Also in this week's issue:
--The King of the Air tournament in Mexico update
--Notes from the major Arena Mexico show of the week
--Big matches that are being built up
--Next AAA TV taping
--Notes on Dragon Gate USA's WrestleMania week shows and who is coming from Japan
--Who is the major name returning after two years
--Notes on Dragon Gate's big show of the week and its latest top angle and title matches
--Notes on All Japan's big show of the week and new work rate belts
--How Reid Flair is doing in Japan
--Pro Wrestling NOAH's big show of the week and angles being shot
--Champions from NOAH capture a second championship
--Thoughts on Masato Tanaka vs. Tomohiro Ishii and if it's a match of the year candidate
--Jushin Liger coming to the U.K.
--Notes on the return of Kensuke Sasaki
--Hall of Famer getting surgery on both knees to keep from a possible life in a wheelchair
--Return of a wrestler after two years in exile
--Onita vs. Akebono in an explosive barbed wire match
--Notes on an FMW nostalgia show
--More on the Hart Family Legacy promotion in Calgary and attempts to start AAA Canada
--Names scheduled for the first show
--Thoughts on the death of Jim Jeffers of the Mod Squad tag team
--Jerry Lynn's final Northeast match against Lance Storm
--Notes on Pro Wrestling Syndicate
--One of the most famous local wrestling stars returns at the age of 66 for a major angle
--Former WWE stars involved in an independent feature
--Notes on Sinclair Broadcasting's financials
--Notes on Jeff Hardy's new contract
--Dixie Carter's announcements at the Bellator show
--A.J. Styles TNA update
--Notes on ticket sales for TNA in Chicago
--Hulk Hogan's latest comments on TNA and its changes
--Notes on the weekend TNA house shows
--UFC drug test positive
--A look at TRT and Vitor Belfort
--Michael Bisping talks TRT
--This week's UFC lineup
--Why American fighters aren't thrilled about fighting in the U.K.
--What happened with UFC and Josh Barnett
--UFC's Memorial Day show looked at
--UFC's next show in Sweden looked at
--The next UFC on FOX show looked at
--A look at the TUF finals
--Lots more on women in UFC
--Ultimate Fighter news
--Will the Rousey vs. Carmouche special help the buy rate of the PPV?
--What Rousey will no longer talk about and why
--Crazy UFC schedule as the year goes forward
--More on Eddie Alvarez lawsuit against Bellator
--Did Tito Ortiz make a big mistake in how he's handling Cris Cyborg's career
--Ronda Rousey talks Cyborg not coming to 135
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Coverage of Bellator's last show
--Champion from Bellator signs with new group
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.
Wednesday's News Update
--Comcast has reached a deal with News Corporation and will start carrying Fuel. This would add 22 million new home clearances for the station.
--The WWE's deal with Take Two Interactive to be publishing their video games going forward was finalized
. The deal had been known about for weeks, but contracts were not completed until recently.
--TNA announced a new television deal for the German market. Starting on 3/6, TNA will be on SportI, a free cable TV channel that almost everyone gets. The station used to carry Smackdown, which had 300,000 viewers on its best day. They will air a one-hour edited version of Impact, plus a one-hour highlights show on Wednesdays from 10 p.m. to midnight and replayed Saturdays from 10 p.m. to midnight. The two hour version of Impact and the PPVs will remain on Video-on-Demand in Germany on the Internet on SportI.de Losing the station means WWE has no free TV coverage in Germany, with all their shows airing on Sky, a subscription channel, other than Vintage Collection on Eurosport and This week in WWE (thanks to Tim Graefe and Markus Gronemann)
--USA was again No. 1 in prime time averaging 2.78 million viewers to 2.43 million for Disney last week. FX was No. 14 at 1.23 million and Syfy was No. 15 at 1.22 million. Spike was No. 23 at 795,000. The three hours of Raw last week were No. 4, No. 5 and No. 7. Two hours were No. 7 and No. 8 in 18-49 for the week.
--Hulk Hogan is coming to WrestleMania weekend at Wrestlecon in Secaucus, NJ. He will do a $150 signing with an autographed photo taken with Hogan with each extra autograph at $75, or seven signed items, a photo and front of the line access for $500.
--Dwayne Johnson sent a tweet to Jeff Jarrett after mentioning his name on Raw. Jarrett noted that his name was trending on Twitter on Monday.
--Jesse Sorensen was injured one year ago yesterday in Orlando in a TNA PPV match with Zema Ion. Sorensen thanked people who wished him well on Facebook, but can't say when or even if he'll be able to return to wrestling.
--On ESPN's Pardon The Interruption yesterday, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon ripped on the IOC for canceling wrestling at the Olympics. Both were outraged and said a sport shouldn't be removed because ratings were down. Actually, ratings played into this very little as it was a mostly political decision based on where delegates were from and where wrestling is most popular.
--Bob McCown on Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet radio in Canada said it was the stupidest decision the IOC has ever made. Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe agreed and said wrestling and running are the two more inherently Olympic events. Carol Huynh, one of Canada's top woman wrestlers, said it made her feel numb. (thanks to Steve Khan)
--Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov said "We will use all of our strength to persuade the IOC not to exclude wrestling from the Olympic program." Jim Ross also chimed in
--Ross, Jerry Lawler and Gene Okerlund are doing a talk show format appearance for promoter Dave Herro in Milwaukee on 2/22 at the Northern Lights Theater at the Potawatomi Casino. That theater is not known for showing endless Hiroshi Hase matches.
--Former Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo will make his MMA debut on 3/2 for the World Fighting Federation in Tucson against Michael Poe (1-4), working on a three fight losing streak.
--Bobby Eaton came to Hollywood, AL on Tuesday to take care of a DUI from 11 years ago. The story had broke that they had a warrant out for his arrest and hadn't forgotten about it. Eaton found out and arraigned to come to the area. Eaton pleaded guilty and police chief Jason Hepler said he was very nice about it.
--Dana White said if Alexander Gustafsson beats Gegard Mousasi on 4/6 in Stockholm, he will get a light heavyweight title shot. He also said that before Gustafsson's fight with Shogun Rua in December.
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (Thanks to Brian Hoops)
- 19 years ago - Dirty White Boy beat Brian Lee in Knoxville to win the Smoky Mountain wrestling title
- 16 years ago - Shawn Michaels did his "I lost my smile" interview as he vacated the WWF title, claiming a career ending knee injury, to avoid having to lose it as scheduled to Sid Vicious. It wasn't that much later when he returned to the ring. Also that night, Rocky Maivia (The Rock) won his first WWF, title, the Intercontinental belt, from HHH. That started a backlash against him since he had only been in the promotion less than three months and people thought he was being shoved down their throat. He ended up turning heel and turned his fortunes around.
- 15 years ago: Axl Rotten beat Bull Pain in Louisville to win the IWA Mid South title
- 13 years ago: Big Vito & Johnny the Bull beat Ron & Don Harris to win the WCW tag titles in Germany
- 12 years ago: Brock Lesnar & Shelton Benjamin, called the Minnesota Stretching Crew, won the OVW tag team titles over B.J. Payne & Damien in Louisville.
--The World Series of Fighting announced tickets going on sale Friday for its 3/23 show in Atlantic City healdined by Andrew Arlovski vs. Anthony Johnson and Tyson Nam vs. Marlon Moraes. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Eastern time at all Ticketmaster locations. New fights announced for the show that will air live on NBC Sports Network are Josh Burkman (24-9) vs. Aaron Simpson (12-4), Former Pride and WEC star Paulo Filho (23-4) vs. David Branch (11-3) and former Dream star J.Z. Cavalcante (16-6) vs. Justin Baethje (7-0). Prelims include Rick Glenn (12-2) vs. Alexander Pimentel (12-0), Waylon Lowe (13-4) vs. Cameron Dollar (11-4), Igor Gracie (5-3) vs. Ozzy Dugulubgov (3-1) plus Danillo Villefort faces a fighter yet to be announced.
--WWE has announced a Smackdown taping on 3/5 in Albany, NY with Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show and Sheamus & Ryback & Randy Orton vs. The Shield as the top matches, plus Daniel Bryan, Kane, Miz, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow.
--Not that this has anything to do with wrestling, but Dallas is now being written about for its falling ratings. This season is down 24% from last season with the movie to Monday against shows like Raw, The Bachelor, Mike & Molly, American Pickers and more. The final episode filmed before the death of Larry Hagman I believe airs either next week or the week after.
--There's a short note on UFC's Dennis Bermudez in the New York Post
. The story notes that some UFC fighters bet Dustin Pague that he couldn't eat three beetles and a spider for $40. He did. (thanks to Jeff Sheridan)
--The episode of Millionaire Matchmaker with TCW's Matt Riviera was moved to 2/19. Also, major shake ups in TCW as Nelson Sweglar, the former WWE producer, was let go, as was Ken Resnick. Jamie Morris, who formerly worked in creative with WWE, will stay on. TCW is going to be going more "gritty" with the next tapings on 3/30 in Springfield, MO at The Shrine Mosque with Carlito and Bushwhacker Luke. They are now on Tuff TV at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings.
--A urine tests for the 2/2 UFC 156 show came back clean. They are still awaiting the results of blood testing done on Alistair Overeem, who had to take more tests than others to get licensed. Everyone on the show was given a urine test.
WHO DO YOU THINK WILL WIN THIS FIGHT?
Renan Barao 60.3%
Michael McDonald 39.7%
WHO DO YOU EXPECT TO WIN THIS FIGHT?
Junior Dos Santos 86.6%
Alistair Overeem 13.4%
WHO WAS THE STAR OF RAW?
Paul Heyman 38.6%
C.M. Punk 14.9%
The Rock 12.4%
The Shield 11.8%
Chris Jericho 11.3%
Mark Henry 4.8%
Daniel Bryan 4.2%
Big Show 1.1%
Dolph Ziggler 0.8%
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF RAW?
10.3% of those responding didn't see the show
--Pro Wrestling Revolution out of Northern California and World Wrestling League out of Puerto Rico announced they would be working together on shows in both San Juan and San Jose.
--ROH announced today at the 4/27 show in Richmond, VA has been moved to 5/18 at the Richmond Convention Center. If you have tickets to the 4/27 show, they ask that you send them to Ring of Honor c/o Richmond Ticket Exchange, P.O. Box 1127, Bristol, PA 19007 and they will send new tickets for the date. If you are unable to attend on the new date, please contact
for information on getting a refund.
--A correction from yesterday's report: the masked Sweet Brown Sugar who held the Americas title in Los Angeles was not Skip Young, but was Mexican wrestler Luis Mariscal. (thanks to Kurt Brown)
--Former WWF and WCW wrestler Marc Mero is speaking to kids about bullying, staying away from drugs and more on 2/19 at F.W. Springstead High School in Spring Hill, FL at 7:45 a.m.; 2/19 in Explorer K-8 in Spring Hill, FL at 10:30 a.m.; 3/22 at Victorious Life Church in Wesley Chapel, FL at 7 p.m. and 4/14 at the Brooksville Wesleyan Church in Brooksville, FL at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
--Presale code currently for tickets for the 4/16 Smackdown tapings in Knoxville is ALBERTO.
--CWE on 2/15 in Winnipeg at the Polish Fraternal Hall featuring Robby Royce vs. Tommy Dreamer as the main event.
--Absolute Intense Wrestling on 3/1 in Cleveland at Turner's Hall has an all women's show called Girls Night Out with Athena vs. Kimber Lee, Veda Scott vs. Leva Banks, Annie Social vs. Crazy Mary Dobson and Sassy Steph vs. Taylor Made.
--NWF on Saturday night in Fairfield, OH at the UAW Hall is headlined by Jay Donaldson defending the NWF title against Karl Anderson of New Japan Pro Wrestling, coming off headlining a PPV. Anderson started his career with the promotion.
--IWA East Coast on 3/8 in Nitro WV at the Kings Way Center has Kevin Sullivan vs. Ron Mathis plus Mad Man Pondo vs. Chance Prophet and Sami Callihan vs. Facade.
--The movie "This is Hannibal" will make its theatrical debut on 3/3
in Ottawa and on DVD through RF Video. Devon Nicholson said that after he's cured of hepatitis, he's looking at training for the 2016 Olympics as a Greco-Roman wrestler.