It’s that time of the week again and I am not Matt Dawgs, but your “Resident ROHbot”, the voice of the “Honor Nation” podcast, bad girls wrangler, and anime connoisseur James Bullock to give you all the news, pictures and videos to finish off your workweek, and 2016. Lets do it to it!
Also, be sure to Vote For the Insanity 2016 Year End Awards
WWE NEWS AND NOTES:
- Welcome to “The Braun Strowman Show” - that's the best way to summarize this week's “Raw” as the big man who stole Hunter Hearst Helmsley and then Sgt. Slaughter's old pants was the highlight of the episode by being its focus as he wrestled, found himself in the middle of several promo segments featuring the likes of Stephanie McMahon, Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens, wore out people backstage just because they crossed Strowman's path, and unpredictably decimated The Shining Stars, Darren Young, and Bo Dallas just so he could fight Seth Rollins when HE wanted. When it appeared the Strowman-Sami Zayn feud would be dropped without a satisfying ending, Braun also demanded a Last Man Standing match with Sami shortly before Zayn showed up and cost Strowman his match with Rollins. This is how WWE needs to present Strowman as he proved to be a menacing force who could show up to do what he wants and very few, if anyone, can stop him from doing so.
- While the handling of Strowman on “Raw” was fantastic, the other booking involving top tier talent was head-scratching at best. Why have Owens and Roman Reigns, Charlotte and Bayley, and Sheamus & Cesaro and The New Day so close to the “Royal Rumble”? It's just plain lazy booking and takes away the “big fight feel” Michael Cole kept harping about throughout the main event when the pay-per-view matches occur.
- “If you can keep it up for 2:15, you'll last one second longer than Punk did.” - Stephanie McMahon's response to the Chicago crowd chanting for CM Punk. Stephanie McMahon circa 12/26/2016, cold as ice!
- I do not care in the least about this on-going train wreck of a storyline featuring Rusev & Jinder Mahal and Enzo & Cass. It just feels like the more and more I see Rusev & Lana come up with whacky schemes the more I realize Vince is living out his dream of directing an episode of the “Rocky & Bullwinkle” cartoon.
- Nia Jax squashed ROH's ring announcer and “Sasha Banks fan girl” Scarlett Bordeaux to build up Banks' eventual return and showdown with the division's resident monster – now that's good booking.
- Evil Neville is awesome. He showed glimpses of how well he could pull off a villainous character in NXT before he dropped the NXT title to Sami Zayn, but back then it was more subtle. Now he's full steam ahead with the heel turn and it really helps the entire division.
- All aboard the Rich Swann train! Been a fan of his for years and it’s obvious that no matter how far WWE drops the ball in regards to the Cruiserweight division, Swann is a special talent who can’t be pulled down into the muck of bad booking because of him having that “it” factor; same for Jack Gallagher.
- Goldberg will be on next week's “Raw” to most likely hype his “Royal Rumble” match appearance and potentially Spear someone interrupting his promo to reinforce the fact everyone is “next!”
- Cody Rhodes wasn’t a fan of the “Raw” segment featuring Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson tearing up a Dusty Rhodes teddy bear to build up their match with Goldust & R-Truth. While one could demean Cody for taking this seriously as Goldust was a part of the segment and probably gave the okay and this is pro wrestling after all, the actual purpose was just for cheap heat that didn't have the fans chomping at the bit hoping Goldust & Truth really gave “The Doctors” what they have coming to them because no one believes Goldust & R-Truth can beat anyone other than The Shining Stars.
- Absolutely fantastic episode of “Smackdown” this week. The show kicked off with a John Cena promo where Cena was ultra serious and put the WWE champion on notice as he'd fight the champ at the “Royal Rumble” - thus putting over the upcoming main event and the next pay-per-view in less than five minutes.
- As if the show didn't start off strong enough, the Smackdown Tag Team title Elimination match saw American Alpha finally win the big one. While shocking they didn't wait to pull the trigger at a bigger event, it's great to see AA finally achieve champion status as they've been the most consistently over tandem on the Smackdown side that people take seriously since the brand split began.
- The show was capped off with a very entertaining main event. Not usual, the eventual victorious AJ Styles and loser Dolph Ziggler (who took the fall) looked great, but Baron Corbin took his game to another level here as he seemed so comfortable in the ring with two guys who are and can be legitimate main eventers.
- Neville using the superplex to win matches including a non-title affair against Rich Swann on “205 Live”? Awesome.
- John Yurnet, who works as Mr. 450, blew his knee out during his debut match on “205 Live”.
- Tajiri returns next week on “205 Live”.
- John Cena was a guest on “Talking Smack” and during his interview, he took back comments he made about The Rock as a part-timer, saying it was the “stupidest stuff ever” because he looked at it through “very blinded eyes.”
- Jerry Lynn was backstage at Wednesday’s “Smackdown” live event.
- Monday’s WWE live event from Madison Square Garden in New York City was not sold out, but did draw a strong crowd.
- Lilian Garcia posted on Instagram that her father passed away on Christmas. Garcia departed with WWE earlier this year to be with her father who had cancer. At the WWE Tribute to the Troop’s Garcia sang the Star Bangled Banner and dedicated it to her father.
- According to The Wrestling Observer, the timing of the WWE announcing the new UK Tournament and Championship is likely in response to ITV and Flo Slam, the latter of which WWE is a stake holder and the sides have had discussions about directions. There are those in The UK who claim they know the ITV project was the catalyst for all this coming from Vince McMahon.
- WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair posted on Instagram that he was recently sworn in as an honorary deputy.
- The Bollywood Boyz have been sent down to NXT to allow them to get additional seasoning after their work on “205” didn’t click in management’s eyes.
- According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Kurt Angle has told promoters he’s doing no more indie dates except one match with Alberto and another with Cody Rhodes, claiming that he’s going to WWE in April. WWE sources have denied the claims.
- According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the following matches are said to be “locked in” for “WrestleMania 33”: Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg; Triple H vs. Seth Rollins; Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal.
- WWE “Money in the Bank” will take place on June 18th at the Scottrade center in St. Louis. The show will be a Smackdown brand PPV.
- Mickie James had her WWE physical in Pittsburgh on December 22nd. If all of her tests come back and there are no issues, she is scheduled to start on the Smackdown brand soon.
- During the most recent edition of “Conversations with The Big Guy”, host and former WWE star Ryback spoke out about the The Nexus and the eventual dissolving of the group. On the subject of the failure of The Nexus angle with John Cena, Ryback blamed “Big Match John Cena” for not liking the fact that eight young WWE talents were getting themselves over naturally. Ryback furthered that what happened with the demise of The Nexus angle was because WWE had a talent in the top spot, John Cena, who was a noncompetitive star and not used to competing in real life. Ryback praised the group as a great but underutilized faction, and added he felt Wade Barrett was the mental leader of the pack while “The Big Guy” was the physical leader – something I don't think anyone associated with Skip Sheffield during the original Nexus (or even the Punk version).
- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s recent “Rock The Troops” special officially broke a four-year record for Spike TV as the event averaged 2.2 million viewers across all telecasts on Spike and other Viacom networks that night. This is more than any “tent-pole” event for Spike in four years.
- The Rock has also been named USA Today’s person of the year for 2016.
- According to The New York Post, to help promote the upcoming ESPN 30 for 30 titled “This Was the XFL”, a “Pop-up” exhibit will be free to the public on January 14th and will take place at the Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in Chelsea. The pop-up will feature memorabilia from the league.
- The National Wrestling Hall of Fame announced Paul Orndorff and Dusty Rhodes will enter the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame at the 2017 induction ceremony in Waterloo, Iowa.
- My Bucket List Goal: Fight the New Day, Seth Rollins and The Usos … in.EA UFC 2.
NXT TAKEOVER SAN ANTONIO is on Saturday, January 28th, 2017 from San Antonio Texas and the line-up is as follows:NXT WORLD TITLE: Shinsuke Nakamura © vs. Bobby RoodeNXT TAG TEAM TITLES: D.I.Y. (Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) vs. The Authors of Pain
WWE ROYAL RUMBLE PPV is on Sunday, January 29th, 2017 from San Antonio Texas and the line-up is as follows:ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH: Brock Lesnar / Bill Goldberg / TBAWWE UNIVERSAL TITLE: Kevin Owens © vs. Roman Reigns w/Chris Jericho in a shark cage above the ring
TNA IMPACT WRESTLING NEWS and NOTES:
- PWInsider reports that sources state Anthem Sports & Entertainment will officially become the owners of Impact Wrestling and its parent company/assets on January 1, 2017. There will likely be an official announcement about the news then. It’s also expected that there will be an official meeting with talent next week in Orlando. Meanwhile, Anthem is currently still in talks with Jeff Jarrett but it’s not believed they’ve reached a deal to bring him back in an official capacity at this time. Global Force Wrestling ran an event Wednesday night as part of a private event and Jarrett has been going to Los Angeles to work on GFW broadcast deals. Anthem is also working on re-signing talent who have contracts set to expire in 2017, like The Hardys and Drew Galloway.
- Ron Harris and Aroluxe LLC have filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Audience of One Productions, TNA’s former production company, against them as well as Impact Ventures LLC and TNA CFO Dean Broadhead. PWInsider reports that lawyers for Harris and Aroluxe filed the motion for dismissal on December 6th in the suit. The lawsuit was filed by Audience of One under claims that Broadhead, Harris and Aroluxe brought them on under false pretenses of using them as the full-time production company, then failed to pay them what they were owed. A hearing on the matter is set for February 3rd.
- TNA tapes in Orlando from January 5th through the 12th. The company will tape 12 episodes of Impact as well as broadcast a live One Night Only PPV. They will also tape additional material.
- TNA in planning to do a multi-show tour of India this summer. During a recent meeting, Dixie Carter suggested that they do 12 weeks worth of tapings while in India, saying it would be cost effective since they have to be there anyway. The idea was shot down.
- According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, there have been delays in paying the production staff. As of one week ago, a lot of people hadn’t been paid for the October tapings although they were told it was coming this week. TNA will be receiving a seven-figure payment from Sony Six in India this week. That is the good news; Anthem is funding the company, but has not officially taken ownership. The problem is that TNA is facing is how do they plan to make money. They lost their UK TV deal, and the Sony Six deal in India is the majority of their revenue. One of Anthem’s plans to create revenue is to get back into running live events/house shows.
Ring of Honor / Lucha Underground / Independent / International News and Notes:
- Ring of Honor 's return to Atlanta for a TV taping will now featuring the Television Championship defended by Marty Scurll against the former “CJ Parker” Juice Robinson.
- It's being reported that Jay Lethal has re-signed an exclusive deal for two years with Ring of Honor. Bobby Fish, War Machine and BJ Whitmer have not signed new deals. The company attempted to get Steve Corino to stay. He will be gone on December 31st, the day his contract expires. Corino took a job at the WWE Performance Center. ROH World champion Kyle O’Reilly has not signed a new deal. If he doesn’t sign a new deal, he may drop the title at the January 4th “Wrestlekingdom 11” show when he faces Adam Cole. Scarlett Bordeaux, who works regularly for ROH but has never been signed to a contract, wrestled and lost to Nia Jax on Raw this past Monday in Chicago. Mandy Leon and Kelly Klein, who are involved in the Women of Honor division, took to Twitter without naming Bordeaux and stated they would never work for WWE without a contract offer. The tweets were later removed. Both did extra work with WWE as Rosebuds.
- Yuji Nagata signed a one-year deal with NJPW for 2017.
- Rocky Romero and Tiger Hattori were in Southern California making plans for expansion of business. There is talk of the company running shows on their own in 2017 (they have previously run joint shows with ROH); the target is starting the G-1 Climax tournament’s opening days in late July in the US. Pwinsider now reports that Rocky Romero and George Carroll, a New England based independent wrestling personality (who did some website work for Ring of Honor) were recently in Long Beach doing ground work for the dates. The dates could be announced as soon as the January 4th “WrestleKingdom 11” event.
- According to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, some Lucha Underground talents are reportedly frustrated since the company will not be taping more TV until fall of 2017. Talents had kept weekend dates free starting in February (when they were originally going to tape), or if they had dates, many had canceled them, and now they have to get new bookings for February, March and April. The frustration is that after all these years, they haven’t broken out, and it’s only seasonal work. But with talents locked into the seven season contracts, talents cannot explore working in places like WWE, New Japan and ROH. Some top talent are trying to see if they can legally get themselves free from the deals and explore working elsewhere. Most of the talent is still happy this company is still around because it’s a regular paycheck in season (with the exception of guys like Rey Mysterio who are on guaranteed annual big money deals) Most talent is paid per television show they are on at the time the show is taped. There is also more frustration, many hoped by this time that they’d be more of a force, be huge in the Hispanic community (they still don’t have a Spanish language outlet). Many also hoped that they would be doing house shows by now and that they would be making money off merchandise.
- World of Sport Wrestling makes a return to ITV for a one-off, two hour special on New Year’s Eve.
NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING WRESTLE KINGDOM 11 is on Saturday, January 4th, 2017 from Tokyo Japan and the line-up is as follows:IWGP WORLD TITLE: Kazuchika Okada © vs. Kenny OmegaIWGP INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: Tetsuya Naito © vs. Hiroshi TanahasiNEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE: Katsuyori Shibata © vs. Hirooki GotoIWGP JUNIOR TITLE: Kushida © vs. Hiromu TakahashiIWGP TAG TEAM TITLES: The Guerrillas of Destiny © (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa) vs. G.B.H.(Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru YanoRING OF HONOR WORLD TITLE: Kyle O’Reilly © vs. Adam Cole“The American Nightmare” Cody vs. Juice RobinsonNEVER OPENWEIGHT SIX MAN TITLES: David Finlay/Ricochet/Satoshi Kojima © vs. The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale/Hangman Page/Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Will Ospreay/Jado/Yohsi-Hashi) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japan (Bushi/Evil/Sanada)IWGP JUNIOR TAG TITLES: The Young Bucks © (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero)Tiger Mask W (Originally Kota Ibushi) vs. Tiger the Dark (ACH)New Japan Rumble Match
MMA News and Notes:
- DOWN GOES CAIN! As if you thought one UFC event would go on without any major controversy, the “UFC 207” co-main event went down the tubes as former UFC Heavyweight champion was deemed “unfit to compete”. The decision to cancel the bout may have been related to a previous interview Velasquez gave to ESPN.com in which he detailed intense back pain throughout his training camp. In a mildly controversial moment in the interview, he admitted to using Cannabidiol do deal with the pain.
- Johny Hendricks missed weight for his “UFC 207” fight. This is the third time Hendricks has missed weight in the UFC, considering he was forced to withdraw from his scheduled “UFC 192” bout against Tyron Woodley due to weight cutting issues. He later missed weight for his fight with Kelvin Gastelum. For Ray Borg, this is his second time missing weight. He missed weight for his fight with Geane Herrera last year.
- Mike Goldberg is done calling UFC shows as of this weekend. Dana White confirmed that Goldberg will be calling his last show as UFC 207. His replacement is not yet known. White had previously spoken with Sportsnet and said that Joe Rogan was continuing on with the company but had not mentioned Goldberg, noting he was working on putting together a “dream team” for the commentary table. Goldberg has been calling the action for UFC events since UFC Japan: Ultimate Japan in 1997.
- UFC 206 did a great ratings number in its FOX Christmas Eve replay. TV By The Numbers reports that the show, which aired on the broadcast network on Saturday, scored a 1.6 rating in the 18 – 49 demographic and 4.7 million viewers. That was enough to make it the top-rated show on broadcast television for the night against what was mostly holiday-themed programming such as It’s a Wonderful Life on NBC (1.0 demo rating/4.49 million viewers). That number is the best for a UFC on FOX telecast since UFC on FOX 1, in which Cain Velasquez faced off with Junior dos Santos in the main event. This is the first time that the UFC has ever replayed a PPV broadcast on FOX due to contracts that grant thirty-day exclusivity to the PPV carriers.
- Dana White recently spoke with TMZ, and was asked about Brock Lesnar’s future in the UFC, Dana said, “I think his career is winding down but he’s a freak of nature. Who knows … maybe he’ll give me a call and say he wants to do it again but I think he’s ready to ride off into the sunset.” When asked about CM Punk fighting in the UFC again, White said that they have not figured out his future. White gave Punk credit and respect for coming in and trying MMA but says UFC is a dangerous place, especially for your first fights. He also said, “we’ll see what happens when it comes to another UFC fight.”
- In an interview with FOX 5 New York, Dana White confirmed that the upcoming Holly Holm fight against Germaine de Randamie will be the headliner at UFC 208 for the new women’s featherweight title. The fight happens at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on February 11, 2017. During the same interview, he also shot down a possible fight between Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather.
- Dana White has confirmed that while rumors of an interim lightweight title bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson were true, it isn’t going to happen. White told MMAjunkie that Ferguson’s demands for equity pay with Nurmagomedov killed the potential fight.
- In a post on Twitter, Jeremy Stephens (25-13 MMA, 12-12 UFC) called out Clay Guida (32-17 MMA, 12-11 UFC) for a possible fight. Both have been in the UFC for over nine years and even a part of the featherweight division, but have never had a fight before.
- Josh Barnett has been notified by USADA of a potential anti-doping violation. The UFC announced on Tuesday that Barnett was notified and that the violation is from an out-of-competition test administered on December 9th. This is the third time Barnett has potentially tested positive for a banned substance while fighting for the UFC, and the fourth in his career.
- According to Dave Meltzer, The UFC offered Nick Diaz a fight with Conor McGregor, which he turned down out of loyalty to his brother, Nate. The fight would have likely been at welterweight.
- Mirko Filipovic turned back the clock in the quarterfinal round of Thursday’s Rizin “Grand Prix Open Weight 2016” when he upset 2015 tournament champion Muhammed Lawal with a second-round TKO. Filipovic (33-11-2) was originally expected to face Wanderlei Silva at the event, but when “The Axe Murderer” withdrew on less than one month’s notice, Lawal (20-6) opted to step in as a replacement for the quarterfinals of the the 16-man open weight tournament.
- Bellator light heavyweight Chael Sonnen is off to a good start with his new promoter. Sonnen passed a pre-fight drug test given earlier this month by the California State Athletic Commission, which will oversee his promotional debut opposite Tito Ortiz at Bellator 170. Ortiz has yet to be tested.
UFC 207 is TONIGHT in Las Vegas, Nevada and the line-up is as follows:UFC WOMEN”S BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE: Amanda Nunes © vs. Ronda RouseyUFC BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE: Dominick Cruz © vs. Cody GarbrandtJohny Hendricks vs. Neil MagnyDong Hyun Kim vs. Tarec SaffiedineCub Swanson vs. Doo Ho ChoiAlex Oliveira vs. Tim Means
UFC on FOX 23 is on Saturday, January 28th, 2017 in Denver Colorado and the line-up is as follows:Julianna Pena vs. Valentina ShevchenkoAndrei Arlovski vs. Francis NgannouDonald Cerrone vs. Jorge Masvidal
UFC 208 is on February 11th, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York and the line-up is as follows:UFC WOMEN”S FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE: Holly Holm vs. Germaine de RandamieTravis Browne vs. Derrick LewisDustin Poirier vs. Jim Miller
b>Random Thoughts, Links, Pics, ETC.
- Random VIDEO of the week: “Leap” Trailer
- BONUS Random VIDEO of the week: He warned them not to cut his microphone.
- BONUS Random VIDEO of the week PART 2: Honest Game Trailer: Dead Rising 4
- BONUS Random VIDEO of the week PART 3: “The Legend of Lebron James” trailer
- THIS LINK is for LIFE. Thank you soldiers. WELCOME HOME BLOG
- BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week: You gotta lock that down.
- BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week PART 1: 2016 is going to have one long “In Memory Of...” list
- BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week PART 2: Kanye's New Year's resolution.
- BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week PART 3: The stuff this kid could get away with in the near future is scary.
- BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week PART 4: In Ice Cube's “B.W.A” (Basketball with Attitude) will potentially feature team names such as “The Predators”, “The Lethal Injectors” and my personal favorite “The Death Certificates”.
- BONUS Random ARTICLE of the week PART 5: He hasn't hurt you yet, Sarah.
- Rider Strong dropped some bad news for Girl Meets World fans, but it appears he could have misspoke. Strong said on a recent episode of his podcast Literary Disco that the show’s three episodes when it returns will be their last. “We finished the third season of Girl Meets World,” Strong said. “My brother and I were directing a lot of episodes and I acted in a couple. And the show ended.” The show premiered on Disney Channel in 2014 and continue the story of Boy Meets World, following the daughter of Cory and Topanga. It is third season and airs its season finale on January 20th on Disney channel, although the official Twitter for the show’s writers room say that nothing has been decided yet.
- Finished the story portion of “Final Fantasy XV”. Right now I feel like this is this year's “Metal Gear Solid V” - a fun game of obvious unfulfilled potential.
- Ben Mendelsohn, who plays Director Orson Krennic in “Rogue One”, told Collider they shot each scene about three or four times, with each take focusing on a different angle. Although director Gareth Edwards knew what he wanted to do with the plot and characters, the steps he took to get there changed often, and that’s why he wanted different takes. When asked if there was enough footage to create a full-length alternate version of “Rogue One”, Mendelsohn said there was, “with enormous differences within I would’ve said 20 or 30 of the scenes.” The actor added that there were moments when he was watching the final cut of the film that caught him off guard because he didn’t expect Edwards to go with that particular rendition of the scene. Mendelsohn added that the times he found himself surprised, he was pleased with the decision Edwards went in.
- Run-DMC has filed a $50 million lawsuit against Walmart and Amazon over unauthorized merchandise. TMZ reports that the rap group’s brand filed the suit against the two retailers, claiming that they are advertising, selling, manufacturing, promoting and distributing several products featuring the band’s logo without their permission. The lawsuit claims that the retailers are selling glasses, hats, t-shirts, patches and wallets among other items that feature the logo and claim that they’ve been working for years with other companies (also included in the suit) in selling the items. The group points out a $1.6 million agreement with Adidas for the clothing company to use the logo as proof of its value..
- Following reports from The Wrap that Ryan Reynolds filmed a cameo for Logan as Deadpool, the stars and director James Mangold have taken to Twitter to shoot the reports down. Reynolds, Mangold and Hugh Jackman all spoke up denying the report, with Mangold accusing the site of posting fake news when they tried to backtrack.