Also in this week's issue:
--Hall of Famer getting a Medal of Merit for out of the ring work
--Two stars in auto accident
--A look at the two major Dragon Gate shows of the past week
--An update on the All Japan/Keiji Muto split, and who seems to be leaning in what direction.
--Nobuo Shirashi talks the company's financial condition before he got there
--Jun Akiyama said he's made his decision where he's going
--All Japan announces full show for Sumo Hall
--NOAH announces the top matches on its next big show
--Coverage of Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial Show
--A look at NOAH's upcoming tag team tournament
--Lots of New Japan vs. NOAH matches
--Notes on the next New Japan PPV show
--Prince Devitt vs. Jushin Liger in England
--Zero-One's biggest event of the year
--Early 80s biggest feud returning again
--Lots of notes on the death and autopsy results of Reid Flair
--Notes on the death of Al Green
--Who is Jackie Fargo
--Brad Armstrong Memorial show notes
--A look at the last PWG show with some of the best indie wrestlers in the country
--More on Mark Starr's death
--Wrestling Hall of Famer said to be the biggest omission in Boxing Hall of Fame, makes Tyson sick
--Promotion of the WWC's match between the two biggest native stars in its history
--WCW star talks about returning to wrestling
--ROH next iPPV notes
--Notes on TNA's Destination X show
--Another major TNA exec let go
--Notes on future TNA Gut Check international star
--A look at TNA's weekend house shows
--Update on UFC in Boston
--Advance ticket sales for upcoming UFC events
--The situation with TRT being allowed in California
--Another UFC fighter takes heat for his views
--Dan Henderson talks Chael Sonnen
--Chael Sonnen says why he doesn't like LeBron James
--Jon Jones talks why he doesn't want to face Machida
--Dana White talks the currently filmed season of Ultimate Fighter
--Lots of new UFC fights
--More on Josh Burkman vs. Jon Fitch
--Former UFC fighter sentenced to 13 years in prison
--A seemingly insane attempt on PPV
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.
Tuesday's News Update
--We've got a couple of new audio shows besides our regular news show up. We spoke to longtime Memphis area promoter/GM Randy Hales about Jackie Fargo and his stardom in the area, biggest angles and his appeal. We also just did a show with Invicta promoter Shannon Knapp on moving to PPV, how she got started and more.
--The stuff announced for Smackdown tonight is a Dublin street fight between Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow, plus an Alberto Del Rio fiesta. Nothing has been announced ahead of time for Main Event.
--Scott Bowden has an interview with Jerry Lawler about Jackie Fargo at www.kentuckyfriedwrestling.com
which also has Fargo's interview where he introduced the Fabulous Ones. He says, "Jimmy Hart, you stink," about 50 times.
--Services for Fargo will be at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Linn-Honeycutt Funeral Home in China Grove, NC, hosted by Bobby Fulton (former member of The Fantastics, who also emulated the Fargos). Graveside services will be at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday at the West Lawn Memorial Park in China Grove. Memorials can be made to the Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary at 220 Grace Church Rd., in Salisbury NC 28146.
--HBO's Real Sports tonight looks at post traumatic stress disorder with reporter Soleded O'Brien interviewing former war veterans who say that MMA training has helped combat their issues. The show debuts tonight at 10 p.m.
--No UFC Tonight on Fuel tonight. There will be a Ronda Rousey special tonight at 10 p.m. in the time slot, where Rousey talks about her fights with Liz Carmouche, Sarah Kaufman (I'm not sure how much you can say about a less than one minute fight) and Miesha Tate.
--There is a very interesting interview with Derek Foore, who was in developmental at http://theshoot.podomatic.com/entry/2013-06-23T19_28_40-07_00
Foore is very mad about his treatment in developmental, and particularly ripped trainer Bill DeMott, as well as noting that a lot of his ideas that he and Chase Donovan came up with including the hugging, Dr. Shelby for Team Hell No and the whistle for the Prime Time Players were his ideas. Foore looked a lot physically like Kurt Angle and was signed after winning a Division II national title in college.
--It was noted that no pro wrestlers were inducted again this year into Canada's Walk of Fame. Last year there was a failed attempt for Bret Hart. No wrestler have ever been inducted, although Trish Stratus hosted the ceremony itself once. In the past, there were articles and attempts directed at getting Whipper Watson, Stu Hart and Mad Dog Vachon in, but it's very unlikely it will ever happen because they go for newer names who are media friendly at the time as opposed to older sports legends. (thanks to Nathan Cox)
--UFC will be doing another Friday/Saturday deal in November, with a Friday night show on 11/15 on Fox Sports 1 from Brazil, and a Saturday night show, a PPV from Las Vegas headlined by GSP vs. Johny Hendricks, the next night. They did that twice last year and it is the only ones scheduled thus for this year.
--From an economic standpoint, UFC's Fight Weeks are now overall bigger than WrestleMania. At least the claims are that last year's generated $140 million in economic impact for Las Vegas and a USA Today article said this year's could hit $150 million. I haven't seen a WrestleMania number for this year, but the 2012 version in Miami claimed $103 million. Either way, both are huge.
--Dana White said they are sending twice as many fighters to Las Vegas as in previous years for the various activities.
--WWC is doing an iPPV on Saturday night from Caguas, PR at the Hector Sola Bezares Coliseum at http://wwclive.com
for $20. The iPPV starts at 6 p.m. with two-and-a-half hours of buildup, interviews, stories behind all the matches, with the actual wrestling starting at 8:35 p.m.. The show is headlined by the two biggest stars in the history of Puerto Rican wrestling, Carlos Colon vs. Invader I, both in their mid-60s, battling for the ownership of the WWC. Americans on the show will include Carlito, Chris Masters, Andy Leavine, Samson Walker, the Sos of Samoa, Kenny Dykstra, Ricochet and Fidel Sierra.
--There will be a PPV on Saturday night from Kansas City called "The British Invasion: U.S. vs. U.K." at the Sprint Center, headlined by Ricco Rodriguez vs. Marcin Lasarz and Jimmy Ambriz vs. Oli Thompson. Bobby Lashley has been added to the show, although today, just four days away, they don't have an opponent finalized for him. This is not an Internet PPV but a regular PPV.
--When I did the Saturday night radio show with Mike Sempervive, the term rubber match was asked about. We really didn't get a answer as to where the term came from but most seem to feel it came from baseball and the third game of an even series.
--Presale for WWE house show tickets to the 8/24 show in San Diego start at 10 a.m. tomorrow with the code WWEFAN. Tickets also go on sale tomorrow for Fresno with the code WWELIVE
--For those wondering about Rick Martel in 2013, he shot this videotape in Quebec City with the rock band "Alert the Medic" at http://youtu.be/hpuvCs-aDs0
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Brian Hoops and Graeme Cameron)
1934 - Jim Londos beat Jim Browning in Madison Square Garden to unify both the New York State Athletic Commission's recognized world heavyweight title with the National Wrestling Association world title
1968 - Bobo Brazil beat Giant Baba in Nagoya to win the International title at a time when Baba's losses were so rare this match, just because of the result, was legendary for decades.
1976 - In one of the biggest matches in pro wrestling history, maybe the most famous ever in Japan, Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki went to a 15 round draw in what was supposed to be a pro wrestling match, and is now considered by many as the first great MMA match in history. I don't know what it was, but the answer is closer to neither. It was a flop on closed circuit in the U.S., with the exception of the Northeast, where Bruno Sammartino vs. Stan Hansen was the real draw. In Japan, it drew gigantic TV ratings.
1985 - Lioness Asuka beat Dump Matsumoto to win the All Japan women's Grand Prix tournament
1992 - The Sheik beat Atsushi Onita in Sapporo to win the WWA Martial Arts championship. I know that when I think of great martial arts champions, Ed Farhat is the first person who comes to mind.
1995 - Mabel beat Savio Vega to win the King of the Ring tournament in Philadelphia. Years later the WWE web site wrote about this with the line, "What were we thinking?"
2000 - Kurt Angle beat Rikishi to win the King of the Ring tournament in Boston
2006 - Johnny Nitro, now John Morrison, beat Carlito and Shelton Benjamin to win the IC title at the Vengeance PPV.
--In Las Vegas last night during Raw, when airing a commercial for the upcoming 8/27 show, they mentioned as coming to Las Vegas the current IC champion Wade Barrett.
--Mick Foley talks the Wyatt Family, Dean Ambrose and what he got turned down asking Vince McMahon for at the Hall of Fame at www.MLW.com
--Cody Hall, the son of Scott, debuts on Friday night with the Progression Pro Wrestling show in Atlanta. Scott Hall will also be at the show. Scott was watching Cody's match this past Saturday night in Cornelia, GA.
PREDICT THE RAW RATING
2.6 or less 7.4%
3.6 or more 5.8%
WHAT WAS THE BEST OF THESE RECENT SHOWS
WWE Payback 47.5%
New Japan Dominion 32.9%
TNA Slammiversary 5.4%
UFC Nogueira vs. Werdum 5.0%
ROH Best in the World 3.8%
WWE Extreme Rules 2.1%
UFC 160 1.3%
UFC Belfort vs Rockhold 1.3%
UFC Henderson vs Evans 0.8%
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST NEWS STORY OF MAY
Kenta Kobashi retirement show 47.1%
Dolph Ziggler concussion 10.2%
Announcement of Fox Sports 1 7.2%
Keiji Muto leaves All Japan, sets up promotional split 7.0%
WrestleMania buy number reported 6.1%
Hector Garza passes away 5.9%
Mick McManus passes away 4.8%
Christy Hemme/Austin Aries incident 4.5%
UFC announces its own TV station for Latin market 4.1%
TNA time slot moves, Bellator moved away from TNA 1.4%
Nate Diaz fined for gay slur 1.1%
Shane Carwin 0.7%
IF YOU DIDN'T WATCH BELLATOR LAST WEEK, WILL YOU WATCH ON 7/31?
No, not interested in Bellator 44.9%
Won't watch any MMA 30.4%
Yes, only missed because I wasn't aware they had a show 6.8%
Usually won't watch Bellator, but will watch with 2 title bouts and 2 tourney finals 6.3%
Won't watch any non-UFC MMA 6.3%
Yes, only missed due to NHL game 5.3%
--Stars of Wrestling on 6/29 in Alameda, CA at the Alameda Point Gym with Bobby Lashley, Boogeyman, Gangrel and Sione. The gym is at 1101 W. Redline Ave.
--Every fan who comes to this coming Saturday's Smoky Mountain Wrestling show in Kingsport, TN will get a free ticket to the 7/13 show in Elizabethton, TN at Happy Valley High School. The show will feature a Rumble style Battle Royal, with the winner getting a shot at NWA champion Rob Conway when he comes to Kingsport on 8/10. Also on Saturday, NWA jr. champ Chase Owens faces Joe Black in a non-title match.
--Hoosier Pro Wrestling from Sunday in Columbus, IN before 175 fans (show was outdoors, scheduled for Saturday, but it rained, and this show was stopped early because of lightning and rain but they were able to get 1,100 cans of food for the Eastside Community Center): Aaron Anarchy b Ace Perry, Fast Eddie b Chris from Aaron's, TJ Powers b Fiji Wildman, Fuji Brown b Darrin Knight, Donny Idol vs. Fast Eddie canceled due to rain, Diceman Ronnie Vegas & Jesse Asher b Stompin Steve & Cooter Clampett after it stopped raining (thanks to Jerry Wilson)
--AWF in Perth, Western Australia on 6/29 and 6/30 with shows at Noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. from the Claremont Showgrounds.
--Angelo Mosca was announced as coming to the Mid Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fan Fest from 8/1 to 8/4 in Charlotte. I'm told that 2014 is going to be the last year they are doing this. That's too bad if true because I've always heard people having a wonderful time. Visit www.NWALegends.com
for more info.
--Sportsnet magazine had a book of sports lists. In the category of famous athletes who were bad with their money, Ric Flair was listed as No. 9. In largest indoor attendance, they listed he worked WrestleMania number as No. 3 behind the NBA All-Star Game and a Cowboys vs. Giants game at Cowboys Stadium (thanks to Robert Kurelicz)
--Former WWE wrestler Gene Snisky, who wrestled as Snitsky, is returning to wrestling. He hasn't worked much in recent years, but wants to work a regular indie schedule starting next month. Anyone interested can go to