**The first edition of British Audio Wrestling is up on the site with hosts Martin Bushby and Oli Court providing an overview of the U.K. scene, the key promotions and talent to be focusing on, the upcoming WWE U.K. tournament and the recent ITV “World of Sports” special that aired on New Year’s Eve. The first show is up at http://fightnetwork.com/law/jan-5-edition-of-british-audio-wrestling-with-martin-bushby-oli-court/ and on iTunes by subscribing to Live Audio Wrestling.
**The MMA Report is up and this week is “The Prediction Show”, our annual special with Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting joining me as we look at the predictions made for 2016 and make a new list for 2017. I also dig up my own predictions I made and also make new ones for the year and the show can be heard at http://fightnetwork.com/law/jan-5-the-mma-report-the-2017-prediction-show-w-ariel-helwani/ and subscribe to The MMA Report with John Pollock on iTunes.
**Chris Charlton and WH Park will be back on Friday with Japanese Audio Wrestling with reviews of both Wrestle Kingdom and the New Year Dash card. Charlton attended Wrestle Kingdom live and will provide that perspective as well. The crowd at the Tokyo Dome was unbelievable for the final two matches.
**On Friday, we will also have Episode 2 of “Keep it 2000” with Brian Mann and Nate Milton reviewing the January 10th 2000 episode of WCW Monday Nitro. The show will then be bi-weekly and alternate with Review-A-Wai every Friday on the site.
PRO WRESTLING NEWS
**Jeff Jarrett is officially back with TNA as an advisor and will be at the television tapings tonight in Orlando. PWinsider.com reported the news this morning and it was confirmed by Anthem Sports and Entertainment today as well. Another name at the tapings tonight is Dutch Mantel, who served in a creative capacity with the company during Jarrett’s time with the company and was last seen in the WWE as Zeb Colter and was released by the company back in May.
Anthem Sports and Entertainment sent out a press release on Wednesday night confirming what everyone expected, that they have entered a definitive agreement to take over majority control of TNA. Anthem has also launched Anthem Wrestling Exhibitions, LLC with Ed Nordholm serving as the president on the wrestling side. The press release also stated that Dixie Carter is resigning from her position as the Chairman of Impact Ventures and will take a position on the advisory board for Fight Media Group (within Anthem Sports and Entertainment) and also retain a minority equity stake in TNA.
The major takeaway is that Dixie Carter doesn’t appear to have any more power within TNA and that her removal as Chairman has opened up the door for Jarrett to return.
**Tonight’s taping of Impact begins at 7pm Eastern and then airs at 8pm on POP TV in the U.S. and Fight Network in Canada and will be close to live. They are taping all episodes of Impact through the end of March along with their pay-per-view commitments over the next week. This will include a live “One Night Only” pay-per-view on Friday night, which doesn’t have anything announced and tonight’s show will be the extent of the promotion. TNA is also promoting that tonight’s episode will run 10 minutes long and to set your DVR to go past 10pm Eastern.
**Following the TNA news today, Ethan Carter III sent out a tweet that stated “Ethan Anthem the Third”.
**The Wrestle Kingdom 11 card is getting lots of positive praise, in particular for the final four matches on the show and the final two were easily big match-of-the-year contenders and it’s going to be nearly impossible that anything tops Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega this year. I started the show knowing how long the main event was and that everyone was raving about a particular match and after the Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito, I thought there was a good chance that’s what people were talking about as I loved that match. The story of Tanahashi falling short and yet showing honor in not attacking the bad knee of Naito was excellent and sets up Tanahashi for a lot of interesting changes in 2017. Then the main event happened and as I said, I knew it was 46 minutes in length and this match never slowed down for a second when watching it. Both guys had arguably the match of their careers, for Omega I would say this surpassed anything he’s had and for Okada, it is neck-and-neck with the best Hiroshi Tanahashi matches he has had. The final ten minutes with the near falls, the crowd at a fever pitch, the drama of Omega attempting and never being able to hit the One-Winged Angel and then Okada hanging onto his wrist for dear life and hitting the fourth and final Rainmaker will be remembered throughout both of their careers. This was a defining match for both men in their careers and is an absolute must-see match. I watched the version with English commentary and am going to re-watch with the Japanese commentary to compare.
**New Japan’s New Year Dash card today from Korakuen Hall featured a number of angles with the biggest being the return of Suzuki-gun after their lengthy run with Pro Wrestling NOAH. Following a ten-man tag, the members of Suzuki-gun stormed the ring and attacked CHAOS and culminated with Minoru Suzuki’s appearance and laying out Kazuchika Okada with the Gotch piledriver and setting up the next IWGP heavyweight title program. It got over very well with the crowd buzzing and the scene of CHAOS being left for dead after the attack.
The show also featured Dragon Lee running in and attacking new junior heavyweight champion Hiromu Takahashi and reigniting their feud as the two have had some of the best matches in the world over the past two years.
The other major title programs appear to be Tetsuya Naito vs. Michael Elgin for the Intercontinental title with Elgin pinning Naito in their tag match today, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma seems likely for the tag titles, Juice Robinson pinned Hirooki Goto in a ten-man tag for the biggest win in Robinson’s career and sets him up for the NEVER Openweight title, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Manabu Nakanishi & Ryusyke Taguchi won the NEVER six-man tag titles after the one-day reign of EVIL & Sanada & Bushi, Adam Cole vs. Yoshi-Hashi for the ROH title and they were also pushing a Kaysuyori Shibata vs. Will Ospreay program with Ospreay going after Shibata’s Rev Pro title and could be a match for Rev Pro as opposed to New Japan.
**Following their one-week win over Raw, Smackdown fell back down this week with 2,596,000 viewers watching the show on Tuesday night on the USA Network. Raw was well ahead this week with 3,040,000 watching on Monday night with the football competition reduced without a NFL game and instead faced the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl games. Next week will be a tough one for Raw as they go up against the college championship game while Smackdown is promoting John Cena’s first back on television since his return.
**The WWE has announced that Mark Andrews has been added to the U.K. tournament next weekend in Blackpool, England. The tournament will be airing at 3pm Eastern on the WWE Network on Saturday January 14th and Sunday January 15th.
**New Japan has posted the excellent video entrance for Kenny Omega from Wrestle Kingdom:
**The WWE stock closed at $18.63 on Thursday.
THE MMA REPORT – The 2017 Prediction Show
(John Pollock welcomes Ariel Helwani from MMA Fighting to play “Likely / Unlikely” as we look back at 2016 predictions and make new ones for 2017 and a new game as well!)
BRITISH AUDIO WRESTLING – Jan. 5th 2017
(In their first show, Martin Bushby and Oli Court provide an overview of the U.K. wrestling scene, the key promotions, a look at the WWE’s U.K. tournament, the recent ITV World of Sport pilot and more)
REVIEW-A-SMACKDOWN – Jan. 4th 2017
(John Pollock & Wai Ting review the first episode of 2017, a great contract signing segment, Dean Ambrose wins the Intercontinental title, reviews of 205 Live and Talking Smack)
REVIEW-A-RAW: “Happy New Spear”
(John Pollock & Wai Ting review the first Raw of 2017, Bill Goldberg returns, more names for the Rumble, “Bring it to the Table” thoughts, UFC 207, your feedback and more)
THE LAW: THE BEST OF 2016
(Jason Agnew, Dan Lovranski, John Pollock and Braden Herrington make their picks for the best of the year in 21 categories, plus Dave Meltzer joins us from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter to reflect on 2016)
THE MMA REPORT – UFC 207 Post Show
(John Pollock runs through all the fights from UFC 207, including Amanda Nunes’ 48 second win over Ronda Rousey and Cody Garbrandt defeats Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight title)
KEEP IT 2000 – Episode 1: “Slappy New Year”
(Brian Mann & Nate Milton begin their reviews of Monday Nitro from 2000 with the January 3rd 2000 episode to kick off the year)
To pick up any of The LAW’s branded t-shirts check out http://www.prowrestlingtees.com/law