Also in this week's issue:
--Light heavyweight champion vacates title to go after heavyweight title
--Tournament to fill the light heavyweight title
--A look at AAA's first TV taping of the year
--Notes on Dragon Gate USA iPPV shows this weekend
--Major changes in All Japan Pro Wrestling signing a number of new stars
--Notes on Kenta Kobashi's retirement match including when and where
--Lineup for NOAH's big show this week featuring a lot of New Japan stars
--New contracts signed by New Japan wrestlers
--More on contract signed by Kazuchika Okada
--New Japan owner talks plans for starting several different promotions, how he wants to emulate WWE and what is and isn't viable
--Other New Japan changes talked about for this year
--Announcement of the next Tokyo Dome show
--A look at New Japan's Fantasticmania shows including a world light heavyweight title change
--Potential Hall of Famer returns after neck surgery in a few weeks, first match back announced
--Wrestler out of action for 19 months due to vicious assault is about to return
--Return of the Voodoo Murderers heel group
--Grandson of one of Japan's most famous athletes of the last 60 years is looking to get into pro wrestling
--Notes on the Hart Legacy Wrestling show in Calgary featuring stars from the 80s to the top indie guys around today
--Super Bowl coach John Harbaugh talks Brian Pillman
--Another attempt to revive one of the regional promotions of the past starts this summer and top name coming in
--Stan Musial pro wrestling anecdote
--Extreme Rising tries to take next step with TV
--National Pro Wrestling Day update
--Houston tape collection
--Update on Superstar Billy Graham
--Waterloo Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame 2013 induction notes including Ric Flair and Edge
--Yet another WrestleMania weekend show added
--A look at ROH's weekend house shows
--Interesting notes on TNA going forward
--TNA false advertising of Jeff Hardy looked at
--TNA Genesis notes
--Brooke Hogan channels Hulk Hogan
--Lots of indie names in TNA's Gut Check challenge
--Notes on TNA British Boot camp TV show and Spud winning
--Early notes on Lockdown
--TNA angle shot on King Mo TV special
--Daniel Cormier and pro wrestling
--Notes on TNA's first date in Europe
--Update on the Eddie Alvarez case
--Notes on how FX and the FOX networks are changing with the creation of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, and how that affects UFC
--The pluses and minuses of the shift short-term and long
--Notes on this week's UFC show
--Ultimate Fighter on FOX
--First notes on the return of UFC to Stockholm and main event
--UFC 155 on PPV update
--HBO doing a feature on a UFC star
--Rashad Evans talks move to middleweight
--What UFC fighters most consistently have the most exciting fights
--UFC cuts several fighters
--Lots of new UFC matches
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 with Wrestling Observer radio talking Royal Rumble, Raw for tomorrow and taking e-mail questions at
--Sin Cara was in the building as of this morning but the person who let us know said he had not seen Rey Mysterio.
--There are some returns scheduled over the next two nights and the feeling is this will be a very newsworthy two days. They expect a lot of people to be talking about WWE over the next 48 hours with some of the plans.
--KENTA beat Takeshi Morishima earlier today in Osaka to win the GHC title.
--We don't have details but sorry to hear of the death of Don Arnold, who wrestled as Dr. Death in California.
--There is more talk about Chris Jericho returning to WWE than in a while. There have been talks on-and-off regarding his returing since he left, with the holdup usually coming down to control over outside activities. We have not been told a deal has been reached, and wouldn't be, since he's very much into his returns being a surprise. But the word is that talks have been serious about his returning of late.
--It was 20 years ago, in 1993, when Andre the Giant, one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling, passed away days after his father's funeral of a heart attack at the age of 46.
--Herb Calvert, a big guy who was a college wrestling star (physically similar in size and physique to Bill Eadie in his Masked Superstar days) was 45 when he passed away 11 years ago. Old-time Carolinas prelim wrestler Johnny Heidman was 90 when he passed away two years ago today.
--Time Warner Cable has been running Royal Rumble ads in Buffalo with the tag line "It's a foregone concussion." I'm not sure WWE would like those ads given all the bad press about concussions in sports (thanks to Rich Fokkens)
--In today's Parade Magazine, Walter Scott talked about Bruno Mars, who was named after Bruno Sammartino for real. When Scott asked him about his name, he again said that, but described Sammartino as "this big, fat wrestler." Fat? (thanks to Neal Hager)
--Friday's John Morrison vs. Akira Tozawa match is at WWNlive.com on Demand. The show didn't air live due to a PPV connection issue but heard it was a really good match.
DID THE JUDGE RULE CORRECTLY IN THE EDDIE ALVAREZ CASE?
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON MMA MOST VALUABLE?
Anderson Silva 45.2%
Ronda Rousey 17.2%
Chael Sonnen 12.2%
Jon Jones 8.6%
Benson Henderson 3.6%
Junior Dos Santos 0.5%
WHAT DO YOU THINK HAPPENED TO THE RATINGS IN THE DODSON VS. JOHNSON FIGHT?
Increased like every main event does 17.7%
Stayed the same, no increase 22.3%
Decreased after the Rampage Jackson fight ended 60.0%
POLL ON SMACKDOWN
29.7% of those responding didn't see the show
--In picks last night, Josh Nason, Todd Martin and Mike Sempervive tied to win the night all at 3-1. Nason and Martin both picked Ricardo Lamas to beat Erik Koch, but missed on Cowboy Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis. Sempervive missed on Lamas vs. Koch. Me, Mike Sawyer and Bryan Alvarez went 2-2 and Oliver Copp went 1-3.
TODAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY
109 years ago - Frank Gotch beat Tom Jenkins in Bellingham, WA to win the American heavyweight title
97 years ago: Joe Stecher beat the original Masked Marvel (Mort Henderson) who retain the world title in Madison Square Garden.
53 years ago: Hard Boiled Haggerty & Wild Bill Savage beat Lord James Blears & Jerry Gordet to win the Hawaiian tag team titles in Honolulu
48 years ago: Fred Blassie & Tarzan Tyler beat Eddie Graham & Sammy Steamboat in Jacksonville to win the world tag team titles
46 years ago: Paul Jones & Pepper Martin beat Tony Borne & Lonnie Mayne to win the Pacific Northwest tag team titles
41 years ago: Omar Atlas & Danny Little Bear beat Yasu Fuji & Chat Yokouchi in Kansas City to win the North American tag team titles
40 years ago: The Sheik beat Bobo Brazil at Cobo Arena in Detroit to win the U.S. title
37 years ago: Wahoo McDaniel & Rufus Jones beat Gene & Ole Anderson in Columbia, SC to win the NWA tag team titles
37 years ago: Bob Orton Jr. & Bob Roop beat Eddie & Mike Graham to win the Florida tag team titles i Tampa
33 years ago: Bobby Eaton & Gorge Gulas beat Larry Latham (Moondog Spot) & Wayne Ferris (Honky Tonk Man) to win the Mid American tag team titles in Chattanooga
32 years ago: Roddy Piper beat Ric Flair in Raleigh to win the U.S. title
28 years ago: Eddie Gilbert beat Jerry Lawler in Memphis to win the Southern title
27 years ago: Al Madril & Magnificent Zulu (Ron Pope) beat Paul Diamond & Shawn Michaels to win the Texas All-Star Wrestling tag team title in San Antonio
26 years ago: Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty beat Buddy Rose & Doug Somers in St. Paul to win the AWA world tag team titles
23 years ago: Rex King & Steve Doll beat Brian Adams & The Grappler to win the Pacific Northwest tag team titles
17 years ago: Raven beat Sandman to win the ECW title
--What is the story with so many wrestlers from the WWC winding up living in Chicago?
--Metro East Championship Wrestling from last night in Wood River, IL: Billy McNeil b Matt King, Tony Kozina b Chase King-DQ, King Fale (New Japan) b Chris Logan, Evan Money b Mauler McDarby, Kyle O'Reilly b Darren Dean, Mike Anthony b Big Texan, Eric Allen NC Davey Richards, Eric Allen & Davey Richards & Aaron Solo b Tony Kozina & Shane Fury & Marcello Spade (thanks to Patrick Brandmeyer)
--Lucha Libre Xtreme from last night on Fresno TV: Mike Rayne b Elemento, Mustafa Saed & Mike Rayne b Death & Destruction (a taped match from the Fresno fair, top rope broke, match was funny to watch), A.J. Kirsch b Al Azar (thanks to Jon Southerland)
--Former TNA wrestler Rosita will be at the Memories, Moments and Mayhem Convention on 3/16 along with Al Snow, Tommy Dreamer and The Boogeyman, as well as Tammy Sytch and Damien Darling. For more info go to www.iyfwrestling.com
--Speaking of which, WWE really should sign Rosita for developmental. She's young, works hard, has a good back story and has a great look.
--Scott Staples is selling his ROH DVD collection on eBay at SSTaples24.
--USWA from last night in Jacksonville: Mikey b Johnny Carino, Tim Zbyszko & Rocky Santiago b Ian Shire & Aaron Epic, Santana Garrett b Mercedes Justine, Hayden Price won WrestleBowl, Blain Rage b Dagon of the Dead, Chasyn Rance b Mike Cruz to keep the jr. title, COD b Dos Ben Dejos to retain the tag titles, Jesse Neal b Vordell Walker, Sam Shaw (TNA) won four-way over Johnny Armani, Kory Chavis and Kyle Blizzard (thanks to Al Haft)
--Knokx Pro Wrestling from yesterday in Sun Valley, CA: Syko Stu b Ricky the Activist, Logan NC Hillbilly Hero, Jacob Fatu & EyeZ in Disguise & Parker Greaves b Black Pearl & TMD & Loco, Maverick b Greyson, Gabriela Cruz b Kiara, Jezette b Pedro. Next show is 2/16 with Rikishi, Gangrel and Black Pearl.