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 television shows over the past week and results from all the major arena events.
Also in this week's issue:
--The end of a 61 year era in pro wrestling
--Several title changes in Mexico
--A look at what appears to be the direction for CMLL's first big show of the year
--Two major stars being talked with by AAA
--More on TNA's One Night Only PPV show being taped in Tokyo with the Japan vs. TNA lineups
--Rundown of All Japan's junior heavyweight tournament and final standings
--Notes on the next major All Japan show
--Talks of an interpromotional angle for early April
--New Japan business notes including advances for upcoming shows
--Notes on the champion vs. champion match at New Japan's anniversary show
--Notes on New Japan coming to the U.S.
--Update on Prince Devitt
--Rundown of the New Japan Cup tournament
--Kenta Kobashi's latest ideas
--Promotion that got killed by the injury bug
--A look at ROH's Anniversary show
--Joe Koff issues apology for an interview
--Notes on Jeff Jarrett's latest moves
--Update on Kurt Angle
--New TNA signing
--TNA business notes
--Notes on the TNA weekend house shows
--Build to UFC 170 and attempting to create a new storyline in two minutes
--What happened after Rashad Evans got hurt
--Update on Rashad Evans
--Georges St-Pierre updates on his thoughts about returning
--Dana White talks Rousey's pay
--Thoughts on UFC 170 on PPV
--White talks Rousey vs. Cyborg
--Advances for all the upcoming UFC shows
--Update on Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva
--Dana White blasts Alistair Overeem and Overeem responds
--White talks the future of PPV
--Update on Anthony Pettis
--Lots of new UFC fights
--UFC suing people who illegally watch their PPVs
--Nate Quarry talks financial treatment of fighters
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
--Cassandra Frazier, the wife of the late Nelson Frazier Jr., said to TMZ he was trying to get healthy and had lost about 100 pounds. He got scared and started losing weight when doctors toldhim his blood pressure was too high, and his blood pressure had dropped to a healthy level with the weight loss.
--Hall of Famer El Hijo del Santo announced earlier today he was retiring from pro wrestling. He said that tests that he took in Houston last month were very discouraging, including finding a spinal lesion. His wife Gabriela Obregon said that he may be able to do one or two retirement matches but indicated he may not be able to do any. He will still use the name in outside ventures. Not sure yet what that means for his Todos x Todos promotion.
--Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman are added to the list that includes Hulk Hogan and Undertaker for Raw on Monday. Why they haven't advertised the hell out of this is a different question.
--Wall Street wasn't bothered at all by the WWE money losses, figuring it'll payoff big at the end. Stock was up to $24.74 at the close of trading today.
--Antonio Inoki, who was among the biggest stars and most influential figures in pro wrestling history, and really, MMA history as well in some form, turned 71 today.
--Gail Kim turned 37 today.
--Rob Van Dam was asked on Twitter about returning to WWE. He said he would be back soon, but not today.
--A house show post-WrestleMania on 4/27 in Peoria is advertising Randy Orton vs. Sheamus for the WWE title. Lots of time between now and then for that to change, but still, that indicates a temporary idea.
--A notable death on this day was Bobby Shane, who was 27 when he died in 1973 in a famous plane crash that also involved Gary Hart, Buddy Colt and Dennis McCord (who later became Austin Idol). Shane was a St. Louis native who was doing the King of Wrestling gimmick, which he told Jerry Lawler he could use. He was said to have had a great booking mind and most feel he'd have been a major star in the business, as he was already a major territory headliner by that point.
--Swede Hanson was 68 when he passed away on this day in 2002. Tony Altomare was 74 when he passed away on this day in 2003. Ciclon Negro was 80 when he passed away one year ago today. Ciclon Negro was one of the most underrated wrestlers of the 60s and early 70s..
--Shane Helms will be running a show in his home city of Smithfield, NC on Saturday night with an OMEGA return, which is the promotion he and the Hardys got started with. Matt & Jeff Hardy will reunite on the show, which also includes C.W. Anderson and they will be raising money for the Autism Society of North Carolina.
Dragon Gate USA on Saturday night in Elmhurst, NY at the Queensboro Elks Lodge at 8 p.m. at www.WWNLive.com
Johnny Gargano vs Cima for the Open the Freedom Gate title
AR Fox vs. Drew Gulak
Bravado Brothers vs. Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy for the Open the United Gate tag titles
Rich Swann vs. Trent Baretta
Ivelisse vs. Su Yung
Also: Anthony Nese, Jigsaw, Caleb Konley and Shane Strickland
Gargano/Cima winner defends against Roderick Strong
AR Fox vs. Chris Hero for the Evolve title
Fire Ant vs. Jigsaw
Also: Bravado Brothers, Ivelisse, Rich Swann, Anthony Nese, Trent Baretta, Drew Gulak, Chuck Taylor, Caleb Konley and Shane Strickland
--GaymerX2 has announced that Fred Rosser aka Darren Young will be participating in this year's convention from 7/11 to 7/13 in San Francisco at the InterContinental Hotel. There will also be a panel discussion called "A Fireside Chat for Darren Young." This is all based on Young coming out last year.
--Bobby Horne (Mo from Men on a Mission) is trying to raise money for a funeral and burial for his longtime tag team partner Nelson Frazier Jr. (Mabel/Viscera/Big Daddy V). You can e-mail for more info to
WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING THIS WEEKEND?
Elimination Chamber 58.8%
UFC 170 35.0%
23.6% are watching both
HOW ARE YOU WATCHING WRESTLEMANIA?
On the network 46.2%
Not watching 18.2%
Watching via stream 16.4%
Watching on PPV 10.1%
Watching at a friends house 6.1%
Watching at a bar or restaurant
OF ACTIVE WRESTLERS NOT IN THE HALL OF FAME, WHO IS THE STRONGEST CANDIDATE?
C.M. Punk 11.7%
Daniel Bryan 9.5%
Big Show 4.7%
Yuji Nagata 4.2%
Shinsuke Nakamura 4.1%
L.A. Park 3.7%
Dr. Wagner Jr 2.7%
Blue Panther 2.4%
Randy Orton 2.3%
WHO IS THE STRONGEST CANDIDATE NOT IN THE UFC HALL OF FAME?
Anderson Silva 36.9%
Brock Lesnar 32.6%
Frank Shamrock 4.7%
B.J. Penn 2.7%
Pat Miletich 0.6%
Lyoto Machida 0.6%
Urijah Faber 0.6%
Jon Jones 0.1%
Odds for the UFC main card (from 5Dimes)
Ronda Rousey -400
Sara McMann +365
Daniel Cormier -1300
Pat Cummins +850
Demian Maia +240
Rory MacDonald -280
Mike Pyle -185
TJ Waldburger +160
Robert Whittaker +115
Stephen Thompson -135
Cormier is as low as 10-1 and as high as 16-1 when it comes to odds.
--Not a lot at the UFC press conference. I think maybe one question for McMann. Far more for Cummins and clearly the most heat was there, including when they posed together. Cormier said he was at 209 pounds today and making weight isn't an issue. He looked much, much smaller than I've ever seen of him. He said losing weight wasn't hard and that he had never even eaten a salad until recently. for the first
--All Star Wrestling on 3/1 in Abbotsford, BC at the Art Centre. This has to be one of the oldest promotions around because I remember them easily 20 years ago and promoter Mark Vellios from 30 years ago.
--In the new Justice League comic book that came out yesterday, a character was watching a WCW PPV show. It was noted how odd it was in a new comic book to reference a company that went out of business 12 years ago. (thanks to Michael O'Brien)
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1964 - Toyonobori & Michiaki Yoshimura beat Curtis Iaukea & Don Manoukian (who a few years earlier were teammates in the Oakland Raiders camp) in Nagoya to win the vacant All-Asia tag titles
1978 - Bob Backlund defeated Superstar Billy Graham to win the WWWF title to begin Backlund's long reign as champion
1983 - El Jalisco beat El Satanico in Guadalajara to win the NWA middleweight title
1989 - Yes, it was 25 years ago today in Chicago when Ricky Steamboat beat Ric Flair at the Chi-Town Rumble PPV with me and Brad Muster in the front row. Also Mike Rotundo beat Rick Steiner to win the NWA TV title, Lex Luger beat Barry Windham to win the U.S. title and the Road Warriors beat Steve Williams & Kevin Sullivan to keep the NWA tag titles. Steamboat vs Flair was considered one of the classic matches of the era and was the first singles match of several months of some of the best series of world title matches in history.
1996 - Akira Taue & Toshiaki Kawada beat Stan Hansen & Gary Albright in Motoko to win the All Japan tag tilter
2000 - Vader & Steve Williams beat Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama in Kobe to win the All Japan tag titles
2000 - Tiffany beat Lady Apache in Zapopan to win the AAA Reina de Reinas title
2009 - Olimpico beat Angel Blanco Jr. in Puebla to win the WWA middleweight title
--For those attending UFC 170 in Las Vegas, our friends at the Las Vegas Fight Shop have a full day worth of activities
Noon to 2 p.m. - Roy Nelson picks up his new limited edition figurine
6-8 p.m. - Three of the Four Horsewomen, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. Plus a free Ronda Rousey poster to the first 250 people and giveaways. Roxanne Modafferi (TUF 18) will be signing copies of her book "Memories of a Happy Warrior."
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. - Arianny Celeste will be signing autographs for people who purchase either a poster or a calender, plus Punkass and Skyscrape will be there as well.
--What is being billed as the craziest MMA you've ever seen, two-on-two arena fighting called HIP SHOW: ARENA COMBAT will make its North American TV debut on 3/14 at 10 p.m. Eastern on AXS. It's a combination fighting and obstacle course.
--Danny Castllo vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg has been added to the 4/26 UFC 172 show in Baltimore at the Arena. That's the Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira show.
--Ed Herman vs. Rafael Natal was announced for the 5/10 UFC show in Cincinnati at the U.S. Bank Arena on FS1.
--Vendetta Pro Wrestling Shamrock Slam on 3/1 at 7 p.m. in Simi Valley, CA at the Boys ad Girls Club
--PWX on 3/1 in Pittsburgh at the New PWX Wrestleplex.
--Roland Alexander's former All Pro Wrestling is being resurrected with Markus Jacobson as promoter with the first show on 3/15 at 6 p.m. at the Bayshore Community Center in Daly City called the Bayshore Bash. Adam Thornstowe vs. Drake Younger for the APW title will headline. Thornstowe was the promotion's last champion. Also Chris Masters vs. Dylan Drake, Brian Cage vs. JR Kratos, Jeckles (Internet champion) vs. Luster the Legend and tag champs Boyce LeGrande & Mustafa Saed vs. Will Rood & Damien Grundy, plus Jeff Cobb, Dave Dutra, Rik Luxury and more. Several of the guys on this show will be doing a WWE camp in late March.
--Jiro Aquino of
is selling his collection of VHS tapes and DVDs of WCW and WWF
--Enfusion kickboxing airs in Canada on The Fight Network on 2/22 at 2 p.m. Eastern from Amsterdam, Holland
--IWF on 4/12 in Nutley, NJ with their 17th annual Spring event featuring Tommy Dreamer, Marty Jannetty and Tito Santana.