WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT
5/14 Smackdown TV results from Buffalo, NY: Kofi Kingston over Christian to win the vacant IC title; Shad Gaspard over Jesse Guyver; MVP & JTG over The Dudebusters; Lay-Cool over Beth Phoenix to win the Women's title (Lalya is the new champ as she got the pin); Kane over Chavo Guerrero; and Rey Mysterio over CM Punk via DQ.
The former Hart family home is currently listed on the Calgary real estate market for $4.95 million, after being refurbished, with "The Dungeon" basement still intact. This news has surprised people close to the family as they were under the impression the basement had largely been dismantled. The mansion, located in the Patterson Heights neighborhood of Calgary, was built in 1902 by businessman Edward Crandell. It was converted into the Soldiers' Children's Home for Orphans in 1920 and later sold to a lawmaker called Henry Stuart Patterson. Stu Hart purchased the mansion for $25,000 in 1951, where he raised his family and trained many professional wrestlers over the years. Famous Dungeon graduates include Superstar Billy Graham, Greg Valentine, Bad News Allen, Davey Boy Smith, Brian Pillman, Jushin Liger, Ricky Fuji, and Chris Benoit. The mansion was sold by Stu's children to local businessman Dario Berloni for $1.5 million in 2004, a little over a year after Stu passed away. It was in need of extensive restoration and held high property taxes, which the family could not afford. Stu had also instructed in his will that his family not tear it down. Prior to the sale, there was talk of turning the mansion into a museum or bed and breakfast; however, this would have required zoning changes further diminishing the chances securing protected status. In June 2006, preservation plans were defused in a tied 7-7 city vote, leaving it susceptible to demolition. Later that year a revised plan was authorized for thirteen townhouses to be built around the mansion as well as its restoration. Construction was slated to begin in summer 2007, but those plans were never implemented. The mansion is now listed on property guides as 5,600-square-foot, on 2.17 acres of land, with twenty-two rooms, including six bedrooms with en-suites, two porches, a view of downtown Calgary, and a coach house behind the main house. Realtor Donna Rooney says the mansion has been fully renovated. "The amount of money that has gone into this and the love that’s gone into this renovation has been spectacular. Anybody that’s seen the house is just in awe," she told the Calgary Herald. "It’s beautiful. There’s been a lot of imported tile and wood and the kitchen is totally divine. The house is gorgeous. It’s very much a grand property." Ross Hart was also quoted in the Herald article as saying he hoped that developers wouldn't purchase the mansion and build townhouses or condos on the land.
Jim Ross announced late last night that his BBQ restaurant in Norman, OK was closing its doors effective immediately. Ross, who at one-time was looking at expanding his business into a multi-location franchise in the Oklahoma City area, blamed the harsh economic climate. "At the end of the day, our business plan could not handle the shift in the economy or the rising overhead that we encountered," Ross wrote in his blog. "We make no excuses. We worked diligently on making this aspect of our BBQ dream come true but this time around it simply wasn't meant to be. We played the game hard and played to win but we came up short. Again, we make no excuses." He added that he plans to continue his BBQ product line as an online business. "The good news is that we will continue to cultivate our on line business, perhaps even adding a few, new items down the road. This site (www.jrsbarbq.com) is not going anywhere and we will continue to aggressively market the best BBQ Sauces." Ross had told friends for some time that he was considering closing his restaurant, pretty much since his last Bell's Palsy attack, to help alleviate the stress in his life. Regarding his future, Ross wrote, "In the upcoming weeks, my professional schedule is likely to change significantly. I've realized that there is only so much that I can pile on my plate so perhaps this unfortunate turn of events is a blessing in disguise. My wife and I sincerely thank everyone who worked so hard at J.R.'s and to all of you who visited us and enjoyed our food."
The Laurel Leader-Call interviewed WWE Studios VP Michael Pavone about the company's upcoming film projects, specifically the biopic on Georgeous George Wagner. "It’s a passion project for Vince McMahon," Pavone said. "(George) had such an influence on modern day wrestling in general and what we’ve come to know from WWE. But, he was also the father of pop culture." He added: "People like James Brown, Muhammad Ali and Bob Dylan have given Gorgeous George a lot of credit for showing them the way. John Waters, Elton John and Liberace hearken back to things that Gorgeous George did. He became popular when TV was invented and the only thing on was wrestling and Uncle Milty." The studio recently paid a six figure sum for the rights to turn John Capouya's biography on George into a movie. Capouya will be listed as co-producer along with George's surviving daughter Carol and ex-wife Betty. An interesting note that I recently uncovered is that WWE trademarked the term 'Gorgeous George' back in June, 2009 which was before they first made contact with Capouya who later acted as a conduit to Carol and Betty. The film is expected to start pre-production in the first quarter of 2011.
Beth Phoenix is scheduled for knee surgery Tuesday morning under Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, AL. She wrote a blog saying that she was initially in denial over the severity of the injury which I guess explains why she was telling people she was fine. A doctor later diagnosed a torn and displaced Meniscus, sprained MCL and complete tear of her ACL. She is expected to be sidelined for around 6-8 months although she could come back sooner depending on how rehab goes.
Developmental wrestler Brett DiBiase, brother of Ted, underwent knee surgery this morning for a torn ACL in Birmingham.
Cody Rhodes debuted a new gimmick at house shows this past weekend. He's calling himself "The Uncommon" Cody Rhodes complete with new ring attire and leather jacket. At one show he cut a heel promo saying, "Hey, you guys remember a guy named The Rock? ... Oh well, he doesn't remember you!"
The St. John Telegraph-Journal has a story on Rhodes at http://tinyurl.com/2vmzvdj. Nothing very noteworthy. He said he knows he made it now because he has his own Mattel action figure. "No matter how hard you may be on yourself, or how competitive you may be with others, if you've got yourself in plastic, you've done something right."
New Brunswick's Times and Transcript has a story on Christian at http://tinyurl.com/3agheeu. He said when he went to TNA a few years ago he always knew he would be back here one day. "I started on the road when I was 24, and I was on the road for eight years straight without a break. I was physically and mentally a little beat up, and just kind of needed some time away to heal up and have a little time for family and unwind and live like a normal person for a little while." He says his final career goal is to become a world champion.
MeetTheBoss.tv interviewed Andrew Whitaker, WWE's VP of International, responsible for strategic direction of the company outside of the U.S. He talked about creating new stars, saying you either have charisma or you don't. "It's about having a certain X-factor, you either have that or you don't... We can't force people to be stars, the fans decide that." Glad someone realizes this. He said he reports directly to Vince and has a team of 30 people beneath him. He also talked about cracking new markets, most recently Norway and Demark saying they were rentleless and never took no for an answer.
Steve Austin is coming to the UK in August to promote his next movie The Stranger on DVD. Austin plays a material witness in an FBI investigation. He's supported by Adam Beach of HBO's Big Love as the lead FBI agent and Erica Cerra, who recently starred in Fox's Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, who plays a psychiatrist. The DVD drops on 6/1.
Melina is featured on a new VH1 series as a talking head called Undated. The women on the show discuss things men should avoid if they want to successfully date women.
We received a report from a reader at Chris Jericho's Fozzy concert over the weekend in Glasgow, Scotland. He was in full babyface mode and got a huge pop when he ripped on Whitney Houston regarding her recent negative press. Our reader said the concert was great value for money and recommends everyone check out Fozzy if they come to a town near you.
Matt Hardy posted the following message on his Twitter: "I'm gonna push the WWE to take me places that I've never ever been to before-& I'll hold up my end-Promise. Print that quote dirtsheets!" Cannot imagine what he means. A Gym perhaps?
MSNBC's political commentator Keith Olbermann on his last show featured Linda McMahon as his Worst Person in the World for some of her campaign stances. Linda is being ripped left, right and center right now by various public figures in the state.
TOTAL NONSTOP ACTION WRESTLING
5/13 house show results from Springfield, IL: Kaz over Brian Kendrick; Abyss over Desmond Wolfe; The Beautiful People over Sarita & Taylor Wilde; Ken Anderson over Jeff Jarrett; Ink Inc over Beer Money; and Rob Van Dam over AJ Styles & Jeff Hardy in a three-way. A reader report we had said the show drew 500-600 people with solid work and fans leaving happy.
The 5/14 show in Hammond, IN was the same show as Springfield drawing an estimated 700 people. A fan at the show gave Jarrett some personal photos taken of his last match teaming with Owen Hart shortly before his death which caused Jarrett to tear up.
5/15 Sacrifice pay-per-views results from Orlando, FL: Rob Van Dam over AJ Styles to retain the heavyweight title; Sting vs. Jeff Jarrett never happened; Jeff Hardy over Mr. Anderson; The Band over Ink Inc. to retain the tag titles; The Machine Guns over Team 3D & Beer Money in a three-way for the next tag title shot; Douglas Williams over Kaz for the X-Division title; Rob Terry over Orlando Jordan to retain the Global Championship; Abyss over Desmond Wolfe so Abyss wins Chelsea for 30 days; and Madison Rayne over Tara to retain the Knockouts title, so Tara is gone.
TNA will tape three Impacts this week with Kurt Angle advertised to return.
There is new talk of budget-related cuts with ring announcer Dave Penzer perhaps the first casualty. Penzer, who has been around since 2005 and before that with WCW dating back to 1994, knew the writing was on the wall a few weeks ago as there was a push for Jeremy Borash to take over his duties. Still, this departure as a budget cut seems to make little sense in the grand scheme of things. It would take 10-20 Penzer's to equal the pay of a major star such as Hogan, Flair or Hardy, who are among the highest paid as well as being responsible for ratings and revenue.
Roxxi (Nicole Raczynski) is being brought back to television. She's not been seen since suffering a freak ankle injury in a match with Hamada at the 12/21 tapings.
ODB wasn't brought in for television this week as creative said they had nothing for her. She has some heat for recent comments she made online questioning the direction of the Knockouts division--which everyone does privately. Her contract expires later this year.
Former TNA production manager, Randy Ricci recently wrote a blog claiming that Madison Rayne has been forced to miss house shows this year as she was unable to pay for travel to make the shows. Ricci wasn't specific but I assume he means road expenses. Rayne countered and wrote her own blog denying any issues. For what its worth, my impression is that all talent booked are supplied with a round trip plane ticket for house show loops. Everybody has a different contract but generally the top guys, and this is only a small few, have expenses covered, which usually includes a nice hotel. The under card guys, perhaps making 200-300 per shot, are worse off as they have to pay for hotel, rent a car, and put gas in said car for the entire loop. I don't know that this a wide-spread issue but some people are unhappy. The main issue is that pay checks follow several weeks later, so guys are struggling to make ends meet due to the incurred costs of simply going to work. Of course, nobody is forced into working and if guys aren't make enough as a wrestler to pay their bills, then a part-time job is an option. This may or may not be relevant but one major 80s draw who I talked to today brought up that Vince McMahon didn't kills the indy's, but rather the wrestlers who work for free.
Rob Van Dam vs. Sting for the heavyweight title is expected to headline Slammiversary on 6/13 from Orlando. Not quite sure how this will come about based on current storylines let alone this supposed revolutionary heavyweight contenders ranking system.
Mick Foley recently signed a deal to author a comic book series for 12 Gauge Comics. There is no real update on Foley other than he's likely returning later this year to promote his next memoir, Countdown to Lockdown. Foley and his wife Colette are donating 50 percent of the advance royalties for the book to RAINN, an anti-sexual assault organization working with rape crisis centers across the US.
Jeff Hardy will be celebrity judge this weekend at the 2010 Pennzoil Ultra Victory Challenge at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Of all things, he's judging a burnout contest, which some people may find humor in.
SouthPeak just announced that Hulk Hogan will appear as a playable character in the Nintendo DS version of its new game due for release next month. There is little buzz regarding this title from people within the gaming industry. One former magazine writer told us the development team behind the project are best known for cartoon adventures so they didn't expect much hype surrounding a wrestling title. Southpeak picked up the TNA license last year from the ashes of Midway Games who went bankrupt.
Kurt Angle visited Lackland Air Force Base over the weekend in San Antonio. One of our readers met Kurt, said he was great, and spent time chatting to soldiers and taking photos with their kids.
The company is also now doing some charitable work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
TNAWrestling.com announced a new online contest to search for fans who can do promos imitating Ric Flair. You can to post video to YouTube then email the video’s link, along with your name, address and phone number to WalkTheTalk@tnawrestling.com. Fans will then vote to decide a winner from a Top 10 of submitted videos. The winner will receive a VIP trip to Slammiversary. Closing date is 5/27. Not sure who came up with this idea, but its a really cool gimmick which should generate some interest.
The Band (Nash, Hall & Young) are now defending the tag titles under the Freebird rule. Waltman is said to be gone for now due to personal reasons.
Impact last Thursday night did a 0.9 rating and 1.3 million viewers. A long journey back now to where they were last summer.
The Hebner brothers turn 60 today.
OTHER WRESTLING NEWS
British wrestler and promoter Andre Baker passed away over the weekend at age 45 reportedly after committing suicide. Baker founded a promotion called Hammerlock in 1993, which later merged with the NWA as an affiliate, which has helped the careers of several top UK wrestlers including TNA's Doug Williams, WWE's Wade Barrett, former Diva Katie Lea, among many others. He rubbed a lot of people the wrong way over the years but should be remembered for helping to regenerate the UK wrestling scene back at a time when business was virtually dead.
Terry Funk, 65, suffered a ruptured eardrum this past weekend working for Great North Wrestling in Thunder Bay, ONT. The injury actually occurred during a pre-show press conference. Funk was brought in as special referee for a match between Kevin Nash and a worker called Hannibal. Vampiro (billed as his first time wrestling in his home town), Honky Tonk Man, Lanny Poffo, and Scott Steiner were also on the card which drew around 2,000 people.
MTV Movies spoke to director Julien Nitzberg about his HBO Films biopic on Sputnik Monroe at http://tinyurl.com/25zyuyn. Monroe was a headliner in many territories from the 1940s though the early 70s, and was best known in Memphis, where he and Billy Wicks set an attendance record that lasted until the Monday Night Wars boom period. Nitzberg says he's making the film due to his interest in Monroe as an outspoken campaigner of civil rights for African-Americans during the 50s--a period where segregation was the norm at public events, and as the biggest wrestling draw at the time, Monroe refused to perform unless black patrons were allowed to sit in any seat. At the time, at wrestling matches, as well as many public events, African-Americans were limited to sit in what was known as the "colored" section. "For black people he was a hero but for white people he was a wrestling bad guy," Nitzberg said. "So he would go on TV as a wrestler talking about how integration was good and getting white southerners super-pissed at him, driving them insane, and eventually he could outsell Elvis. Through the power of wrestling and hate he was able to amass this economic power where he could... start refusing to actually wrestle at segregated sporting arenas. He integrated more sporting arenas in the south than the NAACP."
MTV2's Lucha Libre series will be titled Masked Warriors with the first taping on 6/6 in Rancho Mirage, CA. Talent booked includes Marco Corleone (Mark Jindrak), Lizmark Jr., Mascarita Dorara and Tinieblas Jr.
Dutch Mantell's latest blog entry discusses the opening of his new wrestling school, fighting fans, changes to the business and more. A great read at http://tinyurl.com/2w4be9x.
The OU Daily college paper has a story on Leon "Vader" White's son Jesse and his interest in following his father into the business. The story includes quote from Jim Ross who told Jesse to become fundamentally sound and not to emulate his father because their body types are different. Story is at http://tinyurl.com/y99xaz8.
The San Jose Mercury News has an article on career and life of Kinji Shibuya following his recent passing at http://tinyurl.com/342dwd5.
Maria Kanellis was eliminated last night from Celebrity Apprentice although she will be appearing on the season finale as part of Holly Peete's team in the final task--to create a new flavor of Snapple Tea. The Donald fired her for a pretty lame reason. She cut a promo on chef Curtis Stone for being arrogant because he passed gas in her dressing room. Donald said he works in board rooms, not locker rooms, so fired her. During her run she raised $20,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation.
Bobby Lashley's next Strikeforce fight will be against Ron Sparks in Los Angeles on 6/16.
The Iron Sheik at www.sheikshirts.com/ is now selling "fuck bubba" (as in Bubba the Love Sponge) t-shirts.
TMZ did a follow up story on Joanie "Chyna" Laurer who was recently connected to the battery of a former friend in a LA motel room. Gabriela Targos told LAPD that Chyna battered her so badly she feared she was going to die. The City Attorney has officially rejected the case, citing insufficient evidence that can prove Chyna carried out the attack. Full story at http://tinyurl.com/39aa7r6.
Today's Diva of the Day is Alicia Fox at http://www.thewrestlingpress.com/DailyDiva.