WRESTLING GLOBE NEWSLETTER
Monday December 6, 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
12/1 ECW TV results from Hampton, VA: Goldust over William Regal; Trent Baretta & Caylen Croft over Bobby Shields & Tyler Hilton; and Christian & Shelton Benjamin ovr Ezekiel Jackson & Kozlov.
12/3 Superstars TV results: Legacy over Primo & Evan Bourne; Hurricane over Zack Ryder; and Dolph Ziggler over Matt Hardy.
12/4 Smackdown TV results from Hampton, VA: R-Truth over CM Punk; Kane over Mike Knox; Mickie James over Natalya & Beth Phoenix in a three-way to win a title shot; Drew McIntyre over John Morrison; The Hart Dynasty over Eric Escobar in a handicap match; and JeriShow over Cryme Tyme.
Funeral arrangements for Eddie "Umaga" Fatu were finalized last night and are expected to be announced later today. I understand the family has made plans for a service Wednesday in Houston following WWE's Texas television tapings so WWE people can attend. The family are also planning a tribute show for January 16 in Leesburg, FL.
Fatu's passing has attracted a lot of press around the world. CNN at http://tinyurl.com/yzb294l ran a story that was their front page headline splash for most of Saturday. Kevin Eck of the Baltimore Sun, Dawn Marie and Terri Runnels are all quoted talking about wrestlers dying young. Dawn Marie, due to her charity, Wrestler's Rescue, seems to have become the unofficial spokesperson to the mainstream media for these types of stories. She was also booking Umaga for indy shows and they used to be travel together back when they both worked for WWE.
Tomorrow's Houston Chronicle has a nice piece on Umaga with quotes from his aunt, Lynn Anoa'i, and Bruce Prichard, the former Brother Love.
The company sent a press release to local press in Dallas teasing a confrontation between tonight's Raw guest host and Dallas Mavs owner Mark Cuban and Cody Rhodes. The release noted that Cuban is looking for "payback" on Randy Orton for the RKO he received back at Survivor Series in 2003. Rhodes was quoted saying that Cubin can bring some Mavs or Cowboys players and they have a 6 man tag match against him, DiBiase, and Orton.
DX vs. Hornswoggle in Little People's court will apparently air on tonight's Raw. At least that was the plan at the end of last week.
Big Show underwent arthroscopic knee surgery two weeks ago in Tampa. He was back at work a few days later and told people he was feeling great.
Ukranian-born Oleg Prudius, better known as Vladimir Kozlov, is taking the Oath of Allegiance this morning at the Tampa Convention Center.
Several WWE talents voiced their disappointment over not being booked for the Tribute to the Troops show, including Mickie James on her Twitter. The show was taped last week at Balad Airbase in Iraq. The roster for the show is actually finalized months in advance as all the talents included are subject to FBI screening. There is also limited space on the cargo plane with all the production equipment and crew.
Tribute to the Troops which airs December 19 on NBC has MVP vs. Chris Masters; Rey Mysterio & Mark Henry vs. CM Punk & Carlito; John Morrison vs. The Miz; and John Cena vs. Chris Jericho as the main event. The show opens with the troops singing the national anthem. There is also a segment with R-Truth dressed as Santa with some babyface Divas as helpers giving out merchandise.
There is a lot of internal talk recently that SyFy is unhappy with ratings for ECW. SyFy has asked WWE to look at rebranding the show sans the E-C-W initials, according to a well-placed source.
Kaval (Low Ki) is expected to debut soon under a mask. That was the creative plan talked about as of last week.
Rey Mysterio did a rare interview with the Daily Star at http://tinyurl.com/yjx4byu. He talked about checking himself into rehab last year for pain killer addiction, which is noted in his new book. He said: "I had to do the right thing, I was so tired of taking medication to keep me away from the pain; now I’ve learned how to cope with that day to day, and it feels great to be a new man! ... When you realize you’re in the right moment – that you haven’t lost your family, or lost your job it’s a good thing, and with the support and help of my wife and kids, I’ve moved on to something better." He also talked about how the business has evolved and believes some of the younger talents in WWE haven't paid their dues: "It’s a lot easier to become a wrestler now, in WWE, the head person in charge of bringing talent in has a look at you and if he thinks you have something they’ll put you in their camp in FCW, which makes it easier. When you don’t have the suffering, everything is easy, but after that suffering you feel like you have accomplished something when you get there. There are still a few guys who have that desire, but not as many.”
Raw last Monday did a 3.2 rating, ECW last Tuesday did a 1.0, Superstars last Thursday did a 0.9 rating, and Smackdown back on November 20 did a 2.1 rating.
WWE was granted an extension until December 15 to respond to Jody Hamilton's breach of contract lawsuit over Deep South Wrestling being cut as developmental back in 2006.
Jeff Hardy's probable cause hearing was continued until January 27. The prosecution asked the judge for more time to produce evidence.
The Hartford Courant covered Jesse Ventura's criticism over the lack of unionization in professional wrestling. WWE PR executive Robert Zimmerman was quoted in response saying that Ventura was a hypocrite for saying such things after he recently hosted Raw: "We find it highly hypocritical that Jesse had no problem coming on Monday Night Raw last week to promote his new project or was happy to be paid all those years by the WWE as a performer,'' Zimmerman said. "He is just looking to garner additional press for his fledging show, appropriately entitled Conspiracy Theory." Story is at http://tinyurl.com/yjbymvd.
Ventura walked off an appearance on the Opie and Anthony radio show. Comedian Jim Norton got on his case again when talking about 9/11 and conspiracy theories. They ended up in a heated argument and Ventura walked off. There is a video clip online at http://tinyurl.com/yz55x5w... Ventura also went on Colin Cowherd's ESPN show and bragged about defeating Vince McMahon in court years ago over video tape royalties. He said he still receives checks from WWE to this day and refers to them as his "wrestling retirement fund"... The premiere of Conspiracy Theory last week averaged 1.6 million viewers, the highest series launch audience ever on truTV.
Steve Austin will appear in the fifth episode of NBC series Chuck scheduled to air January 25. He plays a close quarters combat expert.
The latest unwritten Twitter policy for talent is that they can't Tweet from bars after midnight or Tweet to/about friends in TNA.
Former announcer Kevin Kelly is interviewed at http://tinyurl.com/ltcdyz talking about what it's like to work closely with Vince McMahon. Very interesting interview. Kelly also talks about the passing of Eddie Fatu.
There is an interview with the former Kizarny (Nick Cvjetkovich) at http://tinyurl.com/y8t7n2s talking about his brief WWE run: "Working at WWE was also awful because there is so much politics and back stabbing you never know who your enemies are because they are all gutlessly and unaccountably hiding in the shadows... I wasn’t given a straight reason why I was released. One minute I was being told how unique I was and how great of a work ethic I had the next minute they had nothing for me. I have heard many different theories. I guess I just didn’t fit their mold of cookie cutter. Not enough abs showing I guess even though in the ring I can run circles around every ex-NFL player or jacked-up underwear model collecting a paycheck in the WWE developmental system." He added: "Vince and his billion dollar case of ADD wants Ken Dolls sports entertaining against other Ken Dolls at the moment. Me looking weird or different didn’t compute with the tunnel vision that WWE sometimes has even though Rob Zombie, Marlylin Mason and Hot f**king Topic retail stores are all the rage with the kiddies. I have no idea why different isn’t a good thing at WWE. If everyone looks and wrestles the same -- where is the fun in that? When you go to the circus you want the variety of elephants, tight rope walkers, clowns, monkeys, fire eaters, so why does that not apply to wrestling as well?"
Former WWE Canada president Carl DeMarco has taken a job on the Board of Directors with Multiplied Media Corporation, a Calgary-based provider of mobile local search services. He also interviewed recently with UFC in Las Vegas. DeMarco had worked for WWE since 1995 and before that he was the personal manager of Bret Hart. He was instrumental in WWE's evolution in Canada and internationally during the last decade, and brought Wrestlemania to Toronto in 2002.
No new update on Sean Mooney returning to WWE as an announcer. His colleagues at Fox Sports Arizona say they haven't seen him around lately.
The new Raw theme Burn it to the Ground by Nickelback has been nominated for a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance along with War Machine by AC/DC which was used as a theme for WrestleMania 25. Also, Bruce Springsteen's The Wrestler has been nominated for Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.
Wisconsin's WKBT is running a create a wrestler contest to win ringside tickets to WWE's January 11 show in La Crosse. More info at http://tinyurl.com/ygm7h3x.
TOTAL NONSTOP ACTION WRESTLING NEWS
12/3 Impact TV results from Orlando, FL: Alex Shelley over Doug Williams; Suicide over Homicide; D’Angelo Dinero over Jesse Neal; Eric Young & Kevin Nash over Beer Money; Daniels over Abyss; and Hamada over Sarita.
Hulk Hogan announced Saturday night during the Ultimate Fighter finale on Spike that Impact will go live on January 4 with a 3-hour special head-to-head against Raw. In case you missed it you can watch Joe Rogan's interview with Hogan at http://tinyurl.com/y9g7wv2. The best part is Rogan saying that Hogan has been in some MMA fights before, and Hogan doesn't even flinch. He sat cageside for the fights with Dixie Carter and Eric Bischoff. Jimmy Hart, Brutus Beefcake and The Nasty Boys were also at the show but not shown on camera.
Obviously this is somewhat major news in that this is the first shot that could spark another Monday Night War. For now the live show on January 4 will be a one off special and Spike execs will be evaluating whether it's in their best interest to make the permanent move to Monday nights. The timing is interesting as January 4 was the date talked about as the night that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson would host Raw, which would be his first live in-person Raw appearance since 2004. January 4 is also the scheduled date of the Fiesta Bowl, which does strong ratings, coincidentally with John Cena as Grand Marshal.
The current creative plan is for a faction led by Hogan to feud with a faction led by Mick Foley. Most of the talent involved have been kept in the dark but Hogan has been trying to recruit major names from the past outside of the company for the storyline. He has also been telling people that he plans to ditch the six-sided ring, but I can't see that one happening. Hogan's PPV debut will be Genesis on January 17 from Orlando.
The company randomly drug tested at the last television tapings. TNA has never publicly released any information on their policy although last year talent were given booklets detailing the supposed policies they have in place. The last time they randomly tested the fail rate was high but nobody was punished in terms of fines or suspensions.
Lacey Von Erich and her partner Grant officially announced their engagement this past weekend.
Jeff Jarrett makes his storyline return to Impact this week when Mick Foley visits his home. Will Karen Angle be there?
Impact last Thursday did an 1.0 rating. No real new interest so far sparked by the Hogan hype in terms of ratings.
Sarita took part in the Freestyle Fitness 2009 this past week in Mexico City. It's a model-athlete competition involving a catwalk in a bikini, cocktail dress, and an obstacle course.
One of our readers noted ordering 12 DVD's from the TNA website but in error they sent out 24. Our reader then sent an email to TNA customer support to report the error and send back the extra DVD's, but three week's later no response, so they sold them on eBay and made a profit. The reader says they are going to spend the money on a ticket to a WWE house show.
TNA has a special offer to help push soft ticket sales for the tour in the UK early next year. They have a family package which includes 4 tickets, plus two free children’s T-shirts, for £97.50 ($162)... They are also giving away a free DVD to fans who come to the TV tapings at Universal Studios on December 7, 8 or 21. Traditionally the park is at it's lowest attendance of the year in December and they may struggle to fill the Impact Zone.
TNA Epics will air on Spike TV beginning in January. The show, hosted by Mick Foley, ran earlier this year for a first season run of ten episodes in international markets. It's a copycat version of WWE's Vintage Collection with matches and events from the history of TNA. In the UK, nine original episodes aired between May and September this year but mysteriously a Jeff Hardy special was pulled for undisclosed reasons, but you can probably guess what they were.
The fallout from the Hogan divorce battle continues. The Tampa Tribune reports that Hogan, in recent court fillings, claims that ex-wife Linda stripped their Belleair mansion of valuable fixtures before she moved to California, including the bath tub and toilet seat, and damaged some property in the process. "We're talking about tens of thousands of dollars in property and repairs," Hogan's attorney, David Houston was quoted as saying. The mansion is currently up for sale with a $13.9 million asking price. Linda's attorney, Raymond Rafool claims that the couple had agreed that the fixtures in question were not to be sold with the house. He said Linda has offered to repair the damage but Hulk refused. "Linda wants him just merely to comply with what they agreed to," Rafool said. An interesting note is court filings also revealed Hogan received $2,285 in royalties from WWE from July 28 to October 15, 2009. Linda wants a piece of that as she says her divorce settlement entitles her to a percentage of all of Hogan's future earnings, but Hogan denied her countering that for that period he recorded a net loss of $120,000 due to attorney fees.
Hogan is a guest on the Canadian TV talk show The Surf on Tuesday night at 10pm pushing his book.
Chelsea Handler on her E! show Chelsea Lately last week ripped on Brutus Beefcake. She said they recently shared an airport lounge in Australia and called him "f***ing disgusting... the grossest person I have ever seen". She said he was wasted and running around first class yelling like a moron. Handler was on the same flight as Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Hart, Eric Bischoff, Beefcake, Ric Flair, The Nasty Boys, and others.
Alex Marvez interviewed Ric Flair on possibly working for TNA. He said he never gave a thought to working here before because of his loyalty to WWE. He said, "I don't want to make any predictions, but I've certainly got a lot left to offer. I think I would be a good addition to (TNA's) program," adding, "Everything is about money, timing, what they want me to do and the job description. There's a lot up in the air. I haven't talked to them yet, but I've had conversations with people who work there. I've stood by WWE, but if they're not going to use me anymore, I'm ready for any kind of action." Story is at http://tinyurl.com/ycp97ok.
End Game starring Kurt Angle and Jenna Morasca was released on DVD this past week. Kurt plays a serial killer who likes to stalk beautiful women. The movie was produced by Northshore Pictures, a company based in Pittsburgh and is a partnership between Kurt, Bruce and Bryan Kohler, and Dave Hawk, Kurt's agent.
OTHER WRESTLING NEWS
The daughter of Greg Gagne and granddaughter of Verne Gagne, is accused of having sex with a student while working as a high school substitute teacher and assistant basketball coach, reports The Minneapolis Star Tribune. Gail E. Gagne, 27, is facing two counts of third-degree criminal-sexual conduct for alleged incidents with a 17-year-old student. The alleged sexual contact is said to have occurred during the summer of 2008 when the boy was 16 and Gagne was 25 and is alleged to have taken place in Gagne’s home in Bloomington and at a hotel where the two allegedly spent the night together and had sex. Attorney Earl Gray (what an awesome name), who is reportedly representing Gagne, said she would enter a plea of not guilty and go to trial. Gagne is not in custody and St. Paul, MN police say they believe she is living in the Chicago area.
British wrestler Nik Bali was badly injured during a match in Cardiff for Celtic Wrestling on November 27 after a double-team Styles Clash move went wrong. He was reportedly paralysed from the neck down. His family have asked for privacy and are not releasing any further details about Bali's condition at this time. UK promoter Greg Lambert told us: "Nik is very well-liked on the UK wrestling scene. He is perhaps best known as 'The Bollywood Dream' RJ Singh's tag team partner in several UK promotions."
Dr. Death Steve Williams, who is currently battling cancer, got some good news this past week when a PET Scan indicated that the cancer in his Stoma was getting smaller. He said he has several more chemo treatments and is more determined than ever to beat the disease.
WHPR TV-33 and AWWL Big Time Wrestling announced a deal to resurrect the original Big Time Wrestling program in Detroit after a 35-year hiatus. The show airing Saturday and Monday nights in Detroit includes classic wrestling not seen on TV for decades featuring legends such as The Sheik, Bobo Brazil, and Dick The Bruiser. The show will also air next year on The Fight Network in Canada. AWWL is operated by Ed Farhat Jr., the son of the original Sheik.
A story from Australia at http://tinyurl.com/ylbx7us with people up in arms over a midget wrestling show. Martin Fathers, a lecturer from RMIT University in Melbourne, criticised the event run by New Age Wrestling, saying that he was horrified that little people are used for entertainment purposes. He said: "People say it’s all in good fun, but it sends a very poor message that you can use people of different abilities for the entertainment of able-bodied people... It’s an appalling way for children to learn about diversity."
Lilian Garcia recently did a photo shoot for the No H8 campaign in support of same sex marriages.
Gene Snitsky appears in a new music video for rock band Vyrus at http://tinyurl.com/yz8w9l9.
Yahoo! Sports ranked the XFL No. 2 in their list of the worst flops in football for the decade.
New York Magazine reviewed two lucha libra themed restaurants in the Manhattan area at http://tinyurl.com/ydtymt3.
The Sun at http://tinyurl.com/yl46lzl has a story on UK rock band Kasabian who have been checking into hotels on tour using the names of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Steve Austin, among others to avoid groupies. They may attract a different type of groupie with those names...
Rene Dupree and Portia Perez who are among those out in Europe touring with American Wrestling Rampage subjected themselves to a bizarre interview on a late night Bulgarian chat show. The host asked some really weird questions including whether Dupree had injured himself sexually while wrestling. Footage is at http://tinyurl.com/yz8t8w2 ... Dupree also did media interviews in Bulgaria ripping on WWE for making him a "Mickey Mouse cartoon character", and said he's now making more money than when he was with WWE and is glad he doesn't work there anymore. The AWR tour concludes later this week in France with shows in Toulous and Marseille.
Former WWE wrestler Chris Nowinski is giving a presentation on brain injuries tonight at Wayland Middle School in Wayland, MA. He is presenting the latest research showing the risk of brain damage which can cause depression and premature Alzheimer’s-like symptoms. This forum is free to the public.
Today's Diva of the Day is Beulah at http://www.thewrestlingpress.com/DailyDiva