Daily Update: TLC preview, UFC ratings, Finn Balor


Latest News

Johnny Gargano returning to EVOLVE for two January shows
Akira Tozawa heading to Fight Club: PRO’s Japan event
ROH TV taping spoilers: Final Battle fallout
NXT Largo, FL, live results: Last Florida loop show of 2018
PCO and Brody King debut at ROH TV tapings
EVOLVE 117 results: Triple threat title match, Ohno vs. Allin
UFC on FOX 31 live results: Kevin Lee vs. Al Iaquinta 2

Latest Audio

WOR: Last UFC on FOX, Bellator 213, Canelo, TLC, more! 12/16
Live Q&A with Lance Storm, Bryan and Filthy at the Defy Wrestling Holiday Party! 12/15

We’re looking for reports from last night’s WWE show in Oakland and tonight’s Evolve show from Deer Park, NY to

We’re also looking for your thoughts on these shows:

ROH Final Battle on Friday
New Japan’s Korakuen Hall show on Saturday
WWE TLC tonight

        You can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match for all three shows to


R-Truth & Carmella vs. Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox in MMC championship match for No. 30 spot in Royal Rumble — I expect this to be kept short with so many matches on the show. Probably a dance break or two, and a few moves and that’s it. R-Truth & Carmella are -300 favorites. No reason for them not to win. 
Natalya vs. Ruby Riott tables match — This will be tough on a show with so many matches. Natalya is a -600 favorite. 
Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre — On paper this mach should be great. But I expect they may be shortchanged on time. Still, should be good and one would think McIntyre is winning. He’s a -600 favorite to do so.
Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton chairs match — This is one where the stip hurts since these two can do a good match in their sleep.  But having to incorporate chairs could be to its detriment. Still, I can’t envision Rey in a bad match. Then again, they hardly tore down the house at Crown Jewel. Orton was listed as a -160 favorite, maybe with the idea of it being a fluke to keep the program going.
Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander for cruiserweight title — These two will almost surely have a good match, maybe a great match. I don’t see a clear-cut favorite here but Murphy is a -185 on the 5Dimes books.
Sheamus & Cesaro vs. New Day vs. Usos for tag title — The usual mix of comedy and good action in New Day matches. No clear favorite as New Day is +317. The Bar is +130 and Usos are +140.
Bobby Lashley vs. Elias ladder match with guitar hanging from ceiling — Just feels like a match that doesn’t need to be on this show. Lashley is a -150 favorite.
Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax for Raw women’s title — Rousey and Jax were off the road this weekend to work on this match. Whenever Rousey has a weekend to get a match down, she always comes through. Their last match was good, not great, and there could be interference to cost Rousey the title at some point soon. But this shouldn’t be that time. Rousey is a -1050 favorite, the biggest on the show.
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose for IC title — These two on this stage are going to be great. Ambrose is a -260 favorite and his winning the title isn’t out of the question.
Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin TLC match for Rumble title shot vs. Corbin being full-time GM — Given Strowman coming back from surgery, I don’t expect a long match. Even if healthy, a long match would be tough. Strowman is a -420 favorite. Nothing is for sure in Vince’s WWE, but with Strowman being groomed for a title shot with Brock Lesnar, he should win here.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka in TLC match for Smackdown women’s title — This is the real main event on the show. If these three were doing a regular match, I’d expect it to be a show-stealer. Most WWE TLC matches deliver, but these three are new to that style of match. It allows for time and usually makes matches better, but it also has more risks, both things not working and injuries. Flair is +140, Lynch is +145 and Asuka is +180. Lynch losing here and then winning the Rumble makes the most sense to me.
Daniel Bryan vs. A.J. Styles for WWE title — I could see this having a screwy finish. It’s way too early for Bryan to lose the title. That makes no sense right now. But Styles shouldn’t be losing in a way that doesn’t build a rematch, beacuse the program should continue. Bryan is -410, which sounds high to me because I could see a Bryan loss via DQ as a possibility.

On paper, this looks to be one of the better shows of the year. Styles vs. Bryan is as close to a can’t miss as there is on the main roster and the women’s match will probaby got an excellent reaction. With so many matches, it shoudn’t drag, but it also looks like a lot of rushing.


Fabian Aichner vs. AR Fox for Evolve title
Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford vs. Harlem Bravado & Austin Theory for Evolve tag titles
Roderick Strong vs. Darby Allin
Kassius Ohno vs. Anthony Henry
Priscilla Kelly vs. Shotzi Blackheart
Josh Briggs vs. Adrian Alanis
Joe Gacy vs. Joe Bailey
Curt Stallion vs. Leon Ruff vs. BSHP KNG vs. Colby Corino

There is a huge Raw on Monday in Sacramento as they are taping for both a live show and doing the 12/24 show. Vince McMahon returns to shake things up. There is also a Smackdown house show in Stockton on Monday.

Tuesday has a double TV taping for Smackdown live, plus one or two episodes of 205 Live, and the 12/25 Smackdown all in Fresno.

F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly: The revitalization of the new Daniel Bryan 

When Daniel Bryan announced his emotional return to the ring, it was fairly inconceivable that he’d end up being a vicious and pompous environmentalist heel just eight months later. But the character change has revitalized Bryan and taken him to the highest points since the immediate aftermath of announcing his comeback. With Bryan completely buying into the change, “the new Daniel Bryan” has been far better in execution than it would have sounded on paper.

WON NEWSLETTER: December 17, 2018 Observer Newsletter: Fantastic Tokyo Dome card, death of Larry Hennig 

A look at New Japan going into the Tokyo Dome, notes on lots of new television deals and a story on the life of Larry Hennig heads up this week’s issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Our lead story is a preview of the Wrestle Kingdom 13 show, with the lineup, storylines, tag team tournament rundown, this weekend’s shows and full coverage of the tag team tournament finals with match-by-match coverage, star ratings and poll results.

Look at the glory days of the AWA with a story on the life of Larry Hennig. Start with his legit sports background, why he never wrestled or played football in college, how he got started in pro wrestling, and his rise to fame as a heel in the AWA.

Look at one of the 60s most successful tag teams, Harley Race & Larry Hennig, and their feud with Dick the Bruiser & The Crusher. Also look at the rest of Hennig’s career all over the world.

Also look at the future of Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt, George Bush’s connection to pro wrestling, WWE week on USA, WWE rules for what U.K. talent can do, injury and illness updates, John Cena talks on future, notes on and WWE tryouts.

Also look at ONE attempting to become a significant player on the U.S. scene with its deal with TNT, its big signings, but also a look at the company’s real economic numbers.

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 Meltzer, or by using PayPal directing funds to 

Rates in the United States are $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52. If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.)

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can choose one free classic issue or two free classic issues with a 40-issue subscription.


Bryan and I will be back tonight talking TLC and other weekend news. Garrett Gonzalez and I did shows both Friday night covering ROH & Bellator and last night covering UFC, NJPW, talking tonight’s TLC, Bellator, Canelo Alvarez and more. Both shows are up on the site now. You can send questions for tonight’s show to

UFC did its biggest ratings in two years for last night’s show. The final numbers won’t be in until Tuesday, but the show did 2,153,000 viewers on the fast nationals, and those numbers don’t include either the West Coast, nor figure in post 10 p.m., which was the main event and highest rated part of the show, so that final number will increase significantly. While only third overall among the networks, it won male and overall demos among network shows in all categories under the age of 50. I’d have never thought UFC with Kevin Lee vs. Al Iaquinta beats Raw and Smackdown in the same week. In fairness, with Vince and coming off tonight’s show, Raw and Smackdown both should be up this week.

UFC did a very classy video on FOX last night thanking the network for seven years.

Kambi’s odds for star ratings on tonight’s show, so you can bet over or under:

Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin **1/4
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose ***3/4
Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox vs. R-Truth & Carmella *1/4
Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax ***1/2
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs.; Asuka ****1/4
Daniel Bryan vs. A.J. Styles ****1/4
Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre ***1/2
Elias vs. Bobby Lashley **1/4
Bar vs. Usos vs. New Day ***3/4
Natalya vs. Ruby Riott **1/4
Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander ***3/4
Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton ***1/4

Other odds you can bet on:

For best match of the night
Smackdown women’s title -150
Styles vs. Bryan -175
Murphy vs. Alexander +250
Ambrose vs. Rollins +250
Smackdown tag title +500
Rousey vs. Jax +900
Any other match +1500

You can also bet on which match gets higher star ratings between the Smackdown women’s title and Bryan vs. Styles, with Styles’ mach at -105 and the women’s match at -111. (thanks to

Bellator did a great job Friday night with its version of “Tribute to the Troops.” It was not just a great fight show but an uplifting show at times. It was similar to the WWE Tribute shows in some ways, obviously the product itself is very different. Last night’s Bellator was notable in a different way. Friday’s show was better, but last night with the hot sold out crowd made flyweight champion Ilima-lei Macfarlane come off like a real superstar. The problem is that show should have been on Paramount, a being on DAZN, I doubt it did anywhere near the audience, although DAZN no doubt got a ton of sign-ups for Canelo Alvarez and they plugged her and the show was following up next. Still, a sign of her genuinely breaking out would have been making searching trends and she wasn’t there.

TLC will make it today, but neither UFC, ROH or Bellator cracked the major searched terms so none broke through as anything close to general interest or talk this weekend. Canelo Alvarez’s fight had 700,000 searches.  The term DAZN had another 100,000.  The death of Bill Fralic had 50,000.

Finn Balor returned at last night’s show in Bakersfield.  

As noted earlier, our most talked about issue of the year, the Hall of Fame issue, will be out this week. There were seven new inductees voted into the Hall of Fame.

New Japan interviews from yesterday’s show, with the Japanese subtitled.

If you haven’t seen this match, the Omega-Okada match from Osaka this year that won Tokyo Sports match of the year is up for free on New Japan World.

John Cena will be promoting “Bumblebee,” which has gotten great reviews, as in 98% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, on Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday and Seth Myers on Wednesday. 
Pro Wrestling NOAH switched four titles today in Yokohama. Kaito Kiyomiya beat Takashi Sugiura for the GHC title, Daisuke Harada beat Kotaro Suzuki for the jr. title, Maybach Taniguchi & Cody Hall beat Katsuhiko Nakajima & Go Shiozaki to win the tag titles, and Hajime Ohara & Hitoshi Kumano beat Hi69 & Minoru Tanaka to take the jr. tag titles.
Legacy Fighting kicks off 2019 with an AXS show on 1/18 from Broomfield, CO, right after WOW at 10 p.m. The main event is a featherweight bout with Youssefl Zalal (6-0) vs. Jose Mariscal (8-3).
On Wednesday night’s episode of the TV show “The Goldbergs” on ABC, which is set in the 80s, one of the characters joked about Roddy Piper being mentioned in the 12 Days of Christmas. You know, Piper’s piping and all. (thanks to Joe Puccio)
Impact/Rock Star Pro from Friday night in Dayton on Twitch: Zachary Wentz b Jeremiah, Nevaeh & Jessicka Havok b Allie & Samantha Heights, Moose b Mad Man Fulton (Sawyer Fulton in NXT), LAX kept the tag titles over The Dirty and Besties in the World, Jon Murray b Stone Rockwell, Trey Miguel won a scramble match over Clayton Gainez, Ace Austin, Try Miguel, Kevin Bennett, Ron Mathis and Matt Sydal, Eddie Edwards b Larry D, Sami Callihan & OVE b Dustin Rayz & Alex Colon & Aaron Williams under OVE rules. Main event was good. Scramble was all action. Rockwell vs. Murray was reported as awful. (thanks to Shannon Walsh)
Chris Jericho is doing a Meet and Greet on 1/12 with Dory Funk Jr. on at 5 p.m at the BANG Sound Stage in Ocala, FL.
Stardom from Saturday in Yoneyama, Japan: Kaori Yoneyama & Ruaka b Rina & Hina, Mary Apache won three-way over Hana Kimura and AZM, Kagetsu & Natsu Sumire & Hazuki b Starlight Kid & Hanan & Natsumi, Jungle Kyona d Natsuko Tora, Mayu Iwatani & Tam Nakano & Saki Kashima b Momo Watanabe & Utami Hayashishita & Konami.
Stardom from today in Tokyo: Jungle Kyona & Kaori Yoneyama & Ruaka b Tam Nakano & Hana & Rina, Kagetsu b Natsumi, Mary Apache & Hana Kimura b Hazuki & Natsu Sumire, Utami Hayashishita & AZM & Konami b Mayu Iwatani & Starlight Kid & Saki Kashima, Momo Watanabe b Natsuko Tora to keep the Wonder of Stardom title. (thanks to Shannon Walsh)
Best of the West opened its new BOTW Arena in Fresno and will run monthly shows and TV tapings with the first show on 1/13 at 6 p.m. The idea is to run the second Saturday of every month. The new building is at 5766 E. Fountain Way #101. They will continue to run show as well in Visalia, Merced and Hanford. (thanks to Jon Southerland)
Defy from Friday night in Seattle before a sellout crowd: Brian Cage b Jack Evans (managed by Bryan Alvarez), Mike Santiago & Ethan HD b Drexl & Dr. Kleiver in a street fight to keep the tag titles, Guillermo Rosas b Kaimana, Schaff b Brody King (said to be a great match and King did his good byes after), King Khash & Carl Randers b Ravenous Randy Myers & Cody Chhun, Penta 0M b Chris Ridgeway, Artemis Spencer b Shane Strickland to win Defy title (told this was a ****1/4 match). (thanks to Scott Janicek)
Fat Ass Masa of BTE fame will be doing meet and greets on the March World Series Wrestling tour.
Shine from yesterday in Queens,NY: Shotzi Blackheart b Christina Marie, Willow Nightingale & Allie Recks b Brandi Lauren & Jenna Van Muscles, Priscilla Kelly won handicap match over Gabby Gilbert and Luscious Latasha, Keira Hogan b Ariel Monroe, Aja Perera b Dementia D’Rose, Mercedes Martinez b Kimber Lee, Allysin Kay b Su Yung to keep Shine title. Martinez-Lee said to be great, main event not so much. (thanks to Shannon Walsh and Michael Laro)
Singapore Pro Wrestling from Friday night: Ashura &N Luchadonna b Lunz Inez & Selina, Alexis Lee b Indi Hartwell, Old Carl Hella b Jane Foo, Emi Sakura b Shazza McKenzie, Onslaught & Reika Saiki b Horrors & Mizuki, Zeda Zhang won over Phoenix and Blue Lotus, Riho b Makoto in a King of Asia title match. (thanks to Kevin Chiat)
Wrestling Go from today in Sydney, Australia: Rock n Rolla b Piracy, Silvio Milano won over Jay Sorbet, Lee Morrow and Parker Tomas, Caveman Ugg b Alex Irvine, Gatt b Big Fudge, Jax Jordan b B-Boy, Jay Dewhurst & Nikki Van Blair over Velocities, Prefects and SMS, Adam Brooks b Tree Hugger Luchi, Ricky South b Matty Walhlberg in a 30:00 Iron man match. (thanks to Kevin Chiat)
IPW last night in Auckland, New Zealand before a sellout of 400 fans: Kingi b Gino Gambino, Candy Lee b Antonio Khan, Ringo Ryan b Sweet T, Robbie Eagles won three-way over Falcon Kid and Jake Sheehan, Dapper Dynasty b Savage & Stone and The Foundation, Liger b No Face, Jakob Cross b Liam Fury to win IPW title. (thanks to Steve Ogilvie)

Daily Pro Wrestling History: WCW Starrcade 1990


Poll opinions:
Show results and news tips:
Wrestling Observer Radio questions:
Support the Empire~! with F4W shirts. Grab yours today!