A look at the lessons learned and full coverage of the UFC on FOX show, as well as notes of Dwayne Johnson's schedule both within WWE and elsewhere are among the items covered in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that will be on the site today. It is one of two new issues today, with the other being a back issue from 1995 with coverage of what was, at the time, the biggest money pro wrestling live event in history, the Keiji Muto vs. Nobuhiko Takada match at the Tokyo Dome.
We look at the significance of the rating and positives of the show. We've got a list of the 15 most watched MMA television matches in U.S. history. We look at how every match on the FOX special did in the ratings, match-by-match growth, the future of the lightweight champion Benson Henderson, ratings from Saturday and how they compare to what FOX usually does, the next FOX show, how the prelims did, the main event heat, the future of B.J. Penn, plus match-by-match coverage with poll results on the show.
We also look at the retirement of Kenta Kobashi and Pro Wrestling NOAH's last big show of the year. We give the background as to why Kobashi announced his retirement, his status in Japanese wrestling, what his career is a case study of, a look back at the formation of Pro Wrestling NOAH, some talk of Kobashi's last match and who they are looking to have involved, plus a rundown of Sunday's show at Sumo Hall in Tokyo and interesting notes regarding many of the losers on that show.
We also look at Dwayne Johnson's first quarter schedule including a number of Raw dates, notes on the C.M. Punk vs. Ryback television match they talked about as upcoming, Randy Orton's injury, a major heel being talked about for a face turn and why, Slammy Awards notes as well as notes on all of next week's WWE programming, WWE video game sales, two WWE stars who recently have gotten engaged, notes on WWE talent development as well as an update on the best prospects including the first of the big football players to make NXT, Mark Henry update, notes on people leaving, and house show notes.
We also look at the UFC's announcements regarding GSP vs. Nick Diaz, Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche and Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald and what they all mean. We look at how the Rousey vs. Carmouche fight transpired and risks involved with the promotion of it. We look at the decision-making leading to GSP vs. Diaz and Dana White's explanation. We also look at the reaction of Johny Hendricks, notes on Rousey vs. Cyborg and how close that may be, comments from Rousey, Miesha Tate, White, Monte Cox and others on the first women's main event. We also look at who will be in charge of the women's division, UFC's ticket selling in Anaheim, undercard and more.
We've also got notes on the 2012 Tokyo Sports pro wrestling awards, plus a background on them and a list of every MVP dating back to 1974.
We've also got coverage of TNA's Final Resolution PPV, including match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results on the show. We look at the main event stories, injuries leading up to the show, and how the storylines did or didn't resonate with the live audience.
We also have a story on the Spike TV and Bellator relationship, the debut of Bellator after Impact on Thursday, the first fights on the debut show as well as notes on week two, and other Bellator programming on Spike.
Also in this week's issue:
--CMLL's year end spectacular lineup
--Major benefit show in Mexico ends up with a strange result
--CMLL false advertising talent
--Arena Mexico title match this past week held up and why
--Former WWE star debuts with Dragon Gate in U.S. next month
--Former TNA wrestlers also becoming regulars on Dragon Gate USA shows
--Yuji Nagata worked as a guest in a Dragon Gate match
--Rundown of All Japan's last big show of the year, featuring Masakatsu Funaki putting the Triple Crown up against Manabu Soya putting up the future of his world tag team title duo
--Notes on the major matches in January in All Japan
--Vader returns to All Japan and teams with Keiji Muto
--Pro wrestling show this past week draws 25,000 fans to a stadium
--All Japan world tag champs defend in rival promotion
--Notes on the IGF New Year's Eve television deal and it's not nearly what it's cracked up to be
--Mirko Cro Cop appears on pro wrestling show doing shoot match against a pro wrestling star
--El Generico headlines major Japanese show against Kenny Omega
--Continuation of the feud between 80s junior heavyweight stars
--Notes on the life and career of Hippie Mike Boyette
--What part of the country was he best known in
--More on Ric Flair
--Supreme Court ends a case involving the family of a well known wrestling star
--More on the retirement of Jerry Lynn
--Legends of Stampede Wrestling return for a big show at the Pavilion in Calgary along with a number of major modern names
--A look at Puerto Rico's biggest rivalry of the past decade, Carlito vs. Ray Gonzalez, this time in a hair vs. hair match
--What other Americans are now working in Puerto Rico
--Notes on the 2013 class of the Amsterdam based Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame
--Notes on the CZW Cage of Death show
--Former WWF star writing autobiography
--Legendary talk show hosts talks about his favorite wrestlers, his 50 year association with the product and gives a sobering note about the current product
--WWE star from years back comes out of retirement after seven years away
--Notes on CHIKARA iPPV
--Dan Severn talks about his association with pro wrestling
--Notes on the ROH Final Battle
--Update on Jim Cornette
--Spike President Kevin Kay predicts big things for TNA in January
--Notes on the return of Sting, Velvet Sky and Eric Young to TNA
--Mickie James talks her surgery
--Bully Ray talks the elimination of two PPV shows
--Notes on major items at TNA television the next few weeks
--Notes on this week's UFC events
--Notes on the retirement of Mark Hominick and why
--Notes on who is and isn't being brought in from Strikeforce
--Who Anderson Silva says he is willing to defend his title against, but who he thinks will never get a title shot
--Strikeforce personality into a major sports Hall of Fame
--Ronda Rousey honored by men
--Update on Diego Sanchez
--Lots of new UFC matches made this week
--Anderson Silva contract talks
--What will be a very telling note regarding two money and talent decisions Bellator will have to make
--Notes on last week's Bellator show as well as the upcoming one
--Gate for Pacquiao vs. Marquez
--One-armed fighter captures championship
--Update on Gina Carano
--Lineup for the Dream New Year's Eve show at the Saitama Super Arena including one surprise name announced
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.
SUNDAY NEWS, NOTES AND LINKS
--This update is early so I can watch the ROH show. We won't have live coverage of ROH because I'll be somewhere that I can't update from, but we will have a report on it after the show.
--After the UFC TUF finale Saturday, Dana White said the Jamie Varner vs. Melvin Guillard fight is official for 12/29, but he doesn't know if it'll be on the PPV or FX. He said that Varner wanted to fight last night, but he was "throwing up like The Exorcist" The commission saw him in that condition and wouldn't let him fight. Guillard cut a promo and acted like Varner tried to back out at the last minute.
White made it pretty clear they put so many of the top welterweights on the 3/16 Montreal show because they'll have a main event as a backup ready no matter what happens. In the end, a lesson was learned regarding the Las Vegas show last year being canceled and the PPV cards are being booked a lot deeper. He also said he believes Anderson Silva before he retires, will face both GSP and Jon Jones.
--They had the run-through card last night in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Expect a lot of different results tonight:
- Tyson Kidd b Darren Young via DQ when Titus O'Neil interfered. This set up Kidd & Justin Gabriel over the Prime Time Players
- Kofi Kingston b Wade Barrett to keep the IC title
- A.J. Lee & Kaitlyn b Eve Torres & Tamina Snuka when Torres walked out on Snuka
- Ryback & Daniel Bryan & Kane b The Shield when Ryback pinned Dean Ambrose after shell shock
- Rey Mysterio b Alberto Del Rio
- Sheamus b Big Show via DQ in a world title match when Show shoved down the ref to save the title. Booker T was on the screen in a taped message saying the no contact rule had been waived
- John Cena b Dolph Ziggler in a street fight by putting him through a table
REGARDING THE UFC SHOWS THIS WEEKEND, WHAT DID YOU DO?
Watched both 49.5%
Watched neither 35.6%
Only watched Las Vegas due to other commitments on Friday 4.1%
Only watched Las Vegas, two is too many ha to pick one 3.1%
Only Las Vegas, liked the card and didn't like Australia card 2.8%
Only Las Vegas, didn't know about the Australia show until too late 2.6%
Only Australia, two is too many picked this one 1.0%
Only Australia, schedule conflict on Saturday 1.0%
Only Australia, liked the card but didn't like the Las Vegas show 0.5%
WHICH OF THESE GROUPS WILL GROW THE MOST IN 2013?
None of the three will grow 39.4%
WHAT WAS THE BEST OF THESE RECENT SHOWS?
UFC on FOX 43.8%
UFC 154 GSP vs. Condit 17.3%
Survivor Series 15.4%
New Japan tag tourney finals 9.6%
UFC Australia 7.1%
TNA Final Resolution 7.1%
DID YOU LIKE BELLATOR FRIDAY?
73.2% of those responding didn't see the show
DID YOU LIKE SMACKDOWN FRIDAY?
44.2% of those responding didn't see the show
--Volk Han had his retirement match earlier today in Yokohama, Japan, going to a 15:00 draw with Masakatsu Funaki. Han was at yesterday's All Japan Korakuen Hall show building it up. Han actually retired about a decade ago but earlier this year they announced a formal retirement card for Japan, where he was one of the top foreign stars of the 90s and one of the great technical wrestlers of all-time. He also introduced his 13-year-old son and teased the idea of him going into MMA.
--Pro Wrestling Syndicate announced a 2/9 show in Meluchen, NJ at the Sports Plex featuring Jerry Lynn's last match ever on the East Coast. Matches announced are Lynn vs. Lance Storm, Matt Hardy defending the PWS title in a TLC match against Kevin Matthews, Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell vs. Devon Moore, Star Man vs. Alex Reynolds, Dan Maff vs. Anthony Nese and more. They will also have an all-women's afternoon show with Awesome Kong vs. Amy Lee, Sumie Sakai vs. Katarina Leigh (Winter), Shelly Martinez vs. Amber O'Neal i a bra and panties match and more.
--I'm wondering if anyone purchased the Rolling Stones PPV. We only got one person who sent us anything about it and that was because he had problems with his cable company when it came to ordering the show. I have no idea what kind of numbers it was expected to do.
--Bjorn Rebney will be on AXS' Inside MMA Monday night.
--If you didn't see last night's UFC show, Fuel will replay the entire five hour TV card from 7 p.m. to midnight Eastern time tonight.
--We are told that there is a fake Lex Luger Facebook page that has 3000 likes, including a number of pro wrestlers who believe it's Luger. It is from someone who goes by the name 'Legendd Killaa'.
--There is a documentary called "Mansome" (directed by Morgan Spurlock) that focuses on Shawn Daivari and body hair in pro wrestling that also has cameos from Matt Morgan, Dixie Carter, Pat Kenney and Jeff Jarrett. (thanks to Michael O'Brien)
--"The Man with the Iron Fists", which features Dave Bautista and Cung Le, was No. 9 in the Australian box office charts this past weekend doing about $200,000. (thanks to James Stanios)
--RF Video has a 20% off all merchandise sale this weekend.
--WAR has a 10th anniversary show on 1/19 in Lima, OH at the UAW Hall featuring a two ring War Games match and a Hall of Fame induction ceremony honoring Al Snow, Stevie Lee, Crusher Kline, Big Jim Lancaster and The Nightmares tag team.
--Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling from last night in East Carondelet, IL before an overflow crowd of 325 fans: Gary Jackson & Jimmy Douglas won tag team elimination match, Big Texan b Brandon Gallagher, Alexander Rudolph b Bobby D, Chris Hargas won three-way over Tony Raze and Waco, Dave Vaughn b Chas Wesson, Ron Powers & Ironman Kasa b Ricky Cruz & Sean Vincent, Gary Jackson won Battle Royal. Barbara Goodish, the widow of Bruiser Brody, was a guest at the show. Promoter Herb Simmons was given the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award at the show by Missouri Wrestling Revival. He's been promoting independent shows in Missouri and Illinois for 30 years. He's the fifth winner of the award after Larry Matysik, Harley Race, Mike Chapman (an amateur wrestling historian who wrote Danny Hodge, Earl Caddock and Frank Gotch biographies) and Bob Geigel.
--Knokx Pro Wrestling from yesterday in Sun Valley, CA: Eyez in Disguise NC La Cara, Maverick & Zander Jones & Syko Stu b Pedro & Logan & Greyson, Jezette b Gabriela Cruz, Parker Greaves b Rapture #2, Ricky the Activist b Rex the Hillbilly Hero Gangrel & Jacob Fatu NC Black Pearl & TMD when Gangrel turned on Jacob Fatu. Rikishi and Grandmaster Sexay made the save. The show was built around the reuniting of Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay (Brian Lawler) as 2 Cool doing their dance together.