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.
Monday's News Update
--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Raw, the latest news and taking your questions that you can send to
--Tonight will be Eve Torres' final show with the WWE unless there is a last minute change of plans on her dropping the title. Her leaving was something agreed on for a while but she was willing to work out however long they wanted to do her storyline with Kaitlyn and the title change. There was the assumption it would go until the Royal Rumble but the decision was made this past week to do it here.
--Tonight's Raw was already sold out as of yesterday. There has clearly been box office business momentum in WWE building of late for whatever reason you want to attribute it to, but the advertising for the Raw shows is all about The Rock appearing as the focal point.
--We had a scary lack of feedback to last night's TNA Genesis show.
--Saturday Morning Slam is being moved to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings starting this week.
--The Rock is being advertised for the 3/4 Raw show in Buffalo. They are promoting it as his first time at a WWE show in the city in 12 years.
--Santino Marella is getting an MRI today on his neck. He injured it on Friday night in Austin, TX and was pulled from the weekend shows as a precautionary measure. He was hopeful it would just be a strain and nothing serious.
--Very strange story regarding Crossfire Entertainment our of Nashville, which ran last week as a national TV taping for a station that was never released. As it turned out, a lot of the wrestlers on the show weren't paid that night and checks later bounced. Promoter Marcus Pastorious sent out an e-mail to talent saying it was unprofessional of him to come to the show with no cash. He said he had made a $25,000 deposit which should have cleared, but was lost. He talked about making an investment with a friend who then stiffed him , but claimed he would pay everyone for the show and pre-pay everyone for the next show in March where they are advertising appearances by DDP and Jake Roberts. As you can imagine, everyone involved is now very skeptical regarding the future of the company.
--UFC Tonight returns to its normal format with tomorrow night's show.
--Inside MMA is no longer on Monday nights, and started this past week on Fridays on AXS TV.
--The Hardy Brothers team up for the first time in a long time tomorrow night for a benefit show for Chuck Coates, who started his career with them. Coates is battling cancer. The Hardys team with James Storm & Hurricane Helms vs. Steve Corino & CW Anderson & Lodi & Gunner in the main event.
--WrestleMania Fan Axxess tickets go on sale on 1/26 for New York priced from $45 to $135.
--Big Time Wrestling has shows on 3/15 in South Paris, ME and 3/16 in Malden, MA, both headlined by Kevin Nash. They also have shows on 3/22 in Danbury, CT, 3/23 in Webster, MA and 3/24 in Augusta, ME all featuring appearances by Ric Flair.
--ROH announced that it will be doing a TV taping on 5/5 in Toronto at the Ted Reeve Arena. It's a doubleheader where they will do an iPPV the night before and the TV taping at 2 p.m. the next day.
--Don't forget National Pro Wrestling Day on 2/2 at the Derby Ink Gardens in Philadelphia. There are two shows, both free, with independent wrestlers coming from all over the country. More than 20 promotions will be represented and will be both airing live on iPPV. CHIKARA announced on the evening show they will have Los Ice Creams & Icarus & Chuck Taylor vs 3.0 & Fire Ant & Green Ant.
--Mike Mooneyham at http://www.postandcourier.com
did a big article on C.M. Punk's interview where he mentioned Bruno Sammartino, the reaction from Billy Graham and more.
--Adam Carriker of the Washington Redskins and Chuck Carroll on WNEW The Fan in Washington, DC gave away a series of belts to Redskins players for the season. They gave a TV title belt to the Offensive Player of the Year. They gave a Hardcore title belt to the Defensive Player of the year. They gave a cruiserweight belt to the Special Teams Player of the Year. They gave a Divas title to Newcomer of the Year (RG III got this belt). And the team MVP got a World title belt.
--Matt Riviera of Traditional Championship Wrestling will be on the 2/14 episode of the TV show Millionaire Matchmaker.
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF SATURDAY'S ROH TV SHOW?
65.4% of those responding didn't see the show
BEST TV SHOW OF THE PAST WEEK
Strikeforce main card 11.3%
Strikeforce prelims 3.6%
Saturday Morning Slam 1.4%
Inside MMA 1.4%
Main Event 0.9%
Bellator 360 10 p.m. 0.5%
Bellator 360 11 p.m. 0.5%
WHAT FIGHTER FROM SATURDAY'S STRIKEFORCE SHOW WILL DO THE BEST IN UFC?
Daniel Cormier 56.4%
Jacare Souza 16.4%
Josh Barnett 10.8%
Gegard Mousasi 8.2%
Ryan Couture 3.3%
Tarec Saffiedine 1.0%
Pat Healy 1.0%
Tim Kennedy 0.3%
--Today in wrestling history (thanks to Brian Hoops)
70 years ago - Lee Wyckoff beat Ed Strangler Lewis in Kansas City for the MWA world title
53 years ago - Yvon Robert beat Billy Wicks in Mobile for the Gulf Coast title
47 years ago: Lorenzo Parente beat Danny Hodge in Tulsa to win the NWA world jr. heavyweight title
46 years ago: In a battle of amateur greats, Dale Lewis beat Tim Woods to win the Nebraska title in Omaha
43 years ago: The Missing Link, better known as Pampero Firpo, beat King Ripper Collins to win the Hawaiian heavyweight title in Honolulu
36 years ago: Dory Funk Jr. beat Chavo Guerrero in Los Angeles to win the Americas title
36 years ago: Mr. Wrestling (Tim Woods) & Mr. Wrestling II beat Gene & Ole Anderson to win the Georgia tag team titles
30 years ago: Leu Burke beat Bret Hart in Calgary to win the North American title
22 years ago: Arn Anderson beat Tom Zenk in Marietta, GA to win the WCW TV title
22 years ago: Jeff Jarrett beat Brian Lee in the finals of a one-night tournament for the Southern title in Memphis
22 years ago: Jerry Lynn beat The Lightning Kid (Sean Waltman) in Fridley, MN to win the American light heavyweight title
21 years ago: Ron Simmons & Big Josh (Matt Osborne) beat Steve Armstrong & Tracy Smothers to win the U.S. tag team titles in Columbus, GA
18 years ago: John Hawk (John Layfield) beat Kevin Von Erich to win the North American title in Dallas
18 years ago: Tommy Rich & Doug Gilbert beat PG-13 in Memphis to win the USWA tag titles
--It was three years ago today when Bob Shamrock passed away at 68. He was a very nice man, who saved a lot of kids, including Ken & Frank Shamrock, who he adopted and I hate to fathom where either of them would have been without him.
--Happy birthday to Jim Duggan, who turns 59 today. Ernest Miller turns 49. Gene Snitsky turns 43.
He wrote it yesterday, just a day or two after I e-mailed him talking about The Freebirds so maybe that struck a cord.
--NWA Smoky Mountain Wrestling from Saturday night in Kingston, TN: Jeff Connelly b Alex Avgerinos, Sigmon b Elliot Russell, Zac Vincent b Joseph Blackwell, Matt Conrad b Ricky Morton, Gavin Darring & Skylar Kruze won three-way over Tony Givens & Chris Richards and Josh Crawford & Daniel Mulligan via DQ, Alyx Winters b Keith Knox, Damien Wayne b William Huckaby, Jason Kincaid b Vordell Walker, Chase Owens b Vince Brent to retain NWA jr. title
--CWE on 1/18 in Winnipeg at the Southeast Collegiate has a TV taping featuring Billy Blaze vs Scott Steiner.
--I Believe in Wrestling from yesterday in Orlando: C.J. O'Doyle b Rafael Altair, Santana Garrett over Wayne VanDyke and Justine Silver, Aaron Epic b Gerso Sanchez, J.D. Amazing b Tim Zbyszko (managed by Larry Zbyszko), QT Marshall b Josh Hess, Donovan Terreell b Chico Adams, Chasyn Race b Lince Dorado. Next show is 2/10.
--CZW from Saturday night in Voorhees, NJ: Young Money b Latin Dragon & David Starr, The Front b Suger Dunkerton & Aaron Epic, Shane Hollister over Alex Reynolds, Chris Brookes and Chuck Taylor, Azrael & Bandido Jr. b Dalton Castle & Colin Delaney, Jesse Brooks b Ezeveul Zuena, Devon Moore & Danny Havoc b Drew Gulak & Alexander James to keep the CZW tag titles, Shane Strickland b Alex Colon, Matt Tremont won three-way over Tommy Dreamer (unadvertised surprise) and Rory Mondo, Jake & Dave Crist b Dustin Rayz & Eric Ryan, AR Fox b Lucky 13 to keep the CZW Wired title (TV title), Masada b Joe Gacy to keep the CZW title. Christina Von Eerie attacked Masada with a barbed wire bat and challenge him to a death match at the next show on 2/9 in Voorhees at Flyers Skate Zone as the promotion's 14th anniversary show. It'll be an iPPV. There will also be an all-women's WSU show in the afternoon. (thanks to Tom Richards)
--TWA Wrestling on 1/25 in St Catherines, ONT at the Black Sea Hall headlined by Randy Vaughn vs. Cody Deaner.
--787 Pro Wrestling from yesterday in Troy, NY: Robert Coleman won Battle Royal, Chris Envy b Chad Evans, Ron Falco b Kyle Badger, Este Tipo & Syanide & Viper the Ninja b Sgt. Dan Fury & Cpl. Jasin Saint & Randy Walker, Bert Williams b William King, C.J. Scott b Kyle Brad, Coconut Jones b Adam Badger, Dalton Castle b Cloudy, Nick Ando and Jordan Lennos, J.P. Black b Rick King, Bobby Fish b Roxx Vinyer, Vik Dalishus b Robert Coleman to win the title. Next show is 2/17
--FWF on Saturday night in Stirling, NJ at the Long Hill Township Community Center features Tony Atlas and Hurricane Helms.
--Top Rope Pro Wrestling on 4/13 in Waynesboro, VA at the High School
is looking for a Mistico mask.