Ultimate Fighter airs tonight on Spike at 10 p.m.
With all the news of the past week, we've got one of our bigger issues of the year, a double issue of the Observer this week.
Our lead story is the most in-depth coverage of the UFC's lawsuit against officials of the state of New York. We look at the case, the real goals of the case, why UFC isn't legalized right now in New York, why they made this move, who is involved in the suit, why the fighters were chosen and what UFC officials and fighters will and won't be talking about this.
We look at the history of why UFC is not allowed to run in New York, the successful show held in New York, the crazy story behind the second UFC show in New York, what promotion did what and how the media was involved in derailing UFC in New York years ago.
We also have a look at the build to Survivor Series, the three hour Raw with The Rock, how every segment on the three hour Raw did including what was one of the biggest gaining segments of he year on WWE television.
The issue is available today on the web site, as is a back issue from 1994 as part of ten issues of the Observer and Figure Four available to web site subscribers each month. We also have the Observer as a print newsletter available with details below.
The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sites and has
the most complete look at the business as a whole anywhere. The Observer is now in its 29th year of being the leading insider pro wrestling
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We also look at the UFC on FOX, including the most detailed ratings breakdowns of the biggest televised MMA events ever in the U.S. We also look at some of the biggest and most important moments of the Zuffa history of the sport, the flops, the successes, and what successes meant little long term, what did, and what flops hurt and what flops did no damage at all.
We look at what backfired on the first show, what worked, the future of Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos, why all traditional understanding of what gets over in sports often misses the most basic of points, the FOX strategy, what the show really did ratings wise and how every reported figure is missing a key element of the audience watching the show and why even with a final number that is not all that impressive, why Dana White was doing cartwheels when reading into the numbers.
We also chart the five biggest MMA television shows in history, with ratings, viewers, peak quarter and key demo numbers as well as how the audience that watched a big UFC event in 2006 and 2011 have changed.
We also have full coverage of the live event from the Honda Center, match-by-match coverage with poll results.
We also have comments from UFC and FOX executives going into detail of the 2012 plans for UFC on television.
We also have an updated story on the WWE Network, looking at a lot of information of show ideas as well as notes on who long it's likely to take because the network can be financially successful and what are its biggest obstacles. We detail of a ton of new programming ideas and what is good, what isn't, what does and doesn't have legs.
We also have more on the injuries to Christian, why there is so much twitter talk on WWE television, notes on the new WWE video game and the value of The Rock and Brock Lesnar to it, notes on the final WWE PPV show of the year, Notes on John Morrison, Gerald Brisco, Smackdown in early 2012, new WWE signing that most people would know and business from all the European events as well as highlights from the European shows.
We also have a profile on the life and times of Joe Frazier, the story behind one of the biggest feud in sports history, Ali vs. Frazier in and out of the ring, the back story of the feud and why it garnered so much interest and the story of the Thrilla in Manila, considered one of the great heavyweight fights of all-time.
We also have exclusive notes not covered anywhere else of Joe Frazier as a pro wrestler, both his two pro matches and his refereeing angles, and the major match they were planning on doing with him that never happened.
We also talk with Spike and Bellator officials about Viacom's purchase of Bellator and what plans are, what changes are going to be made, and how this changes the MMA landscape.
We also have the story of the champion of a major promotion who suddenly quit, came back for one night, and then did an angle with the rival promotion days later.
We also have a rundown on TNA's Turning Point show including match-by-match coverage with poll results.
We also have coverage of New Japan's latest PPV show from Osaka, as well as notes on the company's next PPV show from Nagoya.
In addition, we have a complete listing updated of all members of the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, what category they are from and when they were inducted.
We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week. We also have a breakdown of Raw and Impact and what segments gained and lost viewers so you can see what segments and personalities people tune in and out from.
We also have our regular weekly features with results of all the major arena events around the world, as well as all the major TV show
Also in this week's issue:
--Just how bad things have gotten for CMLL
--Last AAA big show of the year announced
--AAA makes a signing of someone they've been after for months
--Latest AAA tapings
--A look at Dragon Gate's latest U.S. tour and who to look out for
--Opening night lineup for the Real World Tag League of 2011
--Update on the Global League tournament from NOAH
--Satoshi Kojima's 20th anniversary special show
--One of the world's most spectacular wrestlers is out until May
--Tenryu's 35th anniversary show
--A look at the start of Tenryu's career
--The return of the Great Kabuki
--The end of Battlarts
--Fit Finlay goes to Japan
--The legend of Killer Karl Kox
--Mark Canterbury update
--More on what happened to Kamala
--Perry Saturn talks drug addiction and being homeless and what saved him
--More on Scott Hall
--Nigel McGuinness returns to action
--NWA Hall of Fame notes
--The second annual Bruno Sammartino award
--Pro wrestler on trial
--Former WWE star is told by doctor to retire
--Wrestler arrested as part of alleged steroid ring
--Former WWE wrestler qualifies for nationals in another sport
--Famous 70s actress talks about her days as Miss Wrestling
--Former NWA champion coming to ROH television in segments recently filmed
--Gail Kim talks about her leaving TNA and her WWE stay
--Kurt Angle talks Olympics
--Tommy Dreamer on why he left TNA
--What to look out for in future TNA television
--Update on Strikeforce going forward
--Updates on the UFC business
--What they pegged Velasquez vs. Dos Santos to do when it was originally a PPV match
--Updated UFC numbers
--Update on Brock Lesnar
--How Lesnar's life has changed after surgery
--Lots of new UFC PPV matches announced
--UFC headliner sues management
--Update on recoveries from surgery by UFC stars
--Zuffa's plans for a new womens star
--Major Bellator fights this week
--A Benoit style story in MMA this week
--Bobby Lashley's latest fight
--New promotion gets U.S. TV deal
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
4, $33 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to
. For the rest of the world, rates are $15.50 for 4, $41 for 12, $78 for 24, $126 for 40 issues and $163 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.
--The actual audience for the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos fight itself on FOX was 8.77 million. Keep in mind that the actual U.S. audience would probably be closer to 10 million because it aired on Fox Deportes, and because of Velasquez, the ratings among Spanish viewers were higher than non-Spanish viewers. It would make it the most watched MMA fight, boxing match or pro wrestling match on U.S. television in more than eight years. What is even more impressive is that was a 64 second fight and in big fights, the rating usually grows by more than 1 million viewers so if it had gone any time, it's mind boggling where it would have ended up.
--In last week's ratings, ESPN averaged 2.8 in prime time to 2.0 for USA, likely thanks to the Penn State scandal coverage. FX was No. 11 at 1.0, Syfy was No. 17 at 0.9 and Spike did not crack top 25. The two hours of Raw were No. 14 and No. 18 overall.
--Spike TV announced it is doing its own weekly MMA television show called MMA Junkie Live starting in January, named after the web site. The 30 minute show will be broadcast live from Times Square in New York. The show will feature MMA reporters in discussion and debates on issues of the day as well as interview the top fighters.
--The three wrestlers who face Big Show in the handicap match on Friday night's Smackdown are Andy Baker, Zak Bevis and The French Stallion. Bevis is from the Bevis (Knight) wrestling family in the U.K. and has had WWE tryouts in the past. Baker trains at OVW and uses the name Andreas Rossi there.
--The TNA house show in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the famed Luna Park on Monday has been canceled.
--Marlon Sandro vs. Rafael Dias in a featherweight bout has been added to Saturday night's Bellator show headlined by Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler for the lightweight title.
--The first UFC show on FX will include Josh Neer vs. Duane Bang Ludwig and Christian Morecraft vs. Pat Barry. The date and venue hasn't been announced, but it will be on a Friday night in January.
--Rousimar Palhares vs. Mike Massenzio has been added to UFC's 1/14 show in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
--For those in this area, Joe Rogan will be appearing at the San Jose Improv Comedy Club on Friday night with shows at 8 and 10 p.m. (thanks to Jon Southerland)
--There will be another Raw from the T.D. Gardens in Boston on 3/5
--Sgt. Slaughter is the Grand Marshal at the NASCAR Sprint Club race in Homestead, FL this coming Sunday.
--Roger Huerta vs. War Machine headlines an 11/16 iPPV show in Pharr, TX at the Events Center for a promotion called Ultimate Warrior fighting. The rules are that you run down to the ring as fast as you can, blow up before the match starts and then cut promos in a language bordering on English but that nobody understands. Also on the show is former UFC champion Dave Menne.
--NWA Wrestling on 12/2 is Hasbrouck Heights, NJ at the VFW with Sgt. Slaughter, Carlito and Devon "Crowbar" Storm as well as former boxing star Riddick Bowe.
--Jessica Aguilar vs Lisa Ellis-Ward will be one of the fights on the live Spike.com streaming of Bellator prelims on Saturday night.
--Two people who have a connection to Gina Carano are fighting on Saturday in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock for the Lion Fight promotion. Kit Cope, the former boyfriend of Carano, will be fighting, as will Elaina Maxwell, who faced Carano is the fight that really put Carano on the national map in San Jose.
--Shane Helms will be appearing on Saturday night for Ring Wars Carolinas in Red Springs, NC at the High School, his first appearance at a pro wrestling show since his bad auto accident.
--NWS on Friday night in Kearney, NJ at the High School Gym with The Boogeyman vs. The Zombie. Saturday night in Edison, NJ at St. Matthews Parish Gym features the same main event.
--Meiko Satomura and Commando Boilshoi have been pulled from the JoshiMania CHIKARA shows due to injuies. Satomura will be there doing a training seminar and Kaori Yoneyama is coming as a replacement for Bolshoi. The shows are 12/2 in Philadelphia, 12/3 in Everett, MA and 12/4 in Manhattan, NY. Hall of Famers Aja Kong and Manami Toyota are the headliners.
--There are three Toys for Tots shows scheduled at the Arena in Philadelphia this holiday season. CHIKARA will be collecting for their 12/2 show that features Kong and Toyota. CZW will be collecting on their Cage of Death show on 12/3 and there is also a Japanese indie summit show featuring wrestlers from four different Japanese groups on the afternoon of 12/3 and includes Dick Togo, Kudo, Danshoku Dieno Jun Kasai and Jaki Numazawa. They are requesting unwrapped toys for donation and collection bins will be at the entrance of the arena for all three shows. They will be given as Christmas gifts to needy children.
--AWWL on Saturday night in Marshall, MI at the MAC Activity Center with Sabu vs. Necro Butcher, plus former 80s star Tim Horner.
--Dakota Cochrane, who upset Jamie Varner in September, is going to try out for the next season of Ultimate Fighter.
--Grapplers Quest hosts the World Series of Grappling and BJJ on Saturday in Las Vegas at the Sports Center on Sunset Rd.
--Showdown Fights on Friday night from Orem, UT at the UCCU Events Center airs live on iPPV from GoFightLive.TV featuring Jordan Smith vs. Josh McDonald.
--Faction MMA on Saturday night at the Fabulous Moolah Shrine Center Ballroom in St. Louis. Another MMA fighter who shares the name of a former pro wrestler on that show is Mike Graham, who joins names like Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts (sadly no Terry Gordy), Rocky Johnson and John Hawk.
--Rashad Evans appears on Saturday night at the Pop Culture Vault Gallery in Delray Beach, FL from 8-10 p.m. at an art exhibit.