spend more time on the craft instead of social media. Congratulations ladies”
  • Ligero tweeted about entering the next chapter of his career with NXT UK: “I have genuinely loved every minute of the last 17 years. 2,447 matches. 788 opponents. 18 countries. 210 promotions. Countless memories. Thank you to every single person who’s made it possible. Incredibly excited for the next chapter. #NXTUK”
  • Becky Lynch channeled her inner Steve Austin by flipping Charlotte Flair off and giving her a Stone Cold stunner during a house show match.
  • WWE’s Charly Caruso (who also works for ESPN using her real name Charly Arnolt) hosted today’s episode of First Take on ESPN. She’ll also host the January 2 episode of the show.
  • WWE has a list of the most memorable debuts and most memorable returns of 2018.
  • NXT has a most insane maneuvers of 2018 list.
  • WWE Performance Center trainees were asked about their New Year's resolutions.

Pro Wrestling

  • NJPW streamed the contract signing for Kenny Omega and Hiroshi Tanahashi’s IWGP Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 13. They also uploaded Omega and Tanahashi’s Intercontinental title match from 2016’s New Beginning in Niigata.
  • DJZ confirmed that, as of midnight tonight, he’ll no longer be under contract with Impact Wrestling and will be a free agent for the first time in seven years: “At midnight tonight, i will be a free agent for the first time in 7 years....and 2019 seems like the perfect time to be available for whatever new opportunities may come my way. i would like to thank @IMPACTWRESTLING for the last 7 years. They gave me a platform to hone my craft, make mistakes, learn from them and grow as a performer. They stuck w/ me through difficult times and provided the opportunity to wrestle for a living.”
  • MLW announced that Gringo Loco has signed a deal with them.
  • Beyond Wrestling will begin airing a live two-hour weekly show on IndependentWrestling.TV on Wednesdays starting on April 3, 2019.
  • Jason David Frank, who played the Green Power Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, is set to do a pro wrestling match in the future after participating in an angle during a Laredo Wrestling Alliance event. He’s also done MMA in the past, sporting a 1-0 record.


  • Ariel Helwani is hosting a year-end MMA awards show on ESPN2 tonight from 9 p.m. Eastern time to midnight.
  • During an appearance on the MMA Hour, Daniel Cormier said his potential fight against Brock Lesnar is still up in the air: “As of right now with the Lesnar thing, that’s kinda still up in the air. I’ve gotten a lot of, ‘You’re not willing to fight Jones, you talk trash about Jones [and his drug testing issues], but you’re willing to fight Lesnar?’ Nobody knows what’s in place in terms of drug testing between Brock Lesnar and I. These are just general assumptions as to what is Brock Lesnar truly going through right now to try to be eligible to compete. We could be doing so many different things that people are unaware of, and if Brock Lesnar’s clean on the day that we fight, because of these things, then why can’t I fight him? Or, if he doesn’t fight, then I’ll fight Stipe Miocic. I talked to the boss (Dana White) the other day and he’s talking to me about fights and Brock Lesnar and Jon Jones and everybody, and I said, ‘If Lesnar doesn’t go, Stipe has to be first. He deserves it, and I’ve said it from the beginning. If it ain’t Brock, I want to fight Stipe Miocic and give him what’s rightfully his, a rematch for this title.’ He’s going to get beat again, but at least he’ll get a chance to fight for that belt again.”
  • Oscar De La Hoya tweeted about Jon Jones base pay for UFC 232 (which is a portion of Jones’ pay and doesn’t have how the show did on PPV factored in): “500k For Jones, Really?! @danawhite and you say you wanna battle. Wait till the fans realize that PPV is dead.” De La Hoya then responded to someone who pointed out that he promoted Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell on PPV last month: “And that’s why it’s dead you dumb ass!”
  • CBS Sports named the Yair Rodriguez KO over Korean Zombie at the UFC 25th anniversary as their Knockout of the Year.
  • A fight between Teruto Ishihara and Kyung Ho Kang is set for UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: The Von Erichs win WCCW Six-Man Tag Team titles