Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston non-title
Antonio Cesaro & Wade Barrett vs. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth
Tonight on Fuel has UFC Tonight at 7 p.m., Ultimate Insider at 7:30 p.m., UFC 144 (Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson) replays at 8 p.m. and a UFC one hour special on Benson Henderson airs at 11 p.m. Eastern.
We also look at the John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler booking and the match.
We also update the situation with Pro Wrestling NOAH, the once powerhouse promotion that looks to be falling apart. We look at the reasons the promotion has gone down, what moves are being made and the status going forward of many of its biggest names. We also look at a record set by Kenta Kobashi that may never be equaled.
We've also got a story on three of the biggest names in history, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and Terry Funk, and in-ring wrestling. We look at Flair's comments about not wrestling again, what happened when Hulk Hogan was given a huge money offer for one last match, as well as what looks to be each man's last match. We look at changes in WWE, the chances right now of Flair going to WWE, The offers Flair recently turned down for a major match and the TMZ report on Flair and his impending divorce.
We also have a look at the plans for January with UFC and Bellator both getting new TV time slots. We look at why both spots are potentially strong, as well as when both are scheduled to debut.
We also have a long biography on the death of Buddy Roberts of the Fabulous Freebirds and Hollywood Blonds tag teams. We look back to one of the biggest wrestling angles of all-time and how Buddy Roberts fit in, we look at the heyday of Freebirds vs Von Erichs, we've got how the feud kicked off, how The Freebirds ended up in Texas, what Texas wrestling was like when they got there and the famous Christmas 1982 cage match with Ric Flair and Kerry Von Erich.
We look at how Buddy Roberts got started in wrestling, who was his first mentor, his career before the Hollywood Blonds, how the Hollywood Blonds came to be and the wrestling war in Montreal. We've got comments from a number of people who interacted with Roberts during his career. We look at his run with Johnny Valentine, we look at how The Freebird trio came to be. We look at The Freebirds days in Atlanta during the heyday of the Georgia Championship Wrestling TV show.
We also look at his feud with King Parsons, their run in WWF and why it was so brief, why his career ended and life after wrestling.
We also look more at a flood in a dressing room at a WWE event, an update on Martha Hart's lawsuit against WWE, Dolph Ziggler, a WWE release for legal reasons, a WWE employee who as recently as this summer was competing at a high level in a real sport, two new wrestlers WWE has its eye on and is scouting, Shawn Michaels talks the end of his career, and a former WWE performer rips on John Cena.
We also look at the fate of a WWE performer, DVR viewership of Raw, plus business notes from the past week and details from all the weekend house shows.
We also have a story on the injury to UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and look at how this impacts the division, with the various big fights coming up.
We've got a look at the last New Japan PPV show with the tag team tournament finals, plus preview the Tokyo Dome show. We look at the standings of the tournament, as well as match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.
We also look at the prospects of AAA expanding into the U.S., as well as look at its last big show of the year, Guerra de Titanes over the weekend including what legend got his head shaved and how it all went down.
We also have coverage of the finals of the 2012 Real World Tag League tournament.
Also in this week's issue:
--TNA star wins wrestling bodybuilding contest
--A look at the Co pa Juniors tournament in Mexico
--Japanese promotion TV show now available weekly in the U.S.
--Longtime pro wrestling star leaving business to go to college
--A look at Pro Wrestling NOAH's next and possibly last big show
--A look at the last New Japan show of the year
--Biggest pro wrestling crowd of the week, you'll never guess the company or where it took place
--Notes on the "Last of McGuinness" DVD
--National Pro Wrestling Day
--Story on retirement of Tony Mamaluke
--Update on Tammy Sytch
--A piece of wrestling history is declared a local landmark
--Notes on a major indie show
--Former WWE star in a hair match this week
--Update on Jake Roberts
--Jim Cornette's current situation and future in ROH
--Notes on the 2013 TNA Lockdown show
--Update on Jeff Hardy
--Update on TNA/Scott Steiner legal problems
--TNA star about to graduate college
--A look at Wes Brisco on Gut Check
--Notes on TNA Impact tapings for the rest of the year
--Update on the Final Resolution show
--A look at all the TNA weekend shows
--Changes in UFC on FOX
--Johny Hendricks/Nick Diaz arguments regarding fighting St-Pierre
--Lots of new UFC fights signed
--Upcoming Bellator stuff
--How Bellator got started
--Record boxing numbers
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.
Wednesday's news update
--There are going to be five new radio shows up on the site today. Bryan and I talked to Nigel McGuinness earlier today about his documentary, "The Last of McGuinness," which we'll talk more about in this week's Observer as well as next week's. We'll also be doing our Wednesday news show later tonight.
--More on Ric Flair's wife's claims about him which is not something that is good for Flair right now given deals he was in talks about at http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/12/04/3706016/ric-flairs-wife-takes-him-to-court.html#storylinkk=cpy
Flair's attorney told the Charlotte Observer that "He denies all these allegations of misconduct. He contends she committed acts of marital misconduct and domestic violence. The issues will be resolved in the courtroom." The story also noted that Flair has a tax lien for $237,000 in unpaid federal taxes, plus interest and penalties and $41,000 in state taxes, interest and penalty.
--Dana White announced today that Forrest Griffin is off the 12/29 show due to a torn MCL and strained ACL. Griffin was to face Phil Davis. No new opponent was named.
--The rumored Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar fight for 2/23 in Anaheim is now official.
--The issue between former WWE developmental wrestler Kevin Matthews and current WWE trainer Bill DeMott that started on Twitter has turned into a real embarrassment today after Matthews put up a photo on Twitter of a nearly naked wrestler giving another a stinkface years back at the Deep South training center. Matthews wrote with the photo, "Nothing like forcing your male talent to train buttnaked while you watch and laugh." Matthews said a number of developmental talent has contacted him with more examples of DeMott's training. "This is just the beginning of me exposing DeMott for what he truly is. I will not stop until justice is served." DeMott did reference Matthews a few days ago sending a tweet saying "Glad to see things are going well for you, would like to catch up some time. Judging by your tweets you know where I am. Stop by some time. Let's catch up." DeMott called Matthews a crybaby in his autobiography when talking about his days in Deep South Wrestling.
--Cody Runnels (Cody Rhodes) got engaged this past week to Brandi Reed, who was briefly a WWE ring announcer under the name Eden Stiles.
--The Rock is scheduled on Raw shows on 1/7 and 1/21.
--Andy Ogle of Ultimate Fighter faces Josh Grispi on the 2/16 UFC on Fuel show from Wembley Arena in London.
--The debut of Eddie Mendez in UFC scheduled for 12/15 in Gold Coast, Australia, is out due to a shoulder injury. Mendez was to face Nick Penner. Cody Donovan, with a 7-2 record, has been signed to make his UFC debut coming in on very late notice.
--USA was No. 1 in cable prime time last week averaging 2.75 million viewers per show, beating out ESPN at 2.60 million. FX was No. 11 at 1.59 million and Syfy was No. 21 at 950,000. Raw last week had two hours at No. 14 and No. 15 and the third hour failed to crack the top 25. None of the hours were top ten in the key demos.
--WWE Main Event next week will be airing at 6:30 p.m. and replayed at midnight.
Johnny Gargano vs. Sami Callihan for the Open the Freedom Gate title
El Generico & Samuray del Sol vs. Super Smash Brothers
Chuck Taylor vs Jon Davis
AR Fox vs. Tony Nese
Masada vs. Papadon
Rich Swann vs. Jigsaw
Winner of the Taylor, Fox, Masada and Swann matches in a four-way later in the show
Plus Colt Cabana, Chrstina Von Eerie and Larry Dallas
--The TV show "Lets Ask America" had a question last night where women in New York were asked what event they most wouldn't want to go to on a first date. More people answered "UFC Fight" than any other answer. (thanks to Brian Henke)
WHAT FIGHT ON SATURDAY ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO?
Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz 65.1%
B.J. Penn vs. Rory MacDonald 24.9%
Shogun Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson 6.6%
Mike Swick vs. Matt Brown 3.5%
ARE YOU MORE OR LESS LIKELY TO WATCH SATURDAY'S UFC THAN THE PREVIOUS TWO SHOWS?
Watched both, am watching this one 51.2%
Didn't watch the ones before, not watching this one 32.4%
Didn't watch those shows am watching this 13.6%
Watched the previous shows, not watching this 2.8%
WHO WAS THE STAR OF RAW?
The Shield 39.5%
C.M. Punk 28.3%
Damien Sandow 8.2%
The Miz 6.6%
Vince McMahon 2.9%
Dolph Ziggler 1.8%
Daniel Bryan 1.1%
John Cena 1.1%
Alberto Del Rio1.1%
POLL ON RAW
16.3% of those responding didn't see the show
--Daniel Bryan talks about his relationship with Brie Bella, his favorite wrestler of all-time, what he likes most about wrestling and what he says to people who call wrestling fake at http://www.latimes.com/embed/8l2dhPU4IpE
--Traditional Championship Wrestling will be taping its first shows on Saturday with former WWE writer Jamie Norris as the head writer and segment producer, and featuring Jim Duggan and Lance Hoyt (New Japan's Lance Archer). They also are taping TV on both 1/4 and 1/5 in Fort Smith, AR at the Convention Center.
--A strory in Fast Company magazine about UFC noted that Spike TV executives drew up a deal for a renewal of Ultimate Fighter on the back of an envelope right after the Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar fight. They also credited WWE's Tough Enough for the inspiration for the creation of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. (thanks to Chris Aiken)
--With Michelle Gutierrez out of the 12/14 Bellator show, Felice Herrig will now face Vidonic Steps. Gutierrez said she had to pull out due to a hand injury but Herrig claims she wasn't injured but was so far overweight she pulled out.
--CMLL on Sunday in Guadalajara: Halcon de Plata & Black Metal b Sadico & Espectrum, Smaker & Gallo & Esfinge b Rafaga & Malefico & Barbaro Cavernario, Comandante & Amapola b Silueta & Dark Angel, In Memoriam b Eros in a hair vs. hair match, Ultimo Guerrero won Colos de Corona Cup over Titan, La Mascara, Mascara Dorada, Valiente, Diamante, Tama Tonga, Okumura, Namajague and Euforia, Maximo b Volador Jr.
--Bruiser Wrestling has a pre-taped Best of 2012 show on 12/24 at 6:05 p.m. The show will be free of charge at www.bruiserwrestling.com
--Border City Wrestling on 2/8 in Windsor, ONT at the Caboto Club with Jerry Lynn, Shawn Spears and Michael Elgin and a Phil Atlas vs. Tyson Dux main event.
--Jerry Lynn will make his first and last appearance in the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday night at the APW Garage in Hayward facing Will Rood for the APW Internet championship at 6:30 p.m.
--Absolute Intense Wrestling on 12/21 in Cleveland at Turner's Hall headlined by AR Fox vs. Davey Richards, plus Colt Cabana, Johnny Gargano, Eddie Kingston, Tim Donst, Kyle O'Reilly, Chuck Taylor, Veda Scott and more.
--The 10th annual Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup will be 12/14 and 12/15 in Ybor City, FL at The Orpheum. 12 of the 16 guys entered are AR Fox, Jonathan Gresham, Eddie Rios, John Silver, Lince Dorado, Mike Cruz, Maxwell Chicago, Shane Strickland, Tommy Taylor, Jay Cruz, Papadon and Samuray del Sol. All profits from the show and iPPV will go toward helping Nathan Dodds with his medical bills.
--Bellator this week, and actually every week, is replayed at 11 p.m. Eastern on Mun2.
--25 years ago today in Memphis saw Bill Dundee & Norvell Austin beat Dennis Condrey & Phil Hickerson in Memphis to win the Southern tag team titles on a show headlined by Jerry Lawler beating Jimmy Valiant for the Southern title (thanks to Brian Hoops)
--On the TV show "New Girl" last night they showed a brief clip of a Hulk Hogan vs. Iron Sheik match.
--IWC on 12/15 in Elizabeth, PA at the Court Time Sports Center with Logan Shulo vs. Facade for their world title in a 30 minute Iron man match, John McChesney vs. Tommy Dreamer, Bobby Fish vs. Anthony Nese vs. Johnny Gargano vs Sami Callihan, Chuck Taylor vs. Dalton Castle and more.