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.
Thursday's News Update
--The lawsuit TNA filed against WWE for tampering in relation to Ric Flair's contract was dropped a few days back. Those in WWE had pretty much felt the case was next to dead since mid-November, which was when they contacted Flair about returning. However, Flair has not signed a contract with WWE and is working only on a per-appearance basis.
--Today is the 36th anniversary of the first night Howard Finkel was the ring announcer in Madison Square Garden. That show was headlined by Bruno Sammartino vs. Ken Patera and Ivan Putski vs. Bruiser Brody.
--Luke Rockhold has issued a challenge to Costa Philippou for a UFC bout on the 4/20 San Jose show. I guess that means Rockhold is ready to start back training.
--ROH has added a 4/6 show in New York at the Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center. It's part of the new plan, as much as possible, to tape TV the day after doing PPVs as a cost saving measure. The TV taping will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, the day before WrestleMania. Tickets go on sale to Ringside Members at 6 p.m. today and to the public on Sunday at noon.
--The USO in Metropolitan Washington opened the largest USO Center in Maryland this past week. David Otunga was one of the people who appeared for the opening.
--Glory promotions announced an eight-man single elimination light heavyweight (209 pound) kickboxing tournament for 2/1 in Tulsa at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The tournament will be part of a joint MMA and kickboxing show promoted by Dale Apollo Cook. The winner gets $20,000 and a one-year contract with Glory.
--The new issue of Rolling Stone (30 Rock cast on the cover) has a feature on concussions, talking about high school football, plus there is a feature on Chris Nowinski, talking about his time in WWE and Chris Benoit. (thanks to Chad Eiler)
--On Twitter, Kevin Nash said that he is not going to Calgary as scheduled for a show tomorrow night. He said he was canceling because his wife has the flu and he has to put family first. The recently fired Trent Barreta will be replacing him. Also on Twitter, Chasyn Rance said he was not going as advertised. (thanks to Al Haft and others)
-- Speaking of Barrett, Kofi Kingston
had a brief Twitter exchange which may or may not be real. Barreta started by writing, "Now that I'm fired I can finally say it: Kofi Kingston is an asshole." Kingston replied, "I never wanted to shake hands with you." Barreta came back with, "Yeah, and we won't ever again."
--John Patton wrote to us that at least where he lived, the local FOX affiliate is listing a 90 minute time slot for The Ultimate Fighter at 11 p.m. on 1/26. We just got word that FOX has decided to replay the first episode of the show after its Saturday night newscasts nationwide at 11 p.m. the night of the live card, figuring it's a good way to keep the audience through the news and help build the new season of the show for FX.
-- Here's a funny interview
with Brooke Hogan. She, of course, claims the wedding is real and that Bully Ray is "hot," claimed she had the two best business mentors in Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan (keep in mind that except for the nostalgia run, that Vince & Hogan stopped doing business when Brooke was 5 and as far as full-time working together with Hulk as the main man, that ended when Brooke was 3) and talked about growing up watching WrestleManias with David Flair and David thought the blood was really ketchup.
--TNA is going to have fans have a poll on which previous Gut Check loser should be brought back for another shot before the judges. The poll will begin on Saturday at the Impact Wrestling.com site. It will be conducted like a tournament with the winner of the tournament getting another shot.
--CMT has renewed Redneck Island starring Steve Austin for a third season.
--The release date for the movie "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson will be August 8, 2014. The movie is listed as being filmed in "early 2013."
--Dennis Siver pulled out of the 2/16 UFC show in London due to an injury. Dustin Poirier will now face Cub Swanson in the No. 2 fight on the show underneath the Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald interim bantamweight title match.
--On this day in history (thanks to Brian Hoops and Graeme Cameron)
- 60 years ago - Alan Pinfold, the most enduring Australian wrestler ever, defeated Al Greer in Sydney to win the vacant Australian light heavyweight title. Pinfold, who is almost 90, was the person Al Costello made his pro debut against, and the person Mark Lewin had his first match on Australian TV against.
- 41 years ago - Mark Lewin beat Bulldog Bob Brown in Vancouver to win the Pacific Coast heavyweight title
- 40 years ago - Tim Woods & Big Bad John beat Bobby Shane & Chris Markoff in Miami to win the Florida tag team titles, Gentleman Ed Francis beat The Sheik in Honolulu to win the Hawaiian heavyweight title
- 39 years ago - Lord Alfred Hayes & Roger Kirby beat Mike George & Jim Brunzell to win the Central States tag team titles in Kansas City
- 38 years ago - Andre the Giant won the annual Battle Royal at the Olympic Auditorium, plus Porkchop Cash & S.D. Jones beat Buddy Roberts & Jerry Brown to win the Americas tag team titles in Los Angeles
- 37 years ago - Jesse Ventura beat Jimmy Snuka in Portland to win the Pacific Northwest heavyweight title
- 37 years ago - The Infernos beat The Interns in Caguas, Puerto Rico to win the North American tag team titles
- 36 years ago - Buddy Roberts & Jerry Brown beat Dino Bravo & Tim Woods in Greenville, SC to win the Mid Atlantic tag team titles
- 33 years ago - Tiger Jeet Singh beat Canek to win the UWA heavyweight title in Mexico City, Mike Sharpe beat Mike George in Greenville, MS to win the Mississippi State title
- 32 years ago - Jimmy Valiant beat Hector Guerrero in the tournament final in Memphis to win the Southern title, Rip Oliver & The Destroyer (Dave Sierra) beat Joe Lightfoot & Jay Youngblood to win the Northwest tag team titles
- 31 years ago - Tommy Rich beat Masked Superstar (Bill Eadie) to win the National heavyweight title in Atlanta
- 22 years ago - Big Van Vader beat Tatsumi Fujinami in Yokohama to win the IWGP title
- 21 years ago - The Mountie (Jacques Rougeau Jr.) beat Bret Hart to win the IC title in Springfield, MA
- 19 years ago - The Quebecers beat 1-2-3 Kid & Marty Jannetty in Madison Square Garden to win the WWF tag team titles
WHICH OF THESE SHOWS WILL DO THE BIGGEST IN NORTH AMERICA?
Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones 16.3%
GSP vs. Nick Diaz 8,0%
Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones 3.7%
Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg 2.2%
Royal Rumble 2.0%
Cain Velasquez vs. Alistair Overeem 0.7%
WILL ROYAL RUMBLE TOP 400,000 BUYS IN NORTH AMERICA?
WHO DO YOU EXPECT TO WIN THIS MATCH?
The Rock 66.5%
C.M. Punk 33.5%
--UFC's show The Analysts has a new episode airing tomorrow night at 10 p.m. on Fuel TV with Jay Glazer, Kenny Florian, Rashad Evans, Brian Stann and Chael Sonnen.
--All drug tests for Saturday's Strikeforce show in Oklahoma City came back clean. Only five fighters were tested, Nate Marquardt, Josh Barnett, Tarec Saffiedine, Tim Kennedy and Kurt Holobaugh.
--Tickets for UFC 158 in Montreal on 3/16 go on sale on 1/24 to Fight Club members, 1/25 to newsletter subscribers and 1/26 to the public. There will be a press conference this coming Wednesday in Montreal, which hopefully will include Nick Diaz. Tickets are $600, $350, $250, $200, $165, $115 and $85.
Matches announced so far are:
Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz for the welterweight title
Rory MacDonald vs. Carlos Condit
Johny Hendricks vs. Jake Ellenberger
Nick Ring vs. Chris Camozzi
Patrick Cote vs Bobby Voelker
Jordan Mein vs. Dan Miller
Sean Pierson vs. Rick Story
John Makdessi vs. Daron Cruickshank
Yves Jabouin vs. Johnny Eduardo
--The Extreme Rising promotion is looking at raising $16,000 to fund production
of a 13 week television series. The cost would be to purchase TV time in the Philadelphia market.
--The Sun has an interview with Magnus
. He said his goal is to get a PPV match with Kurt Angle and work with A.J. Styles, James Storm and Jeff Hardy. The article called him the UK's most high-profile wrestling star.
--A man who police believe sold fake tickets to Sunday's WWE house show
in Corpus Christi was arrested. A woman called police after purchasing tickets on Facebook from a man for the show, and found out they were fakes. She told police that the man who was to sell tickets to another person at a restaurant. Police arrived with the woman who was to be buying the tickets and when the man arrived, the police arrested him noting he had sold several copies of the same tickets to multiple people. He was arrested on charges of fraud.
--FIP on 2/1 at the Orpheum in Ybor City, FL with Uhaa Nation, The Scene, Dark City Fight Club, AR Fox, Chasyn Rance, Mister Saint Laurent and more.
--Regarding yesterday's note in the Daily Update about Impact on TNA on Demand in Germany, it is the U.S. version, not one with German commentary. The show that aired on Sky had two channels, one with the original audio and one dubbed into German. (thanks to Markus Gronemann)
--Absolute Intense Wrestling on 2/8 at Turner's Hall in Cleveland features Tim Donst vs. Eddie Kingston plus AR Fox vs. Michael Elgin Necro Butcher vs. Chris Dickson and ACH vs. Ethan Page.
--Chaotic Wrestling tomorrow night in Lowell, MA at the Polish American Veterans Club headlined by Julian Starr defending his New England title against Brian Fury.