WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
2/23 NXT TV results from Milwaukee, WI: Christian & Heath Slater over Carlito & Michael Tarver; David Otunga over Darren Young; and Chris Jericho over Daniel Bryan.
Superstars tonight on WGN has William Regal & Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella & Chris Masters; Luke Gallows vs. Silas Young; Primo vs. Zack Ryder; and the Hart Dynasty & Natalya vs. Matt Hardy, Great Khali & Maria.
Raw on Monday night did a 3.8 rating and 5.5 million viewers, a notable increase from last week's 3.4. That's pretty impressive with the Olympics as competition.
The debut episode of NXT on Tuesday night did a 1.3 rating and 1.7 million viewers--the most viewers in an ECW timeslot since September, 2009. In demographics, they were up 73 percent among adults 18 to 34, up 51 percent among adults 18 to 49, and up 35 percent among adults 25 to 54. I enjoyed the show for the most part. I like the fact they are focusing on personality and charisma. The announcing was fine with Michael Cole playing the heel role opposite Josh Matthews. Cole was fed lines from Vince McMahon talking about how he hates dirt sheets, the Internet and Twitter, because that's how Vince really feels. Daniel Bryan injured his ribs doing the suicide dive during the match with Jericho. He won't be missing any time. After the match, Jericho wrote on his Twitter, "NXT was pretty cool. Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett will be stars. However, Punks guy [Darren Young] has the worst hair I've ever seen." Does anyone remember this haircut? http://tinyurl.com/ntdkjd.
David Otunga is garnering a lot of media attention for WWE due to his relationship with Jennifer Hudson. I understand he shot a segment today for Access Hollywood with Maria Menounos from the David Barton Gym in New York. He said during one media interview that he would be open to the idea of getting married to Hudson inside a wrestling ring. I hope Vince doesn't catch word of that.
A trivia note on NXT "rookie" Michael Tarver who's dad was once a sparring partner for Mike Tyson. He played one of Floyd Mayweather's entourage that got beat up at Wrestlemania in 2008.
I have a story on Jemma Palmer at http://tinyurl.com/yfv5qp6 who is WWE's latest developmental signing. She is well known for playing the role of Inferno on the UK version of the television series Gladiators. Another former UK Gladiator, Barri Griffiths from Wales, is currently in developmental as Mason Ryan. He is listed at six foot six, 280 pounds and has a similar look to Batista sans ink.
I also have a story on Shad Gaspard on the Slam Wrestling website at http://tinyurl.com/yf74why where he talks about WWE's PG-rating with an interesting analogy on the product. He also discusses his favorite Divas. The interview actually took place some time ago during a WWE media event. Shad wrote a blog this afternoon titled "Response to PG Rumor" saying he felt I quoted him out of context and that the story was published now because he's up for a role in the next Conan movie. I actually wrote the story many week's ago before it was known he was in the running for this particular movie. The line mentioning the movie in my story was added this morning by editors at Slam Wrestling. I disagree his comments were taken out of context. As a matter of fact, it's the very context in which he said them that makes them so newsworthy. That said, I have no desire to impede on his acting career and still think, as I did at the time of the interview, that Shad is a cool guy that was perhaps too honest in his statements. Shad's blog is at http://tinyurl.com/yjc8jd5.
The Connecticut Post is teasing a major print story in Sunday's edition on the government's investigation on steroid use within pro wrestling and the Linda McMahon Senate campaign.
Joe Francosi was recently hired as a creative assistant. Yes, the writing team have assistants. He is a former producer with the UPW group out in California. He reportedly suggested the William Shatner spoken word music segment on Raw a few week's ago which got over quite well.
WWE's video tribute for Wendi Richter going into the Hall of Fame is online at http://tinyurl.com/yb6464d. A funny note is that they blacked out Hulk Hogan's name from an 80s Pro Wrestling Illustrated cover that said, "Is Wendi Richter more popular than Hulk Hogan?" Flair was mentioned on the same cover but they left his name on. A former WWE employee familiar with the magazines told us they used the PWI cover because Richter's only cover in WWE was her and Hogan, and they obviously don't want to publicize Hogan.
The new WWE game THQ is working on is Smackdown vs. Raw 2011, so it appears they are continuing the franchise.
MVP attended a U.S. Senate committee meeting yesterday in Washington, D.C. The topic was to address "the crisis of high school dropouts," according to a report on TheHill.com.
Music legend Paul McCartney will be playing at the Jobing Arena, next door to Phoenix Stadium, following the conclusion of Wrestlemania 26 on Match 26. You would assume WWE would at least make a play to have him make an appearance.
A rough-cut of the Hart Family Anthology DVD was sent out to certain people this past week, most of whom are raving about it. The official release date is April 6.
Vance Archer is now on the Smackdown side. He worked a dark tag match at Tuesday's TV taping in Milwaukee, teaming with Tyler Reks vs. Jimmy Yang & Slam Master J.
DX was quietly removed from the Raw opening video montage on Monday.
The Oklahoma City Thunder has invited Jim Ross to sit courtside for Sunday's game against Toronto. They are doing a deal to help promote Monday's Raw at Ford Center.
American Way Magazine has a WWE story at http://tinyurl.com/ylhp5hn quoting COO Donna Goldsmith. She talks about opening new doors since the ratings change to PG. "In the past, they’d [advertisers] run away scared because of the content. As a result of the new rating, we’ve gotten closer to sponsors and talent endorsement. That’s a relatively new initiative for us." She also credits the guest host gimmick with increasing ratings.
The WWE stock closed today at $17.01 per share, a 52-week high on the New York Stock Exchange.
Maria Kanellis turns 25 today.
Yoshi Tatsu’s wife recently gave birth to a baby girl they named Rukia Yamamoto.
TNA WRESTLING NEWS
Impact tonight on Spike has Desmond Wolfe vs. Abyss; Rob Terry vs. Ken Anderson. Daffney vs. ODB; Matt Morgan & Hernandez vs. Beer Money vs. The Motor Machine Guns vs. Generation Me in a four-way; Team 3D vs. The Nasty Boys in a Tables match; and Kaz vs. Brian Kendrick.
A new pay-per-view television deal was announced today in the UK. PPVs are going to the Extreme Sports Channel [Sky Digital channel 419 and Virgin Media channel 527] with Impact staying on Bravo. The story is already getting major play in the UK, including as the top story on The Sun’s website at www.the-sun.co.uk/wrestling. The key to the deal is that PPV events remain free for the UK – available to anyone with the right TV package on Sky Digital or Virgin Media. The repeats stay with BT Vision, so all three satellite/cable providers are covered. It also means more people can watch the TNA PPVs than WWE’s, which are on subscription channel Sky Sports or sold on Sky Box Office. The downside is that Extreme Sports is a little known specialist channel with limited penetration compared to their previous UK PPV television partner Virgin, which operate Bravo. The hardcore fans will likely find the new channel, but casual fans may be left in the dark, as Virgin won't allow TNA to promote another channel outside it's network.
Court House News at http://tinyurl.com/yzd8ljt is reporting that Kia Stevens [Awesome Kong] has filed a lawsuit against Todd Clem [Bubba the Love Sponge] for allegedly calling her cell phone at 5am on February 10 and threatening her life as well as making some racist remarks. Legal papers filed in Hillsborough County state that AT&T, Stevens' phone provider, is refusing to identity the caller, who blocked their number, who she believes was Clem. The male caller identified himself as Bubba the Love Sponge and allegedly threatened her life saying, "You'll be dead like all those other ni--ers in Haiti you fat black b--ch ... F--k Haiti!" Stevens said she recognised the voice from Clem's radio show in Tampa. Clem denied the claims in the suit and issued the following statement: "This morning I was made aware of allegations made in a petition for full bill of discovery by Ms. Kia Stevens, a professional wrestler with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. The allegations in this petition are one hundred percent false. To be clear; everything contained in this petition is not true. Ms. Stevens attributing outrageous racist statements and physical threats to me is disgusting. We can prove without any doubt the allegations made in this petition are false. First Ms. Stevens claims that she was called on the air, at 5:08 AM on February 10th, we are not even on the air until 6 AM Eastern time. We have phone records and eye witnesses that account for my every movement that day from 4:50 AM forward. No call was made to Ms. Stevens at all. We will be pursuing all legal remedies available to us in the State of Florida to fight these deliberately malicious allegations." Clem said that after today he would not be discussing the matter on his radio show. He said he may sue Stevens and TNA for unsafe working conditions, despite his friendship with Hulk Hogan. He said he longer works for the company.
The story is going to become a bigger deal now as TMZ picked it up at http://tinyurl.com/ybo6f3h.
Eric Bischoff answered more fan questions on his Facebook page. He says his focus is not defeating WWE, "just gaining a significant share of their audience and growing TNA's audience in the process." When asked about ever hiring back Jim Cornette, he said: "I have never worked with Jim, so I can't honestly say if he has a perspective on the business today that would be an asset to the cause. Television is a dynamic business that becomes more challenging every day. If Jim (or anyone else for that matter) can bring a solid understanding of the psychology of what makes our business successful AND can apply that value to the process of being successful on a major cable network IN TODAYS MARKET, I would love to work with him." On Chris Jericho: "It was reported on the internet that I said Chris wasn't hwt champion level talent. Chris is having fun taking shots at me [on his Twitter] for a comment I really didn't make, but that's cool. Its not the first time and it won't be the last! For the record, I think Chris is one of the top talents in WWE."
TNA is attempting to break the existing Guinness World Record for Largest Gathering of People With Mustaches at the Hogan Fu-Fest, 2-4pm on Friday at Mike Shannon's Steak and Seafood in downtown St. Louis. "American Mustache Institute Chairman Dr. Aaron Perlut will be present to honor and recognize the golden whiskers of the pop icon, Hulk Hogan," according to a TNA press release. "We have been in contact with officials at the London headquarters of Guinness World Records, and know TNA fans and Hulkamaniacs will turn out to the Hogan Fu-Fest to shatter the existing Guinness record," said TNA President Dixie Carter. "We need everyone with a mustache, especially a fu, to show up at Shannon's in St. Louis this upcoming Friday afternoon." Tickets for Lockdown go on sale the same day for April 18 at the Family Arena in St. Charles, MO. They will be available to purchase at www.MetroTix.com, the Family Arena box office or charge by phone at 314-534-1111.
Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart did an interview today with ESPN radio in St. Louis to promote Lockdown. He pushed the idea of bringing back the Monday Night Wars for the older fans who are down on the WWE product. He said he didn't return to compete with Vince and feels there is enough pie for everyone. He claimed to be friends with Tiger Woods, or at least a friend of a friend, and apparently told Tiger over the phone recently that he had to come out of hiding and apologise to his fans for his marital indiscretions. Could be true, who knows? He also talked again about Abyss becoming TNA's version of John Cena.
Kayfabe Commentaries will be filming a shoot interview with Dixie Carter at the Legends of the Ring convention at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Monroe, NJ on May 14. It's a live interview where fans can ask her any questions.
The latest TNA Today with Jeremy Borash and Doug Williams is online at http://tinyurl.com/ycumsks.
Ric Flair turns 61 today. He is giving away his oldest daughter Megan this weekend.
OTHER WRESTLING NEWS
Former WWE wrestler Shawn Stasiak is looking to make a return to wrestling after being out of the national spotlight for 8 years. He can be booked through his new website at www.shawnstasiak.com. "I am in the best shape of my life," Stasiak says. "I still have a passion to do this and have been doing quite a few smaller shows lately as a baby face. I really enjoy it as I have been connecting with the crowd like never before." Stasiak dropped off the wrestling radar in 2002 when he was released by WWE. Following his release, he attended Parker College in Dallas, Texas, and received his doctorate in Chiropractic in 2006.
Frank Mir was apparently disturbed by the reaction to his recent comments regarding Brock Lensar. He issued an apology and said he would be focusing on his upcoming fight agasinst Shane Carwin. "I would like to apologize to Brock Lesnar, his family, the UFC and UFC fans for the stupid remarks," he said. "I respect Brock, all the other fighters, and the sport of mixed martial arts. I'm sorry that I stepped out of line." UFC President Dana White wasn't happy. "Mir is an idiot," he said on Sacramento radio earlier this week. "I have never heard something so unprofessional and idiotic in my life."
Sports Illustrated has a story on Mir at http://tinyurl.com/ydxmlso saying he is perplexed with the media coverage given to his comments on Lesnar. "I thought we understood that what we say on camera is part of the entertainment aspect of our sport and we kind of get a little artistic license. It's not like I said this to my neighbor, that if his dog shows up in my yard one more time I'm going to kill him. That would be bad. That's a problem. I didn't understand it, but hey, it came my way, I said it, and I can't cry about it now. I've just got to deal with it, I guess."
The story in Box y Lucha in Mexico regarding Juventud Guerrera winning a lawsuit against Konnan and AAA is bogus, according to the AAA side. The case hasn't even gone to court.
The 2010 class for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Pro Hall of Fame was just announced with Terry Funk, 65, and Paul 'Butcher' Vachon, 72, as the main living inductees. Deceased inductees include: George Gordienko, Warren Bockwinkel and Stanislaus Zbyszko. Mick Foley, Rene Goulet, and J. Michael Kenyon will also receive individual awards. The induction weekend is July 9-10 at the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Waterloo, IA. More info at www.wrestlingmuseum.org.
Bobby Heenan is advertised as appearing for autographs and photo ops at PCW'S March Mayhem at the Don Preston Rec Center in Midlothian, IL, on March 20. More info at www.pcwwrestling.net.
Superstar Bill Dundee is selling off some of his ring worn attire, including Elvis jumpsuits, at http://tinyurl.com/ye7kthl.
Former WWE/WCW wrestler Jorge "Giant" Gonzales has pulled out of his upcoming appearances citing health issues.
There is a story on Rob Van Dam and Booker T attending HempCon in Los Angeles last weekend at http://tinyurl.com/ydt4p67.
Trish Stratus appears on the latest cover of Top Choice magazine for her Stratusphere Yoga Studio being named Top New Business of 2009 in the greater Toronto area.
The Heyman Hustle has new photos of Stacy Keibler at http://tinyurl.com/yeh8yrh.
A reminder that Wrestlicious premieres Monday at 11pm on Mav TV, Bite TV in Canada and online. More info at www.wrestlicious.com.
Today's Diva of the Day is Lacey Von Erich at http://www.thewrestlingpress.com/DailyDiva.