Tuesday, May 18, 2010

(WGN) May 18: How TNA is going to cut costs, Hogan heart scare, Raw TV notes, Mysterio contract status, Bryan Danielson plans, Pope update, Dixie tapes shoot interview, and more...


5/17 Raw TV results from Toronto: Edge over Christian; The Undertaker over Edge via DQ; Ted DiBiase over Yoshi Tatsu; Bret Hart over The Miz to capture the US title; Maryse, Michelle McCool, Layla over Eve Torres & The Bella Twins; Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton was a no contest; Evan Bourne & Gail Kim over Zack Ryder & Alicia Fox; and John Cena vs. Sheamus was a no contest. Primo worked a dark match as a babyface over Dos Caras Jr. Carlito wasn't even used.

The Smackdown/NXT tapings take place tonight in Ottawa.


Raw last night did a 3.4 rating and 4.9 million viewers. That's about the YTD average so not a great number considering the show was commercial free which usually helps with the number.

Raw in Canada on The Score last night was edited to include commercial breaks while other international markets, including the UK, aired the show live without breaks. The WWE studio usually handles all the editing based on various requirements from its TV partners which is a tall task when you consider the number of markets they cater to worldwide.

The narrator featured in all the WWEShop infomercials was Ed Koskey from the creative team. Local worker Cherry Bomb (Laura Dennis, 23) who was in for a tryout was the female repulsed by Goldust in the dating skit. Her finisher is called the Cherry Popper so don't expect them to use that one if she gets hired.

Not quite sure yet where they are going with Bret Hart winning the U.S. title. One idea talked about in creative meetings last week was that Bryan Danielson would take Bret's place and beat Miz for the belt very quickly, but apparently Vince preferred another idea that airs tonight on NXT involving Michael Cole.

Mike Jones did in fact return last night as Virgil aligned with Ted Jr. as his hired lackey. He's 47 years old now and has spent recent years working on-and-off in the Pittsburgh area as math teacher as well as various convention appearances at weekends. He was last seen on national television with WCW during the mid-late 90s. Dusty Rhodes, who was booking when he came in, gave him the name Vincent, which was a knock on Vince McMahon, as the name Virgil during his WWF run was knock on Rhodes, who's real name is Virgil Runnels.

Rey Mysterio either just did or is about to sign a new contract. He's also told people recently that his knee has improved and probably wouldn't require surgery after all. Curiously though, he's not advertised as appearing at any house shows now until mid-July, according to the WWE website.

WWE COO Donna Goldsmith participated this week in the J.P. Morgan Global Media, Technology, and Media Conference in Boston. She talked about the company going PG and how this move has helped them open doors with new advertisers. She mentioned TNA as a show that features a lot of blood and guts and how they don't anything like that. She talked about Vince wanting to do a cartoon series and suggested they may to talking to Nickelodeon about that. She also said they are thinking about bringing back Tough Enough as a reality series, even though they have NXT which she described as, "scripted reality".

Linda McMahon's chances of becoming a U.S. Senator was just given a huge boost after a report yesterday in the New York Times revealed that her Democrat rival and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal lied about being a Vietnam war veteran. Its believed that Linda's people researched dirt on Blumenthal for months and that's one of the items they unearthed. Shawn McCoy, one of Linda's staffers, told Politico: "As we have researched Dick Blumenthal's record, we've discovered some very troubling disparities between what he's said and the facts. This is a serious blow to his credibility."

Layla becoming Women's champion this past week makes her the first ever Brit to hold the belt. She grew up in London and after college started working as a dancer on cruise liners--from there she got a job with the Miami Heat Dancers and then entered the Diva Search to where she is today.

Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston for the IC title was officially added to Over the Limit as was Eve vs. Maryse for the Diva's title.

John Cena has been talking about recording another rap album. Earlier this month he cut a track with rapper Bumpy Knuckles for the upcoming WWE Studios film Legendary.

The tentative title for the Randy Orton DVD due out later this year is Randy Orton: The Viper Uncoiled.


Regarding cuts, well... they're coming. Right now the company is trying to rid themselves of as much overhead as possible. This likely means eliminating those that have guaranteed money and renewing them on a pay as you go basis. Its also rumored that some top guys are taking less than their contract stipulates right now to help balance the budget sheet.

Sting was announced as No. 1 contender for the heavyweight title at the Impact tapings last night which airs Thursday. Eric Bischoff cut a promo without really explaining how Sting had topped the rankings other than Dixie Carter, Hogan and himself determine everything based on win/loss records and fan votes. I mean really, this makes completely zero sense. Sting wasn't close to winning the fan polls placing joint 4th out of 15 guys, plus he's lost his last two matches to RVD and AJ Styles, and actually hasn't won a match since last September, so never mind the fact he's running around taking people out with a baseball bat. Can somebody please explain the logic behind this deal?

Hogan had a recent heart scare, according to TMZ. He was reportedly undergoing tests for a future back surgery during which doctors thought they may have found an abnormality. He was then sent to a specialist cardiovascular center for further testing. The doctors there ran more tests and eventually determined that there wasn't a problem after all.

Hogan was a guest on the Wendy Williams show this past Friday. He briefly plugged TNA but Williams jumped in and mistakenly said Impact airs on Monday nights on Spike. Doh. He talked about how he now uses hair extensions because after his divorce Linda wasn't around to dye his hair. "When I was married back in the day Linda would do my hair - I never paid attention. When she filed for divorce and I was on my own and the roots grew out, I went to my local drug store and bought the hair (dye) and put in on. I didn't know you weren't supposed to put it on the scalp. I kind of rubbed it through (my hair) and then the phone rang. It (the dye) was on for an hour... (Then) I'm in the shower and it (my hair) all goes down there (the drain)."

The Pope is said to be targeting June/July for a return to the ring following his shoulder injury.

Sean Waltman was hanging out backstage yesterday at the tapings with Scott Hall. They shot a video blog together from Hall's locker room which is posted at http://tinyurl.com/2d3tgfq. Hall says Waltman is off television and working on other gigs right now.

The Mr. Anderson promo at Sacrifice was something Anderson himself came up with. Apparently they have a new t-shirt in the works which says "Mr. Anderson" on the front, and "I'm an asshole" on the back. The "hole" part is a picture of a hole in the ground. The live crowd reaction was interesting and there is now talk of capitalizing on that and turning him babyface.

Some of the crew threw a birthday bash for Earl Hebner after the tapings last night. Hebner just turned 60.

There is some talk about the company producing its own series of shoot interviews to sell on its website. I actually mentioned this to a promoter today and they thought it was a great idea but noted the company's main issue is that they still don't know how to market themselves. They no longer wholesale any merchandise to resellers, so the only way you can buy TNA stuff is at live events or through the website. The promoter also remarked how terrible it was that a place like Springfield, IL (which is a good town for indy shows) would only draw a few hundred paid with both Jeff Hardy and RVD on the card this past weekend. "Its almost like the TNA brand attached to these wrestlers makes it uncool because I'd like to think I could draw 1,000 plus at anything Jeff Hardy was a part of right now."

Speaking of shoot interviews, Dixie Carter taped one with Kayfabe Commentaries on Friday night at the legends convention in New Jersey. The interview took place in a room before 75-100 fans and workers. She was well received and didn't dodge any questions. The two biggest pops came when Jim Cornette's face popped up on a screen as a video submission question, and later when a fan asked, "How much would you sell TNA to Vince for?"... and she replied, "How much will he sell to ME?"

Brian Elliott has a story on Rob Van Dam at http://tinyurl.com/2v2rzqu.

Beer Money was also announced for AAA's Triplemania on 6/6. Hernandez, Abyss and Christopher Daniels are booked on the show too.

There is a trailer for Kurt Angle's next DVD release, River of Darkness at http://tinyurl.com/38ffeyg which stars Kurt as a small town Sheriff hunting down two zombies, played by Kevin Nash and Sid Eudy. They are billed as "WWE wrestling stars" in the trailer even though none of them have worked there for years.

The company has hired a PR agency in the UK to help them with media exposure over there. They are sending one major star and a Knockout soon for a promotional tour.

TNA debuts in Brooklyn, NY on 7/2 at the MCU Park baseball stadium and in Asbury Park, NJ on 7/3.

There is a house show booked at the La Porte, IN County Fair on 7/24 with Mr. Anderson, Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash, Eric Young, The Pope, Samoa Joe, Desmond Wolfe, Beer Money, and The Beautiful People all advertised as appearing.


Rich Tate reports that Gary Brumbaugh, real life brother of Sputnik Monroe, who was in the business as Jet Monroe in the 1960s, passed away back on 5/12.

Celebrity Boxing promoter Damon Feldman was hospitalized and put under psychiatric evaluation this past weekend after he threatened to take his own life. Police were dispatched to Feldman's home in Broomall, PA after receiving calls from several people who said Feldman had emailed them a suicide note on Saturday. Feldman, 40, was said to be devastated that the State Attorney recently charged him with fixing fights and staging them without a license. Feldman's wife, Rachael, told the Philly Daily News today that she had spoken with her husband and that he was feeling better but would remain hospitalized for a few more days. Feldman, who has booked pro wrestlers on his shows in the past, faces a preliminary hearing 5/26. He's charged with six counts of staging competitions without holding a promoter's license and six counts of rigging fights. He insists he's done nothing wrong claiming his events are just like WWE.

Mickie James‘ debut country album Strangers & Angels went on sale today on iTunes. The album hasn't cracked the Top 50 U.S. chart but is doing very well in the UK currently listed at No. 9.

Christopher Daniels will be throwing out the first pitch at Clear Channel Stadium on Thursday, home of the Houston Astros, in Lancaster CA. He is signing autographs from 6:20pm-6:45pm, prior to the JetHawks taking on the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

April Hunter is competing in the NPC Junior Nationals USA in Chicago on 6/18. She recently placed within the top 3 of her class at the NPC Kentucky Muscle. More info at www.aprilhunter.com.

Former WWE wrestler Steve Lewington has entered the Arnold Classic Best Body Contest at www.muscleandbodymag.com/arnold.php. He looks the least juiced out of all the guys listed.

The Armpit, an awesome pro wrestling/MMA parody website has just relaunched at www.armpitwrestling.com. Highly recommended.

The Heyman Hustle at http://tinyurl.com/389kjxd posted some promotional stills for Trish Stratus' upcoming movie Ball Enforcers. The film stars Trish within a team of down on their luck bounty hunters who run into trouble when they are confronted with a moral dilemma--a local mob boss who wants the team to exchange a bail jumper for a million dollars. The film was shot in and around Toronto.

Jimmy Hart announced the Legends of Rock and Wrestling Musical Tour with Honkytonk Man, Koko B. Ware and Hillbilly Jim. Tour dates and updates will be announced soon at www.honkytonkman.net.

Percy Pringle (the former Paul Bearer) did an interview with Ring The Bell radio at www.RingTheBellRadio.com. Among many subjects he discussed how he and Undertaker still remain great friends. "I had a 15 year career before coming to the WWF. About 1987 we had a big red headed kid coming through Dallas named Mark Calloway. He wanted to be a wrestler so we gave him a try. He was training with Buzz Sawyer at the time, if you call what Buzz did training. He more or less took Mark’s money. But one night we put him in the ring under a mask, called him Texas Red. Bruiser Brody asked me to go to the ring with him as his manager. So I managed The Undertaker in his very first match in Dallas and that was 3 or 4 years before his debut as The Undertaker in the WWF. So we certainly have a history that goes back a long long time and we still remain dear friends…he’s one of the best friends I’ve got in the world."

UK promotion 1PW is bringing in TNA's Desmond Wolfe, Douglas Williams, and Beer Money along with the former Val Venis and Kevin Thorn for shows this weekend in Liverpool. More info at www.oneprowrestling.com. For what its worth, Thorn was backstage yesterday at the TNA tapings.

Canadian Wrestling Elite runs this Saturday in Dauphin, MB at the Rotary Arena with the former Billy Gunn, Shawn Daivari, Danny Duggan, Bushwhacker Luke, Jimmy Jacobs and many more.

WFX runs in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 5/28 with Charlie Haas vs. Kip James; plus Christopher Daniels, Eugene, Bushwhacker Luke, Larry Zbyszko & Hardcore Holly. More info at www.wfxwrestling.com.

Dallas Page is hosting a radio show tonight 9-10pm ET at www.blogtalkradio.com/yrgradio discussing all things Yoga.

Former WWE developmental Diva Bobbi Billard did a Playboy shoot this week for the June-July special edition issue.

Today's Knockout of the Day is Christy Hemme at http://www.thewrestlingpress.com/DailyDiva.