– According to F4WOnline, rumours continue to swirl that Randy Orton’s status with WWE is in jeopardy following their announcement May 30 that he was being suspended for 60 days for his second violation of the Talent Wellness Program. WWE CEO Vince McMahon is reportedly livid with Orton, particularly since he was so “outspokenly indifferent” to the suspension. Another unnamed source says Orton was hastily benched to ensure that he return before SummerSlam on August 19, but “something happened” shortly after the announcement that infuriated the Chairman. This has led to discussions of Orton not being brought back at all after his suspension concludes.
Former WCW announcer Mark Madden stated last Thursday via Twitter that WWE is looking to terminate Orton’s contract since he’s considered difficult to deal with and due to the belief that his value has plateaued.
There are people within WWE saying Orton’s time away from the ring ‘isn’t going to be that big a problem.’ For the first time, officials are openly categorizing CM Punk as the second-ranked babyface rather than the two as equals. Many also feel SmackDown’s babyface side will be sufficient with Sheamus, Christian, Sin Cara, Rey Mysterio returning soon from suspension and the option to turn Daniel Bryan at a moment’s notice. Orton has made and saved a lot of money during his career and resides in an area where he could live comfortably for several years without financial worry. His wife Samantha also comes from a well-to-do family, so not having a steady income is reportedly not a major concern for him.
There is a ‘small, vocal pocket’ within the sports entertainment organization lobbying for Orton’s termination. Those opposing his return feel his lucrative 10-year contract, signed in January 2010, can no longer be justified if he is brought back in a mid-level role. His second suspension hinders WWE from continuing to feature Orton in headline role since a third drug-testing policy infraction would result in automatic termination, or, as some have stated, a “1-year suspension.”
In another potential factor, there is concern over the physical state of Orton, who has incurred numerous injuries over his twelve-year career. Some officials believe his body is breaking down and there are questions regarding the state of his neck and spine.
According to SuperLuchas.net, the nine-time world champion’s suspension stems from a positive drug test for the anabolic steroid Dianabol, which is banned by the United States Congress under its Controlled Substances Act. However, that is not confirmed. F4WOnline.com says Orton claimed to test positive for a tainted supplement.
Finally, had WWE not suspended Orton, he would have been scripted to defeat Dolph Ziggler at this Sunday’s No Way Out PPV. The Viper was scheduled to feud with Ziggler and Chris Jericho in the weeks leading up to a SummerSlam showdown with Sheamus.
– According to F4WOnline, several company employees believe Chris Jericho was suspended for 30 days due to the act of denigrating the Brazilian flag at a Raw live event in São Paulo on May 24 for political reasons. Linda McMahon is campaigning for U.S. Senator of Connecticut and many feel the organization suspended him out of concern over what the Connecticut media would think if they read a story online about their wrestlers defacing an international flag.
– WWE Champion C.M. Punk was interviewed on The Bower Show on 97.9 ESPN radio in Hartford, Connecticut on Monday. To listen to the full interview, visit 979espn.com. Here are some highlights of what CM Punk said about:
Punk on Roddy Piper: “He was a really good villain. He made me want to do what I do now.”
Punk on whether a bad personal experience with alcohol or drugs led to him being Straight Edge: “I was born this way. For me it’s not a lifestyle. I think going out and partying and going out and getting drunk every night, that’s a lifestyle. That’s insane. This is who I am and how I’ve always been… I just never saw a reason to drink, I suppose.”
Punk on his favourite Vince McMahon story: “We recently had the Hall of Fame before WrestleMania and Edge was being inducted this year. He told a story and neglected to add that I was apart of, shockingly enough. I had been on the road maybe five-six months, and I got the call spur of the moment, somebody is injured, somebody is suspended, whatever. Okay, cool, I’ll pack my bags. So we went over to Iraq and the sleeping arrangements were hilarious.
“I can’t remember the general’s name, it wasn’t a five-star, because I don’t know if there any current five-star generals, whatever the biggest general is was. He was in our room. It was me, JBL, Undertaker, Edge, and Vince McMahon all bunking. I was on the top bunk and JBL was on the bottom. To the right of me was Vince McMahon and I think let him have his own bunks so there was nobody above or below him. To my left was Undertaker and I think Edge was top bunk…
“There was one giant bed in the room and we gave it to the general, it was his show. It was one of those moments where I’m just laying there awake thinking how bizarre my life is. I’m in a bunk bed with JBL and Vince McMahon is over here. All of a sudden I hear somebody let one off and then you hear (impersonates Vince MaMahon laughing). So then I’m sitting in a bunk bed and Vince McMahon is crapping his pants.”
Punk on whether he has ever “sexted” a photo: Punk laughed loudly. “I’m totally red. Who hasn’t? How’s that for honesty, ESPN. Yeah. I don’t even think it was done in the context you are thinking of. It was a complete goof. I wasn’t trying to be salacious. I wasn’t trying to get in anybody’s pants or anything. It was probably to my girlfriend and was more like an LOL, ha!”
– The June 11 Raw SuperShow featuring the television return of Vince McMahon’s Mr. McMahon character drew a 3.24 cable rating over the course of three hours and a 3.46 from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. It is the program’s highest rating since April 30 and highest rating from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. since the night following the Royal Rumble. Raw averaged 4.62 million viewers over the course of three hours and 4.98 million viewers from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. The first hour drew a 2.73 rating with 3.90 million viewers, then a 3.34 rating with 4.88 million viewers in the second. The final hour drew a 3.55 rating with 5.08 million viewers.
– During a TV interview on Monday to promote last night’s RAW, CM Punk was asked about his recent Twitter beef with Chris Brown, where he called out the singer for his “alleged” domestic violence of singer Rihanna. Punk said that he wanted to wrestle a charity match against Brown with the proceeds going to a women’s shelter.
– The June 9 episode of A.M. Raw on the USA Network garnered a 0.46 cable rating with 550,000 viewers.
– The Funkadactyls, AJ, Dolph Ziggler and more WWE Superstars share their thoughts on Monday’s Raw SuperShow:
– The Blue Jays have released DH Vladimir Guerrero. Vladdy issued an ultimatum following Monday’s game with Triple-A Las Vegas that he wanted to be called up to the majors or released. The 37-year-old was hitting .303 (10-for-33) with two doubles, a triple and zero walks in eight games with Las Vegas. He supposedly doesn’t want to retire, but there certainly won’t be many teams lining up for his services. GM Alex Anthopoulos said,
“He played (Monday) night and he decided that was enough for him. He felt he was worthy of a callup and we weren’t prepared to do that right now.”
– The Dodgers have officially signed OF Andre Ethier to a 5-year/$85M contract extension. The deal includes a $17.5M vesting option for 2018 or a $2.5M buyout. Ethier is hitting .287/.348/.509 with 10 homers, 53 RBI and an .856 OPS through 61 games this year, and is locked in through his age-35 season.
– Yankees’ 3B Alex Rodriguez tied Lou Gehrig’s MLB record by socking his 23rd career grand slam Tuesday against the Braves. The Yankees trailed Atlanta 4-0 in the eighth inning when A-Rod went deep off LHP Jonny Venters. He’s now batting .276/.368/.436 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI.
– The Blue Jays have placed RHP Brandon Morrow (strained oblique) on the 15-day DL, but manager John Farrell said there is “no end date in mind.” The strain is believed to be serious enough that he could miss at least one month. Morrow came out of his start in the first inning Monday after nine pitches in a 6-3 loss to the Washington Nationals at Rogers Centre. Morrow is 7-4 with a 3.01 earned-run average in 13 starts this season.
– Rays’ 3B Evan Longoria (hamstring) is scheduled to run before Thursday’s game, and barring a setback, will begin a rehab assignment on Friday. Longoria has been taking batting and fielding practice and also tested his hamstring out on the bases over the weekend. Manager Joe Maddon has been encouraged by what he’s seen from his third baseman, but he says that Longo still isn’t 100%. “With a hamstring, you have to be extremely prudent and wise. We wanted to make sure that he was well.” Longo is expected to need 7-10 rehab games.
– Angels’ RHP Jered Weaver (lower back back) threw a successful full bullpen session Tuesday. This comes a day after a session off the front of the mound. Weaver will now throw a simulated game Friday before returning next week, barring setbacks. He’s been on the DL since late May.
– Rangers’ RHP Alexi Ogando (groin) is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Ogando suffered the injury in a spot start Sunday. He is scheduled to get an injection Tuesday to accelerate the healing process, but he’ll be sidelined through the All-Star break.
– The Indians have acquired RHP Esmil Rogers from the Rockies for cash. Rogers went 0-2 with an 8.06 ERA in 23 appearances for Colorado this season. The Rockies were out of options on the 26-year-old pitcher.
– The Tigers have placed RHP Octavio Dotel (right elbow inflammation) on the 15-day DL. Dotel, who is 1-2 with a 4.42 ERA in 21 games this season, hasn’t pitched since June 2. Manager Jim Leyland said he couldn’t keep playing with a short bullpen.
– The Cubs have fired hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. The Cubbies’ offence ranks 27th in the majors in OBP, 26th in OPS and 27th in runs scored. James Rowson, the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator, has replaced Jaramillo on an interim basis.
– Former MLB slugger Matt Stairs had his home in Maine robbed while he was in New Brunswick for his induction into the provincial sports Hall of Fame. Stairs, a Fredericton native, was in the province to receive the honour and attend a few charity events when he received a call from his daughter in Maine on Saturday night. She told Stairs someone had broken into the home and stole some of his championship rings. Stairs told CBC News, he suspects the crime was targeted.
“Well I’ve got a feeling they knew what they wanted. I believe they were looking for the World Series ring and, of course, I had that with me.”
“They took all kinds of jewellery. There was the NLCS division championship (ring), the American League (ring), the National League ring, my wife’s National League pendant, watches and jewellery and stuff. So there was quite a bit of stuff stolen. We won’t go into the detail how much was stolen, but put it this way, there was enough so it was a felony case.”
Stairs said he is just relieved his family is alright.
“The biggest thing is, you know that stuff is all replaceable, it’s just that fact that someone actually broke into your house while you were gone,” he said.
“That’s the biggest thing that makes me angry. That someone violated our privacy.”
– Cowboys’ owner/GM Jerry Jones said Tuesday that CB Mike Jenkins will not be traded this summer. ”We’re not going to trade Jenkins. I’m excited about the fact that we’ve got this kind of corner situation. We’ll maximize it for our team and it gives us all the things we want at a position that’s critical for us.” Dallas reportedly turned down four teams interested in acquiring Jenkins in the final year of his rookie contract.
– The Patriots have claimed TE Jake Ballard off waivers from the Giants. Recovering from ACL reconstruction and microfracture surgery, Ballard will likely begin the 2012 season on the PUP list before moving to the IR.
– Check out Patriots’ WR Wes Welker doing the Dougie during OTAs:
– The Rams agreed to terms with No. 33 overall pick WR Brian Quick on a 4-year contract. Rams’ WRs coach Ray Sherman compared Quick to Terrell Owens after putting a pre-draft workout. Quick reportedly impressed those watching in post-draft practices with his hands, polish, smooth movement, and the ability to get in and out of his breaks.
– Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that RB James Starks will be the team’s lead back. Starks handled first-team reps in Tuesday’s minicamp session. “He’s a young raw guy that needs to play. If he can stay healthy, I think he’ll make a significant jump as a player.”
– Free agent WR Mike Sims-Walker is participating in Texans minicamp this week. MSW has already worked out for the Texans once this offseason, and head coach Gary Kubiak indicated that he “looked good” in Tuesday’s practice.
– According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Penguins and F Sidney Crosby have gotten underway in contract negotiations. Talks have been preliminary so far, and have not included a term or financial terms. The 24-year-old is signed through next season, but can sign off on a new deal after July 1.
– Flyers’ F Ian Laperriere has announced his retirement. Laperriere sat out the past two seasons because of post-concussion syndrome resulting from getting hit in the right eye with a puck during the 2010 playoffs. He officially retired Tuesday because his contract expired and he was able to come off the salary cap. He played all 82 games in ’09-10 and 13 in the postseason as the Flyers made a run to the Cup final. The 38-year-old Laperriere was hit in the face in Game 5 of a first-round series against New Jersey during Philadelphia’s run to the Stanley Cup finals. He suffered a concussion and fractured orbital bone, but returned a little more than a month later to play in the final two rounds. Laperriere couldn’t overcome his concussion-related symptoms the next year and spent the past two seasons mentoring draft picks and prospects. Over 16 seasons, Lapierre recorded 336 points in 1,084 games.
– NHL legend Wayne Gretzky congratulated the Kings for winning their first ever Stanley Cup. He told TSN:
“It is a great day for hockey. (It) couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of management and coaches that believed in a team that clearly took their play to another level. All hard work and very unselfish, they became true champions.”
– Check out Kings’ F Dustin Brown dropping an F-bomb during a post-game interview:
– Devils’ F Steve Bernier had his Wikipedia page tweaked, with the user posting some very angry information:
– The Oilers have agreed to terms with D Oscar Klefbom on a 3-year, entry-level contract. The Oilers selected Klefbom with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Klefbom had two goals in 33 games with Farjestads BK Karlstad of the Swedish Elite League in 2011-12. The 18-year-old also helped Team Sweden earn a Gold Medal at the 2012 World Junior Championship in Calgary.
– Danny Ferry is the “frontrunner” for the 76ers’ GM position, and he reportedly interviewed with team ownership and management this weekend, according to Yahoo! Sports. Ferry is currently an executive in the Spurs’ front office, but has prior GM experience with the Cavaliers back when F LeBron James was there, posting the league’s best record for two consecutive seasons. Sixers coach Doug Collins is also “pushing Ferry’s candidacy,” and momentum seems to be building rapidly.
– Rapper The Game took part in a Drew League with several NBA players, and pulled off some sweet moves: