– WWE announced Friday that Chris Jericho has been suspended indefinitely due to an incident at Thursday night’s WWE live event from São Paulo, Brazil. During the main event match between Jericho and WWE Champion CM Punk, Jericho took a Brazilian flag from ringside and kicked it. Because denigrating the Brazilian flag is illegal in the country, police came to the ring and ordered Jericho to apologize or be taken to jail. The flag stunt was not planned or approved by WWE officials, and was designed by Jericho as a way to get cheap heat.
Here’s WWE’s statement:
Chris Jericho as been suspended indefinitely due to an irresponsible act of denigrating the Brazilian flag at a WWE live event in São Paulo on May 24. WWE has apologized to the citizens and the government of Brazil for this incident.
Jericho apologized to the live crowd and the match continued. In a statement he issued to WWE.com, Jericho said:
“I made a bad judgment call in the course of entertaining [WWE] fans in Brazil. I apologized to the people in the crowd for showing disrespect. It was a bad move. I did it with [our] fans’ entertainment in mind and I’ll accept the consequences for that.”
Jericho also apologized to the live crowd after the incident:
Later, he tweeted the following message:
“Just for the record I love Brazil and wish we could’ve spent more time here. Beautiful country!”
JBL, who had his own international incident several years ago for “goose stepping” at a live event from Germany, had this to say about Jericho’s incident:
“After seeing reports of Chris Jericho in Brazil-it was what I suspected–Chris trying to entertain and be a heel. Apparently a Brazilian Flag comes into ring and Chris grabs it and kicks it (or something to that effect). Compare that to Sgt Slaughter burning the flag or all the crazy stuff that has gone on. This is nothing. EXCEPT we are in a new era and now that isn’t acceptable.
Chris did what most old heels would have done, he reacted and a decade ago it would have been loved for the heat. However, times change and we have to as well-Chris acknowledged this and apologized. Chris is a wonderful person and one of all time great entertainers-there was no malice here from what I see and know about Chris. A mistake was made and is being dealt with.
As far as being illegal, please, if done in an entertaining arena it is considered as such. Like saying you can prosecute Anthony Hopkins for cannibalism because of his role in ‘Silence of the Lambs’. I understand the arguements, I went through same thing in Germany and it was never considered a problem in Germany-only over the Internet and the Internet reporters. Chris’ intent was to entertain not insult anyone in Brazil or the great Brazilian fans.
Times change and for the better. Chris did what a ton of older heels would have done and he reacted. He is being punished and he apologized. He is one of all time greats and a great friend, old habits are hard to change but we must.
Times change and we have to change with it, and we all will.”
– Former WWE Superstar MVP appeared on MLW Radio this week and revealed that he had planned to create a hip-hop supergroup with John Cena. You can hear the full interview at MLW.com or on iTunes.
“When I got to Raw, I had asked Cena about making music and we discussed it. When we were on the bus together or the hotel lobby and Cena would break out some instrumentals, we’d start freestyling together and it was really a trip watching all these people say, ‘I didn’t know you could do that!’ My cousin ended up producing this really cool beat and Cena came by my house when Raw was in town. He recorded a verse on it. I recorded a verse and my idea was for the three guys on the roster who actually rap their own theme music [MVP, Cena and R-Truth], let the three of us all get together on this one track. Kevin Dunn said it was really good and that he really liked it.”
“I approached Vince with the idea and Vince wasn’t interested. What I saw was, if you take me, Cena and R-Truth and put us all together, even for a little while and let us run like a little bit of a clique, I thought it would be a lot of fun and that the crowd would really get off on it. Especially if we weren’t all on the same show. If I’m on Smackdown and those guys are on Raw, but something goes down and the music plays and here I come running out or I’m in trouble on Smackdown and those guys come running out, almost like a really cool urban hip hop stable, John [Cena] being the leader . . . the song would have been a platinum single.”
– Alberto Del Rio turns 35 years old today.
– According to the PWInsider, TNA Wrestling is suing WWE and former TNA/WWE office worker Brian Wittenstein for “interference with existing contracts, conversion, breach of contract, civil conspiracy, unfair competition, breach of loyalty” and violation of the Tennessee Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The lawsuit alleges that Wittenstein, a former TNA employee with knowledge of sensitive company information, provided WWE insider information on contracts and other matters pertaining to TNA’s operations. The lawsuit alleges that WWE is now using the knowledge obtained from Wittenstein to poach TNA talent.
After departing TNA, Wittenstein was hired by WWE earlier this year and worked under Michael Hayes before getting let go in April. The lawsuit alleges that during this time period, Wittenstein provided WWE the inside information from TNA. WWE did not immediately inform TNA about their former employee leaking company information. TNA claims that this information was presented on 5/7. Coincidentally, just days later, WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair approached TNA management about being released from his contract. TNA alleges that Flair wanted out so he could return to WWE.
An injunction was issued earlier demanding that WWE & Wittenstein return whatever confidential information retained during his TNA tenure. They were both instructed not to destroy the material. WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt commented to The Nashville City Paper:
“Our reaction is that no good deed ever goes unpunished. What the WWE did here is what you would hope any company would do in these circumstances it found itself in.”
– Updating a previous item, the Orlando Sentinel reports that the Magic have not made a decision to trade F Dwight Howard. This comes after a report on Thursday from SheridanHoops.com, stating that they had already decided to trade him after the draft lottery. The team will likely hang on to Howard at least until a new head coach and general manager are chosen, in hopes of getting him to sign a long-term extension. Orlando is expected to begin interviews for the vacant GM position next week.
– Knicks’ G J.R. Smith was arrested on Thursday night on a bench warrant for driving without a valid license. After being stopped by police, a routine search revealed the bench warrant. Smith was booked into jail just before midnight and bonded out early Friday morning.
– According to ESPN LA, a decision on the future of Clippers’ head coach Vinny Del Negro won’t be known until next week “at the earliest.” VDN has an option on his contract for next season, and a decision needs to be made by June 1. Owner Donald Sterling gave Del Negro a public vote of confidence earlier this year, for what it’s worth. The coaching free agency pool is deep this year, so the Clippers may take a risky approach.
– Jerry Sloan will interview for the Bobcats head coach position on Friday. Sloan becomes the ninth known candidate to be in play for the job, joining Patrick Ewing, Nate McMillan, Dave Joerger, Mike Malone, Nate Tibbetts, Mike Dunlap and Stephen Silas. Charlotte is also expected to interview Brian Shaw.
– Phillies’ 1B Ryan Howard (Achilles) took live batting practice in extended spring training Wednesday. The Phillies still haven’t put a timetable on his return, but reports have indicated that he could be back sometime in June. He’ll require a rehab assignment before being activated.
– Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Orioles are close to signing OF Adam Jones to a long-term extension. Rosenthal says the extension will be “well north” of Miguel Tejada’s 6-year/$72M free agent deal, and OF Nick Markakis’ 6-year/$66.1M extension. Jones, who is batting .311/.357/.601 with 14 homers this season, was set to be arbitration-eligible for the final time in 2013 before hitting free agency.
– According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, one person familiar with WR Hakeem Nicks’ (fractured foot) believes it’s “more like a 4-6 week injury.” Nicks has a fractured fifth metatarsal, and was initially expected to miss 8-12 weeks. Cowboys rookie Danny Coale suffered the same injury earlier in the week and was expected to be sidelined for roughly a month. Nicks will undergo surgery Friday, after which a better timetable should be known.
– Coyotes’ F Shane Doan revealed what was said during the post-game handshakes after the Kings eliminated the Coyotes in Game 5. Doan was visibly displeased with the knee-on-knee hit by Kings’ F Dustin Brown on D Michal Rozsival.
“Brownie wanted to explain himself, and at the moment, I wasn’t ready to hear it. I said, ‘Not right now. Are you kidding me? Not right now.’ That was my expression. That’s all I’m saying. But at the same time, everyone who has ever played in a playoff game has done the handshake line. Am I arrogant enough to think I’m the only player who felt bad? No. And in that situation, I have to be in better control of my emotions.”
– According to the Detroit News, there is speculation that Predators’ impending UFA D Ryan Suter and Devils’ impending UFA F Zach Parise want to play together next season. Stay tuned.
– UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson is once again teasing that he’ll be joining WWE after his fight at Saturday’s UFC 146 PPV. During an interview with MMA Weekly, Nelson was asked what’s next after Saturday. He replied:
“might just have to go to WWE because I might just have to call him [Brock Lesnar] out, go to WWE, and whoop his ass.”