UPDATED on 10/07/09 12:21 AM
Last night, DREAM returned to primetime on the Tokyo Broadcasting System for the first time since May. Following the show, event producer Keiichi Sasahara remarked that he was "expecting a good TV rating," and today it looks like he was right.
Via Tony Loiseleur:
Sasahara reporting that last night's rating for Dream 11 on TBS was 12.7%, clocking in at no.2-most watched show during the primetime slot.
While the number is a dip from DREAM.9's 16.2% -- which had the benefit of a Daisuke Naito WBC flyweight title defense as a lead-in -- it's also the highest mark the promotion has achieved on its own in primetime. For comparison, check the list of all the DREAM/TBS ratings at Nightmare of Battle.
A few things to look out for with this morning's DREAM.11 in the books...
- Having escaped his match with boxer Rubin Williams unscathed, Kazushi Sakuraba could very well return to action later this month. During a post-show interview, DREAM event producer Keiichi Sasahara said he'd discuss with Sakuraba on Wednesday whether he'd be available for the DREAM.12 card on October 25 in Osaka. It would be the 40-year-old's first bout inside a cage since his 1997 debacle(s) with "Conan" Silveira at UFC's "Ultimate Japan."
- Speaking of the "IQ Wrestler," Sasahara told reporters that Shinya Aoki's last-second submission of Joachim Hansen brought back memories of Sakuraba's classic bout with Renzo Gracie. He went on to praise Aoki as "a truly special fighter," and said he hopes to make the long-awaited fight between Aoki and Tatsuya Kawajiri happen on New Year's Eve. Then again, Aoki has been quoted recently as saying he wants a rest, having already fought four times in 2009. Well, five if you count the manhandling he took from Fedor.
- Oh, and Aoki said about five times in his post-fight interview that he really wants to fight B.J. Penn. He also mentioned Kenny Florian and Gray Maynard, and said "I'm not the world's best yet, not 'til I beat those guys."
- Asked when Bibiano Fernandes' first featherweight title defense might take place, Sasahara said: "He sustained a bad cut [in his fight with Hiroyuki Takaya, so probably early next year. Right now, Takaya is the top contender - it could be a rematch or possibly another challenger. Either way, we want to make a title match soon." Personally, I think Takaya deserves first crack, but they'll probably set up Bibiano-Kid II if Yamamoto wins his (as-yet-unannounced) fight on New Year's Eve.
- Without a DREAM title to worry about defending, could we see Joachim Hansen at Vale Tudo Japan '09 on October 30th? Probably not, but Tony Loiseleur mentioned on his Twitter the other day that Sustain has been "bugging" Antonio Carvalho about himself and Hellboy participating.
- And finally: Minowaman -- whose miraculous win over Hong Man Choi should yield healthy ratings, Sasahara proclaimed --will meet Sokoudjou in the finals of the Super Hulk Tournament at "Dynamite!! 2009" on New Year's Eve. FEG's popular annual show will also feature kickboxing legend Masato's retirement bout against the winner of this year's K-1 World MAX Tournament, to be decided on October 26th.
Awesome photo of Sakuraba by Daniel Herbertson.