MON. UPDATE: More on Sammartino, NBC Sports signs new promotion to 3 year contract, Hart Legacy fiasco,Raw tonight, Good night for The Rock, ECW documentary, Solid Gold tournament, Terry Funk, Best TV show

By Dave Meltzer
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        We're looking for your thoughts on Saturday night's UFC 156 so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
        We're looking for reports from Raw in Atlanta tonight with Superstars matches, dark matches and anything else not evident from watching the live show.  The Rock is not on tonight's show, and C.M. Punk is going to cut a promo about that.  The Miz will be interviewing Paul Heyman.  Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho are both booked on the show.
        We're also looking for reports on these events:
*WWE Smackdown house show yesterday from Augusta, GA
*WWE house shows from Saturday in Montgomery, AL and Greenville, NC
*TNA house show from Saturday night in Fayetteville
*TNA house show from Friday night in Florence, SC
        Smackdown, Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam will be taped on Tuesday in Jacksonville.
        On Fuel tonight, Best of Pride is at 7:30 p.m., the FOX show with Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson is at 8:30 p.m. and 2012 year in review is at 10:30 p.m.
        The annual Royal Rumble issue of the Observer is up on the site today.  We also have a new back issue up from 1995 which talks about the history of Smoky Mountain Wrestling, the night Hulk Hogan lost it on a live PPV, and the beginning of what ended up being the story that led to MMA being banned in New York, a ban that, strangely enough, still exists today.
        Our lead story is coverage of the Royal Rumble, why Rock won, why Cena won, the Rumble scorecard of every entrance, elimination, who got eliminated as well as the all-time record for most time in the rumble over the course of a career, Most eliminations over the course of a career and other Rumble trivia.
        We've got an update on the Elimination Chamber PPV and more on WrestleMania, including an update on Chris Jericho and his long-term schedule, match-by-match coverage with star ratings as well as poll results on the show.
        We've also got full coverage of the UFC on FOX show, including what the show has established, lots of business notes on the show including major news regarding the advertising on the show and how important the December show was.  We look at the main event, how Anthony Pettis ended up as the star of the show, as well as match-by-match coverage and poll results.
        We also look at Ric Flair's aborted return as a wrestler and why it didn't happen in running down the All Japan show this past weekend in Tokyo.  We look at what happened with Flair, as well as the Invasion of the Burning group into All Japan and the direction of the next few big shows.
        We also have an update on Brock Lesnar in WWE, including his schedule thus far, what is going on regarding his contract, notes on his next contract, and different matches that can be booked with him going forward.  We also look at a worked injury that is a cover for real surgery, an Undertaker update when it comes to his career, notes on next year's WrestleMania and history of wrestling in that building.  We also look at the major players when it comes to running the WWE, who they are, what they earn, including exactly to the dollar what HHH was making in his last year as a regular active wrestler. 
        We also look at a potential major business move the company is embarking on, the business notes for the past month in several major categories, plans going forward for WWE big shows, changes in how the house shows are done, plus an update on the WWE video game license and video game going forward.  We also look at viewership for WWE secondary programming, executives the company is looking for, and Alberto Del Rio talks about WWE in Mexico.
        We've also got lots more on the judges decision regarding the Eddie Alvarez contract dispute.  We look at the arguments on both sides and comparisons made.  We also have lots of comments from Dana White regarding Alvarez and the arguments put forth.
        We also have more on Randy Couture signing with Spike TV, details on it and a look back at Couture's relationship with UFC.
        We've also got a feature looking back at the career of Trish Stratus as she's inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year.
        We've also got coverage of the last UFC on FX, the middleweight division, the Vitor Belfort questions, and match-by-match coverage.
        We also have notes on the PPV numbers for the TLC show in December and what wrestler who should benefit the most from it.
        The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
        The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world.  The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe.  Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively.  They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world.  Everywhere from Wall Street to the major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.
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        We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows as well as details of how every segment on Raw and Impact did and what gained and lost viewers.

        We also have results from all the major league arena events over the past week as well as a look at all the major television shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--Coverage of Pro Wrestling NOAH's first big show of the year with KENTA vs. Takeshi Morishima
--What major star looks like they are starting with NOAH
--The return of the famous Von Erich iron claw to Japan
--Update on the entire Tammy Sytch situation
--ROH vs. New Japan match
--Kurt Angle talks the future of his career
--Angle talks about whether you can do pro wrestling and MMA at the same time
--Update on Hulk Hogan's health and legal battles
--The Brooke Hogan/Bully Ray storyline
--Why Taz was put in the position he's in
--Update on TNA's Lockdown show
--Full coverage of TNA's European tour
--Details of TNA television between now and the end of February as far as matches, directions and angles
--Details on Quinton Jackson, money, future, how much he earned, how much he was earning for PPV shows and more
--Details on all the new matches made this past week in UFC
--A look at this week's UFC show
--What in MMA is about to get really nasty
--Dana White talks about the proposed Fedor vs. Lesnar fight that fell through
--What nobody is talking about regarding those negotiations
--Notes on UFC fighters who have been released of late
--Jon Jones talks moving to heavyweight
--What pressure hit UFC just before the FOX show last week
--Nick Diaz change of face
--A look at UFC's FOX ratings as compared to other major sports events of 2012
--A look at what advertisers have paid to sponsor UFC events
        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.
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*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)
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*February 8, 1993 (the life and times of Andre the Giant)
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*January 27, 2003 (part one of the two-part series covering the career and life of The Sheik)
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*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)
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*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)
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*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)
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*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)
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*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)
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*August 15, 2007 (The legend of the God of Japanese wrestling and his influence on MMA, Karl Gotch)
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*March 17, 2008 (Life and times of Johnny Weaver)
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*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.
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        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 with Wrestling Observer radio covering Raw, more on Bruno Sammartino, the probable UFC suspension, New Japan's next big show plus you can send questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
--We have a breaking news update on the site regarding the Sammartino deal and are expected to do a radio show with him later this week.  Sammartino will be doing a couple of TV interviews on the news in Pittsburgh tonight.  As we've talked about for the last few months that this has been in play, Paul Levesque (HHH) was the guy behind the deal and worked hard to make it happen.  The deal was officially signed on Friday and it is for more than just the Hall of Fame.  Sammartino will be featured in history pieces, do commentary for DVDs, be interviewed for historical DVDs and do some television in some form as well.
--NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) has signed a multi-year deal with the Las Vegas-based World Series of Fighting promotion.  It's a three-year deal for six shows per year, starting with a 3/23 show in Atlantic City at the Revel Resorts & Casino.  The shows will air on Saturday night's at 10 p.m..  Andrei Arlovski vs. Anthony Rumble Johnson (yes, Johnson is now a heavyweight, which means he's not missing weight) will be the main event of the next show.  Marloes Moraes vs. Tyson Nam is also on the show.
--Vince McMahon is backstage at Raw on crutches.  He had legit hip surgery on Friday.  It had nothing to do with the angle or landing wrong, as the date had been scheduled for some time.  Actually the scheduling of the angle had everything to do with his planned surgery date.

--A story on the fiasco that was the Hart Legacy Wrestling show is at  A lot of guys didn't get paid that night although many did get paid later.  Not sure if everyone got paid as there were rumors some still didn't.  It appears the promotion is done as the February shows were canceled.
--On the metered markets, the Super Bowl did a 48.2 rating.  Now, to get at this rating, they didn't include the power outage period.  The show did a 59.6 rating in Baltimore, a 57.1 in New Orleans, a 56.9 in Washington, DC and a 55.8 in Norfolk among others.  Total viewership of 108.4 million was behind the last two years but still the third most-watched TV show in U.S. television history.    
--It was a good day for Dwayne Johnson at the Super Bowl.  Zimmerman Advertising surveyed people before and after the game about what they were going to buy based on the ads.  Lone Ranger, the movie that Johnson isn't in, was No. 1.  Fast and Furious 6, which Johnson and Gina Carano are in, was No. 2.  No. 5 most effective commercial was the milk commercial Johnson starred in.
--Larry Goodman on the financial mess that is Crossfire Wrestling at  Short version is the promoter borrowed a lot of money to finance the shows, and hasn't paid it back and one of the lenders is taking legal action.
--The ECW documentary that has been in the works for about a decade, put together by John Philipavage and Kevin Kiernan (I was interviewed for the project last year for this) that was finished due to backers on will premiere on 4/20.  The location for the premiere will be in Philadelphia but the venue is not yet announced.  The documentary will be called "Barbed Wire City," and features tons of interviews with people formerly with the promotion.  For more information you can go to the web site
--There was a strong tease that the old ECW Arena will be back open for wrestling later this year.  At the Pro Wrestling Day events in Philadelphia, Roger Artigiani, who managed the Arena, talked about how a banner for 2 Cold Scorpio would be put up in the arena as part of the Hardcore Hall of Fame when the Bingo Hall reopens.  There are still a number of steps that have to happen, most notably removing the current lease holder and fixing up the building, but it is expected those steps will be taken place. 
--Eric Young was shown on the Puppy Bowl yesterday with a crazy beard.  That's from his exposure on Animal Planet.  Not the beard, but getting the appearances throughout the show (thanks to Cyrus Yamat and Mike Lano)
--Ronda Rousey will be doing a Los Angeles Times chat tomorrow at 2 p.m. Eastern time at:,0,6270589.story

--All 16 wrestlers in the wXw 16 Carat Gold tournament, which takes place on 3/1 to 3/3 in Oberhausen, Germany were announced as  Masada (CZW), Jonathan Gresham (CZW, CHIKARA, wXw), Robert Dreissker (wXw), Bad Bones (wXw), Karsten Beck (wXw), Super Crazy (Pro Wrestling NOAH), Tommy End (wXw), Yuji Okabayashi (Big Japan), Zack Sabre Jr. (wXw), Chuck Taylor (Dragon Gate USA), Shinobu (Big Japan), Ricky Marvin (Pro Wrestling NOAH), Johnny Moss (wXw), Eddie Kingston (CHIKARA Pro), Paul Tracey (wXw) and Ricochet (Dragon Gate USA).  First round matches on 3/1 are Crazy vs. Masada, Tracey vs. Beck, Bad Bones vs. Shinobu and end vs. Ricochet.  There will also be a Wrestlers vs. Fans soccer game and a Q&A session with the wrestlers that weekend. (thanks to Patrick Gronemann)
52 years ago:  Dr. X (Big Bill Miller) beat Don Leo Jonathan to win the world title based in Omaha.  Dr. X was a huge draw as a masked world champion during that run.
48 years ago:  Dr. Bill Miller & brother Dan Miller beat Gorilla Monsoon & Cowboy Bill Watts in Washington, DC to win the WWWF U.S. tag team titles
44 years ago:  Giant Baba & Antonio Inoki beat Wilbur Snyder & Danny Hodge in Sapporo to win the International tag team titles
44 years ago:  Hans Mortier beat The Gladiator (Ricky Hunter) to win the Florida title in Tampa
43 years ago:  Ripper Collins beat The Missing Link (Pampero Firpo) to win the Hawaiian title in Honolulu
38 years ago:  Ron Garvin & Roger Kirby beat Robert Fuller & Jimmy Golden to win the Macon tag team titles in Macon
37 years ago:  Thunderbolt Patterson beat Frank "The Hammer" Goodish to win the Florida title in Miami.  This was the last territory Frank Goodish worked before going to WWWF as Bruiser Frank Brody.
36 years ago:  Chavo Guerrero beat Dory Funk Jr. at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles to win the Americas title
36 years ago:  Ted Oates beat Big Bob Slaughter (Sgt. Slaughter) to win the Central States title in St. Joseph, MO
34 years ago:  Bob Armstrong & Ken Lucas beat Crusher Jerry Blackwell & The Invader (Bob Orton Jr.) to win the Southeastern tag titles in Knoxville
28 years ago:  Rip Oliver beat Buck Zumhofe in Fort Worth to win the Texas TV title
22 years ago:  Jeff Jarrett & Jerry Lawler beat The Fabulous Ones in Memphis to win the USWA tag titles
18 years ago:  Sabu & Taz beat Public Enemy in a double tables match to win the ECW tag team titles in Philadelphia
--Terry Funk pulled out of the Pro Wrestling Syndicate iPPV show over WrestleMania week.  He will be working that weekend for WWE.
Excellent 27.0%
Good 45.9%
Average 13.5%
Fair 0.0%
Poor 13.5%
        59.3% of those responding didn't see the show
Raw 32.3%
Impact 28.0%
UFC prelims on FX 17.1%
ROH 7.9%
Smackdown 6.1%
Saturday Morning Slam 4.3%
Bellator 2.4%
Inside MMA 1.2%
Main Event 0.6%
--Zack Ryder and other WWE guys on twitter are pushing Ryder's song "Hoeski" to try and have it break into the top 100 downloaded songs on iTunes.  
--Good news and bad news.  UFC was discussed for about 20 minutes today on Calgary's leading sports station.  The bad news is half the segment was spent burying the UFC and Dana White, claiming they were swindlers and thieves regarding UFC 149.  When it was brought up that White had talked about possibly putting an Anderson Silva fight in Calgary because he owes the market because of the bad show, one of the guys ripping UFC had no idea who Anderson Silva was and later admitted knowing nothing about MMA at all. (thanks to Ryan Pike)
--We'll have more, but there is a front page story in today's Wall Street Journal about Roller Derby in Madrid, Spain and how popular it has become worldwide.  Yes, there is a team called the Murcia City Bombers.  The story said there are now 1,250 leagues including in places like Belem, Brazil and there is a Japanese team called the Yokosuka Sushi Rollers and the Cairo Rollers in Egypt.
--ROH announced a 4/27 show in Richmond, VA at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and 5/11 outside Pittsburgh at the Rostraver Ice Garden.  Tickets go on sale to Ringside members on Wednesday at 10 a.m. and to the public on Friday at 10 a.m.
--R-Truth is headed to Qatar for a promotional tour.  He's still out of action after a gash on his leg from the TLC PPV show.
--HBO has started to promote the Ronda Rousey Real Sports segment for 2/19.  More at (thanks to Jason Milloff)
--Dustin Runnels as Goldust in a music video for a song off the Black North Super Rainbow's new album at
--TNA tickets for the 3/14 TV taping in Hoffman Estates, IL at the Sears Center go on sale at Ticketmaster on Friday. 
--New Era Wrestling on 2/16 in Shelbyville, IN at the Boys & Girls Club
--New England Championship Wrestling from Friday night in Randolph, MA:  They announced Da House Party had given up their tag titles since they are on an extended tour with Zero-One in Japan.  Elia Markropolous (who did TNA Gut Check) b Jason Rumble, Alexxis Neveah b Nikki Valentine, Slyck Wagner Brown d Jeremy Prophet 15:00, Scotty Slade & Mark Shurman b Mike Webb & Nick Farenheight to win the vacant tag titles, Antonio Thomas b Johnny Thunder to keep the NECW title.
--Platinum Championship Wrestling from Saturday night in Porterdale, GA:  Fred Yehi b Corey Hollis, Jagged Edge b Mat Von Reaper, Fred Avery b Kody Jack, Supernatural & Johnny Danger & De La Vega NC Marko Polo & Matt Sells & Steve Goins, Jon & Trey Williams b Geter & Brian Blaze and Chip Day & Sylar Cross and Najasism & Eric Walker, Steve Lawler & Terry Lawler b Ethan Cage & Eli Evans, Mason & Stephen Platinum b Shane Marx & Miss Rachel. (thanks to Larry Goodman)

--Extreme Rising has these shows over WrestleMania weekend.  4/4 in Philadelphia (Super Crazy & Pesadilla vs. Damien 666 & Bestia 666) plus Stevie Richards, Sabu, Matt Hardy, Reby Sky, Rhino, Devon Storm, Luke Hawx, Homicide, Balls Mahoney, Papadon, Facade and Matt Tremont); They also have shows on 4/5 and 4/6 at Warriors of Wrestling in Staten Island, with the same crew (minus Matt Hardy).  They teased the idea of Bestia 666 defending his WWO championship against El Hijo de Rey Misterio over the weekend.
--Cung Le will be doing a seminar and autograph signing at Butch Hiles BJJ in West Virginia on 2/23.  Cost if $65 in advance or $75 at the door.  Autographs and photos are only available to those who attend the seminar.
--Sean Waltman will headline a 2/9 show in Keyport, NJ at the St. Joseph's Church Gym for the FWF.  Balls Mahoney will also be on the show.
--A TV oldies channel had an episode of Burke's Law where Don Rickles appeared as a pro wresting trainer.  He was yelling at a wrestler doing a Native American gimmick and another one.  Gene LeBell and The Great John L were the wrestlers, so it was likely from the early 60s.  
--FWE is doing an iPPV on 2/16 in Brooklyn at St. Patrick's Gym with Carlito vs. Matt Hardy vs. Tommy Dreamer plus Maria Kanellis vs. Angel Williams (formerly Angelina Love) plus Ivelisse Velez, Matt Taven, Chris Mordetzky (Chris Masters), Mike Bennett, James Yun (formerly Jimmy Yang) vs. Sonjay Dutt, Petey Williiams, Jigsaw, Tony Nese and more.  This is the group that Michael Schiavello does the announcing for.

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?