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.
Sunday's News Update
--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking TNA Genesis, WWE injuries, Raw 20th anniversary and taking your questions that you can send to
--TNA told its VIP ticket holders today that tonight's show will be the only live PPV show in Orlando. From now on, the four big shows per year will be done on the road.
--After Strikeforce last night they replayed the 60 Minutes episode on Lance Armstrong. This is the new Showtime version of 60 Minutes,which is all sports. It was fascinating to say the least. It's one thing to go into detail about drug use in cycling and Armstrong's involvement, which everyone knows and expects and has been talked about for years. But the levels of intimidation and cover-up were fascinating.
--Interesting watching last night's show. The purpose of the free weekend was to get new subscribers for Showtime, and in front of an MMA audience, when pushing sports, there was no mention of MMA. Really, they've had months to get ready for this, since they knew the relationship was ending some time ago. I was hoping they would be ready for an announcement of a new direction for their programming. The problem is, there is no outlet for quality fighters at this point without a relationship with Zuffa. Bellator can provide good action shows but doesn't have the kind of fighters Showtime would want, plus given their ownership, a deal with Showtime isn't likely. Hard to see where they would go next. They could be a total game changer for a promotion. The closest to ready based on what I've seen is Invicta, but all-women may not be a direction they want to go.
--Regarding any rumors of Bill DeMott being dropped by WWE, WWE officials have told us there is no truth to that story that has gone around. Billy Gunn was added to the training staff but not as a replacement for DeMott. It was noted to us by a few people that DeMott was there on Thursday night when they were doing TV.
--Samoa Joe noted he was battling the flu today.
--WWE on the Raw brand merged the Punk vs. Ryback and Cena vs. Ziggler main events into tag matches this weekend. Was told just to make things physically easier on the guys. Not sure if it's legit or not, but Ziggler at last night's show complained of having the flu but that was an interview before the show trying to get out of wrestling.
--A local state senator in Utica here said he believes there is a good chance MMA gets legalized this year, citing changes. I've talked to people in UFC, and usually each year they use the optimistic, bullish, type words but after so many problems, when I've talked about how those with connections in the legislature in New York have talked like it's going to happen, they're not as optimistic as you'd think, noting that the same enemies are still in place, but they are hopeful. Story is at http://www.wktv.com/news/local/Griffo-confident-MMA-will-be-allowed-in-NYS-in-2013-186639071.html
(thanks to Greg Marra)
--The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a nice story on DDP's house with Jake Roberts there. The story said Roberts has lost 50 pounds so far, starting at more than 300 pounds while giving up all drinking and drugs as part of a documentary they are trying to do on his comeback. Story is at http://mobile.philly.com/health/?wss=/philly/health&id=186502771
--An interview with J.J. Dillon is at www.placetobe.podbean.com
talking about his career, road stories, Dusty Rhodes and The Four Horsemen.
--Former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard turns 32 today. Bruce Hart turns 62.
Today in history by Brian Hoops and Graeme Cameron
77 years ago: Ted Christy beat Leroy McGuirk to win the world light heavyweight title in Hollywood, CA
63 years ago: Danny McShain beat Verne Gagne to win the Texas heavyweight title in Houston
51 years ago: Alex Iakovides beat Kangaroo Kennedy in Melbourne to become the first Australian TV champion and El Greco beat former Olympian Bruce Arthur to win the first Australian light heavyweight TV champion.
47 years ago: Shag Thomas & Bearcat Wright beat Stan Stasiak & Mighty Ursus (Jesse Ortega) to win the Pacific Northwest tag tam titles
46 years ago: Mad Dog & Butcher Vachon beat Enrique & Ramon Torres to win the world tag team titles in Atlanta
46 years ago: Sonny Myers beat Mike DiBiase to win the Central States title in St. Joseph, MO
43 years ago: The Missouri Mauler beat Danny Miller to win the Southern title in Tampa
42 years ago: Cowboy Bob Kelly beat Mike Boyette to win the Gulf Coast title in Mobile
40 years ago: Bobo Brazil beat The Sheik to win the U.S. title in Detroit
33 years ago: Chavo Sr. & Hector Guerrero beat Black Gordman & Goliath to win the Americas tag team titles in Los Angeles
28 years ago: The Interns (this time Don Bass & Roger Smith) beat Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson to win the vacant Southern tag titles in Memphis
27 years ago: The Fantastics beat The Sheepherders to win the Southern tag titles in Memphis
17 years go: PG-13 won the USWA tag titles beating Doug Gilbert & Tommy Rich. in Memphis
PREDICT BELLATOR'S RATING ON THURSDAY
0.3 or less 25.3%
1.3 or more 2.5%
WILL THE BULLY RAY/BROOKE WEDDING INCREASE TNA'S RATING THIS WEEK?
WHAT SHOULD THE JUDGE RULE IN THE EDDIE ALVAREZ CASE?
Free to sign with UFC 70.7%
Bellator matched the terms, must stay with them 29.3%
PREDICT THE STRIKEFORCE RATING
0.6 or less 37.9%
1.7 or more 9.5%
POLL ON SMACKDOWN
22.8% of those responding didn't see the show. Much lower percentage didn't watch than usual, and much better reviews than any show in a long time.
--If anyone knows how to get ahold of Jim Fitzpatrick, the Bay Bombers G.M. who is a friend of mine who for some reason I can't find the e-mail address of, let me know.
--I Believe in Wrestling tonight at 5 p.m. at the Team Vision Dojo in Orlando with J.D. Amazing vs. Tim Zbyszko managed by Larry Zbyszko.
--Eastern Wrestling Alliance from last night in Parkville, MD: Super Phoenix b Koonce, Harm City Fight Club b Eric Jones & Ken Andrews, Wes Mercer b Trent Farrell, T.Jay Sykes b Skull, Aken Pembrooke b Adam Poe, Greywolf b Blood, This Christian Academy NC Sports Management International. Next show is 3/23 (thanks to Joe Burrows)
--Mid Missouri Wrestling Alliance in St. Louis from last night: Chase King b Andrew Wilder, Mephisto b Moondog Rover-DQ, Brandon Espinosa d A.J. Williams, Stevie K DCOR Big Texan, Brian James b Matt King, Gary Jackson b Chase King-COR, Gary Jackson NC Dave Osborne (thanks to Patrick Brandmeyer)
--NWA Fusion from last night in Gloucester, VA: Pat Cusick b Boris Dragoff, Brandon Day b Ryan Nuzzi, Jefferson Early b Ryan Zane, Brandon Day d Jefferson Early, Larry Horsley b Sam Bass, Memphis Mofo b Preston Quinn-DQ to keep Continental title. Next show is 1/19 in King and Queen County VA at the Elementary School with Memphis Mofo & Jefferson Early vs. Preston Quinn & ?. They also run in Gloucester, VA at the Moose Lodge on 3/2 for the night of Iron Men.
--Lucha Xtreme on Fresno TV last night before 30 fans at the studio: Aparicao b Crimson Plague, Brian Tannen b Matt Sparks, Brandon Groom b Mustafa Saed. (thanks to Jon Southerland)
--ESPN U.K. airs the UFC's 100 greatest knockouts tonight at midnight (thanks to Lee Wall)
--Anarchy Wrestling from last night in Cornelia, GA before 100+ fans: Bolt Brady b Carson, Steven Walters d Todd Sexton, Iceberg & Brody Chase won tag team Battle Royal, B.J. Hancock over Brandon Parker and Kameron Kade, Geter b Azreal, Jacoby Boykins & Bobby Moore b Anthony Henry & Stryknyn, Billy Buck & Slim J & Brian Casanova b Seven & Bo Newsome & Shaun Tampers. Next show is 1/26 with Tempers vs. Casanova for the Anarchy title.
--GOUGE on 1/12 in Roxboro, NC: Fabulous Frankie & Luscious Lance b Trailer Park Heat & Crazy Horse, Alex Adonis & Otto Schwanz b Seymour Snott & James Anthony, Krazy Killer Klowns b Melvin Maximas & Tank Lawson, Sideshow Phil & Jaheem the Dream b Shamas O'Mally & Goat, Krazy Killer Klowns b Fabulous Frankie & Luscious Lance, Alex Adonis & Otto Schwanz b Sideshow Phil & Jaheem the Dream, Mickey Gambino b Jimmy Jack Funk Jr., Krazy Killer Klowns b Otto Schwanz & Alex Adonis to win tag titles. Upcoming events are 3/8 in Creedmoor, NC at South Granville High and 3/9 in Raleigh at the Rebus Works.