Also in this week's issue:
--Notes on crowning the new CMLL light heavyweight champion
--Serious injury from a botched move
--King of Flyers three-week tournament in Mexico
--International group making plans for U.S. expansion
--A look at the weekend AAA TV tapings
--Gape Sapolsky talks working with John Morrison
--A look at the last Dragon Gate USA weekend
--Notes on Reed Flair in Japan
--All Japan rookies
--New Japan attempts international expansion and details
--A look at New Japan's biggest show of the year
--New title contender created and probable New Japan anniversary show main event
--Upcoming iPPV notes
--90s star retirement show attracts 90s shooters
--A look at the next strange Inoki Genome Federation lineup
--Legends gathering at Japanese show
--Grandson of Rikidozan training for pro wrestling
--Notes of the debacle that was the Hart Legacy promotion show
--Notes on people who hadn't been paid
--Who in the Hart family was involved and who stayed clear of it
--What international group was hoping to work with them to bring back the old days
--Pro wrestling legend just inducted into Sports Hall of Fame
--Notes on National Pro Wrestling Day
--Who were the standout performers
--Strange backstage goings on
--A look at the life of Tito Montez
--New promotion starting next month using old WWE and TNA stars
--Notes on Crossfire Wrestling and legal issues with promoter
--Possible biggest indie show of 2013 and politics behind the show
--A territory's all-time wrestling legend who retired years ago, now making a comeback
--Former pro wrestler and two twin sons of a former pro wrestler working together to market Vodka
--Notes on the next ROH iPPV show
--A look at the ROH TV tapings and angles shot
--Who wasn't at the tapings and why
--Build for the next iPPV show
--Jeff Hardy talks TNA vs. WWE
--Notes on weekend TNA show
--Update on Dana White post surgery
--Thoughts on UFC rankings and the first official list
--Why they are being done and why it makes no sense to do them
--Advances for all the upcoming UFC shows
--Future of fighters on this season's Ultimate Fighter
--Issues of current UFC booking
--What happened with Dana White and Randy Couture and how Ryan Couture fits in
--New UFC matches
--More on the Bellator reality show
--Talk about format and coaches and what the winner gets
--Unique method of booking fights for the season
--Notes on Couture deal
--Bellator champion signs with different promotion
--Business notes on the first Bellator show on Spike
--Return of King Mo
--Women's boxing champ signs with Bellator
--Former WWE top level exec becomes CEO of new promotion
--Olympic gold medalist set to debut in MMA in a few weeks
--Another promotion folds
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
--A few notes. We've got a Bruno Sammartino interview talking about his decision to go into the WWE Hall of Fame up on the site along with the new Observer talking about it as well and Bryan and I did another show on the latest news. Somebody tell him he's not supposed to be working this hard on his honeymoon. Well, at least this hard on wrestling and MMA.
--Noted earlier, but go out of your way to see the Rousey vs. Carmouche prime time tonight. It airs on Fox Sports Net, check time in your local market, and on Fuel at midnight Eastern and 9 p.m. Pacific. Saw it earlier today. This is the first of a three-part series building the fight. The show also airs tomorrow at 11 p.m. on The Speed Channel on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. on FX.
--Dixie Carter will appear on Bellator tonight. She's going to talk about King Mo. Her appearance is likely to mention a location for upcoming TV tapings as well. She couldn't do this on Impact because Impact was taped and all the production for the show was done earlier this week. Whatever she is talking about wasn't finalized until after all production on tonight's Impact show was completed.
--Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus for the Bellator lightweight title was announced for 4/4 in Atlantic City at Ovation Hall at the Revel Hotel and Casino. The show also features Lyman Good vs Dante Rivera and Jessica Evil Eye vs. Munah Holland. So for those of you in New Jersey for Mania week, there's another live event, Presale is today until midnight Eastern using the code word FIGHT3R
--New fights announced for 4/20 in San Jose, which will be airing on FX before the main card on FOX:
Clifford Starkes vs. Yoel Romero (former Olympic silver medalist in wrestling)
Roger Bowling vs. Anthony Njokuani
Norman Parke vs. Jon Tuck
Jorge Masvidal vs. Tim Means
Myles Jury vs. Ramsey Nijem
--The Hart Legacy Wrestling promotion in Calgary with all the issues regarding payment to wrestlers has shut down, but essentially the same group, without John Oniston, is running a new promotion called AAA Canada Next Generation Wrestling on 2/22 at the Victoria Pavilion in Calgary with John Morrison, Kevin Nash, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Konnan, Teddy Hart, Jack Evans and Necro Butcher. A press conference was scheduled for Calgary today and they claim that all talent has already been paid in advance. They plan to run an iPPV that will be taped for the next day. B.J. Annis (the father of Teddy Hart) is behind the new company and Spencer Tapley is the front person for talent and media. Tapley wrote a letter to talent, blaming Oniston for being deceitful and said the only reason they were over budget is because others in charge bought airline tickets at the last minute.
--We'll have more on this later in the week, but New Japan's iPPV which airs late Saturday night (Sunday in Japan) at 1 a.m. Eastern and 10 p.m. Pacific from Hiroshima is at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/njpw1972
with a $25 cost. The show is available after it's over on video on demand for another week.
ON THIS DAY IN WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Brian Hoops and Graeme Cameron)
63 years ago - Leroy McGuirk was involved in an auto accident in Little Rock that caused him to go blind and ended his career after a long run as world junior heavyweight champion. McGuirk ended up as the promoter in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and other cities until a split with his eventual biggest star, Bill Watts.
57 years ago: Pepper Gomez & Luigi Macera beat Duke Keomuka & Tiny Mills in Dallas to win the Texas tag team title
56 years ago: The Great Bolo (Al Lovelack) beat Dory Funk Sr in Amarillo to win the North American title
50 years ago: Lou Thesz beat Buddy Rogers in a 2/3 fall rematch in Toronto to retain the NWA title. This match was significant because Vince McMahon Sr. tried to claim two weeks earlier when Thesz won the title that it was a one fall match and not 2/3 falls, so the powers that be on the NWA side got this match put together.
44 years ago: Pepper Gomez & Black Gordman beat Paul Jones & Nelson Royal to win the Americas tag team title at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles
44 years ago: Cowboy Bob Ellis beat Killer Karl Kox to win the IWA heavyweight title in Sydney
43 years ago: Johnny Barend beat Pedro Morales to win the North American title in Honolulu
41 years ago: Bulldog Bob Brown beat Mark Lewin to win the Pacific Coast title in Vancouver
39 years ago: The Valiant Brothers beat Bruno Sammartino & Dick the Bruiser in Indianapolis to win the WWA tag team title
37 years ago: Mr. Fuji beat Pat Patterson at the Cow Palace in San Francisco to win the U.S. title
36 years ago: Porkchop Cash & Gorgeous George Jr. beat Bill Dundee & Ricky Gibson to win the Southern tag team titles in Memphis
32 years ago: Mr. Fiji & Genichiro Tenryu beat Dewey Robertson (later Missing Link) & George Welles to win the Mid Atlantic tag team titles in Greensboro
31 years ago: Dutch Mantel beat Jerry Lawler in Memphis to win the Southern title
30 years ago: The Sheepherders, Jonathan Boyd & Luke Williams, beat The Fabulous Ones, Stan Lane & Steve Keirn, in Memphis, to win the Southern tag team titles
29 years ago: Dynamite Kid beat The Cobra (George Takano) in the finals of the tournament to become the new WWF jr. heavyweight champion
26 years ago: Chris Adams & Terry Taylor beat Rick Steiner & Sting to win the vacant UWF tag titles in the tournament final in Fort Worth
24 years ago: Larry Zbyszko threw out Tom Zenk to win the vacant AWA title in a Battle Royal
21 years ago: Steve Doll beat Ron Harris to win the Northwest title in Eugene
21 years ago: Ted DiBiase & IRS (Mike Rotunda) beat the Legion of Doom, the Road Warriors, for the WWF tag titles in Denver
19 years ago: Doug Gilbert beat Brian Christopher in a hair vs. title match t win the USWA title while Jerry Lawler beat Eddie Gilbert to win the unified world title on the same show in Memphis.
BEST OF THESE UFC FIGHTS
Aldo vs. Edgar 66.0%
Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson 25.9%
Rampage Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira 8.2%
BEST OF THESE PRO WRESTLING MATCHES IN JANUARY
Tanahashi vs. Okada 26.4%
Nakamura vs. Sakuraba 24.5%
Rock vs. Punk 22.6%
Devitt vs. Low Ki vs. Ibushi 7.9%
Royal Rumble 7.5%
Hardy vs. Roode vs. Aries 6.0%
Nagata vs. Suzuki 4.9%
POLL ON TUESDAY'S ULTIMATE FIGHTER TV SHOW
38.3% of those responding didn't see the show. Best response for any TV show in a long time.
--The new issue of ESPN Magazine has a one page story on Ronda Rousey (thanks to Mark Coale)
--TNA has discontinued the on-line voting for Gutcheck.
--Big Van Vader replaces Terry Funk as guest commissioner on the WrestleMania weekend Pro Wrestling Syndicate shows in Metuchen, NJ. Funk will be doing something for WWE that weekend.
--TMZ covered C.M. Punk offering Thomas Dotterer, the liquor store owner who was shot but said the worst thing about his week was Punk losing the title, backstage passes when they come to Syracuse next.
--Family Wrestling Entertainment on 2/16 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY at St. Patrick's Gym will be an iPPV show on WWNLive.com with Carlito vs. Tommy Dreamer vs. Matt Hardy in a TLC match, Damien Darling vs. ?, Maria Kanellis vs. Angel Williams (formerly Angelina Love), Reby Sky vs. Ivelisse Velez, plus Matt Taven, Chris Mordetzky (Masters), Mike Bennett, James Yun (Jimmy Yang), Sonjay Dutt and more.
--Border City Wrestling on 2/8 in Windsor, ONT at the Caboto Club has Jerry Lynn's final match in Canada plus Shawn Spears, Jaime D, Phil Atlas and more.
--Monday night in Puebla for CMLL: Espiritu Maligno & Fuerza Chicana b Asturiano & Black Tiger, Mercurio & Pequeno Olimpico & Pequeno Warrior b Astral & Shockercito & Ultimo Dragoncito, Magnus & Starman & Stigma b Apocalipsis & Nitro & Taurus, Brazo de Plata & Diamante Azul & Titan b Dragon Rojo & Polvora & Rey Escorpion, Marco Corleone & Rush & Thunder b Euforia & Niebla Roja & Ultimo Guerrero-DQ, Negro Casas b Valiente to retain the NWA Historic welterweight title (thanks to Kris Zellner)
--Chaotic Wrestling announced they are canceling their weekend shows on 2/8 in Woburn, MA and 2/9 in Littleton, NH due to bad winter storms. Fans with tickets can use them for future shows, or get a refund at the place of purchase. Any questions about refunds or exchanges can be sent to
Exchanges can be good for the 3/15 date in Woburn and the 5/4 date in Littleton, but not the 3/1 Cold Fury show in Lowell.
--It's been noted the death of Reg Presley at 71, the lead singer of The Troggs, the 60s band best known for the song "Wild Thing." This does have a major pro wrestling connection since that was the song played all over the heyday of FMW shows, as the entrance music for Atsushi Onita in the 90s. (thanks to James Stanios)
--Absolute Intense Wrestling on 2/8 in Cleveland at Turners Hall as AR Fox vs. Michael Elgin, Eddie Kingston vs. Tim Donst, Johnny Gargano vs. Eric Ryan, Necro Butcher vs. Chris Dickinson, Mat Cross vs. Louis Lyndon, Colin Delaney vs. Josh Prohibition, plus Irish Airborne, ACH and more.
--Christian Wrestling Federation on 2/16 in St. Petersburg, FL at 2 p.m. at 4682 40th Ave.
--Prime Wrestling on iPPV on 2/16 for $14.99 from Twinsburg, OH at the Twinsburg Fitness Center with Johnny Gargano vs. CRIMSON as the main event.
--Christina Von Eerie was added to the Shimmer show on 4/6 in Secaucus, NJ as part of WrestleMania weekend. She'll also been added to the Shimmer tapings on 4/13 and 4/14 in Berwyn, IL.
--United Wrestling Coalition on Saturday night in Browns Mills, NJ at the Fire House is a benefit show for the infant son of a former local firefighter who passed a away in a motorcycle accident