We're also looking for reports on last night's Extreme Reunion show in Monaca, PA as well as Thursday night's TNA show in Johnson City and Friday night's TNA show in Knoxville.
*Big Show vs. Sheamus for the World title - These two are coming off the show stealing match last month, but the key to that match was Show kicking out of the Brogue kick and Sheamus kicking out of the knockout punch. This time they are going to have to do it without either. Perhaps this is where Ziggler can come in since it hasn't been teased at all.
*Team Foley (Kofi Kingston & Daniel Bryan & Kane & The Miz & Randy Orton) vs. Team Ziggler (Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio & Damien Sandow & ? & Wade Barrett) in an elimination match. Cody Rhodes is unlikely to appear due to injuries but nothing has bee officially announced - WWE officials told us today that no announcement would be made regarding Rhodes. Given that he tore two muscles in his shoulder, a trap muscle and a deltoid, plus has a concussion, his wrestling doesn't seem to make sense. The names that were batted around were Ricardo Rodriguez and Tensai in the spot, but nothing is official. Prime Time Players could be put in and Sandow pulled out to give them a rub, but they were scheduled in an undercard match. Looking at the lineup, it's hard to really know the direction. The guys you would think to protect are Ziggler, Del Rio, Barrett, Miz, Kane and Orton. You don't want to make Miz mean little right after his turn.
*Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth for the U.S. title - Probably won't be very long and Cesaro should win.
*Eve Torres vs. Kaitlyn for the Divas title - Ditto, although either one could win this one.
*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
A few late storyline notes. A.J. has said on tonight's show she will present incriminating evidence against Vickie Guerrero. John Cena is apparently going to debut new gear. In addition, many years at Survivor Series is a WrestleMania tease.
Fuel has the last two weeks of Ultimate Fighter from 9-11 p.m. followed by a replay of last night's prelims at 11 p.m.
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.
Sunday's news update
--We're sorry to report the death of Dwain McCullough, who worked as Awesome Kong of the Colossal Kongs tag team in Texas and WCW in the early 90s. The Kongs were a pair of 400-pounders who worked underneath, managed by Harley Race, in 1993. McCullough also once held the USWA title. He was 54. (thanks to Brian Wescott and others)
--We're told the Matt Hardy injury from last night's Extreme Rising show was legit. The Hardy vs. Shane Douglas match was to end with Luke Hawx pushing Hardy off the top rope. Hardy hit his head either on the floor or the guard rail (I believe the floor) and went into convulsions and was throwing up. They went right to the planned finish with a lot of run-ins.
When the ring was cleared, they had the building cleared and were working on Hardy. It took two minutes for the paramedics to arrive, which a lot of people were very upset with. They kept him on the ground for another ten minutes, but he did get up on his on and walk to the back. They wanted him to go to the hospital but he was against going. He seemed to be fine other than the belief was he had a concussion.
--In UFC picks last night, myself, Josh Nason and Mike Sempervive all went 3-1. I missed Hendricks vs. Kampmann, but I really should have gone 2-2 given that Francis Carmont should not have beaten Tom Lawlor. Well, 3-2 since I picked Dos Anjos but it was decided not to count that fight since not everyone gave a prediction on it. Mike Sawyer and Bryan Alvarez went 2-2 and Todd Martin and Oliver Copp were 0-4.
--Dana White was talking last night after UFC 154 about Anderson Silva vs. GSP in May at a stadium. GSP was noncommittal and everyone read that as him not wanting the fight. He did say that Silva had fought as light as 168 (actually 167) in Japan, although that was a long time ago and he would face him at 170. He said at 178, that he'd still go into the cage at 185 and Silva would go in at 220 (more likely 200-205, but that's still a 20 pound difference). Silva was down for the fight, but thought May was too early for it.
--White also talked about Ronda Rousey's debut being on PPV as UFC champion defending the title. He said it would either be the main event or the semi-main if a heavier male weight division fight is on the same show. He very much downplayed Cyborg Santos as an opponent.
He also talked about a Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald fight for the interim bantamweight title and also felt Alessio Sakara and Patrick Cote should have a rematch.
--If anyone attended last night's UFC at a movie theater, let us know how the attendance was. We got a ton of positive responses on it. The impression we have is that there were far more people going to theaters to see the show than ever before.
--UFC was the single most searched for item yesterday on Google, ahead of McKayla Maroney and the Oregon Ducks. That's a good sign because there is usually a strong correlation between that stat and PPV numbers.
--WWE got positive press on WXIN-TV in Indianapolis last night when David Otunga, A.J. and Alicia Fox worked at the Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis yesterday helping back food for kids and senior citizens and promoting the show tonight. A.J. Lee noted that there was a time in her life when her family was so poor they went to places like this. (thanks to Mike Kuzmuk)
--This isn't a pro wrestling story, but Vince McMahon's old nemesis Stan Kroenke was named by Sports Illustrated as the most powerful man in sports.
WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING THIS WEEKEND?
Survivor Series 51.5%
UFC 154 50.0%
Of those responding, 49% of the UFC 154 viewers are also watching Survivor Series and 49% of the Survivor Series viewers also watched UFC 154 last night.
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF EPISODE 3 OF GSP VS. CONDIT PRIMETIME?
**55.3% of those responding didn't see the show
POLL ON BELLATOR
**81.9% of those responding didn't see the show
POLL ON ULTIMATE FIGHTER
**77.8% of those responding didn't see the show
POLL ON SMACKDOWN
**41.6% of those responding didn't see the show
--74 years ago today, Jim Londos beat Bronko Nagurski in Philadelphia to win the world heavyweight championship. Londos was the Hulk Hogan of his day while Nagurski was the Adrian Peterson of his day. (thanks to Brian Hoops)
--GOUGE from last night in Raleigh: Frank Stalletto b Seymour Snott, Jaheeem the Dream b Bubba Trailer, Alex Adonis & Otto Schwanz DCOR Krazy Killer Klowns, Mickey Gambino b Caprice Coleman, Jaheem the Dream won a Food Truck Rodeo Battle Royal, Mickey Gambino b Jimmy Jack Funk Jr. to win the GOUGE heavyweight title when manager Count Grog threw him a chain
--Pro Wrestling BattleArts from Friday night in Oshawa, ONT: Rock Steady Alex Vega b Marcus Marquez, Ashley Sixx b Tadarius Thomas, Leah Von Dutch over John Greed, Scotty O'Shea and Phil Atlas, Jimmy Jacobs b Brent B, Christopher Bishop b Josh Alexander, Ethan Page NC Michael Elgin. Next show was announced for February (thanks to Steven Ashe)
--Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling from last night in East Carondelet, IL before a sellout 300 fans, their biggest crowd to date: Shorty Biggs b Max Archer-DQ, Brian James b Brent Meyers, Bull Bronson b Jimmy Douglas, Chas Wesson b Jake Dirden, Gary Jackson b Alexander Rudolph, Ironman Kasas & Waco b Sean Vincent & Chris Hargas, Heath Hatton b Dave Vaughn, Ricky Cruz b Big Texan (thanks to Larry Matysik and Patrick Brandmeyer)
--Last night's Lucha Xtreme TV show in Fresno: al Azar b Will Da Beat, Chavo Guerrero b Fuego (taped from the summer), J.R. Kratos & Brian Tannen b Death & Destruction, Brandon Groom b Manny Fernandez-DQ. Next taping is 12/1 at the TV studios (thanks to Jon Southerland)
--Pro Wrestling Revolution in San Jose announced a TV deal with Ch. 43, KMCE, which is the Azteca America affiliate in the Salinas/Monterrey/Santa Cruz/Watsonville market to start weekly television in December. It will be a 30 minute Lucha Libre style show featuring Blue Demon Jr., La Parka, Oliver John, Mascara Sagrada, Mariachi, Lady Apache and more. The first episode airs on 12/8 at midnight with a minis match with Ultimo Dragoncito vs. Pierrothito.
--CMLL on Tuesday night in Guadalajara: Virgo & Divino b Sadico & Acertijo, Rafaga & Exterminador b Esfinge & Black Metal, Estrellita & Silueta & Luna Magica b Princesa Blanca & Tiffany & Princesa Sugei, Titan & Guerrero Maya Jr. & Delta b Mr. Aguila & Kraneo & Olimpico, Volador Jr. & Mephisto & Dragon Rojo Jr. b Shocker & La Mascara & Brazo de Plata,
--A promotion called The Crash has a show this coming Friday in Tijuana at the Auditorio with Blue Demon Jr. vs. Mesias as the main event.
--Brazo de Plata & Tinieblas Jr. vs. El Hijo del Solitario & Pirata Morgan headlines at the Hi-Ho Ballroom in Grand Prairie, TX for Lucha Libre Dallas tonight. (thanks to Kris Zellner)
--Keith Rainville, a Lucha Libre expert, has a new book out called "Zombi Mexicano"
about foreign zombie movies of the 70s, which includes talking about several movies with pro wrestlers that included wrestlers fighting zombies like La Momias de Guanjuato
--Knokx Pro Wrestling from yesterday in Sun Valley, CA: Jezette won Rumble match, TMD won Rumble match. Jacob Fatu, another member of the Samoan wresting clan, worked the show along with Rikishi and Black Pearl. They have scheduled a Too Cool Reunion with Brian Christopher as Grandmaster Sexay and Scott 2 Hotty along with Rikishi on 12/15 in Sun Valley.