WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT
6/15 NXT TV results from Raleigh, NC: Alex Riley over Kaval and Kofi Kingston & Michael McGuillicutty over Mark Henry & Lucky Cannon.
Only one house show this weekend ahead of Sunday's Fatal Four Way pay-per-view. Madison Square Garden is sold out on Saturday night with John Cena vs Sheamus; Jack Swagger vs. Big Show; Randy Orton vs Edge; MVP, Kane & Christian vs. CM Punk, Luke Gallows & The Mystery Man; R-Truth vs. The Miz; Kofi Kingston vs. Drew McIntyre; and Eve Torres & The Bellas vs. Maryse & LayCool with Santino as special referee.
Superstars tonight on WGN has Primo vs. Yoshi Tatsu, Kofi Kingston vs. Trent Barretta and Jimmy & Jey Uso vs. Mark Henry & Goldust. The show airs at 10pm this week due to the White Sox-Pirates game.
Dave Batista, Chavo Guerrero, Ernest Miller and Bill Goldberg were among the pro wrestlers sitting ringside at the Strikeforce MMA event in California last night. Sources say Batista is looking for a two fight deal in MMA and that Stikeforce has already offered him a big name opponent. He is also negotiating to be part of a new reality series. Those he talked to last night said he gave the impression he was done with WWE. We did hear a few week's ago there may be some sour grapes from Vince McMahon over his departure. He hasn't ruled out returning one day as he leads a lavish lifestyle and will probably need the money. Very few people know this but he broke his back (small hairline fracture) from the car bump in the match against Cena at Over the Limit back on 5/23. He's been resting up following that injury and plotting his next move.
John Cena did an interview this week on the Busted Open radio show on Sirius. He talked about the Bryan Danielson situation and alluded to internal speculation that TV people (basically NBC) were not very happy with Danielson's tie-choke on Justin Roberts during the NXT invasion angle. He said: "I agree with a lot of folks who think the penalty might have been a little too severe but the best advice I can give everybody--If the fans collectively want this young man back in the company, the only way to do that is the power within the ticket buyers. If the ticket buyers come out by the fifty thousands, by the hundred thousands and say, listen, we want this young man back and we think he has something to offer--we are a company that worries about the bottom line." When further pressed if WWE has banned acts of choking on television he dodged the question and gave an answer to something completely different. He also talked about the recent push of Evan Bourne which he described as his personal pet project: "Just inviting someone into that circle is a very tough process... It's not just what people do between the ropes. I want somebody to be able to walk the streets and be a proud representative of our company. And, when the bell rings, he's one of the most entertaining people to watch on the face of the planet. I'm always watching everybody; every type of WWE-affiliated product, I'm always watching just to see people's behavior. I think he is one of the many in the giant youth movement that we have in WWE that's about to show some people that he belongs."
USA Today has a story with Cena at http://tinyurl.com/2edff5k who asked him the really stupid question of whether he would ever follow Brock Lesnar into MMA. He claimed that he watched UFC for the first time ever last weekend but said the show did nothing for him. That's pretty funny because last summer during one interview he talked about watching Lesnar vs. Frank Mir. He was quoted as saying, "I appreciate what they've done business-wise. They continue to grow. It's very good to watch the progression of that sport because it reminds me of a then-young WWF, the NFL as they matured, the merger between the NBA and the ABA. They are at that juncture where they are still Wild West. They're still in-your face. But they've made the steps they need to do grow."
The company got a nice tax break this week as they worked on the production of Raw and NXT with the North Carolina Film Commission, specifically the stunt with Bret Hart and the Limousine. Essentially they might be able to recoup as much as 25 percent of their production costs which is no small chunk of change. Deductible items could include the arena rental, satellite uplink costs, hotels, and even catering.
NXT on Tuesday night did a 0.9 rating and 1.3 million viewers.
Layla got hot with one of her Twitter followers yesterday for accusing her of copying TNA's Beautiful People gimmick. She wrote that she's never watched a TNA show so she couldn't possibly copy the gimmick... Vickie Guerrero also posted an anti-TNA tweet: "TNA - no way will I watch or support it...enough said!"
Michelle McCool did an autograph signing Monday night in Fort Bragg, NC and was sporting what appeared to be a huge rock of an engagement ring on her ring finger. Undertaker and McCool have been together now for a few years.
Bryan Danielson is already accepting indy dates although promoters won't be allowed to tape his matches for TV/DVD/PPV. He's advertised next month at events promoted by Gabe Sapolsky.
WWE Studios has another new movie in developmental called Chasing the Hawk as a vehicle for Edge. The film is said to be action comedy about a New Orleans lawyer who loses a classic car and then sets out to find it.
There is a trailer online for the new ABC game show Downfall with Chris Jericho at http://tinyurl.com/3x43q4c.
Jason Clevett has a story on Booker T. He said he was very close to signing back with WWE last year but his wife got pregnant and plans changed. He talked about wanting to work behind the scene one day, perhaps as a writer or agent. Story is at http://tinyurl.com/23vqzoc.
FCW ran last night in Deland, FL before an estimated 300 fans: Lucky Cannon over Big E Langston; Curt Hawkins & Vance Archer over Yoshi Tatsu & Kaval; Rhys Ali over Shad Gaspard; Mason Ryan over Rudy Parker; Alicia Fox & Liviana over Naomi Night & Natalya; Los Aviadores (Hunico & Epico) over Donny Marlow & Brodus Clay; Alex Riley overJohnny Curtis; and The Hart Dynasty over Jimmy & Jey Uso. Main event was said to be very good. Jamie Keyes and AJ Lee handled the ring announcing duties. A return date was announced for 7/10 with Dustry Rhodes and Cody Rhodes doing a pre show meet and great.
A correction from yesterday. Daniel Skyler, now listed as an FCW referee, is not Gavin Spears but the former Dustin Carwile.
Shad Gaspard has been working out in developmental of late. He hasn't really been utilized since the split of Cryme Tyme and the blow off strap match with JTG at Extreme Rules back on 4/25.
There is a WWE PPV viewing party on Sunday night in Hallandale Beach, FL in the Mardi Gras Casino. More info at www.playmardigras.com.
TOTAL NONSTOP ACTION WRESTLING
TNA tours the Midwest this weekend with shows in Dayton and Columbus, OH and Fort Wayne, IN. They run the 12,000 seat Nutter Center tonight with an advertised crew of Jeff Hardy, Shannon Moore, AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, Ken Anderson, The Beautiful People, Taylor Wilde, Sarita, Matt Morgan, Eric Young, Jay Lethal, Rob Terry, Douglas Williams and Homicide. Orlando Jordan, who hasn't been seen on television for a while, is also booked on this tour. We're looking for reader reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Impact tonight includes Magnus vs. Suicide; Max Buck vs. Douglas Williams; Samoa Joe vs. Hernandez; Angelina Love vs. Lacey Von Erich; Desmond Wolfe vs. Jay Lethal; and Jeff Hardy vs. Abyss; plus Eric Bischoff addresses the tag title situation and the Flair-Lethal segment that everyone is raving about.
The Sports Business Journal published a story this week on TNA quoting Dixie Carter and Brian Diamond of Spike TV. Although she declined to disclose any specific numbers, Dixie said the company experienced EBIDTA (earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes and amortization) growth of 75 percent from 2008 to 2009 and this year merchandise sales have already doubled from 2009. "There are two things that distinguish us from our competitors," she said. "We have more action, and our competitor has become a PG show; we’re TV-14. Ours is going to be edgier and appeal to a slightly older audience. We have matches that are violent, where there is blood." The story noted the decline in ratings after attempting to compete with Raw on Monday nights. Diamond put a positive spin on that saying, "(TNA have) been great people to work with, both at the creative and business level... We’ve found them to be very innovative. To have a show that performs continuously on Thursday nights is key and critical to our network’s success." Dixie also talked about increasing live events this year and the possibility of touring India, Spain and Australia. Story is at www.sportsbusinessjournal.com.
Jim Cornette's latest podcast covers the firing of Scott Hall and Roxxi at http://tinyurl.com/35okpof. Cornette was also a guest this week on the Mayhem radio show at www.mondaynightmayhem.com to promote ROH's Death Before Dishonor iPPV in Toronto on Saturday night. He laughed off the notion that Dixie has a big surprise that will change TNA forever. "I don't know what Dixie Carter is talking about, short of Merlin the Magician popping up to transform them into a viable wrestling promotion," he mused. "I think it's going back to her PR background. When you're completely lost in the woods, and you have nothing else to do, and you're at your wits end--promise people a huge surprise and a big change, and by the time you realize it's not coming, then you got out of that particular hole you were in." On speculation that Pauil Heyman is coming in, he said: "If Paul Heyman went to dinner at Taco Bell, 30 minutes later he could squat down and crap out a better wrestling show format than Vince Russo has ever dreamed of in his life. But I think my old friend, 'Happy Heyman,' is probably way too smart to get involved in that political minefield. One, he's not going to be part of the team, because that would be like putting the top NBA player on the court with a group of guys who they got from a pick up game from the playground. There's nobody capable of even carrying Heyman's pencil down there right now. Secondly, I think he's too smart, because he doesn't want his legacy diminished by going into a hopeless, fruitless cause, because even if he was the only person on creative and doing it all himself, he'll still have to deal with the TNA front office, and most of those people with the non-wrestling background are so inept that really I'm surprised, based on my experiences of being there for three years, that they can get anything done. I don't think they would give Heyman the pull or control over everything that is necessary. I think Dixie would still try to stick her nose in, and I think he would be frustrated just as when he was trying to work within the WWE confines, where the people are a whole lot more competent, but not much more educated as far as pro wrestling."
Lacey Von Erich and Velvet Sky got some nice press in the UK talking about the USA-England soccer game at the World Cup. Lacey was quoted as saying that England's star striker Wayne Rooney has a face like a potato while Velvet called the WAGS (wifes and girlfriends of the English soccer team) "orange wannabe skanks". The story was on page five of last Saturday's Daily Star newspaper which might be the furthest up front in a national newspaper wrestling has been since the days of Big Daddy.
Rosie Lottalove wasn't used this week at the TV tapings. On Twitter she's encouraging her followers to tweet Dixie to get back on TV.
The time slot and return date for TNA Reaction on Spike has changed. The show will instead air on Thursdays at 11pm from 7/15. The show was originally going to return on 6/24 in a 9pm timeslot.
The 7/25 house show in Indianapolis has been postponed.
The episode of Fox's The Good Guys with Matt Morgan is slated to air on 8/2. He plays a Russian bad ass.
Bischoff Hervey Entertainment (Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey's production company) announced an international distribution deal with Shine International.
OTHER WRESTLING NEWS
Ring of Honor wrestler, Davey Richards, 27, says he's leaving the company in December when his contract expires. He plans to leave pro wrestling for good to pursue a career as a fire fighter.
Fan House has an interview with ROH producer Dave Lagana at http://tinyurl.com/3ayyove. Lagana previously worked for WWE on the creative team and before that as a writer on Friends. "I'm definitely not making as much when I was with WWE but I'm ten times happier," he says. "And I think that's the spirit of Ring of Honor."
Nashville indy wrestler Steve "Woody" Johnson, was found guilty of murder on 5/22. He was one of four people involved in a home invasion during which a man was fatally shot in 2008. Three other suspects are still awaiting trial. Johnson wrestled in the Nashville area using various names including Sweet Daddy Z, Snake Jones and Frank Malone. He was working local shows right up until his conviction as people remember seeing him wrestle wearing an ankle bracelet.
Mickie James is doing a media tour in New York City this weekend to promote her country album. She's a guest tonight on Fox News' Redeye program at 7pm followed by Fox & Friends early Friday morning as well as several radio spots.
Trish Stratus was a featured guest at the Ladies Day Golf Expo in Toronto. She led a group demonstration in her 'Yoga for Golfers' class to promote her Stratusphere Yoga Studio in the area.
Smith Hart, 60, is yet another member of the Hart family writing a book. Smith is the eldest son of Stu Hart. He wrestled in his father's Stampede Wrestling promotion during the 1970s and in recent years operated his own wrestling school.
Several present and former wrestling personalities are contributing to an upcoming book written by the late Chris Kanyon.
Austin Creed is heading to Japan next weekend for a tour with New Japan.
Former WWF wrestler Brian Blair recently qualified to run for the Florida House of Representatives, District 47 and has opened up a significant lead in recent polling conducted by American Public Dialogue with over 50 percent of the decided vote.
Tampa and Hillsborough County police conducted a two day operation last week to round up wanted fugitives. They called it "Operation Summer Slam" and arrested 73 people in total.
The latest Ringside Rap, hosted by Rich Tate, Les Thatcher, and Mike Sempervive, featured ROH champ Tyler Black talking all things wrestling at www.georgiawrestlinghistory.com.
HighSpots.com posted a trailer for a new shoot interview with Cowboy Bob Orton at http://tinyurl.com/2um5jas.
Today's Babe of the Day is Velvet Sky at http://www.thewrestlingpress.com/DailyDiva.