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.
SUNDAY'S NEWS, NOTES & LINKS
--Hulk Hogan was officially announced as appearing on the 1/25 show in Manchester, England and 1/26 show in London for TNA. Both are TV tapings so he was expected.
--WWE is contacting people for next week's Raw 20th anniversary show and WrestleMania. The idea for next week is besides the usuals, they want to bring in some big names that haven't been appearing at the reunion shows they've done.
"The storyline will be that starting this Monday, I'm gonna go back, and it's going to be a big return. That will lead to, hopefully, what will be the biggest WrestleMania of all-time at Giants Stadium. I will headline that show with someone who I can't say right now. We've got an amazing four months lined up and planned out that will culminate in the biggest WrestleMania of all-time. It's going to be a hell of a thing."
--Shannon Knapp was very frustrated last night as the Invicta stream went down and there were all kinds of problems as far as the streaming of their first iPPV. Sometimes it would crash, some had troubles ordering and Knapp couldn't get ahold of anyone from Ustream as the show was going on. During the show when she heard there were problems, she ordered Ustream to give refunds to customers and took down the pay wall to allow people to watch the show for free. I also know some people who enjoyed the show so much that they are going to refuse the refunds, feeling it was worth the $7.95 many times over. The company actually gained some goodwill over the bad situation.
--I just got around to watching the Dream show from New Year's Eve in Japan. There were references to Karl Gotch, Kerry Von Erich and Ann Calvello among others in commentary.
--For those who saw Smackdown, WWE was continuing the Sheamus vs. Randy Orton stuff at the house shows this weekend in Puerto Rico.
--With the exception of February 9th, Zuffa has shows every Saturday night until March 10th. If you complain about too many shows or matchmaking to Dana White on Twitter and if he responds with anything like, `You need to get laid,' you can now tell him that it's his fault that you can't.
--Crossfire Wrestling drew 1,000 fans last night in Nashville: Nick Iggy b Seven, Samuray del Sol b Matt Cross, Jillian Hall NC Cheerleader Melissa (Paul Burchill billed Hall out of the ring and announced she was the new ladies boss of Crossfire, replacing Maria Kannelis who did the ROH show last night), Shane Helms b Patrick Bentley, Caleb Konley b Johnny Moore, Paul Burchill & David Young (managed by Jillian Hall) b Blink 2-4-7, Hammerjack NC Kevin Sullivan in a fans bring the weapons match when Sami Callihan interfered, Chris Adonis (Masters) DCOR Jimmy Vegas, Chase Stevens & Cassidy Riley b Burchill & Young, King Shane Williams b Carlito Colon-DQ to keep the Crossfire title, Jessica Havok b Angel Dust, Colt Cabana b Sami Callihan (best match), Jerry Lynn & Ricky Morton b Kid Kash & Josh Shockman (Shockman very green, Kash had to carry the team, Lynn still had a black eye from Extreme Rising last week). Kash hugged Lynn after.
Roddy Piper was also there doing a long Piper's Pit with Shane Helms. Helms attacked Cabana and Piper put Helms in the sleeper. Next show is in March with DDP, Jake Roberts, Winter, Matt Hardy and Cliff Compton. Hardy sent in a tape saying he couldn't be there because Helms put out a restraining order on him. Actually he had the ROH show as well.
WHAT FEBRUARY SHOW ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO?
WWE Elimination Chamber 34.2%
UFC 157 Rousey vs. Carmouche 24.6%
UFC 156 Aldo vs. Edgar 21.1%
New Japan New Beginnings iPPV 20.1%
WHO WAS THE STAR OF WRESTLE KINGDOM?
Ayumi Nakamura (who sang Suzuki's ring entrance) 20.3%
Hiroshi Tanahashi 18.2%
Kazuchika Okada 14.2%
Low Ki 13.5%
Shinsuke Nakamura 13.5%
Kazushi Sakuraba 10.1%
Prince Devitt 3.4%
Minoru Suzuki 2.7%
Kota Ibushi 2.0%
Togi Makabe 1.4%
Katsuyori Shibata 0.7%
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF SMACKDOWN?
47.2% of those responding didn't see the show
DID YOU WATCH INVICTA?
Nothing against Invicta, but there's too much MMA on TV and this was one show too many 18.4%
Won't watch MMA on iPPV 15.2%
Would watch for free, but wouldn't pay 14.6%
Not going to watch any MMA if it's not UFC 13.3%
Won't pay for an all-women's MMA show 9.5%
Would watch, schedule conflict 7.0%
Not going to pay for any women's MMA 6.3%
Don't know the names, so no 6.3%
Won't watch any women's MMA 5.7%
Paid to watch the show 3.8%
--29 years ago today in St. Louis, Harley Race beat David Von Erich to win the Missouri State title (thanks to Brian Hoops)
--Jacqueline Moore turns 49 today.
--60s star Mario Galento was 74 when he passed away 24 years ago today. There is one scary story of him showing up on Memphis TV trying to kill Jerry Jarrett and they got into a real fight on live TV. It's on the Memphis Heat DVD with clips of it.
--Ralph Pulley, the ring announcer on World Class Championship Wrestling in the 80s, was 36 when he passed away 21 years ago today.
--Brian Kendrick will be on Afterbuzz TV
tomorrow at 11:30 p.m. Eastern.
--CZW on 1/12 in Voorhees, NJ at Flyers Skate Zone with Masada vs. Joe Gacy for the CZW title and AR Fox vs. Lucky 13 for the TV title.
--787 Professional Wrestling on 1/31 in Troy, NY at the Boys & Girls Club for a 2:30 p.m. start. Children under 12 are free with a paid adult admission.
--Damien Wayne pinned Lance Erikson to become the new NWA national champion in a three-way match that also involved Chance Prophet. The title was vacated when Tokyo Monster Kahagas won the NWA world title on 11/2. This took place at the NW EDGE show in Nashville, NC.
--Regarding the note we had Saturday from the Philadelphia City Paper and the former ECW Arena, nothing is happening there. They had the thing torn down for the most part and inside is nowhere even close to being ready for anything. People who live in the area note they never see any work being done on it.
--Millennium Pro Wrestling from last night in Simi Valley, CA: Spector b Kodi Fipps, Hobo b Jacob Diaz, Creepshow won three-way over Ryan Morals and Jacob Tarasso, Bo Cooper b Tofer Cash, GQ Money b Lucky Pierre, J.J. Steele b Mario Banks, Terex b Hellkid, Los Luchas & Nikki the New York Knockout b Hed & Ferm Owens & Hector Canales, Bret Walters won the annual California Battle Royal. That annual California Battle Royal was quite the thing every January. (thanks to Scott Walton and Dan Farren)
--Lucha Xtreme from last night on Fresno TV was another best of show: Sheik Khan Abadi won four-way over Wiseguy, Vinny Massaro and Mike Rayne, Brandon Groom b Brian Tannen, Mustafa Saed & Mike Rayne b Suburban Commandos-DQ, Wiseguy b Manny Fernandez-DQ. (thanks to Jon Southerland)
--Hoosier Pro Wrestling last night in Columbus, IN before a sellout 250 fans: Bobby Black b Aaron Anarchy, Cooter Clampett b Damien Cole, Epiphany b Camron Star, Stompin Steve b Fast Eddie, Donny Idol b Shawn Cook, Rob Ramer b Ricky Ruckus. Next show is 2/2. (thanks to Jerry Wilson)
--Empire Wrestling Federation from Friday in Covina, CA: Sonny Valens b Rocky Romero, Brute Baretto b Richie Slade, Mexican Warrior b Flecha Fugaz-DQ, Mike Maze b Raccid Najjar, Mega King b Uptown Andy Brown, Von Dooms b Anchors Away, Brandon Gatson b Scorpio Sky (thanks to Frank Mott)
--NAWA from last night in Waxahachie, TX: Cowboy Adam b Big John Famous, Major Mark USMC b Li Fang, Billy Club & Tejano Kid, Cowboy Adam & Joe Angelo Garcia & Corey Saturn b Nobe Bryant & Doberman & Big John Famous 2/3 falls (thanks to Rob Moore)
--NWA Houston runs on 4/20 at the Athletic Fencing Center with most of the NWA titles at stake. They are working on getting this on TV or putting it on a free stream and are planning a weekly online TV show.