----Mike Aldren with WGN.
WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT
1/17 Raw TV results from Little Rock, AR: Santino Marella & Kozlov over The Usos; John Morrison over Daniel Bryan; Randy Orton over Dolph Ziggler; Natalya over Maryse; and CM Punk over John Cena via DQ. Show drew 6,000.
1/18 NXT results from Tulsa, OK: Derrick Bateman won the How Well Do You Know Your Pro competition; Chris Masters over Byron Saxton; Daniel Bryan & Derrick Bateman over Ted DiBiase & Brodus Clay; Ricardo Rodriguez over Conor O'Brian; and O'Brian was eliminated. Show drew 5,000.
The big guy who debuted on Monday night was Mason Ryan (Barri Griffiths, a 29-year-old Welsh bodybuilder) from developmental. We've mentioned him quite a few times here because he looks like a young version of Dave Bautista, except he is far more advanced than Bautista was at the same stage of the game. Dusty Rhodes has been pushing Ryan to the office as a "puppy with big paws" meaning he believes Ryan will eventually become a big star, but doesn't know yet how big. As far as being ready for television, the general consensus is that he was plucked from the garden too soon. Prior to WWE he graduated university in Cardiff and went on to work in the family funeral home business. He worked occasional indies and also played the character Goliath on the UK version of American Gladiators.
This week Raw did a 3.3 rating and over 5 million viewers--it's highest mark since 12/20 helped in part due to no competition from Monday Night Football... Smackdown on 1/14 did a 1.92 rating and 2,98 million viewers--a new record high on SyFy.
Jim Ross was brought in as a surprise for the live crowd at Tuesday's television taping in Tulsa. He interviewed Swagger backstage for the fans in the building and was also guest referee in a post-show dark match with Kingston & Mysterio over Kane & Del Rio. A trivia note: Ross first broke into pro wrestling as a referee for NWA Mid South in 1974.
Barrett's group on Smackdown has been renamed "The Core" complete with new entrance and merchandise.
Bob Barker was invited by Vince McMahon to come to Atlanta for Wrestlemania so he may be announced soon as a celebrity inductee into the Hall of Fame. Barker was a huge hit backstage with everyone last year when he was brought in to guest host Raw in Chicago.
Harley Race and Bobby Heenan have also been invited to come in for Wrestlemania.
WWE sold out its $75, $60, and $50 Hall of Fame tickets at Philips Arena leaving only upper level $38 seats remaining.
Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, 67, Democrat and Independent, announced his retirement today and confirmed that he won't run for re-election next year. Many insiders are now tipping former WWE CEO Linda McMahon to run again for Lieberman's seat in 2012. She expressed her admiration for Lieberman in a short statement released this afternoon and hinted that she may run again. "Senator Lieberman deserves our respect and appreciation for bringing a strong, independent and principled voice to Washington," McMahon said. "While running for the U.S. Senate in 2012 remains an option for me, I will spend the next few months focusing on how I can best serve the people of Connecticut."
Randy Savage promotes the new All-Stars video game at http://tinyurl.com/6drd7q4. It's a big deal as Savage hasn't promoted any WWE products since the mid 90s. He wasn't even involved in the DVD that WWE produced on his career a couple of years ago. Other playable legends in the new game include The Rock, Andre the Giant, Ricky Steamboat, Million Dollar Man, Jerry Lawler, and Bret Hart.
Randy Orton recently donated to the Australian government to help victims of flooding in the country.
Slam Wrestling interviewed Low Ki (Kaval) about his WWE departure. He says he left the company on good terms but didn't want to waste him time or body because they had no plans for his character. "People have to be very careful when they refer to the company not doing much with a certain talent," he explained. "There is only one man who makes decisions, he says yes or no and that needs to be made clear. I'm not going to even mention his name but the company has their own view on who is going to be a star or not." Ki also expressed frustration with the creative process saying he felt the company could have got behind him more. "If you don't fill in that particular prototype or that idea then you are going to have a more challenging time in regards to a push or trying to excel. I feel this was the case with me; they have always been more about bigger guys." He also discusses his run on NXT, working with LayCool, his plans for the future, and more at http://tinyurl.com/6eerm58.
Super Luchas reported that WWE has signed El Hijo de Medico Asesino to a developmental deal.
TOTAL NONSTOP ACTION WRESTLING
Jeff Hardy is due back in court tomorrow where he is expected to plead guilty to some of the drugs charges against him. Hardy's attorney is reportedly confident that a plea deal with the Monroe County DA will equate to zero jail time.
The company applied to trademark the term "Cold Blood" on 1/13 which is what Matt Hardy is now calling himself on Twitter.
Magnus is a late addition to the European tour which commences Friday in Lyon (Tony Garnier Hall) followed by shows on Saturday in Paris (Le Zenith de Paris), next Monday in Dublin, Ireland (National Stadium), Tuesday in Berlin, Germany (O2 Arena), Thursday in Glasgow, Scotland (Braehead Arena), Friday in Manchester, England (MEN Arena), and concluding Saturday in London, England (O2 Arena). More info including full line ups can be found at www.tnaliveevents.com.
Ticket sales for the tour are said to be strong, especially in the UK market where there has been no television since 1/1. Most of the crew flew out to France within the last few hours presumably to do PR.
Following an MRI, Tara said she was attempting physical therapy before surgery on her injured elbow.
AJ Styles appears in a new music video for country music artist Sarah Darling.
There is talk of Bobby Lashley and Hernandez returning soon. Lashley is now a free agent since his contract with Strikeforce expired, and Hernandez recently completed his bookings in Mexico.
Hulk Hogan is still trying to unload his Belleair mansion in Clearwater, FL. The asking price was recently dropped to $10.9 million which includes a guest apartment, boat house, lawns, several garages, boat lifts and a floating dock all on 1.5 acre. This was Hogan's dream house he built with ex-wife Linda in 1996 and featured on the VH-1 series, Hogan Knows Best. Last year the property was listed at $13.9 million and back in 2006 was valued at more than $20 million. Hogan is also selling his three-bedroom beach house in Key West. The home is listed at $1.95 million down slightly from it's most recent price of $2.3 million.
OTHER WRESTLING NEWS
Ring of Honor will hold it's final HDNet TV taping next weekend in Philadelphia, PA with the main event of Roderick Strong, Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli vs. Davey Richards & The Briscoes. More info at www.rohwrestling.com.
Bill Behrens is now booking New Jack out of Orlando for non-wrestling appearances, including stand up comedy. For more info, visit www.sbibookings.com. Sources say Jack is currently dating former WWE Diva Terri Runnels.
Chris Jericho is scheduled to tour next month to promote his new book, Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps. All the dates are listed at www.chrisjericho.com.
MMA fighter Kimbo Slice debuts in pro wrestling against Shinichi Suzukawa on 2/5 at the IGF show in Fukuoka, Japan.
Today's Babe of the Day is at http://thewrestlingpress.com/?page_id=298.