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.
Monday's News Update
--Bryan and I will be back late tonight for Wrestling Observer radio covering Raw and Impact as well as any other news. We'll also be taking e-mail questions that you can send to
--C.M. Punk did an interview in Chicago promoting last night's show and noted Paul Heyman will be a talking head on his upcoming DVD. The Heyman interview is expected to be filmed next month. Heyman and Punk will also do commentary together on some of his big matches.
--We're sorry to report on the death of Frank Etienne, a Virginia independent wrestler who worked as Prince Malik and was part of the scene in that area for 11 years. He passed away on Saturday morning after having wrestled the night before in Fort Lee, VA for Military Pro Wrestling. His cause of death is unknown but was found at his home by his roommate. He was a regular on WWE tapings as an extra when they came to that part of the country.
--Also, they are trying to raise money for his funeral in an account set up by his sister at
--This morning, WWE Extreme Rules was No. 12 on Google searches in the U.S. Usually WWE B shows don't crack the top 20 so that's a good sign. Our web traffic is pretty high today, better than most B shows but I would have expected that. Not through the roof to indicate monster numbers. Our feedback was really high. It's too early to say, but could be at the same level as the Cena vs. Punk Money in the Bank show last year.
--Scott Fishman was promoted to Senior Vice President, Executive Producer at Spike TV. Fishman is the main Spike executive working with TNA and will also be working with Bellator next year.
--Today's New York Post had an interview with Hulk Hogan. He said TNA focuses more on the in-ring product and fan reactions. "They don't want to call their talent wrestlers anymore. I get it, but we are focusing on the wrestling and really feeling the vibe." Hogan claimed there they've got a momentum shifting idea for the industry. He compared it to Hulkamania and the Austin era, saying "I have this huge monster idea that I am going to throw out there that I really think is going to change the business." The story said, "Hogan's reputation as one of the premiere minds in wrestling precedes him, and he has essentially turned TNA on its head since joining the company in 2009. Since then, Hogan has helped to unveil a new TNA Impact Zone featuring a traditional four-sided ring and develop new concepts such as the TNA Fight Night and Gut Check." "We are going to give more power to the fans, make them more involved and more important. I can't say much more, but I can say this, I'm either going to be really right on this one or really wrong. If I'm wrong, you probably won't see me again because I'll be hightailing it out of here." Hogan said that John Morrison and Chris Masters have both been in contact with TNA looking for work. He said the title needs to stay with Bobby Roode.
--Due to thousands of votes received Bret Hart will be among those discussed for a spot this year in Canada's Walk of Fame. They had a fan vote and Hart ran in second place behind Phil Hartman. Seven get added each year. (thanks to Arda Ocal)
--Edge pulled out of his 5/11 appearance for Resistance Pro Wrestling because of a change in the filming of the TV show "Haven" that he has a regular role in. He said that he would appear and do an autograph signing at a future show. The show at the Teamster Auditorium in Chicago will now include Vader and Shelly Martinez. (thanks to Terri Bey)
--Aaron Relic from last night's show is Missouri indie wrestler Ace Hawkins. Not sure who Jay Hatton was.
--35 years ago today, Superstar Billy Graham defeated Bruno Sammartino in Baltimore to win the WWWF title. It was the last time Sammartino held the title.
--El Generico vs. Sami Callihan was added to the 5/12 Evolve show in Concord, NC. Ricochet has been added to that show as well as 5/11 in Charlotte, where Ricochet faces Generico.
--Randy Orton on Brock Lesnar on Fight Club Chicago: "I'm a big Brock Lesnar fan and I've always been. We came up together about ten years ago. Me and him, we were buds. We've lost touch over the years as you usually do with guys like that, but I wish him the best. I know he's had a few health issues as of late. But he'll conquer those just like he's conquered every other obstacle that has come his way. I truly feel he's one of the few human beings I've ever met that have been able to accomplish as much as he's accomplished. He puts his mind, body and soul into it and he's gonna get it done." Interview is at www.sportstownchicago.com/fightclub
--Shogun Rua vs. Thiago Silva may be earmarked for a UFC fight this summer. Dana White when asked on Twitter who Rua faces next, responded with Thiago Silva's name, without giving a date or show.
--The Karl Amoussou vs. David Rickels welterweight tournament semifinal fight scheduled for this Friday's Bellator show has been moved back to weeks to the 5/18 show in Lake Charles, LA.
--Kurt Angle has a role in the movie "Pain and Gain," which is the movie Dwayne Johnson stars in as a jacked up bodybuilder.
--From last night's radio show talking about former football star Brian Bosworth and pro wrestling, the actual story is that WCW once offered him $50,000 to manage Sting in a PPV match, but he turned it down (thanks to Brian Hoops)
--Bellator champion Hector Lombard, he of the great physique department, has asked that he and opponent Brian Stann be random drug tested before their scheduled 8/4 fight.
What did you think of the ROH TV show?
54.7% of those responding didn't see the show
What was the best TV show of the past week?
Ultimate Fighter 14.9%
Inside MMA 2.5%
MMA Uncensored 1.1%
UFC Insiders 1.1%
Who was the fastest rising star of 2012?
Daniel Bryan 59.9%
Ronda Rousey 21.0%
Jon Jones 9.1%
James Storm 3.6%
Rory MacDonald 1.8%
--NWA Anarchy from Saturday night in Cornelia, GA for a TV taping before 125 fans: Vandal & Brandon Parker b Zach Daniels & Joey Rhymer, C.B. Gibson b Jacob Ashworth, Dany Only & Stryknyn b Bryan Casanova & Seven-DQ, Jacoby Boykins b Nemesis, Anthony Henry & Billy Buck b Bobby Moore & Andrew Pendelton III, Bo Newsome b Seth Delay Azrael b Shaun Tempers-DQ. They announced Azrael vs. Tempers on 5/12 in the same building in a cage match. (thanks to Larry Goodman)
--Netflix is listing Randy Orton: Evolution of a Predator and the Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels sit down as two of their new selections. Hart/Michaels is definitely one fascinating DVD that if you are a fan of 90s wrestling you would really be intrigued by (thanks to Brian Hoops)
--Matt Hardy was at Chicago City Limits in Schaumburg watching Extreme Rules at a sports bar. He was there for the entire show. The bar was full, more to see the show than Hardy but he took photos signed autographs and sold merchandise. He was pushing his new shirt, "Stronger Than Death - Matt Hardy," which is I guess his new slogan. On the back of the shirt is the same phrase in Spanish. (thanks to John Petersen)
--World Power Wrestling did a free show at the Anaheim marketplace on Saturday before 1,200 fans: Jalapeno Lopez b Red Spider, Frankie Segura Jr. b Cyanuro, Jarritos Guy b Red Spider, Yumi & Super Nino & Cyber Ram b Amazon & Red Rum & Lee Steel, Spiderman & Drew Molzhon & Jarritos Guy b Infernal & War Hawg & Red Spider (thanks to Roy Lucier)
--They then followed with a paid evening show before 115 fans: Jalapeno Lopez b Red Spider, Frankie Segura Jr. b Amazona, War Hawk b El Sueno, Cyber Ram won four-way dog collar match over Lee Steel, Super Nino and Angel Guerro, Red Rum & Infernal & Lil Cholo & Don Ramon DCOR Mariachi Loco & Wama & Genio & DJ Junior
--EWF on 5/4 in Covina, CA at the Knights of Columbus Hall featuring the Great Goliath Memorial Battle Royal.
--For English test cricketer Adam Hollioke makes his pro MMA debut on Saturday night against Joel Millar of Australia on the Gold Coast in Australia at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Center for Days of Glory Promotions. I don't know Hollioke and his level in cricket but this has gotten mainstream attention there. He fought once as an amateur a few weeks ago, winning via third round TKO. (thanks to James Stanios, Tim Forge and others)
--Davey Richards is doing U.K. training seminars for beginners from 8/13 to 8/17 and for advanced students from 8/20 to 8/24 at the Future Shock Training School in Manchester. For inquiries you can send to
A video is at http://youtu.be/nXSwu_TTgiA
Seminars will be at least 30 hours of training, limited to 16 students per session.
--Vendetta Pro Wrestling on 5/11 in Santa Maria, CA at Lakeview Junior High School headlined by Matt Hardy vs. Billy Blade, Shannon Ballard vs. El Hijo de Rey Misterio, Bobby Lashley vs. Rik Luxury and Shawn Daivari vs. SoCal Crazy, plus Gangrel is in action.
--Lucha Libre on Saturday in El Paso before 1,000 fans: Peluchin Maldad & Titanik & Kenish b Cometa & Centinela & ?, Metro & Hermes & SkyBird b Hurricane Hector & Baby Solis & Fussion, Marcela b Tiffany to retain the CMLL women's title, El Hijo de Rey Misterio II & Sicodelico Jr. b Magno & Ultimo Samuray, Atlantis & Mascara Dorada b Ultimo Guerrero & Cobarde-DQ. (the original show had Mil Mascaras and Canek in the semifinal, but that fell through since Mascaras usually doesn't work semis). El Hijo de Rey Misterio II got raves, much better than I (thanks to Albert Cerda)
--Former pro wrestler Jay French has written a novel about an 18-year-old getting into pro wrestling in the 70s in Florida but it's said to be an in-depth look at the business and lifestyle of wrestling in that era. The book is called "Shane Carbo, Professional Wrestling Shooter. For more info you can contact him at
I haven't seen the book yet so can't say much about it.
--Metro Pro Wrestling on Saturday night in Kansas City at the Turner Rec Center for a TV taping with nine matches including a 20 man Rumble, Bradley Charles vs. Mike Sydal and Mark Sterling vs. Ricky Cruz.
--Steel Domain Wrestling on Saturday night: Craven Knyte b Rob James, Sammy Savard b Red Lightning, Miss Natural b Heather Hallberg (the daughter of Buck Zumhofe), Renny D b Robbie Thuner, Arya Daivari b Ryan Cruz, Benjamin Sailer b Adam Pearce. Greg Gagne & Jim Brunzell appeared together as The High Flyers. Larry Zbyszko interrupted and invited everyone to come to LarryLand to see the greatest AWA champion of all-time. Former AWA announcer Mick Karch handled the interview (thanks to Brian Hoops)
--Irv Muchnick will be interviewed tomorrow on PBS in New York and New Jersey, airing on NJTV at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. and WNET at 12:30 a.m. (late Tuesday night)
--IWF from Saturday night in Nutley, NJ before 600 fans: Marc Corino b Mike Dennis, Austin Williams & Mr. Casino b Frank Scoleri & Absolutely Edwin, Kevin Knight b Roman Zachary, Phat Daddy Biggie Biggs b Dr. Hurtz, Tito Santana b Shane O'Brien in a bullrope mach, Marty Jannetty b Travis Blake. They raised $6,000 on the show for cancer research.