Also in this week's issue:
--More on Ric Flair's next match with back story
--The rest of All Japan's first major show of the year
--Former WWE star headed to All Japan
--Longtime Japanese star has final matches for a while and unique reason he's leaving the business for now
--A look at Pro Wrestling NOAH's first big show of the year
--Title match main eventers first face off in non-title match
--Lineup for the 2013 Fantasticmania shows
--90s star announces his retirement show
--More on Billy Graham's latest health scare
--Crazy Tammy Sytch story
--A look at WWC's Euphoria show and unlikely main event alliance
--Wrestler from the 70s still a headliner at 66 years old
--A look at the life and career of Luigi Macera
--Chris Jericho's upcoming schedule
--Return of Omega Wrestling
--Roddy Piper headlines Crossfire Wrestling TV taping
--Dave Bautista acting career
--The hardest wrestling tickets to get in 2013
--Terry Funk talks retirement again
--Notes on Extreme Rising show
--Final Battle iPPV notes
--Upcoming ROH schedule
--A look at the TV taping for ROH, as well as what big matches they are promoting and apparent direction for the anniversary show
--Notes on all the TNA tapings for this week
--Lots of wrestlers returning to TNA
--Notes on wrestlers who have been dropped by TNA
--Behind Hulk Hogan's latest lawsuit filing
--Hogan's restaurant notes
--TNA getting more international distribution
--Notes on TNA Genesis plans
--TNA weekend house show notes
--Huge UFC business move
--More on Alistair Overeem being reinstated
--UFC schedule notes
--MMA's future on Showtime thoughts
--Notes on the April FOX show
--Update on Gilbert Melendez
--Advances for the upcoming UFC shows all over the world, what is hot and what is not
--Promotion notes for UFC on FOX
--Notes on UFC's preview show for the next FOX card
--Yet another Overeem vs. Sapp confrontation, this time in a tug of war, on Japanese network TV
--Story behind the Eddie Alvarez/UFC/Bellator issues
--Dana White talks Jon Jones
--Lots of new UFC matches announced
--Time and day change for a weekly TV show
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's news update
--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Raw ratings, U.K. wrestling history with John Lister, next week's Raw, Alberto Del Rio, Cain Velasquez and much more, as well as taking your questions at
--Rosita (Thea Trinidad) can be added to the list of those whose contracts weren't renewed by TNA this past week.
--The Hardys team up for the first time in a long time on 1/15 in Durham, NC for the return of Omega Pro Wrestling in a benefit show for former Omega wrestler Chuck Coates. The Hardys & James Storm & Shane Helms face Steve Corino & C.W. Anderson & Lodi & Gunner in the main event.
--Paced by all the football games and coverage, ESPN averaged 6.50 million viewers in prime time last week to more than double second place USA (3.00 million). FX was No. 9 at 1.53 million. Syfy was No. 18 at 1.12 million. Spike was No. 20 at 1.05 million. The top 14 shows were all either college football games or college football related. Raw was not in the top 25 although one episode of NCIS on USA was No. 24.
--TNA announced a Gut Check tryout on its 2/2 house show in Fayetteville. D-Lo Brown will do a two hour seminar and then wrestlers will be getting tryouts. For more info on how to try out you can go to TNAGutCheck.com
--On tomorrow's Impact, there will be two wrestlers who will face each other (one is believed to be West Coast wrestler Brian Cage) in a Gut Check match. Then both will be evaluated on the following Thursday's Impact show by Al Snow, Taz and Bruce Prichard.
--Even though Bully Ray is suspended (and hasn't missed any shows), he's scheduled for Impact tomorrow. On twitter he's working the angle asking people if he should just show up.
--The Countdown to UFC 156 debuts on 1/29, which is a Tuesday night at 11 p.m. Eastern on Fuel.
--Dolph Ziggler, A.J. Lee and Big E Langston are scheduled for the NXT house show tonight in Kissimmee, FL.
--NXT tapes tomorrow night in Winter Park, FL at Full Sail University. Shawn Michaels and Jim Ross are both attending that taping.
--Saturday's Strikeforce show will not be available on Super Channel in Canada as it usually would be. (thanks to Jason Hagholm and others)
--Entertainment Tonight Canada ran a piece on The Rock today. (thanks to Adam Lebow)
--A documentary called "The DNA of GSP" is now in production.
--Former FCW wrestler Brian Jack has filed a second lawsuit against WWE, Steve Keirn and FCW claiming a defective ring caused a ring injury that kept him out of action for four months. Jack claimed in his suit that they didn't contact emergency personnel and that Keirn told him if he ever wanted to work in WWE, he's not to call an ambulance or report the injury. Jack had filed a previous suit against WWE that was quickly thrown out.
--Speaking of documentaries, Netflix is carrying "Such Great Heights," a documentary on Jon Fitch. I'll be watching this one soon. I have a few different family members who for different reasons are all Jon Fitch fans.
--If you haven't seen the New Japan Wrestle Kingdom show from Friday, tomorrow is the last day it's on ustream at www.ustream.tv/channel/njpw1972
It may be the best pro wrestling show of the past decade.
--On this day in history from Brian Hoops
56 years ago: Al Kashey beat Lord James Blears to win the Beat the Champ TV title in Los Angeles
55 years ago: Ben & Mike Sharpe beat Ciclon Anaya & Ramon Torres in Stockton to win the NWA world tag team titles
54 years ago: Pat O'Connor beat Dick Hutton in St. Louis to win the NWA world heavyweight title
51 years ago: Mr. M (Big Bill Miller) beat Verne Gagne to win the AWA world heavyweight title in Minneapolis
48 years ago: Don Leo Jonathan & Whipper Billy Watson beat The Fabulous Kangaroos, Al Costello & Roy Heffernan, to win the International tag team titles in Winnipeg
45 years ago: Butcher & Stan Vachon beat Enrique & Ramon Torres to win the NWA world tag team titles in Macon, GA
44 years ago: Danny Hodge & Wilbur Snyder beat Giant Baba & Antonio Inoki to win the International tag team titles in Hiroshima, Japan. This was one of the very few times Baba & Inoki lost as a tag team.
44 years ago: Buddy Colt beat Ricky Romero in Amarillo to win the North American heavyweight title
42 years ago: Curtis "Da Bull" Iaukea beat Billy Robinson in Honolulu for the Hawaiian heavyweight title
42 years ago: Jerry Jarrett & Tojo Yamamoto beat the original Heavenly Bodies, Al & Don Greene, to win the Southern tag team titles in Chattanooga
40 years ago: Mark Lewin beat Buddy Colt to win the Southern title in Tampa
39 years ago: Superstar Billy Graham beat Gentleman Ed Francis to win the Hawaiian heavyweight title in Honolulu
35 years ago: Norvell Austin & Bill Dundee beat Dennis Condrey & Phil Hickerson to win the Southern tag team titles in Memphis
34 years ago: Jimmy Garvin beat Dick Slater to win the Florida heavyweight title in Tampa
31 years ago: Dory & Terry Funk beat Jack & Jerry Brisco in Tampa to win the North American tag team titles
29 years ago: Super Destroyer (Scott Irwin) beat Brian Adias to win the Texas TV title in Fort Worth
29 years ago: Charlie Cook beat Jerry Stubbs to win the Alabama heavyweight title in Birmingham
26 years ago: Larry Hamilton beat Tom Prichard in Birmingham to win the U.S. jr. heavyweight title
24 years ago: Wendell Cooley beat Sid Vicious in Memphis to win the CWA title
--And from Graeme Cameron in Australia, it was 48 years ago today when Ray Stevens beat Domenic DeNucci at Sydney Stadium to win the IWA world heavyweight title.
--And Dave Doyle noted to us that today is the 20 year anniversary of the Ric Flair vs. Bret Hart 60 minute Iron Man match at the Boston Garden. He noted it was still the best pro wrestling house show match he's ever seen live. As I recall, Flair loved it and Hart, well, he didn't love it.
--Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall was moved to the main card on the next UFC PPV show on 2/2 in Las Vegas. The five-match PPV lineup is Jose Aldo Jr. vs. Frankie Edgar for the featherweight title, Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem vs. Bigfoot Silva, Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia and Benavidez vs. McCall.
--Bellator's welterweight tournament brackets and first round matches:
Marius Zaromskis vs. Brent Weedman 1/24
Douglas Lima vs. Michail Tsarev 1/24
Jose Gomes vs. Raul Amaya 1/24
Koffi Adzitso vs. Ben Saunders 1/24
WHO WINS THIS FIGHT?
Alistair Overeem 83.2%
Bigfoot Silva 16.8%
WHO WINS THIS FIGHT?
Jon Fitch 70.5%
Demian Maia 29.5%
POLL ON RAW
10.6% of those responding didn't see the show
WHO WAS THE STAR OF RAW?
C.M. Punk 58.1%
The Rock 29.4%
Antonio Cesaro 4.2%
Daniel Bryan 3.3%
Paul Heyman 2.4%
John Cena 1.6%
Dolph Ziggler 1.1%
DO YOU THINK NEVADA SHOULD HAVE LICENSED ALISTAIR OVEREEM?
No, too much suspicious behavior the last time 46.1%
Yes, now is fine, he's been out long enough 39.9%
Yes, but he should have been made to sit out longer 13.9%
--UFC will be debuting a new special called The Analysts on 1/11 on Fuel. Kenny Florian, Chael Sonnen, Rashad Evans and Brian Stann all talk about their job analyzing fights and the difficulties most people wouldn't imagine about it.
--In the World Darts Championships today on BBC, Steve Douglas came out for his match to HHH's ring music by Motorhead (thanks to Naill Harkiss)
--559 Fights return to Bakersfield, CA for an amateur MMA show at the Old Creek Mill at 424 24th St. on Saturday. The show starts at 7 p.m.
--The next One Fighting Championships show will be on 2/2 in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia featuring a four-man tournament to crown the first Malaysian featherweight champion with Raymond Tiew vs. Melvin Yeoh and A.J. Lias Mansor vs. Jian Kai Chee.
--Sunday in Guadalajara for CMLL: Brillante & Xavier Cruz Jr. b Pirana & Acertijo, Demonio Maya & Infierno b Leo & Black Metal, Smaker & Esfinge & Leon Blanco b Malefico & Espectrum & Exterminador-DQ, Delta & Guerrero Maya Jr. b Sangre Azteca & Rafaga, Mascara Dorada b Polvora (thanks to Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims and Kris Zellner)
--AIWF on 1/18 in Mt. Airy, NC at the Mid-Atlantic Events Center has a show featuring Ricky Morton. Morton will also be doing a seminar on 1/19 from 2-5 p.m. at the building for $20. For more info go to Facebook.com/events/371993382382865/
--Lucha Libre from Sunday in El Paso before a near sellout: Titanik & Nemesis b Rey Arturo & Monster, Princesa Guerrera & Diva Salvaje b Baby Star & Yuri Star, Huracan Hector (Eddy Guerrero's best friend growing up) & Scorpio 2000 b Atomo & Impostor Jr., Magno & Impostor & Treimgistro b Rey Escorpion (not the CMLL guy of the same name) & Fussion & Muneco Infernal, Cassandro & Mascarita Sagrada & Octagoncito b Sky Bird & Demus 3:16 & Pequeno Halloween (thanks to Albert Cerda)
--CZW Ascension on 1/12 in Voorhees, NJ at the Flyers Skate Zone is headlined by Masada vs. Joe Gacy and AR Fox vs. Lucky 13.
--John LaRocca announced he is starting his own pro wrestling promotion called Premier, with the first show on 3/24 at 9 Lives in Gilroy, CA at 5 p.m. There will be a four-man tournament to crown a first champion with Dave Dutra vs. A.J. Kirsch and Dylan Drake vs Timothy Thatcher. They are going to do a promotion with win-loss records and rankings.
--All-Star Wrestling on 1/26 in Cloverdale, BC at the Fairgrounds
--Pro Wrestling Battle Arts on 2/22 in Oshawa, ONT at Masonic Hall with Michael Elgin vs. Ethan Page vs. Christopher Bishop vs. Josh Alexander.