– According to F4WOnline, after Brock Lesnar attended last month’s UFC 146 PPV, there were online reports that his meeting with UFC President Dana White did not go well, and that White was upset because he felt Lesnar only showed up in Vegas to fuel his WWE storyline. Vince McMahon was said to be furious with Lesnar over the publicity stunt and almost certainly did not know about the situation in advance. Whether or not Dana White knew what was going on has been a hot topic of discussion in WWE and UFC in recent weeks, with it still being a strong possibility that this is all some sort of ploy by Lesnar to increase his bargaining power and leverage with WWE. The feeling in WWE is that even though Lesnar got a one of a kind deal with WWE (huge money for limited appearances), there’s little to no chance that he could fight in the UFC before WrestleMania 29 next April. Some in UFC still believe that Lesnar’s WWE deal is non-exclusive the meeting with Dana White really was to discuss a potential UFC return for Lesnar this year. Even if Lesnar was contractually able to fight for UFC, his heart really isn’t into MMA and he can no longer compete at the top level due to his past health issues.
– History was made at TNA Slammiversary this past weekend when the reigning WWE Intercontinental champion appeared on a rival promotion’s pay-per-view. According to F4WOnline, Christian’s appearance was indeed part of an agreement made months ago, when TNA allowed Ric Flair to appear at WWE’s Hall of Fame Ceremony. WWE was very specific about what Christian was (and was not) allowed to say/do at the pay-per-view. Christian reportedly got along great with everybody and was telling people it was a “surreal” experience. That said, Christian was strongly against appearing at a TNA event, but he really did not have much of a choice. TNA was permitted to hype Christian’s appearance on last week’s Impact, but Dixie Carter made the call to announce the news on Twitter and the TNA website as a way of generating Internet buzz as to what Christian would do at the show.
– According to F4WOnline, WWE officials were impressed with Tensai’s match against Sheamus on RAW, with most people feeling that it was his best match since returning to the company. After getting off to a rocky start, Tensai is currently being repackaged and WWE officials still have faith that he can be used as a strong heel character.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE has been very aggressive this week in shutting down parody and fake Twitter accounts mocking the organization and its employees as well as Facebook pages portraying WWE Superstars. Notably, a popular Twitter account parodying head chief Vince McMahon was suspended Wednesday. Known as CrankyVince, the account would spoof McMahon’s demeanor and mindset with random musings depicting the WWE Chairman as eccentric, maniacal and drug-addled. It had drawn alarming concern from organization officials since last year, who believed it was being controlled by an employee within proximity of McMahon due to the eerie nature of the tweets. The account would often post messages based on things he had legitimately done or said at work—sometimes moments after occurring. Twitter generally permits parody accounts as long as it is stated that the account is a parody in the description.
– WWE diva AJ Lee has responded to Daniel Bryan insulting her on RAW. She tweeted:
“Was I just in the main event match on Raw with 3 of the best Superstars of all time? And my team won? My mind is blown. So happy right now. And now I can proudly rub it in Daniel’s face that I beat him in a match. Btw, once you go Bryan…you have to keep tryin’.”
– Daniel Bryan has responded to CM Punk’s insult on RAW, where Punk called him “Goat Face.” Bryan tweeted:
“Goat face is a horrible insult. My face is practically perfect in every way. In fact, from now on I demand to be called Beautiful Bryan.”
– Alberto Del Rio is featured in WWE’s promotional video. for Money in the Bank. The pay-per-view event takes place July 15 at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
– The former Bella Twins were asked via Twitter today if they will be appearing on television anytime soon. Nicole responded, “Ridiculousness on MTV in August… And possibly somewhere else .”
– Six years ago Wednesday, Kelly Kelly made her debut in WWE. Her character, an exhibitionist, was introduced performing a striptease for the crowd on the premiere episode of ECW on Syfy. Commemorating her six-year anniversary with WWE, fans of the blonde starlet managed to get #Happy6YearsInWWEK2 trending worldwide on Twitter. She said of this, “Omg amazing thank u all so much!”
– WWE released several wrestlers from their developmental contracts in the past week; former NXT star Eli Cottonwood requested a release and it was granted. He reportedly accepted a job offer outside of the wrestling industry; Jiro: He had trained in Japan at former WWE superstar Taka Michinoku’s Kaientai Dojo; Benicio Salazar: Formerly worked in Mexico under a mask as El Hijo del Medico Asesino; and Sonny Elliot, who was from Australia. Their profiles have all been from the FCW website.
– WWE.com has an interview up with Divas Champion Layla, who talks about being a cheerleader for the NBA’s Miami Heat back before becoming a WWE diva. ESPN’s website has also picked up the story. Layla was a dancer for the Miami Heat back in 2006 when they last won the NBA championship. Regarding her decision to leave the Heat and try out for the WWE Diva Search competition, she said, “It literally happened within the span of a week.” Layla received a championship ring when the Miami Heat won the NBA championship back in 2006. “I still have my championship ring, which I’m very proud of,” she said. “I keep it in its box. I hardly show it to anyone; it’s really sacred to me.”” She also revealed that her favorite Heat player was Shaquille O’Neal. Check out this video of Layla as a Miami Heat dancer:
– Cody Rhodes was asked on Twitter this week who (or what) has helped him improve his mic skills in recent years. Rhodes replied: “speech therapy CDs, then realizing we all can’t talk like news anchors and burning said CDs. Bogart…”
– The debut episode of Steve Austin’s new Redneck Island reality show on CMT this past Saturday drew a 0.42 cable rating with 665,000 viewers. It was the highest rated CMT show for the day. Austin tweeted the following about the show’s successful first week:
“It’s a damn crying shame that Canada, Australia, England, and other great countries cannot get CMT Redneck Island. A damn shame. Spreading Redneck Island around the globe is my newest task. Yes…To provide quality entertainment and content across the globe. #CMT #BSR”
– Citing a source with knowledge of the talks, PFT reports that contract negotiations between the Saints and unsigned franchise QB Drew Brees will “go down to the last minute.” The last minute is July 16, at which point franchise players are no longer eligible for long-term contracts. If that date passes without an extension, Brees would have to play the 2012 season on his 1-year franchise tender, or not play at all. Some previous reports suggested an agreement between the Saints and Brees was close, but PFT’s story adamantly claims that’s not accurate. Stay tuned.
– According to USA Today’s Nate Davis, “it was clear” during Tuesday’s minicamp practice that Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning’s velocity on deep passes has diminished. Davis suggested Manning “may not have the liveliest arm on his team,” which says a lot given that his competition is Caleb Hanie, Brock Osweiler, and Adam Weber. Manning looked “sharp and accurate” on intermediate throws, and Peyton openly admits he’s still in the rehab phase after four neck surgeries since the 2010 offseason. Stay tuned.
– Chiefs’ RB Jamaal Charles (ACL surgery) guaranteed Wednesday that he will be cleared for the start of training camp. ”When they let that cape off me, I’m ready to go. I’m ready to put my cleats back on and punish everybody in my way.” Charles added that he feels so good about his recovery that he could “play in a game today.” Charles will have a medical checkup on June 18, where he anticipates receiving clearance.
– According to the Houston Chronicle’s Lance Zierlein, “rumours started circulating around league circles” that the Packers are willing to trade WR James Jones. The Packers are deep at wide receiver, making Jones expendable at the right price. He’s due a 2012 base salary of $2.3M with a $200K roster bonus. Zierlein suggests the 28-year-old could be on the Texans’ radar.
– The NFL has suspended Lions’ RB Mikel Leshoure two games for violating the league’s policy on substance abuse, and was fined two additional game checks. The discipline stems from Leshoure’s twin offseason arrests for marijuana possession.
– Rams’ RB Steven Jackson publicly challenged rookie WR Brian Quick because the Rams plan to “lean heavily” on the second-rounder this season. ”We’re going to need someone on the outside to make plays. And I’m challenging him right now because we’re going to need him to prepare himself over the next six weeks to be a standout on this team.” Quick has reportedly impressed with his physical gifts during OTAs, but S-Jax says that he’s still struggling with learning the playbook.
– Seahawks’ WR Sidney Rice (shoulder) confirmed that he underwent labrum surgery on both shoulders early this offseason. While planning to have the right labrum repaired, Rice asked doctors to check the left for a pre-existing injury–Rice ended up with 11 anchors in each shoulder, after doctors found a 360-degree tear. The left shoulder was repaired a month and a half after the right. Rice is aiming for a Week 1 return, but is not yet cleared for contact. Rice has missed more games (17) than he has played in (15) over the past two seasons.
– Saints’ DE Greg Romeus (left knee) tore his left ACL and MCL during OTA practices. Romeus tore his other ACL as a senior at Pitt and missed his entire rookie year while recovering from November, 2011 reconstructive surgery.
– Devils’ impending UFA F Zach Parise expressed his desire to stay with the team, and even suggested re-signing before July 1 if the right offer came along. He also eliminated the Rangers as a potential destination. When asked if he’d play for the Rangers, a team New Jersey defeated in the post-season, he was short and simple: “No…don’t try to get a headline out of this.”
“I like the people here. I like the staff, my teammates. I like the area. There’s a lot of good things about this place.”
– The Jets have signed F Jim Slater to a 3-year/$4.8M contract. The 29-year-old impending UFA played in a career-high 78 games for the Jets last season, scoring 13 goals and adding eight assists.
“I told my agent right from the beginning that Winnipeg was definitely tops of my list and if everything seemed to work out then that’s the place I wanted to be. I think both sides were very, very fair in the dealings and it just worked out the way it did, and I’m glad it did.”
“That was one of the biggest things for me going into contract negotiations. I have commitment in this organization and the Winnipeg Jets, and having them give me a three-year deal definitely shows commitment right back.”
– The Canucks filed ‘cutdown’ arbitration with F Mason Raymond on Wednesday, instead of making a qualifying offer. Last season, Raymond made $2.6M and the arbitrator may not award a salary less than 85% of that amount or $2.21M. He recorded 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points in 55 games last season. He was slated to become an RFA on July 1.
– The Devils will opt not to forfeit their 2012 1st-round pick. The club faced a 5 p.m. ET deadline on Tuesday to inform the NHL if they were going to give up this year’s first-round pick as a penalty for signing F Ilya Kovalchuk two summers ago, a move the league ruled as an attempt to circumvent the salary cap. The league allowed the Devils to decide which year they would give up the pick – from 2011-2014 with notification due the day after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final. The Devils also had to surrender a 3rd-round pick in 2011 and were fined $3M. The Devils sit at No. 29 in this year’s draft order.
– The Canadiens have named Martin Lapointe, who won two Stanley Cups as a player with the Red Wings, director of player development, and former Canadiens’ D Patrice Brisebois was tabbed as the new player development coach. The club has also announced that another former Montreal rearguard, Sylvain Lefebvre, will be the new head coach of the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. GM Marc Bergevin said,
“The credibility of the men we hired was as important (as the language they speak). With their backgrounds, I can answer to any concerns anyone may have about them. I wanted good people who are qualified for the jobs they will do and I feel I reached that goal.”
– TMZ posted the following videos of the Devils partying following their Stanley Cup loss:
– Salavat Yulaev has moved the KHL rights of Predators’ F Alexander Radulov to CSKA Moscow. The Preds announced their intention to part ways with the Russian earlier this month, and all signs point to him returning to the KHL. It’s possible that Nashville could trade his exclusive negotiating rights before the deadline if a team feels they can change his mind.
– NBA Commissioner David Stern appeared on The Jim Rome Show carried by TSN Radio 1290 in Winnipeg and the interview turned contentious when Rome asked about the NBA Draft Lottery won by the NBA-run Hornets, who moved up three spots to win the draft. The Bobcats finished with the worst winning percentage (.106) in NBA history and had the best chance to win the lottery but dropped to second spot. Rome asked,
“I know that you appreciate a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, was the fix in for the lottery?”
“I have two answers for that. The simple easy one, no, the second, a statement, shame on you for asking.”
“No, it’s ridiculous, but that’s OK. Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”
“I don’t think that’s fair,” replied Rome.
“You and I have been in more contentious talks than that. But it’s good copy. You do these things for cheap thrills…Cheap trick. You’ve been successful in making a career of it, and I keep coming on,” said Stern.
“Making a career of it? Making a career of what? What? Cheap thrills?,” Rome said.
“Now you’re getting mad. You’re taking on the world and now Jim Rome is pouting,” said Stern.
“I’m not pouting, I’m taking offence,” replied Rome.
– Celtics’ G Ray Allen (right ankle) had surgery to remove bone spurs on Wednesday. Allen is a free agent this summer, but may not return to Boston. He’s been linked to the Knicks, Heat and Clippers this offseason.
– Nets’ F Gerald Wallace confirmed that he will opt out of his $9.5M player option for the 2012-13 season. Wallace is seeking another long-term deal, but the team still hopes to re-sign him. Brooklyn has just four players definitely contract for next season.
– The NBA Board of Governors has officially approved the sale of the Hornets to new owner Tom Benson. The Hornets recently extended their lease with New Orleans through 2024, meaning they’ll remain in New Orleans while the draft the No. 1 overall pick. Benson and NBA Commissioner David Stern announced in April that the Saints’ owner had agreed to purchase the Hornets from the league and officials confirmed a sale price of about $338M. Of note, there have been no reports of Benson looking to change either coach Monty Williams or GM Dell Demps.
– Pistons’ F Charlie Villanueva was recently cut from the Dominican Republic national team for being overweight. Head coach John Calipari said, ”Charlie was not in good form when we saw him. He was overweight, and unfortunately, we could not slow down the entire team and it was a decision taken collectively.” CV appeared in just 13 games this season. Detroit owes him $16.7M over the next two seasons, with a player option for 2013-14.
– Celtics’ F Kevin Garnett has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for failing to make himself available to the media after Boston’s loss to Miami in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Garnett scored 14 points in the 101-88 loss Saturday night that put the Heat in the NBA Finals.
– Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com reports that RHP Ben Sheets (right elbow) threw for scouts from the Phillies, Braves, Yankees, and Angels Wednesday. Sheets has recovered from a second flexor tendon procedure on his right elbow from last August and is looking for another shot. He hasn’t appeared in a game since July of 2010 and hasn’t been effective since 2008.
– Yankees’ RHP Joba Chamberlain (ankle) is hoping to rejoin the bullpen shortly after the All-Star break. He’s been running and recently began throwing from a mound with only tape on his surgically-repaired ankle rather than a brace. “No soreness, no setbacks.” Chamberlain suffered a gruesome injury during a trampoline accident back in March, but now appears likely to salvage half of the season.
– According to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, the Tigers have “lukewarm” interest in DH Vladimir Guerrero, however, it’s ”not clear if they will pursue him at this point.” Guerrero had his release request granted by the Blue Jays earlier this week after going 10-for-33 (.303) at Triple-A Las Vegas. The 37-year-old will continue to draw borderline interest.
– Cardinals’ RHP Chris Carpenter (neck, shoulder) threw 26 pitches off a mound Wednesday. It was his first time throwing off a mound since being shut down during spring training, and said afterwards that he felt good. Barring setbacks, he could return for the second half of the season.
– Phillies’ 2B Freddy Galvis (back) has a pars fracture in his back and is out indefinitely. Gavlis will be in a back brace for at least the next 3 weeks and will have no definitive recovery timetable once he progresses out of it. The 22-year-old was batting .226/.254/.363, and may miss the remainder of the season.
– The Blue Jays have placed RHP Brandon Morrow (strained left oblique) on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 12. No timetable has been released, but he’ll likely require a longer-than-minimum stay.
– Astros’ 1B Carlos Lee (hamstring) is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Corpus Christi Thursday. He’s eligible to return on Sunday. Lee will return to a .297/.348/.411 batting line with four homers and 23 RBI.
– Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke and Mets manager Terry Collins will serve as National League coaches at the All-Star game next month. Tony La Russa, who retired last fall, will run the NL squad after managing the Cardinals to the 2011 World Series championship. Royals’ manager Ned Yost and A’s’ manager Bob Melvin will help coach the American League team, which will be managed for the second straight year by Rangers’ manager Ron Washington.
– Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda said Wednesday that he’s feeling “really good” while recovering from a mild heart attack he had last week in New York. Lasorda has been resting at home since flying back to California after being released from the hospital last Thursday, three days after he fell ill while representing the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Major League Baseball draft. ”I’m fine, really good.” The 84-year-old said the episode began when someone at the draft asked how he was feeling.
“Well, a little woozy. That’s all I had to say and about the next 30 minutes every guy in the place was worried about me.”
Paramedics were called and they advised Lasorda to go to the hospital, but Lasorda refused. He said baseball Commissioner Bud Selig got involved and told Lasorda he was going to the hospital, as did former Dodgers and Yankees manager Joe Torre, now an MLB executive.
“So I said, ‘I guess I’m going to the hospital’ and I went. The doctors were great. They even had a guard at my room for 24 hours.”
After a few days, Lasorda was released and told to take it easy for a while. He was given no restrictions on his diet.
“People asked me if they told me to lose weight. I knew that before anybody told me, just when I put my pants on. I’d be really mad if I died thin, I’d miss all that great spaghetti. I don’t want to lose too much weight or my nose would look too big.”
– The Mariners have placed OF Mike Carp (right shoulder) and RHP Stephen Pryor (left groin strain) on the 15-day DL. Carp suffered the injury in the season opener in Japan in March.