THE ROUND-UP

The Latest from the F4W Staff

NEWS

WWE Portland, ME, live results: Last stop before Clash of Champions
Tom Zenk passes away at 59 years old
UFC on FOX 26 does lowest December ratings in series history
WWE Main Event results: Curt Hawkins goes 0-142
UFC on FOX 26 live results: Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos
NXT Memphis & Little Rock live results: Almas vs. Ohno

AUDIO 

WOR: Clash of Champions, ALPHA Vince, UFC on FOX, more! 12/17
JNPO Classic: Travis Browne was a Blink182 groupie; fans turn on Jon Jones 12/16
WOR: Vince McMahon and the XFL, ROH PPV, NXT ratings, more! 12/16

We’re looking for reports on yesterday’s ROH TV tapings in Philadelphia and tonight’s Raw house show in Allentown, PA to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com.

We’re also doing polls this weekend on both the ROH Final Battle show and WWE Clash of Champions. You can send a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

WWE CLASH OF CHAMPIONS PPV FROM THE TD GARDEN IN BOSTON AT 7:30 P.M. EASTERN

A.J. Styles vs. Jinder Mahal for WWE title — It doesn’t feel like there is a lot of interest in this match. They had a good TV match, but several reports on their match last night in Portland, ME, weren’t good at all. Lots of talk of Styles retaining and moving on against somebody like John Cena (who returns after Christmas) or Shinsuke Nakamura. Hopefully that’s the case. It doesn’t appear smart money is in so these odds are nothing to take seriously, but most bouts have long odds because it does seem like it’s clear what the “smart” result would be. Odds are from 5Dimes. Styles is a -415 favorite.
Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon as referees and if Owens & Zayn lose, they are fired from WWE — This is the real main event. Most expectations, and they pushed this on TV as well, is that there will be a referee controversy with Bryan and Shane that will result in Owens & Zayn winning and keeping their jobs. On paper this should be very good, if not great. Owens & Zayn are -975 favorites.
Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs Bobby Roode for U.S. title — Looks on paper to be good, although Roode vs. Ziggler on PPV was a disappointment last time out. Corbin a -385 favorite to retain. Roode is +375 and Ziggler is +1035.
Usos vs. New Day vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin vs. Rusev & Aiden English for tag titles — Really, this should be great. Usos and New Day have had a strong series of late and no reason this shouldn’t be another. Usos are right now -180 favorites to retain. New Day is at +220, Benjamin & Gable are at +220 and Rusev & English are at +275.
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya in a lumberjack match for Women’s title — Their match last night was said to be good. These two have had great matches in the past, but something has gotten in the way on main roster PPV, whether it be time cut, terrible finishes (more than once) and this, with the lumberjack stipulation meaning tons of interference, on paper could mean the same. Flair is a -675 favorite to retain.
Tyler Breeze & Fandango vs. Harper & Rowan — This on paper looks like a squash and the odds are agreeing with Harper & Rowan at -2150 being the biggest favorites on the show.
Zack Ryder vs. Mojo Rawley — This is the preshow match. Too bad people didn’t see Rawley’s online promo building this up, but it would have been the best Smackdown TV interview in WWE in a long time if it actually aired on Smackdown and just watching it exemplifies one of the biggest issues with the company right now. Rawley is a -1700 favorite.

NEW JAPAN FROM TOKYO KORAKUEN HALL AT 4:30 A.M. EASTERN EARLY MONDAY MORNING ON NEW JAPAN WORLD

Shota Umino vs. Ren Narita in the Young Lion’s tournament
Tomoyuki Oka vs. Tetsuhiro Yagi in the Young Lion’s tournament
Katsuya Kitamura vs. Hirai Kawato in the Young Lion’s tournament
Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask & Masked Horse & Kushida vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi & Taka Michinoku & Desperado
Togi Makabe & Henare vs. Evil & Seiya Sanada
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima & Kota Ibushi vs. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Leo Tonga
Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka
Kazuchika Okada & Sho & Yoh vs. Tetsuya Naito & Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi

Raw is Monday night in Providence, RI. The only match announced so far is Drew Gulak vs. Cedric Alexander for the top contender for the cruiserweight title. There is also a Smackdown brand house show in White Plains, NY.

Smackdown and 205 Live will be taped on Tuesday at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.


​F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly 12/4/2017: Looking at WWE’s match of the year candidates

While there’s still some time for WWE to shape how the company’s 2017 will be remembered, the beginning of December marked the end of this year’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards calendar. The insane output of high-end matches New Japan Pro Wrestling had during the voting period will rightfully lead to a strong showing in the Match of the Year category, but WWE’s in-ring year shouldn’t be forgotten. Though a full year of brand-exclusive pay-per-views and not having the Cruiserweight Classic may have led to a decline from 2016, WWE produced their fair share of matches that deserve to be in contention for best of the year.


WON NEWSLETTER: December 18, 2017 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: The metamorphosis of Chris Jericho, GSP vacates title, more 

The story behind this past week’s Chris Jericho/Kenny Omega angles in Japan is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Look at the selling of the angle, betting on the match, usage of blood, storyline implications and other business notes regarding the match.

Find out about Georges St-Pierre vacating the middleweight title, the story behind it, whether he’ll fight again, Dana White burying GSP, and the business of why the fight happened.

Check out WWE’s new Facebook experiment, why it happened, an update on the rise in WWE stock, what type of profits long-term will justify the current stock price, what is up with 205 Live, the roster of the show and more.

Get an in depth look at the 2017 Tokyo Sports Awards for Japanese wrestling and how the voting went.

This issue has a rundown on New Japan’s final major show of the year, the tag team tournament finals, including tournament standings, the final days, the business, match-by-match coverage, poll results and star ratings along with angle rundowns.

Coverage of this past week’s UFC show in Fresno with match-by-match coverage and business notes, and also look at the first Arolucha taping, the good and the bad, how it got started, goals, and what comes next for the company.

Read about the end of the Raven/Bagwell lawsuit for residuals for appearances on the WWE Network and how the argument regarding the actual issue never played into the end result, and what did kill it.

Plus, look at the Universal title match at Royal Rumble and how the plans changed, the Clash of Champions show, Raw after Mania, Paige talks her issues, TNA star coming to WWE, WWE injury notes, WWE 25th anniversary show notes, funny initials for a Mexican promotion being advertised while WWE was in town, a look at the HHH vs. Mahal match, New Day book, MMA fighter signs with WWE, as well as notes from all the weekend NXT and main roster house shows, business notes and highlights.


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WON BACK ISSUE: November 27, 2000 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Survivor Series review, Stan Hansen retires, more 

The rapidly changing world of wrestling changed once again, as a Steve Austin vs. HHH main event at Survivor Series didn’t end with a pinfall in the ring, but with a forklift dropping a car, purported to be with HHH inside, theoretically to a Wile E. Coyote like catastrophe (where the victim should be dead, but will, of course live to see another day). The angle, largely to explain HHH taking some time off to rest his back and hip injuries, kept HHH’s unusual streak alive of having done no pinfall jobs in singles matches on PPV.


SUNDAY NEWS UPDATE

Bryan and I will be doing our third show in four nights tonight. Tonight we’ll be talking about the death of Tom Zenk, as well as Clash of Champions and take your mailbag questions to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com.

The movie “Ferdinand,” with John Cena voicing over the lead character is estimated to be doing $13,325,000 in its first weekend out. It was second to Star Wars which is estimated at more than $220 million. Fox 2 in Detroit reviewed it and gave it a thumbs up, saying it was good, but not great as a family film and said they felt sorry for it and every other movie out this weekend.

Robert Follis, a well-known coach at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, passed away. Dana White wrote when he woke up, “Sucks to wake up and hear this news. RIP Robert Follis, such a nice guy.” A ton of other people including John McCarthy and Kenny Florian also tweeted this. No other details have been confirmed although there are reports Follis left his job at Xtreme Couture a few weeks ago.

At last night’s NXT show in Largo, FL, they did a big post-match celebration with Hideo Itami and noted it was his last match in NXT. Itami is scheduled to debut on the 205 Live roster either at Raw tomorrow or on 205 Live on Tuesday.

The only stuff so far this weekend that got a serious buzz and was among the most searched for items (the WWE PPV show likely will tonight) is Robbie Lawler is in 11th place today with 20,000 searches, but nothing else from UFC’s show last night did which is not good for a FOX show, and XFL on Saturday had 50,000 searches for 20th place all stemming from the tweet by Brad Shepard saying it will be brought back with an announcement on 1/25. Later research by Chris Harrington showed that Alpha Entertainment, the new company Vince McMahon founded, had applied for trademarks for UrFL and UFL back in September, for football, so the proposed McMahon football league may not use the XFL name.

Justin Credible (Peter Polaco) posted on Twitter, “I really apologize for the incident at Blitzkrieg Pro. I was out of line. No excuses. I have been getting help. Just had a horrible night. Sorry to all the good guys and gals. Hey, at least Blitzkrieg Pro got free press. Again, I’m sorry.” The promotion wrote back, “Thank you. Apology accepted. And we sincerely apologize to you for any mishaps in how we handled it. Some things could have definitely been done better on our behalf.” Polaco also posted a video saying he would turn his life around, and thanked DDP in particular as well as the McMahons (who sponsored his recent rehab). 

A note on our discussions last week on the Chris Jericho angle in Fukuoka, Jericho never said “Congrats on your win,” but “Congrats on another great match.”

WWE
Roman Reigns on who the greatest wrestler in the world today is (hint, he says it’s him).
The oddsmaker at Kambi have published these lines on the over/under star ratings for tonight:
Rawley vs. Ryder **
Breeze & Fandango vs. Harper & Rowan *3/4
Orton & Nakamura vs. Owens & Zayn ***1/2
Tag titles ***1/2
Charlotte vs. Natalya **3/4
Corbin vs. Roode vs. Ziggler ***
Styles vs. Mahal ***
For best match of the show
Tag titles -120
Orton & Nakamura vs. Owens & Zayn +135
Styles vs. Mahal +400
Charlotte vs. Natalya +400
U.S. title +400
Any other match on the show +1500
Also odds of a five star match tonight are +1500. (thanks to David Taylor)

Enzo Amore has been covered on TMZ because apparently he signed his Delaware drivers license to look like a penis, the state told him to sign it differently and he said, “There ain’t no way the state of Delaware is gonna tell me how to sign my own license. I’ve been signing this signature since grade school.” 
A birthday gift involving ice chains of Ric Flair. (thanks to Chris Cruise and many others)
Performance Center Rap Battle.
MISCELLANEOUS
Rise announced another double shot on 6/29 with an AWS show with a woman’s tournament the next day on 6/30, both in Southern California. (thanks to Jake Koch)
Melbourne City Wrestling results from last night in Melbourne: Syd Parker & Caveman Ugg b Brat Pack to win tag titles, Toni Storm b Shazza McKenzie to keep Progress women’s title, Jonathan Preston b Emmanuel, Lochy Hendricks b Krackerjack in a four-corners of hell match so Krakerjack must retire (he’s been a major name in the Australia indie scene since 2000 and was considered the top Hardcore wrestler in the country), Jake Andrewartha & Ali b Gino Gambino & JXT, Indi Hartwell b Kellyane, Robbie Eagles b Adam Brooks to win the Inter commonwealth title and PWA title, Dowie James b Jonah Rock in a cage match to win MCW title. Next show is 2/24 with Will Ospreay. (thanks to Kevin Chiat)
Shine from last night in Ybor City, FL: Rain won women’s Rumble when Jessicka Havok threw everyone out and then eliminated herself to chase after Brandi Lauren, Natalia Markova b Ariel Monroe, Dynamite Didi won over Tessa Price and Kikyo, Leva Bates b Dementia D’Rose-DQ, Priscilla Kelly b Aja Perera to keep Shine Nova title, Shotzi Blackheart b Keira Hogan, Jessicka Havoc b Brandi Lauren, Mercedes Martinez & Ivelisse retained the tag titles over Candy Cartwright & Aria Blake, Stormie Lee b Rain. (thanks to Jake Koch)
Pro Wrestling Eve drew 130 fans for a show announced with just 24 hours notice on Thursday night in London: Candy Floss b Chakara, Sadie Gibbs b Chakara, Bea Priestley b Livviii Grace, Charlie Morgan & Smash Nikko (an on-line TV star) b Rhea O’Reilly & Lionessa the Finessa (a UK radio personality). The show was taped for the YouTube show “Greatness.” (thanks to Emily and Dann Read)
Powerbomb.TV has signed a multi-year distribution deal with Smart Mark Video for 100 hours of content monthly. Beyond Wrestling has signed a multi-year live streaming deal with Powerbomb including a live show called the New Year’s Eve party which will continue past midnight and is billed as the first wrestling match of 2018 with Joey Janela vs. David Starr. Powerbomb said they will stream a minimum of 52 events in 2018. 
Best in the West did a TV taping last night at Fresno City College with a great show featuring Impact champion Eli Drake and other Northern California based stars. Funnybone beat Mike Rayne in a controversial main event to set up a cage match on 3/17 (St. Patrick’s Day) in a cage in the same building. Drake and James Storm are scheduled and it’ll be an iPPV on FITE TV. (thanks to Jon Southerland)
From a history standpoint, Gary Collins sent this news clip from 44 years ago when Chris Taylor was signed to the biggest rookie contract in pro wrestling history.
Jim Cornette talks Tom Zenk.

Today in Professional Wrestling History: WCW’s last Starrcade


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