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.
Sunday's News Update
--Bryan and I will be back tonight and tomorrow night, covering the Chamber, Raw, and anything and everything else major in the news. You can send questions for the show to
--Bryan and Mike Sempervive will have a new Wrestling Observer Live on Sirius 94/794 XM 208 and on the front page of the site as well as on the Sports Byline radio network at 6 p.m. Eastern, 3 p.m. Pacific, talking Elimination Chamber and UFC on Fuel.
--Time Magazine has a piece this week on Ronda Rousey that is now out on the newsstands.
--Today's New York Times has a lengthy article on the UFC vs. Bellator rivalry. Lots of quotes from all parties and business notes on how the UFC deal went down with FOX (brokered by Ari Emmanuel), what Spike claimed UFC was asking to stay on the channel (which included a 50% ownership stake in the channel) and more. Dana White compared the rivalry to a local high school football team against the NFL. Nothing on the Eddie Alvarez case. Dana White last night once again went after Viacom, saying Bjorn Rebney (who he calls Bjork) has no power and that Viacom and Spike run the promotion and they should pay Alvarez what he's worth in the free market if they want to keep him, or let him go to where he can make more money.
--This is the kind of pub that will help her a lot with endorsements and future business, but I'm not sure it's going to translate into getting people to order the PPV. But with UFC, you really can't tell until late the week of the show.
--Dr. Wagner Jr. announced last night at Arena Lopez Mateos that he is starting back with CMLL on 3/15, saying he met with Paco Alonso on Friday and they put the new deal together. Dorian Roldan of AAA then said that Wagner Jr. still has one year left on his contract with the promotion and they are planning on enforcing it. (thanks to Kris Zellner)
--Bully Ray worked the house shows for TNA the last two nights in tag team matches with Kurt Angle against Wes Brisco & Devon. He's hurt, but it doesn't appear to be something that is going to keep him out of action.
--Dwayne Johnson was nominated for Favorite Movie Buttkicker on the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards that air on 3/28.
--Chris Jericho will be doing a Q&A session with Scott Ian of the band Anthrax on 2/26 at the Oxford Arts Factory in Sydney, Australia. The night is being billed as "An Evening of stories from 30 years of metal, wrestling and drinking," and you have to be 18 or over to attend. (thanks to James Stanios)
--TNA has changed around taping dates in Orlando. They will be taping six different PPV cards that will be airing from July until the end of the year with the various themes on 3/17, 3/18 and 3/19. These are the final wrestling shows scheduled for the Impact Zone. Originally the six shows were to be taped 3/17, 3/23 and 3/24.
--A new TV show called Fighting Spirit Wrestling, which features matches from CMLL and New Japan, debuts today in Canada on The Fight Network. It's a company from France that purchased international rights to those promotions, who contacted a production house in England to edit the shows and put on English language commentary for international distribution. Stewart Allen and John Atkins are doing the commentary and it is believed to be the first New Japan English language broadcasts since the days of Gordon Solie and Sir Oliver Humperdink's Ring Warriors in Europe in the 90s. They have 60 episodes in the can. The first one, airing today, as Mistico vs. Volador Jr. from Arena Mexico and the 2011 Tokyo Dome match with Hiroshi Tanahashi beating Satoshi Kojima which started Tanahashi's big run as champion.
CAN INVICTA DO 20,000 BUYS ON PPV ON 4/5 WITH CYBORG?
SHOULD TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY BE ALLOWED IN MMA?
No, not at all 63.6%
Yes, but only in most extreme of circumstances where the athlete has to prove they never used steroids 17.7%
Yes, but only with constant year-round testing 8.5%
Yes, as long as a doctor approves it 5.4%
Yes, but never to anyone who has failed a steroid test in their past 4.8%
OVER WRESTLEMANIA WEEKEND, WHAT ARE YOUR PLANNING ON WATCHING?
Only WrestleMania 28.7%
Multiple pro wrestling events 17.0%
Multiple pro wrestling and MMA events 16.1%
Not planning on watching anything, including WrestleMania 13.2%
Only watching UFC from Sweden 10.7%
Only watching New Japan PPV 5.0%
Only watching TNA PPV 4.1%
Only watching ROH shows 2.5%
Only watching MMA shows, more than one 2.2%
Only watching Dragon Gate USA 0.3%
POLL ON SMACKDOWN
36.9% of those responding didn't see the show
--TODAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Brian Hoops)
32 years ago: Canek beat Tiger Jeet Singh in Mexico City to win the UWA world heavyweight title
27 years ago: Hulk Hogan beat Randy Savage in a lumberjack match in Madison Square Garden
24 years ago: Robert Fuller & Jimmy Golden beat Kevin & Kerry Von Erich in Dallas to win the World Class tag team titles
17 years ago: Lex Luger beat Johnny B. Badd (Marc Mero) to win the WCW TV title
17 years ago: PG-13 beat Jesse James Armstrong (Road Dogg) & Tracy Smothers to win the USWA tag tiles
16 years ago: Sycho Sid beat Bret Hat to win the WWF title in Nashville
16 years ago: Prince Iaukea (no relation to Cutis Iaukea past it being Kevin Sullivan's tribute to him) beat Steven Regal to win the WCW TV title in Tampa
15 years ago: The Headbangers beat the Rock & Roll Express to win the NWA tag team titles in Waco, TX
--An article that talks about former pro wrestler Derrick Dukes and the seedy world of fixed boxing matches is at http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/191552441.html
It comes with video of one of the worst looking worked finishes ever in a match with former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards on 2/9 in Fargo, ND.(thanks to Brian Hoops)
--ECWA on 3/2 in Newark, DE at the Greater Boys & Girls Club
--Resurrection Fighting Alliance on 3/22 from the First Bank Center in Bloomfield, CO live on AXS TV with Denver's Brandon Thatch vs. Brazil's Leandro Silva, plus Chidi Njokuani vs. Jeremy Kimball and Sergio Pettis vs Matt Manzanares.
--Vendetta Pro Wrestling on 3/2 in Santa Maria, CA at the Fair Park with El Hijo de Rey Misterio vs. Bestia 666 as the main event. Shelly Martinez will be on the show as a referee for Terra Calaway vs. Amber O'Neal.
--Matt Riviera of Traditional Championship Wrestling appears on Millionaire Matchmaker on 2/19 on Bravo.
--Mid Missouri Wrestling Alliance from last night in St. Louis: Moondog Rover b Freddie Fury, Big Texan b Stevie K, Jimmy D b A.J. Williams, Brandon Espinosa b Brian James, Chase & Matt King NC Lumberjacks Abe & Gabe, Andrew Wilder b Drasco Verdadero, Dave Osborne b Gary Jackson (thanks to Patrick Brandmeyer)
--Lucha Extreme from Fresno TV last night: Matt Sparks b L.J. Summers, Brandon Groom b Crimson Plague (thanks to Jon Southerland). They have a taping today at 3 p.m. at the Sierra Heath & Fitness Center in Fresno.
--Charity Appeal Wrestling on 2/22 in Luton, Bedfordshire, UK at The Hightown Club features Jonny Storm, Alpha Female and more.
--SCW from last night in Bremerton, WA: Von Hess b Randy Zellers, Sonico b Poe Frog, Demarcus James b Kaos, Bedlam & The Fallen b Von Hess & Native Assassin-COR, Zapopan b X-Man, Victor Price b Rad, Native Assassin b Von Hess, Mean Mark b Graves, Avarice b Christopher Ryseck, Bedlam & Native Assassin b Mean Mark & Rad, Demarcus James & Ryan Rude and Poe Frog & Sonico in an elimination match. Next show is 2/23 in Poulsbo, WA a the Suquamish Tribal Center featuring Tokyo Monster Kahagas. (thanks to Charles Short)