Also in this week's issue:
--Final AAA taping of the year sets up new direction for 2012 and even teases TripleMania main event
--Final Dragon Gate major show, Final Gate coverage
--The final shows of Jun Akiyama and company in Pro Wrestling NOAH
--What the plans are for the wrestlers leaving and what incident in U.S. wrestling history is this being compared to
--Notes on the first big show of the year for NOAH
--Update on the New Japan Tokyo Dome show and what legendary program is being teased from nearly a decade ago
--New Japan's last big show of the year with the heavyweight vs. junior heavyweight theme
--More on Davey Boy Smith Jr. competing in grappling
--Update on Dynamite Kid
--An Olympic hopeful being trained by a pro wrestling superstar for 2016
--Akebono vs. Onita feud update
--80s legends vs. 90s legends match
--More on Inoki's New Year's Eve show
--John Morrison starting new business
--Business notes from ROH regarding Final Battle
--TNA special taping
--TNA monthly business comparisons to see how November stacked up with last November
--Lots of Hogan news including a new business venture
--This week's UFC show
--Lots of new UFC matches
--UFC official gets named to boxing Hall of Fame
--Former Ultimate Fighter winner asks for a leave of absence
--New Bellator matches for the run on Spike
--Highlights from Vale Tudo Japan
--Former 90s pro wrestling star has 50th MMA fight (although some of those fights listed are likely really pro wrestling matches)
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 NEWS, NOTES & LINKS
--WWE will be pushing the 1/14 Raw as a special show, as local advertising in Houston is calling it the 20th anniversary of Raw.
--CBS Sports will be airing the Glory and Dream New Year's Eve show from the Saitama Super Arena on tape delay. CBS Sports is Ch. 613 on DirecTV (part of the sports premium package) and is available as a premium channel in virtually every home. The kickboxing matches, a 16 man tournament featuring Peter Aerts, Semmy Schilt, Gokhan Saki and Daniel Ghita, modeled after the old K-1 World Grand Prix tournaments, will air on New Year's Eve at 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The MMA fights will air on 1/1, also from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
--At the Tokyo Dome on 1/4, the new match involving Bob Sapp is, thankfully, an eight-man with Manabu Nakanishi & MVP & Strongman & Akebono vs. Sapp & Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka & Yujiro Takahashi.
--Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey's TV show "Hardcore Pawn" debuts on 1/1 at 9:30 p.m. on TruTV
--TNA will be finishing out the year with house shows on Saturday night in Poughkeepsie and Sunday in Albany, NY.
--Dana White will be a guest on Jim Rome's show on Showtime tonight at 10 p.m.
--Gorgeous George passed away on this date 49 years ago at the age of 48.
--Paul Daley didn't exactly answer questions, but this is what he said on Facebook about his being out of Bellator's welterweight tournament:
"It seems as though a mass press release has gone out to the MMA media, stating I was involved in a bar brawl, arrested, and cannot obtain a P-1 visa to compete in the USA. I am currently awaiting a decision on my visa, which is not expected until late April. Which means I am unable to compete in the season 8 Bellator tournament, as it starts in January. I will be fighting in Europe in the coming months, so I am able to stay active while awaiting a decision on my visa status. I was not involved in a bar brawl. This is a 100% false statement."
--Forbes Magazine had a look at what the biggest movie stars were paid and what they delivered at the box office. Natalie Portman, who drew 42.70 times what she was paid, was the best investment of 2012. What does that have to do with this? Well, Dwayne Johnson, bringing in 22.7 times what he's paid in revenue, was No. 8. Luckily, none of those movies had him headlining by teaming with John Cena against Miz & R-Truth.
--Dennis Knight (aka Tex Slazenger, Phineas Godwinnn and Mideon) turns 43 today.
--In the Best of King of the Ring on Netflix, they aired every final except 1995 and 1999. Poor Billy Gunn never gets any respect. (thanks to Travis) They also added Rock vs. Cena Once in a Lifetime, Top 50 Greatest Finishing Moves in WWE History and NWO: The Revolution. (thanks to Brian Hoops)
--The Score won't be airing any WWE programming in its usual Friday night time slot (NXT, Vintage Collection and Smackdown), instead running college football. NXT will air tonight at midnight and tomorrow at 4 p.m. Vintage Collection airs tomorrow at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. Smackdown airs Saturday at 8 p.m. and midnight.
WHO WAS THE STAR OF RAW?
Santa Claus 35.2%
C.M. Punk 15.1%
Alberto Del Rio 13.2%
Ricardo Rodriguez 12.8%
A.J. Lee 8.2%
Brad Maddox 8.2%
John Cena 4.6%
Booker T 0.9%
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF RAW?
29.9% of those responding didn't see the show
--On this day in history
- 55 years ago today: Verne Gagne & Bronko Nagurski won the NWA(which later became AWA) Minnesota versions of the world tag team titles from the Atomic Blonds, Johnny Valentine & Chet Wallich in Minneapolis.
- 49 years ago today: Jackie Fargo & Mario Milano beat Tojo Yamamoto & Ivan Malenkov in Chattanooga to win the Southern tag team titles.
- 46 years ago today: Domenic DeNucci & Don Leo Jonathan beat Don Jardine & Dutch Savage for the British Columbia version of the world tag team titles in Vancouver.
- 42 years ago today: Moose Cholak & Wilbur Snyder won the WWA world tag team titles from The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello & Don Kent) in Indianapolis
- 38 years ago today: Paul Jones beat Ivan Koloff at the Greensboro Coliseum to win the Mid Atlantic TV title
- 36 years ago today: Ric Flair & Greg Valentine beat Gene & Ole Anderson to win the world tag team titles at the Greensboro Coliseum
- 36 years ago today: Bill Dundee & Ricky Gibson beat Dennis Condrey & Phil Hickerson to win the NWA Mid American tag team titles in Chattanooga
- 31 years ago today: David Von Erich beat Jack Brisco in St. Petersburg at the Bayfront Center to win the Southern heavyweight title
- 29 years ago today: Randy Savage beat Terry Taylor in Memphis to win the Mid American heavyweight title
- 27 years ago today: Ted DiBiase & Steve Williams beat Eddie Gilbert & Dick Murdoch (who replaced The Nightmare Randy Colley who left the territory) to win the Mid South tag team titles in Biloxi, MS
(thanks to Brian Hoops)
--John "Mr Wrestling II" Walker, Jerry Brisco and Tiger Conway Jr. were announced for the 2013 Mid Atlantic Legends fanfest in Charlotte at the University Place Hotel in early August.
--Wrestling is Fun and Smart Mark Video have an iPPV on 12/29 at 7 p.m. Eastern for $4.99 featuring Mark Angelosetti vs. Fire Ant and Hallowicked & Frightmare vs. The Devastation Corporation.
--The Big Time Wrestling promotion is doing tryouts on 1/12 from 1-4 p.m. at their gym at 4588 Peralta Blvd., Unit 25, in Fremont, CA. For more info you can call 510-494-9648.
--National Pro Wrestling run by Joe Panzanrino will have all its future dates taken by Funkdafied Wrestling Federation, with shows on 1/29 in Stirling, NJ, 1/25 in Manville, NJ, 1/26 in Brick, NJ, 2/8 in Wilmington, DE and 2/9 in Keyport, NJ. Panzarino will not be involved in any aspects of the new company.
--Dragon Gate and Evolve are doing a 2 for $25 DVD sale
, along with a number of other sales on their website.
--Hoosier Pro Wrestling on 1/5 in Columbus, IN at the 4-H Fairgrounds.
--Portia Perez is headed to Japan in January for the Stardom promotion. It's her second tour of Japan, having previously gone for REINA in 2011.
--Shimmer is already planning a big show WrestleMania weekend on 4/6 in Secaucus, NJ at the Meadowlands Exposition Center with Saraya Knight vs. Cheerleader Melissa for the title in a cage match, plus Athena vs. Ayako Hamada, and the returns of Amazing (Awesome) Kong and Madison Eagles. They will also do DVD tapings on 4/13 and 4/14 in Berwyn, IL.
--ECWA on 1/5 in Newark, DE at the Greater Newark Boys and Girls Club features Chris Wylde vs. Josh Daniels in a submission match.
--WAR has its tenth anniversary show on 1/19 in Lima, OH at the UAW Hall featuring a 2 ring War Games match and the Hall of Fame inductions of local stars Al Snow, Stevie Lee, Crusher Kline, Big Jim Lancaster and The Nightmares. The show will also air on iiPPV.