We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week, who is and isn't watching and how each segment on Raw and Impact over the past two weeks gained or lost audience. We look at how the segments with Chris Jericho, Brodus Clay, and changing a tire during a wrestling show all did.
We also have our regular weekly features with results of all the major arena events around the world, as well as all the major TV show
Also in this week's issue:
--One of world's top wrestlers came close to switching promotions, find out how close
--Hall of Famer hits 33 years for his active career and still a headliner
--Issues with AAA and U.S. television
--First AAA TV taping of 2012
--Update on Abdullah the Butcher in Japan
--ROH wrestlers headed for lengthy stint in Japan
--A look at the CMLL & New Japan joint shows coming next week
--What promoter is talking about Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor, and the rules they are looking to put it under
--A look at WWC's first weekend of the year and international names coming in
--John Morrison returns to wrestling in a few weeks
--More on the Kevin Nash/Ultimate Warrior front
--End of wrestling at the old ECW Arena
--Crazy Jesse Ventura story
--OVW sells out, what storyline does it
--Former WWE wrestler looks to start doing MMA in Japan
--The 1975 world championship discussion
--Huge match coming to TV next week
--More ROH TV outlets
--ROH TV taping notes and future storylines
--Notes on TNA taping in London
--Details of the taping schedule leading to Against All Odds
--Current Against All Odds lineup
--Jesse Neal talks about his post-military trauma issues, and leaving TNA
--Kurt Angle says different things about going to the Olympics
--Angle talks problems in TNA
--TV show character modeled after one of the most famous pro wrestlers returns in a few weeks
--Abyss talks losing his mask
--TNA new TV deals
--Notes on recent TNA house shows
--Lots of upcoming UFC notes
--UFC schedule through August
--A look at fighter pay in UFC and Lorenzo Fertitta talks to ESPN about the subject
--Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey
--Looking at the star power of women fighters
--One of the great fights in history may be rematched if one of the fighters wins his next fight
--A look at the next UFC show
--Dana White talks Brock Lesnar and WWE
--Notes on ticket sales to upcoming shows
--UFC kicks off on Fuel
--Update on B.J. Penn
--Tons of new UFC fights
--Story behind new MMA TV show
--MMA champion gets Hall of Fame induction at his college
--What happens in Japan after New Year's Eve show
--Former UFC title contender sentenced to 42 months in prison
--Former major woman's wrestling star faces daughter of movie legend in an MMA fight in Japan
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
*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
*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
*November 12, 2007 (Life and times of Fabulous Moolah and history of U.S. women's wrestling) .
*December 31, 2007 (History of Ric Flair and the heyday of wrestling at the Greensboro Coliseum)
*January 21, 2008 (2007 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
*March 24, 2008 (Life and times of Gary Hart)
*April 10, 2008 (Farewell to Ric Flair; My thoughts, Shawn Michaels talks of Flair's meaning to him; Hall of Fame; Wrestlemania double
issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*August 11, 2008 (Ric Flair leaves WWE; Updated history of pro wrestlers and MMA fighters who went to the Olympics)
* September 8, 2008 (2008 Hall of Fame double issue, $7 on its own, $8 overseas; part one of Killer Kowalski bio)
* September 15, 2008 (Life and Times of Evan Tanner)
* September 22, 2008 (The amazing career of Killer Kowalski, one of our most in-depth bios)
You can also order any of these issues on their own for $4 in North America or $5 overseas.
For the United States, it is $12 for 4 issues, $29 for 12, $55 for 24, $91 for 40 and $118 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $13.50 for
4, $33 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to
. For the rest of the world, rates are $15.50 for 4, $41 for 12, $78 for 24, $126 for 40 issues and $163 for
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.
--It is the end of an era tonight with the final shows this afternoon and evening at the Asylum Arena in Philadelphia.
--Dana White specifically said that Anthony Johnson's job is on the line tonight. He said he's not safe if he wins either.
--Randy Orton has been pulled from the advertising from Anaheim and Las Vegas for Raw and Smackdown this week. Not sure what that means, but he is still booked full-time on both house shows and TVs starting on 1/23. (thanks to Becky Graham)
--It is extremely unlikely that C.M. Punk will be walking Chael Sonnen to the octagon on the 1/28 show in Chicago. Punk, in fact, has been told that he shouldn't even be at the show. Front Row Brian, a noted poster on message boards including ours, who broke all aspects of this story from the beginning, first noted yesterday that Punk was told by Vince McMahon that he couldn't walk Sonnen to the ring and that he didn't want him at the show. Punk also confirmed to Ariel Helwani yesterday that he would not be allowed to walk Sonnen to the ring.
We contacted two people very close to the situation, one who noted that officially nothing was 100% but that they would be surprised if it happened. The other noted that Punk got the official word yesterday after pretty much being told on Monday and described it as Vince just being in one of his moods. Punk and Sonnen had become friends, which makes sense given that Punk is a pro wrestler who overachieved from a marketing standpoint including by learning from MMA, and Sonnen is an MMA fighter who overachieved from a marketing standpoint from learning from pro wrestling. Sonnen had asked Punk to accompany him since it was in Chicago and Punk and Sonnen both got it cleared. But when it became a news story, WWE had a change of heart.
--Tickets for the WrestleMania go-home Raw on 3/26 in Atlanta at the Phillips Arena go on sale on 1/28 at 10 a.m.
--This week's Entertainment Weekly has a story on a day in the life of Stephanie McMahon. WWE is trying to push her as a major executive as Sports Business Journal also had a very short deal on her goals for 2012 (eliminate bullying, which I'm sure some will find amusing, and getting the network going). In the piece, she listed the names Roddy Piper, Iron Sheik and Dusty Rhodes as being part of Legends House.
--Our weekend edition of Wrestling Observer radio will be up very late tonight covering a ton of topics, including the Anthony Johnson weight issue, Ric Flair and the WWE Hall of Fame, the ESPN piece and more.
--The much talked about ESPN 2 Outside the Lines piece on UFC fighters pay airs at 10 a.m. Eastern and 7 a.m. Pacific tomorrow morning.
--Dana White has been ripping on the piece for days on Twitter, and did so again yesterday, saying they would release a video later this week that will bury ESPN. "I want nothing to do with ESPN's sneaky ****. E:60 and Outside the Lines and all their crock of **** shows. These guys come out with an agenda," he said to MMAJunkie.com yesterday. He also ripped on ESPN using Ken Shamrock on the piece, noting Shamrock owes him money (Shamrock was ordered to pay UFC's legal fees when a lawsuit he failed against him for cutting him with one fight left on his contract didn't go his way, which were $175,000).
He also said that he rebuilt Ken Shamrock's knee (UFC paid for Shamrock's needed knee surgery) and fronted him $60,000 when they brought him back in 2006 and paid him $2.5 million for his two fights that year with Tito Ortiz.. White claimed the company pays in the 50% range of total income to fighters, in the same range as major sports leagues.
--At last night's WWE show in Yakima, even though it was a Raw show, Daniel Bryan worked it (because he's from the area) and beat Jamie Noble, who works as a producer/agent on the road. Skip Sheffield is also on the weekend Raw tour as Ryback. Brodus Clay was super over.
--WWE Hall of Fame tickets are likely to be sold out by the end of the day today. As of this morning, all lower level seats were gone and the only thing left are balcony upper level in the third price tier. (thanks to Matt Cail)
--The WWE house show scheduled for 1/22 in College Station, TX has been canceled.
--Which of these names most deserves a spot on the Hall of Fame ballot?
Iron Sheik 30.9%
Larry Zbyszko 24.7%
Don Muraco 16.0%
Peter Maivia 8.0%
Rocky Johnson 5.6%
Bob Orton Jr. 5.2%
Stan Stasiak 2.5%
Jerry Blackwell 2.5%
Cyclone Negro 2.2%
Bob Roop 1.9%
Victor Rivera 0.3%
Blackjack Lanza 0.3%
--And of these
Paul Orndorff 31.4%
Greg Valentine 23.7%
Kevin Von Erich 8.0%
John Tenta 6.7%
Tommy Rich 6.4%
Ken Patera 5.8%
Badnews Allen 4.8%
David Von Erich 3.8%
King Kong Bundy 3.8%
John Studd 1.9%
Dory Dixon 1.3%
--And of these
Tito Santana 24.5%
Jun Akiyama 24.1%
Ron Garvin 14.6%
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 9.2%
Shinjiro Otani 6.5%
Rayo de Jalisco Jr. 2.7%
Animal Hamaguchi 2.3%
Yoshiaki Yatsu 1.9%
Umanosuke Ueda 1.5%
Mascara Ano 2000 1.5%
Kuniaki Kobayashi 0.8%
--How many buys do you expect tonight's UFC 142 to get?
Less than 100,000 9.1%
More than 401,000 2.7%
I don't see how it's even remotely possible this will do 300,000. Two guys who have never drawn on top, no countdown show that anyone but hardcores saw, and that's not even bringing up the football game will destroy it among any fringe fans.
--Poll on Impact
49.7% of those responding didn't see the show
--Josh Nason interviews Joseph Benavidez
, a training partner of Chad Mendes, about tonight's fight with Jose Aldo.
--WWE is looking for a new announcer (to take the spot of the recently departed Jack Korpela). The job will require studio work in Stamford Monday through Wednesday as traveling about once a month. Bilingual is preferable (all you aspiring WWE wrestlers and announcers--learn Spanish in school, you will be very happy you did if you ever get there, also take gymnastics). All applications must be submitted
by Wednesday. Include a bio, resume, salary info. You must include a video reading two different 30 second scripts.
This is Script No. 1:
"Hey New York City, WWE is coming to you...live Sunday March 18th at Madison Square Garden. Be there for only 15 dollars. Her's your chance to experience an event like no other. John Cena will battle the demented superstar Kane. See what happens live. Coming to you live at Madison Square Garden, it's the Raw world tour, Sunday March 18th! Get your tickets now starting at 15 dollars! Be part of the ultimate live experience."
Script No. 2:
"Hello San Diego. the WWE and all the superstars are coming here Monday, February 13th! And there's nothing like being at a WWE Event live! Here's your chance to see all your favorite Superstars up close and personal. John Cena will battle Kane in a last man standing match! Be part of the excitement as you'll never forget the WWE live experience! Coming to you live in San Diego it's WWE Raw supershow! Get your tickets not starting at 20 dollars! WWE live. Be there."
--A match with Ryan Jimmo vs. Karlos Vemola scheduled for 1/20 in Nashville for the UFC show has been canceled when Jimmo was injured. Another injury on that show is to Reza Madadi, who was to face Fabricio Camoes. They are looking to find an opponent for Camoes.
--WSU on 1/21 in Stirling, NJ at the Long Hill Community Center featuring Jillian Hall vs. Traci Brooks with Molly Holly as referee for a DVD taping of women's wrestling.
--We mentioned that in the airing of UFC 136 on Fuel, they edited out Chael Sonnen's loser leaves town interview. However, in the Best of 2011 special that airs all the time on Fuel, they showed the promo in a package building his chase for the title and his No. 1 contender's match with Mark Munoz on 1/28. (thanks to Mike DeGeorge and others)
--Chuck Langerman is already back with the trivia. He noted his eyesight after surgery is improving every day, and he will be able to drive starting next week. Today's trivia subject is Gabe Sapolsky, who is running tonight's Evolve show, the final event at the Asylum Arena. Sapolsky graduated from Brookline High in Brookline, MA in 1990. Brookline is one of the best academic schools in the state, with an alumni list that includes Mike Wallace (class of 1935), Michael Dukakis (1951), Conan O'Brien (1981), and Theo Epstein (1991). For those who don't know, Epstein is the President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs.
Sapolsky has a BA in Communications from Temple University in Philadelphia. He found out about ECW when reading in the Wrestling Observer that Tod Gordon was starting a small independent promotion in Philadelphia and he wrote a letter to Gordon asking if he could do the program for the show, and the rest is history. He started selling the programs, and soon was working in the ECW office, which was located inside the Carver W. Reed pawn shop that was Gordon's main business.
When the ECW mole story broke, the offices were moved to Sapolsky's apartment. His deal with Paul Heyman is he could keep whatever profits he made selling the programs. Even when ECW started drawing much bigger crowds and Sapolsky was making real money doing the program, Heyman never attempted to change the handshake deal, even when Heyman's business associates wanted to take the program from him because they felt he was making too much money and the company should make the money instead.
--Mascarita Dorada vs. Demus 3:16 was added to the Pro Wrestling Superstars show on 1/28 in Los Angeles. If you purchase a ticket in one of the first three rows, you will get a free autograph or photo op with Dorada. This does not apply to the PWG show, where Dorada, considered by many as the best mini currently in the business will also be appearing.
--Dick "Destroyer" Beyer will be at the WrestleReunion convention selling copies of his autobiography for the first time.
--EWF's annual X-8 tournament takes place on 3/17 in Converse, IN at the Borderman Gym. Drake Younger, Sugar Dunkerton, Gregory Iron and Troy Miller have all been announced.
--All Pro Wrestling tonight at the garage in Hayward, CA with the traditional January Pick the Winner 20 man Battle Royal. Fans buy a raffle ticket for $1 and when their number is called, you pick a wrestlers' name out of a hat. The wrestler they pick, if they win the Battle Royal, you get a $50 gift certificate from Best Buy. Also tonight, A.J, Kirsch & Eric Watts from Tough Enough face Corvus & Omega and APW & Vendetta tag champs Dos Perfectos defend against Dalton Frost & Jody Kristofferson.
--Wreck MMA on 4/20 at Casino Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec.
--Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling on 1/28 in South Boston, VA at the Halifax County High School features Matt Hardy, Lex Luger, The Barbarian, Ricky Morton and more.