- WWE tonight in Florence, SC and Anderson, SC as well as TNA in Grand Forks, ND
Tonight is also AAA's last major show of the year, Guerra de Titans from Guadalajara headlined by a cage of death with the last man left in the cage losing his mask or hair with Dr Wagner Jr., Cibernetico, Vampiro, L.A. Park, Perro Aguayo Jr. and Chessman, plus Mesias defends the AAA Super Mega championship against El Texano Jr. and a ladder match for the cruiserweight title with Juventud Guerrera, Fenix, Daga, Teddy Hart, Psicosis, Jack Evans, Joe Lider and a mystery wrestler from TNA.
Raw will be on Monday night from the Greensboro Coliseum. Smackdown, Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam will be taped on Tuesday in North Charleston, SC. IC champ Kofi Kingston vs. U.S. champ Damien Sandow headlines the Main Event show.
On Fuel tonight, the Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le show airs at 6 p.m., Ultimate Fighter's last two weeks from 9-11 p.m. and the UFC on FOX special with Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller airs at 11 p.m. tonight.
A note regarding Christmas season specials. We've got specials both on the web site and for the print Observer. If you order a gift subscription to someone new of four months for the web site or 16 issues for the Observer, you will get either one month free on the web site or four issues free of the Observer. There is no limit to the number of gift subscriptions you can order.
If you order 32 issues or more and you are not a current subscriber, you can get until Christmas a free copy of Tributes II. If you order a 32 issue gift subscription, you can also get a free copy of the book for yourself or the person you are ordering the subscription for.
We also update Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva, as well as the middleweight and welterweight division in UFC regarding what happens if that fight does take place. We look at St-Pierre's most recent comments on the fight, what he says about the size difference and how realistic it is, and why the weight of the fight is important.
We look at other alternates for both fighters and the risk of both doing and not doing the fight.
We also look at the Hell in a Cell buy rate, and what lessons it shows, whether it's about Ryback, getting a challenger ready, John Cena, and time between shows. We also look at the profitability comparison between one strong show and two weak shows, and why the most accurate read on what the number meant won't come for a few more weeks.
We've got the 2012 awards ballot along with the top place-winners in every category from last year.
We also have updates on The Rock returning to WWE and when, what he's doing, C.M. Punk's likely role at Mania, update on the WWE Network, Update on the TLC show, how atmosphere is different at Raw when Vince isn't there, lots of business notes in different categories and how they compare to a year ago, plus injury updates, a DVD update, Cena booking and merchandising and more and lots more from WWE.
We've got updates on three different pro wrestling tournaments that are going on in Japan right now with New Japan, Pro Wrestling NOAH and All Japan. We look at what the plans are for the winners of the Global League and the next two GHC title matches.
We've got our Hall of Fame bio on Lou Albano. We talk about his early life, the sports he played before pro wrestling and what sport he tried to go pro in first. We look at his early career as a wrestler, the hot period he was tag team champion during and why it abruptly ended. We look at the real story behind Albano's run as half of the WWWF United States tag team champions.
We look at how he switched over to being a manager and his first protege and how that set the standard for WWWF business for the next 15 years. We look at his most famous matches in the ring, the Jimmy Snuka turn and match, the Ivan Koloff vs. Bruno Sammartino program and story behind the 1971 title change.
We look at the Triumvirate of Terror and how the WWWF operated during the 70s, stories of Albano getting fired and rehired by Vince McMahon Sr., his tag team champions, and his original connection with Cyndi Lauper and how that changed pro wrestling.
We look at the first WWF shows on MTV and why they didn't continue. We look at Albano after WWF as an actor and media personality.
We also look at the first post-World War II German superstar in U.S. wrestling, Hans Schmidt. We look at the creation of Schmidt, why he became the star he did, the story behind his program with Verne Gagne, his glory years, his other big rivals, and his world title shots. We look at his run as U.S. champion, the period in the U.S. when pro wrestling had the most mainstream popularity (and it wasn't the 80s or the 90s), his main events in places like Madison Square Garden and Montreal, and the stars he influenced fro the next generation.
We also look at his retirement and life after retirement.
We also have an updated listing of the 25 biggest gates in pro wrestling and MMA of all-time, updated with the early figures from next year's WrestleMania.
Also in this week's issue:
--Mexican national women's title change
--New program for CMLL heavyweight title
--Latest tournament coming to Arena Mexico
--Lineup for AAA's final big show of the year, Guerra de Titanes
--Look at the major stipulation match on top
--Lots of U.S. wrestlers headed to Mexico for show next week
--Dragon Gate title changes hands twice i a week
--Veteran star returns after one year off due to neck problems
--Next NOAH big show
--Notes on New Japan's next iPPV show
--Notes on every match in the New Japan tag team tournament
--More on Antonio Inoki's New Year's Eve show including what star is coming out of retirement for the event
--BBC doing a show on pro wrestling
--Thanksgiving wrestling tradition in the Greensboro area
--More on the Robot Combat League and Chris Jericho
--Return of 80s promotion early next year and who is involved
--Jury awards family of 60s star nearly $1.8 million over circumstances leading to his death
--Bob Evans marathon week
--Where are they nows
--TNA Turning Point estimates
--Who is Spike working on doing a TV special on?
--More on Aces and 8s
--UFC 154 numbers and what they mean
--FOX's big idea for a blow-out UFC show in early 2014
--Update on the final Strikeforce show
--Feud between two Strikeforce stars
--More on Strikeforce people headed to UFC
--Tons of new UFC matches, injuries and retirements
--Business pub talks Sonnen vs. Jones
--Fighter makes claim about steroid use in UFC
--More on Bellator changes
--Bellator star retires
--Notes on the rest of this season in Bellator
--Fund raisers planned for former UFC star who lost his home in a fire
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue.
Our most requested issues in our history are:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund, Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam Bigelow)
*March 5, 2007 (WWE begins plans that will change the business)
*March 12, 2007 (Life and Times of Mike Awesome)
*March 19, 2007 (Life and Times of Ernie Ladd)
*April 4, 2007 (Life and Times of Badnews Allen Coage--which many are calling one of the best issues in history)
*July 2, 2007 (Part one of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 5, 2007 (Part two of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 10, 2007 (Part three of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 19, 2007 (Part four of the Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 23, 2007 (Part five of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*July 25, 2007 (Part six of Benoit double murder-suicide)
*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
*October 15 (2007 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas including inductions of The Rock, Tom Packs and the original Strangler Lewis)
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
For the United States, it is $12 for 4 issues, $29 for 12, $55 for 24, $91 for 40 and $118 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $13.50 for 4, $33 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to
For the rest of the world, rates are $15.50 for 4, $41 for 12, $78 for 24, $126 for 40 issues and $163 for 52 .
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk, Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods..
To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $10 for shipping costs to Canada and $12 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
SUNDAY NEWS, NOTES AND LINKS
--You can now order and watch WWE PPV shows on the WWE app. (thanks to Kyle Schroeder and Andrew Takahashi)
--FOX is promoting this week as Fight Week, airing clips from fights in other television shows and building it up to the UFC show on Saturday night. (thanks to Marc Geer).
--At the WWE house shows last night, C.M. Punk wasn't in Roanoke, because he was in New Orleans for the Comic Con. John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler worked as the main event and Ryback faced Jack Swagger in a squash. At the Smackdown show in Columbia, SC, Paige (Saraya Beavis) from FCW debuted in a tag match as a babyface. They had the same Sheamus over Big Show via DQ for throwing down the ref as the main event.
--CBS will be airing boxing on 12/15 and NBC will be airing boxing on 12/22. Leo Santa Cruz headlines the CBS show that also features the pro debut of Joseph Diaz, Jr., a member of the 2012 Olympic team. The NBC show will have Tomasz Adamek vs. Steve Cunningham.
--Dana White was on FOX's NFL Sunday today
on Rob Riggle's picks segment. He played Rob's homeless NFL insider wrapped in a blanket on a street corner saying "Cam Newton is pregnant" and started cackling, holding a cardboard sign that read, "Please help, need food aka booze." (thanks to Jason Smith and many others)
WHO WAS THE BEST OF THESE HALL OF FAMERS?
Jumbo Tsuruta 41.5%
Genichiro Tenryu 25.0%
Kazushi Sakuraba 15.6%
Atsushi Onita 5.4%
Dos Caras Sr. 4.9%
Perro Aguayo Sr. 3.6%
Nobuhiko Takada 2.2%
THOUGHTS ON BELLATOR?
75.0% of those responding didn't see the show
THOUGHTS ON ULTIMATE FIGHTER
69.3% of those responding didn't see the show
WHAT WAS THE BEST TAG TEAM IN REAL WORLD TAG LEAGUE HISTORY?
Bruiser Brody & Stan Hansen 23.3%
Steve Williams & Terry Gordy 21.6%
Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi 20.5%
Dory & Terry Funk 15.4%
Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue 6.2%
Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada 4.1%
The Sheik & Abdullah the Butcher 2.7%
Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta 2.4%
Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu 1.7%
Bruiser Brody & Jimmy Snuka 1.7%
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima 0.3%
THOUGHTS ON SMACKDOWN?
38.2% of those responding didn't see the show
--Brutal Bob Evans finished his week of 60 minute Iron man matches yesterday beating Vinny Marseglia 14-13.
--Regarding Bryan Kelly (aka Byron Saxton) who was taken off the NXT web site yesterday, he is still with WWE. He is now no longer being groomed to wrestle, even though he had been working as an announcer. WWE officially has said he is still working as an announcer but we'll see on Thursday. He is no longer a performer and instead moved to an administrative job as a Creative Assistant.
--All Pro Wrestling on 12/8 at the garage in Hayward features Jerry Lynn's last match on the West Coast facing Will Rood, plus Billy Blade vs. Mustafa Saed of the Gangstas.
--Saturday night, Mauro Ranallo did his first ever announcing gig in his life from Madison Square Garden, calling the Austin Trout win over Miguel Cotto. The win may make Trout into a legitimate boxing star past the boxing aficionados, especially if he's facing Canelo Alvarez next. Alvarez was there, since promoters were using this match to build Cotto vs. Alvarez, but things didn't work out. Trout did issue a challenge to Alvarez next and was a lot more effective than saying, "I'll fight whoever Showtime wants me to face next."
--USWO from Nashville on Friday night: Zack Hartnell & Big Time Sexy b Ox Harley & Justin Grandberry, Scott Hayes b Shane Smalls, Crazy Mary Dobson b Amazing Maria, Michael Steele b Epic Zane Stevens-DQ, Josh Crow b Kaden Sade, Justin Grandberry b Ricky Morton, Shawn Hoodrich won three-way over Damien Payne and Mike Jablonski to capture the USWO title (thanks to Jimmie Daniel)
--WCWO from Indianapolis from Friday night before 175 fans: They start on TV in Indiana on 1/5: Russian Assassin b Charles DiCaprio, Brad Lamen & Kevin Frost b Anthony Lee & Nate Stone, Dan Basher Fiji Wildman, Clint Poe won Battle Royal, T.J. Powers b Tizo, Hillbilly Jedd b Don Bashed, Itch Coma Weider b Kenneth James and Lash Gibson. They have shows every Friday night at the WCWO Arena at 1151 S. Kentucky Ave. (thanks to Rex Sharpe)
--A reunion of IPW Hardcore Wrestling took place last night in St. Petersburg: Rod Steel b Frankie Capone, Billy Fives b Lex Lovett, Navy Seal b Butch Long, Bruce Santee b Sedrick Strong, Shane Twins (managed by Ron Niemi) b Wayne Van Dyke & Shooter Storm, Kubiak b Havoc, Mikey Tenderfoot over Naphtali, David Babylon, OG Scarface, Johnny Vandal and Dagon Briggs, Buck Q & Steve Madison b Scoot Andrews & Mike Sullivan.
After the match, everyone thanked promoters Ron Niemi and Dontay Brown for holding the event. The annual Jeff Peterson Memorial tournament will be 12/14 and 12/15 in Ybor City, FL. (thanks to Alan Wojcik)
--Long-time reader Lance Levine also wrote us about how great the woman's match on the Friday night Resistance Pro show in Chicago was. He also said it was the best women's match he had ever seen live.
--Millennium Pro Wrestling from last night in Simi Valley, CA: Hobo b Tohfer Cash, Hed b Nikki the New York Knockout, Brett Walters & Many Mastadon b Jimmy Mayhem & Mr. Tanaka, Hector Canales b Frankie Dee, Ballard Brothers b Creepshow, Whiskey Fits McIntosh & Bar Room Saints b G.Q. Money & Jacob Tarasso & Ryan Morais, Billy Blade b Spector, Hed & Fern Owens b Los Luchas, Telex b Bo Cooper-CR, Logan X & JJ Steele b Frankie D & Crayz. Next show is 1/15 featuring the annual California Battle Royal (thanks to Scott Walton)
--There will be a New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame induction ceremony on 6/22 in Fairhaven, MA as part of a pro wrestling festival. those inducted will be Mr. Fuji, Kevin Sullivan, Warlord and Men on a Mission. (Thanks to Matthew Cail)
--Lucha Xtreme last night was a best of show on Fresno TV: Chavo Guerrero b El Fuego, Manny Fernandez & Homicide b Brian Tannen & J.R. Kratos, Super Tiger d Sheik Khan Abadi, Suburban Commandos DCOR Chubacabra & Super Cabra (thanks to Jon Southerland)
--Hoosier Pro Wrestling from last night in Columbus, IN before 200 fans: Fast Eddie b Aaron Anarchy, Cooter Clampett b Damien Cole-DQ, Bobby Black b Donny Idol, Sabotage Styles b Stompin Steve, Rob Ramer b Ricky Ruckus, Shawn Cook b Flash Flanagan, TVZ b High Rollers. Next show is 1/5. (thanks to Jerry Wilson)
--NAWA Big Time Wrestling from last night in Waxahachie, TX: Major Mark USMC b Afghanistan Taliban, Joe Angelo Garcia b Corey Saturn, Doberman & Big John Famous b Billy Club & Casey Cain, Cowboy Adam b Nobe Bryant (thanks to Rob Moore)