No new wrestling or MMA on TV tonight, though Fox Sports 2 is running a bunch of reruns of UFC shoulder programming (including the countdown show for this Saturday's PPV) starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.
The newest issue of Figure Four Weekly is up on the site for subscribers (subscribe here) with a look at the Daniel Bryan injury situation, including what he's said in the past, how it relates to his current situation, and more; plus and all of the usual reviews and international news.
Also, now available for the first time on Kindle (meaning Kindle devices and anything with the Kindle app) is Fall Guys, the seminal 1937 book that has been described as being like the 1930s version of the Wrestling Observer. It was surprisingly not on Kindle already, so we put together a nice version with a full table of contents w/ chapter marks, proper formatting on everything, etc. Right now it's available from the American, Canadian, and Australian Amazon/Kindle stores OR you can also buy it from anywhere in the world on PayHip, who will provide you with both Kindle and ePub (every other e-reader) format files, and you can either sideload them to your device or have them email it to your Kindle.
We've got full coverage of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony from two weeks ago along with a lot of backstage stories, truth vs. fiction on the stories told, as our lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. We also have a ton of notes on ROH and the New Japan tour, Lucha Underground's future and what it needs, TNA and Destination America along with notes on Taz, the Briscoes, Daniel Bryan, the latest lawsuits against WWE and UFC and a look at WWE & TNA business for February.
The latest Wrestling Observer: April 20, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WWF Hall of Fame feature, latest WWE concussion lawsuit, UFC Poland debut
Website subscriptions, which include access to both current and older newsletters as well as every audio show in the history of the site as low as $9.99 per month!
You can also order the print Observer right now and get it delivered to your door via mail, by sending your name, address, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also order at www.paypal.com directing funds to email@example.com
For the United States, it is $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to firstname.lastname@example.org For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52.
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.
The Wrestling Observer ranges weekly from 35,000 to 50,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA internationally. Each issue has coverage and analysis of all the major news, plus every issue breaks major news stories before the Internet sties and has the most complete look at the pro wrestling and MMA business anywhere, plus history pieces available nowhere else.
The lead story covers the ins and outs of this year's WWE Hall of Fame, the Randy Savage induction, Elizabeth, Ray Stevens, what WWE was and wasn't happy about, how things are expected to change next year and thoughts about next year. We also run down everyone's speeches and talk about fact vs. fiction regarding what was said, as well as key parts of stories that were and weren't said.
We look at the latest copycat lawsuit against WWE, how it was similar to others and in what key way it was different, we look at the individuals involved, We look at the claims made and WWE's reaction to the latest suit through Jerry McDevitt, and also talk the Nelson Frazier case.
We also look at the schedule for WWE PPV shows over the next year as well as NXT specials and other key events. We look at a PPV date that may change and why, and if not, why a major UFC and WWE event look to be going head-to-head early next year.
We've got an update on Extreme Rules, the Paige angle, Furious 7 at the box office, Daniel Bryan being sent home, Jey Uso's injury, Seth Rollins title win and lots of notes on new talent signed by WWE including backgrounds. We also look at plans for Tough Enough this year, UFC vs. WWE value, Another wrestler who may be getting a deal, and three names who are getting tryouts next month.
We also have full coverage of the current WWE European tour, with notes and business from every location.
We've got notes on UFC's show this past week from Poland with a full show rundown.
We've got February business notes, covering WWE house show business, TV ratings, merchandise, DVDs and other categories, as well as TNA numbers and what they really mean.
The Observer is the world's most detailed weekly pro wrestling publication, in its 32nd year of publication, and is read by the biggest names in the pro wrestling, industry, MMA industry, sports world and on Wall Street.
We also have our regular features such as the most complete look at ratings, plus results of the major house show events each week in pro wrestling and MMA, and complete inside rundowns of all the TV shows.
Also in this week's issue:
--Rey Bucanero gives his side of the Rey Mysterio Jr. retiring story
--Major indie show with huge names coming this week
--Unique angle in the Arena Mexico main event this week
--Key star injury
--Big show in Mexico being planned in two weeks
--AAA business since the Aguayo death and upcoming TV lineups
--More shows with Rey Mysterio Jr.
--El Hijo del Santo talks the Aguayo death and why he's being heavily criticized on the subject
--More on the upcoming World Cup trios tournament
--Unique major stipulation match in Dragon Gate in a few weeks
--A look at the off the charts Dragon Gate match this past week
--Notes on the upcoming King of Gate tournament
--Major name joins the NOAH feud that has gotten mainstream news coverage
--A look at NOAH's big show of the week
--Details of NOAH's Global Tag League tournament
--Three title matches including two from the U.S. on New Japan show in two weeks
--Notes on the return of the old FMW promotion with Atsushi Onita
--The shoot tournament going on for a pro wrestling world title
--News on Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling
--News on a promotion claiming national exposure and the realities of the deal
--Who is involved with the new company
--Notes on upcoming PWG dates
--One of the most famous weird incidents in modern pro wrestling explained, the non-fast count by Nick Patrick at Starrcade 1997
--Update on Bobby Heenan
--Many top stars working Middle East
--Retirement of Tomoka Nakagawa
--Jim Ross and Lucha Underground and why they wanted him
--The current status of Lucha Underground
--What is the key thing to look at with that promotion
--Notes on their big season ending show, the angles leading to it and the lineup
--Ideas they had and where they stand
--Why Lucha Underground is having trouble catching on even with strong television
--Notes on the weekend TV tapings and where the show stands well into July
--Why the Briscoes turned down WWE
--Notes on the upcoming ROH and New Japan shows and challenges in booking
--What would have happened had the Briscoes left
--Notes on the Killer Elite Squad in ROH
--Notes on TNA's finances and late payment
--The TNA/Destination America relationship and key factors on it
--More on Bobby Lashley's next fight
--Notes on TNA going back to doing a live PPV show and the time frame
--UFC pioneer Kevin Rosier passes away
--Notes on tons of new UFC fights
--What UFC star is looking to compete in the 2016 Olympics in what sport
--What happened with Matt Brown and Nate Diaz
--Notes on the latest lawsuit against UFC
--How UFC is doing on TV in Canada
--Former hockey fighter signs with UFC for Montreal
--Crazy Wanderlei Silva interview
--Thoughts on Phil Davis signing with Bellator
--Fight of the Year
--Bill Goldberg fighting update
If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can get one free classic issue of your choice sent to you today. With a 40 issue subscription, you can get two free classic issues sent to you today.
New subscribers ordering 24 or 40 issues have to let us know what major stories 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)a
*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 history)
*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 Hogan)
*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 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 Strangler Lewis)
*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.
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., $20 for shipping costs to Canada and $25 for shipping costs outside North America. You can order the book the same way you order the newsletter.
Tuesday Daily Update
-- If you're attending tonight's SmackDown/Main Event taping in Providence, please send spoiler reports to email@example.com. Thanks!
-- As Dave noted earlier, Ron Wright, the all-time top heel in the east Tennessee, passed away this morning, He's up there as one of the most underrated heel promos in wrestling history, more because he worked a smaller territory his whole career than anything else. The one promo from his prime that exists on video is pretty fantastic. He was the area's enduring wrestling legend, appearing on and off for a number of promotions through at least 2003, when he was the figurehead of Ron's Championship Wrestling (Bryan's favorite promotion name ever) in Knoxville.
For years, his foil was babyface Whitey Caldwell. and they had so many matches that it's not much of an exaggeration to say that they had so many matches together that their feud made Jerry Lawler vs. Bill Dundee look like Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock. Wright so hated that one night, Wright's plane, which he used to fly from show to show in the Smoky Mountains, was destroyed by fans who found it and set it on fire. To fans from outside of the area, he's best known for his run in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, where he was "Dirty White Boy" Tony Anthony's manager as both a heel and eventually a babyface.
Wright's last "real" matches were tags with Anthony against Bruiser Bedlam and Jim Cornette, though his official last match came at SMW's 1995 Fire on the Mountain card, where he was being honored. Each year, randomly picked wrestlers would get to make the gimmick match of their choice, and Anthony decided his would be a mystery match not announced until the night of the show. He came out during the Wright ceremony, explained his mystery match was against Wright, and lied down in the ring so Wright could pin him.
-- Gary Cooke of Wales, who also used the alias " being referred to to as a former pro wrestler, is alleged to have been at the center of a ring of pedophiles in the UK. He doesn't appear to have been any kind of known quantity as a wrestler. The trial is ongoing and the details are, as one might expect, not for the squeamish.
Kyle O'Reilly vs. Naito
Kushida vs. Michael Elgin
Adam Page vs. Watanabe
More to come later, of course. Night 1 will have:
Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. Kazuchika Okada & Shinsuke Nakamura
A.J. Styles vs. X
ReDragon vs. Jushin Liger & Hiroshi Tanahashi
Michael Elgin vs. Tetsuya Naito
The Addiction vs. The Kingdom vs. The Young Bucks
Roderick Strong vs. KUSHIDA
Jay Lethal vs. Watanabe
Delirious vs. Gedo in a battle of the two companies’ bookers
-- Officially, at least per the Extreme Rules preview on WWE.com, Daniel Bryan "is undergoing diagnostic testing to see if he can defend his title at Extreme Rules."
-- Yesterday, Sports Businss Daily reported that UFC is abandoning the idea of using the media rankings to set up the Reebok uniform pay scale that will be replacing the fighters' individual fight week sponsor pay. This had been heavily criticized because not only is the panel lacking in MMA writers these days, but the potential for vote buying is there. Instead, the scale will be based on how many fights a fighter has with the company, and Marc Raimondi confirmed that includes WEC and Strikeforce fights that took place after they were bought out.
-- WWE announced that WWE 2K15 will be released for Windows PCs at some point within the next several weeks. This is the first WWE game released for PCs since WWE Raw for the original Xbox was ported to Windows in 2002. 2K15 got mixed reviews (and my/our review, which goes over the key problems, is in the free sample issue of Figure Four Weekly we have available), but it will be interesting to see if the PC release is embraced by any kind of modding community to make unofficial changes to the game.
-- Meanwhile, EA Sports UFC Mobile, which had a limited regional release a few months ago, is now available worldwide on iOS and Android. It's a "free to play" game with the usual assortment of upgrades if you're willing to pay money. I tried it for a few minutes earlier and while it's nowhere as deep as the console game, It's fun, strategic, and deeper than you'd expect.
-- Wizard World announced that The Bella Twins and Sin Cara will be appearing at their Albuquerque event the weekend of of June 19-21. Also advertised are Edward James Olmos and Jewel Staite.
-- Cheick Kongo vs. Alexander Volkov has been announced as the main event for the June 28th Bellator card at the Kansas Star Arena. Already announced were Dave Rickels vs. John Alessio and Pat Curran vs. Goiti Yamauchi.
-- With the Nassau Coliseum (home of WrestleMania 2 and SummerSlam 2002) closing soon, fans are bringing in screwdrivers to remove seats (literally, just the seat of the chair) from the arena and take them home. They were initially replaced with folding chairs before someone found/acquited proper stadium seats to attach to the chairs. WWE's last event in the building will be the Memorial Day Raw next month.
- Bob Arum shut down a Manny Pacquiao conference call, apparently because the first writer on the call was from Examiner.com. Arum is saying that his problem was with "bloggers" being included on the call when he expected the callers to only be "'A' journalists."
-- Rapper Killer Mike has released a video for his song "Ric Flair," which was originally released a few years ago. Old Flair promos are inserted into the video as background projections.
-- During the Cauliflower Alley Club convention last week, Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer was interviewed for a Las Vegas Review Jorunal article profiling him. It's a fun, quick read.
-- The NWA's official rankings are out:
NWA World Heavyweight Championship Rankings:
Champion: Hiroyoshi Tenzan
#1 Jax Dane
#2 Rob Conway
#3 Matt Riviera
#4 Satoshi Kojima
#5 Jason Kincaid
#6 Tim Storm
#7 Byron Wilcott
#8 Shinsuke Nakamura
#9 Arrick Andrews
#10 Houston Carson
NWA World Women’s Championship Rankings:
Champion: Santana Garrett
#1 Barbi Hayden
#2 La Rosa Negra
#3 Katt Green
#4 Delilah Doom
#5 Mia Yim
NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship Rankings:
Champion: Steve Anthony
#1 Jushin Liger
#2 Chase Owens
#3 Tiger Mask
#4 Danny Ramons
NWA World Tag Team Championship Rankings:
Champions: Killer Elite Squad (Lance Hoyt & Harry Smith)
#1 The Heatseekers (Sigmon & Elliott Russell)
#2 Parental Discretion (Mike Menance, Mario Banks & Mike Rayne)
#3 Charlie Haas & Dane Griffin
#4 Sons of Texas (Brent McKenzie, James Claxton & Moonshine Mantell)
#5 Frankie Thomas & Ryan Oshun