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Daily Update: WWE TLC, Ben-K, Charlotte Flair

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WON NEWSLETTER: December 21, 2020 Observer Newsletter: Wrestle Kingdom 15 cards, TripleMania

We look at New Japan's road to the Tokyo Dome and the first group of major shows in 2021 as the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

We look at the realities of business, the set up, the announced matches, and the last few shows leading up to the Dome events. We also have complete coverage from the Budokan Hall show and Super J Cup.

The new issue also covers:

TLC show, Smackdown live and taped shows, new television shows being considered, WWE Network special offer, Bill Goldberg talks who he'd like to wrestle, details on a new contract negotiation, more about wrestlers being sent for regular training, upcoming NXT matches, Hall of Fame, injury updates, new signing, new TV show, international ratings, how WWE & AEW fare compared to sports programming, new TV character identified, WWE market value and the most-watched shows on the WWE Network.

UFC monopoly lawsuit and its ramifications on both the MMA and pro wrestling business regarding competition, ability to hold people to long-term contracts, and competitor pay, and the kind of money we are talking about and why.

A bio of Dr. Alfonso Morales, the legendary Lucha Libre and boxing announcer, who passed away this past week.  We look at his background and legacy and why he became so good at what he did.

Major lawsuit involving Lucha Underground and AAA and money figures for streaming content that AAA has received.

UFC 256, with the background of the show, match-by-match coverage and the stories behind the show.

TripleMania, with business notes, popularity, match-by-match coverage with star ratings and the story behind the show.

Tokyo Sports awards for 2020 covering Japanese wrestling, as well as a history for some of the major awards.

Television business, looking at stats not available elsewhere to get the deepest read into how shows are doing, what categories are doing well and how shows compare with previous weeks and one year ago.  

Results of all the major pro wrestling events around the world over the past week.

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@wrestlingobserver.com or by going to www.paypal.com directing funds to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

Rates in the United States are $14.50 for 4 issues, $35.50 for 12, $70 for 24, $116 for 40 and $149.50 for 52.

In Canada and Mexico, the rates are $16 for 4, $27 for 8, $38.50 for 12, $76 for 24, $126 for 40 and $162.50 for 52.

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SUNDAY NEWS UPDATE

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Bryan and I will be back tonight covering TLC and the latest wrestling news. You can also send email questions to the show to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

For those interested in updated front lines info on COVID and how it affects sports and the next few months of our real lives, Dr. Alex Patel joined us on Friday night as part of a show with Garrett Gonzalez and me, plus we talked a lot of wrestling news. We've gotten a great deal of feedback from people both in and out of wrestling on this episode. It's not necessarily the best news, but it's best to have honest news from someone in the front lines.

TLC starts today at 6 p.m. Eastern with the preshow and 7 p.m. for the main show. Just announced is a pre show match with Daniel Bryan & Big E & Otis & Chad Gable vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro & Sami Zayn & King Corbin.

  • Drew McIntyre vs. A.J. Styles in a TLC match for the WWE title.  McIntyre has delivered every time out of late and while damaging, WWE has a very good track record of TLC matches being strong, and Styles is one of the best out there. Five Dimes has the odds at -565 favoring McIntyre to retain.
  • Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens in a TLC match for the Universal title. Owens has gotten destroyed in every angle. I don't know if that's reverse psychology making you think they can't be beating him down this much and him losing at the PPV, since going in nobody expects him to win. Owens is likely going in "injured" for all the beatings, which could help the drama aspect.  Reigns is at -1500 (a 15-to-1 favorite).
  • Randy Orton vs. The Fiend. They are doing a gimmick match called a Fire Fly Fun House Inferno match. What that actually entails has been kept secret. Fiend had been heavily favored all week, and still is but the odds are down to -195.
  • Sasha Banks vs. Carmella for the Smackdown women's title. Banks is a -305 favorite.
  • There are no odds listed for New Day defending the Raw tag titles against Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin. It should be a good match, however. They've had so many matches without changing the titles that one would think it's at least possible. There has also been a tease of Alexander vs Benjamin, but that feels way too early to happen here and looks like something a long ways down the road
  • There were no odds on Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax vs. Asuka & ? for the women's tag title. As noted earlier today, unless there is a late change, Charlotte Flair will be the partner.  I could see a tag title change.  Flair's return should have impact.

We're looking for your thoughts on this show as well as Friday's ROH Final Battle show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match for each show to dave@wrestlingobserver.com

Ben-K suffered a concussion and was knocked out cold in his Open the Dream Gate title match with Shun Skywalker earlier today. The match kept going with him just laying there and he took several moves while knocked out. This wasn't handled well at all. He is said to be okay.

The Canelo Alvarez vs. Callum Smith boxing match last night did 1.2 million Google searches. UFC's show last night was No. 13 with 100,000. The only other combat sports related thing to chart over the past week was Conor McGregor at No. 4 on Monday with 200,000 for his keeping a gym in Ireland alive for at least a few more years where he knew the owner and due to COVID and expenses was going to have to shut its doors.

Charlotte Flair was secretly training in Los Angeles this past week.

New Japan World has a live show tomorrow morning at 4:30 a.m. from Korakuen Hall:

  • Tiger Mask & Togi Makabe & Satoshi Kojima vs. Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura & Gabriel Kidd
  • Juice Robinson & Toa Henare vs. KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs. Minoru Suzuki & Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
  • Zack Sabre Jr & Taichi & Douki vs Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Chase Owens
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kazuchika Okada & Tomoaki Honma vs. Will Ospreay & Jeff Cobb & Great O'Khan
  • Tetsuya Naito & Sanada & Bushi vs. Jay White & Evil & Dick Togo
  • Looking at this card, I can see them start focusing on a KENTA vs. Robinson direction, likely for the Tokyo Dome, now that they've gotten the KENTA vs. Brody King match out of the way.

Jake Paul claimed to TMZ that he's got $50 million in backing to offer Conor McGregor for a boxing match. Paul claims that McGregor has been radio silent since they made him an offer. There's also been talk in recent days regarding Paul vs. Michael Bisping.

WWE

  • A story on Zachary Green (formerly Zachary Wentz) from the  Lima News on his WWE signing. (thanks to Mike Kuzmuk)
  • Steve Austin's Broken Skull Sessions with Drew McIntyre debuts after the PPV today.

UFC

  • Stephen Thompson suffered a knee injury in last night's win over Geoff Neal but still was able to win the fifth round and the fight. He came to the press conference in crutches but didn't know the extent of the damage.
  • Raoni Barcelos vs  Raphael Assuncao in a bantamweight fight is set for the 2/27 show according to a report from Sherdog.

OTHER NEWS NOTES

  • Stardom had a PPV show earlier today from the Edion Arena in Osaka: Saya Iida won the Future of Stardom title over Maika and Saya Kamitani, Natsuko Tora & Konami b Riho & Ruaka, Himeka & Natsupoi b Bea Priestley & Saki Kashima, AZM b Mei Hoshizuki to keep the High Speed title, Tam Nakano & Mina Shirakawa & Sayaka Unagi b Mayu Iwatani & Starlight Kid & Gokigen Death to retain the Artists of Stardom title in an elimination match, Giulia d Syuri in as Wonder of Stardom vs SWA title match with it ending as a 30:00 draw and neither title changing hands, Utami Hayashishita b Momo Watanabe to retain the World of Stardom title (thanks to Shannon Walsh and Pro Sports Extra)
  • A story on Ty Evans, whose father was a pro wrestler, who is now playing football at Ball State University. (thanks to Barry Werner)
  • Future Wrestling Alliance in Sydney was going to run Friday night, but Sydney got an uptick in cases.  Early Friday the promotion said they were still running but asked anyone who had been in the Northern Beach districts to stay away, as that area is going through a localized lockdown.  Then they announced later in the day that they were not allowing fans.  Then at 7 p.m. they announced the show was off because two of the wrestlers had informed them they had contact with people in that area which was a COVID cluster.  
  • BCW on Saturday night in Melbourne, Australia:  Cletus b Ritchie Taylor, Sketch b Zhan Wen, Mick Moretti d Adam Brooks 30:00 draw, Gore b Tome Filip, Gabriel Wolfe b Mad Dog in a hardcore match.  Apparently the main event had a big problem. Mad Dog tried to do a leg drop  on a flaming table but his leg caught fire and Wolfe didn't notice and tried to keep the match going.  but they ended up just stopping the match and awarding it to Wolfe.  (thanks to Kevin Chiat)
  • Kevin Sullivan, Justin Credible, Jimmy Hart, The Nasty Boys, Afa Jr. Alofa, Amber Nova, Teal Piper and others who were advertised on the NAWA show last night in Daytona Beach at the Ocean Center did not appear for a variety of reasons.  They announced another set of shows on 2/13 and 3/21 at Dorton Arena in Raleigh.
  • Booker T's Reality of Wrestling from last night: Jenna Lynn b Danni Bee, Promise Braxton won Diamonds Division title over Rock-C and Hyan (thanks to Shannon Walsh and Pro Sports Extra)  
  • KSW results from Lodz, Poland last night: Phil De Fries (19-6) b Michal Kita (20-12-1) via TKO from punches at 1:00 of the second round to keep the heavyweight title Marian Siolkowski (22-8-1) b Roman Szymanski (13-6) via knockout from a liver kick at 1:04 of the fourth round for the vacant lightweight title Borys Manikowski (22-8-1) b Artur Sowinski (21-12) via decision on scores of 30-26,k 30-25, 29-27 Antun Racic (25-8-1) b Bruno Santos (9-2) via straight 48-47 scores to keep the bantamweight title.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: TNA Final Resolution 2009

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