– WWE RAW superstar Shawn Michaels, who puts his career on the line this weekend at WrestleMania against the Undertaker’s undefeated streak, appeared on Atlanta’s 790 The Zone Sports Radio this morning and spoke about reports from a popular news website that he plans on leaving WWE shortly after WrestleMania XXVI and thus, will be losing against the Undertaker on Sunday. Michaels said:
“That’s the situation that I’m in. The career is on the line, so I guess I say ground breaking news by them I guess. That is the match at Wrestlemania, the career versus the streak. It’s one of those things that’s bitter-sweet. Obviously I want to be the one guy to beat the streak. I think that if anyone can, I’m the one, but you have to be willing to put it all out there. If things don’t go my way, I still have a great deal of peace and I can look back on a career that I’m very proud of.”
During the interview, Michaels also spoke about his return to WWE back in 2002 after being out of action with a back injury for over 4 years. Despite the fact that he already had a Hall of Fame career before he left WWE in 1998, he was told that the new generation of WWE fans might not even know who he was and WWE felt they needed to reintroduce him to everybody.
“Yeah, and that’s the sort of thing that as you’re doing it, I can remember coming back in 2002 and them informing me that ‘hey, you almost need to reintroduce yourself’, because there is a whole other generation. On one hand, you want to be a little offended by that. You say ‘come on, I’m not the end all, be all, but I’m Shawn Michaels.’ But to really understand that there is a whole other generation that you now have to appeal to and you do appeal to. When you see the little guys hanging over the rails at the show, you do realize that. You’ve got their dads who watched you, and now they’re watching you.”
It’s worth noting that in the new issue of WWE Magazine, there’s an interview with Shawn Michaels, who is asked about retirement. Michaels cryptically said, “I have my retirement set already. I have been thinking of my retirement for a long time now.”
– WWE Hall of Famer Bret “Hit Man” Hart spoke to Brian Fritz of Fanhouse.com this week to hype WrestleMania XXVI on Sunday. Hart called his return to WWE “kind of a surreal feeling” and said he was surprisingly not nervous at all once he walked onto television. The interview contained lots of interesting talk, including whether Bret plans to stick around after WrestleMania.
Here are some highlights of what Bret said about:
His Relationship with Vince McMahon: “We’re pretty respectful of one another. I think there’s some genuine … I think he feels bad for what happened. I think in a lot of ways Vince was a big fan. Vince McMahon is the world’s biggest wrestling fan. He loved all the work I contributed. The only thing Vince loves more than wrestling is his money and somehow that’s where we ended up having a lot of problems. We’re all right as far as … it’s sort of a mutual respect. He’s done a lot for me and done a lot for my family and the wrestling world and wrestling industry. He’s just got a funny way of doing business sometimes.”
His Relationship with Shawn Michaels: “Well, I don’t know if we’re … I think we’re respectful of one another and we both know for whatever the circumstances and there’s lots and lots of reasons why we collided the way we did. Once upon a time we were good friends. When I took a step to forgive everything that happened and shake his hand, I think it was very real when it was done on TV.”
He added, “I think Shawn was really moved by that and he understood it took a big man to take that kind of step forward to him. I think they should have taken that step towards me. I think it was pretty much understood that the hostilities and hard feelings I had were so strong that nobody ever made that attempt. I knew that Shawn had changed as a person and he had been helpful to my niece (Natalya) and my nephew (David Hart Smith). I just thought it was high time to take all that weight off his back and say it happened, let’s forget about it. Let’s move on and try to maybe do something positive.”
– Unlike previous years, World Wrestling Entertainment will not be streaming the Hall of Fame ceremony on WWE.com tomorrow night. “Not planned as of now,” responded a WWE web team member to a Twitter follower who asked if it would be shown on the website. “Only on USA Network.”
– Twins’ RHP Joe Nathan (ulnar collateral ligament) underwent successful Tommy John surgery in New York on Friday. Dr. David Altcheck replaced Nathan’s ulnar collateral ligament with a ligament from his left wrist. He will miss the entire 2010 season, but if all goes well with his rehab, he should be back around Spring Training next year. RHP Jon Rauch is his most likely replacement in the interim, with an outside chance of LHP Francisco Liriano filling the void, though the Twins are reportedly discussing trade options.
– T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the Rangers are still talking to the Diamondbacks about INF Augie Ojeda. The Rangers are looking for someone to fill the void left by 2B Omar Vizquel, who signed with the White Sox this winter, and SS Khalil Greene, whose contract was voided at the beginning of camp. According to Sullivan, the Rangers have offered RHP Luis Mendoza, however the Diamondbacks are currently asking for too much in return.
– Mariners’ LHP Cliff Lee (abdomen) has been shut down for five days and is likely to start the season on the DL. As such, MLB.com reports that the Mariners are negotiating a one-year deal with LHP Jarrod Washburn.
– Jays’ RHP Dustin McGowan (shoulder) has been shut down for an additional two weeks.
– One oft-overlooked factor in TNA’s destiny to compete with rival promotion WWE are the added expenses entailed. Since January, the company has ballooned its roster to over 70 performers with the notable additions of high priced stars such as Ric Flair, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy and the former Mr. Kennedy. Furthermore, the company has added the costly expense of going live every other Monday night and promotion of said move (i.e. airing commercials during Monday Night Raw and running Billboards in Times Square). Other than slight bumps in house show attendance and merchandise sales, TNA has to little to show for its efforts. In fact, ratings are at its lowest levels in four years due to the move to Monday nights.
The Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer cryptically said during a recent episode of Wrestling Observer Radio that TNA is having bigger financial problems than most realize. “I’m worried about my friends who work for TNA because they have bigger financial problems than anyone knows,” Meltzer said.
– Orlando Jordan is officially back with TNA. Jordan, who has not appeared on TNA programming since the February 18 edition of iMPACT!, resurfaces this Monday night on iMPACT! with a character “unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”
The show, which was taped this past Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., saw Jordan lowered into the ring from the arena’s rafters wrapped in yellow police tape with the TNA logo. He then crawled through the ring and ultimately walked to a nearby white couch where he sat between a shirtless male and a sexy female. Behind the trio is the tri-colored bisexual pride flag, plus two male symbols and one female symbol. In an Impact Zone first, the segment garnered a “that was creepy” chant. To add further details, Jordan has changed his hair again and is now wearing makeup. He also comes out barefoot à la “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka.
– ESPN’s Ed Werder reports that QB Brett Favre is still undecided about his future, and won’t move any quicker to make a decision so that the Vikings could begin pursuit of Donovan McNabb. Werder points out that QB Donovan McNabb would be “the ideal replacement” for Favre because he’s so familiar with Brad Childress’ offense and the Vikings’ coaching staff. The Vikes are not pressuring Favre to make an announcement, despite McNabb’s sudden availability.
– Sources tell Yahoo’s Charles Robinson that the Raiders are “in front right now” in the pursuit of Eagles’ QB Donovan McNabb. NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora also believes that Oakland is the favourite to land McNabb. “And I’m told they will NOT require an extension to get a deal done,” Robinson adds. The Raiders were swindled for a future 1st-round pick by New England in last summer’s DE Richard Seymour deal, with Seymour in a contract year. McNabb is also in the last year of his deal.
ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli confirms that the Raiders would be willing to part with Nnamdi Asomugha in a trade for McNabb. It would come down to Philadelphia’s willingness to take on Asomugha’s contract, though. “Aso” is due $16M in 2010 with an option year in 2011 available for either $16.9 million or the franchise tag number for quarterbacks, whichever amount is greater. If the ’11 option is not exercised, the deal prohibits Asomugha’s team from franchise tagging him.
– Raiders’ QB JaMarcus Russell reportedly weighed in at 290 lbs when he reported for the Raiders’ offseason program. So Oakland can scratch left tackle off its list of needs. Russell was initially reported to weigh 271, but many close to the situation immediately doubted that report. Russell, annually and incredibly overweight, isn’t doing anything to shed his emerging label as the biggest bust in NFL history.
– Free agent S Darren Sharper is not expected to sign with any team until after April’s NFL Draft. Sharper, recovering from knee surgery, has yet to make a single free agent visit after leading the league in interceptions last season. The longer he stays on the market, the more likely Sharper is to realize his best bet is to stay in New Orleans. The Saints also have plenty of leverage with 2009 first-round pick Malcolm Jenkins a possibility to replace him.
– The Arizona Republic reports that the Suns are expected to give GM Steve Kerr a contract extension.
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