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.
--Alistair Overeem claimed after the match last night when asked about his wages being held up by Nevada court based on a lawsuit filed against him for breach of contract against his former Golden Glory management, said it was the first he had heard of it. So his team kept it from him, although Overeem is an awesome poker face.
--The story about the multitude of lawsuits by former NFL players against the league regarding concussions suffered on the field having an effect leading to significant mental issues later in life is something that both WWE and UFC need to pay attention to because if successful, this could happen to both companies down the line. Story is here
--The UFC on XBOX Live last night had its issues. The app was off-line and UFC said they were working on it. It was down for two hours and they told people on twitter to try and watch the show in a different way (thanks to Chris Callan)
--According to CompuStrike, Nate Diaz landed 248 out of his 304 punches in the fight with Donald Cerrone. On the other hand, Cerrone landed 35 of 151. It was 97-5 in the first round 65-7 in the second and 86-23 in the third.
--Because of Brock Lesnar, and even more, his retiring, coverage of last night's show was far more mainstream in the U.S. than for any show in a long time. It has been the most read story on WashingtonPost.com
--Even though it's New Year's Eve and there was the Insight Bowl last night, the No. 1 searched for topic last night on Google was Brock Lesnar. The Insight Bowl was No. 2. Torrie Wilson was No. 4. Lesnar vs. Overeem was No. 5. Diverticulitis was No. 7. Alistair Overeem was No. 9. UFC 141 was No. 11. And Haywire (the name of the movie starring Gina Carano) was No. 18. There hasn't been a UFC with this level of interest in a long time.
--Chris Jericho tweeted that the mystery man showing up on Monday was Brock Lesnar. He also wrote "That fight was a joke."
--Randy Orton wrote when asked how he's feeling, said "Pain free at the moment. I do therapy/rehab every morning and night. Funny to sit back and watch the rumors." Notable of course is that all the rumors come from statements made by his own company.
--Our staff predictions didn't go so well last night. Actually the undercard was fairly easy to predict but main card, Todd Martin and I went 3-2 (both missing Cerrone vs. Diaz and Hendricks vs. Fitch), Josh Nason, Mike Sempervive and Mike Sawyer went 2-3 and Bryan and Oliver Copp went 1-4.
--Myself, Ariel Helwani and Josh Gross will be together doing a radio show tomorrow night at 6 p.m. on Sherdog.com with Jack Encarnacao.
--We have a show up covering last night's UFC show, and will have another show updating pro wrestling tomorrow night.
--Matt Riddle and Luis Ramos got both their regular show pay and their winning bonus for last night's fight that didn't happen. Riddle got very sick and when the commission doctor looked at him, they wouldn't allow him to fight. He was vomiting all day. Some attributed the illness to his major weight cut.
--There is a UFC 24-hour marathon on Fuel TV starting at midnight tonight. They will be airing old fights, complete old PPVs, talk shows and more. Both Wednesday and Thursday they will be airing UFC 135, the Jon Jones vs. Rampage Jackson show from September. (thanks to Suju Abraham)
--Manny Gamburyan suffered a shoulder injury in his fight with Diego Nunes last night. He said he had hurt it in September and hurt it again here. He's had problems with it for years and years going back to his judo days and it cost him winning the Ultimate Fighter in a match with Nate Diaz that he dominated until his shoulder went out.
--Ultimate Warrior will make his first appearance in years at the U.S. pro wrestling event on 3/24 in Oak Lawn, IL at the Oak Lawn Pavilion.
--Biggest news story of June
- C.M. Punk cuts a promo on the McMahon family at the end of Raw 77.0%
- Keiji Muto pressured to resign as president of All Japan Pro Wrestling 5.1%
- Andy Leavine wins Tough Enough, never heard of again 3.6%
- UFC announces non-title main events go five rounds 3.5%
- Davey Richards beats Eddie Edwards at Best in the World to win ROH title and PPV sets an iPPV record 3.0%
- Junior Dos Santos beats Shane Carwin to earn a title shot 2.7%
- Nate Marquardt fired by UFC after testing high for testosterone and being pulled off a main event in Pennsylvania 2.7%
- Clay Guida beats Anthony Pettis to derail Pettis' title shot 0.9%
- Brett Rogers arrested on a domestic violence charge 0.9%
- AAA TripleMania 0.5%
--Poll on Countdown to UFC 141
--Poll on Impact
--Tommy Dreamer's column in the Whig-Standard here
. He said he had three people he knew die over Christmas and attended two wakes. He also talks a lot about his father.
--Kyle Noke has verbally agreed to face Jared Hamman on the 3/3 UFC show in Sydney that will be airing on FX. (thanks to Tim Forge)
--Evolve will be debuting on 4/13 in Toronto. Tickets go on sale Monday at www.DGUSA.tv
or calling 267-519-9744
--Bobby Fish vs. Sami Callihan has been added to the 1/14 Evolve show at the Arena in Philadelphia.
--Naruki Doi vs. Masato Yoshino has been added to the 1/27 Dragon Gate USA show in Los Angeles at the Airport Westin.
--Opinions on the top 10 wrestlers and top 10 matches of the year here
--CHIKARA Pro's early year schedule is:
1/28 in Easton, PA at the Palmer Center
2/25 in Reading, PA at the Goodwill Beneficial Association
2/26 in Long Island at the NYWC Sportatorium
3/24 in Vaughan, Ontario at the Trio Sportsplex
3/25 in Ottawa at the Knights of Columbus Hall
4/28 in Chicago the Logan Square Auditorium
5/20 in New York at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan
--Tony Atlas will be a guest of In Your Face Wrestling on 1/14 in Ballston Spa, NY at the Community Center
--British satirical commentator Charlie Brooker used footage of John Cena informing wrestling fans that Osama Bin Laden was killed in his review of 2011 on BBC. Cena is such a huge star in the U.K,. that Brooker mispronounced his name (thanks to William Cooling)
--NWA Hollywood TV show for this week is up
. Main event is Adam Pearce defending the NWA title against Shaun Ricker, who is managed by Percy Pringle III (Paul Bearer).
--Empire Wrestling from last night in Avondale Estates, GA: Mr. Xcitement b Joey Kidman, Matt Sells b Warhorse #88, Marko Polo DDQ Hayden Young, Zach Daniels & Zackary Blane & Sylar Cross & Chad Silva b Ultimate Warhorse & Simon Sermon & Pandora & Tommy Daniels, Fred Yehi b Ken O'Sullivan, Jagged Edge b Eric Walker, Phantom b Dany Only, Shane Marx NC Terry Lawler