> James Storm & A.J. Styles vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian
> Mickie James vs. Gail Kim
> Rob Van Dam defends the X title against someone chosen by Hulk Hogan after eliminations
MMA Uncensored airs at 11 p.m. tonight. Michael Bisping will be guest.
Fuel tonight has the Rashad Evans looking at his biggest fights special repeating at 8 p.m., the Blackzillians camp special at 8:30 p.m, Best of Pride at 9 p.m., Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard at 10 p.m., Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann at 11 p.m. and Ultimate Fighter at midnight.
We also update Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva, as well as the middleweight and welterweight division in UFC regarding what happens if that fight does take place. We look at St-Pierre's most recent comments on the fight, what he says about the size difference and how realistic it is, and why the weight of the fight is important.
We look at other alternates for both fighters and the risk of both doing and not doing the fight.
We also look at the Hell in a Cell buy rate, and what lessons it shows, whether it's about Ryback, getting a challenger ready, John Cena, and time between shows. We also look at the profitability comparison between one strong show and two weak shows, and why the most accurate read on what the number meant won't come for a few more weeks.
We've got the 2012 awards ballot along with the top place-winners in every category from last year.
We also have updates on The Rock returning to WWE and when, what he's doing, C.M. Punk's likely role at Mania, update on the WWE Network, Update on the TLC show, how atmosphere is different at Raw when Vince isn't there, lots of business notes in different categories and how they compare to a year ago, plus injury updates, a DVD update, Cena booking and merchandising and more and lots more from WWE.
We've got updates on three different pro wrestling tournaments that are going on in Japan right now with New Japan, Pro Wrestling NOAH and All Japan. We look at what the plans are for the winners of the Global League and the next two GHC title matches.
We've got our Hall of Fame bio on Lou Albano. We talk about his early life, the sports he played before pro wrestling and what sport he tried to go pro in first. We look at his early career as a wrestler, the hot period he was tag team champion during and why it abruptly ended. We look at the real story behind Albano's run as half of the WWWF United States tag team champions.
We look at how he switched over to being a manager and his first protege and how that set the standard for WWWF business for the next 15 years. We look at his most famous matches in the ring, the Jimmy Snuka turn and match, the Ivan Koloff vs. Bruno Sammartino program and story behind the 1971 title change.
We look at the Triumvirate of Terror and how the WWWF operated during the 70s, stories of Albano getting fired and rehired by Vince McMahon Sr., his tag team champions, and his original connection with Cyndi Lauper and how that changed pro wrestling.
We look at the first WWF shows on MTV and why they didn't continue. We look at Albano after WWF as an actor and media personality.
We also look at the first post-World War II German superstar in U.S. wrestling, Hans Schmidt. We look at the creation of Schmidt, why he became the star he did, the story behind his program with Verne Gagne, his glory years, his other big rivals, and his world title shots. We look at his run as U.S. champion, the period in the U.S. when pro wrestling had the most mainstream popularity (and it wasn't the 80s or the 90s), his main events in places like Madison Square Garden and Montreal, and the stars he influenced fro the next generation.
We also look at his retirement and life after retirement.
We also have an updated listing of the 25 biggest gates in pro wrestling and MMA of all-time, updated with the early figures from next year's WrestleMania.
Also in this week's issue:
--Mexican national women's title change
--New program for CMLL heavyweight title
--Latest tournament coming to Arena Mexico
--Lineup for AAA's final big show of the year, Guerra de Titanes
--Look at the major stipulation match on top
--Lots of U.S. wrestlers headed to Mexico for show next week
--Dragon Gate title changes hands twice i a week
--Veteran star returns after one year off due to neck problems
--Next NOAH big show
--Notes on New Japan's next iPPV show
--Notes on every match in the New Japan tag team tournament
--More on Antonio Inoki's New Year's Eve show including what star is coming out of retirement for the event
--BBC doing a show on pro wrestling
--Thanksgiving wrestling tradition in the Greensboro area
--More on the Robot Combat League and Chris Jericho
--Return of 80s promotion early next year and who is involved
--Jury awards family of 60s star nearly $1.8 million over circumstances leading to his death
--Bob Evans marathon week
--Where are they nows
--TNA Turning Point estimates
--Who is Spike working on doing a TV special on?
--More on Aces and 8s
--UFC 154 numbers and what they mean
--FOX's big idea for a blow-out UFC show in early 2014
--Update on the final Strikeforce show
--Feud between two Strikeforce stars
--More on Strikeforce people headed to UFC
--Tons of new UFC matches, injuries and retirements
--Business pub talks Sonnen vs. Jones
--Fighter makes claim about steroid use in UFC
--More on Bellator changes
--Bellator star retires
--Notes on the rest of this season in Bellator
--Fund raisers planned for former UFC star who lost his home in a fire
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.
TODAY'S NEWS, NOTES AND LINKS
--Miz will be the guest host on Extra tonight with Maria Menounos.
--Several fights have been added to the 1/12 Strikeforce show in Oklahoma City:
- Lorenz Larkin vs. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza
- Roger Gracie vs. Tony Smith
- Josh Barnett vs. Nandor Guelmino (a 36-year-old from Austria with a 11-3-1 record)
--One of the greatest announcers in sports, Vin Scully, turned 85 today. Other birthdays today include John Layfield (46), Jerry Lawler (63), Dutch Mantell (63), Gene Okerlund (70) and Hayabusa (44).
--George "Two Ton" Harris passed away on this day ten years ago at the age of 75. Joey Rossi passed away nine years ago on this day at 51. Larry Booker, best known as Moondog Spot, passed away in a Battle Royal in Memphis nine years ago today also at 51. (thanks to Georgia Wrestling History)
is going to be getting its own Roku channel. Details are forthcoming.
--Firas Zahabi has said that he believes Nick Diaz, and not Johny Hendricks, is the rightful No. 1 contender for the welterweight title. I don't know how you can justify it other than GSP will make more money with Diaz, but that also requires Diaz getting through a main event promotion without any issues.
--On this day in wrestling history
> 50 years ago today: Eddie Graham beat Boris Malenko in Jacksonville to win the Southern heavyweight title
> 32 years ago today: Killer Karl Kox beat The Grappler in Shreveport to win the Mid South heavyweight title
> 20 years ago today: Rock & Roll Express beat The Heavenly Bodies in a cage match in Knoxville to win the Smoky Mountain tag team titles
> 18 years ago today: Tito Santana beat Bob Orton Jr. to win the AWF title (thanks to Brian Hoops)
--Fozzy touring schedule in the U.K.:
> Tomorrow in Glasgow at the Arches
> Saturday night in Hafan y Mor, Wales at the Hard Rock Hell Festival
> Monday night in Plymouth, UK at the White Rabbit
> Tuesday night in London, UK at the Electric Ballroom
> Wednesday night in Brighton, UK at the Concorde 2
> Thursday night in Cologne, Germany at the Underground
--UFC middleweight contender Chris Weidman underwent shoulder surgery yesterday to repair a torn rotator cuff and a torn labrum, as well as a separated AC joint and a shoulder ligament tear. He said he'll be back in four months.
--GQ Magazine has a list of the least influential people of 2012 and listed Hulk Hogan as No. 24.
--Sara Stock was featured in the Miami Herald in a feature called TNA Knockout Sarita: Building Sound Mind and Body
. She goes for her seventh straight win in the CMLL women's bodybuilding competition as part of the annual bodybuilding night for the wrestlers.
--Premier Promotions is running its 25th anniversary show on 12/2 at the same building they debuted in back in December, 1987, The Hove Town Hall in Hove, England. They are the last promotion in England to use the traditional Lord Mountevans rules with three falls and the rounds system. Robbie Brookside, Zack Sabre Jr., Johnny Storm and former world lightweight champion Steve Grey are on the card headlined by Kris Kay & Flash Barker vs. Danny Garnell and ? managed by Dean Ayass.
--A correction from yesterday's report: the Undertaker win over Hulk Hogan for the WWF title was on November 27, 1991 not November 28, 199. It would have been 21 years ago on Tuesday, not Wednesday. (thanks to Leon Peters)
--Maven Huffman, who won the first Tough Enough 11 years ago, put his trophy in storage in Virginia. He stopped paying his storage bill and everything he had there went up for auction. The guy who bid for the contents was a good guy about it, as when he discovered the award, he contacted Maven and wanted to send it back. Maven never responded, so he sold it on ebay for $600.
--For those keeping up with Brutal Bob Evans and his nightly 60 minute matches this week, he lost 12-11 to Adam Cole yesterday and faces Biff Busick today.
--The UFC Gym company will be selling memberships on Saturday for a new location in New Hyde Park, NY. Early members will get a reduced rate and lower monthly dues, with the first 300 getting a UFC Gym shirt and gift bag. The gym will be at 1596 Union Turnpike. The gym is set to open in the spring. For info, call 516-784-4072.
--There is a wrestling art show featuring CHIKARA stars in costume tomorrow at the PhilaMoca at 531 N. 12th St., in Philadelphia. There will be comedy, free beer and more.
--Chaotic Wrestling Fan Appreciation Night tomorrow night in Woburn, MA at the Elks Lodge headlined by Sean Burke vs Brian Fury.
--Super Fight League has its first show headlined by Indian fighters with Sandeep Yadav (2-0) vs. Sachin Bhat (1-0) for Friday night in India (morning in the U.S.) fights from Mumbai. The show airs on YouTube
at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow Eastern time, 7:30 a.m. Pacific time.
--NAAFS Night of Champions on 12/15 in Medina, OH at the Community Center for MMA action.
--Round 5 Collectibles is releasing a new series of action figures featuring Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones, Carlos Condit and Brittney Palmer.
--Resistance Pro Wrestling tomorrow night in Chicago at the Teamster Auditorium at 328 S. Marsh field with guests Jake Roberts, Amazing Kong, Sho Funaki and Chris Nowinski as a TV taping featuring Suge D & Epic vs. Shawn & Arya Daivari vs. Jocephus & Steven Walters vs. Lince Dorado & Empoerado Azteca. It's the company's one year anniversary show
--The Fight Network in Canada will air the reality series Tuff Girls starting on 12/7 in a 7:30 p.m. Eastern time Friday night slot. The series follows nine women looking to become Muay Thai champions traning under Master Toddy at his gym in Bangkok. This is a sequel to a show from many years ago called Fight Girls with Master Toddy that introduced Gina Carano.
--NXT will be doing its first house shows outside of Florida with events on 3/8 in Valdosta, GA and 3/9 in Perry, GA.
--Last week's Score Fighting Championships drew the highest ratings the event has done to date on the station. They announced that part of the show, including the great Tristan Johnson vs. Will Romero fight, will air on Friday at 10:30 p.m. on The Score in Canada. The other highlight match, Jesse Ronson vs. Ryan Healy airs on 12/7 at 10:30 p.m.
--Greg Lambert, the booker for the FWA in 2006 and 2007, has a book out
called "Holy Grail: The True Story of British Wrestling's Revival" about his experience as a performer and booker with the promotion form 2002 to 2007. He talks about working with C.M. Punk, Daniel Bryan, Mick Foley, Bret Hart, Jake Roberts and others. 25% of all royalties go to the charity Kidscape that covers anti-bullying and child protection.
--Aaron's has signed up as the sponsor for New Year's Chaos on 1/5 in Lexington, VA at the Virginia Horse Center with Goldust vs. Chris Masters in a cage match plus Jim Duggan, Katie Lea Burchill, Angelina Love and Pat Tanaka appearing.
--CWE TV taping tomorrow night in Winnipeg at the Southeast Collegiate with Matt Fairlane vs. Tommy Lee Curtis as the main event.
--CWE results from last night in Winnipeg: Rick Matthews b Levi McDaniel, Lizzy Slade b Kevin Cannon in a man vs. woman bout, Danny Duggan b Mike Mission-DQ, Tommy Lee Curtis won three-way over Buddy Wiser and J.J. Sanchez, Kevin Cannon's mystery man DCOR Bobby Collins, Kevy Chevy b Billy Blaze in a street fight