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.
Also in this week's issue:
--Update on Buff Bagwell and more details regarding his accident.
--Death of independent wrestler Prince Malik
--Arrest of a former wrestler Whipper Watson Jr., the son of one of Canada's two most popular wrestlers in history.
--Jury overturns the verdict against Penthouse in the case of publishing nude photos of Nancy Benoit.
--More notes on the change in time slot of Impact and the good and bad of it
--Dixie Carter talks why PPV is declining
--Is PPV declining?
--More on the deal to get Ric Flair to attend the WWE Hall of Fame
--Dixie Carter talks the Garett Bischoff push, and compares his in-ring to several wrestlers on the roster
--Hulk Hogan threatens a lawsuit but nobody backs down
--Hogan says he's got new ideas for TNA going forward, and if they don't work, he's leaving
--Story behind cutting Anarquia
--Hogan's wife changes her story, says Hogan & Ed Leslie were not gay lovers
--Kurt Angle teams with Dwayne Johnson
--Sacrifice PPV lineup
--TNA weekend touring
--Notes on the next TNA television shows
--More on Nick Diaz's lawsuit against the Nevada State Athletic Commission
--What he's looking for and can he get it
--The whole medical marijuana controversy involving Diaz
--UFC fighter arrested for a DUI
--Main matches for UFC's debut in Calgary in July
--Updated info on UFC 147 in Brazil
--Early notes on UFC 150 in Denver
--Early notes on the August UFC show on FOX including storyline that will be built for the main event
--Thoughts on Mayweather vs. Cotto
--Notes on the New Jersey show on FOX
--Notes on what UFC is scaling the gate for and potentially its second biggest gate in history for Silva vs. Sonnen
--Dana White talks about bringing Sonnen to Brazil
--Fighter turns down an offered title shot
--Update on Rampage Jackson
--Lots of new fights and changes in cards due to injuries
--Dana White talks this season of Ultimate Fighter and ratings
--White criticized for talking gambling lines
--Update on contract situation with one of biggest stars of the past decade
--Chris Jericho's schedule for the summer
--More on the Bella Twins leaving
--Return of a star in a few weeks after knee surgery
--Wrestler in trouble for working too stiff
--Indie promotion without TV draws almost 4,000 fans with nostalgia lure bringing back 90s stars
--Wrestling PPV main event in jeopardy when world champion suffers legit biceps tear
--Wrestler on Bachelor like TV show doing a unique gimmick
--Karen Jarrett returns to wrestling managing Jeff
--Update on the Champion Carnival tournament
--Finals of NOAH's annual tag team tournament
--Two Hall of Famers meet for the first tie in a singles match
--Notes on the early days of Ricky Steamboat's career
--Notes on ROH Border Wars show
--ROH weekend show notes
--Notes on new TNA signee Alex Silva
--Dana White says he'll pull out of California if new bill passes, a look at the bill
--Marketing of Jon Jones
--Ronda Rousey challenged in grandstand play
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 Update
--Dwayne Johnson turned 40 today.
--Shane Douglas did a video up on the site today regarding Saturday's Extreme Reunion show. He said that he doesn't want to overstay his welcome in the business so he's taking himself off the active roster of his promotion and won't be wrestling again for his company. He also announced there would be a major overhaul of the talent roster and will no longer tolerate the toxic environment when many of the guys congregate saying that they disrespect their opponents and disrespect the fans and will not be tolerated going forward.
--USA was barely No. 1 in cable this past week and without Raw, it would have fallen to No. 2 as both USA and ESPN did 2.0 prime time averages. FX was No. 11 at 0.9, Syfy was No. 13 at 0.9 and Spike was No. 23 at 0.6. The two hours of Raw were No. 4 and No. 12, with the NFL draft, with 6.66 million viewers on ESPN (it also had a couple of million on the NFL Network) in first place. In 18-34, the hours of Raw were No. 5 and No. 7, while in 18-49 they were No. 3 and No. 7.
--With Davey Richards out due to his auto accident, the lineup for tomorrow's New Japan PPV show from the Fukuoka International Center Arena is:
- Strongman & Captain New Japan & Tama Tonga vs. Yoshi-Hashi & Jado & Tomohiro Ishii
- Ryusuke Taguchi & Kushida vs. Taka Michinoku & Taichi
- Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Rocky Romero & Gedo
- Prince Devitt vs. Low Ki for IWGP jr. title
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka for IWGP tag titles
- Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki & Yoshihiro Takayama
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Karl Anderson
- Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito vs. Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Hirooki Goto for IWGP heavyweight title
--Richards is expect to wrestle on the 5/12 ROH show in Toronto against Kevin Steen for the ROH title.
--With the suicide death of Junior Seau, that makes eight players from the 1994 San Diego Chargers Super Bowl team who have passed away. Seven people who wrestled at WrestleMania that year passed away. (thanks to Brian Hoops)
--UFC has a press conference tomorrow for the Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller fight on Saturday night on FOX from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ.
--Odds from 5 Dimes for Saturday
Jim Miller -220
Nate Diaz +180
Lavar Johnson +175
Pat Barry -210
Johny Hendricks -120
Josh Koscheck +100
Alan Belcher +240
Rousimar Palhares -280
For Strikeforce on the 19th
Daniel Cormier +105
Josh Barnett -125
Gilbert Melendez -495
Josh Thomson +350
For UFC on the 26th
Junior Dos Santos -550
Frank Mir +400
Antonio Silva +420
Cain Velasquez -500
--Regarding the promotion of the show, during the St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers game on Saturday which ran nationally, there was a five to seven second spot during the breaks with a voiceover quickly saying "four big fights next Saturday." The graphic showed the lineup but it was so quick, if you weren't playing close attention you would have missed it. UFC was never mentioned. You could have easily thought it was a boxing event.
After the game, they had a longer ad with some clips of fighting. On the Fox cartoons on Sunday, there was a "UFC on Fox" logo in the right corner of the screen that popped up. It was super small and with the white colors, it was almost invisible. (thanks to Jake Koch)
--Who do you expect to win this fight?
Brian Stann 57.6%
Hector Lombard 42.4%
Who do you expect to win this fight?
Lyoto Machida 81.6%
Ryan Bader 18.4%
Who is the biggest star of this group?
The Rock 35.3%
Brock Lesnar 16.1%
Floyd Mayweather Jr. 13.8%
Manny Pacquiao 8.6%
John Cena 7.6%
C.M. Punk 7.1%
Jon Jones 4.8%
Hulk Hogan 2.4%
Gina Carano 1.0%
Randy Orton 0.8%
Anderson Silva 0.2%
Poll on Raw
8.2% of those responding didn't see the show
--Urijah Faber has a new book out called "The Laws of the Ring" published by William Morrow that goes on sale on 5/22. The book is a guide to mental dominance inside and outside the cage.
--A note from Monday: the comments by Randy Orton on the Chicago radio show referring to Brock Lesnar being broadcast now were from an interview in November, when Lesnar was still in UFC. (thanks to Becky Graham)
--WWE Raw will be taped on 7/16 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, the home of UFC. The Thomas & Mack is booked for NBA Summer League basketball that week so they had to move. (thanks to Devin Cutting and Guillermo Monti)
--Bjorn Rebney today on Mauro Ranallo's show said that he could book a Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez rematch, but only as a three-round non-title fight. He said the only way Alvarez gets a title shot is if he beats three people in a tournament.
--The Fit Finlay Twitter account up earlier today is a fake, but a lot of people in wrestling were taken in by it.
--Scott Steiner ripped on Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan today. He noted that they are no longer bringing Mike Tenay and Taz to television and they are just broadcasting in studio and said he bets Bischoff will try and replace one of them and take over the spot. He said to thank God that Hogan's son quit wrestling training or else he'd be pushed like Garett Bischoff.
--Bobby Roode will be doing a free meet and greet in Dublin, Ireland on 5/22. Every person attending will get a singing card and have a photo opportunity with Roode.
--Bret Hart and Jillian Hall are doing a signing at the Wrestling Universe store in Queens at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
--All Pro Wrestling's annual Young Lions tournament takes place Saturday night at the APW Garage in Hayward. Round 1 is four tag team matches. Round 2 has the four winning teams face off against each other in singles matches. From then on, the winners advance in singles matches. Competitors are Damien Grundy of All Pro Wrestling, Shoop Shellammer of Pro Championship Wrestling of Yuba City, CA; Sasha Darevko of Battle Ground Pro Wresting in Los Alamitos, CA; Jeff Cobb of Action Zone Wrestling in Honolulu; Sledge of Vendetta Pro Wrestling in Santa Maria, CA; Shane West of Devil Mountain Wrestling in Martinez, CA, J.R. Kratos of Supreme Pro Wrestling in Sacramento; Ray Rosas of Battle Ground Pro Wrestling in Los Alamitos; Technismo of Vendetta Pro in Santa Maria; Levi Shapiro f Devil Mountain Wrestling in Martinez; Darren Dean of Davey Richards' Team Ambition in St. Louis; Kay Justler of England; Mikey Jay of All Pro Wrestling; Daniel Torch of Pro Wrestling Bushido in Modesto, CA; Chris Cali of Devil Mountain Wrestling in Martinez, CA and Joe DeSoul of Supreme Pro Wrestling in Sacramento.
--Melbourne City Wrestling from Australia has a show on Go Fight Live called New Horizons 2012 that features Paul London and Sonjay Dutt.
--NWA Rampage Pro Wrestling TV tapings from Sunday in Warner-Robins, GA: Dany Only b Leon McMichaels, Jeremy Vain b Chris Jacobs, Jake Slater & Joey Kidman b Tommy Daniels & C.B. Gibson, Adonis & Moore b Billy Knight & Anthony Henry, Tommy Daniels & C.B. Gibson & Chris Jacobs & Anthony Henry b Jimmy Rave & Mike Posey & Corey Hollis & Chip Day & Patrick Bentley, Drew Adler b Michael Stevens, Cru Jones & Shaun Banks b Trey & Jon Williams. Next show is 5/6 at 3 p.m. at Johnny G's with free admission.
--EWF on Friday night in Marion IN, headlined by Ro-Z (former WWE wrestler Rosey)
--On Japan's BS Asahi tomorrow night at 11 p.m. will be the March 20, 2011 New Japan Cup finals with Yuji Nagata vs. Toru Yano, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Togi Makabe, the Nagata vs. Nakamura finals plus a tag title match with Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Taka Michinoku & Taichi. One of the best matches of last year airs a week from Thursday, with the entire show devoted to the Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Nagata match held April 3, 2011 at Korakuen Hall (thanks to Jose Gonzalez)
--Colt Cabana vs. Adam Pearce in their seven cities and seven gimmick match series for the NWA title starts 5/13 in Glendale, CA at Glendale Studios with a first blood match, and then on 6/8 go to Bridgewater, MA at the Knights of Columbus Event Center for a Boston street fight.
--El Hijo del Santo vs Blue Demon Jr. headlines 5/18 in Cudahy CA at the Clara Sports Complex.
--There is a Q&A with Black Bart on Saturday at the XCW Wrestling Institute on 3737 Mingo Road Suite 505 in Denton, TX starting at noon for $30..
--BANG on Saturday night in Ocala, FL at the BANG Sound Stage with Dory Funk Jr. & Cory Weston vs. Wes Brisco & Shane Chung.
--Crossfire Entertainment on 5/19 in Nashville at the Fairgrounds with Matt Hardy vs. MVP, Reby Sky vs. Jessicka Havoc, Hammerjack vs. Kevin Sullivan, Kid Kash vs. Jerry Lynn and Brian Christopher vs. Wolfie D.
--In Your Face Wrestling on 6/23 in Whitehall, NY at the Whitehall Armory.
--Ted DiBiase, Virgil, Honky Tonk Man and Vance Nevada were all at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo this past weekend. DiBiase had decent lines and Honky Tonk Man also had decent lines. Not so much the other two. (thanks to Ryan Pike)