– According to the Wrestling Observer, the reason why WWE hasn’t mentioned Brock Lesnar over the last few weeks is because there is said to be “nuclear heat” on Lesnar, some of which stems his recent appearance at the UFC 146 PPV, where Lesnar attended the event and met with UFC President Dana White without the advance knowledge of Vince McMahon. Even before the UFC incident, Lesnar has reportedly been extremely difficult to deal with behind the scenes–he was considered high maintenance during his first run with the company nearly a decade ago, and is now working far fewer dates and making even more money.
WWE has taken a few shots at Lesnar on television in recent weeks, including the Big Show’s promo talking about being a “fighter, not a sports entertainer,” and Triple H’s taped promo on RAW where he was not wearing an arm brace to sell Lesnar’s recent attack.
WWE has had to deal with contract negotiations with megastars before (The Rock, Steve Austin), but Lesnar is believed to be in a different situation–he doesn’t like the wrestling industry, and has the option of returning to UFC to make big money. Instead of keeping Brock Lesnar’s character on television through video packages or appearances by Paul Heyman, he’s now off the radar entirely until it’s time for WWE to start building towards his match against Triple H at SummerSlam.
After SummerSlam, Lesnar is not expected to make any more appearances for a few months. Initially, it was reported that Lesnar’s contract included roughly 24 dates, however, that number is now believed to be even smaller. Lesnar is not scheduled to wrestle at Survivor Series, and it’s possible that he may not return to WWE programming until 2013. In fact, his status for the 2013 Royal Rumble remains unknown, so the only dates Lesnar is locked into as of right now is SummerSlam at WrestleMania 29. Stay tuned.
– According to the PWInsider, WWE Diva Kelly Kelly has been granted “time off” by organization officials. She has been on the road full time since her 2006 debut and requested the break to recharge her batteries. An unnamed company source said,
“She’s been here since she was a kid. She had been pushing for time away to spend with her family and her boyfriend. Six years for someone of her age is a lifetime. She needed a break.”
Many of her colleagues don’t believe Kelly’s returning anytime soon, if at all, since she has begun promoting her alternative stage name (Barbie Blank) and is currently accepting requests for appearances and endorsements outside of WWE. She added the following information to her Twitter account over the weekend:
“Barbie Blank/Kelly Kelly, WWE Diva, MAXIM Cover Girl and 100 Hottest Women. For full appearances/endorsements please contact Heidi at email@example.com.”
Kelly last competed on television on the May 21 Raw SuperShow, losing to Beth Phoenix. She last wrestled on May 26 in Quito, Ecuador.
– In less than 7 weeks, WWE will mark 1,000 episodes of Monday Night RAW and a new ’3-hour Interactive RAW’ era begins. With RAW’s ratings lower than WWE and USA Network are happy with, the company plans to go all out to ensure the milestone show is a success. As previously reported, WWE has reached out to 20-30 legends to appear on the show. Additionally, a DX reunion (featuring Shawn Michaels, Triple H and likely other members) as well as a rare television appearance from the Undertaker are expected.
WWE is especially concerned with drawing viewers to the first hour of the show. The first hour of special 3-hour RAWs typically a significantly smaller audience than RAW’s normal time slot. WWE is already getting in the habit of conditioning fans to tune in at the start of the first hour of a 3 hour show, with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon scheduled to conduct his job performance assessment of John Laurinaitis on next week’s 3-hour show.
– ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported today that unsigned franchise QB Drew Brees is seeking $20.3M annually in long-term contract talks with the Saints. PFT reported Tuesday that the Saints are offering upwards of $19M annually–per Mort, however, guaranteed money is the sticking point. “They’ve had some, what I call ‘small talk’… But it’s those guarantees, that I think where the main battle ground is fought.” Mortensen expects “some movement” in the 2-3 week period before training camp, after an arbitrator rules on whether Brees’ 2012 franchise tag is valid. Brees’ camp wants the price of the tag increased because he was also franchised by the Chargers in 2004.
– Falcons’ RB Michael Turner suggested Wednesday that the team’s offense may be more pass heavy in 2012 than it has been in years past. The Falcons are implementing a more no-huddle heavy, vertical passing attack under new OC Dirk Koetter. Turner, 30, has ranked first, first, and second in the NFL in carries over his last four full seasons. “Might be a little more passing than normal, than what Falcons fans are used to.”
– Giants’ 3B Pablo Sandoval (hand) is expected to be activated from the DL on June 12. Manager Bruce Bochy said the team will monitor Sandoval’s fitness more going forward. Kung Fu Panda has played in rehab games, but the team is reportedly unhappy with his commitment level.
– Red Sox’ GM Ben Cherington said RHP Daniel Bard’s future role hasn’t been decided upon yet. Manager Bobby Valentine said Bard will remain a starting pitcher in the minor leagues, but his first outing Friday at Triple-A Pawtucket will be an shortened one. Cherington said, “He has a very good idea of what he’s got to do. He’s just focusing on the fundamentals of what allowed him to be elite and what will allow him to be elite in the future, getting those locked in and then we’ll worry about pitch counts and role and all that stuff later.”
– CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports the Padres “haven’t entirely given up the idea” of signing impending free agent OF Carlos Quentin to a contract extension. Quentin, 29, is batting .522 with a 1.925 OPS and five home runs in 26 plate appearances since returning from the DL in late May. He’s likely to draw multiple trade offers as the July 31 non-waiver deadline approaches.
– The Orioles have signed LHP Jamie Moyer to a minor league contract. Moyer will make his first start for Triple-A Norfolk Saturday and will get 1-2 more outings before the O’s re-evaluate him. The 49-year-old was released by the Rockies Sunday after posting a 5.70 ERA and 1.73 WHIP over 10 starts. He could be in for a rocky road ahead moving from Coors Field to the AL East.
– Astros’ owner Jim Crane said the team has come to a verbal agreement with No. 1 overall pick SS Carlos Correa. Reports surfaced Tuesday that a deal was close, and it appears that it’s a formality at this point. Correa is expected to get around $5M which would be over $2M under the assigned slot value. The Puerto Rican will likely be sent to extended spring training before beginning his pro career with the GCL Astros.