We are looking for your thoughts on Saturday night's World Series of Fighting show and all three Dragon Gate USA show so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
We're also looking for reports on today's Raw in Birmingham, England with Superstars matches, dark matches and anything not evident on the live show.
*TNA Saturday night in Laredo, TX (Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries)
Tuesday has a Smackdown/Saturday Morning Slam/Main Event taping from Birmingham, England. Two matches announced are Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio falls count anywhere as the Smackdown main event, and Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus for Main Event. The show will be airing at 8 p.m. on Syfy. They are billing it as live but it's actually tape delayed, like tonight.
Tomorrow is also a Raw show in Glasgow, Scotland.
Wednesday has Raw in Belfast and Smackdown in Brussels. Thursday has Raw in Dublin and Smackdown in Zurich. Friday has Raw in Lisbon and Smackdown in Malaga, Spain.
We look at the current WWE situation, including Hell in a Cell and the build for Survivor Series and Royal Rumble as the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that will be up on the site today. We also have a new back issue from 1995, talking about the build to the first Nitro and the building of what at the time was the biggest money live pro wrestling event in history in Japan.
Also, everyone who subscribes this month for either the print or web site version of the newsletter will get our most talked about issue, the Hall of Fame issue that comes out in less than two weeks. There will be six new entrants into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, voted on by those in the business, as well as reporters and historians in our annual balloting.
Our lead story looks at every aspect of the Ryback situation, the decision on who won, how the actual finish came to be, as well as looking back at the early career of a number of major names in wrestling including how Lou Thesz won his first world title, why Brock Lesnar wasn't involved in the finish at Hell in a Cell, why the traditional Survivor Series main event hasn't been done in nearly two decades, as well as full coverage of the PPV with poll results and star ratings for every match.
We also have a look at the life, wrestling career, announcing career and the influence of Jeff Blatnick on the sport of MMA. We look at the origination of the term Mixed Martial Arts, how it got popularized in pro wrestling before UFC, how Blatnick named the sport and when it happened.
We also look at the fight UFC had for survival in the late 90s and some amazing ironies about that period. We look at why Jeff Blatnick was used by UFC as its point man, including discussions Blatnick had with the most powerful people in the cable industry at the time. We look at why Blatnick was no longer associated with UFC and how he resurfaced as a key figure in MMA in the Northeast.
We look at how Blatnick first became involved in UFC, as well as his amazing career as a wrestler, from his beginnings not liking wrestling, to his college career including a match with Steve Williams that may have cost him an NCAA title. We look at his Olympic days, from the 1980 boycott year to his 1984 gold medal win, and his battles with cancer.
We look at his move into announcing, his offers from pro wrestling including one that few know about that would have involved him being in a major executive position with the No. 2 wrestling company in the world at one point.
We also have details and backgrounds on a lot of new talent that WWE has recruited and just signed, where they came from, ring names, who they were and more including the type of people WWE is now recruiting and why.
Also in this week's issue:
--Title change at Arena Mexico
--Update on Hector Garza
--Next AAA tapings
--Lineups for Dragon Gate USA shows this weekend on iPPV
--Major Dragon Gate angles for Japan
--Notes on the build for the annual Real World Tag League event in Japan
--Bracketing and key matches in the tournament
--Combined All Japan and New Japan shows in Taiwan
--Battle of tag champs in a singles match
--GHC tag title change and where that belt is going
--Notes on final major NOAH show of the year
--Update on Tajiri's promotion in Japan using several top Americans
--A promotion lets the fans make the card
--Notes on tha attempted comeback of Jake Roberts
--How Mike Graham's pro wrestling career got started and his first major TV angle
--The angle that got Mike Graham out of Eddie's shadow and let to Dusty Rhodes being the biggest star in Florida wresting history
--Who booked the angle
--NWA title vacated and match to decide the new champion
--Extreme Rising runs in the Pittsburgh area and plans for WrestleMania weekend
--The History Channel doing a feature on an 80s wrestler
--Notes on this weekend's ROH TV tapings
--Notes on Hulk Hogan's quick settlement with Bubba the Love Sponge
--Bound for Glory PPV notes
--TNA star doing outside media work
--TNA wrestler hospitalized with kidney issues but already back
--The strange TNA announcing dynamic
--Lineup for Turning Point thus far and new matches likely added
--Notes on the weekend TNA house shows
--Notes on the ungodly hour the next UFC show will be airing at
--New UFC television specials over the next two weeks
--Story on UFC no longer running at The Palms in Las Vegas
--Lots of new UFC matches announced
--Plans for UFC light heavyweight division and how they changed
--Notes on the next season of TUF Brazil including a June main event
--UFC fighter nearly loses home in Hurricane
--Stephan Bonnar retires
--UFC PPV estimates
--Chad Mendes legal issues and sentencing
--A few UFC cuts
--The Eddie Alvarez contract situation
--Controversial officiating on Bellator show
--Lots of shows this coming weekend on TV
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 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 and there will be a ton of news to talk about, including full coverage of Raw. You can send questions to
--A lot of changes in booking direction over the past two days and an angle heavy show tonight on Raw. Birmingham is sold out tonight, but lots of tickets left for tomorrow's Smackdown tapings. The crowd was really hot for the pre-show matches so they expect a great responding crowd.
--Vince McMahon is at Raw tonight. Both Vince and HHH will be leaving immediately after the show to fly home to Connecticut, missing Smackdown tapings. It's not that long of a flight on a private jet and they need to be back for Election Day tomorrow.
--Jack Swagger is in the U.K. and backstage. He hasn't been used much in months with the idea of repackaging him. He's said to have a completely different look, looking a lot like Dean Ambrose.
--The Republican party is not happy with Linda McMahon after her campaign put up posters in heavily minority sections of the state that reads "President Barack Obama and Linda McMahon will fight for us," showing the two together with a line underneath, "Vote Barack Obama for President and Vote Linda McMahon for U.S. Senate on the Independent Line." It should be noted at the same time, Linda McMahon has donated $150,000 to Romney.
--On Fuel tonight, Lyoto Machida vs. Randy Couture airs at 7 p.m., Nick Diaz vs Takanori Gomi at 8 p.m. and a replay of today's Inside the Tristar Gym at 11 p.m. The latter is not worth going out of your way to see. It was all rolling around on the mats with Firas Zahabi teaching positioning. They interviewed Rory MacDonald and shows several fighters, including Dan Hardy, who was brought in to be a training partner for GSP. No GSP on the show that was meant to be built around him training two weeks out.
--Tomorrow night on Fuel has a preview of Saturday's show at 10 p.m., a replay of the first episode of GSP vs. Condit prime time at 10:30 p.m. and the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos fight at 11 p.m.
--If you listened to last night's radio show when we discussed Eddie Alvarez, Alvarez was not released by Bellator. He was just released from the 90-day exclusive negotiating period so he can start talking with UFC. We explained it on the show last night why this, due to timing issues, is the best thing for Bellator as well.
--A.J. Styles vs. Bobby Roode is the main event on Impact on Thursday.
--Ultimate Fighter rating was way up to 1.1 million. It was a compelling show, but how would people know that ahead of time?
--Eric Young on twitter wrote about appearing on TNA weekend house shows: "TNA Live shows in MI (Michigan) and Windsor, Canada. I'll be there, could be my last live shows with TNA. Come and get crazy with me!" His contract is up shortly and they aren't close on terms.
--They are taking orders currently for the 11/11 New Japan Power Struggle PPV show from Osaka headlined by Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Yujiro Takahashi for the IWGP title. The show airs at 4 a.m. Eastern time and 1 a.m. pacific time live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/njpw1972
You can also wake up Sunday morning and watch it when you wake up. Cost is $25.
--World Series of Fighting from Saturday night replays at 1 a.m. Eastern and 10 p.m. Pacific.
WHO IS THE STRONGEST OF THESE HALL OF FAME CANDIDATES?
Carlos Colon 37.9%
Mark Lewin 9.8%
Domenic DeNucci 9.4%
Killer Karl Kox 8.9%
Johnny Saint 8.0%
Spyros Arion 6.3%
Mick McManus 5.8%
Kendo Nagasaki 5.4%
Rollerball Rocco 4.9%
Jackie Pallo 2.2%
Billy Joyce 0.9%
Johnny Barend 0.4%
WHAT WAS THE GREATEST FEUD IN WWF TERRITORIAL HISTORY?
Sammartino vs. Zbyszko 42.3%
Sammartino vs. Graham 22.0%
Sammartino vs. Kowalski 7.9%
Patterson vs. Slaughter 6.6%
Sammartino vs. Koloff 4.8%
Graham vs. Rhodes 4.8%
Rocca & Perez vs. Grahams 3.5%
Backlund vs. Muraco 2.6%
Sammartino vs. Arion 1.8%
Strongbow vs. Albano 1.8%
Sammartino vs. Watts 1.3%
Backlund vs. Patterson 0.4%
POLL ON WORLD SERIES OF FIGHTING
62.1% of those responding didn't see the show
POLL ON SATURDAY'S ROH TV SHOW
60.4% of those responding didn't see the show
WHAT WAS THE BEST TV SHOW OF THE PAST WEEK?
Prime Time GSP vs. Condit 7.9%
World Series of Fighting 7.9%
Main Event 6.6%
Ultimate Fighter 6.0%
Inside MMA 1.3%
--Extreme Rising is offering a free download of its 6/30 show to anyone who pre-orders their 11/17 iPPV show from Monaca, PA. The offer expires Saturday at midnight. If you order at http://www.wwnlive.com/event-er-11-17-12.html
within 24 hours you'll get a link to get the 6/30 show.
--KISS in Utica NY had Linda Bollea on talking about the episode of the show on TLC. This is the one where she shops for a wedding dress even though she's not getting married. She had signed up to do the show when she and Charley Hill were getting married. Linda said she regrets nothing she wrote in her book, and in fact said she was too kind to Hulk in the book. When asked about dating a guy who went to school with her kids, she noted that he wasn't in the same grade with either of her kids and that Nick didn't even know him (Brooke knew him a little). (thanks to Tim LaFountain)
--Traditional Championship Wrestling starts on 12/8 in Meridian, MS at MYTOK 2 at 9 p.m. Saturday night at 1:35 a.m. late Saturday night. The company's next taping is also on 12/8 in Clarksville, AR at the Marvin Vinson Center with Jim Duggan vs. Prince Al Farat plus New Japan tag champ Lance Hoyt.
--NWA Coastal announced for its 11/17 show in Bayville, NJ at the Elks Lodge, that all tickets are lowered to $10 and that those under five are free.
--ECWA from Saturday night in Newark, DE: Kid USA b Little Mikey, Tony Nese b Matt Saigon, Bolt Brady b Pedro Juan Dones, Aden Chambers & Kekoa the Flyin Hawaiian b Breaker Morant & Bobby Shields, Tina San Antonio b Sienna DuVall, Mr. Ooh La La b Ricky Martinez, Chris Wylde won four-way over Papadon, Josh Daniels and Tony Mamaluke. Next show is 12/1, a Toys for Tots benefit show at the Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club.
--EWA from Saturday night in Feeding Hills, MA: Adrian Vine b Scotty Slade, Antonio Thomas & Sean Burke & IM Valor b Johnny Idol & William King & Zachary Pierre Beaulieu, Capital Punishment b Dalton Castle & Jeremy Leary, The Mac b Bobby Ocean in a blindfold match, Team Shazaam b The Purists, Alex Cypher b Mike Nice & Tapu. Next show is 1/12 at the Springfield Turnverein in Feeding Hills.
--New England Championship Wrestling from Friday night in Randolph, MA: Scotty Slade b Nick Farenheight, Jeremy Prophet b Mark Shurman, Elia Makropolous (Gut Check) & Jimmy James b Jason Rumble & Tank the Tank, Luscious Latasha b Mistress Belmont-DQ, Johnny Thunder b Sean Burke-COR. Next show is 12/7 in Blackstone, MA and 12/8 in Bridgewater, MA.
--WBW on 2/16 in Sardinia, OH.
--NWS has to cancel both of its weekend shows due to Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast. The next show will be 12/1 in Parlin, NJ at St. Bernadette's Lourde Center with two cage matches including Samu, Manu, Balls Mahoney and QT Marshall.
--Jonathan Coachman is getting his own afternoon talk show on ESPN from 4-7 p.m. Eastern time. The first show started today. It's on ESPN Audio, Ch. 84 on Sirius/XM and espnradio.com Coachman will have rotating guests talking sports.