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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Jul. 1, 2002

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
PREVIOUSLY:
1-7-2002 1-14-2002 1-21-2002 1-28-2002
2-4-2002 2-11-2002 2-18-2002 2-25-2002
3-4-2002 3-11-2002 3-18-2002 3-25-2002
4-1-2002 4-8-2002 4-15-2002 4-22-2002
4-29-2002 5-6-2002 5-13-2002 5-20-2002
5-27-2002 6-3-2002 6-10-2002 6-17-2002
6-24-2002
  • Bret Hart was seriously injured in a bicycle accident in Calgary last week. As of press time, Dave has very little info. Hart was thrown off the bike and flipped over the handlebars going at a high speed and landed on his back and hit the back of his head. Over the next couple of days, he's undergone a number of tests due to issues he's had since the accident. Bret was forced to retire 2 years ago after he suffered a serious concussion during the Starrcade 99 match with Goldberg and it's believed the fall may have aggravated the issues he's had since then. Hart is expected to be hospitalized for at least a week and has little movement on the left side of his body and can't see out of his right eye. He's also suffering severe back pain, though x-rays and scans haven't shown any physical damage to his back. That's all Dave knows right now. (Much more on this next week, obviously).
  • After a year of questionable decision-making, Vince McMahon made his most questionable decision yet when he announced the surprise re-hiring of Vince Russo. It's a shocking decision for lots of obvious reasons, not the least of which is most of the wrestlers either outright don't like him or at the very least, don't respect him. And many front office employees feel even more strongly about him. Not even Stephanie McMahon, who is the head of creative, knew Russo was coming back and she was just as blindsided by the news as everyone else. It's believed the deal has been in the works for a few weeks. Russo had owned a CD store in Marietta, GA but he sold the store recently. He also stopped submitting ideas to the Jarretts for TNA a couple of weeks ago. There's also the fact that Russo's lawsuit against Hulk Hogan over the Bash at the Beach 2000 incident is still pending and now they're in the same company again, although Dave suspects the legal issues must be wrapped up for Russo to take the job (Turner was still paying his legal fees so long as he didn't work for any other wrestling company, which is why everyone was denying his involvement with TNA). Another rumor going around is that Russo is planning to write a tell-all book about his time in WWF and when word about that got out, the company rehired him in an effort to squash the book. Dave thinks that might be believable if Russo was just hired and stuck in a closet somewhere. But he was brought back in a key position in the creative department, which means that likely wasn't the reason (or not a big part of it). Most likely, it's exactly what it appears on the surface: Vince McMahon is getting desperate and he's going back to what worked in the past.
  • When word got out about Russo's hiring, needless to say, everyone was shocked and, as you'd expect, it was an overwhelmingly negative reaction. The plan for Russo on day one was for him to be in control of the creative team, answering only to Stephanie McMahon. The next day, those plans changed after McMahon, Russo, Stephanie, and the rest of the writing team had a big meeting. There's been multiple stories about what happened during the meeting. One version of the story is that Russo's ideas were so bad that he pretty much buried himself with everyone immediately. Another version is that Stephanie pretty much buried all his ideas and shut him down. And yet another version is that Russo obviously hadn't kept up with the product and was unfamiliar and out of touch with many of the characters and ongoing storylines, and that soured Vince McMahon on him. Regardless, the result was the same: the very next day, Russo was no longer part of the creative team. Word is he has already been sent home and will be brought back if/when they need ideas, as sort of a consultant on retainer. Officially, his role now is to critique the TV shows and report back to Vince McMahon what he thinks. So he's basically paid to be a critic and tell McMahon how he would do it better. Anyway, that's the story for now. Dave runs down Russo's history in the business, how he came into power in WWF, jumping ship to WCW with no notice, where he proceeded to help kill the company and all the drama that happened there (can't wait for that one Vince Russo superfan that always accuses me of lying about him to chime in on this one).
  • For the record, one of Russo's big ideas for TNA's debut was taking the Shane Twins and dressing them up as giant penises and calling them the Big Johnsons. Thankfully, when the show aired, the announcers downplayed the "penis" aspect of it a lot, leading Russo to tell friends that the idea flopped because the commentators didn't sell it hard enough. Just in case you're wondering what Vince Russo is bringing to the table in 2002.
  • WWE's King of the Ring is in the books. For the first time since Wrestlemania, it was a legit sellout on PPV. And sucks for them because this was a pretty blah show. Undertaker retained the WWE title over Triple H in a bad match that was hampered because Undertaker is banged up in general and Triple H came into the match with an elbow injury. 2 days after the show, he underwent elbow surgery to remove bone chips, one of which was embedded in cartilage and had caused his arm to lock up. He was nowhere near 100% during the match, but if he had been, Dave suspects they probably would have put the belt back on him. But for now, they stuck with Undertaker. They did a post match angle to set up Rock vs. Undertaker vs. Triple H at Vengeance, assuming Triple H is ready by then (he was not).
  • The biggest story of the PPV, in Dave's opinion anyway, is the Kurt Angle/Hulk Hogan match, in which Angle beat Hogan clean as a sheet by submission. Dave gives Hogan credit: he didn't treat this like Kidman. Hogan put Angle over as strong as he possibly could. Dave believes it's the first time in Hogan's entire career that he lost via submission as a babyface. He did have a few submission losses as a heel (once to Inoki in NJPW in 1981 and a handful in WCW during the NWO era) but that's it. If he had any as a babyface, it would have been before 1979, before he was a national name. Whether this ultimately springboards Angle into a certified top guy that fans take seriously remains to be seen, but Hogan did everything he could. Probably didn't help that, as soon as the match was over, Angle put his goofy wig back on, at a moment that should have been used to turn him into a serious threat. But regardless, nobody can fault Hogan here if it doesn't get over.
  • Other notes from the PPV: Jericho vs. RVD in the opening match was easily the best match on the show. Lesnar got loud "Goldberg" chants and Dave thinks he sold way too much for Test, especially since the rumor is Lesnar is being groomed for a Summerslam main event with Rock. Nidia in her hillbilly gimmick with Jamie Noble was great and Dave thinks they might have something with Nidia and this gimmick. Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero was.....not what you'd think. Dave has seen Flair drag talentless hacks to great matches for 20 years but somehow, Flair vs. Guerrero was a drag and should have been better than it was considering the two men involved. Two all-time greats just had a misfire somehow. Molly won the women's title from Trish and Dave thinks this whole storyline where they claim Molly is fat is insulting to probably every single female viewer they have and a lot of the males too. A backstage segment with Rock, Goldust, and Booker T was the most entertaining thing on the show. Lesnar won the King of the Ring tournament by beating RVD in a nothing match. And of course, the main event, which was an overbooked mess with two guys who probably didn't have any business wrestling that night anyway.
WATCH: Goldust/Booker T/Rock backstage segment at WWE King of the Ring 2002
  • NWA-TNA's debut show is in the books! Actually, so is their second show because it was a double-taping. And buckle in because we have a metric fuck-ton of TNA news to cover. Overall, it was a well-received debut. A lot of the young wrestlers were hungry and some of the old guys worked like they had something to prove. Guys like Konnan and Buff Bagwell looked the best they have in years and many of the people who worked the show said this felt like the real deal (many of those same people had worked the recent WWA shows and saw those as paid vacations, nobody took it seriously). Scott Hall, said to be the highest paid wrestler in the company ($3,500 per week) didn't do anything special but he got by far the biggest reaction and, according to all accounts, was sober and professional. There were about 3,000 fans in the building, but only 400-500 were paid. More than 10,000 freebies were given away around Birmingham the week of the show, but the crowd they got was actually a good, active audience, so it worked. Mike Tenay on commentary was great and full of knowledge, though Ed Ferrara playing heel announcer was useless. Don West was enthusiastic as hell, but knew nothing about the product. Regardless, he knows how to work a camera and he took charge of the commentary booth and Dave thinks he did fine in the role and will only get better. Ricky Steamboat was there, giving an emotional interview and putting over the NWA title. Ken Shamrock won the gauntlet battle royal (basically the same thing as a Royal Rumble match) to win the title, beating Malice (former WCW wrestler The Wall) in the final match after they were the last 2 left in the battle royal. There's been talk of doing a Shamrock vs. Don Frye match to try to catch some of that crossover UFC/PRIDE audience, but Dave is doubtful it'll be a draw here like it is in Japan.
  • What else? Country music star Toby Keith did a series of angles with Jeff Jarrett and Keith was by far the biggest star to the live fans. Keith got involved in the battle royal and eliminated Jarrett. NASCAR drivers Hermie Sadler and Sterling Martin got involved in a racial angle with K-Krush (R-Truth) using a bunch of "your kind" and "my kind" talk and Dave thinks that was pretty pathetic. The company was hoping all this celebrity involvement would get them some mainstream publicity but it got practically none. They brought in a bunch of women, most of whom were total unknowns except for ECW's Francine, Electra, and former WCW valet Daffney under the name Shannon, and their battle royal on the second show was said to be awful. The whole event definitely had a southern/regional feel to it. The opening match of Jerry Lynn, AJ Styles, and Low-Ki vs. Jorge Estra, Sonny Siaki, and Jimmy Yang was the show-stealer and was better than most of the matches in WWE this year.
  • Now the bad news: TNA was under the impression they had Dish Network cleared to air their show, but no dice. They don't have Cablevision in the U.S. either. For a company that needs to draw 50,000 buys a week to break even without a corporate sponsor, that's extremely bad news. They're also losing their Canadian PPV after the response to the debut show was said to be lackluster. At press time, InDemand has allegedly told TNA that their debut show did 80,000 buys but preliminary numbers are always drastically higher than the final result, so it'll almost certainly be less than that (for example, InDemand's number for WWA's first PPV was originally 40,000 but later got revised to 15,000). In WWE, they don't take any PPV numbers seriously at first because the thought is any numbers you hear within the first 2 months of the show are always wrong, the final tallies take time to come in. Regardless, even if this show did well, the more important question is how will they be doing in 4-5 weeks when the new has worn off?
  • Despite TNA claiming they aren't even interested in TV and are 100% committed to running exclusively on PPV, that's obviously not true. They have already struck syndication deals in Nashville and Chattanooga and are actively working to get a national television deal. The problem is that, as you can tell by looking at WWE ratings over the last year, the business is in a sharp decline, meaning the TV industry isn't chomping at the bit to give TV deals to some new startup nobody company. But anyone who understands the industry knows they have no chance of surviving on weekly PPV alone so getting on TV sooner than later is going to be essential to TNA's survival. The local syndicated deals they struck will mostly be hype shows with interviews and highlights designed to drive viewers to buy the weekly PPVs. Dave lists, like, 10 different promotions that have folded over the years in part due to the costs of paying for television.
  • Tons of TNA news in this issue which brings us to the debut "Random TNA News & Notes" section! Here we go: Bert Prentice will be working with the company and will no longer be running his own weekly shows in Nashville. There will be a one-night tournament at the next show to crown NWA tag team champions. Fun fact, those belts are currently held by The Shane Twins, who now wrestle in TNA as The Johnsons, doing the aforementioned masked penis gimmick. They'll be in the tournament even though they were already the champs in their previous gimmick. But the titles are being vacated and they will crown new ones.
  • We ain't done with TNA news. The dark match of the show featured a 450 pound dude named Cheex who is basically ripping off Rikishi's gimmick of doing things with his big ol' ass. And in case the ass gimmick and the "Cheex" name wasn't clear enough, he's being managed by a woman named Brown Eye Girl. So....yeah. If this ain't Vince Russo, I'll eat my shoe. Anyway, during the dark match, because Cheex is so big, the ring broke. As the show was going on the air live, the ring crew was frantically struggling to fix the ring, which is why it felt like they were stalling so much for the first 15 minutes. Because they were. The ring breaking also caused them to not be able to do the second dark match they had planned. Both matches were being taped to air on next week's show.
  • Actual notes from TNA's debut show (I'm gonna divide this into multiple paragraphs because there's a lot): it opened with some pyro, which is meant to make them look major league, but everyone else always looks minor league compared to WWE's huge pyro show every week and this was no exception. No graphics or details on any of the wrestlers, which is a mistake considering so many of them are complete unknowns to most fans. Started with a bunch of legends coming out to put over the NWA title, including Ricky Steamboat cutting one of the best promos of the year in any promotion and Dave thinks they need to hire Steamboat and put him in an on-air role as a commissioner or something ASAP. Jeff Jarrett cut a promo saying it was stupid to crown a new champion in a battle royal. Way to bury your own main event 10 minutes into your debut show, especially since most people also agree that it's a pretty dumb way to do it. But they still did. Then Ken Shamrock and Scott Hall came out and they both cut promos and they also shat on the battle royal idea, leading Dave to worry already that this company hasn't learned anything from WCW's mistakes. As mentioned earlier, the opening match easily stole the show. Next up was a little person match, with the jobber actually being referred to as "an enhancement midget." The Shane Twins did the penis gimmick, but as mentioned, it was severely played down from the original idea as conceived by Russo.
  • More notes from the show: They brought out a bunch of women for a big segment and Dave, who spends his entire life watching wrestling, didn't know half of them. And even if he did, it wouldn't matter because there were no graphics to name any of them and even if there had been, the cameras were often showing the wrong woman when a name was announced. Anyway, among them were Francince from ECW (who Dave is worried about because she looked sickly thin), Shannon (formerly Daffney in WCW), Alexis Laree (better known years later as Mickie James), Elektra from ECW, Taylor Vaugn (formerly Barbara Bush in WWF), Erin (who was a finalist on Tough Enough season 1 but got booted from the show before production started because other contestants saw her out on a date with one of the judges and they complained and got her kicked off), and some others. At least one of the no-name chicks was a stripper they hired specifically for this show because they needed one more woman to make 10. Anyway, this all led to the expected brawl with Elektra getting her shirt ripped off to show her bra. It wasn't even that risque. If you're trying to use sex appeal to draw viewers, the worst thing you can do is be less risque than WWE is on free TV when you have the luxury of PPV (give em a few months and we'll get actual nudity on this show). Alicia Webb, formerly known in WWF as Ryan Shamrock (and who is dating Ken Shamrock in real life) was playing a prostitute collecting money from referee Mark Johnson.
  • Even more notes from the show: the NASCAR guys got a bigger pop than any of the wrestlers. K-Krush came out to confront them about not being real athletes and they did the racial angle. Brian Christopher got involved and funny story there, they were debating whether to use the last name Christopher, or his real last name of Lawler. Nobody told the announcers which it was gonna be so Mike Tenay kept using "Christopher" while Ed Ferrara kept using "Lawler." More WCW-level shit. Toby Keith performed. The gauntlet battle royal to crown the new champion featured Buff Bagwell, Prince Justice (later becomes Abyss), Konnan, Rick Steiner, Scott Hall, Jeff Jarrett, etc. Toby Keith ran in and suplexed Jarrett, causing him to get eliminated because why not? Chris Harris, Vampire Warrior, Steve Corino, and more. And when it got down to the last two, it became a regular match and Shamrock beat Malice to win the title with Steamboat as the special referee.
WATCH: NWA-TNA' s debut PPV (Full Show)
  • So that's the notes from the debut show. Are we done with TNA yet? Not by a long shot. They taped a whole second show, remember?! It hasn't aired yet so Dave hasn't seen it so here's the scarce details. The crowd started filing out after the first show ended and kept leaving as the second one was going, to the point that Jeremy Borash and Bert Prentice had to get on the mic and beg everyone to stay and then moved a bunch of people to the hard camera side so there wouldn't be visible empty seats all over the place. Lenny Lane and former WCW star Kwee-Wee were put together as a gay tag team called Rainbow Express, managed by Joel Gertner, and kissed each other instead of tagging each other to swap in and out during the match, which got a lot of heat because Alabama. A 9-woman battle royal (guess they didn't let the hired stripper actually work) to crown Miss TNA resulted in a bunch of women getting stripped half naked. They did a 4-way elimination match to crown the X-Division champion which was won by AJ Syles in what was said to be easily the best match of either show, with even Harley Race going on record later to say it was one of the best matches he'd ever seen. But by then, there were very few fans left in the building. And that is finally it for TNA news for now. Whew.
  • PRIDE's latest show is in the books and once again featured pro wrestlers drawing the crowd. NOAH's Yoshihiro Takayama replaced Mark Coleman in the main event (out due to injury) against Don Frye, leading to last minute interest from wrestling fans that packed the house. Frye defeated Takayama in what many are calling the best fight in the history of PRIDE. Takayama has had 3 fights in PRIDE and has lost all 3 of them, but all 3 of them were also show-stealing outright wars that, despite losing, has grown Takayama into an even bigger star. Afterward, Frye hinted at retiring from MMA and returning to NJPW full time. Dave hasn't seen this fight but it was described to him as "something out of Dragonball Z or a comic book" the way they were just throwing bombs at each other, with the crowd going insane (yeah the opening minute or so if this fight is absolute madness, video below). The show also featured Bob Sapp vs. Kiyoshi Tamura, which was a total mismatch. Tamura is a skilled MMA fighter, but Sapp outweighed him by literally almost 200 pounds and the fight was over in 11 seconds, with Sapp basically murdering him. Dave says it's clear they're trying to turn Sapp into a huge unbeatable monster psychopath and it's working. But Dave thinks it's bullshit to put fighters this mismatched against each other in real shoots. It was funny though because after what happened in Sapp's K-1 fight a few weeks ago, they made some new rules like no knees and no kicking a downed opponent, which is fine. But they also announced other rules for the fight, such as no flying sentons or splashes off the top ropes, which have never been done in an MMA fight and is utterly ridiculous (If Cormier doesn't hit Miocic with a Canadian destroyer at UFC 252 next month, what's even the point?). Another NOAH star, Takashi Suguira, lost a split decision with Daniel Gracie and Suguira had several NOAH wrestlers at ringside cheering him on. And of course, Antonio Inoki came out at intermission and did his catchphrase.
WATCH: Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Don Frye - PRIDE
  • UFC made its TV debut with a half-hour segment on Fox Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period" which featured a full Robbie Lawler vs. Steve Berger bout, as well as highlights of other fights. "Fear Factor" host Joe Rogan did commentary with Mike Goldberg and Jeff Osbourne. They aired several warnings during the show, but the violence ended up being far less brutal than most average boxing matches. The show drew a strong crowd and there's talk that this may become a regular thing on the network. They also hyped the planned Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock fight for later this year and Dave thinks TNA would be wise to get the NWA title off Shamrock before the fight, because he's going into it as the underdog. Plus, Shamrock would likely not want to risk injury or spend time flying to Nashville every week during the last few weeks of training. Wouldn't be a good look for TNA if Shamrock goes to the octagon with the NWA title belt and gets demolished by Ortiz. Also on the show, Chuck Liddell defeated Vitor Belfort in a war that catapulted Liddell into title contention and he'll likely face the winner of Shamrock/Ortiz sometime down the road.
  • Dave got his hands on a copy of Shaun Assael's new book "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation" even though it hasn't been released yet. Review time! The original concept for the book was to chronicle the Monday Night Wars, but just as the book was being finished, the whole business changed and since Vince became the lone survivor, the book was changed to focus on him and the WWF primarily. The book is fair and accurate for the most part. Assael didn't run from any of the controversial stories, but he also didn't sensationalize things to make them seem bigger than they were. If you're a long-time Observer reader, you already know all this stuff and could probably point out details or inconsistencies in the story, but to the average fan who hasn't been following all the behind-the-scenes stuff for the last 20 years, it's sure to be an eye-opener. Anyway, Dave recaps the book in detail, mostly just correcting things that the author got wrong but also acknowledging that this is an early review copy and some of these mistakes will be corrected before it's published and released. Otherwise, he just pokes holes in various myths and stories that are covered. The Observer was credited in the book for being one of the author's sources, specifically in regards to Dave's coverage of the steroid trial (yeah, if you haven't read it, go back and check those out. Dave actually attended the trial and his recap of it is one of the most must-read issues of the Observer in its entire history). The book pretty much ends at the death of WCW, though it does note that business has declined significantly since then. Overall, Dave says it's by far the best book on the real modern history of professional wrestling that he's ever read and is a must-read for any wrestling fan. But it's also too short (288 pages) to really get into all the detail needed to tell so many of these stories. But for what it is, best book of its type that Dave's ever read.
AMAZON LINK: "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation" by Shaun Assael
  • In AAA in Mexico, there's a new guy named Canibal who's gimmick is pulling his opponent's trunks down and biting them on the ass. It's too late. You already read the sentence. You can't un-know that now.
  • AJPW stars Kaz Hayashi and Kendo Kashin were supposed to be working some shows for AAA at the moment. Fun story, when they arrived in Mexico, nobody from AAA was there to meet them at the airport and nobody they called from the AAA office would answer the phone, so they basically found themselves stranded in Mexico with no idea what to do and unable to speak the language. Dave says the exact same thing happened to Great Sasuke several years ago when he went to Mexico. Anyway, last Dave heard, Hayashi and Kashin were trying to get themselves booked on some indie shows in Mexico so they can get some pictures of them working there to take back to the magazines in Japan (which was the whole reason for their trip) so they're just looking to work one or two shows and then go back home. They can't work for CMLL because that promotion has a business relationship with NJPW.
  • Last month, AAA held its 10th annual Triplemania show in Los Angeles. Here's the problem though: it was an utter flop, with embarrassing attendance and almost nobody even realizing it happened. So AAA has decided to just pretend it didn't happen and has now scheduled Triplemania X again, this time in Mexico (maybe WWE should do that next year. Since Wrestlemania was pretty much just in an empty warehouse this year, they shouldn't even acknowledge it. Just redo Wrestlemania 36 again next year and pretend it's the first time).
  • Remember the story a couple months ago about how Invader 1 (the guy who murdered Bruiser Brody) left the WWC promotion? Well, he was scheduled to return this week as a special referee for a Carlos Colon match but it ended up not happening. He said he wanted his return to be a surprise, but the story was already out on the internet that he was coming back. For what it's worth, almost none of the wrestling fans in Puerto Rico have internet (I did the research, only 17.5% of the country had internet access in 2002 and you gotta figure only a fraction of those are wrestling fans, so Dave is likely correct here) so it still would have been a surprise to probably 99% of them. But either way, Invader 1 pulled out of the show over it and still isn't back with the promotion.
  • Spanky (Brian Kendrick) won a tournament at an indie show in California to get a shot for the Zero-1/UPW unified title. That's not the important part. How it happened is the original guy who was scheduled to win ended up pulling out of the show at the last minute because his pregnant wife was overdue so he stayed behind to be with her. So they made a call to Spanky, who was in Cincinnati. He immediately packed up his car and was on the road 30 minutes after receiving the call. And didn't stop. He drove 30 hours straight, some 2,200 miles, and made it to the venue literally an hour or so before showtime and did the match. That's freakin' dedication (I think he's talked about this in a shoot interview before. Said he masturbated to stay awake and started vomiting uncontrollably halfway through the drive or something, but still made it. Madness.)
  • AJPW news: there are no truth to the rumors of a WWE/AJPW relationship, which was mentioned last week. Motoko Baba and Tenryu were at WWE's show in Hawaii to take photos for the Japanese magazines to make people think something is up, but there's nothing there. They were just visiting because Johnny Ace got them backstage. Also, the newspapers in Japan have begun reporting that Keiji Muto will take over as AJPW president when Ms. Baba retires, which confirms what Dave has been saying for months.
  • Kenta Kobashi's first match back for NOAH will be this week at Korakuen Hall. He'll be working undercard tag matches so he won't be doing too much. If you recall, he was out for over a year with knee injuries, had one match in February in which he re-injured himself again and has been out ever since.
  • Speaking of Korakuen Hall, NJPW's latest show there only drew 1,200 fans, which means the building was only half full. Just in case you're wondering how NJPW is doing in 2002. Not great.
  • Don Frye did an interview claiming Antonio Inoki is working to put together a match between himself and Mike Tyson. "Nobody is taking that seriously," Dave says.
  • Speaking of Japanese companies trying to latch on to the WWE train and speaking of lyin' ass Inoki: there have been rumors that Inoki is putting together a relationship with WWE. Not true. Inoki claimed recently that he had met with Vince McMahon about using some of WWE's undercard guys in NJPW and of starting his own promotion in the U.S. Dave says the meeting with Vince never happened and, in fact, the two men haven't gotten along or really even spoken at all in nearly 20 years.
  • More on Jesse Ventura's decision not to run for re-election as Minnesota governor. Part of the reason may be that the polls are showing he would likely lose the race. Of course, that's what the polls said last time and he shocked the world. But after 4 years in office, his popularity isn't near what it was back then, when he was the exciting outsider. Now the voters have seen what he brings to the table and they don't seem to like it too much. Ventura was already planning to make the announcement, but then the story about his son hosting parties at the governor's mansion broke, and Ventura made the announcement 2 days earlier than he'd planned. Using the criticism that his son has gotten in the media as his excuse for not running provided Ventura a good "out" but he was already planning not to run long before that story happened and the press conference had been scheduled nearly 2 weeks earlier, so take it with a grain of salt. Most likely, he saw the writing on the wall and knew he was going to lose if he ran again.
  • Notes from the latest Ring of Honor event: it was said to be an incredible show, with guys like Bryan Danielson, Low-Ki, Christopher Daniels, Spanky, Jerry Lynn, AJ Styles, and more all having amazing matches. There was a moment during the show where Scoot Andrews went to hit Christopher Daniels' valet, Lucious. But then he stopped himself and said he'd never hit a woman, but he knew somebody who would. This was a tease to bring out another female wrestler, but the crowd started chanting for Steve Austin. The show drew 450 fans and sold out the building, which is the largest crowd ROH has drawn so far.
  • Famous St. Louis Cardinal announcer Jack Buck passed away a couple weeks ago and Dave notes that Buck actually had some involvement in wrestling back in the day. He used to do radio broadcasting of Sam Muchnick's shows live for KMOX radio in the 1960s and there's even a picture somewhere out there of Giant Baba picking Buck up and holding him like a baby. (I actually just watched the 30 For 30 documentary on the McGwire/Sosa home run race and they talked about Jack Buck in there. Good times. Anyway, someone find that picture because I'm having no luck).
  • Sting is scheduled to make an appearance, but not wrestle, at an indie show Harley Race is putting together this week in St. Louis. This will be Sting's first wrestling-related appearance since WCW folded.
  • In case you're wondering what XPW and Rob Black are up to these days, allow Dave to fill you in. Black is currently doing an angle where he's pretending he had a stroke and he pisses and shits on himself all over TV. They also did a segment where wrestler GQ Money (now a producer for NXT) broke into Black's home and tried to rape his wife until somebody made the save. The next week, they showed Money supposedly raping a girl in the parking lot and leaving her for dead, and the week after, he got sprayed with raw sewage. Now they're building up to a raw sewage match, based on this rape storyline. XPW, folks.
  • Dave has some more notes on Cody Runnels, the son of Dusty Rhodes who was backstage at WWE's show in Atlanta last week. Cody is a sophomore in high school and placed 6th in the state in amateur wrestling the past year. He also plays football. He was described to Dave as having a similar physical look as Randy Orton, "but with a face like Dusty."
  • WWA's scheduled tour of Europe has been officially canceled. The German and Switzerland shows had abysmal ticket sales and pretty much had to be canceled. The show in Ireland had more than 4,000 tickets sold and would have been a success, but even so, that one show alone wasn't going to make enough money to offset the cost of the whole tour.
  • This is actually hilarious. UFC fighter Vitor Belfort and his training partner were in a taxi before the UFC show when a bunch of cops showed up and surrounded the car. Why, you ask? Well the cab driver overheard Belfort and his partner talking about "shooting at the legs" and she got scared, not knowing what they were talking about, and called the police. Seems like they got it all straightened out though.
  • Rock will be working nearly full-time on TV from now until Summerslam, at which point he's leaving for a few months to go film his next movie. He won't be on every Smackdown, but he'll be on most of them.
  • Nothing new on the Goldberg/WWE negotiations. Vince McMahon told Goldberg's agents that he will clear his schedule any time Goldberg wants to have a meeting, but Goldberg doesn't seem particularly interested. The fact that WWE rehired Russo probably won't help matters because Goldberg is one of the many who doesn't like Russo.
  • Shawn Michaels is booked to be in Kevin Nash's corner on upcoming house shows once Nash is cleared to wrestle again. There's still no plans for Shawn to wrestle, but given how depleted the WWE roster is right now, Dave is sure they'll probably start pushing him to sooner than later (Nash ends up getting injured again almost immediately, so I don't think Shawn ever did these house show appearances).

Looks like this is one of those issues where I went over the 40,000 character limit. Hit the comments below for the rest.

submitted by daprice82 to SquaredCircle

5

Pro MMA fighter accepts internet troll challenge and proceeds to school the man. (Needs a getting schooled/schooled flair Lulz.)

Pro MMA fighter accepts internet troll challenge and proceeds to school the man. (Needs a getting schooled/schooled flair Lulz.) submitted by KayZabba to fightporn