By Bryan Alvarez

Bryan Alvarez: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Dave Meltzer: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're looking for your thoughts on Saturday night's Square Ring promotions PPV show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We're also looking for reports from Friday night's WWE Raw show in Rolla, MO, Saturday night's WWE shows in Topeka and North Little Rock, and Sunday's shows in Wichita and West Plains, MO.

ECW tonight has:
* Carlito vs. Morrison leading to an added stip for the Mania match
* Dreamer & Evan Bourne vs. Swagger & Tyson Kidd

This coming Monday's jumbo-sized issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has an extensive bio covering the wrestling career and the death of Andrew Martin. We have a lot of comments from different people in the profession, as well as use a lot of his own comments to look at the far too common number of incidents of wrestlers passing away young. We also have a story on Charles "Mask" Lewis, a figure who dates back to the early days of MMA and passed away last week in an auto accident, and coverage of major shows including the huge jumps to AAA over the past week and more coming on the way. Plus, we've got Wrestlemania updates, and a very early look at how UFC 96 did.

The issue is available today for premium members of the web site. You can get approximately ten issues of the Observer per month, six current issues and four or five issues from the past, along with Figure Four Weekly and the Dragon King historical newsletter, as well as multiple daily radio shows as a site subscriber and you can go to the front page for information on that.

You can also subscribe to the print Observer with details here.

The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.

Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sites and has the most complete look at the business as a whole anywhere. The Observer is now in its 27th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling industry as well as the MMA industry, from bookers, to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest current names, both on camera, and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and 30 countries subscribe. Many have subscribed as long as 20 years or more straight. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world and an accuracy from having the most inside sources that can't be found on the web. Everyone from Wall Street to the major offices to the TV networks in U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business. If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today. With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today. Just send your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can order by faxing that information to 408-244-3402. You can also subscribe via paypal at www.paypal.com and using the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it address or subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card, by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.

The story on Test talks about his death, a look at rehab, stories from the last year of his life, reactions from many wrestlers, his departure from WWE along with many different people in creative talking about why he never quite achieved the level of stardom some thought he was due, and that he was groomed for at the start.

We look at his training, his WWF debut, his most famous angle with Stephanie McMahon and HHH, why his career fizzled, as well as his later gimmicks, including the incident that gave him the bad reputation inside the company. We look at his injury that nearly ended his career, his reaction to the death of Eddie Guerrero, his relationship with Kelly Kelly, his ECW tenure and what he was designed for, and what derailed it.

We also look at Charles "Mask" Lewis, who passed away last week in an auto accident. We look at the start of Tapout, police reports on the auto accident, and comments regarding his role in the growth of MMA.

We have an update on Wrestlemania, another major WWE star says he's taking time off shortly and another who gave a surprisingly short time line answer when asked.

We have an update on Wrestlemania business, why creative team morale took a turn for the worst last week, confirmation of a WWE release that the company hasn't acknowledged, a Steve Austin business update, notes on booking of future shows after Wrestlemania and Jesse Ventura talks about the independent contractor vs. employee status of pro wrestlers.

We have notes on the WWE marketing direction, best selling DVDs, notes on a few new movies the company is working on, as well as notes from the weekend house shows.

We also have a story on Ken Shamrock, his positive drug test, his legacy in MMA, as well as his early pro wrestling career.

We've got full coverage of the Destination X PPV show, with poll results, star ratings, and background of the show.

We also have coverage of the Nevada hearings regarding B.J. Penn attempting to get the result of his match with Georges St. Pierre overturned, how the commission responded and what the next step is.

We also have notes on the All Japan show at Sumo Hall this past week, including the select company Yoshihiro Takayama is now in by winning the Triple Crown title.

We also have coverage of AAA's Rey de Reyes show, featuring several surprise run-ins.

We also have notes on a new television show that debuts this weekend with an MMA theme.

We also have major TV show rundowns from the past week.

Also in this week's issues:

--An interesting concept to promote PPV match this week

--CMLL's final Friday night show before the first PPV of the year

--Major star gets suspended

--AAA lineup for San Jose

--Return of the oldest annual pro wrestling tradition and details on the 2009 version

--Jun Akiyama's first GHC title defense

--Update on the NOAH tag team tournament

--Update on New Japan Cup tournament

--Update on IGF show including major MMA star appears

--Latest on Verne Gagne case

--More on Hulk Hogan's divorce case

--More on former pro wrestling promoter pleading guilty after a long indictment period

--Dwayne Johnson's newest movie and media notes

--Update on "The Wrestler"

--NWA TV tapings

--NCAA preview

--More on ROH's TV debut

--More on Ric Flair's ROH debut

--Future major ROH matches

--More TNA celebrity news

--TNA house show notes

--Early trending numbers for UFC 96

--Karo Parisyan fine and suspension as well as details of the charge, the hearing and the warnings given to future drug test failures

--More on bad referee calls

--Update on the next UFC Prime Time

--Dana White talks about Chuck Liddell's future as a fighter

--UFC counter programming Strike Force

--UFC ticket sales updates

--Introduction of a new weight class

--Fighter talks about not wanting to fight on overseas PPV shows

--Lots of new UFC matches

--Major star in talks with UFC signs with Dream

--Strikeforce announcing team

--New Strikeforce fights

--Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano updates

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.

Rates are:

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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 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.

-- Mike Brown vs. Urijah Faber for the WEC 145-pound title is now looking to take place on June 7th in Sacramento, CA at the Arco Arena, and will likely be a free Versus special and not on PPV.

-- Ric Flair reportedly needed 11 staples to close the wound in his head suffered last night in the Chris Jericho segment. From watching the tape it does not look to have been a blade job (although that's not to say it may not have been intentional). By the way, in an update from last night's Wrestling Observer Radio (which was our bi-weekly FREE show and can be downloaded here), the Ric Flair ranting during the eight-man tag was actually a tape of his promo from earlier in the evening and not something that was taped backstage that never aired.

-- Also, in an update from last night's Figure Four Weekly, there was an autopsy done on Abismo Negro after all and they listed his cause of death as drowning. We're looking to get Dr. Lucha Steve Sims on Figure Four Daily sometime this week as there is a ton of news to discuss including Negro's death, Rey de Reyes, Juvie's fight, Dos Leyendas, and more.

-- Abismo will be buried in Mexico City tonight.

-- After carted Steph out of the arena on a stretcher last night they did a Big Show vs. Taker match where Taker choked him out with Hell's gate in five minutes. Thanks to Brendan.

-- Phil DiLiegro writes: As a follow up to something said today on WO radio regarding premature deaths in wrestling, I looked up baseball's Cy Young winners over the last 16 years to see if any had died. All of the pitchers who won are still alive. In fact, the most recent Cy Young Award winner to pass away was Catifsh Hunter, who won in 1974. The four dozen or so pitchers who have won since are still alive. A somber note, but one I wanted to pass along.

-- Kindle, iPhone and iTouch users can order this week's Figure Four Weekly for just 99 cents using this link

-- Jim Ross has a new blog up here. He notes that Jerry Lawler has four matches scheduled between now and Monday night, so he won't have any ring rust versus Jericho. He also doesn't have much faith in Lawler making it onto WrestleMania this year.

-- Kurt Angle was also on Opie and Anthony today. Didn't appear to say much that he didn't say previously on Stern. If anyone has a full rundown, please send it over.

-- Interview with Cena here promoting 12 Rounds

-- Smackdown did a 2.1 for the 500th anniversary spectacular.

-- Gus Johnson has been watching too much MMA of late. Thanks to Mike Honerkamp.

-- Mike Rand writes: While I was flipping around last night during Raw (during the 8-man tag!), I saw a commercial on Current TV with Cena. He is hosting a ½ hour show Wed night (I believe at 9pm EST) basically promoting his movie. They billed it as Cena taking over Current. Current is the channel that Al Gore started a few years ago to show eco friendly shows and other political points of view. It’s a digital channel I get on cable- Channel 128 for anyone with Brighthouse in the Tampa area.

-- Variety has a glowing article on WWE here, quite frankly making it out to be a bigger deal than it probably is.

-- Nick Diaz and Gilbert Melendez will be doing an open workout on Friday at 1:00 PM at Gracie Sports Center, 150 Longbrook Way, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. This is the new location, by the way.

-- As noted in yesterday's spoilers, Vince changed his mind and they axed the idea of an all-Divas edition of ECW for tonight.

-- There is a review of Total MMA by Jonathan Snowden here. You can check out the book here

-- The Wrestler is also available for pre-order on Blu-Ray and DVD here

-- Tons of polls:

Poll on Bully Beatdown
Excellent 37.4%
Good 28.3%
Average 9.1%
Fair 8.1%
Poor 17.2% 71.3% of those responding didn't see the show.

Who is the greatest wrestler ever from Texas?
Shawn Michaels 31.8%
Steve Austin 21.9%
Terry Funk 18.3%
Eddie Guerrero 6.5%
Stan Hansen 4.4%
Undertaker 4.4%
Dusty Rhodes 4.1%
Dory Funk Jr. 3.7%
Kerry Von Erich 2.1%
Fritz Von Erich 1.3%
Wahoo McDaniel 1.3%
Dory Funk Sr. 0.2%

Except for Vince McMahon, who was the greatest wrestling promoter?
Giant Baba 22.4%
Antonio Inoki 21.7%
Sam Muchnick 16.9%
Vincent James McMahon 10.9%
Jim Barnett 6.6%
Antonio Pena 4.9%
Paul Boesch 4.9%
Salvador Lutteroth 4.5%
Frank Tunney 3.2%
Rikidozan 3.1%
Fred Kohler 0.8%
Paul Bowser 0.2%

-- The Score in Canada will be airing the WWE Hall Of Fame Ceremony on April 5th, 2009 at 5 PM (ET). Thanks to Devin Cutting.

-- Adam Lebow writes: Just thought I would pass along a note that the pricing for Wrestlemania 25 on Dish Network is going to be $54.95 for the SD version and $64.95 if you want the HD feed. The SD feed will be on channel 455 and 472, where-as the HD feed is on channel 548. These are the same prices as the last two Wrestlemania's 23 and 24. I expect it to be the same +/- $5 on most carriers. It is the same pricing on Bell TV (formerly Bell Expressvu) in Canada, but its in Canadian currency. It is on SD channel 399 and HD channel 832. It is also the same price on Rogers Cable.

-- Rikishi will be appearing at the Revolution Lucha Libre event in Santiago, Chile on March 28th, 2009

-- Both Roddy Piper and Ric Flair will be at the April 10th Highspots show in Charlotte, NC at the Grady Cole Center, 310 N Kings DR. Flair will be managing David and the recently-arrested Reid (DUI) in a tag match.

-- Jenna Morasca will be doing an interview on Friday here

-- World Wrestling Network presents Pro Wrestling Riot, Friday, March 27, 2009, Bell Time 7:30PM at The New Lakes in Regency Park Civic Center, 8330 Civic Drive - Port Richey, FL 34668

-- FIP runs Saturday, March 28, 2009 at the National Guard Armory, 8551 W. Venable St., Crystal River, FL 34429, with Erick Stevens & Roderick Strong vs. The YRR (Sal Rinauro & Chasyn Rance) for the tag titles

-- Ed in San Antonio had Kizarny on his show this past Friday night. Link is here

-- Deaf Wrestlefest 2009 runs May 3rd at 6:00 PM at the Western PA School for the Deaf in Edgewood, PA with Missy Hyatt, JJ Dillon, Brutus Beefcake and tons more.

-- RCW (Revolutionary Championship Wrestling) from 3/21 in Portsmouth, OH: Vance Desmond b Trik Nasty; Nikki Tyler b Keith Hamblin; Chris Smith b Randy Allen via C/O; New Champs as Onyx and Ace Gigolo b Judas Thorn and Juggulator; JD Santos and Flash Fury battled to No Contest; Dirk Extreme b Tank Runyon to retain.

-- BANG! Tapes TV on March 29th at the Funking Conservatory with the recently-retired Dory teaming up with Johnny Magnum to face Hack Meyer & Shane Chung.

-- Todd Bridges returns to Fog City Wrestling on March 28th, and there will be a free online stream here

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?