– UK’s Sky Sports has posted an interview with CM Punk. Some highlights:
His inspiration to wrestle: “That’s a hard question to answer because there are so many. Shawn Michaels is definitely one and he is pretty relevant because he’s still with the company. Ricky Steamboat and Bret Hart as well, those.”
His favorite matches: “About a year ago on SmackDown I had a really good one with Edge. That sticks out in my mind. My championship win for the ECW title against John Morrison and probably the Money In The Bank from last year.
Fracturing his skull during a match a few years ago: “I thought I broke my neck at the time. I was giving a guy a neckbreaker and his head wound up on top of mine and everything just sandwiched and hit the mat at the same time and my head was turned. It felt like somebody took a pot of warm water and poured it inside my brain. Everything got hot so I thought I broke my neck. I still had feelings so like a knucklehead I continued to wrestle for 12 more minutes. Afterwards it was a chore to walk from the ring to the back and as soon as I got in the back I hit the floor and couldn’t get up. I couldn’t open my eyes, I couldn’t see and was throwing up.”
Doctors’ reaction to the injury: “They told me that they were shocked because I walked into the hospital. They were like ‘how did you get in here?’ I said ‘I walked’ so they said ‘the bad news is you have a fractured skull. The good news is you should have died.’ I was out two months.”
Pro wrestling in 2009: “Nowadays it’s bigger and more insane than ever. It’s literally the best entertainment for your dollar. It’s part soap opera, part action movie. There’s loud music like a rock concert, explosions like four or five pyro, gorgeous women, people you can get behind and root for, underdogs, people you want to see get their teeth kicked down their throat. To me, it’s the greatest thing in the world.”
– Ric Flair was interviewed by Alex Marvez of ScrippsNews.com this week, and says he’s itching to get back in the ring.
Flair said, “I want to wrestle again. I watch WWE and I can still do better than 90 percent of the guys there. I weigh one less pound than the day I retired. I still work out really hard and I wrestle my kid (Reid) all the time. It’s not like I haven’t been in the ring.”
Flair, who dishes out $22K a month in alimony payments to two ex-wives, has big money offers to return to the ring.
“People in Europe are offering me a fortune. I’m tired of signing autographs. I can make more money wrestling. I love the business. I was thinking the other day about the reason why God gave me this health. I don’t hurt anywhere. I haven’t lost any strength. I’m just like I was 10 years ago. I keep thinking, ‘Why am I signing autographs when I can still take backdrops?”
Flair even went to so far as to send Vince McMahon a text message recently asking him why he wasn’t a part of the 2009 WWE Draft. Vince responded by reminding Flair that he’s retired. At this point, the only thing holding him back is the blessing from WWE and Shawn Michaels.
“I respect Shawn and WWE so much that I wouldn’t do anything to disrespect them. They would have to give me full approval (to wrestle again). They put me in a special place. I think it’s going to be a long time before we see something come across again like what they did for me (with the retirement ceremony). I didn’t think it would be that big a deal. We’ll see how this turns out.”
Flair’s son Reid was arrested yet again last month (this time for DWI and felony heroin possession) and the Nature Boy spoke candidly about Reid’s drug problem. Ric and Reid had been working on a reality TV show project, but that is now on hold.
“It all depends on how he gets himself put back together. The biggest thing about that is that it’s a disease. It’s not so hard for me to say that after being at an outpatient clinic with him where they talk about a chromosome deficiency causing stuff like that. It’s curable, but he’s going to have to work real hard at it. He’s doing that.”
– With the recent decline in WWE’s television ratings, PPV buyrates, house show attendance and overall revenue, things have been better in the WWE Universe. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon is currently on a kick to freshen things up and set WWE up for a turnaround.
While many ideas have been discussed (some minor, some drastic), one thing WWE is looking to do is get a lot of new faces into the mix. Since WrestleMania, we’ve seen guys like MVP, John Morrison, The Miz, THE Brian Kendrick and Dolph Ziggler get a lot of television time in hopes that somebody catches on in a big way. Elevating new stars is more of a priority now than it has been since the late 1990′s, largely because Vince many of his top names getting older and knows the key to future success is cultivating new stars.
Aside from elevating underutilized superstars already on the active roster, WWE is also calling up several names from developmental – with several names from Florida Championship Wrestling now touring with WWE working house shows and dark matches.
Former FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion Sheamus O’Shaunessy worked an undercard match at a RAW brand house show in Youngstown, Ohio over the weekend, beating Jamie Noble. He also wrestled a dark match before this week’s RAW, once again defeating Noble.
Women’s wrestler Angela Fong, another FCW regular, was used as a ring announcer at a recent SmackDown!/ECW brand live event in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There has also been talking of bringing FCWC standout Eric Escobar on the road soon to take another look at him.
While giving television time to fresh faces is certainly a start – you have to wonder how much of an impact that can have. Things like longer in-ring matches, less goofy comedy, rebuilding WWE’s tag team division and putting on fewer (and cheaper) PPV events would also go a long way.
– This past Monday on RAW, The Brian Kendrick announced that he would be getting a tag-team partner to challenge Carlito and Primo Colon for the tag-team titles. The only wrestler on the RAW roster that has not been active is Sim Snuka and it is unlikely that he will be Kendrick’s partner.
The most likely candidate right now seems to be WWE developmental star Sheamus O’Shaunnessy, who worked several live events over the weekend. He is a good size which would allow Kendrick to play the role of a cowardly heel with a larger partner to back him up.
– For those wondering, the new “Don’t Try This at Home” commercials that WWE has been airing are being done in response to the media article in New York about the nine-year old who jumped off the roof of his apartment building, allegedly imitating Jeff Hardy.
– Predators’ GM David Poile believes that F Alexander Radulov is still interested in returning to the NHL and the Nashville Predators. Radulov bolted from the Predators during the 2008 off-season for the Russian Kontinental Hockey League, despite still having a year left on his NHL contract.
Poile said, “He’s the same tremendously upbeat and he had a great knowledge of our team. Obviously he’d been talking to some of our players during the course of the season. He knew about the draft picks, he knew about Milwaukee, and he was totally knowledgeable about everything that happened in the NHL.”
Poile wants Radulov to make his decision by the end of June so the Predators can decide what to do during free agency.
– Agent Drew Rosenhaus claims that he recently proposed a contract offer to the Cardinals that would pay client WR Anquan Boldin less than $10M annually. “Reports that (Boldin) is seeking a contract worth $10 million per yr are inaccurate,” Rosenhaus said on his Twitter. It was speculated that Boldin wanted to be paid like WR Larry Fitzgerald, but he’s apparently willing to take a hometown discount for Arizona. It appears progress is being made in talks.
– Bills’ RB Marshawn Lynch formally appealed the NFL’s three-game suspension Thursday for violating the personal conduct policy. Appeals often lead to suspension reductions, but Beast Mode is a repeat offender and may not be so lucky. His latest run-in with the law was a misdemeanour gun charge in Los Angeles. Almost exactly one year ago, Lynch was accused of hit-and-run. It’s uncertain when Lynch’s case will be heard.
– According to FOXSports.com, the Bucs will release QB Brian Griese by the end of the week. This is an anticipated move after Tampa re-signed QB Luke McCown, acquired QB Byron Leftwich in free agency, and drafted QB Josh Freeman 17th overall. Griese, 34, won’t find a team willing to give him a chance to compete to start.
– Former ECW champion Bobby Lashley still hasn’t signed a contract with TNA, and therefore wasn’t brought to the Impact tapings last week in Orlando, Florida. Management finally realized it wasn’t a good idea to have him on television until he is under contract so his storyline has been dropped for the time being.
The next possible chance for him to appear is at the Sacrifice PPV, although it takes place only two days after his next fight.
– Mavs’ F Josh Howard is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery performed on his left ankle in New York next week. It’s been known for a while that Howard would need offseason surgery. The injury cost him 22 games during the regular season and hampered him throughout the Mavericks playoff run. The Dallas Morning News speculates that he’ll be a popular trade target this summer because of his talent and flexible contract (team option for 2010-2011).
– The Indians have signed RHP Luis Vizcaino.
– The Tigers have placed LHP Nate Robertson (back) on the 15-day DL.