We have a number of holiday specials this weekend that will continue until Christmas for those of you looking at a wrestling present for family or friends, or even enemies if you wish.
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We've got another huge double issue this week of the Wrestling Observer, covering the return of the Rock and tons of WWE news involving Survivor Series, plans going forward and much more.
We look at the Madison Square Garden crowd that made the show, the situation with John Cena and the reasons they are leery of turning him, the double standard in WWE when it comes to the Garden, the Zack Ryder situation, what Rock said off camera, Rock's goals for his comeback, the C.M. Punk title win, Vince McMahon's current commitment to Punk, who McMahon lost confidence in, notes on the TLC PPV show, the suspension of R-Truth, the real reason Vince McMahon ordered the R-Truth babyface turn, the WWE drug policy and drug policy i other sorts, more notes on the injury to Sin Cara and the plans for him and how it affects WrestleMania.
We look at the business of Survivor Series, a full rundown on the show with match-by-match coverage, poll results of the show and star ratings for all of the matches.
We also have more updates on UFC on FOX, including thoughts on the next show, how many people really watched the show and the main event, the most watched MMA matches on U.S. television in history,what the ratings said about the drawing power of someone thought to have no charisma, what the rating would have been had the fight gone three rounds or longer and booking decisions going forward on the show. We also look at the difference between the mentality of UFC on FOX as compared to UFC on PPV or UFC on Spike.
We look at the ups and downs of various available matches for the next special, what main event risks having a bad rating, new sponsors, how the audience for Velasquez vs. Dos Santos compares to the heyday of Raw, the biggest wrestling events, the real rating of the show in Brazil, and why more people actually saw the show than the ratings list.
We also have an update on Chris Jericho and WWE, including what major things have changed since the last time we reported on this story.
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.
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We also look at the big fights over the weekend, Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua, Cung Le vs Wanderlei Silva, Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles and Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler. We look at the Henderson vs. Rua judging, our feedback on the judging, the legacy of Henderson, what is in Henderson's future, business of the show and how it compares to previous Strikeforce events in San Jose, early PPV estimates, plus a complete rundown of UFC 139, including payoffs and injuries.
We also look at HHH talking twitter and the speech he gave to talent about it, his thoughts on The Rock, updates on The Rock in Hollywood, Randy Orton and C.M. Punk talk Rock, Rock responds to those knocking him, WWE 12 game business, future of Maryse, update on WrestleMania ticket sales and who has purchased a large percentage of the tickets, business notes on WWE's last European swing, Slammy Awards, notes on the live Smackdown this week, Shawn Michaels' new endorsement deal, Steve Austin talks wrestling again and thoughts on Austin at Mania. We've also got updates on Mania, Undertaker, Booker T going back to wrestling, John Cena on why he endorsed a Zack Ryder push, unique way a young WWE wrestler has gotten a push renewed, new spots the company is looking for, and more on the upcoming WWE Network.
We look at Vince McMahon's newest concept for the network, an update on John Morrison, Zack Ryder's impromptu match in Boston, Mick Foley doing a network show, WWE in Japan next week, Alberto Del Rio on how long he wants to continue wrestling, lots of developmental news including a wrestler of Tough Enough starts on FCW TV. Plus, notes on how WWE programming is doing in foreign countries, what former WWE star allowed a current WWE star to continue their career when they almost had to give it up, who was asked to make a surprise appearance at SummerSlam as well as foreign wrestlers who got recent WWE tryouts.
We have a short item on the death of Bison Smith.
We also have more details on the Hulk Hogan divorce settlement, why it just came out, details on his financial situation and why a current court case ruling that he's appealing could have very negative affects on his current business dealings.
We also look at CHIKARA Pro Wrestling with its first iPPV show, notes about the promotion and the comedy involved.
We also have part two in our rundown of UFC stars who have done pro wrestling over the years, looking at some of the legends in the sport, fighters who have done WWE and New Japan wrestling, and others who have dabbled in pro wrestling.
In the ratings rundown we have the dichotomy of the person that fans are going crazy for more than almost anyone in the business this week and a look at his effect on the television audience. We also look at one show that did its all-time low audience, and another that did one of its biggest audiences to date. Plus, what segment on Impact this week gained nearly 400,000 viewers.
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:
--Another main eventer jumps to a rival promotion
--Legendary Hall of Famer added to his promotions creative team
--Wrestler in negotiations with WWE drops local title
--Jushin Liger drops his Mexican title
--Storyline for TNA wrestlers in AAA
--Why Hector Garza left CMLL as world champion
--Next Dragon Gate U.S. show in Los Angeles
--American star from Dragon Gate wins title overseas
--Two wrestlers arrested in an assault stemming from a dressing room fight that looks to have ended a career and nearly cost a life
--Bad sign for the early days of the Real World Tag League
--A look at NOAH's Global league tournament
--Outsiders being brought in for this year's New Japan Tokyo Dome show
--A Zuffa star scheduled to challenge for a pro wrestling world in a few weeks
--Stan Hansen returns to Japan
--Nostalgia of the famous 90s UWFI promotion
--An update on the legal problems facing Matt Hardy
--Update on Shane Helms' legal issue
--What former WWE star is promoting a famous rock band's video game
--Story on the background of a wrestler getting a well remembered movie role, the background of how he got it and why he was the second choice for the role
--A look at ROH Survival of the Fittest and what this week did or didn't tell about television helping business
--New stars the company is pushing
--Thoughts on the booking
--ROH star defending Japanese title
--Update on Jesse Neal in TNA
--Why Jeff Hardy matches have gone the way they have
--A look at the ratings in the U.K. for all the major wrestling shows from TNA and WWE
--What happened with the latest TNA overseas tour
--UFC's TV debut on FX
--Dana White's crazy schedule going forward
--Update on the Brazilian soccer stadium show
--Update on the first international edition of Ultimate Fighter
--Payoffs for the FOX special
--Injuries to Dos Santos and Velasquez before the fight
--Update on ticket sales to upcoming UFC shows
--Latest on Ronda Rousey
--Story of WWE trying to pay someone off to no-show a UFC broadcast from years ago
--Bas Rutten talks the Alistair Overeem problems with Golden Glory and gives his side of it
--Chael Sonnen's TV appearance where he walks off an interview
--Josh Koscheck talks why he hopes Nick Diaz beats GSP and if he will fight Jon Fitch
--Lots of new UFC matches announced
--More on this year's Japan New Year's Eve show
--What is said to be the best promotional television show
--The return of Fedor Emelianenko
--A new television show added to the Spike lineup
--The highest rated fight in Mexico
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.
--Bryan and I will be back tonight talking the weekend news, notes going forward on a lot of subjects. Today is a good chance to get e-mail questions answered so you can send them to
and we'll get to as many as we can.
--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia. Steve Borden, later to become Sting and for a brief period of time, Real Estate Steve, was a 6-foot-2 high school basketball star at Williams S. Hart High School in Newhall, CA. Others who went to that school are actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar, former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, a man in the news today, Joe Kapp as well as another NFL quarterback, Kyle Boller.
--Who designed that new Sin Cara T-shirt? Check the WWE shop.com site for the Sin Cara Goteo de Oro T-shirt.
--Today is the 25th anniversary of Starrcade 86, which was a show from both the Omni in Atlanta and the Greensboro Coliseum, featuring The Road Warriors vs. Midnight Express scaffold match, Ric Flair vs. Nikita Koloff for the world title, Dusty Rhodes vs. Tully Blanchard in a first blood match and Rock & Roll Express vs. Ole & Arn Anderson. I was at the show in Greensboro and just remember it ended at 12:30 a.m., at no point did the show drag or feel too long, and nobody left early.
--Ron Lyle, a heavyweight boxer who was best known for fights with Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, passed away yesterday at the age of 70 from a sudden stomach ailment. Lyle was still doing boxing training at the gym as late as Friday. Lyle tried a comeback in 1995 at the age of 54 trying to get a rematch with Foreman.
--Also passing away was Vasily Alekseyev, the famous weightlifter from the 70s. Alekseyev, who was about 340 pounds, with his trademark gigantic belly, was generally viewed as the strongest man in the world from 1970 to 1978, including winning gold medals in both the 1972 and 1976 Olympics. In 1972, the buildup for the Olympics centered around Alekseyev vs. Ken Patera and who was the strongest man in the world, although everyone pretty much knew that unless Alekseyev was hurt, he couldn't be beat. Patera ended up bombing out and then became one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling. I think because of the popularity of Wide World of Sports, guys like Alekseyev who were great athletes from foreign countries were mainstream stars in the U.S. at a level that few would be today. The story I remember most is when he became the first guy to lift 500 pounds overhead in 1970 in a meet in Columbus, OH, people went crazy, and he, who only knew the metric system, couldn't understand why such a fuss was being made.
--The deal yesterday with Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca took place in Vancouver at a Canadian Football League alumni get together where they were watching the 1963 Grey Cup game that Kapp was the star of the British Columbia Lions and Mosca was the most famous player on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Mosca did a famous hit on Willie Fleming of the Lions and put him out of the game with what many considered a cheap shot. Kapp lost his cool and slapped Mosca, who tried to defend himself with his cane. As they struggled, Kapp punched him in the chest and pushed the unsteady Mosca over and then apologized and gave his speech. It was covered pretty big in Canada.
--At the Pro Wrestling NOAH event earlier today in Tokyo, Takeshi Rikio, a former GHC singles and tag team champion announced his retirement due to injuries.
--Will the 2/4 GSP vs. Nick Diaz PPV do triple the domestic buys of this year's Royal Rumble?
For a comparison, last year's show did 281,000 domestic buys so three times that is 843,000. It's far from a sure thing. Of course this year's Rumble may not do as well as last year, but Rumble and Mania are the two shows that have held up the best while most of the other WWE shows have declined greatly. Of course UFC has also declined this year at a far greater rate than WWE.
--If UFC on FOX is headlined by Evans vs. Davis and Sonnen vs. Munoz, does it break the 3.0 barrier?
--Greatest wrestling family
Von Erichs 11.5%
Rodriguez's 3.6% (Mil Mascaras, Dos Caras, Alberto Del Rio)
--Poll on Smackdown
31.4% of those responding didn't see the show
--Bobby Lashley is scheduled for Family Wrestling entertainment on 12/17 in New York at the 3 Legged Dog Studios on Greenwich St. The show features Lashley vs. Rob Terry, Charlie Haas vs. Eric Young, Winter vs. Jackie Haas, Tommy Dreamer vs. Robbie E, Jay Lethal vs. Alex Reynolds and more.
--Pro Wrestling Revolution on 3/9 in Rahway, NJ at the Rec Center headlined by Davey Richards vs. Dan Maff.
--Christian was at last night's Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers NHL game in Tampa. He must be doing better as he was not limping (thanks to Joe Becht)
--Slam Championship Wrestling from yesterday in Gloucester City, NJ: Patch b Dustin Puser, Latin Connection b Kool Aid, The Patriot (Tom Brandi) b Boris Dragoff, Breaker Morant b White Lotus, Mike Goldstein b King Kaluha, Boris Dragoff won Battle Royal. Next show is Friday night in Woodbury Heights, NJ (thanks to Paul Verlander)
--EWF from last night in Converse, IN: Andy Santo b Mr. Fitness, Busta the Clown b Dexter P. Wyler, Lamar Johnson & K.T. Williams b Hank Calhoun & Wildman Rogers, Jake Omen b Kyle Cassidy, Troy Miller b Flying Wondercat, Osyris b Damen Deville, Marc Houston b Jun Hado, Bobby Steele & Jack Hammer & Grizzly & King & Vic Malibu b Troy Miller & Mike King & Edwin Torres & Parker James & Ric Savage
--The New York Post's gossip column mentioned Stacy Keibler, due to George Clooney. They went to Cabo San Lucas for a Thanksgiving vacation with Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford and Molly Sims and Scott Stuber.