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.
Also in this week's issue:
--One of the biggest independent crowds of the year as a gimmick that has drawn for nearly 30 years pulls another sellout
--Prince Devitt becomes a double champion
--An international promotion looks to syndicate TV in the U.S. and to run tours
--An interesting battle for Hispanic television in the U.S.
--Notes on the recent AAA TV tapings
--Coverage of the Dragon Gate USA shows over WrestleMania weekend
--Notes on the 2012 Champion Carnival tournament
--Open of the All Japan jr. heavyweight tag team tournament
--Notes on the upcoming Pro Wrestling NOAH tag team tournament
--Top worker fired for unique reasons
--Independent star signs contract overseas
--Notes on the open of this year's Japan Cup tournament
--One of the best high flyers and workers in the business set for a return in a few weeks
--More on the accidental death while watching WrestleMania
--NWA changes its leader
--Arrest of former Tough Enough winner Maven
--Notes on upcoming ROH shows
--Roderick Strong talks chair shots to the head
--Kurt Angle and his latest injuries and escapades, as well as his mother being scammed and his reaction
--Update on the Lockdown card
--TNA star gets his own TV series
--Victory Road PPV estimates
--Future of TNA twitter promotion
--Update on Ric Flair in TNA
--Changes in a major recent angle
--Update on Jeff Hardy
--A new No. 1 contenders fight in UFC
--Build of Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans
--Notes on the Atlanta PPV
--How many tickets have been sold for all the upcoming major UFC shows
--Update on King Mo's situation
--Update on the next Strikeforce show
--Name fighter says he will retire if he loses his next fight
--Who faces the Jones vs Evans winner
--Tons of new UFC matches
--Bellator second television show
--Next Bellator card
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.
Sunday's News, Notes & Links
--Bryan and I will be back with Observer radio tonight talking weekend news, WWE TV this coming week, the latest TNA news and more. It will be a heavy Q&A program since we just did a show on Friday, so if you've got questions, this is a good day to send them in to
--Wrestling Observer Live will be up on the site from 6-8 p.m. Eastern today covering WrestleMania.
--Hirooki Goto beat Hiroshi Tanahashi in the finals of the Japan Cup tournament earlier today at Korakuen Hall, so he'll get a title shot at IWGP champion Kazuchika Okada on 5/3 in Fukuoka.
--USA Today yesterday had a story on Rulon Gardner trying to make the Olympic team. As noted a few times, unlike Kurt Angle, who got a little mainstream press, but absolutely nobody within the sport of wrestling wrote a thing about him coming back or trying to make the team (for good reason as it turns out), Gardner, who is 40, is being taken seriously, although he is not favored to beat Dremiel Byers for the Greco-Roman 264 pound weight class spot. The trials are in two weeks in Iowa City. Gardner has gone from 474 pounds down to 290, but needs to make 264. The trials will be airing on NBC Sports (formerly Versus). Story is at http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/story/2012-04-07/rulon-gardner-focused-on-losing-weight-for-trials/54095060/1
--Joe Henson, a wrestling Hall of Famer who won a bronze medal at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki (where he was a teammate of Danny Hodge and Henry Wittenburg among others), passed away on Wednesday at the age of 90. He had suffered a stroke shortly after attending the NCAA finals in St. Louis a few weeks ago. In some form, either as a coach, referee or judge, Henson was part of every Olympic games from 1960 to 2000. The former Navy Captain was living in Tulsa and had been married for 68 years.
--Hacran Dias, who is 20-1 and the training partner of Jose Aldo Jr. at Nova Uniao, has signed a UFC contract. He's enough of a star in Brazil that he signed the contract live on television.
What did you think of Friday Night's Bellator?
70.7% of those responding didn't see the show. Pretty bad numbers here.
What did you think of UFC Prime Time Evans vs. Jones episode one?
68.8% of those responding didn't see the show. A good show but most people didn't watch it. It was worth seeing.
What did you think of Ultimate Fighter on Friday?
59.7% of those responding didn't see the show.
What did you think of Smackdown?
30.8% of those responding didn't see the show
Does Evans vs. Jones beat WrestleMania in North American buys?
--Results from the annual ECWA Super 8 tournament in Newark, DE from last night
Bandido Jr. b Azrieal
Gregory Iron b Kyle Mathews
Bobby Fish b Kekoa the Flyin Hawaiian
Papadon b Anthony Nese
Midnight Sensations over Rusion-DS and Flatliners
Bandido Jr. b Gregory Iron in a semifinal
Papadon b Bobby Fish in a semifinal
Mr. Ooh La La won Battle Royal
Papadon b Bandido Jr. 17:42 to win the tournament
--The Todos X Todos promotion (El Hijo del Santo's group) has a show this coming Saturday night at the Arena Theater in Houston featuring El Hijo del Santo & Huracan Ramirez & Rayo de Jalisco Jr. vs. Angel Blanco Jr. & Dandy & El Hijo del Solitario plus Mascarita Dorada & Mascarita Sagrada vs. Demus 3:16 & Pierrothito. (thanks to Kris Zellner)
--The Heartland Cup will be on 4/20 and 4/21 with HWA vs. Indy All-Stars. HWA will have Jake Crist, B.J. Whitmer, Gerome Phillips, Remi Wilkins, Dave Crist, Ron Mathis, Nick Cutler and Jesse Emerson. The Indy All-Stars will be Steve Corino, Drake Younger, D.J. Hyde, Billy Roc, Chad Collyer Michael Elgin, Super Dunkerton an Alex Colon.
--The Florida Gators had their spring football game yesterday and running back Mack Brown, after getting nailed, said, "He picked me good. He Goldberged me."
--NAWA from last night in Waxahachie, TX: Randy Wayne b Viktor Draconus, Doberman b Billy Club, Billy Club b Doberman, Cowboy Adam & Mad Dog b Li Fang & Russian Destroyer, Mad Dog & Randy Wayne b Li Fang & Russian Destroyer to win tag titles, Mike Foxx b Nobe Bryant to win Texas title (thanks to Rob Moore)
--Pro Wrestling Federation Night of Legends on this coming Saturday night in Rogersville, TN at the National Guard Armory featuring an appearance by Lex Luger. Ricky Morton is wrestling on the show.
--I Believe in Wrestling from last night in Orlando: Chasyn Rance b Tony Torres, Mister Saint Laurent b Uncanny Scherer, Tommy Vandal b Mike Reed, Lince Dorado b Aiden Altair, Jeff Brooks b Dominator, Tim Zbyszko (pro debut) b Gorilla Hanley, Ray Beez b Bobby Adams. Next show is 5/5 with the same crew.
--Millennium Pro Wrestling from last night in Simi Valley, CA: Bo Cooper b Austin Draven, Hector Canales b Dr. Alchemy, Spectre & J.J. Steel b Jimmy Mayhem & Ray Tanaka, Hellkid b Frankie Dee, Mario Banks over Logan X and Crippler Christian, Fern Owens & Hed b Those Guys, Hobo b Crayz, Super Nino b Red Spider, Nikki the New York Knockout b Lucky Pierre, Bar Room Saints b Whiskey Fists MacIntosh & Omar Slam Duncan. Next show is 5/12 with Gangrel (thanks to Dan Farren)
--World Pro Wrestling from last night in Santa Ana, CA before 90 fans: Private Frankie Segura b Microbio, Infernal & Red Rum b Amazona & Yumi, Terremoto Jr. over Ramtha and Pantera Azteca, Mariachi Loco & Little Cholo b Sancho Nation & Private Frankie Segura (thanks to Roy Lucier)