THURS UPDATE: Updated WWE show, Stephanie selling more stock, Slammy Awards, Bazzie Awards, New Japan tourney, Taker opponent at Mania, WWE star speaking tonight, Who Sarge thinks should be pushed harder
By Dave Meltzer |
Robbie E & Jessie Godderz vs. James Storm & Gunner for the tag team titles
Ethan Carter III vs. Earl Hebner
Chris Sabin vs Austin Aries for the X title (things were taped out of order so this may also air next week)
Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode in a tables match in the TNA title tournament semifinals
Kurt Angle vs. Magnus in a last man standing match in the TNA title tournament semifinals
We've got our holiday special for all newsletter and web site subscribers. Anyone who orders a gift subscription for a friend who is a new subscriber for four months will get one free month added to your subscription. Just make sure when you order to note it is the holiday special.
Our newest issue, which is up on the site today, talks about the difficulty in gauging what is and isn't working from a financial standpoint. We look at ratings, as well as the October PPV numbers, what it means for Daniel Bryan, as well as notes on the Hell in a Cell show coming up and the unification situation.
We also have part two of our feature on the life and times of Mad Dog Vachon. In this feature, we talk with Baron Von Raschke about his friend of 47 years, how Vachon helped so many people get their big breaks including Pat Patterson. We look at Von Raschke's first career break as Vachon's tag team partner in Montreal, how he got the Baron Von Raschke name, what Vachon idea led to the first wrestling sellout at the Omni and the second half of Vachon's career.
We look at Vachon's babyface run during the last glory period of the AWA, his appearance on Wide World of Sports, his run during the Hulk Hogan era, the story of when he opened the door on an airplane in flight, his legendary promos, his drawing power, and whe he first showed signs of being a star.
We look at Vachon boxing Jersey Joe Walcott, his two WWE PPV appearance after he retired, his biggest AWA matches as a heel, the death of Grand Prix Wrestling, his time in Japan, his biggest feuds, Super Sunday in St. Paul, the death of the AWA, Vachon's WWF run, his being a cultural icon in Quebec, losing his leg, Celine Dion, TV commercials and more on the Vachon wrestling family.
We also look more at some of his most famous matches.
We also look at WrestleMania in 2015, WWE Network, Tribute to the Troops, return of Michael Hayes, who is making the major WWE decisions, Sin Cara, WWE stock and its future, WWE star engaged, Slammy Awards, Ziggler, DVD sales and what WWE is advertising is happening next. We also look at a new talent signing, a new football player trying out, and the 2000 WrestleMania.
We've got an update on UFC fighter Shane Del Rosario.
We also have a lot of exclusive details on the new UFC digital channel. We look at what will be on the channel, when it will start, the first three cards broadcast live, how it will change coverage of every UFC show and more.
We've also got coverage of the Ultimate Fighter finals.
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 31st 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.
If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today. With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today. Just sent your Visa or Master Card order with your name, address, phone number, card number and expiration date to
You can also order by paypal by sending to www.paypal.com
and directing the funds to
You can also subscribe via check, cash or money order, as well as credit card by mail, by sending to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.
We also have a look at the ratings of all the major shows.
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:
--Latest from Arena Mexico
--Mexican national title change
--More on AAA's U.S. expansion ideas
--Why things are so much different now than 20 years ago when AAA was huge in many U.S. markets
--Why AAA is guaranteed a sellout for Guerra de Titanes this week
--Next Dragon Gate title match
--Coverage of the All Japan and New Japan tag team tournaments
--Update on Tokyo Dome show
--Lots of new PPV dates announced for 2014
--New Japan iPPV show notes from this week
--A big tournament special live show that features stars from MMA, sumo, pro wrestling, baseball, UFC and more
--President of major MMA promotion will be doing a pro wrestling match this month
--First time Hall of Fame father teams with his son announced
--Update on Dynamite Kid
--More on all the talk shows coming to the U.K.
--A look at the wrestling business career of Joyce Farhat, the wife of The Sheik
--Former WWE star doing a documentary
--Two wrestlers over the age of 65 headlining another major show
--End of a 22 year old wrestling promotion
--Starrcade lives, sort of
--More on Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards, and story behind his being gone from ROH
--Major newcomer headed to ROH for Final Battle
--TNA's top storyline
--TNA total lack of quality control
--Background of Le'D Tapa
--Notes on a lot of new TNA PPV matches upcoming
--Update on Matt Grice
--Next UFC show
--Anthony Pettis injury update
--Disappointing FOX lineup
--Update on Ben Askren
--UFC TV schedule for the new year
--Tons of new UFC fights
--A look at the major MMA shows of the weekend
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
--Weigh-ins for the UFC show tomorrow night in Brisbane, Australia are at 10 p.m. Eastern tonight on FS 2 and probably on this site. Yes, there is a UFC show tomorrow night from Brisbane, Australia which has prelims on FS 2 at 7 p.m. and the main card of FS 1 at 9 p.m. headlined by Mark Hunt vs. Bigfoot Silva
--Bryan and I just finished another show talking about the office changes in WWE as well as future TNA plans.
--WWE has changed its Madison Square Garden card on 12/26 once again. The new cared is John Cena vs. Randy Orton with Booker T as referee, Rhodes Brothers defending the tag titles against Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro in a cage match, Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio and Big Show vs. Kane. Next week we'll be back with the new card.
--Stephanie McMahon just sold another $1.4 million in stock this past week.
--Here are some Slammy Award nominees
Superstar of the Year - Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, C.M. Punk, John Cena, Randy Orton
Total Diva of the Year - Eva Marie, Natalya, Naomi & Cameron (together), A.J. Lee, Kaitlyn and the Bella Twins
Double Cross of the Year - HHH screwing Daniel Bryan; Shawn Michaels screwing Daniel Bryan; Mark Henry turning on John Cena in that interview; Paul Heyman screwing C.M. Punk. No Damien Sandow screwing Cody Rhodes?
--Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian will be doing a live second screen experience Q&A while Impact is gong on tonight.
--Yves Jabouin vs. Eddie Wineland has been added to the 1/25 show in Chicago. This will probably air on FS 1 before the FOX show.
--The New Japan tag tourney continues tomorrow morning in Shimane:
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Kazuchika Okada & Yoshi-Hashi
Tetsuya Naito & La Sombra vs. Rob Conway & Jax Dane
Yujiro Takahashi & Masato Tanaka vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer
Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Strongman
WILL UFC'S DIGITAL NETWORK BE A SUCCESS?
WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SEE FACE UNDERTAKER AT WRESTLEMANIA?
Brock Lesnar 53.5%
John Cena 28.4%
Roman Reigns 14.8%
WILL THE WWE NETWORK BE A SUCCESS?
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1977 - Bill Dundee & Norvell Austin beat Dennis Condrey & Phil Hickerson in Memphis to win the Southern tag titles and Jerry Lawler beat Jimmy Valiant to win the Southern title
1984 - Antonio Inoki & Tatsumi Fujinami beat Dick Murdoch & Adrian Adonis to win the MSG tag team tournament in Osaka
1992 - Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada beat Terry Gordy & Steve Williams to win the Real World Tag League at Budokan Hall in Tokyo
1997 - Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue beat Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama to win the Real World Tag League at Budokan Hall in Tokyo
1998 - Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama beat Stan Hansen & Vader to win the Real World Tag League at Budokan Hall in Tokyo
--Tickets for the 1/18 World Series of Fighting show in Hollywood, FL at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. Justin Gaethje (10-0) vs. J.Z. Cavalcante (18-7-1) for the vacant flyweight title and Anthony Johnson (15-4) vs. Mike Kyle (20-10-1) are the two headline fights.
--Bret Hart and Honky Tonk Man appear Saturday and Sunday at the Ottawa Pop Expo. C4 Wrestling will be doing shows at the Expo in Hall 2 with shows on Saturday at 10:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
--Booker T was featured on NBA.TV all night last night. He was at the Houston Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns game.
--Full Impact Pro tomorrow night in Orlando at the Downtown Rec Complex with Roderick Strong vs. Rich Swann, Trent Baretta vs. Lince Dorado and Caleb Konley & Andrew Everett vs. The Washington Bullets. They also run Saturday night at The Orpheum in Ybor City, FL with Lance & Harlem Bravado vs. Los Ben Dejos, Strong vs. Everett, Konley vs. Swann an Jessica Havok vs. Mia Yim vs. Su Yung.
--One FC weigh-ins for tomorrow for the show in Manila, Philippines
Herbert Burns (145) vs. Edward Kelly (144)
Khim Dima (125) vs. Ruel Catalan (124)
Joshua Alvarez (135) vs. Koetsu Okazaki (135)
Paul Cheng (255.75) vs. Alain Ngalani (234)
Bae Hwan Kim (135) vs. Thanh Vu (134)
Eugene Toquero (125) vs. Geje Eustaquio (125)
Caros Fodor (155) vs. Vuyisile Colossa (155)
Vincet Latoel (154) vs. Eduard Folayang (154)
David Aranda (135) vs. Kevin Belingon (134)
Honoro Banario (145) vs. Koji Oishi (145) for featherweight title
--Ultimo Dragon, who has been wrestling on All Japan shows this week, is doing an angle that is expected to climax on Sunday in Osaka where Yoshinobu Kanemaru will accept his challenge in a belt vs belt situation with the old Int. jr. title against the current All Japan jr. title
--CWE on 12/14 in Selkirk, Manitoba with Robby Royce vs. Rex Roberts in the main event at Memorial Hall.
--Tickets go on sale tomorrow for the Mid South Legends Fanfest in Chalmette, LA (just outside of New Orleans) over WrestleMania weekend. The stars of the promotion will be there talking about those days. Tickets are at midsouthlegends.com
--The Fight Network will be airing Cage Warriors from the U.K. on Saturday at 4 p.m. from Newcastle, England, followed by airing the prelims from Invicta at 8 p.m. leading into the PPV. Cage Warriors is headlined by Neil Seery defending his flyweight title against Ulysses Gomez.
--Here are the nominations for AXS Sports Bazzie awards for 2013. The awards show will air on 12/27 at 9 p.m. Eastern
Fight of the year: Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler II, Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice, Anthony Birchak vs. Ryan Benoit, Leonard Garcia vs. Nick Gonzalez, Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez. How can Stann vs. Wanderlei possibly not be nominated?
Male Fighter of the Year - Jose Aldo, Vitor Belfort, Demetrious Johnson, Jon Jones, Antony Pettis, Cain Velasquez
Female Fighter of the Year - Alexis Davis, Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg, Julianna Pena, Ronda Rousey, Cat Zingano
Breakthrough Fighter of the Year - TJ Grant, Robbie Lawler, Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Glover Teixeira, Chris Weidman
Upset of the Year - Josh Burkman over Jon Fitch, Emanuel Newton over King Mo, Anthony Pettis over Benson Henderson (really?), Daniel Straus over Pat Curran, Chris Weidman over Anderson Silva
Rising Star - Henry Cejudo, Carlos Ferreira, Holly Holm, Sergio Pettis, Mike Rhodes, Tiffany Van Soest
Knockout punch of the Year - Mark Hunt over Stefan Struve, Derrick Mehmen over Rolles Gracie, Emanuel Newton over King Mo, George Pacurariu over Steven Peterson, Chris Weidman over Anderson Silva, Tyron Woodley over Josh Koscheck
Knockout kick of the Year - Vitor Belfort over Luke Rockhold, Paul Daley over Patrick Vallee, Uriah Hall over Adam Cella, Anthony Hamilton over Smealinho Rama, Holly Holm over Allanna Jones, Chinzo Machida over Brian Wood
Submission of the Year - Takuya Eizumi over Teppei Masuda, Urijah Faber over Ivan Menjivar, Matt Lozano over Klayton Mai, Rose Namajunas over Kathina Catron, Coty Shannon over Justin Jovanovic, Patrick Ybarra over Billy Buch