– Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the “tentacles” of a 14-player trade involving Magic’ F Dwight Howard are in place and that a deal involving three or four teams could be in the works very soon. According to the report, a package consisting of F Brook Lopez, additional players and multiple draft picks may be going to Orlando; F Kris Humphries and a potential pick to the Cavaliers; and G MarShon Brooks going to a fourth team. Brooklyn would have a super thin roster at the end of the deal, but would ultimately have their prized possession in Howard. A deal could be done as early as Monday. Stay tuned.
– Heat’ G Dwyane Wade (left knee) underwent surgery Monday and will miss 8 weeks. Wade was bothered by knee pain and swelling throughout the playoffs, and had fluid removed midway through Miami’s second-round series with Indiana and needed treatment several times a week during Miami’s run to the title. He opted to have the knee surgery early in the off-season in Miami with hopes of being ready for the start of training camp this fall. The surgery forced Wade to withdraw from consideration for the U.S. Olympic team. Wade played in all 23 Heat playoff games despite the knee problems.
– The Suns withdrew their qualifying offer to G Aaron Brooks on Saturday, making him a UFA. Brooks was acquired from the Rockets at the 2011 trade deadline and appeared in 25 games with Phoenix, averaging 9.6 points, 4.2 assists and 18.9 minutes. He played in China last season.
– Tigers’ RHP Justin Verlander has been named the AL starting pitcher for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, while Giants’ RHP Matt Cain will start for the NL. Verlander would have started last season’s Midsummer Classic as well, but was ineligible to pitch because he started on the final Sunday before the break. The five-time All-Star is 9-5 with a 2.58 ERA this season, and is on pace to lead the majors in strikeouts and innings pitched for the second consecutive year. Cain enters the game 9-3 with a 2.53 ERA and 118/24 K/BB ratio. He ranks second in the NL in innings and WHIP (0.96), and threw the first perfect game in Giants’ history earlier this season.
– A league source tells the Boston Globe the Patriots and franchise player WR Wes Welker are “working hard” to reach a long-term deal before next Monday’s deadline. According to the Globe, the sides are roughly $6M apart in guaranteed money, but the roadblock now is the stucture of a potential third year. Welker will likely play out 2012 season under his tender.
– Eagles’ RB Dion Lewis was arrested early Saturday and charged with a felony count of falsely reporting a fire and misdemeanour reckless endangerment. According to police, Lewis and his brother were locked out of the Hampton Inn in Albany, where they were staying as guests. After banging on the glass doors, they pulled the fire alarm. Both men were reportedly intoxicated at the time. Lewis was released from jail after his arraignment.
– The Detroit Red Wings have hired former star D Nicklas Lidstrom as a scout, and will likely be based in Europe. Lidstrom plans to move back to his native Sweden. He retired in May after winning seven Norris Trophies as the NHL’s top defenceman and helping the Red Wings win four Stanley Cups in 20 seasons with the franchise.
– According to F4WOnline, WWE is reportedly interested in signing top UFC fighter “The American Gangster” Chael Sonnen. Sonnen lost to Anderson Silva at Saturday night’s UFC 148 PPV, but that has not discouraged WWE from targeting the 35-year-old fighter loud mouth. Sonnen has close ties to WWE Champion CM Punk as well as WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin. Earlier this year, Punk was going to accompany Sonnen to the Octagon for one of his fights until WWE nixed the idea. Sonnen has been doing strength and conditioning training with Steve Austin at Austin’s Broken Skull Ranch to prepare for his fights. No word yet on what Sonnen’s role in WWE would be, but he’s stated before that he’d consider a WWE career after his days in the UFC are over and there is said to be strong interest on both sides.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, Alberto Del Rio has delivered brutal attacks to the likes of Sheamus and Sin Cara over the past few weeks. It was reported last year that Vince McMahon wanted to see a more aggressive Del Rio. WWE is now moving forward with those plans and Del Rio is expected to continue his mean streak. Del Rio is expected to win the World Heavyweight Title sometime later this year.
– According to F4WOnline, the WWE legend expected to appear at tonight’s RAW Supershow will be former WWE Champion Bob Backlund. Backlund was visiting his mother at her rest home in Minnesota this weekend and told people there that he was headed to Denver, Colorado – site of tonight’s RAW. The two-time WWE Champion last appeared on WWE television in 2007 when WWE was celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Monday Night RAW.
– WWE Hall of Famer Tammy “Sunny” Sytch is in the news once again for her latest outrageous antics at an independent wrestling show over the weekend. Sunny appeared for the FTW promotion on Long Island, New York over the weekend and had her thong removed in the middle of the ring during a match. She described the event on Facebook:
“If you haven’t already heard, last night at FTW in Long Island, Damien Darling removed my thong in the ring mid-match…It waas HOTTTTTTTT! To book us in August, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!! Thanks! We always put on the best show of the night .”
Sytch then revealed she had her thong removed during a match to gain attention online:
“How long b4 the dirt sheets pick THIS ONE up? that’s why it was done, hehe,”
– Diamond Dallas Page appeared on Busted Open, which airs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Sirius 92 and XM 208 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Visit www.facebook.com/bustedopen for more information. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
The reaction he received last week on Raw: “I’ll tell you, more than anything, it sort of made me say, ‘Wow.’ It set me back a second, you know? I always hear DDP chants when I do these independent things but that building, I don’t think I ever wrestled there. If I did, I don’t remember because it was just a blur at that point when we were going everywhere, but I don’t remember ever coming to Laredo.
“You’d think I grew up there with the way the people were chanting. I knew they didn’t have a big segment for me to come out there and do this, and just to hit someone with the Diamond Cutter again and to hear the explosion – those DDP chants were so loud, I had to look back like seriously? Wow. I must have done something right 10-plus years ago, because I haven’t been on TV in over 10 years.”
Heath Slater: “He took an awesome Diamond Cutter. He’s a guy who grew up watching me and loving the business. He told me he loves what he’s doing right now, and it’s a great attention getter for him. People went from really hating him, to now you find people writing some really good comments about him too, and he’ll grow with his character. He’s got awesome time on primetime TV.”
Whether or not he was asked to wrestle on Raw: “No, and you know, people always bust the balls of the booking of WWE. Now, if they just booked me as another one, well then it’s just like Sid and Vader. But Johnny Ace called me up and said, ‘Hey, you want to hit someone with the Diamond Cutter on Monday night?’ I was like, ‘Sure, I’d love to.’
“The whole week I was in Louisville for a horror festival because I do a lot of those because I was Billy Ray Snapper in The Devil’s Rejects. Wrestling and horror just sort of go together. So I’d been working all week, I had to use like 3:30 in the morning to catch the flight to get down there, or I would’ve missed it, but it was worth it.
“So Johnny asked me about that, and then he told me about the Doink thing and I was like, ‘Oh that’s awesome,’ because no one knew about the Doink thing except for me, so that was an awesome secret. The people popped. There was a little bit of, ‘Oh, I thought DDP was going to come out.’ That’s what fans have told me, and then that’s why I think that pop was even better.
Whether he feels he will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next year: “No, you know, I never would hope for that because then you never get it. If something like that comes up, that would be awesome. The reaction I would get there would be insane. That’s my home area; I really did grow up there. When it happens, it happens. I’ve said a bunch of times, and some of these jerks on the Internet will take what I say and take what I say out of context so I’m going say this really clearly for anyone who’s listening: Until Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage is in there, until Jake Roberts is in there, I can wait. Because those two were two of the greatest of all time, and I consider myself to be pretty good within my era, but those are two guys that I was a mark for.”
His appearance on WWE’s Legends of Wrestling discussing celebrities in wrestling with Jim Ross: “First of all, I love J.R. He’s just like me, he can be very opinionated … J.R. went after the easy target because it pissed him off because he was WCW too. It pissed him off that David Arquette was the world champion like it pissed off a lot of people. But every guy on the Internet that has buried that situation, let me just reverse it: Now it’s you. And for some reason, they want to make you the world champion because it’s going to get whatever. There’s not one person who wouldn’t have done what Arquette did, not one. I mean, Vince McMahon made himself the world champion. Everybody wants to be the man, and that’s understandable.
“So getting that out of the way, when I told David, he started laughing. He was like, ‘Yeah, right.’ And I was like, ‘They really want to do it.’ He said, ‘We can’t do that. No, I can’t do that.’ And then I said, ‘They’re going to do it no matter what. You’re here, they want to do it. Unless you’re going to adamantly say no, they want to do it.’ So they talked him into it and he did it, and I wanted J.R. to know. But I thought it was the stupidest thing ever too; they didn’t have to preach to the choir to me about it because I felt the same way. But I said, ‘Did you know that David Arquette made like $10,000 for that spot or something, and he gave it to Melanie Pillman?’ When [Jim Ross] heard that, finally his demeanor changed.
“One of the things that J.R. said was that it’s all about what that celebrity brings to the company. Well if that’s the case, no one besides maybe Mike Tyson being involved in wrestling brought as much PR. Because at the time, we just got done with the ‘98 NBA Playoffs. The Bulls against the Jazz. Rodman against [Malone]. They were diving on the floor for balls against each other. Rodman didn’t show up on Monday night for practice because he went to Nitro to hit me with a chair. And when Rodman did it the first time, it got a lot of attention, but it’s Rodman. He’s a wild man. He’s a freak show. He’ll do anything for PR, that type of thing. But when Karl Malone did it, the world shook its head and went what? It was the biggest pay-per-view ever.
How he developed as a wrestler: “I’m in Germany [in 1994] and I’m getting done with a match with Jim Duggan. I’m the curtain jerker. I’m the first guy out. I come back through the curtain; it’s like our sixth day on the road. Hogan grabs me and pulls me over. He goes, ‘How you doing it?’ I go, ‘Doing it? Doing what?’ He said, ‘Getting so much better.’ I was like, ‘Well Hulk, thanks.’ He said, ‘No seriously, how are you doing it?’ Now Hulk had just come in; this was his big first tour he was doing that wasn’t TV. He said, ‘They got you on the road like this where you’re learning your craft right?’
I said, ‘No, Hulk, no.’ He goes, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘The only reason I’m on this tour is because we’re in Germany, and my last real name is Falkenberg. And, I got a smoking hot wife who walks me to the ring. That’s the only reason I’m here.’ He goes, ‘Well, how are you getting so much better?’ and I tried to explain to him that I went back to the Power Plant and started training guys. Because what I found out was the more I taught guys, the more I learned. It applies to everything, I don’t care what it is.
“If you teach someone your craft, while you’re teaching them, you’re going to learn because you’re going to get better at teaching, which is going to make you better at whatever you’re doing. In my case, it made me a better worker. And he didn’t understand that because he had territories when he came up, and Hulk is only about two and a half years older than I am, you have to remember that. Hulk had said to me, ‘Whatever you’re doing, you need to keep doing it. Because it’s not today, or next year, or the year after but somewhere down the line, because of your character and how you make people believe, you have the ability to draw huge money with me.’ So four years later, I walk out on that stage with Karl Malone, and Rodman and Hogan are there. It was the biggest press conference I’d ever seen that morning. It was crazy.”
WWE’s The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro DVD: “The Very Best of Nitro, from what I know right now, is the second-best selling DVD in the last 3 years. So what does that tell you? The new people are getting to see it, the new WWE nation that had never seen that stuff, because it’s timeless. When I first got the script for The Very Best of Nitro, I didn’t call them back and Michael Calabrese, the producer, what a great guy he is. They sent me that script and he called me up and he goes, ‘Hey D, did you get the script? What did you think?’ I said, ‘I don’t think you want me to do this,’ and he goes, ‘What do you mean?’ I go, ‘I wouldn’t say a lot of the things in here,’ and he said, ‘Well, what do you mean?’
“I said, ‘Michael, I understand that history is written by the winners and I get that you guys won the war, so you can say what you want to say but we kicked your ass for almost two years. I was there. It was David and Goliath and we killed you in the ratings, so I’m not going to backhand compliment WCW ever. Did we make mistakes? Hell yeah, and I’ll talk about that, but I’m not going to act like it never happened. I’m just not going to do that; you should get someone else to do that.’ He said, ‘Well, what are the things you’re talking about?’ I went, ‘Boom, boom, boom’ and he went, ‘No problem, change it.’ I was like, ‘Really?’ He said, ‘Yeah man, we want this to be good.’ I was like, ‘OK, cool.’
His rising popularity in WCW: “I remember wrestling on Monday night in Panama City, and that was the first time those kids were chanting DDP so loud and I had just started my feud with Scott and Kevin. It was just starting to take off and when I walked back through the curtain again, Hulk’s there. He goes, ‘Do you know how hard that is? It’s starting to happen.’ Hulk Hogan over periods of time would tell me different things, and that was one of them. He said, ‘It’s so hard to get them to chant your name like that, but once you got that, you got something big. It was an awesome ride.”
Whether Vince McMahon ever contacted him about joining WWE during the Monday Night Wars: “No, he would never do that. Anybody who said he did, I would really tend not to believe that because Vince was not going to get in that potential lawsuit. Vince is way too smart for that on so many levels. But Steve Austin had called me once after a match I had with I can’t remember who; I want to say it was Hogan. He said, ‘How the hell did you bring that match out of him?’ Because there’s never been any love lost with Hulk and Steve. But they got respect of course, how could they not? But Austin had said, ‘If you ever want to come on up here, it’d be a pretty easy trip for you.’ It was like that. Maybe they thought because of my affiliation with Bischoff and all that stuff, I never would’ve left.”
His run in WWE: “I always saw myself working a WrestleMania. There was no question. The run that I had, which really was like four months in the WWE; it wasn’t great. But my opening day was great. My opening day was humongous. And then WrestleMania was pretty much my closing card. I did one Raw after that, but that WrestleMania 18 match that I had with Christian, that was a hell of a match. And then being able to show up now and getting that reaction; hitting that Cutter and getting that pop, I literally can fade off into the sunset very easily. Bottom line is, it was what it was and it was a great ride.”
– Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to win the Wimbledon final. The victory also increased Federer’s record total to 17 major titles after being stuck on No. 16 for 2 1/2 years, and clinched a return to the top of the ATP rankings, overtaking Novak Djokovic, after an absence of a little more than two years. Federer’s 286th week at No. 1 ties Sampras for the most in history. Murray had been hoping to become the first Brit to win at home in 76 years. Murray also dropped to 0-4 in Grand Slam finals, three against Federer.
– TNA sent out the following press release on Monday announcing that a “TNA Rewind” show will begin airing every week before Impact, starting this Thursday at 7pm (ET):
Don’t miss three hours of TNA IMPACT WRESTLING every Thursday night on SpikeTV! Get your weekly TNA recap starting at 7/6c with the new “Rewind” broadcast immediately followed by IMPACT WRESTLING LIVE at 8/7c!
It’s three hours of Total Nonstop Action featuring your favorite wrestling superstars – including “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan, “The Icon” Sting, Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles, Mr. Anderson, Rob Van Dam, “Cowboy” James Storm, the lovely and lethal Knockouts, the high-flying X Division athletes and many more! TNA IMPACT WRESTLING takes place from the Impact Zone at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida! IMPACT WRESTLING is the world’s most innovative experience in professional wrestling, airing in over 120 countries worldwide!
– According to the Wrestling Observer, Sonjay Dutt suffered either a dislocated elbow or shoulder during the X Division match. He reportedly popped it back into place himself and continued working the match.
– There have been online reports in recent weeks that TNA star Magnus announced to fans during a recent meet and greet at the London Film and Comic Con that he would not be re-signing with TNA when his deal expires this year. Magnus has since addressed the rumor and denied that he has any intention of leaving TNA.
– The racism trial of John Terry began Monday with prosecutors claiming the Chelsea captain acknowledges using offensive language as a “sarcastic exclamation.” The England defender came face to face in court with Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand, whom he is accused of racially abusing during a Premier League match in October. The 31-year-old Terry faces a maximum fine of 2,500 pounds ($3,900) if he becomes the first top football player in England convicted of racial abuse during a game. Ferdinand, who is black, gave evidence that he had not initially heard Terry use racist language during the game at Loftus Road. Ferdinand said he became aware of the apparent racial slur from YouTube footage. Ferdinand said he would have reported the remarks to game officials if he realized what had been said.
– The Queens Park Rangers have signed South Korea MF Park Ji-sung from Manchester United on a 2-year contract on Monday. The 31-year-old who won the 2008 Champions League and four Premier League titles with United.