Also in this week's issue:
--A look at the 57th anniversary of pro wrestling at Arena Mexico as well as the first main event ever.
--Another special show coming this week
--One of the legends of wrestling quits home promotion and why
--The real reasons AAA is splitting into two groups and who can appear on what show
--A look at the expected rosters after the split
--A look at Dragon Gate's biggest show so far this year coming up
--Notes on the next two tournaments on Dragon Gate shows
--Hottest tag team feud right now in pro wrestling and its next chapter
--A look at NOAH's Global Tag League tournament
--The biggest women's pro wrestling show in many years and what former TNA star wins a title
--Health update on stars from the past
--Another major international group moving its big shows to iPPV
--Another new pro wrestling DVD funded
--Notes on next year's Cauliflower Alley Club and why the changes
--City bans pro wrestling
--Book on 30-year-old wrestling death comes out next week
--Tommy Dreamer runs second House of Hardcore show
--Indie name retires due to injuries
--A look at ROH's shows this week
--How Sinclair Broadcasting is doing with finances
--Details on Hulk Hogan's legal battle with Gawker media
--What match is TNA building toward
--Thoughts on the current TNA product and main angle
--Who is responsible for TNA's main angle
--Why TNA is no longer going live on Spike even though they are pretending they are
--Notes on the next TNA taping
--A major hire from WWE comes to TNA
--Notes on next TNA PPV show
--Lots of UFC business notes
--Thoughts and lineup for the next UFC on FOX show
--Thoughts on the Matt Mitrione situation
--Jon Jones gets involved in Mitrione controversy
--Jones talks Sonnen
--A look at the UFC heavyweight division
--UFC meeting with major companies about possible deals
--How NASCAR did compared to UFC in same time slot
--New UFC endorsement deals
--New UFC matches made
--Idea batted around for the first UFC on FS 1 show in Boston
--Olympic gold medalist continue to rise in MMA ranks
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 $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
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.
Thursday's News Update
--WWE reported its first quarter earnings today. The company grossed $124.0 million and registered a $3.0 million profit for the quarter. Last year during the same period, the company grossed $123.1 million but the profits were $15.3 million. The main reasons for lower profits were:
1) Increasing spending in upgrading developmental
2) Cost of celebrity guest talent (read that Dwayne Johnson and Brock Lesnar)
3) DVD profits down because of overestimation of how the Christmas season would do
4) Lower licensing revenue
5) Significant decline in business outside North America (this is also covered in points three and four)
6) Losses on the movie "Dead Man Down."
7) Spending for the network
The up side is PPV gross revenue was up, as were buys (PPV profitability was down, however due more expenses than the business increase), house shows were up and new revenue streams based on content like the new TV shows, You Tube and Hulu Plus added to the bottom line. Without them, profits would have been way down.
Bryan and I will go after this more on audio today and the complete rundown will be in the Observer coming up.
--Even though Wall Street expected profits more in the $6 million range, the stock did go up today from $9.00 to $9.13 per share. Wall Street liked the increase in PPV numbers in particular, which is something we've talked about, because they took it as the first sign of a popularity growth.
--Given the reason the PPV numbers were up, it is notable the name Dwayne Johnson was never uttered during the conference. But that's part of the strategy that it's social media growing numbers.
--Nothing significant was said about the network past that "Legends House" was not going to be put on television and they are saving it for the network. There was no start date, only that it would be up and rolling and making a significant bottom line difference by late 2015.
--Vince pushed that seven new talents were in their first WrestleMania (Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Ryback, Big E Langston, Fandango and someone else).
--Dixie Carter announced that TNA would be taping Impact on 1/30 in Glasgow, Scotland at the new Hydro Arena, a 12,000-seat building that opens in the fall. The show will air for the first time live in the U.K. on a Thursday night and presumably would air on a few hour tape delay in the U.S.
--With Rogers Communications' purchase of The Score going through yesterday, Raw starts at 8 p.m. weekly starting this coming Monday in Canada.
--Dwayne Johnson turned 41 today. Don Kernodle, the former Mid Atlantic star, turned 63. It was 30 years ago that the Slaughter & Kernodle vs. Steamboat & Youngblood feud took place.
--Dwayne Johnson has inked a deal with HBO for a TV pilot and executive producing gig for an untitled show about athletes from a variety of sports who live in Miami. The show is a scripted comedy/drama where Johnson would play one of the top athletes in the world who lives in Miami. The show is scheduled to film in the fall. Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson will be Executive Producers.
--Jerry Lawler is coming to Fort Myers, FL at the Hammond Stadium for the Fort Myers Miracle vs. St. Lucie Mets minor league game on Saturday night. Lawler will sign autographs, pose for photos and throw out the first pitch.
--ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Brian Hoops and Graeme Cameron)
1903 - Buttan Singh beat Gunga Brahm in Melbourne to become the first ever Australian heavyweight champion. Yes, no Australians were involved in the first title match.
1964 - Mad Dog Vachon beat Verne Gagne to win the AWA title before 6,025 fans in Omaha
1976 - Rene Guajardo beat Gran Hamada in Monterrey to win the UWA middleweight title
1977 - Larry O'Dea & Ron Miller beat Butcher Brannigan & Bugsy McGraw to win the Austra Asian tag team titles in Sydney
1982 - Aristotle beat Negro Casas to win the Mexican national lightweight title
1982 - Buzz Sawyer beat Tommy Rich to win the National heavyweight title in Atlanta
1987 - Curt Hennig beat Nick Bockwinkel to win the AWA tile when Larry Zbyszko gave Hennig a roll of quarters. There is a really funny back story here. The title was supposed to go back to Bockwinkel. At the time, Hennig made a verbal agreement to go to the WWF. Verne Gagne wanted to keep him and Hennig would only stay if he got the title. So the plan was reversed, Hennig got the title and he told WWF he wasn't coming. They weren't happy. As it turned out, Hennig ended up leaving a year later anyway.
1994 - Larry Zbyszko beat Steven Regal to win the WCW TV title in Atlanta
1994 - Jake Roberts beat Dirty White Boy in Harriman, TN to win the Smoky Mountain title
1994 - Doug Gilbert beat Brian Christopher to win the USWA Southern title and The Eliminators beat Brian Christopher & Eddie Gilbert to win the USWA tag titles in Memphis
1996 - Dean Malenko beat Shinjiro Otani to win the WCW cruiserweight title in Orlando
1998 - Chris Benoit beat Booker T in Charleston, SC to win the U.S. title
1999 - Mitsuharu Misawa beat Vader to win the Triple Crown title
2000 - Chris Jericho beat Chris Benoit in Richmond, VA to win the IC title
--Jos LeDuc passed away on this date in 1999 at the age of 54. Sammy Steamboat, one of Hawaii's all-time greats, passed away at the age of 71 on this date seven years ago. Sammy Steamboat was where Ricky Steamboat got his name from as they billed him as the nephew of Steamboat, who was a big star in the 60s in Florida as Eddie Graham's tag team partner. Sammy Steamboat's father, the original Sammy Steamboat Mokuahi, was a legend in surfing. His son got into amateur and pro wrestling because when Lou Thesz would go to Hawaii, he had a deal where the father would give him surfing lessons, and in exchange, he'd give his son wrestling lessons. Sammy Jr. was a great amateur who went on to be a major star in the pros.
WHO IS THE BEST OF CURRENT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS?
Kane & Daniel Bryan 50.7%
Killer Elite Squad 17.6%
Fish & O'Reilly 11.0%
Akiyama & Shiozaki 9.9%
BxB Hulk & Uhaa Nation 4.8%
Chavo Guerrero Jr. & Hernandez 4.4%
Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka 1.5%
WHAT MATCH AT WRESTLING DONTAKU ARE YOU MOST INTERESTED IN?
Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki 49.4%
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Karl Anderson 18.8%
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Shelton Benjamin 7.6%
Masato Tanaka vs. Tomoaki Honma 4.7%
Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata 4.7%
Prince Devitt & King Fale vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Captain New Japan 4.1%
Alex Shelley & Kushida vs. Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov 3.5%
Nagata & Liger & Tiger Mask & Maximo vs. Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi & Gedo & Jado 3.5%
Four-way tag title 2.4%
Makabe vs. Takahashi 1.2%
DO YOU THINK UFC IS DOING A GOOD JOB THE WAY THEY BOOK MAIN EVENTS RIGHT NOW?
Yes, they are producing the money matches 64.4%
No they are hurting the product long-term 35.6%
WHO HAS DONE THE BEST AT MAKING NEW STARS THIS YEAR?
WHICH OF THESE DO YOU BELIEVE HAS THE MOST US FANS
--Tonight in Fuel has UFC tonight at 7:30 p.m., Best of Pride at 8 p.m. Ultimate Insider at 10:30 p.m. and Josh Koscheck vs. Anthony Johnson at 11 p.m. All times are Eastern.
--TNT was No. 1 in the cable ratings last week with 2.67 million viewers to 2.55 million for USA. FX was No. 10 at 1.32 million. Syfy was No. 13 at 1.17 million and Spike was No. 23 at 761,000. The three hours of Raw last week were No. 3, No. 5 and No. 7. Duck Dynasty 9.63 million viewers) and the NFL draft on ESPN (6.20 million) beat Raw. In 18-49, Raw had No. 6 and No. 7 and the first hour wasn't in the top ten.
--Grapplers Quest presents the Canadian National championships on 5/25 and 5/26 in Brampton, ONT at the Century Gardens. There is $75,000 in prize money. Former UFC fighter Kurt Pellegrino faces Jorge Brittoin a 10 minute submission no gi main event at 1:30 p.m. on 5/25. Pellegrino will also be doing a seminar on 5/26 from Noon to 2 p.m. Winners in eight divisions will get tickets to go to Las Vegas to compete in the finals at the UFC Fan Expo in conjunction with the 7/6 show.
--One Fighting Championships has inked a deal with Yahoo! Philippines airing exclusive content all year long, including interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
--Tommaso Ciampa returns from major knee surgery tomorrow night in Woburn, MA and Saturday night in Littleton, NH for Chaotic Wrestling.
--CZW on 5/11 in Voorhees, NJ at Flyers Skate Zone is doing a King and Queen of the Ring mixed tag team tournament with first round matches of Athena & AR Fox vs. Ezavel Suena & Latin Dragon, Nevaeah & Jake Crist vs. Cherry Bomb & Pepper Parks, Christina Von Eeerie & Masada vs. Addy Starr & Matt Tremont and Kimber Lee & Drew Gulak vs. Mickie Knuckles & Devon Moore. Jessicka Havoc will also face Sami Callihan.
--The annual CZW Tournament of Death is 6/8 at 179 Ebenezer Church Rd, in Townsend, DE at 2 p.m.
--Powerhouse Steve Mocco has his second MMA fight tomorrow night in Bettendorf, IA at the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center. Mocco is living in Florida and training with the American Top Team with Antonio Silva, Tim Sylvia, Glover Teixera and Shawn Jordan. Mocco was a two-time NCAA heavyweight champion who placed seventh in the 2008 Olympics.
--There is a story at http://www.cagepotato.com
by Brian D'Souza reviewing GSP's new book, and talking about what isn't in it.
--Primos Wrestling on 5/12 in Denver at Casselman's Bar and Venue. Colt Cabana and Harry Smith are on the show.
--This wasn't mentioned yesterday in the history piece, but it was 19 years ago yesterday when Rick Rude beat Sting at the Fukuoka Dome to win the WCW International title. Rude broke his back catching Sting on a dive and never wrestled again. He was training to come back in WWF when he passed away.
--Traditional Championship Wrestling has let go Jamie Morris as head of creative. President Matt Riviera said they are trying to go into a more Southern style gritty direction.
--CHIKARA goes on iPPV on 6/2 from the Trocadero in Philadelphia.
--Evolve announced these dates:
5/30 in Orlando at the Armory
6/1 in Jacksonville at the Edge Concert Hall
6/2 in Ybor City, FL at the Orpheum.
Evolve is changing its product mix and every show will include European style, Dragon Gate style, Lucha Libre, heavyweight and U.S. cruiserweight style matches. Appearing on all three shows include AR Fox, Johnny Gargano, The Young Bucks, Chuck Taylor, Samuray del Sol, Jon Davis, Anthony Nese, Eita, Tomahawk T.T., Caleb Konley, Brian Cage (debuting), Tommy Taylor, Lince Dorado and Shane Strickland (debuting). The Open the Freedom Gate and Open the United Gate title will be defended over that weekend.
--Amy Schumer was on Conan O'Brien last night and talked about Dolph Ziggler. She never mentioned him by name, just saying she used to date a wrestler and showed his photo.
--A freestyle wrestling event called Rumble on the Rails with Team U.S., Team Iran and Team Russia, takes place in New York at Vanderbilt Hall at the Grand Central Terminal on 5/15. The Iranian team will feature two Olympic medalists and several other 2012 Olympic team members.