We're looking for your thoughts on tonight's UFC 154, 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 Thursday night's TNA house show in Johnson City, TN, Friday's show in Knoxville and tonight's show in Spartanburg, as well as tonight's Extreme Reunion show in Monaco, PA (Shane Douglas vs. Matt Hardy).
Darren Elkins (15-2, 145) vs. Steven Siler (21-9, 145)
Azamat Gashinov (10-1, 135) vs. Ivan Menjivar (24-8, 135)
John Maguire (18-4, 171) vs. Matthew Riddle (6-3, 1 no contest, 170)
Rodrigo Damm (10-5, 145) vs. Antonio Carvalho (14-5, 145)
John Makdessi (9-2, 155) vs. Sam Stout (19-7-1, 154)
Chad Griggs (11-2, 205) vs. Cyrille Diabate (19-8-3, 206)
Alessio Sakara (19-9, 1 no contest, 186) vs. Patrick Cote (18-8, 185)
Rafael Dos Anjos (17-6, 155) vs. Mark Bocek (11-4, 156)
Pablo Garza (12-3, 145) vs. Mark Hominick (20-11, 145)
Tom Lawlor (8-4, 184) vs. Francis Carmont (19-7, 185)
Johny Hendricks (13-1 171) vs. Martin Kampmann (20-5, 171)
George St-Pierre (22-2, 170) vs. Carlos Condit (28-5, 169) for UFC welterweight title
*Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth for the U.S. title
*Eve Torres vs. Kaitlyn for the Divas title
*Bonus match to be added involving Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara (not announced but it was planned as of a week ago)
*Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal at 7:30 p.m. on Facebook, You Tube and WWE.com
Raw will be live on Monday night from the Nutter Center in Dayton. Superstars will also be taped there,
Smackdown, Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam will be taped on Tuesday in Grand Rapids. The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler has been announced as the main event for that show.
We have several lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that will be up on the web site today. We look at the return of Jerry Lawler, including thoughts on how it was handled on television and why it is emblematic of everything WWE wants the public to think it isn't, and why they can't shake that reputation. We also look at how viewers reacted to Raw, when they tuned out, when they tuned in and how it made a difference in ratings.
We also have a new back issue from 1995 up on the site including full coverage of the first ever Nitro vs. Raw head-to-head, which show had the advantage where and attitude coming out of both shows. We also have notes of the building up of what was at that point in time the biggest grossing pro wrestling event in history.
We also have a look at the business of WrestleMania 29, some of the biggest early advances in company history, notes no tickets that are available, how much Met Life Stadium will hold, will they be able to claim the usual building record with markup and if so what legendary piece of WWE history does that threaten.
We also have a major feature on WWE business, looking at every category, and some notes not talked anywhere else regarding profitability, costs, whether the PPV business really is stronger than in the past, updates on how every PPV show did so far this year, costs of producing Raw, a rough estimate of how much WWE is getting paid for the third hour and how many added PPV buys is that figure worth. We also look at what looks to be the future direction of where WWE concentrates its business. We also look at what categories are up and down.
We've got comments by Vince McMahon from the quarterly investors conference, updated numbers on WrestleMania, expenses of the different divisions, what kind of increases WWE should be getting from television with all the new programming and lessons from WCW about programming but also how it is different now. We also look at the next major show contract coming due.
We also look at how much cash WWE now has on hand, why the trends will change in the fourth quarter, what led to the third quarter increases, how much WWE has gotten in tax incentives, a major lawsuit settlement, how much income WWE has made from all different parts of the world broken down, comparisons of how PPV is doing when you take The Rock and Brock Lesnar out of the equation, merchandise sales, home video sales, video game sales, notes on how much talent is making in licensing money and what WWE movies actually made money at the end. We also have every major aspect of WWE business and profit margins.
We also have thoughts on the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame including several names people have talked about. We've got more on what happened in the Linda McMahon campaign including what last second Hillary they tried to throw that didn't happen. We've got notes on the Tribute to the Troops show for this year, notes on the WWE 13 video game sales and the troubles THQ is in and how that relates to WWE. We also update WWE talks about a stadium show for next year in the U.K. and why it is so difficult to do a major PPV in he U.K. We also have early notes on plans for WrestleMania 30, WWE announcing, Roddy Piper, Steve Austin's Redneck Island show, notes on several more new WWE signees, the types of people they are looking for, all the WWE business notes from the past week as well as highlights of the last week of European tour dates.
We also look at the end of the Strikeforce promotion, the move of the top stars to UFC and thoughts on Rousey vs. Cyborg.
Also in this week's issue:
--Son of former WWF star now tag team champion in Mexico
--Title match main event announced for AAA's final big show of the year
--Pro Wrestling NOAH's Global League tournament with standings and all of the results of the past week
--Notes on the joint New Japan/CMLL shows schedule in January
--Ultimo Dragon's 25th anniversary show
--A city street being named after recently deceased pro wrestling star
--Notes on Dynamite Kid documentary
--Former WWE headliner pleads guilty to felony mortgage fraud charge
--Former WWE star puts up hair in big match against top overseas star
--Former WWE performer adjusts to life after wrestling with new job
--Dragon Gate USA champion vs. ROH champion match
--Jeff Hardy talks upcoming contract negotiations and where they stand
--Notes on TNA tapings in January and February
--Notes on TNA's U.K. tour
--Notes on Sting angle
--Update on Kenny King
--Notes from the weekend TNA house shows
--A look at the next few weeks of TNA television
--Lineup for Saturday's UFC show
--Lots of new UFC dates announced and thoughts on the show
--More on Overeem vs. Bigfoot fight
--UFC makes major international partnership and what foreign market they are likely next headed to
--Talk of Anderson Silva vs. GSP and Silva's talking about taking nearly a year off
--UFC star signs Nike deal
--Dan Henderson vs. Machida update
--Advance for the FOX show in Seattle
--UFC hacker gets sentenced
--UFC injury updates
--New UFC fights announced
--World Series of Fighting business notes
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 moonsault@medicals
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.
Saturday's news update
--Bryan and I will be back late tonight covering tonight's UFC 154 show as well as previewing Survivor Series and talking all the latest news with Wrestling Observer radio. We will also have a show tomorrow night after Survivor Series.
--The final episode of Prime Time, which was excellent, airs at 7:30 p.m. tonight on Fuel, right before the prelims start on FX. Actually all three episodes air in a row starting at 6:30 p.m. There will also be a post-game show on Fuel at 1 a.m. with Jay Glazer, Dominick Cruz, Kenny Florian and Ariel Helwani.
--Tom Lawlor got a decent amount of mainstream press for his rendition of the Shockmaster's debut in WCW at weigh-ins yesterday. Little known fact but in WCW from 1993 to 2001, it was something Keith Mitchell used to play in the production truck all the time before TV tapings and it was a constant piece of entertainment.
--WWE has released developmental wrestlers Louis Fontaine, Chad Baxter, Chase Donovan and Nick Rogers. More on that in the next Observer.
Shane Douglas vs. Matt Hardy
Jerry Lynn vs. Homicide
FBI vs. BLK Out
Bestia vs. Facade
Perry Saturn vs. Luke Hawx
Stevie Richards vs. Papadon
Christian York vs. Jay Bradley
Plus Rhino, New Jack, Raven, Sandman, Blue Meanie, Balls Mahoney, Joel Gertner and more.
--Steve Austin has been promoting Redneck Island, which has its second episode tonight on CMT. He was interviewed by the Ch. 9 news in Tampa and gave the same ambiguous answer when asked about doing another match. If he could recommend people for the WWE Hall of Fame, he mentioned the Rock & Roll Express, Midnight Express, Bill Dundee and Randy Savage.
--The NWA announced its 2012 Hall of Fame Class as promoter Paul Boesch, Men John Tolos, Ricky Steamboat and Mr. Wrestling II, Women Fabulous Moolah, Joyce Grable and Misty Blue (one name here is so out of place), Tag Team as Road Warriors, Midget as Little Beaver, Referee as Teddy Long plus a Humanitarian award to Sputnik Monroe. A big mistake is a quota where you have as many women as men each year for obvious reasons, since 95% or more of wrestlers were men..
--The C.M. Punk documentary is available now for streaming on XBox Live. (thanks to Chris Cutrer)
WHAT NIGHT WOULD YOU BE MOST LIKELY TO WATCH BELLATOR?
HOW MANY BUYS DOES UFC 154 DO
Less than 400,000 15.0%
901,000 or more 5.7%
POLL ON IMPACT
39.6% of those responding didn't see the show
WHO DO YOU EXPECT TO WIN TONIGHT'S MAIN EVENT?
Georges St-Pierre 76.7%
Carlos Condit 23.3%
WHO WAS THE BEST OF THESE HALL OF FAMERS
Chris Jericho 36.5%
Dynamite Kid 31.5%
Killer Kowalski 7.9%
Jim Londos 7.7%
Ed Strangler Lewis 7.1%
Mil Mascaras 4.0%
Gene Kiniski 3.2%
Don Leo Jonathan 2.1%
HOW MANY BUYS DO YOU EXPECT SURVIVOR SERIES TO DO IN NORTH AMERICA
Less than 100,000 15.1%
More than 201,000 3.9%
--Hernandez has a clinic on 12/15 at the XCW Institute in Denton, TX at Noon. It's $50, no advance registration is required. It's at 3737 Mingo Road Suite 505, Denton, TX 76201. For more info contact David Fuller at
--Because of all the replays of the Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le show, last Saturday's Fuel schedule was the third most watched day in the history of the station and the fourth most watched prime time in the history of the station even though the live show didn't even air in prime time.
--Dutch Mantell has a benefit show in the name of his 16-year-old granddaughter Amelia who was killed by a man speeding trying to elude the Tennessee Highway patrol. The show takes place in Murfreesboro, TN tomorrow at 6 p.m. at 10-18 Seals Way. James Storm, Crimson, Brian Lee, Wolfie D and others will be appearing. For more info you can call 615-243-7574 or go to www.dutchmantell.com
--CHIKARA's 9th annual Torneo Cibernetico takes place tomorrow at the Highline Ballroom in New York. All kids under 12 are admitted free with a paying adult. Eddie Kingston an Kevin Steen are captains and those appearing include Jimmy Jacobs, The Bravados, The Briscoes and the Young Bucks, plus 1-2-3 Kid, Marty Jannetty, The Heartthrobs and the CHIKARA regulars.
--Steeltown Pro Wrestling's Christmas Catastrophe on 12/1 at the Casa de Minho Portuguese Centre in Winnipeg.
--Both CZW and Evolve are doing Toys for Tots collections, for new unwrapped toys on 12/8 at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ where each group runs a show. Evolve will be at 4 p.m. and CZW at 7:30 p.m.
--The release of "Here Comes the Boom" in Australia has been changed to 12/6 (thanks to James Stanios)
--UFC's Michael Chiesa has signed a management contract with First Round Management. Chiesa faces Marcus LeVessuer on the 12/8 show in Seattle. He grew up and still lives in Spokane.
--Revolution Pro Wrestling in St. Ives Cambridge, UK from last night: Dave Mastiff b Stixx, Project Ego b Hunter Brothers, Prince Devitt b Marty Scurll to win the RPW cruiserweight title, Noam Dar b Lion Kid, Sha Samuels b El Ligero, Mark Haskins b Tajiri. Next show is 12/2 in Sittingbourne, UK with Prince Devitt defending the title, plus Michael Elgin vs. Big Van Walter and Colt Cabana vs. Rockstar Spud.
--New England Fights tonight in Lewiston, ME at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
--USWO from last night in Nashville before 55 fans: Psycho Medic b Cody Allen, Big Time Sexy b Convict, TNT Mottley b Zack Hartnell, Shawn Hoodrich b Chris Norte, Justin Grandberry b Josh Crow, Damien Payne b Kaden Sade, Shawn Hoodrich won Battle Royal (thanks to Jimmie Daniel)