FRI. UPDATE: Crazy weekend schedule, Tons of Mania media, Hogan tells new fake story, Henry talks bench press video on Youtube, Undertaker's next match after Mania, Austin debuts podcast, Anniversary of all-time famous gimmick match



By Dave Meltzer
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        We're looking for thoughts on tonight's TNA PPV, tonight's Evolve iPPV, tonight's Invicta iPPV and tonight's ROH iPPV so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        We're looking for live reports from Evolve, PWS, the TNA house show in Westbury, NY (Sting & Jeff Hardy vs. Team 3-D, A.J. Styles vs. Austin Aries, Bobby Roode vs. James Storm street fight, Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels, Velvet Sky vs. Gail Kim for Knockouts title, Kurt Angle vs. Wes Brisco, Joseph Park vs. Robbie ), and CZW in Secaucus, NJ at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
        We're also looking for WWE Fan Axxess reports. 
 
        Here are the lineups:
 
TNA has a taped X Division show for 1/12 on regular PPV
Christian York vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Matt Bentley vs. Puma vs. Lince Dorado vs. Alex Silva vs. Sam Silva in an X Division X-Scape the cage match
Anthony Nese & Rashad Cameron (Jeez in CZW) vs. Doug Williams & Kid Kash
Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Robbie E
Kenny King vs. Zema Ion vs. Rubix (Jigsaw from CHIKARA) vs. Mason Andrews (Scorpio Sky)
Sonjay Dutt & Petey Williams vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian
Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn no DQ
Samoa Joe vs. Austin Aries
 
        Evolve iPPV at 4 p.m. at www.WWNLive.com 
One-night tournament to crown the first Evolve champion
Rich Swann vs., Samuray del Sol vs. Jigsaw vs. Sami Callihan - Winner meets Chuck Taylor in the second round
AR Fox vs Jon Davis - Winner meets Ricochet in the second round
Young Bucks vs. Super Smash Brothers
Johnny Gargano & Brian Kendrick vs. Orange Cassidy & Drew Gulak
Arik Cannon vs. Scott Reed no DQ
 
       Pro Wrestling Syndicate at 8 p.m. from Metuchen, NJ, on iPPV at www.highspots.com
Drunken Swashbuckler vs. The Sheik vs. Devon Moore vs. Cassidy Riley vs. Micah Taylor vs. Bonesaw
Lance Anoai vs. Sonjay Dutt
Tommy Dreamer vs. Pat Buck
Hurricane Helms & Starman vs. Chris Chetti & Nova
Alex Reynolds vs. Trent Barreta fro Tri-States title
Kevin Matthews vs. Anthony Nese for PWS title
John Morrison vs. Jushin Liger
New Jack vs. Necro Butcher in what is billed as New Jack's retirement match
 
        ROH Supercard of Honor from the sold out Hammerstein Ballroom at 7:30 p.m. at www.rohwrestling.com
 
ACH & Tadarius Thomas vs. QT Marshall & ?
B.J. Whitmer & Mark Briscoe & Mike Mondo & Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs. Jimmy Jacobs & Cliff Compton & Rhett Titus & Rhino & Jimmy Rave
Roderick Strong vs. Karl Anderson
Jay Lethal vs. Michael Elgin for the No. 1 contender spot
Matt Taven vs. Adam Cole vs. Matt Hardy for the ROH title
Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly vs. Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards for ROH tag titles
Kevin Steen vs. Jay Briscoe for ROH title
 
        Invicata at 7 p.m. from Kansas City and the Ameristar Casino on iPPV at www.InvictaFC.com
Alex Chambers (3-1, 103.8) vs. Jodie Esquibel (3-0, 105)
Rose Namajunas (1-0, 115.6) vs. Kathina Catron (2-1, 115.8)
Katja Kankaanpaa (7-0-5, 115.3) vs. Juliana Carnerio Lima (5-0, 115.4)
Jessamyn Duke (2-0, 135.6) vs. Miriam Nakamoto (1-0, 135.8)
Cassie Rodish (4-3, 104.6) vs. Simona Soukupova (3-2-1, 104.6)
Bec Hyatt (4-2, 155.4) vs. Jasminka Cive (5-0, 115)
Julia Budd (4-2, 145.8) vs. Mollie Estes (1-1, 144.4)
Kaitlyn Young (7-7-1, 135.6) vs. Lauren Taylor (5-0, 134.9)
Zoila Frausto Gurgel (12-2, 125.5) vs. Jennifer Maia (6-2, 124.5)
Sarah Kaufman (15-2, 135.5) vs. Leslie Smith (5-2-1, 134.9)
Cris Cyborg (10-1, 144.8) vs. Fiona Muxlow (6-2, 143.8)
Vanessa Porto (15-5, 124.8) vs. Barb Honchak (7-2, 124.6) for flyweight title
Jessica Penne (10-1, 104.9) vs. Michelle Waterson (10-3, 104.7) for atomweight title 
 
        Saturday has the WWE Hall of Fame in Madison Square Garden, Dragon Gate USA iPPV at 8 p.m. at www.WWNLive.com, Chikara Pro at 4 p.m. in Secaucus, NJ ., ROH TV tapings at 2 p.m. at the Manhattan Center, Shimmer iPPV at Noon at www.WWN Live.com and UFC on Fuel with Facebook fights at 10:30 a.m. and live Fuel fights at 2 p.m.
 
        Late Saturday night/Sunday morning is the New Japan Invasion Attack PPV starting at 3 a.m. at www.ustream.tv/channel/njpw1972
 
Alex Shelley & Kushida vs. Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi for IWGP jr. tag title
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Manabu Nakanishi & Super Strong Machine & Akebono vs. Bob Sapp & Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi
El Terrible & Tama Tonga vs. Valiente & La Mascara for CMLL tag tiles
Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi
Minoru Suzuki vs. Toru Yano
Yuji Nagata & Hirooki Goto vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Katsuyori Shibata
Rob Conway vs. Satoshi Kojima for NWA title
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. for IC title
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada for IWGP title
    
        The biggest pro wrestling show of the year is WrestleMania 29 from MetLife Stadium starting on Sunday at about 6:30 p.m.
 
Wade Barrett vs. The Miz Pre show match
 
PPV at 7 p.m.
Brodus Clay & Tensai & Naomi & Cameron vs. Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow & Bella Twins
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
Kane & Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston for tag titles
Randy Orton & Big Show & Sheamus vs. The Shield
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for World title
HHH vs. Brock Lesnar
Undertaker vs. C.M. Punk
The Rock vs. John Cena for WWE title
 
        The post-Mania Raw will be from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ on Monday night.
       
        Smackdown, Main Event and Saturday Morning Slam will be taped on Tuesday night at the TD Garden in Boston.     
   
        Sunday at 1 p.m. is Dragon Gate USA Mercury Rising iPPV at www.WWNLive.com  Sunday also has the CMLL 70th anniversary of wrestling at Arena Coliseo in Mexico City for free at www.terra.com.mx
 
        We've got a look at what may be the biggest weekend in the history of the industry as the main story in a double issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter which is on the web site today.  We also have a new back issue posted this week from early 1996.  We not only look at the latest on WrestleMania and the Hall of Fame, but all the piggyback shows, iPPV shows, as we go through all the major shows, look at who is on them, what is the goals, how you can see them and more.  This is a week where it's impossible to keep up with everything without a scorecard.
 
        We preview this year's WrestleMania, look at the business, how it compares with last year's record setting year, predictions by the company of how it will do.
 
        We look at plans for the layout of WrestleMania, thoughts on the results, what will steal the show, who has to be pushed and working in cold weather.
 
        We also look at shows from all over the world this week that you can watch on television or your computer, featuring the biggest names, legends and the best up and coming workers in the business, as well as perhaps the single best match-up in the business.  We've got a look at CMLL, Dragon Gate USA, New Japan, Evolve, WWE Hall of Fame, ROH, CHIKARA, Shimmer, CZW, UFC, TNA, Invicta and more.
 
        We also have thoughts on the death of Reid Fliehr, the youngest son of Ric Flair.  We look at his life, and the role wrestling played, a lot of notes on why there is literally nothing possible that could have been worse for Ric Flair, and circumstances of what happened.
 
        We also have a look at Shannon Knapp, who could become one of the major players in MMA and women's sports if the right deal comes to fruition.  We look at the Invicta show that takes place this week, the forming of the promotion, what they need to survive, the role of Ronda Rousey, television, PPV, drug testing and the world of transgender women trying to become fighters.
 
        We also look at Dwayne Johnson training, his first pro match, his movie business, as well as C.M. Punk talks Undertaker match and how he believes there is no such thing as going too far, his dream opponent, awards WWE was nominated for, WWE CFO says the most ridiculous thing possible about its crowd and the UFC crowd, more on the Jerry Lawler museum, WWE charity work, major executive hire an background, Steve Austin's retirement, major change in coaching, writing at NXT, scouting NXT for potential stars, who is coming to WrestleMania after not having been with the company for 30 years, more on where the Fandango "What's my name" gimmick came from and more.
 
        We also look at Mick Foley in high school, a major star from another country in developmental almost unnoticed, Evan Bourne's return, delayed viewership from Raw setting a record, Bob Holly gives background on one of the most famous matches in WWF history, plus all the WWE business notes from the past week and house show highlights.
 
        We also have a feature on 60s and 70s Southern star Don Carson, most notably the two years when he, by virtue of being in the right place with the right opponents, was drawing sellout business on type working in Los Angeles.  We look at his role in the Blassie vs. Tolos feud, the original Roman Gladiator Death match, Blassie & Don Carson team and why Blassie never liked it, the build to what is still the most attended wrestling show ever in California, why he clicked in some places but not in others, and the major international star who started out as Ron Carson, his little brother.  We also look at the Southern promotions and their star of the 60s, the Jack Pfefer/Tony Santos days in Boston, , his biggest Southern feuds and his managing career.
 
        We also look back at the wrestling and MMA career of Dan Severn, an amateur great who went into pro wrestling and ended up being one of the original UFC legends.  This is a major piece about the early days of a very different UFC, with tournaments, style vs. style, and no weight classes.  We go back to the days of Royce Gracie, the original stars of UFC, as well as still fighting at the age of 54.
 
        He look at the crazy days of MMA in its infancy, before it was even called MMA, reasons he credits for his longevity, and a philosophy very different from the mentality of most fighters as to the reason.  We go back to when Dan Severn was a wrestling machine in high school and his first year of college, his hopes and frustrations when it came to the Olympics.  We look at how wrestling politics and the Olympics paved the way for Severn to go another three decades in competition.
 
        We look at becoming a name in Japanese pro wrestling, how he got into UFC, the idea that UFC scouted him while he was doing a pro wrestling match, his early MMA training with Al Snow, winning the Ultimate Ultimate and the UFC title, and why his relations fell apart with UFC.
 
        Severn also look at who he thinks from pro wrestling could have done well in UFC.  He also talks about the current popularity of UFC, what he thought about it yeas ago, and the modern era.
 
        We also have a look at the Elimination Chamber buys, and what this said about Rock vs. Punk, how much extra money thus far did they bring in, does it pay for the costs, why in some ways looking at the show in isolation doesn't tell the complete story, what Rock and Brock Lesnar mean on PPV in revenue, and comparisons with last year.
 
         The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
 
        The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling publication in the world.  The biggest and most influential names in the pro wrestling and MMA industry, from bookers to promoters to Hall of Fame wrestlers and fighters to the biggest names on camera and behind the scenes, along with thousands of readers in all 50 states and more than 30 countries subscribe.  Many have subscribed for 20 years or longer consecutively.  They get the most detailed and inside coverage of what is going on all over the world.  Everywhere from Wall Street to the major offices to television networks in the U.S. and Japan turn to the Observer for what is going on in the business.
 
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        We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows as well as details of how every segment on Raw and Impact did and what gained and lost viewers.

        We also have results from all the major league arena events over the past week as well as a look at all the major television shows.
 
Also in this week's issue:
 
--Match in Mexico that got rave reviews even though it was short
 
--Main event from 23 years ago still headlining today
 
--A nostalgia show featuring the return of a number of stars in their 60s
 
--A look at the weekend AAA TV taping and the next tapings
 
--What may be the last Budokan Hall wrestling sellout for a long time
 
--Details of this year's Champion Carnival tournament
 
--First night pairings and bracketing
 
--More craziness in Japan from Nobuo Shiraishi
 
--Update on the All Japan junior heavyweight tag team tournament
 
--New Japan stars going to NOAH for big matches
 
--Notes on NOAH's upcoming Global tag team tournament
 
--New Japan working with the NWA and other U.S> indie groups
 
--Japanese star announces retirement
 
--Son of Hall of Famer about to debut next month
 
--Sean Waltman talks injures when he tore up his ass, literally, wrestling Jerry Lynn
 
--Fund raisers for Scott Hall
 
--More on Extreme Rising canceling shows, wanting their title belt back and more
 
--Former WWF star fighting for life, questions why company helps other but not him
 
--Former ROH champion talks retirement
 
--Former WWE star in a movie role
 
--More notes on the Joe Weider pro wrestling connection
 
--What legendary pro wrestler used to appear in Weider barbell ads
 
--65-year-old territorial legend announces a comeback to build for his group's biggest show of the year and brings up a murder to build his angle
 
--WWE wrestler appears in foreign promotion based on contract clause
 
--TNA stars appearing in Puerto Rico
 
--Update on former wrestling announcer Bob Caudle
 
--A look back at the days when local station personalities handled the area wrestling
 
--Funny story about a wrestler playing a prank on a sportscaster
 
--80s star home burns down
 
--Story behind Charlie Haas leaving ROH, both the altercation and why people were so upset at him
 
--A look at ROH's show in Asheville
 
--More stations that could be getting ROH
 
--A look at changes in Spike TV and what they are looking at as far as changing image
 
--A look at TNA writing
 
--Hulk Hogan talks HHH taking over
 
--A title forgotten about
 
--UFC's debut on Fox Sports 1
 
--UFC champion getting married
 
--Lots  of UFC cuts
 
--Lots of new UFC fights
 
--Story behind Dan Hardy's ailment and his fighting future
 
--Nick Diaz's future as things stand
 
--Updating this season of Ultimate Fighter as the final episode approaches
 
--A look at the ending of the Bellator season
 
--Ken Shamrock coming out of retirement
 
--More notes on World Series of Fighting ratings
 
        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
history)
 
*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.
 
Rates are:
 
        For the United States, it is $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52.  In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 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
 
--Bryan and I will be back tonight, talking the ROH iPPV, updates on WrestleMania and the Hall of Fame, tomorrow's UFC show and taking e-mail questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
--UFC has inked a new TV deal with BT Sports in the U.K. when the ESPN U.K. contract ends in August.  We don't have anymore details and nobody in UFC is talking about it yet.

--Newsday has a story on A.J. Lee at http://www.newsday.com/sports/pro-wrestling/jersey-girl-aj-lee-comes-home-for-wrestlemania-29-at-metlife-stadium-1.5005748
 
--A story on the 29 biggest stars in the history of WrestleMania is at http://www.ethanwrites.com/7/post/2013/04/wrestlemania-29-the-29-biggest-stars-in-wrestlemania-history.html  The story by Ethan Renner listed Hulk Hogan first, Shawn Michaels second and The Rock third. 
 
--Hulk Hogan was on WFAN with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton (for MMA Uncensored on Spike) this morning, plugging the house show in Westbury, NY and his Q&A show later tonight at 10 p.m. at the Beacon Theater.  He said he'd talk about whether Andre the Giant really went after Badnews Brown backstage (actually it was in a bus and it was the other way around, although nothing happened) and did Paul Orndorff beat up Vader when he was naked in the shower (he wasn't naked in the shower).  When Hogan asked who the biggest stars in history were, he said himself, Bruno Sammartino, Andre and Steve Austin, then Rock.  He said the only thing he'd change about his career is that he'd have used the sleeper as a finisher instead of the leg drop which destroyed his body.  He then made up a story about how he led his team into the 1966 Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.  He claimed he was the star pitcher but they pitched him too often and his arm was tired and he gave up a grand slam causing his team to lose in the semifinals.  No, none of that is true, other than the Little League World Series was in Williamsport that year like every other year, and you can look up the Little League World series results from 1965, 1966 (the last year he'd have been eligible) and there's no team from the state of Florida who ever made it to Williamsport.  Apparently he told the story to them off the air the last time he was on the show.  Carton asked Hogan if he was involved in "this thing WWE is doing to honor legends from the past" in Madison Square Garden.  Hogan said he didn't know what that was about but he sent them some tights and boots. (thanks to Jeff Bradley)  
 
--Undertaker's match at the 4/23 Smackdown tapings in London will be a trios match, teaming with Randy Orton & Sheamus vs. The Shield in the dark match main event. (thanks to Matt Baker) 

--WWE is apparently planning on introducing a new championship--the NXT Divas title, as the new belt was shown at Axxess today. (thanks to Martin Bentley)

--Mark Henry is interviewed about high schooler Matt Poursoltani, who bench pressed 700 pounds at http://www.foxsports.southwest.com/story/High-schooler-breaking-bench-press-recor?blockID=888013&feedID=3799   Poursoltani said Henry was his hero.  Henry did a 501 bench press when he was a high school senior, but you can't compare the two because Henry didn't do it with the new bench shirts that add a significant amount to the total. 
 
--Some videos from the Asbury Park Press
 
John Cena talks about wrestling in New Jersey at http://on.app.com/10hywWh
 
C.M. Punk talks his friendship with the Jersey Rockers, the Bouncing Souls and his mindset at http://on.app.com/10AJMMa
 
Growth of WrestleMania at http://on.app.com/YWN9P3 (thanks to Steve Feitl) 
 
--Kaiju Big Battel live on iPPV at 11:55 p.m. at www.WWNLive.com
 
 
--A story on Bruno Sammartino is at http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/nyc-loved-bruno-article-1.1308041  It also has the 187 sellout myth.
 
Brian Fritz has a number of videos up regarding WrestleMania
 
 
 
 
 
--Shinya Aoki beat Kotetsu Boku via submission at 4:04 of the second round to win the One FC lightweight title earlier today in Kallang, Singapore at the Indoor Stadium.  The other major results saw Brock Larson win a decision over Melvin Manhoef and Masakatsu Ueda beat Jens Pulver via D'arce choke at 3:52 of the second round.  The show is available right now at www.ONEFC.LIVESPORT.TV for $9.99
 
--There have been a lot of technical problems with the Evolve iPPV from the Meadowlands Convention Center. This was the first of the iPPV shows from the location.  The show itself started about 27 minutes late but for those who have ordered, there has been a lot of freezing issues with the picture.

--Steve Austin has a podcast that debuts today on iTunes.  His second show, in a week, will have Shawn Michaels on it.
 
--A guy who thought ahead of time named John Chapman, who filed for the U.K. trademarks for both Mid South Wrestling and Universal Wrestling Federation, received a cash settlement from WWE today since they want to market their UWF and Mid South tapes of the U.S. version of the promotion formerly owned by Bill Watts, in the U.K.
 
--Smackdown tonight will mostly be clips building up Mania and stuff from Fan Axxess.  Two matches taped Monday will air, Ryback vs. Primo & Epico in a handicap match and Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston.
 
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1953 - Bobby Bruns & Bobby Managoff beat Al Kashey & Tom Rice to win the Hawaiian tag team titles in Honolulu.  Bruns was a major name in wrestling as he introduced pro wrestling to Japan and made the call to make Rikidozan the biggest star, and he was later the booker for Sam Muchnick in St. Louis
1961 - Skull Murphy beat Guy Mitchell in Columbus, GA to win the Southern title
1968 - The Spoiler beat Fritz Von Erich in Houston for the American title
1968 - Harley Race beat Sonny Myers in St. Joseph to win the Central Stats title
1974 - Pat Barrett & Tony Kontellis beat Bobby Shane & Mr. Wrestling (George Barnes) in Sydney to win the Austra Asian tag titles.  Shane gave Jerry Lawler his King gimmick.  Barnes later went to Memphis with Bill Dundee
1975 - The Great Mephisto pinned Bull Ramos in Melbourne to win the WCW Brass Knux title
1976 - Big Bad John & Bill Dundee beat Roger Kirby & David Shults in Memphis to win the Southern tag team titles
1978 - The Assassin & Ernie Ladd beat Ray Candy & Steven Little Bear in Baton Rouge to win the U.S. tag team titles
1978 - Steve Grey beat Bobby Ryan in the tournament final in Blackburn, England to win the British lightweight title
1979 - Masa Saito & Hiro Matsuda beat Seiji Sakaguchi & Strong Kobayashi in Fukuoka to win the North American tag team titles'
1982 - One of the most famous pro wrestling matches ever took place at the Mid South Coliseum in Memphis as actor Andy Kaufman beat Jerry Lawler via DQ for an illegal piledriver in the second move of the match.  Lawler gave him a second piledriver and Kaufman worked the injury wearing a neck brace everywhere he went for months.
1984 - Ted & Jerry Oates beat The Grapplers (Len Denton & Tony Anthony) in Kansas City to win the Central States tag team titles  
1985 - La Fiera beat Gran Hamada in Mexico City to win the NWA world middleweight title 
1986 - Riki Choshu beat Stan Hansen via DQ to win the PWF title
1986 - Chigusa Nagayo beat Dump Matsumoto in Tokyo to win the All Japan Women All-Pacific title
1987 - Brian Pillman & Bruce Hart beat Kerry Brown & Duke Myers to win the vacant International tag team titles in Calgary
1991 - Jeff Jarrett beat Tom Prichard to win the USWA title and Bill Dundee beat Eric Embry to win the Texas title in Dallas
1992 - El Satanico beat Lizmark in Mexico City to win the NWA world light heavyweight title
1992 - WrestleMania 8 took place in Indianapolis at the Hoosier Dome.  Hulk Hogan beat Sycho Sid via DQ in the main event due to outside interference. Randy Savage beat Ric Flair to win the WWF title while Bret Hart pinned Roddy Piper to win the IC title
1997 - Carlos Colon won the WWC Universal title beating Jungle Jim Steele in Caguas
1999 - X-Pac & Kane beat Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett at the Nassau Coliseum to win the WWF tag team titles
 
POLL ON MAIN EVENT FROM WEDNESDAY
Excellent 6.6%
Good 26.2%
Average 31.1%
Fair 4.9%
Poor 31.1%
        67.7% of those responding didn't see the show
 
WHAT SHOW TODAY DO YOU HAVE THE MOST INTEREST IN?
ROH iPPV 37.6%
Invicta iPPV 12.9%
Hulk Hogan & Friends 11.5%
TNA PPV 10.8%
Evolve iPPV 8.8%
TNA house show 7.8%
CZW 4.4%
Pro Wrestling Syndicate 3.4%
One FC 2.7%
 
WHO SHOULD WIN THIS MATCH?
 John Cena 58.1%
The Rock 41.9%
 
WHO SHOULD WIN THIS MATCH?
Undertaker 66.0%
C.M. Punk 34.0%
 
WHAT WAS THE BEST MATCH IN WRESTLEMANIA HISTORY?
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin 38.2%
Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage 17.7%
Undertaker vs. Michaels I 17.5%
Angle vs. Michaels 5.8%
Benoit vs. HHH vs. Michaels 5.4%
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart 4.4%
Rock vs. Hulk Hogan 3.7%
Undertaker vs. HHH III 3.6%
Michaels vs. Ramon 2.0%
Undertaker vs HHH II 1.6%
 
--Sika of Wild Samoan fame turned 68 today.  Diamond Dallas Page turned 57.
 
--Sara Lee, the veteran woman wrestling star who married Corsica Joe and ran the box office in Nashville forever, including being used as the Mae Young in early TNA skits written by Vince Russo, passed away seven years ago today at the age of 76.   
 
--River City Wrestling has a dinner with Hernandez tonight at 7:30 p.m., with a three-course meal, valet parking and more at the Emily Morgan Hotel across from the Alamo at 7:30 p.m. for just $25.  RSVP by 5 p.m. at 210-842-8398.
 
--FILA has announced that May will be World Wresting Month, as a way to raise awareness for wrestling and get it back in the Olympics.  USA Wrestling is looking at promoting events and demonstrations around the country including experimenting with rule changes.  The schedule will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
 
 
--Smoky Mountain Wrestling tomorrow night in Elizbethton,TN at the High School Gym
 
--CHIKARA returns to iPPV for its only show in Philadelphia this year on 6/2 called Aniversario:  Never Compromise.  It will be from the Trocadero and tickets are on sale now.  We'll have more as the event approaches.  
 
--Interviews with Trina Michaels and Peter Birkholz are at http://angrymarks.com/?ArticleID=24489
 
--World's Best Wrestling on 4/13 in Sardinia, OH at 116  College Avenue