Also in this week's issues:
--More on how to view the New Japan Tokyo Dome show outside of Japan
--What New Japan star was Hiroshi Tanahashi concerned about leaving
--A new angle the company is starting from a major mainstream magazine
--What TNA star is rumored to be headed to New Japan
--New Japan star wins in legitimate sports competition
--More on Final Resolution and what it says about Jeff Hardy
--Kurt Angle talks injury situation
--What happened with TNA in Germany and the lay of the land there
--Update on Scott Steiner vs. TNA legal actions
--Eric Bischoff gets into a new business
--Former WCW star talks going to TNA
--Notes on El Hijo del Sting
--Why Magnus had the injury angle done
--Update on TNA injuries
--Update on UFC 158
--Lessons learned from UFC on FOX
--More on the matchmaking of UFC 158
--A look at UFC's return to Japan
--Why the former mainstream stars in Japan in UFC aren't on the show
--A look at what Kid Yamamoto wants to do next
--Business changes within FOX Sports and how UFC may be affected
--Updates on ticket sales to upcoming UFC shows and what they say
--Update on the next UFC show on FOX
--What fighter blew his chance to be on network TV and how
--What the rating of the next UFC on FOX show will tell us
--Update on Nick Diaz vs. Nevada State Athletic Commission in court
--Middleweight title picture
--Bantamweight title picture
--Pay for the fighters at the last few shows
--What next for fighters of the last season of Ultimate Fighter
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Three UFC fighters in an upcoming movie
--Funny poll from 1996 and what it says
--A look at CMLL's year-end show
--The death of Faisan and a look back at a historical match from 30 years ago
--All Japan early year lineups and first major show
--All Japan regular about to lave for unique reason
--All Japan Fan Appreciation show notes
--Notes on Kenta Kobashi training for his last match
--How two New Japan Hall of Famers were covered in major U.S. newspapers this past week and why
--Former pro wrestler wins by landslide in Japanese senate race
--Japan's biggest woman's wrestling star of the past year announces retirement
--Notes on the debut of the grandson of Japan's biggest star ever
--Two first time ever matches over WrestleMania weekend
--Pro wrestler on cast of Bravo reality show
--Another pro wrestling star going into stand-up comedy
--A new book out on the history of Hawaiian wrestling
--King Mo's Bellator debut
--Last Bellator show on MTV 2
--PPV numbers for Pacquiao-Marquez
--More on Japan's New Year's Eve show
--What former pro wrestler was the high school football coach of a Heisman Trophy winner
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
--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Ric Flair, Smackdown, the latest UFC news and taking your e-mail questions to
--THQ Inc., the video game partner of WWE (no longer of UFC as they sold the license to EA a few months ago) filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy to alleviate past debts and were sold in an assets purchasing agreement by Clearlake Capital Group, LP. The deal includes Clearlake putting up $37.5 million in financing. They will continue to operate business subject to court approval. This is a story to watch. Right now nothing has publicly come out regarding WWE, but this could go in many different ways regarding the license as well as owed royalties from this year.
--A note regarding last night. They taped this coming Monday's Raw last night in Pittsburgh (results are on the site) and the main event was John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Christmas Street fight. After the match, Del Rio who was the heel, turned back and was shaking hands with fans. We'll see what does and doesn't end up airing.
--In the cable ratings for last week ESPN was No. 1 with 2.89 million viewers in prime time to 2.78 million for USA and 2.39 million for Disney. FX was No. 16 at 1.25 million and Syfy was No. 21 at 930,000. The three hours of Raw last week were No. 9, No. 14 and No. 17.
--Eddie Alvarez got his first offer from UFC. Bellator has two weeks to either match the offer or decline to match the offer. Apparently the offer was not anything like what Hector Lombard got since Bjorn Rebney said Bellator does have the capability to match it according to a report by Loretta Hunt having interviewed him.
--A note on the December 17, 1979, Madison Square Garden show that we covered on Monday. Mike Graham was an unannounced sub for a wrestler who was unknown and listed in the program, Dynamite Kid, who was scheduled to make his MSG debut. Not sure of why he wasn't on the show.
--C.M. Punk was on the Chris Hardwick Nerdist podcast. Hardwick is the host of the Walking Dead after show that Punk was on. (thanks to Mark Coale)
--After shows this week, there will be Raw tapings before WrestleMania in Pittsburgh on 3/18 and Philadelphia on 3/25.
--In changes for the 12/29 UFC 155 show in Las Vegas, Max Holloway will replace Cody McKenzie as the opponent of Leonard Garcia. Derek Brunson will face Chris Leben, replacing the injured Karlos Vemola.
WHAT DOES MORE DOMESTIC PPV BUYS?
GSP vs Diaz 18.1%
Sonnen vs. Jones 15.7%
I would not favor WrestleMania in this one. Very surprised at this result.
WILL BELLATOR AVERAGE 0.5 ON SPIKE?
Better than 0.5 48.1%
Less than 0.5 41.3%
WHO WAS THE STAR OF RAW
Ric Flair 60.6%
The Shield 10.4%
C.M. Punk 6.1%
A.J. Lee 5.5%
Dolph Ziggler 4.0%
Big E Langston 4.0%
New Age Outlaws 3.4%
Tommy Dreamer 2.8%
Daniel Bryan 1.5%
John Cena 1.1%
Vickie Guerrero 0.8%
POLL ON RAW
9.3% of those responding didn't see the show
--Alexander Emelianenko, the younger brother of Fedor, who was a star in the Pride days, announced his retirement today on Facebook. He said he would no longer be able to fight because of health problems caused by old injuries.
--The Dream/Glory New Year's Eve show from the Saitama Super Arena is going to stream as an iPPV for $20
--Tickets for UFC 157, headlined by Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche in Anaheim at the Honda Center go on sale today to Fight Club members. They go on sale to the public on Friday. This is the most interesting on sale for UFC in months.
--Trailer for "Pain and Gain," a new movie starring Dwayne Johnson at http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/12/19/michael-bay-drops-his-most-excessvie-trailer-ever-for-pain-gain/
--Patrick Cote has announced he's dropping from middleweight to welterweight.
--USA Today's web site had a brief note on Steve Borden Jr., the son of Sting, being recruited by the University of Kentucky.
--Chris Masters on Twitter said that he expects to work for CMLL in February.
--ROH announced Matt Hardy will return for shows on 1/5 in Baltimore at the TV tapings at the DuBurns Arena and 1/19 in Milwaukee.
--Absolute Intense Wrestling on Friday night in Cleveland at Turner's Hall has The End of the World show featuring Davey Richards vs. AR Fox and Colt Cabana & Marion Fontaine & Jack Samson vs. The Submission Squad. Also appearing include Tim Donst, Veda Scott Gregory Iron, Matt Cross, Kyle O'Reilly, Johnny Gargano, Eddie Kingston, Chuck Taylor and more.
--PWX on 1/11 in Pittsburgh at the PWX Wrestleplex.
--Masada, Drake Younger, Danny Havoc and CZW owner D.J. Hyde head to Japan for Big Japan shows from 12/30 and 1/5 including three shows at Korakuen Hall on 12/30, 12/31 and 1/2.
--A new WWF videotape book covering 1990-93 is available at www.lulu.com
The book is called The Complete WWF Video Guide Volume 2.
--Sunday in Guadalajara for CMLL: Azteca de Oro & Indigo b Hippie & Relampago, Rey Trueno & Mr. Trueno b Black Metal & Virgo, Halcon de Plata & Leon Blanco b Espectrum & Malefico-DQ, Barbaro Cavernario b Smaker to win Occidental middleweight title, Namajague & Mr. Niebla & Okumura b Angel de Oro & Shocker & Titan,
--CMLL on Monday night in Puebla: Ares & Siki Osama Jr. b Milenium & Tigre Rojo Jr., Pequeno Olimpico & Pequeno Warrior & Pierrothito b Mini Fantasy & Shockercito & Ultimo Dragoncito, Cancerbero & El Hijo del Signo & Raziel b Astruano & Metalico & Stigma, Kraneo & Morphosis & Olimpico b Diamante & Sagrado & Triton, Delta & Guerrero Maya Jr. & La Sombra b Euforia & Mephisto & Niebla Roja, Atlantis b Ultimo Guerrero
--CMLL from last night in Guadalajara: Leo & Sky Kid b Evola & Thunder Boy, Esfinge & Gallo b Exterminador & Rafaga, Angel Azteca Jr. & Magnus (not TNA wrestler) & Starman b Arkangel de la Muerte & Hooligan & Inquisidor, Angel de Oro & Shocker & Titan b Black Warrior & Misterioso Jr. & Olimpico, Brazo de Plata & Marco Corleone & La Sombra b Mr. Aguila & Psicosis & Ultimo Guerrero
--Saturday night in Durango: Mascarita Divina & Mascarita Dorada b Mini Chessman & Mini Psicosis, La Braza & Pimpinela Escarlata b Jennifer Blake & Cinthia Moreno, Black Metal & Mr. CNOP & Joe Lider b Dark Escoria & Negro Sosa & Ultimo Gladiador, Dr. Wagner Jr. & Elegido & La Parka b Chessman & Drako & L.A. Park (thanks to Kris Zellner & Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims)
--This day in wrestling history:
74 years ago today: Cy Williams beat Yvon Robert in Montreal to win that city's version of the world title
65 years ago today: Tug Carlson beat Orville Brown in St. Joseph to win the MWA world title
55 years ago today: Dory Funk Sr. beat Bulldog Danny Plechas in Amarillo to win the North American title
50 years ago today: The Destroyer & Don Manoukian beat Haystacks Calhoun & Abe Jacobs in Los Angeles to win the NWA International TV tag team championships
49 years ago today: Sonny Myers & Pat O'Connor beat the Mongolian Stomper & Mike Sharpe Sr. to win the tournament in Kansas City to become the first North American tag team champions
45 years ago today: Billy Robinson beat Toyonobori in Okayama, Japan to become the first IWE world heavyweight champion
43 years ago today: King Curtis Iaukea beat Billy Robinson in Sydney to become the IWA world heavyweight champion
39 years ago today: Ken Mantell beat Danny Hodge in Jackson, MS, to become the new NWA world junior heavyweight champion
18 years ago today: Tommy Rich beat Brian Christopher in Memphis in a loser leaves town match for the USWA heavyweight title (thanks to Brian Hoops)