We also update a look at Ring of Honor stemming from the Final Battle show. We look at how the show did, frustrations with the product, the psychology of being a champion vs. being a challenger, the future of ROH, the effect of television on their business so far, the return of Kevin Steen and apparent direction for 2012, the New York crowd and how it affected the show and more.
We also have match-by-match coverage with star ratings, flying chairs, tables and long matches.
We also look at the WWE's traditional No. 1 house show of the year, the week after Christmas show in Madison Square Garden, including a lot of the extra things thrown out this yea.
We also look at the late Korean dictator Kim Jong II, and not only his connection with pro wrestling, but a look at the two most attended pro wrestling events of all-time in North Korea, which included Ric Flair, Scott Norton, Muhammad Ali, Chris Benoit, Eric Bischoff and others. We look at what the reaction was like at the time including from the worldwide media.
We also have the history of the Japanese MVP award.
We also look at the question of the fastest UFC fight in history and the debate over what should be he record.
We also look back in history on a 70s star entering the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stllwater, OK this coming year, and go back at looking at someone who was a famous celebrity amateur wrestler who later became a pro, and other great athletes that Verne Gagne tried to recruit to be his top stars in the 70s, who made it and who didn't.
We also have the final category list for the 2011 Wrestling Observer Awards with the updated ballot.
We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week, who is and isn't watching and how each segment on the show gained or lost audience. We also have the same for Impact including the change in the makeup of the viewership this week from normal levels and why.
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:
--Promotion leaving their fan base furious at recent finishes
--Top booker wrestler in Mexico talks rise of WWE in that country
--Notes on TNA wrestlers who have been appearing in AAA
--Japanese star looks like they are getting cut
--New Japan's last shows of the year
--More on the reaction in Japan to the death of Umanosuke Ueda
--Why major news commentators talked about Ueda's fame as a symbol of the country at large
--Ueda's most famous singles match
--His moving from company to company
--Death of a wrestling trainee
--Hall of Famer needs back surgery
--Sean Waltman's arrest
--WWE's big year beginning shows featuring some former WWE wrestlers
--What former WWE wrestler can now command $25,000 per appearance
--Former TNA Knockout member now on a reality show
--Update on Travis Tomko after his arrest
--Corporal Robinson talks about why he had to retire from wrestling
--Another former Olympian going into pro wrestling
--Notes on some books that will be released on pro wrestling in 2012
--Former well known wrestling television announcer inducted into a college Hall of Fame
--Why Karen Jarrett was fired by TNA
--Upcoming TNA PPV notes
--A look in depth at the TNA satellite promotion India, its prospects and angles
--Notes on ticket scalping at WWE and UFC shows
--Update on Pride fights airing on U.S. television
--Lots of new UFC fights
--Notes on some of the Bellator tournaments for the new season in March
--Fighter paralyzed trying a move
--Bas Rutten picks his 2011 awards
--Legends from the past return to fighting the past few weeks
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.
--Randy Orton's suffered a herniated disc between his L-4 and L-5 vertebrae on the left side of his back, but it doesn't sound like his condition is as bad as was feared last night when at the show they talked about him being out for six months. A wwe.com article gave the impression he would be out for several weeks as opposed to several months.
--Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne vs. Epico & Primo for the tag titles was moved from the Raw tour to the Smackdown tour starting last night to make up for Orton not being on the Smackdown show.
--Dana White noted even he's concerned about tomorrow night's show and people forgetting because it's on a Friday, noting when talking with some new sponsors yesterday, he casually said "See you Saturday" at the show. He realized if he naturally thought of the fight being on Saturday, well, it's trouble. While Saturday would clearly be a better night for PPV, it would be difficult to run Las Vegas even though the place will be loaded with tourists. The original idea was New Year's Eve from Abu Dhabi.
--Dana White confirmed that Donald Cerrone made a comment to Nate Diaz along the lines he was taking him apart on Friday before Diaz knocked his cowboy hat off. The two had both downplayed the handshake storyline, and ended up with something else everyone talked about. White jumped in immediately.
--Biggest news story of April
Rock vs. Cena announced as the main event of WrestleMania 28 30.5%
Edge retires 26.1%
UFC draws 55,724 fans and $12 million in Toronto 16.0%
WrestleMania in Atlanta 8.5%
Larry Sweeney passes away 7.4%
WWE drops the moniker World Wrestling Entertainment 2.6%
Undertaker vs. HHH steal the show at Mania 2.3%
Randy Couture retires 2.3%
Scott Half incident in Fall River, MA 2.1%
Charly Manson assaults officer, ends up in jail 1.1%
Tough Enough return 0.6%
Diaz vs. Daley headlines one of the year's best shows 0.5%
--Who do you expect to win this fight
Donald Cerrone 68.5%
Nate Diaz 31.5%
--What are your plans for Friday
Watching UFC 141 56.1%
Watching Smackdown 39.8%
Watching the Japanese New Year's Eve show 20.1%
That latter figure should make HDNet really happy. 42% of those watching Smackdown say they are also watching UFC 141. Of those watching the Japanese show, to no surprise, 78% say they are watching UFC 141. Of those watching UFC 141, 30% say they are also watching Smackdown while 28% say they are also watching the Dream show.
--To show the extent of the UFC feud with Spike, tonight's Countdown show airing on Spike is not listed on the UFC web site, and tomorrow's prelims on the UFC web site are listed only as "Live on TV" with no mention of where to see them. The Spike web site does list the UFC prelims tomorrow. (thanks to J.T. Burnett)
--Chuck Langerman's daily wrestling trivia concerns Barry Horowitz, one of the best-known job guys in WWF history. Horowitz wrestled at Florida State University, which played into one of his characters, Jack "The Stretcher" Hart. He also wrestled under the name Bret Hart in the Carolinas, which was confusing at the time. In fact, because the Carolinas TV, where he was Bret Hart, played in Toronto since that was essentially part of the Mid-Atlantic circuit, when Calgary's Bret Hart was brought to Toronto, he had to use the name "Buddy the Hearthrob Hart," a name he's probably wanted to forget for sometime. Barry Horowitz after college was trained by Boris Malenko in Tampa. He now runs a sports nutrition business called Vitamin Discount Center and still, at 52, occasionally wrestles.
--A lot of newspapers today did notable deaths of the year and such. Yahoo.com and the Chicago Sun-Times in listing notable sports deaths mentioned Randy Savage. The Sydney Morning Herald,which listed Killer Karl Kox as one of the most notable deaths of the year, not limited to just sports, last week, ran a Kox obituary in this morning's paper (thanks to James Stanios, Mark Schreiner, Graeme Cameron and many others)
--WWE announced today that the name Capitol Punishment as a show for next year is being replaced by the return of the legendary PPV--Bragging Rights. You mean December to Dismember wasn't available? It's scheduled for 6/17 and will be on the WWE Network.
--Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the final episode of Portland Wrestling, which had its final episode on December 28, 1991, when KPTV decided to replace it with WWE due to not having any production costs. While Don Owen's Portland Wrestling was already on its last legs, and did continue for a few months, it was really the main thing that ended the promotion as they weren't able to get on a broadcast outlet. Portland Wrestling debuted in 1953, so it ran for 38 years, making it one of the longest running weekly episodic television shows in the history of U.S. television. How Raw, which has run from 1993 to 2001, or almost 19 years, is the longest is something somebody else would have to give a cogent answer to, but if you didn't know, WWE doesn't consider pro wrestling shows in that category.
--Sunday will be the 30th anniversary of the final wrestling show ever promoted by Sam Muchnick.
--John Corrigan of the Temple News College Magazine at
is looking to hear from long-time attendees of pro wrestling events at the old ECW Arena for a story they are doing on wrestling being finished in the building in a few weeks.
--The web site ComicBookResources.com said that it looks like C.M. Punk and artist Jill Thompson may work together on a comic book. Thompson was the illustrator for a children's book Mick Foley wrote many years ago.
--Kurt Angle promoting the TNA show tonight in Albany, NY at http://blogs.timesunion.com
Angle described himself as a part-time pro wrestler preparing for the Olympics. He claimed he would return to full-time wrestling if he doesn't make the Olympic team. He talks about what he'll do if he does make the team, but let's get serious.
--CZW runs on 2/4 in Indianapolis at the Fountain Square Salvation Inn with D.J. Hyde vs. Drake Younger.