Only one WWE house show this weekend, a Raw/Smackdown/ECW joint show Saturday night in Hamilton, ONT.
The Armageddon PPV is on Sunday with John Cena vs. Chris Jericho and HHH vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Edge headlining. Raw is from the Mellon Arena on Monday night with an hour of ECW being taped beforehand, and then on Tuesday in Baltimore they'll tape the December 19th Smackdown and the December 23rd ECW.
Saturday night has the UFC Ultimate Fighter finale plus the De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao replay and Wladmir Klitschko vs. Hasim Rahman on HBO.
Smackdown tonight has:
* Jeff Hardy vs. HHH which is apparently a great match
* Shelton Benjamin vs. Hurricane in a non-title match
* MVP vs. Truth
* Primo vs. Kendrick
* Khali vs. Edge Geeks
* Bella Twins vs. Natalya & Maryse
Between coverage of the JBL/Joey Styles situation in Iraq, in depth, as well as the ramifications, updates on PPV numbers of Lesnar vs. Couture, De La Hoya vs. Mayweather, Wrestlemania, and WWE, UFC and HBO with differing beliefs on how the economy will affect PPV in 2009, the death of Steve Bradley and coverage of traditional end of the year major shows in Mexico and Japan and a huge history piece on how UFC started and all the UFC records, we will have two issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter coming out next week.
Both issues will be available today to premium members of the web site and you can order with a web site membership, which includes about 10 issues per month, usually six new ones and four or five back issues, as well as access to 15 or more radio shows per week including Wrestling Observer Radio and Figure Four Daily. You can also order a print subscription with the info below.
We look at the details of what happened with JBL and Joey Styles and what led to it from reports from those in Iraq when it happened. We look at the varying reactions at television, JBL's background in hazing as well as a comment from one of his friends on that incident as well as other incidents well known in the past. We look back at situations like this in the past, including when a wrestler came up short in a fight with another wrestler and it took months for Vince McMahon to be convinced to give the wrestler a planned title run. We also look at the value structure in pro wrestling in the past regarding wrestlers and fights, including why promoters often fired wrestlers if word got out they lost a fight.
We have a look at the biggest PPV shows of 2008, including numbers UFC claims for Lesnar-Couture and how much Couture would be earning if the number was accurate. We also figure in what major UFC record was set, as well as a comparison to the biggest WWE show in history.
We have comments from Dana White, Ross Greenburg as well as a WWE look at the economy and the PPV business in 2009. We also have my take on how it will be affected, as well as a compare and contrast attending big events from UFC, boxing and WWE. We also look at the cities UFC 91 was hottest in, as well how wrestling does one thing when it comes to promotion better than UFC when it comes to big events.
We also have updates on WWE on PPV including a show that did better than expectations and a show that did shockingly bad, as in one of the worst numbers in the history of the company.
We have a history piece on the birth of UFC 15 years ago, why it was so popular at the start, how the reaction was at first when the idea came across, early rules and a look back at the first few shows. We look at why UFC succeeded where others failed, the first truly huge UFC events on PPV, turning points for the promotion and how it got turned around.
We also look at the number of UFC fighters since its inception that have at one time or another, worked for a pro wrestling organization, as well as the number of champions who have done so. We look at the pro wrestling connection with UFC, as well as a special feature with an all-time UFC record book, listing every champion and records in many different categories for both the fighters and business.
We've got a huge story on the life and times of Steve Bradley, the former WWE wrestler who was found dead this past week. We look at his background, his WWE developmental tenure, why he didn't make it, what happened to him after his death and major opportunities he turned down. We have comments from several who worked with him, as well as the Hall of Fame wrestler who flatly stated he learned more from Bradley early in his career than anyone.
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
We have a look at the Tokyo Sports annual awards for Japanese pro wrestling, including details on the voting for MVP, Match of the Year, Tag Team of the Year and all the regular honors.
We also have a feature on the WWE Slammy Awards and the three-hour Raw, as well as notes on where WWE is going.
We've got coverage of the TNA Final Resolution PPV, with match-by-match coverage with star ratings as well as poll results from the show, plus the top matches for Genesis. We also have coverage of Pro Wrestling NOAH's last major event of the year at Budokan Hall, the K-1 World Grand Prix, the All Japan Real World Tag League tournament and AAA's Guerra de Titans shows.
We also have an update on Celebrity Championship Wrestling, its future, as well as talks of a promotion coming out of it, as well as more on the firing of Bruce Prichard by WWE. We also have WWE web site business numbers and an interesting lesson these numbers show.
We also have our usual weekly features such as TV ratings rundowns, results from the major league arena events around the world and major TV show rundowns.
Also in this week's issues:
--Problems with a promotion and some of its biggest stars that are about to come to a head
--Debut of Perro Aguayo Jr's Perros Del Mal promotion and how CMLL has countered
--Promotion throws in the towel when it comes to its usual big year-end show
--Nostalgia show for one of the great promotions of the 70s and 80s bringing back the top draws of that period
--Update on TV ratings from Mexico with WWE vs. AAA
--Cibernetico talks about why he left AAA
--Promotion tries to get wrestlers kicked out of the country who left the promotion
--Angle leading to the retirement match of Abdullah the Butcher
--Huge mainstream woman celebrity signs to do a pro wrestling match
--Update on Kenta Kobashi
--The New Japan Tokyo Dome show including two major matches not yet announced that they are working toward
--Reid Flair's debut and Hulk Hogan does his first indie show
--Ric Flair talks about the first Starrcade
--Updates on Crockett stars
--One of the current top names in wrestling talks retirement this past week
--More news on the TNA videogame
--Mick Foley talks about his tenure in TNA
--TNA and WWE weekend house shows reports
--Notes on the next few weeks of TNA television
--UFC ticket sale updates
--UFC star signs new contract
--Future of TUF winners for this season
--New WWE TV deal
--Updates on top star contract negotiations
--What newcomer is getting rave reviews on house shows
--Characters in the Legends of Wrestlemania videogame
--Matt Hardy talks about Jeff and the title picture as well as current relationship with Edge and Lita
--What MVP has been told about why he's doing the losing streak
--Update on Big Daddy V
--New Japan major show news
--A match that would have been gigantic in the past takes place over the past week with little notice
--More award nominations for "The Wrestler"
--More on the death of Charles Buffong
--Movie starring two members of WWE Hall of Fame
--ROH weekend notes
--Lashley and Lesnar comparisons in MMA
--Original ideas for Lashley in WWE
--De La Hoya fans vs. MMA fans
--WEC payoff numbers
--More on Japan New Year's Eve shows
--Fighter risks his career in the U.S. to take Japanese date
--Best selling DVDs
--Notes on background of Kizarny
--Two second generation wrestlers signed by WWE
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major story (ies) 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 history)
*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 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.
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.
-- UFC Fight for the Troops did a 1.43 rating and 2.0 million viewers, which is better than I expected it to do.
-- ECW did a 1.2 Tuesday night. I'm sure that main event did them no favors.
-- Last night's Impact had 17:55 of wrestling on it, the least of the entire year. The show did a 1.16 rating and 1.6 million viewers, so more people watched it than ECW this week.
-- WWE axed Snitsky yesterday. He lives his life with those teeth so that sucks.
-- The Hammer at UCLA will be screening The Wrestler on December 14th followed by a Q&A with director Darren Aronofsky and star Mickey Rourke. More info is up here.
-- Frank Mir is very upset about Junie Browning fight on the live special Saturday night. Well, he's hardly the only one. The interview is available here. Thanks to Ivan Trembow.
-- Brutus Magnus is Nick Aldis, aka "Oblivion" from the 2008 revival of Gladiators in the UK. He is being brought up to television WAY too soon. Thanks to Ian Hamilton.
-- And yes, that is Frankie Kazarian under the mask as Suicide. Although I do agree that in the end Suicide must unmask as Jeremy Borash.
-- Mickey Grant's documentary on the late Chris Adams debuts this weekend. We had Mickey on our show talking about this several months back (members can check out the archives) and will probably be joined by him again in the next few weeks. For more info on the film you can click here.
-- There is a story here on End Game, a film that will star Kurt Angle that just wrapped.
-- The Gillespie Agency, which handles Ric Flair's bookings, sent this out this morning: We regret that due to last minute demands and a still unfulfilled obligation by the promoter, Ric Flair will no longer be attending Magic Monikers 2 in Secaucus, NJ tomorrow, December 13, 2008. Ric is extremely disappointed to not be able to meet with his New Jersey fans this weekend. This is an unfortunate situation and we hope to be scheduled back in the tri-state area very soon!
-- From Kenny Bolin and Ohio Valley Wrestling: As many of you may already know, I was quite critical of Brock Lesnar a few weeks ago on my number 1 Rated Radio segment at "Who's Slamming Who" a few weeks ago. I may also have mentioned that I had got the better of Brock Lesnar a few times in his days at OVW and a few other stories he may not have wanted me to tell. Well, to my surprise and by special arrangements made by OVW owner Danny Davis, Brock Lesnar is returning to the Davis Arena for a one night special appearance and meet and greet Jan 7th. Doors open at A SPECIAL 3pm start time for the meet and greet. Go to ovwrestling.com for details of the Historic Event and where to get tickets. Ticket prices are $30 in advance and $40 the day of the show. Tickets will go very fast and we are expecting an all time record breaking crowd due to his limited appearances in this area. I will also add that I can assure you i will have a HUGE surprise for Brock Lesnar if he even thinks of looking my way in a negative fashion. We hope to see ya there for this once in a life time night at Davis arena @ 4400 Shepherdsville Rd. Louisville Ky. You will NOT want to miss this!!!
-- Cena talks about Tribute to the Troops here
-- Lance Storm has questions about your average convoluted edition of Impact here
-- The one-hour Wrestlemania special will be replayed on 12/18 on MyNetworkTV in most markets at 8 p.m.
-- Jose writes: My friend Mori Ono informed me that he got Kyodo Tokyo E-Newsletter say "WWE Smackdown is coming back to Budokan in Tokyo on July 7-8 at 6:30pm."
-- TMZ.com had a story up about Corey Hill's broken leg at the UFC Fight for the Troops show, although they edited out the break. It was said to be as gruesome as the Sid Vicious injury years back in WCW, and Hill will almost surely be out for over a year.
-- Al Snow works the NWA show in Niles, OH on 12/20 at the Eastwood Expo Center. Maybe Rhino can show up there to get his revenge on him since it didn't appear from Impact that it would happen in TNA.
-- Mike E writes: Last night on 30 Rock on NBC. Judah Friedlander (who I believe has a role in "The Wrestler") wore a Cactus Jack "Wanted Dead or Alive" T-shirt.
-- The wXw promotion has their 8th Anniversary Show December 13th in Saint, Oberhausen, Germany with Claudio Castagnoli and Bryan Danielson both on the card. GSW is also running on the 13th pretty much right next door with Awesome Kong in a four-way for the women's title, which is currently being held by Steve Douglas. I don't think I want to know. First show starts at 2 and the other stars at 8 so it's a double-header of sorts.
-- Ric Flair and Reid Flair will be appearing at the Big Time Wrestling events in Danbury, Connecticut on March 28th, 2009 and Webster, Massachusetts on March 29th, 2009. Go to http://big-time-wrestling.com for info. Thanks to Devin Cutting.
-- WWE will be holding a house show at The Arena Of Nimes in Nimes, France on June 13th, 2009. Tickets go on sale January 10th, 2009 at 10 AM. Thanks also to Devin.
-- WWA4 Results 12/10/08 in Atlanta, GA. Attendance: 30 (Free show: All freebies). All Wrestlers students of Mr. Hughes: Johnathan Davis d. Eric Mayne, Intergender title: All Mighty Minnie d. Miguel Rivera to win vacant title, Scott Steel d. Michael Black- DQ, Kaiden Knight d. Jae-Bo, Miguel Rivera d. Johnthan Davis, WWA4 champ Bill the Butcher fought to a double countout with Rick King. Free wrestling show @ 8pm every Wednesday night @ 4375 Commerce Drive, Atlanta (the building behind Club Wax Strip Club). Thanks to David Wills.
-- Ian Hamilton has an end of the year radio show up here tonight.
-- Lance Storm and Jimmy Jacobs are on Ed in San Antonio's podcast tonight, which can be listened to here starting at 9 EST/6 PST. Lance on our show yesterday said he would be on for as long as he could handle Ed.
-- Maryland Championship Wrestling returns to the New Green Room (2401 North Point Blvd - Dundalk, MD) on Saturday night, December 27th, for HOLIDAY HELL 2008.
-- World Wrestling Network presents Pro Wrestling Riot - Road To Gold: Part Two, Friday, December 12, 2008 - Bell Time 8:00 PM. Roderick Strong headlines.