- This past Friday’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown drew a preliminary viewership of 2,213,000 viewers on FOX, according to SpoilerTV.
- WWE recently posted a video on Twitter featuring Judgement Day’s Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley visiting Rey Mysterio’s house uninvited again, this time for Christmas Eve. This resulted in Dominik causing a scene and taunting his father to hit him, Ripley stopping Dominik’s mother from hitting him but her getting smacked in the face instead, and the police being called arresting Dominik for the disturbance he caused.
- This past Friday’s WWE SmackDown show, originally taped the week before, in Chicago, Illinois featured a Miracle on 34th Street Fight match between Imperium and Braun Strowman & Ricochet. During the match, Ricochet suffered a head injury causing a gash on his head. Following the airing of the match, Ricochet stated on Twitter that he was feeling okay but needed six stitches to close the wound on his head.
- This past Friday’s SmackDown show also featured appearances by indie wrestlers Ashley D’Ambroise and JT Energy. D’Ambroise confirmed that she was the person playing the role of the ballerina who made a surprise appearance out of a gift box during the Miracle on 34th Street Fight match. Energy was revealed to be the person portraying the cameraman who was attacked by Bray Wyatt during his promo segment on the show.
- This past Friday’s NBA game of Toronto Raptors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game in Cleveland, Ohio featured Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae among those in attendance.
- During a recent media scrum, Big E praised Sting for being his favorite ever character in wrestling. Big E stated “My favorite gimmick? That’s a very good question. It might be Sting. Sting has a great gimmick, and he’s still doing it. How? I was a little kid and he’s still doing it. He’s going to outlast me. Sting, especially in WCW, the Crow gimmick, he used to come down from the rafters with the bat. That was cold. Sting was cold.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
- As noted before, the December 12th RAW show drew 1,472,000 viewers and a 0.37 key demographic rating. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that RAW’s opening quarter hour of 1,485,000 overall viewers and 454,000 key demographic viewers is believed to be the lowest ever for a first quarter hour for a RAW show in RAW series history. Meltzer also reported that the quarter hour low point was at 1,258,00 overall viewers and 438,000 key demographic viewers, which would be one of the lowest ever for a quarter hour for a RAW show in RAW series history.
- As noted before, William Regal will be returning to WWE starting this January for a backstage executive role in the company. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources stated that Regal’s AEW contract had included two opt outs with talent one for Regal on February 24, 2023 and an AEW one on December 22nd. Meltzer reported that the current belief is that Regal will be going quiet once he starts working in WWE. Regal reportedly had stopped working on his Gentleman Villian podcast since this past November and its final episode aired this past week.
- WWE is currently rumored to be working on plans for KAIRI to make a potential surprise return appearance at next year’s Royal Rumble event. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources stated that there have yet to be talks between WWE and Stardom over this potential plan. Meltzer speculated that it could still end up happening as WWE puts together their plans for the Women’s Royal Rumble match but they would also run into potential political issues with Stardom due to KAIRI’s status as a big star and current IWGP Women’s Champion.
- WWE reportedly currently has scheduled for their next event in Saudi Arabia to take place in May of 2023, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- RingsideNews.com reported that their sources stated that WWE’s creative team is currently working on alternative ideas and plans for Roman Reigns’ match at next year’s WrestleMania 39 event. It was reported that these plans are meant to be a backup in case their current plans for Reigns to face off against Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would not be possible. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources confirmed RingsideNews’ report. Meltzer reported that Johnson would need to make an official decision on his availability for the event by this January’s Royal Rumble event. If Johnson agrees to work at WrestleMania 39, Meltzer reported that would be Reigns’ WrestleMania match and if he is unable to do so, then WWE would fall back on their backup plans which would need to be be set by then.
- The Athletic recently announced that Pat McAfee took their award for their Sports Media Personality of 2022 for his work in WWE and Pat McAfee Show podcast. McAfee had also been nominated by The Big Lead for their Sports Personality of the Year award but lost out to Troy Aikman and Joe Buck in the end.
- WWE reportedly generated an attendance of 12,866 (12,000 paid) for their Dec. 16th SmackDown show in Chicago, IL, 3,048 for their Dec. 17th house show event in Moline, IL, 2,349 for their Dec. 18th house show event in Rochester, MN, and 5,666 (5,000 paid) for their Dec. 19th RAW show in Des Moines, IA, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- WWE reportedly has sold around 8,591 tickets for their Dec. 26th house show event at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY, 5,521 tickets for their Dec. 26th house show event in Columbus, OH, 6,348 tickets for their Dec. 27th in Atlanta, GA, 5,087 tickets for their Dec. 28th house show event in Greensboro, NC, 3,624 tickets for their Dec. 29th house show event in Miami, FL, 4,442 tickets for their Dec. 29th house show event in Hershey, PA, 6,714 tickets for their Dec. 30th house show event in Toronto, Canada, 12,089 tickets for their Dec. 30th SmackDown show in Tampa, FL, 5,700 tickets for their Jan. 6th SmackDown show in Memphis, TN, 5,560 tickets for their Jan. 9th RAW show in Birmingham, AL, 5,215 for their Jan. 16th RAW show in Cincinnati, OH, 7,073 tickets for their Jan. 20th SmackDown show in Detroit, MI, 12,705 tickets for their Jan. 23rd RAW 30th show in Philadelphia, PA, 33,374 tickets for their Jan. 28th Royal Rumble 2023 event in San Antonio, TX, 12,177 tickets for their Feb. 17th SmackDown show in Montreal, 12,663 tickets for their Feb. 18th Elimination Chamber 2023 event in Montreal, Canada as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- As noted before, WWE recently announced that this Monday’s episode of RAW would be a “Best Of” special looking back on the top moments in WWE in 2022. Fightful Select reported that one talent spoken to stated that they were not told the reason why WWE was not airing a new live episode of RAW that night but believed it was likely due to WWE officials giving their production crew the week off as a holiday break. One source spoken to confirmed this talent’s belief and stated that WWE does not need as large of a crew to run house shows and entire departments sometimes don’t have to work them. One top talent spoken to stated that they believed it was a good move by WWE to give their production crew some time off and wished talent also got the holidays off. This same person reportedly also stated that talent do get paid well for working holiday dates though.
- Edge has been noticeably absent from WWE programming since this past October’s Extreme Rules 2022 event. Fightful Select reported that their sources stated that the reason for Edge’s current absence is due to his current contract has a limited number of dates. It was also reported that Edge appearing in vignettes during his feud against Judgement Day did not count against those dates which allowed WWE to use him more to help build his feud with the group. It was also reported that it is currently not known how many dates Edge currently has left on his deal nor the exact date when Edge’s contract is set to expire. Edge’s current contract reportedly is rumored to expire at some point in 2023.
AEW & ROH
- Tay Melo and Sammy Guevara announced on Twitter that they recently purchased a new house together.
- AEW backstage interview Lexy Nair announced on Twitter that she recently got engaged to Big Bill Morrissey.
- AEW reportedly generated an attendance of 5,500 (4,600 paid) for their Dec. 21st Dynamite Holiday Bash 2022 event in San Antonio, TX, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Dave Meltzer reported that his sources stated that the reason for the higher than usual comp tickets for the event was due to AEW gave away tickets for free to military members living in the area as a gift, similar to what WWE does for their Tribute to the Troops shows.
- AEW reportedly has sold around 3,638 tickets for their December 28th Dynamite show in Broomfield, CO, 7,440 tickets for their Jan. 4, 2023 Dynamite show in Seattle, WA, 3,853 tickets for their Jan. 6th Rampage show in Portland, OR, 6,650 tickets for their Jan. 11th Dynamite show in Los Angeles, CA, 3,431 tickets for their Jan. 18th Dynamite show in Fresno, CA, 3,852 tickets for their Jan. 25th Dynamite show in Lexington, KY, 1,935 tickets for their Feb. 1st Dynamite show in Dayton, OH, 2,413 tickets for their Feb. 8th Dynamite show in El Paso, TX, 1,191 tickets for their Feb. 15th Dynamite show in Laredo, TX, 4,745 tickets for their Feb. 22nd Dynamite show in Phoenix, AZ, 2,593 tickets for their March 1st Dynamite show in San Francisco, and 5,743 tickets for their March 5th Revolution 2023 event in San Francisco, CA, and 2,354 tickets for their March 8th Dynamite show in Sacramento, CA as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that it is currently still not known if Sasha Banks will be heading to AEW once her current contract with WWE expires at the end of this year. Meltzer reported that if she is indeed going to AEW, then it has been kept as a big secret within the company and herself. Meltzer reported that unlike with CM Punk’s debut, AEW has yet to tease the potential of her debuting as Saraya’s mystery tag team partner for their upcoming January 11, 2023 show in Los Angeles.
- During a preview episode of the upcoming FTR with Dax Harwood podcast, host Harwood gave his thoughts about Cody Rhodes and teased the idea of reuniting with Rhodes in the future. Harwood stated “Before I came to AEW, I had a issue with Cody [Rhodes], which I’ve talked to him about. He did a podcast with Sam Roberts and Sam Roberts goes ‘I’m going to ask you point blank. Who’s better [The Revival] or The Young Bucks?’ Without skipping a beat, he said ‘The Young Bucks because [The Revival], they have to practice their matches and The Young Bucks, they don’t.’ I took issue with that because in 18 years now at that point. I think it was like 15 years or whatever, I’ve never, ever, ever, ever practiced a match in my life and I will never practice a match in my life … That really ate at me because all the stuff that we had built up and we had worked hard to create, I felt that he was taking a shit on that by saying we practice our matches, but I got over that. Even though it doesn’t sound like it, I got over it. He and I are very good friends. We talk all the time now. I think that he is a visionary, I think he is too smart for his own good, & I hope to be able to work with him very, very soon because I think I could tear it up with him.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
- As noted before, this past Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite Holiday Bash 2022 show featured a segment between Keith Lee, Rick Ross, and Swerve Strickland. During the segment, Lee was ambush attacked by Parker Boudreaux and a mystery person, who was later revealed to be former baseball player Granden Goetzman. Fightful Select reported that their sources stated that besides Jay Lethal, Matt Sydal has also been helping train Goetzman for a wrestling career in AEW.
- While responding to a recent tweet about his match against Kevin Owens in March of 2010 in Ring of Honor, Kenny Omega gave his thoughts about working with Owens during his career and praised Owens for being the “real deal” in wrestling for a long time. Omega stated “Even though we only did it a few times and on very short notice, it was always a joy. He’s been the real deal for a looong time.”
- During a recent interview with the Talk Is Jericho podcast, Athena reflected on her issues with losing weight in an unhealthy way in order to get signed by WWE during the time Florida Championship Wrestling was their developmental system. Athena stated “I was ‘in the system,’ and had the tryout with FCW and then six-seven months later, they called me backstage for a private tryout. It was me and Lance Hoyt [Lance Archer] because we were in Dallas. They were like, ‘We’re going to have you roll around with some of the Divas.’ It was Alicia Fox, Nattie [Natalya] was busy, I think they were doing the Santino angle with Beth (Phoenix), and she was like, ‘I can’t be there, I promise you’ll be fine.’ Rosa Mendes came in. Everyone was like, ‘She’s great.’ I remember being told, ‘I just don’t know if we should sign you or tell you to lose some more weight.’ ‘I can lose the weight, just sign me.’ I’m just this young kid, eager, ‘I can do whatever I need to do.’ ‘Alright, this is what we’re going to do since we’re a little packed at FCW.’ Long story short, ‘Call me when you lose the weight.’ I lose the weight, but it wasn’t in a healthy way because I wanted it so bad. I had a cup of strawberries in the morning, I would run three miles, and I would have a cup of strawberries at night. That was the only thing I was ingesting. Yes, I was (dying). My first night at FCW, a bunch of us went to Outback, a bunch of my friends got signed from that first tryout. ‘Let’s go and celebrate.’ I remember going to Outback and having solid food other than strawberries and I bloated so much. At that time, I feel like the hiring process to get into WWE, especially if you are a woman, was so strict and hard, if you’re one pound off the scale, which did happen the next day, I was one pound over, they were like, ‘Hmm, huh, alright. Thickie McThickerson over here.’ I had the tryout and it was me and Nigel McGuinness before he retired. I hadn’t seen him since Ring of Honor and everyone was like, ‘You’re going to nail this.’ I did a promo, Dusty (Rhodes) was there at the time and he was like, ‘it’s great, no critiques.’ The next week, there is a lovely young lady who we all know and love and she has a sister from another mister, she came for her tryout, and she could dunk a basketball and dance. I cannot dance. They sign her, ‘If you want the spot, you can have it.’ She got signed, I get the phone call, ‘We just found someone else that fit what we’re looking for a little better, keep trying.’ I thought, ‘I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to do, I dropped my life for three years to do everything you told me to do. You know what, fuck you guys, I’m out.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
- This past Tuesday’s AEW Dark show featured a tag team match between Jeff Jarrett & Satnam Singh and Dean Alexander & Rosario Grillo, which was won by Jarrett & Singh. This was Jarrett’s first match at Universal Studios’ venue in Orlando since 2013. In a recent episode of the My World with Jeff Jarrett podcast, Jarrett reflected on his return to Universal Studios for the first time since his days in TNA and Impact Wrestling. Jarrett stated “I had a little time to reflect, it was really cool on Saturday morning. Flew down to Orlando, how many times have I done that? Getting in the car, going to Universal Studios, and how many times I’ve done that in my life. Folks will see the outcome in front of the camera, Tuesday night on Dark, me and a gentleman by the name of Satnam Singh, who I found out wears a size 23, 24, 25 shoe. That’s a big foot. Me and Satnam, I make my premiere on Dark. Universal Studios, obviously a long history. It was surreal. It was one of those special moments. From a personal point of view, I’ll call it my day job with AEW, a lot of exciting things, we’ll talk more about that in 2023. To get the opportunity and see some of the faces. I pulled up to the guard shack, still in the car, and getting my bag out. A gentleman walked over to the car, and I couldn’t see him. The first words he said, ‘Hey, where is Karen?’ I recognized the voice. There were so many faces that I got to see that I hadn’t seen in five years. The last time I was there was 2017. Folks I’ve been working with since 2005. It’s cool. The parks are still going on. I remember the cool nights in the winter in Orlando. We had a Dark taping there, and as far as me personally, getting to see all kinds of folks that I hadn’t seen in years and years, it was special. Just a cool experience. Something that, at this stage in my career, I do not take for granted, and I think we’ve all taken for granted certain things in our lives and you don’t even think about when you’re doing it, but the relationships, we were down there every other week for years. The relationships we’ve built. They ask about Karen, the kids, and they remember them by name. These are all, not AEW employees, but Universal Studios and freelancers. It was a cool deal.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
Indies & Misc. Wrestling
- UFC Hall of Famer and former wrestler Stephan Bonnar passed away this past Thursday at the age of 45. In an official statement, UFC stated that Bonnar’s cause of death was due to a presumed heart complications that took place while he was at work. In regards to wrestling, Bonnar’s wrestling career spanned from 2017 to 2021 and included a notable stints in Impact Wrestling in 2017 and 2019.
- Impact Wrestling recently announced that they will be relaunching their Before The Bell series starting on January 13, 2023 on all of their digital media platforms. It was also announced that the first episode of the series relaunch will be focusing on their Hard To Kill 2023 event that night.
- Just Tap Out Wrestling reportedly generated a paid attendance of 1,258 for their Dec. 19th 50th Anniversary For TAKATaichi Together ~ Last TAKATaichi event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. This event was notable for featuring the NJPW Provisional KoPW Championship Last Man Standing Lumberjack match of Taichi vs. Shingo Takagi (c). This event also featured Taichi splitting up with his longtime valet Minho Abe as part of Suzuki-Gun’s disbanding. In regards to the 50th Anniversary tag line, Dave Meltzer reported that this was due to Taichi (20) and TAKA Michinoku (30) combining their career years in wrestling together to get a total that coincidentally is the same number as NJPW’s 50th Anniversary this year.
- Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre reportedly will be airing their weekly Tuesday events live for free on their official YouTube channel and Facebook account, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Dave Meltzer reported that CMLL’s Dec. 20th event was the first to air under this new program.
- CMLL announced that they had pulled Volador Jr. from their card of this past Friday’s Super Viernes event in Mexico City, Mexico due to Volador had recently tested positive for COVID-19.
- Lucha Libre AAA reportedly had pulled Sammy Guevara and Tay Melo from their Dec. 17th event in Ciudad Madero, Mexico due to visa-related issues, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Melo reportedly had stated on Twitter that the couple is currently hopeful of being able to resolve their visa issues in time for AAA’s Dec. 28th event in Acapulco.
- As noted before, Tokyo Sports recently announced the full list of winners for this year’s Tokyo Sports Awards for wrestling. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Stardom’s Tam Nakano and Natsupoi ended up coming one vote shy of becoming the first ever female tag team to win Tokyo Sports’ award for Best Tag Team. Nakano and Natsupoi reportedly had led everyone in the first round of voting with seven votes and in the second round with eight votes. Meltzer reported that when it came to the third and final round of voting between Nakano & Natsupoi and Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb, all three reporters who had given their votes to Takashi Sugiura & Satoshi Kojima in the second round gave it to Khan & Cobb making them the winners at a final score of 9 to 8.
- Stardom reportedly generated a paid attendance of 206 for their Dec. 16th New Blood 6 event in Tokyo, 361 for their Dec. 17th Year-End Tour 2022 event in Gunma, and 342 for their Dec. 18th Year-End Tour 2022 event in Tochigi, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- Pro Wrestling NOAH reportedly generated a paid attendance of 551 for their Dec. 19th Star Navigation 2022 event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- As noted before, AXS TV recently announced that they will be airing replays of matches from New Japan Pro Wrestling’s upcoming Wrestle Kingdom 17 on their network starting in January 12, 2023. Dave Meltzer reported that due to AXS TV will be airing the upcoming Kenny Omega vs. Will Ospreay and Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White matches as their own separate one hour episodes, this would mean that those matches are currently planned to be around 30-40 minutes in length at NJPW’s actual Wrestle Kingdom 17 event.
- Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources stated that NJPW and Stardom officials currently still do not have any plans to announce Sasha Banks appearance ahead of time for NJPW’s upcoming Wrestle Kingdom 17 event next month.
- NJPW reportedly generated a paid attendance of 1,205 for their Dec. 22nd Road to Tokyo Dome 2022 event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- NJPW reportedly will be giving fans in attendance at their upcoming Wrestle Kingdom 17 event special red glow stick bracelets, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Dave Meltzer reported that the idea is for fans to turn on their bracelets during the pre-show 6-Man Tag Team match that will be held in tribute to the late Antonio Inoki in order to light up the Tokyo Dome in red, which was Inoki’s wrestling colors.
- This past Friday’s NJPW Road to Tokyo Dome 2022 event in Tokyo, Japan featured the main event of an Eight-Man Tag Team match between TAKA Michinoku, El Desperado, Lance Archer, & Minoru Suzuki and DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi, & Zack Sabre Jr., which was won by Sabre Jr’s team. This event was notable for being the final event of Suzuki-Gun, which is disbanding as a stable at the end of this year. Following the match, each member of the group gave a post-match speech to the crowd reflecting about their time in the group. One interesting moment during the post-match speeches included Archer ranting about how he was being misused and held down in both NJPW and AEW and proclaimed that next year would his time for the monster to be set loose.
- As noted before, WWE producer and coach D-Von Dudley was pulled from an indie event held earlier this month from Battleground Championship Wrestling over issues with WWE. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources stated that Dudley originally got permission from WWE Talent Relations official John Cone, who believed that Dudley was allowed to take outside bookings since his current WWE contract was not under a wrestler type deal. WWE Executive Director Bruce Prichard reportedly was the person who nixed Dudley’s booking leading to Dudley having a talk with WWE Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque over the issue. Levesque reportedly told Dudley that he would not approve his booking request and that if he went ahead and shows up at the event, he would be fired from WWE as punishment. Meltzer reported that the only reason given to Dudley over why he was no longer allowed to work at the event was due to a vague “physical risk” reason despite Dudley was only planned to be in the corner of Bully Ray for his match and only pull out a table for his physical involvement. In regards to BCW’s statement rescinding their blame of WWE for the issue, Meltzer reported that his sources stated that this was due to BCW’s owner did not want to get on the bad side of WWE when it came to being able to book those under WWE Legends deals for future events and conventions.
- Westside Xtreme Wrestling reportedly generated a paid attendance of 600 for their Dec. 17th 22nd Anniversary event in Oberhausen, Germany, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- Game Changer Wrestling reportedly generated a paid attendance of 800 for their Dec. 16th Amerikaz Most Wanted event in Los Angeles, California, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
- The National Wrestling Alliance recently announced that they will be holding an event called Nuff Said on February 11, 2023 in Tampa, Florida.
- Wrestling lend Dutch Mantell was recently involved in an online incident over concerns about his well-being following a tweet this past Friday involving Mantell stating that he had been attacked and robbed in Nashville, Tennessee. Mantell also stated that he went to a hospital afterwards and was diagnosed with a concussion injury. In a follow-up tweet, Mantell stated that he was only joking about the incident and apologized to everyone who had been legit concerned about him.