THURS. UPDATE: Hell in a Cell numbers, funny story on Mania, Next New Japan iPPV announced, WWE on Soup, Bret Hart talks current wrestlers, Former WWE star doing "A Christmas Carol" and new WWE DVD

By Dave Meltzer
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        Impact tonight at 8 p.m. is the annual Thanksgiving night episode of the show  
Wes Brisco vs. Garett Bischoff in Gut Check
Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Joey Ryan
Sam Shaw vs. Alex Silva
Jeff Hardy vs. Christian York in a non-title match
Tara vs. Taelor Hendrix in a non-title match
Eric Young vs. Jessie vs. Robbie E in a Turkey Suit match
        UFC 147 (Wanderlei Silva vs. Franklin II) airs tonight at 6 p.m. and UFC 92 (Rashad Evans vs. Forrest Griffin) airs at 9 p.m. tonight on Fuel.
        Coverage of where WWE and UFC are going after the big weekend shows are the headline stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. 
        We look at WWE plans, both announced and in the planning stages, following up Survivor Series.  We look at the background of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, where they came from and their respective strengths and weaknesses. 
        We look at the Survivor Series booking, who were the standouts, why booking of one performer has changed greatly, the card for the TLC PPV, plus a rundown of the show with poll results and star ratings.
        We also look at UFC in 2013, with a look at every division, including the women.  We look at the top contenders, which divisions have depth, which are lacking, as well as a look at the Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva proposed fight as well as Silva vs. Jon Jones, and how that affects both weight divisions.  We look at the questions regarding championship fights vs. big money fights.
        We look at the contenders who have a shot at being stars, and those who deserve shots but maybe don't have that, as well as who can make themselves stars coming up or bring their careers back.  We look at the weak divisions, as well as the questions regarding women being put in PPV main events.  We also look at the status of Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg and why most feel Cyborg will inevitably fight her.  We also look at the idea of Rousey as a coach on Ultimate Fighter.
        We also look at the return of St-Pierre, questions answered and others not by his performance.  We look at the Patrick Cote vs Alessio Sakara controversy, as well as one of the most disagreed with decisions in a long time.  We also look at the business results of UFC 154, including not selling out in Montreal and why, the value of prim time, and thoughts on PPV and closed circuit numbers.
        We also have match-by-match rundowns from the show.
        We also update the MMA television landscape for 2013 when it comes to the games being played by FX and Spike, why nobody will confirm dates for January, a well as what is and isn't booked already.              
        We also look at a major project on the books for WWE next year.  Steve Austin talks about Austin vs. Hogan and who he thinks should be in he Half of Fame.  Edge talks why women in WWE leave so often.  We also look at why Miz turned face, who is booking house shows nowadays, who is able to get away with more, the story behind the Sammartino Hall of Fame reference, Linda McMahon gets more pub after her campaign and another match planned for Mania.  We also look at new names for WWE trained wrestlers and who they are, as well as more on WWE scouting, details of the last NXT tapings, and who people are highest on in developmental.  We also look at the developmental cuts and delayed viewership of Raw.     
        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.
        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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        You can also subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA  95009-1228. 
         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:
--Injury to the new Mistico
--New world title contender in CMLL
--Performer celebrates 55 years in the business
--Main event announced for AAA's Guerrera de Titanes
--Wrestler talks why he left promotion
--A look at the recent AAA TV tapings
--Big group vs. group main event in Japan
--Hall of Famer to return to Japan in December
--All Japan's big show for December
--Notes on Japanese wrestling's ability to draw outside the country
--A look at all the tag team tournaments going on
--Pretty actresses doing pro wrestling show in December
--Name wrestler opening restaurant this week
--A look at the Global League tournament
--Hall of Famer has to close his gym
--New Japan has two tournaments going on this week
--Notes on two newcomers to New Japan
--Hall of Famer gets award from international government
--Chinese giant set to debut
--80s legends battle in main event
--Notes on the death of Dwain McCullough, also known as the original Awesome Kong
--More on the death of Mike Graham
--Notes on the new TV show that Chris Jericho is hosting
--Where the idea of the show cam from
--Jericho's early 2013 schedule and availability
--Notes on the Extreme Rising show
--The injury to Matt Hardy
--The concept of the promotion and why even with drawing good crowds it's difficult
--Notes on the funeral of Brad Armstrong
--Longest matches of the last 50 years in New York
--Thoughts on NWA Hall of Fame class
--Notes on the legacy of Sputnik Monroe
--Notes on the 2013 Cauliflower Alley Club award and the club going forward
--Notes on the early days of Montreal wrestling
--Update on Jake Roberts training for a comeback match
--Funny Mil Mascaras story
--Where the Gorgeous George gimmick really came from
--A life in prison sentence given to a conspirator in a brutal murder of a Canadian pro wrestler
--More on Hulk Hogan's court battle over the sex tape and why the judge made the ruling he did
--TNA star returns after health scare
--Notes on future TNA TV schedule between now and the end of February
--Notes on TV tapings in the U.K.
--Notes on changing announcers jobs
--Why the different injury angles have been done
--Update on plans for Sting
--Who Kurt Angle thinks TNA has dropped the ball on
--Update on King Mo and what match he watches all the time
--Notes on the TNA weekend house show tour
--Update on the next UFC lineup for Seattle
--Notes on Shane Carwin's injury and the curse of being a coach on Ultimate Fighter
--Notes on turning down short notice fights
--Legal issues settled between two warring parties
--A look at a number of new fights
--Fighter announces retirement
--More UFC injuries
--Notes on the final Bellator show on MTV 2
--First eight matches announced for New Year's Eve in Japan
--A Christmas Eve show in Japan featuring 90s star vs. 00s star
--One of the most decorated heavyweight wrestlers to come to MMA debuts
--A look at what will be the biggest rivalry in college wrestling this year
--Olympic gold medalist turns down MMA offers
        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.
Rates are:
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        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.
Thursday's news update
--First off, want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  We've already got up on the site today a story on the history of pro wrestling on Thanksgiving, which during much of the 80s was the biggest night of the year for pro wrestling.
--Hell  in a Cell did 200,000 buys on PPV, of which 152,000 were in North America.  The latter number is way up from most WWE comparable WWE events.  On the flip side, overseas numbers were well down from usual.  
--There is a funny story at which was in reference to HHH saying that WrestleMania outdraws the Super Bowl when they run in the same building.  The story lists the six buildings that have held both, using WWE and the Super Bowl media guide as the sources.  Kind of funny since the non-worked numbers aren't that hard to come by.  It's in the form of the Truth-O-Meter that they use for statements by politicians and they concluded that HHH was, in fact, telling the truth.  Scary if they're this good at covering politicians.
--New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that it is official that its next PPV on UStream will be on 12/2.  It's an afternoon show in Nagoya, Japan which means it starts at a fairly reasonable 11 p.m. Pacific time on a Saturday night.  This is different because the lineup is not announced because it's the finals of the tag team tournament, which means mostly just tag team matches leading to the finals and no IWGP title match main event.  The Tokyo Dome show, which will be the following iPPV, starts at 3 a.m. Eastern and midnight Pacific time on 1/4.  You can always order New Japan shows at (thanks to Jose Gonzalez)
--On The Soup last night, they had Miz, Eve Torres, Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio, Brodus Clay, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.  Everyone was in their outfits.  They showed Eve and Miz roaming around backstage.  I was told Miz came off the worst, and when he and Eve walked into the control room, he acted like a little kid saying that, "Where are we now, a space ship?"  Overall a good segment.  Lawler stole the show making Cole crack up as he introduced clips.  They also showed a Hulk Hogan promo for WrestleMania 4, with the rest being a few clips from recent years (thanks to Zack Beseda)
--Bret Hart does an interview about modern wrestlers at  He heavily praised Rey Mysterio, Daniel Bryan and C.M. Punk saying that they were all innovators and that modern wrestlers work harder today than in any era of wrestling.  He said he thinks the bar has really been raised in the last five years inside the ring.  The interview is pushing the new WWE 13 video game.
--John Morrison will be part of the cast of "A Christmas Carol" that starts Saturday night and plays until 12/30 at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Los Angeles.
--WWE will be releasing a DVD of the 100 greatest moments on Raw on 12/11.
--Added to the 1/12 Strikeforce show in Oklahoma City is Mike Kyle vs. Gegard Mousasi.  With Strikeforce closing, both guys are really in a must-win situation, maybe Kyle more than Mousasi.  
--The has a story today on A.J. Lee plugging the WWE video game  She said that as far as the current wrestlers go, "everyone just goes back to their hotel, gets less sleep, plays video games, and reads comic books."
--An interview with Forrest Petz, who faces Jordan Mein in the main event of tomorrow night's Score Fighting Series 7 on AXS tomorrow night is at
--There is a story at the WDRB-41 web site on Michael Hayes, not the Freebird and not the Bellator fighter, but the OVW wrestler who had his left leg amputated.  He still has more surgeries to go from wounds suffered while serving in Iraq that will keep him out of action for 8-12 months if he can come back.
Lyoto Machida 50.5%
Dan Henderson 49.5%
 Mick Foley 37.3%
Frank Gotch 20.6%
Gorgeous George 15.4%
Superstar Billy Graham 14.8%
Edouard Carpentier 8.7%
Jackie Fargo 2.9%
Ed Don George 0.3%
Earl Caddock 0.0%
UFC 155 38.6%
New Japan Tokyo Dome show 23.7%
WWE TLC 18.7%
ROH Final Battle 11.7%
TNA Turning Point 7.3%
Three hours is burning the audience out 42.6%
Bad storylines 16.6%
Not enough stars over 12.6%
Product too similar 10.5%
Stale headliners 7.5%
Weak ability to promote new talent 5.9%
Ratings are going to be down because there are more entertainment options and a decline is irrelevant 4.4%
Yes 73.3%
No 26.7%
--ROH and Dragon Gate USA have a series of sales this weekend.  Now through Saturday at midnight ROH has 25% of all apparel and 35% off DVDs.  If you are a ringside member, you will get 40% off apparel and 50% off DVDs.  If anyone orders a ringside membership between now and 12/8, you will get Final Battle on iPPV on 12/16 free.  RF Video has a 30% off sale starting late tonight. 
--The touring WWE WrestleMania 29 Superstar Bus features Rey Mysterio, Brock Lesnar, Big Show, John Cena, Daniel Bryan and A.J. Lee.  A photo can be seen at
--UFO Wrestling from last night in South Boston:  Anthony Greene & Mike Paiva b Michael Mullett & Joey Rage, A.J. Mitrano over Flex Damon and Lumberjake, Brian Jace b Tank, JT Dunn DCOR Brandon Webb, Steve Back & Mike McCarthy b Bareknuckle Burly & Big Bear, D.C. Dillinger & Beau Douglas b Mark Shurman & Todd Sople, Makua b Danny Ramirez, Brian Milonas b Jimmy Milonas, Kevin Quinn won Turkey Battle Royal (thanks to Ed Wise)
--Absolute Intense Wrestling on 11/23 at Turner's Hall in Cleveland with AR Fox vs. ACH in a 30 minute Iron Man match plus Michael Elgin vs. Johnny Gargano.
--Christopher Daniels talked with Pipedream Comics in the U.K. at
--Ed, Cutrer and Craig talk wrestling's most disgusting storylines at  They don't get any worse than Atsushi Onita and Jose Gonzalez.
--70s actress Adrienne Barbeau plays Victoria's wicked mother Marion on an episode of REVENGE on ABC on Sunday.  Barbeau has a long forgotten pro wrestling background as Miss Wrestling for Roy Shire more than 40 years ago.
--Melvin Manhoef has pulled out of his 12/1 fight with Mamed Khalidov in Poland due to a foot injury.

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?