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:
--Popularity of wrestling in Mexico
--How the decline in Mexico differs from the decline in Japan
--Strange booking announcements
--The Mexican national incredible partners tag team tournament
--The last AAA original is no longer with the company
--A look at AAA TV plans after Rey de Reyes
--First foreigner vs. foreigner Open the Dream Gate title match main event
--Notes on the next Dragon Gate big show
--Promoter makes promise in national magazine that an April big show will air live on national TV
--A look at Pro Wrestling NOAH's upcoming tag team tournament
--New Japan vs. NOAH program's next step
--Major U.S. star may be less than one month from starting with New Japan. A look at the clues
--A look at the next few New Japan iPPV shows
--New Japan adds another overseas tour
--Hall of Famer's 60th birthday special show
--Feature movie coming up on overseas star
--A look at the death of Eikatsu Yoshida, the father of the greatest woman freestyle wrestler who ever lived and why it's made national attention in Japan
--A look at 16 Carat Gold tournament in Germany with a number of different major indie group champions and complete lineup
--Update on independent shows over WrestleMania weekend
--More on Stacy Keibler's wedding
--Wrestling personalities having success on iTunes
--Notes on new wrestling books
--Update on Buff Bagwell
--Where the most Hall of Famers have come from
--Gulf Coast wrestling reunion
--Notes on the wrestlers up for Cauliflower Alley Awards this year
--Where are they now on a short-lived WWE performer who now has a very unique profession
--Major news involving Sinclair Broadcasting and their TV empire
--Updates on the ROH shows with New Japan
--Value of Japanese in ROH
--A look at the weekend ROH title change
--ROH star buries hatchet with WWE stars
--A.J. Styles upcoming ROH schedule
--A look at all the details of the weekend ROH shows
--Jeff Jarrett teases his big announcement and what former name in production is with him
--Notes on TNA's upcoming TV tapings
--Davey Richards talks WWE and ROH
--Update on Thiago Silva after his arrest
--Notes on this upcoming wee's UFC show
--UFC's upcoming dates in Europe for the next year
--Update on Conor McGregor
--UFC running two shows in different parts of the world on the same day
--Chael Sonnen talks competing without TRT
--California commissioner talks TRT
--Notes on UFC Fight Pass
--Anderson Silva throwing kicks
--Next Fight Pass card
--UFC injury updates
--Lots of upcoming UFC events
--Notes on Bellator's first PPV show
--A rundown of Bellator's last show and next 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
--Dana White told reporters today
in Dallas that he knows for "a fact" that GSP will be returning.
--Chael Sonnen on TSN's Off the Record had a little fun with HHH & Stephanie McMahon. During the show, which was there to promote the Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva season of TUF on Fight Pass, host Michael Landsberg asked Sonnen if C.M. Punk would be at WrestleMania, given that the two of them were friends. Sonnen then said he'd answer it after the break. Later in the interview, showing Sonnen had planned this high spot, he said he didn't know the answer, but held up a phone number and said it was Stephanie McMahon's private cell phone number, the one that she gets called if her kids were sick at school. The number was digitized (the show was taped on Tuesday, and edited and aired on Wednesday). Sonnen said, "Tell Hunter I just played the game." Landsberg said that they confirmed it was real as they called the number. However, he didn't indicate they even asked her if Punk would be at WrestleMania.
--Jim Ross was at UFC headquarters in Las Vegas yesterday, and pretty much said as much on Twitter.
--Cory Walker noted continuing issues with XBox 360 and the WWE Network. He said that were no WCW or ECW PPVs available to watch and no search function. He said he called tech support several times and was told it was not a known issue. He said that XBox users throughout the Internet have complained about no WCW and ECW PPVs for weeks.
--According to the Twitter account of Christopher Daniels, he and and Frankie Kazarian were not brought in for this week's TNA television, which covers the next four weeks of Impact. That likely means they decided not to use them since they aren't figured into the next PPV, unless this is an angle in and of itself. Daniels' contract expires next month but as of right now both are still on the roster. It is confirmed from those in Orlando that Daniels, Kazarian and Chris Sabin were all not there, nor scheduled, for TV.
--A first time ever match with Matt & Jeff Hardy vs. Mark & Jay Briscoe takes place on 4/26 in Cameron, NC at Union Pines High School.
--Undertaker is scheduled for both Raw and Smackdown this coming week in San Antonio and Houston.
--On German television, Cesaro cut a promo saying he was entering the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Despite being a potential winner, that would be unfortunate for him as opposed to having a spotlight match.
ON THIS DAY IN PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (thanks to Graeme Cameron and Brian Hoops)
- 1975 - Tiger Jeet Singh beat Antonio Inoki in Hiroshima to win the vacant NWF title
- 1976 - Hito Tojo (who later became the Great Kabuki) & Les Roberts beat Johnny Gray & Ron Miller in Melbourne to win the Austa Asian tag title
- 1976 - Blackjack Mulligan beat Paul Jones to win the U.S. title
- 1977 - Gran Markus beat El Halcon to win the Mexican national heavyweight title
- 1981 - Sangre Chicana beat Tony Salazar in Monterrey to win the NWA middleweight title
- 1983 - Dennis Condrey & Bobby Eaton beat Magnum T.A. & Mr. Wrestling II to win the Mid South tag title when Wrestling II walked out on Magnum
- 1984 - Klondike Kate beat Mitzi Mueller to win the British women's title
- 1985 - Terry Taylor beat Ted DiBiase in Shreveport to win the North American title
- 1986 - Jon Cortez beat Johnny Saint in Bristol to win the world lightweight title
- 1996 - Mal Sanders beat James Mason in Gravesend to win the world middleweight title
- 1998 - Miho Wakizawa & Kayo Noumi beat Momoe Nakanishi & Nanae Takahashi in Osaka to win the Japanese women's tag title
- 1999 - Sabu & Rob Van Dam won a three-way over the Dudleys and Tommy Dreamer & Shane Douglas in Philadelphia to retain the ECW tag titles
- 2002 - Christopher Daniels won a three-way over Samoa Joe and Frankie Kazarian in Santa Ana, CA to win the UPW heavyweight title
- 2011 - Alan Stone & Jennifer Blake beat Pimpinela Escarlata & Fabi Apache in Morelia to win the AAA mixed tag tam title
--60,000 tickets for the Carl Froch vs. George Groves boxing match at Wembley Stadium on 5/31 sold out within an hour when they were put on sale Tuesday. There are hopes to add another 20,000 tickets and break the stadium's all-time boxing record for attendance. The demand for this rematch is so high that it's a given those added seats would sell out immediately.
--Kurt Von Hess passed away on this age in 1999 at the age of 56. Arnold Skaaland, a WWE fixture forever, was 82 whe he passed away on this day in 2007. Andrew "Test" Martin was 33 when he passed away on this day in 2009. (thanks to Georgia Wrestling History)
--Here's a video
of two of the Four Horsewomen -- Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler -- practicing pro wrestling.
--Wagner Brown, 34, of Windsor Locks, CT, was arrested on Friday as part of a sting operation and charged with soliciting prostitution. He was one of 11 arrests as a results of Operation Cupid, a joint effort by detectives and patrol officers to crack down on prostitution in motels along Route 75. In response to numerous complaints about prostitution in local motels, police placed an ad on a website popular with those looking for prostitution. An undercover officer, posing as a prostitute, responded to several requests and agreed to meet clients at a motel, where the men were then arrested by officers.
--Wrestle-1 has a 20 man Extreme rules Battle Royal on Saturday night in Kyoto with the winner facing Seiya Sanada for the TNA X Division title on 3/22 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern from The Orpheum in Ybor City, FL
- Drew Gulak vs. Timothy Thatcher for the CZW title
- Roderick Strong vs. Biff Busick
- Gran Akuma vs. Lince Dorado for Florida heritage title
- Ivelisse vs. Leva for the Shine title
Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern from the Downtown Rec Center in Orlando
- Drew Gulak vs. Roderick Strong for the CZW title
- Gran Akuma vs. Timothy Thatcher for the Florida Heritage tile
- Lince Doado vs Biff Busick
--ROH announced Gedo & Jado for the 5/10 and 5/17 shows in Toronto and New York, although that was fairly common knowledge for weeks.
--Jim Ross and Father Jason Sanderson have been added to the selection committee for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Hall of Fame in Waterloo, IA. Gerald Brisco heads the committee. Privately, I've heard from a few wrestlers who are in everyone's Hall of Fame and who consider this the most prestigious based on standards of who is and isn't in.
--Plex Wrestling on 4/27 in Aldershot, UK at the Cannaughgt Leisure Centre
--Weigh-ins for the One FC show tomorrow at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. The show airs live on The Fight Network in Canada and on iPPV
- Brock Larson (170) vs. Nobutatsu Suzuki (170) for the One FC welterweight title
- Dae Hwan Kim (134) vs. Kevin Belingon (134)
- Adriano Moraes (125) vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani (124)
- Ariel Sexton (155) vs. Kamal Shalorus (155)
- Shinich Kojima (125) vs. Andrew Leone (129) -Leone missed weight
- Kotetsu Boku (155) vs. Arnaud Lepont (154)
- Bashir Ahmad (155) vs. Peter Davis (155)
- Harris Sarmientno (144) vs. Herbert Burns (144)
- Khim Dima (125) vs Saiful Merican (125)
--Booker T is in Sydney, Australia, this weekend signing autographs at the Parramatta Westfield Shopping Centre. The first 300 people who buy a WWE DVD or Blu Ray at JB Hi-Fi. (thanks to James Stanios)
--Metro Pro Wrestling, which shut down in August, has been revived with a 6/14 show at the Turner Rec Center in Kansas City. It will be a combination wrestling show and screening of a documentary, "Wrestless," on the promotion. It's scheduled as a one show deal and not a revival of the company.
--AAW on 3/21 in Berwyn, IL at the Eagles Club with Michael Elgin & Allego vs. Irish Airborne as the main event. Plus Shane Hollister, Scarlett, Matt Cage, Alex Shelley, Colt Cabana, Jimmy Jacobs, Eddie Kingston, Silas Young and more.
--Zero One Pro Wrestling USA will be running shows every Thursday in Champaign, IL for $5 at the Fluid Event Center.
--Josh Nason sent in a note on Eddie Andelman, the former Boston sports radio host who created the King of the Ring concept that we discussed on last night's Observer Radio. Apparently he is not doing great healthwise and now lives in Florida. His kids host Phantom Gourmet, a huge restaurant review show/brand in New England.
--Zack Ryder filmed a segment for the TV show Toy Hunter on the Travel Channel.
--AGON Wrestling, pro wrestling as a shoot takes place on Saturday in Lemoore, CA at the High School for its fourth show. Stephan Abas, one of the best wrestlers of the past two decades in the U.S. (2004 Olympic silver medalist), faces AKA team member Shawn Bunch (under a Bellator contract and a runner-up for the 2012 Olympic team) in the money event. In addition, Chris Honeycutt of Josh Koscheck's gym in Fresno (second place in the 2012 NCAA tournament) meets Ryan Halsey. Cody Bollinger, who was the guy in the Tate-Rousey season of TUF on Team Tate who was favored to take it all but blew weight, meets Todd Schavrien. This is being promoted as the final show of the first season.