Monday, January 03, 2011

(WGN) Jan 3, 2011: WWE lawsuit update, ring announcer departs, signing of former TNA champion, Knockout undergoes surgery, Jeff Hardy legal update, 80s WWF wrestler retires, indy wrestler arrest, more...

----Mike Aldren with WGN.


The Smackdown/NXT taping is Tuesday in Tucson, headlined by Edge vs. Kane for the World title in a falls count anywhere match and Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio in a 2/3 fall match.


I just want to take a moment to wish you a happy and prosperous 2011. I hope all of your dreams and wishes will come true in the new year and we will certainly be here as often as we can for some time to come.

Kia Stevens completed signing with WWE during the holidays. No idea what the company has planned for her but there has been talk of late about adding a female enforcer to the Nexus group. Stevens is best known for her run in TNA as Awesome Kong and is generally considered among the upper echelon of female workers in the business.

WWE settled a lawsuit brought against the company by former Global Licensing Coordinator Fara D'Angelo over alleged sexual harassment from a married male subordinate. The terms of the settlement are undisclosed. D'Angelo noted in her suit that when she expressed concern over the alleged harassment she was encouraged by her line manager to seek alternative employment. She later filed a complaint with the company's human resources department and resigned her position. She claimed she was then offered a raise and promotion if she would drop her compliant and return to work. It was at that point that she filed the suit.

Martha Hart and her legal team representing the Owen Hart Foundation met recently with WWE attorneys to discuss a settlement over it's lawsuit against the company and Vince and Linda McMahon, but were unable to reach an agreement. Hart is seeking unspecified damages claiming that WWE wrongfully used Owen Hart's name and likeness in numerous DVDs under the WWE banner, as well as for deceptive business practices, and not paying royalty payments to Owen's estate and children.

WWE closed it's social network website on 1/1. It's basically a cost cutting measure as the company will be farming out pieces of it's websites to services they don't own such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube--thus they don't have to pay for bandwidth, server space or staff to maintain it.

Shawn Michaels, who signed a new long-term deal as an ambassador, has been hinting about a non-wrestling role at Wrestlemania.

Melina on her Twitter wrote the other day: "Getting dumped must be the new trend this new years. The feeling sucks. I'd rather be baby face and be in love than heel & dumped." Somebody high up in the company must have read that Tweet because she later deleted the message and claimed her Twitter account was hacked.

WWE and USA Network issued a joint press release today announcing that Tough Enough will premiere on 4/4 at 11:05pm, which is the Monday night after Wrestlemania, followed a week later by a regular Monday 8pm time slot. The show will feature 12 contestants living in a Los Angeles house vying for a spot on the WWE roster.

Goldust is working on a horror movie script which he plans to produce later this year.

Ashley Vickers left the company. Ashley, who was brought in last summer as Ashley Valance, had only signed a short term deal which expired in December. She had worked briefly on NXT Season 2 and most recently was ring announcing on Superstars. She wrote on her website that she enjoyed her experience with WWE but has decided to move in a new direction. "I can’t express enough how appreciative I am of the experience and friendships I’ve made during my stay with WWE," she wrote. "Life is about chasing your dreams. So I’m thrilled to share with everyone I’m moving to LA at the end of the month. I have now signed with manager Sharon Lane. She is the founder of Lane Management Group and has developed many A-list film and TV talent including movie superstar Megan Fox."


Jeff Hardy's attorney James Van Camp in a press statement this week said that Hardy will enter a negotiated plea on 1/20 relating to his ongoing case for drug trafficking. The plea is believed to include a sentencing arrangement which was approved by the District Attorney. A police raid of Hardy's home in September 2009 yielded 262 Vicodin prescription pills, 180 soma prescription pills, 555 milliliters of anabolic steroids, a residual amount of powder cocaine, and drug paraphernalia. He was subsequently charged with trafficking, two counts of possession with intent to sell or deliver a controlled substance, maintaining a dwelling to keep a controlled substance, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Brooke Adams, who plays the role of Miss Tessmacher, was hospitalized over the holidays after breaking her jaw in two different places. She underwent corrective surgery last Wednesday which included metal wires inserted into her jaw. There was a really scary moment when she stopped breathing while under anesthesia but she's okay now and the operation was deemed a success. It's unclear exactly how the injury occurred but did note that she was accidentally hit in the face by a friend.

Hulk Hogan is having a tough time. He underwent yet another back surgery on 12/21 to fuse his spine which lasted nearly ten hours. He's said to be in tremendous pain right now and it's unlikely that he's going to be wrestling again. Worse still, Hogan's 88-year old mother Ruth Bollea passed away a few days after the operation.

New Japan runs its annual Tokyo Dome show today (technically tomorrow) which includes Jeff Hardy vs. Tatsuya Naito, Toru Yano vs. Rob Van Dam and IWGP tag champs Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. Beer Money vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Strong Man in a three-way. Jeremy Borash is also part of the TNA contingent to film footage for TV.

Samoa Joe recently inked a new multi-year deal.

Taylor Wilde decided to leave the company after her contract expired. She has talked about continuing her studies for broadcast journalism.

TNA Reaction is officially off the air. Spike said that the show was never scheduled to air beyond 2010 but confirmed there are plans for extended episodes of Impact in 2011.

Impact on 12/30 did a 1.1 rating and avergaed 1.4 million viewers while the final edition of Reaction that night did a 0.6 rating and 800,000 viewers.

Impact is currently dark in the UK. Sky Broadcasting acquired Living TV Group over there back in June which aired TNA programming on it's Bravo channel. Sky opted to shut down Bravo on 1/1 effectively taking Impact off the air. TNA is now giving free access to shows through it's TNAOnDemand website for UK viewers until the TV situation is resolved. Sky said in a public statement in November that Impact and other popular Bravo shows will eventually move to other Sky channels.

A Best of Mick Foley DVD is in the works for April.


Northeast indy wrestler Nick Wilson aka Nick Gage surrendered to New Jersey authorities on 12/31. Wilson, 33, had been on the run for several days sought in connection with the $3,000 holdup of a PNC Bank in Collingswood on 12/22. Authorities say Wilson handed a teller a threatening note saying he would shoot her if she did not hand over the cash. He's been charged with second degree robbery and is currently held in Camden County Jail on $150,000 bond.

Brock Lesnar's book Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Domination, and Survival co-written by Paul Heyman is slated to go on sale on 4/19. An early synopsis from publisher HarperCollins reads: Brock Lesnar has been, and is one of the most popular - and polarizing - figures in sports and sports entertainment. Whether fans love him or hate him, they never miss an opportunity to watch Brock when he squares off with an opponent. He is a celebrity of the first order, but disdains fame, avoids the media, and remains intensely private. Now, for the first time, Brock tells his incredible story in his own words. Brock relives his long journey to become the best college wrestler in the country, his meteoric rise in World Wrestling Entertainment, and what lead him to walk away from fame and fortune when he was at the top. He talks openly about the accident that derailed his plans to play in the NFL, his professional wrestling comeback in Japan, and his transformation and rebirth as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. Fans will get an insider's look at Brock's career in the UFC - the training, the competition and what it takes to be, and to remain a champion. Brock will also talk about the illness that nearly killed him, his will to survive, and what he really values and aspires to be. Powerful and real, this remarkable memoir is the story of Brock's determination and domination, and the making of a true champion.

James Manley, best known for his WWF run as Jim Powers in the mid-80s, quietly announced his retirement a few week's ago. Manley, who turns 53 on Tuesday, is scheduled for hip replacement surgery and noted that years of abusing his body has left him virtually crippled. He wrote,: "The past few years, my wife, my family, my friends, and even my business manager, have told me that I need to end my career before it ends me. Through these people and prayer, I have finally come to terms with it being time to hang up the boots, as they say in the wrestling business." He noted that he's canceled all his upcoming bookings, including his non-wrestling appearances. "My most sincerest apologies to anyone that was hoping to see me. Jim Powers was once on top of the world, but now James Manley is physically broken down and was trying to stay in the spotlight. Sadly for me, that spotlight has faded... Please forgive me for not being able to perform for you, or attend any conventions to meet you. It truly saddens me to no end. I love you all, you have given me memories that no one can ever take away from me. If you happen to see me somewhere in my hometown, please say hello, so I can personally thank you myself. God Bless you all, and thank you for giving me some of the best years in my life."

Jeff Farmer who played the role of nWo Sting in WCW is now managing a research program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine focusing on the effects of exercise on the body and how genes are involved.

Jerry Lawler will wrestle Superstar Bill Dundee in what is billed as their final match in Nashville at the Fairgrounds Sports Arena before its torn down as part of a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation on 1/29.

Today's Babe of the Day is Vyper at