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Daily Update: Tokyo Dome fallout, New Year's Dash, McGregor

THE ROUND-UP

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THE LATEST NEWS

THE LATEST AUDIO

We're looking for reports on tonight's NXT TV tapings in Atlanta at Center Stage to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com.

We're also looking for your thoughts on today's Wrestle Kingdom show at the Tokyo Dome as well as tonight's New Year's Dash with a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

IMPACT AT 8 P.M. TONIGHT ON POP TV

  • Chandler Park vs. Jon Bolen
  • James Storm vs. Dan Lambert in a loser leaves TNA match
  • Dave & Jake Crist vs. LAX for tag titles - LAX must split up if they lose
  • Ethan Carter III vs. Matt Sydal vs. Fallah Bahh for Grand championship
  • Trevor Lee vs. Taiji Ishimori for X championship
  • Eli Drake vs. Alberto El Patron for Impact title

NEW JAPAN NEW YEAR'S DASH FROM KORAKUEN HALL TONIGHT ON NEW JAPAN WORLD AT 4:30 A.M. EASTERN AND 1:30 AM. PACIFIC TIME

​F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly 12/25/2017: Looking at WWE's women's Royal Rumble announcement

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 8, 2018 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: More Women's Royal Rumble details, UFC 219 reviewed, more

An update on the Royal Rumble, as well as the women's Royal Rumble and different possibilities of where it can go is the lead item in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Have a look at the UFC's 2017 when it comes to business, why the increase in total revenue may be hiding a real problem, the value of the big stars, all the ratings and PPV numbers, as well as the competition from Bellator.

This issue runs down UFC 219 with some early business indicators of how it did, thoughts on Cyborg vs. Holm and the judging process, TV numbers and what they did and didn't say, Khabib Nurmagomedov plus full match rundowns with how much everyone was paid and poll results.

Check out Japan's Rizin New Year's Eve two major shows with notes on Mirko Cro Cop, the Gabi Garcia fiasco and her explanation, the ratings of the show and more highlights.

Our good friend Larry Matysik, who is currently hospitalized, is talked about in a feature on who he is, his role in St. Louis, his books, his being the only person to work for both Sam Muchnick and Vince McMahon, and some notes on the doors he's opened for me in my lifetime. For those who like history this is a cool feature.

Read about a woman wrestler who was offered a WWE contract but it’s not looking like she'll be in soon, another who may be in soon, notes on Strowman and Enzo and their illnesses, one major WWE star who won't be in the Royal Rumble, the best WWE matches of 2017, and another John Cena movie role as well as an update on Rock and Cena movies and business.

There is more on the Mixed Match Challenge Facebook series, just how crazy the end of the month will be for WWE, Dolph Ziggler, WWE stock and the most-watched shows of the week on WWE Network.

Check out a full rundown of the WWE's holiday tour, with notes from every show, including business notes and booking notes.

Examine the 2017 win-loss records for WWE wrestlers as well as the Iron Man award winners dating back to 2004 and also compare the number of dates with WWE's top stars with that of New Japan's top stars.

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WON BACK ISSUE: December 18, 2000 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WWF Armageddon reviewed plus tons of news

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.

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE

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I want to apologize regarding the web site today and all the problems. The issues was on the server end and apparently has affected hundreds of sites. If you are reading this, obviously the problems have been taken care of. Nobody gets more frustrated than we do on this, particularly on such a major day with the Tokyo Dome show. Bryan and I do have a new show covering the Dome up on the site and will be doing an extra show tomorrow night covering more on Smackdown, NXT and New Year's Dash as well as other topics and you can e-mail questions to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com.

Also thanks to everyone on the site who in this situation sent out e-mail blasts to access the content and got everything up on Twitter letting people know how to access the newsletter and audio shows today.

Tomorrow's New Year's Dash is where the major angles will be shot for the next round of big New Japan shows. It's a lineup that isn't released until the last minute, but the next round of big shows after Fantastica Mania will be 1/27 and 1/28 in Sapporo and 2/10 in Osaka and I expect those lineup out on Friday night coming off the show that takes place late tonight/early tomorrow at Korakuen Hall.

The Dome was almost sold out with 34,995 paid, based on the stage and configuration with the biggest crowd for a Japanese pro wrestling event in about 15 years.

While they got the biggest one-day boost since the New Japan World site was launched, they are really hurting themselves with it being so difficult for English language fans. I know, many of you and me were able to sign up but you have to really want to and it's not user friendly. With the company having television in the U.S. and doing great in merchandise sales here, they really need to get a separate English language site for both easier sign-up and navigation.

As of this writing, Wrestle Kingdom 12 was the No. 13 most searched for term on Google in the U.S. with 50,000 searches. This would be the first time I can recall that anything related to pro wrestling that isn't WWE or the death of a legend, or something to do with someone like Hogan or Flair has ever made the top 20. Impact may have when Hogan did his debut but hasn't for years and ROH and NXT have never been mainstream enough to crack 20,000 searches in a day. It's still well under WWE & UFC PPV shows, but beats all but the biggest Bellator shows.

Dana White told Kevin Iole of Yahoo that if Conor McGregor is willing to fight in March, he would keep the title, but if he wants to sit out until the fall, then Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson would be made for the lightweight title and not the interim title. He also said he wants to make Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes in a battle of champions for the featherweight title. 

WWE

  • After Wells Fargo upgraded the WWE stock to Outperform, saying "it checks all of the boxes for us and we believe it has a clear path of catalysts through 2018," and raised its target price to $43 per share, the stock jumped big to $32.34 at the start of the day today. However, by the end of the day, most of the gains were lost and it closed at $30.88, just up from $30.77 before the upgrade.
  • WWE has announced its NXT awards balloting for 2017 on Twitter. The announcement of the winners will be on 1/27 at the Takeover in Philadelphia. Categories are best show, Best Female (Asuka, Ember Moon, Nikki Cross, Ruby Riot and Billie Kay & Peyton Royce are nominated); Best Male (Bobby Roode, Drew McIntyre, Aleister Black, Andrade Cien Almas, Roderick Strong; Best Tag Team (Authors of Pain, Sanity, Revival, DIY and Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly; Breakout Star (Black, Almas, Undisputed Era, Sonya Deville, Ruby Riot, Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan); Future Star (Street Profits, Heavy Machinery, Shayna Baszler, Kairi Sane, Fabian Aichner, Cezar Bononi, Lio Rush, Bianca Belair and Lacey Evans); Match of the Year: Johnny Gargano vs. Almas from Brooklyn, Asuka vs. Ember Moon from Brooklyn, McIntyre vs. Almas from Houston; DIY vs. Revival vs. AOP from Orlando; Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne from Chicago; War Games from Houston; Asuka vs. Nikki Cross from TV; DIY vs. AOP from Chicago; Strong vs. Roode from TV; Womens' Battle Royal from TV; Black vs. Velveteen Dream from Houston and Gargano vs. Kassius Ohno from TV. Also Feud of the year is Nakamura vs. Roode, Bate vs. Dunne, Asuka vs. Moon, Sanity vs. Undisputed Era, Black vs. Dream, Ohno vs. Hideo Itami and DIY vs. AOP.
  • Candice LeRae was backstage at the Atlanta NXT tapings.
  • Tickets for the 5/6 Backlash show at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ are available for a pre-sale that ends at 10 p.m. tonight using the code WWEPC
  • John Layfield filled in for Charles Payne as the host of the 6 p.m. Fox Business News segment yesterday.
  • During the second segment of Tuesday’s episode of The Opposition With Jordan Klepper on Comedy Central Klepper and Tim Baltz spoofed the idea of Vince McMahon relaunching a professional football league, and the praise he has received from Breitbart.
  • Klepper referred to Vince McMahon as “wrestling entrepreneur and 80’s haircut, Vince McMahon. Klepper added McMahon “was the genius behind the XFL. As you know the XFL was a football league that was so awesome they ended it after a single season in 2001.” Here’s video of the segment. (thanks to Denis Gorman)

UFC

  • Robbie Lawler suffered a torn ACL and meniscus during his fight with Rafael dos Anjos in Winnipeg a few weeks ago, which is a pretty good explanation for why he wasn't himself. He will need surgery.
  • Tickets for the 2/18 UFC show in Austin, TX at the Frank Erwin Center go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m. Central time and tickets are $135 down to $60. The announced card top fights are Derrick Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura, Sage Northcutt vs. Thibault Gouiti and Marion Reneau vs. Tonya Evinger. Just announced today is Francisco Trinaldo vs. James Vick. The show will be a Sunday night card on FS 1.
  • Yana Kunitskaya vs. Sara McMann was announced for the 2/24 FOX show in Orlando. Kunitskaya is the Invicta bantamweight champion who will vacate the title now that she's signed with UFC.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • AXS has released clips for Saturday's Tokyo Dome show airing with some of the hype clips, and more here, and here.
  • Revolution Pro has its women's tournament on 1/6 and 1/7 in London with first round matches of Deonna Purrazzo vs. Britt Baker, Zoe Lucas vs. Zan Phoenix, Jinny vs Nia Samuels and Charlie Evans vs. Millie McKenzie.
  • For historical purposes, we're going to start with a match of the day to seek out which is the best match based on our ratings history to take place that day. Today's is obvious, the Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada match from January 4, 2017 at the Tokyo Dome.
  • Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the death of George Kidd, and the Evening Telegraph in Dundee, Scotland has a story on him. Kid was the first inductee in the Professional Wrestling Hall of fame for Scotland back in 2015 and his plaque is on a permanent display at the Caird Hall, his hometown venue. He was an outstanding technical wrestler, and was a huge influence on the career of Johnny Saint. Legendary World of Sport commentator Kent Walton often cited Kidd as the finest wrestler he ever saw perform.
  • MLW announced Santana Garrett vs. MJ Jenkins for its 1/11 show in Orlando at Gilt Nightclub. This adds to a card that already includes Jimmy Havoc vs. Shane Strickland in a death match, MVP vs. Low Ki, Matt Riddle & Jeff Cobb vs. Tom Lawlor & Seth Petruzelli, Penta 0M vs. Rey Fenix, Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevera and MJF vs. Brody King.
  • Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson will be doing a live "Something to Wrestle With" podcast on 1/19 at the Barclays Center in New York as part of the New York Nets vs. Miami Heat basketball game. Tickets are $35 and include admission to the game.
  • There were public viewings for Wrestle Kingdom in several cities in Australia including Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Cheers Bar in Sydney had nearly 100 people and the biggest pop was the surprise when Australia's Mr. Juicy Adam Gambino was a surprise in the Rumble. (thanks to Dann Lennard) 
  • Northeast Wrestling on 1/13in Bethany, CT at the NEW Arena has Flip Gordon vs. Joey Mercury for the NEW title plus a 30 man Rumble and Glacier appearing.
  • I want to make mention of a book I'm reading by Scott Teal called "Wrestling Archive Project." It is filled with interviews with some of the biggest stars in history including Jackie Fargo, Bob Orton Sr., Count Billy Varga, Lou Thesz, reporter J. Michael Kenyon, Sailor Art Thomas, Mike Davis, Tom Jones, Jody Hamilton, Nick Bockwinkel and Baron Von Raschke. You can get more info on this book and Teal's other books he's published which include many great bios.
  • Innovative Wrestling on Saturday night in Kingsport, TN at the Civic Auditorium.
  • MCW on 1/20 at the MCW Arena in Joppa, MD.
  • House of Hardcore will have a free Twitch show on 1/26 which goes head-to-head with Shine.
  • One of our longtime readers, Lavie Margolan, has released a book "TrumpMania: Vince McMahon, WWE and the making of America's 45th President." The book is about how Donald Trump learns tricks from wrestling to help him in his presidential run and also covers his relationship with Vince and Linda McMahon.
  • Uprising on 2/24 in Fort Erie, ONT at the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre at 6 p.m.
  • Pro Wrestling Eclipse on 1/13 in Oshawa, ONT.
  • PWP tomorrow night in Omaha at the Waiting Room Lounge.
  • Lucha Palooza on 3/25 at Lee's Place in Toronto with Josh Alexander
  • F8Full Fight on 2/25 at 5 p.m. in Toronto at the Phoenix Concert Theater.
  • Evolve on 1/13 in Queens, NY at La Boom has: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Darby Allin for the Evolve title Keith Lee vs. Jaka Austin Theory vs. Fred Yehi in an anything goes match for the FIP title Tracy Williams & Dom Garrini vs. Timothy Thatcher & Walter Matt Riddle vs. AR Fox Jason Kincaid vs. Jarek 1:20 vs. ? vs. ? 
  • Chelsea Green, Rosemary, Allie and Sienna will be part of a balcony parts on 4/7 in New Orleans over Mania week at the Swamp Bar on Bourbon Street. Tickets are $125 and there will be an open bar.
  • Tessa Blanchard was announced as being added to the PCW Ultra roster for 2018. (thanks to Jake Koch)
  • A group called First Wrestling run by Arik Cannon has sold out its show on 1/6 in Minneapolis at First Avenue, which is about 1,000 fans, with Colt Cabana, Candice LeRae and Chuck Taylor as top names.

Today in Professional Wrestling History: NJPW Tokyo Dome cards

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