Also in this week's issue:
--CMLL setting up battle of its trios champions
--A look at matches on Dragon Gate shows in the U.S. in a few weeks including John Morrison's debut in the promotion
--More on why Ric Flair is getting back into the ring for another match just before his 64th birthday, when and why
--A look at All Japan's traditional opening the year show with two major title matches and the Battle Royal
--Changes in NOAH with several stars leaving and who they are bringing to the promotion in January
--A disastrous New Year's Eve show with both pro wrestling and MMA
--What MMA star is looking at competing in the 2016 Olympics and why they could be in the medal picture
--Mirko Cro Cop faces another pro wrestler
--Genichiro Tenryu back in the ring with several of Japan's biggest stars
--Unique Onita/Akebono angle
--Coverage of the Extreme Rising show from Philadelphia
--Company plans going forward
--Why New Jack was there after the promotion said he wouldn't be
--Ideas for TV
--Jerry Lynn and his imminent retirement
--Former WCW star running for mayor
--Former WWF star now marketing tea
--A look at two new books coming out in the spring catalogue, bios of two former WWF names
--Former WWE wrestler to debut in MMA in March
--Former UFC fighter appears this week at a TV taping
--Hart Legacy Wrestling notes
--Jim Cornette breaks silence, talks about why he's away from ROH, his future and taking stock of his life
--Indie star set to debut in ROH
--Notes on upcoming ROH shows
--The opening of Hogan's Beach on New Year's Eve
--Media coverage of the event
--Plans for the bar/restaurant
--Hogan gets dubious award
--Names hinting they are coming to TNA
--Velvet Sky talks missing the Poughkeepsie house show due to accident
--A look back at one of the best angles of its era and how TNA can copy it
--A look at the weekend TNA house shows
--More on UFC advances
--Thoughts on Rousey vs Carmouche
--Numbers for the 12/15 UFC show in Las Vegas
--Plans for the women's division going forward
--Tito Ortiz and Dana White butting heads again
--More UFC international plans
--More on Alistair Overeem getting licensed to fight Bigfoot Silva and what he looks like these days
--Notes on the new season of Ultimate Fighter
--The idea this year's show has a star
--Hector Lombard talks his fight with Rousimar Palhares
--Strikeforce fighter and his battle with insurance for his injuries
--More new fights
--Debut of Bellator on Spike notes before the first live show
--Former Strikeforce fighter gets national attention for stopping a robbery of the grocery store
--Dan Severn announces his retirement
--Another major fighter seems to have second thoughts after announcing retirement for the third time
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 AND LINKS
--The Rock has been added to the advertising of a 2/12 Smackdown TV taping in Little Rock, doing far more television this Mania season than any since 2004.
--Regarding something in the new Observer and talks of Gilbert Melendez vs. Benson Henderson, those in UFC say the fight will not be happening on the April FOX show and the fight isn't even close. There had been rumors in recent days of that being on that show.
--Silvervision, the former exclusive distributor of WWE DVDs in the U.K., has inked a deal with TNA. The deal will go into effect when their contract and non-compete with WWE expires around the middle of this year.
--Dan Henderson's unique tweet on New Year's Eve: "Wishin everyone a Happy New Year!! Be safe! No drinking and driving and hitting telephone poles." Jon Jones crashed into a telephone pole over the summer. Guess he saw how Chael Sonnen leapfrogged the pack.
--While this is a day late, Larry Matysik noted three famous January 1st cards during the glory days of St. Louis wrestling:
> In 1965, before a sellout 12,149 fans, Pat O'Connor & Fritz Von Erich won a handicap match over Gene Kiniski with Whipper Billy Watson as referee. It led to a Kiniski-Von Erich pull-apart brawl after the match.
> In 1971, one of the biggest matches historically of the era -- the first Dory Funk Jr. vs. Jack Brisco match in St. Louis -- drew a sellout 11,587 fans and ended as a 60:00 draw. There was a riot in front of the arena with fans turning over ticket booths because so many thousand fans couldn't get in to see that match. Brisco was going to be a big star no matter what, but this was really the show that established him and the match as a major drawing match outside of Florida, and it ended up being one of the classic wrestling programs of all-time.
> In 1982, a sellout of 19,819 at the Checkerdome saw Sam Muchnick's retirement show, headlined by Ric Flair beating Dusty Rhodes in 2/3 falls to retain the NWA title with Kiniski as referee.
--The scheduled UFC on FX 1/19 fight with Edson Barboza vs. Justin Salas in Sao Paulo, Brazil is off. Barboza will now face the debuting 11-0 Lucas Martins of Brazil having fight and won nine fights last year.
--With the debut of TNA's British Boot Camp on Challenge TV yesterday (Emerson Witner talks the first two episodes
), William Regal was talking about trainer Mark "Rollerball" Rocco. Many thought he was the U.K.'s best worker of the late 70s and early 80s and he was famous in Japan as the original Black Tiger. Regal noted that his all-time favorite match (which you can find on YouTube
) was Rocco vs. Marty Jones (a very underrated wrestler during that era) from July 26, 1978 on World of Sport.
--I believe Inside MMA is moving from Monday night to Friday night starting next week. It will air at 9 p.m., so they go from head-to-head with Raw to head-to-head with Smackdown.
--Universal Ultimate Games presents Hart Legacy Wrestling on 1/18 in Calgary at the Stampede Pavilion. Tickets start at $25 and will feature Teddy Hart, Kevin Nash, Bobby Lashley, Chris Masters, Harry Smith, Lance Archer, Jack Evans, Super Smash Brothers, Flip Kendrick, Samuray del Sol, Johnny Devine, Cody Hall, Chasyn Rance, Pete Williams as well as a Hottest Woman in Calgary contest.
--Invicta and Ustream have an iPPV on Saturday night, the all-women's MMA show from Kansas City. Bas Rutten, King Mo and Julie Kedzie will be handling the announcing for the 13-fight card headlined by Carla Esparza (8-2) vs. Bec Hyatt (4-1) of Australia for the Invicta strawweight (115 pounds) title and Shayna Baszler vs. Alexis Davis as the co-feature. Davis had one of the better fights of the year last year in Strikeforce against Sarah Kaufman. Also Leslie Smith vs. Raquel Pennington and Amanda Nunes vs. Sarah D'Alelio.
WHAT COMPANY DO YOU EXPECT THE MOST GROWTH FROM IN 2013?
New Japan 16.8%
Dragon Gate 3.0%
Glory Sports 2.3%
All Japan 1.3%
WHO WAS THE STAR OF RAW?
C.M. Punk 16.1%
Ricardo Rodriguez 16.1%
Paul Heyman 13.6%
John Cena 11.0%
The Shield 10.2%
Dolph Ziggler 9.7%
Wade Barrett 9.7%
Mae Young 6.4%
The Miz 3.0%
A.J. Lee 2.1%
Alberto Del Rio 1.7%
Vickie Guerrero 0.4%
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE GLORY KICKBOXING TOURNAMENT?
***76.6% of those responding didn't see the show
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF NEW YEAR'S EVE RAW?
***31.7% of those responding didn't see the show. That's the highest not watching I can recall for Raw, but you can throw that out as far as it having any meaning due to the night.
--The new issue of ESPN Magazine has a two-page ad on the inside front cover of Bellator with one of the pages devoted to King Mo.
--Dragon Gate USA announced 1/26 in Huntington Park, CA at 8 p.m. with Young Bucks vs. Jimmy Susumu & Ryo Saito, Sami Callihan vs. Akira Tozawa and AR Fox vs. Samuray del Sol. On 1/27 at 1 p.m. in the same building, it's the Young Bucks vs. Tozawa & Fox and Callihan vs. Susumu. I believe these will be iPPV shows.
--For today in history:
- 54 years ago: Freddie Blassie beat Ray Gunkel in Atlanta to win the Southern title
- 48 years ago: Sonny Myers beat Tom Clark to win the Kansas City version of the U.S. title in Waterloo, IA
- 42 years ago: Ripper Collins beat Handsome Johnny Barend to win the Hawaiian heavyweight title in Honolulu
- 34 years ago: Dick Slater beat Jos LeDuc to win the Florida title in Tampa, Randy Alls (Randy Rose) beat Dick Murdoch to win the Central States title in St. Joseph, MO
- 33 years ago: Ox Baker beat Bruiser Brody for the American heavyweight title in San Francisco according to Texas records. In actuality,no such match took place
- 32 years ago: Mike Graham & Barry Windham beat Bobby Jaggers & R.T Tyler to win the Florida tag team titles in Orlando
- 31 years ago: Jimmy Valiant beat Ivan Koloff to win the NWA TV title in Hampton, VA
- 26 years ago: The Mod Squad beat Todd Champion & Dave Peterson to win the Central States tag team titles in Kansas City
- 23 years ago: Arn Anderson beat the leaving Great Muta in Gainesvlle, GA to win the NWA TV title. Muta left and ended up becoming one of the biggest stars ever in Japan.
(thanks to Brian Hoops)
--Thea Trinidad (Rosita in TNA) is now teaching Zumba classes. She's doing one on Friday from 4-5 p.m. at Club Hellas in Hope Mills, NC.
--The NWA sent out a release saying the vacant NWA National heavyweight title will be decided on Saturday night in Nashville, NC for NWA Edge (not related to Adam Copeland, although he lives in North Carolina these days) in a three-way with Damien Wayne vs. Chance Prophet vs. Lance Erickson.
--All VIP tickets are sold out for Saturday's Crossfire Wrestling TV tapings in Nashville at the Fairgrounds. The show features Roddy Piper hosting a Piper's Pit with Shane Helms and Matt Hardy, Shane Williams vs. Carlito Colon for the Crossfire title, Matt Hardy vs. Colt Cabana, Cheerleader Melissa vs. Jillian Hall and more.
--For those in the U.K., "Ready to Rumble" was added today to LOVEFiLM's Instant servic
e to stream for member of the websiite. If you've never seen it and now watch it, please don't blame me. It was horrible. (thanks to Ian Hamilton)