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.
Friday's News Update
--Drew Brees tweeted that WrestleMania will be at the Superdome in New Orleans. Everyone has been under that impression for months. It's expected to be announced imminently, like as soon as Sunday.
--The direction for most of the high-card guys for Mania should be more evident on Monday.
--Christian is ready to return. If he's not on TV this coming week, that would likely mean the decision is to wait until after Mania to bring him back. Usually that's the case with injured guys. If they're not going to be used at Mania, they wait until after to bring them back.
--WWE is not going to Japan for August shows in Sumo Hall this year. Instead, they have booked the building for 7/4 and 7/5. The idea after last year was not to come in during the G-1 Climax because it invites a direct comparison with New Japan, and last year New Japan garnered more attention, and higher attendance and WWE didn't come across as the strongest wrestling company.
--Michael Bisping at the UFC weigh-ins ripped on Vitor Belfort saying, "He's been busted for that (steroids) in the past and now he's allowed to put steroids into his asshole. What can I say? He's a fucking cheat. But I want a rematch with the guy."There's probably like 0.1 percent of the world that actually has low testosterone. But for some reason, a shit load of fighters have low testosterone."
Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry
Layla vs. Tamina Snuka
Brodus Clay & Tensai vs. Jinder Mahal & Heath Slater
The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes
Zack Ryder vs Jack Swagger
Chris Jericho vs. Big Show
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Greame Cameron and Brian Hoops)
51 years ago: Rikidozan & Toyonobori beat Luther Lindsay & Ricky Waldo to win the All-Asia tag titles in Tokyo
44 years ago: The Masked Medics (Billy Garrett & Jim Starr), who later became The Interns, beat Bobby & Lee Fields for the Florid tag team titles in Tampa
37 years ago: Gwyn Davies beat Tibor Szakacs in a tournament in Manchester, England to win the Joint Promotions British heavyweight championship for the third time
22 years ago: Eric Embry beat Bill Dundee in Dallas to win the Texas title
20 years ago: Ron & Don Harris beat Moondogsl Splat & Spot to win the USWA tag titles in Memphis
14 years ago: The Rock beat Mankind in a ladder match and Shane McMahon beat X-Pac in a European title match.
9 years ago: Eddie Guerrero beat Brock Lesnar, with the help of Bill Goldberg, to win the World title at the Cow Palace in San Francisco
WHO WAS THE GREATEST WORLD CHAMPION OF THE LAST 50 YEARS?
Ric Flair 41.5%
Bruno Sammartino 16.1%
Hulk Hogan 8/2%
Steve Austin 7.9%
Bret Hart 7.4%
Lou Thesz 7.1%
Nick Bockwinkel 3.4%
Harley Race 2.6%
The Rock 1.9%
Shawn Michaels 1.6%
Bob Backlund 1.3%
Jack Brisco 0.8%
WHICH OF THESE FIGHTS IS THE BIGGEST?
Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz 58.0%
Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen 24.4%
Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez 7.6%
Jose Aldo vs. Anthony Pettish 4.6%
Colin Velasquez vs. Bigfoot Silva 3.4%
Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman 2.1%
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THIS WEEK'S MAIN EVENT TV SHOW?
60.5% of those responding didn't see the show
--New Japan's next big show on 3/3 at Korakuen Hall won't be on iPPV, but will air live on Samurai TV. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Prince Devitt will now be a non-title match, but if Tanahashi loses, he said he will give up his title and go into the Japan Cup tournament to regain it. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Lance Archer for the IC title is official.
--The Olympics dropping wrestling got a decent amount of press in Australia, even though wrestling isn't that popular there. Satirical sportswriter Richard Hinds devoted his column in the Sydney Morning Herald to it, saying FILA's decision not to send anyone to the meeting was "like not feeding your pet crocodile."
--Most cable systems will have Raw listed as one three-hour show instead of three one-hour shows for DVR purposes on Monday. I'd still check to be safe if you are planning on DVRing the show. As far as why it happened, it was the USA Network that send its schedule as three one-hour shows instead of the usual one three-hour show last week.
--EFC on 3/9 at the Xanadu Theater at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City headlined by Fabian Rosario (6-) defending his welterweight title against Danny Massa (2-2).
--Nate Quarry was on Comic Book Men last night, asking the comic store to sell his self-published comic book called "Zombie Cage Fighter" (not about Chan Sung Jung) and the store agreed if Quarry was to put together an MMA match, which he did. (thanks to Gregory Lisa)
--Kendra Lust (not her real name), a porn star, was on The Wrestling Soup last night and totally deni3ed all rumors about her and John Cena. She said she heard about it when people were asking her on twitter about the story. She said that even though she is not the type who would respect marriages, she still lnever slept with John Cena and in fact has never met him. She said nobody from WWE has ever contacted her about shutting down her twitter page. The hosts said that wrestling fans on Twitter were "the biggest groups of morons on the planet." She did say she has attended live wrestling shows and is a fan of pro wrestling, which is why she had a naked photo with only the spinner belt covering her. It was a replica belt, not the real one, and the name plate was blank. I guess the photo of her with the belt was taken to mean she had an affair with Cena. She did say that she would have sex with Cena if he would pursue her. (thanks to Roy Lucier)
--Mark Rollerball Rocco will be the guest of honor at the 6/15 Revolution Pro Wrestling show in the U.K. that Jushin Liger appears at. Liger, when he was early in his career in Japan as Flying Fuji Yamada, faced Rocco many times in the U.K.
--The World Series of Fighting has a press conference tomorrow at 1 p.m. Eastern at the MMA World Expo, which takes place in New York at the Jacob Javits Center. Appearing will be Andrei Arlovski, Anthony Johnson, Tyson Nam, Marlon Moraes, Dave Branch, Igor Gracie and Ray Sefo. They will be promoting their show on 3/23 in Atlantic City on NBC Sports Network.
--Former pro wrestler Korcito Korchenko now stars in a TV show called Big Rig Bounty Hunters, which debuted last night on The History Channel. (thanks to Barry Werner)
--Michael Elgin has pulled out of the 4/13 Super 8 independent tournament in Newark, DE. He will be replaced by Antonio Thomas.
--All-Star Wrestling on 2/22 in Surrey, BC at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds with a Coal Miner's Glove match
--PWF Northeast Pro Wrestling's 11th anniversary on 2/23 in Providence at the Davey Lopes Recreation Center.
--Larry Matysik will be appearing on the John Carney show on KTRS radio 550 AM in St. Louis at 10 p.m. on 2/18. They will be talking his new book on the 50 Greatest Wrestler of All-Time.