The issue is up on the site today along with a back issue from early 1995 also up on the site this week.
We also look at Linda McMahon's run for senate and the latest poll numbers as well as the unique way she's viewed that hurts her, John Cena building up the Rock match, how much WWE and UFC take in per year from television rights, Kevin Nash on why the feud with C.M. Punk fell dead in its tracks, two major new WWE hires, WWE's symposium for talent about twitter on Monday, Randy Orton movie role, who C.M. Punk bumped into in Atlanta, The Rock business empire, Evan Bourne update, Punk talks about the angle from last summer and new story on when he signed, and long-term goals.
We also have Punk talking more about Dwayne Johnson, Cult of Personality, children, marriage and his eating habits.
We also look at a new role for a wrestler formerly on the roster who is being considered to be brought back, more on the movie division, plus February business notes, PPV dates and places for the end of 2012 and a weird Cena and Ben Roethlisberger coincidence.
We also talk Arn Anderson in the Hall of Fame, WWE opening a new office, Layla's return, plus business notes from last week and highlights from all the weekend house shows.
We also have a look at how the Elimination Chamber PPV did this year as compared to years in the past.
We also have our in-depth look at the ratings of the national shows, including how every segment of Raw and Impact did, what gained in audience, and what lost in audience.
We also have our weekly features with the results from the major events held around the world over the past week, as well as reviews of the major television shows.
--Prince Devitt starts at Arena Mexico to build the champion vs. champion match this week
--One of wrestling's biggest stars in a court case and the unique twists the case has had
--Two of the biggest indie shows of the year in the U.S.
--Who will face Jose Aldo Jr. next
--Notes on why there could be some real problems at the end of the Ultimate Fighter season
The 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.
Wednesday's News, Notes & Links
--Nothing has been said regarding a replacement for Alistair Overeem
, nor do I expect an announcement in the next few days, depending on if Overeem asks to get his "B" sample tested. Overeem tested positive for testosterone at greater than a 10-1 ratio. The Olympic cutoff is 4-1. The actual ratio was not released.
Frank Mir has already released a statement saying that if Overeem can't fight, that he will gladly take the title opportunity if given. Smart man. UFC is likely to choose either Mir or Cain Velasquez for the shot and who they perceive the people most want to see in that spot will be part of the decision making process. There was a recent example (and I don't want to say it publicly who the two guys were) but both were up for a fairly recent title shot and one campaigned publicly for it, the other was told that he should as well, but he decided he needed a break and wanted to go to the beach that weekend. Guess who got the title shot. In other words, Cain needs to be avoiding the beach.
Mir may have the edge since he's coming off a submission win over Nogueira and Cain is coming off a knockout loss to Dos Santos. But the flip side is that Velasquez is probably the better fighter and even with less charisma is probably the one better for UFC business as a potential champion.
--USA Network won the ratings race last week with a 2.0 rating followed by 1.4 for Disney and 1.4 for Fox News. FX was No. 10 with a 1.0 average, Syfy was No. 14 with an 0.8 average and Spike was No. 23 with an 0.7 average. Raw last week was No. 2 and No. 3 on cable since most of the highly rated cable shows are in hiatus. The Nick Kids Choice awards were first. It was No. 7 and No. 8 in 18-34 and No. 1 and No. 3 in 18-49.
--There will be an Internet PPV interview with Vince Russo
produced by Kayfabe Commentaries on 6/1 at 8 p.m. The interview will take place before a live audience in Monroe, NJ, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. They will be selling tickets to the event and the VIP package includes a private booking seminar with Russo prior to the show. Holy shit.
Side note: I'm looking at doing our first iPPV. Plans include a physique and nutrition seminar with Roy Nelson.
--There was the most unreal article by Eric Holden at Yahoo listing 10 wrestlers from the 90s who could have been successful UFC fighters
. I don't even want to spoil it for you as it's so freaking awesome in a mind-blowing way. That's three stories in a row right there. Next thing you know, somebody is going to report the WrestleMania buy rate.
--John Cena will be a guest on the Syfy series Dream Machines later this season. A custom-built vehicle built for Cena as part of the show will be shown Monday night on Raw from Washington, DC to help promote the episode.
--There was a really strange Ric Flair interview today on Charlotte sports talk. He claimed his match with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 24 was his last match, said Vince McMahon was the best marketer alive and noted he's wearing both of his Hall of Fame rings. (Ric does love those rings, so that's a shoot.)
He said pro wrestling is The Rock's home and Hollywood is his superficial home. I wish I had a superficial home where I was making $30 million. He said he loved Brock Lesnar returning to wrestling and hopes his health holds up. He was unaware about Jay Strongbow's death and said that he hadn't seen him in ten years. (thanks to Daniel Klitts)
Will Daniel Bryan get a similar reaction at TV this coming week?
Similar, but not quite as vociferous 64.5%
No, Monday was a complete aberration 22.0%
It will be exactly the same as this week 13.5%
What did you think of RAW?
4.0% of those responding didn't see the show
--The German TV feed of Raw on Monday night was described as unbearable, with the feed constantly stuttering and cutting out. On the screen they said, "Sorry, there are feed problems from Miami." (thanks to Markus Gronemann)
--Today is the 80th anniversary of the professional wrestling debut of Yvon Robert, whose first match was April 4, 1932 in Montreal at the old Mount Royal Arena, where he made John Charette before 5,500 fans underneath the Gus Sonnenberg vs. Pat McGill main event. If you don't know the name, you probably should. Robert was a multi-time world champion and not only the biggest pro wrestling star ever in Eastern Canada, but is generally considered the second biggest star behind Maurice "Rocket" Richard (an NHL legend) in the history of Quebec sports. He was a far bigger cultural star than Hulk Hogan or Steve Austin in their wildest dreams were, and pretty much anyone short of El Santo or Rikidozan. (thanks to Pat Laprade)
--Fit Finlay makes his ROH debut on 5/12 in Toronto.
--Maven Huffman, a former WWE wrestler best known for winning the first season of Tough Enough, was arrested earlier this week on going to multiple doctors to fill prescriptions for the same ailment. Huffman is accused of going to three different doctors, getting three different prescriptions to Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, going to different pharmacies to fill them to avoid suspicion, and coming out with about 1,000 ills. He was released on $2,000 bond and is facing up to five years in prison.
--Pope D'Angelo Dinero was at the Nashville Predators vs. Minnesota Wild NHL game in Nashville last night. The team mascot Gnash challenged a fan in a Minnesota Wild jersey to an arm wrestling match. Then right before the arm wrestling match was to start, Gnash claimed his shoulder was acting up and he had to pull out, but had a replacement. Pope's entrance music played and he came out wearing a Predators jersey and won the arm wrestling match and plugged Lockdown on 4/15 in Nashville. (thanks to Chris Kunkel)
--Damien Sandow will be starting on the Smackdown brand shortly.
--NWA Smoky Mountain Wrestling on 4/7 in Bailyton, TN at North Greene High School.
--Three different promotions in Western Canada have merged, Aggression MMA, Armageddon Fighting Championships and AX Combat. the new promotion will be called Aggression Fighting Championships. The first show is 4/14 in Victoria, BC and then 6/8 in Edmonton and 6/15 in Calgary.
--FSW on 4/6 at Sam's Town in Las Vegas at 7:30 p.m. featuring Mikey Nichols and Shane Haste from Australia against Reno Scum.
--Super Fight League has its second show in Dandigarh, India headlined by Todd Duffee vs. Neil Grove, Paul Kelly vs. Ryan Healy and Alexander Shlemenko vs. Minowa-man will air live at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday morning Eastern time at Youtube.
--Hoodslam on Friday night in Oakland, CA at the Metro Operahouse headlined by Sinn Bohdi and Brian Kendrick. It's more of a comedy wrestling show.