WED. UPDATE: Famous manager, TNA star, birthdays, Sam Muchnick's final show, Briscos vs. Funks in Atlanta, WWE Classics, Daniels & Kazarian, Best there is, was or ever will be, RVD, Morrison
By Dave Meltzer |
We're looking for your thoughts on Saturday's UFC 168, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
No wrestling today. Main Event is preempted on Ion. The next big thing is the Tokyo Dome shows which airs late Friday night/early Saturday morning U.S. time. Tomorrow's Observer will have a History of the Tokyo Dome article.
We've got one of our traditional major issues of the year out today, which is the Business Year in Review issue, and are also only a few weeks away from the 2013 Awards issue.
The Business Year in Review double issue features a look at the biggest crowds, the biggest main eventers of the year, where John Cena's drawing record rates among the all-time greats, PPV numbers for every major show of the year, how UFC, WWE and boxing did in comparison with each other for the past six years, a look at drawing cards on PPV, a look at drawing big crowds live over he past five yeas, as well as charts on UFC's PPV business and live gate business and the lack of correlation between the two.
We also have our updated list of the 100 greatest drawing cards in pro wrestling history, weighted by the year, and how the current wrestlers are doing and who has broken into the top 100 and where they rank. We look at those in the top 100 who are not in the Hall of Fame and why.
We've also got an update on WrestleMania, with the entire top portion of the card as it stood a few days ago with all the leading stars filled in. We also look at the return of Dave Bautista and questions arising from that, how long has the deal been in place and what he's been doing since he left. We look back at the rise of Batista as a star and the natural rivalries in place. We also look at ideas that have been discussed which are good, and others that don't make sense for this year's show.
We also have a bio of Pedro "El Mago" Septien, probably the most culturally significant pro wrestling announcer in history, who passed away this past week.
We also look at the Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman and Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate fights, both looking back at the first fights, the business, who has the advantages where, gambling odds, mitigating factors and more.
We also look at Jeff Jarrett's departure from TNA, and what that means regarding himself, TNA, and what could happen next, plus a look back at how TNA was formed and what the original goals were, and how Jarrett lost power in the company.
We also look at Shawn Michaels in WWE, company value, wrestler who is expected to be cut loose in two weeks and where he's likely to show up, updates on Heath Slater and Layla, notes on a major DVD, Vince McMahon talks booking, WWE international TV notes, Old School Raw, WWE star gets new reality TV deal, value of WWE to USA, as well as a look at the post-Christmas WWE swing. In addition, we've got notes on Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior, Mike Tyson, Randy Savage and more historical notes.
We also look at fake stats, new people training, and the guy who missed out on a multimillion dollar run.
We also look more at the death of UFC fighter Shane Del Rosario.
We've got a look at New Japan's two iPPV shows over the past week, as well as more regarding the 1/4 show at the Tokyo Dome.
We've also got a look at the Dragon Gate PPV show Final Gate from Fukuoka.
We also look at a promotion that got a major network deal.
We've also got the WWE business notes in several major categories over the past three months with comments on what is up, what is down and more, with ticket sales, ratings, DVDs, web site visits and merchandise.
We also look at what the Survivor Series numbers mean, a look at the state of the PPV industry and more.
The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
The Observer is now in its 31st year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe. Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world. Everywhere from Wall Street to the major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.
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We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows.
We also have results from all the major league arena events over the past week as well as a look at all the major television shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--Update on one of the biggest stars for New Japan's upcoming Fantasticmania tour
--Longtime Mexican star from the TV boom talks retirement this coming year
--Leyenda de Plata tournament
--One of AAA originals passes away
--Canadian indie stars headed to All Japan
--KENTA injury notes
--More Japanese awards
--Major barbed wire match in Japan
--A famous sumo about to make a pro wrestling debut
--Update on Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards
--Who TNA is trying to sign
--Notes on the PWG weekend
--Notes on the life of Vivian St. John and the Moolah crew from the 70s and 80s
--A new territorial documentary in the works
--WWC finishes its 2013 season
--Pro and amateur wrestling start reversing roles
--Amateur background of a Hall of Famer
--Biography of Danny Hodge
--Another Hall of Famer having a biography written
--Notes on the Georgia heyday of Doug "The Pro" Gilbert
--Screenplay on early wrestling superstar
--A look at ROH's early 2014
--Notes on TNA's UK tour
--More on A.J. Styles and TNA
--Notes on TNA PPV tapings this week
--More on Bigfoot Silva drug test failure
--Upcoming UFC ticket sales
--A look at some name fighters who have been cut by UFC
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Notes on how Glory did on Spike and the most recent show
--Gina Carano movie
--MMA legend headlines the next Glory show
--An amazing general public star in MMA as ratings show
--Real wrestling returns to Madison Square Garden
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)
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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.
WEDNESDAY'S NEWS UPDATE
--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking the latest news as well as taking e-mail questions you can send to
--Happy birthday today to Jimmy Hart (70), Kimberly Page (45) and Bobby Roode (37)
--Former Southeastern wrestler Randy Barber was 49 when he passed away four years ago today. Armand Hussein of H&H Corporation passed away the same day. Verne Langdon was 69 whe he passed away on this day three years ago.
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Greame Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1949 - Dizzy Davis beat Argentina Rocca for the Texas title in Waco
1954 - El Santo beat Sugi Sito in Mexico City to win the NWA middleweight title
1959 - Billy Wicks beat Lee Fields to win the Gulf Coast title in Mobile
1961 - Rocket & Sputnik Monroe beat Mad Dog Vachon & Duke Keomuka in Fort Worth to win the Texas tag team title
1963 - Ivan & Karol Kalmikoff beat Doug Gilbert & Dick Steinborn in Minneapolis to win the AWA tag title
1970 - Dick Murdoch beat The Lawman for the NWA Brass Knux title in Amarillo. The Lawman was like the greatest ribber in the history of ribbers
1970 - Stan Pulaski beat Tarzan Tyler in Omaha to win the Midwest title
1970 - Bulldog Brower beat Johnny Powers to win the North American title in Cleveland
1971 - Bob Geigel beat Roger Kirby in St. Joseph to win the Central States title
1975 - Rocket Monroe & Randy Tyler beat Jackie Fargo & George Gulas in Nashville to win the Mid American tag team title
1978 - Blackjack Mulligan beat Ricky Steamboat in Greensboro to win the U.S. title
1979 - Jack & Jerry Brisco beat Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk at the Omni in Atlanta to win the Georgia tag team titles
1980 - Ricky & Robert Gibson beat The Assassins to win the Southern tag team titles in Memphis
1982 - Tiger Mask beat Dynamite Kid in Tokyo to win the WWF jr. heavyweight title
1982 - Sam Muchnick promoted his final show, selling out the Checkerdome with 20,000 fans headlined by Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes. Dick the Bruiser beat Ken Patera to win the Missouri State title
1983 - Tully Blanchard beat Bob Sweetan to win the vacant Southwest title
1984 - Negro Casas beat Black Terry in Mexico City to win the UWA lightweight title
1985 - Mark & Jay Youngblood beat Khrusher Khrushchev & Jim Neidhart to win the U.S. tag team titles in Tampa
1986 - Dick Slater beat Butch Reed to win the North American title in Tulsa and Jake Roberts beat Dick Slater the same night in the finals of the tournament for the Mid South TV title
1988 - Masahiro Chono beat Mike George in Des Moines to win the Central States title
1990 - Bull Nakano beat Mitsuko Nishiwaki in a tournament final to win the WWWA title
1991 - Villanos I & IV & V beat Brazo de Oro & Brazo de Plata & El Brazo in Puebla to win the UWA trios titles
1993 - El Signo beat Villano III in Neza to win the WWF light heavyweight title
1994 - Villano V beat Silver King in Neza to win the UWA light heavyweight title
2005 - Mistico beat Averno in Mexico City to win the NWA middleweight title
2012 - El Terrible beat Rush in the tournament final to win the vacant CMLL heavyweight title
--New Years Revolution on 1/11 at The Legion in Fleetwood, Lancashire, England with Johnny Phere vs. Shaun Vasey in a chain match.
--In the latest on Famous Bouncer stories, actor Brad Loree (Michael Myers) talks about working alongside pro wrestlers like Nick Kiniski, Flying Eric Froelich and Olympic silver medal winning wrestler Bob Molle at www.facebook.com/FamousBouncers
--Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian are available for seminars, autograph shows and appearances as well as wrestling matches through Bill Behrens at
Both would be flying out of Los Angeles.
--Currently on Classics on Demand (thanks to Brian Hoops)
Killer Kowalski Hall of Fame ceremony
Killer Kowalski vs. George Bollas from Texas
Pedro Morales vs. Killer Kowalski 7/22/74 MSG
Killer Kowalski & Bobby Duncum vs. Victor Rivera & Jay Strongbow 2/27/75
The Executions (Kowalski & John Studd) vs. Domenic DeNucci & Jose Gonzalez 8/7/76
Saturday Night's Main Event 1/2/88
Saturday Night's Main Event 5/3/86
Best of Saturday Night's Main Event part one and two
Saturday Night's Main Event 1/4/86
Saturday Night's Main Event 5/27/89
Royal Rumbles from 1992, 1994, 2001, 2002 and 2003
Steve Austin vs. Barry Windham for WCW TV title 5/9/92
Jos LeDuc vs. Jack Brisco for NWA TV title 10/27/82
Dusty Rhodes vs. Tully Blanchard for NWA TV title Starrcadc 86
Booker T vs. Rick Steiner for WCW TV title 1999
Taz vs. Bam Bam Bigelow for ECW TV title
WCW Worldwide 8/28/93
--On ABC's coverage of the Rose Parade today, Vin Scully, the legendary Dodgers announcer was described as "The Best There Is, The Best There Was and the Best There ever will be."
--Rob Van Dam is back, working on a Booker T indie show on 1/11 in Houston.
--James Avery, the actor who passed away today at 65 after heart surgery, did the voice for Junkyard Dog in the old Hulk Hogan's Rock & wrestling Cartoon.
--An injury to Lewis Gonzalez has forced him out of the 1/18 WSOF main event in Hollywood, FL. Justin Gaethje will now face Richard Patishnock for the first WSOF lightweight title.
--NBC Sports will be airing "Unstoppable: The Best of WSOF" on Saturday night at 10 p.m. Eastern and 7 p.m. Pacific time. The two hour special will push the Gaethje vs. Patishnock fight. There will be highlights from all seven prior shows.
WHO WINS THIS FIGHT?
Benson Henderson 77.5%
Josh Thomson 22.5%
WHAT BEST DESCRIBES YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT WWE RIGHT NOW?
Excited that Mania season is coming up 32.5%
Not interested at all 32.2%
Disappointed in recent product but it's getting better 28.9%
Have liked the product overall 6.4%
WHAT BEST DESCRIBES YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT UFC RIGHT NOW?
Thought the last show was great, have been enjoying it, lots of strong shows at the latter part of 2013 36.7%
Liked the last show, but don't see being that interested going forward 15.7%
Never liked it 14.9%
Really like the product, more shows the better 12.1%
Used to like it, didn't even watch last show 11.7%
Lost interest, but did watch the last show as an exception 8.9%
WHO WAS THE STAR OF RAW?
Daniel Bryan 46.7%
Brock Lesnar 35.7%
Bray Wyatt 7.6%
C.M. Punk 4.5%
Paul Heyman 1.6%
Damien Sandow 1.6%
Brad Maddox 1.4%
Big E Langston 1.0%
POLL ON RAW
13.7% of those responding didn't see the show