Wednesday, December 09, 2009

(WGN) Dec 9: Major report on brain injuries looks at pro wrestling, Hogan sick, Umaga services, Linda McMahon defends WWE and more!!


Wednesday December 9, 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.


12/7 Raw TV results from Dallas, TX: John Cena over Carlito; Legacy over Evan Bourne & Primo; Maryse over Gail Kim; Kofi Kingston over Randy Orton with Mark Cubin as special referee doing a fast count; The Miz over Mark Henry; Hornswoggle & Eve over Chavo & Jilian Hall; and Chris Jericho vs. Triple H & Shawn Michaels in a handicap match was a no contest when Big Show interfered. Dark match was Chris Masters over Alex Riley.

We're still looking for reports from the Monday night Smackdown/ECW show in Beaumont, TX to


Services for Eddie "Umaga" Fatu will take place next weekend at Davis Funeral Home, 6200 South Eastern Avenue, Las Vegas, NV. 89119-3175. Tel: 702-736-6200. A private family viewing will take place on Friday, December 18, followed by an open service on Saturday, December 19. The family has requested that any flowers or cards be sent to the above address. Las Vegas is where Umaga's mother was laid to rest.

Several guys wore black armbands at the TV tapings in Houston last night as a tribute to Umaga. A few people were upset that the company didn't acknowledge his passing on Raw, but most assumed they wouldn't anyway because of the negative press it brings.

The Houston Chronicle story on Umaga is online at His aunt, Lynn Anoa'i, and Bruce Prichard share some memories.

ESPN at has a major report on brain damage to athletes, specifically looking at Andrew "Test" Martin, who passed away earlier this year due to an accidental overdose of oxycodone. Dr. Bennet Omalu, co-director of the Brain Injury Research Institute, told ESPN that after examining his brain he believes that Martin suffered from a similar chemical imbalance to that of Chris Benoit; known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. Dawn Marie Psaltis is quoted in the report speculating that Martin and Benoit took more than 50,000 bumps in their career which the Institute believes led to brain damage. "I'm just floored," said Psaltis. "You're telling me that people in my life are brain-damaged because of what we do for a living. That's really sad to me. It's just our ignorance. A child doesn't know that fire can hurt them until they put their finger in the flame." WWE were asked to comment on the institute’s findings and released the following statement to ESPN: "While this is a new emerging science, the WWE is unaware of the veracity of any of these tests, be it for Chris Benoit or Andrew Martin. Dr. Omalu claims that Mr. Benoit had a brain that resembled an 85-year-old with Alzheimer's, which would lead one to ponder how Mr. Benoit would have found his way to an airport, let alone been able to remember all the moves and information that is required to perform in the ring. WWE has been asking to see the research and tests results in the case of Mr. Benoit for years and has not been supplied with them." The Institute said they have never received such a request from the WWE and invited them to review their data at any time.

Politico published an article on criticisms against Linda McMahon and WWE by former wrestlers such as Superstar Billy Grtaham, Larry Zbyszko, Bruno Sammertino, Marc Mero, Joanie "Chyna" Laurer, and others. The main issue brought up was the lack of health care benefits citing the independent contractors argument, while others, like Bruno, complained about the content of the WWE TV shows. These days I don't really think you can knock WWE in either regard. The last time Bruno watched wrestling on TV was a decade ago when Steve Austin was chugging beers and flipping the bird. He didn't care for that type of product, but a lot has changed since then. Dawn Marie Psaltis is also quoted in this story defending WWE saying that Linda would make an awesome Senator. When WWE fired her, while on maternity leave, in 2005 she filed a complaint against them with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming that her contract had been wrongfully terminated as a result of her pregnancy. The case was settled in 2007 but it's assumed the undisclosed settlement means neither side can make disparaging remarks about the other. Story is at In some unrelated irony, the campaign manager for Linda's opponent in the Connecticut GOP primary is named Jim Barnett.

The Hill also has a story on Linda McMahon. Regarding the WWE Wellness Program, she said: "It’s as good as it can be for today... But as technology advances and more is known and developed, we’ll continue to develop our policy, as we have done over the years... Unlike football or baseball or basketball, where steroids can actually enhance performance, they do nothing to enhance performance in WWE." The article noted she answers questions on WWE as if she was still running the company. When asked about ex wrestlers coming out of the woodwork to knock her she was very defensive. She was quoted as calling Superstar Billy Graham a "self-confessed liar" and dismissed Bruno Sammartino as someone who has "still got sour grapes because he didn’t make as much money as the guys today are making." Story is at

WWE CFO George Barrios participated in the UBS Media Conference on Monday. He presented WWE to potential investors and advertisers in New York City. Nothing very noteworthy. He drove home that the WWE is "family-friendly" these days and claimed 40 percent of their TV audience is female, which is true if you round the real figure up to the highest ten percent. When asked about competition from UFC, Barrios blew it off saying UFC is a "different type of entertainment" and claimed cable companies have told him the same people purchasing WWE PPV aren't purchasing UFC PPV. That's a ridiculous claim. He also talked about WWE wanting to expand into China and said he believes Mexico will be the No. 4 PPV market in the world within the next five to ten years.

CNBC has a story on WWE's international growth plans including possible expansion into Russia and Brazil at

Jim Ross has a new blog at discussing Mark Cubin's involvement on Raw.

Rapper Timbaland was announced as Raw guest host for December 28 in Charlotte. He does have some history with the WWE as he used several Divas in his 2007 music video Throw It On Me... Actors Jon Heder and Don Johnson were also announced as guests hosts for January 18 in Knoxville to promote their upcoming movie When in Rome.

Phil Mushnick in his weekend New York Post column ripped on Dennis Miller for agreeing to guest host Raw.

Rey Mysterio has told friends he plans to hold off on knee surgery until after Wrestlemania. He is said to be in a lot of pain right now with his knee joint virtually bone on bone.

Mark Cubin's appearance on Raw got some decent play on ESPN and a few newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. The original plan was for Orton and Legacy to get physically involved with Cubin and the Mavs players sat ringside but Cubin claimed that the NBA put the kibosh on that.

Raw on Monday night did a 3.2 rating, slightly below the YTD average.

Maryse is being positioned for another Divas title run... Michelle McCool vs. Mickie James for the Women's title was officially added to Sunday's TLC pay-per-view... Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston was also added.

Academy Award Winner Patricia Clarkson, Danny Glover, Devon Graye and Madeleine Martin have joined the cast of John Cena's next movie Brother's Keeper. The film shoots later this month in New Orleans. Clarkson is a major coup. According to someone close to her the price was right and she is a native of New Orleans and was home for the holidays. Cena isn't expected to miss any TV time during filming.

WWE has released Hornswoggle's DX t-shirt on their website.


Hulk Hogan pulled out of media appearances, including a TV interview, in Canada last night citing illness. He was scheduled for TSN's Off The Record on Thursday but no word yet on whether he will make that show.

The company has paid for a billboard in Times Square which is going up either today or tomorrow hyping the January 4 show with Hogan going head-to-head with Raw.

Lisa Marie Varon is heading to Los Angeles today to pitch her reality show to network execs. She said her show will chart her cross-over from pro wrestling to MMA.

Kurt Angle tweaked his back again at house shows this past weekend. He didn't work a match Monday night at the TV tapings but he was part of a 10-men tag on Tuesday... Thursday's edition of Impact, which some TNA people have described as a train wreck in terms of booking, even the people who usually defend Russo, includes: The British Invasion vs. Chris Sabin in a 3-on-1 handicap match; Bobby & Krystal Lashley vs. Scott Steiner & Awesome Kong; Hamada vs. Eric Young (yes you read that right); ODB vs. Tara in a trailer park match; Team 3D, Rhyno & Jesse Neal vs. Matt Morgan, Suicide & Hernandez; AJ Styles vs. Desmond Wolfe in a non-title match; and Lacey Von Erich vs. Velvet Sky in a mud wrestling match. There will also be a pre tape segment with Mick Foley at the TNA offices in Nashville in his quest to reach out to Jeff Jarrett.

Following the Impact portion of the tapings this week they taped Xplosion on both days promising those in attendance a free DVD if they stuck around for it.

Former WWE wrestler Chris "Tatanka" Chavis worked Tuesday's taping in the Jay Lethal deal where Lethal jobs to legends. Jessie Godderz of Big Brother reality show fame worked a dark match against Alex Shelley. He had been training in Tampa with FCW and while he wasn't under WWE contract he has been backstage at TNA in recent weeks.

Christy Hemme is returning to television soon in an interviewer role. Her neck is still in bad shape.

Referee Mike Posey was brought in for this week's tapings. He was previously with TNA for several years before leaving and signing with the WWE. He was cut from WWE in January. Most recently he has been working indy shots both as a referee and a wrestler in the south.

Nikki Roxx also returned at the tapings. They are looking at bringing in several women for a tag title tournament at the December 21 tapings.

Jeremy Borash and Mick Foley missed the tapings yesterday as they were in Las Vegas for Playboy radio. You would think they would send a Knockout instead of Borash but I guess someone had to hold the camera... Speaking of which, TMZ cameras caught Foley off guard at LAX baggage claims. The video footage is online at with Foley talking about his ear.


Hustler magazine has filed a Supreme Court appeal over the federal court ruling that they used nude images of Nancy Benoit for commercial -- not news -- purposes thus violating her family's right-of-publicity interests. Nancy's mother, Maureen Toffoloni, said Hustler had violated her daughter's right to prevent the commercial use of her image. After some legal wrangling the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled that Toffoloni could protect Nancy's rights because the photos were taken 20 years prior to her murder and therefore not sufficiently newsworthy. LFP Publishing Group, Hustler’s publishing company, is arguing that the First Amendment requires a broad interpretation of the newsworthiness standard. Their appeal also stated that Supreme Court cases in the past have found that it is inappropriate for courts to rule on whether an article is newsworthy.

No real update on Brock Lesnar. He was scheduled to check into the Mayo Clinic this week for a battery of tests to determine his next course of treatment for an undisclosed ailment. He has reportedly lost a ton of weight following surgery on November 16 to close a perforation in his intestine that had been leaking into his abdomen; overtaxing his immune system to the point that he contracted mononucleosis.

There is an interesting new wrestling documentary out next year. Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin' is based on Ron Hall's book Sputnik, Masked Men & Midgets: The Early Days of Memphis Wrestling. The trailer is online at

The former Spike Dudley is interview at He seems to have changed his stance on WWE following his burial of the company when they released him in 2005: "Would I go back if I given the opportunity? Yeah I'd go back. Whether it was with Bubba or D, I really love working with those guys. I'm not sure if they'd ever take me back without those guys. It's nothing I've ever pursued. That's the nature of the beast. My character is forever tied with those guys. I could do it. I would feel comfortable wrestling without them. Who knows? You never know in this business."

Former WWE wrestler Tajiri is helping to launch a new promotion in Japan, called Smash, which debuts on March 26 in Tokyo. Smash is an interesting concept reportedly mixing pro wrestling, kickboxing and MMA. Tajiri heads up the wrestling division.

The Hulkamania show from Sydney airs in Australia on One HD on Sunday night. This includes Umaga's last ever televisied match including a run in during the Hogan vs. Flair main event.
Promoter J.D. Costello announced his NWA Charlotte group will be returning next year with monthly shows.

Today's Diva of the Day is Dawn Marie at