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.
SUNDAY'S NEWS, NOTES AND LINKS
--Did anyone see the Evan Tanner doc? I am planning on watching it later this week or should I skip it?
--Michael Elgin was announced for the ECWA Super 8 tournament on 4/13 in Newark, DE, joining Damien Dragon, Mike Mondo and Chris Wylde as the first four.
--In last week's ratings, Raw (12/17 show) was No. 4, No. 6 and No. 9 for the three hours for the week. It trailed two NFL games and one college football game. No. 5 was Spongebob Squarepants, No. 7 was Pawn Stars and No. 8 was again Spongebob.
--Even though the show doesn't air until Monday, WWE immediately put the IC title change up on its web site and pushed via sicoal media, apparently thinking that announcing the title change will boost ratings for tomorrow.
--Sin Cara and Mae Young were both backstage at Raw and not used. At one point, Mae was scheduled on the show and her name was referenced in an angle, but perhaps there is something backstage not shown to the crowd with her on the show. There were RG3 chants (Washington Redskins' quarterback Robert Griffin III) all night at the show since he was there.
--Here's a story on Hulk Hogan's new Hogan's Beach restaurant
that has its grand opening with a New Year's Eve party featuring Ric Flair, Jimmy Hart, Matt Morgan, Al Perez, Jim Neidhart and possibly Ed Leslie and the Nasty Boys. Hogan got some bad pub as one of the worst people of 2012
in Slate's rundown of the dirtbags of the year due mostly to the sex tape fallout.
--The 1/5 Invicta iPPV show in Kansas City has a new main event as Carla Esparza (8-2) faces Australia's Bec Hyatt (4-1) for the 115 pound title. Esparza's scheduled opponent, Claudia Gadelha, is out due to a broken nose in training. A new fight has been added with Livia von Plettenberg vs. Joanne Calderwood.
--Velvet Sky's truck went off the road yesterday while going to the TNA house show in Poughkeepsie in a snowstorm. She ended up in a ditch and didn't make it to the show. She was rescued by a tow truck and said she was shaken up. Not sure if she'll be at the Albany show tonight.
--UFC's Dana White said he spoke to Gilbert Melendez yesterday and has a date planned (not signed) for him getting a shot at Benson Henderson's lightweight title in a Strikeforce champ vs. UFC champ match.
--Todd Martin won last night's UFC picks with a 3-2 record on a night where I knew it was going to be hard. He was the only one to pick Yushin Okami. I was 2-3, Mike Sempervive (only one to pick Derek Brunson) and Mike Sawyer (only one to pick Cain Velasquez) also were 2-3. Oliver Copp was 1-4 and Josh Nason was 0-5. He can take solace as I spoke to some people after the show who would be considered experts in the field who told me they went 0-5 last night.
Final 2012 MMA picks standings:
Mike Sempervive 62.4%
Todd Martin 61.1%
Mike Sawyer 60.4%
Oliver Copp 60.1%
Josh Nason 58.6%
Bryan Alvarez 55.3%
I don't know what this year was, but in 2011, the Las Vegas line was 58%.
--Google's single most searched item yesterday was UFC 155, with more than four times that of Case McCoy, who was No. 2.
--The Philadelphia Inquirer Friday had a story on social media's most popular TV shows. They listed SpongeBob first, followed by X Factor, The Voice and WWE Raw. (thanks to Ernie Santilli)
--Roddy Piper appears for Crossfire Wrestling on 1/5 in Nashville at the Fairgrounds for a 3D/HD TV taping that is supposed to be on a national station that has never been revealed. Shane Williams vs. Carlito Colon for the Crossfire title and Matt Hardy vs. Colt Cabana, as well as Jillian Hall vs. Cheerleader Melissa and Jerry Lynn & Ricky Morton vs. Kid Kash & Josh Shockman, Samuray del Sol vs. Matt Cross, Hammerjack vs. Kevin Sullivan fans bring the weapons, Reby Sky vs Jessicka Havoc. There will also be a performance by country music singer Jon Morton (Ricky's son), as well as an appearance by Dutch Mantell. Shockman is a former UFC and Strikeforce fighter.
--Former Rugby League player and former Australian heavyweight boxing champion John Hopoate has issued a challenge to Kimbo Slice. (thanks to James Stanios)
--Ric Flair's appearance at the Charlotte Bobcats game and the quotes from LeBron James about Flair was one of the most searched for stories on the Internet on Friday. (thanks to Daniel Short)
--Carl Ouellet (formerly Pierre Ouellet, PCO and other names including Jean Pierre Lafitte) turned 45 today.
--Reader Andy Thurston noted Dwayne Johnson was in Boston this week training at a gym just outside the city and noted that three guys he worked with met him there. He said he was nice to everyone as long as they didn't bother him while he was lifting. They said he's doing a lot of squats and averaging two to two-and-a-half hours each day training.
--Little known fact is that General Norman Schwarzkopf was on the wrestling team in the Army.
Brian Hoops' this day in history (for yesterday)
- 75 years ago yesterday - Lou Thesz won his first ever world title from Everette Marshall in St. Louis
- 39 years ago yesterday - Moondog Mayne beat Pat Patterson to win the U.S. title at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. I was at that show
- 27 years ago yesterday - Stan Hansen beat Rick Martel to win the AWA title at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ
- 60 years ago today - The Sharpe Brothers beat Fred Atkins & Ray Eckert to win the NWA world tag team titles in San Francisco
- 46 years ago - Paul Jones beat Tough Tony Borne to win the Pacific Northwest heavyweight title
- 40 years ago - The Sheik beat Bobo Brazil to win the U.S. title at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Verne Gagne & Billy Robinson beat Ray Stevens & Nick Bockwinkel to win the AWA world tag team titles in Minneapolis
- 34 years ago - Terry Funk beat Dick Slater to win the Southern title in St. Petersburg, Dick Murdoch beat Buck Robley in Kansas City to win the Central States title
- 28 years ago - Terry Taylor beat Eddie Gilbert in Memphis to win the International title
- 27 years ago - Bill Dundee beat Jerry Lawler in Memphis to win the Southern title
- 20 years ago - Big Van Vader beat Ron Simmons in Baltimore to win the WCW title
--Snakepit Wrestling on 1/5 in Adelaide, South Australia at the Enfield Community Centre
--Here Comes the Boom was No. 5 at the Australian box office this weekend (thanks to James Stanios)
--Lucha Xtreme from TV last night in Fresno: Brian Tannen b Love Seat Danny, Vinny Massaro b Sheik Khan Abadi, J.R. Kratos b Mustafa Saed in a heel match. Bad show, almost no reaction to anything (thanks to Jon Southerland)
--Wrestling is Fun from last night in Allentown: Kodama & Kobald b Los Ice Creams, Submission Specialist b Stigma, Oleg the Usurper b Jolly Roger, Obariyon b Jervis Cottonbelly, Juan Francisco de Coronado b Lance Steel, Dasher Hatfield b assailANT, Devastation Corporation b Hallowicked & Frightmare, Saturyne b Jaka, Mark Angelosetti b Fire Ant. It was supposed to be in iPPV but it fell through and will be on VOD. Those who ordered will get a refund. Next show is 1/26 in Allentown.
--AAW from last night in Berwyn, IL: Lamar Titan b Marion Fontaine, J. Miller b Dan Lawrence, Samuray del Sol b C.J. Esparza, Louis Lyndon b Tweek Phoenix, Shane Hollister b Colt Cabana, Irish Airborne d Davey Richards & Kyle O'Reilly 30:00, MsChif b Danny Daniels i fans bring the weapons, Keith Walker b Tripp Cassidy & Dale Patricks, Michael Elgin won three-way over Sami Callihan and Shane Hollister to retain AAW title (thanks to Chris GST)
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF DRUG TESTING IN UFC?
- Good enough 16.6%
- Not good enough 36.6%
- A joke 46.7%