WRESTLING GLOBE NEWSLETTER
Friday December 11, 2009
Wrestling Globe Newsletter by Mike Aldren - All the latest professional wrestling news, gossip and occasional opinion direct to you. WGN is read by industry power players, many top wrestlers and thousands of fans from all around the world.
WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
12/10 Superstars TV results: Dolph Ziggler over Finlay; The Hart Dynasty over Jimmy Wang Yang & Slam Master J; and Jack Swagger over MVP.
No house shows this weekend ahead of Sunday's TLC pay-per-view from San Antonio, TX. A strong show on paper. Complete line up is John Cena vs. Sheamus in a Tables match for the WWE title; The Undertaker vs. Batista in a Chairs match for the World title; Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin in a Ladder match for the ECW title; Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. Shawn Michaels & Triple H in a TLC match for the tag titles; John Morrison vs. Drew McIntyre for the IC title; and Michelle McCool vs. Mickie James for the Women's title.
Raw on Monday is a live 3-hour show from Corpus Christi with Dennis Miller hosting the Slammy Awards. The Smackdown/ECW tapings are Tuesday in Laredo.
Smackdown TV tonight has Mickie James & Maria vs. Michelle McCool & Layla; Chris Jericho vs. Eric Escobar; Kane vs. Mike Knox; Matt Hardy & R-Truth vs. CM Punk & Luke Gallows; and Rey Mysterio vs. Batista in a street fight.
Hall of Famer Bobby Heenan is currently hospitalized in Tampa after an infection developed in his jaw stemming from jaw reconstruction surgery following cancer treatments. Heenan, 65, has been forced to pull out of a scheduled appearance this weekend as a result. He was honored last weekend by the Mayor of Milwakee who declared December 5 Bobby "The Brain" Heenan Day.
WWE Director Michael Soloman, who was one of the very first institutional investors in WWE, and one of the managing partners in private equity fund Gladwyne, has cashed out of WWE, according to recent SEC filings. He dumped stock worth over $20 million or 5.1 percent of the entire company. There were rumblings for some time that he was unhappy with changes in management so it appears with the recent upswing in the stock price he has cashed out. Soloman has sat on the WWE Board of Directors since 2001.
The Sun at http://tinyurl.com/ybau7bs has a story on wrestling fans angry that WWE didn't acknowledge the passing Eddie "Umaga" Fatu on Monday's Raw. Jim Cornette was quoted as saying: "[WWE] won't even recognize guys who made a contribution to their company, just because it's bad PR. But Ring Of Honor on Saturday night in Chicago opened the show with a 10-bell salute to a guy that had never worked there, just because he is a member of the wrestling fraternity. It's sad every time we lose somebody, which happens way way too often in this business. Something's wrong and something ought to be done." The Sun contacted a WWE spokesperson who declined to comment. "We are not be able to provide comment or clarification on this story," said the rep.
Mick Foley on the TNA website at www.tnawrestling.com was also critical of WWE. He wrote in his blog: "I know WWE has to protect themselves from a public relations standpoint, but from a human standpoint, they really should be doing a better job then just the three sentence standard, which always includes the date the deceased was terminated from their contract. I worked there a long time - I know that they're not heartless. But they sure sound that way in cases like this."
The Greenwich Times at http://tinyurl.com/ydea5z5 has a story on Umaga's death hurting Linda McMahon's campaign for Senate. Linda's spokesperson Ed Patru in her defence credits her for engineering the WWE Wellness Program, and WWE attorney Jerry McDivett is in full attack mode with this quote on former wrestlers bashing her: "It's not a sport. It's entertainment... He's [Linda opposition Rob Simmons] hanging around with people who are con-artists." Actually, Linda, on record, during Congressional questioning on steroids in sports and sports entertainment said she didn't have a hand in creating the Wellness Program.
The Washington Times at http://tinyurl.com/y8f4pgt picked up on the ex- wrestlers knocking WWE and Linda McMahon. A WWE spokesperson not named, which I believe is also Jerry McDivett, gave this quote in response: "The average talent on World Wrestling Entertainment's programs is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars. These complaints about health insurance, made by old-timers and other disgruntled former talent, mirror the allegations recently made in a lawsuit against WWE challenging the practice and their status as independent contractors. That lawsuit was dismissed by a distinguished federal judge and there is, therefore, nothing really to address on that meritless issue." The Times story also noted that WWE hired "porn actresses" like Candice Michelle and Jillian Beyor during Linda's reign as CEO and brought up the on-screen kiss between Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie from several years ago.
The Day in Connecticut has a story on Linda's campaign contributions at http://tinyurl.com/yd4gwt3. The story claims that Linda isn't being as forthcoming as other candidates when detailing her in-kind contributions to her campaign.
Author Irv Michnick at http://tinyurl.com/ya86ydr reprinted a series of emails between himself and Michael Benoit, the father and father-in-law of Chris and Nancy. Michael Benoit argues that brain injuries were a factor in the deaths of many pro wrestlers. He says: "Andrew Martin [Test] took WWE up on their offer for rehab. Drugs killed Andrew there is no debating that but if Andrew did not have brain damage he would still be alive today. So would my son. Please help me understand why rehab does not work for people engaged in the wrestling industry. It is my personal belief that until you cure the brain damage you will never have a successful drug rehab program for wrestlers." He also asserts that his granddaughter, the daughter of Chris Benoit from another partner, has seven years left to decide on taking legal action against WWE for wrongful death.
Chris Masters' dancing pecs got a mention on VH-1's The Soup last night. Host Joel McHale said: "It started out great for Manboobs when he slapped the Masterlock hold on his opponent, but eventually he was motor-boated into submission."
Jim Ross posted a new blog at www.jrsbarbq.com/blog which is always a good read. He wants people to stop emailing him asking how to get a job with WWE. His contract may have just expired because he wrote, "Honestly, asking me how to obtain work in WWE especially at this particular point is time is humorously ironic," although he did say he expected a new deal to be worked out soon. He suggested Danny Hodge for the WWE Hall of Fame: "The Perry, Oklahoma native represented the USA in two Olympic games, was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, never lost a match at Oklahoma University, was a three time national champion before freshmen were eligible to compete for national titles, won the United States Golden Glove Heavyweight BOXING Title, and wrestled professionally for close to three decades as the greatest NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion of all time. Of all the Okies that are in WWE's HOF, The Briscos, Bill Watts, Mae Young and yours truly, no one deserves it more than the amazing Danny Hodge." He also suggested that UFC's Frank Mir has the makings of an excellent pro wrestler once his MMA career concludes: "Mir has a natural delivery that one listens to especially when he is verbally taking down his opponent."
WWE moved their February 5 house show to Philadelphia putting them up against a Ring of Honor TV taping that night. Some websites were actually making a big deal out of this.
Maryse was up in Toronto this morning doing a promotional tour.
WWE talent chief John Laurinaitis cashed in some stock options today to pocket just over $155,000.
Nielsen Media Research released a year-end list of programs with Product Placement Activity. Raw was No. 2 on the list for the whole of U.S. television with 787 occurrences of product-placement ads, just behind Jay Leno.
Raw goes live in Italy for the first time ever starting this coming Monday. Smackdown is also moving to Friday nights.
ECW on Tuesday night did a 0.8 rating, it's lowest rating ever on SyFy. Superstars last night on WGN did a 0.9.
Shawn Michaels at http://tinyurl.com/ybegxvp says he is taking time off after Wrestlemania 26: "I actually don't have to take on the schedule that the other guys have to take on. I wrestle more on a part-time basis. I take four months off in the summer and just spend time with the family... It's a tough line of work. Those injuries hang around longer and those injuries are tougher to deal with. When I stop, my body will have an opportunity to heal and rest. That comes along with the territory."
Mark Cuban on hosting Raw this past Monday: "Yes it hurt when [Sheamus] pushed me [through the table]. The one thing that makes it easier than maybe it looks is the mat’s pad. That is the one thing so when I hit the ground I think I dinged my elbow. It hurt but it was no big deal because the ground was soft. When he hit me in the stomach he hit me in the stomach. I mean there are people ten feet away and if you pull it and he didn’t hit you those guys are not going to get into it and are going to be yelling: Fraud or Fake! Then you see the guys afterwards when they were coming to check on me these guys are black and blue. They take a hit and it maybe that the outcomes are preordained but the physicality is not."
TOTAL NONSTOP ACTION WRESTLING NEWS
12/10 Impact TV results from Orlando, FL: Chris Sabin over The British Invasion in a 3-on-1 handicap match; Scott Steiner & Awesome Kong over Bobby & Kristal Lashley; Eric Young over Hamada to retain the Global title; ODB over Tara in a trailer park match; Team 3-D, Rhino & Jesse Neal over Hernandez, Suicide & Matt Morgan in a 4-on-3 handicap match; Velvet Sky over Lacey Von Erich in a mud wrestling match; and AJ Styles over Desmond Wolfe to retain the TNA title.
No TNA house shows this weekend.
Bobby Lashley announced today that he has signed with MMA promotion Strikeforce. He is scheduled to make his debut on Strikeforce's January 30 card against a yet to be named opponent. Lashey's announcement has garnered a lot of interest on MMA websites where most of the stories refer to him as a former WWE champion. He signed a multi-year non-exclusive deal that won't preclude him from continuing to work with TNA if he desired. The deal also reportedly contains a clause that prevents him from going to straight to UFC should he not do well and be cut. In his fledgling MMA career Lashly is 4-0 with wins over Jason Guida and Bob Sapp.
Regarding TNA, Lashley told MMA Fan House: "I'm 100 percent committed to MMA. I don't think people realize that the pro wrestling I do with TNA is very limited. That's just a small amount of time and the owner of TNA wants to help my MMA career. He knows I'm dedicated to MMA and he supports that." I'll assume the "he" is either a miscommunication or Bob Carter, and not Hogan.
The TNA billboard hyping Hogan's January 4 debut is now up, located directly above ABC studios in Times Square.
Hulk Hogan, who is feeling better now, during radio interviews in Toronto promoting his book, predicted that Impact live on January 4 head-to-head against Raw will do a 3.0 rating. For what it's worth, TNA people who aren't deluded believe the show will do 1.3 to 1.5. He said he isn't going to fire Russo but he better not get in his way. He also said he was going to take guys like Matt Morgan and AJ Styles and turn them into stars.
Impact last night dropped to a 1.0 rating. Perhaps Hogan's master plan is to leave Russo in charge long enough so by January 4 when the rating is down to 0.3 he can legit say he tripled the ratings. Genius.
On Canadian talk show The Hour, Hogan told the story of wrestling Antonio Inoki in Japan (New Japan 10-man title torrnament in 1983) that Inoki tried to shoot on him so he shot back with a lariat and knocked him out. He claimed Inoki had called him in his hotel room before the match and threatened him. After the match he said he was surrounded by fifty furious Japanese wrestlers and didn't know whether he would make it out of the country alive. The interview is online at http://tinyurl.com/ycd4y2y.
Jeff Jarrett was keeping a low profile backstage at this week's television taping. One source noted at some point he sat down behind closed doors with Kurt Angle to clear the air.
Kevin Nash noted on his Twitter that he talked to Scott Hall on Monday and said Hall "sounded great." He also mentioned an MRI he had done on his neck and is still waiting for the results.
Mick Foley and Jeremy Borash were representing TNA on Thursday morning at the Toys for Hope event in Long Island, NY.
Tonight is the TNA christmas party, and apparently they have already run out of beer.
OTHER WRESTLING NEWS
Universal Championship Wrestling Promoter Ronnie Gossett was hospitalized yesterday after suffering a heart attack. He reportedly collapsed at his home while getting ready for work. He had an Angioplasty and stints have been placed in two of his heart valves. He is currently listed in stable condition.
A story at http://tinyurl.com/y9zvmvz claims that Nick Hogan, who was in court yesterday testifying over the John Graziano family lawsuit, said that Graziano talked to him about wanting "to kill homos." Reportedly after he said that his lawyer put his head in his hands. The Graziano family wants compensation from the Hogan's after a 2007 car crash that left John Graziano severely injured. Edward Graziano, John's father, was arrested earlier this year on charges of trying to kill his wife by paying off a Hitman with cash and a pizza coupon. You can't even make this stuff up.
There is a wrestling legends convention on Saturday at the Radisson Hotel in Carteret, NJ. Names include Dory Funk Jr., Steve Dr. Death Williams, Superstar Bill Dundee, Danny Spivey, Moondog Rex, Jack Victory, General Skandor Akbar, Outback Jack, Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger, Brad Armstrong, Tim Horner, Mike Sanders, Lash LeRoux, Headbanger Mosh, Rick Martel, Tito Santana, former Nitro Girls Spice and Chae, Johnny Rodz, David Sammartino, Sonjay Dutt, Jazz and So Cal Val. For more info you can contact Ken or Steve at 516-473-4944 or visit www.kandswrestlefest.com.
Dutch Mantell has a new blog at http://tinyurl.com/yca9b7u where he recalls the night The Undertaker knocked somebody out in a bar fight: "When I saw the guy laying on the floor of the club, the first thing I thought is that he has to be a complete moron. I knew what had happened. I knew the guy had to have openly messed with Mark and only because Mark was a wrestler. I've never understood why guys, who want to challenge wrestlers, don't challenge guys who are more close to their size instead of, like me, instead of 6'10", 300 pound monsters like Mark. Usually, I try to have some sympathy for guys like that but if they're that stupid, then they need their silly asses knocked out."
UFC President Dana White said during a press conference today that Brock Lesnar may need major surgery stemming from his diverticulitis: "They figured [the illness] out, so the question now is, he’s either going to need major surgery or he’s not and we won’t know for the next couple months... Obviously, I’m hoping that’s not the case, as I’m sure all of you are, but we’ll see what happens."
Lilian Garcia is singing for GoDaddy.com employees at their annual christmas party this weekend in Phoenix. Candice Michelle is also making an appearance.
Sheldon Goldberg's New England Championship Wrestling will tape their first show for Comcast SportsNet on December 19 in Quincy, MA.
Today's Diva of the Day is Karen Angle at http://www.thewrestlingpress.com/DailyDiva.