We're also looking for reports on today's Raw show in Little Rock and Smackdown show in Springfield, MO.
Raw is Monday night live from Tulsa. This will be the first night of a combined Raw & Smackdown TV week. The first night will be there to shoot the angles for the second night, a live Smackdown show from Wichita. The top Smackdown matches will include John Cena vs. C.M. Punk (not announced but WWE has released this info to advertising purposes), Randy Orton vs. Christian for the World title in a cage match and Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio.
One of our biggest issues of the year and biggest historical pieces in our history with a look at the history of mixed martial arts from its inception with the first of what would be considered an MMA show nearly 80 years ago through the ups and downs in Brazil and Japan as well as its origins in the United States with the formation of the UFC is the big feature.
In addition, we've got the most detailed look at the UFC FOX deal, all the platforms it covers, what to look out for with all the major players involved talking about plans and goals.
We also have a look at TNA bringing back Jeff Hardy while firing Matt Hardy. We also have more on the WWE office cuts, injury to Rey Mysterio and the impending front office power play in WWE that many believe is inevitable involving the most powerful people in the company.
The issue is available on the site currently, as is a new back issue. If you can't find them on the front page, you can always access the latest issues of the Observer on the front page by clicking on the Archives tab at the top. You can get a mail subscription to the Observer with information below. The Observer has the most detailed coverage of pro wrestling around the world, as well as insider UFC coverage not available anywhere else. We have about 14 new newsletters each month, usually six Observers, four or five Figure Four Weeklies and four or five back issues of the Observer each week.
We look back at the origin of mixed fighting, including before it became popular in Brazil. We look at just how big the interest in Saturday's UFC show has been in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1930, the different heyday periods of Brazilian Vale Tudo, and the legends of that world like Helio Gracie, Carlson Gracie, Masahiko Kimura, Waldemar Santana and the forgotten tough guys like Euclides and Ivan Gomes.
We look at the start of the Gracie family in Jiu Jitsu, their original fights and marketing of their art and how they became famous. We look at the original Jiu Jitsu vs. Judo feud, and the similarities in career between Helio Gracie and son Royce, as well as each man's older brother, Carlos and Rorion, in the formation and popularity of the sport.
We look back to what would be considered the first real MMA event of its type, and the emergence of Helio Gracie. We look at Helio's big matches with pro wrestlers and giants and why he was so popular.
We look at the second big period starting with the Jiu Jitsu vs. Judo/Pro Wrestling wars of the 50s. We look at the program that led to the first fight at Maracana Stadium, Rio's big soccer stadium, and how big it was during the heyday. We look at the legendary matches of that period like Helio Gracie vs. Kimura and Carlson Gracie vs. Santana, as well as myths about that period.
We look at the real story behind the biggest feud that drew the biggest crowd, as well as the most famous match that almost nobody saw. We look at how pro wrestling played a huge role in almost all of the really biggest fights of the era.
We look at how Carlson Gracie followed Helio Gracie into being the big fighting star of the 50s and 60s. We look at what pro wrestling legend grew up during this period and how he was influenced by the Vale Tudo angles, and how he used them to promote some of the biggest pro wrestling events of the 70s.
We look at the differences between the fighting and teaching styles of Carlson and Helio Gracie, the mainstream national peak of the sport in Rio, as well as the regional promotion in Brazil that is historically forgotten but was actually the biggest the sport ever got, and some would say, featured the two best fighters of the era.
We look at what killed the sport of Vale Tudo in most of Brazil, except its regional outpost where it thrived. We look at what was billed as "The Match of the Century," and may have been the ultimate fight before 1990 in Vale Tudo history, yet almost nobody knows it existed and has been erased from history.
We look at the street fighter who played heel that brought the sport back to soccer stadiums and the emergence of Rickson Gracie. We look at more challenges to Olympic medalists and pro wrestling stars.
We look at the fighter forgotten in history who some say was actually the best of the Gracie fighters, but was unfortunately that his prime came when the sport was banned.
We look at Rickson Gracie's most famous gym confrontations, including Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz, Luta Livre heavyweight Hugo Duarte, and pro wrestler Yoji Anjo.
We look at how Rickson Gracie played a part in killing one of the hottest pro wrestling companies in history.
We look at Rickson Gracie and the birth of the Pride Fighting Championships with his matches with Nobuhiko Takada and what was going on behind the scenes. We look at the second Gracie vs. Takada fight, what went on behind the scenes, and where Shinya Hashimoto fit into this equation. We look at the realities of Takada as a fighter.
We look at why Rickson Gracie never fought in UFC, and the emergence of Royce Gracie as the new Gracie star fighter and MMA's first superstar in the U.S.
We look at the first UFC, Gene LeBell's feud with the Gracie family, LeBell's first MMA fight and Lou Thesz's thoughts on the early UFC, Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn.
We look at the emergence of Kimo, the heyday of Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie's departure from UFC, Rorion Gracie selling his interest in UFC and why all this happened.
We also look at Ken Shamrock's role as Pancrase champion, the fall of UFC and Ken Shamrock going into WWF and who was instrumental in the deal.
We look at the role of Shamrock in the rebirth of UFC, and his three big matches that never took place.
We look at Vale Tudo being banned in Brazil again and why, as well as Royce Gracie's fights in Japan and the emergence of Kazushi Sakuraba as a Japanese sports hero. We look at how the cards had to fall into place for the Gracie vs. Sakuraba fight to even happen, and how that made the sport huge in Japan.
We look at all the things leading to the fight and detail what was the biggest fight in Japanese MMA history, as well as the controversy over Sakuraba vs. Mezger to get there. We look at the growth and death of Pride, as well as the final fight of Rickson Gracie's career and who was Masakatsu Funaki.
We look at what Rickson Gracie said about the next generation stars like Fedor Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar, as well as what happened to all the major players in the early days of the sport, as well as what fighter brought in the resurgence of interest in Brazil.
We also have a complete report on the UFC/FOX deal. We look at the debut show, changes in mentality of the broadcast, how the negotiations went down, what Dana White said to the office, how the announcing will change on FOX, as well as the details of the change starting next year in The Ultimate Fighter reality show.
We've got talk about UFC vs. WWE and UFC vs boxing on Friday nights, as well as UFC vs. MMA on Friday nights. We look at who UFC was negotiating with, what programming will be on what channel, why UFC is able to get so much money in rights fees that WWE can't get, reaction from Spike TV, chances of Bellator moving to Spike, Bellator & TNA cross-promotion, what Fox said in the past about UFC, the first UFC event on U.S. television, as well as Bob Arum and Dana White go toe-to-toe. We also look at what may be the most important aspect of this deal that has not yet really been discussed anywhere.
We also have a look at the Hardys and a history of their issues and Jeff bouncing from promotion to promotion.
We've got more on Rey Mysterio, on WWE office shakeups including two Vice Presidents being let go and what is the story behind it. We look at the return of the original Sin Cara, Mick Foley talks his future in WWE and how many more matches he thinks he has left, live Smackdown show, update on Linda McMahon's plans to run for senate, Edge Appreciation Night, Canadian ratings, Chris Jericho talks his WWE run, Bret Hart talks Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin talks C.M. Punk and will he wrestle him next ear, third generation WWE star leaving the company, Kevin Nash's reaction to being back, Longest reigning WWE champions, how Edge got his TV acting gig, Jerry Lawler wrestling two of his biggest rivals once again, the Steve Austin DVD, the departure of Todd Grisham, as well as business notes from the past week and house show highlights from the past week.
We also have our usual weekly features including ratings for all the major national shows, broken down the segment-by-segment for both Raw and Impact, showing which segments gained and lost viewers and evaluated their performance from an audience level.
We also have results from all the major league pro wrestling and MMA events over the past week, as well as reviews of all the major television shows.
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
Also in this week's issue:
--Special Arena Mexico show built around the minis
--Angle where wrestler turns on his father
--U.S. indie star headed to NOAH
--A look at the IGF show this week
--Well known indie star announces retirement
--A look at the Battle of Los Angeles tournament
--Death of a wrestler who was getting a monster push in another generation
--Wrestler dies in the ring
--Update on health issues of some major stars of the 80s
--Impact time slot change
--More craziness in the Hogan family
--Jerry Jarrett talks about TNA's problems and Vince Russo
--TNA star trying for a reality show gig
--Notes on weekend TNA house shows
--Dana White feuds with ESPN
--Government investigating UFC
--UFC star arrested just before he starts with a big TV push
--Dana White talks about one more international version of Ultimate Fighter coming soon
--Among those who are being considered for coaches
--Two fighters trying to push for their own big match on FOX
--How the age of UFC viewers has changed
--Update on Mike Swick injury
--Next fight for Gilbert Melendez
--Notes on the next season of Ultimate Fighter
--Lots of new UFC fights
--A look at the last Bellator show
--MMA Fighter kills someone in street fight
--Womens' freak show fight in Japan, daughter of a famous murderer vs. daughter of one of the most successful American in the entertainment world
--Return of Pro Elite this week
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major story (ies) 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
*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 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
*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 $12 for 4 issues, $29 for 12, $55 for 24, $91 for 40 and $118 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $13.50 for
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.
--Want to thank everyone for all the nice comments on this week's issue. It wasn't completely what I wanted it to be but it had to be done this week because of the birth of this form of MMA being traced to Brazil in the 1930s and UFC going there last night.
--Hope everyone is okay regarding the hurricane situation in the Northeast and things can get back to normal as soon as possible.
--As expected, it was Hunico who worked under the Sin Cara mask at the house show last night in Cape Girardeau, MO, and who will portray Sin Cara from this point going forward. Unless they change their mind.
--Christian, Tyson Kidd and Natalya all had travel issues last night getting to Cape Girardeau, which is why the show was different than usual. Randy Orton wrestled Cody Rhodes in the main event. Christian did arrive just as the show was ending and they sent him out to do a run-in. Kidd and Natalya were not on the show but will be on today's show in Springfield.
--Not a lot of notes coming out of the show last night other than they are planning on returning to Brazil and doing a show in a 100,000-seat soccer stadium. Dana White said it was the loudest crowd in UFC history. I thought the same thing watching the prelims on facebook. Too bad watching the TV broadcast you didn't get anything close to that same feeling.
--Forrest Griffin did not know his wife was going into labor when he went out to fight. He got a text from her right before the press conference. So he's made it clear it had nothing to do with his loss. --Last night, Anderson Silva was the single most searched for topic on Google in the U.S., which is amazing considering the Northeast weather. Mayweather vs. Ortiz was No. 3,which speaks volumes for the interest generated by last night's HBO show. By the way, the last five minutes of that show were unbelievable and you would want to see a replay. Unfortunately the fight it built up isn't the fight that is happening. Chael Sonnen was No. 14 and Jon Jones was No. 18 and they didn't even fight last night.
--Luke Gallows, Shelton Benjamin and Cliff Compton remain in Nigeria even with the bombing. They are doing a show today in Lagos, Nigeria.
--Poll on Smackdown
37.3% of those responding didn't see the show.
--After the end of the main event, King Mo texted Chael Sonnen saying, "You got to get him, bro." Chael's response was, "He sickens me."
--Today is the 25th anniversary of what was the biggest live wrestling show of all-time up to that point held at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, drawing a sellout of 61,470 fans paid, which destroyed all existing records. The show, called the big event, saw:
Killer Bees (Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell) b Hoss Funk (Dory Jr.) & Jimmy Jack Funk (Jesse Barr)
Don Muraco d Haku
Ted Arcidi b Tony Garea
Junkyard Dog b Adrian Adonis-COR
Dick Slater b Mike Sharpe
King Kong Bundy & John Studd & Bobby Heenan b Lou Albano & Super Machine (Bill Eadie) & Big Machine (Blackjack Mulligan)
Ricky Steamboat b Jake Roberts in a snake pit match
Billy Jack Haynes b Hercules
Jacques & Raymond Rougeau b Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake
Harley Race b Pedro Morales
Hulk Hogan b Paul Orndorff via DQ to retain the WWF title
--The weekend edition of Wrestling Observer radio is already up, covering last night's UFC show, as well as notes on TNA and WWE going forward.
--The 73 minute Mercedes Martinez vs. Lexus match, believed to be the longest women's wrestling match in recorded history, has now been released on DVD from www.declarationofindependents.net
--Mick Foley talks about his experience doing the Gathering of the Juggalos at http://mickfoley.typepad.com
--Chuck Langerman's trivia for today. It's pretty well known that former New England Patriots offensive lineman Stephen Neal defeated Brock Lesnar 3-2 for the 1999 NCAA championship and then went on to win the world championship that year. It's not as well known that when Neal was at San Diego High School he pinned Ricky Williams of Patrick Henry High in a match. Williams went on to win the 1998 Heisman Trophy.
--Orlando Pro Wrestling from last night: Nuyoricanz b Chasyn Rance & Carl Allen, Brandon Scherer b Jason Hanley, Lince Dorado b Aaron Epic, Santana b Wayne Van Dyke, J.D. Amazing b Luis Ruiz, Ruiz won Battle Royal
--Australian wrestler Huss talks about.coming back from Zero-One at http://kirbyyourenthusiasm.libsyn.com/what-would-chris-benoit-do-episode- 17-huss-
--Reader Mark Takada noted he's in South Korea for the world championships of track. He watched the UFC on the Super Action channel which was free at the hotel he was staying at. It was tape delayed with lots of commercials, but noted that the stores in the area have a lot of UFC merchandise.
--Staff picks last night were Josh Nason and Oliver Copp going 4-1 on the main fights, Mike Sawyer and Mike Sempervive went 3-2 and Mike Coughlin and Todd Martin went 2-3. I went 3-2, but was 10-2 on the night overall.