Wrestling Observer Radio 12/18: Class-action lawsuit against UFC, biggest fight of 2015 coming soon, Smackdown, Lucha Underground, Raw ratings, tons more!

Thursday, 18 December 2014 02:01

Wrestling Observer Radio with Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer are back with our 14TH SHOW SINCE SATURDAY MORNING talking all the news in wrestling and mixed martial arts including the class-action lawsuit against UFC and everything you ever wanted to know about it, Jones vs. Cormier hype, Hendricks vs. Lawler III, Raw ratings, Smackdown and Lucha Underground reviews, questions and more! A fun show as always so check it out~!
 

WWE Tribute to the Troops TV report

Thursday, 18 December 2014 00:25

WWE 12th Annual Tribute to the Troops
December 17, 2014
Live (on tape) from Fort Benning

by Emerson “I haven't watched TTTT since 2007” Witner

Any questions, comments, concerns or emotional outbursts? Contact me:

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Facebook: Facebook.com/krazy.e.man
Twitter: @TheReallyRealEW

-A wonderful video with celebrities, wrestlers and fans talking about how great the military are and thanking them for what they do. Will Farrell, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Taylor Swift, Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, Kim Kardashian, Maria Menunos, Cameron Diaz and Stephen Colbert were among those in the video.

-Michael Cole and JBL were the announcers. JBL was put over as the person who came up with the idea.

-Hulk Hogan was the first person out to start the show, complete with 8 troops saluting him on the way. Hulk was out there simply to say thank you and he was promptly interrupted by The Miz and Damien Mizdow. Miz came out and said that, as the star of The Maine 3, “you're welcome”. Miz said it was an honor to play Sgt. Jake Carter in a movie, which, he said, was how the fans felt about Miz representing the military.

This brought out John Cena, who got 100% cheers for perhaps the first time in 8 years. Cena apologized to everyone for Miz and his amnesia, bragging about playing a Marine while on an Army base. Cena, who was the first Marine, put over how the Army are really tough, while Miz is a metro-sexual who would get his butt kicked by Ryan Seacrest.

Miz said that commanding officers tell the troops to “Do it for The Miz”. Cena laughed it off and got the fans to boo the idea of Miz being a big deal. Miz said it's not a big deal that he's in the ring with Hogan, it's a big deal that Hogan is in the ring with Miz.

Miz reminded us that he pinned Cena in the main event of WrestleMania, which, if you recall, Cena laughed off the next night. Cena said Miz sucked, which Cole laughed so hard at. Miz went after Cena, but got disposed. Mizdow took off his glasses and pantomimed being thrown over the top by Hogan.

Seth Rollins, Kane, Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble all came out, followed by Luke Harper and Big Show. All the men beat down Cena, while Hogan beat up J & J until Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and The Ryback made the save.

-Angelina Jolie was on the show in a pre-taped video, talking about how when she made her movie Unbroken she visited soldiers all over the world.

1.) The Uso's defeated Gold & Stardust

In ring action kicked off with this match between two sets of former champions. This may have been the easiest crowd ever, they popped for a body slam. The twins did their double dive over the top rope and it looked like one of them fell short of Stardust, which must of stunk.

This match was a slightly longer house show match and that's not a bad thing. Stardust hit the Beautiful Disaster kick for a near fall and Jimmy Uso hit a twisting moonsault for a 2. The finish saw both Uso's super kick both Dust's and a Double Superfly Splash for the win.

-Lester Holt commented being the son of a military member and then reporting from a war zone in his career.

-The cast of The Voice sent out their love to the troops.

-We then got a live performance by Florida Georgia Line. I still want proof that they aren't Chris Jericho and Heath Slater.

-Tom Brokaw talked about being a toddler and living on a military base during World War II.

2.) Naomi won a Diva's Santa's Little Helper Battle Royal.

The Bella Twins, Paige, Rosa, Alicia, Naomi, Cameron, Emma, Nattie and Summer Rae are the participants. Emma pulled up Rosa's dress so Rosa stole Emma's hat and somehow Rosa threw Emma out first. I call wicked shenanigans.

Rosa and summer had a dance off and then the other girls teamed up to dump both of them. Cameron tried doing her makeup, so Naomi stole her compact and then eliminated her. What a bitch. Brie and Nikki teamed up to dump Alicia. Paige hid behind the ring post. Brie and Nikki went out to double team her and Paige tried to get them to kiss each other by pulling out mistletoe. They eliminated Paige and did not, I repeat, did not kiss.

Brie tried to baseball slide Nattie out, but Nattie lifted herself off the mat so Brie flew out. Nikki ran over, so Naomi ran over, shoved them both out and got the win.

-A video package of everyone meeting the soldiers aired. Daniel Bryan and Fandango were among those all over this that I was surprised to see. They had a picture of Miz shaking a soldier's hand and hiding behind him was Hornswoggle, who was shaking someone elses hand.

-Sgt. Slaughter ordered me to continue watching. I was going to stop, but now I cannot.

-Katherine Heigl thanked the soldiers.

3.) In a Boot Camp Match, Dean Ambrose pinned Bray Wyatt

Sgt. Slaughter was the special guest ring announcer, who did either the best announcement or the worst, depending on your taste. He introduced both participants before their music even played. It apparently was so bad that Lillian re-introduced Dean.

Cole was surprised these two men are even on their feet after TLC. Someone should let him know this was taped last week. Bray got hit with an Army issued backpack and a metal lunch pail. Some guy at ringside kept ordering Ambrose to get tables, so Dean, who needs to check his hearing, went under the ring and found a bunch of chairs. To help out his hearing, the fans chanted “We want tables”. Bray took over at this point and beat the snot out of Dean with a kendo stick and the chairs that Dean brought into the ring.

Dean made his comeback and almost won with an chair-assisted elbow from the middle rope. Why couldn't these two have had the Chairs match? This would have been so much better than Kane and The Ryback. Finally Dean got a table out and Bray immediately threw him through it with a uranage, but Ambrose kicked out.

Bray didn't learn the lesson Dean was taught and pulled out a table. He decided to jaw jack with Sgt. Slaughter. The Sarge stood there and took it before Bray set up a table in the ring. Sgt. Slaughter took his steel toed boot off outside and handed it off to Dean. Ambrose smacked Bray with the boot and then hit an elbow off the top and through the table for the win.

-Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx sent their love to the troops. Jamie needed to slow down and enunciate.

-Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian were on my screen. Sadly it was not the Cardassians. Either way K, K and K sent their well wishes.

-Lana and Rusev were in the ring. Lana said it was an honor for the military to be there to see Rusev. Rusev said he crushed every American hero and proved the dominance of Mother Russia. Or so says the man from Bulgaria.

The fans chanted USA, pissing off Rusev and Lana. Lana kept telling them to shut up and Rusev shrieked at them to sit down. They got mucho heat by putting a picture of Putin on the screen. They challenged anyone to stand up for their country...and out came Daniel Bryan.

After the expected giant ovation, Bryan said Americans fight, no matter how big or small they are or regardless of their political persuasion. Bryan ordered Rusev to go back to Russia if he doesn't like it here.

Lana mocked him and Rusev challenged him. I bet that will eventually be a real good match. Bryan said Rusev is challenging America. This led to several troops jumping the barrier and repelling from the rafters, making them the first people to repel from the rafters on a WWE show in 15 years. Bryan walked to the ring for a 5-on-1 match with Rusev. The US Champ looked around and then left.

-The Today Show sent out their love to the troops.

-Larry The Cable Guy talked about how the troops are the real heroes.

-We got a second performance by Chris Jericho and Heath Slater...I mean Florida Georgia Line. I hope they taped these back to back and didn't force these guys to set their gear up, take it down and then put it all back up a second time.

-Cena, Dolph and Ryback were going over their game plan, which was written on a handy dandy piece of paper that said “Game Plan” on it. Erick Rowan was there to stare off into the distance.

4.) John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and The Ryback defeated Seth Rollins, Luke Harper, Kane and Big Show.

Everyone was already in the ring when we came back from commercial. I don't know why I just noticed this, but Big Show, Kane and Luke Harper looked exceptionally large standing on the apron, as opposed to their foes, including John Cena and Ryback, who are both very large men.

This match was better than most of the ppv matches. They got the heat on Dolph, while the fans chanted for Cena, which just sounds weird without the accompanied chants of “Cena sucks”. Dolph was incredibly entertaining as the baby face in peril, scratching and clawing and kicking at the heels trying to get to Cena.

Cena finally got the hot tag, which was his first real action. At this point we got the normal Pier 6 brawl with everyone hitting a big move on someone. Cena gave Show the AA and then Harper an AA on Show, before pinning Luke for the win. I guess the Game Plan worked.

-After the match Hulk Hogan came back out to wave the flag as the show ended.

Overall thoughts: The show was two hours of fun. The opening segment dragged towards the end, but the show went quickly and if Raw was like this I think we all would enjoy it much more.
 

VIDEO: Great interview with Daniel Cormier talking Jon Jones fight

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 23:03

 

UFC News: major indication that Johny Hendricks/Robbie Lawler III is a go, Anthony Pettis' desired fight schedule, more

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 18:25

By Josh Nason, Wrestling Observer

On UFC Tonight Wednesday, Ariel Helwani reported that Rory MacDonald has been told he will not be getting the next welterweight title shot as expected, clearing the way for the third fight between current champion Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks. MacDonald said that UFC called him last week and gave him the news. He's disappointed, but he will "light up whoever is next."

Hendricks' camp was asked and said they haven't been approached, but a story on Fox Sports says that the fight is being planned for the first half of 2015, speculating Memorial Day weekend could be it.

I could go either way on this. The expectation was that Lawler/MacDonald would headline a big show in Montreal in early 2015, but that's clearly changed. Both fights both have the same intrigue level, and the build for Hendricks/Lawler can have the whole 'trilogy' marketing tag associated with it. Plus, they have 50 minutes of the previous two fights to draw from. The key is not potentially kill MacDonald off with whoever he fights next.

In other news from the show:

- UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis wants to be active in 2015 and fight at least three times, targeting March/April, July, and the end of the year.

- For that first shot, Khabib Nurmagomedov is thought to be the next contender but might not get cleared from his knee injury until May. In that case, it would make sense for Rafael dos Anjos to get the next opportunity and Khabib to get the winner of that fight in July.

- Perennial top flyweight contender Joe Benavidez would like to fight either #4 John Moraga or Wilson Reis next.

- Demian Maia has been cleared to return to training.

- Mark Munoz will officially return to action on February 28 in Los Angeles against newly signed Roan Carneiro, he of the recent one-night tournament victory at Battleground MMA -- the same show Jim Ross and Chael Sonnen called.

 

Lucha Underground TV Report: Fenix vs. Mil Muertes, intergender battle royal

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 18:09

by Jeremy Peeples/@Jeremy_Peeples

Setting the Stage

Johnny Mundo won last week's ladder match for $100,000, but knocked out Dario Cueto afterwards. He also put Cueto's key over his fallen body, so now Cueto has more motivation than ever before to unleash whoever his monster is with the key. Chavo got a win over Fenix, while Pengaton Jr. beat up a ninja and Super Fly debuted in a losing effort to King Cuerno. Tonight's show features the return of Cueto and the first-ever 10 man match in Lucha Underground according to the show's preview.

The show opens with a recap of the Cueto-Mundo saga starting with Cueto ripping him off and concluding with last week's ending. Exterior shots bring us into the Temple where 10 men are in the ring. Vampiro says he has no idea why they're here. Cueto comes out of his office with his theme, and a dark pair of shades to conceal a massive shiner. Cueto says the men will compete in a Lucha Underground TEN WAY MATCH! Ten more men will be in a different match later, and to make things interesting, the winner of each match will be rewarded with something else - something more important than money. 

Match 1 - 10-Man Match 

Everyone jumps on Ryck, and it's a one fall match. Mascarita Sagrada goes for collar and elbow, then goes behind Ryck and kicks the legs. Ryck beats up the mini with a kick. Loco springboards onto Ryck, while Pentagon Jr. sends him out with a dropkick. Drago does a corkscrew dive onto Fenix while Danny Trejo looks on. Sagrada did a spinning headscissors to Pentagon Jr. Pengagon and Sagrada exchange blows on the apron and Pentagon wins that war with a thrust kick. Sagrada dives onto the pile. Super Fly moonsaults off the top to the floor to Pentagon. Puma and Havoc brawl leading to a double somersault flip from what would normally be a leapfrog position. Puma does a double backflip into a spinning headscissors. Other than his ribs being taped up, this is ruling. Puma dives to the guys and Trejo high fives him. Ryck tosses Drago onto a pile. Puma and Fenix prevents that from happening again by attacking him. Fenix facewashes Puma, who replies with a corner dropkick. Superkick takes Puma down. Fenix, Cuerno, and Puma do a tower of doom. Super Fly moonsaults Havoc for 2. Drago hits the Dragon's Tail cradle for 2. Cuerno and Drago exchange kicks and Cuerno hits Thrill of the Hunt on Drago for 2 thanks to a save. Pentagon punts Mariachi to prevent him from beating Cuerno. 

 Pentagon gets a muscle buster for 2. Sagrada gets a sunset bomb to Pentagon for 2. Puma kicks Sagrada for 2. Ryck bowls Puma over. Puma high kicks Ryck, Fenix superkicks him. Everyone kicks him, leading to Cuerno and Pentagon dropkicking him out. Bullet dive from Cuerno to Drago. Mariachi and Super Fly do a double swanton dive to the floor. Pentagon does one off the top to the floor onto a pile. Havoc does a space flying tiger drop. Sagrada does a flying rana off the top to the floor to Pentagon. 619 to Ryck from Fenix. Puma takes Fenix down with a kick. 630 to Ryck! Tornado DDT to Puma from Fenix gets 2. Owen driver from Fenix gets the win! Vampiro puts this over as the most exciting match he's seen in 33 years in wrestling. Fenix now gets a shot at the "unique opportunity" promised by Cueto. This was 15 minutes of crazy action and a ton of fun.

Brian Cage video - he's a machine and he's called Cage. The LA cityscape leads us to Konnan yelling to Puma about missing out on a huge opportunity. If he screws up again, Konnan's done with him. Mundo comes to the ring for the second match - a 10-person intergender match. A shot of the Temple brings us back in for the match. We're told this a Boyle Heights Battle Royal, and there are only nine people in the ring - Chavo is number 10.

Match 2 - 10-Person Intergender Boyle Heights Battle Royal

Sexy Star starts this by doing a diving Thesz press to Chavo on the floor. Striker talks about William Regal giving him great advice for a battle royal - just stay in the center. Mundo gets tossed over, but he skins the cat. Famous B's out. Pimpy gets chopped down by the Crew. Sexy dropkicks Pimpy down. Pimpy goes for a rope walk, but is taken down by Muertes and eliminated. Sexy Star hops on Chavo's back and gets flying mared. Sexy slaps him and hits a Codebreaker. Crossbody is caught and she's tossed out. The Crew attacks Mundo on the mat. Mundo skins the cat again and Vamp says that Finlay would just kick your lungs out of your chest in that position. Mundo saves himself again with a double foot grab. Pop in underarm rana to the Crew two of them out out. Muertes kills the last guy and throws him out. Chavo, Muertes, and Mundo are the final three. Mundo sunset flips Muertes leading to a massive German suplex with Chavo landing right on his head. Springboard dropkick to Muertes from Mundo. Striker, like last week, talks about lactic acid buildup hurting Mundo. 

Chavo gets crotched on the top rope and eats a Flying Chuck kick to take him out. Angela Fong looks on from the crowd. Muertes and Mundo exchange punches and he spears Mundo to death. Flying forearm sends Muertes down for the running knee. Fisherman's buster lock sends Muertes to the apron. They exchange shots while Striker talks about them fighting for their destiny. Mundo kicks Muertes on the apron. Pele kick from Mundo sends Muertes down. Muertes gets the knees up for Starship Pain, and he lariats Mundo to the floor after chucking him over the top to the apron. Muertes advances and we get clips of him walking backstage while clips of this airing. Cueto will come to the ring next and announce what each man has won.

The cityscape takes us to the Temple, where Muertes and Fenix are mid-ring waiting for Cueto. He holds up the Lucha Underground championship, which resembles the current WWE Tag Team Titles, only it's all-gold and not copper. He comes up with an innovative match concept - Aztec Warfare. In there weeks, on the first Lucha Underground of the new year on January 7, the winner of the match becomes champion. Fenix and Muertes are congratulated for winning their matches, but they have one more man to fight - each other! The winner of this enters Aztec Warfare last, so I guess it's like a Royal Rumble. The loser will enter first. An ad hypes up the January 7 show with operatic music and clips of Cage and the rest of the roster doing cool things.

Match 3 - Fenix vs. Mil Muertes

Muertes goes for a tie-up, but Fenix outfoxes him. He decides to just start clubbing and fares far better. Fenix grabs the arm, hits some kicks, and does a variety of jumps on the rope into a spinning armdrag. He smashes Fenix with a kick and takes him down. Big missile dropkick off the top from Fenix sends him down and he goes to the floor to regroup - but Fenix does a somersault dive to the floor. They got to a 9 count and Muertes barely gets back in time. Fenix kicks him, but eats a massive spear and some ground stomps. Catalina chokes Fenix on the ropes and Vampiro says that she's a hottie, A HOTTIE in fact.  DDT from Muertes gets 2. Over the shoulder running powerslam gets 2 from Muertes. Striker talks about Aztec Warfare having the open door policy in place. Fenix gets a handspring elbow to regroup. Pop-up rana from Fenix leads to a powerbomb for 2. Handsprinig cutter from Fenix gets 2.9. Fenix does a spinning nothing off the top and eats a punch from Muertes. Flatliner hits from Muertes and he wins, so he'll be number 20 in the match and Fenix has to defy the odds. Cueto meets with his monster in jail and talks about the title belt having gold from seven aztec tribes within it.

The Bigger Picture

This wasn't the best episode, but the opener was worth checking out. This was an excellent future-building show in one sense since we know the roster not only has a title to fight for, but have seen it too. It's a shame the show will be going off the air until January 7, but it builds up anticipation. The title belt design itself isn't amazing, but is far better than the Lucha Libre USA titles, and they've made it seem really important. Cueto's monster will seemingly be debuting early in the new year since this is the second time we've seen Cueto with him and he's got his key back.

 

Seth Rollins talks C.M. Punk

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:56

To:

In a recent interview with The This Is Awesome Wrestling Show, which is based in Cleveland, WWE Superstar Seth Rollins opened up about CM Punk leaving WWE and joining UFC.
Interview starts at 14:43
Here's what Rollins had to say about the CM Punk situation: 

Thoughts on CM Punk leaving WWE:

Good for him. Kudos to Punk for finding himself something to do after WWE. He's made a big splash over the last few weeks between his podcasts and signing with UFC. I wish him the best of luck. I really hope that he has as much success there as he has here. I think it will be very interesting for him to try something new. He's only been a pro wrestler since he was 18 years old. For him, at his age, to step out of his comfort zone and try something new is pretty admirable and I'm looking forward to seeing how he does.

The way CM Punk left WWE:

I think it could have handled better, probably, on both sides. And I think down the road, people involved will say the same thing. But as much as I don't necessary agree with the way he left, I think I understand, mentally, where he was. This business can take a toll on you. You travel a lot. You get beat up a lot. There's a lot of frustration that's involved and mentally, over time, that can wear on you. It can put you in place where you're a different person. And when you're not happy with who you are and the person you want to be, you gotta take a step back. You gotta look at things outside the bubble a little bit. I think that's what he did and I think he realized that he needed to take a step back and see what was going on. And if he didn't like it, then he can move on. I think they agreed to disagree. Like I said, could have been handled differently from a public relations standpoint on both sides. I think once the dust settles, everything will feel itself out and it should be alright.

If the locker room would welcome CM Punk back to WWE:

I don't see why not. He's a self-admitted jerk, first of all. And if you listen to his podcast, he didn't say that he was in a great mood the last few months that he was there. He admitted how grumpy he was and how much of a jerk he was, even more than he already is. I think we would welcome him back. I'm not  to hold too much grudges. I think everyone deserves a second chance; an opportunity to redeem themselves. I would welcome him back. I'm sure he would face some resentment, as far as the locker room is concerned. But guys get over that stuff pretty quick. I think if it was best for business, yeah, I would be open to it for sure.

He also talked about NXT, TLC match vs. John Cena (pre), his career, Crossfit and what he wants fans to think about him when he retires.

 

Behind C.M. Punk's signing with UFC, how it happened, more on his issues with WWE, Planned major star potential return match at Mania, Japanes & WWE awards, Big show coverage from the past week

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 14:40

Week two of the C.M. Punk Observer is up on the site.  We've got two major articles, the first covering the UFC signing and the second covering his latest points regarding WWE.  It's a great companion piece to last week's issue.  Plus, we've got coverage of several major international big shows, and Japanese and WWE awards for 2014.  

 
The new issue is up on the site at http://www.f4wonline.com/component/content/article/110-wrestling-observer-newsletter/40281-dec-15-2014-wrestling-observer-newsletter-cm-punk-to-ufc-ufc-181-tokyo-sports-awards-jimmy-del-ray-bio-and-much-much-more
 
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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 lead story goes through Punk signing with UFC.  We look at the pros and the cons, his description of his life and what led to this, how the UFC deal came about, how this differs from every other pro wrestler going into MMA, what's next for him, explaining the logic in this, the one C.M. Punk fighting story there is, Punk explains his decision making, what other MMA promoters think about this, what happened previously when something similar to this was brought up to Dana White, is it good for the sport, looking at other 0-0 fighters who have been signed and even pushed by UFC, realities of boxing and MMA, why UFC wanted his debut on their stage, what fans and business dictates and questions regarding getting through training camps and concussion worries.
 
We also look at Punk's thoughts on the Vince McMahon interview and apology, histories of people with issues with Vince McMahon in the past, his thought on lawyers, how Brock Lesnar fits into all this, and Punk tells more stories about his time in WWE, from PPV matches, to having outside deals pulled and pay notes.
 
We also look at UFC 181, including what happened to Johny Hendricks, what the stats on the fight say, the Hendricks weight issue, what's next for Robbie Lawler and Anthony Pettis, business notes on the show, Urijah Faber's fight and Faber in the prelims.  We also have match-by-match rundowns of the show as well as pay records for all the fighters.
 
We also look at the 2014 Tokyo Sports pro wrestling awards, the matches up for match of the year, how the awards are chosen, plus a complete listing of the Japanese MVP winner dating back to 1974.
 
We also look at the New Japan Tokyo Dome show with notes on the complete lineup, what stops have still to be filled, stories behind the matches, as well as two more shows before the Tokyo Dome that will be airing live on New Japan World to set up the dome show.
 
We also look at the New Japan tag team tournament, what set up the finals, the final standings, and the full coverage of the PPV show over the weekend.
 
We have a feature on the life and career of David Ferrier, best known for his run as Jimmy Del Rey of the Heavenly Bodies, looking at his auto accident.  We look at how he made his name with the wrestlers, where the names Jimmy Backlund and Jimmy Del Rey came from, his run in Japan as AWA light heavyweight champion, how he got into the Heavenly Bodies team and their run in Smoky Mountain Wrestling.
 
We look at how the team did in the awards, as well as how they had the best match on two straight WWF PPV shows and got a job there.  We look at the Rock & Roll Express vs. Heavenly Bodies climax feud, the end of his WWF run, his return to Smoky Mountain Wrestling, his ECW run, and life after pro wrestling.
 
We also have an update on what the two different sets of plans are regarding Undertaker in 2015, notes on TLC, return of Randy Orton and roman Reigns, specific interviews already cut for Orton's return, the current January direction plans, WWE sets merchandise sales record, HHH & Stephanie new jobs, more stuff added to WrestleMania week, Royal Rumble notes, Batista update, notes on WWE trying to find out why people aren't renewing the network and their 18 different reasons, Vince McMahon's WWE stock, WWE wrestler on network reality show, and weekend house show news.   
 
We also have full coverage of Ring of Honor Final Battle from New York.  We look at the good and bad of the show, PPV indications, booking as well as match-by-match coverage and star ratings. 
 
We also look at AAA's Guerra de Titanes show, the incredible Aero Star vs. Super Fly match, and Alberto El Patron making pro wrestling history.
 
We also look at the WWE Slammy Awards for 2014, notes on voting, why certain awards won, and some inside stuff on the awards.
 
We also have coverage of Pro Wrestling NOAH's last big event of the year and the big interpromotional title match coming.
 
The Observer is the world's most detailed weekly pro wrestling publication, in its 32nd year of publication, and is read by the biggest names in the pro wrestling, industry, MMA industry, sports world and on Wall Street.
 
We also have our regular features such as the most complete look at ratings, plus results of the major house show events each week in pro wrestling and MMA, and complete inside rundowns of all the TV shows.
 
Also in this week's issue:
 
--CMLL's last big show of the year with the last man left in a cage escape match getting his head shaved
 
--Major high flying star looking at returning soon after injury
 
--Wrestler collapses in ring but ends up recovering well enough to work the next night
 
--Promotion and one of its longest lasting stars at odds with legal action threatened
 
--Wrestle-1 star to Europe to defend European title
 
--Will TNA star capture outside world title
 
--Coverage of the All Japan tag team tournament finals
 
--Tag team reunites after 30 years
 
--A look at the first three weeks of New Japan TV on AXS
 
--More notes on New Japan World
 
--New Japan promoter apologizes to fans and you'll never believe what for
 
--Notes on warrant out for the arrest of Teddy Hart
 
--Movie about one of pro wrestling all-time legends about to be released
 
--The last major WWC show of the year and first TV airing in more than a decade of one of the bloodiest matches of all-time
 
--Notes on the Lucha Underground schedule
 
--Dates for two major stars working in ROH
 
--Notes on TNA's new TV deal and schedule
 
--A look at the TV situation for the next few months
 
--Some TNA contract notes
 
--Dixie Carter talks new TV deal and Vince Russo
 
--TNA British Boot Camp winner notes
 
--A look at the upcoming UFC shows
 
--Olympic gold medalist debut this week
 
--UFC star wants out of his contract to fight in Bellator
 
--Update on Cris Cyborg
 
--Another UFC drug suspension
 
--Lots of new UFC fights
 
--Bellator star gets arrested
 
--New Bellator fights
 
--Another former MMA superstar added to a movie cast that includes a former multi- time WWE champion and an MMA all-time great
 
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.
 
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)a

*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 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.

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., $20 for shipping costs to Canada and $25 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
 

Wrestling Observer Radio 12/17: JEFF JARRETT talks Global Force Wrestling, New Japan Tokyo Dome Show, Mike Tenay, Matt Striker, tons more

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 13:43

Wrestling Observer Radio with Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer returns today with special guest JEFF JARRETT to talk Global Force Wrestling, the New Japan Tokyo Dome show, future plans for both GFW and the New Japan relationship, Mike Tenay, TNA and more! A fun show as always so check it out~!
 

Dec 17 Figure Four Daily: Dr. Lucha Steve Sims talks all the news in AAA, Lucha Underground, CMLL and more!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 12:51

Figure Four Daily with Bryan Alvarez returns today with Dr. Lucha Steve Sims to talk all the news in pro-wrestling south of the border including the AAA Guerra de Titanes report, Lucha Underground future plans, CMLL, Steve's prediction for the 2015 Aniversario show main event, and more! A fun show as always so check it out~!
 

WED. UPDATE: CM Punk media tour, Tyler Reks dishes on WWE pay, latest WWE Network incompetence, WWE Network schedule and more

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 12:34

by David Bixenspan | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | @davidbix

Tonight on TV:

With the Ultimate Fighter season over, Fox Sports 1's UFC Lineup consists of: (UFC Unleashed at 7 p.m ET (w/ the Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustaffson classic), UFC Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, and A replay of Saturday's Dos Santos vs. Miocic main card at 9 p.m. ET.

Lucha Underground on El Rey at 8 p.m. ET features some kind of 10-way match or battle royal (they used both terms) as the main event. The teaser video is up on El Rey's YouTube channel.

Impact Wrestling presents "Countdown to the All-Time Best TNA Moment, Part 1" at 11 p.m. ET on Spike as they burn off the remaining episodes. This will be either ridiculously entertaining or ridiculously depressing. Maybe both. I have no idea what TNA's self-worth is when it comes to this stuff.

****
 
The latest Figure Four Weekly is now up on the site for subscribers with analysis of why the Green Ranger should be CM Punk's first UFC opponent (that's not a joke), Punk's podcasts in hindsight, and more on that topic, Bryan on Raw being too damn long, and much more, including the usual news and reviews from around the world. Of course, that's not the only newsletter on the site...
 
****

Week two of the C.M. Punk Observer is up on the site.  We've got two major articles, the first covering the UFC signing and the second covering his latest points regarding WWE.  It's a great companion piece to last week's issue.  Plus, we've got coverage of several major international big shows, and Japanese and WWE awards for 2014.  
 
The new issue is up on the site at Dec 15 2014 Wrestling Observer Newsletter CM Punk to UFC
 
Web site subscriptions, which include access to both current and older newsletters as well as every audio show on the history of the site are at  http://www.f4wonline.com/member/signup.php 
 
You can also order the print Observer right now and get it delivered to your door via mail, by sending your name, address, 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
 
Rates are:
 
For the United States, it is $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 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 $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 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.
 
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 lead story goes through Punk signing with UFC.  We look at the pros and the cons, his description of his life and what led to this, how the UFC deal came about, how this differs from every other pro wrestler going into MMA, what's next for him, explaining the logic in this, the one C.M. Punk fighting story there is, Punk explains his decision making, what other MMA promoters think about this, what happened previously when something similar to this was brought up to Dana White, is it good for the sport, looking at other 0-0 fighters who have been signed and even pushed by UFC, realities of boxing and MMA, why UFC wanted his debut on their stage, what fans and business dictates and questions regarding getting through training camps and concussion worries.
 
We also look at Punk's thoughts on the Vince McMahon interview and apology, histories of people with issues with Vince McMahon in the past, his thought on lawyers, how Brock Lesnar fits into all this, and Punk tells more stories about his time in WWE, from PPV matches, to having outside deals pulled and pay notes.
 
We also look at UFC 181, including what happened to Johny Hendricks, what the stats on the fight say, the Hendricks weight issue, what's next for Robbie Lawler and Anthony Pettis, business notes on the show, Urijah Faber's fight and Faber in the prelims.  We also have match-by-match rundowns of the show as well as pay records for all the fighters.
 
We also look at the 2014 Tokyo Sports pro wrestling awards, the matches up for match of the year, how the awards are chosen, plus a complete listing of the Japanese MVP winner dating back to 1974.
 
We also look at the New Japan Tokyo Dome show with notes on the complete lineup, what stops have still to be filled, stories behind the matches, as well as two more shows before the Tokyo Dome that will be airing live on New Japan World to set up the dome show.
 
We also look at the New Japan tag team tournament, what set up the finals, the final standings, and the full coverage of the PPV show over the weekend.
 
We have a feature on the life and career of David Ferrier, best known for his run as Jimmy Del Rey of the Heavenly Bodies, looking at his auto accident.  We look at how he made his name with the wrestlers, where the names Jimmy Backlund and Jimmy Del Rey came from, his run in Japan as AWA light heavyweight champion, how he got into the Heavenly Bodies team and their run in Smoky Mountain Wrestling.
 
We look at how the team did in the awards, as well as how they had the best match on two straight WWF PPV shows and got a job there.  We look at the Rock & Roll Express vs. Heavenly Bodies climax feud, the end of his WWF run, his return to Smoky Mountain Wrestling, his ECW run, and life after pro wrestling.
 
We also have an update on what the two different sets of plans are regarding Undertaker in 2015, notes on TLC, return of Randy Orton and roman Reigns, specific interviews already cut for Orton's return, the current January direction plans, WWE sets merchandise sales record, HHH & Stephanie new jobs, more stuff added to WrestleMania week, Royal Rumble notes, Batista update, notes on WWE trying to find out why people aren't renewing the network and their 18 different reasons, Vince McMahon's WWE stock, WWE wrestler on network reality show, and weekend house show news.   
 
We also have full coverage of Ring of Honor Final Battle from New York.  We look at the good and bad of the show, PPV indications, booking as well as match-by-match coverage and star ratings. 
 
We also look at AAA's Guerra de Titanes show, the incredible Aero Star vs. Super Fly match, and Alberto El Patron making pro wrestling history.
 
We also look at the WWE Slammy Awards for 2014, notes on voting, why certain awards won, and some inside stuff on the awards.
 
We also have coverage of Pro Wrestling NOAH's last big event of the year and the big interpromotional title match coming.
 
The Observer is the world's most detailed weekly pro wrestling publication, in its 32nd year of publication, and is read by the biggest names in the pro wrestling, industry, MMA industry, sports world and on Wall Street.
 
We also have our regular features such as the most complete look at ratings, plus results of the major house show events each week in pro wrestling and MMA, and complete inside rundowns of all the TV shows.
 
Also in this week's issue:
 
--CMLL's last big show of the year with the last man left in a cage escape match getting his head shaved
 
--Major high flying star looking at returning soon after injury
 
--Wrestler collapses in ring but ends up recovering well enough to work the next night
 
--Promotion and one of its longest lasting stars at odds with legal action threatened
 
--Wrestle-1 star to Europe to defend European title
 
--Will TNA star capture outside world title
 
--Coverage of the All Japan tag team tournament finals
 
--Tag team reunites after 30 years
 
--A look at the first three weeks of New Japan TV on AXS
 
--More notes on New Japan World
 
--New Japan promoter apologizes to fans and you'll never believe what for
 
--Notes on warrant out for the arrest of Teddy Hart
 
--Movie about one of pro wrestling all-time legends about to be released
 
--The last major WWC show of the year and first TV airing in more than a decade of one of the bloodiest matches of all-time
 
--Notes on the Lucha Underground schedule
 
--Dates for two major stars working in ROH
 
--Notes on TNA's new TV deal and schedule
 
--A look at the TV situation for the next few months
 
--Some TNA contract notes
 
--Dixie Carter talks new TV deal and Vince Russo
 
--TNA British Boot Camp winner notes
 
--A look at the upcoming UFC shows
 
--Olympic gold medalist debut this week
 
--UFC star wants out of his contract to fight in Bellator
 
--Update on Cris Cyborg
 
--Another UFC drug suspension
 
--Lots of new UFC fights
 
--Bellator star gets arrested
 
--New Bellator fights
 
--Another former MMA superstar added to a movie cast that includes a former multi- time WWE champion and an MMA all-time great
 
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.
 
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)a
 
*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 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.
 
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., $20 for shipping costs to Canada and $25 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
 
****

Wednesday News Update

-- Some in-house notes:

We've decided to experiment with putting Figure Four Weekly on the Kindle Store again, with last week's issue up right now, fully formatted with chapters and a table of contents. It's an experiment for now as a way for non-subscribers to get single issues digitally, spread awareness about the newsletter and website, and so on. The intention is not to get subscribers to double dip, and I want to make that clear since someone asked about it. However, if you are interested in ebook versions of the newsletter becoming part of the site (and especially if you don't subscribe now but would if we offered that), please let me and Bryan know so we can try to gauge interest.

Also, this is just an idea I'm bouncing around, but if we were to do something like a F4W Yearbook or F4W Annual, what would people want to see in it? Again, this would be part of your subscriptions but also offered externally.

-- CM Punk is in the New York area to do a media tour. Today, he's at the ESPN studios in Bristol, Connecticut, and tomorrow, he's going to be on Opie with Jim Norton (formerly Opie and Anthony) on Sirius XM. On today's show, they mentioned that they'll talk about the UFC class action lawsuit and his podcast comments about WWE. Didn't hear if they teased that they'd be tying the two topics together but it makes sense that they would.

-- Really interesting Ben Fowlkes article at MMAJunkie talking to Jens Pulver, Pat Barry, and Mike Pyle about fans constantly asking them to retire for their own safety.

-- Useful MMA reading: Kevin Iole's article about UFC cutting Jon Fitch (and potentially cutting every fighter managed by DeWayne Zinkin) in 2008 for trying negotiate the then-new UFC likeness rights agreement. Lots of terrible Dana White quotes but this stands out as the most amusing one in 2014: "Can you believe that? Chuck Liddell has that language in his contract. Randy Couture has it. Anderson Silva has it. And Cain [expletive] Velasquez, with two [expletive] fights, wants us to change it for him? That’s [expletive] nuts. He can get the [expletive] out."

-- Gabe "Tyler Reks" Tuft did an interview with WrestlingInc where he was pretty blunt about pay, which seems like it's becoming a trend after Punk & Del Rio. Key quote:

"Here's a perfect example: I hate to spill my salary on the internet, but when I left I got a bump to $100,000 a year. But a third of it goes to road expenses. The only thing they pay for is your flight. You pay for your own hotel, and car, and food. Could you imagine trying to eat out five times a day? As a body guy, you have to maintain your physique and that means eating five times a day. Spending all your money trying to maintain that? Good luck. Then Uncle Sam takes 20%-30%. You guys do the math and see how much I walked away with, which was next to nothing. I was making more money fresh out of college as an engineer fresh out of college in an entry level position than being on TV. That's gotten worse from what I hear. They do a ton of tours, and some guys would be making $30,000-$40,000 in the day. I went to Europe and I think I brought home $5,000. Then there was one tour I flew overseas and did a ten day tour and made less than $2,000. I made less than $500 a show. The video games are getting worse - guys used to get paid up to $100,000 for being in the video game and now it's much, much less. The reading audience will think that's a lot of money, but when you're on the road it's not. We don't all have busses like John and Punk and Show. You're breaking your body to barely pay the bills."

-- It's behind their paywall, but Seth Rollins did an interview with The Sun in the UK. It appears to mostly be in character, with the key quotes being about Randy Orton:

"Randy and I are colleagues for sure, but we were never friends as far as hanging out."


“Randy’s got his life, I’ve got my life – we were business partners when it made sense. But now it doesn’t make sense any more so we’re at odds again."
 
“And if you look at the way things were when we first came in as The Shield, he didn’t like us very much then so it is one of those things where I think he has always harboured a little professional jealousy when it comes to myself."
 
“Maybe he’s a little afraid that some of the young guys are going to come in and steal some of his thunder."
 
 “An incredible performer and a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer – but he’s had his time and I think he may be a little afraid to admit that.”

-- From the WWE Has No Clue How to Promote the Network file, there's this video on WWE.com, which is, in theory, supposed to count down the top 10 hidden gems on WWE Network. It consists of quick clips from the network's eight weekly shows and then three clips of archival footage: Ric Flair vs. Sting from the first Clash of the Champions, The Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy in their ladder match on Raw in 2003, and Elizabeth announcing on Saturday Night's Main Event that she'll be in a neutral corner at WrestleMania V. First of all, that adds up to 11. But more importantly, none of the archival footage is named and there's no actual countdown of any of this. Without a brief "hidden gems" graphic you'd think they posted the wrong video.


-- Today in title change history thanks to Brian Hoops (my notes in brackets):

1906 - Frank Gotch defeats Fred Beel in Kansas City, Missouri to win the American Heavyweight Title
 
1965 - Chris and Ken Lucas defeaedt The Mysterio Medics in Dothan, Alabama to win the Gulf Coast version of the NWA Southern Tag Team Title
 
1968 - Fritz Von Erich & Dan Miller defeated The Spoiler & Gary Hart to win the NWA American Tag Team Title (later to become the World Class World Tag Team Title) in Dallas, Texas.
 
1970 - Kim Il and Pak Song defeated Gorgeous George, Jr. and Rufus R. Jones to win the NWA Texas Tag Team Title.
 
1971 - The Royal Kangaroos (Jonathan Boyd and Norman Frederick Charles) defeated Beauregard and Dutch Savage for the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Title.
 
1973 - Buddy Colt defeated Eddie Graham for the NWA Florida Heavyweight Title
 
1973 - Buck Ramstead and Mr. X (Guy Mitchell) defeated The Samoans (Afa and Sika) to win the Vancouver version of the NWA Canadian Tag Team Title in Vancouver, British Columbia.
 
1977 - The Hollywood Blondes (Jack Evans and Larry Sharpe) defeated Carlos Colon and Victor Jovica for the WWC North American Tag Team Title in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At the same event, Jose Rivera and Invader I defeated The Samoans (Afa and Sika) for the WWC World Tag Team Title, and Joe Novak defeated Hercules Ayala for the WWC Caribbean Heavywight Title.
 
1978 - Dino Bravo defeated Gene Kinishi in Toronto, Ontario to become the first holder of the Toronto version of the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Title.
 
1978 - Tiger Conway, Jr. and Bull Ramos defeated Killer Karl Krupp and Mark Lewin for the NWA Texas Tag Team Title in Dallas, Texas.
 
1979 - Bob Backlund defeated Bobby Duncum in a Texas death match to win the vacant WWF World Heavyweight Title in Madison Square Garden. [35 years ago today, this was the main event of one of the best and most loaded MSG house shows in WWE history, with NJPW talent in multiple matches including Antonio Inoki vs. Hussein Arab (Iron Sheik), Harley Race defending the NWA Title against Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan making his MSG debut against Ted DiBiase, and more. The WWF title was only billed as vacant in Japan, but the intros for the match were done carefully so that it made sense in both countries.]
 
1985 - Bob Brown defeated Brett Sawyer in Ames, Iowa to win the NWA Central States Heavyweight Title.
 
1987 - El Gran Markus, Jr. defeated Super Halcon in Acapulco, Mexico for the Mexican National Heavyweight Title.
 
1988 - Hercules Ayala defeated Ricky Santana for the WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Title in Bayamon, Puerto Rico
 
1989 - Leo Burke defeated Carlos Colon to win the WWC Universal Heavyweight Title in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
 
1993 - Gran Hamada defeated Villano IV in Tokyo, Japan for the WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Title.
 
1995 - Dr. Wagner, Jr. defeated Atlantis in Mexico City, Mexico to win the CMLL World Light Heavyweight Title
 
1999 - In Nashville, Tennessee Masato Tanaka defeated Mike Awesome for the ECW World Heavyweight Title. [This was their best ECW match if I remember correctly.]
 
2000 - Kevin Nash & Dallas Page defeated Shawn Stasiak & Chuck Polumbo to regain the WCW World Tag Titles at Starrcade in Washington, DC.
 
2005 - In Edison, New Jersey; Austin Aries and Roderick Strong defeated Sal Rinauro and Tony Mamaluke to win the ROH Tag Team Title.

THURSDAY'S WWE NETWORK SCHEDULE (thanks to Bert Duckwall)


1:00 AM ET
TUESDAY NIGHT TITANS Vince McMahon hosts Tuesday Night Titans with Lord Alfred Hayes. Andre The Giant stops by and does a little singing with the band and more.


3:00 AM ET
MONDAY NIGHT WAR A controversial group of superstars set out to better sports entertainment and would rely on one another to do so.


4:00 AM ET
RAW FLASHBACK The rivalry between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels reaches another historic chapter. Plus, Yokozuna, Diesel, and many more in action.


5:00 AM ET
RAW FLASHBACK Shawn Michaels battles the 1-2-3 Kid in an incredible match. WWE Champion Bret Hart faces Hunter Hearst Helmsley in the main event.


6:00 AM ET
PRIME TIME WRESTLING Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan host Prime Time Wrestling featuring The Hart Foundation, King Kong Bundy, and many more.


8:00 AM ET
TUESDAY NIGHT TITANS Vince McMahon hosts Tuesday Night Titans with Lord Alfred Hayes. Andre The Giant stops by and does a little singing with the band and more.


10:00 AM ET
WCW MONDAY NITRO On this episode of WCW Monday Nitro Lex Luger puts his career on the line against Randy Savage. Hulk Hogan looks to confront The Giant.


11:00 AM ET
PRIME TIME WRESTLING Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan host Prime Time Wrestling featuring The Hart Foundation, King Kong Bundy, and many more.


1:00 PM ET
TUESDAY NIGHT TITANS Vince McMahon hosts Tuesday Night Titans with Lord Alfred Hayes. Andre The Giant stops by and does a little singing with the band and more.


3:00 PM ET
TOTAL DIVAS Nikki feels Eva Marie's popularity rising while Ariane struggles with anger. After having an accident, Nattie fears returning to the ring.


4:00 PM ET
WWE NXT The future is here. Witness the entertainers, the leading men and women, the Superstars of tomorrow - this is NXT!


5:00 PM ET
EDGE CHRISTIAN SMACKDOWN SPECIAL Edge and Christian's 15th Anniversary SmackDown Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness...Enough Said.


6:00 PM ET
WWE COUNTDOWN Counting Down the Top Ten Most Imposing Superstars ever in WWE history.


7:00 PM ET
USOS 10 HOURS TO HOUSTON The Usos -10 Hours To Houston captures the compelling story of twins Josh and Jon Fatu from childhood to their WWE Tag Team Title reign.


7:30 PM ET
TOTAL DIVAS The stars of Total Divas reunite to discuss the highs and lows of this season with special guest, John Cena.


8:00 PM ET
TOTAL DIVAS Nikki feels Eva Marie's popularity rising while Ariane struggles with anger. After having an accident, Nattie fears returning to the ring.


9:00 PM ET
WWE NXT The future is here. Witness the entertainers, the leading men and women, the Superstars of tomorrow - this is NXT!


10:00 PM ET
WWE SUPERSTARS WWE Superstars features the best of the best in matches you'll have to see to believe. You never know what to expect - so expect everything!


11:00 PM ET
TOTAL DIVAS Nikki feels Eva Marie's popularity rising while Ariane struggles with anger. After having an accident, Nattie fears returning to the ring.
 

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