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.
Thursday's news update
--In the THQ bankruptcy filings, WWE is owed $45 million. No wonder they are watching these proceedings closely. I had heard Vince McMahon was furious and I guess that tells you why.
--Pro Wrestling as far as the major companies are concerned is now on hiatus until after Christmas. WWE goes back on tour on 12/26 while TNA goes back a few days later. The next ROH show will be a TV taping on 1/5. AAA has its final show of the year on Friday night.
--Sin Cara underwent knee surgery today. Still awaiting details on the surgery. Believe it to be arthroscopic surgery.
--Showtime is having a free weekend from 1/11 to 1/13, which happens to coincide with the last Strikeforce show on 1/12.
--A few updates regarding the Robbie Lawler vs. Josh Koscheck match. UFC has announced it officially for the 2/23 show in Anaheim and Lawler will be moving to welterweight, not Koscheck moving to middleweight..
--Tickets for the 2/23 UFC show in Anaheim can be ordered on a presale today at ticketmaster.com with the password UFCSOCIAL. They technically go on sale tomorrow.
--Sports Illustrated put out a list of the 112 most memorable stories of the past year in sports. No. 65 was the rise of Ronda Rousey. It was the only mention of MMA on the list.
--I don't know how ticket sales are going (and if they were through the roof one would think I would have heard by now), but the $300 seats are currently on the resale market for $800 and up.
--For those in Canada, Spike HD has debuted on Rogers Cable ch .490 (thanks to Adam Lebow)
--Added to the 1/4 Tokyo Dome show is Bob Sapp vs. Manabu Nakanishi. That will be.... interesting.
--If you want to know why WWE is looking at doing a network, the NFL network is expected to take in about $975 million in revenue this year, roughly $774 million from carriage fees and $201 million in advertising revenue.
--Herb Dean will be the referee for the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos heavyweight title fight on 12/29. The judges will be Glenn Trowbridge, Marcos Rosales and Tony Weeks.
SHOULD RIC FLAIR WRESTLE C.M. PUNK?
Yes, on PPV 17.0%
Yes, on TV 12.5%
ARE YOU GOING TO WATCH RAW ON CHRISTMAS EVE?
Yes, but not when it airs 41.2%
POLL ON SMACKDOWN
37.5% of those responding didn't see the show
--A show called Hart Legacy Wrestling takes place on 1/18 at the Victoria Pavilion, the home of Stampede Wrestling in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Among those scheduled on the show are Kevin Nash, Konnan (who actually worked early in his career for Stampede and taught Bret Hart the sharpshooter), Bobby Lashley, Chris Masters, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer, Teddy Hart, Jack Evans, Scotty Mac, Johnny Devine, Jason the Terrible, Flip Kendrick Samuray del Sol, Super Smash Brothers, Cody Hall, Matt Hart and appearances by people like Leo Burke, Great Gama, Abu Wizal, Jerry Morrow, The Cuban Assassin, Wayne Hart, Ross Hart, Keith Hart, Diana Hart-Smith, Georgia Hart-Annis, Alison Hart, as well as family members of area legends Dynamite Kid, Tom Stanton, Biff Wellington and Badnews Allen.
--Top Rope Promotions on 1/15 in Lexington, VA at the Anderson Center has Jim Duggan, Shawn Daivari, Katie Lea Burchill Winter, Dustin Rhodes and Angelina Love.
--Mike Mondo and Damian Dragon are the first two names announced for the 17th annual ECWA Super 8 tournament that takes place eon 4/13 in Newark DE. As Mondo noted on the ROH show, he expects to be back in action in less than four weeks after suffering a broken leg on the last show in Mississauaga.
--TNA will be holding a Gut Check tryout on 1/24 in Nottingham, England. It's a combination tryout and seminar hosted by D-Lo Brown. I wonder if he's recruiting new members for Aces and 8s.
--NWA FU on 12/22 in St. Petersburg, FL at the Wildwood Recreation Centre headlined by Kahagas vs. Bruce Santee for the NWA world title and Kennedy Kendrick vs. Michael Tarver.
--Glory fighting has signed a number of American fighters, including Kevin Ross (36-9). In a trivia note, many years ago, Kevin Ross, who was a Muay Thai fighter back then, was dating Gina Carano when she was a heavy college girl, and brought her into the gym. His instructor looked at Carano and said, "Oooh, baby, you fat" and she started training as a kickboxer largely to get her weight down. I think that ranks up there with the story about Stacy Keibler's boyfriend telling her to try out for the Nitro Girls and Michelle McCool's husband telling her to try out for the Diva Search.
--Traditional Championship Wrestling has TV tapings on 1/4 and 1/5 in Fort Smith, AR at the Convention Center with Tommy Dreamer vs. Matt Borne the first night. DDP appears the second night. Former heavyweight boxer Bobby Crabtree who lost to some of the best heavyweights of another generation wrestles in the 1/5 main event.
--Names confirmed for Dragon Gate USA on 1/25 in Santa Maria, CA and 1/26 and 1/26 in Huntington Park, CA include Johnny Gargano, AR Fox, Samuray del Sol, Sami Callihan and the Young Bucks. John Morrison will be there the first night. The Santa Maria show will be part of a doubleheader with local promotion Vendetta Pro Wrestling.
--51 years ago today in Kansas City, Randy Orton's grandfather, Bob Orton Sr., beat Alo Leilani to win the Central States heavyweight title. 16 years ago today, The Eliminators beat The Gangstas in Middletown, NY to win the ECW title (thanks to Brian Hoops)
--Absolute Intense Wrestling on Friday night in Cleveland at Turner's Hall has Tim Donst vs. Eric Ryan and first time ever with Davey Richards vs. AR Fox, plus Colt Cabana & Marion Fontaine & Jock Samson vs. Submission Squad and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Ethan Page.