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.
Monday's News Update
--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Raw and a lot of UFC news. You can also send questions in for the show to
--The International Olympic Committee will be meeting tomorrow about dropping one sport from the Summer Olympics, effective in 2020. The decision will be made dropping one of these six sports: The Pentathlon, Wrestling (all styles), Taekwondo, Badminton or Table Tennis. The decision will be made based on TV ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping issues, global participation and overall popularity. Wrestling has been part of the Olympics dating back to 1896. More from Houston Mitchell at http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-ioc-summer-olympics-20130211,0,5070574.story
--UFC will have a loaded FX show on 4/13 which will include six or seven matches, including the finals, of the current season's Ultimate Fighter show. Dana White was so impressed with the quality of fights that he made the call that everyone on the show who is healthy will be on the show, which is expected to take place at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, although that has not been officially announced. Matches announced today are:
*Demetrious Johnson vs. John Moraga for the flyweight title - Congratulations to Joseph Benavidez for talking himself out of a title match
*Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano
*Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Travis Browne
*Bart Palaszewski vs. Cole Miller
*Daniel Pineda vs. Justin Lawrence
--C.M. Punk worked last night in Cape Girardeau, MO, in the same tag match (Ryback & The Miz vs. Punk & Antonio Cesaro) that headlined all weekend on the Raw tour. Punk will be at Raw tonight as well. Miz dropped Punk badly while doing a delayed vertical suplex with him on Saturday night. Punk was saying he was okay.
--A note for those of you who DVR Raw or have it on a season pass. Some systems, but not all, starting this week have Raw split into three different one-hour shows instead of one three-hour show. So check and make sure you get the second and third hours.
--The UFC has filed a request for 5/25, which would be UFC 160 (the first PPV after Jones vs. Sonnen), for the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. They are right now planning a 12 fight show that, if everything goes right, would be headlined by a Cain Velasquez title defense.
--A major UFC court case which is the lawsuit against the state of New York, attempting to get legalized, takes place Wednesday. Jonathan Snowden at www.bleacherreport.com
has a story on it.
--Due to the injuries suffered by Manvel Gamburyan and him pulling out, his match with Chad Mendes scheduled for 2/23 in Anaheim is off. UFC wasn't able to get Mendes a new opponent so he'll be moved to a later show. That was to be a PPV fight so a match is going to have to be added to that portion of the card.
--This coming Saturday's UFC show from London has Facebook fights at 12:15 p.m. Eastern and Fuel will broadcast from 3-6 p.m. Remember that's three hours earlier on the West Coast.
--Tomorrow night's usual episode of UFC Insiders will be replaced by a replay of the Rousey vs. Carmouche prime time episode one. You don't need to wait as if you go to page two of the site, you can see it here.
--I will have a story tomorrow on Michael McDonald on mmafighting.com Trust me when I saw you will be very surprised at his comments regarding his title match with Renan Barao on Saturday night.
--Tickets for WWE's Extreme Rules PPV on 5/19 at the Savvis Center in St. Louis go on sale on 2/23 to the public.
--Kenneth Doane, who wrestled for WWF as Kenny Dykstra, has written an anti-bullying book aimed at children. That makes the second former WWE guy from the same time frame in OVW to write such a book, since Daniel Puder wrote a book on the same subject last year.
--There will be an Impact Pro Wrestling show on 7/12 in Waterloo, IA in conjunction with the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions. Those who are going to be attending this small indie show are Ric Flair, Edge, Bill Watts, Jim Brunzell, Gerald Brisco and Baron Von Raschke.
--An article at Deadline Hollywood that talked about how the G-4 TV station is being rebranded The Esquire Network, after the magazine, it noted that in the past, there had been talks with both UFC and WWE about buying the station. UFC abandoned buying when it got in bed with FOX and Fuel became essentially the UFC station. WWE stopped talks because the costs was in the several hundred million dollar range.
--Davey Richards, The Young Bucks, Samuray Del Sol, Great Gama, Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt and many others have been added to the 2/22 AAA Canada show on at the Victoria Pavilion in Calgary. Kevin Nash, John Morrison, Konnan, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Teddy Hart and Jack Evans were already announced for the show.
--Sheamus will be at the 50th Anniversary Carl Casper's Custom and Louisville New Car Annual Auto show on 2/22 from 7-9 p.m. at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center in Louisville.
--A guy in a Mil Mascaras mask and cape made TV yesterday at the AT&T Golf tournament yesterday in Pebble Beach.
WHICH OF THESE EVENTS ARE YOU OR DID YOU ORDER?
WWE Elimination Chamber 43.4%
UFC 157 31.5%
New Japan The New Beginnings 20.2%
WWE & UFC was the biggest crossover. 35,4% said they were ordering none. 5.1% were ordering all.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS REGARDING UFC 156 VS. UFC 157
Ordered 156, will order 157 48.6%
Didn't order 156, considering ordering 157 16.2%
Didn't order 156, am ordering 157 14.9%
Ordered 156, won't order 157 because the overall card isn't as good 8.1%
Ordered 156, won't order 157 because of the Rousey vs. Carmouche main event 8.1%
Ordered 156, would order 157 except have other plans that night that got in the way 4.1%
Didn't order 156, ordering 157 after watching UFC Prime Time 0.0%
UFC Prime Time got raves from a lot of MMA media, and myself, but almost nobody watched it that wasn't a Hardcore fan given the time slots, and they all already knew about the show and had already made the decision.
WHAT COMPANY PRODUCES THE BEST PPV SHOWS?
New Japan Pro Wrestling 38.1%
Dragon Gate USA 1.4%
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF FRIDAY NIGHT'S SMACKDOWN?
32.5% of those responding didn't see the show
WHAT WAS THE BEST TV SHOW OF THE PAST WEEK?
UFC Prime Time Rousey vs. Carmouche 26.7%
Ultimate Fighter 5.2%
Inside MMA 3.7%
Saturday Morning Slam 2.6%
Main Event 2.1%
UFC Tonight 1.0%
TODAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
71 years ago: Tarzan Lopez beat Miguel Blackie Guzman in Mexico City to win the world middleweight title.
46 years ago: Billy White Wolf (who later became Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie) beat Ray Stevens in Sydney to win the IWA heavyweight title. This is when the IWA was the biggest and best paying promotion in the world.
44 years ago: Dory Funk Jr. beat Gene Kiniski with a spinning toe hold at Tampa's Fort Homer Hesterly Armory to win the NWA world title. Funk Jr. then held the title for four years. On the same show, the guy who ended up being Funk Jr.'s biggest rival of his career, Jack Brisco, won the Southern title, his biggest career win up to that point in time, beating the Missouri Mauler.
36 years ago: Chavo Guerrero Sr. beat Alfonso Dantes in Los Angeles to win the NWA world light heavyweight title
30 years ago: Giant Baba beat Harley Race in St. Louis to win the PWF title
29 years ago: Tito Santana beat Don Muraco in Boston to win the IC title
17 years ago: Ric Flair beat Randy Savage in a cage match in St. Petersburg to win the WCW title.
--Funny story from St. Louis. Ron Jacober, a well known local sportscaster who actually covered wrestling at times in the Muchnick days, was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame more than a week ago (as was Harley Race). He was being interviewed about the honor and Muhammad Ali came up. He said that back in 1976 (he got the year right) he was interviewing Ali about a match against a Japanese wrestler, and said that he doesn't know why, but he could remember the guy's name being Antonio Inoki (which was the name). Then he said how Inoki weighed 400 pounds and he told Ali that he could get hurt in the match, especially if the 400 pound guy fell on him. Frank Cusamano, the reporter interviewing Jacober, had no idea what he was talking about. In other words, it's like play by play on NXT when William Regal throws out a name like Alan Dennison and Tony Dawson quickly changes the subject.
--Speaking of which, the best line by an announcer on a wrestling show so far this year is a Regal/Dawson interplay line. A wrestler was putting on a chinlock. Dawson asked Regal to explain what tha move was. Regal said that if you have to ask, you shouldn't be sitting next to me. This was between a sea of "whattamoves" for every basic move known to mankind.
--Mickie James and Miss Tessmacher will be at The Big Event on 3/2 in East Elmhurst, NY presented by Sports Fan Promotions. She will join Barbara Blank (formerly Kelly Kelly), Jerry Lawler, Jeff Jarrett, Dustin Diamond (Screech from Saved by the Bell who actually has done several pro wrestling matches including appearing with TNA), Stacy Carter and more. The session is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel and admission is $10.
--I Believe in Wrestling from yesterday in Orlando: Chasyn Rance b Chico Adams, Donovan Terrell won three-way over C.J. O'Doyle and Wayne Van Dyke, Tim Zbyszko b Josh Hess, Q.T. Marshall b J.D. Amazing, Lince Dorado won four-way over Aaron Epic, Santana Garrett and Gersom Sanchez. Next show is 3/10. Larry Zbyszko will wrestle on the show, teaming with his son. (thanks to Al Haft)
--CZW from Saturday night in Voorhees, NJ: AR Fox b Rich Swann, Drake Younger b Alex Colon, Shane Hollister and Shane Strickland advanced over Latin Dragon & Colin Delaney into Best of the Best, Sami Callihan & Lufisto b Adam Cole & Jessicka Havoc, Dustin Rayz & Eric Ryan b Danny Havoc & Lucky Thurteen and Dave & Jake Crist, Greg Excellent b Chrissy Rivera in an Ultraviolent Food Fight, Chris Brookes b The Gulak Campaign, Masada NC Christina Von Eerie in a CZW title match. Next show is 3/9 at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees with Masada vs. Matt Tremont vs. Von Eerie vs. Joe Gacy for the CZW title.
--EWA on 2/16 in Agawan, MA at the Springfield Turnverin features Monarchy defending the EWA tag titles against the return of The Heart Throbs in a cage match with Freebird rules. Bobby Fish is also on the show.