SUN. UPDATE: WWE and Batista, UFC Network update, Edwards, Cornette on Rousey vs. Tate promo, Editing off TV, Batista at Mania, Biggest news story of February
By Dave Meltzer |
We're looking for your thoughts on today's Dragon Gate show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to
New Japan has its second iPPV of the weekend tonight, (3:30 a.m. Eastern; 12:30 a.m. Pacific late Sunday)
Sho Tanaka vs. Yohei Komatsu
Bushi & Kushida vs. Gedo & Jado vs. Taka Michinoku & Taichi
Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima & Captain New Japan vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi & Tomoaki Honma
Togi Makabe & Kota Ibushi vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Yujiro Takahashi
Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoshi-Hashi
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada & Shinsuke Nakamura
Raw and Smackdown for next week are already taped.
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. This is a good time to order because over the next two months we will have both the Year in Review issue and the awards issue.
We've got another jammed issue of the Observer out this week, with the main story looking back at the history of pro wrestling's world titles. We go back to Hackenschmidt vs. Jenkins in 1905, and go through the creation of the NWA world title, the WWWF title, the AWA title and a number of offshoots, why there was so much emphasis in the 50s on having one world champion, how the NWA nearly fell apart and what put it back together, and then fell apart again. We look at the period the WWWF title was created and why it happened, as well as the attempt in 1965 to unify the WWWF and NWA titles and why it fell apart. We look back at who was the most influential pro wrestler in U.S. history, and the state of wrestling in the 70s.
We also look at the WWE TLC PPV, with full coverage and match-by-match with star ratings.
We also have a feature on the career of Georges St-Pierre, with him talking about why he left and more of a perspective on his decision, what he meant to UFC, records that he set, PPV performances and many awards.
We also have more on both the WWE network and its TV negotiations. We look at WWE's pitch and the accuracy of it, what the value of getting WWE programming would be to various stations, WWE changing its way of thinking, who has passed in the past on WWE programming, how the negotiations will be going down and in what country WWE's negotiating timing looks great.
We also look at UFC adding a women's 115 pound weight class and run down the 11 new fighters signed for debuting on the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter.
We update the 2014 WrestleMania scoreboard regarding all the big names on the outside and where things currently stand. We look at wrestling people in the podcast world, Dwayne Johnson in the movie world, UFC and WWE running almost head-to-head in the same building, new logo, the A.J. Lee/Michelle Beadle incident in detail, Stephanie McMahon stock, what happened on Raw very different from what was planned, lots of notes from developmental, lots of names at the camp this past week, Daniel Bryan's proposal, as well as a few new signees and people headed into developmental.
We also look at the UFC on FOX event, looking at ratings, promotion and star making. We also have match-by-match coverage as well as how much everyone earned on the show.
We also have coverage of the Ring of Honor Final Battle show in New York, including what changes had to be made by a weird set of circumstances and the angles shot to take the company into 2014. We look at the departure of Eddie Edwards and returns of Matt Hardy and Chris Hero.
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.
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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:
--Leyenda de Plata tournament finally announced
--Update on AAA's expansion into the U.S.
--Dragon Gate returns to iPPV with one of its biggest shows of the year
--Creation of the double junior heavyweight title
--NOAH signs junior champion from rival promotion
--More notes on the New Japan Tokyo Dome broadcast
--A story that you wouldn't believe, except you will, regarding Antonio Inoki
--Greatest woman wrestler of all-time comes out of retirement in 2014
--Former UFC fighter in a shoot match on upcoming pro wrestling big show
--Rikidozan's grandson makes his debut
--Garry Robbins, the Paul Bunyan of Canada, and the NATPE convention years ago
--Indie roup gets local TV
--Ric Flair and a NFL team
--Notes on the Magnus TNA title situation
--Update on the A.J. Styles situation
--TNA returns to PPV in 2014
--Note on Cain Velasquez's surgery
--Story behind Bigfoot Silva's drug test failure
--Strange reaction to the result of the match
--More notes on UFC 168
--Why Prime Time is being discontinued for now
--Notes on TUF China
--Chael Sonnen and the Rashad Evans fight
--UFC video game cover
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Man vs. woman fight notes
--New MMA TV show to debut and what names are behind it
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.
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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.
SUNDAY'S NEWS UPDATE
--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking the weekend news, Batista, Rousey vs. Tate, New Japan, Dragon Gate and talking your e-mail questions that can be sent to
--WWE has removed some advertising regarding Batista, but there are still radio ads playing in Las Vegas advertising him for the 2/16 house show.
--Based on the web site being worked on link that got out, it looks like the UFC Network will be called UFC Fight Pass and go for $9.99 per month. As noted before, the digital network will be based around approximately 13 live events per year that will not be televised in the U.S., Canada, Australia or New Zealand, event replays, the UFC's library of footage, television shows and other original content.
--Eddie Edwards at last night's PWG show in Reseda said that it would be his farewell show, and there was a locker room thanks to Richards & Edwards. Edwards wouldn't say where he was going although it's obviously one of two places.
--Ronda Rousey was on Jim Rome on Thursday. Rome gushed all over her, talking about how she has so much charisma, the it factor, when you meet her you know she's going to be a star. Among her lines, which she's been doing on all the rounds, "There's no comparison. I'm an Olympic athlete and she's a high school wrestler." She said she's not interested in retiring and indicated she wants to beat the women out there with undefeated records (Sara McMann and Cat Zingano would be the obvious ones). When asked about why they are fighting since Rousey beat her the first time (the real reason is because Zingano got hurt and it was the right match to make because it was either Tate or Liz Carmouche at that point),she said, "Miesha has a nice ass and she has an ongoing rivalry with me and that's the only reason why she' sin this fight."
--Speaking of Rousey vs. Tate, the promo at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWuB08VGtds
for that fight was called by Jim Cornette, "the best fight promo concept to fit the fight/personalities I've ever seen. The editor is a genius." If they could put it on television (which they can't due to language), and had the vehicle of it being seen in ads in the right places, that fight wouldn't even need Silva vs. Weidman to hit 750,000 buys.
--On Smackdown, the trios match with Daniel Bryan & Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The Wyatt Family that was taped in San Antonio on Wednesday, was edited off the show.
--In other editing, yesterday on the Big 10 network when they aired the Penn State (No. 1) vs. Iowa (No. 3) dual meet, because it was tape delayed and didn't fit in two hours, they had to edit one match out. So they edited David Taylor's match out. Taylor is without a doubt the biggest star in college wrestling this season. So much for editors having a clue. If you watched it, Taylor beat Nick Moore of Iowa 12-3 at 165 pounds. That was the only match edited out.
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1917 - Wladek Zbyszko beat Ed Strangler Lewis in New York in the finals of a tournament to crown a world heavyweight champion
1941 - Wild Red Berry beat Count Billy Varga in Hollywood to win the NWA world light heavyweight title
1954 - The legendary Rikidozan vs. Masahiko Kimura match to create the first Japanese heavyweight champion took place in Tokyo. Even though Kimura was reputed to be the toughest man in the world, the greatest judoka of all-time who had just beaten Helio Gracie in Brazil, Riki shot on him while his guard was down and beat the hell out of him, knocking him out in a match where it was agreed the two would go to a 60 minute draw. It was this result that made Rikidozan the biggest star in Japanese wrestling even though it was a cheap shot situation.
1956 - Ronnie Etchison & Enrique Torres beat Ben & Mike Sharpe for the world tag team titles in Fresno
1969 - In a battle of Olympians, Masa Saito beat Dale Lewis in Tampa to win the Florida title
1971 - Larry O'Day & Ron Miller beat Mike York & Frank Monte to win the Florida tag team titles in Miami
1979 - Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk beat Invaders I & II for the WWC tag titles in Bayamon
1984 - Tony St. Clair won a tournament to become the first CWA middleweight champion
1990 - Bull Power Leon White (Vader) beat Otto Wanz to win the CWA title in Bremen, Germany
1991 - Ricky Rice beat The Lightning Kid (Sean Waltman) for the PWA light heavyweight title
1996 - Buddy Wayne beat Bart Sawyer to win the CWA TV title in Vancouver, WA
1997 - HHH pinned Shawn Michaels when Michaels laid down for him to drop the European title
1997 - Gedo & Jado beat Ryuji Yamakawa & Yoshihiro Tajiri in Isezaki to win the Big Japan tag team title
2001 - Great Sasuke & Sasuke the Great beat Dick Togo & Gedo to win the UWA/UWF IC tag titles in Tokyo
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE FACE BATISTA AT WRESTLEMANIA?
Brock Lesnar 31.4%
Roman Reigns 14.1%
Bill Goldberg 10.0%
Randy Orton 7.2%
Daniel Bryan 6.9%
C.M. Punk 5.9%
Big E Langston 5.9%
John Cena 5.5%
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST NEWS STORY OF FEBRUARY?
Bruno Sammartino signs with WWE 49.7%
UFC debuts women with Rousey vs. Carmouche doing 450,000 buys on PPV 26.0%
IOC votes to eliminate wrestling from the Olympics 12.7%
TNA moves TV out of Orlando 3.2%
Jack Swagger arrested 3.2%
Nobuo Shiraishi buys All Japan Pro Wrestling 1.9%
Hiroshi Tanahashi beats Karl Anderson in New Japan PPV main event 1.0%
Ciclon Negro passes away 1.0%
WWE announces New Orleans for WrestleMania 0.6%
Bigfoot Silva KOs Overeem, Jose Aldo beats Frankie Edgar at UFC 156 0.3%
Rock beats Punk at the Elimination Chamber PPV 0.3%
WHAT TOKYO DOME MATCH ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 47.5%
Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada 13.5%
Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi 13.5%
Great Muta & Toru Yano vs. Shelton Benjamin & Minoru Suzuki 5.5%
Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata 4.5%
Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer vs. Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows 4.5%
IWGP jr. title four way 3.5%
Satoshi Kojima vs. Rob Conway 3.0%
Opening eight man 2.5%
Yuji Nagata & Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Gracies 2.0%
Togi Makabe vs. Bad Luck Fale 0.0%
POLL ON SMACKDOWN
38.3% of those responding didn't see the show
--Wrestling Cares on 1/18 in Gardena, CA at VFW Post 3261 features Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano in a 20 minute match where there must be a winner based on points, with proceeds benefiting the San Diego Center for Children. Also Adam Pearce vs. Adam Page, Katarina Leigh vs. Melissa Anderson, Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov vs. Oliver John & Timothy Thatcher, B-Boy vs. Willie Mack vs. Brandon Gatson and Aaron Aguilera vs Brian Cage.
--There was a story that made national attention about PR executive Justine Sacco, who worked for Barry Diller, getting fired over Titter stupidity, including writing, "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white," to her 754 followers. Well, the tweet became news before she had landed in Africa. As noted in some of the stories, Sacco had worked in communications before with WWE, and it was not her first similar blunder. Last year she joked about a dream of having sex with someone with autism.
Evolve on 1/10 in Ybor City, FL
AR Fox defends his Evolve title against the winner of Roderick Strong vs. Uhaa Nation earlier that night
Johnny Gargano & Bravado Brothers vs., Rich Swann & Young Bucks
Chris Hero vs. Ricochet
Trent Baretta defends FIP title
Evolve on 1/11 in Orlando
Roderick Strong & Rich Swann defend FIP tag titles against Young Bucks
Chris Hero vs. Anthony Nese
Evolve on 1/12 in Jacksonville
Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong
Chris Hero vs. Chuck Taylor
Rich Swann vs. Jon Davis
--Slyk Wagner Brown is doing a wrestling school in Waterbury, CT. He's listing Eddie Edwards and Roxxi as two of the people he trained. For more info he can be contacted at