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.
SUNDAY NEWS, NOTES & LINKS
--Hulk Hogan's latest project is a bar and restaurant called "Hogan's Beach" at 7700 Courtney Campbell Causeway at the Western Bay Harbor Hotel in Tampa, FL. The grand opening will be on New Year's Eve with waterside dining, live outdoor entertainment, a mechanical shark ride and a giant video screen on the beach as well as indoor and outdoor dance floors.
--The WWE Tribute to the Troops replay on NBC last night did 1.31 million viewers. Good thing it's not about ratings because there was nothing else on network TV, including mostly rerun programming, anywhere near that realm.
--Some special UFC programming on Fuel this coming week includes part two of the Top 50 moments of 2012 at 10 p.m., and the Countdown to Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos at 11 p.m. It's amazing when it comes to actual television exposure, how little this fight has gotten outside of Fuel. The show will also air Wednesday at 6 p.m., Thursday at 10 p.m., Friday at 4 p.m. and late Friday night at 1 a.m. Weigh-ins are live in Las Vegas at 7 p.m. Eastern time on Friday. For Saturday's PPV, they will air prelims on FX from 8-10 p.m., followed by the PPV, and Fuel airs the post-game show at 1 a.m.
--Fuel is also doing a 24 hour marathon starting tomorrow morning running through Tuesday night which will include airing the biggest matches of 2012. It starts 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. Actually that would be far more than a 24 hour marathon, close to 40 hours.
--Dana White appears on Jim Rome's Showtime show at 10 p.m. on Wednesday night.
--The TNA shows that are being taped at noon and 6 p.m. on 1/12 (the day before the Genesis PPV in Orlando) is to fill programming for overseas markets where they are contracted to have 12 PPV specials per year. They will be taping what will fill the hole of the non-existing February PPV show. It'll be a speciality show featuring an Ultimate X match, an X Division Escape The Cage match and a gauntlet (Royal Rumble) style match.
--Hall of Famer Keiji Muto turned 50 and Jamie Noble turned 36 today.
Today in Wrestling History from Brian Hoops
> 57 years ago today: Billy (McDaniel) & Freddie Blassie won the World tag team titles from Dr. Jerry Graham & Don McIntyre in Atlanta
> 52 years ago today: Lord James Blears & Nick Bockwinkel beat Stan Holek (better known as Stan Neilsen) & The Preacher to win the International TV tag team titles in Long Beach, CA
> 41 years ago today: Bob Roop beat Ole Anderson to win the Florida TV title
> 28 years ago today: Curt Hennig & Pat McGhee (Scott Portz) beat The Assassin (Dave Sierra) & Dynamite Kid to win the Pacific Northwest tag team titles in Eugene, OR
> 28 years ago today: Archie Gouldie beat Badnews Allen in Calgary to win the North American heavyweight title after the most famous angle probably in modern Stampede Wrestling history where Gouldie's "son" was piledriven on the floor and he did an incredible interview, leading to Ed Whalen quitting the promotion and front page news coverage that resulted in wrestling being banned in the city limits for a while.
--The Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee's Northern Lights Theater on 2/22 at 7:30 p.m. is presenting "Tales from the Ring," a night with Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Gene Okerlund telling wrestling stories.
--In today's San Francisco Chronicle, Scott Ostler, one of the best sportswriters of the last 30 years, noted that the IOC is considering adding Wu Shu (a Chinese martial art) in the 2020 Olympics. He wrote: "Serious suggestion to IOC: Combine all martial arts (judo, karate, etc.) into one event. Let the competitors bring whatever kicks and holds and tricks they have, may the baddest man or woman win." Maybe they should start a sport like that. (thanks to Irv Muchnick)
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST MATCH IN STRIKEFORCE HISTORY?
Gina Carano vs. Cris Cyborg 39.6%
Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate 11.9%
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Dan Henderson 11.3%
Frank Shamrock vs. Cesar Gracie 10.1%
Frank Shamrock vs. Cung Le 8.2%
Frank Shamrock vs. Nick Diaz 6.3%
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers 5.7%
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio Werdum 5.0%
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva 1.9%
WHAT WAS THE GREATEST MATCH IN STRIKEFORCE HISTORY?
Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate 26.1%
Frank Shamrock vs. Cung Le 14.5%
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Dan Henderson 12.3%
Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson II 9.4%
Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley 9.4%
Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni 6.5%
Cung Le vs. Scott Smith 6.5%
Miesha Tate vs. Julie Kedzie 5.1%
Gilbert Melendez vs. Clay Guida 4.3%
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers 2.9%
Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson III 2.2%
Gilbert Melendez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri 0.7%
WHAT WAS THE BEST TAG TEAM OF THE 60S?
Ray Stevens & Pat Patterson 32.5%
Bruiser & Crusher 25.2%
Giant Baba & Antonio Inoki 9.1%
The Kangaroos 9.1%
The Assassins 7.7%
Harley Race & Larry Hennig 5.9%
Mad Dog & Butcher Vachon 2.8%
Brute Bernard & Skull Murphy 2.4%
Rip Hawk & Swede Hanson 2.1%
John & Chris Tolos 1.7%
Red Bastien & Billy Red Lyons 1.0%
Kurt & Karl Von Brauner 0.3%
WHAT SPORT WILL PRODUCE THE MOST TOP TEN PPV SHOWS IN 2013?
Pro Wrestling 29.1%
--River City Wrestling New Years Evolution 4 on 1/5 in San Antonio at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
--Vale Tudo Japan runs on Christmas Eve at Tokyo Yoyogi Gym headlined by Rumina Sato vs. Hideo Tokoro in a battle of Japan's superstar lightweight of the 90s against a popular fighter from the Dream era. There are also three Japan vs. U.S. bouts with Shooto welterweight champion Kuniyoshi Hironaka (20-8) vs. former UFC fighter Carlo Prater (30-12-1), Mamoru Yamaguchi (26-6-3) vs. Darrell Montague (11-2) and Kyoji Horiguchi (8-1) vs. Ian Loveland (16-9). Also on the show is Lion Takeshi vs. Kenji Osawa, Megumi Fujii who is not retired after all against Mei Yamaguchi in a women's bout, Keita Nakamura, a former UFC fighter, against Nobutatsu Suzuki and Daisuke Hoshio vs. Kuntap Weerasakreck.
--The Hart Legacy Wrestling Resurrection show we've written about is being promoted by Universal Ultimate Games, headed by Stacey Angel. That's on 1/18 in Calgary and they are also planning on running 1/19 in Red Deer. A 1/20 date talked about for Edmonton is off. They also have talked about a February show in Calgary using Jushin Liger and bringing back The Cobra (George Takano, a star in the 80s in Stamped Wrestling and New Japan). Teddy Hart seems to be behind it and Bret Hart has publicly disassociated himself from it. Teddy Hart is in the center of the ad and poster, with the other names pictured being Kevin Nash, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Chris Masters and Bobby Lashley.
--Family Wrestling Entertainment on 2/16 has an iPPV from Brooklyn featuring a three-way ladder match with Carlito vs. Matt Hardy vs. Tommy Dreamer as well as Paul London vs. Brian Kendrick.
--"Here Comes the Boom" was No. 5 in Australia this past weekend at $1.3 million and "The Man With the Iron Fists" (with Cung Le and Dave Bautista) was No. 10 at $400,000 (thanks to James Stanios)
--Bellator's third show on Spike was announced for 1/31 in Mount Pleasant, MI, at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort. It will feature the first round of their latest lightweight tournament.
--Negro Casas vs. Guerrero Maya Jr. for the NWA Historic welterweight title headlines CMLL's annual Christmas show at Arena Mexico, plus La Mascara & Shocker & Titan vs. Black Warrior & Felino & Polvora.
--Rey Misterio (uncle of the WWE wrestler) has a Christmas night show in Tijuana at the Auditorio with Psicosis vs. Tony Casanova plus a three-way with Extreme Tiger & El Hijo del Rey Misterio II (the good one) vs. Halloween & Monster Clown vs. Damian 666 & Bestia 666. (thanks to Kris Zellner)
--For those of you with Comcast and not Fuel, you can see some Fuel programming if you go to the "On Demand" section and type in "UFC" under search results. Several Fuel shows will pop up, mostly UFC Tonight shows and some fights, even though the channel itself is not carried. (thanks to Jon Southerland)
--Lucha Xtreme TV from last night in Fresno before about 20 fans: Vinny Massaro b Will Da Beast, Brian Tannen & J.R. Kratos b Al Azar & Aparicao, Wiseguy b A.J. Kirsch-DQ. Next taping is 1/5.
--Anarchy Wrestling from last night in Cornelia, GA before 100 fans: Najasism & Vandal b Mike Mostly & Stephen Hunter, Stryknyn b Michael Stevens, Todd Sexton & Sal Rinauro & Jimmy Rave b Adrian Hawkins & Tommy Penirelli & CB Suave, Mike Posey b Drew Adler, Slim J & Stryknyn b Trey & Jon Williams, Billy Buck b Bo Newsome. Next show is Seasons Beatings this coming Saturday night featuring Gunner from TNA in an eight-man tag main event.