Our other lead story is a look at New Japan Pro Wrestling, which is probably right now the most successful non-U.S. pro wrestling group in the world, and arguably the No. 2 company overall. We look back at the start of the promotion in 1972 and the politics that were going on at the time. We look at how Japan changed in 1972 with All Japan and New Japan, what New Japan was forced to do to survive and the unique concepts they specialized in. We look at how New Japan got into the NWA, its ties with the 70s WWWF as well as why they were at times, and not at others, able to get the WWWF champion to defend.
We look at the early 80s peak, business problems, the Tokyo Dome sellout era and Antonio Inoki's mentality that built the company, and later nearly killed it. We look at the downfall in the last decade, and the turnaround. We look at how the Japanese industry is so much different than the U.S. based on technology, as well as the company's talent mix and why it leads to entertaining major events.
We also look at where things stand right now, as well as look at the June PPV show, treating it like it's a major show of the past week, the roles everyone played and themes of matches, which include the last chapter in Tanahashi vs. Okada, perhaps their last meeting until the Tokyo Dome.
We also have an update regarding Steve Austin and any short-term plans to wrestle, why Punk going heel was a good idea for him, what other top WWE face wants to go heel, a match now scheduled for Mania in 2013, notes on the rise in WWE stock price and the funny reason it's going up. We also look at two wrestlers who have good bargaining power because of it. We look at C.M. Punk's cut, what we saw and what may not have happened. We also have more on the arrest and suspension of Cameron. We've got more on the Linda McMahon campaign, notes on Monday's Raw, Chris Jericho talks leaving and different talent and where they stand.
We look at the funny story about how one of the PPV matches at Night of Champions got made. We also look at a wrestler getting more mainstream ink in his home country, more on different wrestlers recently signed by WWE and their backgrounds as well as a top prospect gets a new gimmick and the debut of the Hollywood Express. We've also got more on legends house and a second generation wrestler not getting off to a good start.
We also have notes on the sensational business of the WWE Australia tour, as well as a look at all the house shows of the past week.
The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
We also have a note on the changes in television, most notably the decline in television homes while the population increases in the U.S., why this is happening, and the most important television markets.
The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world. The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe. Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively. They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world. Everywhere from Wall Street to the major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.
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We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows and complete details on how every segment of Raw and Impact this past week did. We look at what segments gained and lost viewers
We also have results from all the major league arena events over the past week as well as a look at all the major television shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--World champion vs. world champion in two of the biggest international promotions, not one but two showdowns this past week
--Another legends show in Mexico and notes from the event
--Three different suspensions this past week
--Next AAA big show and an AAA vs. TNA champions program that looks to be put together
--Top ranked boxer's girlfriend is a pro wrestler
--A look at the next major Dragon Gate show
--More on the Funaki Triple Crown title win over Akiyama
--One of oldest titles vacated due to wrestler getting pneumonia
--A look at the third generation Von Erichs, as Kevin's sons start their careers
--Wrestling star out of action for almost a year and a half sets a target return date
--Kenny Omega on match with Kota Ibushi
--The first Olympic wrestler being talked about to go into pro wrestling instead of MMA, and a big show debut talked about
--Billy Robinson and Japanese pro wrestling stars looking at creating a new sport with details
--Zero-One jr. tournament featuring wrestlers from a number of different groups
--Current WWE employee is being allowed to wrestle in Japan
--This year's World masked man tournament
--Notes on the first father-son tag team match among Japanese ever
--More on Zeus being indicted and his brief pro wrestling career
--Reorganization of the NWA
--One of the best tournaments each year, annual Battle of Los Angeles report
--A number of health updates and obituaries of wrestlers
--Two former WWE wrestlers in different major brand TV commercials
--Wrestler apologizes for a bad idea photo
--More on Shelton Benjamin's heat with The Barbarian
--New pro wrestling comedy planned
--Former WWE wrestler and tag champ enrolls in college and will be playing football this fall
--ROH star out with knee surgery
--Story behind Devon leaving TNA
--What happened to the Dudleys name
--Update on Bully Ray
--More on the wrestlers who have recently left TNA
--Update on the Bound for Glory series
--Notes on TNA's new television show
--What Hall of Fame candidate will be featured on TNA's new show
--A look at the TNA weekend house shows
--A look at how much the cancellation of UFC 151 cost
--Dana White blames both Dan Henderson and Jon Jones
--White talks about making Jones vs. Sonnen
--What's next for Chris Weidman
--More thoughts on GSP vs. Anderson Silva
--Thoughts on Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo
--Why Edgar vs. Aldo is so important
--More UFC business figures
--A look at the new season of Ultimate Fighter
--Pacquiao going head-to-head with UFC
--Notes on the November Strikeforce show
--More on the arrest of Ian McCall
--UFC fighter talks about the pay scale and why it's so tough
--A look at just how frequently fighters are being injured
--Lots of UFC injury notes and returns
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Bellator updates including 2013 plans
--A look at a number of new MMA groups that will feature name fighters and Las Vegas planned events
--One of the best heavyweight wrestlers of the last decade makes MMA debut later this year
--Top kickboxer also set to make MMA debut
--Two Olympians in talks regarding MMA
--A look at the One Fighting Championship show, one of the most successful live crowds of the year
--A look at the "Here comes the Boom" movie starring Kevin James and its UFC theme
--Former UFC fighter a hero
--Canadian MMA pioneer stabbed
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
--Regarding all the rumors about a WWE network, the Los Angeles Times has a story
discussing a possible pay service ala HBO, basically the stuff we wrote about months ago. WWE wouldn't confirm that is the plan. We've been hearing a lot of different potential ideas over the last week and there has been talk that an official direction would be revealed shortly.
--The Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos game last night on NBC did a 17.9 rating. Not sure what that means in regard to competition for TNA since TNA draws such limited numbers to begin with and they didn't do a very good job of promoting last night's show.
--Tonight is also the first Monday Night Football on ESPN so Raw is going to be hurt a little. That may play into using Bret Hart and ending last week's show with the Punk/Heyman cliff hanger.
--A note from last night's TNA report on the "World tag team champions of the world" line they are using for Christopher Daniels & Kazarian. It was actually a tag line made up by Daniels, which they told Christy Hemme to use the last several weeks. When Hemme used it the first time, Taz made fun of her like she screwed up so I figured they took it from that, but that wasn't its origin.
--SLAM Wrestling has a story on Pat Patterson
, who is being honored tonight in Montreal. Patterson talked about his start in wrestling and why he was unhappy when he first got a role working in the office. He also noted that he pushed very hard for Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels to get their shots in the 90s. He said they've told him nothing about what is happening tonight. He doesn't know if it's on TV and if it is, ahead of time, that he usually cries at things like this. "It's going to be a very touching night for me as I will look back at 54 years in the business, this business I loved and still do today."
--The first Raw of 2013 will be 1/7 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa.
--UFC's Kyle Kingsbury was in a motorcycle accident recently and scraped up his hip. He will still be fighting on 9/29 in Nottingham, England against Jimi Manuwa.
What did you watch Saturday?
Ward-Dawson on HBO 12.3%
CZW on iPPV 3.4%
Evolve on iPPV 3.1%
K-1 on iPPV 1.2%
None of the above 79.9%
Poll on the ROH TV show from Saturday
64.8% of those responding didn't see the show
Does Bret Hart returning to Montreal mean something to you?
No, closure was the 2010 angle 33.5%
1997 was too long ago, it's dead and buried 28.5%
Yes it does, closure of one of the biggest stories in wrestling history 18.6%
Means something, I'm a Hart fan, but not that much 18,0%
Not really familiar with what happened in 1997 so doesn't matter to me 1.5%
Best TV show of the past week?
Saturday Morning Slam 8.6%
MMA Uncensored 2.6%
Fight Factory 2.6%
UFC Tonight 2.3%
MMA Live 0.7%
--NWA Hollywood Championship Wrestling is no longer part of the NWA and is now going by the name Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. They had a TV taping last night where promoter Dave Marquez made the announcement. Obviously this has to do with the NWA changing from being run by Bob Trobich and company to the new organization formed by Bruce Tharpe out of Texas. Marquez was a power broker in the old group.
--There is a video of me and Joel Gertner
taken from an interview for the Unauthorized ECW Documentary. They are trying to get funding for the documentary through Kickstarter.com (search for ECW). With nine days left for funding, they are at 62% ($14,512 out of the goal of $23,200) with 278 backers so far. These guys have been working on-and-off on the project for more than a decade and I'll just say I really enjoyed the interview I did with them a few months back.
--A number of historical big names are celebrating birthdays today. John Walker aka Mr. Wrestling II, who is the subject of a piece on this web site about his credentials for the Hall of Fame, turns 78 today. Don Muraco turns 63. FCW president Steve Keirn turns 61. Matt Morgan turns 36 and Bill Mueller (Trevor Murdoch) turns 32.
--Gabe Sapolsky noted a few things coming off the Evolve iPPV show on Saturday in Voorhees, NJ. He raved about the Samuray del Sol vs. El Generico main event and how Ricochet vs. AR Fox just need to get better at crowd interaction and they'll be top guys. He also said they were surprised at the reaction when Jon Davis turned heel on Johnny Gargano. Sami Callihan came out of the match with Masada with a chipped tooth and his ribs were messed up. He was vomiting in the back and short of breath but was okay and actually worked for CZW later that night, although he was limited in what he could do. Scott Reed's face was swollen the next day and Player Uno had his shoulder pop. Sapolsky noted that they would be announcing the locations of the next Dragon Gate USA U.S. tour in early November with all three shows in the Northeast.
--Juanita Wright, who played Sapphire, the manager of Dusty Rhodes in WWF during the Randy Savage feud, passed away 16 years ago today at the age of 61. Fritz Von Erich, one of the biggest names in wrestling history, passed away 15 years ago today at 68. Enrique Torres, one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling when it hit it big on television in the late 40s as world champion on the West Coast, was 85 when he passed away five years ago. Kerry Brown passed away three years ago at the age of 51, a star in Canada who was the nephew of Bulldog Bob Brown (thanks to Georgia Wrestling History).
--Fuel is debuting a show called Ultimate Answers at 9:30 p.m. tomorrow night. Brittney Palmer gets her first shot at a TV host position interviewing fighters on a number of silly and serious questions. Among those appearing are B.J. Penn, Frank Mir, Frankie Edgar, Rashad Evans, Jon Jones, Tito Ortiz, Michael Bisping, Stefan Struve, Aaron Simpson, Brain Stann, Donald Cerrone and a lot more.
--NWA Anarchy from Saturday night in Cornelia, GA before 85 fans. Attendance was down because TNA was running 20 miles away in Gainesville: Joey Rhymer won Rumble, Seven b Joey Rhymer, Steven Watlers b John Skyler, Jacoby Boykins b Bu Ku Dao, Bobby Moore b Seth Delay, Shadow Jackson & Nemesis b Slim J & Stryknyn, Anthony Henry b Jacob Ashworth, Adrian Hawkins b Sgt Socorro in a submission match, Mikael Adryan & Brodie Chase & Billy Buck & Gunner b Jagged Edge & Bo Newsom & Shaun Tempers & Jacoby Boykins. Gunner wasn't advertised ahead of time and this was a Gunner & Murphy reunion since Mikael Adryan is the former TNA Murphy. Fright Night this year, one of their annual big shows in Cornelia, is 10/27. Steven Walters got back from a U.K. tour where he said he worked as many as ten shows a week as part of the entertainment at a summer getaway destination and the houses were packed. (thanks to Larry Goodman)
--NXT (FCW) on Friday night in Fort Pierce, FL featuring a guest appearance signing autographs of Cody Rhodes.
--Dreamwave Wrestling on 9/15 in the Chicago area with a 30 man Rumble plus Goldust appears.
--In Your Face Wrestling on 11/13 in Ballston Spa, NY at the Community Center,
--All Star Wrestling on 9/21 in Cloverdale, BC at the Fairgrounds Alice McKay Building headlined by Gangrel defending his title against Cole Bishop plus Gorgeous Michelle Starr & Disco Fury vs. Scotty Mac & Jaime Diaz.
--National Pro Wrestling Superstars on 9/22 in South Amboy, NJ at the Cardinal McCarrick High School Gym headlined by Danny Doring, Tommy Dreamer and Brutus Beefcake.
--Platinum Championship Wrestling on 9/15 in Porterdale, GA at 2001 Main Street and 9/14 in Avondale Estates, GA at the Academy Theater.
--A group called Roller Derby Xtreme has booked a show on 11/21 in Sydney, Australia at the Allphones Arena, which is the same 17,000 seat building WWE and UFC run. Roller Games were really big in Sydney in the late 60s when Ann Calvello was the top female star and they ran every week, but boy was that a long time ago.
--Extreme Midget Wrestling on 1/12 at Turner Hall in Cleveland. I think this is the Steve Richardson promotion that briefly had TV on Spike.