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:
--How the unmasking of a wrestler in recent weeks became a giant local television event
--Notes on TripleMania
--The last AAA TV tapings
--Superstars from Mexico coming to Japan later this month
--Former TNA star getting high marks outside the U.S.
--Next major All Japan matches
--New Japan copies of former WWE concept
--Return to action of one of the greatest in-ring performers of modern times
--More notes on Chief Jay Strongbow including the story on his first Madison Square Garden main event
--More on Ricky Steamboat's story told at the Cauliflower Alley Club
--Update on the Vachon brothers
--Wrestler pleads guilty to a second round of charges of sexual assault
--Former WWF and NWA star who was murdered gets honored
--Former wrestling TV announcer gets honored
--Son of former WWF wrestler gets five ear probation on assault charge
--A look at a major arena indie show that got incredible media coverage
--Hulk Hogan claims two former WWE stars are calling up looking to come in
--More on Hogan's "game-changing" ideas
--TNA plans for big shows the rest of the year
--TNA's weekend house show notes
--The Urijah Faber vs. Dominick Cruz situation, where it goes from here, if they will meet again
--Looking at the top contenders for face Faber on 7/7
--What happened to UFC in New York
--Tons of new fights and upcoming UFC and Strikeforce shows
--Plans for major events in conjunction with what UFC expects to be a huge UFC 148 event
--Upcoming Ronda Rousey fight
--Dana White says if things fall into place about plans for doing a huge show soon
--More on company drug testing
--More areas regulating MMA
--A UFC major draw appearing on iPPV while competing in a different sport
--Thoughts on the UFC/Strikeforce/Showtime relationship and what needs to be changed
--Notes on the rest of the Ultimate Fighter season
--Bellator's last and next show
--MMA promotion and pro wrestling promotion planning on working together and jointly promoting each other
--Bobby Lashley's most recent fight
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 tonight with Wrestling Observer radio covering both tonight's Raw, as well as hopefully Impact and the rest of the news from today. You can also e-mail questions for tonight's show to
--Paul Heyman is in Pittsburgh today for Raw, likely involved in the angle with HHH. HHH will be on the show tonight doing an interview to build up the Brock Lesnar match. David Otunga is also expected back for tonight's show. Announced locally are C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho in an anything goes match for the WWE title and John Cena & Randy Orton & Sheamus vs. Kane & Daniel Bryan & Lord Tensai. The former is probably the dark match.
--Jim Ross is not in Pittsburgh as was earlier reported here. His wife was in Pittsburgh yesterday for Mother's Day but he posted he's at home in Norman, OK.
--Ultimate Fighter did 948,000 viewers. Smackdown on Friday did 2.53 million viewers.
--Sting is in Orlando for today's TNA taping.
--TNA officially announced a non-Orlando TV taping on January 26, 2013 at Wembley Arena in London, a return to the site of probably the most impressive looking taping the company has ever done. Bobby Roode, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, A.J. Styles, Mr. Anderson, RVD, James Storm, Velvet Sky and Gail Kim are advertised. Notable that Hulk Hogan, Sting and Ric Flair, who would probably mean the most with the possible exception of Hardy, are not advertised.
--Other dates on the tour will be 1/21 in Dublin, 1/23 in Glasgow, 1/24 in Nottingham and 1/25 in Manchester. Tickets for all shows go on sale on 5/25 at 9 a.m. (thanks to Stephen Lyon)
--The WWE Falls Count Anywhere DVD we wrote about yesterday will be released on 6/26.
--The WWE tapings on Thursday in Winter Park, FL at Full Sail University are sold out. Tickets were only available for students of the university and were free, with only 400-500 seats in the building so it was a given first time out they'd be gone quick.
--It was noted by a few last night how good the TNA show was and how Eric Bischoff, Dixie Carter and Hulk Hogan were not at the show and involved in the last minute details of it.
--Jim Cornette was not at the Border Wars show in Toronto as he refuses to go to Canada. So he was at home, trying, unsuccessfully, to watch the show. I'd have hated to be at his house that evening.
--It has been confirmed it was a server issue that ruined the ROH iPPV on Saturday night. The issue was still a problem even last night at 3 a.m. since I tried to watch the show and it said there was a problem connecting to the server. I know others who watched it on Sunday and could see most of the show before it went down again. This was really a disaster because they couldn't afford a problem with this show after all the problems they've had on streaming content.
--Chael Sonnen was on TSN's Off the Record and claimed that his secret strength and conditioning coach was Steve Austin, and has been his coach for the past three years. Hey, that's what he said. I remember talking to Austin before the Sonnen vs. Silva match less than two years ago and he did become a Sonnen fan over the month or two leading to the fight because of his promos. Sonnen does keep in touch with a lot of WWE people, those I know of would include Austin, C.M. Punk, Jim Ross and Gerald Brisco.
--Jon Fitch was at the Q&A today and said his next fight would be against Aaron Simpson, which we reported some time back, and it would be on 7/11 in San Jose. That was the original date it was earmarked for but they were not 100% on which show they wanted it on.
--There has been some gossip column stuff on how Stacy Keibler was with boyfriend George Clooney on Thursday at an Obama fund-raiser, and in doing so, missed Gail Kim's wedding, which also got some mainstream ink due to Chef Robert Irvine.
--James Wilks, 34, the winner of UFC 9 (U.K. vs. U.S. season) announced his retirement over the weekend. He blamed serious injuries for his decision.
--The story going around that Nick Diaz didn't show up for the Jiu Jitsu match on Saturday night because the promoter failed to donate the money to charity and because he changed the rules at weigh-ins that came from "Diaz Brothers official Facebook page," was said to Cesar Gracie to be a fake Facebook page. Diaz was actually going to donate his purse to cancer research, and after no-showing, has said he was still going to make the donation. There was supposed to be an explanation today on why he didn't face Braulio Estima in Long Beach. They had a really big crowd for the match as well.
--Renzo Gracie today said it was his fault this happened since it was his expo, saying his guy called Cesar Gracie's room on Friday night to tell him Braulio Estima would be ten pounds overweight. He said Diaz was already giving up too much fighting someone that high level in BJJ. He said the guy who gave the news didn't understand how to deal with fighters.
--There is a documentary called "Head Games" that is premiering this week in Chicago (a private premiere) looking at the work of Chris Nowinski and Dr. Robert Cantu of the Sports Legacy Institute, based on the book Nowinski wrote of the same name that has changed contact sports, probably forever.
--Today on Fuel includes UFC weigh-ins for tomorrow's show at 4 p.m. Eastern. Tomorrow's show is also on Fuel. UFC 142 (Aldo vs. Mendes airs at 5 p.m. and the Best of Pride is at 8 p.m., followed by prelims from UFC 145 (Atlanta) at 9 p.m. and UFC 137 (Penn vs. Diaz) at 1 a.m. and UFC 139 (Henderson vs. Rua match of the year) at 4 a.m.. Starting tomorrow, it's UFC 140 (Jones vs. Machida) at 7 a.m., UFC 141 (Lesnar vs. Overeem) at 10 a.m., UFC 142 at 1 PM., UFC 143 at 4 p.m., followed by the pre-game show for the fights tomorrow night at 7 p.m., fights from 8-11 p.m. and post-game show.
Poll on ROH TV show from Saturday night
57.1% of those responding didn't see the show. That's a lower percentage than both Impact and Ultimate Fighter which have national penetration as opposed to 25% penetration.
Poll on Dos Santos vs. Mir Prime Time
60.2% of those responding didn't see the show
Do you think ROH will recover on iPPV?
Yes, but it will take time 53.5%
No, they are not going to recover 40.2%
Yes, people will forget by the next show 6.3%
Best TV show of the past week
Ultimate Fighter 18.1%
Mir vs. Dos Santos Prime Time 8.6%
MMA Uncensored 2.2%
Inside MMA 0.4%
UFC Tonight 0.4%
--New Japan announced that its show from last May in New York and Philadelphia would be airing on the BS Asahi show at 11 p.m. on 5/31. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Charlie Haas, MVP vs. Toru Yano in the finals of the IC title tournament and Togi Makabe vs. Rhino in a street fight are the matches that will air. (thanks to Jose Gonzalez and Mori Ono)
--Bobby Roode just reached the 200 day mark as TNA champion. He had mentioned in a promo that he was about to become the longest reigning champion in history. He won it on 10/26 in Macon, GA from James Storm. The record is 211 days held by A.J. Styles. (thanks to Patrick Gronemann and Doug Nunnally)
--ECW Press announced three pro wrestling books for release in June:
The King of New Orleans is about the heyday of Junkyard Dog, written by Greg Klein
Physical Chess: My Life in Catch as Catch Can Wrestling was written by Hall of Famer Billy Robinson
Shooters: The Toughest Men in Professional Wrestling is written by Jonathan Snowden
--Some notable birthdays today: Zack Ryder turns 27 today. Others celebrating birthdays are Leon (Vader) White (57), Robert Fuller (61) and Tommy Rogers of the super underrated tag team The Fantastics (51). Steve Williams would have turned 52 today and Danny Hodge turned 80 yesterday.
--Ten years ago today was the death of Hall of Fame candidate and legendary tough guy George Gordienko at the age of 74. A lot of the old timers rated Gordienko as the toughest guy in the business during the 50s. Lou Thesz wanted to drop the NWA title to him he felt so highly about him, but they couldn't get him into the U.S. because of the communist scare. Gordienko spent most of his career wrestling all over the world including Europe and Australia and the Far East, and was famous in Japan for matches with Billy Robinson. (thanks to Rich Tate and GeorgiaWrestlingHistory.com
--Colt Cabana beat Adam Pearce last night at the NWA Hollywood TV tapings in Glendale, CA in a first blood match in the first of their best of seven gimmick matches series for the NWA heavyweight title. Match No. 2 takes place on 6/8 in Bridgewater, MA for New England Championship Wrestling in a Boston street fight. Match No. 3 will be 7/7 in Hopkins, MN for Steel Domain Wrestling (where both wrestlers worked early in their careers) in an I quit match.
--Urban Wrestling Federation Turf War PPV preview is at http://youtu.be/hlwVzjK7bIE
Their next PPV is 5/27 airing at both 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern featuring the SAT vs T-Mizzle, GrimReefer vs. Dameon Slugga, Bestia vs. Masada and Phat Pack vs. Riot & Raze.
--CWE on 6/1 in Winnipeg at the Polish Fraternal Hall headlined by Tatanka vs. Anderson Tyson Moore. Robby Royce will also be having a retirement ceremony after 22 years in wrestling.
--NWA Anarchy from Saturday night in Cornelia, GA before 120 fans: Tommy Daniels b Skurra Corvus-DQ, Anthony Henry b Vandal, Slim J & Nemesis b Seven & Lane Vasser, Mike West & Raymond King b Zach Daniels & Joey Rhymer, Bobby Moore DCOR Billy Buck, Shaun Tempers b Azrael in a cage match to keep the NWA Anarchy title. Tempers vs Slim J headlines on 5/26. (thanks to Larry Goodman)
--WWC from Saturday night in Bayamon, PR: Angel b Lynx, Niche b Mr. X, Patriot #1 b Jay Velez to keep the jr. title, Xia Xavant b Gilbert, Bolo the Red Bulldog & Diabolico b Tommy Diablo & Cuervo to keep the tag titles, Carlito NC Ray Gonzalez when Thunder & Lightning attacked and gave a brutal beating to both men, going out on stretchers, which would appear to set up Carlito & Gonzalez, who for years were the rivals as the top two wrestlers on the island (before Carlito signed with WWE) to team up.
--Lucha Libre on Saturday night in Owatanna, MN: Mexican Boy & Alas del Fuego b Guerrero Rebelde & Sur Star, Apostle 13 b Udo, Spider Baby b Black Dragon, Spider Baby won Battle Royal (thanks to Marvin Joel Rubin)
--ECWA on 6/2 in Newark, DE at the Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club features Papadon vs. Adam Cole for the ECWA title.
--The Staten Island Advance at http://www.silive.com/news/
has a story about Al Vass, now 78 and working as a security guard, talking about his days from 1964 to 2001 as a referee in the Northeast, including at Madison Square Garden. Vass was a wrestler before being a referee, trained by the late Abe Coleman, the powerhouse wrestler who lived to be 101 years old.
--A note regarding last night's show in the discussion about Velvet Sky. Velvet Sky has been wrestling for 10-11 years after being trained by Jason Knight. Her first three years, she wrestled pretty much only against April Hunter. She also looked completely different when she started.
--Xtreme Fighting Championship Music City Mayhem on 6/22 in Nashville on HDNet announced Sofia Bagherdai vs. Heather Jo Clark in a women's match.
--WPW on Sunday in Santa Ana, CA: Terremoto Jr. b Jalapeno Lopez, War Hawg & Super Kendo b CybersRam & Red Spider-DQ, Platinum Players b La Migra-DQ, Lil Cholo & Infernal NC Mariachi Loco & Super Nino (thanks to Roy Lucier)
--There will be a live Gilbert Melendez web chat on the Strikeforce Facebook page on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time, and one with Josh Barnett on Friday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. Melendez and Barnett headline Saturday's Strikeforce show in San Jose at the HP Pavilion. I've heard less talk locally for this show than any show I can recall since San Jose began running regularly.
--Steeltown Pro Wrestling on 5/25 in Winnipeg at Rookies Sports Bar at the Central Hotel, as well as 5/26 in Morden, Manitoba at the Access Event Centre.