Also in this week's issue:
--Latest from Arena Mexico
--First AAA major show of the year
--Notes on Dragon Gate USA's next U.S. shows and former WWE stars involved
--Upcoming Dragon Gate major matches in Japan
--Update on All Japan's first big show of the year featuring Ric Flair and the major league pro wrestling debut of Reid Flair
--Some newcomers to NOAH
--Grandsons of one of pro wrestling's biggest stars get first big win in Japan
--Major contract signing by New Japan
--Notes on the New Japan PPV schedule for this coming year
--Changes in Fantasticmania shows with CMLL and New Japan combined
--A legends show sells out Tokyo with an 80s vs. 90s theme
--An actual challenge a year ahead for the Tokyo Dome
--Two rivals from 30 years ago form tag team
--Sabu returns to Japan
--The end of a major era in pro wrestling with a 45 year institution of the business taking another step down
--Promotion which talked big plans seemingly in financial trouble with bouncing checks
--El Generico's farewell to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla at the DDT4 tag team tournament
--Return of the OMEGA promotion
--Unique lineups for WrestleMania week indie events
--What wrestlers had, as voted by Observer readers, the most consistent great matches of the last four-and-a-half year and who was No. 1
--What tag team is now changing their gimmick to pattern themselves after a fighter who had super heat
--Upcoming ROH shows
--More on the latest Hulk Hogan lawsuits
--Looking into Hogan's claim of losing $50 million
--Future of Hogan wrestling
--Dixie Carter's cryptic comments about more changes coming this year
--Looking at the big picture of where TNA fits in for Spike TV and why it's safe
--Another TNA wrestler let go
--Noes on British Boot Camp
--Background of Zema Ion and a funny college story
--Two UFC fighters fail steroid tests and are suspended
--Business notes from UFC 155
--Details of Dana White's surgery
--A look at upcoming UFC cards
--Longtime UFC headliner says he's leaving no matter what after his next fight and where he's going
--Chael Sonnen news
--A UFC hotbed market essentially passes a law that will keep UFC from debuting
--New UFC fights announced
--Bellator's debut looked at
--MMA TV show quietly disappeared
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 have a lot of radio interviews up on the site today. We had a great interview with Peter Birkholz talking the history of Houston wrestling
and his book "When Wrestling Was Rasslin". We also have an interview with Chael Sonnen
talking about the new season of The Ultimate Fighter, his thoughts on women's fighting, Strikeforce fighters, as well as Jon Jones. We'll also be doing a show tonight covering the news
, fallout from Raw, TNA wedding, this weekend's UFC, and how the FOX show is shaping up.
--Dana White seems to be doing well after surgery yesterday afternoon. I know he was on Twitter sending thank you messages to people who wrote him regarding his ear surgery to combat Meniere's Disease. We were in contact last night and he seemed in good spirits.
--They are taping a Bully Ray bachelor party tonight at Rick's Cabaret in New York for airing on Impact tomorrow night. 75 dancers have been employed for the taping. (thanks to Joe Puccio and many others)
today reported that Luke Rockhold said he wants to fight Costa Philippou on 4/20 in San Jose.
--ESPN was No. 1 in cable prime time last week averaging 4.56 million viewers to 2.68 million for USA. With football ending, it looks like it's a battle with USA and Disney for the top spot. FX was No. 5 at 1.95 million. Syfy was No. 18 at 1.02 million. Spike didn't crack the top 25. The three hours of Raw with The Rock's return were No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9, behind five shows associated with the BCS championship and Gold Rush on Discovery. The hour with Rock was No. 7 in 18-49.
WHO DO YOU EXPECT TO WIN THIS UFC FIGHT?
Benson Henderson 80.1%
Gilbert Melendez 19.9%
WHO WAS THE STAR OF RAW THIS WEEK?
The Rock 48.5%
C.M. Punk 16.2%
Ric Flair 10.1%
Dolph Ziggler 5.5%
Daniel Bryan 3.9%
John Cena 3.7%
Eve Torres 3.0%
Damien Sandow 3.0%
The Miz 2.3%
The Shield 1.6%
Mick Foley 1.6%
Vince McMahon 0.7%
WHO WAS THE GREATEST STAR IN HOUSTON WRESTLING HISTORY?
Lou Thesz 27.3%
Fritz Von Erich 17.6%
Wahoo McDaniel 10.7%
Buddy Rogers 9.1%
Johnny Valentine 9.1%
Mil Mascaras 7.2%
Jim Duggan 6.0%
Jose Lothario 5.3%
Wild Bull Curry 3.1%
Pepper Gomez 2.5%
Rito Romero 1.3%
Blackie Guzman 0.9%
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF RAW?
***10.9% of those responding didn't see the show
--A presale for a 3/15 WWE show in Bridgeport, CT at the Webster Bank Arena opened today and will continue through Friday night at 10 p.m. Advertised as appearing are John Cena, C.M. Punk, Paul Heyman and Ryback for a Raw show and the code is WWECENA. The 3/16 show in Providence presale has a promo code of WWEPROV.
--Mick Foley has been added to the Niagara Falls Comic Con in June.
--Chuck Taylor vs. AR Fox vs. Jon Davis in an elimination match has been added to the 1/25 Dragon Gate USA show in Santa Maria, CA. Also added is Samuray del Sol against a mystery wrestler from Dragon Gate in Japan.
--Yukon Eric, one of the great strongman types who was a big star of the 50s, committed suicide 48 years ago today at the age of 41. Also passing away today was longtime Kansas City and St. Joseph promoter Gust Karras, who was 73 when he passed away in 1976, and Katsuhisa Shibata, a New Japan wrestler and referee, the father of Katsuyori Shibata, who died three years ago today at the age of 66.
--WWE Classics on Demand update by Brian Hoops. Among the things available right now are:
Judgment Day 2000
Raw & Nitro on 8/11/97
Tuesday Night Titans on 9/27/85
The Rock: parts 3 and 4
Steve Austin vs. HHH from No Way Out in 2001
Rock & Dudleys vs. Edge & Christian & Kurt Angle from 12/11/00
HHH vs. Mankind from 8/16/99
Shane McMahon vs. Kurt Angle from the 2001 King of the Ring
Chris Jericho vs. Steve Austin for the Undisputed title from Vengeance 2001
Lita: It Feels Right DVD
Steve Austin & HHH vs. Undertaker & Kane 4/29/01 for the WWE title, tag titles and IC titles all at once
Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle 10/8/01 Raw
Steve Austin vs. Mr. Perfect 2/25/02 Raw
Steve Austin vs. William Regal 12/18/00 Raw
WCW from 6/4/88
Raw from 12/21/98
And a Before they Were Stars DVD
--TNA's German department announced today that fans can now watch new episodes of Impact
for free using a code "Germany." It's in German and available for those in Germany and Austria. (thanks to Markus Gronemann)
--Here's a video
of Former Tough Enough competitor and NXT wrestler Ivelisse Velez, now with dark hair, training for her MMA debut on 3/1 in Cicero, IL for Fight Card Entertainment.
--Randy Orton will be attending the Wizard World Convention in St. Louis on 3/22.
--Ken Anderson was on the 4th and Pain radio show
, predicting a Super Bowl win for the San Francisco 49ers. He said how in the Aces and 8s segments where they have the strippers all over him, his wife and mother both watched the show on the DVR and, well, there was hell to pay at home. He also said that the lack of long-term planning has been killing pro wrestling but the company is addressing that, doing long-term storylines and not rushing which will be beneficial to the fans.
--On this day in history with Brian Hoops and Graeme Cameron
- 50 years ago - Dory Funk Jr. beat Gene Kiniski in Amarillo to win the North American title, Al & Don Greene beat Jack Curtis Jr. & Jan Madrid to win the Southern tag team titles in Mobile
- 46 years ago - Fritz Von Erich beat Joe Blanchard to win the Texas heavyweight title in Fort Worth, The Tolos Brothers beat Don Leo Jonathan & Domenic DeNucci to win the Canadian Open tag team titles
- 45 years ago - Paul DeMarco & Lorenzo Parente beat Ronnie & Terry Garvin to win the World tag team titles in Tampa
- 43 years ago - Dominic DeNucci beats King Curtis Iaukea in Sydney, Australia to win the IWA title for the fifth time, Fred Blassie & Don Carson beat Pepe Lopez & El Medico to win the Americas tag team titles at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, while Rocky Johnson beat The Great Kojika to win the Americas heavyweight title
- 32 years ago - Steve Olosonoski beat Kevin Sullivan to win the National TV title in Atlanta, Ernie Ladd beat Jake Roberts in Shreveport to win the Louisiana State title
- 31 years ago - Jack & Jerry Brisco beat Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk in St. Petersburg to win the North American tag team titles while Ray Stevens beat Eric Embry for the Florida TV title, Matt Borne & Rip Oliver beat Rocky Johnson & King Parsons to win the Pacific Northwest tag team titles
- 30 years ago - The Grappler (one of Chael Sonnen's favorite wrestlers) and his partner Grappler II (Tony Anthony) beat Ricky Morton & Ken Lucas to win the Southwest tag team titles in San Antonio
- 28 years ago - Rick Rude beat Pez Whatley in Tampa to win the Southern title, Ted DiBiase beat Brad Armstrong in Shreveport to win the North American title
- 27 years ago: Candi Divine beat Sherri Martel in Winnipeg to win the AWA women's title
- 26 years ago: Kevin Sullivan beat Lex Luger to win the Southern title
- 21 years ago: Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton beat Dustin Rhodes & Ricky Steamboat in 2/3 falls to win the WCW world tag team titles in Jacksonville
- 18 years ago: Miss Texas (Jackie Moore) beat Sweet Georgia Brown to win the USWA women's title in Memphis
--Here's the correct link
to the TV show "Borealis" which has an MMA fight that Paul Lazenby was the stunt coordinator.
--Cox Cable is running an ad (at least in some markets) pushing their new DVR system that suggests programs based on your regular viewing habits. In it, a woman is sitting on her couch and pop-up windows show up for shows like Glee, Raising Hope, etc. and eventually WWE Raw. There is a voiceover saying, "It knows what you like....and what you don't like" Then, the women shoos the Raw logo away with her hand. (thanks to Chad Eiler)
--Former UFC fighter Jay Silva faces Leo Bercier along with an MFC middleweight tile fight with Elvis "The King" Mutapcic vs. Smilin' Sam Alvey of Bellator and TUF fame, on 2/15 in Edmonton from the Shaw Conference Center. The show airs live on AXS TV at 10 p.m.
--Rhia O'Reilly has been added to the Shimmer 53 show on 4/6 in Secaucus, NY as part of WrestleMania week. The show is headlined by a cage match with Saraya Knight vs. Cheerleader Melissa for the Shimmer title, plus Ayako Hamada vs. Athena and Amazing Kong.
--One FC: Return of the Warriors on 2/2 in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia at Stadium Putra will have an iPPV for $9.99 featuring fighters from Indonesia and Malaysia.
--CMLL results from last night in Guadalajara: Ebola & Infierno b Virgo & Divino, Herodes Jr. & Hooligan & Barbaro Cavernario b Horuz & Sensei & Halcon de Plata, Morphosis & Olimpico & Kraneo b Brazo de Plata & Stuka Jr. & Angel de Oro, Shocker & Valiente & Diamante Azul b Mr. Aguila & Psicosis & Dragon Rojo Jr. (thanks to Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims)
--The CMLL crew left earlier Tuesday for Japan for the Fantasticmania shows which starts Friday night. CMLL wrestlers will appear with Taka Michinoku, Taichi, Yujiro Takahashi, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask, Gedo, Jado, Prince Devitt, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura among others..