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 a look at the ratings of all the major television shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--CMLL's first major show of 2014
--Family feud being started among Mexican legends
--A look at AAA's first TV taping of the year
--First title matches of the year in Dragon Gate, as well as upcoming title matches
--TNA rumored to be part of a major show
--Wrestling promotion sues its rival for contract tampering
--A look at All Japan's upcoming junior heavyweight tournament
--More notes on the 2014 G-1 Climax tournament
--Lots of injury updates
--Notes on the life and careers of Luis Martinez and Don Chuy
--Big angle in WWC where longtime enemies join forces and tease of the beginning of career rivals also joining forces
--Health updates on a number of pro wrestling stars
--A new promotional gimmick
--Details on the 16 Carat Gold tournament
--More on the upcoming Mid South wrestling fan fest over WrestleMania weekend
--ROH's next show
--What U.S. promotion looking to bring in the best in the world
--More on current TNA angles
--What former WWE star is close to signing if not already in
--Update on Sting's status
--Why an original booking idea changed
--What contracts of major players in WWE and TNA are coming due and what do they mean
--Update on TNA TV tapings
--Kurt Angle talks his favorite matches and favorite cities to wrestle in
--Notes on TNA talent meeting
--Why TNA matches are going the way they did
--A look at TNA's house show weekend
--A look at TNA's upcoming TV show
--Notes on the last WSOF show
--Dana White responds to Georges St-Pierre and thoughts on the subject
--Chris Leben and his retirement
--This week's UFC lineup and notes on the show
--Next TV card after this week
--Notes on Dana White's new TV show
--Update on the health of Stefan Struve
--When Chris Weidman wants to defend his title next
--More on the looks to find a new head of the Nevada state athletic commission
--Another two TV show main events signed
--Lots of new UFC shows
--Details on Bellator shows from 2/28 to 4/18
--More on next Bellator PPV show
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)a
*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
--Steve Austin will be the guest on today's Wrestling Observer radio. We'll be talking all kinds of pro wrestling, WWE network, television, football and who knows what else.
--Jim Ross on twitter said that he had reached a deal to work for Fox Sports.com. He's writing a story on the Royal Rumble.
--While a contract itself may not have been signed, and it is something that has been talked about for months, Sting in WWE is stronger than ever to the point concepts using the term "A Man Called Sting" are in discussion.
--Smackdown returns to Boston on 3/25 at the TD Garden with John Cena, Daniel Bryan and The Shield. Presale starts today with the password BOSTONWWE (thanks to Matt Cail)
--At the live National TV Awards show in the U.K. last night on ITV, held at the O2 Arena in London before 18,000 fans and likely watched by upwards of 8 million viewers, a show called "Educating Yorkshire" (a documentary about life at a Yorkshire high school) won an award for Best TV Documentary. One of the show's stars, Musharaf Asghar, who overcame a speech impediment during the course of the show, after giving a short acceptance speech, started chanting "Yes, Yes Yes" like Daniel Bryan. He went on twitter and said he did it in honor of his favorite wrestler, Daniel Bryan. Minutes later, Bryan tweeted congratulations to him and started pushing the new catch phrase "The Yes Movement," (coined by the Bella Twins) (thanks to Stephen Lyon)
--Bobby Eaton has been released from the hospital. He had been in and out for weeks due to complications from diabetes.
--The Ultimate Warrior DVD will be released on the Tuesday before WrestleMania. It will be the exact opposite of the first one.
--Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards will have a promo on tonight's Impact. They are not wrestling on the show, but I believe they will push them wrestling at the 1/30 show in Glasgow. Most likely some of the matches for Glasgow will be teased tonight.
--One of the most famous wrestling matches of all-time, Hulk Hogan's first WWF title win over The Iron Sheik, took place 30 years ago today at Madison Square Garden. In many ways, that was the kickoff of the modern era of pro wrestling.
--Ross Pearson was injured and is out of his semi-main event for the 3/8 UFC show in London, where he was to have his rematch with Melvin Guillard on a Fight Pass show. Michael Johnson of the Blackzillians will face Guillard, a former teammate, on the show. With Johnson on the show, that still leaves Khabib Nurmagomedov without an opponent.
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1948 - Sonny Myers beat Blackie Guzman (brother of El Santo) in Houston to win the Texas title
1958 - Buddy Rogers beat Dory Funk Sr. in Amarillo to win the North American title
1961 - Maurice & Paul Vachon beat Jack Curtis & Ray Villmet in Charlotte to win the Southern tag team title
1966 - Gorilla Monsoon & El Mongol beat Lonnie Mayne & Crazy Luke Graham in Los Angeles to win the WWA tag team title. I never thought of a Lonnie Mayne & Luke Graham connection until now.
1967 - Sheik Wadi Ayoub beat King Kong Emile Czaya in Sydney to win the All-Asia title
1978 - Black Gordman & Great Goliath beat Kurt & Karl Von Steiger in Sacramento to win the world tag team titles
1978 - Tatsumi Fujinami beat Jose Estrada in Madison Square Garden to win the WWF jr. heavyweight title
1983 - Kerry Von Erich beat Harley Race in St. Louis to win the Missouri State title. This was the famous match where Race lost the title via DQ because he wouldn't do a pin fall job, so they added a title could change hands via DQ stip.
1983 - Dory Funk Jr. beat Jack Brisco in Charlotte to win the Mid Atlantic title
1987 - Jim Duggan & Terry Taylor vacated the UWF tag title when Duggan lost a loser leaves town match to One Man Gang in Fort Worth. Duggan had just signed with the WWF
1988 - Mike George beat Dick Slater in the tournament final to become the first WWA champion
1991 - Robbie Brookside & Doc Dean beat Ricky Knight & Jimmy Ocean in Bath to win the British tag team title
1992 - Robin Hood beat Solar in Tokyo to win the UWA super middleweight title
1993 - Vic Powers & Steve Prince beat Robbie Brookside & Doc Dean in Norwich to win the British tag team title
1994 - Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson beat Ron & Don Harris in Morristown, TN to win the USWA tag titles
1998 - Manami Toyota & Kaoru Ito beat Devil Masami & Hikari Fukuoka in Kawasaki to win the JWP tag team title
1998 - Shocker & Mr. Niebla beat Dr. Wagner Jr. & Emilio Charles Jr. in Mexico City to win the CMLL tag team title
2004 - Shocker & La Parka (now L.A. Park) beat Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Bucanero in Mexico City to win the CMLL tag title
2005 - Takao Omori beat Evan Karagias in Tokyo to win the AWA title
2008 - Masaaki Mochizuki beat Ikuto Hidaka in Tokyo to win the Zero-One Int. jr. title
WHO IS UFC'S BIGGEST ACTIVE STAR?
Ronda Rousey 65.0%
Jon Jones 20.1%
Chris Weidman 4.9%
Cain Velasquez 2.6%
Miesha Tate 2.3%
Vitor Belfort 2.0%
Urijah Faber 0.9%
Benson Henderson 0.9%
Jose Aldo 0.6%
Gilbert Melendez 0.6%
Anthony Pettis 0.3%
WHO IS WWE'S BIGGEST ACTIVE STAR?
Daniel Bryan 48.8%
John Cena 40.9%
C.M. Punk 5.6%
Dave Batista 4.0%
Randy Orton 0.8%
WHO IS TNA'S BIGGEST ACTIVE STAR?
Kurt Angle 44.6%
Jeff Hardy 15.1%
Bully Ray 6.4%
Austin Aries 3.8%
Samoa Joe 3.5%
Bobby Roode 3.1%
James Storm 0.4%
WHO IS BELLATOR'S BIGGEST ACTIVE STAR?
Rampage Jackson 65.0%
Eddie Alvarez 23.0%
Michael Chandler 4.2%
King Mo Lawal 3.9%
Alexander Shlemenko 2.1%
Joe Warren 1.4%
Patricio Pitbull Freire 0.4%
WHO IS NEW JAPAN'S BIGGEST ACTIVE STAR?
Hiroshi Tanahashi 68.3%
Kazuchika Okada 11.5%
Shinsuke Nakamura 9.6%
Karl Anderson 4.8%
Kazushi Sakuraba 4.2%
Hirooki Goto 0.8%
Katsuyori Shibata 0.8%
--Jerry Lawler, Mickie James and Angelina Love appear for Maryland Championship Wrestling on 2/8 in Joppa, MD at the Joppa Marketplace. Jake Roberts will appear for the group on 3/22.
--A.J. Styles has been announced for the Prairie Wrestling Association's anniversary show on 3/29 in Edmonton (thanks to Dwayne Soper)
--Blitz Pro Wrestling on Saturday night in Joliet, IL at St. Joe's. Jake Roberts will be doing a seminar on ring psychology there at 11 a.m. on 2/8.
--Bobby Heenan will be doing a meet and greet sponsored by the Coastal Wrestling Federation on Saturday from 4-6 p.m. in LaMarque, TX at the National Guard Armory. There will be a show that night at 7 p.m. headlined by Garett Bischoff vs David Stahr.
--AAW tomorrow night in Berwyn, IL at the Eagles Club features Michael Elgin & Ethan Page vs. Ricochet & Uhaa Nation, Shane Hollister vs. Jimmy Jacobs, Matt Cage vs. ACH, Davey Richards & Kyle O'Reilly vs. Louis Lyndon & Marion Fontaine, plus Eddie Kingston, Silas Young, Keith Walker and Colt Cabana.
--AXS announced today they have renewed their contract with Lion Fight, which does Muay Thai shows on Friday nights on the station. Every Lion Fight show this year will air, starting with a 2/7 show headlined by the first ever womens' main event in the history of the promotion with Tiffany Von Soest vs. Caley Reece, as well as Kevin Ross (who in a trivia note was Gina Carano's boyfriend in college and was the one who brought her to the gym where she took up kick boxing) vs. Matt Embree.