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:
--Yet another new idea for a pro wrestling tournament
--Arena Mexico 56th anniversary show
--Update on All Japan Champion Carnival tournament
--Update on NOAH tag team tournament
--Tatsumi Fujinami 40th anniversary show
--A look at highlights of Fujinami's career
--Two Japanese sports legends meet in the ring for the first time
--President of one of the biggest wrestling companies in the world works as a heel manager on a minor show
--Former MMA heavyweight champion signs to make pro wrestling debut next month
--Update on Buff Bagwell's injuries
--Famous anniversaries in recent weeks
--The latest ECW revival attempt
--U.S. Olympic trials
--New books coming out
--Former WWE wrestler now fighting MMA
--ROH back on the road
--Lockdown PPV estimates
--PPV main event being tried out on the road
--The last episode and the future of Ring Ka King
--Looking at taping TNA television on the road
--Update on James Storm
--Notes on upcoming TNA television
--TNA house show notes
--Update on Nick Diaz
--UFC signs a champion from Bellator and details behind it
--Update on MMA legalization in New York
--A look at the next Fuel live special
--Update on B.J. Penn
--In hindsight, what actually killed Strikeforce as an independent group
--Decorated wrestler who once beat Ben Askren signs with UFC
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Coverage of one of the biggest fights in Bellator history
--Fedor's next fight updated
--Gina Carano tag teams with The Rock
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.
Thursday's News, Notes & Links
--An update on Buff Bagwell is that he is in need of neck surgery since his neck was broken in two places in a car accident on Monday night. TMZ.com ran a tape of the 911 call made by Bagwell's wife after he called her up while driving saying he thought he was about to have a seizure. She called and told them what her husband had said, and said that it could have been because of a change in his medication, saying he's trying to cut back on pain pills.
--There was testimony in Sacramento yesterday for Assembly Bill 2100 that would prevent MMA promoters from negotiating merchandising rights with fighters that would continue after the term of the contract, prevent such things as championship clauses (where the champion is tied to the promotion until he loses the title), rights to match offers (where the promotion can keep a contracted fighter if they choose by matching an existing outside offer) and make it illegal for a promotion to keep any sponsors for sponsoring fighters. It would also tax all PPV revenues on events in the state 5%, the same percentage that caused UFC to stay out of Oklahoma and threaten to sue the state. UFC sent people including Ronda Rousey, Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, Marc Ratner and attorney Laurence Epstein to testify against the bills, but it was still passed by a 5-3 margin. Ironically, the most persuasive speaker of all was Frank Shamrock, who announces for Zuffa-owned Strikeforce, but testified for the passage of the bill. Also testifying for the bill was former UFC fighter Antonio McKee.
--An article on Globo.com quoting Dana White saw him note that Anderson Silva was insistent on fighting in Brazil, feeling Chael Sonnen needed to be taught a lesson in that country. But White insisted it be held in Las Vegas, because they couldn't run it in Rio outdoors and didn't want the biggest fight of the year to be held in a place where the buy rate would be minimized and at an indoor arena.
--Chandler Jones of Syracuse University, the younger brother of Jon Jones, is expected to be chosen in the first round of the NFL draft. There is a story on the Jones brothers at the yahoo.com web site in the NFL news section.
--CNN ran a story today on immigration and interviewed pro wrestlers Blue Demon Jr. and R.J. Brewer (who does an anti-immigration gimmick that has gotten an unbelievable amount of media publicity). (thanks to Shiloh Robinson)
--The new issue of Sports Illustrated had a scorecard note regarding Kurt Angle not going to the Olympic trials as well as Rulon Gardner not making weight to compete.
--The Press-Enterprise in Riverside County at http://www.pe.com/iguide/movies-and-tv/
has a story on Lisa "Tara" Varon, who is from Rialto, CA and will be on the 5/4 TNA show in Ontario. The story said that Varon would be facing another California girl, Winter. I'm not sure. England, Luneberg, Germany, California, all kind of the same I guess.
--To show how well the India based Super Fight League is really doing, for its third show, headlined by Bobby Lashley vs. James Thompson, on 5/6 in New Delhi, they are running IGI Stadium and giving all the tickets away. They sold virtually no tickets for the first two shows.
--There is no live Bellator show tomorrow night. Instead they have a special at 8 p.m. on MTV 2 running down the season so far and previewing the last few weeks. They will return on 5/4.
--The Maiquel Falcao vs. Andreas Spang fight with the two guys who had the pull-apart on Friday, will take place on 5/25.
--TNA returns to MCU Park in Brooklyn for a house show on 7/21. They've run the stadium the last few summers, drawing their two biggest house shows crowds in the U.S. of the last two days for the BaseBrawl concept with wrestling and fireworks.
--Bill Moody (Paul Bearer) on his Facebook page said that he wasn't called about doing Raw until Saturday morning. He said he was happy to be back, but has no intention of gong back full-time for any wrestling company right now.
--Urijah Faber's mother stopped a burglary recently by pulling out a pellet gun, which looked like a real gun and scared the robber into submission until the police arrived.
Will Silva vs. Sonnen on 7/7 beat Mania's North American numbers?
Will Extreme Rules beat the numbers Survivor Series got?
Will Jim Miller vs. Nate Diaz beat a 2.1 rating?
Going to be some very unhappy people if this turns out to be the case.
Who should face Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam?
C.M. Punk 43.1%
Randy Orton 25.3%
John Cena 6.9%
--Crossfire Entertainment presents wrestling at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville on 5/19 headlined by Matt Hardy vs. MVP, Reby Sky vs. Jessicka Havok, Kevin Sullivan vs. Hammerjack, Cassidy Riley & Chase Stevens vs. David Young & Sigmon, Jerry Lynn vs. Kid Kash, Brian Christopher vs. Wolfie D in a loser leaves town match, and Shane Douglas vs. Arrick Andrews.
--NZWPW in Ngairo, New Zealand on Saturday: Nic Silver b Tuff & Soove, Lilli Lane b Scarlett, Ben Mana b Danny Jacobs, Misty b Evie, Elias b Brother T, Johnny Idol & James Shaw & Dal Knox & Brian St. James & Jakob Cross b D-Hoya & Taylor Adams & Mikey Rave & Liam Fury & Travis Banks. (thanks to Steve Ogilvie)
--WPW from Sunday in Santa Ana, CA before 130 fans: Jalapeno Lopez b Microbio-DQ, Red Spider b Pantera Azteca, Ramtha & Cyanuro b Private Frankie Segura Jr. & Sgt. Sean Stryker, Super Nino won four-way over Lee Steel, Terremoto and Angel Guerrero Jr., Lil Cholo & Mariachi Loco b War Hawg & Drew Sheppard (formerly Jacob Novak in WWE), Cyberram b Super Nino (thanks to Roy Lucier)
--CMLL from Monday night in Puebla: Asturiano & Black Tiger & Lestat b Espiritu Maligno & Fuerza Chicana & Sauron, Nitrito & Pequeno Olimpico & Pequeno Black Warrior b Bam Bam & Mini Fantasy & Pequeno Halcon, Fuego & El Hijo del Fantasma & Sagrado b Cancerbero & El Hijo del Signo & Raziel, Black Warrior & Blue Panther & La Sombra b Dragon Rojo Jr. & Rey Escorpion & Ultimo Guerrero, Volador Jr. b La Mascara (thanks to Kris Zellner)
--AAA Monday night in Nuevo Laredo: Anubus & Mini Laredo Kid b Mini Histeria & Mini Psicosis, Fabi Apache & Hiedra b Poly Star & Sexy Star, Fenix & Relampago & Super Fly b Dark Dragon & Rio Bravo & Tito Santana, Sobredosis b Perseus to keep Northern Mexico middleweight title, Cibernetico & Daga & Dark Ozz b Psycho Circus (thanks to Kris Zellner)
--After selling the building out last month, El Hijo del Santo's Todos X Todos promotion returns to Juan de la Barrera Gym on Sunday for a show headlined by Santo & Huracan Ramirez vs. Angel Blanco Jr. & Fuerza Guerrera.
--Los Payasos Tricolor vs. Damian 666 & Bestia 666 & X-Fly headline Friday night at the Auditorio in Tijuana.
--There is a Lucha Libre show on Saturday night in El Paso at the County Coliseum headlined by Atlantis & Mascara Dorada vs. Mephisto & Ultimo Guerrero.
--There is a photo in the 4/30 issue of Star Magazine showing John Morrison wrestling with Jessica Alba on page 48. (thanks to Sam Batts)
(thanks to Paul Kacprzak)
--Joey Villasenor vs. Donnie Liles headlines Jackson's MMA on 6/2 at the Hard Rock in Albuquerque.