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.
MONDAY'S NEWS UPDATE
--Bryan and I will be back late tonight talking Raw and the WWE network, plus you can send questions for the show to
--Expect this to be a gigantic Raw tonight.
--We've gotten tons of feedback regarding the launch of the network and it was run the gamut, more technical issues talked about than anything. Nobody has complained regarding content, but lots of complaints about streaming, ability to log into content, being knocked off, and the biggest issues with signing up. WWE has already sent out two statements regarding the problem, with the second one kind of throwing MLBAM under the bus just hours into their first day of working together.
--At the beginning of "Over the Edge" 1999 it says, "In Memory of Owen Hart, who accidentally passed away at this event." That show is obviously edited.
--Very little editing of old shows, past the point of Stacy Carter's boobs being digitized on the PPV where she took her top off and all the music edits of things they don't have rights to.
--Raw and Smackdown current shows will appear 30 days after they air.
--Through Apple TV, if you live in Canada, you can order the network, and there are people in Europe who have ordered it as well, so the first viewing figures that were supposed to be domestic will include Hardcore fans from all over the world.
--Jimmy Hart came to the tapings in Green Bay with Hulk Hogan. Not sure if he'll appear on the screen with him or not.
--On trending today, in the United States, nothing from WWE beat the top nine yesterday and that went down to 20,000. For today, nothing is on the list, not even WWE Network. That's not a good sign for the PPV. There were a ton of people who thought they could just wait a day and get it for free.
--We've also gotten tons of complaints from people saying they signed up to get it for free and were immediately charged $9.99. Others said that wasn't the case. Like I said, tons of response running the gamut from being thrilled to really mad.
--For those of you who DVR Raw on Comcast, for some reason, and this may be fixed, but Comcast was listing Raw as three separate shows and it's listed as a repeat, so those of you who DVR Raw, may have to do it manually this coming Monday.
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
1976 - The Beauty Pair, Jackie Sato & Makie Ueda, beat Mariko Akagi & Mach Fumiake in Tokyo to win the WWWA tag titles. The Beauty Pair were really the first women wrestlers who were mainstream superstars in Japan, and drew huge prime time TV ratings.
1983 - Fit Finlay beat Ringo Rigby in Oldham, England to win the British light heavyweight title. Yes, Ringo Rigby, the Wrestling Beatle from the 70s.
1987 - Sir Oliver Humperdink beat Badnews Allen in Tampa to win the Florida title
1991 - WrestleWar in Phoenix (awesome show including very underrated Luger vs. Spivey match) saw Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin beat Ron Simmons & Butch Reed to win the world tag team tiles and Ric Flair & Barry Windham & Sid Vicious & Larry Zbyszko beat Sting & Brian Pillman & Steiner Brothers in a rare heel War Games win,
1992 - Koko B.Ware beat Kamala in Memphis to win the USWA title
1995 - Dan Severn beat Chris Candido in Erlanger, KY to win the NWA title
1995 - Pierroth Jr. beat Rayo de Jalisco Jr. in Puebla to win the Mexican national heavyweight title
1997 - Syxx beat Dean Malenko in San Francisco to win the WCW cruiserweight title
2001 - Super Crazy beat Pablo Marquez in Bayamon, PR to win the UWA jr. heavyweight title
2002 - Toshiaki Kawada beat Keiji Muto in Tokyo to win the Triple Crown
2002 - Manami Toyota beat Kaoru Ito in Tokyo to win the WWWA title
2004 - Mephisto beat El Satanico in Mexico City to win the CMLL welterweight title
2006 - Ryo Saito beat Magnitude Kishiwada to win the Open the Dream Gate title
--Bellator announced a Pay TV deal with OSN in Dubai the Middle East and Africa to start broadcasting its shows starting with Friday night's season premiere.
--Bellator also debuts on FOX Sports Latin America on Friday night. When this deal was first announced, Bjorn Rebney was needling Dana White about the idea that the UFC's own broadcast partners at FOX signed up Bellator.te in, which gives
--Bellator also announced that middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko had signed a multi-year contract extension
--Steve O'Neill of the Extreme Rising promotion announced today that a television crew and cameras will be taping on Saturday at the ECW Arena for a national cable network. He didn't say what network, but said an announcement would be made at the live event and on the local TV show.
POLL ON SMACKDOWN
29.5% of those responding didn't see the show
POLL ON ROH TV
44.4% of those responding didn't see the show
WHO SHOULD RONDA ROUSEY FACE NEXT?
Cat Zingano 71.0%
Alexis Davis 10.6%
Miesha Tate 7.8%
Jessica Eye 2.9%
Sarah Kaufman 2.9%
Liz Carmouche 2.7%
Amanda Nunes 2.1%
BEST TV SHOW OF THE WEEK
UFC 170 prelims 6.2%
Countdown to UFC 170 4.1%
Ultimate Fighter 2.1%
Main Event 1.7%
Inside MMA 1.7%
--Sorry to hear about the death of Harold Ramis. Groundhog Day was an awesome movie. The guy had a great sense of humor and depth.
--The UFC today announced Hannibal Meyers at the President of its UFC Gym franchise, replacing Anthony Geisler.
--Pro Wrestling Revolution drew a sellout of 750 fans last night in San Francisco for a show headlined by Blue Demon Jr vs. Timothy Thatcher. Super Crazy worked the show and Christina Von Eerie won their women's title from Cheerleader Melissa in a three-way. Lots of non-Hispanics at the show (thanks to Derek Sousa)
--The next WWE show at the Target Center in Minneapolis will be a live Raw on 6/9 and tickets are on sale with the password WWEPRE
--In the viewer poll for the top 100 movies in Australia on "At the Movies," two featuring wrestlers made the list. No. 43 was Spring Breakers (Jeff Jarrett) and No. 49 was Pacific Rim (Robert "Kurrgan" Maillet). (thanks to James Stanios)
--CWE from Friday night in Winnipeg: A.J. Sanchez b Danny Duggan, Stefan Epic b Bobby Collins, Sigmon b J.J. Sanchez, Saints of Los Angeles won four-way over MAN, Sons of Anarchy, Jess Youngblood & Billy Blaze and MAN, Anderson Tyson Moore b Jon Cutler, Mentallo b Jason Kincaid, Camikaze won six-way over Tyler Colton, Moses Luke, Kevy Chevy, Cannibal and Brian Rich, Dick Blood b Rob Stardom, Chris Masters b Bobby Jay, Heavy Metal b Robby Royce last man standing to win the CWE title
--CWE from yesterday in Beausejour, Manitoba: Brian Rich b Bobby Collins, Heavy Metal b Billy Blaze, Jess Youngblood NC Cliff Corleone, Sigmon & Stefan Epic b A.J. Sanchez & Camikaze, Danny Duggan b Moses Luke, Jason Kincaid b Nate Hardy, Chris Masters b J.J. Sanchez. Next show is 3/21. They have a Manitoba tour 5/6 to 5/11 headlined by Chris Hero.
--Pro Wrestling Bushido from last night in Stockton: Christina Von Eerie b Lucky O'Shea, Brian Cage b Famous B, Sir Samurai & Drake Frost b Daniel Torch & Virgil Flynn, Mike Rayne & Leo Blaze and Dominic Simon & Dejon Brown, Drake Younger b T.J. Perkins, Timothy Thatcher b Joey Ryan, Mustafa Saed & CJ Kurz b Jeff Cobb & Willie Mack, Savannah Riley b Candace LaRae, Bobby Hart & Rik Luxury & Super Crazy b Raymond Rosas & Peter Avalon & Dylan Drake, Adam Thornstowe b Johnny Goodtime to keep the PWB title (thanks to Mike Millerick)
--I Believe in Wrestling from last night in Belleview, FL: Aaron Epic & Chip Day b Adrian Armour & Syler Cross, Tim Zbyszko b Chico Adams and Gabriel Black, Lince Dorado b Josh Hess, Santana Garrett & Chasyn Rance b Joey Mayberry & Mike Young, Chris Arney won Battle Royal (thanks to Al Haft)
--Anarchy TV taping from Saturday night in Cornelia, GA: Lars Manderson & Alex Avgerlnos b CB Suave & Tommy Penirelli, Stryknyn b Anthony Henry, Kevin Blue & Brandon Parker b Kameron Kade & Vandal, Steven Walters b Mike Posey, Jon & Trey Williams b Jeremy Foster & Mikey Watkins, Billy Buck b John Skyler, Iceberg & Michael Judas b Seven & Geter. Next show is 3/8 and Hardcore Hell is 3/29.
--CMLL from yesterday in Tijuana: Furia Nazi b Explosivo, Angel del Mal b Brillante, Demonio Rojo & Magnum b Divnio & Virgo, Barbaro Cavernario & Malefico & Rafaga b Gallo & Leo & Stuka Jr., Polvora & Rey Escorpion b Mistico & Volador Jr. (thanks to Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims and Kris Zellner)
--The WWL sent out a release announcing Octagon vs. Fuerza Guerrera for their show on 3/9 in Mexico City at Domo del Plan Sexenal