– According to the Toronto Sun, UFA G Steve Nash could sign with the Raptors if he isn’t immediately targeted by a championship contender. Nash would become the face of Canadian basketball by playing in Canada, not to mention being the GM of the Canadian Olympic team that’s based in Toronto. Stay tuned.
– The Rockets remain interested in acquiring Lakers’ F Pau Gasol, according to the Houston Chronicle. Houston, however, is reportedly unwilling to meet the previous price for Gasol, which was initially believed to be G Goran Dragic, G Kevin Martin, F Luis Scola and a future 1st-round pick.
In addition, the Grizzlies are offering F Zach Randolph to the Lakers in a trade for Gasol, a source tells Peter Vecsey. Local Memphis beat writers have denied that Memphis is interested in bringing back Gasol. The Spaniard will continue to be shopped, but Memphis doesn’t look like a realistic possibility.
– Larry Bird will leave his job as the Pacers’ president of basketball operations at the end of August. He spent four years building the team into an Eastern Conference contender and was this season’s NBA executive of the year, but is instead moving on after saying just a month ago that he was willing to stay. Bird said health issues were among the reasons for his departure. He said he may need shoulder surgery and cited longstanding issues with his back.
“I just think it’s time…(Simon) knows to get to the next level we’re going to spend some money,” Bird said. “Every time I went to Herb about a player or about money to spend, he questioned it. And he should. At the end of the day, he always said go ahead and do what you have to do to make this team better. That’s the support you need. … We’re going to spend money.”
– Yesterday, June 27th, marked one year since CM Punk’s infamous “Pipe Bomb” promo that shook the foundation of the wrestling world and catapulted Punk from mid-card wrestler on his way out of the company to WWE main eventer. To mark the occasion, the WWE website has a feature up interviewing superstars and divas about the significance of Punk’s promo. You can see the full article at WWE.com. Here are some quotes from:
Zack Ryder: “I remember I was watching the backstage monitor and I was like, ‘Wait a minute. Is this live on TV?’ He was just saying these things about the company that seemed pretty unbelievable. They even cut the mic out from under him. You knew it was one of those moments that created controversy, and people were tuning in the next week to see what would happen. I definitely approved and agreed with what he was saying. I was saying similar things on my YouTube show, so when a Superstar like Punk voiced his opinion, maybe it made people realize a change was necessary.”
“Road Dogg” Jesse James: “I think it caused a revolution, to be quite honest with you. I think people who know the inside track, they always want to hear somebody who drops that on national TV. I think that’s what brought CM Punk to the forefront, and now his popularity has just grown ever since. It’s fun to see him on all our live events and just how popular he is. He never ceases to amaze me. It takes charisma, it takes personality, and Punk has loads of both.”
Kaitlyn: “I was watching it on TV since it was a travel day. When it happened, I was so shocked. I think I actually tweeted about it, like I was so curious about what was going down and what kind of impact it would have. I think his words kind of shifted things. In the WWE fans’ eyes, watching that, it sparked a rebellion in a way and it kind of gave Punk this awesome chance to create himself in any way that he wanted. He totally reinvented himself. It was something that people could really rally around. He related to the WWE Universe and it felt so surreal.”
Ezekiel Jackson: “He stated that his WWE contract was coming to an end, and you don’t know what to expect from somebody who’s about to either quit or do whatever they want to do. He had absolutely nothing to lose. He could have said anything he wanted, and in a way, he did. It was so different. He stepped up to be a natural leader of the WWE locker room. You know that he was trying to make it known that he was representing us. You’ve seen things going in the direction that he wanted it to. One of the points he touched on was a smaller guy like him wasn’t supposed to ever be WWE Champion, but then you’ve got him and Daniel Bryan [as a former World Heavyweight Champion] – smaller Superstars who became champions, who are getting their opportunities, and they’re delivering.”
Justin Gabriel: “I was a huge fan of Punk before, and I think that day made me an even bigger fan. Just the way he walks and talks is so different. Everything he says, you want to believe him. For the guys in the WWE locker room, he definitely hit the right notes, but he obviously ruffled a lot of feathers. But that’s cool. That’s what we need. I think that’s what we needed at the time and we need more of that going forward, too.”
– According to F4WOnline, ince McMahon issued a directive Monday night to not mention Fort Wayne, Indiana, during the Raw SuperShow telecast. The WWE Chairman and CEO feels that if a show’s host city does not sound “big league enough,” it will not be mentioned on television. He made the same call for the June 5 SmackDown in Columbia, South Carolina.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, Bill Goldberg, who last competed for WWE in 2004, reportedly contacted Brock Lesnar about returning to WWE to work an angle with him. Lesnar, however, only has two major dates left on his current contract; Triple H at SummerSlam and whoever his WrestleMania XXIX opponent will be.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, the latest on planned WWE Network is that DirecTV has no interest in carrying it. This would be a huge blow to the Network’s potential revenue, as DirecTV serves approximately 30% of potential customers. Other top cable providers have also been hesitant to carry the WWE Network, which is the reason WWE is now considering a subscription-based “premium channel” model, similar to HBO & Showtime. There is no official date set for the Network’s launch, but WWE recently filmed a new commercial for the channel which is expected to air some time this summer.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE recently announced that a new weekly television show will debut on the ION network this October, WWE Main Event. There has been a lot of concern in WWE over the WWE product getting over exposed, especially with RAW expanding to 3-hours on a weekly basis starting next month. Two new hours of WWE programming each week carries risk, however WWE is poised to make millions of dollars per year in TV rights fees from the new shows. Because the extra hour of RAW and the new WWE Main Event show will be filmed during nights when WWE already is running television tapings, the cost to produce RAW’s third hour and WWE Main Event is minimal. Even though Ion is ranked as the 8th most popular broadcast network in the United States, millions of fans who do not have cable television will now have access to Main Event. Between that additional exposure and the TV rights fees, WWE is confident the new show will be successful.
– The Rock recently finished shooting his scenes for the movie “Empire State,” co-starring Liam Hemsworth. Deadline.com has a picture of The Rock from the movie sporting a new clean-shaven look:
Speaking of The Rock, his next movie, Fast 6, begins filming in late July and will run through November. It’s been known all along that The Rock’s schedule would be monopolized by his movie schedule for most of the summer and fall. That said, WWE is hopeful that he’ll be able to make at least one more television appearance this year before he returns in early 2013 to begin the build for WrestleMania 29 and his quest to reclaim the WWE Championship one last time.
– As previously reported, WWE diva Eve was scheduled to return to Monday’s RAW after a several week hiatus, but did not appear on television. The latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that Eve was at the show, but no word yet on why she wasn’t used. WWE officials were said to be pleased with her role of John Laurinaitis’ Executive Assistant.
– With Chris Jericho now back in action after serving his 30 day suspension, WWE is advertising Fatal Fourway matches for the WWE Championship featuring CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan at several upcoming live events, including the July 8th WWE Supershow in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
– Pre-orders for the upcoming WWE ’13 video game are said to be through the roof, even better than last year’s WWE ’12 game, which sold very well. As of last week, they were up 171% (up 170% on Xbox, 189% on PS3 and 84% on Wii.) The strong demand this year can be attributed to the “Revolution is Coming” Internet campaign, CM Punk being the “face” of the game, the Attitude Era feature, Mike Tyson’s involvement and WWE & THQ’s strong social media push.
– Several celebrity news publications are reporting that David Otunga and his celebrity fiance, actress/singer Jennifer Hudson, are once again planning to get married. Their wedding plans were put on hold during the build-up to the murder trail regarding the deaths of several of Hudson’s family members.
– WWE.com did 12.5 million unique visitors in May, down 9% from the prior year (13.7 million).
– WWEShop.com averaged 645 orders per day in May, down 23% from the previous year.
– WWE’s North American live event attendance was down 3% in May compared to the previous year.
– Former WWE star John Heidenreich turns 43 years old Thursday.
– CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers have signed Cuban OF Yasel Puig to a 7-year/$42M contract. That snaps the record 4-year/$36M contract that the Athletics gave OF Yoenis Cespedes this spring. Puig, 21, batted .330 with 17 home runs and 78 RBI in his final season on the impoverished island.
– Rockies’ LHP Jorge De La Rosa (elbow) will be shut down through September, and is not expected to return this season. Another big blow for a battered Rockies rotation. De La Rosa underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery a full 12 months ago, but he hasn’t recovered as swiftly as most pitchers do. The 31-year-old left-hander has already experienced two different setbacks.
– According to the Denver Post, Rockies’ GM Dan O’Dowd said that top prospect 3B Nolan Arenado will not be promoted this year. The 21-year-old was rumoured to be called up sometime in June, but O’Dowd believes his mental makeup is not yet there. “Arenado’s maturity level has not yet reached his talent level. He will probably finish the season at Double-A, unless there are injuries or other circumstances.”
– According to ESPN, a contract extension between the Kings and G Jonathan Quick is close. Quick has one more year left on his current contract, and any extension cannot be signed and registered with the NHL until July 1 at the earliest.
– According to TSN, over the next two days, free agent D Justin Schultz will meet with a small group of teams that are on his shortlist of potential destinations. Once he has met over Thursday and Friday with the teams, he will make a decision on where he’ll sign. The Oilers and Canucks are known to be on the shortlist, with F Taylor Hall being part of the Edmonton pitch. Stay tuned.
– According to ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano, Redskins’ RB Tim Hightower (ACL surgery) will be the staring back as long as he remains healthy. Graziano writes that RBs Roy Helu and Evan Royster will get early-season opportunities while Hightower rounds into form. Hightower was losing reps last season to Helu prior to tearing his ACL in Week 7 last season.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, after being released from his TNA contract earlier this month, we can confirm that Flair’s contract had a non-compete clause and he is currently unable to sign with WWE. No word yet on how long he is prohibited from signing with WWE. During the court proceedings of the ongoing TNA vs. WWE lawsuit, WWE told the court that they have no interest in signing Flair, but most believe he’ll be back in WWE at some point.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, Sting will be off television for several weeks as a result of last week’s attack by three mystery men. TNA has not yet decided who will be revealed as the masked attackers and it’s possible that TNA will not immediately follow up on the angle. The general feeling is that the segment did not come across well on television, but was done to explain why Sting is not part of the Bound For Glory series.
– Matt Hardy’s girlfriend Reby Sky is back with another rant about former WWE diva Sunny. The beef started on Monday when Reby Sky tweeted some anti-Sid messages after his appearance on RAW (bashing him for skipping indy dates), which prompted Sunny to come to Sid’s defense and the two ladies have been going back and forth ever since. Here’s Reby Sky’s latest message about Sunny from Facebook, where she talks about having lost all respect for Sunny:
“Checked my facebook before bed & this is what I see from Sunny: “Not worried about your response” | Refreshes page over & over responding to fan-girls & posts multiple times |
Look, the internet can implode & tell me I have no right to my own opinion, but I’m not backing down from anything I’ve said. There aren’t “sides” here, but if there were, SOLELY based on what my issue with Sid was – which was no-showing / disappointing fans / not keeping his word on bookings – and you “hate” me because of what I said, you’re implying it’s OK to do those things, the reason being, because he’s a “legend”. Don’t be a mark. There are plenty of “legends” who are pieces of sh*t. Being a “legend” doesn’t make you a good person. Moreover, I don’t need to be 900 years old or employed by any particular company to be able to have/voice an opinion. And the bigger question is, WHO CARES what I have to say ? Ran out of people to pick on, Sunny ?
I stand by my friends through thick & thin but when they’ve done something undeniably wrong I’m not going to justify it when its criticized & that’s exactly what Sunny has done. You’re buddies. Good for you. But your “buddy” has been screwing over a whole lot of fans & promotors – You’re going to back THAT up ? The last shred of respect I tried to hold on to having for you (after discovering you literally sucked Sabu’s dick for somas) is gone.
If people dislike me for some other reason, then by all means, continue to rant on and on about it; You deserve the right to express your opinion as much as I do (although today, people seem to have forgotten I have a right to my own) … but if you’re going to hate me because I said people NO-SHOWING makes me sick then you’re just as bad as he is.”
– According to the Wrestling Observer, Austin Aries has a mixed reputation behind the scenes in TNA, liked personally by some but also disliked by others. Management is a fan of his work, as evidenced by him being in the main event of the upcoming Destination X pay-per-view.
– During a recent interview with MMAJunkie.com, Bellator MMA & TNA Wrestling star “King” Mo Lawal said he’ll be reporting to Ohio Valley Wrestling (TNA developmental) in approximately two months. Lawal says his injured knee should be close to 100% by then. He also revealed that he’ll be training with WWE Announcer Booker T in the coming weeks and wants UFC fighter Rampage Jackson to be his tag team partner in TNA. Jackson is one of many UFC fighters that has expressed interest in a pro wrestling career once his MMA fighting days are over, but we have not heard anything about Rampage talking with TNA (or WWE, for that matter).
– It was revealed on last week’s Impact Wrestling that Dixie Carter and A.J. Styles have been sneaking around to help a recovering addict who has been waking up in hotel rooms with strange men. The women who played woman was an actress TNA found at a local talent agency. The angle played out as planned from the beginning, but TNA was said to be disappointed in her performance last week. TNA has also released the following “original, unedited” phone conversation between AJ & Dixie about why they were sneaking around:
– According to the Wrestling Observer, TNA’s Ring Ka King promotion in India has been such a success that the company is considering another spinoff promotion in Argentina. TNA co-founder Jeff Jarrett has had preliminary talks with the Endomol, an international television production and distribution company, about the project. Endomol is the company that helped TNA bring Ring Ka King to India.
– TNA Knockouts champion Miss Tessmacher did not compete in this year’s Hooters pageant last Saturday, despite being advertised. Instead, she worked a TNA live event from Orlando.
– Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk resigned on Wednesday after the team’s group stage exit at the European Championship. Van Marwijk’s contract to 2016 was ended “with immediate effect,” the Dutch federation said in a statement. The Dutch lost all three group games to Germany, Portugal and Denmark.
– Tottenham has signed forward Gareth Bale to a 4-year contract. His future at Tottenham had been in doubt after the team failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Bale was named 2011 player of the year by his peers in the Premier League and also was included in UEFA’s team of the year last year.
– Barcelona has signed LB Jordi Alba from Valencia to a 5-year/$17.4M contract. Alba is currently playing in the European Championships, where Spain defeated Portugal on Wednesday to reach the final.