We're also looking for reports from the Smackdown brand house shows on Thursday night in Honduras, Friday night in Panama City, as well as the TNA shows on Friday night in Upper Marlboro, MD and Saturday night in Hagerstown, MD. Tuesday has Smackdown and NXT being taped in Seattle with the supposed final NXT episode of the season, plus another Impact taping.
This Week's Observer: Road To Wrestlemania, Next Year's Event, Chamber Happenings
An update on WrestleMania, coverage of the latest twists and turns in the WWE storyline, coverage of the Elimination Chamber show and a look at the biggest drawing cards in wrestling history including top ten by decades and year-by-year dating back more than 100 years are among the lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
We also talk about WrestleMania 29 coming to New Jersey, UFC's first show on Fuel, the second All Together Now show, more notes on the last New Japan PPV show, an update on the Brodus Clay situation, WWE awards, post WrestleMania and more.
The new issue is up on the web site right now, as is a back issue from 1994.
We look at the Mania card so far, as well as updates on where the show is going from here, how the idea of this year's Mania has changed and why, more on Shaquille O'Neal, Rock vs. Cena build, booking of Cena, the injury fallout of the Raw Battle Royal, why there was a Battle Royal, as well as complete coverage of the Chamber show. We've got match-by-match coverage with star ratings as well as poll results from the show.
We also look at WrestleMania coming to New Jersey next year, the possibility of WrestleMania 30 in Madison Square Garden, how the concept of WrestleMania has changed in recent years, a look at why this is the riskiest Mania show ever, as well as a look at the history of major outdoor shows in the New York market, dating back to Roosevelt Stadium and Shea Stadium events of the 60s and 70s.
We also look at UFC's first major full card on Fuel. We look at the Jake Ellenberger vs. Diego Sanchez main event and how that impacts the lightweight division, three rounds vs. five rounds, the first Ellenberger vs. Carlos Condit fight, what the ratings meant, how Spike's counter programming did and match-by-match coverage.
We also have more on Dwayne Johnson's upcoming projects, updates on Journey 2 at the box office, C.M. Punk vs. Chris Brown, new WWE movies, injury updates, WWE draft, another WWE arrest, perceptions about a guy not working a full schedule due to frequent injuries and comparing how full his schedule really has been compared to sacred cows who get no flack, return of Wrestlefest, lots of WWE awards, Batista talks more about returning, why Kharma hasn't been on television, post-Mania shows, Trish Stratus talks Mania, lots of new signees, pop culture quiz with WWE stars and WWE wrestler wins national championship in another sport.
We also have a look at the biggest drawing cards in the history of pro wrestling. First, we look at who the biggest consistent over the course of the decade drawing cards were for pro wrestling for every decade of its major existence. Who is the only man in history who was the biggest drawing card in pro wrestling over two straight decades. Who was the only person to be the most consistent draw of their decade for the course of the decade who mostly wrestled outside the U.S? Who are the biggest drawing cards in history who are not in the Hall of Fame?
We also look back at forgotten historical names and where they stand, as well as a look at how the top draws of some periods are all in the Hall of Fame, yet the modern wrestlers are having a tougher time getting in, as well as why.
We look at what wrestlers broke all-time records for big show drawing over the course of the year, dating back to the original records of Jim Londos. We look at how Rock and Steve Austin completely differ from the legendary draws like Londos, Bill Longson, Bruno Sammartino, Rocca and others. We look at what wrestler was the biggest draw of his time period without ever winning the world heavyweight title.
We look at what wrestlers had the longest tenure of being major draws. We look at who actually had the biggest drawing year in history, as well as the top draw each year dating back 100 years. We also look at what wrestler was the biggest draw in the world for the most years, and the answer isn't Bruno Sammartino or Hulk Hogan. We also look at what four active wrestlers have had multiple years of being the biggest drawing card in the business, as well as what modern wrestlers seemingly have already cracked Hall of Fame threshold numbers.About The Observer
The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe. Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world. Everywhere from Wall Street to the major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.
If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today. With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today. Just sent your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, card number and expiration date to
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You can also subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228. More On The New Observer: Ratings, Mexico, Tons More
We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week. We also have how every segment on Impact did as far as gaining and losing viewers, as well as who did what in the key segments and who appeals to what. 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 reviews.
We also hit on the following:
--CMLL builds its first major match of the year
--Two title changes in CMLL
--First week of latest Arena Mexico championship tournament
--CMLL competing with AAA's next major show
--Top wrestling star sentenced to 15 years in jail and why
--Raven and Tommy Dreamer in an ECW vs. Mexico main event
--Update on Dragon Gate WrestleMania shows
--A show worth going out of your way to see
--Upcoming All Japan major matches including a match of two legends for the first time highlights the early part of the year
--More changes being talked about in New Japan including a big one
--G-1 Climax tournament plans and how that relates to WWE's Japan plans
--Late 90s legends from another sport square off for pro wrestling world title
--Latest star from another sport being given a big push in his pro wrestling debut
--Another famous MMA star goes into pro wrestling
--The end of the SMASH promotion featuring two former WWE stars going at it in the main event
--Rex King is still alive and details of his career and what happened
--Stars from Mexico and former WWE stars converge for some major arena house shows in the U.S. next month
--A 25-year-vet announces immediate retirement, canceling all future bookings
--What ever happened to the original network representative character
--WrestleReunion on WrestleMania weekend
--Retired 63-year-old legend coming back for one last match
--Former WWE television announcer gets suspended from his new job
--Sinclair Broadcasting plans and how this relates to ROH television coverage
--More ROH upcoming iPPV bouts as well as coverage of its most recent show
--Update on Jesse Sorensen
--PPV numbers updated
--Changes in TNA with Vince Russo gone and what the atmosphere is like
--Kurt Angle with more realistic approach to trying out for the Olympics
--Why nobody is taking Angle seriously, including those closest to him
--Update on Ring Ka King, latest numbers and notes on the weekend shows
--Upcoming movies with TNA wrestlers
--Former TNA wrestler gets married
--TNA star does angle on the road with star of the WCW glory years
--A look at the TNA weekend house shows
--Notes on UFC 144
--Advance ticket sales to all the major upcoming UFC shows
--Update on Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen and why it may not be held at a stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil after all
--More on the return to Zuffa of Nate Marquardt
--UFC looking at heavily promoting Tate vs. Rousey
--Lorenzo Fertitta bids $1.1 million for sports collectible
--Update on the health of King Mo
--How UFC's audience average on Versus compared with car racing and the NHL
--Lots of new UFC fights announced
--Lots of former UFC names on indie scene including a rematch of a UFC championship
--Former champion pro wrestler at 45 does MMA fight against the daughter of a famous celebrity
--50-year old former UFC heavyweight champion coming out of retirement
--All women's promotion announces its debutThe Most Popular Observers Ever
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories of the past 11 years you are most interested in and we'll send the issue with the best coverage of that story. We've got coverage of every major PPV event and world wide spectacular, every major star switching promotions, histories of companies like FMW, Rings and New Japan, retirement and obit issues of every major star who fits into those descriptions over the past 11 years, as well as our biggest issue every year, the annual awards issue, and our most controversial issue of every year, the Hall of Fame issue.
Our most requested issues in our history are:
*November 17, 1997 (full details of everything leading to the most famous wrestling match finish of modern times at the Survivor Series plus a history of in-ring double-crosses)
*December 21, 1998 (the complete Vince McMahon-Bret Hart conversation right before the Survivor Series match so you'll know exactly what was said--the conversation played in edited form both on the inaugural broadcast of Confidential as well as in Wrestling with Shadows, but everything that was said between the two about the match that was going to take place that same night)
*August 1, 1994 (the most detailed coverage anywhere of the Vince McMahon steroid trial, an issue praised in numerous newspaper article and Sex, Lies and Headlocks)
*March 26, 2001 (death of WCW and history of pro wrestling on the Turner networks)
*October 22, 2001 (why the adult audience has left pro wrestling in such great numbers and what needed to have been done to save them)
*July 8, 1991 (Ric Flair leaves WCW as world champion/Zahorian steroid trial)
*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
*May 13, 2002 (the life story of the most incredible pro wrestling career ever, a look at Lou Thesz, in one of the largest issues of our
*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
*February 3, 2003 (Part two on The Sheik including thoughts from people who worked with him and where he stands historically)
*March 24, 2003 (history of the WWWF title, inside behind the Sammartino, Backlund and Backlund era)
*April 21, 2003 (history of WWF continues with the expansion nationally, the death of the regional territories and the rise of Hulk Hogan)
*May 12, 2003 (The life and death of Elizabeth and the rise of fall of Lex Luger)
*June 9, 2003 (Part 1 of history of WWF vs. WCW wars and what many say was the greatest year in U.S. wrestling; plus a look at Fred Blassie)
*June 16, 2003 (Freddie Blassie through the eyes of his biggest rivals and friends)
*July 28, 2003 (Part 2 of the history of the WWF vs. WCW war and the plans to make new superstars in the early 90s, what happened, and the night where the three biggest wrestling companies in the world combined for a joint show and what happened)
*August 25, 2003 (2003 Hall of Fame issue with huge profiles on the controversial career of Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit as well as historical features on Earl Caddock and Francisco Flores)
*September 22, 2003 (Part 3 of the history of the WWF vs WCW war with the seeds that caused the collapse of the industry in the 90s, Zahorian trial, Gulf War controversy, Flair leaves WCW while holding world title and much more)
*October 27, 2003 (The fascinating life of Stu Hart plus the story of Road Warrior Hawk)
*January 19, 2004 (2003 Awards issue)
*February 2, 2004 (History of Toronto wrestling, Jack Tunney life story, Royal Rumble and Battle Royal history)
*February 23, 2004 (History of Guerrero family with Eddy's win over Brock Lesnar)
*March 1, 2004 (History of WWF continues with the period that brought the company down in early 1992, the mistakes, the real stories and how the business changed)
*March 8, 2004 (History of Wrestlemania, its greatest matches and best and worst shows as voted both by wrestlers and non-wrestlers and Wrestlemania history books)
*July 5, 2004 (A look behind the scenes and Ric Flair's book and his background with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan)
*July 12, 2004 (A look at more on Ric Flair's book and his comments on Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and Mick Foley)
*August 16, 2004 (History of the Olympians in pro wrestling)
*August 23, 2004 (2004 Hall of Fame issue and biggest issue of the year with huge profiles on Kazushi Sakuraba, Undertaker, Bob Backlund, Masahiro Chono, Ultimo Dragon, Kurt Angle and Tarzan Lopez--this counts as one issue if you are asking for a free issue, but ordered separately, due to size, is $6 in North America and $7 overseas)
*October 4, 2004 (the life and times of Big Bossman; as well as details of the life and times of one of the most influential men world wide in pro wrestling history, Jim Barnett)
*November 15, 2004 (the full story of what happened between Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder, plus coverage of the most important week in the history of TNA)
*January 24, 2005 (2004 Awards issue, Rock and WWE part company)
*March 14, 2005 (the 50 biggest money players in the history of WWF and a look at their Hall of Fame)
*May 9, 2005 (the life and times of Chris Candido)
*June 20, 2005 (The full story behind Paul Heyman and the death of ECW, as well as coverage of One Night Stand, Hardcore Homecoming and behind the scenes of both shows)
*July 18, 2005 (death of Shinya Hashimoto and his records with a look at the fall of New Japan, the Matt Hardy angle, tons of WWE firings, Cornette firing in detail as well as problems of a WWE developmental territory in our biggest news issue of the year which is a double-sized issue and would be $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*August 24, 2005 (2005 Hall of Fame issue with career profiles of Paul Heyman, HHH and Freebirds plus debut of MMA Hall of Fame)
*September 12, 2005 (History of Mid South Wrestling)
*October 10, 2005 (Life and Times of the Ultimate Warrior)
*November 21, 2005 (Life and Times of Eddy Guerrero and Crusher, double issue $6 on its own and $7 overseas)
*December 5, 2005 (The Eddy Guerrero special issue, double issue $6 on its own, $7 overseas)
*January 9, 2006 (The life and times of Superstar Billy Graham, plus New Year's Eve 2005 coverage)
*January 16, 2006 (2005 Awards double issue, $6 or $7 overseas)
*April 3, 2006 (Story of Ann Calvello and the history of Roller Derby--many called this the best issue of the Observer ever)
*April 10, 2006 (Behind the scenes at the 2006 Wrestlemania/Hall of Fame week)
*July 24, 2006 (The History of the Von Erichs and World Class Championship Wrestling--the most unreal story ever in wrestling)
*September 4, 2006 (The Rise and Fall of Kurt Angle; 2006 Hall of Fame inductions of Eddie Guerrero, Paul Bowser, Masakatsu Funaki, Aja Kong and Hiroshi Hase including tons of wrestling history around the world from the 20s through the 60s, the evolution of working to not working in Japan, and a look at Guerrero in hindsight, double issue $6 or $7 overseas)
*October 9, 2006 (A look back nine years later at the life and legacy of Brian Pillman with tons of inside information about what made him tick as his real objectives)
*November 15, 2006 (History of WCW part one, Eric Bischoff's book and how the industry was changed forever)
*November 20, 2006 (History of WCW part two, Why Jim Ross left WCW, How Bischoff changed the company, signing of Hulk Hogan, Beginning of Nitro, Jesse Ventura, Brian Pillman, Chris Jericho and signing Wrestlemania planned celebrity away)
*November 27, 2006 (History of WCW part three, When Bischoff challenged McMahon to fight; Truth and fiction around Bret Hart signing with WCW and why it didn't click)
*December 6, 2006 (details behind Pride's offers to sell promotion and Part four of History of WCW part four, Hogan-Goldberg match and why there was no rematch, WCW loses NBC network deal in 1999 and the real reasons the company fell apart)
*January 22, 2007 (2006 Awards issue, double issue $7 on its own, $8 overseas)
*February 14, 2007 (Life and Times of Bam 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.
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 52 .
If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.
We now have available personally autographed copies of Tributes II, our latest book, as well as a DVD that comes with it talking more about the subjects in the book. The book covers the life stories of Lou Thesz, Wahoo McDaniel, Elizabeth, Fred Blassie, Road Warrior Hawk, Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, Johnny Valentine, Davey Boy Smith, Terry Gordy, Owen Hart, Stu Hart, Gorilla Monsoon, The Sheik and Tim Woods.
To get all of those biographies as back issues of the Observer would be a $60 value today. This is a collection of some of the best Observer articles of the past several years in a hardcover, full-color format that is 239 pages. There is also a foreword by Bret Hart. The book price is $12.95 plus $3.50 for shipping costs in the U.S., $10 for shipping costs to Canada and $12 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.Monday News, Notes & Links
--As noted earlier, John Cena has already flown from Daytona Beach to Portland tonight to be at Raw, so he won't be able to be the starter at the Daytona 500 after all, which has been delayed a couple of times so far due to rain. Tonight is apparently too big of a show to miss.
--Brian Kendrick has been officially released by TNA.
--Nothing on Fuel today, but tomorrow's Fuel schedule is Best of Pride at 7 p.m., a replay of the prelims from Saturday's UFC at 8 p.m. and UFC Tonight at 10 p.m.
--During bowling's U.S. Open, whenever big pro wrestling fan Pete Weber scored a strike, they played HHH's theme music. He won the title throwing a strike on his last throw to win 215-214 in the championship game and they played the song for about three minutes. He also started yelling at a fan who was heckling him. Weber was the oldest bowler to ever win and used to do the RVD thumbs when RVD was a big deal in wrestling. (Thanks to Garry Kamansky)
--UFC has announced a press conference for Tuesday, March 6 at 11 a.m. at Radio City Music Hall in New York to promote the 5/5 show at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ. They'll be back to doing press on how silly it is that UFC is banned in New York. Appearing at the open to the public press conference will be Dana White, Nate Diaz, Jim Miller, Pat Barry, Lavar Johnson, Josh Koscheck, Johny Hendricks, Rousimar Palhares and Alan Belcher. Tickets go on sale to Fight Club members on 3/7 at 10 a.m.. and the Internet newsletter presale is 10 a.m. on 3/8. Tickets go on sale to the public on 3/9. Tickets are priced at $250, $150, $100, $75 and $50.
--Todd Duffee, Trevor Prangley and Baga Agaev have all signed four fight deals with Sanjay (not to be confused with Sonjay although Sonjay was likely named after Sanjay) Dutt's Super Fight League promotion which debuts on 3/11 with a James Thompson vs. Bob Sapp main event. The promotion will be airing its shows live on YouTube and will focus on building Indian talent and being an India based promotion.
--Crossfire Entertainment of Nashville has notified us there is a fraudulent ticket operation going on in the city. They said that there have been people who printed up free tickets for their 3/17 show at the Fairgrounds in Nashville and note that there are no free tickets to the show because $2 from every ticket goes to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Appearing on the show are Ron Simmons, Fit Finlay vs. Chavo Guerrero, Jerry Lynn vs. Kid Kash, Brian Christopher & ? vs. PG-13 plus Maria Kanellis and Mike Bennett.
--ROH has a TV taping at the Du Burns Arena in Baltimore on Saturday night to tape four hours of television with Jay Lethal, Maria Kanellis, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Mark & Jay Briscoe, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin, Kevin Steen, Mike Bennett, Roderick Strong, Michael Elgin, Kyle O'Reilly, The Young Bucks, Adam Cole, Kenny King, Tommaso Ciampa and more appearing.
--The weigh-ins for Saturday night's Strikeforce show with Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey will be 5 p.m. local time in Columbus, OH at Convention Center Hall C. There will be an autograph singing at 4:30 p.m. with Josh Barnett, Daniel Cormier and Gilbert Melendez.
--Tickets for Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Miguel Cotto on 5/5 go on sale tomorrow at $1,500, $1,250, $600, $300 and $200. You can only get two tickets at $200 with an order. With the casinos having bought most of the tickets, there are likely not a lot of tickets available.
--The Dragon Gate trios match on the 3/31 WrestleMania weekend show in Miami Beach at the Deauville Beach Resort is official as Cima & Ricochet & Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Low Ki & BxB Hulk & Akira Tozawa.
--C4 Wrestling from Saturday night in Montreal before 75 fans: Razan b Ryan Rogan, Jae Rukin b Michael Von Payton, Twiggy b Addy Starr-DQ, Cecil Nyx & Chaz Lovely won four-team over Michael Style & Shayne Hawke, Incredible Hunks and Lucky Sabiti & HC Ryder, Darkko b Pat Skillz, Mathieu St. Jacques b Player Uno, Josh Alexander b Tyson Dux, Sebastian Suave b Buxx Belmar, Stu Grayson b Sexxy Eddy, Mike Baily & Rhino b Kevin Steen & Franky the Mobster (thanks to Dave Musgrave)
--IWA East Coast on 3/3 in Nitro, WV headlined by Tommy Dreamer vs. Mad Man Pondo
--Chad Mendes, Mike Pyle, George Sotiropolous and Arianny Celeste will be appearing at EB Games in Brisbane, Australia, tomorrow from 4-6 p.m.
--ECWA on 3/3 in Newark, DE at the Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club headlined by Papadon vs. Johnny Silver.
--Vendetta Pro Wrestling on 3/17 in Santa Maria, CA at Lakeview Junior High School with Chris Masters, A.J. Kirsch, Gangrel, B-Boy and el Hijo de Rey Misterio.
--XFC announced a 4/13 show that will air live on HDNet from Jackson, TN's Oman Arena, featuring Felice Herrig vs. Patricia Vidonic as one of the main matches.
--Danish Pro Wrestling from yesterday in Horreby, Denmark before 500 fans: FNW b Rob Cage, Babyface Davies d Killer Karlsson, Kool Krede d Tito Santana (managed by Traci Brooks), Billy Gunn b D, Jenny Sjodin b Rob Cage, Chaos b Tatanka. Brooks worked the show even though she had a broken rib and couldn't wrestle. (thanks to Martin Olsen)
--Tully Blanchard appears on 3/24 at the BANG tapings in Ocala, FL.
--CWE on 3/8 in Winnipeg at Cowboy's Roadhouse features Ted DiBiase Sr. making an appearance, and a main event of Tommy Dreamer & Thug Crew vs. Sons of Anarchy.