WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT
PLEASE NOTE: This is our first newsletter since 3/24 as I've been Internet-less due to moving house. Our regular updates will resume tomorrow but today we have an abbreviated version of the news from the past week.
Bill Goldberg has confirmed that he's negotiating with WWE on a merchandise deal as well as a possible DVD project. He hasn't ruled out a return to the ring and said he would love for his young son to be able to see him wrestle. He told ESPN: "It's not something that I'm seeking out to do at 43 years old. But you know, Wrestlemania is next year in Atlanta. Hulk Hogan and I put 43,000 people in the Georgia Dome with three days' notice. I've got a fairly big following in Atlanta. Is it out of the realm of possibility? I'd say no. If not, I'm totally content with the way I went out. To be able to get merchandise out there not only satiates the fans but hopefully there have been a lot of people wondering where my merchandise is. The reason why I want to do this is my boy; just trying to be a good father."
Jim Ross cleared up some recent speculation on his future. He wrote at www.jrsbarbq.com on 4/1 that he was working out the specifics of a new contract and was expecting to be reassigned in a new role. "There are no issues or problems with my negotiations with WWE. The ball is in WWE's court to put together a new role for me within the company," Ross wrote. "Essentially they have decided to reassign me from weekly broadcasting and that includes the monthly PPV's to focus on other areas of the company. I am guessing, and I stress guessing, that may be some form of scouting and/or talent development. I might be wrong on that assumption but I'll know before the end of April as that is when my current extension expires." Ross also wrote on 4/8 that he was close to a deal with a public speaking company and was talking to a literary publisher about a possible multi-book deal.
Bad times for Ezekiel Jackson who missed Wrestlemania due to the death of his father. Jackson is currently in the UK on tour with Smackdown but there are unconfirmed reports he may have suffered a severe quad injury. He worked a match against Kane last night in Glasgow, Scotland but they went to an early finish after something went wrong.
Triple H was off the Raw house shows this weekend in the UK as he's dealing with a neck injury. No update at press time but at last word he was scheduled for television on Monday night.
Zach Gowen recently completed WWE-sponsored drug rehab for pain pill addiction. He said he's in recovery and is ready to take bookings again.
Reality TV star Tila Tequila was contacted about hosting Raw the last week of May which would be 5/31 in Austin, TX. She grew up in the Houston area.
Raw in Miami on 6/7 will be a three-hour show. They are trying to secure Dwayne Johnson to guest host that night if his schedule permits. They have also at least attempted to book Tiger Woods.
Paul Heyman's latest blog at http://tinyurl.com/yhfoy7m discusses a recent meeting with Steve Austin and Brock Lesnar, and the events that led to Austin walking out of WWE in 2002.
John Morrison was optimistic about his future during a recent live chat on the Arizona Republic website. He said (in-character): "Who's champion now? Cena? Ugh. Boring. Yeah, I think my time is coming. I'm rounding the corner right now in the main event parking garage, where all the spots have been taken for a really long time. I think some of the cars in the main event parking lot are about to be ticketed and towed after Wrestlemania. There should be some spots available."
Chris Jericho in an interview with Brian Fritz clarified some comments he made regarding Rob Van Dam and his TNA debut. "I didn't take a shot at it. It just baffled me that they would have (him debut that way). Rob's one of the biggest stars from the last 10 years of wrestling, and to have him come in and only get five seconds of crowd reaction before they cut it off, I just felt it was lunacy. I'm not taking a shot at anything, I think Rob's great, I'm happy that TNA is on Monday night. I hope they become a huge success. It's just better for me, and better for the business, and better for the fans. But doing things like that, it doesn't help anybody. I don't understand why they do the things they do sometimes. I don't work there and it's not my responsibility or my decisions. But like I said, I wish them nothing but the best of luck because I would love to see them do something and pop on the radar huge."
WWE's Andrew Whitaker, who now runs Shane McMahon's old department, expressed an interest in signing Fuifui Moimoi, a New Zealand-Tongan pro rugby player in the Australian National Rugby League.
Batista is scheduled to begin filming Killing Karma for WWE Studios this coming week in New Orleans. He won't miss any television time.
Linda McMahon recently resigned her position on the Connecticut Board of Education as she continues her run for a U.S. Senate spot. She came under heavy media fire this week for her involvement in the WWE steroid trial of 1993 that was based on evidence from the case of Dr. George Zahorian--WWE's live event doctor of choice from 1987 to 1991--who was convicted of illegal steroid distribution in 1991. During the trial, federal prosecutors revealed that Linda wrote a memo to then-WWE Vice President Pat Patterson, suggesting that the company stop using Dr. Zahorian because of mounting attention from the government. Vince McMahon personally admitted to using steroids, and Hulk Hogan admitted to using steroids for over 13 years, but said McMahon never encouraged him to do so. Vince was acquitted of all charges, as the jury ruled the steroid use was an individual choice, not a company policy. The New London Day at http://tinyurl.com/y4xar67 published a detailed report on the case from 17 years ago which Linda's rivals have jumped all over saying the report proves she is unfit to run for office. When asked about her recollection of the trial, Linda is quoted as saying, "I don't pretend to remember to go back, to revisit all the aspects of that case... It has been tried, acquitted and done with, and WWE has evolved its total health and wellness policy over the years, and I'm sure will continue to evolve."
TOTAL NONSTOP ACTION WRESTLING
There have been several roster cuts since our last newsletter; Consequences Creed, The Nasty Boys, Chris Daniels, and referee Jamie Tucker were all confirmed gone from the company. Creed (Austin Watson), 23, was not a major shock as he's been left out of creative plans since the arrival of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. He signed here in 2007 and during the past year or so was paired with Jay Lethal as the tag team Lethal Consequences. He said he wasn't angry or bitter and understood why he was let go. He's already booked solid for the next few week's, including a tour next month with New Japan Pro Wrestling. He is currently working towards a PHD in educational psychology, and has also been pursuing acting of late. He recently did some work as an extra for an upcoming comedy starring Owen Wilson and Christina Applegate... The Nasty Boys had heat. A decision was made not to use them following an incident involving Brian Knobbs during an after show party. Jerry Saggs said he found out that he was fired when he read it online last week... Daniels, 39, is the most shocking departure as he's been a key player almost since the company's inception dating back to 2002 running weekly shows out of Nashville. Nobody is really talking about his release but he had been unhappy with certain things for some time. He has already started working with Ring of Honor and will be reprising his Curry Man gimmick at Chikara's King of Trios tournament on April 23.
Orlando Jordan, Brian Kendrick, Chelsea (Alison Skipper) and Christy Hemme were all signed to multi-year contracts. Hemme's deal is reportedly worth over $150,000 per year over three years which is a big investment for a non-wrestler.
Jeff Jarrett, 42, and Karen Angle, 37, officially announced their engagement this past week. The couple got together around the time Karen finalized her divorce from Kurt Angle in October, 2008. We first heard about the relationship early last year but didn't feel it was newsworthy at the time. A few months later the relationship became public which caused drama in the locker room and resulted in Dixie Carter removing Jarrett from the writing team and sending him home. This will be the second marriage for both Jarrett and Angle. Jarrett's first wife Jill passed away in 2007 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Kurt Angle is scheduled to take some time off following the Lockdown pay-per-view to rest up and allow time for some nagging injuries to heel.
Impact moving from 9-11 to 8-10 on a permanent basis was confirmed by Dixie Carter. The company had claimed last Monday's 8-10 show was a one-time deal due to NCAA Basketball. The show averaged a 0.9 rating, an increase from the previous week's all-time low of 0.6.
A new show called TNA Reaction debuts on Monday at 7pm before Impact. It's a taped show with backstage interviews and promos. A Spike press release reads, "Fans will experience all the unseen drama as rivals speak openly about their plans to destroy their most hated foes." Bischoff described the show as, "a fresh, cutting edge format that really showcases TNA talent in a new way."
Tara suffered a broken hand in the first blood match on Impact two week's ago.
Kevin Nash suffered a concussion at the 3/23 tapings taking a swanton from Jeff Hardy.
Tommy Dreamer's WWE no compete just expired. He said he's been talking to people here about coming in.
The new Miss Teschmaker character is Brooke Adams, the former WWE Diva who was a dancer in the ECW Extreme Expose group. WWE fired her in 2007 because they felt she was a bad influence on some of the other Divas. She was described back then as a "wild child" who enjoyed the party scene a little too much.
Lance Storm at http://tinyurl.com/yf6wkuf wrote that he's given up watching Impact for good following Monday's show, specifically after the unprotected chair shot to Rob Terry. He wrote: "The wrestling Industry has suffered an incredible number of deaths due to drug use, steroid use, and suicide over the last several years, and in a post Benoit tragedy world seeing a wrestling company put no effort forth to protect it’s talent roster offends me to no end." Storm added: "When is this industry and the people in it going to wake up and learn from the death toll this business has experienced? Thankfully WWE is taking steps forward with their wellness policy and the banning of chair shots to the head, but TNA seems content to seek short term, shock value ratings and ignore the horrific long term writing on the wall. This may be a decision the company and the talent made willingly together, but it is one I am not willing to tolerate any longer. I have lost too many friends, and we should all know better by now."
Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman was at Universal Studios this week. He came to the Impact taping and took pictures with some of the crew backstage after the show. Apparently he wasn't too taken with Jeff Hardy. Shannon Moore wrote on his Twitter, "Me and Jeff just got shot down by Dog the Bounty hunter. Wow what a Jack Ass."
OTHER WRESTLING NEWS
Chris Klucsaritis, who wrestled in WWE and WCW as Chris Kanyon and Mortis, was found in grave condition on the evening of 4/2 at his apartment in Sunnyside, NY. Reportedly, Klucsaritis was found by his brother, concerned about him not answering his phone. EMT's were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead in his apartment. The medical examiner's office is investigating to determine the exact cause of death although the police are treating the case as an apparent suicide, having found an empty bottle of the drug Seroquel (for schizophrenia) and a note where Klucsaritis apologized to his family for taking his own life. He was 40 years old and was known to suffer from bipolar disorder and depression. Klucsaritis graduated from the University at Buffalo in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in physical therapy. He worked for three years as a full time physical therapist before deciding to become a pro wrestler in 1995. He got his first big break with WCW after training with Bobby Eagle in New York City and the late Fabulous Moolah (Lillian Ellison) in South Carolina. He worked the bulk of his career with WCW right up until the company was sold to WWE in 2001. He made his WWE debut a few months after the sale as part of the invasion storyline and shortly thereafter was awarded the U.S. title. In the storyline he would refer to himself as "The Alliance MVP" and frequently posed the rhetorical question "Who betta than Kanyon?". He was later sidelined for the remainder of the Invasion storyline after he tore his ACL during a dark match with Randy Orton. After surgery he was sent to developmental--Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville, KY at the time--but suffered another injury set back when he hurt his shoulder during a match with Lance Cade. In July, 2002 following surgery on his injured shoulder he was hostipalized as a result of an allergy to the medication with which he was being treated. He recovered and was discharged from hospital having lost 32 pounds. For the remainder of his WWE run he was rarely used aside from dark matches or wacky skits. He was released from his contract in February, 2004. He worked once for TNA at the 2005 Turning Point pay-per-view but was never brought back. On the indies he worked when he could get booked billing himself as an openly gay wrestler having come out in 2006. He made several attempts to return to WWE in the past couple of years--even after he put his name on a failed lawsuit attempt with Scott "Raven" Levy and Mike Sanders against WWE for misclassifying wrestlers as independent contracts. Someone who spoke to Klucsaritis recently said that he had been talking about opening a wrestling school in his local community and had started writing a book.
The legendary Gene Kiniski, 81, who is battling cancer, has taken a turn for the worse. The cancer has spread to his brain and he is no longer eating.
Journeyman wrestler Tom Burton passed away on 3/29 at the age of 46. Candace Rummel (aka Candi Divine), Burton's partner of 17 years, said that he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He had been on oxygen for several years, was in poor health battling sleep apnea and was overweight at 430 pounds. A native of Minneapolis, Burton worked most notably in Tennessee and Texas during the late 80s as part of a tag team with Tony Anthony as the Dirty White Boys. He was also a regular in Japan for the UWFI promotion during the early-mid 90s and did occasional jobs on WWF and WCW television. Last year Rummel sued Burton on the TV show Divorce Court, accusing him of running over her cat with his car, and killing it, which he denied.
Ken Layton, 45, who worked indies in Alabama as Kenny Valentine, was killed on 3/26 when he crashed his tractor-trailer truck head-on into a church bus. The accident happened on Interstate 65 near Munfordville, KY and was described as one of the worst traffic accidents in the history of the state of Kentucky. The accident claimed 11 lives including three young children. The church bus was en route to a wedding in Iowa.
Kentucky indie wrestler Glen "Ice Pick" Bussell died last weekend at age 22 in Scott County as a result of a car accident.
Bob Ziolkowski, who worked as Baby Haystacks for Powerhouse Pro Wrestling in Wisconsin, passed away this week from heart failure at the age of 34.
Jack Tunney's nephew Eric Tunney, 45, was found dead in his apartment last weekend. He was a stand-up comedian in Ontario. Friends say he had battled severe depression since the break up of his marriage. The official cause of death is unknown pending an autopsy although it's expected to be ruled a suicide.
Chris Whitehead, 30, and Danielle Whitehead, 27, who work indies in Tennessee as Thorn and Kandy were arrested on 3/29 in South Carolina after a meth lab was found in their home. Three children, aged 9, 4 and 1, who shared a small room in the house, were placed in emergency protective custody. Danielle Whitehead had been pulled over by cops for speeding in a Ford SUV. A search of the vehicle revealed Sudafed and batteries, which are key items in making methamphetamine. Narcotics agents then searched the house and found a meth lab in the bathroom. The couple were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, exposing children to methamphetamine and possession of marijuana.
Rena Lesnar, 42, the former Sable, who is married to Brock Lesnar, is expecting the couple's second child in July. They are expecting another boy. Their first child, Turk, was born last June.
Bobby Lashley and Kristal Marshall have publicly announced their split. The former couple had a son together in 2008.
Awesome Kong starts with Ring of Honor on 5/8 in New York City under her pre-TNA ring name of Amazing Kong.
Dallas Page and Roddy Piper just shot a direct-to-DVD sci-fi movie called Pizza Man. Page plays a character called The Big Cheese.
Scott Steiner is heading to work for WWC in Puerto Rico. He recently taped a confrontation with Ray Gonzalez at Abdullah the Butcher’s House of Ribs in Atlanta.
Today's Diva of the Day is Maryse at http://www.thewrestlingpress.com/DailyDiva.